Skip to main content

Full text of "The clergyman's instructor : or, A collection of tracts on the ministerial duties"

See other formats








yap iepdHrvvr] reAetrat plv iftl TTJJ y?js, raf> 5e 

Chrysostom, de Sacerdotio Dial, III, 

30 f 






JLHE Tracts contained in the following volume ha\e 
been collected and published, in conformity with the 
plan for some time adopted by The Delegates of the Cla 
rendon Press, of assisting the Parochial Clergy, either by 
reprinting some of the more scarce or eminent treatises of 
our English divines, or by editing in a more convenient 
form such documents as, though necessary to be referred 
to by those in holy orders, were before accessible only in 
works of great magnitude and expense. And as what 
has hitherto been done with this view has received no 
inconsiderable approbation, not only from ecclesiastical 
persons, but from serious and learned men of all orders, it 
is hoped that the present republication of tracts calculated 
especially both to teach and to enforce the practical duties 
of ministers, will not be thought less useful than those 
which have preceded it, or a less serviceable endeavour 
to contribute to the advancement of true religion, and a 
due honouring of THE CHURCH as by law established in 
this realm. 

OXFORD, July 6, 1807. 




COPIES of the Fifth Edition of this Manual having 
become scarce, the Delegates of the University Press 
have thought fit to meet the continued demand for the 
Work by sending forth a new Impression. 

The Editor, who, at their request, undertook to correct 
the Press, was entrusted with some discretionary power 
as to the contents of the Volume and its better accommo 
dation to the class of Readers, for whom it is primarily 
intended. Accordingly, two brief Tracts, introductory to 
" the Country Parson," have been omitted, as not essen 
tially connected with the design, nor directly conducive 
to the end, of the Compilation. The longer of the two 
purports to be Biographical ; but, being by no means 
strictly or exclusively so, has been superseded by the 
ampler and far more attractive Life of George Herbert, 
which Isaac Walton founded upon it. This omission has 
afforded room, without inconvenient increase of the bulk 
of the Volume, for portions of the Remains of Two Pre 
lates, but recently removed by death and therefore still 
fressh in the recollection of the great body of the clergy 
and lay-members of the United Church- -Archbishop 
Howley and Bishop Kaye. It is confidently hoped that 
the passages, borrowed from the writings of these great 

and good men, will be found entitled to the place here 
assigned to them, by reason of their intrinsic excellence, 
as well as by their striking adaptation to the avowed aim 
of the original projectors of "the Clergyman s Instructor. 1 

Each of the separate Tracts, of which the Work con 
sists, is now, for the first time, accompanied by a short 
Biographical Notice of its Writer. 

Besides the changes, thus noticed, no alteration, deserv 
ing of mention, has been made. 

The Eight Tracts, which have formed the substance of 
the Work in its later Editions, are retained in the same 
order as before; the only care of the Editor having been 
to secure accuracy of Text in every instance, by guarding 
against the repetition of a few typographical errors. Nor 
are these Tracts believed to be less " calculated" than 
they ever were " both to teach and to enforce the prac- 
" tical duties of Ministers."* With one exception, the 
Authors were of the Episcopal order; and, therefore, ad 
dressed the Clergy on the topics, which they handled, as 
Spiritual Fathers and Guides. It is obvious that Writers, 
all of whom belonged to a space of time, intervening 
between the opening of the 17th and the middle of the 
18th century, must frequently, both in matter and in 
style, indicate their remoteness from our own day. It is 
equally obvious to every one, even slightly acquainted with 
the Annals of our Church and Country, in which these 
ornaments of both are commemorated, that among them 
selves there existed numerous and considerable differences 
of talents and learning, of temper and tastes, of position 
and of external circumstances. According to such diver 
sities, their exhortations and counsels, their cautions and 

* Advertisement to the First Edition. 


warnings are, of course, modified and varied. But the 
distinctive characteristics of the several Writers rather 
enhance than diminish the value of the collected Treatises; 
since the very peculiarities of each may furnish special 
occasions for fixed attention, careful comparison and ju 
dicious discrimination, on the part of the Student, who 
shall be engaged in examining the details of one and the 
same great subject and in separating whatever is local, 
temporary and personal from abundant materials, which 
are of universal application and will be for ever profitable. 

OXFORD, June 23, 1855. 


I. A PRIEST to the Temple, or the Country Parson, his Character and 

Rule of Holy Life, by Mr. George Herbert, A. M. Fellow of 
Trinity College, Cambridge, and sometime Public Orator of that 
University. . P. 1-62. 


II. Rules and Advices to the Clergy of the Diocese of Down and Connor, 

by Jeremy Taylor,, D.D. Lord Bishop of that Diocese. . . . 63-82. 

III. A Discourse of the Pastoral Care, by Gilbert Burnet, Lord Bishop 

of Sarum 83-210. 

IV. A Discourse by Thomas Sprat, D.D. Lord Bishop of Rochester, to 

the Clergy of his Diocese, 1695 21 1-246. 

V. A Companion for the Candidates of Holy Orders in two parts ; the 

first being a Visitation Sermon, concerning the great difficulty and 
danger of the Priestly Office ; and the second, a Charge to the 
Clergy of the Diocese of St. David s, on the principal parts and 
branches of the Pastoral Office, with rules and directions for the 
due performance of each of them, by George Bull, D. D. Lord 
Bishop of St. David s . . 247-282. 


VI. Directions given to the Clergy of the Diocese of London in the 

year 1724, by Edmund Gibson, D. D. Lord Bishop of London. 
To which is added his Charge to the Clergy in his last Visitation, 
begun in the year 1741 and finished in the year 1742. . . P. 283-330. 

VII. Instructions to the Clergy of the Diocese of Tuam, by Josiah 
Hort, D.D. Lord Archbishop of Tuam, at his Primary Visitation, 
1742 331-356. 

VIII. Parochialia : or, Instructions to the Clergy, in the Discharge of 
their Parochial duty. By the Right Rev. Thomas Wilson, D. D. 
Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man . . . i 357-430. 

IX. A Letter addressed to the Clergy and Laity of his Province, by 

William Howley, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury 43] -440. 

X. A Charge, delivered in 1831, and portions of a Charge, delivered 

in 1846, to the Clergy of the Diocese of Lincoln, by John Kaye, 
D. D. Lord Bishop of Lincoln 441-474. 








GEORGE HERBERT, of good family and noble connec 
tions, was born at the Castle of his ancestors, near Montgo 
mery, in 1593. He was educated at Westminster School, and 
from thence elected to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1608. 
A few years after he had taken the degree of M. A. he was 
chosen Orator for the University, and aspired, as former 
holders of his office had done, to some public employment in 
the State ; his circumstances of birth and the favour of the 
Court coinciding with his own turn of mind at the time to 
recommend such a plan of life. He was, however, diverted 
from all purposes of the kind by the death of those, on whom 
his hopes of promotion had rested, and especially of King 
James I, who had shewn much regard for him. In a tem 
porary retreat from the world, he then formed a firm resolu 
tion to devote himself to the Sacred Profession. Accordingly, he 
was ordained Deacon in 1626, Priest in 1639. In the interval 
between these two important events, he had been presented to 
the Rectory of Bemerton near Salisbury ; and there he died 
in 1632, at the comparatively early age of 39. 

His Life by Isaac Walton has been often published ; and, 
recently, at the Oxford University Press, in an octavo volume, 
which contains the other Biographical works of the same 
author. It is also included in the Ecclesiastical Biography of 
the late Dr. Wordsworth. 


JjEING desirous, through the mercy of God, to please him, for 
whom I am and live, and who giveth me my desires and per 
formances ; and considering with myself that the way to please 
him is to feed my flock diligently and faithfully, since our Saviour hath 
made that the argument of a pastor s love ; I have resolved to set down 
the form and character of a true pastor, that I may have a mark to aim 
at ; which also I will set as high as I can, since he shoots higher that 
threatens the moon, than he that aims at a tree. Not that I think, if 
a man do not all which is here expressed, he presently sins, and 
displeases God ; but that it is a good strife to go as far as we can in 
pleasing of him, who hath done so much for us. The Lord prosper the 
intention to myself and others, who may not despise my poor labours, 
but add to those points, which I have observed, until the book grow to 
a complete pastoral. 



m&P "rJlgf 


flA mt^ * - < 









Of a pastor. 

A. PASTOR is the deputy of Christ for the reducing of man 
to the obedience of God. This definition is evfdent. and 
contains the direct steps of pastoral duty and authority. For 
first, man fell from God by disobedience. Secondly, Christ is 
the glorious instrument of God for the revoking of man. Thirdly, 
Christ being not to continue on earth, but, aFtTer he had fulfilled 
the work of reconciliation, to be received up into heaven, he 
constituted deputies in his place, and these are priests. And 
therefore St. Paul, in the beginning of his Epistles, professeth 
this ; and, in the first to the Colossians, plainly avoucheth that he 
fills up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh , 
for his body s sake, which is the church : wherein is contained 
the complete definition of a minister. Out of this charter of the 
priesthood may be plainly gathered both the dignity thereof 
and the duty; the dignity, in that a priest may do that which 
Christ did, and by his authority, and as his vicegerent. The 
duty, in that a priest is to do that which Christ did, and after 
his manner, both for doctrine and life. 

8 The Country Parson. 


Their diversities. 

OF pastors, (intending mine own nation only, and also therein 
setting aside the right reverend prelates of the church, to 
whom this discourse ariseth not,) some live in the universities, 
some in noble houses, some in parishes residing on their cures. 
Of those that live in the universities, some live there in office, 
whose rule is that of the apostle, Rom. xii. 6. Having gifts dif 
fering, according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, 
let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith ; or ministry, 
let us wait on our ministering : or he that teacheth, on teaching, 
fyc. ; he that ruleth^ let him do it with diligence, cjrc. Some in a 
preparatory way, whose aim and labour must be not only to get 
knowledge, but to subdue and mortify all lusts and affections; 
and not to think that, when they have read the fathers or 
schoolmen, a minister is made, and the thing done. The great 
est and hardest preparation is within : for, unto the ungodly 
saith God, Why dost thou preach my laws, and takest my cove 
nant in thy mouth ? Psalm 1. 16. Those that live in noble 
houses are called chaplains, whose duty and obligation being 
the same to the houses they live in, as a parson s to his parish, 
in describing the one, (which is indeed the bent of my discourse,) 
the other will be manifest. Let not chaplains think themselves 
so free as many of them do, and, because they have different 
names, think their office different. Doubtless they are parsons 
of the families they live in, and are entertained to that end, 
either by an open or implicit covenant. Before they are in 
orders, they may be received for companions, or discotirsers ; 
but after a man is once minister, he cannot agree to come into 
any house, where he shall not exercise what he is, unless he 
forsake his plough, and look back. Wherefore they are not to 
be over-submissive, and base, but to keep up with the lord and 
lady of the house, and to preserve a boldness with them and all, 
even so far as reproof to their very face, when occasion calls, but 
seasonably and discreetly. They who do not thus, while they 
remember their earthly lord, do much forget their heavenly: 
they wrong the priesthood, neglect their duty, and shall be so 
far from that which they seek with their over-submissiveness 
and cringing, that they shall ever be despised. They who for 

The Country Parson. 9 

the hope of promotion neglect any necessary admonition or 
reproof, sell, with Judas, their Lord and Master. 


The parson s life. 

THE country parson is exceeding exact in his life, being holy, 
just, prudent, temperate, bold, grave in all his ways. And 
because the two highest points of life, wherein a Christian is 
most seen, are patience and mortification ; patience in regard 
of afflictions, mortification in regard of lusts and affections, and 
the stupifying and deading of all the clamorous powers of the 
soul ; therefore he hath throughly studied these, that he may 
be an absolute master and commander of himself, for all the 
purposes which God hath ordained him. Yet in these points 
he labours most in those things which are most apt to scan 
dalize his parish. And first, because country people live hardly, 
and therefore, as feeling their own sweat, and consequently 
knowing the price of money, are offended much with any, who 
by hard usage increase their travail, the country parson is very 
circumspect in avoiding all covetousness, neither being greedy 
to get, nor niggardly to keep, nor troubled to lose any worldly 
wealth; but in all his words and actions slighting and dises- 
teeming it, even to a wondering that the world should so much 
value wealth, which in the day of wrath hath not one dram of 
comfort for us. Secondly, because luxury is a very visible sin, 
the parson is very careful to avoid all the kinds thereof, but 
especially that of drinking, because it is the most popular vice ; 
into which if he come, he prostitutes himself both to shame 
and sin, and by having fellowship with the unfruitful works of 
darhiess, he disableth himself of authority to reprove them : for 
sins make all equal, whom they find together : and then they 
are worst, who ought to be best. Neither is it for the servant 
of Christ to haunt inns, or taverns, or alehouses, to the disho 
nour of his person and office. The parson doth not so, but 
orders his life in such a fashion, that when death takes him, as 
the Jews and Judas did Christ, he may say as he did, / sat daily 
with you teaching in the temple. Thirdly, because country peo 
ple (as indeed all honest men) do much esteem their word, it 
being the life of buying, and selling, and dealing in the world ; 
therefore the parson is very strict in keeping his word, though 

10 The Country Parson. 

it be to his own hinderance, as knowing, that if he be not so, he 
will quickly be discovered and disregarded; neither will they 
believe him in the pulpit, whom they cannot trust in his conver 
sation. As for oaths and apparel, the disorders thereof are also 
very manifest. The parson^s yea is yea, and nay nay ; and his 
apparel plain, but reverend and clean, without spots, or dust, or 
smell ; the purity of his mind breaking out, and dilating itself 
even to his body, clothes and habitation. 


The parson s knowledge. 

THE country parson is full of all knowledge. They say, it is 
an ill mason that refuseth any stone : and there is no know 
ledge, but, in a skilful hand, serves either ,positively ? as it is, or 
else to illustrate some other knowledge. He condescends even 
to the knowledge of tillage and pasturage, and makes great use 
of them in teaching, because people by what they understand 
are best led to what they understand not. But the chief and 
top of his knowledge consists in the book of books, the store 
house and magazine of life and comfort, the holy scriptures. 
There he sucks and lives. In the scriptures he finds four 
things; precepts for life, doctrines for knowledge, examples for 
illustration, and promises for comfort : these he hath digested 
severally. But for the understanding of these ; the means he 
useth are, first, a holy life, remembering what his Master saith, 
that if any do God s will, he shall know of the doctrine, John vii, 
and assuring himself that wicked men, however learned, do not 
know the scriptures, because they feel them not, and because 
they are not understood but with the same Spirit that writ them. 
The second means is prayer, which if it be necessary even in 
temporal things, how much more in things of another world, 
where the well is deep, and we have nothing of ourselves to 
draw with ! Wherefore he ever begins the reading of the scrip 
ture with some short inward ejaculation, as, Lord, open mine 
eyes, that 1 may see the ivondrous things of thy law, &c. The 
third means is a diligent collation of scripture with scripture. 
For all truth being consonant to itself, and all being penned by 
; one and the self-same Spirit, it cannot be, but that an industri 
ous and judicious comparing of place with place must be a 
singular help for the right understanding of the scriptures. To 

The Country Parson. 11 

this may be added the consideration of any text with the cohe 
rence thereof, touching what goes before, and what follows 
after, as also the scope of the Holy Ghost. When the apostles 
would have called down fire from heaven, they were reproved, 
as ignorant of what spirit they were. For the law required 
one thing, and the gospel another : yet as diverse, not as repug 
nant : therefore the spirit of both is to be considered and 
weighed. The fourth means are commenters and fathers, who 
have handled the places controverted, which the parson by no 
means refuseth. As he doth not so study others as to neglect 
the grace of God in himself, and what the Holy Spirit teacheth 
him ; so doth he assure himself, that God in all ages hath had 
his servants, to whom he hath revealed his truth, as well as to 
him; and that as one country doth not bear all things, that 
there may be a commerce ; so neither hath God opened, or will 
open, all to one, that there may be a traffick in knowledge be 
tween the servants of God, for the planting both of love and 
humility. Wherefore he hath one comment at least upon every 
book of scripture, and ploughing with this, and his own medita 
tions, he enters into the secrets of God treasured in the holv 




The par son s accessary knowledges. 

THE country parson hath read the fathers also, and the 
schoolmen, and the later writers, or a good proportion of 
all, out of all which he hath compiled a book, and body of di 
vinity, which is the storehouse of his sermons, and which he 
preacheth all his life ; but diversely clothed, illustrated, and 
enlarged. For though the world is full of such composures, yet 
every man s own is fittest, readiest, and most savoury to him. 
Besides, this being to be done in his younger and preparatory 
times, it is an honest joy ever after to look upon his well-spent 
hours. This body he made by way of expounding the Church 
Catechism, to which all divinity may easily be reduced. For it 
being indifferent in itself to choose any method, that is best to 
be chosen of which there is likeliest to be most use. Now 
catechising being a work of singular and admirable benefit to the 
church of God, and a thing required under canonical obedience, 
the expounding of our Catechism must needs be the most useful 

The Country Parson. 

form. Yet hath the parson, besides this laborious work, a 
slighter form of catechising, fitter for country people : according 
as his audience is, so he useth one or other ; or sometimes both, 
if his audience be intermixed. He greatly esteems also of 
cases of conscience, wherein he is much versed. And indeed, 
herein is the greatest ability of a parson, to lead his people ex 
actly in the ways of truth, so that they neither decline to the 
right hand, nor to the left. Neither let any think this a slight 
thing. For every one hath not digested, when it is a sin to take 
something for money lent, or when not ; when it is a fault to 
discover another s fault, or when not ; when the affections of 
the soul, in desiring and procuring increase of means or honour, 
be a sin of covetousness or ambition, and when not ; when the 
appetites of the body in eating, drinking, sleep, and the pleasure 
that comes with sleep, be sins of gluttony, drunkenness, sloth, 
lust, and when not ; and so in many circumstances of actions. 
Now if a shepherd know not which grass will bane, and which 
not, how is he fit to be a shepherd ? Wherefore the parson hath 
throughly canvassed all the particulars of human actions, at 
least all those which he observeth are most incident to his 


The parson praying. 

THE country parson, when he is to read divine services, 
composeth himself to all possible reverence ; lifting up his 
heart and hands and eyes, and using all other gestures which 
may express a hearty and unfeigned devotion. This he doth, 
first, as being truly touched and amazed with the majesty of God, 
before whom he then presents himself; yet not as himself alone, 
but as presenting with himself the whole congregation, whose 
sins he then bears, and brings with his own to the heavenly 
altar, to be bathed and washed in the sacred laver of Christ s 
blood. Secondly, as this is the true reason of his inward fear, 
so he is content to express this outwardly to the utmost of his 
power ; that being first affected himself, he may affect also his 
people, knowing that no sermon (for a sermon they may forget 
again, when they come to pray) moves them so much to reverence 
as a devout behaviour in the very act of praying. Accordingly his 
voice is humble, his words treatable and slow ; yet not so slow 
neither, as to let the fervency of the supplicant hang and die 


mi sv r> 1O 

The Country Parson. 

a f 

between speaking, but with a grave liveliness, between fear and 
zeal, pausing yet pressing, he performs his duty. Besides, his 
example, he having often instructed his people how to carry 
themselves in divine service, exacts of them all possible rever 
ence, by no means enduring either talking, or sleeping, or 
gazing, or leaning, or half-kneeling, or any undutiful behaviour 
in them : but causing them, when they sit, or stand, or kneel, 
to do all in a straight and steady posture, as attending to what 
is done in the church ; and every one, man and child, answer 
ing aloud both Amen, and all other answers, which are on the 
clerk^s and peopled part to answer : which answers also are to 
be done, not in a huddling or slubbering fashion, gaping or 
scratching the head, or spitting even in the midst of their an 
swer, but gently and pausably, thinking what they say ; so that 
while they answer, As it was in the beginning, &c. they meditate 
as they speak, that God hath ever had his people, that have 
glorified him as well as now, and that he shall have so for ever. 
And the like in other answers. This is that which the apostle 
calls a reasonable service, Rom. xii, when we speak not as par 
rots, without reason, or offer up such sacrifices as they did of old, 
which was of beasts devoid of reason ; but when we use our 
reason, and apply our powers to the service of him that gives 
them. If there be any of the gentry or nobility of the 
parish, who sometimes make it a piece of state not to come at 
the beginning of service with their poor neighbours, but at mid- 
prayers, both to their own loss, and to their s also who gaze upon 
them when they come in, and neglect the present service of 
God, he by no means suffers it, but after divers gentle admoni 
tions, if they persevere, he causes them to be presented : or if the 
poor churchwardens be affrighted with their greatness, notwith 
standing his instruction that they ought not to be so, but even 
to let the world sink, so they do their duty ; he presents them 
himself, only protesting to them, that not any ill-will draws him 
to it, but the debt and obligation of his calling, being to obey 
God rather than men. 


The parson preaching. 

THE country parson preacheth constantly, the pulpit is his 
joy and his throne : if he at any time intermit, it is either 

14 The Country Parson. 

for want of health, or against some festival, that he may the 
better celebrate it, or for the variety of the hearers, that he may 
be heard at his return more attentively. When he intermits, 
he is ever very well supplied by some able man, who treads in 
his steps, and will not throw down what he hath built ; whom 
also he entreats to press some point, that he himself hath often 
urged with no great success, that so in the mouth of two or 
three witnesses the truth may be more established. When he 
preacheth, he procures attention by all possible art, both by 
earnestness of speech, it being natural to men to think that, 
where is much earnestness, there is somewhat worth hearing ; 
and by a diligent and busy cast of his eye on his auditors, with 
letting them know that he observes who marks, and who not ; 
and with particularizing of his speech now to the younger sort, 
then to the elder, now to the poor, and now to the rich : This is 
for you, and this is for you ; for particulars ever touch, and 
awake more than generals. Herein also he serves himself of 
the judgments of God, as of those of ancient times, so especially 
of the late ones ; and those most, which are nearest to his 
parish ; for people are very attentive at such discourses, and 
think it behoves them to be so, when God is so near them, and 
even over their heads. Sometimes he tells them stories, and 
sayings of others, according as his text invites him ; for them 
also men heed, and remember better than exhortations ; which, 
though earnest, yet often die with the sermon, especially with 
country people, which are thick and heavy and hard to raise 
to a point of zeal and fervency, and need a mountain of fire to 
kindle them ; but stories and sayings they will well remember. 
He often tells them, that sermons are dangerous things, that 
none goes out of church as he came in, but either better or 
worse ; that none is careless before his Judge, and that the 
word of God shall judge us. By these and other means the 
parson procures attention ; but the character of his sermon is 
holiness ; he is not witty, or learned, or eloquent, but holy : a 
character that Hermogenes never dreamed of, and therefore he 
could give no precepts "thereof. But it is gained, first, by 
choosing texts of devotion, not controversy, moving and ravish 
ing texts, whereof the scriptures are full. Secondly, by dipping 
and seasoning all our words and sentences in our hearts, before 
they come into our mouths, truly affecting and cordially ex 
pressing all that we say ; so that the auditors may plainly 

The Country Parson. 15 

perceive that every word is heart-deep. Thirdly, by turning 
often, and making many apostrophes to God ; as, O Lord, bless 
my people, and teach them this point; or, O my Master, on 
whose errand I come, let me hold my peace, and do thou speak 
thyself; for thou art love, and when thou teachest, all are 
scholars. Some such irradiations scatteringly in the sermon carry 
great holiness in them. The prophets are admirable in this. 
So Isaiah Ixiv. Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou 
wouldest come down, &c. And Jeremiah, chap, x, after he had 
complained of the desolation of Israel, turns to God suddenly, 
Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself, &c. 
Fourthly, by frequent wishes of the people s good, and joying 
therein, though he himself were, with St. Paul, even sacrificed 
upon the service of their faith. For there is no greater sign of 
holiness, than the procuring and rejoicing in another s good. 
And herein St. Paul excelled in all his Epistles. How did he 
put the Romans in all his prayers ! Rom. i. 9. and ceased not to 
give thanks for the Ephesians, Eph. i. 16. and for the Corinth 
ians, chap. i. 4. and for the Philippians made request with joy, 
chap. i. 4. and is in contention for them whether to live or die ; 
be with them or Christ, ver. 23 ; which, setting aside his care 
of his flock, were a madness to doubt of. What an admirable 
epistle is the second to the Corinthians ! how full of affections ! 
He joys, and he is sorry ; he grieves, and he glories : never 
was there such care of a flock expressed, save in the great 
Shepherd of the fold, who first shed tears over Jerusalem, and 
afterwards blood. Therefore this care may be learned there, 
and then woven into sermons, which will make them appear ex 
ceeding reverend and holy. Lastly, by an often urging of the 
presence and majesty of God, by these or such like speeches : 
Oh let us take heed what we do : God sees us ; he sees whether 
I speak as I ought, or you hear as you ought ; he sees hearts, as 
we see faces : he is among us ; for if we be here, he must be 
here, since we are here by him, and without him could not be 
here. Then turning the discourse to his majesty ; And he is a 
great God, and terrible ; as great in mercy, so great in judg 
ment : there are but two devouring elements, fire and water ; he 
hath both in him ; his voice is as the sound of many waters, 
Revelations i. And he himself is a consuming fire, Heb. xii. 
Such discourses shew very holy. The parson s method in hand 
ling of a text consists of two parts ; first, a plain and evident 

16 The Country Parson. 

declaration of the meaning of the text; and secondly, some 
choice observations drawn out of the whole text, as it lies entire 
and unbroken in the scripture itself. This he thinks natural 
and sweet and grave. Whereas the other way of crumbling a 
text into small parts, as, the person speaking, or spoken to, the 
subject, and object, and the like, hath neither in it sweetness, 
nor gravity, nor variety, since the words apart are not scripture, 
but a dictionary, and may be considered alike in all the scripture. 
The parson exceeds not an hour in preaching, because all ages 
have thought that a competency, and he that profits not in that 
time will less afterwards ; the same affection which made him 
not profit before, making him then weary, and so he grows from 
not relishing, to loathing. 


The parson on Sundays. 

THE country parson, as soon as he awakes on Sunday 
morning, presently falls to work, and seems to himself so 
as a market-man is, when the market-day comes, or a shop 
keeper, when customers use to come in. His thoughts are full 
of making the best of the day, and contriving it to his best gains. 
To this end, besides his ordinary prayers, he makes a peculiar 
one for a blessing on the exercises of the day, that nothing 
befall him unworthy of that Majesty before which he is to pre 
sent himself, but that all may be done with reference to his 
glory, and with edification to his flock, humbly beseeching his 
Master, that how or whenever he punish him, it be not in his 
ministry. Then he turns to request for his people, that the 
Lord would be pleased to sanctify them all, that they may come 
with holy hearts and awful minds into the congregation, and 
that the good God would pardon all those who come with less 
prepared hearts than they ought. This done, he sets himself to 
the consideration of the duties of the day ; and if there be any 
extraordinary addition to the customary exercises, either from 
the time of the year, or from the State, or from God by a child 
born, or dead, or any other accident, he contrives how and in 
what manner to induce it to the best advantage. Afterwards 
when the hour calls, with his family attending him, he goes to 
church, at his first entrance humbly adoring and worshipping 
the invisible majesty and presence of Almighty God, and blessing 

The Country Parson. 17 

the people either openly, or to himself. Then having read divine 
service twice fully, and preached in the mornnig, and cate 
chised in the afternoon, he thinks he hath in some measure, 
according to poor and frail man, discharged the public duties of 
the congregation. The rest of the day he spends either in 
reconciling neighbours that are at variance, or in visiting the 
sick, or in exhortations to some of his flock by themselves, 
whom his sermons cannot or do not reach. And every one is 
more awaked, when we come and say, Thou art the man. This 
way he finds exceeding useful and winning ; and these exhorta 
tions he calls his privy purse, even as princes have their s be 
sides their public disbursements. At night he thinks it a very 
fit time, both suitable to the joy of the day, and without hinder- 
ance to public duties, either to entertain some of his neighbours, 
or to be entertained of them, where he takes occasion to dis 
course of such things as are both profitable and pleasant, and 
to raise up their minds to apprehend God s good blessing to our 
Church and State ; that order is kept in the one, and peace in 
the other, without disturbance or interruption of public divine 
offices. As he opened the day with prayer, so he closeth it, 
humbly beseeching the Almighty to pardon and accept our poor 
services, and to improve them, that we may grow therein, and 
that our feet may be like hinds feet, ever climbing up higher 
and higher unto him. 


The parson s state of life. 

THE country parson, considering that virginity is an higher 
state than matrimony and that the ministry requires the 
best and highest things, is rather unmarried than married. 
But yet, as the temper of his body may be, or as the temper of 
his parish may be, where he may have occasion to converse with 
women, and that amongst suspicious men, and other like 
circumstances considered, he is rather married than unmarried. 
Let him communicate the thing often by prayer unto God, and 
as his grace shall direct him, so let him proceed. If he be un 
married, and keep house, he hath not a woman in his house, 
but finds opportunities of having his meat dressed and other 
services done by men servants at home, and his linen washed 
abroad. If he be unmarried, and sojourn , he never talks with 


18 The Country Parson. 

any woman t alone, but in the audience of others, and that 

seldom, and then also in a serious manner, never jestingly or 

sportfully. He is very circumspect, in all companies, both of 

his behaviour, speech and very looks, knowing himself to be 

both suspected and envied. If he stand steadfast in his heart, 

having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath 

so decreed in his heart, that he will keep himself a virgin, he 

spends his days in fasting and prayer, and blesseth God for the 

gift of continency, knowing that it can no way be preserved, but 

only by those means by which at first it was obtained. He 

therefore thinks it not enough for him to observe the fasting days 

of the church, and the daily prayers enjoined him by authority, 

which he observeth out of humble conformity and obedience ; 

but adds to them, out of choice and devotion, some other days 

for fasting, and hours for prayers ; and by these he keeps his 

body tame, serviceable, and healthful ; and his soul fervent, 

active, young, and lusty as an eagle. He often readeth the 

lives of the primitive monks, hermits, and virgins, an3~wonclereth 

not so much at their patient suffering, and cheerful dying under 

persecuting emperors, though that indeed be very admirable, as 

at their daily temperance, abstinence, watchings and constant 

prayers and mortifications in the times of peace and prosperity. 

To put on the profound humility and the exact temperance of 

our Lord Jesus, with other exemplary virtues of that sort, and 

to keep them on in the sunshine and noon of prosperity, he 

findeth to be as necessary, and as difficult at least, as to be 

clothed with perfect patience and Christian fortitude in the cold 

midnight storms of persecution and adversity. He keepeth his 

watch and ward, night and day, against the proper and peculiar 

temptations of his state of life, which are principally these two, 

spiritual pride and impurity of heart : against these ghostly 

enemies he girdeth up his loins, keeps the imagination from 

roving, puts on the whole armour of God, and by the virtue of 

the shield of faith he is not afraid of the pestilence that walketh in 

darkness , (carnal impurity,) nor of the sickness that destroy eth at 

noon-day^ (ghostly pride and self-conceit.) Other temptations 

he hath, which, like mortal enemies, may sometimes disquiet 

him likewise ; for the human soul being bounded and kept in, 

in her sensitive faculty, will run out more or less in her 

intellectual. Original concupiscence is such an active thing, by 

reason of continual inward or outward temptations, that it is ever 

The Country Parson. 19 

attempting or doing one mischief or other. Ambition or un 
timely desire of promotion to a higher state or place, under 
colour of accommodation, or necessary provision, is a common 
temptation to men of any eminency, especially being single men. 
Curiosity in prying into high speculative and unprofitable 
questions, is another great stumblingblock to the holiness of 
scholars. These and many other spiritual wickednesses in high 
places doth the parson fear, or experiment, or both ; and that 
much more being single, than if he were married ; for then 
commonly the stream of temptations is turned another way, into 
covetousness, love of pleasure, or ease, or the like. If the parson 
be unmarried, and means to continue so, he doth at least as much 
as hath been said. If he be married, the choice of his wife was 
made rather by his ear, than by his eye ; his judgment, not his 
affection, found out a fit wife for him, whose humble and liberal 
disposition he preferred before beauty, riches, or honour. He 
knew that the good instrument of God to bring women to 
heaven, a wise and loving husband, could out of humility produce 
any special grace of faith, patience, meekness, love, obedience, 
&c. and out of liberality make her fruitful in all good works. 
As he is just in all things, so is he to his wife also, counting 
nothing so much his own, as that he may be unjust unto it. 
Therefore he gives her respect both before her servants and 
others, and half at least of the government of the house, 
reserving so much of the affairs as serve for a diversion for him ; 
yet never so giving over the reins, but that he sometimes looks 
how things go, demanding an account, but not by the way of an 
account. And this must be done the oftener, or the seldomer, 
according as he is satisfied of his wife s discretion. 


The parson in his house. 

THE parson is very exact in the governing of his house, 
making it a copy and model for his parish. He knows the 
temper and pulse of every person in his house, and accordingly 
either meets with their vices, or advanceth their virtues. His 
wife is either religious, or night and day he is winning her to it. 
Instead of the qualities of the world, he requires only three of 
her ; first a training up of her children and maids in the fear of 
God, with prayers and catechising, and all religious duties. 

18 The Country Parson. 

any woman ^ alone, but in the audience of others, and that 

seldom, and then also in a serious manner, never jestingly or 

sportfully. He is very circumspect, in all companies, both of 

his behaviour, speech and very looks, knowing himself to be 

both suspected and envied. If he stand steadfast in his heart, 

having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath 

so decreed in his heart, that he will keep himself a virgin, he 

spends his days in fasting and prayer, and blesseth God for the 

gift of continency, knowing that it can no way be preserved, but 

only by those means by which at first it was obtained. He 

therefore thinks it not enough for him to observe the fasting days 

of the church, and the daily prayers enjoined him by authority, 

which he observeth out of humble conformity and obedience ; 

but adds to them, out of choice and devotion, some other days 

for fasting, and hours for prayers ; and by these he keeps his 

body tame, serviceable, and healthful ; and his soul fervent, 

active, young, and lusty as an eagle. He often readeth the 

lives of the primitive monks, hermits, and virgins, anJTwondereth 

not so much at their patient suffering, and cheerful dying under 

persecuting emperors, though that indeed be very admirable, as 

at their daily temperance, abstinence, watchings and constant 

prayers and mortifications in the times of peace and prosperity. 

To put on the profound humility and the exact temperance of 

our Lord Jesus, with other exemplary virtues of that sort, and 

to keep them on in the sunshine and noon of prosperity, he 

findeth to be as necessary, and as difficult at least, as to be 

clothed with perfect patience and Christian fortitude in the cold 

midnight storms of persecution and adversity. He keepeth his 

watch and ward, night and day, against the proper and peculiar 

temptations of his state of life, which are principally these two, 

spiritual pride and impurity of heart : against these ghostly 

enemies he girdeth up his loins, keeps the imagination from 

roving, puts on the whole armour of God, and by the virtue of 

the shield of faith he is not afraid of the pestilence that walketh in 

darkness, (carnal impurity,) nor of the sickness that destroy eth at 

noon-day, (ghostly pride and self-conceit.) Other temptations 

he hath, which, like mortal enemies, may sometimes disquiet 

him likewise ; for the human soul being bounded and kept in, 

in her sensitive faculty, will run out more or less in her 

intellectual. Original concupiscence is such an active thing, by 

reason of continual inward or outward temptations, that it is ever 

The Country Parson. 19 

attempting or doing one mischief or other. Ambition or un 
timely desire of promotion to a higher state or place, under 
colour of accommodation, or necessary provision, is a common 
temptation to men of any eminency, especially being single men. 
Curiosity in prying into high speculative and unprofitable 
questions, is another great stumblingblock to the holiness of 
scholars. These and many other spiritual wickednesses in high 
places doth the parson fear, or experiment, or both ; and that 
much more being single, than if he were married ; for then 
commonly the stream of temptations is turned another way, into 
covetousness, love of pleasure, or ease, or the like. If the parson 
be unmarried, and means to continue so, he doth at least as much 
as hath been said. If he be married, the choice of his wife was 
made rather by his ear, than by his eye ; his judgment, not his 
affection, found out a fit wife for him, whose humble and liberal 
disposition he preferred before beauty, riches, or honour. He 
knew that the good instrument of God to bring women to 
heaven, a wise and loving husband, could out of humility produce 
any special grace of faith, patience, meekness, love, obedience, 
&c. and out of liberality make her fruitful in all good works. 
As he is just in all things, so is he to his wife also, counting 
nothing so much his own, as that he may be unjust unto it. 
Therefore he gives her respect both before her servants and 
others, and half at least of the government of the house, 
reserving so much of the affairs as serve for a diversion for him; 
yet never so giving over the reins, but that he sometimes looks 
how things go, demanding an account, but not by the way of an 
account. And this must be done the oftener, or the seldomer, 
according as he is satisfied of his wife s discretion. 


The parson in his house. 

THE parson is very exact in the governing of his house, 
making it a copy and model for his parish. He knows the 
temper and pulse of every person in his house, and accordingly 
either meets with their vices, or advanceth their virtues. His 
wife is either religious, or night and day he is winning her to it. 
Instead of the qualities of the world, he requires only three of 
her ; first a training up of her children and maids in the fear of 
God, with prayers and catechising, and all religious duties. 

20 The Country Parson. 

Secondly, a curing and healing of all wounds and sores with her 
own hands ; which skill either she brought with her, or he takes 
care she shall learn it of some religious neighbour. Thirdly, a 
providing for her family in such sort, as that neither they want 
a competent sustentation, nor her husband be brought in debt. 
His children he first makes Christians, and then commonwealth s 
men ; the one he owes to his heavenly country, the other to his 
earthly, having no title to either, except he do good to both. 
Therefore having seasoned them with all piety, not only of words 
in praying and reading, but in actions, in visiting other sick 
children, and tending their wounds, and sending his charity by 
them to the poor, and sometimes giving them a little money to 
do it of themselves, that they get a delight in it, and enter into 
favour with God, who weighs even children s actions, 1 Kings 
xiv. 12, 13, he afterwards turns his care to n t all their dispo 
sitions with some calling, not sparing the eldest, but giving him 
the prerogative of his father s profession, which haply for his 
other children he is not able to do. Yet in binding them 
apprentices, (in case he think fit to do so,) he takes care not to 
put them into vain trades, and unbefitting the reverence of their 
father s calling, such as taverns for men, and lace-making for 
women ; because those trades, for the most part, serve but the 
vices and vanities of the world, which he is to deny, and not 
augment. However, he resolves with himself never to omit any 
present good deed of charity, in consideration of providing a 
stock for his children ; but assures himself, that money thus lent 
to God is placed surer for his children s advantage, than if it 
were given to ^e_chainbejoJ[JLondon. Good deeds, and good 
breeding, are his two great stocks for his children ; if God give 
any thing above those, and not spent in them, he blesseth God, 
and lays it out as he sees cause. His servants are all religious ; 
and were it not his duty to have them so, it were his profit, for 
none are so well served as by religious servants, both because 
they do best, and because what they do is blessed, and prospers. 
After religion, he teaches them, that three things make a com 
plete servant, truth, diligence, and neatness or cleanliness. 
Those that can read are allowed times for it, and those that can 
not are taught ; for all in his house are either teachers or learn 
ers, or both ; so that his family is a school of religion, and 
they all account, that to teach the ignorant is the greatest alms. 
Even the walls are not idle, but something is written or painted 


The Country Parson. 21 

there, which may excite the reader to a thought of piety; 
especially the 101st Psalm, which is expressed in a fair table, as 
being the rule of a family. And when they go abroad, his wife 
among her neighbours is the beginner of good discourses, his 
children among children, his servants among other servants; so 
that as in the house of those that are skilled in music all are 
musicians ; so in the house of a preacher all are preachers. He 
suffers not a lie or equivocation by any means in his house, but 
counts it the art and secret of governing, to preserve a directness 
and open plainness in all things ; so that all his house knows 
that there is no help for a fault done, but confession. He him 
self or his wife takes account of sermons, and how every one 
profits, comparing this year with the last : and, besides the com 
mon prayers of the family, he straitly requires of all to pray by 
themselves before they sleep at night and stir out in the morn 
ing, and knows what prayers they say, and, till they have learned 
them, makes them kneel by him ; esteeming that this private 
praying is a more voluntary act in them, than when they are 
called to others prayers, and that which when they leave the 
family they carry with them. He keeps his servants between 
love and fear, according as he finds them ; but generally he 
distributes it thus ; to his children he shews more love than 
terror, to his servants more terror than love : but an old good 
i servant boards a child. The furniture of his house is very plain, 
but clean, whole, and sweet, as sweet as his garden can make ; 
for he hath no money for such things, charity being his only 
perfume, which deserves cost when he can spare it. His fare is 
plain and common, but wholesome ; what he hath is little, but 
very good ; it consisteth most of mutton, beef, and veal ; if he 
adds any thing for a great day, or a stranger, his garden or 
orchard supplies it, or his barn and backside: he goes no further 
for any entertainment, lest he go into the world, esteeming it 
absurd that he should exceed, who teacheth others temperance. 
But those which his home produceth he refuseth not, as coming 
cheap and easy, and arising from the improvement of things, 
which otherwise would be lost. Wherein he admires and imi 
tates the wonderful providence and thrift of the great House 
holder of the world : for there being two things, which as they 
are, are unuseful to man, the one for smallness, as crumbs and 
scattered corn, and the like ; the other for the foulness, as 
wash and dirt, and things thereinto fallen ; God hath provided 

The Country Parson. 

creatures for both ; ior the first, poultry ; for the second, swine. 
These save man the labour, and doing that which either he could 
not do, or was not fit for him to do, by taking both sorts of food 
into them, do as it were dress and prepare both for man and 
themselves, by growing themselves fit for his table. The parson 
in his house observes fasting days ; and particularly as Sunday 
is his day of joy, so Friday his day of humiliation, which he 
celebrates not only with abstinence of diet, but also of company, 
recreation, and all outward contentments, and besides with con 
fession of sins, and all acts of mortification. Now fasting days 
contain a treble obligation : first, of eating less that day than 
on other days : secondly, of eating no pleasing or over-nourishing 
things, as the Israelites did eat sour herbs : thirdly, of eating no 
flesh, which is but the determination of the second rule by 
authority to this particular. The two former obligations are 
much more essential to a true fast than the third and last ; and 
fasting days were fully performed by keeping of the two former, 
had not authority interposed : so that to eat little, and that 
unpleasant, is the natural rule of fasting, although it be flesh. 
For since fasting in scripture language is an afflicting of our 
souls, if a piece of dry flesh at my table be more unpleasant to 
me than some fish there, certainly to eat the flesh, and not the 
fish, is to keep the fasting day naturally. And it is observable, 
that the prohibiting of flesh came from hot countries, where both 
flesh alone, and much more with wine, is apt to nourish more 
than in cold regions, and where flesh may be much better spared, 
and with more safety, than elsewhere, where both the people 
and the drink being cold and phlegmatic, the eating of flesh is 
an antidote to both. For it is certain, that a weak stomach 
being prepossessed with flesh, shall much better brook and bear 
a draught of beer, than if it had taken before either fish or 
roots, or such things ; which will discover itself by spitting, and 
rheum, or phlegm. To conclude, the parson, if he be in full health, 
keeps the three obligations, eating fish or roots, and that for 
quantity little, for quality unpleasant. If his body be weak 
and obstructed, as most students are, he cannot keep the last 
obligation, nor suffer others in his house that are so to keep it ; 
but only the two former, which also in diseases of exinanition 
(as consumptions) must be broken : for meat was made for man, 
not man for meat. To all this may be added, not for embolden 
ing the unruly, but for the comfort of the weak, that not only 

The Country Parson. 23 

sickness breaks these obligations of fasting, but sickliness also. 
For it is as unnatural to do any thing that leads me to a sickness, 
to which I am inclined, as not to get out of that sickness, when 
I am in it, by any diet. One thing is evident, that an English 
body, and a student s body, are two great obstructed vessels, 
and there is nothing that is food, and not physic, which doth 
less obstruct than flesh moderately taken ; as being immoderately 
taken, it is exceeding obstructive. And obstructions are the 
cause of most diseases. 


The parsorfs courtesy. 

THE country parson owing a debt of charity to the poor, 
and of courtesy to his other parishioners, he so distinguished, 
that he keeps his money for the poor, and his table for those 
that are above alms. Not but that the poor are welcome also to 
his table, whom he sometimes purposely takes home with him, 
setting them close by him, and carving for them, both for his 
own humility and their comfort, who are much cheered with 
such friendliness. But since both is to be done, the better sort 
invited, and meaner relieved, he chooseth rather to give the 
poor money, which they can better employ to their own advan 
tage, and suitably to their needs, than so much given in meat at 
dinner. Having then invited some of his parish, he taketh his 
times to do the like to the rest ; so that in the compass of the 
year, he hath them all with him, because country people are 
very observant of such things, and will not be persuaded but 
being not invited they are hated. Which persuasion the par 
son by all means avoids, knowing that where there are such 
conceits, there is no room for his doctrine to enter. Yet doth 
he oftenest invite those whom he sees take best courses, that so 
both they may be encouraged to persevere, and others spurred 
to do well, that they may enjoy the like courtesy. For though 
he desire that all should live well and virtuously, not for any 
reward of his, but for virtue s sake ; yet that will not be so : and 
therefore, as God, although we should love him only for his own 
sake, yet out of his infinite pity hath set forth heaven for a 
reward to draw men to piety, and is content if, at least so, 
they will become good ; so the country parson, who is a dili 
gent observer and tracker of God s ways, sets up as many 

24 The Country Parson. 

encouragements to goodness as he can, both in honour, and 
profit, and fame ; that he may, if not the best way, yet any way, 
make his parish good. 


The parson s charity. 

THE country parson is full of charity ; it is his predominant 
element. For many and wonderful things are spoken of thee, 
thou great virtue. To charity is given the covering of sins, 
1 Peter iv. 8. and the forgiveness of sins, Matthew vi. 14. 
Luke vii. 47. the fulfilling of the law, Romans xiii. 10. the life 
of faith, James ii. 26. the blessings of this life, Proverbs xxii. 9. 
Psalm xli. 2. and the reward of the next, Matthew xxv. 35. In 
brief, it is the body of religion, John xiii. 35. and the top of 
Christian virtues, 1 Cor. xiii. Wherefore all his works relish 
of charity. When he riseth in the morning, he bethinketh 
himself what good deeds he can do that day, and presently doth 
them : counting that day lost wherein he hath not exercised his 
charity. He first considers his own parish, and takes care that 
there be not a beggar or idle person in his parish, but that all 
be in a competent way of getting their living. This he effects 
either by bounty or persuasion, or by authority, making use of 
that excellent statute which binds all parishes to maintain their 
own. If his parish be rich, he exacts this of them ; if poor, and 
he able, he easeth them therein. But he gives no set pension to 
any ; for this in time will lose the name and effect of charity 
with the poor people, though not with God : for then they will 
reckon upon it as on a debt ; and if it be taken away, though 
justly, they will murmur, and repine, as much as he that is dis 
seized of his own inheritance. But the parson having a double 
aim, and making a hook of his charity, causeth them still to 
depend on him ; and so by continual and fresh bounties, unex 
pected to them, but resolved to himself, he wins them to praise 
God more, to live more religiously, and to take more pains in 
their vocation, as not knowing when they shall be relieved ; 
which otherwise they would reckon upon, and turn to idleness. 
Besides this general provision, he hath other times of opening 
his hand ; as at great festivals and communions ; not suffering 
any, that day that he receives, to want a good meal suiting to 
the joy of the occasion. But specially, at hard times, and 

The Country Parson. 

dearths, he even parts his living and life among them, giving 
some corn outright, and selling other at under rates ; and, when 
his own stock serves not, working those that are able to the 
same charity, still pressing it in the pulj it and out of the pulpit, 
and never leaving them till he obtain his desire. Yet in all his 
charity he distinguisheth, giving them most who live best, and 
take most pains, and are most charged ; so is his charity in effect 
a sermon. After the consideration of his own parish, he enlargeth 
himself, if he be able, to the neighbourhood ; for that also is some 
kind of obligation ; so doth he also to those at his door, whom 
God puts in his way and makes his neighbours. But these he 
helps not without some testimony, except the evidence of the mi 
sery bring testimony with it. For though these testimonies also 
may be falsified, yet considering that the law allows these in case 
they be true, but allows by no means to give without testimony, 
as he obeys authority in the one, so being once satisfied, he 
allows his charity some blindness in the other ; especially, since, 
of the two commands, we are more enjoined to be charitable 
than wise. But evident miseries have a natural privilege, and 
exemption from all law. Whenever he gives any thing, and 
sees them labour in thanking of him, he exacts of them to let 
him alone, and say rather, God be praised, God be glorified ; 
that so the thanks may go the right way, and thither only 
where they are only due. So doth he also before giving make 
them say their prayers first, or the Creed, and Ten Com 
mandments, and as he finds them perfect, rewards them the 
more. For other givings are lay and secular, but this is to give 
like a priest. 


The parson s church. 

THE country parson hath a special care of his church, that all 
things there be decent, and befitting His name by which it 
is called. Therefore, first, he takes order that all things be in 
good repair ; as walls plastered, windows glazed, floor paved, 
seats whole, firm and uniform ; especially that the pulpit and 
desk and communion table and font, be as they ought, for those 
great duties that are performed in them. Secondly, that the 
church be swept and kept clean, without dust or cobwebs, and 
at great festivals strewed and stuck with boughs, and perfumed 


26 The Country Parson. 

with incense. Thirdly, that there be fit and proper texts of 
scripture every where painted, and that all the painting be 
grave and reverend, not with light colours or foolish antics. 
Fourthly, that all the books appointed by authority be there, 
and those not torn or fouled, but whole and clean, and well 
bound : and that there be a fitting and sightly communion cloth 
" of fine linen, with an handsome and seemly carpet of good 
and costly stuff or cloth, and all kept sweet and clean, in a 
strong and decent chest, with a chalice and cover, and a stoop 
or flagon ; and a bason for alms and offerings ; besides which, 
" he hath a poor man s box conveniently seated to receive the 
" charity of well-minded people, end to lay up treasure for the 
" sick and needy." And all this he doth, not as out of necessity, 
or as putting a holiness in the things, but as desiring to keep 
the middle way between superstition and slovenliness, and as 
following the apostle s two great and admirable rules in things 
of this nature : the first whereof is, Let all things be done decently, 
and in order : the second, Let all things be done to edification, 
1 Cor. xiv. For these two rules comprise and include the 
double object of our duty, God and our neighbour ; the first 
being for the honour of God, the second for the benefit of our 
neighbour. So that they excellently score out the way, and 
fully and exactly contain, even in external and indifferent 
things, what course is to be taken ; and put them to great 
shame who deny the scripture to be perfect. 


The parson in circuit. 

THE country parson upon the afternoons in the week-days 
takes occasion sometimes to visit in person, now one quarter 
of his parish, now another. For there he shall find his flock 
most naturally as they are, wallowing in the midst of their 
affairs : whereas on Sunday it is easy for them to compose them 
selves to order, which they put on as their holiday clothes, and 
come to church in frame, but commonly the next day put off 
both. When he comes to any house, first he blesseth it, and 
then as he finds the persons of the house employed, so he forms 
his discourse. Those that he finds religiously employed, he 
both commends them much, and furthers them, when he is gone, 
in their employment ; as, if he finds them reading, he furnisheth 

The Country Parson. 

them with good books ; if curing poor people, he supplies them 
with receipts, and instructs them further in that skill, shewing 
them how acceptable such works are to God, and wishing them 
ever to do the cures with their own hands, and not to put them 
over to servants. Those that he finds busy in the works of 
their calling, he commendeth them also ; for it is a good and 
just thing for every one to do their own business. But then he 
admonisheth them of two things ; first, that they dive not too 
deep into worldly affairs, plunging themselves over head and 
ears into carking and caring ; but that they so labour, as neither 
to labour anxiously, nor distrustfully, nor profanely. Then 
they labour anxiously, when they overdo it, to the loss of their 
quiet and health : then distrustfully, when they doubt God s 
providence, thinking that their own labour is the cause of their 
thriving, as if it were in their own hands to thrive, or not to 
thrive. Then they labour profanely, when they set them 
selves to work like brute beasts, never raising their thoughts 
to God, nor sanctifying their labour with daily prayer ; when 
on the Lord s day they do unnecessary servile work, or in 
time of divine service on other holidays, except in the cases 
of extreme poverty, and in the seasons of seed-time and 
harvest. Secondly, he adviseth them so to labour for wealth 
and maintenance, as that they make not that the end of their 
labour, but that they may have wherewithal to serve God the 
better, and do good deeds. After these discourses, if they be 
poor and needy whom he thus finds labouring, he gives them 
somewhat ; and opens not only his mouth but his purse to their 
relief, that so they go on more cheerfully in their vocation, and 
himself be ever the more welcome to them. Those that the 
parson finds idle, or ill employed, he chides not at first, for that 
were neither civil nor profitable ; but always in the close before 
he departs from them : yet in this he distinguished ; for if he 
be a plain countryman, he reproves him plainly ; for they are 
not sensible of fineness : if they be of higher quality, they com 
monly are quick, and sensible, and very tender of reproof ; and 
therefore he lays his discourse so, that he comes to the point 
very leisurely, and oftentimes as Nathan did, in the person of 
another, making them to reprove themselves. However, one 
way or other, he ever reproves them, that he may keep himself 
pure, and not be entangled in others sins. Neither in this 
doth he forbear, though there be company by : for as when the 

28 The Country Parson. 

offence is particular, and against me, I am to follow our Saviours 
rule, and to take my brother aside, and reprove him ; so when 
the offence is public, and against God, I am then to follow the 
apostle s rule, 1 Timothy v. 20, and to rebuke openly that 
which is done openly. Besides these occasional discourses, the 
parson questions what order is kept in the house, as about 
prayers morning and evening on their knees, reading of scrip 
ture, catechising, singing of psalms at their work, and on holi 
days ; who can read, who not : and sometimes he hears the 
children read himself, and blesseth them, encouraging also the 
servants to learn to read, and offering to have them taught on 
holidays by his servants, If the parson were ashamed of parti 
cularizing in these things, he were not fit to be a parson : but 
he holds the rule, that nothing is little in God s service : if it 
once have the honour of that name, it grows great instantly. 
Wherefore neither disdaineth he to enter into the poorest cot 
tage, though he even creep into it, and though it smell never so 
loathsomely. For both God is there also, and those for whom 
God died : and so much the rather doth he so, as his access to 
the poor is more comfortable than to the rich ; and in regard of 
himself it is more humiliation. These are the parson s general 
aims in his circuit ; but with these he mingles other discourses 
for conversation sake, and to make his higher purposes slip the 
more easily. 


The parson comforting. 

THE country parson, when any of his cure is sick, or afflicted 
with loss of friend or estate, or any ways distressed, fails not 
to afford his best comforts, and rather goes to them than sends 
for the afflicted, though they can, and otherwise ought to come 
to him. To this end he hath throughly digested all the points 
of consolation, as having continual use of them ; such as are 
from God s general providence extended even to lilies ; from 
his particular, to his church ; from his promises, from the ex 
amples of all saints that ever were ; from Christ himself, per 
fecting our redemption no other way than by sorrow ; from the 
benefit of affliction, which softens and works the stubborn heart 
of man ; from the certainty both of deliverance and reward, if 
we faint not ; from the miserable comparison of the moment of 

The Country Parson. 29 

griefs here, with the weight of joys hereafter. Besides this, 
in his visiting the sick, or otherwise afflicted, he followeth the 
church s counsel, namely, in persuading them to particular 
confession, labouring to make them understand the great good 
use of this ancient and pious ordinance, and how necessary it 
is in some cases : he also urgeth them to do some pious cha 
ritable works, as a necessary evidence and fruit of their faith ; 
at that time especially, to the participation of the holy sacra 
ment, shewing them how comfortable and sovereign a medicine 
it is to all sin-sick souls ; what strength, and joy, and peace it 
administers against all temptations, even in death itself. He 
plainly and generally intimateth all this to the disaffected, or 
sick person, that so the hunger and thirst after it may come 
rather from themselves, than from his persuasion. 


The parson a father. 

THE country parson is not only a father to his flock, but also 
professeth himself throughly of the opinion, carrying it 
about with him as fully, as if he had begot his whole parish. 
And of this he makes great use. For by this means, when any 
sins, he hateth him not as an officer, but pities him as a father : 
and even in those wrongs which, either in tithing or otherwise, 
are done to his own person, he considers the offender as a child, 
and forgives, so he may have any sign of amendment ; so also, 
when, after many admonitions, any continues to be refractory, 
yet he gives him not over, but is long before he proceed to dis 
inheriting, or perhaps never goes so far ; knowing, that some 
are called at the eleventh hour, and therefore he still expects 
and waits, lest he should determine God s hour of coming ; 
which as he cannot touching the last day, so neither touching 
the intermediate days of conversion. 


The parson in journey. 

THE country parson, when a just occasion calleth him out of 
his parish, (which he diligently and strictly weigheth, his 
parish being all his joy and thought,) leaveth not his ministry 
behind him ; but is himself wherever he is. Therefore those 

30 The Country Parson. 

he meets on the way he blesseth audibly, and with those he 
overtakes, or that overtake him, he begins good discourses, such 
as may edify, interposing sometimes some short and honest re 
freshments, which may make his other discourses more welcome, 
and less tedious. And when he comes to his inn, he refuseth not 
to join, that he may enlarge the glory of God to the company he 
is in, by a due blessing of God for their safe arrival, and saying 
grace at meat, and at going to bed by giving the host notice, 
that he will have prayers in the hall, wishing him to inform his 
guests thereof, that if any be willing to partake, they may resort 
thither. The like he doth in the morning, using pleasantly the 
outlandish proverb, that a prayers and provender never hinder 
" journey." When he comes to any other house, where his kin 
dred or other relations give him any authority over the family, 
if he be to stay for a time, he considers diligently the state 
thereof to God-ward, and that in two points : first, what disor 
ders there are either in apparel, or diet, or too open a buttery, or 
reading vain books, or swearing, or breeding up children to no 
calling, but in idleness, or the like. Secondly, what means of 
piety, whether daily prayers be used, grace, reading of scriptures 
and other good books, how Sundays, holidays, and fasting days 
are kept. And accordingly, as he finds any defect in these, he 
first considers with himself, what kind of remedy fits the temper 
of the house best, and then he faithfully and boldly applieth it ; 
yet seasonably and discreetly, by taking aside the lord or lady, 
or master and mistress of the house, and shewing them clearly 
that they respect them most who wish them best, and that not a 
desire to meddle with others * affairs, but the earnestness to do 
all the good he can, moves him to say thus and thus. 


The parson is sentinel. 

THE country parson, wherever he is, keeps God s watch ; that 
is, there is nothing spoken or done in the company where 
he is, but comes under his test and censure ; if it be well spoken 
or done, he takes occasion to commend and enlarge it ; if ill, he 
presently lays hold of it, lest the poison steal into some young 
and unwary spirits, and possess them even before they them 
selves heed it. But this he doth discreetly, with mollifying and 
suppling words ; This was not so well said, as it might have 

The Country Parson. 81 

been forborne ; We cannot allow this ; or else, if the thing will 
admit interpretation ; Your meaning is not thus, but thus ; or. 
So far indeed what you say is true, and well said ; but this will 
not stand. This is called keeping God s watch, when the baits 
which the enemy lays in company are discovered and avoided ; 
this is to be on God s side, and be true to his party. Besides, 
if he perceive in company any discourse tending to ill either by 
the wickedness or quarrelsomeness thereof, he either prevents it 
judiciously, or breaks it off seasonably by some diversion. 
Wherein a pleasantness of disposition is of great use, men 
being willing to sell the interest and engagement of their dis 
courses for no price, sooner than that of mirth ; whither the 
nature of man, loving refreshment, gladly betakes itself, even to 
the loss of honour. 


The parson in reference. 

THE country parson is sincere and upright in all his relations. 
And first, he is just to his country ; as when he is set at an 
armour, or horse, he borrows them not to serve the turn, nor 
provides slight and unuseful, but such as are every way fitting 
to do his country true and laudable service, when occasion re 
quires. To do otherwise is deceit ; and therefore not for 
him who is hearty and true in all his ways, as being the servant 
of him in whom there was no guile. Likewise in any other 
country-duty, he considers what is the end of any command, and 
then he suits things faithfully according to that end. Secondly, 
he carries himself very respectively, as to all the fathers of the 
church, so especially to his diocesan, honouring him both in 
word and behaviour, and resorting unto him in any difficulty, 
either in his studies or in his parish. He observes visitations, 
and, being there, makes due use of them, as of clergy councils, 
for the benefit of the diocese. And therefore before he comes, 
having observed some defects in the ministry, he then either in 
sermon, if he preach, or at some other time of the day, pro 
pounds among his brethren what were fitting to be done. 
Thirdly, he keeps good correspondence with all the neigh 
bouring pastors round about him, performing for them any 
ministerial office which is not to the prejudice of his own 
parish. Likewise he welcomes to his house any minister, how 

The Country Parson. 

poor or mean soever, with as joyful a countenance as if he were 
to entertain some great lord. Fourthly, he fulfils the duty and 
debt of neighbourhood to all the parishes which are near him. 
For the apostle s rule, Philipp. iv. being admirable and large, 
that we ; hould do whatsoever things are honest, or just, or pure, 
or lovely, or of good report, if there be any virtue or any praise ,- 
and neighbourhood being ever reputed, even among the heathen, 
as an obligation to do good, rather than to those that are further, 
where things are otherwise equal, therefore he satisfies this duty 
also. Especially, if God have sent any calamity either by fire or 
famine to any neighbouring parish, then he expects no brief; 
but taking his parish together the next Sunday, or holiday, and 
exposing to them the uncertainty of human affairs, none know 
ing whose turn may be next, and then when he hath affrighted 
them with this, exposing the obligation of charity and neigh 
bourhood, he first gives liberally himself, and then incites them 
to give ; making together a sum either to be sent, or, which 
were more comfortable, all together choosing some fit day to 
carry it themselves, and cheer the afflicted. So, if any neigh 
bouring village be overburdened with poor, and his own less 
charged, he finds some way of relieving it, and reducing the 
manna and bread of charity to some equality, representing to 
his people, that the blessing of God to them ought to make them 
the more charitable, and not the less, lest he cast their neigh 
bour s poverty on them also. 


The parson in God"s stead, 

THE country parson is in God^s stead to his parish, and 
dischargeth God what he can of his promises. Wherefore there 
is nothing done either well or ill, whereof he is not the 
rewarder or punisher. If he chance to find any reading in 
another s Bible, he provides him one of his own. If he finds 
another giving a poor man a penny, he gives him a tester for it, 
if the giver be fit to receive it ; or if he be of a condition above 
such gifts, he sends him a good book, or easeth him in his tithes, 
telling him when he hath forgotten it, This I do, because at such 
and such a time you were charitable. This is in some sort a 
discharging of God ; as concerning this life who hath promised 
that godliness shall be gainful : but in the other God is his own 

The Country Parson. 33 

immediate paymaster, rewarding all good deeds to their full 
proportion. The parson s punishing of sin and vice is rather 
by withdrawing his bounty and courtesy from the parties 
offending, or by private or public reproof, as the case requires, 
than by causing them to be presented, or otherwise complained 
of. And yet as the malice of the person or heinousness of 
the crime may be, he is careful to see condign punishment 
inflicted, and with truly godly zeal, without hatred to the 
person, hungereth and thirsteth after righteous punishment of 
unrighteousness. Thus, both in rewarding virtue and in 
punishing vice, the parson endeavoureth to be in God s stead, 
knowing that country people are drawn or led by sense more 
than by faith, by present rewards or punishments more than 
by future. 


The parson catechising. 

THE country parson values catechising highly : for, there 
being three points of his duty ; the one, to infuse a com 
petent knowledge of salvation into every one of his flock ; the 
other, to multiply and build up this knowledge to a spiritual 
temple ; the third, to inflame this knowledge, to press and drive 
it to practice, turning it to reformation of life, by pithy and lively 
exhortations ; catechising is the first point, and but by cate 
chising the other cannot be attained. Besides, whereas in 
sermons there is a kind of state, in catechising there is an hum 
bleness very suitable to Christian regeneration, which exceed 
ingly delights him as by way of exercise upon himself, and by 
way of preaching to himself, for the advancing of his own 
mortification. For in preaching to others, he forgets not him 
self, but is first a sermon to himself, and then to others, growing 
with the growth of his parish. He useth and preferreth the 
ordinary Church Catechism, partly for obedience to authority, 
partly for uniformity sake, that the same common truths may be 
every where professed, especially since many remove from 
parish to parish, who like Christian soldiers are to give the word 
and to satisfy the congregation by their catholic answers. He 
exacts of all the doctrine of the Catechism ; of the younger sort, 
the very words ; of the elder, the substance. Those he cate- 
chiseth publicly, these privately, giving age honour, according 


36 The Country Parson. 

not only the feast but the way to it. At baptism, being himself 
in white, he requires the presence of all, and baptizeth not will 
ingly but on Sundays or great days. He admits no vain or 
idle names, but such as are usual and accustomed. He says that 
prayer with great devotion, where God is thanked for calling us 
to the knowledge of his grace, baptism being a blessing, that the 
world hath not the like. He willingly and cheerfully crosseth 
the child, and thinketh the ceremony not only innocent, but re 
verend. He instructeth the godfathers and godmothers, that it 
is no complimental or light thing to sustain that place, but a 
great honour, and no less burden, as being done both in the pre 
sence of God and his saints, and by way of undertaking for a 
Christian soul. He adviseth all to call to mind their baptism 
often ; for if wise men have thought it the best way of preserv 
ing a state, to reduce it to its principles by which it grew great ; 
certainly it is the safest course for Christians also to meditate on 
their baptism often, (being the first step into their great and glo 
rious calling) and upon what terms, and with what vows they 
were baptized. At the times of the holy communion, he first 
takes order with the churchwardens, that the elements be of the 
best, not cheap, or coarse, much less ill-tasted, or unwholesome. 
Secondly, he considers and looks into the ignorance or careless 
ness of his flock, and accordingly applies himself with cate 
chising and lively exhortations, not on the Sunday of the 
communion only, (for then it is too late) but the Sunday or 
Sundays before the communion, or on the eves of all those days. 
If there be any, who, having not yet received, are to enter into 
this great work, he takes the more pains with them, that he may 
lay the foundation of future blessings. The time of every one s 
first receiving is not so much by years, as by understanding : 
particularly, the rule may be this : When any one can distin 
guish the sacramental from common bread, knowing the institu 
tion, and the difference, he ought to receive, of what age soever. 
Children and youth are usually deferred too long, under pre 
tence of devotion to the sacrament ; but it is for want of 
instruction ; their understandings being ripe enough for ill 
things, and why not then for better ? But parents and masters 
should make haste in this, as to a great purchase for their 
children and servants ; which while they defer, both sides 
suffer ; the one, in wanting many exci tings of grace ; the other, 
in being worse served and obeyed. The saying of the Catechism 

The Country Parson. 37 

is necessary, but not enough ; because to answer in form may 
still admit ignorance : but the questions must be propounded 
loosely and widely, and then the answerer will discover what he 
is. Thirdly, for the manner of receiving, as the parson useth all 
reverence himself, so he administers to none but to the reverent. 
The feast indeed requires sitting, because it is a feast ; but man s 
unpreparedness asks kneeling. He that comes to the sacrament 
hath the confidence of a guest ; and he that kneels confesseth 
himself an unworthy one, and therefore differs from other feast- 
ers : but he that sits, or lies, puts up to an apostle : contentious 
ness in a feast of charity is more scandal than any posture. 
Fourthly, touching the frequency of the communion, the parson 
celebrates it, if not duly once a month, yet at least five or six 
times in the year; as, at Easter, Christmas, Whitsuntide, afore 
and after harvest, and the beginning of Lent. And this he doth, 
not only for the benefit of the work, but also for the discharge of 
the churchwardens ; who being to present all that receive not 
thrice a year, if there be but three communions, neither can all 
the people so order their affairs as to receive just at those times, 
nor the churchwardens so well take notice who receive thrice 
and who not. 


The parson s completeness. 

THE country parson desires to be all to his parish, and not 
only a pastor, but a lawyer also, and a physician. There 
fore he endures not that any of his flock should go to law ; but 
in any controversy, that they should resort to him as their judge. 
To this end, he hath gotten to himself some insight in things 
ordinarily incident and controverted, by experience, and by 
reading some initiatory treatises in the law, with Dalton s Jus 
tice of Peace, and the Abridgments of the Statutes, as also by 
discourse with men of that profession, whom he hath ever some 
cases to ask when he meets with them ; holding that rule, that 
to put men to discourse of that wherein they are most eminent, 
is the most gainful way of conversation. Yet whenever any 
controversy is brought to him, he never decides it alone, but 
sends for three or four of the ablest of the parish to hear the 
cause with him, whom he makes to deliver their opinion first ; 
out of which he gathers, in case he be ignorant himself, what to 
hold ; and so the thing passeth with more authority, aud less 

38 The Country Parson. 

envy. In judging, he follows that which is altogether right; 
so that if the poorest man in the parish detain but a pin un 
justly from the richest, he absolutely restores it as a judge ; but 
when he hath so done, then he assumes the parson, and exhorts 
to charity. Nevertheless, there may happen sometimes some 
cases, wherein he chooseth to permit his parishioners rather to 
make use of the law, than himself: as in cases of an obscure 
and dark nature, not easily determinable by lawyers themselves : 
or in cases of high consequence, as establishing of inheritances ; 
or lastly, when the persons in difference are of a contentious 
disposition, and cannot be gained, but that they still fall from all 
compromises that have been made. But then he shews them 
how to go to law, even as brethren, and not as enemies, neither 
avoiding therefore one another s company, much less defaming 
one another. Now as the parson is in law, so is he in sickness 
also : if there be any of his flock sick, he is their physician, or 
at least his wife, of whom, instead of the qualities of the world, 
he asks no other, but to have the skill of healing a wound, or 
helping the sick. But if neither himself nor his wife have the 
skill, and his means serve, he keeps some young practitioner in 
his house for the benefit of his parish, whom yet he ever exhorts 
not to exceed his bounds, but in ticklish cases to call in help. 
If all fail, then he keeps good correspondence with some neigh 
bour physician, and entertains him for the cure of his parish. Yet 
it is easy for any scholar to attain to such a measure of physic, as 
may be of much use to him both for himself and others. This is 
done by seeing one anatomy, reading one book of physic, having 
one herbal by him. And let Fernelius be the physic author, for 
he writes briefly, neatly, and judiciously; especially let his method 
of physic be diligently perused, as being the practical part, and 
of most use. Now both the reading of him and the knowing of 
herbs may be done at such times, as they may be a help and 
a recreation to more divine studies, nature serving grace both in 
comfort of diversion and the benefit of application, when need 
requires ; as also by way of illustration, even as our Saviour 
made plants and seeds to teach the people : for he was the true 
householder, who bringeth out of his treasure things new and 
old ; the old things of philosophy and the new of grace ; and 
maketh the one serve the other. And I conceive our Saviour 
did this for three reasons : first, that by familiar things he might 
make his doctrine slip the more easily into the hearts even of the 

The Country Parson. 39 

meanest. Secondly, that labouring people (whom he chiefly 
considered) might have every where monuments of his doctrine, 
remembering in gardens his mustard-seed and lilies ; in the field, 
his seed-corn and tares ; and so not be drowned altogether in 
the works of their vocation, but sometimes lift up their minds to 
better things, even in the midst of their pains. Thirdly, that he 
might set a copy for parsons. In the knowledge of simples, 
wherein the manifold wisdom of God is wonderfully to be seen, 
one thing would be carefully observed ; which is, to know what 
herbs may be used instead of drugs of the same nature, and to 
make the garden the shop : for homebred medicines are both 
more easy for the parson s purse, and more familiar for all men s 
bodies. So, where the apothecary useth either for loosing, rhu 
barb ; or for binding, bole Armeniac ; the parson useth damask or 
white roses for the one, and plaintain, shepherd s purse, knot 
grass, for the other, and that with better success. As for spices, 
he doth not only prefer homebred things before them, but con 
demns them for vanities, and so shuts them out of his family, 
esteeming that there is no spice comparable, for herbs, to rose 
mary, thyme, savory mints ; and for seeds, to fennel, and 
caraway seeds. Accordingly, for salves, his wife seeks not the 
city, but prefers her garden and fields before all outlandish 
gums. And surely hyssop, valerian, mercury, adder s tongue, 
yerrow, meliot, and St. John s wort, made into a salve ; and el 
der, chamomile, mallows, comfrey, and smallage made into a poul 
tice, have done great and rare cures. In curing of any, the parson 
and his family use to premise prayers, for this is to cure like a 
parson, and this raiseth the action from the shop to the church. 
But though the parson sets forward all charitable deeds, yet he 
looks not in this point of curing beyond his own parish, except 
the person be so poor that he is not able to reward the phy 
sician : for as he is charitable, so he is just also. Now it is a 
justice and debt to the commonwealth he lives in, not to en 
croach on others professions, but to live on his own. And justice 
is the ground of charity. 


The parson arguing. 

THE country parson, if there be any of his parish that hold 
strange doctrines, useth all possible diligence to reduce them to 
the common faith. The first means he useth is prayer, be- 

40 The Country Parson, 

seeching the Father of lights to open their eyes, and to give him 
power so to fit his discourse to them that it may effectually 
pierce their hearts and convert them. The second means is a 
very loving and sweet usage of them, both in going to and 
sending for them often, and in finding out courtesies to place 
on them; as in their tithes, or otherwise. The third means is 
the observation what is the main foundation and pillar of their 
cause whereon they rely ; as, if he be a papist, the church is 
the hinge he turns on ; if a schismatic, scandal. Wherefore the 
parson hath diligently examined these two with himself; as, what 
the church is ; how it began ; how it proceeded ; whether it be a 
rule to itself ; whether it hath a rule ; whether, having a rule, it 
ought not to be guided by it ; whether any rule in the world be 
obscure ; and how then should the best be so, at least in funda 
mental things ; the obscurity in some points being the exercise of 
the church ; the light in the foundations being the guide : the 
church needing both an evidence and an exercise. So for scandal: 
what scandal is. when given or taken ; whether, there being two 
precepts, one of obeying authority, the other of not giving scan 
dal, that ought not to be preferred, especially since in disobeying 
there is scandal also ; whether things once indifferent, being 
made by the precept of authority more than indifferent, it be in 
our power to omit or refuse them. These and the like points 
he hath accurately digested, having ever besides two great helps 
and powerful persuaders on his side ; the one, a strict religious 
life ; the other, an humble and ingenuous search of truth, being 
unmoved in arguing, and void of all contentiousness : which are 
two great lights able to dazzle the eyes of the misled, while they 
consider that God cannot be wanting to them in doctrine, to 
whom he is so gracious in life. 


The parson punishing. 

WHENSOEVER the country parson proceeds so far as to 
call in authority, and to do such things of legal opposition, 
either in the presenting or punishing of any, as the vulgar ever 
construes for signs of ill-will ; he forbears not in any wise to 
use the delinquent as before, in his behaviour and carriage 
towards him, not avoiding his company, or doing any thing of 
averseness, save in the very act of punishment : neither doth he 

The Country Parson. 41 

esteem him for an enemy, but as a brother still, except some 
small and temporary estranging may corroborate the punishment 
to a better subduing and humbling of the delinquent ; which if 
it happily take effect, he then comes on the faster, and makes so 
much the more of him, as before he alienated himself ; doubling 
his regards, and shewing by all means that the delinquent s 
return is to his advantage. 


The parson s eye. 

THE country parson at spare times from action, standing on 
a hill, and considering his flock, discovers two sorts of vices, 
and two sorts of vicious persons. There are some vices whose 
natures are always clear and evident, as adultery, murder, 
hatred, lying, &c. There are other vices, whose natures, at 
least in the beginning, are dark and obscure ; as covetousness 
and gluttony. So likewise there are some persons who abstain 
not even from known sins ; there are others, who when they 
know a sin evidently, they commit it not. It is true indeed, 
they are long a knowing it, being partial to themselves, and 
witty to others who shall reprove them for it. A man may be 
both covetous and intemperate, and yet hear sermons against 
both, and himself condemn both in good earnest : and the 
reason hereof is, because the natures of these vices being not 
evidently discussed, or known commonly, the beginnings of 
them are not easily observable : and the beginnings of them are 
not observed, because of the sudden passing from that which 
was just now lawful to that which is presently unlawful, even 
in one continued action. So a man dining eats at first lawfully ; 
but proceeding on, comes to do unlawfully, even before he is 
aware, not knowing the bounds of the action, nor when his 
eating begins to be unlawful. So a man storing up money for 
his necessary provisions, both in present for his family, and in 
future for his children, hardly perceives when his storing be 
comes unlawful ; yet is there a period for his storing, and a 
point or centre when his storing, which was even now good, 
passeth from good to bad. Wherefore the parson, being true 
to his business, hath exactly sifted the definitions of all virtues, 
and vices ; especially canvassing those, whose natures are most 
stealing, and beginnings uncertain. Particularly concerning 

The Country Parson. 

these two vices, not because they are all that are of this dark 
and creeping disposition, but for example sake, and because 
they are most common, he thus thinks : First, for covetousness, 
he lays this ground : Whosoever, when a just occasion calls, 
either spends not at all, or not in some proportion to God s 
blessing upon him, is covetous. The reason of the ground is 
manifest, because wealth is given to that end to supply our 
occasions. Now, if I do not give every thing its end, I abuse 
the creature ; I am false to my reason, which should guide me ; 
I offend the supreme Judge, in perverting that order which he 
hath set both to things and to reason. The application of the 
ground would be infinite ; but in brief, a poor man is an 
occasion, my country is an occasion, my friend is an occasion, 
my table is an occasion, my apparel is an occasion : if in all 
these, and those more which concern me, I either do nothing, 
or pinch, and scrape, and squeeze blood, undecently to the 
station wherein God hath placed me, I am covetous. More par 
ticularly, and to give one instance for all, if God hath given me 
servants, and I either provide too little for them, or that which 
is unwholesome, being sometimes baned meat, sometimes too 
salt, and so not competent nourishment, I am covetous. I bring 
this example, because men usually think, that servants for their 
money are as other things that they buy, even as a piece of 
wood, which they may cut, or hack, or throw into the fire, and 
so they pay them their wages, all is well. Nay, to descend yet 
more particularly, if a man hath wherewithal to buy a spade, 
and yet he chooseth rather to use his neighbour s, and wear out 
that, he is covetous. Nevertheless, few bring covetousness thus 
low, or consider it so narrowly, which yet ought to be done, 
since there is a justice in the least things, and for the least there 
shall be a judgment. Country pec pie are full of these petty 
injustices, being cunning to make use of another, and spare 
themselves ; and scholars ought to be diligent in the observation 
of these, and driving of their general school-rules ever to the 
smallest actions of life : which, while they dwell in their books, 
they will never find ; but being seated in the country, and 
doing their duty faithfully, they will soon discover : especially 
if they carry their eyes ever open, and fix them on their charge, 
and not on their preferment. Secondly, for gluttony, the par 
son lays this ground : He that either for quantity eats more than 
his health or employment will bear, or for quality is lickerous 

The Country Parson. 43 

after dainties, is a glutton ; as he that eats more than his estate 
will bear is a prodigal ; and he that eats offensively to the com 
pany, either in his order or length of eating, is scandalous and 
uncharitable. These three rules generally comprehend the 
faults of eating, and the truth of them needs no proof: so that 
men must eat neither to the disturbance of their health, nor of 
their affairs, (which being overburdened, or studying dainties 
too much, they cannot well despatch) nor of their estate, nor of 
their brethren. One act in these things is bad, but it is the 
custom and habit that names a glutton. Many think they are 
at more liberty than they are, as if they were masters of their 
health, and so they will stand to the pain, all is well. But to 
eat to one^s hurt, comprehends, besides the hurt, an act against 
reason, because it is unnatural to hurt oneself; and this they 
are not masters of. Yet of hurtful things, I am more bound to 
abstain from those which by mine own experience I have found 
hurtful, than from those which by a common tradition and vul 
gar knowledge are reputed to be so. That which is said of 
hurtful meats extends to hurtful drinks also. As for the quan 
tity, touching our employments, none must eat so as to disable 
themselves from a fit discharging either of divine duties, or 
duties of their calling. So that if after dinner they are not fit 
(or unwieldy) either to pray or work, they are gluttons. Not 
that all must presently work after dinner ; for they rather must 
not work, especially students, and those that are weakly ; but 
that they must rise so, as that it is not meat or drink that hin 
ders them from working. To guide them in this, there are 
three rules : first, the custom and knowledge of their own body, 
and what it can well digest : the second, the feeling of them 
selves in time of eating ; which because it is deceitful, (for one 
thinks in eating that he can eat more than afterwards he finds 
true) the third is the observation with what appetite they sit 
down. This last rule joined with the first never fails. For 
knowing what one usually can well digest, and feeling when I 
go to meat in what disposition I am, either hungry or not, ac 
cording as I feel myself, either I take my wonted proportion, or 
diminish of it. Yet physicians bid those that would live in 
health not keep an uniform diet, but to feed variously, now 
more, now less: and Gerson, a spiritual man, wisheth all to 
incline rather to too much, than to too little ; his reason is, 
because diseases of exinanition are more dangerous than diseases 

44 The Country Parson. 

of repletion. But the parson distinguisheth according to his 
double aim, either of abstinence a moral virtue, or mortification 
a divine. When he deals with any that is heavy and carnal, he 
gives him those freer rules ; but when he meets with a refined 
and heavenly disposition, he carries them higher, even some 
times to a forgetting of themselves, knowing that there is one, 
who, when they forget, remembers for them; as when the 
people hungered and thirsted after our Saviour s doctrine, and 
tarried so long at it, that they would have fainted, had they 
returned empty, he suffered it not ; but rather made food mira 
culously than suffered so good desires to miscarry. 


The parson in mirth. 

THE country parson is generally sad, because he knows 
nothing but the cross of Christ, his mind being defixed on 
it with those nails wherewith his Master was : or if he have any 
leisure to look off from thence, he meets continually with two 
most sad spectacles, sin and misery; God dishonoured every 
day, and man afflicted. Nevertheless, he sometimes refresheth 
himself, as knowing that nature will not bear everlasting droop- 
ings, and that pleasantness of disposition is a great key to do 
good ; not only because all men shun the company of perpetual 
severity, but also for that when they are in company, instruc 
tions seasoned with pleasantness both enter sooner, and root 
deeper. Wherefore he condescends to human frailties both in 
himself and others ; and intermingles some mirth in his dis 
courses occasionally, according to the pulse of the hearer. 


The parson in contempt. 

THE country parson knows well that, both for the general 
ignominy which is cast upon the profession, and much more 
for those rules which out of his choicest judgment he hath 
resolved to observe, and which are described in this book, he 
must be despised ; because this hath been the portion of God 
his Master, and of God s saints his brethren, and this is foretold 
that it shall be so still, until time be no more. Nevertheless, 
according to the apostle s rule, he endeavours that none shall 
despise him ; especially in his own parish he suffers it not to 

The Country Parson. 45 

his utmost power ; for that, where contempt is, there is no room 
for instruction. This he procures, first, by his holy and 
unblameable life ; which carries a reverence with it, even above 
contempt. Secondly, by a courteous carriage and winning beha 
viour : he that will be respected must respect ; doing kindnesses, 
but receiving none, at least of those who are apt to despise ; for 
this argues a height and eminency of mind, which is not easily 
despised, except it degenerate to pride. Thirdly, by a bold and 
impartial reproof, even of the best in the parish, when occasion 
requires : for this may produce hatred in those that are reproved, 
but never contempt either in them or others. Lastly, if the 
contempt shall proceed so far as to do any thing punishable by 
law, as contempt is apt to do, if it be not thwarted, the parson, 
having a due respect both to the person and to the cause, 
referreth the whole matter to the examination and punishment 
of those which are in authority ; that so the sentence lighting 
upon one, the example may reach to all. But if the contempt 
be not punishable by law, or being so, the parson think it in his 
discretion either unfit or bootless to contend, then when any 
despises him, he takes it either in an humble way, saying 
nothing at all ; or else in a slighting way, shewing that reproaches 
touch him no more than a stone thrown against heaven, where 
he is and lives ; or in a sad way, grieved at his own and others 
sins, which continually break God s laws, and dishonour him 
with those mouths which he continually fills and feeds ; or else 
in a doctrinal way, saying to the contemner, Alas, why do you 
thus 2 You hurt yourself, not me ; he that throws a stone at 
another hits himself: and so, between gentle reasoning and 
pitying, he overcomes the evil : or lastly, in a triumphant way, 
being glad and joyful that he is made conformable to his Master; 
and being in the world as he was, hath this undoubted pledge of 
his salvation. These are the five shields wherewith the godly 
receive the darts of the wicked ; leaving anger and retorting 
and revenge to the children of the world, whom another s ill 
mastereth and leadeth captive, without any resistance, even in 
resistance, to the same destruction. For while they resist the 
person that reviles, they resist not the evil which takes hold of 
them, and is far the worse enemy. 

46 The Country Parson. 


The parson with his churchwardens. 

THE country parson doth often, both publicly and privately, 
instruct his churchwardens what a great charge lies upon them, 
and that indeed the whole order and discipline of the parish is 
put into their hands. If himself reform any thing, it is out of 
the overflowing of his conscience ; whereas they are to do it by 
command and by oath. Neither hath the place its dignity from 
the ecclesiastical laws only, since even by the common statute- 
law they are taken for a kind of corporation, as being persons 
enabled by that name to take moveable goods or chattels, and to 
sue and to be sued at the law concerning such goods for the use 
and profit of their parish : and by the same law they are to levy 
penalties for negligence in resorting to church, or for disorderly 
carriage in time of divine service. Wherefore the parson 
suffers not the place to be vilified or debased, by being cast on 
the lower rank of people ; but invites and urges the best unto it, 
shewing that they do not lose, or go less, but gain by it; it 
being the greatest honour of this world to do God and his 
chosen service ; or as David says, to be even a doorkeeper in the 
house of God. Now the Canons being the churchwardens 
rule, the parson adviseth them to read, or hear them read often, 
as also the Visitation Articles, which are grounded upon the 
Canons, that so they may know their duty, and keep their oath 
the better ; in which regard, considering the great consequence 
of their place, and more of their oath, he wisheth them by no 
means to spare any, though never so great ; but, if after gentle 
and neighbourly admonitions they still persist in ill, to present 
them; yea though they be tenants, or otherwise engaged to 
the delinquent : for their obligation to God and their own soul 
is above any temporal tie. Do well and right, and let the world 


The parson s consideration of Providence. 

THE country parson, considering the great aptness country 
people have to think that all things come by a kind of natural 
course ; and that if they sow and soil their grounds, they must 
have corn ; if they keep and fodder well their cattle, they must 

The Country Parson. 47 

have milk and calves ; labours to reduce them to see God s 
hand in all things, and to believe that things are not set in such 
an inevitable order, but that God often changeth it according as 
he sees fit, either for reward or punishment. To this end he 
represents to his flock, that God hath and exerciseth a threefold 
power in every thing which concerns man. The first is a sus 
taining power ; the second, a governing power ; the third, a 
spiritual power. By his sustaining power he preserves and 
actuates every thing in its being ; so that corn doth not grow 
by any other virtue than by that which he continually supplies, 
as the corn needs it; without which supply the corn would 
instantly dry up, as a river would if the fountain were stopped. 
And it is observable, that if any thing could presume of an 
inevitable course and constancy in its operations, certainly it 
should be either the sun in heaven, or the fire on earth, by rea 
son of their fierce, strong and violent natures : yet when God 
pleased, the sun stood still, the fire burned not. By God s 
governing power he preserves and orders the references of things 
one to the other, so that though the corn do grow, and be pre 
served in that act by his sustaining power, yet if he suit not 
other things to the growth, as seasons, and weather, and other 
accidents by his governing power, the fairest harvest comes to 
nothing. And it is observable, that God delights to have men 
feel and acknowledge and reverence his power, and therefore 
he often overturns things, when they are thought past danger ; 
that is his time of interposing : as when a merchant hath a ship 
come home after many a storm, which it hath escaped, he 
destroys it sometimes in the very haven ; or if the goods be 
housed, a fire hath broken forth and suddenly consumed them. 
Now this he doth, that men should perpetuate, and not break 
off their acts of dependence, how fair soever the opportunities 
present themselves. So that if a farmer should depend upon 
God all the year, and being ready to put hand to sickle, shall 
then secure himself, and think all cocksure ; then God sends 
such weather as lays the corn and destroys it : or if he depend 
on God further, even till he imbarn his corn, and then think all 
sure ; God sends a fire and consumes all that he hath : for that 
he ought not to break off, but to continue his dependence on 
God, not only before the corn is inned, but after also ; and 
indeed to depend and fear continually. The third power is 
spiritual, by which God turns all outward blessings to inward 

48 The Country Parson. 

advantages. So that if a farmer hath both a fair harvest, and 
that also well inned and imbarned, and continuing safe there ; 
yet if God give him not the grace to use and utter this well, all 
his advantages are to his loss. Better were his corn burnt than 
not spiritually improved. And it is observable in this, how 
God s goodness strives with man s refractoriness : man would sit 
down at this world ; God bids him sell it, and purchase a better : 
just as a father, who hath in his hand an apple, and a piece of 
gold under it; the child comes, and with pulling gets the apple 
out of his father s hand : his father bids him throw it awav, and 

i * 

he will give him the gold for it, which the child utterly refusing 
eats it, and is troubled with worms: so is the carnal and wilful 
man with the worm cf the grave in this world, and the worm of 
conscience in the next. 


The parson in liberty. 

THE country parson, observing the manifold wiles of Satan, 
(who plays his part ^sometimes in drawing God s servants from 
him, sometimes in perplexing them in the service of God) stands 
fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. This 
liberty he compasseth by one distinction, and that is, of what is 
necessary and what is additionary. As for example : It is 
necessary, that all Christians should pray twice a day every day 
of the week, and four times on a Sunday, if they be well. This 
is so necessary and essential to a Christian, thai he cannot with 
out this maintain himself in a Christian state. Besides this, the 
godly have ever added some hours of prayer, as at nine, or at 
three, or at midnight, or as they think fit and see cause, or 
rather as God s Spirit leads them. But these prayers are not 
necessary, but additionary. Now it so happens that the godly 
petitioner upon some emergent interruption in the day, or by 
oversleeping himself at night, omits his additionary prayer. 
Upon this his mind begins to be perplexed and troubled ; and 
Satan, who knows the exigent, blows the fire, endeavouring to 
disorder the Christian, and put him out of his station, and to 
enlarge the perplexity, until it spread and taint his other duties 
of piety, which none can perform so well in trouble as in calm 
ness. Here the parson interposeth with his distinction, and 
shews the perplexed Christian, that this prayer being addition 
ary, not necessary ; taken in, not commanded ; the omission 

The Country Parson. 49 

thereof upon just occasion ought by no means to trouble him. 
God knows the occasion as well as he, and he is as a gracious 
father, who more accepts a common course of devotion than 
dislikes an occasional interruption. And of this he is so to 
assure himself, as to admit no scruple, but to go on as cheerfully 
as if he had not been interrupted. By this it is evident that 
the distinction is of singular use and comfort, especially to pious 
minds, which are ever tender and delicate. But here there are 
two cautions to be added. First, that this interruption proceed 
not out of slackness, or coldness, which will appear if the pious 
soul foresee and prevent such interruptions, what he may, 
before they come, and when, for all that they do come, he be a 
little affected therewith, but not afflicted or troubled ; if he 
resent it to a mislike, but not a grief. Secondly, that this 
interruption proceed not out of shame. As for example ; a 
godly man, not out of superstition, but of reverence to God s 
house, resolves, whenever he enters into a church, to kneel 
down and pray, either blessing God, that he will be pleased to 
dwell among men ; or beseeching him that, whenever he repairs 
to his house, he may behave himself so as befits so great a pre 
sence ; and this briefly. But it happens that, near the place 
where he is to pray, he spies some scoffing ruffian, who is likely 
to deride him for his pains : if he now shall, either for fear or 
shame, break his custom, he shall do passing ill ; so much the 
rather ought he to proceed, as that by this he may take into his 
prayer humiliation also. On the other side, if I am to visit the 
sick in haste, and my nearest way lie through the church, I will 
not doubt to go without staying to pray there ; but only, as 1 
pass, in my heart ; because this kind of prayer is additionary, 
not necessary, and the other duty overweighs it ; so that if any 
scruple arise, I will throw it away, and be most confident that 
God is not displeased. This distinction may run through all 
Christian duties, and it is a great stay and settling to religious 


The parson s surveys. 

THE country parson hath not only taken a particular survey 
of the faults of his own parish, but a general also of the diseases 
of the time, that so, when his occasions carry him abroad, or 


50 The Country Parson. 

bring strangers to him, he may be the better armed to encounter 
them. The great and national sin of this land he esteems to be 
idleness ; great in itself, and great in consequence ; for when 
men have nothing to do, then they fall to drink, to steal, to 
whore, to scoff, to revile, to all sorts of gamings. Come, say 
they, we have nothing to do, let us go to the tavern, or to the 
stews, or what not. Wherefore the parson strongly opposeth 
this sin wheresoever he goes. And because idleness is twofold, 
the one in having no calling, the other in walking carelessly in 
our calling, he first represents to every body the necessity of a 
vocation. The reason of this assertion is taken from the nature 
of man, wherein God hath placed two great instruments, reason 
in the soul, and a hand in the body, as engagements of working : 
so that even in Paradise man had a calling ; and how much 
more out of Paradise, when the evils which he is now subject 
unto may be prevented or diverted by reasonable employment. 
Besides, every gift or ability is a talent to be accounted for, and 
to be improved to our Master s advantage. Yet it is also a debt 
to our country to have a calling, and it concerns the common 
wealth that none should be idle, but all busied. Lastly, riches 
are the blessing of God, and the great instrument of doing ad 
mirable good : therefore all are to procure them honestly and 
seasonably, when they are not better employed. Now this rea 
son crosseth not our Saviour s precept of selling what we have, 
because, when we have sold all and given it to the poor, we 
must not be idle, but labour to get more, that we may give more, 
according to St. Paul s rule, Ephes. iv, 28, 1 Thess. iv, 11, 12. 
So that our Saviours selling is so far from crossing St. PauFs 
working, that it rather stablisheth it, since they that have 
nothing are fittest to work. Now because the only opposer to 
this doctrine is the gallant, who is witty enough to abuse both 
others and himself, and who is ready to ask if he shall mend 
shoes, or what he shall do 2 therefore the parson unmoved shew- 
eth that ingenious and fit employment is never wanting to those 
that seek it. But if it should be, the assertion stands thus : all 
are either to have a calling, or prepare for it : he that hath or 
can have yet no employment, if he truly and seriously prepare for 
it, he is safe and within bounds. Wherefore all are either pre 
sently to enter into a calling, if they be fit for it, and it for them; 
or else to examine with care and advice what they are fittest for, 

The Country Parson. 51 

and to prepare for that with all diligence. But it will not be 
amiss in this exceeding useful point to descend to particulars : 
for exactness lies in particulars. Men are either single or mar 
ried : the married and housekeeper hath his hands full, if he 
do what he ought to do. For there are two branches of his af 
fairs : first, the improvement of his family, by bringing them up 
in the fear and nurture of the Lord : and secondly, the improve 
ment of his grounds, by drowning or draining, or stocking or 
fencing, or ordering his land to the best advantage both of him 
self and his neighbours. The Italian says, " None fouls his 
" hands in his own business :" and it is an honest and just care, so 
it exceed not bounds, for every one to employ himself to the ad 
vancement of his affairs, that he may have wherewithal to do 
good. But his family is his best care, to labour Christian souls, 
and raise them to their height, even to heaven ; to dress and 
prune them, and take as much joy in a straight growing child, 
or servant, as a gardener doth in a choice tree. Could men find 
out this delight, they would seldom be from home : whereas 
now, of any place they are least there. But if, after all this care 
well despatched, the housekeeper s family be so small, and his 
dexterity so great, that he have leisure to look out, the village 
or parish, which either he lives in, or is near unto it, is his em 
ployment. He considers every one there, and either helps them 
in particular, or hath general propositions to the whole town or 
hamlet, of advancing the public stock, and managing commons 
or woods, according as the place suggests. But if he may be of 
the commission of peace, there is nothing to that : no common 
wealth in the world hath a better institution than that of justices 
of the peace : for it is both a security to the king, who hath so 
many dispersed officers at his beck throughout the kingdom, ac 
countable for the public good : and also an honourable employ 
ment of a gentle or noble man in the country he lives in, 
enabling him with power to do good, and to restrain all those 
who else might both trouble him and the whole state. Where 
fore it behoves all, who are come to the gravity and ripeness of 
judgment for so excellent a place, not to refuse, but rather to 
procure it. And whereas there are usually three objections 
made against the place ; the one, the abuse of it, by taking 
petty country bribes ; the other, the casting of it on mean per 
sons, especially in some shires ; and lastly, the trouble of it : 
these are so far from deterring any good men from the place, 

The Country Parson. 

that they kindle them rather to redeem the dignity either from 
true faults or unjust aspersions. Now, for single men, they 
are either heirs, or younger brothers : the heirs are to prepare 
in all the forementioned points against the time of their prac 
tice. Therefore they are to mark their father s discretion in 
ordering his house and affairs ; and also elsewhere, when they 
see any remarkable point of education or good husbandry, to 
transplant it in time to his own home, with the same care as 
others, when they meet with good fruit, get a graft of the tree, 
enriching their orchard, and neglecting their house. Besides, 
they are to read books of law and justice ; especially the Statutes 
at Large. As for better books of divinity, they are not in this 
consideration, because we are about a calling, and a preparation 
thereunto. But chiefly, and above all things, they are to fre 
quent sessions and assizes : for it is both an honour which they 
owe to the reverend judges and magistrates, to attend them, at 
least in their shire ; and it is a great advantage to know the 
practice of the land ; for our law is practice. Sometimes the 
heir may go to court, as the eminent place both of good and ill. 
At other times he is to travel over the king s dominions, cutting out 
the kingdom into portions, which every year he surveys piece 
meal. When there is a parliament, he is to endeavour by all 
means to be a knight or burgess there ; for there is no school to 
a parliament : and when he is there, he must not only be a 
morning man, but at committees also ; for there the particulars 
are exactly discussed, which are brought from thence to the 
house but in general. When none of these occasions call him 
abroad, every morning that he is at home, he must either ride the 
great horse, or exercise some of his military postures. For all 
gentlemen, that are now weakened and disarmed with sedentary 
lives, are to know the use of their arms : and as the husbandman 
labours for him, so must they fight for and defend him, when 
occasion calls. This is the duty of each to other, which they 
ought to fulfil : and the parson is a lover of and exciter to just 
ice in all things, even as John the Baptist squared out to every 
one, even to soldiers, what to do. As for younger brothers, 
those whom the parson finds loose, and not engaged into some 
profession by their parents, whose neglect in this point is intole 
rable, and a shameful wrong, both to the commonwealth and their 
own house : to them, after he hath shewed the unlawfulness of 
spending the day in dressing, complimenting, visiting, and sport- 

The Country Parson. 53 

ing, he first commends the study of the civil law, as a brave and 
wise knowledge, the professors whereof were much employed 
by queen Elizabeth, because it is the key of commerce, and dis 
covers the rules of foreign nations. Secondly, he commends the 
mathematics, as the only wonder-working knowledge, and there 
fore requiring the best spirits. After the several knowledge of 
these, he adviseth to insist and dwell chiefly on the two noble 
branches thereof, of fortification and navigation ; the one being 
useful to all countries, and the other especially to islands. But 
if the young gallant think these courses dull and phlegmatic, 
where can he busy himself better than in those new plantations 
and discoveries, which are not only a noble, but also, as they 
may be handled, a religious employment ? Or let him travel 
into Germany and France, and observing the artifices and manu 
factures there, transplant them hither, as divers have done 
lately, to our country s advantage. 


The parsons library. 

THE country parson s library is a holy life : for (besides the 
blessing that that brings upon it, there being a promise, that if 
the kingdom of God be first sought, all other things shall be 
added) even itself is a sermon. For the temptations with which 
a good man is beset, and the ways which he used to overcome 
them, being told to another, whether in private conference or in 
the church, are a sermon. He that hath considered how to carry 
himself at table about his appetite, if he tell this to another, 
preacheth ; and much more feelingly and judiciously than he 
writes his rules of temperance out of books. So that the parson 
having studied and mastered all his lusts and affections within, 
and the whole army of temptations without, hath ever so many 
sermons ready penned, as he hath victories. And it fares in this 
as it doth in physic: he that hath been sick of a consumption, 
and knows what recovered him, is a physician, so far as he meets 
with the same disease and temper; and can much better and 
particularly do it than he that is generally learned, and was 
never sick. And if the same person had been sick of all diseases, 
and were recovered of all by things that he knew, there were 
no such physician as he, both for skill and tenderness. Just so 
it is in divinitv, and that not without manifest reason: for 

54 The Country Parson. 

though the -temptations may be diverse in divers Christians, yet 
the victory is alike in all, being by the selfsame Spirit. Neither 
is this true only in the military state of a Christian life, but even 
in the peaceable also ; when the servant of God, freed for a 
while from temptation, in a quiet sweetness seeks how to please 
his God. Thus the parson, considering that repentance is the 
great virtue of the gospel, and one of the first steps of pleasing 
God, having for his own use examined the nature of it, is able 
to explain it after to others. And particularly, having doubted 
sometimes, whether his repentance were true, or at least in that 
degree it ought to be, since he found himself sometimes to weep 
more for the loss of some temporal things than for offending 
God,, he came at length to this resolution, that repentance is an 
act of the mind, not of the body, even as the original signifies ; 
and that the chief thing which God in scriptures requires is the 
heart and the spirit, and to worship him in truth and spirit. 
Wherefore in case a Christian endeavour to weep and cannot, 
since we are not masters of our bodies, this sufficeth. And con 
sequently he found, that the essence of repentance (that it may 
be alike in all God^s children, which, as concerning weeping, it 
cannot be, some being of a more melting temper than others) 
consisteth in a true detestation of the soul, abhorring and renounc 
ing sin, and turning unto God in truth of heart and newness of 
life : which acts of repentance are and must be found in all God^s 
servants : not that weeping is not useful, where it can be, that so 
the body may join in the grief, as it did in the sin ; but that, so 
the other acts be, that is not necessary : so that he as truly repents 
who performs the other acts of repentance, when he cannot more, 
as he that weeps a flood of tears. This instruction and comfort 
the parson getting for himself, when he tells it to others, becomes 
a sermon. The like he doth in ot ier Christian virtues, as of 
faith and love, and the cases of conscience belonging thereto, 
wherein (as St. Paul implies that he ought, Rom. ii.) he first 
preacheth to himself, and then to others. 


The parson } s dexterity in applying of remedies. 

THE country parson knows that there is a double state of a 
Christian even in this life, the one military, the other peaceable. 
The military is, when we are assaulted with temptations either 

The Country Parson. 55 

from within or from without. The peaceable is, when the devil 
for a time leaves us, as he did our Saviour, and the angels 
minister to us their own food, even joy and peace and comfort 
in the Holy Ghost. These two states were in our Saviour, not 
only in the beginning of his preaching, but afterwards also ; (as 
Matth. xxii, 35, he was tempted ; and Luke x, 21, he rejoiced 
in spirit :) and they must be likewise in all that are his. Now 
the parson having a spiritual judgment, according as he discovers 
any of his flock to be in one or the other state, so he applies 
himself to them. Those that he finds in the peaceable state, he 
adviseth to be very vigilant, and not to let go the reins as soon 
as the horse goes easy. Particularly, he counselleth them to 
two things : first, to take heed lest their quiet betray them, as 
it is apt to do, to a coldness and carelessness in their devotions, 
but to labour still to be as fervent in Christian duties, as they 
remember themselves were, when affliction did blow the coals. 
Secondly, not to take the full compass and liberty of their peace : 
not to eat all those dishes at table which even their present 
health otherwise admits ; nor to store their house with all those 
furnitures which even their present plenty of wealth otherwise 
admits ; nor when they are among them that are merry, to 
extend themselves to all that mirth, which the present occasion 
of wit and company otherwise admits ; but to put bounds and 
hoops to their joys : so will they last the longer, and when they 
depart, return the sooner. If we would judge ourselves, we 
should not be judged ; and if we would bound ourselves, we 
should not be bounded. But if they shall fear that at such or 
such a time their peace and mirth have carried them further 
than this moderation, then to take Job s admirable course, who 
sacrificed lest his children should have transgressed in their 
mirth : so let them go, and find some poor afflicted soul, and 
there be bountiful and liberal ; for with such sacrifices God is 
well pleased. Those that the parson finds in the military state, 
he fortifies and strengthens with his utmost skill. Now in those 
that are tempted, whatsoever is unruly falls upon two heads; 
either they think that there is none that can or will look after 
things, but all goes by chance or wit : or else, though there be a 
great Governor of all things, yet to them he is lost, as if they 
said, God doth forsake and persecute them, and there is none to 
deliver them. If the parson suspect the first and find sparks of 
such thoughts now and then to break forth, then, without opposing 

56 The Country Parson. 

directly, (for disputation is no cure for atheism) he scatters in 
his discourse three sorts of arguments : the first taken from 
nature, the second from the law, the third from grace. For 
nature, he sees not how a house could be either built without a 
builder, or kept in repair without a housekeeper. He conceives 
not pos-sibly, how the winds should blow so much as they can, 
and the sea rage so much as it can, and all things do what they 
can, and all, not only without dissolution of the whole, but also 
of any part, by taking away so much as the usual seasons of sum 
mer and winter, earing and harvest. Let the weather be what 
it will, still \ve have bread, though sometimes more, sometimes 
less ; wherewith also a careful Joseph might meet. He con 
ceives not possibly how he that would believe a Divinity if he 
had been at the creation of all things, should less believe it, 
seeing the preservation of all things ; for preservation is a crea 
tion ; and more, it is a continued creation, and a creation every 
moment. Secondly, for the law, there may be so evident though 
unused a proof of Divinity taken from thence, that the atheist or 
Epicurean can have nothing to contradict. The Jews yet live, 
and are known : they have their law and language, bearing wit 
ness to them, and they to it : they are circumcised to this day, 
and expect the promises of the scripture : their country also is 
known, the places and rivers travelled unto and frequented by 
others, but to them an unpenetrable rock, an unaccessible desert. 
Wherefore, if the Jews live, all the great wonders of old live in 
them ; and then who can deny the streched out arm of a mighty 
God ? especially since it may be a just doubt, whether, consider 
ing the stubbornness of the nation, their living then in their 
country under so many miracles were a stranger thing than 
their present exile and disability to live in their country. And 
it is observable, that this very thing was intended by God, that 
the Jews should be his proof and witnesses, as he calls them, 
Isaiah xliii, 12; and their very dispersion in all lands was intended 
not only for a punishment to them, but for an exciting of others 
by their sight to the acknowledging of God and his power, 
Psalm lix, 11 ; and therefore this kind of punishment was chosen 
rather than any other. Thirdly, for grace. Besides the conti 
nual succession, since the gospel, of holy men, who have borne 
\vitness to the truth, (there being no reason why any should dis 
trust St. Luke, or Tertullian, or Chrysostom, more than Tully, 
Virgil, or Livy,) there are two prophecies in the gospel, which 

The Country Parson. 57 

evidently argue Christ s divinity by their success : the one 
concerning the woman that spent the ointment on our Saviour, 
for which he told that it should never be forgotten, but with 
the gospel itself be preached to all ages, Matthew xxvi, 13 : 
the other concerning the destruction of Jerusalem ; of which 
our Saviour said, that that generation should not pass till all 
were fulfilled, Luke xxi, 32 ; which Josephus s story confirmeth, 
and the continuance of which verdict is yet evident. To these 
might be added the preaching of the gospel in ail nations, 
Matthew xxiv, 14, which we see even miraculously effected in 
these new discoveries, God turning men s covetousness and am 
bitions to the effecting of his word. Now a prophecy is a won 
der sent to posterity, lest they complain of want of wonders. It 
is a letter sealed and sent, which to the bearer is but paper, but 
to the receiver and opener is full of power. He that saw 
Christ open a blind man s eyes saw not more divinity, than he 
that reads the woman s ointment in the Gospel, or sees Jerusalem 
destroyed. With some of these heads enlarged, and woven into 
his discourse, at several times and occasions, the parson settleth 
wavering minds. But if he sees them nearer desperation than 
atheism ; not so much doubting a God as that he is their s ; then 
he dives into the boundless ocean of God s love, and the un 
speakable riches of his loving-kindness. He hath one argument 
unanswerable. If God hate them, either he doth it as they are 
creatures, dust and ashes ; or as they are sinful. As creatures 
he must needs love them ; for no perfect artist ever yet hated 
his own work. As sinful, he must much more love them ; 
because notwithstanding his infinite hate of sin, his love over 
came that hate, and that with an exceeding great victory, which 
in the creation needed not, gave them love for love, even the 
Son of his love, out of his bosom of love. So that man, which 
way soever he turns, hath two pledges of God s love, (that in 
the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be 
established) the one in his being, the other in his sinful being : 
and this as the more faulty in him, so the more glorious in God. 
And all may certainly conclude, that God loves them till either 
they despise that love, or despair of his mercy : not any sin 
else, but is within his love; but the despising of love must 
needs be without it. The thrusting away of his arm only makes 
us not embraced. 

58 The Country Parson. 


The parson s condescending. 

THE country parson is a lover of old customs, if they be good 
and harmless ; and the rather, because country people are much 
addicted to them, so that to favour them therein is to win their 
hearts, and to oppose them therein is to deject them. If there 
be any ill in the custom, which may be severed from the good, 
he pares the apple and gives them the clean to feed on. Par 
ticularly, he loves procession and maintains it, because there 
are contained therein four manifest advantages. First a bless 
ing of God for the fruits of the % field : Secondly, justice in the 
preservation of bounds : Thirdly, charity in loving, walking, 
and neighbourly accompanying one another, with reconciling of 
differences at any time, if there be any : Fourthly, mercy in 
relieving the poor by a liberal distribution and largess, which at 
that time is or ought to be used. Wherefore he exacts of all to 
be present at the perambulation : and those that withdraw, and 
sever themselves from it he mislikes, and reproves as un 
charitable and unneighbourly ; and if they will not reform, 
presents them. Nay, he is so far from condemning such assem 
blies, that he rather procures them to be often, as knowing that 
absence breeds strangeness, but presence love. Now love is his 
business and aim; wherefore he likes well that his parish at 
good times invite one another to their houses, and he urgeth 
them to it : and sometimes, where he knows there hath been or 
is a little difference, he takes one of the parties and goes with 
him to the other, and all dine or sup together. There is much 
preaching in this friendliness. Another old custom there is of 
saying, when light is brought in, " God send us the light of 
heaven ; 3> and the parson likes this very well ; neither is he 
afraid of praising or praying to God at all times, but is rather 
glad of catching opportunities to do them. Light is a great 
blessing, and as great as food, for which we give thanks : and 
those that think this superstitious, neither know superstition 
nor themselves. As for those that are ashamed to use this form, 
as being old and obsolete, and not the fashion, he reforms and 
teaches them that at baptism they professed not to be ashamed 
of Christ s cross, or for any shame to leave that which is good. 
He that is ashamed in small things will extend his pusillanimity 

The Country Parson. 59 

to greater. Rather should a Christian soldier take such oc 
casions to harden himself, and to further his exercises of 


The parson blessing. 

THE country parson wonders that blessing the people is in so 
little use with his brethren : whereas he thinks it not only a 
grave and reverend thing, but a beneficial also. Those who use 
it not, do so either out of niceness, because they like the salu 
tations, and compliments, and forms of worldly language better : 
which conformity and fashionableness is so exceeding unbe 
fitting a minister, that it deserves reproof, not refutation : or 
else, because they think it empty and superfluous. But that 
which the apostles used so diligently in their writings, nay,, 
which our Saviour himself nsed, Mark x, 16, cannot be vain and 
superfluous. But this was not proper to Christ, or the apostles 
only, no more than to be a spiritual father was appropriated to 
them. And if temporal fathers bless their children, how much 
more may and ought spiritual fathers ? Besides, the priests of 
the Old Testament were commanded to bless the people, and the 
form thereof is prescribed, Numb. vi. Now as the apostle 
argues in another case, if the ministration of condemnation did 
bless, how shall not the ministration of the Spirit exceed in 
blessing? The fruit of this blessing good Hannah found, and 
received with great joy, 1 Sam. i, 18, though it came from a 
man disallowed by God : for it was not the person, but priest 
hood, that blessed ; so that even ill priests may bless. Neither 
have the ministers power of blessing only, but also of cursing, 
So in the Old Testament Elisha cursed the children, % Kings 
ii, 24 ; which though our Saviour reproved as unfitting for his 
particular, who was to shew all humility before his passion, yet 
he allows it in his apostles. And therefore St. Peter used that 
fearful imprecation to Simon Magus, Acts viii, Thy money perish 
with thee : and the event confirmed it. So did St. Paul, 2 Tim. 
iv, 14, and 1 Tim. i, 20. Speaking of Alexander the coppersmith, 
who had withstood his preaching, The Lord, saith he, reward him 
according to his works. And again, of Hymeneus and Alexander 
he saith, he had delivered them to Satan, that they might learn not 
to blaspheme. The forms both of blessing and cursing are ex- 

60 The Country Parson. 

pounded in the Common Prayer Book, the one in The grace of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, &c., and The peace of God, &c. ; the other 
in general in the Commination. 

Now blessing differs from prayer in assurance, because it is 
not performed by way of request, but of confidence and power, 
effectually applying God s favour to the blessed, by the interest 
ing of that dignity wherewith God hath invested the priest, and 
engaging of God s own power and institution for a blessing. 
The neglect of this duty in ministers themselves hath made the 
people also neglect it ; so that they are so far from craving this 
benefit from their ghostly father, that they oftentimes go out of 
church before he hath blessed them. In the time of popery 
the priest s lenedicite and his* holy water were over-highly 
valued : and now we are fallen to the clean contrary, even from 
superstition to coldness and atheism. But the parson first values 
the gift in himself, and then teacheth his parish to value it. 
And it is observable, that if a minister talk with a great man in 
the ordinary course of complimenting language, he shall be 
esteemed as an ordinary complimenter ; but if he often interpose 
a blessing, when the other gives him just opportunity, by speak 
ing any good, this unusual form begets a reverence, and makes 
him esteemed according to his profession. The same is to be 
observed in writing letters also. To conclude, if all men are to 
bless upon occasion, as appears Rom. xii, 14, how much more 
those who are spiritual fathers ? 


Concerning detraction. 

THE country parson, perceiving that most, when they are at 
leisure, make others 1 faults their entertainment and discourse, 
and that even some good men think, so they speak truth, they 
may disclose another s fault, finds it somewhat difficult how to 
proceed in this point. For if he absolutely shut up men s 
mouths and forbid all disclosing of faults, many an evil may not 
only be, but also spread in his parish, without any remedy, 
(which cannot be applied without notice) to the dishonour of 
God and the infection of his fiock, and the discomfort, discredit 
and hindrance of the pastor. On the other side, if it be un 
lawful to open faults, no benefit or advantage can make it lawful : 
for ice must not do evil, that good may come of it. Now the 

The Country Parson. 61 

parson taking this point to task, which is so exceeding useful, 
and hath taken so deep root, that it seems the very life and 
substance of conversation, hath proceeded thus far in the dis 
cussing of it. Faults are either notorious or private. Again, 
notorious faults are either such as are made known by common 
fame, (and of these those that know them may talk, so they do 
it not with sport, but commiseration) or else such as have 
passed judgment and been corrected, either by whipping, or 
imprisoning, or the like. Of these also men may talk, and more, 
they may discover them to those that know them not ; because 
infamy is a part of the sentence against malefactors, which the 
law intends, as is evident by those which are branded for rogues, 
that they may be known ; or put into the stocks, that they may 
be looked upon. But some may say, though the law allow this, 
the gospel doth not, which hath so much advanced charity, and 
ranked backbiters among the generation of the wicked, Rom. i, 
30. But this is easily answered : as the executioner is not 
uncharitable that takes away the life of the condemned, except, 
besides his office, he add a tincture of private malice in the joy 
and haste of acting his part ; so neither is he that defames him 
whom the law would have defamed, except he also do it out of 
rancour. For in infamy all are executioners, and the law gives 
a malefactor to all to be defamed. And as malefactors mav lose 


and forfeit their goods or life, so may they their good name, and 
the possession thereof, which before their offence and judgment 
they had in all men s breasts : for all are honest, till the contrary 
be proved. Besides, it concerns the commonwealth, that rogues 
should be known, and charity to the public hath the precedence 
of private charity. So that it is so far from being a fault to 
discover such offenders, that it is a duty rather, which may do 
much good, and save much harm. Nevertheless, if the punished 
delinquent shall be much troubled for his sins, and turn quite 
another man, doubtless then also men s affections and words 
must turn, and forbear to speak of that, which even God himself 
hath forgotten. 









J ERE MY TAYLOR is stated, on what appears to be good 
authority, to have been lineally descended from Dr. Rowland 
Taylor, Rector of Hadleigh in Suffolk, and a celebrated suf 
ferer in the cause of the Reformation, under Queen Mary. 
When he was born at Cambridge, in 1613, the humble sta 
tion of his father shews that the family had not recovered 
from the effects of the confiscation of estate, which followed 
the death of his martyred ancestor. At the age of 13, he was 
admitted into Caius College, as a Sizar ; took the degree of 
B. A. ; and, whether he gained a Fellowship of his college 
or not (for the point remains doubtful) proceeded, in due 
course, to the degree of M. A. He was ordained, before he 
had reached the Canonical age ; and was soon employed as 
Deputy Lecturer at St. Paul s Cathedral. A report of his 
eloquence was conveyed to archbishop Laud, who summoned 
him to preach at Lambeth ; and, from that time, befriended 
him. The archbishop suggested his removal from Cambridge 
to Oxford. He first entered at University College ; but, not 
long afterwards, became Fellow of All Souls 5 , through the 
influence perseveringly exerted in his favour by his patron, 
the Visitor of that College. Thus it fortunately happens that 
each of the Universities of England is entitled to lay claim to 
one and the same distinguished ornament. He ceased to 
reside at Oxford, on his acceptance of the Rectory of Upping- 
ham, in Rutlandshire. When he was compelled by the 
troubles of the times to retire from his benefice, he sought 
refuge in Wales and, for a while, kept a School there ; but 
his unshaken loyalty and firm adherence to the Church sub 
jected him to frequent persecutions and occasional imprison 
ment. His character and his misfortunes combined to procure 
for him zealous and liberal supporters, under the difficulties, 
with which he had to contend. One of these (Lord Conway) 



at length induced him to accept a Lectureship and some other 
advantages in Ireland and to settle permanently in a retreat 
provided for him near Lisburn. A journey to London, in 
the beginning of 1660, afforded him an opportunity of signing 
the Loyalist Declaration of April of that year. Among the 
early results of the Restoration was his nomination, in August 
of the same year, to the bishopric of Down and Connor. In 
the next year, " on account of his virtue, wisdom, and indus 
try," (such are the words of the writ under the Privy Seal) he 
was further entrusted with the diocese of Dromore. He was, 
moreover, appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of 
Dublin. Arduous and incessant duties, both Episcopal and 
Academical, occupied him during the few remaining years of 
his life, which ended in 1667. 

His Works (most of which were published before the Resto 
ration) are universally allowed to justify the eulogy, pro 
nounced on their Author by Bishop Rust, his successor in the 
see of Dromore : 

" This great Prelate had the good humour of a Gentleman, 
" the eloquence of an Orator, the fancy of a Poet, the acute- 
" ness of a Schoolman, the profoundness of a Philosopher, the 
" wisdom of a Counsellor, the sagacity of a Prophet, the reason 
" of an Angel and the piety of a Saint." 

A Life of Bp. Taylor, with a critical examination of his 
writings, from a Prelate of kindred spirit and genius, the late 
Bp. Heber, accompanies the complete Edition of his Works, 
recently published under the direction of the Rev. C. P. Eden, 
formerly Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. 

There is also a Biography by the Rev. R. A. Wilmott, 
I2mo, entitled: " Bp. Jeremy Taylor, his Predecessors, Con- 
" temporaries and Successors." 



I. Personal duty. 

I. JtvEMEMBER that it is your great duty, and tied on you 
by many obligations, that you be exemplar in your lives, and 
be patterns and precedents to your flocks; lest it be said unto you, 
Why takest thou my law into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest to be 
reformed thereby? He that lives an idle life may preach with 
truth and reason, or as did the Pharisees : but not as Christ, or 
as one having authority. 

II. Every minister in taking accounts of his life must judge 
of his duty by more strict and severer measures, than he does of 
his people ; and he that ties heavy burdens upon others, ought 
himself to carry the heaviest end : and many things may be 
lawful in them, which he must not suffer in himself. 

III. Let every minister endeavour to be learned in all spirit 
ual wisdom, and skilful in the things of God j for he will ill 
teach others the way of godliness perfectly, that is himself a 
babe and uninstructed. An ignorant minister is an head without 
an eye ; and an evil minister is salt that hath no savour. 

IV. Every minister, above all things, must be careful that he 
be not a servant of passion, whether of anger or desire. For he 
that is not a master of his passions will always be useless, and 
quickly will become contemptible and cheap in the eyes of his 

V. Let no minister be litigious in any thing; not greedy or 

68 Bishop Taylor s Advice to Ms Clergy. 

covetous ; not insisting upon little things, or quarrelling for or 
exacting of every minute portion of his dues ; but bountiful and 
easy ; remitting of his right, when to do so may be useful to his 
people, or when the contrary may do mischief, and cause 
reproach. Be not over righteous, (saith Solomon) that is, not 
severe in demanding, or forcing every thing, though it be indeed 
his due. 

VI. Let not the name of the church be made a pretence for 
personal covetousness ; by saying, you are willing to remit many 
things, but you must not wrong the church : for though it be 
true, that you are not to do prejudice to succession, yet many 
things may be forgiven upon just occasions, from which the 
church shall receive no incomnlodity ; but be sure that there are 
but few things which thou art bound to do in thy personal 
capacity, but the same also and more thou art obliged to per 
form, as thou art a public person. 

VII. Never exact the offerings or customary wages and such 
as are allowed by law, in the ministration of the sacraments, 
nor condition for them, nor secure them beforehand ; but first 
do your office, and minister the sacraments purely, readily and 
for Christ s sake ; and when that is done, receive what is your 

VIII. Avoid all pride, as you would flee from the most 
frightful apparition, or the most cruel enemy ; and remember 
that you can never truly teach humility, or tell what it is, unless 
you practise it yourselves. 

IX. Take no measures of humility, but such as are material 
and tangible ; such which consist not in humble words, and 
lowly gestures ; but what is first truly radicated in your souls, 
in low opinion of yourselves, and in real preferring others before 
yourselves ; and in such significations, which can neither deceive 
yourselves nor others. 

X. Let every curate of souls strive to understand himself 
best ; and then to understand others. Let him spare himself 
least ; but severely judge, censure and condemn himself. If he 
be learned, let him shew it by wise teaching and humble man 
ners. If he be not learned, let him be sure to get so much 
knowledge as to know that, and so much humility as not to 
grow insolent and puffed up by his emptiness. For many will 
pardon a good man that is less learned ; but if he be proud, no 
man will forgive him. 

Bishop Taylor s Advice to his Clergy. 69 

XI. Let every minister be careful to live a life as abstracted 
from the affairs of the world, as his necessity will permit him ; 
but at no hand to be immerged and principally employed in the 
affairs of the world: what cannot be avoided, and what is of 
good report, and what he is obliged to by any personal or 
collateral duty, that he may do, but no more : ever remembering 
the saying of our blessed Lord ; In the world ye shall have trou 
ble ; hit in me ye shall have peace ; and consider this also, which 
is a great truth ; that every degree of love to the world is so 
much taken from the love of God. 

XII. Be no otherwise solicitous of your fame and reputation, 
but by doing your duty well and wisely ; in other things refer 
yourself to God ; but if you meet with evil tongues, be careful 
that you bear reproaches sweetly and temperately. 

XIII. Remember that no minister can govern his people well, 
and prosperously, unless himself hath learned humbly and 
cheerfully to obey his superior. For every minister should be 
like the good centurion in the gospel ; himself is under authority, 
and he hath people under him. 

XIV. Be sure in all your words and actions to preserve 
Christian simplicity and ingenuity ; to do to others as you 
would be done unto yourself, and never to speak what you do 
not think. Trust to truth, rather than to your memory ; for 
this may fail you, that will never. 

XV. Pray much and very fervently for all your parishioners 
and all men that belong to you and all that belong to God ; but 
especially for the conversion of souls ; and be very zealous for 
nothing but for God s glory and the salvation of the world, 
and particularly of your charges : ever remembering that you 
are by God appointed, as the ministers of prayer and the 
ministers of good things, to pray for all the world and to heal 
all the world, as far as you are able. 

XVI. Every minister must learn and practise patience, that 
by bearing all adversity meekly and humbly and cheerfully, 
and by doing all his duty with unwearied industry and with 
great courage, constancy and Christian magnanimity, he may 
the better assist his people, in the bearing of their crosses and 
overcoming of their difficulties. 

XVII. He that is holy, let him be holy still, and still more 
holy, and never think he hath done his work, till all be finished 
by perseverance, and the measures of perfection in a holy life, 

70 Bishop Taylor s Advice to his Clergy. 

and a holy death ; but at no hand must he magnify himself by 
vain separations from others, or despising them that are not so 

II. Of prudence required in ministers. 

XVIII. Remember that discretion is the mistress of all 
graces ; and humility is the greatest of all miracles : and with 
out this, all graces perish to a man s self ; and without that, all 
graces are useless unto others. 

XIX. Let no minister be governed by the opinion of his 
people, and destroy his duty, by unreasonable compliance with 
their humours, lest, as the bishop of Granata told the governors 
of Leria and Patti, like silly animals they take burdens upon 
their backs at the pleasure of *the multitude, which they neither 
can retain with prudence nor shake off with safety. 

XX. Let not the reverence of any man cause you to sin 
against God ; but in the matter of souls, being well advised, be 
bold and confident ; but abate nothing of the honour of God, or 
the just measures of your duty, to satisfy the importunity of any 
man whatsoever, and God will bear you out. 

XXI. When you teach your people any part of their duty, as 
in paying their debts, their tithes and offerings, in giving due 
reverence and religious regards, diminish nothing of admonition 
in these particulars, and the like, though they object, That you 
speak for yourselves, and in your own cases. For counsel is 
not the worse, but the better, if it be profitable both to him that 
gives and to him that takes it. Only do it in simplicity, and 
principally intend the good of their souls. 

XXII. In taking accounts of the good lives of yourselves or 
others, take your measures by the express words of scripture ; 
and next to them estimate them by their proportion and compli 
ance with the public measures, with the laws of the nation, ec 
clesiastical and civil, and by the rules of fame, of public honesty 
and good report ; and last of all by their observation of the ordi 
nances and exterior parts of religion. 

XXIII. Be not satisfied when you have done a good work, 
unless you have also done it well ; and when you have, then be 
careful that vainglory, partiality, self-conceit, or any other folly 
or indiscretion, snatch it not out of your hand, and cheat you of 
the reward. 

XXIV. Be careful so to order yourself, that you fall not into 
temptation and folly in the presence of any of your charges ; and 

Bishop Taylor s Advice to Ms Clergy. 71 

especially that you fall not into chidings and intemperate talk- 
ings, and sudden and violent expressions: never be a party in 
clamours and scoldings, lest your calling become useless, and your 
person contemptible : ever remembering that if you cheaply and 
lightly be engaged in such low usages with any person, that per 
son is likely to be lost from all possibility of receiving much 
good from your ministry. 

III. The rules and measures of government to be used ly 
ministers in their respective cures. 

XXV. Use no violence to any man, to bring him to your 
opinion ; but by the word of your proper ministry, by demon 
strations of the Spirit, by rational discourses, by excellent exam 
ples, constrain them to come in ; and for other things they are 
to be permitted to their own liberty, to the measures of the laws, 
and the conduct of their governors. 

XXVI. Suffer no quarrel in your parish, and speedily sup 
press it, when it is begun ; and though all wise men will 
abstain from interposing in other men s affairs, and especially in 
matters of interest, which men love too well ; yet it is your 
duty here to interpose, by persuading them to friendships, re 
concilements, moderate prosecutions of their pretences ; and by 
all means you prudently can, to bring them to peace and 
brotherly kindness. 

XXVII. Suffer no houses of debauchery, of drunkenness or 
lust in your parishes ; but implore the assistance of authority 
for the suppressing of all such meeting-places and nurseries of 
impiety ; and as for places of public entertainment, take care 
that they observe the rules of Christian piety and the allowed 
measures of the law. 

XXVIII. If there be any papists or sectaries in your parishes, 
neglect not frequently to confer with them in the spirit of 
meekness, and by the importunity of wise discourses seeking to 
gain them. But stir up no violences against them ; but leave 
them (if they be incurable) to the wise and merciful disposition 
of the laws. 

XXIX. Receive not the people to doubtful disputations : and 
let no names of sects or differing religions be kept up amongst 
you, to the disturbance of the public peace and private charity ; 
and teach not the people to estimate their piety by their distance 
from any opinion, but by their faith in Christ, their obedience 

Bishop Taylor s Advice to his Clergy. 

to God and the laws, and their love to all Christian people, even 
though they be deceived. 

XXX. Think no man considerable upon the point or pre 
tence of a tender conscience, unless he live a good life, and in 
all things endeavour to approve himself void of offence both to 
wards God and man : but if he be an humble person, modest 
and inquiring, apt to learn and desirous of information ; if he 
seeks for it in all ways reasonable and pious, and is obedient to 
laws, then take care of him, use him tenderly, persuade him 
meekly, reprove him gently, and deal mercifully with him, till 
God shall reveal also that to him, in which his unavoidable 
trouble and his temptation lies. 

XXXI. Mark them that cause divisions among you, and 
avoid them ; for such persons are by the scripture called scan 
dals* in the abstract; they are offenders and offences too. But 
if any man have an opinion, let him have it to himself, till he 
can be cured of his disease by time and counsel and gentle 
usages. But if he separates from the church, or gathers a con 
gregation, he is proud, and is fallen from the communion of 
saints and the unity of the catholic church. 

XXXII. He that observes any of his people to be zealous 
let him be careful to conduct that zeal into such channels where 
there is least danger of inconveniency ; let him employ it in 
something that is good ; let it be pressed to fight against sin. 
For zeal is like a cancer in the breast ; feed it with good flesh, 
or it will devour the heart. 

XXXIII. Strive to get the love of the congregation ; but 
let it not degenerate into popularity. Cause them to love 
you and revere you ; to love with religion, not for your com 
pliance ; for the good you do them, not for that you please 
them. Get their love by doing your duty, but not by omitting 
or spoiling any part of it : ever remambering the severe words 
of our blessed Saviour, Wo be to you when all men speak well 
of you. 

XXXIV. Suffer not the common people to prattle about re 
ligion and questions ; but to speak little, to be swift to hear, and 
slow to speak ; that they learn to do good works for necessary 
uses, that they work with their hands, that they may have where 
withal to give to them that need ; that they study to be quiet, 
and learn to do their own business. 

Trapa TTJV di^a\f)V. Vide Rom. xvi. 17? ol 

Bishop Taylor s Advice to his Clergy. 73 

XXXV. Let every minister take care that he call on his 
charge, that they order themselves so that they leave no void 
spaces of their time, but that every part of it be filled with use 
ful or innocent employment. For where there is a space without 
business, that space is the proper time for danger and tempta 
tion ; and no man is more miserable than he that knows not how 
to spend his time. 

XXXVI. Fear no man s person in the doing of your duty 
wisely and according to the laws : remembering always, that a 
servant of God can no more be hurt by all the powers of wick 
edness, than by the noise of a fly s wing, or the chirping of a 
sparrow. Brethren, do well for yourselves; do well for your 
selves as long as you have time ; you know not how soon death 
will come. 

XXXVII. Entertain no persons into your assemblies from 
other parishes, unless upon great occasion, or in the destitution 
of a minister, or by contingency and seldom visits, or with leave ; 
lest the labour of thy brother be discouraged, and thyself be 
thought to preach Christ out of envy, and not of good-will * 

XXXVIII. Never appeal to the judgment of the people in 
matters of controversy ; teach them obedience, not arrogancy ; 
teach them to be humble, not crafty. For without the aid of 
false guides you will find some of them of themselves apt enough 
to be troublesome ; and a question put into their heads and a 
power of judging into their hands, is a putting it to their choice 
whether you shall be troubled by them this week or the next ; 
for much longer you cannot escape. 

XXXIX. Let no minister of a parish introduce any ceremony, 
rites, or gestures, though with some seeming piety and devotion, 
but what are commanded by the church, and established by law ; 
and let these also be wisely and usefully explicated to the people, 
that they may understand the reasons of obedience ; but let 
there be no more introduced, lest the people be burdened un 
necessarily, and tempted or divided. 

IV. Rules and advices concerning preaching. 

XL. Let every minister be diligent in preaching the word of 
God, according to the ability that God gives him : ever remem 
bering that to minister God s word unto the people is the one 
half of his great office and employment. 

XLI. Let every minister be careful that what he delivers be 

74 Bishop Taylor s Advice to Ms Clergy. 

indeed the word of God ; that his sermon may be answerable to 
his text ; for this is God s word, the other ought to be according 
to it ; that, although in itself it be but the word of man, yet by 
the purpose, truth and signification of it, it may, in a secondary 
sense, be the word of God. 

XLII. Do not spend your sermons in general and indefinite 
things, as in exhortations to the people to get Christ, to be united 
to Christ, and things of the like unlimited signification ; but tell 
them in every duty, what are the measures, what circumstances, 
what instruments, and what is the particular minute meaning of 
every general advice. For generals not explicated do but fill 
the people s heads with empty notions, and their mouths with 
perpetual unintelligible talk; but their hearts remain empty, 
and themselves are not edified. 

XLIII. Let not the humours and inclinations of the people 
be the measures of your doctrines, but let your doctrines be the 
measure of their persuasions. Let them know from you what 
they ought to do ; but if you learn from them what you ought 
to teach, you will give but a very ill account at the day of judg 
ment of the souls committed to you. He that receives from the 
people what he shall teach them, is like a nurse that asks of her 
child what physic she shall give him. 

XLIV. Every minister, in reproofs of sin and sinners, ought 
to concern himself in the faults of them that are present, but 
not of the absent ; nor in reproof of the times ; for this can serve 
no end but of faction and sedition, public murmur and private 
discontent ; besides this, it does nothing but amuse the people 
in the faults of others, teaching them to revile their betters and 
neglect the dangers of their own souls. 

XLV. As it looks like flattery and design to preach nothing 
before magistrates but the duty of their people and their own 
eminency ; so it is the beginning of mutiny to preach to the 
people the duty of their superiors and supreme ; it can neither 
come from a good principle nor tend to a good end. Every 
minister ought to preach to his parish, and urge their duty : St. 
John the Baptist told the soldiers what the soldiers should do, 
but troubled not their heads with what was the duty of the 
Scribes and Pharisees. 

XLVI. In the reproof of sins, be as particular as you please, 
and spare no man s sin, but meddle with no man s person ; 
neither name any man nor signify him, neither reproach him, 

Bishop Taylor s Advice to his Clergy. 75 

or make him to be suspected ; he that doth otherwise makes his 
sermon to be a libel, and the ministry of repentance an instru 
ment of revenge ; and so doing he shall exasperate the man, but 
never amend the sinner. 

XLVII. Let the business of your sermons be to preach holy 
life, obedience, peace, love among neighbours, hearty love, to 
live as the old Christians did, and the new should ; to do hurt 
to no man, to do good to every man : for in these things the 
honour of God consists, and the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. 

XLVIII. Press those graces most that do most good, and 
make the least noise ; such as giving privately and forgiving 
publicly ; and prescribe the grace of charity by all the mea 
sures of it which are given by the apostle, 1 Cor. xiii. For this 
grace is not finished by good words, nor yet by good works, but 
it is a great building, and many materials go to the structure of 
it. It is worth your study, for it is the fulfilling of the Com 

XLIX. Because it is impossible that charity should live, un 
less the lust of the tongue be mortified, let every minister in his 
charge be frequent and severe against slanderers, detractors, and 
backbiters ; for the crime of backbiting is the poison of charity, 
and yet so common, that it is passed into a proverb, After a good 
dinner, let us sit down and backbite our neighbours. 

L. Let every minister be careful to observe, and vehement in 
reproving those faults of his parishioners, of which the laws can 
not or do not take cognizance ; such as are many degrees of 
intemperate drinkings, gluttony, riotous living, expenses above 
their ability, pride, bragging, lying in ordinary conversation, 
covetousness, peevishness, and hasty anger, and such like. For 
the word of God searches deeper than the laws of men ; and 
many things will be hard to be proved by the measures of 
courts, which are easy enough to be observed by the watchful 
and diligent eye and ear of the guide of souls. 

LI. In your sermons to the people, often speak of the four 
last things, of death and judgment, heaven and hell ; of the life 
and death of Jesus Christ ; of God s mercy to repenting sinners, 
and his severity against the impenitent ; of the formidable exam 
ples of God s anger poured forth upon rebels, sacrilegious, op 
pressors of widows and orphans, and all persons guilty of crying 
sins : these are useful, safe, and profitable : but never run into 
extravagances and curiosities, nor trouble yourselves or them 

76 Bishop Taylor s Advice to Ms Clergy. 

with mysterious secrets ; for there is more laid before you than 
you can understand ; and the whole duty of man is, To fear God 
and Jceep Ms commandments. Speak but very little of the secret 
and high things of God, but as much as you can of the lowness 
and humility of Christ. 

LII. Be not hasty in pronouncing damnation against any man 
, or party in a matter of disputation. It is enough that you re 

prove an error ; but what shall be the sentence against it at the 
day of judgment, thou knowest not, and therefore pray for the 
erring person and reprove him, but leave the sentence to his 

... ,.. Judge. 

LIII. Let your sermons teach the duty of all states of men to 
whom you speak ; and particularly take care of servants and 
hirelings, merchants and tradesmen, that they be not unskilful, 
nor unadmonished in their respective duties ; and in all things 
speak usefully and affectionately ; for by this means you will 
provide for all men s needs, both for them that sin by reason of 
their little understanding, and them that sin because they have 
evil, dull or depraved affections. 

LIV. In your sermons and discourses of religion, use primi 
tive, known and accustomed words, and affect not new fantasti 
cal or schismatical terms ; let the Sundav festival be called the 


, Lord s day ; and pretend no fears from the common use of words 
amongst Christians. For they that make a business of the words 
of common use, and reform religion by introducing a new word^ 
intend to make a change, but no amendment ; they spend them 
selves in trifles, like the barren turf that sends forth no medici- 
nable herbs, but store of mushrooms ; and they give a demon 
stration that they are either impertinent people, or else of a 
querulous nature; and that they are ready to disturb the 
church, if they could find occasion. 

LV. Let every minister in his charge, as much as he can, en 
deavour to destroy all popular errors and evil principles taken 
up by his people, or others with whom they converse; espe 
cially those that directly oppose the indispensable necessity of a 
holy life ; let him endeavour to understand in what true and 
useful sense Christ s active obedience is imputed to us ; let him 
make his people fear the deferring of their repentance, and put 
ting it off to their death-bed ; let him explicate the nature of 
faith, so that it be an active and quickening principle of charity; 
let him, as much as he may, take from them all confidences that 

Bishop Taylor s Advice to his Clergy. 77 

slacken their obedience and diligence ; let him teach them to 
impute all their sins to their own follies and evil choice, and so 
build them up in a most holy faith to a holy life : ever remem 
bering that in all ages it hath been the greatest artifice of Satan 
to hinder the increase of Chrises kingdom by destroying those 
things in which it does consist, viz. peace and righteousness, 
holiness and mortification. 

LVI. Every minister ought to be careful that he never ex- { 
pound scriptures in public contrary to the known sense of the 
catholic church, and particularly of the churches of England and 
Ireland, nor introduce any doctrine against any of the four first 
general councils ; for these, as they are measures of truth, so also 
of necessity ; that is, as they are safe, so they are sufficient ; and 
beside what is taught by these, no matter of belief is necessary/ 
to salvation. 

LVII. Let no preacher bring before the people, in his sermons 
or discourses, the argument of great and dangerous heresies, 
though with a purpose to confute them ; for they will much easier 
retain the objection than understand the answer. 

LVIIL Let not the preacher make an article of faith to be a 
matter of dispute ; but teach it with plainness and simplicity, 
and confirm it with easy arguments and plain words of scripture, 
but without objection ; let them be taught to believe, but not to 
argue, lest if the arguments meet with a scrupulous person, it 
rather shake the foundation by curious inquiry, than establish it 
by arguments too hard. 

LIX. Let the preacher be careful that in his sermons he use 
no light, immodest or ridiculous expressions, but what is wise, 
grave, useful and for edification ; that, when the preacher brings 
truth and gravity, the people may attend with fear and reverence. 

LX. Let no preacher envy any man that hath a greater au 
dience, or more fame in preaching than himself ; let him not 
detract from him or lessen his reputation directly or indirectly ; 
for he that cannot be even with his brother but by pulling him 
down, is but a dwarf still ; and no man is the better for making 
his brother worse. In all things desire that Christ s kingdom 
may be advanced ; and rejoice that he is served, whoever be the 
minister ; that if you cannot have the fame of a great preacher, 
yet you may have the reward of being a good man; but it is 
hard to miss both. 

LXI. Let every preacher in his parish take care to explicate 

78 Bishop Taylors Advice to his Clergy. 

to the people the mysteries of the great festivals, as of Christ 
mas, Easter, Ascension-day, Whit-Sunday, Trinity-Sunday, the 
Annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary ; because these feasts, 
containing in them the great fundamentals of our faith, will 
with most advantage convey the mysteries to the people, and fix 
them in their memories, by the solemnity and circumstances of 
the day. 

LXII. In all your sermons and discourses speak nothing of 
God but what is honourable and glorious ; and impute not to 
him such things, the consequences of which a wise and good man 
will not own : never suppose him to be author of sin, or the 
procurer of our damnation. For God cannot be tempted, neither 
tempteth he any man. God is true, and every man a liar. 

LXIII. Let no preacher compare one ordinance with another; 
as prayer with preaching, to the disparagement of either ; but use 
both in their proper seasons, and according to appointed order. 

LXIV. Let no man preach for the praise of men ; but if you 
meet it, instantly watch and stand upon your guard, and pray 
against your own vanity ; and by an express act of acknowledg 
ment and adoration, return the praise to God. Remember that 
Herod was, for the omission of this, smitten by an angel ; and do 
thou tremble, fearing lest the judgment of God be otherwise than 
the sentence of the people. 

V. Rules and advices concerning Catechism.. 

<^&a*V*J*AJQJ <U>k 

LXV. Every minister is bound, upon every Lord s day before 
evening prayer, to instruct all young people in the Creed, the 
Lord s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the doctrine of the 
sacraments, as they are set down and explicated in the Church 

LXVL Let a bell be tolled when the catechising is to begin, 
that all who desire it may be present ; but let all the more 
ignorant and uninstructed part of the people, whether they be old 
or young, be required to be present ; that no person in your 
parishes be ignorant in the foundations of religion : ever remem 
bering that, if in these things they be unskilful, whatever is 
taught besides is like a house built upon the sand. 

LXVII. Let every minister teach his people the use, practice, 
methods and benefits of meditation, or mental prayer. Let them 
draw out for them helps and rules for their assistance in it, and 
furnish them with materials, concerning the life and death of the 

Bishop Taylor s Advice to his Clergy. 79 

ever blessed Jesus, the greatness of God, our own meanness, the 
dreadful sound of the last trumpet, the infinite event of the two 
last sentences at doomsday : let them be taught to consider what 
they have been, what they are, and what they shall be ; and, 
above all things, what are the issues of eternity ; glories never to 
cease, pains never to be ended. 

LXVIII. Let every minister exhort his people to a frequent 
confession of their sins, and a declaration of the state of their 
souls ; to a conversation with their minister in spiritual things, 
to an inquiry concerning all the parts of their duty ; for by 
preaching and catechising and private intercourse, all the needs of 
souls can best be served ; but by preaching alone they cannot. 

LXIX. Let the people be exhorted to keep fasting-days, and 
the feasts of the church, according to their respective capacities ; 
so it be done without burden to them, and without becoming a 
snare ; that is, that, upon the account of religion and holy desires 
to please God, they spend some time in religion, besides the 
Lord s day; but be very careful that the Lord s day be kept 
religiously, according to the severest measures of the church 
and the commands of authority : ever remembering, that as they 
give but little testimony of repentance and mortification, who 
never fast ; so they give but small evidence of their joy in God 
and religion, who are unwilling solemnly to partake of the public 
and religious joys of the Christian church. 

LXX. Let every minister be diligent in exhorting all parents 
and masters to send their children and servants to the bishop at 
the visitation, or other solemn times of his coming to them, that 
they may be confirmed : and let him also take care that all young 
persons may, by understanding the principles of religion, their 
vow of baptism, the excellency of the Christian religion, the 
necessity and advantages of it and of living according to it, be 
fitted and disposed, and accordingly by them presented, to the 
bishop, that he may pray over them and invocate the Holy Spirit 
and minister the holy rite of confirmation. 

VI. Rules and advices concerning the visitation of the sick. 

LXX I. Every minister ought to be careful in visiting all the 
sick and afflicted persons of his parish : ever remembering, that 
as the priest s lips are to preserve knowledge, so it is his duty to 
minister a word of comfort in the time of need. 

80 Bishop Taylors Advice to his Clergy. 

LXXII. A minister must not stay till he be sent for ; but of 
his own accord and care go to them, to examine them, to exhort 
them to perfect their repentance, to strengthen their faith, to 
encourage their patience, to persuade them to resignation, to the 
renewing of their holy vows, to the love of God, to be reconciled 
to their neighbours, to make restitution and amends, to confess 
their sins, to settle their estate, to provide for their charges, to 
do acts of piety and charity, and above all things, that they take 
care they do not sin towards the end of their lives. For if 
repentance on our death-bed seem so very late for the sins of our 
life ; what time shall be left to repent us of the sins we commit 
on our death-bed ? 

LXXIII. When you comfort the afflicted, endeavour to bring 
them to the true love of God; for he that serves God for 
God s sake, it is almost impossible he should be oppressed with 

LXXIV. In answering the cases of conscience of the sick or 
afflicted people, consider not who asks, but what he asks ; and 
consult in your answers more with the estate of his soul, than the 
conveniency of his estate ; for no flattery is so fatal as that of the 
physician or divine. 

LXXV. If the sick person inquires concerning the final estate 
of his soul, he is to be reproved rather than answered ; only he 
is to be called upon to finish his duty, to do all the good he can 
in that season, to pray for pardon and acceptance : but you have 
nothing to do to meddle with passing final sentences; neither 
cast him down in despair, nor raise him up to vain and unrea 
sonable confidences. But take care that he be not carelessly 

LXXVI. In order to these and many other good purposes, 
every minister ought frequently to converse with his parishioners ; 
to go to their houses, but always publicly, with witness, and 
with prudence, lest what is charitably intended be scandalously 
reported ; and in all yonr conversation be sure to give good 
example, and upon all occasions to give good counsel. 

VII. Of ministering the sacraments, public prayers, and other 

duties of ministers. 

LXXVII. Every minister is obliged publicly or privately to 

Bishop Taylors Advice to his Clergy. 81 

read the Common prayer every day in the week, at morning and 
evening ; and in great towns and populous places conveniently 
inhabited, it must be read in churches, that the daily sacrifice of 
prayer and thanksgiving may never cease. 

LXXVIII. The minister is to instruct the people that the 
baptism of their children ought not to be ordinarily deferred 
longer than till the next Sunday after the birth of the child ; lest 
importune and unnecessary delay occasion that the child die, 
before it is dedicated to the service of God and the religion 
of the Lord Jesus ; before it be born again, admitted to the 
promises of the Gospel and reckoned in the account of the 
second Adam. 

LXXIX. Let every minister exhort and press the people to 
a devout and periodical communion at the least three times in 
the year, at the great festivals ; but the devouter sort and they 
who have leisure, are to be invited to a frequent communion ; 
and let it be given and received with great reverence. 

LXXX. Every minister ought to be well skilled and studied 
in saying his office, in the rubrics, the canons, the articles and 
the homilies of the church, that he may do his duty readily, 
discreetly, gravely and by the public measures of the laws. To 
which also it is very useful that it be added that every minister 
study the ancient canons of the church, especially the peniten- 
tials of the eastern and western churches : let him read good 
books, such as are approved by public authority ; such which 
are useful, wise and holy ; not the scribblings of unlearned 
parties, but of men learned, pious, obedient and disinterested ; 
and amongst these, such especially which describe duty and 
good life, which minister to faith and charity, to piety and devo 
tion ; cases of conscience, and solid expositions of scripture : 
concerning which, learned and wise persons are to be consulted. 

LXXXI. Let not a curate of souls trouble himself with any 
studies but such which concern his own or his people s duty ; 
such as may enable him to speak well and to do well ; but to 
meddle not with controversies, but such by which he may be 
enabled to convince the gainsayers, in things that concern public 
peace and a good life. 

LXXXII. Be careful in all the public administrations of your 
parish that the poor be provided for. Think it no shame to beg 
for Christ s poor members ; stir up the people to liberal alms by 
your words and your example. Let a collection be made every 


82 Bishop Taylor s Advice to Ms Clergy. 

Lord s day, and upon all solemn meetings, and at every com 
munion ; and let the collection be wisely and piously admin 
istered : ever remembering that, at the day of judgment, 
nothing shall publicly be proclaimed but the reward of alms 
and mercy. 

LXXXIII. Let every minister be sure to lay up a treasure 
of comforts and advices, to bring forth for every man s need in 
the day of his trouble ; let him study and heap together instru 
ments and advices for the promoting of every virtue, and reme 
dies and arguments against every vice ; let him teach his people 
to make acts of virtue not only by external exercise, but also in 
the way of prayer and internal meditation. 

In these and all things else "that concern the minister s duty, 
if there be difficulty, you are to repair to your bishop, for further 
advice, assistance and information. 

./; // 

# _. 








GILBERT BURNET, born at Edinburgh in 1643, was of 
an ancient and influential family in Aberdeenshire. His 
father, an Episcopalian and Royalist, was thrice obliged 
to quit Scotland for refusing the Solemn League and Covenant. 
At last, relinquishing the practice of the Law, he was per 
mitted to reside on his own estate ; from whence he was re 
called into active life, at the Restoration, and made a Lord of 
Session. The early education of his son Gilbert was wholly 
under his care ; and so managed by him that his pupil, at 
the age of 10, was sent to the College of Aberdeen and, at the 
age of 14, took the Degree of M. A. The youthful Graduate 
applied himself, for more than a year, to the study of the Law ; 
but soon deliberately chose the Sacred Profession, for which 
his father had destined him. He zealously pursued the requi 
site studies under able guides, whom he has gratefully com 
memorated and among whom was included the learned and 
pious Robert Leighton, then Bishop of Dumblane, afterwards 
Archbishop of Glasgow. He was ordained Priest in 1665, 
was elected Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow 
in 1670, and continued to fill the Chair of chief Teacher of 
Theology there, until 1674. Circumstances then led him to 
settle in London, where he became Preacher at the Rolls Chapel 
and Lecturer at St. Clement s. His conduct during the trial and 
at the execution of William, Lord Russell (who was a valued 
friend of his) involved him in difficulties with the Court ; and 
he was ultimately, through Royal interference, both dismissed 
from his Lectureship and deprived of the Rolls Chaplaincy. 
Upon the accession of James II, he left England and, having 
married a Dutch lady of Scotch descent, was naturalized as a 
subject of the States of Holland. He was thus placed out of 
the reach of his enemies at home and conveniently situated for 
acting the prominent part, which History ascribes to him, to 
wards and in the Revolution of 1688. He was nominated to the 


Bishoprick of Salisbury, soon after William and Mary had as 
cended the Throne ; survived Queen Anne, to whose son, 
the Duke of Gloucester, he had been Preceptor ; and died in 
1715. His share in the public transactions of his times and 
his numerous Writings will preserve his name and memory ; 
and will afford occasion, in future, for such diverse and even 
opposite estimates of his merits as have been already often 
formed. The following testimony comes from one, who was 
no admirer of the Bishop s Politics, but too sincere a lover of 
truth to do injustice to any man : 

; Burnet, as it must be acknowledged even by his enemies, 

" was an active and meritorious Bishop and, to the extent 

" of his opportunities, a rewarder of merit in others. He 

* was orthodox in points of faith, possessed superior talents, 

: as well as very considerable learning ; was an instructive and 

entertaining Writer, in a style negligent indeed and in- 

" elegant, but perspicuous ; a generous, open-hearted and, in 

" his actions, good natured man ; and, although busy and 

u intrusive, at least as honest as most partisans." 

The Life of Bishop Burnet, written by his son, is added to 
the History of his Own Time, in the Oxford Edition of that 
Work by the late revered President of Magdalen College, Dr. 
Routh, from whose Preface the passage above cited has been 




Of the dignity of sacred employments, and the names and designa 
tions given to them in scripture. 

-H-OW low soever the esteem of the clergy may be sunk in 
a profane and corrupt age, and how much soever the errors 
and disorders of clergymen may have contributed to bring this 
not only upon themselves, but upon others who deserve better, 
but are unhappy in being mixed with so much ill company ; yet 
certainly if we either consider the nature of things in themselves, 
or the value that is set on that profession in the scriptures, it 
will appear that it ought to be considered at another rate than 
it is. As much as the soul is better than the bodv, and as much 

f * 

as the purifying and perfecting the soul is preferable to all those 
mechanical employments which relate to the body, and as much 
as eternity is more valuable than this short and transitory life ; 
so much does this employment excel all others. 

A clergyman, by his character and design of life, ought to be 
a man separated from the cares and concerns of this world and 
dedicated to the study and meditation of divine matters : whose 
conversation ought to be a pattern for others ; a constant 
preaching to his people : who ought to offer up the prayers of 
the people in their name, and as their mouth to God : who ought 
to be praying and interceding for them in secret, as well as 
officiating among them in public : who ought to be distributing 

88 Of the Pastoral Care. 

among them the bread of life, the word of God ; and to be dis 
pensing among them the sacred rites, which are the badges, the 
union and the supports of Christians. He ought to admonish, 
to reprove and to comfort them, not only by his general 
doctrine in his sermons, but from house to house ; that so he 
may do these things more home and effectually than can be 
done from the pulpit. He is to watch over their souls, to keep 
them from error and to alarm them out of their sins, by giving 
them warning of the judgments of God ; to visit the sick, and to 
prepare them for the judgment and life to come. 

This is the function of a clergyman ; who, that he may 
perform all these duties with more advantage and better effect, 
ought to behave himself so well that his own conversation may 
not only be without offence, but be so exemplary, that his people 
may have reason to conclude that he himself does firmly believe 
all those things, which he proposes to them ; that he thinks 
himself bound to follow all those rules that he sets them ; and 
that they may see such a serious spirit of devotion in him, that 
from thence they may be induced to believe that his chief 
design among them is to do them good and to save their souls ; 
which may prepare them so to esteem aud love him, that they 
may not be prejudiced against any thing that he does and says 
in public, by any thing that they observe in himself in secret. 
He must also be employing himself so well in his private 
studies, that from thence he may be furnished with such a 
variety of lively thoughts, divine meditations and proper and 
noble expressions, as may enable him to discharge every part of 
his duty in such a manner, as may raise not so much his own 
reputation, as the credit of his function, and of the great message 
of reconciliation that is committed to his charge : above all 
studies, he ought to apply himself to understand the holy 
scriptures aright 5 to have his memory well furnished that 
way, that so upon all occasions he may be able to enforce what 
he says out of them, and so be an able minister of the new 

This is in short the character of a true clergyman, which is to 
be more fully opened and enlarged on in the following parts of 
this book. All this looks so great and so noble that it does not 
appear necessary to raise it, or to insist on it more fully. Indeed 
it speaks its own dignity so sensibly, that none will dispute it 
but such as arc open enemies to all religion in general, or to the 

Of the Pastoral Care. 89 

Christian religion in particular ; and yet even few of these are 
so entirely corrupted, as not to wish that external order and 
policy were kept up among men, for restraining the injustice 
and violence of unruly appetites and passions ; which few, even 
of the tribe of the libertines, seem to desire to be let loose ; 
since the peace and safety of mankind require that the world be 
kept in method and under some yoke. 

It will be more suitable to my design, to shew how well this 
character agrees with that which is laid down in the scriptures 
concerning these offices. I shall begin first with the names, and 
then go on to the descriptions, and lastly proceed to the rules 
that we find in them. 

The name of deacon, that is now appropriated to the lowest 
office in the church, was, in the time that the New Testament 
was writ, used more promiscuously : for the apostles, the 
evangelists and those, whom the apostles sent to visit the 
churches, are all called by this name. Generally in all those 
places where the word minister is in our translation, it is deacon 
in the Greek, which signifies properly a servant, or one who 
labours for another. Such persons are dedicated to the imme 
diate service of God ; and are appropriated to the offices and 
duties of the church ; so this term both expresses the dignity 
and the labour of the employment. 

The next order carries now the name of presbyter, or elder ; 
which though at first it was applied not only to bishops, but to 
the apostles themselves ; yet in the succeeding ages, it came to 
be appropriated to the second rank of the officers in the church. 
It either signifies a seniority of age, or of Christianity, in oppo 
sition to a neophyte or novice, one newly converted to the faith ; 
but by common practice, as senate or senator, being at first 
given to counsellors by reason of their age, came afterwards to 
be a title appropriate to them ; so the title presbyter, (altered in 
pronunciation to be in English, priest) or elder, being a charac 
ter of respect, denotes the dignity of those, to whom it belongs : 
but since St. Paul divides this title either into two different 
ranks, or into two different performances of the duties of the 
same rank, those that rule well, and those that labour in word and 
doctrine* ; this is a title that speaks both the dignity, and like 
wise the duty belonging to this function. 

a i Tim. v, 17. 

90 Of the Pastoral Care. 

The title which is now by the custom of many ages given to 
the highest function in the church, of bishop, or inspector and 
overseer, as it imports a dignity in him, as the chief of those 
who labour ; so it does likewise express his obligation to care 
and diligence, both in observing and overseeing the whole flock ; 
and more specially in inspecting the deportment and labours of 
his fellow-workmen, who are subordinate to him in the constitu 
tion of the church, yet ought to be esteemed by him, in imitation 
of the apostles, his brethren, his fellow-labourers and fellow- 
servants. Next to the names of the sacred functions, I shall 
consider the other designations and figures, made use of to 
express them. 

The most common is that of pastor or shepherd. It is to be 
remembered, that in the first simplicity of mankind, for many 
ages, men looked after their own cattle, or employed their 
children in it ; and when they trusted that care to any other, it 
was no small sign of their confidence, according to what Jacob 
said to Laban. The care of a good shepherd was a figure then 
so well understood, that the prophet expresses God s care of his 
people by this, of his feeding them as a shepherd, carrying his 
lambs in his bosom, and gently leading them that were with young b . 
Christ also calls himself the good Shepherd, that knew his sheep, 
and did not as a hireling, fly away when the wolf came, but laid 
down his life for his sheep c . This then, being so often made use 
of in both Testaments, is an expression of the great trust com 
mitted to the clergy, which likewise supposes a great, a constant 
and a tender care in looking to, in feeding or instructing, in 
watching over and guarding the flock against errors and sins, 
and their being ready to offer themselves to the first fury of 

The title of stewards, or dispensers, which is the most honour 
able in a household, is also given to them. These assign to 
every one his due share, both of labour and of provision ; these 
watch over them and have the care and order of the other ser 
vants assigned to them. So in this great family, of which Christ 
is the head d , the stewards are not only in a post of great dignity, 
but also of much labour : they ought to be observing the rest of 
this household, that they may be faithful in the distribution, and 
so encourage, admonish, reprove, or censure, as there is occasion 
for it. 

b Isa. xl, ii. c John x, u, 12. d i Cor. iv, I, 2. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 91 

They are also called ambassadors, and this upon the noblest 
and most desirable message; for their business is to treat of 
peace between God and man ; to them is given the word or doc 
trine of reconciliation ; they are sent by Christ and do speak in 
God s name ; as if God did beseech men by them ; so do they in 
Chrisfs stead, who is the Mediator, press men to be reconciled to 
God e ; words of a very high sound, of great trust and dignity, 
but which import likewise great obligations. An ambassador is 
very solicitous to maintain the dignity of his character, and his 
master s honour ; and chiefly to carry on that which is the main 
business that he is sent upon, which he is always contriving how 
to promote : so if the honour of this title affects us, as it ought to 
do, with a just value for it, we ought at the same time to consi 
der the obligations, that accompany it, of living suitable to it, 
answering in some sort the dignity and majesty of the King of 
kings, that has committed it to us : and of labouring with all 
possible diligence, to effectuate the great design on which we 
are sent ; the reconciling sinners to God : the work having in 
itself a proportion to the dignity of him that employs us in it. 

Another, and yet a more glorious title, is that of angels f , 
who, as they are of a pure and sublime nature and are called 
a flaming fire> so do always behold the face of our heavenly 
Father, and ever do his will, and are also ministering spirits, sent 
forth to minister to them that are appointed to be the heirs of 
salvation. This title is given to bishops and pastors ; and as if 
that were not enough, they are in one place called not only the 
messengers or angels of the churches, but also the glory of 
Christ %. The natural import of this is that men, to whom 
this title is applied, ought to imitate those heavenly powers, in 
the elevation of their souls, to contemplate the works and glory 
of God, and in their constant doing his will, more particularly 
in ministering to the souls of those, for whom the great Angel 
of the covenant made himself a sacrifice. 

I do not among these titles reckon those of rulers or govern 
ors h , that are also given to bishops, because they seem to be 
but another name for bishops, whose inspection was a rule and 
government, and so carried, in its signification, both authority 
and labour. To these designations, that carry in them characters 
of honour, but of honour joined to labour ; and for the sake of 

e 2 Cor. v, 19, 20. f Rev. ii, Hi. e 2 Cor. viii, 23. h Heb. xiii, 7, 17. 

92 Of the Pastoral Care. 

which the honour was due, according to that, esteem them very 
highly for their work s sake ; I shall add some other designa 
tions, that in their significations carry only labour without 
honour, being borrowed from labours that are hard, but no way 

They are often called watchmen , who used to stand on high 
towers and were to give the alarm, as they saw occasion for it : 
these men were obliged to a constant attendance, to watch in 
the night, as well as in the day : so all this, being applied to 
the clergy, imports that they ought to be upon their watch- 
tower, observing what dangers their people are exposed to, 
either by their sins, which provoke the judgments of God ; or 
by the designs of their enemies : they ought not, by a false re 
spect, to suffer them to sleep and perish jn their sins ; but must 
denounce the judgments of God to them, and rather incur their 
displeasure by their freedom, than suffer them to perish in their 

St. Paul does also call churchmen by the name of builders, 
and gives to the apostles the title of master-builders k . This 
imports both hard and painful labour, and likewise great care 
and exactness in it, for want of which the building will be not 
only exposed to the injuries of weather, but will quickly tumble 
down ; and it gives us to understand that those who carry this 
title ought to study well the great rule, by which they must 
carry on the interest of religion, that so they may build up their 
people in their most holy faith, so as to be a building fitly framed 

They are also called labourers in God s husbandry, labourers 
in his vineyard, and harvest, who are to sow, plant, and water, 
and to cultivate the soil of the church J . This imports a conti 
nual return of daily and hard labour, which requires both pain 
and diligence. They are also called soldiers 111 , men that did 
war and fight against the powers of darkness. The fatigue, 
the dangers and difficulties of that state of life are so well 
understood, that no application is necessary to make them more 

And thus by a particular enumeration of either the more 
special names of these offices, such as deacon, priest and bishop, 
ruler and governor, or of the designations given to them of 

5 Ezek. iii, 17. k i Cor. iii, 10. l i Cor. iii, 6, 9. Matth. ix, 37, 38, xx, i. 

m Philipp. ii, 25. 

Of the Pastoral Care 93 

shepherds or pastors, stewards, ambassadors and angels, it 
appears that there is a great dignity belonging to them, but a 
dignity which must carry labour with it, as that for which the 
honour is due: the other titles of watchmen, builders, labourers 
and soldiers, import also that they are to decline no part of their 
duty, for the labour that is in it, the dangers that may follow, or 
the seeming meanness that may be in it, since we have for this 
so great a rule and pattern set us by our Saviour, who has given 
us this character of himself, and in that a rule to all that pretend 
to come after him, The Son of man came not to be ministered 
unto, but to minister n . This was said upon the proud conten 
tions that had been among his disciples, who should be the 
greatest ; two of them presuming upon their near relation to 
him, and pretending to the first dignity in his kingdom ; upon 
that, he gave them to understand that the dignities of his king 
dom were not to be of the same nature with those that were in 
the world. It was not rule or empire to which they were to 
pretend ; The disciple was not to be above his lord : and he that 
humbled himself to be the last and lowest in his service was, by 
so doing, really the first. 

He himself descended to the washing his disciples 1 feet , 
which he proposeth to their imitation ; and that came, in latter 
ages, to be taken up by princes and acted by them in pageantry: 
but the plain account of that action is that it was a prophetical 
emblem; of which sort we find several instances, both in 
Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel : the prophet doing somewhat 
that had a mystical signification in it, relating to the subject of 
his prophecy : so that our Saviour s washing the feet of his 
disciples imported the humility and the descending to the mean 
est offices of charity, which he recommended to his followers, 
particularly to those, whom he appointed to preach his gospel to 
the world. 


Of the rules set down in scripture for those that minister in holy 
things, and of the corruptions that are set forth in them. 

I INTEND to write with all possible simplicity, without the 
affectation of a strictness of method : and therefore I will give 
one full view of this whole matter, without any other order 

n Matth. xx, 28. John xiii, 5. 

94 Of the Pastoral Care. 

than as it lies in the scriptures : and will lay both the rules and 
the reproofs that are in them together, as things that give light 
to one another. In the law of Moses P we find many very par 
ticular rules given for the washing and consecration of the 
priests and Levites, chiefly of the High priest. The whole tribe 
of Levi was sanctified and separated from the common labours, 
either of war or tillage : and though they were but one in 
twelve, yet a tenth of all was appointed for them : they were 
also to have a large share of another tenth ; that so they might 
be not only delivered from all cares, by that large provision that 
was made for them, but might be able to relieve the necessities 
of the widows and fatherless, the poor and the strangers that 
sojourned among them ; and by their bounty and charity be 
possessed both of the love and esteem of the people. They 
were holy to the Lord ; they were said to be sanctified or dedi 
cated to God ; and the head of their order carried on his mitre 
this inscription, Holiness to the Lord. The many washings that 
they were often to use, chiefly in doing their functions, carried 
this signification in them, that they were appropriated to God, 
and that they were under very strict obligations to a high degree 
of purity ; they might not so much as mourn for their dead 
relations % to shew how far they ought to rise above all the con 
cerns of flesh and blood, and even the most excusable passions 
of human nature. But above all things, these rules taught them 
with what exactness, decency and purity they ought to perform 
those offices that belonged to their function 1 "; and therefore 
when Aaron s two sons, Nadab and Abihu, transgressed the 
law that God had given, fire came out from the Lord, and demur ed 
them s j and the reason given for it carries in it a perpetual 
rule; / will be sanctified in all them that draw near to me, and 
before all the people 1 will be glorified i : which imports that 
such as minister in holy things ought to behave themselves so 
that God s name may be glorified by their means; otherwise, 
that God will glorify himself by his severe judgments on them. 
A signal instance of which we do also find in Eli s two sons u , 
whose impieties and defilements, as they made the people to 
abhor the offering of the Lord, so they also drew down, not only 
heavy judgments on themselves, but on the whole house of Eli ; 
and indeed on the whole nation. 

P Levit. viii. 1 Levit. xxi, i. r Levit. xxii, 3, 4. s ^ Levit. x, i. 2. 

1 Levit. x, 3. u i Sam. ii, and iii. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 95 

But besides the attendance which the priests and Levites 
were bound to give at the temple, and on the public service there, 
they were likewise obliged to study the law, to give the people 
warning out of it, to instruct them in it, and to conduct them 
and watch over them : and for this reason they had cities assign 
ed them in all the corners of the land ; that so they might both 
more easily observe the manners of the people and that the 
people might more easily have recourse to them. Now when 
that nation became corrupted both by idolatry and immorality, 
God raised up prophets to be extraordinary monitors to them ; 
to declare to them their sins, and to denounce those judgments 
which were coming upon them, because of them : we find the 
silence, the ignorance and the corruption of their pastors, their 
shepherds and their watchmen, is a main article of their charge ; 
so Isaiah tells them, that their watchmen were Hind, ignorant, 
dumb dogs, that could not bark ; sleeping, lying down, and loving 
to slumber: yet these careless watchmen were covetous and in 
satiable, They were greedy dogs, which could never have enough ; 
shepherds they were, that could not understand* ; but how remiss 
soever they might be in God s work, they were careful enough 
of their own : They all looked to their own way, every one to his 
own gain from his quarter. They were, no doubt, exact in levy 
ing their tithes and first-fruits, how little soever they might do 
for them, bating their bare attendance at the temple, to officiate 
there ; so guilty they were of that reigning abuse, of thinking 
they had done their duty, if they either by themselves, or by 
proxy, had performed their functions, without minding what was 
incumbent on them, as watchmen, or shepherds. In opposition 
to such careless and corrupt guides, God promises to his people 
to set watchmen over them that should never hold their peace day 
nor night. 

As the captivity drew nearer, we may easily conclude that 
the corruptions both of priest and people increased, which 
ripened them for the judgments of God, that were kept back 
by the reformations which Hezekiah and Josiah had made ; but 
at last all was so depraved, that though God sent two prophets, 
Jeremiah and Ezekiel, to prepare them for that terrible ca 
lamity, yet this was only to save some few among them : for the 
sins of the nation were grown to that height, that though Moses 
and Samuel, Noah, Job, and Daniel y, had been then alive to 
x Isaiah Ivi, 10, n. yjer. xv, i. Ezek. xiv, 14. 

96 Of the Pastoral Care. 

intercede for them, yet God declared that he would not hear 
them ; nor spare the nation for their sakes : so that even such 
mighty intercessors could only save their own souls. In this 
deplorable state we shall find that their priests and pastors had 
their large share. The priests said not, Where is the Lord ? 
They that handled the law knew me not ; the pastors also trans 
gressed against me* ; and their corruption went so far, that they 
had not only false prophets to support them, but the people, who, 
how bad soever they may be themselves, do generally hate evil 
priests, grew to be pleased with it. The prophets prophesy 
falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means ; and my people 
love to have it so : From the prophet even to the priest, every one 
dealt falsely*. And upon that, a woe is denounced against the 
pastors that destroyed and scattered the sheep of God s pasture^. 
They by their office ought to have fed the people ; but, instead 
of that, they had scattered the flock, and driven them away, and 
had not visited them : loth prophet and priest were profane ; their 
wickedness was found even in the house of God c . In opposition 
to all which, God promises by the prophet, that he would set 
shepherds over them, that should feed them ; so that the people 
should have no more reason to be afraid of their pastors^, or of 
being misled by them ; and he promised upon their return from 
the captivity, to give them pastors according to his own heart, 
who should feed them with knowledge and understanding e . 

In Ezekiel, we find the solemn and severe charge given to 
watchmen twice repeated; that they ought to warn the wicked 
from his wickedness ; otherwise though he should indeed die in his 
sin, God would require his blood at the watchman s hand ; but if 
he gave warning, he had by so doing delivered his own soul { . 
In that prophecy we have the guilt of the priests set forth very 
heinously. Her priests have violated my law, and profaned my 
holy things ; they have put no difference between the holy and 
profane, the clean and the unclean, and have hid their eyes from my 
sabbaths ; the effect of which was, that God was profaned among 
thems. This is more fully prosecuted in the 34th chapter, 
which is all addressed to the shepherds of Israel ; Woe be to the 
shepherds of Israel, that do feed themselves ! should not the shep 
herds feed the flock ? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the 

z Jer. ii, 8. a Jer. v, 31, and vi, 13. b Jer. xxiii, i. c Jer. xxiii, 2, n. 
d Jer. xxiii, 4. e Jer. iii, 15, f Ezek. iii, 17, 18, 19, and xxxiii, 7, 8, 9. 
Ezek. xxii, 26. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 97 

wool, ye kill them that are fed : but ye feed not theflock^. Then 
follows an enumeration of the several sorts of troubles that the 
people were in, under the figure of a flock, to shew how they 
had neglected their duty in all the parts and instances of it ; 
and had trusted to their authority, which they had abused to 
tyranny and violence. The diseased have ye not strengthened, 
neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound 
up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that wliich 
was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost ; but 
with force and ivith cruelty have ye ruled them^ : upon which 
follows a terrible expostulation, and denunciation of judgments 
against them : / am against the shepherds, saith the Lord ; I will 
require my flock at their hands, and cause them to cease from feed 
ing the flock ; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more*. 
And in the 44th chapter of that prophecy one rule is given, 
which was set up in the primitive church as an unalterable 
maxim : that such priests as had been guilty of idolatry should 
not do the office of a priest any more, nor come near to any of 
the holy things, or enter within the sanctuary,, but were still to 
bear their shame ; they might minister in some inferior services, 
such as keeping the gates, or slaying the sacrifice ; but they were 
still to bear their iniquity. 

I have passed over all that occurs in these prophets, which 
relates to the false prophets, because I will bring nothing into 
this discourse that relates to sins of another order and nature. 
In Daniel, we have a noble expression of the value of such as 
turn men to righteousness, that they shall shine as the stars for ever 
and ever 1 . In Hosea, we find among the sins and calamities of 
that time, this reckoned as a main cause of that horrid corrup 
tion, under which they had fallen, there being no truth, no mercy, 
nor knowledge of God in the land ; which was defiled by sicearinq, 
lying, killing, stealing and committing adultery. My people are 
destroyed for lack of knowledge : to which is added, Because thou 
hast rejected knowledge, (or the instructing the people) / will 
also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me ; seeing thou hast 
forgot the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children 10 . That 
corrupt race of priests attended still upon the temple,, and offered 
up the sin-offering and feasted upon their portion; which is 
wrong rendered, They eat up the sin of my people-, for sin stands 

h Ezek. xxxiv, 2, 3. i Ezek. xxxiv, 4. k Ezek. xxxiv, 10. 

1 Dan. xii, 3. m Hosea iv, i, 2, 6. 


98 Of the Pastoral Care. 

there, as in the law of Moses, for sin-offering : because of the 
advantage this brought them, they were glad at the abounding 
of sin ; which is expressed by their setting their heart, or lifting 
up their soul, to their iniquity : the conclusion of which is, that 
they should be given up for a very heavy curse of, Like priests like 
people. In Joel, we find the duty of the priests and ministers of 
the Lord set forth in times of great and approaching calamities 
thus. They ought to be intercessors for the people, and to weep 
between the porch and the altar and say, Spare thy people and 
give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen (strangers and 
idolaters) should rule over them ; wherefore should they say among 
the people ~, Where is their God n ? There is, in Micah, a very black 
character of a depraved priesthood ; Their priests teach for hire 
and their prophets divine for money . 

These were the forerunners of the destruction of that nation : 
but though it might be expected that the captivity should have 
purged them from their dross, as it did indeed free them from 
all inclinations to idolatry ; yet other corruptions had a deeper 
root. We find, in Zechariah, a curse against the idol shepherd, 
who resembled the true shepherd, as an idol does the original : 
but he was without sense and life. Woe be to the idol shepherd 
that leaveth the flock ; the curse is figuratively expressed, The 
sword shall be upon his arm, and his right eye; (the things that he 
valued most) his arm shall be clean dried up and his right eye 
shall be utterly darkened?. But this is more copiously set out by 
Malachi, in an address made to the priests ; And now, O ye 
priests, this commandment is for you ; If you will not hear, and if 
you icill not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, I will even 
send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings ; yea, I have 
cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Then the 
first covenant with the tribe of Levi is set forth ; My covenant 
was with him of life and peace ; the law of truth was in his mouth 
and iniquity was not found in his lips ; he walked with me in 
peace and equity and did turn many from their iniquity ; for the 
priest* s lips should preserve knowledge, and they should seek the 
law at his mouth ; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. All 
this sets forth the state of a pure and holy priesthood : but then 
follow terrible words : But ye are departed out of the way. ye 
have caused many to stumble at the law : ye have corrupted the co 
venant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. Therefore have I also 
n Joel ii, 17. Micah iii, n. P Zech. xi, 17. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 99 

made you contemptible and base before all the people ; according as 
ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law 3. 
Their ill example made many loathe both their law and their 
religion : they had corrupted their institution and studied, by a 
gross partiality, to bring the people to be exact in those parts of 
the law, in which their wealth or their authority was con 
cerned ; while they neglected the more essential and indispens 
able duties. 

Thus far have I gone over the most important places that 
have occurred to me in the Old Testament relating to this mat 
ter ; upon all which I will only add one remark, that though 
some exception might be made to those expressions that import 
the dignity and sanctification of those who were then conse 
crated to the holy functions, as parts of that instituted religion 
which had its period by the coming of Christ ; yet such passages 
as relate to moral duties, and to the obligations that arise out 
of natural religion, have certainly a more binding force, and 
ought to be understood and explained in a more elevated and 
sublime sense, under the new dispensation, which is internal 
and spiritual ; compared to which, the Old is called the letter 
and the flesh ; therefore the obligations of the priests, under the 
Christian religion, to a holy strictness of life and conversation, 
to a diligent attendance on their flock, and for instructing and 
watching over them, must all be as much higher, and more 
binding, as this new covenant excels the old one. 


Passages out of the New Testament relating to the same 


THIS general consideration receives a vast improvement from 
the great example that the Author of our religion, the great 
Bishop and Shepherd of our souls, has set us ; who went about 
ever doing good, to whom it was as his meat and drink to do 
the will of his Father that sent him. He teas the good Shepherd, 
that knew his sheep and laid down Ms life for them. And since 
he set such a value on the souls of that flock, which he hath re 
deemed and purchased with his own blood ; certainly those, to 
whom he has committed that work of reconciliation which stood 
himself so dear, ought to consider themselves under very strict 

<i Mai. ii, i, &c. 

TT t/ 

100 Of the Pastoral Care. 

obligations, by that charge of which they must give a severe 
account at the great day, in which the blood of all those who 
have perished through their neglect and default shall be re 
quired at their hands. Yet because I will not aggravate this 
argument unreasonably, I will make no use of those passages 
which relate immediately to the apostles : for their function 
being extraordinary, as were also the assistances that were given 
them for the discharge of it, I will urge nothing that belongs 
properly to their mission and duty. 

In the character that the gospel gives of the priests and 
Pharisees of that time, we may see a just and true idea of the 
corruptions into which a bad clergy is apt to fall. They studied 
to engross the knowledge of the law to themselves, and to keep 
the people in ignorance, and in a blind dependence upon them : 
they were zealous in lesser matters, but neglected the great 
things of the law : they put on an outward appearance of strict 
ness, but under that there was much rottenness : they studied to 
make proselytes to their religion, but they had so depraved it 
that they became thereby worse men than before : they made 
great shows of devotion, of praying, and fasting much, and 
giving alms ; but all this was to be seen of men, and by it they 
devoured the estates of poor and simple people : they were very 
strict in observing the traditions and customs of their fathers, 
and every thing that contributed to their own authority or ad 
vantage ; but by so doing they made void the law of God : in a 
word, they had no true worth in themselves, and hated such as 
had it: they were proud and spiteful, false and cruel, and made 
use of the credit they were in with the people, by their comply 
ing with them in their vices, and flattering them with false 
hopes, to set them on to destroy all those who discovered their 
corruptions, and whose real and shining worth made their coun 
terfeit show of it the more conspicuous and odious. In this 
short view of those enormous disorders, which then reigned 
amongst them, we have a full picture of the corrupt state of bad 
priests in all ages and religions, with this only difference, that 
the priests in our Saviour s time were more careful and exact in 
the external and visible parts of their conversation, than they 
have been in other times : in which they have thrown off the 
very decencies of a grave and sober deportment. 

But now to go on with the characters and rules that we find 
in the New Testament. Our Saviour as he compared the work 

Of the Pastoral Care. 101 

of the gospel in many parables to a field and harvest, so he calls 
those whom his Father was to send, the labourers in that 
harvest ; and he left a direction to all his followers, to pray to 
his Father that he ivould send labourers into Ms harvest*. Out 
of which, both the vocation and divine mission of the clergy 
and the prayers of the church to God for it, that are among us 
fixed to the ember weeks, have been gathered by many pious 
writers. In the warnings that our Saviour gives to prepare for 
his second coming, we find the characters of good and bad 
clergymen stated in opposition to one another, under the figure 
of stewards : the good are both wise and faithful, they wait for 
his coining, and in the mean while are dividing to every one of 
their fellow-servants his portion to eat in due season*, that is, 
their proportion both of the doctrine and mysteries of the gospel, 
according to their several capacities and necessities. But the 
bad stewards are those who put the evil day far from them and 
say in their heart, The Lord delayeth his coming; upon which 
they eat, drink and are drunken : they indulge their sensual 
appetites even to a scandalous excess ; and as for their fellow- 
servants, instead of feeding, of instructing, or watching over 
them, they beat them, they exercise a violent and tyrannical 
authority over them. Their state in the next world is repre 
sented as different as their behaviour in this was ; the one shall 
be exalted from being a steward to be a ruler over the household, 
to be a king and a priest for ever unto God ; whereas the other 
shall be cut asunder, and shall have his portion with unbelievers* 

The 10th of St. John is the place, which both fathers and 
more modern writers have made chiefly use of, to shew the 
difference between good and bad pastors. The good shepherds 
enter by the door, and Christ is this door, by whom they must 
enter ; that is, from whom they must have their vocation and 
mission : but the thief and robber, who comes to kill, steal and 
destroy, climbeth up some other way : whatever he may do in 
the ritual way, for form s sake, he has in his heart no regard to 
Jesus Christ, to the honour of his person, the edification of his 
church, or the salvation of souls ; he intends only to raise and 
enrich himself; and so he compasses that, he cares not how 
many souls perish by his means, or through his neglect. The 
good shepherd knows his sheep so well, that he can tell them by> 

T Matth. ix, 38. s Lukexii, 42. 

102 Of the Pastoral Care. 

name, and lead them out, and they hear his voice ; but the hireling 
careth not for the sheep, he is a stranger to them, they know 
not his voice, and will not follow him. This is urged by all 
who have pressed the obligation of residence, and of the per 
sonal labours of the clergy, as a plain divine and indispensable 
precept : and even in the council of Trent, though, by the 
practices of the court of Rome, it was diverted from declaring 
residence to be of divine right, the decree that was made to 
enforce it urges this place to shew the obligation to it. The 
good shepherd feeds the flock and looks for pasture for them, 
and is ready to give his life for the sheep ; but the bad shepherd 
is represented as a hireling that careth not for the flock, that 
sees the wolf coming, and upon that leaveth the sheep and flieth. 
This is,, it is true, a figure, and therefore I know it is thought 
an ill way of reasoning to build too much upon figurative 
discourses : yet on the other hand, our Saviour having de 
livered so great a part of his doctrine in parables, we ought at 
least to consider the main scope of a parable ; and may well 
build upon that, though every particular circumstance in it 
cannot bear an argument. 

I shall add but one passage more from the Gospels, which is 
much made use of by all that have writ of this matter. When 
our Saviour confirmed St. Peter in his apostleship, from which 
he had fallen by his denying of him. as in the charge which he 
thrice repeated of feeding his lambs and his sheep, he pursues still 
the figure of a shepherd ; so the question that he asked prepara 
tory to it was, Simon, lowest thou me more than thcse i ? From 
which they justly gather, that the love of God, a zeal for his 
honour, and a preferring of that to all other things whatsoever, 
is a necessary and indispensable qualification for that holy em 
ployment ; which distinguishes the true shepherd from the hire 
ling ; and by which only he can be both animated and fortified 
to go through with the labours and difficulties, as well as the 
dangers and sufferings, which may accompany it. 

When St. Paul was leaving his last charge with the bishops 
that met him at Miletus, he still makes use of the same meta 
phor of a shepherd, in those often cited words, Take heed to 
yourselves, and to all the flock over lohich tlie Holy Ghost hath made 
you bishops or overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath 

1 John xxi, 15. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 103 

purchased with his own blood u . The words are solemn and the 
consideration enforcing them is a mighty one ; they import the 
obligations of the clergy both to an exactness in their own de 
portment and to earnest and constant labours, in imitation of 
the apostle, who, during the three years of his stay among them,, 
had been serving God with all humility of mind, with many tears 
and temptations ; and had not ceased to warn every one, both 
night and day, with tears; and had taught them publicly, and 
from house to house*. Upon which he leaves them, calling 
them all to witness that he was pure from the blood of all men*. 
There has been great disputing concerning the persons to whom 
these words were addressed : but if all parties had studied more 
to follow the example here proposed and the charge that is 
here given, which are plain and easy to be understood, than to 
be contending about things that are more doubtful, the good 
lives and the faithful labours of apostolical bishops would have 
contributed more both to the edifying and healing of the church 
than all their arguments or reasonings will ever be able to do. 

St. Paul, reckoning up to the Romans the several obligations 
of Christians of all ranks to assiduity and diligence in their 
callings and labours, among others he numbers these ; Ministers, 
let us wait on our ministering , or he that teaches, on teaching ; 
he that ruleth, ivith diligence 7 -. In his Epistle to the Corinthians? 
as he states the dignity of the clergy in this, that they ought to 
be accounted of as the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the 
mysteries of God ; he adds, that it is required in stewards that a 
man be found faithful*. In that Epistle he sets down that per 
petual law, which is the foundation of all the provision that has 
been made for the clergy, That the Lord hath ordained that they 
which preach the gospel should lice of the gospel^. But if upon 
that the laity have looked on themselves as bound to appoint so 
plentiful a supply that the clergy might have whereon to live at 
their ease and in abundance ; then certainly this was intended, 
that they, being freed from the troubles and cares of this world, 
might attend continually on the ministry of the word of God and 
on prayer c . Those who do that work negligently provoke the 
laity to repent of their bounty and to defraud them of it. For 
certainly there are no such enemies to the patrimony and rights 
of the church as those who eat the fat, but do not preach the 

u Acts xx, 28. x Acts xx, 19, 20. y Acts xx, 26. z Rom. xii, 7, 8. 
a i Cor. iv, i, 2. b i Cor. ix, 14. c Acts vi, 4. 

104 Of the Pastoral Care. 

gospel nor feed the flock. Happy, on the other hand, are they, 
to whom that character which the apostle assumes to himself 
and to Timothy does belong ; Therefore, seeing we have received 
this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not ; but have 
renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in crafti 
ness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully ; but by manifesta 
tion of the truth, commending ourselves to every man s conscience 
in the sight of God&. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, we have 
the ends of the institution of all the ranks of clergymen set forth 
in these words ; He gave some, apostles ; and some, prophets ; and 
some, evangelists ; and some, pastors and teachers : for the perfecting 
of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the 
body of Christ : till we all come+in the unity of the faith and of the 
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure 
of the stature of the fulness of Christ 6 . In these words we see 
something that is so vast and noble,, so far above those slight and 
poor performances, in which the far greater part do too easily 
satisfy themselves ; that in charity to them we ought to suppose 
that they have not reflected sufficiently on the importance of 
them. Otherwise they would have in some sort proportioned 
their labours to those great designs for which they are ordained ; 
and would remember the charge given to the Colossians to say 
to Archippus, who, it seems, was remiss in the discharge of his 
duty, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the 
Lord, that thou fulfil it*. 

The Epistles to Timothy and Titus are the foundation of all 
the canons of the church. In these we have the characters of 
bishops and deacons, as well as the duties belonging to those 
functions, so particularly set forth, that from thence alone every 
one who will weigh them well may find sufficient instruction ? 
how he ought to behave himself in the house of God. In these 
we see what patterns those of the clergy ought to be in ivord, (or 
doctrine) in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in 
purity ; they ought to give attendance to reading, to exhortation, and 
to doctrine ; that is both to the instructing and exhorting of their 
people. They ought not to neglect the gift that was given to them by 
the laying on of hands ; they ought to meditate on these things, to 
give themselves wholly to them, that so their profiting may appear 
unto all ; and to take heed to themselves and their doctrine, and to 
continue in them ; for in so doing they shall loth sate themselves and 
d 2 Cor. iv, i, 2. e Ephes. iv, n, 12, 13. f Col. iv, 17 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 05 

those that hear thems. Those that govern the church are more 
particularly charged before God, the Lord Jesus, and the holy 
angels, that they observe these things without preferring one before 
another, doing nothing by partiality, by domestic regards, the 
considerations of friendship, intercession, or importunity ; and 
above all, that they lay hands suddenly on no man ,- to which are 
added words of great terror, neither be thou partaker of other men s 
sins: keep thyself pur e^. Which ought to make great impression 
on all those with whom the power of ordination is lodged, since 
they do plainly import that such as do ordain any rashly with 
out due inquiry and a strict examination, entitle themselves to 
all the scandal they give and become partners of their guilt ; 
which, if well considered, must needs make all such as are not 
past feeling, use great care and caution in this sacred trust. 
Bishops are the depositaries of the faith, which they are to keep 
pure, and to hand down faithfully, according to these words ; 
And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, 
the same commit thou to faithful men, who may be able to teach 
others also. Upon this he prepares the bishops for difficulties, 
to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. And accord 
ing to that figure, since those that go to war do not carry 
unnecessary burdens with them, which may encumber or retard 
their march, he adds, No man that warreth entangleth himself with 
the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him 
for a soldier*. Upon this it is that all those canons, which have 
been made in so many ages of the church against churchmen s 
meddling with secular affairs, have been founded ; than which 
we find nothing more frequently provided against, both in the 
Apostolical canons, in" those of Antioch, in those made by the 
general council of Chalcedon, and in divers of the councils of 
Carthage: but this abuse had too deep a root in the nature of 
man to be easily cured. St. Paul does also in this place carry 
on the metaphor, to express the earnestness and indefatigable- 
ness of clergymen s zeal ; that as officers in an army were satis 
fied with nothing under victory, which brought them the 
honours of a triumph, so we ought to fight, not only so as to 
earn our pay, but for mastery, to spoil and overcome the powers 
of darkness; yet even this must be done lawfully k , not by 
deceiving the people with pious frauds, hoping that our good 

i Tim. iv, 12 16. h i Tim. v, 21, 22. * 2 Tim. ii, 2, 3, 4. 

k 2 Tim. ii, 5. 

106 Of the Pastoral Care. 

intentions will atone for our taking bad methods. War has its 
laws as well as peace, and those who manage this spiritual war 
fare ought to keep themselves within the instructions and com 
mands that are given them. Then the apostle, changing the 
figure from the soldier to the workman and steward, says, Study 
to shew thyself approved unto God (not to seek the vain applause 
of men, but to prefer to all other things the witness of a good 
conscience, and that in simplicity and godly sincerity he may 
walk and labour as in the sight of God) a workman that ncedeth 
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the icord of truth\ : this is, 
according to the figure of a steward, giving every one his due 
portion ; and a little after comes a noble admonition, relating to 
the meekness of the clergy towards those that divide from them: 
The servant of the Lord must not strive ; but be gentle to all men, 
apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose them 
selves, if per adventure God will give them repentance, to the acknow 
ledging the truth m . This is the passage that was chiefly urged 
by our reformers against the persecuting that the Koman clergy 
did every where set on against them : the extent of it ought to 
be well considered, that so it may not be said that we are only 
against persecution when it lies on ourselves ; for if it is a good 
defence to some, it is as good to others ; unless we own that we 
do not govern ourselves by that rule of doing to others that which 
we would have others do to us. In the next chapter we find the 
right education of this bishop, and that which furnishes a clergy 
man to perform all the duties incumbent on him ; From a child 
thou hast known the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise 
unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus* 1 : that is, the Old 
Testament well studied, by one that believed Jesus to be the 
Messias, and that was led into it by that faith, did discover to 
man the great economy of God in the progress of the light, 
which he made to shine upon the world by degrees, unto the 
perfect day of the appearing of the Sun of righteousness ; and 
to this he adds a noble character of the inspired writings : All 
scripture is given bg inspiration of God, and is profitable for doc 
trine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 
that the man of God may "be perfect, throughly furnished unto all 
good works . The apostle goes on, and gives Timothy the most 
solemn charge that can be set out in words ; which, if understood 

1 2 Tim. ii, 15. m 2 Tim. ii, 24, 25. n 2 Tim. iii, 15. 

2 Tim. iii, 16, 17. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 107 

as belonging to all bishops, as the whole church of God has ever 
done, must be read by them with trembling : / charge thee 
therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, icho shall judge the 
quick and dead at his appearing, and his kingdom ; Preach the 
word; he instant in season, out of season ; reprove, rebuke, exhort 
with all longsuffering and doctrine? ; (that is, with great gentle 
ness in the manner, and clearness and strength in the matter of 
their instructions ;) and a little after, Watch thou in all things, 
endure affliction, do the work of an evangelist ; make full proof of 
(or fulfil) thy ministry <\ : and as a consideration to enforce this 
the more, he tells what a noble and agreeable prospect he had 
in the view of his approaching dissolution : the time of his 
departing drew nigh, he ivas ready to be offered up* ; as a sacrifice 
for that faith which he had so zealously and so successfully 
preached : and here we have his two great preparatives for 
martyrdom ; the one was looking on his past life and labours ; 
/ have fought a good fight, I have finished wy course, I have kept the 
faith*. The other was looking forward to the reward, that 
crown of righteousness which was laid up for him, which the Lord, 
the righteous judge, would give him at that day ; and not only to 
him, but also to all those that loved his appearing l , and certainly 
more especially to those who not only loved it themselves, but 
who laboured so as to dispose others also to love it. To all these 
considerations, though nothing needed to have been added, to 
one upon whom they made so strong an impression as they did 
upon Timothy, yet one comes after all, which ought to teach us 
to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, since St. Paul 
tells Timothy, that Demas, one of the companions of his labours, 
had forsaken him, and that which prevailed over him was the 
love of this present world* 1 . 

These are the rules and charges given by St. Paul to Timothy, 
and in him to all the bishops and pastors that were to come after 
him in the church. Some of these are again repeated in his 
Epistle to Titus, where we have the characters set out, by which 
he was to prepare and examine those elders or bishops, who 
were to rule the house of God : that those being well chosen, 
they might be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the 
gainsayers x / and, that he might do his duty with the more 
advantage, he charges him to shew himself in all things a pattern 

P 2 Tim. iv, 1,2. <i 2 Tim. iv, 5. r 2 Tim. iv, 6. s 2 Tim. iv, 7. 
* 2 Tim. iv, 8. u 2 Tim. iv, 10. x Tit. i, o. 

1 08 Of the Pastoral Care. 

of good works : in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 
and using such sound speech as could not be condemned: that so those 
who ivere of the contrary part (the Judaizers who were studying 
to corrupt the Christian religion by making a medley of it and 
Judaism) might have no evil thing to say of him? : and after a 
glorious but short abstract of the design of their holy religion, he 
concludes that part of the Epistle in these words, These things 
speak and exhort, and rebuke with all authority : to which he adds 
a charge, that may seem more proper to be addressed to others 
than to himself ; Let no man despise thee z : the same is likewise 
in his Epistle to Timothy, with this addition ; Let no man despise 
thy youth* : but these words do import that it is in a bishop s 
own power to procure due esteejn to himself ; at least to prevent 
contempt ; since a holy and exemplary deportment and faithful 
and constant labours never fail to do that. In the conclusion of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, we find both the characters of those 
who had laboured among them and had ruled them, but who 
were then dead ; and also of such as were yet alive. Remember 
them who had the rule over you ; who have spoken to you the word 
of God, ivhose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation^. 
They had both lived and died, as well as laboured, in such a 
manner, that the remembering of what had appeared in them 
was an effectual means of persuading the Hebrews to be steady 
in the Christian religion : for certainly, though while a man lives, 
let him be ever so eminent, there is still room for ill nature and 
jealousy to misrepresent things, and to suspect that something 
lies hid under the fairest appearances, which may shew itself in 
due time ; all that goes off, when one has finished his course, so 
that all appears to be of a piece and that he has died as he had 
lived. Then the argument from his conversation appears in its 
full strength, without any diminution. But the charge given 
with relation to those who then had the rule over them is no less 
remarkable ; Obey them that have the rule over you : and submit 
yourselves, for they watch for your souls, as they that must give 
account ; that they may do it with joy, and not with grief ; for that 
is unprofitable for you c . Here obedience and submission is en 
joined, upon the account of their rulers watching over them, and 
for them ; and therefore those, who do not watch like men that 
know that they must give account of that trust, have no reason 

y Tit. ii> 7, 8. z Tit. ii, 15. a i Tim. iv, 12. b Heb. xiii, 7. 

c Heb. xiii, 17. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 109 

to expect these from their people. Of a piece with this is St. 
Paul s charge to the Thessalomans ; We beseech you to know (or 
to acknowledge) them which labour among you, and are over you 
in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in 
love for their worlds sake. Here both the submission and esteem, 
as well as the acknowledgment that is due to the clergy, is said 
to be for their work s sake: and therefore such as do not the 
work, and that do not labour and admonish their people, have 
no just claim to them. There is another expression in the Se 
cond Epistle to the Thessalomans, that is much urged by those 
who have writ on this head ; That if any will not work, he should 
not eat ; which, if it is a rule binding all men, seems to lie much 
heavier on the clergy. 

I shall conclude all that I intend to bring out of the scripture 
upon this argument, with St. Peter s charge to the elders of the 
churches to which he writ ; which is indeed so full, that though 
in the course of the New Testament it had not lain last, it 
deserved by the rules of method to be kept last, for the closing 
and enforcing all that has gone before and for giving it its full 
weight. St. Peter descends, 1 Epist. chap, v, ver. 1, &c. to a 
level with them, calling himself no better than a fellow-elder and 
a witness of the sufferings of Christ ; and also a partaker of the 
glory which was to be revealed. Feed the flock of God, says he, 
which is among you, (these words will bear another rendering, 
as much as lieth in you) taking the oversight thereof, not by con. 
straint, (as forced to it by rules, canons, or laws) but willingly ; 
not for filthy lucre, (for though God has ordained that such as 
preach the gospel should live of the gospel ; yet those who propose 
that to themselves as the chief motive in entering into holy 
orders are hereby severely condemned) but of a ready mind, 
neither as being lords over GocTs heritage, (or, not using a despotic 
authority over their several lots or divisions] but being examples 
to the flock, not tyrannizing it over their people ; but acquiring 
their authority chiefly by their own exemplary conversation. 
The conclusion of the charge is suitable to the solemnity of it, 
in these words : And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall 
likewise receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 

With this I make an end of citations from scripture : I think 
it is as plain as words can make any thing, that such as are 
dedicated to the service of God and of his church ought to 


labour constantly and faithfully, and that in their own persons. 

110 Of the Pastoral Care. 

For it is not possible to express a personal obligation in terms 
that are both more strict and more solemn than these are, which 
have been cited : and all the returns of obedience and submis 
sion, of esteem and support, being declared to be due to them 
on the account of their watching over and feeding the flock of 
God, those who pretend to these, without considering themselves 
as under the other obligations, are guilty of the worst sort of 
sacrilege, in devouring the things that are sacred, without doing 
those duties for which these are due ; and what right soever the 
law of the land may give them to them, yet certainly, according 
to the divine law, those who do not wait at the altar, ought not 
to he partakers with the altar : those wlio do not minister about 
holy things, ought not to live of the things of the temple : nor 
ought those, who do not preach the gospel, to lite of the gospel^. If 
I had a mind to make a great show of reading, or to triumph in 
my argument with the pomp of quotations, it were very easy to 
bring a cloud of witnesses to confirm the application that I have 
made of these passages of scripture : indeed all those who have 
either writ commentaries on the scriptures, ancient and modern, 
or have left homilies on these subjects, have pressed this matter 
so much, that every one that has made any progress in ecclesias 
tical learning must know that one might soon stuff a great 
many pages with abundance of quotations out of the authors? 
both of the best and of the worst ages of the church : not only 
the fathers, but even the schoolmen ; and, which is more, the 
canonists have carried this matter very high, and have even 
delivered it as a maxim, that all dispensations that are procured 
upon undue pretences, the chief of which they reckon the giving 
a- man an easy and large subsistence, are null and void of them 
selves : and conclude, that how strong soever they may be in 
law, yet they are nothing in conscience ; and that they do not 
free a man from his obligations to residence and labour : and 
they do generally conclude, that he, who upon a dispensation, 
which has been obtained upon carnal accounts, such as birth, 
rank, or great abilities (and qualifications that are not yet so good 
as these) does not reside, is bound in conscience to restore the 
fruits of a benefice, which he has thus enjoyed with a bad consci 
ence, without performing the duty belonging to it in his own 
person. But though it were very easy to bring out a great deal 
to this purpose, I will go no further at present upon this head ; 

d i Cor. ix, 13, 14. 

Of the Pastoral Care. Ill 

the words of God seem to be so express and positive, that such 
as do not yield to so undisputable an authority will be little 
moved by all that can be brought out of authors of a lower form, 
against whom it will be easy to muster up many exceptions, 
if they will not be determined by so many of the oracles of 
the living God. 


Of the sense of the primitive church in this matter. 

I WILL not enter here into any historical account of the 
discipline of the church during the first and best ages of Christ 
ianity. It is the glory of the church, that in her disputes on 
both hands, as well with those of the church of Rome as with 
those that separate from her, she has both the doctrine and the 
constitution of the primitive church on her side. But this plea 
would be more entire and less disputable, if our constitution 
were not only in its main and most essential parts formed upon 
that glorious model ; but were also in its rules and administra 
tions made more exactly conformable to those best and purest 
times. I can never forget an advice that was given me above 
thirty years ago, by one of the worthiest clergymen now alive : 
while I was studying the controversy relating to the government 
of the church from the primitive times, he desired me to join 
with the more speculative discoveries, that I should make, the 
sense that they had of the obligations of the clergy, both with 
relation to their lives and to their labours; and said, that the 
argument in favour of the church, how clearly soever made out* 
would never have its full effect upon the world, till abuses were 
so far corrected that we could show a primitive spirit in our 
administration, as well as a primitive pattern for our constitution. 
This made, even then, deep impressions on me, and I thank 
God the sense of it has never left me in the whole course of my 

I will not at present enter upon so long and so invidious a 
work, as the descending into all the particulars into which this 
matter might be branched out ; either from the writings of the 
fathers, the decrees of councils, the Roman law and capitulars, 
or even from the dreg of all, the canon law itself; which, though 
a collection made in one of the worst ages, yet carries many 
rules in it that would seem excessively severe, even to us, after 
our reformation of doctrine and worship. This has been already 
done with so much exactness,, that it will not be necessary to set 

Of the Pastoral Care. 

about it after the harvest, which was gathered by the learned 
bishop of Spalato in the last book of his great work c : which the 
pride and inconstancy of the author brought under a disesteem 
that it no way deserves ; for whatever he might be, that work 
was certainly one of the best productions of that age. But this 
design has been prosecuted of late with much more exactness 
and learning, and with great honesty and fidelity, where the 
interest of his church did not force him to use a little art, by 
F. Thomaein, who has compared the modern and the ancient 
discipline, and has shewed very copiously by what steps the 
change was made, and how abuses crept into the church. It is 
a work of great use to such as desire to understand that matter 
truly. I will refer the curious, to these, and many other lesser 
treatises, writ by the Jansenists in France, in which abuses are 
very honestly complained of, and proper remedies are proposed ; 
which in many places being entertained by bishops, that had a 
right sense of the primitive rules, have given the rise to a great 
reformation of the French clergy. 

Instead then of any historical deduction of these matters, I 
shall content myself with giving the sense of two of the fathers 
of the Greek church, and one of the Latin, upon this whole 
business, of the obligations of the clergy. The first is Gregory 
of Nazianzum, whose father ordained him a presbyter, notwith 
standing all his humble intercessions to the contrary, according 
to the custom of the best men of that age, who, instead of 
pressing into orders, or aspiring to them, fled from them, 
excused themselves, and, judging themselves unworthy of so holy 
a character and so high a trust, were not without difficulty pre 
vailed on to submit to that, which in degenerate ages men run to 
as to a subsistence, or the means of procuring it, and seem to 
have no other sense of that sacred institution, than mechanics 
have of obtaining their freedom in that trade or company, in 
which they have passed their apprenticeship. It were indeed 
happy for the church, if those who offer themselves to orders had 
but such a sense of them as tradesmen have of their freedom : 
who do not pretend to it till they have finished the time pre 
scribed ; and are in some sort qualified to set up in it : where 
as, alas ! men, who neither know the scriptures nor the 
body of divinity, who have made no progress in their studies, 

e De Republica Ecclesiastica, in 3 vols. folio, by Marco Antonio de Domi- 
nis, Archbishop of Spalato, in Dalmatia; published by him during his stay in 
England, in the reign of James I. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 

and can give no tolerable account of that holy doctrine, in which 
they desire to be teachers, do yet, with equal degrees of con 
fidence and importunity, pretend to this character and find the 
way to it too easy and the access to it too free. But this holy 
father had a very different sense of this matter. He had indeed 
submitted to his father s authority, he being his bishop, as well 
as his father. But immediately after he was ordained, he gives 
this account of himself in his Apologetical Oration : " That he 
judging he had not that sublimity of virtue, nor that familiar 
acquaintance with divine matters, which became pastors and 
teachers ; he therefore intending to purify his own soul to 
higher degrees of virtue, to an exaltation above sensible ob 
jects, above his body and above the world, that so he might 
bring his mind to a recollected and divine state and fit his 
soul that, as a polished mirror, it might carry on it the im 
pressions of divine ideas, unmixed with the allay of earthly 
objects, and might be still casting a brightness upon all his 
thoughts, did, in order to the raising himself to that, retire 
to the wilderness. He had observed that many pressed to 
handle the holy mysteries with unwashed hands and defiled 
souls ; and before they were meet to be initiated to the divine 
vocation, were crowding about the altar; not to set patterns 
to others, but designing only a subsistence to themselves : reck 
oning that the holy dignity was not a trust, for which an ac 
count was to be given, but a state of authority and exemption. 
They had neither piety nor parts to recommend them, but 
were the reproaches of the Christian religion, and were the 
pests of the church : which infected it faster than any plague 
could do the air ; since men did easily run to imitate bad 
examples, but were drawn off very hardly by the perfectest 
patterns to the practice of virtue. Upon which he formed 
a high idea of the eminent worth and virtues, which became 
those who governed the church, and of the great progress that 
they ought to be daily making; not contented with low mea 
sures of it, as if they were to weigh it critically in nice balances, 
and not to rise up to the highest degrees possible in it. Yet 
even this was not all ; for to govern mankind, which was 
so various and so uncertain a sort of creature, seemed to him 
the highest pitch of knowledge and wisdom, as far above that 
skill and labour, that is necessary to the curing of bodily dis 
eases, as the soul is superior to the body; and yet since so 


114 Of the Pastoral Care. 

much study and observation was necessary to make a man a 
skilful physician, he concluded that much more was necessary 
for the spiritual medicine : the design of which was to give 
wings to the soul, to raise it above the world and to consecrate 
it to God." Here he runs out into a noble rapture upon the 
excellence and sublimity of the Christian religion and upon the 
art of governing souls ; of the different methods to be taken, 
according to the diversity of men s capacities and tempers ; and 
of dividing the word of God aright among them. The diffi 
culties of which he prosecutes in a great variety of sublime 
expressions and figures ; but concludes, lamenting that " there 
was so little order then observed that men had scarce passed 
their childhood, when, before they understood the scriptures, 
not to say before they had washed off the spots and defilements 
of their souls, if they had learned but two or three pious words, 
which they had got by heart, or had read some of the Psalms 
of David, and put on an outward garb that carried an ap 
pearance of piety in it, these men were presently pushed on 
by the vanity of their minds, to aspire to the government of 
the church." To such persons he addresses himself very 
rhetorically, and asks them, " what they thought of the com 
monest employments, such as the playing on instruments, or 
of dancing, in comparison with divine wisdom. For acquiring 
the one, they knew great pains and much practice was neces 
sary : could they then imagine that the other should be so 
easily attained? 1 But he adds, " that one may as well sow 
upon rocks, and talk to the deaf, as hope to work upon per 
sons, who have not yet got to that degree of wisdom, of being 
sensible of their own ignorance. This evil he had often with 
many tears lamented ; but the pride of such men was so great, 
that nothing under the authority of a St. Peter or a St. Paul 
could work upon them." Upon this mention of St. Paul, he 
breaks out into a rapture upon his labours and sufferings, and 
the care of all the churches that lay on him ; his becoming all 
things to all men ; his gentleness, where that was necessary, and 
his authority, upon other occasions ; his zeal, his patience, his 
constancy and his prudence, in fulfilling all the parts of his 
ministry. Then he cites several of the psssages of the pro 
phets, particularly those of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Zechariah 
and Malachi, which relate to the corruptions of the priests and 
shepherds of Israel ; and shews how applicable they were to the 

Of the Pastoral Care. 115 

clergy at that time, and that all the woes denounced against 
the Scribes and Pharisees belonged to them, with heavy ag 
gravations. " These thoughts possessed him day and night -, 
they did eat out his very strength and substance ; they did 
so afflict and deject him, and gave him so terrible a prospect 
of the judgments of God, which they were drawing down upon 
the church, that he, instead of daring to undertake any part 
of the government of it, was only thinking how he should 
cleanse his own soul and fly from the wrath, which was to 
come; and could not think that he was yet, while so young, 
meet to handle the holy things." Where he runs out into a 
new rapture in magnifying the dignity of holy functions and, 
upon that, says, " That though he had been dedicated to God 
from his mother s womb and had renounced the world and all 
that was charming in it, even eloquence itself, and had delighted 
long in the study of the scriptures and had subdued many of 
his appetites and passions ; yet after all this, in which perhaps 
he had become a fool in glorying, he had so high a notion of 
the care and government of souls, that he thought it above his 
strength ; especially in such bad times, in which all things were 
out of order ; factions were formed, and charity was lost ; so 
that the very name of a priest was a reproach, as if God had 
poured out contempt upon them ; and thereby impious men 
daily blasphemed his name/ And indeed, all the show of re 
ligion that remained, was in their mutual heats and animosities, 
concerning some matters of religion ; " they condemned and 
censured one another ; they cherished and made use of the 
worst men, so they were true to their party ; they concealed 
their crimes, nay, they flattered and defended some, that should 
not have been suffered to enter into the sanctuary ; they gave 
the holy things to dogs, while they inquired very narrowly into 
the failings of those that differed from them, not that they 
might lament them, but that they might reproach them for 
them. The same faults which they excused in some, were de 
claimed against in others : so that the very name of a good or 
a bad man was not now considered, as the character of their 
lives, but of their being of or against a side. And these abuses 
were so universal, that they were like people, like priest. If 
those heats had arisen upon the great heads of religion, he 
should have commended the zeal of those who had contended 
for the truth, and should have studied to have followed it. But 

116 Of the Pastoral Care. 

their disputes were about small matters, and things of no con 
sequence ; and yet even these were fought for, under the glo 
rious title of the faith, though the root of all was men s private 
animosities. These things had exposed the Christian religion 
to the hatred of the heathen, and had given even the Christians 
themselves very hard thoughts of the clergy : this was grown 
to that height, that they were then acted and represented 
upon the stage, and made the subject of the people s scorn : 
so that by their means the name of God was blasphemed. 
This was that which gave him much sadder apprehensions than 
all that could be feared from that wild beast, that was then 
beginning to vex and persecute the church, (by which probably 
Julian is meant) the comfortable prospect of dying for the 
name of Christ made that a persecution was not so dreadful 
a thing, in his account, as the sins, the divisions and dis 
tractions of Christians." This then was the reason that had 
made him fly to the wilderness ; for the state of the church 
had made him despond, and lose all his courage : he had also 
gone thither, that he might quite break himself to all his appe 
tites and passions, and to all the pleasures and concerns of this 
life, that did darken the shillings of the divine image upon his 
soul and the emanations of the heavenly light. When he con 
sidered the judgments of God upon bad priests, and many other 
strict rules in the old dispensation, and the great obligations 
that lay upon those who were the priests of the living God, 
and that ought, before they presumed to offer up other sacri 
fices, to begin with the oblation of themselves to God ; he was, 
upon all these reasons, moved to prepare himself by so long 
a retreat. 

I have given this long abstract of his Apologetical Oration, 
not only to set before my reader the sense that he had of the 
sacred functions, but likewise to shew what were the corruptions 
of that age, and with how much freedom this holy father laid 
them open. If there is any occasion for applying any part of 
this to the present age, or to any persons in it, I chose rather to 
offer it in the words of this great man, than in any of my own. 
I wish few were concerned in them ; and that such as are would 
make a due application of them to themselves, and save others 
the trouble of doing it more severely. 

I go next to another father of the Greek church, St. Chrysos- 
tom, whose books of the priesthood have been ever reckoned 

Of the Pastoral Care. 117 

among the best pieces of antiquity. The occasion of writing 
them was this : he had lived many years in great friendship 
with Basil ; at last, they having both dedicated themselves to 
sacred studies, the clergy of Antioch had resolved to lay hold 
on them and to use that holy violence which was in those times 
often done to the best men, and to force them to enter into 
orders. Which when Basil told Chrysostom, he concealed his 
own intentions, but pressed Basil to submit to it ; who, from 
that, believing that his friend was of the same rnind, did not go 
out of the way, and so he was laid hold on ; but Chrysostom 
had hid himself. Basil, seeing he could not be found, did all 
that was possible to excuse himself: but, that not being accepted 
of, he was ordained. Next time that he met his friend, he ex 
postulated severely with him for having forsaken him upon that 
occasion : this gave the occasion to those books, which are 
pursued in the way of a dialogue. 

The first book contains only the preparatory discourses, ac 
cording to the method of such writings. In the second he 
runs out to shew from our Saviour s words to St. Peter, Simon, 
lovest thou me ? " what tender and fervent love both to Christ 
and to his church a priest ought to feel in himself, before he 
enters upon the feeding those sheep, which Christ has pur 
chased with his own blood. To lose the souls of the flock first, 
and then one^s own soul, through remissness, was no light 
matter. To have both the powers of darkness and the works 
of the flesh to fight against, required no ordinary measure 
both of strength and courage. He pursues the allegories of a 
shepherd and a physician, to shew, by the parallel of these 
laid together, the labours and difficulties of the priesthood, 
especially when this authority was to be maintained only by 
the strength of persuasion ; and yet sometimes severe methods 
must be taken, like incisions to prevent gangrenes, or to cut 
off a part already corrupted. In the managing this, great 
art and prudence was necessary ; a bishop ought to have a 
great and generous, a patient and undaunted mind : therefore 
Chrysostom says that he found, though he truly loved his 
Saviour, yet he was so afraid to offend him that he durst 
not undertake a charge, that he did not yet judge himself quali 
fied for. It was not enough that a man was tolerably well 
esteemed by others ; he ought to examine himself : for that 
of a bishop s being well reported of is but one of many cha- 

118 Of the Pastoral Care. 

racters, declared necessary by St. Paul. He complains much 
that those who raised men to orders had more regard to rank 
and wealth and to much time spent in a vain search into pro 
fane learning (though Christ chose fishermen and tentmakers) 
than to true worth and an earnest zeal for the real good of 
the church. In the third book, he runs out with a great 
compass on the praises of the priestly function ; he looked 
upon it as a dignity, raised far above all the honours of this 
world and approaching to the angelical glory. A priest ought 
to aspire to a purity above that of other mortals, answering 
that of angels. When a priest performs the holy functions, 
is sanctifying the holy eucharist, and is offering a crucified 
Christ to the people, his thooights should carry him heaven 
wards, and as it were translate him into those upper regions. 
If the Mosaical priest was to be holy, that offered up sacri 
fices of a lower order, how much holier ought the priests 
of this religion to be, to whom Christ has given the power 
both of retaining and forgiving of sins ! But if St. Paul, after 
all his visions and labours, after all his raptures and suffer 
ings, yet was inwardly burnt up with the concerns of the church, 
and laboured with much fear and trembling, how much greater 
apprehensions ought other persons to have of such a trust ! 
If it were enough to be called to this function, and to go 
through with the duties incumbent on it in some tolerable 
manner, the danger were not great : but when the duty, as 
well as dignity, together with the danger belonging to it, are 
all laid together, a man is forced to have other thoughts of 
the matter. No man that knows he is not capable of con 
ducting a ship will undertake it, let him be pressed to it 
never so much. Ambitious men, that loved to set themselves 
forward, were of all others the most exposed to temptations : 
they were apt to be inflamed by the smallest provocations, 
to be glad at the faults of others, and troubled if they saw 
any do well ; they courted applause, and aspired to honour : 
they fawned on great persons, and trod on those that were 
below them ; they made base submissions, undecent addresses, 
and often brought presents to those in authority ; they durst 
not in any sort reprove them for their faults, though they 
reproached the poor out of measure for their failings. These 
were not the natural consequences of the dignity of the priest 
hood ; but unworthy and defiled persons, who, without true 

Of the Pastoral Care. 119 

merit, had been advanced to it, had brought it under reproach. 
There had been no due care used in the choice of bishops, 
and by the means of bad choices the church was almost ruined, 
through the gross ignorance and unworthiness of many in 
that post. Certainly a worthy priest has no ambitious aspir 
ings ; those who fly to this dignity from that base principle 
will give a full vent to it when they have attained it. 
submissions, flatteries and money itself are necessary, all will 
be employed ; therefore it was an indispensable preparation 
to it, that one should be duly sensible of the greatness of 
the trust, and of his own unfitness for it, that so he might 
neither vehemently desire it, nor be uneasy if he should happen 
to be turned out of it. A man may desire the office of a bishop, 
when he considers it is a work of toil and labour ; but nothing 
is more pestiferous than to desire it because of the power and 
authority that accompanies it. Such persons can never have 
the courage that ought to shew itself in the discharge of their 
duty, in the reproving of sin, and venturing on the indignation 
of great men. He confesses he had not yet been able to free 
his mind from that disease and, till he had subdued it, he 
judged himself bound to fly from all the steps to preferment : 
for the nearer he should come to it, he reckoned the appetite 
to it would rage the higher within him ; whereas the way to 
break it quite, was to keep himself at the greatest distance 
from it. Nor had he that vivacity or lively activity of temper, 
which became this function ; nor that softness and gentleness 
of mind, that was necessary to prepare him to bear injuries, 
to endure contempt, or to treat people with the mildness that 
Christ has enjoined his followers, which he thought more 
necessary to a bishop than all fastings or bodily mortifications 
whatsoever. And he runs out into a long digression upon 
the great mischiefs that a fretful and spiteful temper did to 
him that was under the power of it, and to the church, when 
a bishop was soured with it. It will often break out, it will 
be much observed and will give great scandal : for as a 
little smoke will darken and hide the clearest object ; so, if 
all the rest of a bishop s life were brighter than the beams 
of the sun, a little blemish, a passion or indiscretion will darken 
all, and make all the rest be forgotten. Allowances are not 
made to them as to other men ; the world expects great 
things from them, as if they had not flesh and blood in them, 

1 20 Of the Pastoral Care. 

not a human, but an angelical nature ; therefore a bishop 
ought, by a constant watchfulness, and a perpetual strictness, 
to be armed with armour of proof on all sides, that no wound 
may hurt him. Stories will be easily believed to his disad 
vantage, and his clergy about him will be ready to find them 
out and to spread them abroad. He lays this down for a 
certain maxim, That every man knows himself best ; and there 
fore whatsoever others might think of him, he who knew well 
that he had not in himself those qualifications that were 
necessary for this function ought not to suffer himself to be 
determined by that. After this, he lays open the great dis 
orders, factions, partialities and calumnies, with which the 
popular elections were at that time managed, and the general 
corruption that had overrun the whole church ; so that the 
strictness and authority, the gentleness and prudence, the 
courage and patience, that were necessary to a bishop, were 
very hard to be found altogether. He instances, to make 
out the difficulty of discharging the duty of a bishop, in that 
single point, of managing the widows ; who were so meddling, 
so immoral, so factious, and so clamorous, that this alone 
was enough to employ a bishop s prudence and exercise his 
patience. From that, and another article relating to it con 
cerning the virgins, he goes to consider the trouble, the diffi 
culties, and censures, that bishops were subject to, by the 
hearing of causes that were referred to them ; many, pretending 
they were wronged by their judgments, made shipwreck of 
the faith in revenge ; and they pressed so hard upon the 
bishop s time, that it was not possible for him to content them 
and discharge the other parts of his duty. Then he reckons 
up the many visits that were expected from bishops, the 
several civilities they were obliged to ; which it was hard to 
manage so as not to be either too much or too little in them : 
matter of censure would be found in both extremes. Then 
he reflects on the great temper that ought to be observed in 
the final sentence of excommunication ; between a gentleness 
to vice on the one hand, and the driving men to despair and 
apostasy on the other. And he concludes that book with re 
flections on the vast burden that follows the care of souls. In 
his fourth book he runs through a variety of arts and profes 
sions, and shews how much skill and labour was necessary for 
every one of them : from whence he concludes strongly, that 

Of the Pastoral Care. 

much more was necessary for that which was the most important 
of all others ; so that no consideration whatsoever should make 
a man undertake it, if he did not find himself in some sort 
qualified for it : more particularly he ought to be ready to give 
an account of his faith, and to stop the mouths of all gainsayers, 
Jews, Gentiles, and heretics; in which the ignorance of many 
bishops,, carrying things from one extreme to another, had given 
great occasion to errors. A bishop must understand the style 
and phrase of the scriptures well. From this he runs out 
into a very noble panegyric upon St. Paul, in whom a pattern 
was set to all bishops. His fifth book sets out the labour 
of preaching, the temptations to vanity in it, the censures that 
were apt to be made, if there was either too much or too little 
art or eloquence in sermons. To this he adds the great exact 
ness that a bishop should use in preserving his reputation, yet 
without vanity, observing a due temper between despising the 
censures of the multitude, and the servile courting of applauses. 
In his sermons he ought above all things to study to edify, 
but not to flatter his hearers, or to use vain arts to raise 
esteem or admiration from them : since a bishop, whose mind 
was not purged from this disease, must go through many toss- 
ings and be much disquieted : and upon that he runs out so 
fully upon the temptations to desire applause for eloquence and 
a readiness in speaking,, that it plainly appears that he felt 
that to be his own weak side. The sixth book is chiefly em 
ployed to shew how much a harder thing it was to govern the 
church, than to live in a desert under the severest mortifica 

I will go no further in this abstract ; I hope I have drawn out 
enough to give a curiosity to such as have not yet read those 
excellent books, to do it over and over again : for to any that 
has a true relish, they can never be too often read : every read 
ing will afford a fresh pleasure and new matter of instruction 
and meditation. But I go, in the last place, to offer St. Jerome s 
sense in this matter. I shall not bring together what lies scat 
tered through his works upon this argument, nor shall I quote 
what he writ in his youth upon it ; when the natural flame of 
his temper, joined with the heat of youth, might make him 
carry his thoughts further than what human nature could bear : 
but I shall only give an abstract of that which he writ to Nepo- 
tian on this head, in his old age, as he says himself, a good part 

Of the Pastoral Care. 

of that epistle being a reflection upon the different sense that 
old age gives of these things, from that which he felt during the 
ardour of youth. 

He begins with the title clerk, which signifying a lot or 
portion, " imports either that the clergy are God s portion, or 
that God is their s, and that therefore they ought to possess 
God and be possessed of him. He that has this portion must 
be satisfied with it. and pretend to nothing ; but having food 
and raiment, be therewith content, and as men carried their 
crosses naked, so be ready to carry his. He must not seek 
the advantages of this world in Christ s warfare. Some clerks 
grew richer under Christ, who made himself poor, than ever 
they could have been, if they had continued in the service of the 
god of this world ; so that the church groaned under the wealth 
of those who were beggars before they forsook the world. Let 
the strangers and the poor be fed at your tables, says he, and 
in these you entertain Christ himself. When you see a traffick 
ing clerk, who from being poor grows rich, and from being 
mean becomes great, fly from him as from a plague. The con 
versation of such men corrupted good minds ; they sought after 
wealth and loved company, the public places of conversation, 
fairs and market-places ; whereas a true clerk loves silence 
and retirement. Then he gives him a strong caution against 
conversing with women, and in particular against all those 
mean compliances, which some of those clerks used towards rich 
women, by which they got not only presents during their lives, 
but legacies by their wills. That abuse had grown to such an 
intolerable excess that a law was made, excluding priests from 
having any benefit by testaments. They were the only persons 
that were put under that incapacity. Heathen priests were 
not included in the law, yet he does not complain of the law, 
but of those, who had given just occasion for making it. The 
laws of Christ had been contemned, so it was necessary to 
restrain them by human laws. It was the glory of a bishop 
to provide for the poor, but it was the reproach of a priest 
to study the enriching of himself. He reckons up many in 
stances of the base and abject flattery of some clerks, to gain 
upon rich and dying persons, and to get their estates. Next 
he exhorts him to the constant and diligent study of the scrip 
tures ; but to be sure to do nothing that should contradict his 
discourses, or give occasion to his hearers to answer him thus, 

Of the Pastoral Care. 

Why do not you do as you say? Then he speaks of the 
union that ought to be between the bishop and his clergy : 
the affection on the one side, and the obedience on the other. 
In preaching, he must not study to draw applauses, but groans, 
from his hearers. Their tears was the best sort of commenda 
tion of a sermon, in which great care was to be taken to avoid 
the methods of the stage, or of common declamations. Great 
use was to be made of the scriptures. The mysteries of our 
faith and the sacraments of our religion ought to be well ex 
plained : grimaces and solemn looks are often made use of to 
give weight and authority to that which has none in itself. He 
charges him to use a plain simplicity in his habit, neither shew 
ing too much nicety, on the one hand, that savours of luxury, 
nor such a neglect, on the other, as might savour of affec 
tation. He recommends particularly the care of the poor to 
him. Then he speaks of clergymen s mutually preferring one 
another ; considering that there are different members in one 
body, and that every one has his own function and peculiar 
talent : and that therefore no man ought to overvalue his own, 
or undervalue his neighbour s. A plain clerk ought not to value 
himself upon his simplicity and ignorance, nor ought a learned 
and eloquent man to measure his holiness by his rhetoric ; for 
indeed, of the two, a holy simplicity is much more valuable 
than unsanctified eloquence. He speaks against the affectation 
of magnificence and riches in the worship of God, as things 
more becoming the pomp of the Jewish religion, than the 
humility of the spiritual doctrine of Christ. He falls next 
upon the high and sumptuous way of living of some priests, 
which they pretended was necessary to procure them the re 
spect that was due to them, and to give them interest and 
credit : but the world, at least the better part of it, would 
always value a priest more for his holiness than for his wealth. 
He charges him strictly to avoid all the excesses of wine, and, 
in opposition to that, to fast much, but without superstition, or 
a nicety in the choice of such things as he was to live on in the 
time of fasting. Some shewed a trifling superstition in those 
matters, as well as vanity and affectation that was indeed scan 
dalous. Plain and simple fasting was despised, as not singular 
nor pompous enough for their pride. For it seems by what 
follows, that the clergy was then corrupted with the same dis 
orders, with which our Saviour had reproached the Pharisees, 

124 Of the Pastoral Care. 

while they did not study inward purity, so much as outward 
appearances ; nor the pleasing of Grod, so much as the praise 
of men. But here he stops short, for it seems he went too 
near the describing some eminent man in that age. From that 
he turns to the government of a priest s tongue : he ought 
neither to detract from any one himself, nor to encourage such 
as did : the very hearkening to slander was very unbecoming. 
They ought to visit their people, but not to report in one place 
what they observed in another ; in that they ought to be both 
discreet and secret. Hippocrates adjured those that came to 
study from him, to be secret, grave, and prudent in their whole 
behaviour ; but how much more did this become those, to whom 
the care of souls was trusted ! be advises him to visit his people 
rather in their afflictions than in their prosperity ; not to go 
too often to their feasts, which must needs lessen him that 
does it too much. He, in the last place, speaks very severely 
of those, who applied the wealth of the church to their own 
private uses. It was theft to defraud a friend, but it was 
sacrilege to rob the church. It was a crime that exceeded 
the cruelty of highwaymen, to receive that which belonged 
indeed to the poor, and to withdraw any part of it to one s 
private occasions. He concludes with this excuse, That he 
had named no person ; he had not writ to reproach others, 
but to give them warning. And therefore, since he had treated 
of the vices of the clergy in general terms, if any was offended 
with him for it, he thereby plainly confessed that he himself 
was guilty." 


An account of some canons in divers ages of the church, relating to 

the duties and labours of the clergy. 

I WILL go no further in gathering quotations, to shew the 
sense that the fathers had in these matters ; these are both so 
full and so express, that I can find none more plain and more 
forcible. I shall to these add some of the canons that have been 
made, both in the best and in the worst ages of the church, 
obliging bishops and other clerks to residence and to be con 
tented with one cure. In that at Sardica that met in the year 
347, consisting of above three hundred and fifty bishops, two 
canons were made (the llth and 12th) against "bishops who, 

Of the Pastoral Care. 125 

without any urgent necessity or pressing business, should be 
absent from their church above three weeks, and thereby grieve 
the flock that was committed to their care :" and even this 
provision was made, because bishops had estates lying out 
of their dioceses ; therefore they were allowed to go and look 
after them, for three weeks ; " in which time they were to per 
form the divine function in the churches to which those estates 

Many provisions were also made against such as went to 
court, unless they were called by the emperors, or went by a 
deputation from the church upon a public account. There is not 
any one thing more frequently provided against, than that any 
of the clergy should leave their church, and go to any other 
church, or live any where else without the bishop s leave and 
consent : nor is there any thing clearer from all the canons of 
the first ages, than that they considered the clergy of every 
church as a body of men dedicated to its service ; that lived 
upon the oblations of the faithful, and that was to labour in the 
several parts of the ecclesiastical ministry, as they should be 
ordered by the bishop. 

In the fourth general council at Chalcedon, pluralities do first 
appear : for they are mentioned and condemned in the LOth 
canon, which runs thus : " No clerk shall, at the same time, 
belong to two churches ; to wit, to that in which he was first 
ordained, and that to which, as being the greater, he has gone, 
out of a desire of vainglory ; for such as do so ought to be sent 
back to that church, in which they were at first ordained, and 
to serve there only : but if any has been translated from one 
church to another, he shall receive nothing out of his former 
church, nor out of any chapel or almshouse belonging to it : 
and such as shall transgress this definition of this general 
council, are condemned by it to be degraded/ I go next to a 
worse scene of the church, to see what provisions were made in 
this matter about the eighth century, both in the east and in the 
west : the worse that those ages and councils were, it makes the 
argument the stronger ; since even bad men in bad times could 
not justify or suffer such an abuse. 

In the year 787, the second council of Nice was held, that 
settled the worship of images. The 15th canon of it runs thus : 
" No clerk shall from henceforth be reckoned in two churches," 
(for every church had a catalogue of its clergy, by which the 

1 26 Of the Pastoral Care. 

dividends were made) " for this is the character of trafficking 
and covetousness, and wholly estranged from the ecclesiastical 
custom. We have heard from our Saviour s own words, that 
no man can serve two masters; for he will either hate the one, 
and love the other ; or cleave to the one, and despise the other : 
Let every one therefore, according to the apostle s words, con 
tinue in the vocation, in which he is called, and serve in one 
church: for those things which filthy lucre has brought into 
church- matters are contrary to God. There is a variety of 
employments, for acquiring the necessary supplies of this life : 
let every one that pleases make use of these, for furnishing 
himself: for the apostle says, These hands ministered to my 
necessities, and to those that were with me. This shall be the 
rule in this town, which is guarded by God ; but in remote 
villages an indulgence may be granted, by reason of the want 
of men." It is upon this that the canonists do found the first 
of the two reasons, for which only they allow that a dispensation 
for holding two benefices may be lawful : one is, the want of fit 
and sufficient men for the service of the church. The founda 
tion of the other will be found in the canon, which I shall next 
set down. 

It is the 49th canon of the sixth council at Paris, under Lewis 
the Good, in the year 829. This council came after a great 
many that had been held by Charles the Great and his son, for 
purging out abuses and for restoring the primitive discipline. 
These councils sat at Frankfort, Mentz, Aken, Rheims, Chalons, 
Tours, Aries ; and this of Paris was the last that was held upon 
that design. In these, all the primitive canons relating to the 
lives and labours and the government of the clergy were renewed. 
Among others is that of Chalcedon formerly mentioned ; but it 
seems there was no occasion given to make a special one against 
pluralities, before this held at Paris, which consisted of four 
provinces of France ; Rheims, Sens, Tours, and Rouen. The 
canon runs thus: " As it becomes every city to have its proper 
bishop ; so it is also becoming and necessary that every church, 
dedicated to God, should have its proper priest. Yet covet 
ousness, which is idolatry, (of which we are much ashamed) 
has so got hold of some priests and caught them captives in 
its fetters that they, blinded with it, know neither whither 
they go, nor what they ought to be or do ; so that they, being 
kindled with the fire of covetousness and forgetful of the 

Of the Pastoral Care. 127 

priestly dignity, neglecting the care of those churches to which 
they were promoted, do, by some present given or promised, 
procure other churches not only from clerks, but from laymen, 
in which they do against law undertake to perform the ministry 
of Christ. It is not known whether their bishops are con 
sulted in this matter or not; if they are, without doubt their 
bishops become partakers of their sin : but if they presume 
to do it without consulting them, yet it is to be imputed to 
the bishop s negligence. There is scarce a priest to be found 
who warreth worthily and diligently in that church, in which 
he is dedicated to the divine service : but how much less will 
he be able to do that worthily in two, three, or more churches ! 
This practice brings a reproach on the Christian religion, 
and a confusion on the priestly order. The covetousness 
of the clergy is censured by their people ; the worship of God 
is not performed in places consecrated to him ; and, as was 
observed in the former chapters, the souls of the people are 
thereby much endangered. Wherefore we do all unanimously 
appoint, that no bishop suffer this to be done in his parish 
(or diocese, these words being used promiscuously) any more ; 
and we decree, that every church that has a congregation 
belonging to it, and has means by which it may subsist, shall 
have its proper priest ; for, if it has a congregation, but has 
not means by which it may subsist, that matter is left to the 
bishop, to consider whether it can or ought to be supported 
or not. But it is specially recommended to their care, to 
see that, under this pretence, no priest may, out of covetousness, 
hold two or three churches, in which he cannot serve nor 
perform the worship of God." The last provisions in this 
canon are the grounds upon which the canonists found the 
second just cause of dispensing with pluralities, which is, when 
a church is so poor that the profits which arise out of it 
cannot afford a competent maintenance to a clerk ; but then the 
question arises, what is a competent maintenance? This they 
do all bring very low, to that which can just maintain him : and 
they have so clogged it, that no pretence should be given, by so 
general a word, to covetousness, voluptuousness or ambition. 
And indeed while we have so many poor churches among us, 
instead of restraining such pluralities, it were rather to be wished 
that it were made easier than by law it is at present, either to 
unite them together, or to make one man capable of serving two 

128 Of the Pastoral Care. 

churches, when both benefices make but a tolerable subsistence, 
rather than to be forced to have a greater number of clerks than 
can be decently maintained ; since it is certain that it is more 
for the interest of religion and for the good of souls,, to have one 
worthy man serving two churches, and dividing himself between 
them, than to have clerks for many benefices, whose scandalous 
provisions make too many scandalous incumbents, which is one 
of the greatest diseases and miseries of this church. 

But a due care in this matter has no relation to the accumula 
tion of livings at great distances (every one of which can well 
support an incumbent) upon the same person, merely for the 
making of a family, for the supporting of luxury or vanity, or 
for other base and covetous Designs. But I go next to two of 
the worst councils that ever carried the name of General ones, 
the third and the fourth of the Lateran, that we may see what 
was the sense of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in this 
matter, notwithstanding the corruption of those ages. The 
thirteenth canon of the third Lateran council runs thus : " For 
asmuch as some, whose covetousness has no bounds, endeavour 
to procure to themselves divers ecclesiastical dignities and 
several parish churches, against the provisions of the holy 
canons ; by which means, though they are scarce able to 
perform the office of one, they do claim the provisions due to 
many : we do severely require, that this may not be done for 
the future ; and therefore, when any church or ecclesiastical 
ministry is to be given, let such a one be sought out for it as 
shall reside upon the place, and shall be able to discharge the 
care in his own person : if otherwise, he who receives any 
such benefice contrary to the canons, shall lose it, and he who 
gave it shall likewise lose his right of patronage." This canon 
not being found effectual to cure so great an abuse, the twenty- 
ninth canon of the fourth council in the Lateran was penned in 
these words : " It was with great care forbidden in the council 
of the Lateran, that any one should have divers ecclesiastical 
dignities and more parish churches than one, which is con 
trary to the holy canons. Otherwise he that took them should 
lose them, and he that gave them should lose the right of 
giving them. But by reason of some men s presumption and 
covetousness, that decree has had little or no effect hitherto ; 
we therefore, desiring to make a more evident and express 
provision against these abuses, do appoint : That whosoever 

Of the Pastoral Care. 129 

shall receive any benefice, to which a care of souls is annexed, 
shall thereupon, by law, be deprived of any other such benefice 
that he formerly had ; and if he endeavours still to hold it, he 
shall lose the other likewise ; and he, to whom the right of the 
patronage of his first benefice did belong, is empowered to 
bestow it, upon his accepting another : and if he delays the 
bestowing it above three months, not only shall his right de 
volve to another, according to the decree of the council in 
the Lateran, but he shall be obliged to restore to the church, to 
which the benefice belongs, all that which he himself received 
during the vacancy. This we do likewise decree as to parson 
ages and do further appoint, That no man shall presume to hold 
more dignities or parsonages than one in the same church, even 
though they have no cure of souls annexed to them. Provided 
always, that dispensations may be granted by the apostolical see, 
to persons of high birth, or eminently learned (sublimes et litera- 
tas personas] or dignified in universities, (for so the word literati 
was understood) who upon occasion may be honoured with greater 
benefices." It was by this last proviso, that this, as well 
as all other canons made against these abuses, became quite 
ineffectual ; for this had no other effect, but the obliging people 
to go to Rome for dispensations; so that this canon, instead 
of reforming the abuse, did really establish it ; for the quali 
fications here mentioned were so far stretched that any person, 
that had obtained a degree in any university, came within the 
character of lettered or learned ; and all those, that were in any 
dependance upon great men, came likewise within the other qua 
lification of high rank and birth. 

This was the practice among us during the reign of Henry 
VIII; and he, when he was beginning to threaten the see of 
Rome in the matter of his divorce, got that act to be passed, 
which has been the occasion of so much scandal and disorder in 
this church. It seems to one that considers it well, that the 
clauses which qualify pluralities were grafted upon another bill 
against spiritual persons taking estates to farm, with which that 
act begins; and that in the carrying that on, such a temper 
shewed itself, that the other was added to it. It contained 
indeed a limitation of the papal authority ; but so many provi 
sions are made, that the nobility, clergy, and the more eminent 
of the gentry, knights in particular, were so taken care of, that 
it could meet with no great opposition in the parliament ; but 


130 Of the Pastoral Care. 

from the state of that time, and from several clauses in the act 
itself, it appears it was only intended to be a provisional act, 
though it is conceived in the style of a perpetual law. By it 
then, and by it only, (for I have not been able to find that any 
such act ever passed in any kingdom or state in Christendom, 
many having been made plainly to the contrary in France, 
declaring the obligation to residence to be of divine right) were 
the abuses, that had risen out of the canon of one of the worst 
councils that ever was, authorized and settled among us, as far 
as a law of the land can settle them. But, after all, it is to be 
considered that a law does indeed change the legal and political 
nature of things ; it gives a title to a freehold and property ; but 
no human law can change the moral or divine laws and cancel 
their authority. If a false religion is settled by law, it becomes 
indeed the legal religion, but is not a whit the truer for that : 
and therefore if the laws of the gospel oblige clerks to personal 
labour, as was formerly made out, an act of parliament may 
indeed qualify a man in law to enjoy the benefice, whether he 
labours in it or not ; but it can never dissolve his obligation to 
residence and personal labour. 

But to bring this chapter to an end, I shall only add three 
decrees that were made by the council of Trent in this matter, 
that so it may appear what provisions they made against abuses, 
which are still supported by laws among us. A part of the first 
chapter of reformation, that passed in the sixth session, runs 
thus : " This synod admonishes all that are set over any cathedral 
churches, by what title soever, that they, taking heed to them 
selves, and to all the flock, over which the Holv Ghost has set 

S v 

them to govern the church of God, which he has purchased with 
his own blood, do watch and labour and fulfil their ministry, as 
the apostle has commanded : and they must know that they 
cannot do this, if, as hirelings, they forsake the flock commit 
ted to them and do not watch over those sheep, whose blood 
will be required at their hands in the last day : since it is 
certain that no excuse will be received, if the wolf devours 
the sheep, when the shepherd does not look after them. Yet 
since, to our great grief, it is found that some at this time 
neglect the salvation of their souls and, preferring earthly 
things to heavenly, are still about courts; and forsaking the 
fold, and the care of the sheep trusted to them, do give 
themselves wholly to earthly and temporal cares: therefore 

Of the Pastoral Care. 131 

all the ancient canons, which by the iniquity of times and 
the corruptions of men, were fallen into desuetude, were renewed 
against non-residents. 13 To which several compulsory clauses 
are added, which are indeed slight ones, because the execution 
of them was entirely put into the pope s power, and the pun 
ishment did only lie, if the bishop was absent six months in 
a year. 

This decree did not satisfy those who moved for a reformation ; 
so a fuller one was made in the 23d session, 1st chap, in these 
words : " Whereas, by the law of God. all those, to whom the 
care of souls is committed, are commanded to know their sheep, 
to offer sacrifice for them, to feed them by the preaching of 
the word of God, the administration of the sacraments, and 
by the example of a good life, to have a tender care of the 
poor, and all other miserable persons, and to lay themselves 
out upon all the other functions of the pastoral care : which 
cannot be performed by those, who do not watch over nor 
are present with their flock ; therefore this synod does admonish 
and exhort them that they, remembering the divine precepts, 
and being made an example to their flock, may feed and govern 
them in righteousness and truth. Upon this they declare, that 
all bishops, even cardinals themselves, are obliged to personal 
residence in their church and diocese, and there to discharge 
their duty, unless upon some special occasions." By which 
indeed a door is opened to as many corruptions as the court 
of Rome thinks fit to dispense with. Yet without this none 
may be absent above two, or at most three months in the whole 
year ; and even that must be upon a just reason, and with 
out any prejudice to the flock; "And they leave this upon 
the consciences of such as withdraw for so long a time, who 
they hope will be religious and tender in this matter, since all 
hearts are known to God, and it is no small sin to do his work 
negligently." They declare the breaking this decree to be a 
mortal sin, and that such as are guilty of it cannot with a good 
conscience enjoy the mean profits during such their absence, 
but are bound to lay them out on the fabric, or give them to the 
poor: and all these provisions and punishments they do also 
make against the inferior clergy, that enjoyed any benefice to 
which the care of souls was annexed ; and the execution of that 
is put in the bishop s hands, who is required not to dispense 

K 2 

132 Of the Pastoral Care. 

with their residence, unless upon a very weighty occasion, 
above two months ; and in this they give the bishop so full an 
authority that no appeal or prohibition was to lie against his 
sentence upon non-residents, even in the court of Rome. By 
these decrees, though the papal party hindered a formal decla 
ration of the obligation to residence by divine right, that so room 
might be still left for the dispensing power ; yet they went very 
near it ; they applied passages of scripture to it, and laid the 
charge of mortal sin upon it. 

In the last place, I shall set down the decree that was made 
in the 24th session, chap, 17, against pluralities, in these words: 
" Whereas the ecclesiastical order is perverted, when one clerk 
has the offices of many committed to him, it was therefore 
well provided by the holy canons, that no man should be put 
into two churches. But many, led by their depraved covet- 
ousness, deceiving themselves, but not God, are not ashamed 
to elude those good constitutions by several artifices, and 
obtain more benefices than one at the same time : therefore 
the synod, being desirous to restore a proper discipline for 
the government of churches, does, by this decree, by which 
all persons, of what rank soever, even cardinals themselves, 
shall be bound, appoint, that, for the future, one man shall 
be capable of receiving only one ecclesiastical benefice. But 
if that is not sufficient for the decent maintenance of him 
that has it, then it shall be lawful to give him another simple 
benefice, provided that both benefices do not require personal 
residence. This rule must be applied not only to cathedrals, 
but to all other benefices, whether secular, regular, or such 
as are held by commendam, or of what sort or order soever 
they may be. And as for such as do at present possess 
either more parish churches than one, or one cathedral and 
another parish church, they shall be forced, notwithstanding 
any dispensations or unions that may have been granted them 
for term of life, to resign within the space of six months 
all they do now hold, except one cathedral, or one parochial 
church; otherwise all their benefices, whether parochial or 
others shall be by law esteemed void, and as such they shall 
be disposed of to others. Nor may those who formerly en 
joyed them receive the mean profits after the term of six 
months with a good conscience. But the synod wishes that 

Of the Pastoral Care. 133 

some due provision might be made, such as the pope shall 
think fit, for the necessities of those who are hereby obliged 
to resign." 

These were the decrees that were made by that pretended 
general council : and wheresoever that council is received, they 
are so seldom dispensed with that the scandal of non-residence 
or plurality does no more cry in that church. In France, though 
that council is not received, yet such regard is had to primitive 
rules that it is not heard of among them. Such examples are 
to us reproaches indeed, and that of the worst sort, when the 
argument, from the neglect of the pastoral care, which gave so 
great an advantage at first to the reformers, and turned the 
hearts of the world so much from their careless pastors to those 
who shewed more zeal and concern for them, is now against us 
and lies the other way. If the nature of man is so made that it 
is not possible but that offences must come, yet woe be to him by 
whom they come. 


Of the declared sense and rules of the church of England in this 


WHATSOEVEK may be the practice of any among us, and 
whatsoever may be the force of some laws that were made in bad 
times, and perhaps upon bad ends, yet we are sure the sense of 
our church is very different : she intended to raise the obligation 
of the pastoral care higher than it was before ; and has laid out 
this matter more fully and more strictly than any church ever 
did in any age, as far at least as my inquiries can carry me. 
The truest indication of the sense of a church is to be taken 
from her language in her public Offices : this is that, which she 
speaks the most frequently and the most publicly ; even the 
articles of doctrine are not so much read and so often heard, as 
her liturgies are. And as this way of reasoning has been of late 
made use of with great advantage against the church of Koine, 
to make her accountable for all her public Offices in their plain 
and literal meaning ; so will I make use of it on this occasion : 
it is the stronger in our case, whose Offices being in a tongue 
understood by the people, the argument from them does more 
evidently conclude here. 

In general then this is to be observed, that no church, before 
ours at the Reformation, took a formal sponsion at the altar 
from such as were ordained deacons and priests : that was indeed 

134? Of the Pastoral Care. 

always demanded of bishops, but neither in the Roman nor 
Greek Pontifical do we find any such solemn vows and promises 
demanded or made by priests or deacons., nor does any print 
of this appear in the Constitutions, the pretended Areopagite, 
or the ancient canons of the church. Bishops were asked many 
questions, as appears by the first canon of the fourth council of 
Carthage. They were required to profess their faith and to 
promise to obey the canons, which is still observed in the Greek 
church. The questions are more express in the Roman Ponti 
fical ; and the first of these demands a promise, That they will 
instruct their people in the Christian doctrine, according to the 
holy scriptures : which was the foundation upon which our 
bishops justified the Reformation ; since the first and chief of all 
their vows binding them to this, it was to take place of all 
others ; and if any other parts of those sponsions contradicted 
this, such as their obedience and adherence to the see of Rome, 
thev said that these were to be limited bv this. 

V * 

All the account I can give of this general practice of the 
church, in demanding promises only of bishops, and not of the 
other orders, is this; that they considered the government of the 
priests and deacons as a thing that was so entirely in the bishop, 
as it was indeed by the first constitution, that it was not thought 

/ O 

necessary to bind them to their duty by any public vows or pro 
mises, (though it is very probable that the bishops might take 
private engagements of them before they ordained them) it being 
in the bishop^s power to restrain and censure them in a very ab 
solute and summary way. But the case was quite different in 
bishops, who were all equal by their rank and order; none having 
any authority over them by any divine law or the rules of the 
gospel ; the power of primates and metropolitans having arisen 
out of ecclesiastical and civil laws, and not being equally great 
in all countries and provinces ; and therefore it was more neces 
sary to proceed with greater caution, and to demand a further 
security from them. 

But the new face of the constitution of the church, by which 
priests were not under so absolute a subjection to their bishops 
as they had been at first, which was occasioned partly by the 
tyranny of some bishops, to which bounds were set by laws and 
canons, partly by their having a special property and benefice of 
their own, and so not being maintained by a dividend out of the 
common stock of the church as at first, had so altered the state 

Of the Pastoral Care. 135 

of things, that indeed no part of the episcopacy was left entirely 
in the bishop^s hands, but the power of ordination. This is still 
free and unrestrained; no writs nor prohibitions from civil 
courts and no appeals have clogged or fettered this, as they 
have done all the other parts of their authority. Therefore our 
Reformers, observing all this, took great care in reforming the 
Office of ordination; and they made both the charge that is 
given, and the promises that are to be taken, to be very express 
and solemn, that so both the ordainers and the ordained might 
be rightly instructed in their duty,, and struck with the awe and 
dread that they ought to be under in so holy and so important 
a performance. And though all mankind does easily enough 
agree in this, that promises ought to be religiously observed 
which men make to one another, how apt soever they may be to 
break them ; yet, to make the sense of these promises go deeper, 
they are ordered to be made at the altar, and in the nature of 
a stipulation or covenant ; the church conferring orders, or in 
deed rather Christ, by the ministry of the offices that he has 
constituted, conferring them upon those promises that are first 
made. The forms of ordination in the Greek church, which we 
have reason to believe are less changed and more conform to 
the primitive patterns than those used by the Latins, do plainly 
import that the church only declared the divine vocation. "The 
grace of God, that perfects the feeble and heals the weak, pro 
motes this man to be a deacon, a priest or a bishop :" where 
nothing is expressed as conferred, but only as declared ; so our 
church, by making our Saviour s words the form of ordination, 
must be construed to intend by that, that it is Christ only that 
sends, and that the bishops are only his ministers to pronounce 
his mission : otherwise it is not so easy to justify the use of this 
form, " Receive the Holy Ghost ;" which as it was not used in 
the primitive church, nor by the Roman, till within these five 
hundred years, so in that church it is not the form of ordina 
tion, but a benediction given by the bishop singly, after the 
orders are given by the bishop and the other priests joining 
with him : for this is done by him alone as the final consumma 
tion of the action. But our using this as the form of ordination 
shews, that we consider ourselves only as the instruments that 
speak in Christ s name and words ; insinuating thereby that he 
only ordains. Pursuant to this, in the ordaining of priests, the 
questions are put in the name of God and of his church ; which 

136 Of the Pastoral Care. 

makes the answers to them to be of the nature of vows and 
oaths ; so that if men do make conscience of any thing, and if it 
is possible to strike terror into them, the forms of our ordinations 
are the most effectually contrived for that end that could have 
been framed. 

The first question that is put in the Office of deacons is, " Do 
you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to 
take upon you this office, to serve God for the promoting of his 
glory, and the edifying of his people T 1 To which he is to answer, 
" I trust so." This is put only in this Office, and not repeated 
afterwards, it being justly supposed that where one has had this 
motion, all the other orders may be in time conferred pursuant 
to it : but this is the first step by which a man dedicates him 
self to the service of God, and therefore it ought not to be 
made by any that has not this divine vocation. Certainly, the 
answer that is made to this ought to be well considered ; for 
if any says, " I trust so," that yet knows nothing of any such 
motion, and can give no account of it, he lies to the Holy Ghost, 
and makes his first approach to the altar with a lie in his mouth, 
and that not to men, but to God : and how can one expect to be 
received by God, or be sent and sealed by him, that dares do a 
thing of so crying a nature, as to pretend that he trusts he has 
this motion, who knows that he has it not, who has made no 
reflections on it, and, when asked what he means by it, can say 
nothing concerning it, and yet he dares venture to come and say 
it before God and his church I If a man pretends a commission 
from a prince, or indeed from any person, and acts in his name 
upon it, the law will fall on him and punish him : and shall the 
great God of heaven and earth be thus vouched and his motion 
be pretended to by those, whom he has neither called or sent ? 
And shall not he reckon with those who dare to run without 
his mission, pretending that they trust they have it, when per 
haps they understand not the importance of it ; nay, and perhaps 
some laugh at it, as an enthusiastical question, who yet will go 
through with the office I They come to Christ for the loaves ; 
they hope to live by the altar and the gospel, how little soever 
they serve at the one, or preach the other ; therefore they will 
say any thing that is necessary for qualifying them to this, 
whether true or false. It cannot be denied but that this ques 
tion carries a sound in it that seems a little too high, and that 
may rather raise scruples, as importing somewhat that is not 

Of the Pastoral Care. 137 

ordinary, and that seems to savour of enthusiasm ; and there 
fore it was put here, without doubt, to give great caution to 
such as come to the service of the church. Many may be able 
to answer it truly according to the sense of the church, who 
may yet have great doubting in themselves concerning it ; but 
every man that has it not, must needs know that he has it not. 

The true meaning of it must be resolved thus : The motives 
that ought to determine a man to dedicate himself to the minis 
tering in the church, are a zeal for promoting the glory of God, 
for raising the honour of the Christian religion, for the making 
it to be better understood, and more submitted to. He that 
loves it, and feels the excellency of it in himself, that has a due 
sense of God s goodness in it to mankind, and that is entirely 
possessed with that, will feel a zeal within himself for communi 
cating that to others ; that so the only true God and Jesus Christ 
whom he has sent, may be more universally glorified and served 
by his creatures. And when to this he has added a concern for 
the souls of men, a tenderness for them, a zeal to rescue them 
from endless misery, and a desire to put them in the way to 
everlasting happiness ; and, from these motives, feels in himself 
a desire to dedicate his life and labours to those ends ; and, in 
order to them, studies to understand the scriptures, and more 
particularly the New Testament, that from thence he may form 
a true notion of this holy religion, and so be an able minister of 
it : this man, and only this man, so moved and so qualified, can, 
in truth and with a good conscience answer, That he trusts he 
is inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost : and every one that ven 
tures on the saying it without this, is a sacrilegious profaner of 
the name of God and of his holy Spirit : he breaks in upon his 
church, not to feed it, but to rob it ; and it is certain that he 
who begins with a lie, may be sent by the father of lies ; but he 
cannot be thought to enter in by the door, who prevaricates in 
the first word that he says in order to his admittance. 

But if the Office of deacons offers no other particular matter of 
reflection, the Office of ordaining priests has a great deal; indeed 
the whole of it is calculated to the best notions of the best times. 
In the charge that is given, the figures of watchmen, shepherds, 
and stewards, are pursued, and the places of scripture relating 
to these are applied to them : " They are required to have 
always printed in their remembrance, how great a treasure 
was committed to their charge : the church and congregation, 

138 Of the Pastoral Care. 

whom they must serve, is his spouse and body. Then the 
greatness of the fault of their negligence, and the horrible 
punishment that will follow upon it, is set before them in case 
the church or any member of it take any hurt or hinderance 
by reason of it. They are charged never to cease their labour, 
care and diligence, till they have done all that lieth in them, 
according to their bounden duty, towards all such as are or 
shall be committed to their care, to bring them to a ripeness 
and perfection of age in Christ. They are again urged to 
consider with what care and study they ought to apply them 
selves to this ; to pray earnestly for God s holy Spirit, and to 
be studious in reading and learning of the scriptures ; and to 
forsake and set aside, as much as they may, all worldly cares 
and studies. It is hoped that they have clearly determined, 
by God s grace, to give themselves wholly to this vocation ; 
and, as much as lieth in them, to apply themselves wholly to 
this one thing, and to draw all their cares and studies this way 
and to this end ; and that by their daily reading and weighing 
the scriptures, they will study to wax riper and stronger in 
their ministry." These are some of the words of the prepara 
tory charge given by the bishop, when he enters upon this office, 
before he puts the questions that follow to those who are to be 
ordained. What greater force or energy could be put in words, 
than is in these ? Or where could any be found that are more 
weighty and more express, to shew the entire dedication of the 
whole man, of his time and labours, and the separating himself 
from all other cares to follow this one thing with all possible 
application and zeal ? There is nothing in any office, ancient or 
modern, that I ever saw, which is of this force, so serious and 
so solemn ; and it plainly implies not only the sense of the 
church upon this whole matter, but likewise their design who 
framed it, to oblige priests, notwithstanding any relaxation that 
the laws of the land had still favoured, by the firmest and 
sacredest bonds possible, to attend upon their flocks, and to do 
their duties to them. For a bare residence, without labouring, 
is but a mock residence ; since the obligation to it is in order to 
a further end, that they may watch over and feed their flock, 
and not enjoy their benefices only as farms or as livings, 
according to the gross but common abuse of our language, by 
which the names of cures, parishes or benefices, which are the 
ecclesiastical names, are now swallowed up into that of living, 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 39 

which carries a carnal idea in the very sound of the word, and I 
doubt a more carnal effect on the minds of both clergy and laity. 
Whatever we may be, our church is free of this reproach; 
since this charge carries their duty as high and as home as any 
thins: that can be laid in words. And it is further to be con- 


sidered that this is not of the nature of a private exhortation, 
in which a man of lively thoughts and a warm fancy may be apt 
to carry a point too high ; it is the constant and uniform voice 
of the church. Nor is it of the nature of a charge, which is only 
the sense of him that gives it, and to which the person to whom 
it is given is only passive : he hears it, but cannot be bound by 
another man s thoughts or words, further than as the nature of 
things binds him. But orders are of the nature of a covenant 
between Christ and the clerks, in which so many privileges and 
powers are granted on the one part, and so many duties and 
offices are promised on the other; and this charge being the 
preface to it, it is stipulatory. It declares the whole covenant 
of both sides ; and so those who receive orders upon it are as 
much bound by every part of it, and it becomes as much their 
own act, as if they had pronounced or promised it all in the most 
formal words that could be ; and indeed the answers and pro 
mises that are afterwards made are only the application of this to 
the particular persons, for giving them a plainer and livelier 
sense of their obligation, which yet, in itself, was as entire 
and strong, whether they had made any promise by words of 
their own or not. 

But to put the matter out of doubt, let us look a little further 
into the Office, to the promises that they make with relation to 
their flock, even to such as are or shall be committed to their 
charge. They promise, " That, by the help of the Lord, they 
will give their faithful diligence always so to minister the doc 
trine and sacraments and the discipline of Christ, as the Lord 
hath commanded, and as this realm hath received the same, 
according to the commandment of God : so that they may 
teach the people committed to their care and charge with all 
diligence to keep and observe the same." This does plainly 
bind to personal labour ; the mention that is made of " what this 
realm has received" being limited by what follows, " according 
to the commandment of God," shews, that by this is meant the 
reformation of the doctrine and worship that was then received 
and established by law ; by which these general words, " the 

140 Of the Pastoral Care. 

doctrine, and sacraments, and discipline of Christ/ to which 
all parties pretend, are determined to our constitution ; so that 
though there were some disorders among us, not yet provided 
against by the laws of the land, this does not secure a reserve 
for them. This is so slight a remark, that I should be ashamed 
to have made it, if it had not been urged to myself, slight as it 
is, to justify, in point of conscience, the claiming all such 
privileges or qualifications as are still allowed by law. But I go 
on to the other promises : the clerk says, " He will, by the help 
of God, be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and 
drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines, contrary to 
God s word, and to use both public and private admonitions 
and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole within his 
cure, as need shall require and as occasion shall be given." 
This is as plainly personal and constant as words can make any 
thing ; and in this is expressed the so much neglected, but so 
necessary duty, which incumbents owe their flock, in a private 
way, visiting, instructing and admonishing them, which is one 
of the most useful and important parts of their duty, how 
generally soever it may be disused or forgotten ; these being the 
chief instances and acts of watching over and feeding the flock, 
that is committed to their care. In the next place, they promise 
"That they will be diligent in prayers, and in reading of the 
holy scriptures, and in such studies as help to the knowledge 
of the same, laying aside the study of the world and the flesh." 
This still carries on that great notion of the pastoral care, which 
runs through this whole Office; that it is to be a man s entire 
business, and is to possess both his thoughts and his time. 
They do further promise, " That they will maintain and set 
forward, as much as lieth in them, quietness, peace and love 
among all Christian people, and especially among them, that 
are or shall be committed to their charge/ 1 

These are the vows and promises that priests make, before they 
can be ordained. And to complete the stipulation, the bishop 
concludes it with a prayer to God, "who has given them the 
will to do all these things, to give them also strength and 
power to perform the same ; that he may accomplish his work, 
that he hath begun in them, until the time that he shall come, 
at the latter day, to judge the quick and the dead." Upon 
the whole matter, either this is all a piece of gross and impudent 
pageantry, dressed up in grave and lofty expressions, to strike 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 41 

upon the weaker part of mankind, and to furnish the rest with 
matter to their profane and impious scorn ; or it must be con 
fessed that priests come under the most formal and express 
engagements to constant and diligent labour, that can possibly 
be contrived or set forth in words. It is upon this that they are 
ordained ; so their ordination being the consummation of this 
compact, it must be acknowledged, that, according to the nature 
of all mutual compacts, a total failure on the one side does also 
dissolve all the obligation that lay on the other : and therefore 
those who do not perform their part, that do not reside and 
labour, they do also, in the sight of God, forfeit all the authority 
and privileges, that do follow their orders, as much as a Christ 
ian at large, that does not perform his baptismal vow, forfeits 
the rights and benefits of his baptism, in the sight of God ; 
though, both in the one and in the other, it is necessary that, for 
the preventing of disorder and confusion, a sentence declaratory 
of excommunication in the one. as of degradation in the other, 
pass, before the visible acts and rights, pursuant to those rites, 
can be denied. 

To all this I will add one thing more, which is, that since our 
book of Ordination is a part of our liturgy and likewise a part 
of the law of the land ; and since constant attendance and dili 
gent labour is made necessary by it ; and since this law is 
subsequent to the act of the 21st of Henry VIII, that qualifies 
so many for pluralities and non-residence, and is in plain terms 
contrary to it ; this, as subsequent, does repeal all that it contra 
dicts. It is upon all this a matter that to me seems plain, that 
by this law the other is repealed, in so far as it is inconsistent 
with it. This argument is by this consideration made the 
stronger, that the act of king Henry does not enact that such 
things shall be, but only reserves privileges for such as may be 
capable of an exemption from the common and general rules. 
Now, by the principles of law, all privileges or exemptions of that 
sort are odious things ; and the constructions of law lying hard 
and heavy against odious cases, it appears to me, according to the 
general grounds of law, very probable, (I speak within bounds 
when I say only probable) that the act of uniformity, which 
makes the Offices of Ordination a part of the law of England, is 
a repeal of that part of the act of king Henry, which qualifies for 
pluralities. To conclude, whatsoever may be the strength of this 
plea in bar to that act, if our faith, given to God and his church 

142 Of the Pastoral Care. 

in the most express and plainest words possible, does bind, if 
promises given at the altar do oblige, and if a stipulation, in the 
consideration of which orders are given is sacred and of an in 
dispensable obligation, then, I am sure, this is. 

To make the whole matter yet the stronger, this Office is to 
be completed with the communion : so that, upon this occasion, 
that is not only a piece of religious devotion accompanying it, 
but it is the taking the sacrament upon the stipulation that has 
been made between the priest and the church : so that those 
who have framed this Office have certainly intended, by all the 
ways that they could think on, and by the weightiest words they 
could choose, to make the sense of the priestly function, and of 
the duties belonging to it, give deep and strong impressions to 
such as are ordained. I have compared with it all the exhorta 
tions that are in all the Offices I could find, ancient and modern, 
whether of the Greek or the Latin church ; and this must be 
said of our s, without any sort of partiality to our own forms, 
that no sort of comparison can be made between our s and all 
the others; and that as much as our s is more simple than those 
as to its rites and ceremonies, which swell up other Offices, so 
much is it more grave and weighty in the exhortations, collects 
and sponsions that are made in it. In the Roman Pontifical, 
no promises are demanded of priests, but only that of obedience; 
bishops, in a corrupted state of the church, taking care only of 
their own authority, while they neglected more important obli 

In the Office of consecrating bishops; as all the sponsions 
made by them, when they were ordained priests, are to be con 
sidered as still binding, since the inferior office does still subsist 
in the superior ; so there are new ones superadded, proportioned 
to the exaltation of dignity and authority, that accompanies that 
office. In the Roman Pontifical there are indeed questions put 
to a bishop, before he is consecrated ; but of all these the first 
only is that, which has any relation to his flock, which is in these 
words : " Wilt thou teach the people over whom thou art to be 
set, both by thy example and doctrine, those things that thou 
learnest out of the holy scripture 2" All the rest are general, 
and relate only to his conversation ; but not at all to his labours 
in his diocese : whereas, on the contrary, the engagements in 
our Office do regard not only a bishop s own conversation, but 
chiefly his duty to his people ; he declares, that " he is deter- 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 43 

mined to instruct the people, committed to his charge, out of the 
holy scriptures :" that " he will study them, so as to be able by 
them to teach and exhort with wholesome doctrine ; and with 
stand and convince the gainsay ers :" that " he will be ready, 
with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous 
and strange doctrine contrary to God s word; and both pri 
vately and openly to call upon and encourage others to the 
same :" that " he will maintain and set forward, as much as 
lies in him, quietness, love and peace among all men ; and cor 
rect and punish such as be unquiet, disobedient and criminous, 
within his diocese ; according to such authority as he has." In 
particular, " he promises to be faithful in ordaining, sending, or 
laying hands upon others : he promises also to shew himself to 
be gentle and merciful, for Christ s sake, to poor and needy 
people, and to all strangers destitute of help." These are the 
covenants and promises under which bishops are put, which 
are again reinforced upon them in the charge that is given 
immediately after their consecration, when the Bible is put in 
their hands ; " Give heed to reading, exhortation and doctrine : 
think upon the things contained in this book ; be diligent in 
them, that the increase coming thereby may be manifest unto 
all men. Take heed unto thyself, and to doctrine, and be dili 
gent in doing them ; for by doing this, thou shalt both save thy 
self and them that hear thee. Be thou to the flock of Christ 
a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not. Hold 
up the weak, heal the sick, bind up the broken, bring again 
the outcasts, seek the lost ; be so merciful, that you be not too 
remiss ; so minister discipline that you forget not mercy : that, 
when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you may receive the never 
fading crown of glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord." In 
these words the great lines of our duty are drawn in very 
expressive and comprehensive terms. We have the several 
branches of our function, both as to preaching and governing, 
very solemnly laid upon us : and both in this Office, as well as 
in all the other Offices that I have seen, it appears, that the 
constant sense of all churches in all ages has been, that preach 
ing was the bishop s great duty, and that he ought to lay himself 
out in it most particularly. 

I shall only add one advice to all this, before I leave this 
article of the sense of our church in this matter ; both to those, 
who intend to take orders, and to those, who have already taken 

144 Of the Pastoral Care. 

them. As for such as do intend to dedicate themselves to the 
service of the church, they ought to read over these Offices fre 
quently ; and to ask themselves solemnly, as in the presence of 
God, whether they can with a good conscience make those an 
swers, which the book prescribes, or not? and not to venture 
on offering themselves to orders, till they know that they dare 
and may safely do it. Every person who looks that way ought 
at least on every Ordination-Sunday, after he has once formed 
the resolution of dedicating himself to this work, to go over the 
office seriously with himself, and to consider in what disposition 
or preparation of mind he is, suitable to what he finds laid down 
in it. But I should add to this, that for a vear before he comes 


to be ordained, he should evexy first Sunday of the month read 
over the Office very deliberately ; and frame resolutions conform 
to the several parts of it, and, if he can, receive the sacrament 
upon it, with a special set of private devotions, relating to his 
intentions. As the time of his ordination draws near, he ought 
to return the oftener to those exercises. It will be no hard task 
for him to read these over every Sunday, during the last quarter 
before his ordination ; and to do that yet more solemnly, every 
day of the week in which he is to be ordained ; and to join a 
greater earnestness of fasting and prayer with it on the fast-days 
of his ember- week. 

Here is no hard imposition. The performance is as easy in 
itself, as it will be successful in its effects. If I did not consider 
rather what the age can bear, than what were to be wished for, 
I would add a great many severe rules, calculated to the notions 
of the primitive times. But if this advice were put in practice, 
it is to be hoped, that it would set back many who come to be 
ordained, without considering duly, either what it is that they 
ask, or what it is that is to be asked of them : which some do 
with so supine a negligence, that we plainly see that they have 
not so much as read the Office, or at least that they have done 
it in so slight a manner, that they have formed no clear notions 
upon any part of it, and least of all upon those parts, to which 
they themselves are to make answers. And as such a method 
as I have proposed would probably strike some with a due awe 
of divine matters, so as to keep them at a distance till they were 
in some sort prepared for them ; so it would oblige such as 
come to it, to bring along with them a serious temper of mind 
and such a preparation of soul, as might make that their orders 

Of the Pastoral Care. 145 

should be a blessing to them, as well as they themselves should 
be a blessing to the church. It must be the greatest joy of a 
bishop s life, who truly minds his duty in this weighty trust of 
sending out labourers into God s vineyard, to ordain such per 
sons, of whom he has just grounds to hope that they shall do 
their duty faithfully in reaping that harvest. He reckons these 
as his children indeed, who are to be his strength and support, 
his fellow-labourers and helpers, his crown and his glory. But 
on the other hand, how heavy a part of his office must it be, to 
ordain those, against whom perhaps there lies no just objection, 
so that, according to the constitution and rules of the church, he 
cannot deny them ; and yet he sees nothing in them that gives 
him courage or cheerfulness. They do not seem to have that 
love to God, that zeal for Christ, that tenderness for souls, that 
meekness and humility, that mortification and deadness to the 
world, that becomes the character and profession which they 
undertake; so that his heart fails him and his hands tremble, 
when he goes to ordain them. 

My next advice shall be to those who are already in orders, 
that they will, at least four times a year, on the Ordination- 
Sundays, read over the Offices of the degrees of the church, in 
which they are ; and will particularly consider the charge that 
was given, and the answers that were made by them ; and then 
ask themselves, as before God, who will judge them at the great 
day upon their religious performance of them, whether they 
have been true to them or not : that so they may humble them 
selves for their errors and omissions, and may renew their vows 
for the future, and so to be going on, from quarter to quarter, 
through the whole course of their ministry, observing still what 
ground they gain, and what progress they make. To such as 
have a right sense of their duty, this will be no hard perform 
ance. It will give a vast joy to those who can go through it 
with some measure of assurance, and find that, though in the 
midst of many temptations and of much weakness, they are 
sincerely and seriously going on in their work to the best of 
their skill, and to the utmost of their power ; so that their con 
sciences say within them, and that without the partialities of 
self-love and flattery, Well done, good and faithful servant : the 
hearing of this said within, upon true grounds, being the cer- 
tainest evidence possible, that it shall be publicly said at the last 
great day. This exercise will also offer checks to a man that 

146 Of the Pastoral Care. 

looks for them, and intends both to understand his errors, and to 
cleanse himself from them. It will, upon the whole matter, 
make clergymen go on with their profession, as the business and 
labour of their lives. 

Having known the very good effect that this method has had 
on some, I dare the more confidently recommend it to all others. 

Before I conclude this chapter, I will shew what rules our 
reformers had prepared with relation to non-residence and plu 
ralities ; which though they never passed into laws, and so have 
no binding force with them, yet in these we see what was the 
sense of those, that prepared our Offices and that were the chief 
instruments in that blessed work of our reformation. The 12th 
chapter of the title d , "Concerning those that were to be admitted 
to ecclesiastical benefices," runs thus ; " Whereas, when many 
benefices are conferred on one person, every one of these must 
be served with less order and exactness, and many learned 
men, who are not provided, are by that means shut out ; there 
fore such as examine the persons who are proposed for bene 
fices, are to ask every one of them, whether he has at that 
time another benefice or not ; and if he confesses that he has, 
then they shall not consent to his obtaining that to which he 
is presented, or the first benefice shall be made void, as in case 
of death, so that the patron may present any other person to 
it." Chap. 13th is against dispensations, in these words : " No 
man shall hereafter be capable of any privilege, by virtue of 
which he may hold more parishes than one : but such as have 
already obtained any such dispensations for pluralities, shall 
not be deprived of the effects of them by virtue of this law." 
The 14th chapter relates to residence in these words : " If any 
man, by reason of age or sickness, is disabled from discharging 
his duty, or if he has any just cause of absence for some time, 
that shall be approved of by the bishop, he must take care 
to place a worthy person to serve during his absence. But 
the bishops ought to take a special care, that upon no regard 
whatsoever any person may, upon feigned or pretended reasons, 
be suffered to be longer absent from his parish, than a real 
necessity shall require."" 

These are some of the rules which were then prepared ; and 

d Bishop Burnet here refers to a Work, entitled: Reformatio Legum Ecclesi- 
asticarum now accessible to the student, through a new edition, printed at 
Oxford, in 1850, under the care of Dr. Cardwell. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 47 

happy had it been for our church, if that whole work of the re 
formation of the ecclesiastical law had been then settled among 
us. Then we might justly have said, that our reformation was 
complete, and not have lamented, as our church still does in 
the Office of Commination, " That the godly discipline which 
was in the primitive church is not yet restored," how much 
and how long soever it has been wished for. It is more than 
probable that we should neither have had any schisms, nor civil 
wars, if that great design had not been abortive. If but the 19th 
and 20th titles of that work, which treat of the public offices and 
officers in the church, had become a part of our law, and been 
duly executed, we should indeed have had matter of glorying in 
the world. 

In the canons of the year 1571, though there was not then 
strength enough in the church to cure so inveterate a disease as 
non-residence ; yet she expressed her detestation of it in these 
words : " The absence of a pastor from the Lord s flock, and that 
supine negligence and abandoning of the ministry, which we 
observe in many, is a thing vile in itself, odious to the people, 
and pernicious to the church of God ; therefore we exhort all 
the pastors of churches in our Lord Jesus, that they will, as 
soon as possible, come to their churches, and diligently preach 
the gospel ; and, according to the value of their livings, that 
they will keep house, and hospitably relieve the poor/ It is 
true, all this is much lessened by the last words of that article, 
" That every year they must reside, at least, threescore days 
upon their benefices." By the canons made at that time, plu 
ralities were also limited to twenty miles distance. But this was 
enlarged to thirty miles by the canons in the year 1597 ; yet by 
these the pluralist was required to spend "a good part of the 
year" in both his benefices. And upon this has the matter 
rested ever since ; but there is no express definition made how 
far that general word of a " good part of the year" is to be 

I will not to this add a long invidious history of all the 
attempts that have been made for the reforming these abuses, 
nor the methods that have been made use of to defeat them. 
They have been but too successful, so that we still groan under 
our abuses, and do not know when the time shall come, in which 
we shall be freed from them. The defenders of those abuses, 
who get too much by them to be willing to part with them, have 

1 48 Of the Pastoral Care. 

made great use of this, that it was the puritan party that, during 
queen Elizabeth and king James the First s reign, promoted 
these bills to render the church odious : \vhereas it seems more 
probable that those who set them forward, what invidious cha 
racters soever their enemies might put them under, were really 
the friends of the church ; and that they intended to preserve it, 
by freeing it from so crying and so visible an abuse ; which 
gives an offence and scandal, that is not found out by much 
learning or great observation, but arises so evidently out of the 
nature of things, that a small measure of common sense helps 
every one to see it, and to be deeply prejudiced against it. But 
since our church has fallen under the evils and mischiefs of 
schism, none of those who divide from us have made any more 
attempts this way ; but seem rather to be not ill pleased that 
such scandals should be still among us, as hoping that this is so 
great a load upon our church, that it both weakens our strength 
and lessens our authority. It is certainly the interest of an 
enemy, to suffer the body to which he opposes himself to lie 
under as many prejudices, and to be liable to as much censure, as 
is possible ; whereas every good and wise friend studies to pre 
serve that body to which he unites himself, by freeing it from 
every thing that may render it less acceptable and less useful. 

Here I will leave this argument, having, I think, said enough 
to convince all that have a true zeal to our church, and that 
think themselves bound in conscience to obey its rules, and that 
seem to have a particular jealousy of the civil power s breaking 
in too far upon the ecclesiastical authority, that there can be 
nothing more plain and express, than that our church intends to 
bring all her priests under the strictest obligations possible to 
constant and personal labour, and that in this she pursues the 
designs and canons, not only of the primitive and best times, 
but even of the worst ages ; since none were ever so corrupt, as 
not to condemn those abuses by canon, even when they maintained 
them in practice. She does not only bind them to this, by the 
charge she appoints to be given, but also by the vows and pro 
mises that she demands of such as are ordained. When all this 
is laid together, and when there stands nothing on the other side 
to balance it, but a law made in a very bad time, that took away 
some abuses, but left pretences to cover others ; can any man, 
that weighs these things together, in the sight of Gcd, and that 
believes he must answer to him for this at the great day, think, 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 49 

that the one, how strong soever it may be in his favour at an 
earthly tribunal, will be of any force in that last and dreadful 
judgment ? This I leave upon all men s consciences ; hoping that 
they will so judge themselves, that they shall not be judged of the 


Of the due preparation of such as may and ought to be put in orders. 

THE greatest good that one can hope to do in this world is 
upon young persons, who have not yet taken their ply and are 
not spoiled with prejudices and wrong notions. Those who have 
taken an ill one at first will neither be at the pains to look over 
their notions, nor turn to new methods ; nor will they, by any 
change of practice, seem to confess that they were once in the 
wrong : so that, if matters that are amiss can be mended or set 
right, it must be by giving those that have not yet set out and 
that are not yet engaged, truer views and juster ideas of things. 
I will therefore here lay down the model upon which a clerk is to 
be formed, and will begin with such things as ought to be previous 
and preparatory to his being initiated into orders. 

These are of two sorts ; the one is of such preparations as are 
necessary to give his heart and soul a right temper, and a true 
sense of things : the other is of such studies as are necessary to 
enable him to go through with the several parts of his duty. 
Both are necessary, but the first is the more indispensable of the 
two ; for a man of a good soul may, with a moderate proportion 
of knowledge, do great service in the church, especially if he is 
suited with an employment that is not above his talent : whereas 
unsanctified knowledge puffs up, is insolent and unquiet ; it gives 
great scandal and occasions much distraction in the church. In 
treating of these qualifications, I will watch over my thoughts, 
not to let them rise to a pitch that is above what the common 
frailties of human nature, or the age we live in, can bear : and 
after all, if in any thing I may seem to exceed these measures, 
it is to be considered that it is natural in proposing the ideas of 
things to carry them to what is wished for, which is but too often 
beyond what can be expected ; considering both the corruption 
of mankind, and of these degenerated times. 

First of all then, he that intends to dedicate himself to the 
church ought, from the time that he takes up any such resolu 
tion, to enter upon a greater decency of behaviour, that his mind 

150 Of the Pastoral Gare. 

may not be vitiated by ill habits, which may both give such bad 
characters of him, as may stick long on him afterwards, and 
make such ill impressions on himself, as may not be easily worn 
out or defaced. He ought, above all things, to possess himself 
with a high sense of the Christian religion, of its truth and 
excellence, of the value of souls, of the dignity of the pastoral 
care, of the honour of God, of the sacredness of holy functions, 
and of the great trust that is committed to those who are set 
apart from the world, and dedicated to God and to his church. 
He who looks this way must break himself to the appetites of 
pleasure or wealth, of ambition or authority ; he must consider 
that the religion, in which he intends to officiate, calls all men 
to great purity and virtue, to a probity and innocence of man 
ners, to a meekness and gentleness, to a humility and self-denial, 
to a contempt of the world, and a heavenly-mindedness, to a 
patient resignation to the will of God, and a readiness to bear 
the cross, in the hopes of that everlasting reward which is 
reserved for Christians in another state ; all which was eminently 
recommended by the unblemished pattern, that the Author of 
this religion has set to all that pretend to be his followers. 
These being the obligations which a preacher of the gospel is to 
lay daily upon all his hearers, he ought certainly to accustom 
himself often to consider seriously of them ; and to think how 
shameless and impudent a thing it will be in him, to perform 
offices suitable to all these and that do suppose them ; to be 
instructing the people, and exhorting them to the practice of 
them ; unless he is in some sort all this himself, which he teaches 
others to be. 

Indeed, to be tied to such an employment, while one has not 
an inward conformity to it, and complacence in it, is both the 
most unbecoming, the most unpleasant and the most uncomfort 
able state of life imaginable. Such a person will be exposed to 
all men s censures and reproaches, who, when they see things 
amiss in his conduct, do not only reproach him, but the whole 
church and body to which he belongs, and, which is more, the 
religion which he seems to recommend by his discourses ; 
though his life and actions, which will always pass for the most 
real declaration of his inward sentiments, are a visible and con 
tinual opposition to it. On all these things he, whose thoughts 
carry him toward the church, ought to reflect frequently : 
nothing is so odious as a man that disagrees with his character ; 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 51 

a soldier that is a coward, a courtier that is brutal, an ambassador 
that is abject, are not such unseemly things, as a bad or vicious, 
a drunken or dissolute clergyman. But though his scandals 
should not rise up to so high a pitch, even a proud and passion 
ate, a worldly- minded and covetous priest gives the lie to his 
discourses so palpably, that he cannot expect they should have 
much weight. Nor is such a man s state of life less unpleasant 
to himself, than it is unbecoming. He is obliged to be often 
performing offices and pronouncing discourses, in which, if he 
is not a good man, he not only has no pleasure, but must have a 
formed aversion to them. They must be the heaviest burden of 
his life ; he must often feel secret challenges within ; and 
though he as often silences these, yet such unwelcome reflec 
tions are uncomfortable things. He is forced to manage himself 
with a perpetual constraint and to observe a decorum in his de 
portment, lest he fall under a more public censure. Now to be 
bound to act a part and live with restraint one s whole life, must 
be a very melancholy thing, He cannot go so quite out of sight 
of religion and convictions, as other bad men do, who live in a 
perpetual hurry and a total forgetfulness of divine matters , 
They have no checks, because they are as seldom in the way to 
find them as is possible. But a clerk cannot keep himself out of 
their way ; he must remember them and speak of them, at least 
upon some occasions, whether he will or no : he has no other 
way to secure himself against them, but by trying what he can 
do to make himself absolutely disbelieve them. Negative 
atheism, that is, a total neglect of all religion, is but too 
easily arrived at ; yet this shall not serve his turn, he must build 
his atheism upon some bottom,, that he may find quiet in it. If 
he is an ignorant man, he is not furnished with those sleights of 
wit and shows of learning, that must support it : but if he is 
really learned, he will soon be beaten out of them ; for a learned 
atheism is so hard a thing to be conceived that, unless a man s 
powers are first strangely vitiated, it is not easy to see how any 
one can bring himself to it. There is nothing that can settle the 
quiet of an ill priest s mind and life, but a stupid formality, and 
a callus that he contracts by his insensible way of handling 
divine matters, by which he becomes hardened against them. 
But if this settles him by stupifying his powers, it does put him 
also so far out of the reach of conviction, in all the ordinary 
methods of grace, that it is scarce possible he can ever be 

152 Of the Pastoral Care. 

awakened, and by consequence that he can be saved ; and if he 
perishes, he must fall into the lowest degree of misery, even to 
the portion of hypocrites : for his whole life has been a course of 
hypocrisy in the strictest sense of the word ; which is the acting 
of a part, and the counterfeiting another person. His sins have 
in them all possible aggravations : they are against knowledge 
and against vows, and contrary to his character ; they carry in 
them a deliberate contempt of all the truths and obligations of 
religion ; and if he perishes, he does not perish alone, but carries 
a shoal down with him ; either of those, who have perished in 
ignorance through his neglect, or of those, who have been 
hardened in their sins through his ill example. And since all 
this must be put to his account, it may be justly inferred from 
hence, that no man can have a heavier share in the miseries 
of another state, than profane and wicked clerks. On all these 
things he ought to employ his thoughts frequently, who intends 
to dedicate himself to God, that so he may firmly resolve not to 
go on with it, till he feels such seeds and beginnings of good 
things in himself, that he has reason to hope, that, through the 
grace and assistance of God, he will be an example to others. 

He ought more particularly to examine himself, whether he 
has that soft and gentle, that meek and humble, and that 
charitable and compassionate temper, which the gospel does so 
much press upon all Christians ; that shined so eminently 
through the whole life of the blessed Author of it ; and which 
he has so singularly recommended to all his followers ; and that 
has in it so many charms and attractives, which do not only 
commend those who have these amiable virtues, but, which is 
much more to be regarded, they give them vast advantages in 
recommending the doctrine of our Saviour to their people. 
They are the true ground of that Christian wisdom and discre 
tion, and of that grave and calm deportment, by which the clergy 
ought to carry on and maintain their authority : a haughty and 
huffing humour, an impatient and insolent temper, a loftiness of 
deportment and a peevishness of spirit, rendering the lives of 
the clergy, for the most part, bitter to themselves, and their 
labours how valuable soever otherwise they may be, unaccept 
able and useless to their people. A clergyman must be prepared 
to bear injuries, to endure much unjust censure and calumny, to 
see himself often neglected, and others preferred to him, in 
the esteem of the people. He that takes all this ill, that resents 

Of the Pastoral Care. 153 

it, and complains of it, does thereby give himself much disquiet ; 
and to be sure he will, through his peevishness, rather increase 
than lessen that contempt, under which he is so uneasy ; which 
is both better borne and sooner overcome by a meek and a 
lowly temper. A man of this disposition affects no singularities, 
unless the faultiness of those about him makes his doing his 
duty to be a singularity : he does not study to lessen the value 
that is due to others, on design to increase his own : his low 
thoughts of himself make that he is neither aspiring, nor envy 
ing such as are advanced : he is prepared to stay till God in his 
providence thinks fit to raise him : he studies only to deserve 
preferment, and leaves to others the wringing posts of advantage 
out of the hands of those that give them. Such a preparation of 
mind in a clergyman disposes him to be happy in whatsoever 
station he may be put, and renders the church happy in him : 
for men so moulded, even though their talents should be but 
mean, are shining lights, that may perhaps be at first despised, 
as men of a low size, that have not greatness of soul enough to 
aspire ; but when they have been seen and known so long that 
all appears to be sincere, and that the principle from whence 
this flows is rightly considered, then every thing that they say 
or do must have its due weight : the plainest and simplest things 
that they say have a beauty in them, and will be hearkened to 
as oracles. 

But a man that intends to prepare himself right for the 
ministry of the church, must indeed, above all things, endeavour 
to break himself to the love of the world, either of the wealth, 
the pomp, or the pleasures of it. He must learn to be content 
with plain and simple diet, and often even abridge that by true 
fasting. I do not call fasting a trifling distinction of meats, but 
a lessening of the quantity, as well as the quality, and a con 
tracting the time spent at meals, that so he may have a greater 
freedom both in his time and in his thoughts ; that he may be 
more alone, and pray and meditate more, and that what he saves 
out of his meals, he may give to the poor. This is, in short, the 
true measure and right use of fasting. In cold climates, an 
abstinence till night may create disorders and raise such a dis 
turbance both in the appetite and in the digestion, that this, 
managed upon the practices of other countries, especially in 
young persons, may really distract, instead of furthering, those 

154 Of the Pastoral Care. 

who do it indiscreetly. In short, fasting, unless joined with 
prayer and almsgiving, is of no value in the sight of God. It is 
a vast advantage to a man to be broken to the niceties of his 
palate, to be content with plain food, and even to dislike de 
licacies and studied dishes. This will make him easy in narrower 
circumstances, since a plain bill of fare is soon discharged. A 
lover of his appetites and a slave to his taste makes but a mean 
figure among men, and a very scurvy one among clergymen. 

This deadness to the world must raise one above the affecta 
tions of pomp and state, of attendance and high living : which to 
a philosophical mind will be heavy, when the circumstances he 
is in seem to impose and force it on him. And therefore he 
who has a right sense finds -it is almost all he can do, to bear 
those things which the tyranny of custom or false opinions put 
upon him ; so far is he from longing for them. A man that is 
truly dead to the world would choose much rather to live in a 
lowly and narrow figure, than to be obliged to enter into the 
methods of the greatness of this world ; into which if the consti 
tutions and forms of a church and kingdom put him, yet he feels 
himself in an unnatural and uncouth posture : it is contrary to 
his own genius and relish of things, and therefore he does not 
court nor desire s.uch a situation, but, even while he is in it, he 
shews such a neglect of the state of it, and so much indifference 
and humility in it, that it appears how little power those things 
have over his mind, and how little they are able to subdue and 
corrupt it. This mortified man must likewise become dead to 
all the designs and projects of making a family, or of raising the 
fortunes of those that are nearly related to him : he must be 
bountiful and charitable ; and though it is not only lawful to 
him, but a necessary duty incumbent on him, to make due pro 
vision for his family, if he has any ; yet this must be so 
moderated, that no vain nor sordid designs, no indirect nor 
unbecoming arts may mix in it ; no excessive wealth, nor great 
projects must appear; he must be contented with such a pro 
portion as may set his children in the way of a virtuous and 
liberal education ; such as may secure them from scandal and 
necessity, and put them in a capacity to serve God and their 
generation in some honest employment. But he, who brings along 
with him a voluptuous, an ambitious, or a covetous mind, that is 
carnal and earthly minded, comes as a hireling to feed himself, 

Of the Pastoral Care. 155 

and not the flock ; he comes to steal and to destroy. Upon all 
this, great reflection is to be made concerning the motives that 
determine one to offer himself to this employment. 

In the first beginnings of Christianity, no man could reason 
ably think of taking orders, unless he had in him the spirit of 
martyrdom. He was to look for nothing in this service but 
labour and persecution : he was indeed to live of the altar, and 
that was all the portion that he was to expect in this world. In 
those days, an extraordinary measure of zeal and devotion was 
necessary to engage men to so hard and difficult a province, 
that, how great soever its reward might be in another world, 
had nothing to look for in this but a narrow provision and the 
first and largest share of the cross : they were the best known, 
the most exposed, and the soonest fallen upon in the persecu 
tion. But their services and their sufferings did so much re 
commend that function in the succeeding ages, that the faithful 
thought they could never do enough to express their value for 
it. The church came to be richly endowed ; and though super 
stition had raised this out of measure, yet the extreme went as 
far to the other hand at the reformation, when the church was 
almost stripped of all its patrimony, and a great many churches 
were left so poor, that there was not, in most places, a suffi 
cient, nay, not so much as a necessary maintenance reserved 
for those that were to minister in holy things. But it is to be 
acknowledged that there are such remnants preserved, that 
many benefices of the church still may, and perhaps do but 
too much work upon men s corrupt principles, their ambition 
and their covetousness : and it is shrewdly to be apprehended, 
that of those who present themselves at the altar, a great part 
comes, as those who followed Christ, for the loaves ; because 
of the good prospect they have of making their fortunes by the 

If this point should be carried too far, it might perhaps seem 
to be a pitch above human nature ; and certainly very far above 
the degeneracy of the age we live in ; I shall therefore lay this 
matter with as large an allowance as I think it can bear. It is 
certain, that since God has made us to be a compound of soul 
and body, it is not only lawful, but suitable to the order of 
nature, for us, in the choice we make of the state of life that we 
intend to pursue, to consider our bodies in the next place after 
our souls : yet we ought certainly to begin with our souls, with 

156 Of the Pastoral Care. 

the powers and faculties that are in them, and consider well of 
what temper they are, and what our measure and capacity is ; 
that so we may choose such a course of life for which we seem 
to be fitted, and in which we may probably do the most good to 
ourselves and others : from hence we ought to take our aims 
and measures chiefly. But in the next place, we not only may, 
but ought to consider our bodies, how they shall be maintained 
in a way suitable to that state of life, into which we are engaged. 
Therefore though no man can, with a good conscience, begin 
upon a worldly account, and resolve to dedicate himself to the 
church, merely out of carnal regards ; such as an advowson in 
his family, a friend that will promote him, or any other such 
like prospect, till he has finet consulted his temper and disposi 
tion, his talents and his capacities ; yet though it is not lawful to 
make the regards of this world his first consideration, and it 
cannot he denied to be a perfecter state, if a man should offer 
himself to the church, having whereon to support himself, 
without any assistance or reward out of its patrimony ; and to be 
nearer to St. Paul s practice, whose hands ministered to his 
necessities, and who reckoned, that in this he had whereof to 
glory, that he was not burdensome to the churches : yet it is, 
without doubt, lawful for a man to design, that he may subsist 
in and out of the service of the church : but then these designs 
must be limited to a subsistence, to such a moderate proportion 
as may maintain one in that state of life ; and must not be let 
fly by a restless ambition, and an insatiable covetousness, as a 
ravenous bird of prey does at all game. There must not be a 
perpetual inquiry into the value of benefices, and a constant im 
portuning of such as give them : if laws have been made in some 
states restraining all ambitus and aspirings to civil employments, 
certainly it were much more reasonable to put a stop to the 
scandalous importunities that are every where complained of; 
and no where more visible and more offensive than at court. 
This gives a prejudice to men, that are otherwise inclined 
enough to search for one, that can never be removed but by 
putting an effectual bar in the way of that scrambling for bene 
fices and preferments ; which will ever make the lay part of 
mankind conclude, that, let us pretend what we will, covetous- 
ness and ambition are our true motives and our chief vocation. 
It is true, the strange practices of many patrons and the consti 
tution of most courts give a colour to excuse so great an in- 

Of the Pastoral Care. 157 

decency. Men are generally successful in those practices ; and 
as long as human nature is so strong, as all men feel it to be, it 
will be hard to divert them from a method which is so common, 
that to act otherwise would look like an affectation of singularity : 
and many apprehend, that they must languish in misery and 
necessity, if they are wanting to themselves in so general a prac 
tice. And indeed if patrons, but chiefly if princes would effect 
ually cure this disease, which gives them so much trouble as 
well as offence, they must resolve to distribute those benefices 
that are in their gift, with so visible a regard to true goodness 
and real merit, and with so firm and so constant an opposition 
to application and importunity, that it may appear, that the only 
way to advancement is to live well, to study hard, to stay at 
home and labour diligently ; and that applications by the per 
sons themselves, or any set on by them, shall always put those 
back who make them : this would more effectually cure so great 
an evil, than all that can be said against it. One successful 
suitor who carries his point will promote this disorder more 
than twenty repulses of others ; for, unless the rule is severely 
carried on, every one will run into it, and hope to prosper as well 
as he who they see has got his end in it. If those who have the 
disposition of benefices, to which the cure of souls is annexed, 
did consider this as a trust lodged with them, for which they 
must answer to God ; and that they shall be in a great measure 
accountable for the souls that may be lost through the bad choice 
that they make, knowing it to be bad ; if, I say, they had this 
more in their thoughts, than so many scores of pounds as the 
living amounts to ; and thought themselves really bound, as 
without doubt they are, to seek out good and worthy men, well 
qualified and duly prepared, according to the nature of that 
benefice, which they are to give ; then we might hope to see 
men make it their chief study, to qualify themselves aright ; to 
order their lives, and frame their minds as they ought to do, and 
to carry on their studies with all application and diligence. But 
as long as the short methods of application, friendship or in 
terest, are more effectual than the long and hard way of labour 
and study, human nature will always carry men to go the surest, 
the easiest and the quickest way to work. 

After all, I wish it were well considered by all clerks, what it 
is to run without being either called or sent ; and so to thrust 
one s self into the vineyard, without staying till God, by his 

158 Of the Pastoral Care. 

providence, puts a piece of his work in his hands : this will give 
a man a vast ease in his thoughts, and a great satisfaction in all 
his labours, if he knows that no practices of his own, but merely 
the directions of Providence, have put him in a post. He may 
well trust the effects of a thing to God, when the causes of it do 
plainly flow from him. And though this will appear to a great 
many a hard saying, so that few will be able to bear it ; yet I 
must add this to the encouragement and comfort of such as can 
resolve to deliver themselves up to the conduct and directions of 
Providence, that I never yet knew any one of those few (too few 
I confess they have been) who were possessed with this maxim, 
and that have followed it exactly, that have not found the fruit 
of it even in this world. A watchful care hath hovered over 
them : instruments have been raised up, and accidents have hap 
pened to them so prosperously, as if there had been a secret de 
sign of Heaven, by blessing them so signally, to encourage others 
to follow their measures, to depend on God, to deliver themselves 
up to his care, and to wait till he opens a way for their being 
employed and settled in such a portion of his husbandry as he 
shall think fit to assign to them. 

These are preparations of mind, with which a clerk is to be 
formed and seasoned : and in order to this he must read the 
scriptures much, he must get a great deal of those passages in 
them that relate to these things by heart, and repeat them often 
to himself; in particular, many of the most tender and melting 
Psalms, and many of the most comprehensive passages in the 
Epistles ; that by the frequent reflecting on these he may fill his 
memory with noble notions and right ideas of things. The 
Book of Proverbs, but chiefly Ecclesiastes, if he can get to 
understand it, will beget in him a right view of the world, a just 
value of things, and a contempt of many objects, that shine with 
a false lustre, but have no true worth in them. Some of the 
books taught at schools, if read afterwards, when one is more 
capable to observe the sense of them, may be of great use to 
promote this temper. Tully s Offices will give the mind a noble 
set ; all his philosophical discourses, but chiefly his Consolation ; 
which though some critics will not allow to be his, because they 
fancy the style has not all the force and beauty in it that was 
peculiar to him, yet is certainly the best piece of them all : these, 
I say, give a good savour to those who read them much. The 
satirical poets, Horace, Juvenal, and Persius, may contribute 

Of the Pastoral Care. 159 

wonderfully to give a man a detestation of vice, and a contempt 
of the common methods of mankind ; which they have set out in 
such true colours, that they must give a very generous sense to 
those who delight in reading them often. Persius s second 
satire may well pass for one of the best lectures in divinity. 
Hierocles upon Pythagoras s Verses,, Plutarch s Lives, and, 
above all the books of heathenism, Epictetus and Marcus Aure- 
lius, contain such instructions, that one cannot read them too 
often, nor repass them too frequently in his thoughts. But 
when I speak of reading these books, I do not mean only to run 
through them, as one does through a book of history, or of 
notions ; they must be read and weighed with great care, till 
one is become a master of all the thoughts that are in them : 
they are to be often turned in one s mind, till he is thereby 
wrought up to some degrees of that temper which they propose. 
And as for Christian books, in order to the framing of one^s 
mind aright, I shall only recommend The Whole Duty of Man, 
Dr. Sherlock of Death and Judgment, and Dr. Scott s books ; 
in particular, that great distinction that runs through them, of 
the means and of the ends of religion. To all which I shall add 
one small book more, which is to me ever new and fresh, gives 
always good thoughts and a noble temper, Thomas a Kempis of 
the Imitation of Christ. By the frequent reading of these books, 
by the relish that one has in them, by the delight they give, and 
the effects they produce, a man will plainly perceive, whether his 
soul is made for divine matters or not ; what suitableness there 
is between him and them ; and whether he is yet touched with 
such a sense of religion, as to be capable of dedicating himself 
to it. 

I am far from thinking that no man is fit to be a priest, that 
has not the temper which I have been describing, quite up to 
that height in which I have set it forth : but this I will positively 
say, that he who has not the seeds of it planted in him, who has 
not these principles and resolutions formed to pursue them, and 
to improve and perfect himself in them, is in no wise worthy of 
that holy character. If these things are begun in him, if they 
are yet but as a grain of mustard seed ; yet if there is a life in 
them, and a vital sense of the tendencies and effects they must 
have, such a person, so moulded, with those notions and impres 
sions, and such only are qualified, so as to be able to say with 

160 Of the Pastoral Care. 

truth and assurance, that they trust they are inwardly moved by 
the Holy Ghost to undertake that office. 

So far have I despatched the first and chief part of the prepa 
ration necessary before orders. The other branch of it relates to 
their learning, and to the knowledge that is necessary. I confess 
I look upon this as so much inferior to the other, and have been 
convinced by so much experience, that a great measure of piety, 
with a very small proportion of learning, will carry one a great 
way, that I may perhaps be thought to come as far short in this, 
as I might seem to exceed in the other. I will not here enter 
into a discourse of theological learning, of the measure that is 
necessary to make a complete divine, and of the methods to 
attain it : I intend only to lay down here, that which I look on 
as the lowest degree, and as that which seems indispensably 
necessary to one that is to be a priest. He must then under 
stand the New Testament well. This is the text of our religion, 
that which we preach and explain to others ; therefore a man 
ought to read this so often over, that he may have an idea of 
the whole book in his head, and of all the parts of it. He cannot 
have this so sure, unless he understands the Greek so well as 
to be able to find out the meaning of every period in it, at least 
of the words and phrases of it : any book of annotations or para 
phrase upon it is a great help to a beginner; Grotius, Hammond, 
and Lightfoot are the best. But the having a great deal of 
the practical and easy parts of it, such as relate to men s lives 
and their duties, such as strike and awaken, direct, comfort or 
terrify, are much more necessary than the more abstruse parts. 
In short, the being able to state right the grounds of our hope, 
and the terms of salvation, and the having a clear and ready 
view of the new covenant in Christ Jesus, is of such absolute 
necessity, that it is a profaning of orders, and a defiling of the 
sanctuary, to bring any into it, that do not rightly understand 
this matter in its whole extent. Bishop Pearson on the Creed 
is a book of great learning and profound exactness. Dr. Barrow 
has opened it with more simplicity ; and Dr. Towerson more 
practically : one or other of these must be well read and consi 
dered. But when I say read, I mean read and read over again, 
so oft that one is master of one of these books ; he must write 
notes out of them, and make abridgments of them, and turn them 
so oft in his thoughts, that he must thoroughly understand and 

Of the Pastoral Care. 

well remember them. He must read also the Psalms over so 
carefully that he may at least have a general notion of those 
divine hymns ; to which bishop Patrick s Paraphrase will help 

to carry him. 

A system of divinity must be read with exactness : they are 
almost all alike. When I was young, Wendelin and Maresius 
were the two shortest and fullest. Here is a vast error in the 
first forming of our clergy, that a contempt has been cast on that 
sort of books ; and indeed to rise no higher than to a perpetual 
reading over different systems, is but a mean pitch of learning ; 
and the swallowing down whole systems by the lump has helped 
to possess people s minds too early with prejudices, and to shut 
them up in too implicit a following of others. But the throwing 
off all these books makes that many who have read a great deal, 
yet have no entire body of divinity in their head ; they have no 
scheme or method, and so are ignorant of some very plain things, 
which could never have happened to them, if they had carefully 
read and digested a system into their memories. But because 
this is indeed a very low form ; therefore to lead a man further, 
to have a freer view of divinity, to examine things equally and 
clearly, and to use his own reason, by balancing the various 
views, that two great divisions of protestants have, not only in 
the points which they controvert, but in a great many others, 
in which though they agree in the same conclusions,, yet they 
arrive at them by very different premises ; I would advise him 
that studies divinity, to read two larger bodies, writ by some 
eminent men of both sides ; and, because the latest are com 
monly the best, Turretin for the whole Calvinist hypothesis, and 
Limborch for the Arminian, will make a man fully the master of 
all the notions of both sides. Or if one would see how far middle 
ways may be taken, the Theses of Saumur, or Le Blanc s Theses, 
will complete him in that. These books well read, digested into 
abstracts, and frequently reviewed or talked over by two com 
panions in study, will give a man an entire view of the whole body 
of divinity. 

But, by reason of that pest of atheism, that spreads so much 
among us, the foundations of religion must be well laid : bishop 
Wilkins s book of Natural Religion will lead one in the first steps 
through the principles that he has laid together in a plain and 
natural method. Grotius s book of the Truth of the Christian 
Religion, with his notes upon it, ought to be read and almost 


162 Of the Pastoral Care. 

got by heart. The whole controversy both of atheism and deism, 
the arguments both for the Old and New Testament, are fully 
opened, with a great variety both of learning and reasoning, in 
bishop Stillingfleet s Origines Sacrse. 

There remains only to direct a student how to form right 
notions of practical matters ; and particularly of preaching. Dr. 
Hammond^s Practical Catechism is a book of great use ; but not 
to be begun with, as too many do : it does require a good deal 
of previous study, before the force of his reasonings is appre 
hended ; but when one is ready for it, it is a rare book, and 
states the grounds of morality and of our duty, upon true prin 
ciples. To form one to understand the right method of preach 
ing, the extent of it, and the proper ways of application, bishop 
Sanderson, Mr. Faringdon, and Dr. Barrow, are the best and the 
fullest models. There is a vast variety of other sermons, which 
may be read with an equal measure of advantage and pleasure. 
And if from the time that one resolves to direct his studies to 
wards the church, he would every Lord > s day read two sermons 
of any good preacher, and turn them a little over in his thoughts, 
this would insensibly, in two or three years time, carry him very 
far, and give him a large view of the different ways of preaching, 
and furnish him with materials for handling a great many texts 
of scripture when he comes to it. 

And thus I have carried my student through those studies, 
that seem to me so necessary for qualifying him to be an able 
minister of the New Testament, that I cannot see how any 
article of this can be well abated. It may seem strange, that in 
this whole direction I have said nothing concerning the study of 
the fathers or church-history. But I said at first that a great 
distinction was to be made between what was necessary to pre 
pare a man to be a priest, and what was necessary to make him 
a complete and learned divine. 

The knowledge of these things is necessary to the latter, 
though they do not seem so necessary for the former : there are 
many things to be left to the prosecution of a divine s study, 
that therefore are not mentioned here, not with any design to 
disparage that sort of learning ; for I am now only upon that 
measure of knowledge, under which I heartily wish that no man 
were put in priest s orders ; and therefore I have passed over 
many other things, such as the more accurate understanding of 
the controversies between us and the church of Rome, and the 

Of the Pastoral Care. 

unhappy disputes between us and the dissenters of all sorts ; 

though both the one and the other have of late been opened with 

that perspicuity, that fulness of argument, and that clearness as 

well as softness of style, that a collection of these may give a 

man the fullest instruction, that is to be found in any books I 

know. Others, and perhaps the far greater number, will think 

that I have clogged this matter too much. But I desire these 

may consider how much we do justly reckon that our profession 

is preferable either to law or medicine. Now, if this is true, it 

is not unreasonable that, since those who pretend to these must 

be at so much pains, before they enter upon a practice which 

relates only to men s fortunes or their persons, we, whose 

labours relate to their souls and their eternal state, should be 

at least at some considerable pains before we enter upon them. 

Let any young divine go to the chambers of a student in the 

Inns of Court, and see how many books he must read, and how 

great a volume of a common-place-book he must make : he will 

there see through how hard a task one must go in a course of 

many years, and how ready he must be in all the parts of it, 

before he is called to the bar or can manage business. How 

exact must a physician be in anatomy, in simples, in pharmacy, 

in the theory of diseases, and in the observations and counsels 

of doctors, before he can either with honour or a safe conscience 

undertake practice ! He must be ready with all this, and in 

that infinite number of hard words, that belong to every part of 

it, to give his directions and write his bills by the patient s bed 

side ; who cannot stay till he goes to his study and turns over 

his books. If then so long a course of study, and so much 

exactness and readiness in it, is necessary to these professions ; 

nay, if every mechanical art, even the meanest, requires a course 

of many years, before one can be a master in it, shall the noblest 

and the most important of all others, that which comes from 

heaven and leads thither again ; shall that which God has 

honoured so highly, and to which laws and governments have 

added such privileges and encouragements, that is employed in 

the sublimest exercises, which require a proportioned worth in 

those who handle them, to maintain their value and dignity in 

the esteem of the world ; shall all this, I say, be esteemed so low 

a thing in our eyes, that a much less degree of time and study 

is necessary to arrive at it, than at the most sordid of all trades 

whatsoever ? And yet, after all, a man of a tolerable capacity, 


164 Of tlie Pastoral Care. 

with a good degree of application, may go through all this well 
and exactly in two years time. I am very sure, by many an 
experiment I have made, that this may be done in a much less 
compass ; but because all men do not go alike quick, have not 
the same force, nor the same application, therefore I reckon two 
years for it ; which I do thus divide : one year before deacon s 
orders, and another between them and priest s orders. And can 
this be thought a hard imposition ? Or do not those, who think 
thus, give great occasion to the contempt of the clergy, if they 
give the world cause to observe, that how much soever we may 
magnify our profession, yet by our practice we shew that we do 
judge it the meanest of all others, which is to be arrived at upon 
less previous study and preparation to it, than any other what 
soever? Since I have been hitherto so minute, I will yet divide 
this matter a little lower into those parts of it, without which 
deacon s orders ought not to be given, and those to be reserved 
to the second year of study. To have read the New Testament 
well, so as to carry a great deal of it in one s memory, to have a 
clear notion of the several books of it, to understand well the 
nature and the conditions of the covenant of grace, and to have 
read one system well, so as to be master of it, to understand the 
whole catechetical matter, to have read Wilkins and Grotius ; 
this, I say, is that part of this task, which I propose before one 
is made deacon. The rest, though much the larger, will go the 
easier, if those foundations are once well laid in them. And 
upon the article of studying the scriptures, I will add one advice 

There are two methods in reading them ; the one ought to be 
merely critical, to find out the meaning and coherence of the 
several parts of them, in which one runs easily through the 
greater part, and is only obliged to stop at some harder pas 
sages, which may be marked down, and learned men are to be 
consulted upon them : those that are really hard to be explained 
are both few and they relate to matters that are not so essential 
to Christianity ; and therefore after one has in general seen what 
is said upon these, he may put off the fuller consideration of that 
to more leisure and better opportunities. But the other way 
of reading the scriptures is to be done merely with a view to 
practice, to raise devotion, to increase piety, and to give good 
thoughts and severe rules. In this a man is to employ himself 
much. This is a book always at hand, and the getting a great 

Of the Pastoral Care. 165 

deal of it always by heart is the best part of a clergyman s study ; 
it is the foundation, and lays in the materials for all the rest. 
This alone may furnish a man with a noble stock of lively 
thoughts and sublime expressions ; and therefore it must be 
always reckoned as that, without which all other things amount 
to nothing ; and the chief and main subject of the study, the 
meditation and the discourses of a clergyman. 


Of the functions and labours of clergymen. 

I HAVE in the former chapter laid down the model and 
method, by which a clerk is to be formed and prepared : I come 
now to consider his course of life, his public functions and his 
secret labours. In this, as well as in the former, I will study to 
consider what mankind can bear, rather than what may be 
offered in a fair idea, that is far above what we can hope ever 
to bring the world to. As for a priest s life and conversation, 
so much was said in the former chapter ; in which, as a prepa 
ration to orders, it was proposed what he ought to be ; that I 
may now be the shorter on this article. 

The clergy have one great advantage, beyond all the rest of 
the world, in this respect, besides all others, that whereas the 
particular callings of other men prove to them great distractions, 
and lay many temptations in their way, to divert them from 
minding their high and holy calling of being Christians ; it is 
quite otherwise with the clergy ; the more they follow their 
private callings, they do the more certainly advance their gene 
ral one : the better priests they are, they become also the better 
Christians: every part of their calling, when well performed, 
raises good thoughts, brings good ideas into their mind, and 
tends both to increase their knowledge and quicken their sense 
of divine natters. A priest therefore is more accountable to God 
and the world for his deportment, and will be more severely 
accounted with, than any other person whatsoever. He is more 
watched over and observed than all others ; very good men will 
be, even to a censure, jealous of him ; very bad men will wait 
for his halting and insult upon it ; and all sorts of persons will 
be willing to defend themselves against the authority of his doc 
trine and admonitions by this, " He says, but does not :" and 
though our Saviour charged his disciples and followers, to hear 

166 Of the Pastoral Care. 

those ivho sat in Moses chair, and to observe and do whatsoever 
they bid them observe, but not to do after their works, for they said 
and did not 6 ; the world will reverse this quite, and consider 
rather how a clerk lives, than what he says. They see the one, 
and from it conclude what he himself thinks of the other ; and 
so will believe themselves not a little justified, if they can say 
that they did no worse than as they saw their minister do before 

Therefore a priest must not only abstain from gross scandals, 
but keep at the furthest distance from them : he must not only 
not be drunk, but he must not sit a tippling, nor go to taverns 
or alehouses, except some urgent occasion requires it, and stay 
no longer in them, than as that occasion demands it. He must 
not onlv abstain from acts of lewdness, but from all indecent 


behaviour and unbecoming raillery. Gaming and plays, and 
every thing of that sort, which is an approach to the vanities and 
disorders of the world, must be avoided by him. And, unless 
the straitriess of his condition or his necessities force it, he ought 
to shun all other cares ; such as, not only the farming of 
grounds, but even the teaching of schools, since these must of 
necessity take him off both from his labour and study. Such 
diversions as his health, or the temper of his mind, may render 
proper for him, ought to be manly, decent, and grave ; and such 
as may neither possess his mind or time too much, nor give a 
bad character of him to his people. He must also avoid too 
much familiarity with bad people, and the squandering away 
his time in too much vain and idle discourse. His cheerfulness 
ought to be frank, but neither excessive nor licentious : his 
friends and his garden ought to be his chief diversions, as his 
study and his parish ought to be his chief employments. He 
must still carry on his study, making himself an absolute master 
of the few books he has, till his circumstances grow larger, that 
he can purchase more. He can have no pretence, if he were 
ever so narrow in the world, to say, that he cannot get not only 
the Collects, but the Psalms, and the New Testament by heart, 
or at least a great part of them. If there be any books belong 
ing to his church, such as Jewel s Works, and the Book of 
Martyrs, which lie tearing in many places, these he may read 
over and over again, till he is able to furnish himself better, I 
mean with a greater variety : but let him furnish himself ever so 

e Matt, xxiii, 2, 3. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 167 

well, the reading and understanding the scriptures, chiefly the 
Psalms and the New Testament, ought to be still his chief study, 
till he becomes so conversant in them, that he can both say 
many parts of them, and explain them without book. 

It is the only visible reason of the Jews adhering so firmly to 
their religion, that during the ten or twelve years of their 
education, their youth are so much practised to the scriptures, 
to weigh every word in them, and get them all by heart, that it 
is an admiration to see how ready both men and women among 
them are at it : their rabbies have it to that perfection, that they 
have the concordance of their whole Bible in their memories ; 
which gives them vast advantages, when they are to argue with 
any that are not so ready as they are in the scriptures. Our 
task is much shorter and easier, and it is a reproach, especially 
to us protestants, who found our religion merely on the scrip 
tures, that we know the New Testament so little, which cannot 
be excused. 

With the study of the scriptures, or rather as a part of it, 
comes in the study of the fathers, as far as one can go ; in these, 
their apologies and epistles are chiefly to be read, for these give 
us the best view of those times. Basil s and ChrysostonVs ser 
mons are by much the best. To these studies, history comes in 
as a noble and pleasant addition ; that gives a man great views 
of the providence of God, of the nature of man and of the con 
duct of the world. This is above no man s capacity ; and though 
some histories are better than others, yet any histories, such as 
one can get, are to be read, rather than none at all. If one can 
compass it, he ought to begin with the history of the church, 
and there at the head Josephus, and go on with Eusebius, So 
crates, and the other historians, that are commonly bound to 
gether ; and then go to other later collectors of ancient history. 
The history of our own church and country is to come next ; then 
the ancient Greek and Roman history ; and after that, as much 
history, geography, and books of travels, as can be had, will 
give an easy and a useful entertainment, and will furnish one 
with great variety of good thoughts, and of pleasant as well as 
edifying discourse. As for all other studies, every one must 
follow his inclinations, his capacities, and that which he can 
procure to himself. The books that we learn at schools are 
generally laid aside, with this prejudice, that they were the 
labours as well as the sorrows of our childhood and education ; 

168 Of the Pastoral Care. 

but they are among the best of books ; the Greek and Roman 
authors have a spirit in them, a force both of thought and ex 
pression, that later ages have not been able to imitate ; Bu 
chanan only excepted, in whom, more particularly in his Psalms, 
there is a beauty and life, an exactness as well as a liberty, that 
cannot be imitated, and scarce enough commended. The study 
and practice of physic, especially that which is safe and simple, 
puts the clergy in a capacity of doing great acts of charity, and 
of rendering both their persons and labours very acceptable to 
their people ; it will procure their being soon sent for by them in 
sickness, and it will give them great advantages in speaking to 
them of their spiritual concerns, when they are so careful of 
their persons : but in this nothing that is sordid must mix. 

These ought to be the chief studies of the clergy. But to 
give all these their full effect, a priest that is much in his study 
ought to employ a great part of his time in secret and fervent 
prayer, for the direction and blessing of God in his labours, for 
the constant assistance of his holy Spirit, and for a lively sense 
of divine matters, that so he may feel the impressions of them 
grow deep and strong upon his thoughts. This, and this only, 
will make him go on with his work without wearying, and be 
always rejoicing in it : this will make his expressions of these 
things to be happy and noble, when he can bring them out of 
the good treasure of his heart, that is ever full, and always warm 
with them. 

From his study, I go next to his public functions. He must 
bring his mind to an inward and feeling sense of those things 
that are prayed for in our Offices : that will make him pronounce 
them with an equal measure of gravity and affection, and with a 
due slowness and emphasis. I do not love the theatrical way of 
the church of Rome, in which it is a great study, and a long 
practice, to learn in every one of their Offices, how they ought 
to compose their looks, gesture and voice : yet a light wander 
ing of the eyes, and a hasty running through the prayers, are 
things highly unbecoming; they do very much lessen the 
majesty of our worship, and give our enemies advantage to call 
it dead and formal, when they see plainly, that he who officiates 
is dead and formal in it. A deep sense of the things prayed for, 
a true recollection and attention of spirit, and a holy earnestness 
of soul, will give a composure to the looks, and a weight to the 
pronunciation, that will be tempered between affectation on the 

Of the Pastoral Care. 169 

one hand, and levity on the other. As for preaching, I refer 
that to a chapter apart. 

A minister ought to instruct his people frequently of the 
nature of baptism, that they may not go about it merely as a 
ceremony, as it is too visible the greater part do ; but that they 
may consider it is the dedicating their children to God, the 
offering them to Christ, and the holding them thereafter as his ; 
directing their chief care about them, to the breeding them up 
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. There must be care 
taken to give them all a right notion of the use of godfathers and 
godmothers, which is a good institution, to procure a double se 
curity for the education of children ; it being to be supposed, 
that the common ties of nature and religion bind the parents so 
strongly, that if they are not mindful of these, a special vow 
would not put a new force in them : and therefore a collateral se 
curity is also demanded, both to supply their defects, if they 
are faulty, and to take care of the religious education of the 
infant, in case the parents should happen to die before that is 
done. And therefore no godfather or godmother are to be 
invited to that office, but such with whom one would trust the 
care of the education of his child ; nor ought any to do this 
office for another, but he that is willing to charge himself with 
the education of the child for whom he answers. But when 
ambition or vanity, favour or presents, are the considerations 
upon which those sureties in baptism are chosen, great advantage 
is hereby given to those who reject infant-baptism, and the ends 
of the church in this institution are quite defeated ; which 
are both the making the security that is given for the chil 
dren so much the stronger, and the establishing an endear 
ment and a tenderness between families; this being in its own 
nature no small tie, how little soever it may be apprehended or 

Great care must be taken in the instruction of the youth : the 
bare saying the Catechism by rote is a small matter; it is 
necessary to make them understand the weight of every word in 
it : and for this end every priest, that minds his duty, will find 
that no part of it is so useful to his people, as once every year to 
go through the whole Church- Catechism, word by word, and 
make his people understand the importance of every tittle in it. 
This will be no hard labour to himself; for after he has once 
gathered together the places of scripture that relate to every 

170 Of the Pastoral Care. 

article, and formed some clear illustrations and easy similes 
to make it understood, his catechetical discourses, during all the 
rest of his life, will be only the going over that same matter 
again and again. By this means his people will come to have 
all this by heart ; they will know what to say upon it at home 
to their children ; and they will understand all his sermons the 
better, when they have once had a clear notion of all those terms 
that must run through them; for those not being understood 
renders them all unintelligible. A discourse of this sort would 
be generally of much greater edification than an afternoon s 
sermon : it should not be too long ; too much must not be said 
at a time, nor more than one point opened ; a quarter of an hour 
is time sufficient ; for it will grow tedious and be too little 
remembered, if it is half an hour long. This would draw an 
assembly to evening prayers, which we see are but too much 
neglected, when there is no sort of discourse or sermon ac 
companying them. And the practising this, during the six 
months of the year, in which the days are long, would be a very 
effectual means both to instruct the people, and to bring them to 
a more religious observation of the Lord s day ; which is one of 
the powerfullest instruments for the carrying on and advancing 
of religion in the world. 

With catechising, a minister is to join the preparing those 
whom he instructs to be confirmed, which is not to be done 
merely upon their being able to say over so many words by rote. 
It is their renewing their baptismal vow in their own persons, 
which the church designs by that Office ; and the bearing in 
their own minds a sense of their being bound immediately by 
that, which their sureties then undertook for them. Now to do 
this in such a manner, as that it may make impression, and have 
a due effect upon them, they must stay till they themselves 
understand what they do, and till they have some sense and 
affection to it ; and therefore till one is of an age and disposition 
fit to receive the holy sacrament of the Lord s supper, and 
desires to be confirmed, as a solemn preparation and qualification 
to it, he is not yet ready for it : for in the common management 
of that holy rite, it is but too visible, that of those multitudes 
that crowd to it, the far greater part come merely as if they were 
to receive the bishop s blessing, without any sense of the vow 
made by them, and of their renewing their baptismal engage 
ments in it. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 171 

As for the greatest and solemnest of all the institutions of 
Christ, the commemorating his death, and the partaking of it in 
the Lord s supper ; this must be well explained to the people, 
to preserve them from the extremes of superstition and irre 
verence ; to raise in them a great sense of the goodness of God, 
that appeared in the death of Christ ; of his love to us, of the 
sacrifice he once offered, and of the intercession which he still 
continues to make for us : a share in all which, is there federally 
offered to us, upon our coming under engagements, to answer 
our part of the covenant, and to live according to the rules it 
sets us. On these things he ought to enlarge himself, not only 
in his sermons, but in his catechetical exercises, and in private 
discourses ; that so he may give his people right notions of that 
solemn part of worship, that he may bring them to delight in it ; 
and may neither fright them from it, by raising their apprehen 
sions of it to a strictness that may terrify too much, nor encourage 
them in the too common practice of the dead and formal 
receiving, at the great festivals, as a piece of decency recom 
mended by custom. 

About the time of the sacrament, every minister that knows 
any one of his parish guilty of eminent sins, ought to go and 
admonish him to change his course of life, or not to profane the 
table of the Lord ; and if private admonitions have no effect, 
then if his sins are public and scandalous, he ought to deny him 
the sacrament ; and upon that he ought to take the method 
which is still left in the church to make sinners ashamed, to 
separate them from holy things, till they have edified the church 
as much by their repentance, and the outward profession of it, 
as they had formerly scandalized it by their disorders. This we 
must confess, that though we have great reason to lament our 
want of the godly discipline that was in the primitive church, 
yet we have still authority for a great deal more than we put 
in practice. Scandalous persons ought, and might be more 
frequently presented than they are, and both private and public 
admonitions might be more used than they are. There is a flat 
ness in all these things among us. Some are willing to do 
nothing, because they cannot do all that they ought to do; 
whereas the right way for procuring an enlargement of our 
authority, is to use that we have well ; not as an engine to 
gratify our own or other people s passions, not to vex people, 
nor to look after fees, more than the correction of manners, or 

1 72 Of the Pastoral Care. 

the edification of the people. If we began much with private 
applications, and brought none into our courts, till it was visible 
that all other ways had been unsuccessful, and that no regard 
was had either to persons or parties, to men s opinions or 
interests, we might again bring our courts into the esteem which 
they ought to have, but which they have almost entirely lost. 
We can never hope to bring the world to bear the yoke of 
Christ, and the order that he has appointed to be kept up in his 
church, of noting those that walk disorderly, of separating our 
selves from them, of having no fellowship, no, not so much as 
to eat with them ; as long as we give them cause to apprehend, 
that we intend by this to bring them under our yoke, to subdue 
them to us, and to rule them, with a rod of iron ; for the truth is, 
mankind is so strangely compounded, that it is very hard to 
restrain ecclesiastical tyranny on the one hand, without running 
to a lawless licentiousness on the other : so strangely does the 
world love extremes and avoid a temper. 

Now I have gone through the public functions of a priest ; 
and in speaking of the last of these, I have broke in upon the 
third head of his duty, his private labours in his parish. He 
understands little the nature and the obligations of the priestly 
office, who thinks he has discharged it by performing the public 
appointments ; in which if he is defective, the laws of the 
church, how feeble soever they may be as to other things, will 
have their course. But as the private duties of the pastoral care 
are things upon which the cognizance of the law cannot fall, so 
they are the most important and necessary of all others : and the 
more praiseworthy, the freer they are and the less forced by the 
compulsion of law. As to the public functions, every man has 
his rule ; and in these all are almost alike ; every man. especially 
if his lungs are good, can read prayers, even in the largest con 
gregation ; and if he has a right taste, and can but choose good 
sermons, out of the many that are in print, he may likewise serve 
them well that way too. But the difference between one man 
and another shews itself more sensibly in his private labours, 
in his prudent deportment, in his modest and discreet way of 
procuring respect to himself, in his treating his parish, either in 
reconciling such differences as may happen to be among them, 
or in admonishing men of rank, who set an ill example to others, 
which ought always to be done in that way, which will probably 
have the best effect upon them ; therefore it must be done 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 73 

secretly, and with expressions of tenderness and respect for their 
persons : fit times are to be chosen for this ; it may be often the 
best way to do it by a letter; for there may be ways fallen 
upon of reproving the worst men in so soft a manner, that if 
they are not reclaimed, yet they shall not be irritated or made 
worse by it, which is but too often the effect of an indiscreet re 
proof. By this a minister may save the sinner s soul ; he is at 
least sure to save his own, by having discharged his duty towards 
his people. 

One of the chief parts of the pastoral care is, the visiting the 
sick ; not to be done barely when one is sent for : he is to go as 
soon as he hears that any of his flock are ill ; he is not to 
satisfy himself with going over the Office, or giving them the 
sacrament when desired : he ought to inform himself of their 
course of life, and of the temper of their mind, that so he may 
apply himself to them accordingly. If they are insensible, he 
ought to awaken them with the terrors of God, the judgment 
and the wrath to come. He must endeavour to make them 
sensible of their sins ; particularly of that which runs through 
most men s lives, their forgetting and neglecting God and his 
service, and their setting their hearts so inordinately upon the 
world. He must set them on to examine their dealings, and 
make them seriously to consider, that they can expect no mercy 
from God, unless they restore whatsoever they may have got 
unjustly from any other, by any manner of way, even though 
their title were confirmed by law. He is to lay any other sins 
to their charge, that he has reason to suspect them guilty of; 
and must press them to all such acts of repentance as they are 
then capable of. If they have been men of a bad course of life, 
he must give them no encouragement to hope much from this 
death-bed repentance ; yet he is to set them to implore the 
mercies of God in Christ Jesus, and to do all they can to obtain 
his favour. But unless the sickness has been of a long continu 
ance, and that the person s repentance, his patience, his piety, 
has been very extraordinary during the course of it, he must be 
sure to give him no positive ground of hope ; but leave him to 
the mercies of God. For there cannot be any greater treachery 
to souls, that is more fatal and more pernicious, than the giving 
quick and easy hopes, upon so short, so forced and so imperfect 
a repentance. It not only makes those persons perish securely 
themselves, but it leads all about them to destruction, when they 

174 Of the Pastoral Care. 

see one, of whose bad life and late repentance they have been 
the witnesses, put so soon in hopes, nay by some unfaithful 
guides made sure of salvation : this must make them go on very 
secure in their sins, when they see how small a measure of 
repentance sets all right at last. All the order and justice of a 
nation would be presently dissolved, should the howlings of 
criminals, and their promises of amendment, work on juries, 
judges or princes : so the hopes that are given to death-bed 
penitents must be a most effectual means to root out the sense 
of religion of the minds of all that see it. And therefore though 
no dying man is to be driven to despair, and left to die obstinate 
in his sins ; yet if we love the souls of our people, if we set a 
due value on the blood of Christ, and if we are touched with any 
sense of the honour or interests of religion, we must not say any 
thing that may encourage others, who are but too apt of them 
selves to put all off to the last hour. A Ye can give them no 
hopes from the nature of the gospel-covenant ; yet after all, the 
best thing a dying man can do is to repent ; if he recovers, that 
may be the seed and beginning of a new life and a new nature 
in him. Nor do we know the measure of the riches of God s 
grace and mercy ; how far he may think fit to exert it beyond 
the conditions and promises of the new covenant, at least to the 
lessening of such a person s misery in another state. We are 
sure he is not within the new covenant ; and since he has not 
repented, according to the tenor of it, we dare not, unless we 
betray our commission, give any hopes beyond it. But one of 
the chief cares of a minister about the sick ought to be to exact 
of them solomn vows and promises of a renovation of life, in case 
God shall raise them up again ; and these ought to be demanded, 
not only in general words, but if they have been guilty of any 
scandalous disorders, or any other ill practices, there ought to 
be special promises made with relation to those. And upon the 
recovery of such persons, their ministers ought to put them in 
mind of their engagements, and use all the due freedom of 
admonitions and reproof, upon their breaking loose from them. 
In such a case they ought to leave a terrible denunciation of the 
judgments of God upon them ; and so, at least, they acquit 

There is another sort of sick persons, who abound more in 
towns than in the country ; those are the troubled in mind : of 
these there are two sorts ; some have committed enormous sins, 

Of the Pastoral Care. 175 

which kindle a storm in their consciences ; and that ought to be 
cherished, till they have completed a repentance proportioned to 
the nature and degree of their sin. If wrong has been done to 
another, reparation and restitution must be made to the utmost 
of the party s power. If blood has been shed, a long course of 
fasting and prayer ; a total abstinence from wine, if drunkenness 
gave the rise to it ; a making up the loss to the family, on which 
it has fallen, must be enjoined. But alas ! the greater part of 
those that think they are troubled in mind are melancholy 
hypochondriacal people, who, what through some false opinions 
in religion, what through a foulness of blood, occasioned by their 
unactive course of life, in which their minds work too much, 
because their bodies are too little employed, fall under dark and 
cloudy apprehensions ; of which they can give no clear nor good 
account. This, in the greatest part, is to be removed by strong 
and chalybeate medicines ; yet such persons are to be much 
pitied, and a little humoured in their distemper. They must be 
diverted from thinking too much, being too much alone, or 
dwelling too long on thoughts that are too hard for them to 

The opinion that has had the chief influence in raising these 
distempers, has been that of praying by the Spirit ; when a flame 
of thought, a melting in the brain, and the abounding in tender 
expressions, have been thought the effects of the Spirit, moving 
all those symptoms of a warm temper. Now in all people, espe 
cially in persons of a melancholy disposition, that are much alone, 
there will be a great diversity, with relation to this, at different 
times : sometimes these heats will rise and flow copiously, and 
at other times there will be a damp upon the brain, and a dead 
dryness in the spirits. This, to men that are prepossessed with 
the opinion now set forth, will appear as if God did sometimes 
shine out, and at other times hide his face ; and since this last 
will be the most frequent in men of that temper, as they will be 
apt to be lifted up, when they think they have a fulness of the 
Spirit in them, so they will be as much cast down when that is 
withdrawn ; they will conclude from it, that God is angry with 
them, and so reckon that they must be in a very dangerous con 
dition : upon this, a vast variety of troublesome scruples will 
arise, out of every thing that they either do or have done. If 
then a minister has occasion to treat any in this condition, he 
must make them apprehend that the heat or coldness of their 

176 Of the Pastoral Care. 

brain is the effect of temper, and flows from the different state of 
the animal spirits, which have their diseases, their hot and their 
cold fits, as well as the blood has ; and therefore no measure can 
be taken from these either to judge for or against themselves. 
They are to consider what are their principles and resolutions, 
and what is the settled course of their life ; upon these they are 
to form sure judgments, and not upon any thing that is so fluc 
tuating and inconstant as fits or humours. 

Another part of a priest s duty is, with relation to them that 
are without, I mean, that are not of our body, which are of the 
side of the church of Rome, or among the dissenters. Other 
churches and bodies are noted for their zeal in making prose 
lytes, for their restless endeavours, as well as their unlawful 
methods in it ; they reckoning, perhaps, that all will be sancti 
fied by the increasing their party ; which is the true name of 
making converts, except they become at the same time good 
men, as well as votaries to a side or cause. We are certainly 
very remiss in this of both hands ; little pains is taken to gain 
either upon papist or nonconformist ; the law has been so much 
trusted to, that that method only was thought sure; it was much 
valued, and others at the same time as much neglected ; and 
whereas at first, without force or violence, in forty years time, 
popery, from being the prevailing religion, was reduced to a 
handful, we have now in above twice that number of years made 
very little progress. The favour shewed them from our court 
made us seem, as it were, unwilling to disturb them in their 
religion ; so that we grew at last to be kind to them, to look on 
them as harmless and inoffensive neighbours, and even to cherish 
and comfort them : we were very near the being convinced of 
our mistake, by a terrible and dearbought experience. Now 
they are again under hatches ; certainly it becomes us, both in 
charity to them, and in regard to our own safety, to study to 
gain them by the force of reason and persuasion ; by shewing 
all kindness to them, and thereby disposing them to hearken to 
the reasons that we may lay before them. We ought not to give 
over this as desperate, upon a few unsuccessful attempts ; but 
must follow them in the meekness of Christ, that so we may at 
last prove happy instruments, in delivering them from the 
blindness and captivity they are kept under, and the idolatry 
and superstition they live in : we ought to visit them often in a 
spirit of love and charity, and to offer them conferences ; and 

Of the Pastoral Care. 177 

upon such endeavours we have reason to expect a blessing, at 
least this, of having done our duty, and so delivering our own 

Nor are we to think that the toleration, under which the law 
has settled the dissenters, does either absolve them from the 
obligations that they lay under before, by the laws of God and 
the gospel, to maintain the unity of the church, and not to rent 
it by unjust or causeless schisms ; or us from using our endea 
vours to bring them to it, by the methods of persuasion and 
kindness : nay, perhaps, their being now in circumstances, that 
they can no more be forced in these things, may put some of 
them in a greater towardness to hear reason ; a free nation natu 
rally hating constraint : and certainly the less we seem to grudge 
or envy them their liberty, we will be thereby the nearer gain 
ing on the generouser and better part of them, and the rest 
would soon lose heart, and look out of countenance, if these 
should hearken to us. It was the opinion many had of their 
strictness, and of the looseness that was among us, that gained 
them their credit, and made such numbers fall off from us. 
They have in a great measure lost the good character that once 
they had : if to that we should likewise lose our bad one ; if we 
were stricter in our lives, more serious and constant in our 
labours, and studied more effectually to reform those of our 
communion, than to rail at theirs ; if we took occasion to let 
them see that we love them, that we wish them no harm, but 
good ; then we might hope, by the blessing of God, to lay the 
obligations to love and peace, to unity and concord before 
them, with such advantages, that some of them might open their 
eyes, and see at last upon how slight grounds they have now so 
long kept up such a wrangling, and made such a rent in the 
church, that both the power of religion in general, and the 
strength of the protestant religion, have suffered extremely by 

Thus far I have carried a clerk through his parish, and all the 
several branches of his duty to his people. But that all this may 
be well gone about, and indeed as the foundation upon which all 
the other parts of the pastoral care may be well managed, he 
ought frequently to visit his whole parish from house to house ; 
that so he may know them, and be known of them. This, I 
know, will seem a vast labour, especially in towns, where 
parishes are large ; but that is no excuse for those in the 

N * 

178 Of the Pastoral Care. 

country, where they are generally small ; and if they are larger, 
the going this round will be the longer a doing ; yet an hour a 
day, twice or thrice a week, is no hard duty ; and this, in the 
compass of a year, will go a great way, even in a large parish. 
In these visits much time is not to be spent ; a short word for 
stirring them up to mind their souls, to make conscience of 
their ways, and to pray earnestly to God, may begin it, and 
almost end it ; after one has asked in what union and peace the 
neighbourhood lives, and inquired into their necessities, if they 
seem very poor, that so those to whom that care belongs may be 
put in mind to see how they may be relieved. In this course 
of visiting, a minister will soon find out, if there are any truly 
good persons in his parish, after whom he must look with a more 
particular regard : since these are the excellent ones, in whom 
all his delight ought to be. For let their rank be ever so mean, 
if they are sincerely religious, and not hypocritical pretenders to 
it, who are vainly puffed up with some degrees of knowledge, 
and other outward appearances, he ought to consider them as 
the most valuable in the sight of God ; and indeed, as the chief 
part of his care ; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. I 
know this way of parochial visitation is so worn out that, 
perhaps, neither priest nor people will be very desirous to see it 
taken up. It will put the one to labour and trouble, and bring 
the other under a closer inspection, which bad men will no ways 
desire, nor perhaps endure. But if this were put on the clergy 
by their bishops, and if they explained in a sermon, before they 
began it, the reasons and ends of doing it ; that would remove 
the prejudices which might arise against it. I confess this is an 
increase of labour, but that will seem no hard matter to such as 
have a right sense of their ordination vows, of the value of souls, 
and of the dignity of their function. If men had the spirit of 
their calling in them, and a due measure of flame and heat in 
carrying it on, labour in it would be rather a pleasure than a 
trouble. In all other professions, those who follow them labour 
in them all the year long, and are hard at their business every 
day in the week. All men that are well suited in a profession, 
that is agreeable to their genius and inclination, are really the 
easier and the better pleased the more they are employed in it. 
Indeed there is no trade nor course of life, except ours, that 
does not take up the whole man : and shall ours only, that is 
the noblest of all others, and that has a certain subsistence fixed 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 79 

upon it, and does not live by contingencies and upon hopes, as 
all others do, make the labouring in our business an objection 
against any part of our duty \ Certainly nothing can so much 
dispose the nation to think on the relieving the necessities of 
the many small livings, as the seeing the clergy setting about 
their business to purpose : this would, by the blessing of God, be 
a most effectual means of stopping the progress of atheism, and 
of the contempt that the clergy lies under ; it would go a great 
way towards the healing our schism, and would be the chief 
step, that could possibly be made, towards the procuring to us 
such laws as are yet wanting to the completing our reformation, 
and the mending the condition of so many of our poor brethren, 
who are languishing in want, and under great straits. 

There remains only somewhat to be added concerning the 
behaviour of the clergy towards one another. Those of a higher 
form in learning, dignity and wealth ought not to despise poor 
vicars and curates ; but on the contrary, the poorer they are, 
they ought to pity and encourage them the more, since they are 
all of the same order, only the one are more happily placed than 
the others ; they ought therefore to cherish those that are in 
worse circumstances, and encourage them to come often to them ; 
they ought to lend them books and to give them other assist 
ances, in order to their progress in learning. It is a bad thing 
to see a bishop behave himself superciliously towards any of his 
clergy ; but it is intolerable in those of the same degree. The 
clergy ought to contrive ways to meet often together, to enter 
into a brotherly correspondence, and into the concerns one of 
another, both in order to their progress in knowledge and for 
consulting together in all their affairs. This would be a means 
to cement them into one body ; hereby they might understand 
what were amiss in the conduct of any in their division, and try 
to correct it either by private advices and endeavours, or by 
laying it before the bishop, by whose private labours, if his 
clergy would be assisting to him and give him free and full 
informations of things, many disorders might be cured, without 
rising to a public scandal, or forcing him to extreme censures. 
It is a false pity in any of the clergy, who see their brethren 
running into ill courses, to look on and say nothing : it is a 
cruelty to the church and may prove a cruelty to the person, of 
whom they are so unseasonably tender : for things may be more 
easily corrected at first, before they have grown to be public, or 

180 Of the Pastoral Care. 

are hardened by habit and custom. Upon these accounts it is of 
great advantage, and may be matter of great edification to the 
clergy, to enter into a strict union together, to meet often and 
to be helpful to one another : but if this should be made practi 
cable, they must be extremely strict in those meetings to observe 
so exact a sobriety, that there might be no colour given to 
censure them, as if these were merrymeetings, in which they 
allowed themselves great liberties. It were good, if they could 
be brought to meet to fast and pray : but if that is a strain too 
high for the present age, at least they must keep so far within 
bounds, that there may be no room for calumny. For a disorder 
upon any such occasion would give a wound of an extraordinary 
nature to the reputation of the whole clergy, when every one 
would bear a share of the blame, which perhaps belonged but to 
a few. Four or five such meetings in a summer would neither 
be a great charge nor give much trouble: but the advantages 
that might arise out of them would be very sensible. 

I have but one other advice to add, but it is of a thing of great 
consequence, though generally managed in so loose and so indif 
ferent a manner, that I have some reason in charity to believe, 
that the clergy make very little reflection on what they do in it : 
and that is, in the testimonials that they sign in favour of those 
that come to be ordained. Many have confessed to myself that 
they had signed these upon general reports and^ importunity ; 
though the testimonial bears personal knowledge. These are 
instead of the suffrages of the clergy, which in the primitive 
church were given before any were ordained. A bishop must 
depend upon them; for he has no other way to be certainly 
informed : and therefore as it is a lie, passed with the solemnity 
of hand and seal, to affirm any thing that is beyond one s own 
knowledge, so it is a lie made to God and the church ; since the 
design of it is to procure orders. So that if a bishop, trusting 
to that, and being satisfied of the knowledge of one that brings 
it, ordains an unfit and unworthy man, they that signed it are 
deeply and chiefly involved in the guilt of his laying hands sud 
denly upon him : therefore every priest ought to charge his 
conscience in a deep particular manner, that so he may never 
testify for any one, unless he knows his life to be so regular, and 
believes his temper to be so good, that he does really judge him 
a person fit to be put in holy orders. These are all the rules 
that do occur to me at present. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 181 

In performing these several branches of the duty of a pastor, 
the trouble will not be great, if he is truly a good man, and de 
lights in the service of God, and in doing acts of charity. The 
pleasure will be unspeakable ; first, that of the conscience in this 
testimony that it gives, and the quiet and joy which arises from 
the sense of one s having done his duty : and then it can scarce 
be supposed but by all this some will be wrought on ; some sin 
ners will be reclaimed ; bad men will grow good, and good men 
will grow better. And if a generous man feels, to a great de 
gree, the pleasure of having delivered one from misery, and of 
making him easy and happy ; how sovereign a joy must it be to 
a man that believes there is another life, to see that he has been 
an instrument to rescue some from endless misery, and to further 
others in the way to everlasting happiness ! And the more in 
stances he sees of this, the more do his joys grow upon him. This 
makes life happy, and death joyful to such a priest ; for he is not 
terrified with those words, Give an account of thy stewardship, for 
thou mayest be no longer steward: he knows his reward shall be 
full, pressed down, and running over. He is but too happy in 
those spiritual children, whom he has begot in Christ ; he looks 
after those as the chief part of his care, and as the principal of 
his flock, and is so far from aspiring, that it is not without some 
uneasiness that he leaves them, if he is commanded to arise to 
some higher post in the church. 

The troubles of this life, the censures of bad men, and even 
the prospect of a persecution, are no dreadful things to him that 
has this seal of his ministry ; and this comfort within him, that 
he has not laboured in vain, nor run and fought as one that beats 
the air ; he sees the travail of his soul, and is satisfied when he finds 
that God s work prospers in his hand. This comforts him in his 
sad reflections on his own past sins, that he has been an instru 
ment of advancing God s honour, of saving souls, and of propa 
gating his gospel ; since to have saved one soul is worth a man s 
coming into the world, and richly worth the labours of his whole 
life. Here is a subject that might be easily prosecuted by many 
warm and lively figures : but I now go on to the last article re 
lating to this matter. 

182 Of the Pastoral Care. 


Concerning preaching. 

THE world naturally runs to extremes in every thing. If one 
sect or body of men magnify preaching too much, another carries 
that to another extreme of decrying it as much. It is certainly 
a noble and a profitable exercise, if rightly gone about, of great 
use both to priest and people, by obliging the one to much study 
and labour, and by setting before the other full and copious 
discoveries of divine matters, opening them clearly, and pressing 
them weightily upon them. It has also now gained so much 
esteem in the world that a clergyman cannot maintain his credit 
nor bring his people to a constant attendance on the worship of 
God, unless he is happy in these performances. 

I will not run out into the history of preaching, to shew how 
late it was before it was brought into the church, and by what 
steps it grew up to the pitch it is now at : how long it was before 
the Roman church used it, and in how many different shapes it 
has appeared. Some of the first patterns we have are the best : 
for as Tully began the Roman eloquence, and likewise ended it, 
no man being able to hold up to the pitch to which he raised it ; 
so St. Basil and St. Chrysostom brought preaching from the dry 
pursuing of allegories that had vitiated Origen, and from the 
excessive affectation of figures and rhetoric that appears in Na- 
zianzen, to a due simplicity ; a native force and beauty ; having 
joined to the plainness of a clear but noble style, the strength of 
reason and the softness of persuasion. Some were disgusted at 
this plainness, and they brought in a great deal of art into the 
composition of sermons ; mystical applications of scripture grew 
to be better liked than clear texts ; an accumulation of figures, 
a cadence in the periods, a playing upon the sounds of words, a 
loftiness of epithets, and often an obscurity of expression, were 
according to the different tastes of the several ages run into. 
Preaching has passed through many different forms among us 
since the reformation. But without flattering the present age, 
or any persons now alive, too much, it must be confessed that it 
is brought of late to a much greater perfection than it was ever 
before at among us. It is certainly brought nearer the pattern 
that St. Chrysostom has set, or perhaps carried beyond it. Our 

Of the Pastoral Care. 183 

language is much refined, and we have returned to the plain 
notions of simple and genuine rhetoric. 

We have so vast a number of excellent performances in print, 
that if a man has but a right understanding of religion, and a 
true relish of good sense, he may easily furnish himself this way. 
The impertinent way of dividing texts is laid aside, the needless 
setting out of the originals, and the vulgar version, is worn out. 
The trifling shows of learning in many quotations of passages, 
that very few could understand, do no more flat the auditory. 
Pert wit and luscious eloquence have lost their relish. So that 
sermons are reduced to the plain opening the meaning of the 
text, in a few short illustrations of its coherence with what goes 
before and after, and of the parts of which it is composed ; to 
that is joined the clear stating of such propositions as arise out 
of it, in their nature, truth, and reasonableness, by which the 
hearers may form clear notions of the several parts of religion, 
such as are best suited to their capacities and apprehensions : to 
all which applications are added, tending to the reproving, direct 
ing, encouraging, or comforting the hearers, according to the 
several occasions that are offered. 

This is indeed all that can truly be intended in preaching, to 
make some portions of scripture to be rightly understood ; to 
make those truths contained in them to be more fully appre 
hended ; and then to lay the matter home to the consciences of 
the hearers, so directing all to some good and practical end. In 
the choice of the text, care is to be taken not to choose texts 
that seem to have humour in them ; or that must be long 
wrought upon before they are understood. The plainer a text 
is in itself, the sooner it is cleared, and the fuller it is of matter 
of instruction ; and therefore such ought to be chosen to com 
mon auditories. Many will remember the text that remember 
nothing else ; therefore such a choice should be made, as may 
at least put a weighty and speaking sentence of the scriptures 
upon the memories of the people. A sermon should be made 
for a text, and not a text found out for a sermon ; for to give 
our discourses weight, it should appear that we are led to them 
by our texts : such sermons will probably have much more 
efficacy than a general discourse, before which a text seems only 
to be read as a decent introduction, but to which no regard is 
had in the progress of it. Great care should be also had, both 
in opening the text, and of that which arises from it, to illus- 

184 Of the Pastoral Care. 

trate them by concurrent passages of scripture. A little of this 
ought to be in every sermon, and but a little ; for the people are 
not to be overcharged with too much of it at a time ; and this 
ought to be done with judgment, and not made a bare concord 
ance-exercise, of citing scriptures that have the same words, 
though not to the same purpose and in the same sense. A text 
being opened, then the point upon which the sermon is to run is 
to be opened ; and it will be the better heard and understood, if 
there is but one point in a sermon ; so that one head, and only 
one, is well stated, and fully set out. In this, great regard is to 
be had to the nature of the auditory, that so the point explained 
may be in some measure proportioned to them. Too close a thread 
of reason, too great an abstraction of thought, too sublime and 
too metaphysical a strain, are suitable to very few auditories, if 
to any at all. 

Things must be put in a clear light, and brought out in as 
short periods and in as plain words as may be. The reasons of 
them must be made as sensible to the people as is possible ; as 
in virtues and vices, their tendencies and effects, their being 
suitable or unsuitable to our powers, to both souls and bodies, 
to the interests of this life as well as the next ; and the good or 
evil that they do to human societies, families, and neighbour 
hoods, ought to be fully and frequently opened. In setting these 
forth, such a measure is to be kept, that the hearers may per 
ceive that things are not strained, in the way of a declamation, 
into forced characters ; but that they are set out, as truly they 
are, without making them seem better by imaginary perfections, 
or worse by an undue aggravation. For the carrying those mat 
ters beyond the plain observation of mankind makes that the 
whole is looked on as a piece of rhetoric ; the preacher seeming 
to intend rather to shew his skill, in raising his subject too high, 
or running it down too low, than to lay before them the native 
consequences of things ; and that which upon reflection they may 
be all able to perceive is really true. Virtue is so good in itself 
that it needs no false paint to make it look better ; and vice is 
so bad that it can never look so ugly as when shewed in its own 
natural colours. So that an undue sublime in such descriptions 
does hurt, and can do no good. 

When the explanatory part of the sermon is over, the appli 
cation comes next : and here great judgment must be used, to 
make it fall the heaviest and lie the longest upon such parti- 

Of the Pastoral Care. 185 

culars as may be within the compass of the auditory. Directions 
concerning a high devotion, to a stupid ignorant company ; or of 
generosity and bounty, to very poor people ; against pride and 
ambition, to such as are dull and low-minded ; are ill suited 
and so must have little effect upon them : therefore care must 
be taken that the application be useful and proper ; that it make 
the hearers apprehend some of their sins and defects and see 
how to perform their duty ; that it awaken them to it and 
direct them in it : and therefore the most common sins, such as 
men s neglecting their duty to God, in the several branches of 
it ; their setting their hearts inordinately upon the world ; their 
lying in discourse, but chiefly in bargainings ; their evil- 
speaking and their hatred and malice, ought to be very often 
brought in. Some one or other of these ought to be in every 
application that is made, by which they may see that the whole 
design of religion lies against them. Such particular sins, 
swearing, drunkenness, or lewdness, as abound in any place, 
must likewise be frequently brought in here. The application 
must be clear and short, very weighty, and free of every thing 
that looks like the affectations of wit and eloquence ; here the 
preacher must be all heart and soul, designing the good of his 
people. The whole sermon is directed to this : therefore, as it 
is fit that the chief point which a sermon drives at should come 
often over and over, that so the hearers may never lose sight of 
it, but keep it still in view ; so in the application, the text must 
be shewed to speak it ; all the parts of the explanation must 
come in to enforce it : the application must be opened in the 
several views that it may have, but those must be chiefly insisted 
on that are most suitable both to the capacities and the circum 
stances of the people. And in conclusion, all ought to be 
summed up in a weighty period or two ; and some other signal 
passage of the scriptures relating to it may be sought for, that 
so the matter may be left upon the auditory in the solemnest 
manner possible. 

Thus I have led a preacher through the composition of his 
sermon ; I will next lay before him some particulars relating to 
it. The shorter sermons are, they are generally both better 
heard and better remembered. The custom of an hour s length 
forces many preachers to trifle away much of the time, and to 
spin out their matter, so as to hold out. So great a length does 
also flat the hearers and tempt them to sleep ; especially when, 

186 Of the Pastoral Care. 

as is usual, the first part of the sermon is languid and heavy. 
In half an hour a man may lay open his matter in its full extent, 
and cut off those superfluities which come in only to lengthen 
the discourse : and he may hope to keep up the attention of his 
people all the while. As to the style, sermons ought to be very 
plain ; the figures must be easy, not mean, but noble, and 
brought in upon design to make the matter better understood. 
The words in a sermon must be simple and in common use ; not 
savouring of the schools, nor above the understanding of the 
people. All long periods, such as carry two or three different 
thoughts in them, must be avoided ; for few hearers can follow 
or apprehend these : niceties of style are lost before a common 
auditory. But if an easy simplicity of style should run through 
the whole composition, it should take place most of all in the 
explanatory part ; for the thing being there offered to be under 
stood, it should be stripped of all garnishing ; definitions should 
not be offered in the terms or method that logic directs. In 
short, a preacher is to fancy himself as in the room of the most 
unlearned man in his whole parish ; and therefore he must 
put such parts of his discourse as he would have all understand 
in so plain a form of words that it may not be beyond the 
meanest of them. This he will certainly study to do, if his desire 
is to edify them rather than to make them admire himself as a 
learned and high-spoken man. 

But in the applicatory part, if he has a true taste of eloquence, 
and is a master at it, he is to employ it all in giving sometimes 
such tender touches as may soften and deeper gashes, such as 
may awaken his hearers. A vain eloquence here is very ill 
placed ; for if that can be borne any where, it is in illustrating 
the matter ; but all must be grave, where one would persuade : 
the most natural, but the most sensible expressions come in best 
here. Such an eloquence as makes the hearers look grave, and 
as it were out of countenance, is the properest. That which 
makes them look lively, and as it were smile upon one another, 
may be pretty, but it only tickles the imagination and pleases 
the ear ; whereas that which goes to the heart and wounds it, 
makes the hearer rather look down and turn his thoughts in 
ward upon himself. For it is certain that a sermon, the conclu 
sion whereof makes the auditory look pleased and sets them all 
a talking one with another, was either not right spoken or not 
right heard ; it has been fine and has probably delighted 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 87 

the congregation rather than edified it. But that sermon that 
makes every one go away silent and grave, and hastening to be 
alone, to meditate or pray over the matter of it in secret, has had 
its true effect. 

He that has a taste and genius for eloquence must improve it 
by reading Quintilian, and Tully s books of Oratory, and by 
observing the spirit and method of Tully s Orations : or, if he 
can enter into Demosthenes, there he will see a much better 
pattern, there being a simplicity, a shortness and a swiftness 
and rapidity in him, that could not be heard without putting his 
auditors into a great commotion. All our modern books upon 
those subjects are so far short of those great originals, that they 
can bear no comparison : yet F. Rapines little book of Eloquence 
is by much the best, only he is too short. Tully has so fully 
opened all the topics of invention that a man who has read him 
will, if he has any invention of his own and if he knows 
thoroughly his matter, rather have too much than too little in 
his view, upon every subject that he treats. This is a noble 
study, and of great use to such as have judgment to manage it ; 
for artificial eloquence, without a flame within, is like artificial 
poetry ; all its productions are forced and unnatural and in a 
great measure ridiculous. Art helps and guides nature ; but if 
one was not born with this flame, art will only spoil him^ make 
him luscious and redundant. To such persons, and indeed to 
all that are not masters of the body of divinity and of the scrip 
tures, I should much rather recommend the using other men^s 
sermons than the making any of their own. But in the choice 
of these, great judgment must be used ; one must not take an 
author that is too much above himself* for by that, compared 
with his ordinary conversation, it will but too evidently appear 
that he cannot be the author of his own sermons ; and that will 
make both him and them lose too much of their weight He 
ought also to put those printed sermons out of that strength and 
closeness of style, which looks very well in print, but is too stiff, 
especially for a common auditory. He may reverse the method 
a little, and shorten the explanations, that so he may retain all 
that is practical ; and that a man may form himself to preaching, 
he ought to take some of the best models and try what he can 
do upon a text handled by them, without reading them, and then 
compare his work with theirs ; this will more sensibly, and 
without putting him to the blush, model him to imitate, or, if he 

188 Of the Pastoral Care. 

can, to excel the best patterns. And by this method, if he will 
restrain himself for some time and follow it close, he may come 
to be able to go without such crutches, and to work without 
patterns : till then, I should advise all to make use of other 
men s sermons, rather than to make any of their own. 

The nation has got into so good a taste of sermons, from the 
vast number of those excellent ones that are in print, that a 
mean composition will be very ill heard ; and therefore it is an 
unseasonable piece of vanity for any to offer their own crudities, 
till they have well digested and ripened them. I wish the ma 
jesty of the pulpit were more looked to ; and that no sermons 
were offered from thence but such as should make the hearers 
both the better and the wiser, the more knowing and the more 

In the delivering of sermons, a great composure of gesture 
and behaviour is necessary, to give them weight and authority : 
extremes are bad here, as in every thing else ; some affect a 
light and flippant behaviour ; and others think that wry faces 
and a tone in the voice will set off the matter. Grave and com 
posed looks, and a natural but distinct pronunciation, will al 
ways have the best effects. The great rule which the masters 
of rhetoric press much can never be enough remembered ; that 
to make a man speak well, and pronounce with a right emphasis, 
he ought thoroughly to understand all that he says, be fully 
persuaded of it, and bring himself to have those affections, 
which he desires to infuse into others. He that is inwardly per 
suaded of the truth of what he says, and that has a concern 
about it in his mind, will pronounce with a natural vehemence, 
that is far more lively than all the strains that art can lead him 
to. An orator, if we hearken to them, must be an honest man, 
and speak always on the side of truth, and study to feel all that 
he says ; and then he will speak it so as to make others feel it 
likewise. And therefore such as read their sermons ought to 
practise reading much in private, and read aloud, that so their 
own ear and sense may guide them, to know where to raise or 
quicken, soften or sweeten their voice, and when to give an 
articulation of authority or of conviction ; where to pause and 
where to languish. We plainly see by the stage, what a force 
there is in pronunciation : the best compositions are murdered, 
if ill spoken ; and the worst are acceptable, when well said. In 
tragedies rightly pronounced and acted, though we know that all 

Of tlie Pastoral Care. 189 

is fable and fiction, the tender parts do so melt the company 
that tears cannot be stopped, even by those who laugh at them 
selves for it. This shews the power of apt words and a just pro 
nunciation : but because this depends, in a great measure, upon 
the present temper of him that speaks, and the lively disposition 
in which he is, therefore he ought by much previous seriousness 
and by earnest prayer to God, to endeavour to raise his mind to 
as warm a sense of the things he is to speak of, as possibly he 
can, that so his sermons may make deep impressions on his 

This leads me to consider the difference that is between the 
reading and speaking of sermons. Beading is peculiar to this 
nation, and is endured in no other. It has indeed made that our 
sermons are more exact, and so it has produced to us many 
volumes of the best that are extant ; but after all, though some 
few read so happily, pronounce so truly, and enter so entirely 
into those affections which they recommend, that in them we see 
both the correctness of reading, and the seriousness of speaking 
sermons, yet every one is not so happy : some by hanging their 
heads perpetually over their notes, by blundering as they read, 
and by a cursory running over them, do so lessen the matter of 
their sermons, that as they are generally read with very little 
life or affection, so they are heard with as little regard or esteem. 
Those who read ought certainly to be at a little more pains, than 
for the most part they are, to read true, to pronounce with an 
emphasis, and to raise their heads, and to direct their eyes to 
their hearers : and if they practised more alone the just way of 
reading, they might deliver their sermons with much more ad 
vantage. Man is a low sort of creature ; he does not, nay, nor 
the greater part cannot, consider things in themselves, without 
those little seasonings that must recommend them to their affec 
tions. That a discourse be heard with any life, it must be 
spoken with some; and the looks and motions of the eye do 
carry in them such additions to what is said, that where these do 
not at all concur, it has not all the force upon them that other 
wise it might have ; besides that the people, who are too apt to 
censure the clergy, are easily carried into an obvious reflection 
on reading, that it is an effect of laziness. 

In pronouncing sermons, there are two ways ; the one is 
when a whole discourse is got by heart, and delivered word for 
word, as it was writ down. This is so vast a labour, that it is 

190 Of the Pastoral Care. 

scarce possible that a man can be able to hold up long to it : yet 
there is an advantage even in this to beginners ; it fills their 
memories with good thoughts and regular meditations : and 
when they have got some of the most important of their sermons 
by heart in so exact a manner, they are thereby furnished with 
topics for discourse. And therefore there are at least two dif 
ferent subjects, on which I wish all preachers would be at the 
pains to form sermons well in their memories : the one is the 
grounds of the covenant of grace, of both sides, God s offers to 
us in Christ, and the conditions that he has required of us, in 
order to our reconciliation with him. This is so important a 
point, in the whole course of our ministry, that no man ought to 
be to seek in the opening or explaining it : and therefore, that 
he may be ripe in it, he ought to have it all rightly laid in his 
memory, not only as to the notions of it, but to have such a 
lively description and illustration of it all, as to be able to speak 
of it sensibly, fully and easily upon all occasions. Another sub 
ject in which every minister ought also to be well furnished, is 
concerning death and judgment ; that so when he visits the sick, 
and, as is common, that the neighbours come in, he may be able 
to make a grave exhortation, in weighty and fit words, upon 
those heads. Less than this, I think, no priest ought to have in 
his memory. But indeed, the more sermons a young beginner 
gets by heart, he has still thereby the more discourse ready upon 
those heads ; for though the whole contexture of the sermon 
will stick no longer than he has occasion for it, yet a great deal 
will stay with him : the idea of the whole, with the most import 
ant parts of it, will remain much longer. 

But now I come to propose another method of preaching, by 
which a priest may be prepared, after a right view of his matter, 
a true understanding his text, and a digesting of his thoughts 
upon it into their natural and proper order, to deliver these 
both more easily to himself, and with a better effect both upon 
himself and his hearers. To come at this, he must be for some 
years at a great deal of pains to prepare himself to it ; yet when 
that is over, the labour of all the rest of his life, as to those per 
formances, will become very easy and very pleasant to him. 
The preparations to this must be these : first, he must read the 
scriptures very exactly ; he must have great portions of them 
by heart ; and he must also, in reading them, make a short con 
cordance of them in his memory ; that is, he must lav tosrether 

Of the Pastoral Care. 191 

such passages as belong to the same matter ; to consider how far 
they agree or help to illustrate one another, and how the same 
thing is differently expressed in them ; and what various ideas 
or ways of recommending a thing rise out of this concordance. 
Upon this a man must exercise himself much, draw notes of it, 
and digest it well in his thoughts. Then he must be ready with 
the whole body of divinity in his head ; he must know what 
parts come in as objections to be answered, where difficulties lie, 
how one part coheres with another and gives it light. He 
must have this very current in his memory, that he may have 
things lie before him in one full view ; and upon this, he is also 
to work, by making tables, or using such other helps as may lay 
matters clearly before him. He is, more particularly, to lay 
before him a system of morality, of all virtues and vices, and of 
all the duties that arise out of the several relations of mankind ; 
that he may have this matter very full in his eye, and know 
what are the scriptures that belong to all the parts of it : he is 
also to make a collection of all such thoughts as he finds either 
in the books of the ancient philosophers (where Seneca will be 
of great use to him) or of Christian authors : he is to separate 
such thoughts as are forced, and that do become rather a strained 
declamation made only to please, than a solid discourse designed 
to persuade. All these he must gather, or at least such a num 
ber of them, as may help him to form a distinct notion of that 
matter, so as to be able both to open it clearly, and to press it 
with affection and vehemence. 

These are the materials that must be laid together ; the prac 
tice in using them comes next : he then that would prepare 
himself to be a preacher in this method, must accustom himself 
to talk freely to himself, to let his thoughts flow from him, 
especially when he feels an edge and heat upon his mind ; for 
then happy expressions will come in his mouth, things will 
ventilate and open themselves to him, as he talks them thus in 
a soliloquy to himself. He must also be writing many essays 
upon all sorts of subjects ; for by writing he will bring himself 
to a correctness both in thinking and in speaking : and thus, by 
a hard practice for two or three years, a man may render him 
self such a master in this matter, that he can never be surprised, 
nor will new thoughts ever dry up upon him. He must talk 
over to himself the whole body of divinity, and accustom him 
self to explain, and prove, to clear objections, and to apply every 

1 92 Of the Pastoral Care . 

part of it to some practical use. He must go through human 
life, in all the ranks and degrees of it, and talk over all the 
duties of these ; consider the advantages or disadvantages in 
every one of them, their relation to one another, the morality of 
actions, the common virtues and vices of mankind ; more parti 
cularly the duties of Christians, their obligations to meekness 
and humility, to forgive injuries, to relieve the poor, to bear 
the cross, to be patient and contented in every state of life, to 
pray much and fervently, to rejoice ever in God, and to be 
always praising him, and most particularly to be applying 
seriously to God through Jesus Christ for mercy and pardon, 
and for his grace and Spirit ; to be worshipping him devoutly 
in public, and to be delighting frequently to commemorate the 
death of Christ and to partake of the benefits of it. All these, 
I say, he must talk over and over again to himself; he must 
study to give his thoughts all the heat and flight about them 
that he can : and if, in these his meditations, happy thoughts 
and noble and tender expressions do at any time offer them 
selves, he must not lose them, but write them down ; and, in 
his pronouncing over such discourses to himself, he must 
observe what words sound harsh, and agree ill together; for 
there is a music in speaking as well as in singing ; which a man, 
though not otherwise critical in sounds, will soon discover. By 
a very few years practice of two or three of such soliloquies a 
day, chiefly in the morning, when the head is clearest and the 
spirits are liveliest, a man will contract a great easiness both in 
thinking and speaking. 

But the rule I have reserved last is the most necessary of all, 
and without it all the rest will never do the business : it is this ; 
that a man must have in himself a deep sense of the truth and 
power of religion ; he must have a life and flame in his thoughts, 
with relation to those subjects : he must have felt in himself 
those things, which he intends to explain and recommend to 
others. He must observe narrowly the motions of his own 
mind, the good and bad effects that the several sorts of objects 
he has before him and affections he feels within him, have upon 
him ; that so he may have a lively heat in himself when he 
speaks of them, and that he may speak in so sensible a manner 
that it may be almost felt that he speaks from his heart. There 
is an authority in the simplest things that can be said, when 
they carry visible characters of genuineness in them. Now if a 

Of the Pastoral Care. 193 

man can carry on this method, and by much meditation and 
prayer draw down divine influences, which are always to be 
expected, when a man puts himself in the way of them and 
prepares himself for them ; he will often feel that, while he is 
musing, a fire is kindled within him, and then he will speak 
with authority and without constraint ; his thoughts will be true, 
and his expressions free and easy : sometimes this fire will carry 
him, as it were, out of himself; and yet without any thing that 
is frantic or enthusiastical. Discourses brought forth with a 
lively spirit and heat, where a composed gesture and the proper 
motions of the eye and countenance and the due modulations of 
the voice concur, will have all the effect that can be expected 
from any thing that is below immediate inspiration : and as this 
will be of use to the hearers, so it will be of vast use to the 
preacher himself, to oblige him to keep his heart always in good 
tune and temper ; not to suffer irregular or forbidden appetites, 
passions or projects to possess his mind : these will both di 
vert him from going on in the course of meditation, in which 
a man must continue many years, till all his thoughts are put in 
order, polished and fixed; they will make him likewise speak 
much against the grain, with an aversion that will be very sen 
sible to himself, if not to his hearers, if he has guilt upon him, 
if his conscience is reproaching him, and if any ill practices 
are putting a damp upon that good sense of things, that makes 
his thoughts sparkle upon other occasions and gives him an 
air and authority, a tone of assurance and a freedom of ex 

Such a method as I have been opening has had great success 
with all those that I have known to have tried it. And though 
every one has not that swiftness of imagination nor that clear 
ness of expression, that others may have, so that in this men 
may differ as much as they do in their written compositions ; 
yet every man by this method may rise far above that which he 
could ever have attained to any other way : it will make even 
exact compositions easier to him, and him much readier and freer 
at them. But great care must be used by him, before he suffers 
himself to speak with the liberty here aimed at in public ; he 
must try himself at smaller excursions from his fixed thoughts, 
especially in the applicatory part, where flame arid life are more 
necessary, and where a mistaken word or an unfinished period 
are less observed and sooner forgiven, than in the explanatory 


194 Of the Pastoral Care. 

part, where men ought to speak more severely. And as one suc 
ceeds in some short excursions, he may give himself a further 
scope, and so, by a long practice, he will at last arrive at so great 
an easiness both in thinking and speaking, that a very little 
meditation will serve to lay open a text to him, with all the 
matter that belongs to it, together with the order in which it 
ought to be both explained and applied. And when a man has at 
tained to a tolerable degree in this, he is then the master of his 
business ; he is master also of much time, and of many noble 
thoughts and schemes that will arise out of them. 

This I shall prosecute no further; for if this opening of it 
does not excite the reader to follow it a little, no enlargements 
I can offer upon it will work upon him. But to return to 
preaching, and so conclude this chapter. He that intends truly 
to preach the gospel, and not himself; he that is more concerned 
to do good to others, than to raise his own fame, or to procure a 
following to himself, and that makes this the measure of all his 
meditations and sermons, that he may put things in the best 
light, and recommend them with the most advantage to his peo 
ple ; that reads the scriptures much, and meditates often upon 
them ; that prays earnestly to God for direction in his labours, 
and for a blessing upon them ; that directs his chief endeavours 
to the most important, and most indispensable, as well as the 
most undeniable duties of religion ; and chiefly to the inward 
reformation of his hearers 1 hearts, which will certainly draw all 
other lesser matters after it ; and that does not spend his time 
nor his zeal upon lesser or disputable points ; this man, so made 
and so moulded, cannot miscarry in his work : he will certainly 
succeed to some degree ; the word spoken fy him shall not return 
again : he shall have his crown and his reward from his labours : 
and, to say all that can be said in one word with St. Paul, he 
shall both save himself and them that hear him. 


I HAVE now gone over all that seemed to be most im 
portant upon this head, of the pastoral care, with as much 
shortness and clearness as I could ; so now I am to conclude. 
The discourse may justly seem imperfect, since I say nothing 
concerning the duties incumbent on bishops. But I will upon 
this occasion say very little on that head. The post I am in 

Of the Pastoral Care. 195 

gives me a right to teach priests and deacons their duty ; there 
fore I thought that without any great presumption I might 
venture on it : but I have been too few years in the higher 
order, to take upon me to teach them, from whom I shall ever 
be ready to learn. This is certain, that since, as was formerly 
said, the inferior orders subsist in the superior, bishops must 
still be under ail the obligations of priests : they are then, take 
the matter at lowest, bound to live, to labour and to preach as 
well as they. But why are they raised to a higher rank of 
dignity and order, an increase of authority and an extent of 
cure ? and why have Christian princes and states given them 
great revenues and an accession of secular honours ? All this 
must certainly import their obligation to labour more eminently 
and to lay themselves out more entirely in the work of the 
gospel ; in which, if the greatest encouragements and assist 
ances, the highest dignities and privileges belong to them, 
then, according to our Saviour s example and decision, who 
came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and who declared 
that lie ivho is first shall be last, and he who is the greatest must 
be the servant of all; then, I say, the higher that any are raised 
in this ministry, they ought to lay themselves out the more 
entirely in it and labour the more abundantly. And as our 
obligations to Christ and his church tie us to a greater zeal and 
diligence, and to a more constant application of our care and 
thoughts ; so the secular supports of our honours and revenues 
were given us, to enable us to go through with that extent of 
care and jurisdiction that lies upon us. We are not only watch 
men to watch over the flock, but likewise over the watchmen 
themselves. We keep the door of the sanctuary, and will have 
much to answer for, if through our remissness or feeble easiness, 
if by trusting the examination of those we ordain to others, and 
yielding to intercession and importunity, we bring any into the 
service of the church, who are not duly qualified for it. In 
this we must harden ourselves and become inexorable, if we 
will not partake in other men s sins and in the mischiefs that 
these may bring upon the church. It is a false pity and a cruel 
compassion, if we suffer any considerations to prevail upon us in 
this matter but those which the gospel directs. The longer 
that we know them before we ordain them, tha more that we 
sift them, and the greater variety of trials through which we 
may make them pass, we do thereby both secure the quiet of 

196 Of the Pastoral Care. 

our own consciences the more, as well as the dignity of holy 
things and the true interest of religion and the church : for 
these two interests must never be separated ; they are but one 
and the same in themselves ; and what God has joined together, 
we must never set asunder. 

We must be setting constantly before our clergy their obliga 
tions to the several parts of their duty ; we must lay these upon 
them, when we institute or collate them to churches, in the 
solemnest manner and with the weightiest words we can find. 
We must then lay the importance of the care of souls before 
them and adjure them, as they will answer to God in the great 
day, in which we must appear to witness against them, that they 
will seriously consider and observe their ordination- vows, and 
that they will apply themselves wholly to that one thing. We 
must keep an eye upon them continually and be applying re 
proofs, exhortations and encouragements, as occasion offers : we 
must enter into all their concerns and espouse every interest of 
that part of the church that is assigned to their care : we must 
see them as oft as we can, and encourage them to come fre 
quently to us ; and must live in all things with them, as a father 
with his children. And that every thing we say to stir them up 
to their duty may have its due weight, we must take care so to 
order ourselves that they may evidently see that we are careful 
to do our own. We must enter into all the parts of the worship 
of God with them ; not thinking ourselves too good for any piece 
of service that may be done ; visiting the sick, admitting poor 
and indigent persons, or such as are troubled in mind, to come 
to us ; preaching oft, catechising and confirming frequently ; and 
living in all things like men that study to fulfil their ministry and 
to do the work of evangelists. 

There has been an opinion of late, much favoured by some 
great men in our church, that the bishop is the sole pastor of his 
whole diocese ; that the care of all the souls is singly in him, and 
that all the incumbents in churches are only his curates in the 
different parts of his parish, which was the ancient designation 
of his diocese. I know there are a great many passages brought 
from antiquity to favour this ; I will not enter into the question, 
no not so far as to give my own opinion of it. This is certain, 
that such as are persuaded of it ought thereby to consider them 
selves as under very great and strict obligations to constant 
labour and diligence ; otherwise it will be thought that they 

Of the Pastoral Care. 197 

only favour this opinion, because it increases their authority, 
without considering that necessary consequence that follows 
upon it. 

But I will go no further on this subject at this time, having 
said so much only that I may not seem to fall under that heavy 
censure of our Saviour s with relation to the scribes and Phari 
sees, that they did bind heavy burdens^ and grievous to be borne 
upon others ; and laid them upon men s shoulders, ichen they 
themselves would not move them with one of their fingers. I must 
leave the whole matter with my readers. I have now laid toge 
ther with great simplicity what has been the chief subject of 
my thoughts for above thirty years. I was formed to them by a 
bishop that had the greatest elevation of soul, the largest compass 
of knowledge, the most mortified and most heavenly disposition, 
that I ever yet saw in mortal ; that had the greatest parts as well 
as virtues, with the perfectest humility, that I ever saw in man ; 
and had a sublime strain in preaching, with so grave a gesture 
and such a majesty both of thought, of language and of pronun 
ciation, that I never once saw a wandering eye where he 
preached ; and have seen whole assemblies often melt in tears 
before him ; and of whom I can say, with great truth, that in a 
free and frequent conversation with him, for above two and 
twenty years, I never knew him say an idle word that had not 
a direct tendency to edification ; and I never once saw him in any 
other temper, but that which I wished to be in, in the last minutes 
of my life. For that pattern which I saw in him and for that 
conversation which I had with him, I know how much I have to 
answer to God : and though my reflecting on that which I knew 
in him gives me just cause of being deeply humbled in myself 
and before God ; yet I feel no more sensible pleasure in any 
thing, than in going over in my thoughts all that I saw and 
observed in him. 

I have also another reason, that has determined me at this 
time to prepare this discourse and to offer it to the public ; from 
the present posture of our affairs. We are now brought very 
near the greatest crisis that ever church or nation had : and as 
on the one hand, if God should so far punish us for our sins, for 
our contempt of his gospel and neglect of our duties, as to deli 
ver us over to the rage of our enemies, we have nothing to look 
for but a persecution more dreadful than any is in history : so if 
God hears our prayers and gives us a happy issue out of all 

198 Of the Pastoral Care. 

those dangers, with which the malice of our enemies threatens 
us; we have in view the greatest prospect of a blessed and 
lasting settlement, that even our wishes can propose to us. Now 
nothing can so certainly avert the one or prepare us to glorify 
God in it, if he in his justice and wisdom should call us to a fiery 
trial of our faith and patience ; as the serious minding of our 
functions, of our duties and obligations, the confessing of our sins 
and the correcting of our errors. We shall be very unfit to suffer 
for our religion, much less to die for it, and very little able to 
endure the hardships of persecution, if our consciences are 
reproaching us all the while that we have procured these things 
to ourselves ; and that, by the ill use of our prosperity and other 
advantages, we have kindled a fire to consume us. But as we 
have good reason from the present state of affairs, as well as from 
the many eminent deliverances and happy providences, which 
have of late, in so signal a manner, watched over and protected 
us, to hope that God, according to the riches of his mercy and 
for the glory of his great name, will hear the prayers that many 
good souls offer up, rather than the cry of those abominations that 
are still among us : so nothing can so certainly hasten on the 
fixing of our tranquillity, and the completing our happiness, as 
our lying often between the porch and the altar, and interceding 
with God for our people ; and our giving ourselves wholly to the 
ministry of the word of God and to prayer. These being then 
the surest means, both to procure and to establish to us all those 
great and glorious things that we pray and hope for ; this seemed 
to me a very proper time to publish a discourse of this nature. 

But that which made it an act of obedience, as well as zeal, 
was the authority of my most reverend metropolitan; who, I have 
reason to believe, employs his time and thoughts chiefly to con 
sider what may yet be wanting to give our church a greater 
beauty and perfection ; and what are the most proper means both 
of purifying and uniting us. To which I thought nothing could 
so well prepare the way, as the offering to the public a plain and 
full discourse of the Pastoral Care and of every thing relating to 
it. His grace approved of this, and desired me to set about 
it : upon these motives I writ it, with all the simplicity and 
freedom that I thought the subject required, and sent it to him : 
by whose particular approbation I publish it, as I writ it at his 

There is indeed one of my motives that I have not yet men- 

Of the Pastoral Care. 1 99 

tioned, and on which I cannot enlarge so fully as I well might. 
But while we have such an invaluable and unexampled blessing 
in the persons of those princes whom God hath set over us ; if 
all the considerations which arise out of the deliverances that 
God has given us by their means, of the protection we enjoy 
under them and of the great hopes we have of them ; if, I say, 
all this does not oblige us to set about the reforming of every 
thing that may be amiss or defective among us, to study much 
and to labour hard ; to lead strict and exemplary lives, and so 
to stop the mouths and overcome the prejudices of all that 
divide from us ; this will make us look like a nation cast off 
and forsaken of God, which is nigh unto cursing, and whose 
end is lurning. We have reason to conclude that our present 
blessings are the last essays of God s goodness to us ; and that, 
if we bring forth no fruit under these, the next sentence shall 
be, Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground? These things lie 
heavy on my thoughts continually, and have all concurred to 
draw this treatise from me ; which I have writ with all the sin^ 
cerity of heart and purity of intention that I should have had, 
if I had known that I had been to die at the conclusion of it 
and to answer for it to God. 

To him I humbly offer it up, together with my most earnest 
prayers, that the design, here so imperfectly offered at, may 
become truly effectual and have its full progress and accomplish 
ment ; which whensoever I shall see, I shall then with joy say, 
Nunc dimittis, &c. 


Of presentations to benefices and simony. 

I DO not intend to treat of this matter, as it is a part of our 
law ; but leaving that to the gentlemen of another robe, I shall 
content myself with offering an historical account of the progress 
of it, with the sense that the ancient church had of it, together 
with such reflections as will arise out of that. 

At first the whole body of the clergy, in every city, parish or 
diocese, was as a family under the conduct and authority of the 
bishop ; who assigned to ever} 7 one of his presbyters their pecu 
liar district and gave him a proper maintenance out of the stock 
of the oblations of the faithful. None were ordained but by the 
approbation, or rather the nomination of the people, the bishop 

200 Of the Pastoral Care. 

being to examine into the worth and qualifications of the per 
sons so nominated. In the first ages, which were times of per 
secution, it is not to be supposed that ambition or corruption 
could have any great influence, while a man in holy orders was 
as it were put in the front and exposed to the first fury of the 
persecutors. So that what Tertullian says f on this head will be 
easily believed, " that those who presided over them were first 
tried ; having obtained that honour, not by paying a price for 
it, but by the testimony that was given of them ; for the things 
of God were not purchased by money ;" he alluding probably 
to the methods used by the heathens to arrive at their pontifical 

But as soon as wealth and dignity was, by the bounty of 
Christian emperors, made an appendix to the sacred function, 
then we find great complaints made of disorders in elections 
and of partiality in ordinations, on which we see severe reflec 
tions made by the best men both in the eastern and western 
churches. They not only condemned the purchasing elections 
and holy orders with money, but all the train of solicitations and 
intercessions, with all flattery and obsequious courtship in order 
to those things. 

They indeed laid the name of simony chiefly on the purchasing 
of orders by money, which was attempted by Simon of Samaria, 
commonly called Simon Magus ; but they brought other prece 
dents to shew how far they carried this matter. Balaam s hire 
of divination, Gehazi s going after Naaman for a present, and 
Jeroboam^s making priests of those who filled his hands%, are pre 
cedents much insisted on by them, to carry the matter beyond 
the case of a bargain beforehand ; every thing in the way of prac 
tice to arrive at holy orders was all equally condemned. When 
things were reduced into methodical divisions, they reckoned a 
threefold simony ; that of the hand when money was given, that 
of the mouth by flatteries, and that of service, when men by 
domestic attendance and other employments did, by a temporal 
drudgery, obtain the spiritual dignity. 

Chrysostom h expresses this thus : " If you do not give money, 
but instead of money, if you flatter ; if you set others at work, 
and use other artifices, you are as guilty." Of all these he 
adds, that " as St. Peter said to Simon, Thy money perish with 
thee, so may thy ambition perish with thee. " St. Jerom 

f Apology. 2 Chron. xiii, 9. h Horn, in Acta Ap. i In Esai. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 201 

says, "We see many reckon orders as a benefice, and do not seek 
for persons who may be as pillars erected in the house of God, 
and may be most useful in the service of the church ; but they 
do prefer those for whom they have a particular affection, or 
whose obsequiousness has gained their favour, or for whom 
some of the great men have interceded ; not to mention the 
worst of all, those who, by the presents they make them, pur 
chase that dignity. " 

A corruption began to creep into the church, in the fifth 
century, of ordaining vagrant clerks, without any peculiar title ; 
of whom we find St. Jerom oft complaining. This was con 
demned by the council of Chalcedon in a most solemn manner k : 
" The orders of all who were ordained presbyters, deacons or 
in the inferior degrees, without a special title either in the city, 
in some village, some chapel or monastery, are declared null and 
void : and, to the reproach of those who so ordained them, they 
are declared incapable of performing any function." But how 
sacred soever the authority of this council was, it did not cure 
this great evil, from which many more have sprung. 

A practice rose, not long after this, which opened a new 
scene. Men began to build churches on their own grounds, at 
their own charges, and to endow these ; and they were naturally 
the masters, and, in the true signification of the Roman word, 
the patrons of them. All the churches in the first matricula 
were to be served by persons named to them by the bishop, and 
were to be maintained by him out of the revenue of the church ; 
but these were put upon another foot, and belonged to the pro 
prietors of the ground, to the builders and the endowers 1 . 
They were also to offer to the bishop a clerk to serve in them. 
It seems they began to think that the bishop was bound to 
ordain all such as were named by them : but Justinian m settled 
this matter by a law ; for he provided that the " patriarch should 
not be obliged to ordain such as were nominated by the patron, 
unless he judged them fit for it :" the reason given is, " that the 
holy things of God might not be profaned n ." It seems he had 
this in his eye, when by another law he condemns those who 
received any thing for such a nomination ; for so I understand 
the patrocinium ordinationis. 

The elections to most sees lay in many hands ; and to keep 

Can. 6. i Fundus, aedificatio, et dos. m Novel. 57. c. 2. 

n Nov. 6. c. i. 

202 Of the Pastoral Care. 

out not only corruption but partiality, from having a share in 
them, he by a special law required, " that all persons, seculars 
as well as ecclesiastics, who had a vote in elections, should join 
an oath to their suffrage, that they were neither moved to it by 
any gift, promise, friendship or favour, or by any other affection, 
but that they gave their vote upon their knowledge of the merits 
of the person ." It will easily be imagined that no rule of this 
kind could be much regarded in corrupt ages. 

Gregory the Great is very copious in lamenting these dis 
orders and puts always the threefold division of simony toge 
ther, manuS) oris, et ministeriiP. Hincmar cites the prophet s 
words, He that shaJceth his hands from holding of bribes q ; in 
the Vulgate it is, from every- bribe ; applying it to three sorts of 
simony. And in that letter to Lewis the Third, king of France, 
he protests " he knew no kinsman nor friend ; and he only 
considered the life, learning and other good qualities necessary 
to the sacred ministry. 1 Those ages were very corrupt; so 
that the great advantages that the popes had, in the disputes 
concerning the investitures into benefices, were taken from this, 
that servile obsequiousness and flatteries were the methods used 
in procuring them. Of which it were easy to bring a great and 
copious proof, but that it is needless. 

I shall only name two provisions made against all these 
sinistrous practices : one was among us in a council at Exeter r , 
in which this charge is given ; " Let all men look into their 
own consciences, and examine themselves with what design they 
aspire to orders ; if it is, that they may serve God more vir 
tuously and more acceptably; or if it is for the temporals, and 
that they may extort benefices from those who ordain them ; 
for we look on such as simoniacs." In the council of Basil s , 
in which they attempted the restoring the freedom of elections, 
as a means to raise the reputation of the sacred function, 
they appointed that an oath should be taken by all electors, 
" That they should not give their voice for any who had, as they 
were credibly informed, endeavoured to procure it to themselves, 
either by promising or giving any temporal thing for it, or by 
any prayer or petition, either by themselves or by the interpo 
sition of any other ; or by any other way whatsoever, directly 
or indirectly/ This would go as far as those who took it con- 

Nov. 137, c. 2. P Tom. 2, 195. i Isa. xxxiii, 15. 

r Synod. Exon. 1287, cap. 8. s Sess. 12. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 203 

sidered themselves bound by an oath, to secure elections from 
corruption or practice. 

I will go no further to prove that both fathers and councils, 
in their provisions against simony, considered the practice of 
application, importunity, solicitations and flatteries, as of the 
same nature with simony : and therefore, though our law considers 
only simony, as it is a bargain in which money or the equivalent 
is given or promised, yet the sense of the church went much 
further on this head, even in the most corrupt ages. The canon 
law does very often mention simony in its threefold distinction, 
manus, lingua, et obsequii ; it being still reckoned a duty, both 
in the giver and receiver, that the gift should be free and 

In the church of Borne, a right of patronage is, according to 
their superstition, a matter of great value ; for in every mass the 
patron is to be remembered by a special collect, so that it saves 
them a great charge in a daily mass said for them. To us this 
effect ceases ; but still it is a noble piece of property, since a 
patron has the nomination of him that has a care of souls com 
mitted to him. But as it is in itself highly valuable, so a great 
account is to be given for it to him, who made and purchased 
those souls, and in whose sight they are of inestimable value, and 
who will reckon severely with such patrons as do not manage it 
with a due care. 

It is all one what the consideration is on which it is bestowed, 
if regard is not in the first place had to the worth of the person 
so nominated ; and if he is not judged fit and proper to under 
take the cure of souls : for with relation to the account that is to 
be given to the great Bishop of souls, it is all one whether money, 
friendship, kindred or any carnal regard was the chief motive 
to the nomination. 

I know it may be said, no man but one in holy orders is ca 
pable of being possessed of a benefice, and in order to that he is 
to be examined by the bishop, though already ordained, before 
he can be possessed of it : but the sin is not the less, because 
others come in to be partakers of it. Still a patron must answer 
to God for his share, if he has nominated a person without due 
care, and without considering whether he thinks him a proper 
person for undertaking so great a trust. 

I will not carry this matter so far as to say that a patron is 
bound to choose the fittest and most deserving persons he can 

204 Of the Pastoral Care. 

find out : that may put him under great scruples ; and there 
being a great diversity in the nature of parishes, and in the 
several abilities necessary for the proper duties of the pastoral 
care, it may be too great a load to lay on a man s conscience an 
obligation to distinguish who may be the fittest person. But 
this is very evident, that a patron is bound to name no person to 
so important a care as the charge of souls, of whom he has not at 
least a probable reason to believe that he has the due qualifi 
cations and will discharge the trust committed to him. Some 
motives may be baser than others : but even the consideration 
of a child to be provided for, by a cure of souls, when the main 
requisites are wanting, is in the sight of God no better than 
simony. For in the nature of things it is all one, if one sells a 
benefice, that by the sale he may provide for a child, and if he 
bestows it on a child, only out of natural affection, without con 
sidering his son s fitness to manage so great a trust. Perpetual 
advowsons, which are kept in families as a provision for a child, 
who must be put in orders, whatever his aversion to it or unfit- 
ness for it may be, bring a prostitution on holy things. And 
parents, who present their undeserving children, have this ag 
gravation of their guilt, that they are not so apt to be deceived 
in this case, as they may be when they present a stranger. 
Concerning these they may be imposed on by the testimony of 
those whom they do not suspect ; but they must be supposed to 
be better informed as to their own children. 

It is also certain, that orders are not given by all bishops with 
that anxiety of caution that the importance of the matter 
requires. And if a person is in orders, perhaps qualified for a 
lower station, yet he may want many qualifications necessary for 
a greater cure : and the grounds, on which a presentation can be 
denied, are so narrow that a bishop may be under great difficul 
ties, who yet knows he cannot stand the suit, to which he lies 
open, when he refuses to comply with the patron s nomination. 

The sum of all this is that patrons ought to look on them 
selves as bound to have a sacred regard to this trust that is 
vested in them, and to consider very carefully what the nature 
of the benefice that they give is, and what are the qualifications 
of the person they present to it ; otherwise the souls that may 
be lost by a bad nomination, whatsoever may have been their 
motive to it, will be required at their hands. 

At first the right of patronage was an appendant of the estate 

Of the Pastoral Care. 205 

in which it was vested ; and was not to be alienated but with it, 
and then there was still less danger of an ill nomination. For it 
may be supposed that he who was most concerned in a parish 
would be to a good degree concerned to have it well served. 
But a new practice has risen among us, and, for aught I have 
been able to learn, it is only among us, and is in no other nation 
or church whatsoever : how long it has been among us, I am not 
versed enough in our law-books to be able to tell : and that is 
the separating the advowson from the estate to which it was an 
nexed ; and the selling it, or a turn in it, as an estate by itself. 
This is so far allowed by our law that no part of such a traffick 
comes within the statute against simony, unless when the benefice 
is open. I shall say nothing more on this head, save only that 
whosoever purchases a turn, or a perpetual advowson, with a 
design to make the benefice go to a child, or remain in a family, 
without considering the worth or qualifications of the person to 
be presented to it, put themselves and their posterity under great 
temptations. For here is an estate to be conveyed to a person, 
if he can get but through those slight examinations upon which 
orders are given, and has negative virtues, that is, if he is free 
from scandalous sin, though he has no good qualities, nor any 
fixed intentions of living suitably to his profession, of following 
the studies proper to it and of dedicating himself to the work 
of the ministry : on the contrary, he perhaps discovers a great 
deal of pride, passion, covetousness and an ungoverned love of 
pleasure ; and is so far from any serious application of mind to 
the sacred functions, that he has rooted in him an aversion to 

The ill effects of this are but too visible, and we have great 
reason to apprehend that persons who come into the service of 
the church with this disposition of mind will despise the care of 
souls, as a thing to be turned over to one of a mechanic genius, 
who can never rise above some low performances ; they will be 
incessantly aspiring higher and higher, and by fawning attend 
ances and the meanest compliances with such as can contribute 
to their advancement, they will think no services too much out 
of their road, that can help to raise them : they will meddle in 
all intrigues, and will cry up and cry down things in the basest 
methods, as they hope to find their account in them. I wish, 
with all my heart, that these things were not too notorious, and 
that they did not lay stumblingblocks in men s way, which may 

206 Of the Pastoral Care. 

give advantages to the tribe of profane libertines to harden them 
in their prejudices against not only the sacred functions, but all 
revealed religion in general. I shall end this head, leaving it on 
the consciences of all patrons, and obtesting them by all that is 
sacred, to reflect seriously on this great trust that the law has 
put in their hands ; and to consider what account they are to 
give of it in the great day. 

But if patrons ought to consider themselves under strict obli 
gations in this matter, how much more ought they to lay the 
sense of the duties of their function to heart, who have by 
solemn vows dedicated themselves to the work of the ministry ? 
What notion have they of running without being sent, who 
tread in those steps ? Do not they say, according to what was 
threatened as a curse on the posterity of Eli, Put me, I pray thee, 
into one of the priests offices, that I may eat a piece of bread*? 
Do they not feel these words as a character of what they say 
within themselves, when they come up to the altar ? Can they 
not trust God, and go on, fitting themselves in the best manner 
they can for holy functions, waiting for such an interposition of 
Providence as shall open a clear way to them to some station in 
the church ; not doubting but that, if God by a motion of his 
Spirit called them to holy orders, he will raise up instruments 
to bring that about and put it in the heart of some one or other 
to give or to procure to them a post, without their own engaging 
in that sordid merchandise, or descending to any, though less 
scandalous methods, which bring with them such a prostitution 
of mind, that they who run into them cannot hope to raise to 
themselves the esteem due to the sacred function ; which is the 
foundation of all the good they can do by their labours. If 
things turn cross to them, in a post to which such endeavours 
may have brought them, what comfort can they have within 
them ? or what confidence can they have in God ? when their 
own consciences will reproach them with this, that it is no 
wonder, if what was so ill acquired should prosper no better. 
When they come to die, the horror of an oath falsely taken, 
which they palliated by an equivocating sense, will be a terrible 
companion to them in their last minutes ; when they can no 
more carry off the matter by evasions or bold denials, but are to 
appear before that God, to whose eyes all things are naked and 
opened. Then all the scandal they have given, all the souls 

* i Sam. ii, 36. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 207 

that they have lost or neglected, all the reproaches that they 
have brought on their function and on the church, for which 
perhaps they have pretended no ordinary measure of zeal ; all 
these, I say, will come upon them as an armed man and sur 
round them with the sense of guilt and the terrors of that 
consuming fire, that is ready to devour them. Men who have, 
by unlawful methods and a prevaricating oath, come into a 
benefice, cannot truly repent of it, but by departing from it. 
For the unlawful oath will still lie heavy on them, till that is 
done. This is the indispensable restitution in this case ; and 
unless this is done, they live on and die in the sin unrepented 
of. God is not mocked, though men are. I will leave this here, 
for I can carry it no higher. 

As for those who have not prevaricated in the oath, but yet 
have been guilty of practice and methods to arrive at benefices, 
I do not lay this of relinquishing their benefices on them : but 
certainly, if they ever come to right notions of the matter, they 
will find just ground to be deeply humbled before God for all 
their practices that way. If they do truly mourn for them and 
abstain from the like for the future, and if they apply themselves 
with so much the more zeal to the labours of their function 
and redeem the meanness of their former practices by a stricter 
course of life, by their studies and their diligence, they may by 
that compensate for the too common arts, by which they arrived 
at their posts. 

I know these things are so commonly practised that, as few 
are out of countenance who tread in such beaten paths, so I am 
afraid they are too little conversant in just notions to feel the 
evil of them. It is no wonder if their labours are not blessed, 
who enter on them by such low and indirect methods : whereas 
men who are led by an overruling Providence into stations, 
without any motions or procurement of their own, as they have 
an unclouded call from God, so they have the foundation of a 
true firmness in their own minds. They can appeal to God, 
and so have a just claim to his protection and blessing : every 
thing is easy to them, because they are always easy within. If 
their labours are blessed with success, they rejoice in God, 
and are by that animated to continue in them and to increase 
their diligence. If that is denied them, so that they are often 
forced to cry out, My leanness, my leanness* -, I have laboured 

u Isaiah xxiv, 16. 

208 Of the Pastoral Care. 

in vain ; they are humbled under it ; they examine themselves 
more carefully, if they can find any thing in their own conduct 
that may occasion it, which they will study to correct, and still 
they persist in their labour ; knowing that if they continue doing 
their duty, whatever other effects that may have, those faithful 
shepherds, when the chief Shepherd shall appear, shall receive 
from him a crown of glory that fadeth not away*. 

To all this I will only add somewhat relating to bonds of 
resignation. A bond to resign at the pleasure of the patron 
carries with it a base servitude, and simony in its full extent : 
and yet because no money is given, some who give those bonds 
do very ignorantly apprehend that they may, with a good 
conscience, swear the oath. of simony. There is but one way 
to cure the mischief of this great evil, which can have no 
effect, if bishops will resolve to accept of no resignation made 
upon such bonds ; since by the common law a clerk is so 
tied to his bishop and to his cure that he cannot part with 
it without the bishop s leave. By this all these bonds may be 
made ineffectual. 

Other bonds are certainly more innocent, by which a clerk 
only binds himself to that which is otherwise his duty. And 
since the forms of our courts are dilatory and expensive, and 
there is not yet a full provision made against many abuses 
which a good patron would secure a parish from, I see no just 
exception to this practice, where the abuse is specially certified ; 
so that nothing is reserved in the patron s breast, by general 
words, of which he, or his heirs, who perhaps may not inherit 
his virtues as they do his fortunes, may make an ill use. It is 
certain our constitution labours yet under some defects, which 
were provided against by that noble design, brought so near per 
fection in that work entitled, Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum^ 
which it is to be hoped will be at some time or other taken up 
again and perfected. 

The affinity of the former matter leads me to give an account 
of somewhat relating to myself. When I was first put in the 
post which I still hold, I found there were many market towns 
in the diocese very poorly provided. So since there are about 
fifty dignities and prebends belonging to the cathedral, I consi 
dered how by the disposing of these I might mend the condition 
of the incumbents in the market towns and secure such a help 

x i Pet. v, 4. 

Of the Pastoral Care. 209 

to their successors. And by the advice of some very eminent 
divines and canonists, this method was resolved on, that, when 
I gave a prebend to any such incumbent, he should give a bond, 
that, if he left that benefice, he should at the same time resign 
his prebend, that it might go to his successor. This went on for 
some years with a universal approbation. 

But when a humour began to prevail of finding fault, this 
was cried out upon as a grievance bordering upon simony. I 
upon that drew up a vindication of my practice, from great 
authority, out of civilians and canonists. But upon second 
thoughts I resolved to follow that saying of Solomon s, Leave off 
contention, before it be meddled with or engaged inY. So to 
lay the clamour that some seemed resolved to raise, I resolved 
to drop my design, and so delivered back all the bonds that I 
had taken. 

I will offer nothing either in the way of vindication or resent 
ment, being satisfied to give a true relation of the matter, leaving 
it to the reader s judgment to approve or censure, as he sees 
cause. And thus I conclude this chapter, which I thought was 
wanting to complete my design in writing this treatise. 

y Prov. xvii, 14. 








SPRAT, a native of Devonshire, was educated at 
Wadham College, Oxford; where he was elected Scholar, in 
1652, and afterwards admitted to a Fellowship. He took the 
Degree of M. A. in 1657. After the Restoration, he was 
ordained ; and, on being appointed Prebendary of Westmin 
ster in 1668, began to experience that Court favour, which 
was subsequently shewn, as in other instances, so in his pro 
motion to the Deanery of Westminster, in 1683, and to the 
Bishopric of Rochester, in 1684. He was entangled in the 
Politics of the unhappy times, which immediately preceded 
and followed the last named year ; and, whilst History records 
some of the transactions of his life that lie open to criticism 
and even to animadversion, it preserves also a notice of the 
personal inconvenience and danger, to which he was sub 
jected, in 1692, from a charge of being concerned in attempting 
to bring back the exiled King. He cleared himself of the 
accusation by confronting its authors, detecting their frauds 
and exposing their villainy ; and commemorated his deliver 
ance by a day of thanksgiving in each year, until he died 
in 1713. 

His literary productions, both in Prose and in Verse, were 
much admired by his contemporaries. But the fact that he 
held a place among the Poets of his day is, at present, known 
rather through his Biography, included in Dr. Johnson s 
Lives of the Poets, than through any remaining interest in 
works, of which the great Critic had evidently formed a low 
estimate. Nor does his Professional reputation depend so 
much on his published Sermons, now seldom read, as on that 
single illustration of his zeal and vigilance in the Episcopal 
Office, which has, from time to time, appeared in this Collec 
tion and is reprinted in the ensuing pages, 






JL CAN scarce think it worth my while or your s, my good 
brethren, that I should now spend much time in any long 
general exhortation to your diligent and conscientious performing 
the duties incumbent on you, as you are "the ministers of God, 
duly called according to the will of our Lord Christ, and the 
order of this excellent church of England." 

Did I find there were here any absolute need to use many 
words towards the exciting your care in the several administra 
tions of your holy calling ; yet, I am persuaded, I might myself 
well spare my own labour and your patience on this subject ; 
since all that kind of wholesome advice has been already so very 
sufficiently and so much better given you, in arguments deduced 
out of the holy scriptures and most fitly applied to this purpose, 
by the venerable compilers of our public liturgy, in the forms 
appointed for the ordering of deacons and priests. 

There, you know, this work has been so wisely and so fully, 
long ago, done to a bishop s hands ; there all the parts of your 
weighty office are so judiciously laid before you ; the high dig 
nity and great importance of it, towards the salvation of mankind, 
is so substantially urged ; the blessed fruits and everlasting re 
wards of well-attending it, and the extreme dangers of neglecting 

216 The Bishop of Rochester s 

it, are so justly amplified ; the necessity of adorning your doc 
trine by an innocent, virtuous and pious life of your own, 
towards the rendering it efficacious on the lives of others, is so 
pathetically enforced ; that, I am confident, the very best charge 
a bishop could give to his clergy, were to recommend seriously 
to all their memories, as I now do most affectionately to yours, 
those very same questions and answers, those very same promises 
and vows, as you ought to esteem them, wherewith every one of 
you did most solemnly charge his conscience, at the time of your 
admission into holy orders. 

I profess I cannot, nor, I believe, can the wit of man, invent 
any more proper method of instruction to men in your circum 
stances, from a man in mine", than to exhort you all to a continual 
recollection of and meditation upon those many and great 
obligations you then seemed voluntarily and cheerfully to lay on 

Whence there could not but ensue, by God\s blessing, a firm 
resolution in your minds to endeavour the performance of them, 
and a holy perseverance in those endeavours, and in conclusion, 
the happy effects of all on yourselves and the flocks committed to 
you : that by thus meditating on these things and giving your 
selves wholly to them, your profiting may appear to all ; and that 
by taking heed to yourselves and your doctrines and continuing in 
them, you may both save yourselves and those that hear you. 

Wherefore seeing that, which else had been a bishop s proper 
business in such meetings as this, I hope, is, or may be so easily 
shortened for me by you yourselves, by your having recourse to 
a rule so well known and so obvious to you, in a book, which 
ought scarce ever to be out of your hands ; I shall the rather, at 
this time, purposely omit the prescribing you many admonitions, 
touching the matter and substance of the duties of your sacred 
function. Instead of them, I shall only offer you some few 
familiar considerations, which may serve as so many friendly and 
brotherly advices, concerning chiefly the manner and way of 
performing some of the principal offices of your ministry. 

And I trust in God that, if these advices shall be as carefully 
examined and, if you find them useful, as industriously observed 
by you as they are honestly intended by me, they may, in some 
sort, enable you to do laudably and with commendation, the 
same things, which, I hope, you already do, without just ex 

Discourse to his Clergy, 1695. 217 

Only, in this place, let me premise, once for all, that whatever 
instructions I shall now give you, I intend them not only as 
directions to you, but especially to myself. As indeed, in all 
matters, that come under deliberation, he ought to be esteemed 
no good counsellor, who is very ready and eager in giving, but 
averse from receiving the same counsel, as far as it may be also 
proper for himself. 

The first advice 1 presume to set before your view shall relate 
to the manner of doing your part, in all the ordinary offices of 
the public liturgy. 

As to that, it is my earnest request, that you would take very 
much care and use extraordinary intention of mind, to perfect 
yourselves in a true, just, sensible, accurate, becoming way of 
reading and administering them, as you have occasion. 

A suggestion, which some perhaps, at first hearing, may think 
to be but of a slight and ordinary concernment : yet, if I am not 
much deceived, it will be found of exceeding moment and con 
sequence in its practice : and of singular usefulness towards the 
raising of devotion in any congregation piously inclined : when 
your weekly or rather daily labours of this kind shall be thus 
performed ; I mean, not with a mere formal or artificial, but 
with such a grave, unaffected delivery of the words, as (if the 
defect be not in ourselves) will indeed naturally flow from a right 
and serious considering of their sense. 

I pray therefore, take my mind aright in this particular. I do 
not only mean that you should be very punctual in reading the 
Common Prayer Book, as the law requires ; that is, not only to 
do it constantly and entirely in each part, without any maiming, 
adding to or altering of it, that so supplications, prayers, inter 
cessions and giving of thanks, may be made, by you, for all men ; 
for kings, and for all that are in authority ; that we may lead a 
quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 

If you do not so, you are liable to a legal punishment and 
censure. But my aim now is, not merely to prevent that, or to 
provide only against your breaking the law. What I intend is 
something higher and more excellent ; something that you cannot 
be punished for, though you do it not ; but if you shall do it in 
any reasonable perfection, it will redound to the unspeakable 
benefit of your congregations. 

The purpose then of this my plain motion to you is, in short, 
to beseech you all to employ much serious pains in practising 

218 The Bishop of Rochester s 

the public and private reading of all your offices, as the use of 
any of them shall occur, distinctly, gravely, affectionately, fer 
vently ; so as every where to give them all that vigour, life and 
spirit, whereof they are capable : which certainly is as great as 
in any human writings whatsoever ; if we be not wanting to them 
in the repetition. 

The truth is, whatever some may imagine to the contrary, 
such a complete and consummate faculty of reading the Common 
Prayer, Quam nequeo momtrare, et sentio tantum, is of so great 
difficulty, as well as use, that I am fully convinced it very well 
deserves to have some place among our constant studies ; at least 
in the first initiation into our ministry, if not throughout the 
whole course of it. 

I could heartily wish it were altogether needless for me to lay 
so much stress on this advice as I do. Yet, I hope, I may do it 
without offence ; since it is not with design of censuring any 
particular men s failings or deficiencies, but only for the public 
good ; that we may all strive to attain not only to a mediocrity, 
but to an excellency in this kind : which, in my small judgment, 
can never be done, unless we shall make this duty a business by 
itself, and assign it a special place among our other ecclesiastical 

It cannot be denied, but the church itself has provided for 
this with all imaginable circumspection ; having solemnly en 
joined every clergyman, besides the time of his public ministry, 
to read some very considerable parts of his Office, once a day 
at least to himself, except he shall be excused by indispensable 

By which wise injunction, though, no doubt, the church 
intended primarily to produce and increase, in the minds of all 
its ministers, a frame of spirit perpetually serious and devout ; 
yet, if that be also accompanied with a proportionable regard to 
the manner as well as to the matter of our public prayers, this 
other advantage of well reading, what is so often to be read, will 
follow of course, and by necessary consequence. 

It seems indeed to me, that the very way of performing all 
the outward acts of religion has so wonderful an influence 
towards obtaining the inward effects of it on our hearts and 
consciences, that I cannot but think we can never be too labori 
ous in preparing and exercising our thoughts and even our very 
voices, in private, for a public service of so great importance. 

Discourse to his Clergy -, 1695. 219 

It is true, we generally value and esteem preaching as our 
great privilege and honour. And so far we are in the right. 
But we are not so, if we look on the reading of prayers only as 
our task and burden ; and, as such, shall be willing to get rid of 
it altogether, or to get through it in any undecent manner, with 
such heaviness or precipitation as, in any affairs of worldly 
interest, we would never be content with : a preposterous custom, 
which, if due care be not taken, may be very prejudicial and 
mischievous to our church, by quenching the spirit of devotion 
in our own people and giving occasion to our adversaries 
to throw scorn and contempt on our otherwise incomparable 

Consider, I pray you, how can we expect that others should 
revere or esteem it according to its true worth, if we ourselves 
will not keep it so much in countenance as to afford it a fair 
reading ? if we will not do it so much common justice as to con 
tribute, as much as lies in our power, that it may have an im 
partial hearing, equal at least to any other divine ordinance ? if 
we shall refuse to lay as much weight on those devotions, which 
our whole church has enjoined us to pour out before the throne 
of grace, for the people, as we do on those discourses, which we 
make, on our own heads, to the people ? 

Wherefore, I say again, this very commendable skill of devout 
and decent reading the holy Offices of the church is so far from 
being a perfunctory or superficial work, a mean or vulgar 
accomplishment, or a subordinate lower administration, only fit 
for a curate ; that it deserves to be placed among your ministerial 
endowments of greater superiority and preeminence ; as being 
one of the most powerful instruments of the holy Spirit of God, 
to raise and command men s hearts and affections : of the holy 
true Spirit of God, I say ; which, though in our inward ejacu 
lations, or private supplications towards Heaven, it often helpeth 
our infirmities, and maketh intercession for us with groanings that 
cannot be uttered ; yet, in the public worship, is most frequently 
pleased to operate by such words and sounds as are expressed 
with the best utterance. 

So that now, with a just assurance, I may assert this to be a 
very proper qualification of a parochial minister ; that he has 
attained to an habitual faculty of setting forth the public prayers 
to all their due advantage, by pronouncing them leisurably, 
fitly, warmly, decently ; with such an authority in the speaker. 

220 The Bishop of Rochester s 

as is, in some degree, suitable to the authority of what is 

Thus much I may safely say, that the reader of the prayers, if 
he does his part, in the manner I have mentioned, by such a 
vigorous, effectual, fervent delivery of the words and conceptions, 
put into his mouth by the church itself, may give a new 
enlivening breath, a new soul, as it were, to every prayer, every 
petition in it : he may quicken and animate those confessions, 
intercessions and thanksgivings, which, when read coldly and 
indifferently, with irreligious carelessness or ignorant flatness, 
will seem to some to be but a dead letter : he may make every 
Hymn, every Psalm, every Lesson, Epistle and Gospel, to be 
come well nigh a new sermon ; at least he may give to the old 
standing text of the Bible a very good clear exposition, even by 
his very way of reading it to the congregation. 

This, upon experience, you will find to be apparently true. 
For if, as is usually observed by men of learning in printed 
books, the very accurate and critical pointing of the copy is one 
of the best kinds of good new commentaries on any old author ; 
how much more, in all the offices of devotion, would that, which 
consists not only in good pointing and observing all due stops, 
but in so much more besides, I mean a good, distinct, forcible, 
yet easy and unforced reading of every prayer and portion of 
the holy scriptures ; how much more would all this really serve 
for a good new paraphrase and illustration of every sentence in 
them ! 

It is indeed almost incredible how quite another thing the 
daily morning and evening prayers will appear; what new 
figures and beauties and hidden treasures of sacred eloquence 
they will continually discover when thus pronounced ; how 
much apter they will be to kindle in us and our auditors all 
manner of heavenly affections, of spiritual grief and contrition, 
of love and gratitude, of faith, hope and charity, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost ; when the harmony of the tongue shall be tuned, 
as it were, to the harmony of the matter ; when the zeal of the 
reader shall keep company with his voice ; and his voice shall 
be adapted to and varied together with every sense and 
expression ; when by long use and imitation of the best masters, 
or the best we can come at, we shall know familiarly how to 
give every word and sentence its due poise ; where to lay a 
greater or smaller weight on every clause, according to its 

Discourse to his Clergy, 1695. 

natural or spiritual force; where to be quicker or more vehe 
ment, where slower and more sedate ; how to observe equally all 
pauses and distances ; how to avoid monotonies on the one hand, 
and immoderate elevations and depressions on the other ; yet, 
where to use the same tones, where to rise or fall in the right 
place: when, 1 say, the reader shall be throughly expert and 
versed in practising these and many more such natural decencies 
of pronouncing ; though they may seem but light and petty 
things, taken singly and apart, yet all together, in their full 
united power, they will be found to have an admirable concur 
rence towards the creating, augmenting, well-tempering and 
well-governing of devotion. 

Had I time, it were easy to exemplify this, in every Office of 
our church. Give me leave only to mention one instance 
within the compass of my own knowledge, which perhaps may 
not be unworthy your special remarking : though I doubt not 
but many of you have met with several examples of the like 

It was immediately after the happy restoration of king Charles 
the Second, when, together with the rights of the crown and 
the English liberties, the church and the liturgy were also newly 
restored ; that a noted ringleader of schism in the former times 
was to be buried in one of the principal churches of London. 
The minister of the parish, being a wise and regular conformist, 
and he was afterwards an eminent bishop in our church, well 
knew how averse the friends and relations of the deceased had 
always been to the Common Prayer ; which, by hearing it so 
often called a low rudiment, a beggarly element and carnal 
ordinance, they were brought to contemn to that degree, that 
they shunned all occasions of being acquainted with it. 

Wherefore, in order to the interment of their friend, in some 
sort, to their satisfaction, yet so as not to betray his own trust, 
he used this honest method to undeceive them. Before the day 
appointed for the funeral, he was at the pains to learn the whole 
Office of Burial by heart. And then, the time being come, 
there being a great concourse of men of the same fanatical 
principles, when the company heard all delivered by him with 
out book, with a free readiness and profound gravity and 
unaffected composure of voice, looks and gestures, and a very 
powerful emphasis in every part (as indeed his talent was 
excellent that way), they were strangely surprised and affected; 

222 The Bishop of Roelwster s 

professing they had never heard a more suitable exhortation or 
a more edifying exercise, even from the very best and most pre 
cious men of their own persuasion. 

But they were afterwards much more surprised and con 
founded, when the same person, who had officiated, assured the 
principal men among them that not one period of all he had 
spoken was his own ; and convinced them by ocular demonstra 
tion how all was taken word for word out of the very Office 
ordained for that purpose, in the poor contemptible Book of 
Common Prayer. 

Whence he most reasonably inferred how much their ill- 
grounded prejudice and mistaken zeal had deluded them, that 
they should admire the same* discourse, when they thought it an 
unprepared, unpremeditated rapture: which they would have 
abominated, had they known it to be only a set form prescribed 
by authority. 

And from the same observation, we also may as justly infer, 
that all the coldness and dulness, which too many such abused 
and wanton spirits have complained they find in set forms, is not 
really in the forms themselves ; in ours it is far otherwise. If 
there be any colour for the complaint, that can only proceed from 
a cold, flat, supine, insipid manner of repeating them. 

Upon the whole matter it is most certain that, in the public 
worship of God, nothing can be more grave or moving, more 
lofty or divine, either in the confessing, petitioning or praising 
part, than where the thoughts and expressions are strictly 
weighed and prudently reduced into standing unalterable forms; 
provided also, those very forms be not pronounced in a formal 
way ; but that they be assisted, inflamed, inspired, as I may say, 
with such a present ardour and sprightly zeal in reading them, 
as will always make them seem to be extempore : extempore, I 
mean, in the new, ready, vehement manner of their pronuncia 
tion ; but set forms still, in the solid ripeness of the sense and 
the due choice and deliberate ordering of their phrases and 
figures ; which are the peculiar advantages of set forms : and 
therefore, so spoken, they will in all reason produce a far more 
real, unfeigned and durable devotion, than all the other mere 
extempore, raw and indigested effusions ought to pretend to. 

I should crave your pardon that I have dwelt so long on this 
first head of advice. But it appeared to me so very material 
that I could not hastily pass it over : especially since what I have 

Discourse to his Clergy , 1695. 

now said on this subject may concern in common all your 
public ministrations, and is equally applicable, not only to the 
well performing the daily Morning and Evening Prayers through 
out the year, both of ordinary days and Sundays and extra 
ordinary fasts and festivals ; but also to the Offices of Baptism, 
Matrimony, and the holy Communion ; and indeed to every 
other part of our established liturgy ; in all which as the reader 
officiates better or worse, so most usually is their benefit and 
efficacy more or less on the minds of the hearers. 

Nay, I will now make bold to go further, to apply the useful 
ness of this counsel, not only to the praying part, but also to 
another part of your office I am next to consider, which is that 
of preaching. 

I am verily persuaded, that the sermons preached every Sun 
day in this one kingdom, by the church of England clergy in 
this age, are more excellent compositions of that kind than have 
been delivered, in the same space of time, throughout the whole 
Christian world besides. 

Only let me take the freedom to suggest that perhaps it 
would add much, though not to the solid and substantial part of 
such discourses, yet to their just popularity and more general 
acceptance and to the greater edification of our hearers, if we 
would universally addict ourselves a little more to this study of 
pronunciation : by which advantages alone of the freedom and 
life of their elocution, we know the preachers of some other 
nations do seem to reign and triumph in the pulpit, whilst their 
sermons, as far as we can judge by those we have of them in 
print, are not comparable to the English. 

An observation, which, methinks, may rouse our preachers to 
outdo them in this kind of perfection also ; I mean, in a natural, 
comely, modest, yet undaunted force of pronunciation : not such 
as is full of over-action and inimical gesticulations ; which, 
though some parties may admire for a time, and to serve a turn, 
yet the serious temper of our nation will never long approve or 
admit of. But I intend such a steady, composed, severe, 
decent, lively and apposite managing your voices and gestures 
in the pulpit, as is best accommodated to the gravity and so 
lidity of the English genius, and is also agreeable, as much as 
may be, to the simplicity, power and height of the message you 
bring from heaven. 

The next great duty then of your priestly office, which 

The Bishop of Rochester s 

comes in our way, being that of preaching, I shall begin with 
one short admonition, which, I confess, I am almost ashamed to 
give ; and yet it may be very expedient that it should be given ; 
not, I declare, as a correction to any of you here present for 
any thing past, but only in regard to the future, and for the sake 
of those who as yet are less experienced preachers and young 
timorous beginners. 

The caution, in plain terms, is this ; that every person, who 
undertakes this great employment, should make it a matter of 
religion and conscience, to preach nothing but what is the 
product of his own study and of his own composing. 

I would not be mistaken, as if I should hereby condemn the 
reading of the Homilies ; which were composed by the wisdom 
and piety of former times and have been ever since allowed, 
nay recommended, by our church, in some places and upon 
some necessities, to be used. I am so far from doing so that I 
rather wish from my heart we were furnished with a larger stock 
of such learned, plain and orthodox discourses. 

There can be no manner of hurt, nay there is very great 
reason that, upon some urgent occasions, a preacher should have 
liberty to take something out of that public treasury, which was 
laid up for that end and has the stamp of authority upon it to 
make it current. My purpose is only to dissuade you from all 
unjust rapine of this kind, from all underhand dealing with the 
private stores of particular persons. 

As to that, I dare avouch, it is far better and more advisable, 
even for the rawest practiser, to exhibit but very mean things 
of his own at first, than to flourish it in the best of other men s 
sense and oratory. For he who does never so ordinarily at first, 
provided it be from himself, may and will do better and better 
in time, by God s assistance, through fervent prayer and in 
defatigable attention to reading and hearing and practising to 
preach. Whereas this sordid borrowing, this shameful, I had 
almost said sacrilegious, purloining from other men s labours, is 
an utter irreconcilable enemy to all manner of growth and 
improvement in divine learning or eloquence. 

I will not now insist on the meanness of spirit and perpetual 
fear, that must attend the consciousness of this guilt, lest it 
should be some time or other discovered ; or on the shame and 
contempt that often happens to such pilferers upon the discovery. 
But besides all this, in truth, when once men have indulged 

Discourse to Ids Clergy, 1695. 

themselves in this easy, but despicable and shuffling commerce, 
they seldom or never give it over ; nay, at last, they can very 
hardly give it over, if they would. 

Thence would succeed such a visible decay of parts, such a 
neglect of all serious studies, such a desuetude and unaptness 
for regular thinking, such emptiness of invention and memory, 
such a diffidence of their own style, understanding and judg 
ment ; that they, who at first made bold with others sermons, 
perhaps merely out of idleness, will at length be forced to do it 
out of necessity. It will unavoidably happen to this kind of 
thieves, as most commonly it does to all others ; they steal so 
long in their youth and strength of age, because they will not 
work, that in their old age they are compelled to steal on, 
because they cannot work. 

But enough or too much of this. I know to whom I speak ; 
to those who, for aught I could ever observe or hear, do not 
only preach, but themselves compose what they preach. Yet I 
thought it became me to give this intimation, seeing, in my own 
small experience, I have been forced to deny orders to some 
persons, because I found them peccant in this very crime. I 
was at first exceedingly amazed to hear them produce most 
excellent sermons, whilst I found their gifts of nature and abili 
ties of learning and knowledge were far from being passable. 
But my wonder was soon over, when I manifestly discovered 
that nothing but their ignorance was their own, their sermons 
belonging of right to their betters. 

Now then, my brethren, that we may come into the way again, 
after this unwelcome digression ; in making our sermons, great 
regard ought to be had to the words and to the matter ; great to 
both, though not equally great to both. 

Your words and style should be simple, expressive, weighty, 
authoritative ; and therefore, though not without some true art, 
yet not very artificial ; and rather void of all ornament, than 
over-adorned ; but as much scriptural as may be without affect 
ation : and as easy, familiar and intelligible as possible. And 
perspicuity is always possible. Nay it is almost impossible that 
one s words should not be perspicuous, when his thoughts are 
clear and untroubled and the thing to be spoken of is throughly 
understood. When the matter is well invented, digested and 
ordered in the mind, it very rarely happens but the fittest and 


The Bishop of Rochester s 

most expressive words will occur to the fancy and tongue of the 
speaker. Verba non invita sequentur. 

Next, since your matter must of course be either doctrinal or 
practical ; where it shall be merely doctrinal, there it may suffice 
for your common auditories, and, in good truth, for all other from 
the lowest to the very highest, that it be plain, sound, substan 
tial, ancient, catholic ; seldom or never curiously drawn out into 
the fine threads of dispute and speculation, or, as the apostle 
terms them, oppositions of science falsely so called. 

It were indeed much to be wished that the agitating of all 
manner of controversies could be utterly excluded from the 
great work of saving souls, which is your special work. Yet, 
because, in times so degenerate from the primitive purity and in 
this militant state of the Christian church, it cannot be expected 
that you should teach aptly, or oppose schism and heresy solidly, 
without touching sometimes and entering upon some walks of 
controversies ; certainly the best way, in these inevitable cases, 
is never to meddle with such obscure subtilties, out of spiritual 
pride or ostentation, but merely out of necessity ; and then only 
with the most necessary parts of them ; and then also that you 
be ever sure to keep close to the form of sound words used in 
the church, and to contain yourselves within the known bounds 
of scripture determinations, in every controverted point, to deliver 
the faith to your people, as it was once delivered to the saints. 

As little a lover then as I am of controversial divinity in the 


pulpit, yet I cannot be faithful to you or to our mother the 
church of England, if I do not recommend two sorts of it to 
be seriously studied by you : but I must still say, rather to be 
studied than preached ; though preached too upon reasonable 

The first kind is that of the controversies between us and the 
church of Rome. For we are not yet so exempt from fear on 
that quarter that we should securely lay aside and suffer to rust 
on the walls those very arms, which, to the immortal praise of 
the parochial clergy, were so successfully managed by them, 
during the last great crisis of danger from the popish interest. 

I the rather mention these, because they are still almost in 
every man s hands ; and perhaps a judicious sum and full epitome, 
collected out of them all, would be as useful a body of controver 
sies on those questions, as any is yet extant. 

Discourse to his Clergy > 1695. 

Wherefore, that you may preserve your own and the souls 
under your care from infection and be able to convince gain- 
sayers, I exhort you all, according to your several stations and 
opportunities, to be still conversant and prepared in those very 
same arguments against the papists : yet, let me say also, not 
only now in those. For there is another sort of controversies 
or rather blasphemous doctrines, revived in this age, and which 
seem indeed to be the most cherished and darling tenets of the 
loose and antichristian part of the age ; I mean those execrable 
opinions against the incarnation and eternal godhead of our 
Saviour, the satisfaction of his meritorious sufferings and death, 
and the very being of the ever-blessed Trinity : which being all 
of them the peculiar and distinguishing foundations of Christi 
anity, whatever they who so directly oppose them may at first 
pretend, yet they cannot but really tend to the destruction of the 
primitive faith in Christ and the introduction of another religion, 
new and therefore abominable. 

Wherefore, to maintain no less than the main fundamental 
points of our pure and undefilcd religion, you are now most zeal 
ously to apply your thoughts to the serious study of those divine 
mysteries. Yet if you please to take my judgment, after you 
shall be never so well furnished with weapons, defensive or 
offensive, of this nature, you should very rarely brandish or so 
much as shew them in your ordinary pulpits ; never but when 
you cannot avoid it without betraying or deserting the orthodox 
truth. And whenever you shall produce any of them in such 
auditories, even then, it were best done in a calm, positive and 
didactical, rather than in a sharp wrangling or contentious way. 
But always take along with you what I said before, to wade no 
further in them, in your popular sermons, than as the scripture 
light primitively expounded shall plainly lead you. 

This may suffice, at present, touching the doctrinal and spe 
culative part of your preaching. As to the other, which is the 
practical, in that I need not forewarn you to proceed with such 
reserve or restraint. In the greatest abundance of that, if man 
aged with any tolerable prudence, there can hardly be any 
manner of excess. Most assuredly, the less controversial and 
the more practical your pulpit discourses are, the better they 
must be and the more profitable. 

Now, my dear brethren, the subject of this part of your ser 
mons being, as you cannot but know, so comprehensive and 

228 The Bishop of Rochester^ 

vast, as to take in the whole compass of all our spiritual and 
moral duties ; I say of moral also ; for, let none be deceived, 
moral preaching is of marvellous use, wherever it is subservient 
to the inspired doctrine of Christianity, and does not strive to 
justle that, which is its principal, quite out of the pulpit : but, 
I say, the matter of your practical preaching being in itself so 
large as to extend to all the precepts and promises both of the 
law and the gospel ; to all the temptations and corruptions of the 
world, the flesh and the devil ; whereof the one ought to be 
the eternal argument of your exhortations, the other of your 
reproofs and admonitions : here it is especially that I would be 
seech you all, with a brotherly tenderness and oblige you, with 
a fatherly authority, to lay out the whole stress and bent of your 
souls, to draw all your studies, all your learning, human or di 
vine, all your eloquence, all your affections, all your zeal this 
way ; this being the great work you have chosen for the busi 
ness of your whole lives, and for which we all were so peculiarly 
dedicated to the service of God and his church : and let me add, 
this being the great purpose, for which all scripture seems to 
have been given by inspiration of God ; that it may be profitable 
for doctrine, for reproof , for correction. There is the chief end 
of all the doctrine you are to teach. But what follows I For in- 
struction in righteousness ; that the man of God may be perfect, 
throughly furnished to every good work. There is the great 
design of all the practice you are to enforce. 

I have despatched what I thought proper now to say on this 
head of preaching, unless you will suffer me to name one very 

obvious caution ; which vet I cannot think to be ever the less 


necessary for being so very obvious. 

The caution is that, in all your sermons, where you have 
occasion to praise any virtue or dispraise any vice ; in all your 
commendations of what is good or discommendations of what is 
bad, you would always separate the good person from the good 
thing and always distinguish the sinner from the sin : that is, 
that you would never put any one virtue, never any one vice, 
you are to deal with in the pulpit, into the habit or countenance 
of any one member of your congregations, so that they may be 
known thereby : in a word, that you would utterly shun and 
abhor all personal flatteries of the good and all personal reflec 
tions on the wicked. 

As to the first of these extremes, that of flattery, I need only 

Discourse to his Clergy, 1695. 

mention it here. That is seldom thought worthy of such plain 
country congregations as yours generally are : it were well, if it 
were as much excluded out of all other religious assemblies of 
better quality. 

It is indeed great pity that such glossing and deceitful lan 
guage should at last, in any measure, take sanctuary in the 
church ; when it had been so long, in all ages, by common con 
sent of wise and good men, judged fit to be banished out of all 
other well-constituted societies. Has it not been always found by 
experience that a flattering tongue is so far from increasing the 
virtues of the good and the great that it rather serves to de 
prave the real worth they might have before ? so that, as the 
Psalmist says, the men wlio flatter with their tongue, have not 
only no faithfulness in their mouth, but their very throat is an 
open sepulchre. But, above all, it is most unbecoming the pul 
pit ; where men would seem to speak as from God and with 
authority, which nothing can more debase or prostitute than 

As to the other excess, that of secret reflections and malicious 
insinuations against or open defamations of persons, I would 
absolutely dissuade you from the very shadow and suspicion of 
it. I would entreat you all, in the boiuels of our Lord Christ, 
that you would never, on any occasion or accident, not even on 
the greatest provocation, do that affront to the honour and mo 
desty of the pulpit as to make it a place for any rudeness or 
scurrility whatsoever. Surely nothing can be more disgraceful 
to the reputation of your profession or more destructive to edi 
fication or more unbeseeming the gravity and charity of a 
church of England divine, than to make an ordinance so sacred 
and the word of God handled in it become instrumental to your 
own private passions, animosities or revenges. 

1 am now arrived at the next great duty of your holy office, 
which is that of catechising ; not so much to recommend to you 
the duty itself; though I might do that most earnestly and 
vehemently and with some kind of episcopal expostulation and 
reprehension, if any where it should be totally neglected. But 
that I would not here so much as suppose. 

I cannot doubt but we are all of one mind touching the inex 
pressible advantages of this ordinance in general ; we, especially, 
who have lived in these times. We cannot but be abundantly 
convinced of it by a woful and dearbought experience : since it 

230 The Bishop of Rochester s 

is evident that the far greater part of the monstrous looseness of 
opinions and profane enormity of manners, which overwhelmed 
the whole face of the last age and has too much descended on 
this, did remarkably proceed from the notorious defect or uni 
versal omission of orthodox catechising, during the calamities 
and confusions of the great rebellion. 

Wherefore, touching the imminent necessity of restoring, or, 
I may well hope rather, among you, of continuing, this first 
part of Christian discipline, I make sure account we are all 

The only thing to be debated is the manner how this holy 
exercise may be so put in use that the blessed ends, which I am 
assured we all aim at alike may be attained. 

Without all controversy then, the first practice of your regu 
lar catechising, in all your churches, ought to be in the very 
same order and on the same materials, which the Church Cate 
chism has traced out and the law has enjoined. 

I would therefore desire you all to begin, or rather encourage 
you to go on, plainly and literally, in that way, with a strict 
confinement of your catechumens, as they may be called, to that 
very compendious introduction ; to have your youth throughly 
versed and instructed perfectly in all the questions and answers 
there prescribed. This ought by no means to be left undone in 
the smallest or poorest of your country cures ; where the high 
est capacities are not at first above, and the lowest can scarce be 
below, this kind of plain information. 

But in greater towns, where the youth are somewhat better 
educated and so should be more capable of improvement, there, 
supposing still you never omit the other more simple way, you 
may, by degrees, with a sober and discreet pace, proceed fur 
ther ; I will not say by enlarging the foundations, but by raising 
the building higher on the same compass of ground. 

And this I have known done with very remarkable fruit and 
benefit to the learners, in a familiar method, whereof I will only 
trace out to you the imperfect draught, which by time and cus 
tom you may easily advance and complete. The method is this; 
that to every article and every clause of it, in the Church Cate 
chism, after they have learnt them by heart, you should annex, 
at first, some such texts of scripture as may suffice to prove the 
matter contained in them, and do it in the fewest words and 
clearest to the purpose. These texts you should induce your 

Discourse to his Clergy, 1695. 231 

young disciples to repeat often and perfectly without book, 
together with each article, and should begin to let them under 
stand, by a very brief exposition, how evidently each scripture 
proves each article. 

Then, by degrees, after they shall be made intimately ac 
quainted with that first set of texts, you may more securely add 
other quotations out of the Bible, somewhat larger, but still 
tending to the same purpose ; and when you have explained 
them, in the like manner, but more copiously, you may cause 
those also to be learnt as exactly and repeated as readily as the 
former. And the same course you may begin and go through 
with again, still adding more texts, and more distinctly dividing 
the parts and members of the several articles, as often as you 
shall find it practicable or convenient. 

Thus, whilst you do not overburden tender minds, but softly 
instil these instructions into them, drop after drop, the children 
you have undertaken in this way, so very little out of the com 
mon road, and many also of riper years, who shall be present 
and attentive, will, beyond their own, and even your first ex 
pectation, come to have treasured up, almost unawares, in their 
minds, a little body, as it were, of orthodox divinity : which can 
not but be all orthodox, all primitive, as being without mixture 
purely collected out of the holy scriptures. 

With the scriptures, by this means, their memories will 
unperceivably be filled ; yet not so as only to fit them to cant 
with unseasonably in common discourse, but so as to instruct or 
confirm their judgments and teach them to apply properly what 
they shall there read, to every part of a sober Christian s belief 
or practical duty. 

In this great article of catechising, I would offer one honest 
direction more. It is, that vou should not so much aim in it at 


the length of the exercise or at the perpetual changing of your 
thoughts and expressions, as at the sound bottom, on which you 
build your discourse, and the solid, immovable ground of each 
doctrine, whereon you fix your explanations ; though your per 
formance each time be the shorter, so it be not unreasonably 
short, and though your words and phrases may happen frequently 
to be the same and repeated more than once. 

In truth, I would, if I durst, offer some such advice also as to 
your preaching. But I know the common vogue is against my 

The Bishop of Rochester s 

real opinion in this matter. And therefore I must handle this 
point the more tenderly. 

It is indeed a very great burden that the humour of the 
people, and our own too, in some measure, has laid on our pro 
fession ; such as, I think, no other calling or way of life, were 
ever willing to lay on themselves ; no, nor any other nation, that 
I know of, has exacted in so high a degree from their clergy ; 
that you should twice, or once a week, at least, always present 
your auditories with new sermons ; and those also to be com 
posed with the care and accuracy almost of elaborate and com 
plete treatises. 

Whereas I am sure, in the business of catechising, and most 
probably the same will be found true in preaching also, that a 
sound, substantial, well-collected and well-woven provision of 
plain, instructive, godly and devout discourses, altered and 
increased, according to the teacher s growing abilities, and used 
over and over, though in the same desks or pulpits, would be 
more edifying and sink deeper into the minds and consciences 
of the hearers, than all the greatest affluence and redundance of 
new words and phrases, multiplied or interchanged, which the 
most fanciful, copious catechist or preacher can devise. 

I have known some very learned and pious men and excellent 
preachers and zealous lovers of our church and country, whose 
welfare and prosperity they wisely judged to be inseparably 
joined ; I say 1 have known these persons affectionately declare 
their wishes that some such order as this I shall subjoin were 
observed by the greatest part, if not by all our parochial 

That, on the very entering into their ministry, or at any time 
afterwards, if they have not done it before, they would set 
themselves to draw out the general lineaments and larger mem 
bers of a whole year s, or perhaps a two years course of cate 
chisms and sermons : following therein the annual method of our 
church s devotions, or any other scheme they shall approve and 
form to themselves ; provided it comprises all the main points of 
Christian doctrine and practice. 

That on this stock they should set up ; and, in the first and 
second year, begin to fill up the void spaces and lay the first 
colours, towards the finishing, as well as their sufficiency will 
then allow ; still collecting and conveying all the streams of 

Discourse to his Clergy, 1695. 233 

their useful reading and learning into those common receptacles 
and channels; and so successively preaching them on, as the 
year turns round. 

That ever after, in the whole progress of their ministry, they 
should still be adding to or cutting off from, or polishing those 
first imperfect ideas ; altering the method and shape of the 
whole, if needful ; enforcing or increasing the arguments, illus 
trations and amplifications, if wanting ; inserting new doctrines 
before unobserved, making new practical inferences before un 
touched, as their judgments or light or experience shall im 
prove; but especially, still drawing, more and more, over all a 
new beautiful skin and the lovely features of scripture language : 
and then, without scruple or disguise, should preach them 
again and again, so corrected, augmented and in some part 

And I have heard these very wise persons, some of them most 
excellent fathers of our church, often conclude that, by this or 
some such method, any preacher, though of no extraordinary 
bright endowments at first, yet of an honest mind, clear sense, 
unwearied industry and judicious learning, would, in process of 
time, in all likelihood, have by him in store a complete domestic 
course of sound, well-compacted, affecting sermons ; that, by 
God s blessing might, with the just advantages of delivery, be 
of far greater use to his conscientious hearers than all that 
pompous novelty and counterfeit variety, which some others 
may boast of. 

I say counterfeit variety. For so indeed it is often, upon 
trial, found to be. And now I have faithfully told you the 
opinion of those great men, I will presume, under so safe a 
shelter, to disclose my own thoughts in this business ; yet still 
with all deference and candour towards any who may differ 
from me in this particular. 

We have lived in an age when the two gifts, as they are wont 
to be called, of extempore praying and extempore preaching 
have been more pretended to and magnified than, I believe, they 
ever were before, or, I hope, ever will be again, in this church 
and nation. Yet, for all I could ever learn or observe, the most 
sudden readiness and most profuse exuberancy, in either of 
these ways, has been only extempore in show and appearance, 
and very frequently but a cunningly-dissembled change of the 

The Bishop of Rochester s 

very same matter and words often repeated, though not in the 
same order. 

As to that of extempore praying, which therefore too many 
mistake for praying by the Spirit, it is manifest, that the most 
exercised and most redundant facult) r in that kind is, in reality, 
only praying by the fancy or the memory, not by the Spirit. 
They do but vary and remove the scripture style and language, 
or their own, into as many places and shapes and figures as 
they can. And though they have acquired never so plentiful a 
stock of them, yet still the same phrases and expressions do so 
often come about again that the disguise may quickly be seen 
through by any attentive and intelligent hearer. So that, in 
plain terms, they who think themselves most skilful in this art 
do really, all the while, only pray in set forms disorderly set, 
and never ranged into a certain method. For which cause, 
though they may not seem to be set forms to their deluded 
auditors, yet they are so in themselves ; and the very persons 
who use them most variously and most artificially cannot but 
know them to be so. 

This, my brethren, seems to be all the great mystery of the 
so much boasted power of extempore praying. And why may 
not the like be affirmed, in great measure, of extempore preach 
ing, which has so near an affinity with the other? Is not this 
also, at the bottom, only a more crafty management of the same 
phrases and observations, the same doctrines and applications, 
which they had before provided and composed and reserved in 
their memories ? 

Do but hear the most voluble masters in this way, once or 
twice, or perhaps oftener, as far as their changes shall reach ; 
and at first, no doubt, you will be inclined to wonder at the 
strange agility of their imaginations and compass of their 
inventions and nimbleness of their utterance. But if you shall 
attend them calmly and constantly, the vizor will be quickly 
pulled off, though they manage it never so dexterously : you 
will at last find, they only walk forward and backward and 
round about : one, it may be, in a larger labyrinth than 
another; but in a labyrinth still; through the same turnings 
and windings again and again and, for the most part, guided 
by the same clue. 

The explanations, perhaps, of their texts, the connections and 

Discourse to his Clergy, 1695. 235 

transitions of the parts, and some sudden glosses and descants, 
and flights of fancy may seem new to you. But the material 
points of doctrine and the common places, to which, upon any 
loss or necessity, they have recourse, these they frequently 
repeat and apply to several subjects, with very little alterations 
in the substance, oftentimes not in the words. These are the 
constant paths which they scruple not to walk over and over 
again, till, if you follow them very close, you may perceive, 
amidst all their extempore pretensions, they often tread in the 
same grounds till they have trodden them bare enough. 

But, God be thanked, the church of England neither requires 
nor stands in need of any such raptural (if I may so call it) or 
enthusiastical spirit of preaching. Here the more advised and 
modest, the more deliberate and prepared the preacher is, the 
better he is furnished, by God s grace, to deliver effectually our 
church s solid sense, its fixed precepts, its unalterable doctrines. 
Our church pretends not to enter into men s judgments merely 
by the affections ; much less by the passions to overthrow their 
judgments. The door, which that strives first to open, is of the 
understanding and conscience : it is content, if by them a passage 
shall be made into the affections. 

I have detained you the longer on this argument, because I 
am perfectly convinced that although one or two preachers in 
an age, or perhaps some few more, men of extraordinary parts, 
assurance of mind and volubility of tongue, may, by long use. 
make a remarkable blaze, for a time, in this sudden, unstudied 
way; yet, if it should ever become the general custom of the 
whole English clergy, it would produce little more than ignor 
ance and confidence in many of our preachers, and tempt many 
of the laity, who presume themselves to be equally gifted, to 
think they had an equal right to the ministry. 

But what need I say any more of this matter ? It is confessed 
on all hands, that if an extempore kind of preaching had been 
universally put in use among us, from the beginning of our 
reformation, the whole church of Christ had been much impo 
verished thereby, had been deprived of the best treasury of 
sermons that ever it was enriched with since the apostles and 
their successors, and the primitive fathers times. 

There is still behind one solemn duty more belonging to all 
of us, wherein I would willingly suggest one serious word of 
counsel : and it concerns the office of visiting the sick, I would 

236 The Bishop of Rochester s 

not doubt but herein you generally do your parts diligently, 
piously and prudently. But there are some things in this, as 
well as in the others before mentioned, touching the manner of 
doing it, whereof the observation may be of a peculiar and signal 
benefit to yourselves, as well as to your spiritual patients. 

If you please to consult the rubrics relating to this office, you 
will find you are more left to your own liberty in this than, I 
think, in any of the rest. For this duty of friendship and cha 
rity being supposed to be more in private, the rule itself in the 
liturgy seems to give way to, nay to direct some occasional 
admonitions and exhortations, to which I do not remember it 
does equally empower you in any of the rest, out of the pulpit. 

Wherefore, to prepare your thoughts and to replenish your 
minds throughly for this work not only of ministerial duty, but 
of compassion and brotherly love, you shall not only do well to 
furnish your memories with a plentiful store of pious, moving, 
affectionate expressions out of the Book of Psalrns and other 
practical and devotional parts of the holy scriptures, first ; and, 
next to them, out of our own liturgy ; and all these to be casu 
ally used, as shall be most proper : but principally I would 
persuade you to have some good sound body of casuistical divi 
nity, of your own studying I mean, to be always at hand, that is, 
in your hearts as well as heads. 

You can scarce imagine, unless you have tried it, as, I hope, 
some of you have, of what unspeakable use this divine science of 
cases of conscience will be to you upon any sudden, unforeseen 
emergency in such ghostly visits. 

Indeed the being a sound and well-experienced casuist is also 
a most excellent qualification towards all the other ends of your 
ministerial office ; there being no kind of skill or proficiency in 
all your theological studies, that more becomes a divine of the 
church of England ; whose highest spiritual art is to speak 
directly from his own conscience to the consciences of those 
under his pastoral care : and this at all times ; but most espe 
cially when they are on their sick beds : when men s consciences 
are usually most awakened, most manageable, most truly tender 
and capable of the best impressions. 

So that I say it again, and can never say it too often, one of 
the most necessary provisions and instruments of your sacred 
armoury, which you are always to carry about with you, in your 
own souls (for there it is best lodged ; thence it will be drawn 

Discourse to his Clergy, 1695. 237 

forth, on all occasions, with the quickest expedition), is such a 
firm sense and general scheme of the primitive, uncorrupt, 
practical, casuistical divinity : such as, on the one side, is purged 
from the spiritual crafts and equivocations of the Jesuits, and, 
on the other, is freed from the narrowness and sourness of 

I told you even now, it highly concerned you all to be well 
stocked with plenty of good matter for present use, in the visita 
tion of the sick ; and that for your own sakes as much as their s. 
And. in truth, so it is. A clergyman can no way better have 
his own affections and passions regulated, tempered, softened, 
mortified, sanctified, than by frequently performing this office in 
a right godly manner. 

By thus often seeing death before our eyes, in all its ghastly 
shapes, we cannot, if it be not the fault of our own insensibility, 
but be the better accustomed and made skilful to teach the 
whole and the healthful how to prepare to meet that king of 
terrors. By these spiritual anatomies of the dying (if I may 
be allowed to use so bold a metaphor), we cannot but be made 
more expert in discerning the inward frames and constitutions of 
the living and to apply the properest remedies to the diseases of 
their souls. 

And, to instance now only in one duty of such a faithful spi 
ritual physician, that of relieving and refreshing the conscience 
throughly searched and purged, and of comforting and restoring 
the true penitent, what, I beseech you, can be a more godlike 
work among men, than for us to be humbly serviceable in that, 
which God owns to be his work, to be skilled in not breaking the 
bruised reed and not quenching the smoking flax ? to be instru 
mental in performing our Lord s own office, under the parable 
of the good Samaritan, in binding up the wounded spirit and 
pouring wine and oil into it ? 

What can more adorn vour evangelical ministry than a soft, 


melting, compassionate, fellow-feeling, merciful habit and dis 
position of mind, and, as the scripture styles it, the ornament of a 
meek spirit? Or, where can such a blessed temper be more 
seasonably practised or sooner learned and increased, than in the 
chambers of sick and dying persons \ 

Now, my dear brethren, having all along insisted that, for 
the furnishing and enriching your minds with spiritual know 
ledge towards the due performing these and all other offices of 

238 The Bishop of Rochester* 

your holy profession, you should make the holy scriptures the 
principal subject, and indeed the only final centre of all your 
studies ; that your doctrine should never swerve from that un 
erring rule ; your very words, language and style, should every 
where taste of and overflow with those living and inexhaustible 
streams of truth and godliness ; it may be expected that, for 
the sake only of the younger divines among you, I should add a 
word or two touching the manner and method of your studying 
these sacred writings. It is indeed a business too large to be 
drawn within the narrow compass of the conclusion of such a 
discourse. But since a true, at least a competent, understanding 
of this blessed book ought to be the beginning and end of all 
our spiritual studies ; and because I may speak to some whose 
circumstances in this world are not so plentiful as to enable 
them to purchase large libraries ; yet their industry is by no 
means to be discouraged, nor their zeal, in pursuing this holy 
skill, abated ; I will open to you my own simple apprehensions 
in this matter, with submission still to better judgments. 

My opinion is, that although, without question, all manner of 
secular or ecclesiastical learning can never be more usefully em 
ployed than in this search and is all little enough for it, and too 
little to complete it ; yet, when all is done, the scripture itself is 
the best expositor, the best commentator on itself. 

It is apparent, that the whole New Testament is so to the 
whole Old Testament ; that being the real light of the other s 
figurative darkness and mysteries ; the very consummation of 
the others prophecies, and shadows of good things to come. But 
I will also aver that every part, every book, every sentence 
almost, both of the Old and the New Testament, well compared 
and judiciously set one over against the other, in their right 
view and reflection, cannot but prove, by God s blessing, an in 
estimable explanation of each other : if a due and accurate care, 
I say, be taken to interpret their difficult texts, by others of their 
own that are easier ; and to collate their words, phrases and 
sense, that may seem dark or doubtful in some places, with the 
same or the like in other places, where they are clearer and 
more intelligible. 

I canot forbear, as I go along, to declare my meaning a little 
fuller in this matter, by one special instance. For, consider, I 
pray, how is it possible for any, the most learned or sagacious 
student in divinity, to conceive the true and genuine sense of 

Discourse to Ms Clergy, 1695. 239 

the eloquent and divine Epistle to the Hebrews, except he has 
been also throughly conversant in the writings of Moses? Or 
where can there be found a clearer, a more spiritual and more 
illustrious commentary on the whole ritual part of the Pentateuch, 
than the Epistle to the Hebrews ? 

The like also may be proved of all other portions of the 
holy book of God. And indeed to manifest what mutual bright 
ness and splendour the scripture gives to and takes from itself, 
by comparing its several parts, I need only urge the frequent 
practice of our Saviour himself, and the inspired penmen of the 
gospel, in thus expounding the old law by the new, and the new 
by the old. 

So that now I may, with greater freedom, propound my hum 
ble conceptions in this matter ; that where multitudes of fathers, 
councils, schoolmen, histories are wanting (which are all very 
beneficial helps, where they can be had, but, where they cannot 
be come at), if a clergyman shall resort immediately to the 
fountain itself, first and always imploring the assistance of that 
divine Spirit, by which the scriptures were written, and then, 
with a sincere love of the truth and resolution to live according 
to it, without which God will neither hear our prayers nor 
bless our endeavours ; and also with an humble heart, a devout 
mind and unquenchable fervour of spirit and a right unbiassed 
judgment; joined with a sufficient skill in the original languages, 
and in those other introductory studies ; which no man in holy 
orders, if it be not the bishop s fault as well as his own, can pos 
sibly be altogether to seek in : and if withal he shall be assisted 
with some of the ancient, and some few of the modern sound 
and orthodox commentaries ; he will, in all human probability, 
by an incessant, daily and nightly meditating upon and revolv 
ing in his mind, the divine text itself, become, in time, though 
not perhaps as Apollos is said to have been^ eloquent and 
mighty in the scriptures, yet a workman that needeth not to be 
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 

The more to encourage your studies in this method, if you 
shall be necessitated to it, give me leave to present you with one 
example of a great divine and bishop, in the time of king 
Charles the First, who was one of the most eminent confessors 
then, and survived those calamities, to die in peace and tranquil 
lity, several years after the return of king Charles the Second. 

In the common persecution, which then happened to the 

240 The Bishop of Rochester s 

whole episcopal order, this reverend person was exposed to a 
more than ordinary degree of popular malice and rage ; so that, 
without ever being once brought to his trial, he was closely im 
prisoned in the Tower for almost twenty years, and was not only 
despoiled of his annual revenue and personal estate in the first 
fury of the civil wars ; but was also plundered of most of the 
collections of his former labours, and a very considerable 

Wherefore, being thus laid up in prison, without any prospect 
of liberty, having also a numerous family to maintain, so that he 
was not able, in any sort, to repair the loss of his books and 
papers, he betook himself to this course of study : well knowing 
that he could have no faitlrfuller companion for his solitude, nor 
surer consolation in his afflictions, than the holy scriptures, he 
applied himself to them immediately, with little other help but 
what he had within himself, and the best prints of the originals 
in the learned tongues, and their translations in the learned and 
modern, in both which he was a great master. 

Thus however he firmly and vigorously proceeded so far in 
the single study of the scriptures that, long before his enlarge 
ment, he had composed a great mass of annotations on divers 
parts of the Bible. What is become of them, I know not. If 
they are either embezzled or suppressed, no doubt it is to the 
great damage of the church ; since the native thoughts of a great 
man are generally, at least, as good as the most artificial. 

Perhaps you will say, he might be able to do all this by the 
strength of his memory and the variety of learning he had laid 
up in it beforehand ; and I make no doubt but those were an 
exceeding great assistance to him. 

But what was very remarkable, and for which I am bold to 
produce him as an instance worthy your imitation in this parti 
cular, I know he was often heard to profess solemnly that, in all 
his former studies and various reading and observations, he had 
never met with a more useful guide, or a surer interpreter, to 
direct his paths in the dark places of the lively oracles, to give 
information to his understanding in the obscure passages, or 
satisfaction to his conscience in the experimental truths of them, 
than when he was thus driven by necessity to the assiduous con 
templation of the scripture alone, and to weigh it by itself, as it 
were, in the balance of the sanctuary. 

Had I not been already so tedious, there is one particular 

Discourse to his Clergy, 1695. 

behind, on which I ought most justly to have expatiated, which 
now I can only name ; and it is that touching the manner of 
your conversation ; that it be such, as may render you vessels, 
not only sanctified) but meet for your Masters use, and, as St. 
Paul also adds, vessels of honour. 

I would therefore recommend to men of your character, not 
only the innocency and sincerity, but (as much as human frail 
ties will allow) the comeliness and the amiableness of every word 
and action of your lives : that you especially would not only 
strive to follow whatsoever things are true, or honest, or just, 
Idt moreover whatsoever things are pure and lovely and of good 
report ; that you would think on these things, not only if there be 
any virtue, but if there be any praise of virtue. 

From you, my brethren, it may well be expected, that your 
behaviour should not only be unblamable, but, if I may be 
permitted so to say, something more than strictly unblamable, 
and that not only to those within, but also towards them who as 
yet are without ; that you should not only keep your minds 
clean, your hands unpolluted, your tongues well governed, your 
whole course of life spotless and upright, and your consciences 
undefiled, but also your consciences void of offence, and that to- 
ivards men, as well as towards God: that you may be not only 
exemplary in your families, in your parishes, in the neighbour 
ing country, in the whole church of God, to the gentry, to the 
laity, to your brethren of the clergy, to the commonalty of 
our communion, for your justice, modesty, sobriety, prudence, 
quietness and obedience to superiors ; but that you would exer 
cise and extend all these virtues, and also your humility, long- 
suffering, good-will, good wishes, condescension and affability, 
even beyond the church itself, to the very enemies of it : that 
towards all men you would sweeten the gravity of your be 
haviour and soften the strictness of your conversation, with the 
gentleness and suavity of your manners: that you would take spe 
cial care, as never to be obstinately in the wrong, so, when you 
are sure you are in the right, even then never to be too rigidly, 
austerely or morosely in the right : that by all reasonable re 
spects, mild and winning converse, and not only by a ready 
return, but by a cheerful prevention of all Christian good offices; 
and even by making your very oppositions and contentions with 
those that differ from you, if you shall happen to be forced to 
any, as humane and friendly and easy to be entreated as pos- 


The Bishop of Rochester s 

sible ; by all this you may do your part to put to silence the igno 
rance of foolish and unreasonable men. Who knows but you 
may convert and gain some of them ? who knows but by your 
thus following not only righteousness and faith, but peace and 
charity; by your being not only apt to teach, but gentle to all 
men and patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose them 
selves ; who knows if by these means God peradventure will 
give the fiercest adversaries of our church repentance to the ac 
knowledging of the truth ? Most certainly by these means, or by 
no other, in all human probability. 

I cannot now enlarge as I would on this most necessary and 
seasonable argument. But unquestionably by thus keeping 
yourselves free from haughty censoriousness and untractable 
peevishness and sullen darkness of life and manners ; and by 
excelling in the contrary virtues, you will, in the best way, 
teach and convince all that dissent from you, how unworthy 
such a pharisaical garb and disposition is of the true Christian 
liberty or severity. 

In short, by such a grave, sedate, decent, charitable course 
and colour of your whole lives, you will do yourselves, and 
especially the church of England, most right. For our church 
itself, wherever she is set in a true light, cannot but be found to 
be most of this sweet, meek and truly pacific temper of any 
church in the Christian world. 

I conclude therefore, whoever among her sons and members, 
much more among her teachers and fathers, as you and we are, 
shall not do their utmost to attain to this gentle, obliging, 
charming manner of conversation, which our church prescribes 
towards all m en, adversaries as well as friends, I must repeat 
what our blessed Saviour said to his disciples on the like occa 
sion, They know not what spirit they are of. 

There is one or two short requests more I am to make you, 
which chiefly respect me, as your unworthy bishop ; and then I 
shall give ease to your patience. 

One is to entreat that you would be exceeding watchful, and 
indeed religiously scrupulous, for whom you give certificates and 
testimonials. For what some of you, perhaps out of good nature 
or good neighbourhood, or an easiness, and not being able to 
resist importunity, may at first think to be only a matter of form, 
is not so to me. I have scarce any other way possible of being 
rightly informed, from without, of the good lives or sufficient 

Discourse to his Clergy, 1695. 243 

endowments of the persons, but only by your s and the like tes 
timonies. The law of the land appoints that method to me, and 
almost confines me to it. Whereas if you make this to be only 
a business of private favour or partiality, not of public judgment 
and conscience, I may chance to be led into very mischievous 
and sometimes irreparable mistakes ; only by that, which you 
may esteem but as a piece of bashfulness and good breeding : I 
may be induced to lay hands on the ignorant and unworthy^ 
merely by the authority of your names, the subscribing of which 
you might think to be only an office of common humanity and 

My next and last request to you at this time shall concern 
your curates. This it may suffice only to intimate to you. I 
know I need not spend many words on it in this assembly ; be 
cause there is but a very small inconsiderable number of plural- 
ists in my diocese. I am persuaded they will be found upon 
inquiry the fewest of any in England. 

I cannot but say I could be very well content there were 
more ; especially if all, so qualified, would be rigorously true to 
the church in their choice of substitutes, where they cannot 
always reside themselves. 

For as, I will frankly own, I never yet heard an invincible 
objection against the prudent allowance and moderate use of 
pluralities ; but only some plausible popular ones against the 
abuse of them ; which we are as much offended with as any 
others can be : so, I verily believe, were this legal indulgence to 
the clergy so carefully observed every where, as, among divers 
other good ends of it, to furnish us with a race of painful, learn 
ed, godly curates ; who, by this way of probation, may make, 
and shew themselves worthy to be promoted to a higher charge ; 
these pluralities would be so far from being a scandal or preju 
dice, that they would conduce to the strength and defence, as 
well as they do to the ease and ornament of the church of 

The great obligation then I am to lay upon you (you, I mean, 
whom it does at present concern) is this, that you would be 
very immovably faithful to me, to yourselves and to the whole 
church of God, in the persons whom, on just occasions, you 
shall offer to me to be your curates. 

I do not only intend that you should never own or patronise 

244 The Bishop of Rochester s 

any, as your curates, who really are not so, that, under that 
colour, by false titles, they may slip into holy orders. But I 
speak of such instances where you really have need of and the 
law allows you to have curates. In such cases, it is my earnest 
entreaty that you would not only keep all the legal times 
of your own residence and hospitality ; and not only afford 
your curates a liberal maintenance in your absence ; liberal, I 
mean, not only for their own livelihood, but for their continuing 
some kind of hospitality too, to the poor at least : but that you, 
you especially, who are of greater age and experience, would 
watch over your curates as your fellow labourers, your friends, 
your probationers ; for whose improvement in divine learning, 
godly conversation and abilities of teaching, you or I must be 
answerable to the great Shepherd of our souls. 

But it is high time to dismiss you. I beseech Almighty God 
to assist and prosper all your labours to his glory and your own 
comfort in the great day of account. Towards the obtaining 
which blessed ends, you can never think of any better or indeed 
of any other means, than by living up, in your private conver 
sation, to the religion you profess and teach others ; and in your 
public office, by defending and supporting the church established 
by law in this kingdom. 

A religion and a church that well deserves all this at your 
hands ; being in its faith most primitive, in its orders most 
apostolical ; in its discipline most moderate ; in its charity most 
diffusive ; in its devotions most spiritual as to the substance, 
most decent as to the circumstances. In few words, in its inter 
ests it is inviolably united with the laws and rights, with the 
well-being, I had almost said with the being, of the English 
nation and government: in its principles it is irreconcilable 
with the interests of popery, and the only impregnable defence 
against its return into this land : which, it is much to be lamented, 
that the dissenters will not see, and are therefore dissenters, 
since it is evident, the papists themselves have always seen it but 
too well. 

What then remains ? but that as Christians, as Englishmen, 
as churchmen, we should all make it our principal, our only 
great concern, and pray to God, the Father of mercies, that all 
others of our character throughout the nation would make it 
their s ; to represent to the world the true excellencies of such a 

Discourse to Ms Clergy, 1695. 245 

religion and such a church, by our doctrine and example, with 
industry and vigilance, with steadfastness and courage, in meek 
ness of wisdom, and with zeal according to knowledge. 

And if we shall all, in this manner, devote ourselves to this 
work, we ma} r then be assured that the same promise which 
our Lord Christ, in some of his last words on earth made to his 
whole church, will be eminently made good to this, the purest 
part of it in these latter ages of Christianity, that he himself will 
be always with it^ even to the end of the world. Amen, 











GEORGE BULL was born, in 1634, at Wells, in Somerset 
shire, being of an ancient family, whose estate and seat were at 
Shapwick, in that County. In early childhood, he lost his 
father, an excellent man, by whom he had been dedicated to 
the service of the Church even at the Font. Having learned 
the rudiments of Grammar in his native city, he was sent by 
his Guardians to Tiverton School, whence he removed to Ox 
ford and was entered at Exeter College, in 1648. Upon a 
firm refusal to bind himself by the Engagement, enforced in 
the next year, " to be true and faithful to the Government, 
" then established, without King or House of Peers, and never 
" to consent to the readmitting of either of them again", he 
was obliged to quit the University and to complete his educa 
tion in the retirement of the country. When he had reached 
the age of 21, Dr. Skinner, the ejected Bishop of Oxford (who 
lived to be restored arid translated to the See of Worcester) 
ordained him. The first scene of his Pastoral labours was a 
small Parish, near Bristol; but, in 1658, he was presented to 
the Rectory of Siddington St. Mary, near Cirencester ; and, in 
1662, to the small contiguous Vicarage of Siddington St. Peter. 
In these united parishes, not too large for one man s care, he 
combined a diligent discharge of Ministerial duties with a 
prosecution of Sacred studies, of which the results are seen in 
his principal Works, the lasting memorials of his ability and 
learning, his zeal and piety. After 27 years so spent, he was 
promoted to the Rectory of Avening, a more valuable Benefice 
in the same County and Diocese of Gloucester, wherein he had 
been already long settled ; his Patron being a private gentle 
man of the County, who thoroughly knew his worth. It was 
not, however, possible that a recognition of merits and services 


like his should be confined to his own neighbourhood. Tokens 
of public approval and gratitude were not wanting. In 1678, 
a Prebend of Gloucester was conferred upon him by the earl of 
Nottingham, then Lord Chancellor ; in 1686, the Archdea 
conry of Llandaff by Archbishop Bancroft, whose option it was 
on that occasion ; and, in the same year, the Degree of D. D. 
by the University of Oxford. In 1 705, after 20 years continu 
ance at Avening, he received, " with great surprise and no less 
" concern", an offer of the Bishopric of St. David s. His 
reluctance to accept the proposal was with difficulty overcome 
by the importunity of his personal friends as well as of several 
Governors of the Church ; and, although the nomination of the 
Crown was by some disapproved on account of the advanced 
age of Dr. Bull, who was in his 7ist year, yet it was at the 
time and has ever since been a subject of congratulation for the 
Church of England that the name of one of the most distin 
guished of her sons was thus enrolled in her list of Bishops. 
In spite of declining strength and vigour, he faithfully admin 
istered the affairs of his Diocese until his death, which occurred 
in 1710. 

The life of Bishop Bull, by Robert Nelson, Esq., is prefixed 
to his Works, published at Oxford and edited by the late Regius 
Professor of Divinity, Dr. Burton. 






JAMES iii, 1. 

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive 

the greater condemnation. 

JL HE text may at first sight appear to some to stand at a very 
wide distance from the present occasion. But I hope, by 
that time I have spent a little pains in explaining it, I shall set 
the text and occasion at a perfect agreement. 

The words therefore are by interpreters diversely expounded. 
Among the rest, two interpretations there are, which stand as 
the fairest candidates for our reception. 

1. Some understand the masters here in my text to be proud, 
malicious censors and judges of other men s actions, and so 
expound the text as a prohibition of rash and uncharitable 
judgment, and make it parallel to that of our Saviour, Judge not, 
that ye be not judged*. Be not rash and hasty in censuring or 
judging the actions of others, or speaking evil of them, consider 
ing that by so doing you will but procure a greater judgment of 
God upon yourselves. The chief, if not the only argument for 
this interpretation, is the context of the apostle s discourse, which 

* Matth. vii, i. 

A Companion for the 

in the following verses is wholly spent against the vices of the 
tongue. But, 

2. Others there are, who interpret the masters in the text to 
be pastors or teachers in the church of God ; and accordingly 
understand the words as a serious caution against the rash 
undertaking of the pastoral office or function, as an office at 
tended with great difficulty and danger, a task very hard to be 
discharged, and wherein whoever miscarries makes himself there 
by liable to a severer judgment of Almighty God. 

This latter interpretation (with submission I speak it) seems 
to me, almost beyond doubt, the genuine sense of the apostle. 
The reasons are evident in the text itself. For, 1 . unless we thus 
expound the words, it will be hard to give a rational account of 
this word TroAXot many, why it should be inserted. For if we 
understand those masters the apostle speaks of to be rash judges 
and censurers of others, it is most certain then, one such would 
be too many, and the multiplicity of them would not be the only 
culpable thing. But, on the other side, if we receive the latter 
interpretation,, the account of the word TroAAot is easily rendered 
according to the paraphrase of Erasmus, thus ; " Let not pastors 
or teachers be too vulgar and cheap among you ; let not every 
man rush into so sacred an office and function h ." And Drusius s 
gloss on this very word is remarkable : Summa summarum ; quo 
pauciores sunt magistri, eo melius agitur cum populo. Nam ut 
medicorum olim Cariam, ita doctorum et magistrorum nunc multi 
tude perdit rempuUicam. Utinam vanus sim. I need not English 
the words to those whom they concern. 

2. If we embrace any other interpretation, we must of neces 
sity depart from the manifest propriety of the Greek word, which 
our translators render masters. The word is Stdacr/eaAeu, which 
whoso understands the first elements of the Greek tongue knows 
to be derived from 8/,5ao-Ko>, to teach, and so literally to signify 
teachers. Be not many teachers. 

And so accordingly the Syriac renders it by a word which, the 
learned Drusius tells us, is parallel to the Hebrew D V Y1E which 
undoubtedly signifies doctors or teachers. 

These reasons ai^e sufficient to justify our interpretation, 
though I might add the authority of the ancients, who generally 
follow this sense, as also the concurrent judgment of our most 

b Ne passim ambiatis esse magistri. 

Candidates of holy Orders. 

learned modern annotators, Erasmus, Vatablus, Castellio, Estius, 
Drusius, Grotius, with many others. 

As for the connection of the words, thus explained, with the 
following discourse of the apostle, I suppose this very easy 
account may be given of it. The moderation and government 
of the tongue (on which St. James in the sequel of the chapter 
wholly insists) though it be a general duty (for there is no 
man s tongue so lawless as to be exempted from the dominion to 
right reason and religion) yet it is a duty wherein the pastor or 
teacher hath a peculiar concern. The minister s tongue is a 
chief tool and instrument of his profession, that which ex officio 
he must often make use of: he lies under a necessity of speaking 
much and often, and the Wise Man tells us, in the multitude of 
words there wanteth not sin c . And certainly there is scarce any 
consideration more powerful, to deter a man from undertaking 
the office of a teacher, than this ; how extremely difficult and 
almost impossible it is, for a man that speaks much and often, so 
to govern his tongue, as to speak nothing that either is itself 
unfit or in an unfit time, or after an undue manner ; and yet 
how highly every teacher is concerned so to do. 

So that it is a very easy knot to fasten my text to the next 
verse, thus : Let not every man ambitiously affect the office of a 
teacher in the church of God, considering that it is an office of 
great difficulty and danger ; for in many things we offend all ; 
if any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, &c. 
As if he had said, As there are many ways, whereby the best of 
us do offend, so there is no way whereby we so easily fall into 
sin, as by that slippery member the tongue ; and there is no 
man more exposed to this danger of transgressing with the 
tongue than the teacher, who makes so much and so frequent 
use of it. So that the teacher is reAeto? avr)p 9 a rare and per 
fectly accomplished man indeed, that hath acquired the perfect 
government of his tongue. He that can do that, who fails not 
in that piece of his duty, may easily also bridle his whole body, 
i. e. rightly manage himself in all the other parts of his pastoral 
office. But this, as it is very necessary, so it is extremely diffi 
cult, and therefore be not many teachers^. 

To this it will not be amiss to add, what Grotius wisely 
observes, that the admonition of the apostle concerning the vices 

c Prov. x, 19. d MJ) rroXXoi StSao-xaXot 

254 A Companion for the 

of the tongue, subjoined to the caution in my text, " is chiefly 
directed against brawling and contentious disputers e ;"" such 
teachers as abuse their liberty of speaking unto loose discourses, 
and take occasion from thence to vent their own spleen and 
passions : men of intemperate spirits and virulent tongues, 
troublers rather than teachers of the people, whose tongues are 
indeed cloven tongues of fire, but not such as the apostles were 
endowed with from above, as serving to burn, rather than to en 
lighten, to kindle the flames of faction, strife and contention, 
rather than those of piety and charity in the church of God. 

And, indeed, the direful and tragical effects, which the 
apostle in this chapter ascribes to the evil tongue, as that it is a 
fire, a world of iniquity, rLefiling the whole body, setting on fire 
the course of nature, full of deadly poison*, &c. are such as are 
not so easily producible by the tongue of a private man as of a 
teacher : " Whose discourse (saith Erasmus) spreads its poison 
by so much the more generally and effectually, as the authority 
of the speaker is greater and his advantage also of speaking to 

Having removed this seeming rub in the context, I return 
again to the text itself; wherein you may please to observe, 
1 . A serious dissuasive from the rash undertaking of the pastoral 
office ; My brethren, be not many masters or teachers. 2. A 
solid argument or reason to enforce it, drawn from the difficulty 
and the danger thereof; knowing that we shall receive &c. utifrv 
Kpi^a, a greater or severer judgment ; i. e. God will require 
more of us that are teachers than of others; we shah 1 not 
escape or be acquitted in the divine judgment at so easy a rate 
as they. There is a place in the excellent Book of Wisdom h , 
that is exactly parallel to my text and gives great light to it, A 
sharp judgment shall be to them that are in high places J . Where 
the ot vTrepe xourej, those that are in high places in the state, 
answer to the 8i8acrKaAoi in my text ; the teachers in the church: 
the Kpta-Ls aTTOTopos, the sharp, or, the precise and severe judgment, 
to the jjil(oi> Kplfjia, the greater judgment in the text. 

I shall not at all insist on the first branch of the division, the 

e Maxime directa est in rixosos disputatores. 
f ^Xoyi^oucra rov rp6\ov rrjs yei/ecrecos 1 . 

Cujus sermo hoc latius ac periculosius spargit suum venenutn, quod 
auctoritate dicentis commendetur. 
h Wisd. vi, 5. 
* Kpiffis diroTOfjLos ev rols vTrepe^ovfri yiverai. 

Candidates of holy Orders. 255 

dissuasive ; as remembering that I am to preach not an ordina 
tion, but a visitation sermon ; and to discourse not to candidates 
of holy orders, but to such as are already engaged in that sacred 
profession. I come therefore to the reason or argument in the 
text (as of very much concernment to all that are in the 
priestly office) drawn from the great difficulty and danger 
thereof. To represent both which, as fully as my short allow 
ance of time and much shorter scantling of abilities will permit, 
shall be my present business. 

And first, as to the difficulty of the teacher s office, it is a very 
great difficulty fully to explain it. So many are the branches of 
his duty, that it were a tedious labour to reckon them up : Lord, 
what a task is it then to discharge them ! I shall content myself 
therefore rudi Minerva, briefly and only in general to describe 
the chiefest requisites that are necessary to constitute a complete 
teacher in the church of God ; and even by that little which I 
shall say, I doubt not but it will appear how very formidable, 
how tremendous an undertaking that function deserves to be 
accounted. The teacher s office then requires a very large 
knowledge, a great prudence, an exemplary holiness. And 
surely much is required of him, of whom these things are 

1. Then, the first requisite to the office of a teacher is a very 
large knowledge. The very name of his office implies this ; he 
is StddoTcaAos, a teacher; and he that is such must be, as the 
apostle requires k , apt or fit to teach } . And this he cannot be, 
unless he be well learned and instructed himself, and furnished 
with a plentiful measure of divine knowledge. God himself, by 
the prophet Malachi, requires that the priesfs lips r\5Tl Vl?plp^ 
should keep or preserve knowledge. Methinks the expression 
is more emphatical than is ordinarily conceived. It seems to 
imply that the priest should be a kind of repository or treasury 
of knowledge, richly furnished with knowledge himself, and 
able also abundantly to furnish and supply the wants of those 
that shall at any time have recourse to him for instruction. And 
therefore it presently follows : And they (that is, the people) 
shall seek the law at his mouth. Yea, the words import that the 
priest should be a treasury of knowledge not to be exhausted. 

He must have knowledge not only to spend, but to keep ; not 

i Tim. iii, 2. Aidcucrucfa^ aptus sive idoneus ad docendum. 

m AiSaKroy, doctus. n Mai. ii, 7. 

256 A Companion for the 

like those that live from hand to mouth, or whose stock of know 
ledge is quickly spent in a few sermons, but he must have 
something still reserved and laid up in store. Methinks our 
Saviour doth excellently expound this text, though it be by a 
parable, Every scribe that is instructed in the kingdom of heaven 
is like unto a man tliat is an householder, which bringeth forth out 
of his treasure things new and old . Where the ypa^aTfys, or 
scribe, is the same among the Jews with the vofjLobibao-KaXos, the 
teacher or expounder of the law. And it is the usual custom of 
our Saviour, as Grotius observes, " by names in use among the 
Jews, to express such offices, as were to be in the Christian 
church P." The ypa^arevs then, or scribe, is the same with 
the 8i8ao-/caAos, or teacher, afterwards in the church of Christ. 
This scribe is said by our Saviour to be instructed unto or for 
the kingdom of heaven^, i. e. well prepared, provided, furnished 
for the preaching of the gospel. And, to shew that he is so, he 
is compared to the householder who, for the maintaining of his 
family and the entertainment of his guests all the year long, is 
supposed to have an d-Tro^/cr;, or repository for provisions (called 
here his Orjoravpbs, his treasure), and there to have laid in pro 
visions KCiiva KOL TTaXata, both new and old, i. e. a great store and 
abundance, provisions of all sorts and kinds. As the spouse in 
the Canticles tells her beloved, At our gates are all manner of 
fruits, both nevi and old, ivhich I have laid up for thee r . This 
kind of hospitality (however by the iniquity of an ungrateful 
sacrilegious age he may be disabled from exercising the other) is 
the indispensable duty of the pastor or teacher. He must keep 
a table well furnished with these heavenly provisions for all 

The knowledge of a teacher, we shall easily grant, extends 
itself into a very large compass, if we consider what that sci 
ence is that he is to teach; theology, "the art of arts, and the 
science of sciences 8 ," as Nazianzen speaks ; the queen and 
mistress of all other disciplines, to which they do all but ancillare, 
perform the office of handmaids, and yet in so doing they are of 
use and service to her. 

Matth. xiii, 52. 

P Nominibus apud Judaeos receptis significare munia, quae futura erant in 
ecclesia Christiana. 

1 Ma6r)Tv6fls ets rrjv ftarrikfiav Toov ovpavatv. 
r Cant, vii, 13. 

s KOI 

Candidates of holy Orders. 257 

And upon that account, the divine, if he will be complete, 
must be TrareTrto-rf/jucor, must have compassed the eyKv/cAoTrcuSeia, 
in the modern and more noble signification of the word; i. e. 
the whole circle of arts and sciences. And he that hath so 
done, illi des nominis hujus honorem, let him pass for a perfect 
divine, he only is adequate to so ample a title. But, God be 
thanked, this is only the heroic perfection, not the necessary 
qualification of a teacher. A man may very well content himself 
to sit in a much lower form, and yet sit safely ; he may move in 
a far inferior orb, and yet give much light and communicate 
a benign and useful influence to the church of God. Let us 
view therefore the necessary parts of theology itself, wherein the 
teacher cannot be ignorant or uninstructed, but to the very 
great detriment of his disciples and his own greater shame and 
hazard. How ample a field have we still before us ! here is the 
ology positive, polemical, moral, casuistical ; and all most neces 
sary for the teacher. 

As for positive divinity, or the knowledge of those necessary 
speculative truths that are revealed in scripture, a man can no 
more be a divine, that is unacquainted with this, than he can be 
a grammarian, that understands not the very first elements of 
grammar. And yet of so abstruse, so sublime a nature are even 
these truths that for a man rightly to apprehend them and 
clearly to explain them, especially to the capacity of his duller 
hearers, is no very easy matter. 

Polemical or controversial divinity is theologia armata, or that 
part of divinity which instructs and furnisheth a man with 
necessary weapons to defend the truth against its enemies. 
Now the good shepherd s office is not only to feed his sheep, 
but to secure them from the wolves ; or else his care in feeding 
them serves only to make them the fatter and richer prey. And 
therefore St. Fault requires, that the teacher should be able, 
u both ly sound doctrine to exhort Ms hearers, *as also to convince 
or refute oainsayers or opposers. Hcec non sunt TOV TV\OVTOS, 
(as Grotius well glosseth on the text) every man cannot do this, 
and yet every teacher must. The times, wherein we live, do 
much heighten the necessity of this study ; for we may enforce 
this duty on all teachers, by the same melancholy argument 
that St. Paul doth in the forementioned text. The teacher, 

litus 1,^9. ^ Kat TrapctKaXeu/ cv rr? SiSaovcaXt a TTJ vyiatvovcnj, 


258 A Companion for the 

saith he, must be able to convince gainsayers : why so ? He gives 
the reason, There are many unruly and vain teachers and 
deceivers, &c. whose months must be stopped) who subvert whole 
houses, teaching things which they ought notY. These unruly and 
vain teachers, these deceivers, were never certainly in a greater 
number than now they are. These men s mouths must be stop 
ped, there is a necessity for it ; for otherwise they will subvert 
whole houses, yea and pervert whole parishes. Not that we 
have any hopes in this age to stop the mouths of our opposers, 
so as to make them cease speaking ; (for bawl they will to etern 
ity ; they are, as the apostle somewhere speaks, unreasonable 
men z , that understand not, admit not of any topics; no argu 
mentation, though never so convincing, will make them give 
back ;) but so, at least, as that they shall be able to speak little to 
the purpose, so as to satisfy sober, humble, docible persons, who 
have not passionately espoused an error, or, to speak in the 
apostle^s phrase, that are not given up to strong delusions, to believe 
lies, that they may be damned. In a word, our fate in these days 
is much like that of the rebuilders of Jerusalem after the cap 
tivity, that were necessitated every one with one of his hands to 
work in the building, with the other to hold a weapon*. With one 
hand we must build up our people in the doctrine of piety, with 
the other we must resist heretical opposers, who otherwise will 
demolish as fast as we build. 

And to quicken us to this part of our study, methinks no con 
sideration can be more forcible than this ; to observe, where 
ministers are defective therein, with what triumph and ostenta 
tion deceivers carry souls captive, to the disgrace not only of the 
persons, but also of the function of the teachers, yea and of truth 
itself, which is wounded thus through their sides and bleeds 
through their weakness and foDy. 

But let us leave this thorn} field of controversial, and step a 
little into the other more fruitful, of moral or practical divinity. 
Of this one speaks most truly : " The knowledge of contro 
versies is made necessary by heretics, the study of piety by God 
himself V Theology is doubtless a practical science, nothing in 
it but what aims at this end. And therefore he that neglects 
this practical part of it understands not the very design of his 

y Titus i, 10, ii. z Y Az/0po>7roi aroTToi. a Nehem. iv, 17. 

b Controversiarum scientiam necessariam fecerunt hseretici, studium pietatis 
Deus ipse mandavit. 

Candidates of holy Orders. 259 

own profession. Without this a man deserves no more to be 
accounted a divine, than he a physician that understands little 
or nothing of therapeutics. It is true, there are some (otherwise 
not unlearned men) that despise this part of theology, as a vulgar, 
trivial, easy, obvious thing. But sure they very much disparage 
their own judgment, who let the world understand that they are 
of this mind : and the event commonly shews how much they 
are mistaken. For bring these doctors out of their academic 
cells, set them to preach in a country congregation, and they 
soon become the objects of laughter, or rather of pity to the 
wiser : to observe how they greedily snatch at every occasion of 
engaging in a controversy, and that perhaps such a one as was 
never before heard of by their hearers, but a controversy they 
had read in some of their books, though long ago dead and 
buried ; thus manfully encountering ghosts and shadows : how 
learnedly they will discuss the barren subtleties of Aquinas or 
Scotus, which the poor souls no more understand, than if they 
had read them a lecture out of Cornelius Agrippa s occult 
philosophy : how, when they come to practicals, they are velut 
in alium mundum translati, as if they were entered into a new 
unknown world ; so frigid, barren and lifeless are their 
discourses on those subjects. And may the same shame, or a 
serious repentance, attend all the contemners of this useful 
theology ! 

Lastly, there is casuistical divinity, which I distinguish from 
moral or practical, as a more noble species thereof, and which 
therefore deserves a distinct consideration. For though all 
casuistical divinity be practical, yet all practical divinity is not 
casuistical ; for the design of casuistical divinity is to resolve only 
the dubious and difficult cases that refer to practice. How diffi 
cult this study is, every man that is not a very stranger therein 
will readily acknowledge. And the necessity thereof is evident : 
for what more necessary for a teacher, than to be able to resolve 
his people what their duty is in difficult cases ? Teachers, no 
doubt, are purposely placed by God in these cross-ways, 
as mercurial statues, not dead, but living speaking ones, 
directing the perplexed traveller towards the heavenly Jeru 
salem and saying (as it is in the prophet) This is the way, 
walk therein. And the Lord, by the prophet Malachi, tells us 
that the priest should be such a one as that the people may seek 
the law at his mouth : the law, i. e. the sense of the law, or what 

S 2 

260 A Companion far the 

that duty is, which the law oblige th them to in doubtful cases : 
a very oracle to be consulted by them on all occasions. It is 
true, the greatest oracle may be sometimes silenced by a greater 
difficulty : but an oracle altogether dumb is certainly a very 
lamentable contradiction. 

I have all this while spoken nothing of the holy scriptures, 
that deep and unsearchable mine, from whence the divine is to 
fetch all his treasure. From hence he is to borrow the princi 
ples of all theology, positive, polemical, moral, casuistical ; and 
therefore it is evident that, unless he be well studied in these, he 
must needs be defective in all the rest. He must needs be 
a weak divine, that is not mighty in the scriptures*, as it is said 
of Apollos d . And, Lord, how many things are necessary to give 
a man a right understanding of these sacred writings ! I confess, 
we are fallen into a very confident age, wherein to interpret 
scripture is counted the most obvious and easy thing ; and 
every mechanic, that scarce understands common sense, will 
venture on the expounding of these mysterious books. We have 
so childishly departed from the error of the Romish church, 
in asserting an inexplicable obscurity of the scriptures, even in 
things necessary, that for fear of this Charybdis we are swallow 
ed up in as dangerous a Scylla, to make the scriptures even 
despicable and contemptible. For, as Nazianzen truly saith, 
" that which is thus easily understood is generally with as much 
ease slighted and contemned 6 ." But we know who they are, 
who "run from one bad extreme to another f ." For it is certain, 
that rightly to understand the holy scriptures is a very difficult 
thing, especially for us who live at so great a distance from those 
times, wherein they were written, and those persons and churches, 
to whom they were directed. It is no slender measure of the 
knowledge of antiquity, history, philology, that is requisite to 
qualify a man for such an undertaking. They know nothing of 
the holy scriptures that know not this. And therefore those 
unlearned and ignorant men, that venture on the exposition of 
scripture, being perfect strangers to these parts of learning, must 
of necessity wrest them to their own and their hearers destruc 

I cannot omit to take notice here of that common axiom, " A 

c Avi/aros ev rais ypatyais. d Acts xviii, 24. 

e To paStcos \T)7TTov airav fVKara(f)p6vr)rov. 
* Dum vitant vitia in contraria currunt. 

Candidates of holy Orders. 261 

good textuary is a good divines ;" and to observe, that it is 
most true, if rightly understood. If by a textuary we mean him 
who hath not only a concordance of scripture in his memory, 
but also a commentary on them in his understanding; who 
thinks it not enough to be ready in alleging the bare words of 
scripture, with the mention of chapter and verse where it is 
written, unless he know the sense and meaning of what he 
recites. The former every illiterate sectary is able to do, who 
can quote scriptures by dozens and scores, the tithe whereof he 
understands not, and are little to his purpose. The latter is the 
proper commendation of the divine. Without this grain of salt, 
the aphorism, but now mentioned, most justly falls under the 
severe censure of our learned Prideaux : " A good textuary is 
a good divine, say many, who understand not, mind not, either 
the text or divinity or goodness \" We have seen the neces 
sary parts of theology rudely delineated, and yet even by this 
imperfect draught we may take an estimate, how large that 
man s knowledge ought to be, that is obliged to understand all 
these things. 

I confess that here also (and I have as much reason to rejoice 
in it as most of my brethren) a latitude is to be allowed ; and it 
were a cruelty worse than that of Procrustes, to stretch all men 
to the same giant-like proportion of knowledge that some attain 
to. But yet doubtless it is a wise and prudent severity, as Na- 
zianzen speaks, " to measure every teacher and stretch him out 
to St. Paul s rules and canons V And they, as we have already 
heard, require that he should be SiSa/crtKos, apt and fit to teach, 
i. e. in some competent measure able to instruct his hearers in 
all these useful parts of theology. 

2. I have discoursed so largely of the first requisite of the 
teacher s office that, if I gave over here, 1 had said enough to 
convince any sober person of the difficulty thereof. But yet this 
is not all. A very great prudence also is required in the teacher, 
or else his knowledge will be useless and unserviceable. Wisdom 
is the soul that animates and enlivens knowledge, without which 
a large knowledge is but like a huge carcass, a lifeless unactive 
thing. And if any man thinks that science and prudence are 

% Bonus textualis, bonus theologus. 

h Bonus textualis, bonus theologus, clamant quamplurimi, qui nee de textu, 
nee de theologia, nee de bonitate sunt soliciti. 
HapfKTiViv rots HavXcu Kavoaiv. 

A Companion for the 

things inseparable, sad experience refutes him. Every learned 
man is not a wise man ; and there are some who have read very 
many books, but very few men ; who have dwelt so much in 
their studies that they understand little abroad in the world, no 
not in their own little world, I mean their charges and parishes. 
There are some that have a large measure of the spirit of know 
ledge, but want the spirit of government, which yet is most 
necessary for him who is to be a guide of souls. Every teacher 
is concerned to be wise, both for himself and those committed 
to his charge. For himself, to take heed of men, that he be 
neither betrayed by false brethren, nor become a prey to the 
malice of professed enemies; to decline both the envy and 
contempt of his neighbours ; to keep himself within the bounds 
of his calling; to mind his own business^, &c. To this kind of 
wisdom belongs the advice of our Saviour, when sending forth 
his apostles, as innocent lambs amongst the wolves of that age, 
he cautions them to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves 1 ; 
i. e. to use all honest and sinless arts to secure themselves. But 
this is not the prudence which I principally intend; for if a 
minister be defective in this, he is no man s foe but his own ; he 
hurts only himself, and that but in temporal concerns. 

I add, therefore, that he is to be wise for those committed to 
his charge, lest by any indiscretion of his he obstructs that which 
ought to be his great design and business, the eternal salvation 
of their souls. And here how many things are there, which a 
teacher is concerned to understand ! He must be wise so to frame 
his discourses, especially in public, that he speak nothing that 
may either offend the weak, or give advantage to the malicious ; 
that his sermons may not only be good in themselves, but 
adapted and fitted to the necessity of his hearers ; that he make 
choice of the most suitable and powerful arguments to enforce on 
them those Christian duties, whereto he exhorts them. He must 
be wise in the government of his carriage and actions, dis 
tinguishing especially between lawfulness and expediency, and 
shunning not only that which is directly sinful, but whatsoever 
is scandalous and offensive. He must be wise in his common 


converse with his people, that he be neither of too easy or too 
morose and difficult an access ; but especially he is to be careful 
of this in his freer conversation ; that he indulge not himself any 
liberty more than ordinary, among those who will make an ill 

k To tSm TTpdvwv. l Matth. x, 1 6. 

Candidates of holy Orders. 263 

use of that, wherein there was no ill intended. He is to be wise 
in the choice of his friends, not to inscribe any man into that 
catalogue, that may reflect any disparagement on his person or 
function : for qui non contemnitur a se, contemnitur a socio. He 
must be wise, especially in the government of his own family : 
for as the apostle excellently reasons, if a man know not how to 
rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God m ? 
He must be wise to inquire into the state of his flock, and to 
discern their particular tempers and constitutions ; and even to 
search into their hearts and secret inclinations. He must be 
wise to administer private counsels and reproofs, duly observing 
the circumstances of time, of place, of person, of disposition ; for, 
as the wisest of men tells us, a word fitly spoken is like apples of 
gold in pictures of silver n . These and many other things the 
teacher is deeply concerned to be well versed in ; and what a 
task is this ! 

If it be objected, "that prudence is a thing without our power, 
an arbitrary gift of God, which he bestows on whom he pleas - 
eth, as he doth beauty or wealth, or a good natural wit, and 
therefore cannot reasonably be imposed on a man as his duty :" 
I answer, if this prudence were wholly out of our election, yet 
this certainly was left to our free choice, whether we would 
undertake that office, whereto so great prudence is requisite. 
We have obliged ourselves to it, by engaging in that function 
that cannot be discharged without it. But indeed this excellent 
gift of God is in a great degree put within our power, in con 
junction with the divine assistance. We may and must endea 
vour for it, diligently study it, carefully observe things and 
persons, faithfully record experiments, consult wiser friends. 
But, above all things, we must take St. James s advice, If any 
man want wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth liberally and 
upbraideth not, and it shall be given him . Especially, if he 
desire it constantly, earnestly and above all things in the world; 
if with Solomon he despise greatness and wealth and all other 
secular advantages ; and before them all, desire this one thing 
of God, that he would give him wisdom and knowledge to go in and 
out before the people committed to his charge and guidance^. 

3. I come now to the last, though not the least, of those requi 
sites that are necessarv to the office of a teacher, viz. an exem- 


plary holiness. For of this I may say, as the apostle doth, 
m i Tim. iii, 5. n Prov. xxv, u. James i, 5. P 2 Chron. i, 10. 

264 A Companion for the 

speaking of the three theological graces, And now abideth faith, 
hope and charity, these three ; but the greatest of these is charity q. 
So here there remaineth knowledge, prudence, holiness, all 
three necessary requisites to make up a complete teacher ; but 
the greatest of these is holiness. And what ho further says of 
the same grace of charity, in the beginning of the same chapter, 
may with a little change be applied also to our present purpose. 
If a man had iraa-av yvuxTLv, all sorts of knowledge, so as to be 
able to understand all mysteries ; if he were prudent, beyond 
the prodigious measure of Solomon s wisdom ; if those endow 
ments were crowned in him with an eloquence more than human, 
so that he were able to discourse like an angel : yet without this 
holiness he were as nothing, or at best but as the sounding brass 
or tinkling cymbal. The priest that is not clothed with righteous 
ness, though otherwise richly adorned with all the ornaments of 
human and divine literature, and those gilded over with the rays 
of a seraphic prudence and sagacity, is yet but a naked, beggarly, 
despicable creature, of no authority, no interest, no use or service 
in the church of God. The unholy teacher, let him preach 
never so well, discourseth to little purpose ; there will be no life 
in his doctrine, because his life is so destitute of the spirit of 
holiness, he will sooner damn his own soul than save any man s 
else. His discourses, though armed with the most powerful 
oratory, will serve to move no other affection in his hearers than 
that of indignation against his hypocrisy and impudence, to hear 
him excellently declaim against a vice, of which himself is noto 
riously guilty ; and they will say, 

Loripedem rectus derideat, ^Ethiopem albus. 

In a word, as a wise man well observes, "every notorious vice 
is infinitely against the spirit of government, and depresses a 
man to an evenness with common persons." 

Facinus quos inquinat cequat. 

And when a man s authority is thus lost, he becomes a thing 
wholly useless in the church of God. Useless did I say ? it were 
well if that were all : he is the most pernicious creature that 
moves on God s earth; he serves to the worst purposes, to 
make men atheists, infidels or heretics. Learned and knowing 
men, of ill lives, have been always the greatest stumblingblock 

<i i Cor. xiii, 13. 

Candidates of holy Orders. 265 

in the church of God : their fall is not single, but attended with 
the ruin of many others ; who, imitating the barbarous civility of 
those nations that use to solemnize the funerals of their great 
men by sacrificing a great part of their families, when the 
teachers damn themselves, are ready to die and perish with them 
for company. And the fallacy that ruins them is this ; because 
some wise men live wickedly, they presently conclude that 
wickedness is the greatest wisdom : as if it were impossible for 
the will to choose contrary to the dictates of the understanding, 
or for a man that knows his duty not to do it. We of this age 
have reason to take special notice of this. For as Cicero, inquir 
ing into the causes of those bold and unheard-of attempts that 
Catiline and his confederates made upon the commonwealth of 
Rome, presently gives this account : nos (dico aperte) nos consu- 
les desumus : so when we are astonished at the prodigious blasphe 
mies, heresies and schisms of our times, and wonder at the cause 
of them, we may quickly resolve ourselves after the same manner: 
nos (dico aperte) nos pastor es desumus. For certainly all the 
arguments that heretics and sectaries have made use of to 
seduce our people from obedience unto the most excellent 
doctrine, liturgy and discipline of our church, would have been 
accounted ridiculous sophisms and no way served their wicked 
purposes, if they had not been furnished with a more power 
ful topic ab exemplo, from the vicious lives of some clergymen. 
And as to this : 

Pudet TICBC opprobria nobis 

Et did potuisse, et non potuisse refelli. 

I might here be very large in representing the necessity of 
holiness in a minister ; but I shall only observe, that the wicked 
teacher sins with the highest aggravation of his guilt, and the 
least hope of his repentance ; he is the greatest and most despe 
rate sinner. 

The greatest sinner ; for either he is a person of more than 
ordinary knowledge or he is not : if not, he sinned greatly in un 
dertaking that office, to which so great a knowledge is requisite : 
if he be, his knowledge doubtless increaseth his guilt : For he, that 
knows his master s icill and doth it not, shall be beaten with 
many stripes. Besides, he must needs sin with a very strange 
assurance, by living in that wickedness which he daily reproves 

266 A Companion for the 

and preaches against, and so becoming oi/roKaraKpiros, a con 
demned man, from his own mouth. 

But that which I chiefly urge is this : the wicked teacher is, 
of all men living, in the most hopeless and desperate condition. 
It is usually observed of seamen, that dwell in the great deep, 
that if they are not very pious, for the most part they are despe 
rately wicked, because they daily behold the wonders of the 
Lord, and besides live in a continual and a very near danger, 
bordering on the very confines of death, and being, 

Quatuor aut septem digitis a morte remoti, 

but a few fingers breadth divided from their fluid grams. And if 
these considerations do not persuade them to fear the Lord exceed 
ingly, as it is said of the mariners in Jonah, i, 16, it argues that 
they are exceedingly hardened. The observation is truer of the 
minister ; if he be not a good man, he must needs be extremely 
bad ; for he daily converseth in the great deep of the holy scrip 
tures and there sees and reads such things that, if they do not 
effectually persuade him to piety, it is certain he is a man of an 
obdurate heart. 

What remedy is likely to work this man s cure and repentance? 
Will the dreadful menaces and threats of God s word affright 
him? No; these are daily thundered out of his own mouth, 
and yet to him they are but bruta fulmina. Will the gracious 
promises of God allure him? No; he daily charms his hear 
ers with these, but remains himself as the deaf adder. Will 
those excellent books of learned and pious men, that he reads 
in his study, work any good on him ? No ; he that slights God s 
word will little regard the words of men. Will the public 
prayers make him serious ? No ; he daily reads them, and his 
daily practice is contrary to his daily prayers. Will a medicine 
compounded of the flesh and blood of the Son of God (I mean 
the holy eucharist) do the miserable man any good ? No ; he 
hath frequently received those dear pledges of his Saviour s love, 
and yet is still as bad as ever, and so hath trodden under 
foot the blood of the everlasting covenant, wherewith he should 
have been sanctified. The Lord look upon this man ; for there 
is no hope of him, without a miracle of divine mercy. Nay in 
deed, all these excellent means, by being made familiar to him, 
have lost their efficacy upon him. Our Saviour, methinks, doth 
excellently represent the hopeless condition of a vicious minister, 

Candidates of holy Orders. 267 

by a parable, where speaking to the apostles (considered, I sup 
pose, as ministers of the word) he tells them, Ye are the salt of 
the earth : but, if the salt have lost its savour., wherewithal shall it 
be salted ? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out 
and trodden under foot of men<i. Salt, if it be good, is of excel 
lent use to season many things ; but if it become itself unsavoury, 
it is not only the most useless thing, good for nothing but to 
be cast out, &c. but irrecoverably lost ; there is nothing will fetch 
putrid salt again ; for if the salt hath lost his savour, wherewithal 
shall it be salted? Thus necessary is holiness in a minister, 
both for himself and others. 

I have now done with the difficulty, and consequently with 
the danger, of the pastoral office, represented from the three 
grand requisites thereunto ; a very large knowledge, a great 
prudence, an exemplary holiness. I shall add but one consider 
ation more, of itself abundantly sufficient to evince the whole ; 
viz. That every teacher is accountable for the souls committed to 
his charge. This is the plain doctrine of the author of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews : Obey them, that have the rule over you 
and submit yourselves ; for they watch for your souls, as they 
that must give account*, &c. A dreadful consideration this ! 
And St Chrysostom tells us that, when he read that text, "it 
did Karao-eieii> rr]v ^v^ri", cause a kind of earthquake within 
him and produce a holy fear and trembling in his soul." And 
in his commentary on the text he thus exclaims : "Lord, how 
difficult, how hazardous an undertaking is this ! What shall 
a man say to those wretched men, that rashly thrust themselves 
into such an abyss of judgments? All the souls that are commit 
ted to thy conduct, men, women and children, thou art to 
give an account of 8 . 1 He presently subjoins, "It is a wonder if 
any ruler in the church be saved V A passionate hyperbole, 
expressing his deep sense of the extreme danger of the pastoral 

It is true, indeed, the excellent bishop speaks there of those 
of his own most sacred order, whose place and dignity in the 

i Matt, v, 13. r Heb. xiii, 17. 

s Ba/3at rroaos 6 KivSvvos ! ri av TLS ewroi Trpos TOVS d6\iovs TOVS anpplirro*ras 
favTovs rooravrg rtjucoptcoi/ a/3vcro-<a; iravrtov a>i> ap^as, yvvaiK.a>v, KOL av&ur KOI 
, crv \6yov 

ei nvd eort 

268 A Companion for the 

church of God, as it is eminently higher, their charge greater, 
their inspection more extensive ; so will their account be ac 
cordingly. But yet the same is true, in its proportion, of every 
clergyman, of what order soever he be. So St. Austin express 
ly; "If you mark it, most dear brethren, you shall find that 
all the Lord s priests, not only bishops, but also presbyters 
and ministers of churches, stand in a very hazardous condition V 
And he gives a shrewd reason for what he says a little after ; 
" If at the day of judgment it will be a hard task for every man 
to give an account of his own soul, what will become of 
priests, of whom God will require an account of the souls of 
so many others committed to their charge*?" He concludes, 
" magnum opus, sed grams sdrcina , the care of souls is indeed a 
great work, a noble undertaking, but yet a very grievous bur 
den." He must be a man of very firm shoulders that is not 
crushed under it. 

I have ofttimes, not without wonder and indignation, ob 
served the strange confidence of empirics in physic, that dare 
venture on the practice of that noble art, which they do not at 
all understand ; considering how for a little paltry gain they 
shrewdly hazard, or rather certainly destroy, the health and lives 
of men ; and have judged them worthy of as capital and ignomi 
nious a punishment, as those that kill men on the highways. 
But I have soon exchanged this meditation into another of more 
concernment to myself; and my indignation hath quickly re 
turned into my own bosom, when I consider how much bolder and 
more hazardous an attempt it is for a man to venture on the 
priestly office, to minister to the eternal health and salvation of 
souls : how much skill is requisite to qualify a man for such an 
undertaking ; how great care in the discharge of it ; what a sad 
thing it would be, if, through my unskilfulness or negligence, any 
one soul should miscarry under my hands, or die and perish 
eternally ! 

We minister to souls. Souls ! methinks in that one word 
there is a sermon. Immortal souls ! precious souls ! one where- 

n Si diligenter attenditis, fratres charissimi, omnes sacerdotes Domini, non 
solum episcopos, sed etiam presbyteros et ministros ecclesiarum, in grandi 
periculo esse cognoscetis. 

x Si enim pro se unusquisque vix poterit in die judicii rationem reddere, 
quid de sacerdotibus futurum est, a quibus sunt omnium animae requirendae ? 

Candidates of holy Orders. 269 

of is more worth than all the world besides, the price of the 
blood of the Son of God. 1 close up this with the excellent 
words, appointed by the church to be read at the ordination of 
every priest : " Have always therefore in your remembrance, 
how great a treasure is committed to your charge. For they 
are the sheep of Christ, which he bought with his death, and 
for whom he shed his blood. The church and congregation, 
whom ye serve, is his spouse and body. And if it shall hap 
pen, the same church, or any members thereof, to take any 
hurt or hinderance, by reason of your negligence, you know 
the greatness of the fault, and also the horrible punishment 
that will ensue." 

And now methinks I may use the apostle s words in another 
case ; Ye see your calling, brethren y. You see how extremely 
difficult and hazardous an office it is we have undertaken ; who is 
mfficimt for these tilings z ? whose loins do not tremble at this 
fearful burden on his shoulders? who would not be almost 
tempted to repent himself of his undertaking and to wish him 
self any the meanest mechanic, rather than a minister ? But, alas ! 
this were vain, yea sinful. We are engaged in this sacred office, 
and there is no retreating ; we must now run the hazard, how 
great soever it be ; in we are, and on we must. What shall we 
then say ? what shall we do ? Surely this is our best, yea our 
only course. Let us first prostrate ourselves at the feet of the 
Almighty God, humbly confessing and heartily bewailing our 
great and manifold miscarriages in this weighty undertaking ; let 
us weep tears of blood (if it were possible) for the blood of souls, 
which we have reason to fear may stick upon our garments. 
The blood of souls, I say : for when I consider how many less 
discerned ways there be, whereby a man may involve himself in 
that guilt, as not only by an openly vicious example, but even 
by a less severe, prudent and wary conversation ; not only by 
actions directly criminal, but by lawful actions, when offensive ; 
(for by these the apostle assures us, a man may destroy the soul 
of his weak brother, for whom Christ died*-;) not only by a gross 
negligence and supine carelessness, but by every lesser remis 
sion of those degrees of zeal and diligence, which are requisite 

y i Cor. i, 26. BX/TTfre rr\v KXfj&iv vp&v, a8f\(j)ol. 

1 Ken irpbs ravra ris ucai/d?; a Romans, xiv, 

270 A Companion for the 

in so important an affair : in a word, by not doing all that a man 
can and that lies within his power, to save the souls committed to 
his charge : I say, when I consider this, for mine own part I 
cannot, I dare not justify myself, or plead Not Guilty before the 
great Judge of heaven and earth ; but do, upon the bended 
knees of my soul, bewail my sin and implore his pardoning grace 
and mercy, crying mightily unto him ; Deliver me from this 
blood-guiltiness, my God, thou God of my salvation ; and my 
tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 

Having laid ourselves at God s feet, let us not lie idly there, 
but arise, and for the future do the work of God with all faith 
fulness and industry ; yea, let us make amends for our past 
negligence, by doubling our future diligence. And for our 
encouragement here, let us remember, that though many things 
are required of a minister, yet the chief and most indispensable 
requisites are these two ; a passionate desire to save souls, and 
an unwearied diligence in the pursuit of that noble design. The 
minister that wants these two qualifications will hardly pass the 
test, or gain the approbation of God, the great Judge and Trier ; 
but where these are found, they will cover a multitude of other 
failings and defects. Let us therefore, reverend brethren (and 
may I here conjure both you and myself, by the endeared love 
we bear to our own souls, and the precious souls, committed to 
our charge, yea by the blood of the Son of God, the price of 
both) let us, I beseech you, from henceforth return to our 
several charges, zealously and industriously plying the great 
work and business that is before us. Let us think no pains too 
great, to escape that /uetbz/ K/HJUCI, that greater judgment, that 
otherwise attends us. Let us study hard and read much and 
pray often and preach in season and out of season and catechise 
the youth and take wise opportunities of instructing those, who 
being of riper years may yet be as unripe in knowledge ; and 
visit the sick and according to our abilities relieve the poor, 
shewing to all our flock the example of a watchful, holy, humble 
conversation. And may a great blessing of God crown our 
labours ! Let us go on, and the Lord prosper us ! 

I have done ad clerum, and have but a word more ad populum, 
to the people. 

My brethren, you may possibly think yourselves altogether 
unconcerned in this whole discourse. But if you do, you are 

Candidates of holy Orders. 

mistaken ; all this nearly concerns even you. I shall only point 
to you wherein. 

1. If the pastoral office be so tremendous an undertaking, 
judge then, I pray you, of the sacrilegious boldness and impiety 
of those Uzzahs among the laity, that dare touch this ark, the 
priest s charge and care. If we, my brethren, that have been 
trained up in the schools of the prophets, that have been 
educated with no small care and cost to this employment, that 
have spent a double apprenticeship of years in our studies, and 
most of us a great deal more if we, I say, after all this, find 
reason to tremble at our insufficiency for such an undertaking ; 
how horrible is the confidence, or rather impudence, of those 
mechanics, that have leaped from the shopboard or plough into 
the pulpit, and thus per saltum, by a prodigious leap, com 
menced teachers ! what shall we say to these mountebanks in the 
church, these empirics in theology? I only say this. I can never 
sufficiently admire either their boldness, in venturing to be 
teachers, or the childish folly and simplicity of those, that give 
themselves up to be their disciples. It is a miracle that any 
such person shall dare to preach, or if he do, that any man in his 
right wits should vouchsafe to hear him. 

2. This discourse concerning the difficulty and hazard of the 
priestly office shews sufficiently all the people s danger. It is 
the danger your own souls are in, my brethren, if not carefully 
looked to, that is the great hazard of your office. therefore, if 
you do consider it, what need have you to look to yourselves ! 

3. Lastly, if our work and office be attended with this difficulty, 
sure it is your duty to pity us, to pray for us, to encourage us, 
by all possible ways and means, to the vigorous performance of 
it ; at least not to add to our load, or discourage us, either by 
your wayward factiousness, or stubborn profaneness, or sacri 
legious injustice : if you do, sad will be your account. 

Eemember therefore the advice t of the apostle b ; Obey them 
that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves ; for they 
watch for your souls, as they that must give an account ; that 
they may do this (i. e. attend on this work of watching over your 
souls) with joy, and not with grief c . Grotius s paraphrase is 
here most genuine ; " Sweeten and allay the irksome labour of 
your teachers, by performing to them all offices of respect and 

Hebrews xiii, 17. c "Ij/a /JLCTO. xapas TOVTO TTOIWCTI, KCU p.r] 

272 A Companion for the Candidates of holy Orders. 

love, that they may, with alacrity and not with grief, discharge 
that function, which is of itself a sufficient burden without any 
addition of sorrow from you d ." 

Now to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, he ascribed all 
honour and glory, adoration and worship, loth now and for 
ever. Amen. 

d Mulcete eum laborem omnibus obsequiis et officiis, ut cum alacritate 
potius quam dolore fungantur munere satis gravi, etiamsi a vobis nihil 
triste accedat. 










Reverend brethren of the clergy, 

JL SHALL not waste my time and little strength, by detaining 
you with a long and useless preface. In short, my business 
at this time shall be to set before you the several parts and 
branches of that holy office and function which you have under 
taken, together with some rules and directions which are neces 
sary to be observed for the due performance of each of them. 

The principal parts and branches of the pastoral office are 
these five : 

First, Reading divine service, or the prayers of the church. 

Secondly, Preaching. 

Thirdly, Catechising. 

Fourthly, Administering the holy sacraments of Baptism and 
the Lord s supper. 

Fifthly and lastly, Visiting of the sick. 

First, Reading divine service, or the prayers of the church. 
This some may think to be a slight and easy matter, that needs 


274 A Companion for the 

not any advice or directions ; but they are very much mistaken. 
For to the reading of the prayers aright, there is need of great 
care and caution. The prayers of the church must be read 
audibly, distinctly and reverently. 

1. Audibly, so that, if possible, all that are present may hear 
them and join in them. There are some that mutter the prayers, 
as if they were to pray only to themselves, whereby they exclude 
most of the congregation from the benefit of them. 

2. The prayers of the church ought to be read distinctly and 
leisurely ; not to be galloped over, as the manner of some is, 
who read the prayers so fast that they outrun the attention and 
devotion of the people, not giving them time to join with them 
or to make their responses -in their due places. This rule is to 
be observed in reading the prayers throughout, but especially in 
reading the Decalogue or Ten Commandments in the second 
service. There are some that read the Commandments so thick 
one upon another, that the people have not time to add that 
excellent prayer to each of them, Lord, have mercy upon us, and 
incline our hearts to keep this law. 

To this head, of distinct reading the prayers, 1 shall only add 
this one observation. Whereas upon Sundays and holydays the 
church hath appointed a first and second service to be read one 
after another, it is convenient that there be a decent interval 
betwixt them. For judge, I pray you, how absurd it may seem, 
to conclude the first service with St. Chrysostom s prayer, and 
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and immediately, without 
any intermission, to enter upon the second service. 

I verily believe the first intention of the church was, that 
these two services should be read at two several times in the 
morning ; but now custom and the rubric direct us to use them 
both at the same time. Yet in cathedral or mother churches, 
here is still a decent distinction between the two services : for 
before the priest goes to the altar to read the second service, 
there is a short but excellent anthem sung ; in imitation where 
of, in the churches of London, and in other greater churches 
of the country, instead of that anthem there is part of a psalm 

3. And lastly, the prayers of the church are to be read with 
great reverence and devotion, so as to excite and kindle devo 
tion in the congregation. Thus the prayers of the church are to 
be read, if we would keep up the reputation of them and render 

Candidates of holy Orders. 275 

them useful to the people. But alas ! there are too many minis 
ters who, by disorderly and indecent and irreverent reading 
of the liturgy, disgrace it and expose it to contempt. To whom 
the church may complain, as one of old in the poet did of the ill 
rehearsal of his oration : 

Quern recitas meus est, O Fidentine, libellus ; 
Sed male dum recitas, incipit esse tuns. 

The book of prayers, which ye read, is indeed mine : but at 
the sad rate you read it, I am ashamed of it ; it is none of mine, 
but your*s. 

I am verily persuaded that this is one cause that there are so 
many sectaries and separatists among us. They find so little 
reverence and devotion in the use of our common prayers that 
they cannot away with them, but run from the church to the 
conventicle, where they hope to find more devotion. 

II. Another part of the pastoral office is preaching, i. e. (as we 
commonly use the word) taking a text or portion of scripture, 
explaining it, raising some useful point of doctrine from it, and 
applying it to the edification of the hearers. For otherwise the 
bare reading of the scriptures is sometimes called preaching ; as 
Acts xv, 21. For Moses (that is, the writings of Moses) of old 
time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the 
synagogues every sabbath day. But here I take the word preach 
ing in the forementioned sense, as now it is used. This is a 
noble part of the pastor s duty, but difficult ; it is not a work 
that every one should undertake or can perform : for it requires 
the knowledge and understanding of the holy scriptures, and, in 
order thereunto, some skih 1 in the learned languages and other 
parts of human learning ; it requires a good judgment and 
discretion, I add elocution too. The time will not give me leave 
(if I were able) to set before you all the rules or precepts of the 
art of preaching and to give you an entire system of it. There 
are many learned men, who have written full treatises of this 
subject ; I mention only our excellent bishop Wilkins, who hath 
published a treatise, entitled, Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher, 
which I recommend to the reading of younger divines and first 
beginners in the art of preaching : to whom also I give this 
further advice, that they should not at first trust to their own 
compositions, but furnish themselves with store of the best ser 
mons that have been published by the learned divines of our 

276 A Companion for the 

church. These they should read often and study to imitate 
them, and in time they will attain to a habit of good preaching 
themselves. Among the printed sermons, those of the late 
archbishop Tillotson are well known and approved by all. 

But what shall be done in those poor parishes where there are 
as poor ministers, altogether incapable of performing this duty of 
preaching in any tolerable manner? I answer that, in such 
places, ministers, instead of sermons of their own, should use the 
Homilies of the church, which ought to be in every parish. And 
they would do well also, now and then, to read a chapter or 
section out of the Whole Duty of Man, which, I presume, is 
translated into the Welsh tongue. I add that it would be a 
piece of charity, if the clergy of the neighbourhood to such 
places, who are better qualified, would sometimes visit those dark 
corners and lend some of their light to them, by bestowing now 
and then a sermon on the poor people, suited to their capacities 
and necessities. They have my leave, yea and authority so to 
do ; and they may be sure the good God will not fail to reward 

III. The third work of the pastor s office is catechising, with 
out which preaching will not be sufficient. For if people be not 
well instructed in the necessary principles of religion when they 
are young, they will hardly attain to any sound knowledge when 
they are old. For according to the Greek apophthegm, 

NeKpbv larpevtiv, KCLL yepovTa vov&treiv, TCLVTOV (m, 

To instruct an ignorant old man, and to raise a dead man, are 
things almost equally difficult. I shall not insist upon this sub 
ject ; for the usefulness and necessity of catechising is acknow 
ledged by all, though the work itself is by many of the clergy 
sadly neglected. Where such neglect is, it is the duty of the 
churchwardens to present. I shall make it my business to see 
this fault amended. 

IV. Another and a main part of the priest s office, is the 
administration of the holy sacraments, Baptism and the Lord s 

First, for Baptism; the church strictly requires that it be 
performed publicly, in the house of God, not in private houses, 
except in case of real necessity ; as when a child is weak and 
cannot without endangering itself be brought to church. But 
notwithstanding this strict order of our church, in most places in 

Candidates of holy Orders. 277 

this country, baptism is altogether administered in private houses, 
and scarce any (if any) baptized in the church. If this may be 
allowed, away with the fonts in your churches, what do they 
signify? To what purpose are they there? If all the authority I 
am invested with can do it, I will see this lamentable abuse of 
the sacrament of Baptism reformed. 

But further observe that, as our church strictly requires that 
baptism be administered in public, so it advises that it be 
performed (if conveniently it may be) on the Lord s day, in a 
full congregation of Christian people. Hear the words of the 
rubric : 

u The people are to be admonished that it is most convenient 
that baptism should not be administered but upon Sundays and 
other holydays, when the most number of people come together ; 
as well for that the congregation there present may testify the 
receiving of them that be newly baptized into the number of 
Christ s church, as also because, in the baptism of infants, every 
man present may be put in remembrance of his own profession 
made to God in baptism." 

I take leave to add that it is most for the interest of the infant 
to be so baptized, that it may have the benefit of the united 
prayers of a full Christian congregation, which is much to be 
valued. Methinks there should be no need of urging this to 
parents, that have any real love or affection to their children. 
This would incline them to desire that themselves, which the 
church desires of them. Remember, I beseech you, that your 
children are to be but once baptized : and what is but once done 
ought to be well done, in the best and most perfect manner. 

To come to the other sacrament, the Eucharist, or holy sup 
per : this is the most sacred and mysterious rite, the apex, the 
top and perfection of Christian worship, as the ancients term it; 
and therefore it ought to be performed with the greatest rever 
ence and solemnity in every punctilio of it, according to the 
direction of our church in her rubric to the Communion Office. 
But this you are especially to take care of, that you administer 
not the holy sacrament to persons known to be vicious and scan 
dalous. Hear the rubric of the church to this purpose, viz. 

c So many as intend to be partakers of the holy communion 
shall signify their names to the curate at least some time the 
day before. And if any of those be an open and notorious 

\!78 A Companion for the 

evil liver, or have done any wrong to his neighbours, by word 
or deed, so that the congregation be thereby offended : the 
curate, having knowledge thereof, shall call him and advertise 
him, that in anywise he presume not to come to the Lord s 
table, until he hath openly declared himself to have truly re 
pented and amended his former naiiirhtv life, that the con^resra- 

O it O O 

tion may thereby be satisfied, which before were offended; and 
that he hath recompensed the parties to whom he hath done 
wrong, or at least declare himself to be in full purpose so to 
do, as soon as he conveniently may." 

w / 

I am not ignorant that there are some who plead for a free 
admission to the Lord s table, of all that are members of the 
visible church, and not yet excommunicated : and exclaim 
against the exclusion of men from the holy communion, as a 
device and usurpation of the presbyterians and other sectaries. 
But these men are grossly mistaken, for you see it is the express 
order of our church. I add, that the same order was observed 
in the primitive and apostolical churches. For Justin Martyr, 
who flourished within forty years after the apostolic age (i. e. 
after the death of St. John the apostle") in his second Apology 
tells us. that in his time none were admitted to the holy eu- 


diarist but those who lived according to the law of Christ. It 
is a received distinction among divines, that there is a twofold 
excommunication, excommumcatio major et minor, "the greater 
and the lesser excommunication." The greater excommuni 
cation is an exclusion of a man from the communion of the 
church and the public ordinances universally. The lesser ex 
communication is indeed in order to prevent the greater and to 
bring men under the discipline and correction of the church, for 
the amendment of their lives, that so at length they may be fit 
to be admitted to the holy communion. 

So our church informs us ir her rubric to the Communion 
Office, where the minister, repelling any from the communion, is 
required " to give an account thereof to the ordinary within 
fourteen days after at the furthest ; and the ordinary shall pro 
ceed against the offending person, according to the canon." 
So much for the administration of the holy sacraments of Baptism 
and the Lord s supper. 

V. I come to the fifth and last part of the pastoral office, viz. 
visiting the sick. For this we have an express command in the 

Candidate* of My Orders. 

holy scriptures, Is any sick a r i noun you, let /ton call for the elders 
of the church^, i. e. the presbyters of the church ; as supposing 
they may not otherwise h?ivo notice of his sickne- Sick men 
too commonly neglect this duty, oftentimes out of fear, proceed 
ing from an evil conscience. They look upon the minister s 
coming to their sick bed as a kind of a messenger of death, for 
which they are not so well prepared. But if the sick man does 
not send for his minister, the minister (having other notice of his 
sickness) ought to go to him without being sent for. 

How to perform this duty towards sick men aright, our church 
fully directs him, in her excellent Office of the Visitation of the 
Sick, which is so full and perfect that there needs nothing to be 
added to it. 

But observe further that it is the pastor s duty to visit his 
parishioners, not only when they are sick, but also when they 
are well and in good health; not only with common neighbourly 
visits, but visiting them to the purposes of salvation. He 
should sometimes go home to their houses, and minister to their 
souls in private, mildly reproving them for what faults he 
observes in them, admonishing them of such duties as he knows 
them to be ignorant of; as not coming constantly to church, not 
frequenting the communion and the like. He is there seriously 
to call upon them, to mind them of the great concern of their 
immortal souls, in time to prepare for sickness and death and 
the tremendous judgment that follows. Such particular private 
applications of the minister to his parishioners are highly useful, 
and will render the public ordinances more beneficial to them. 

To you, my brethren of the clergy, I shall conclude all I have 
to say, in a short but serious and affectionate exhortation. 

1. In the first place, and above all things, follow after holiness, 
without which no man shall see the Lord. Holiness is a qualifica 
tion indispensably required in every Christian, and that sub 
pericido animce. as he hopes to be saved, and to see the face of God 
in heaven. And can it be imagined that a minister of God 
should be saved without it \ Nay, he is obliged to holiness in a 
double capacity, both as a Christian and as a minister. As a 
minister, his calling obliges him to be almost perpetually con 
versant about holy things ; which he profanes, if he be not him 
self a holy person. He profanes < rod s holy worship, his holy 

* James v, 14. 

280 A Companion for the 

word and his holy sacraments ; and God will most certainly and 
severely punish such profaners of his sacred things. 

Nay, a minister of God is obliged to an exemplary holiness. 
Epiphanius tells us that the duty of the laity is TO av^^rpov KCLI 
TO (TvyyvtovTov, a more moderate measure of piety, suited to their 
capacity and tempered with a greater indulgence and mercy. 
But from the clergy is expected ^ Tiept TiavTuv a/cpt/3oAoyta, a 
more exact and accurate course of life in all things. And St. Paul 
speaks to the same purpose, when he charges Titus to shew 
himself in all things an example or pattern of good worJcs c . For 
every pattern must be excellent and extraordinary and such as 
is worthy of imitation. This the people will expect from us, 
that we should go before them and lead them on to virtue and 
piety by our example. And however they fail in other civilities, 
they will be sure generally to observe this piece of good manners, 
they will readily give us the precedence in the way to heaven 
and be content to follow us at a very humble distance. So that 
our conversation must be somewhat extraordinary, if we expect 
by our example to bring them up to the ordinary and necessary 
measures of piety ; and we shall hardly be able to do well, unless 
we ourselves do somewhat excellently. 

2. Be diligent, very diligent in the business of your calling ; 
for it is a laborious calling that will not admit of ease and idle 
ness. I speak especially to the younger clergy ; ply your 
studies, give yourselves to reading, chiefly the holy scriptures 
and the writings of learned men, that have explained them to 

The exhortations of St. Paul to Timothy are full to this pur 
pose ; Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to 
doctrine, meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly to them, 
that thy profiting may appear unto all&. Consider, I beseech 
you, what kind of person he was, whom St. Paul thus exhorts : 
he was one, who from a child knew the holy scriptures; one 
that had the gift of prophecy and was endued with extraordi 
nary and even miraculous gifts. This man St. Paul earnestly 
calls upon to be diligent in reading and study ; what need then 
have we, even the best of us, of this diligence, who are so very 
far short of his accomplishments ! In a word, an idle person in 
any calling whatsoever is very contemptible ; but an idle and 

c Titus ii, 7. d x Tim. iv, 13, 15. 

Candidates of holy Orders. 281 

lazy parochial priest is of all mortals the most contemptible and 
inexcusable. What ! so much business, and that of so great 
importance as the salvation of men s souls, and yet idle I For the 
Lord s sake shake off sloth, rouse up and bestir yourselves in the 
business of your calling, remembering that the souls of your 
people and your own souls are at stake. 

3. And lastly, be much and often in prayer to God, especially 
in private prayer. Content not yourselves with reading prayers 
at church, but take care also that there be daily prayers in your 
families, at least morning and evening ; and some time every day 
retire to your studies, and there, upon your bended knees, 
earnestly beseech Almighty God to have mercy on you, to direct 
and assist you in your studies and to give you good success in 
your labours. Pray for the souls of the people committed to 
your charge ; pray for your own souls that, while you preach to 
others, you yourselves may not be castaways. 

If you do these things; if you adorn your holy profession 
with a holy conversation ; if you be diligent in the business of 
your calling; if you pray daily to God for his help and assist 
ance ; he will not fail to be with you and to carry you through 
all difficulties with honour and success; and in the end your 
reward will be great and glorious, and an abundant compensation 
of all your labours. So St. Peter tells you in that excellent text, 
with which I shall conclude ; Feed the flock of God, which is 
among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, hut 
willingly ; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind ; neither as 
being lords over God s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And 
when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of 
glory that fadeth not away*. 

e i Peter v, 2, 3, 4. 







To which is added, 

His CHARGE to the Clergy, in his last Visitation, begun in the Year 

1 741 and finished in the Year 1 742. 

EDMUND GIBSON was born in the Parish of Bampton, 
Westmoreland, in 1669; and went, from the Free Grammar 
School there, to Queen s College, Oxford, in 1686. He took 
the Degree of M. A. in 1694; and was elected Fellow of his 
College in 1696, having previously distinguished himself, in 
the University, by several publications that shewed diligent 
research and much Antiquarian learning. One of these, 
dedicated to Dr. Tenison, then Bishop of Lincoln, gained for 
him the favourable notice of that Prelate, who soon afterwards 
became Archbishop of Canterbury and appointed him, first, 
Librarian and then, Domestic Chaplain, at Lambeth. His 
relation to the Primate led him to take a prominent part in 
the disputes of those times between the Two Houses of Con 
vocation ; and his services were rewarded by a series of Pre 
ferments, among which were the Rectory of Lambeth and the 
Archdeaconry of Surrey. 

In 1716, upon the death of his Patron and the promotion of 
Dr. Wake, then Bishop of Lincoln, to the Archbishopric, he 
was appointed Bishop of Lincoln ; and in 1723, was translated 
to the See of London. There he found full scope for his 
great abilities in transacting business ; especially during the pro 
tracted decline of Archbishop Wake, whose duties, in many in 
stances, devolved on him. A general expectation that he would 
succeed the Primate, for whom he had long and efficiently 
acted, was in the event disappointed. Surviving the Arch 
bishop many years, he continued to preside over the Diocese 
of London and persevered in the labours of a faithful chief 
Pastor of CHRIST S Church, until he died in 1748. 

Of his numerous Works one of the principal is the " Codex 
Juris Ecclesiastic! Anglicani," which was originally published 


by himself in 1713 ; but, in a Second Edition, with large 
additions from Papers left by the Author, at Oxford, in 1761. 

He edited, in 1738, three vols. folio, entitled: " A Preser- 
" vative against Popery ; a Collection of Discourses upon the 
" principal heads of Controversy between Protestants and 
" Papists, being written and published by the most eminent 
" Divines of the Church of England, chiefly in the Reign of 
" James II." This excellent work has been republished, with 
some additions, in eighteen volumes octavo, London, 1848, 






Reverend brethren, 

\\ HEN it pleased his majesty to translate me to the see of 
London, upon the death of a pious predecessor now with God, 
I was very sensible of the great weight and difficulty of the 
charge, as requiring almost perpetual attendances of one kind or 
another, and entangled with a greater variety of emergencies 
and more exposed to the observation and censure of the world, 
than the administration of any other diocese. But as I was 
called to this charge without any application or endeavour on my 
own part, I considered it as a providential appointment and 
firmly trusted that the same God, whose providence had called 
me to it, would graciously direct and support me in the discharge 
of it, to his glory and the good of his church. 

And next to the divine goodness, upon which I humbly rely 
for such a measure of wisdom and understanding and such 
strength of body and resolution of mind, as a station of so much 
labour and difficulty requires, I must depend upon the kind and 
unanimous assistance of you, my reverend brethren ; and 1 doubt 
not but you will be ready on all occasions to join with me in 

288 The Bishop of London s 

preserving and establishing order and discipline within this 
diocese ; which, as it is adorned with the capital city of the 
kingdom, from whence, as from a fountain, good and evil are 
derived to all parts of the kingdom ; and as it may well be pre 
sumed to abound with persons of greater learning, knowledge 
and experience, than any other diocese ; ought upon both these 
accounts to be a pattern of order and discipline to the whole 
nation. And more particularly ought it to be the pattern of a 
regular behaviour in the clergy and of an exact performance of 
the public offices of the church ; upon which two it may most 
truly be said that national piety and religion do mainly depend; 
nothing being more clear in experience than that the spirit of 
piety and religion decays or increases in particular parishes, 
according as the incumbent sets a good or bad example, and 
the public offices in the church are reverently or negligently 

For the promoting these good ends, I choose, at my first 
coming to you, to put into your hands some rules and observa 
tions, which more particularly relate to those two important 
points. For though I doubt not but as many of the clergy of 
this diocese as have been a long time incumbents in it and have 
reaped the full advantage of books and conversation, which is its 
peculiar blessing, are abundantly instructed in the several 
branches of the pastoral office ; yet it must be remembered, that 
there are many others, whose age observation and experience 
are much less ; and to them therefore I would be understood 
more especially to apply myself, in suggesting such rules as are 
of most constant use and seem to me to be most needful, for 
discharging the ministerial function, with honour to the church 
and edification to the people : resolving also to put them into the 
hands of those who will have yet greater need of them, I mean, 
all such as I shall hereafter appoint to parochial cures, whether 
by institution or license. And if the rules which I have laid down 
shall be thought plain and obvious, it is a sufficient answer that 
they are useful : since it may be truly said of all rules for the 
conduct of human life in any branch whatsoever that, the more 
plain the rule is, the more important the duty. 

And because I shall begin with the decent and regular 
performance of the public offices of the church; that which I 
must mention in the first place, as a general preparation for the 
rest, is, 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 289 

I. The decency of the place in which those offices are to be 
performed, in point of repairs, cleanliness and all accommodations 
of books, vessels, vestments and other things, which the rubrics 
and canons of the church suppose and require. For nothing is 
more certain than that the solemn appearance of the place is the 
means of begetting a reverence in the minds of the persons, and 
a suitable honour for the public worship of God ; and, on the 
other hand, all mean and unseemly appearances in the house of 
God and all neglects of the decent and necessary preparations 
for his public worship, beget an indolence and inactivity in the 
minds of the congregation and a contempt, or at least a disre 
gard, of the worship itself. So that the observation is ordinarily 
true that the want of decency and cleanliness in the house of 
God is a sign of the want of true piety and devotion in the hearts 
of the people. God be thanked, there has of late years been an 
unusual zeal in this nation for the repairing and beautifying 
parochial churches and furnishing them with all proper ac 
commodations for the decent and orderly performance of divine 
service : but where that spirit has not yet prevailed and the 
churches appear to need it, I must beseech you to do all that is 
in your power to raise it among the people ; and particularly, 
I must beseech every rector to set his parishioners a good ex 
ample upon this head, as well as others, by keeping his chancel 
not only in good repair, but in a decent condition. 

The decency and solemnity of the place being thus provided 
for ; that which comes first under consideration among the duties 
to be performed in it is, 

II. The reading of divine service to the congregation. An 
office that is usually reckoned a matter of course, which all 
clergymen are equally capable of performing and which they 
can hardly perform amiss ; and yet it is most certain that the 
edification of the people and the honour of the liturgy itself 
depend a great deal upon the manner of performing it ; that is, 
upon the reading it audibly, distinctly and solemnly. It is an 
absurdity and an iniquity, which we justly charge upon the 
church of Rome, that her public service is in a tongue unknown 
to the people ; but though our service is in a known tongue, it 
must be owned that, as the reading it without being heard makes 
it to all intents and purposes an unknown tongue, so confused 
and indistinct reading, with every degree thereof, is a gradual 
approach to it. The dissenters object against our public liturgy, 


290 The Bishop of London 

that it is cold and lifeless and unaffecting : but though the 
objection has no force in itself (what they call cold and lifeless 
being no more than grave and serious, as all public liturgies 
ought to be) yet we may give it very great force by running 
over the service in a cold and unaffecting manner. Our people 
themselves are too apt, in their own minds, to vilify and depre 
ciate this part of our public service, as that which is ready com 
posed to the minister s hand and requires no further talent than 
the bare reading ; but we find by experience to what degrees 
this objection vanishes, and how devoutly and reverently the 
service is attended to, where it has the just advantage of being 
read in a distinct, solemn and affectionate manner. In a word, 
it is in vain to hope that "the people will be zealous, if they see 
the minister indifferent, or that any service will be duly attended 
to, which is not recommended to them as a matter of great 
concern and importance, by being performed in a serious and 
affecting way ; and whenever we perform it carelessly and pre 
cipitately, we must forgive them if they believe that we ac 
count it a task and a burden to us, which we are willing to get 
rid of with as little trouble and in as short a time as we can : 
a consideration that will oblige me to resist, to the utmost of 
my power and where there is not the most evident necessity, all 
attempts in ministers to charge themselves with the performing 
of divine service on any Lord s day more than twice ; as it is a 
practice which for the most part must render the service less 
affecting and edifying as to the people, and almost unavoidably 
draws the reproaches I have mentioned, both upon the liturgy 
and the minister. 

I am aware that the duty which I am now pressing is not 
equally in every one^s power; all men having not an equal 
strength and felicity of voice. And, considering how much 
depends upon these qualifications, in order to an useful and 
honourable discharge of the ministerial office, it is much to be 
wished that greater regard were had to them, in making choice 
of persons for the sacred function ; and particularly, that in the 
education of those who are designed for the ministry, the right 
forming of the voice were made one special care from the very 
beginning, in our schools, as well as universities : a care, which 
however omitted by others, it is to be hoped will not be forgot 
ten by such clergymen who have sons that are intended for the 
ministry; because they know by experience and cannot but 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 291 

sensibly feel, the great importance and advantage of it. In the 
mean time, with regard to those who are already admitted to 
holy orders, I must beg leave to observe that, as on one hand 
there are few whose perfections and abilities in this way are so 
complete by nature as to supersede all endeavours after further 
improvement ; so, on the other hand, there are not many, whose 
natural talents are so very defective and unhappy as to be 
incapable of being bettered by care and observation. At least, 
it is very certain that none are so irregularly framed as not to 
be capable of officiating in a devout and serious manner, such as 
shall shew that the person who officiates is himself thoroughly 
affected ; and this, where it appears, makes such a strong and 
constant impression upon the minds of the congregation as goes 
a great way to atone for other failings, which they see to be 
natural and unavoidable. But a supine, careless and indevout 
way of performing divine service is utterly inexcusable both 
with God and man. 

When ministers have given it the utmost advantages they can, 
they will find it to be all little enough to keep up the attention 
and devotion of the people ; whose minds are overwhelmed with 
worldly cares and too little accustomed to spiritual exercises of 
any kind. However, ministers who officiate in that devout and 
affectionate way do a great deal towards the raising in them a 
spirit of devotion ; and more they cannot do, unless the people 
will be persuaded to the practice of family devotion ; which 
would hinder the mind from being drowned in worldly thoughts 
and habituate it to the moving and approaching towards heaven ; 
and which therefore I must entreat you to promote in your 
several parishes to the utmost of your power, with this view, 
among others, that greater degrees of attention and devotion 
may be seen in our public assemblies. For the same end, I 
will take this occasion to mention one thing more ; and that is, 
the practice of saying grace before and after meals ; which, 
however small it may seem, yet being a devout acknowledgment 
of the providence of God over us and of our dependence upon 
him, it would be another good means of keeping up a spirit of 
piety and devotion in families, if it were brought into constant 

III. Besides that part in our public devotions which properly 
belongs to the minister, there is another, which, though it 
belongs to the whole body of the congregation, will hardly be 

u 2 

The Bishop of London s 

performed in a decent and edifying manner, without some pre 
vious care and assistance on his part ; I mean the singing of 
psalms. This is a divine and heavenly exercise, which the 
scripture recommends to us as one special means of edification ; 
and being then in its greatest perfection, when it is performed 
by Christians in a joint harmony of heart and voice, it has been 
ever accounted a standing part of public devotion, not only in 
the Jewish but in the Christian church. And in the church of 
England particularly, whose Sunday-service is made up of three 
offices, which were originally distinct and in their natures are 
so, there is the greater need of the intervention of psalmody, 
that the transitions from one service to another may not be too 
sudden and abrupt. This exercise therefore, being a part of our 
public devotions and very useful when it is duly and regularly 
performed, must not be forgotten, while we are considering of 
proper rules for decency and edification in the church ; especi 
ally, since it is so plain in experience that, where no care is 
taken in this matter, the performance will be very indecent and 
indeed shocking. 

To prevent that, and to provide for due solemnity in this part 
of our public service as well as the rest, I have often wished 
that every minister would take the trouble of directing the 
choice of proper psalms ; or rather that they would once for all 
fix and establish a course of psalms, to be given out and sung in 
their order. By which means, the congregation might be fur 
nished with those which are most proper and also with a due 
variety ; and, by degrees, the most useful parts of the Book of 
Psalms would be implanted in the minds of the people and 
become familiar to them. 

With a view to those good ends, and by way of assistance to 
the younger clergy, I have subjoined to these directions a course 
of singing-psalms ; which may be gone through every six 
months, and is so ordered, as to consist of a proper mixture, 
1. of praises and thanksgivings, 2. of prayer to God and trust in 
him, and, 3. of precepts and motives to a godly life. But when 
I put this into your hands, I would not be understood to direct, 
but only to recommend the use of it ; leaving you at full liberty 
to choose any other parts of the Book of Psalms which you may 
judge proper ; provided you leave not the choice to the parish 
clerk, which I earnestly desire you will not. 

And, to the end the psalms so chosen may be sung in a more 

Directions to Ms Clergy, 1724. 293 

decent manner, it is further to be wished that the people of 
every parish, and especially the youth, were trained up and 
accustomed to an orderly way of singing some of the psalm tunes 
which are most plain and easy and of most common use ; since 
that is the proper season of forming the voice as well as the 
mind, and the regularity into which it is then cast with great 
ease will remain with them during life, and not only enable them 
to contribute their part to the decency of this performance, but, 
even for the sake of that talent, will incline them to be constant 
in attending the public service of the church. 

But when I recommend the bringing your people, whether 
old or young, to a decent and orderly way of singing psalms, I 
do by no means recommend to you or them the inviting or 
encouraging those idle instructors, who of late years have gone 
about the several countries to teach tunes uncommon and out of 
the way ; (which very often are as ridiculous as they are new ; 
and the consequence of which is that the greatest part of the 
congregation, being unaccustomed to them, are silenced and do not 
join in this exercise at all ;) but my meaning is, that you should 
endeavour to bring your whole congregation, men and women, 
old and young, or at least as many as you can, to sing five or six 
of the plainest and best known tunes, in a decent, regular and 
uniform manner, so as to be able to bear their part in them 
at the public service of the church, 

Which last advantage, of bringing the whole congregation to 
join in this exercise, will be best obtained, especially in country 
parishes, by directing the clerk to read the psalm line by line, as 
they go on; by which means, they who cannot read will yet 
be able to bear a part in singing ; and even they who can nei 
ther read nor sing will receive, from the matter of the psalm, 
both instruction in their duty and improvement in their 

Under this head, I must take notice of the choice of parish 
clerks, who are assistants to the minister in performing divine 
service and are still in his nomination, by canon in all places, 
and by custom also in most. And upon this account, their qua 
lifications, "of honest conversation and sufficiency for reading, 
writing and singing/yare specially provided for in the ninety- 
first canon of our church ; which was made on purpose to guard 
against the indecencies that parish clerks, who are not duly qua 
lified, always bring into the public worship. In conformity to 

The Bishop of London s 

which canon, it is to be hoped that, as there shall be occasion, 
ministers (setting aside all private regards and applications) will 
choose such persons to be their clerks as are known to be of 
sober conversation and of ability to perform the part that 
belongs to them (especially in the point of psalmody) decently 
and laudably. 

If what I have said under this head, concerning psalmody and 
the qualifications of parish clerks, shall be thought a descending 
to points too little and unworthy of regard, let it be remembered 
that nothing can be called little, which conduces in any degree to 
so great an end, as is the decent and orderly performance of the 
public worship of God. 

But to return to the duties which belong to the minister 

IV. What has been said under the second head, concerning 
the advantages of reading in a distinct and affectionate manner, 
equally holds in the duty of preaching ; the effects and impres 
sions whereof, with the several degrees of them, do net more 
depend upon any one thing than the manner of delivering. 
When Demosthenes was asked, What was the first qualification 
of a good orator ? his answer was, Pronunciation ; and being 
further asked, what was the second ? and after that, what was 
the third ? he still went on to answer, Pronunciation ; ut earn 
mderi posset, non prcecipuam, sed solam, judicasse, as Quintilian 
adds, who relates the passage. Thus it always has been and 
always will be, in mixed and popular assemblies. And the pro 
per inference from thence is not to fall into complaints that 
empty sounds should in so many instances obtain greater praise 
and a more favourable acceptance, than good sense expressed in 
proper language ; but let the inference be, an endeavour to 
recommend good sense by the advantage of good elocution. For 
it is in vain to contend against experience ; and in experience 
nothing is more plain and certain than the great importance of 
a distinct and graceful elocution, both to the honour of the 
preacher and the edification of the hearers ; and therefore an 
endeavour after it is a justice that is owing as well to your 
own compositions as to the souls which are committed to 
your care. 

But although the church having composed a public service to 
our hands, all that is required on our part is the reading it in 
a distinct, serious and affectionate manner ; yet the work of 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 295 

preaching, being now left by the church entirely to incumbents, 
requires an additional care as to matter, method and other cir 
cumstances. In speaking to which heads I would not have it 
understood, as if my design were to enter into the general rules 
of preaching : this has been often done already by much abler 
hands : and my only aim is to give a check to some particular 
irregularities in this way, which young men are apt to fall 
into and which, in my opinion, tend to defeat the main ends 
of public preaching, especially in mixed and popular congre 

To prevent this, it must be always remembered, in the first 
place, that we are Christian preachers and not barely preachers 
of morality. For though it is true that one end of Christ s 
coming was to correct the false glosses and interpretations of the 
moral law and, in consequence thereof, one end of his instituting 
a ministry must be, to prevent the return of those abuses, by 
keeping up in the minds of men a true notion of natural religion 
and a just sense of their obligations to the performance of moral 
duties ; yet it is also true that the main end of his coming 
was to establish a new covenant with mankind, founded upon 
new terms and new promises ; to shew us a new way of obtain 
ing forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God and eternal 
happiness ; and to prescribe rules of greater purity and holiness, 
by way of preparation for greater degrees of happiness and 
glory. These (that is, the several branches of what we may call 
the mediatorial scheme, with the several duties annexed to and 
resulting from each branch) are, without doubt, the main ingre 
dients of the gospel state ; those, by which Christianity stands 
distinguished from all other religions, and Christians are raised 
to far higher hopes and far greater degrees of purity and per 
fection. In which views it would seem strange, if a Christian 
preacher were to dwell only upon such duties as are common to 
Jews, Heathens and Christians ; and were not more especially 
obliged to dwell on and inculcate those principles and doctrines, 
which are the distinguishing excellencies of the Christian reli 
gion, and by the knowledge and practice of which, more especi 
ally, every Christian is entitled to the blessings and privileges of 
the gospel covenant. 

But yet so it is, that these subjects are too much forgotten 
among young preachers ; who, being better acquainted with 
morality than divinity, fall naturally into the choice of moral 

296 The Bishop of London s 

rather than divine subjects and will of course do so, till the two 
subjects are equally considered and understood. And this par 
tiality (if I may so call it) to one above the other seems to have 
had its rise from the ill times, when, the pulpits being much 
taken up with some favourite points of divinity, discourses upon 
moral heads were less common ; and after those times were over, 
their successors, upon the Restoration, desirous to correct that 
error and to be upon the whole as little like their predecessors 
as might be, seem to have fallen into the contrary extreme ; 
that probably in many places the heads of divinity began so 
to be as rarely treated of, as the heads of morality had been 

The thing therefore, which I would recommend to young 
preachers is, to avoid both the extremes, by ordering the choice 
of their subjects in such a manner that each of those heads may 
have its proper share and their hearers be duly instructed upon 
both. Only, with these cautions in relation to moral subjects ; 
that, upon all such occasions, justice be done at the same time 
to Christianity, by taking special notice of the improvements 
which it has made in each branch of the moral scheme, and 
warning their hearers not to rest in the righteousness of a moral 
heathen, but to aspire to Christian perfection ; and, in the next 
place, that all moral discourses be enriched by examples and 
illustrations from scripture ; which, besides its being more fa 
miliar to the people than any other writings, has in it such a 
noble plainness and simplicity as far surpasses all the beauties 
and elegancies that are so much admired in heathen authors. 
To which give me leave to add a third observation, with regard 
to the doctrines and duties, peculiarly belonging to the Christ 
ian scheme or the new covenant ; that the true way to secure 
to these their proper share, is the setting apart some certain sea 
sons of the year for catechetical discourses, whether in the way 
of expounding or preaching ; which being carried on regularly, 
though at different times, according to the order and method of 
the Church Catechism, will lead the minister, as by a thread, to 
the great and fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith ; and 
not only to explain them to the people, but to lay out the parti 
cular duties which more immediately flow from each head, toge 
ther with the encouragements to the performance of them ; that 
so principle and practice may go hand in hand, as they do 
throughout the whole Christian scheme, and as they certainly 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 297 

ought to do throughout the preaching of every Christian minis 
ter. This was the foundation of that standing rule among our 
ancestors, to proceed upon every head, expressly, by way of 
doctrine and use ; and however the terms may be discontinued, 
the things never must, if we resolve to preach to the true edifi 
cation of our hearers. And, with the same view, it seems neces 
sary to add one rule more, which is, that in our sermons the 
doctrinal part be comprised in as narrow a compass as the na 
ture of the subject will fairly bear, that so sufficient room 
may be left for a distinct and particular enforcement of the 
practical duties resulting from it, and not barely for a brief and 
superficial mention of them, which is too often the case and 
must unavoidably be so, where too large a scope is given to the 
doctrinal part. 

This is an error, into which young men are naturally led by 
the practice in the universities ; where sermons being required 
rather as an exercise of the preacher, than for the instruction 
and edification of the hearers, greater allowances may be made 
for theory and speculation : but this is a mischievous indulgence 
in other congregations, over which ministers are professedly ap 
pointed as public teachers, to instruct and edify their people, and 
not to make proof of their own abilities. 

The same is to be said of the choice of uncommon subjects, 
and the treating of those that are common in an uncommon and 
refined way ; which gains great applause in our universities, as a 
testimony of good parts or great reading : but in popular con 
gregations it answers not any one of those wise ends, for which 
public preaching was instituted. 

In like manner, close argument and a long chain of reasonings 
and consequences from the mere nature of things, are very 
useful and laudable before a learned audience, who have capaci 
ties to comprehend and follow them; but in other audiences, 
the reasonings may easily be so close as to be unintelligible; 
and therefore, in condescension to meaner understandings, they 
must be loosened and disentangled by proper divisions and ren 
dered plain and obvious by such examples and allusions as are 
most familiar to the people. 

If the submitting to these things shall be thought a diminution 
to preachers who are capable of the more close and refined way, 
it must be remembered that the being able to make things plain 
to the meanest capacities is no ordinary talent ; that in all cases 

298 The Bishop of London s 

he must be allowed to speak best, who speaks things that arise 
most naturally from the subject in hand ; and that, particularly 
in the work of preaching, the faculty of discoursing pertinently 
upon all subjects, in a distinct method and proper language, 
with as close reasoning as the audience can bear and no closer, 
is a very great perfection, not to be attained but by a clear 
understanding and a solid judgment, improved by long exer 
cise and an intimate acquaintance with the best and most ju 
dicious authors. 

Against these and all other errors, into which young preach 
ers are apt to fall, I know no better general remedies than these 
two : the first, that when they have pitched upon their subject 
and considered what the heads are which it naturally suggests, 
they weigh each head separately, and fill every one of them 
with hints of proper matter, before they begin to compose. By 
this means, the discourse will be more solid and the several 
parts of it duly connected ; and when they have before their 
eyes and in one view, all the heads to be treated of, they will 
take care that the whole be uniform and that no greater share 
be allowed to any one head than is consistent with their doing 
justice to the rest. The second is that, before they go on to 
compose, they make references, under each head, to such proofs 
and examples of scripture, as tend to confirm or explain the 
several doctrines to be treated of ; by which means, the text and 
phrases of scriptures (the best embellishments of all religious 
discourses) will spread themselves into every branch and be 
sure to be taken in, where the application of them is most easy 
and pertinent ; as they will also suggest many proper and useful 
thoughts in the whole course of the composition ; there being no 
doubt but the Spirit of God is best able to acquaint us with the 
motives and arguments which are most effectual for the propa 
gating religion and the reforming of mankind. 

The holy scriptures are our great rule both of faith and prac 
tice ; but the precepts and examples contained in them are not 
ranged into one view under the several heads of duty, but are 
mixed and dispersed throughout the sacred books. And though 
those books are in the hands of the people and will not fail to 
give great light and good impressions, when they are seriously 
and frequently read by them ; yet it must be owned that the 
weight and conviction, which they carry in them, are much in 
creased, when the several places of the same import and ten- 

Directions to Ms Clergy, 1 724. 299 

dency are laid together and compared and are applied to the 
mind in their united strength. A work, which cannot in reason be 
expected from the generality of the people, unless they had more 
leisure and greater abilities ; and a work, therefore, that cer 
tainly belongs to the ministers of God^s word, who have both 
leisure and abilities and who cannot lay a better foundation of 
sound and useful preaching, than in this way of digesting the 
precepts and examples of scripture and making them mutual 
explications and enforcements of one another. 

Every minister declares, at the time of his ordination, that he 
is determined to instruct the people committed to his charge out 
of the holy scriptures and that he will be diligent in reading 
and studying them. And I am fully persuaded that this 
method of comparing scripture with scripture, which is so very 
beneficial to the people in plain and practical points, will also be 
found upon trial to be the best method that a minister can take, 
in order to form a just notion of the spirit of religion in general 
and of the meaning of such particular passages as are less plain 
and need explication. Whether the difficulty arise from the 
phrase and language of scripture, or from some peculiar offices 
and usages of those ancient times, or from any seeming incoher 
ence in the reasoning and argument : in all these cases, and I 
will add, in all other difficulties, of what kind soever, the 
frequent reading of holy writ, till the style and spirit of it be 
comes familiar to us, and the comparing particular passages with 
others of like nature and tendency, will appear to be our best 
help and most sure guide. And whoever has patience and 
resolution enough to proceed and persevere in this way, though 
he may go on slowly, will go on surely and find himself in the 
end a far greater proficient than those who, neglecting this 
method, shall wholly betake themselves to assistances of other 
kinds. Not that any assistance is to be neglected, which may 
furnish us with knowledge of so high and valuable a nature ; 
but my meaning is that, in general, scripture is the best inter- -. 
preter of scripture, and that the comparing scripture with scrip 
ture is the surest way to the true understanding of it; and. 
therefore, that recourse ought not ordinarily to be had to the 
other ways (however seemingly more short and easy) till this 
has been fully tried and the mind still calls for further light 
and assistance. It was the saying of a great man that the time 
which he thought he spent best was between his Bible and his 

300 The Bishop of London s 

Concordance : and however expositors may be useful and even 
necessary, upon some particular points, yet it is very certain 
that no person, who is possessed of those two and has not at 
least a competent knowledge of the holy scriptures, can fairly 
charge his want of knowledge upon the want of books : on the 
contrary, it can be a want of nothing but industry and applica 
tion in the business of his profession. 

But whatsoever means or helps of other kinds we may have 
recourse to for the right understanding of the holy scriptures, 
there are two which will be always necessary, and which are 
equally in every one s power, viz. a sincere desire to know the 
will of God, in order to practise it when known ; and earnest 
prayer to him for the assistance of the Holy Spirit, in all 
our inquiries concerning the revelations, which he has made to 

V. But, notwithstanding the greatest care and most serious 
endeavours in ministers to render their discourses useful and 
edifying, we must not expect that preaching will have its full 
effect, unless there be some preparation also on the part of the 
hearers. For as no discourses in any art or science can be tole 
rably understood, where the general terms and principles be 
longing to them are not learnt in the first place ; so those 
particularly of religion must in great measure be lost, unless the 
people be prepared to receive and apprehend them, by a general 
knowledge of the language and principles of Christianity. This 
shews us the great necessity there is to be careful and diligent 
in the work of catechising, or instructing youth in the general 
principles of religion ; because upon that it mainly depends, 
whether our preaching shall be successful or not ; in other 
words, whether people shall be capable or uncapable, during 
life, to hear and read religious discourses with profit and delight. 
And as none who is a faithful labourer in God s vineyard can be 
indifferent, whether the seed which he sows shall grow up or 
die ; so, in proportion to every one s desire to see that seed grow 
up to perfection, will his care and diligence be to prepare the 
soil for the kindly reception of it : a preparation, which must be 
begun in repeating the Catechism by heart ; but, if it end there, 
will not avail much to the purpose of profitable hearing. And 
therefore it is of great use, and indeed necessity, that children 
be likewise obliged to commit to memory such plain texts of 
holy scripture as confirm and illustrate the several branches of 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 301 

the Church Catechism, and that, as they grow up, they be ex 
horted to peruse and consider some of those larger catechisms, 
which give a more particular insight into the Christian faith and 
which therefore may be properly said to finish the preparation 
that we are now speaking of. 

VI. The directions which I have been hitherto offering re 
late to the performance of public duties and offices in the church. 
But you are not to reckon your ministerial cares at an end as 
soon as these are over ; there being other pastoral duties of 
a more private nature, to which you are equally obliged, though 
not in law as incumbents, yet in conscience as the ministers 
of Christ. 

For instance, dissuasives from vice in general, or even from 
this or that particular vice, when delivered from the pulpit, may 
possibly not be heard by the persons who are most guilty ; or 
if they be heard, men are apt to be partial to themselves, and 
not to reckon that what is delivered equally to all concerns 
them more than their neighbours ; or those general dissuasives 
may be capable of additional strength from particular circum 
stances in the condition of particular persons ; the mention of 
which in public would be more apt to harden than reform. In 
these and the like cases, ministers will ofttimes see very great 
need of private admonition and reproof ; and if those prove in 
effectual, there is one step further, which they either ought to 
make themselves or procure to be made by the officers of the 
church, and that is, the presenting of obstinate offenders to the 
spiritual power, to bring them to public shame and to deter 
others from falling into the like practices ; and so to deliver the 
Christian name from the scandal of open and barefaced wicked 
ness, and our church from the reproach of suffering it to go 
on with impunity and in defiance of her laws. Two vices I will 
name in particular, which are more common and more daring 
than the rest, drunkenness and swearing : but notwithstanding 
they are so very common, and that the canon concerning pre 
sentments makes express mention of those two by name, yet I 
believe they are seldom found among the crimes presented : for 
what reason I cannot conceive, unless it be that the laws of the 
state have appointed temporal penalties for them. But as there 
is nothing in those laws that has taken away the authority 
of the church, so is there no cause why the exercise of that 
authority in these particulars should be discontinued ; at least, 

302 The Bishop of London 3 s 

till we see the temporal laws executed with greater zeal and 
better effect. 

In the next place, there may be those under your care, who 
are troubled in mind or afflicted with scruples ; and as Christ, 
in the words of the prophet, was sent to bind up the broken-hearted, 
which our Saviour also has specially applied to himself; there 
can be no doubt but you are obliged to attend the same work 
and to consider yourselves, in this respect among others, as his 
ministers upon earth : endeavouring to discharge this branch of 
your office wisely and prudently, and to be able to resolve 
doubts and difficulties which relate to conscience, by a competent 
knowledge in casuistical divinity. 

This is oftentimes the case of sick persons ; whom a lowness 
of spirits naturally subject s to doubts and distrusts, either wholly 
groundless or far more dark and dismal than they need be ; and 
who in that condition are great objects of your compassion. Or 
it may happen in other instances, that the fears are too well 
founded upon the sense and consciousness of a wicked life ; and 
in that case they have still the more need of your counsel and 
assistance, to direct them in the great affair of their souls and 


the most probable methods which then remain, of making their 
peace with God. Or, though there be no doubts or fears of any 
sort, yet the bare weakness of body and mind calls for your 
assistance in prayer to God ; which, besides the other effects, is 
usually a great comfort and refreshment to them. Upon these 
accounts our church has made it one part of the business of 
every minister to visit the sick ; and there remains yet one more 
duty in case of their recovery, namely, to be often pressing them 
to a serious reflection upon the danger they have been in and a 
remembrance of their solemn vows and promises, while they had 
death before their eyes. 

And while I am mentioning the pastoral duties of a more 
private nature, I must not omit that of making peace and com 
posing differences among neighbours ; a work, which certainly 
belongs to the preachers of peace and the ministers of the God 
of peace, and for which they are generally much better qualified 
than other men, by their equal influence over both parties and 
the equal relation they bear to both. Accordingly our Church, 
in her Ordination-Service, requires of every person, who is to be 
ordained, a solemn declaration and promise " that he will main 
tain and set forwards, as much lieth in him, quietness, peace 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 303 

and love among all Christian people, and especially among them 
that are or shall be committed to his charge." 

These and the like duties of a pastoral kind (which I call 
private, by way of distinction from the public duties in the 
church) do immediately result from the nature of your office and 
ministry, but are not so strictly bound upon you by the laws of 
church and state as the public duties are : a circumstance 
which adds much to the honour, as well as merit, of discharging 
them diligently ; since the more this appears to be the effect of 
your own choice and inclination, the more it endears you to the 
people and is the strongest testimony both to them and your 
selves that you are acted, in the whole course of your ministry, 
by a true principle of conscience and a tender concern for the 
souls of men. 

VII. But besides public instructions from the pulpit and 
admonitions and reproofs in a private way, there is another sort 
of teaching, which is no less effectual, and that is, by our lives. 
This is a daily and hourly lesson to the people ; and that, with 
out which all other lessons are fruitless and ineffectual. And 
for this reason, even the heathen writers made it a necessary 
qualificp^ion of a good orator, that he should be a good man; 
one, whose reputation for probity and sincerity might be a 
pledge of his dealing honestly with them and might by conse 
quence give every persuasion and argument its full force. Much 
more is this a necessary qualification in a Christian orator, the 
great design of whose preaching is to persuade men to be good, 
upon the considerations of duty to God and of future rewards 
and punishments ; and it would be an extraordinary demand on 
our part, if we should expect to be thought sincere and in earnest 
in persuading others to be good upon those motives, on any less 
terms than the being very good ourselves ; not only in those 
negative degrees which pass in common account for goodness 
(the not being drunkards, nor swearers, nor profane, nor unclean 
and the like) but that goodness, I mean, which consists in a 
steady and uniform exercise of the graces and virtues of the 
Christian life ; that which makes us fit to instruct and reprove 
and to be patterns and examples to the flock of Christ. 

With those views of instruction, reproof and example and the 
unblamable character, which these offices require, every clergy 
man solemnly promises at his ordination u That he will be dili 
gent to frame and fashion not only his own life, but also the lives 

304 The Bishop of London s 

of his family, according to the doctrine of Christ, and make both 
himself and them, as much as in him lieth, wholesome examples 
and patterns to the flock of Christ/ And the rules of the church 
have descended to the minutest circumstances in their outward 
demeanour and even appearance ; to the end every thing about 
them may be grave and serious, and remote from the gaieties 
of the world : more particularly their habit ; which hath been 
ever considered as a certain mark of distinction from the laity, 
not only in the time of their officiating, but also in their 
travels ; and which, being such as is suitable to their office and 
character, is justly accounted a token of inward seriousness and 
composedness of mind, and (as the canon of our church expresses 
it) " is one good means to gain them honour and estimation 
from the people." 

For the same ends, the laws of the church in all ages have 
restrained clergymen from many freedoms and diversions, which 
in others are accounted allowable and innocent : being either 
such exercises as are too eager and violent and therefore 
unagreeable to that sedateness and gravity, which becomes our 
function ; or such games and sports as frequently provoke to 
oaths and curses, which we can neither decently hear, nor, at 
that time, seasonably reprove ; or such concourses and meetings 
as are usually accompanied with jollity and intemperance, with 
folly and levity and a boundless liberty of discourse ; which are 
very unfit for the eyes and ears of devout and serious Christians, 
and among which temptations it is by no means proper to trust 
so nice and tender a thing as the reputation of a clergyman. 
The canons of our own and other churches abound with cautions 
and prohibitions of this nature : and the wisdom of them is fully 
justified in experience ; by which (if we will but make our own 
observations) it will be found very clear that the different de 
grees of respect and authority, which ministers enjoy, depend 
upon no one thing so much as their mixing or not mixing with 
the laity in those diversions and freedoms of life. It is true, the 
submitting to such mixtures may gain them the reputation of 
good-nature ; but that reputation may be easily got and main 
tained without it, and is certainly bought too dear, at the 
expense of their proper character, as ministers of the gospel. 
Or, it may endear them to free and irregular livers, who delight 
in nothing more than to see clergymen willing to become 
sharers in their irregularities. But whether that, in the end, 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 305 

proves the foundation of inward respect or inward contempt, is 
too plain to be made a question. 

VIII. This is a snare into which the younger clergy are most 
apt to be drawn, and I know but one way that will effectually 
prevent their falling into it ; which is, the entering into a course 
of studies suitable to their profession, particularly of the holy 
scriptures ; with a resolution to go through and finish that course, 
in the best manner that they are able and their circumstances 
will admit ; out of a laudable desire, not only to be qualified in 
all respects for the discharge of their duty, but also to improve 
and enrich their own minds and not to remain strangers to any 
parts of knowledge, which it is proper for divines to be ac 
quainted with. This will always secure to them an agreeable 
entertainment at home; and whenever they desire diversion 
abroad (which it is far from my intention to discourage) it will 
incline them to seek it chiefly among their own brethren and 
among the most serious and knowing part of the laity ; and 
there the pleasure will be doubled by the mutual improvement 
of one another, without danger of giving scandal and without 
temptation to irregularities of any kind. 

And there is the greater need, in our days, to press upon the 
clergy a diligent application to the studies of their profession, 
with regard as well to the dissenters, whose teachers, generally 
speaking, are more learned than in former days, as to the 
papists, who are more diligent than ever in corrupting and 
seducing the members of our communion. Against the assaults 
of both these, the parochial clergy cannot furnish themselves 
with any better armour than those excellent treatises which 
were written by the London divines in the reigns of king 
Charles and king James the Second. But, besides the attacks 
from those two quarters, there is in our days a further need of 
study and application in the clergy, with regard to the younger 
gentry ; too many of whom, out of a love of novelty and under 
pretence of thinking with freedom, are become zealous advocates 
for such doctrines and principles as subvert the Christian faith 
and destroy the divine mission and authority of a Christian 
ministry and a Christian church. The broaching of these 
schemes carries in it a show of new discoveries and of a pene 
tration, which disdains to go on in the common road and, in both 
these respects, is calculated to feed the vanity of young men ; 
who are therefore eager on all occasions to discover and main- 

306 The Bishop of London s 

tain their sentiments and think it no small matter of triumph, 
when they meet with clergymen unacquainted with the cause 
and not able to manage the dispute against them. This is an 
open attack upon our common Christianity, which it is the more 
immediate work of the ministers of the gospel to maintain ; and 
as many as shall take care to furnish themselves with proper and 
sufficient armour for that end and shall employ it zealously, as 
they see occasion, against these enemies of religion, will be ac 
counted faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ. Especially, if to their 
study and reasoning, by which they are able to bear up against 
the attacks of freethinkers, they add the powerful argument of 
an exemplary and truly pastoral life ; which is a sort of argu 
ment that is easily understood by the people and carries in it an 
irresistible force. No doubts will ever grow in the minds of 
the people whether that pastor is a messenger and ambassador 
of Christ, whom they see diligent in informing them, both by 
doctrine and example, concerning the will of Christ; nor can 
they ever be persuaded that they are not his shepherds and his 
stewards, who watch over their flocks with such care as becomes 
those that believe themselves accountable to their Lord and 

And that you may never be unmindful of the relation, which 
you bear to Christ, and of the duties incumbent upon you in 
consequence of that relation, I must earnestly recommend to you 
a frequent and serious perusal of the forms of ordination, especi 
ally that of priests ; where, together with that relation, you will 
see the solemn engagements, which you entered into at the time 
of your ordination, and find the chief offices of the ministerial 
function distinctly laid out ; and all this in such an excellent 
and lively manner as cannot fail of making great impression 
upon a serious mind. 

The two qualifications last mentioned, namely, a good life 
and a serious application to the study of divine matters, are the 
principal ingredients in the character of a clergyman; those, 
without which he cannot only do no service in the church of 
Christ, but must bring dishonour to his profession and great mis 
chief to the souls of men. On those accounts, it becomes the 
duty of every clergyman not only to be possessed of those quali 
fications himself, but also to use his utmost endeavour that none 
but such as are possessed of them be admitted to holy orders or 
the cure of souls ; and much more to take care that he be not 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 307 

accessary to such admissions, by joining in undue testimonials 
for those ends. It is a duty which every man owes to truth, not 
to give his testimony to things which he either knows to be 
false or does not know to be true : it is a duty which every 
clergyman owes to his bishop, not to deceive and impose upon 
him : it is, further, a duty which he owes to the church where 
of he is a member, not to be the means of sending into it igno 
rant and unworthy ministers : and, last of all, it is a duty which 
he owes to his own soul, not to involve it in the guilt of all that 
mischief which such ministers do to the souls of others and of 
all that scandal and reproach which they bring upon their pro 
fession and order. By these and the like considerations, every 
clergyman must arm himself against the importunities which are 
usual on such occasions, and against all the arguments of com 
passion and friendship and neighbourhood. And whoever con 
siders this matter aright will not only refuse to join in undue 
testimonials, but must think himself obliged, when he sees 
others joining in them, to convey beforehand such private inti 
mations as may lead the bishop to further inquiries and hinder 
him from proceeding, till he shall have given himself proper 
satisfaction in some other way. 

IX. From the distinction mentioned under the sixth head, 
between public duties, to which ministers are strictly obliged by 
the laws of the church, and the duties of a more private nature, 
which, though not so strictly bound upon them by the laws, are 
very important branches of the ministerial office ; from that dis 
tinction, I say, there arises another duty, namely, residence ; as 
this is necessary to the due discharge of all those pastoral offices 
which are of a more private nature. And I choose here to 
resume that distinction, as a proper ground of the duty of resi 
dence, because it has been urged to me by some, as a sufficient 
reason why I might indulge non-residence, that they should be 
near enough to perform the duties of the Lord s day in person, 
and if any necessary business should fall out on the week-days, 
as buryings, christenings, or the like, some neighbouring clergy 
man would be ready to attend. A way of reasoning which rests 
upon this supposition, that there are no ministerial duties but 
such as are made expressly necessary by the laws : and it will 
appear to be very wrong reasoning, when it is considered how 
many excellent ends there are, which either cannot be attained 
at all, or at best in a very imperfect manner, without personal 

X 2 

308 The Bishop of London s 

residence. Such are, a daily oversight and inspection, and, by 
that means, a constant check and restraint upon evil practices of 
all kinds and upon the growth of corrupt customs and habits 
among the people : such are also, a more intimate knowledge of 
their spiritual estate, and occasional exhortations and reproofs, 
and, that which exhorts and reproves most effectually of all, the 
daily sight and influence of a good example : to which we must 
add, the being always at hand to observe and compose differ 
ences, before they grow too strong ; and to assist the rich with 
counsel, the sick with comfort, and (according to your abilities) 
the poor and distressed with seasonable relief; and to perform 
among them all neighbourly and charitable offices of the like 
kinds, which are not only excellent in themselves, but are the 
means of endearing ministers to their people and of opening a 
passage into their hearts for spiritual instructions of all sorts. 

I am aware that there is one case which makes constant resi 
dence impracticable, and God knows it is a case too common in 
most dioceses, namely, the insufficiency of a maintenance ; which 
renders it necessary for the bishop to commit the care of more 
than one parish to one and the same hand ; and, in such cases, 
we can only exhort and entreat ministers to have those good 
ends seriously in their thoughts and to endeavour after them as 
far as such unavoidable absence will permit. But the cases 
which I now mean are those of convenience only, not of neces 
sity ; and my desire is, to obviate all applications for indulgence 
on such occasions, by convincing the clergy that personal resi 
dence is of too great importance in the ministerial office to be 
sacrificed to private convenience. 

I am also aware that there are cases, in which the laws of 
church and state suppose and permit ministers to be absent from 
their cures ; particularly the case of pluralities and of residence 
in cathedral churches : but, in regard to these, it is my duty to 
take care that such absences be not more long and more fre 
quent than the laws intend and direct. By the express tenour 
of the dispensation, every pluralist is bound to preach thirteen 
sermons every year at the place where he does not ordinarily 
reside, and to keep hospitality there for two months ; and by the 
forty-fourth canon of our church, every bishop is enjoined to 
take care that all such residentiaries of his cathedral church as 
have also parochial cures, be obliged to return to them as soon 
as ever their statutable residence is performed. Nor is it a suf- 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 309 

ficient plea for the habitual absence either of pluralists or resi 
dentiary-canons, that they have curates under them of good 
abilities and with sufficient salaries, who officiate in their stead. 
For though it is to be hoped, on one hand, that all curates will 
remember that, in the eye of the law and in the sight of God, 
they stand chargeable with the cure of souls ; and, on the other 
hand, that all such incumbents, who enjoy those additional ad 
vantages, will freely and of their own accord allow such salaries 
to their curates as are sufficient and reasonable ; yet is there a 
great difference, in the point of ability to do good, between in 
cumbents and curates. The curates, ordinarily speaking, must 
be supposed to have less knowledge and less experience in their 
profession, and not to have near so much influence and authority 
as incumbents personally residjng : and, not to insist upon the 
natural relation there is between a pastor and his people, a shep 
herd and his flock, which certainly ought to rest upon the mind 
of every pastor, it will be hard to persuade the people that the 
care of their souls is the thing at his heart, if they receive not a 
reasonable share of pastoral offices, by way of return for the 
revenues of the church. 

From hence it appears that where the law indulges non-resi 
dence, it does not intend a total discharge from the care which 
was originally committed to incumbents, but only a discharge so 
far as it necessarily follows from the ground and reason of such 
indulgence ; and when that ceases, the obligation to a personal 
care and attendance returns of course. And even in the times 
of necessary absence many things may be done by an incumbent 
to shew that he is far from reckoning himself discharged from 
all manner of care : the needy may be relieved, poor children 
may be sent to school, useful books may be distributed, inquiries 
may be made from time to time concerning the state of persons 
and things, and proper directions may be given to the curate for 
his behaviour and studies, that he may be trained up to be an 
useful preacher and a prudent pastor, and thoroughly qualified 
for a parochial cure of his own, whenever it shall please Provi 
dence to call him to it : a circumstance, which makes some 
amends to the church for the mischiefs of non-residence and has 
doubtless a good effect, where learned and experienced incum 
bents make it their care to direct young persons in the study of 
divinity and to frame their minds to a pastoral life. 

But, with whatever misfortunes, mischiefs and inconveniences 

310 The Bishop of London s 

non-residence may be attended in itself and by unavoidable 
necessity, it is certain that these ought not to be increased 
beyond what the laws allow and natural necessity requires ; but, 
on the contrary, to be made up and balanced by an exact observ 
ance of the rules, which the church has laid down for the sup 
ply of the cures. Every incumbent has the cure of souls 
committed to him by the bishop ; and he needs no other com 
mission, while he continues to attend that cure in person. But 
if either the law discharge him from constant residence, or the 
bishop dispense with it, on account of health, or for other rea 
sonable cause ; in those cases he has no power, in virtue of his 
first commission, to transfer the cure to what hand he pleases, 
but, upon such failure of personal attendance, the bishop is the 
proper judge of the fitness of the .person who shall be appointed 
to the cure. And if he were not the judge, the consequence 
must be (what I have too often found by experience) that num 
bers of cures will remain in the hands of persons, concerning 
whose abilities, morals, opinions and even orders, the bishop 
has not the least satisfaction. An abuse, so unwarrantable in 
itself and so pernicious in the consequences that I shall think 
myself much wanting to my duty, if I do not put in execution 
the laws of the church upon this head ; especially since his grace 
the lord a archbishop of this province, in his directions to his 
suffragan bishops, hath expressly recommended to us, " That we 
make diligent inquiry concerning curates in our several dioceses, 
and proceed to ecclesiastical censures against those who shall 
presume to serve cures, without being first duly licensed there 
unto ; as also against all such incumbents who shall receive 
and employ them, without first obtaining such license/ Or, 
at least, without satisfying the bishop concerning the characters 
of the persons they employ, till such license may conveniently be 

And when I am speaking of curates who enter upon parochial 
cures without the license or knowledge of the ordinary, I cannot 
omit to take notice of the very mischievous and irregular prac 
tice of obtaining titles to cures, for the single end of obtaining 
holy orders in virtue of such titles, without any intention to 
serve the cures. This is a shameful imposition upon bishops, 
and defeats the wise end of the thirty-third canon of our church, 
which was to prevent the needless multiplying of clergymen, 

a Archbishop Wake. 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 311 

beyond what the present occasions of the church require ; and 
this, when it happens, exposes the church to contempt and the 
persons to reproach, and lays them under temptations to submit 
to mean and sometimes indirect methods of application for pre 
ferment, and gives great advantage to mercenary patrons. To 
prevent those evils as much as may be, I shall insist upon a 
solemn declaration to be made by every incumbent who gives a 
title for orders, that such title is true and real ; according to a 
b form, which is printed for that purpose at the end of these 
Directions and which I expect to be the standing form of all 
titles that are sent to me. 

X. Hitherto I have applied myself to you, as you stand 
intrusted by God and his church with the administration of 
divine offices and the care of souls. I must now say somewhat 
concerning another kind of trust, which is not indeed so high 
and important in its nature, but yet is such as cannot with a 
good conscience be neglected ; I mean the patrimony of the 
church ; without which we could not, humanly speaking, have 
established cures, nor by consequence those many advantages of 
constant personal residence, which I have enumerated under the 
last head. Religion therefore is nearly concerned, that due 
care be taken to preserve and continue things, which are such 
manifest supports to it. And I need not say on whom that care 
rests, since all our laws consider the church as in a state of mi 
nority and pupilage, and every incumbent as the guardian, for 
the time being, of the rights of his own church ; who therefore 
stands obliged to transmit them entire to his successors and is 
guilty of a breach of trust, if through his neglect the church 
shall suffer loss or diminution in profits or conveniences of any 
kind ; if the houses shall run to decay, or the glebe be injured in 
tillage, fences or trees ; or the tithes be diminished by undue 
compositions and by customs and moduses growing and gaining 
strength in his time. 

Where no house is, the law does not think it reasonable to 
inflict the penalties of non-residence ; and therefore it takes great 
care, where houses are, to keep them in due repair ; not only in 
a habitable, but, as an ancient constitution of our church ex 
presses it, in a decent state ; such as is suitable to the character 
of a clergyman and to the condition of a person who has had a 

b This form has been omitted, as being no longer in general use- 

The Bishop of London s 

liberal education, and such as may make personal residence easy 
and agreeable. This is what the laws of the church require of 
every clergyman, under severe penalties : but my present busi 
ness is not to explain the obligation of law, but to enforce the 
obligation of conscience ; having far more delight to see justice 
done to the church freely than by constraint ; and knowing 
how much more agreeable it is to the sacred character and 
function, to be led into what is right by a sense of duty and 
conscience than to be driven into it by the threatenings and 
penalties of the law. And a matter of conscience this certainly 
is, not only in itself, as it is the betraying a trust which the 
church commits to incumbents ; but in the consequences also, as 
it brings a great charge and difficulty upon the successors and, 
which is no small aggravation of the injustice, a charge that 
might have been prevented at very little expense, by an early 
care in the predecessors ; the failings in fabrics being like those 
in our bodies, cured and amended at small expense, if taken 
in time, but by delays becoming very chargeable and ofttimes 

The thing then to be guarded against in this matter is delay ; 
which must occasion a heavy burden somewhere : if upon the 
incumbent himself, it is great folly ; if upon his successor, it is 
great injustice. Nor is it enough to satisfy the conscience under 
such delays, that their executors will be accountable to the next 
successor ; since they know that the utmost which the law itself 
allows in that case, though generally much more than would 
have prevented the mischief, bears no kind of proportion to the 
real damage which the successor sustains by such delay. 

When I spake, under the last head, of the many mischiefs of 
non -residence, I industriously reserved one of them for this 
place, viz. the decay and ruin of parsonage-houses. It may be 
supposed, ordinarily speaking, that clergymen will provide for 
decency in the places where they dwell, not only from a sense of 
duty to God and the church, but for their own convenience 
and credit and to secure themselves from the contempt of their 
neighbours. But we see too little of this, where incumbents do 
not personally reside ; the houses, in that case, usually falling 
into the hands of farmers, who are no further concerned, either 
in conscience or credit, than to keep them in a mere habitable 
condition. And where pluralists, who enjoy a double portion, 
can prevail with themselves to leave the houses of the church to 

Directions to Ms Clergy, 1724. 313 

the mercy of such inhabitants, they must have forgotten not 
only the obligations, which rest upon them in common with 
other incumbents, but also how unseemly it appears in them, to 
be less forward in doing right to the church, the more she 
enables them to do it ; to be less kind to her, the more bountiful 
she is to them. 

The mischief and injustice which attend those neglects in the 
repairing of parsonage-houses do equally attend the neglect of 
chancels, the care whereof is assigned, by the laws of the 
church, to rectors ; who, by bestowing upon them a decency 
suitable to that most sacred office of our religion to which they 
are appropriated, do not only invite the parishioners to preserve 
the church in a clean and decent state, but also leave the neigh 
bouring impropriators without any colourable excuse, if they do 
not right to the chancels under their care ; which undoubtedly 
they will be less forward to do, as long as they can be kept in 
countenance by the neglect of spiritual rectors. 

The like reasoning from the obligation of conscience will 
equally hold with regard to the possessions of the church ; both 
as they are a trust in the hands of the present incumbents, and 
as the neglect or abuse of them is a great damage and injury to 
the successors. In the case of temporal possessions, if one is 
tenant of an estate for life only and destroys the woods, or lets 
the houses and fences run to ruin, or uses the grounds otherwise 
than in a fair and husbandlike way ; the law accounts all this a 
plain injustice to the next heir, and accordingly, at his motion, 
will give satisfaction for the damage done and put a stop to such 
abuses for the time to come. In the case of ecclesiastical posses 
sions, the next incumbent is not known, and patrons ofttimes 
live at a distance, or may not think fit to give themselves the 
trouble of interposing ; but inasmuch as the being a tenure for 
life only is the foundation of the injustice, the crime is the very 
same here as in the case of temporal possessions ; and the less 
hold the law takes of it, the greater need there is to urge and 
enforce the obligations of conscience and to beseech incum 
bents to have a watchful eye over their agents and tenants, that 
the glebes be not abused by them, either in those or any other 

In like manner and upon the same obligations of conscience, 
great care ought to be taken in the ordering and management of 
tithes ; that no unreasonable compositions be made, nor permit- 

314 The Bishop of London s 

ted at any hand to grow into moduses; which have already 
swallowed up so large a share of the patrimony of the church 
beyond the possibility of a retrieve, and which therefore ought 
to be immediately broken, where they are not yet arrived to a 
legal establishment. Nor must the clergy, when there is need 
to call in the assistance of the law, be discouraged by the fear of 
being thought litigious ; since, besides the special obligations 
upon them not to see the church injured, they have certainly 
the same privilege with other men, to maintain their own just 
rights. So far are the clergy from deserving such a censure 
that it is to be feared they are rather more easy and indulgent 
than is fairly consistent with their duty to the church ; and if 
inquiry were to be made into all the suits that have been com 
menced for tithes it would be found that the instances, in which 
they have miscarried, bear no kind of proportion in point of 
number to those, in which they have prevailed. But if any 
clergyman shall have entered unhappily into settled engage 
ments for his own time, the church may however expect this 
justice from him, that he take care to inform his successors, 
either by an entry in the register-book of the parish, or by some 
other method equally proper and sure, that such continuance of 
the selfsame payments through a succession of years was owing 
not to any legal composition or modus, but to special agreements 
between him and the parishioners. 

I doubt not but those prejudicial compositions, which are slid 
by degrees into settled moduses, have been owing in many in 
stances to the supineness and negligence of incumbents ; but I 
am also afraid that in some instances they may have been owing 
to a far worse cause, and that is, bonds of resignation, exacted 
by patrons and given unawares by clergymen ; which are not 
only inconsistent with the oath against simoniacal contracts and 
contrary to the laws of the church in all ages and, upon both 
these accounts, an unhappy entanglement to the minds and con 
sciences of clergymen ; but are also the means of enslaving them 
during life to the will and pleasure of patrons, and particularly 
of tempting them to submit to all the most unreasonable agree 
ments and compositions for tithes which can be proposed. 

These things are but small in comparison of the duties which 
more immediately belong to the pastoral office ; but the mis 
chiefs occasioned by the neglect of them are not small ; nor 
ought any thing to be so accounted, which is a necessary means 

Directions to his Clergy, 1724. 315 

to preserve the rights of the church, and to enable the parochial 
clergy to go through their pastoral labours with comfort and 
success. In the pursuit of which excellent ends, you shall al 
ways be sure of the best assistances that are in my power ; and 
you cannot fail of a special blessing from Heaven upon your un 
dertakings, while you continue to express your zeal for the 
honour of God and the salvation of souls, by a faithful and 
conscientious discharge of all the parts of the ministerial 

And now, my brethren, having laid before you what I 
thought proper concerning the public service of our church and 
the provisions for a public ministry to attend that service, and 
having suggested such rules, in relation to both, as seem to me 
to render them most effectual for the great ends of religion ; I 
must beg leave to mention one thing more, and that is, the ob 
ligation that lies upon us all, not only to make the due adminis 
tration of these a blessing to our own time, but also to do all 
that lies in our power to ensure the enjoyment of them to our 
latest posterity. In pursuance of this, c I must entreat you to be 
very diligent in inculcating upon your people this most plain 
and important truth, that there is no means, under God, of con 
tinuing these invaluable blessings to us or our posterity, but a 
zealous and resolute maintenance of the succession to the crown 
in the protestant line ; there being no thought more visionary, 
nor any reasoning more absurd, than the supposing that a pro 
testant service and a protestant ministry can prosper or subsist 
under a popish prince. Put them in mind (as many, I mean, 
as did not see it, or seem to have forgot it) that the experiment 
has been already tried, and not only failed, but that the swift 
progress which was then made towards the destruction of our 
religious rights left the nation a most convincing proof of what 
they are to expect from a popish prince ; all princes of that 
religion being equally bound in conscience to endeavour the 
extirpation of a protestant church. And let me further entreat 
you to urge upon particular persons, as you see occasion, the 
regard they owe to their religion and country; and also, how 
abominable it must appear to all honest and sober minds, to find 
the general tenor of their actions and discourse a direct contra- 

c This was added upon occasion of the plot, which had been laid and car 
ried on a little before that time, for abrogating the protestant succession and 
setting a popish pretender on the throne. 

316 The Bishop of London s Directions to his Clergy , 1724. 

diction to their oaths. Above all, let me beseech you to make 
it your care, that every thing in your own conduct and conver 
sation be exactly agreeable to the oaths you have taken ; and 
particularly, fail not to let your parishioners hear the king and 
the royal family constantly prayed for before sermon by name; 
which I must peremptorily insist upon, as well in compliance 
with the canon of our church to that purpose as to remove a 
reproach which the omission of it must occasion, as if such 
clergymen had not taken the oaths sincerely, and therefore are 
willing to avoid, as much as they can, all public notice of the 
king and the royal family and all expressions of regard and 
respect to them : an opinion, which being joined to the remem 
brance of their having taken the most strict and solemn oaths of 
fidelity and abjuration, must lessen the reverence of an oath in 
the minds of the people and weaken the credit and authority of 
the clergy and be a great hinderance to the success of their 
ministry in general. 

Finally, I must entreat you to go one step further in your 
expressions of zeal for the king and the protestant succession ; 
and that is, to endeavour to remove out of the minds of your 
people all those unjust jealousies and prejudices against his ma 
jesty and his administration, which you see sown among them 
by the professed enemies of his government, with a design to 
overthrow it. And this I may and ought to press with the 
greater freedom and earnestness, both because the diligence of 
the enemy in sowing jealousies and spreading misrepresentations 
is incredible ; and also because I can declare, with the greatest 
sincerity, that I am firmly persuaded that our good and gracious 
king has nothing more in his desire and intention than to pre 
serve the constitution, as it stands established both in church 
and state. 






Reverend brethren, 

I. WHEN I held my primary visitation of this diocese, I 
put into the hands of the clergy a book of Directions, relating 
to the due discharge of the ministerial office and the several 


branches of it. And having made it a rule ever since to put 
the same into the hands of every person who has been instituted 
or licensed by me, as containing the several heads of duty, 
which I judged necessary to be attended to by every one 
who takes upon him the cure of souls ; having, I say, done 
this, there has been no need to speak to you upon those heads, 
in the several visitations which I have held since. And there 
fore I have usually chosen for my subject on these occasions 
such incidents relating to the church or clergy or religion, as 
have fallen out between the several visitations ; in order to give 
you a clear insight into the facts and to make such applications, 
for our conduct and practice, as they naturally led to. And this 
is the method which I shall continue at present ; but I must first 
entreat your patience, while I further press and enforce one 

318 The Bishop of London s 

particular branch of the forementioned Directions. What I mean 
is, the distinction that is there made between duties legal, the 
neglect of which is punishable by the laws of church and state, 
and duties pastoral, which are not expressly enforced by laws 
and penalties, as the others are, but yet are bound upon us by a 
more sacred tie, and that is, the obligation of duty and conscience, 
founded upon a serious sense of the nature and ends of the 
ministerial function, and of the importance or rather necessity 
of those pastoral labours, towards a successful discharge of it. 
Such are, private admonition and reproof; the taking the 
advantage of sickness or other calamity (which are apt to open 
the mind to instruction) to infuse into your people serious and 
good thoughts and such as \nay make the most lasting impres 
sion ; to endeavour to convince and reform those who are found 
negligent in the great duty of resorting to the public service of 
the church, or not careful enough to be present at the beginning 
of it ; and, to bring all, in general, to a just sense of the obliga 
tion they are under, to give a diligent attention of the mind in 
all the offices of religion, whether public or private. To which 
I must add, as a branch of the pastoral office which is never to 
be forgotten, private exhortation to parents and masters, where 
it is found needful, to fit and prepare the youth under their care 
to be publicly catechised, together with those of their neigh 
bours ; and further, to accustom their children, from the begin 
ning, to a regular attendance upon the public worship of the 
church, with a decent and orderly behaviour therein ; and, to 
check the first tendency they observe in them to any irregu 
larities in life : duties which are of great importance to religion, 
and to which parents and masters are strictly obliged, in pursu 
ance of the powers that God has given them over their children 
and servants. But yet, in many cases, it will require some care 
and pains on the part of the minister, to make parents duly 
sensible either of the importance of those duties or the special 
obligation they are under to perform them. And would to God 
they could be further convinced how many and great blessings, 
spiritual and temporal, the practice of family devotion would 
procure to them and their household ; and how just and reason 
able a thing it is, to express their thankfulness to God for the 
supports of life and to beg a blessing upon them, as oft as they 
feed upon the fruits of his bounty. 

II. These private applications, though no part of the legal and 

Charge to his Clergy, 1741, 1742. 319 

ordinary offices of the church, are of great moment towards the 
preserving among our people a serious sense of religion ; or 
rather, are absolutely necessary to the giving the legal offices their 
due effect. Men, for instance, are not over-forward in applying 
to themselves the public admonitions which are heard from the 
pulpit nor apt to be duly affected in hearing them, unless they 
be privately put in mind, as there is occasion, of the more par 
ticular concern they have in them. Next, if men can be brought 
to serious thoughts and resolutions, in the time of sickness or 
other calamity, by private applications, it may reasonably be 
hoped that from thenceforth the exhortations of a more public 
nature, while they find themselves in health and at ease, will 
take the faster hold of them. Again, if men will not attend the 
public worship of God, or, attending it, will behave themselves 
there in a thoughtless and negligent manner, it is, to them, as if 
there were no public worship at all. And lastly, if children be 
not early instructed in the general principles of their religion, 
but remain strangers to the sense and meaning of the terms 
under whioh they are couched, the public discourses they after 
wards hear will neither be understood nor relished by them ; at 
least, will lose much of the instruction they would have con 
veyed and the impression they would have made, if the hearers 
had been duly prepared, first, by a general knowledge of the 
principles of their religion, and next by an habitual reverence 
for the public devotions and instructions of the church ; as ordi 
nances of God s own appointment, and as a special means of 
obtaining his grace and favour, to all those who religiously 
attend them. 

By this it appears, of how great importance or rather neces 
sity, these pastoral duties are, as well for the giving the legal 
duties their operation and effect, as for the keeping up a true 
spirit of religion among our people. And surely, there never 
was a time when religion did more earnestly call for those 
pastoral endeavours to support it ; or rather, to preserve it in 
being. Nothing is more evident than that a great looseness, 
both in principle and practice, is gradually descending to the 
middling rank, under the influence and authority of higher 
examples, and through a too great disposition in corrupt nature 
to approve and follow them. And nothing can hinder this 
infection from descending lower and lower, till it becomes 
general, and we upon the point of being overwhelmed by it, but 

320 The Bishop of London s 

a diligent endeavour, on the part of the parochial clergy, to check 
and resist it; particularly in the methods already mentioned, 
and such others of the like kind as tend to establish the people 
committed to their care, both in the principles and the practice 
of the Christian religion. 

III. I need not tell you what gross representations have been 
made both here and in the Plantations, as if the generality of the 
clergy of the church of England were shamefully remiss and 
negligent in the pastoral office. This slander upon our church 
and clergy has been publicly spread and avowed in a very 
unworthy and licentious manner, and has received a reprehen 
sion, though more gentle than it deserved, in a late pastoral 
letter against the enthusiasm of these days. But however, the 
reproaches of those men may be so far of use to us, as to be made 
a fresh incitement to care and diligence in the offices belonging 
to our function ; that, after the example of St. Paul in a like case, 
we may cut off all occasion of slander from them who desire 
occasion. And since it is not to be expected that, amongst such 
a number of clergymen, there should be in all the same degree 
of zeal and activity in the discharge of their duty; those of them, 
who have been hitherto less zealous and less active than their 
neighbours, must increase their diligence, upon this, among 
other motives, that they may cut off all occasion of slander from 
those who seem not to be ill pleased with any handle for it. And 
we must all of us remember that we cannot do greater justice 
and honour to our established church than by making it appear, 
in fact and experience, that its rules and orders, pursued and 
invigorated as they always ought to be, are an effectual means of 
promoting piety and goodness among the members of it ; an 
honour for which it must at all times be mainly indebted to the 
care and vigilance of parochial ministers. 

It is now an hundred years since the like clamours were raised 
and propagated throughout the nation against the established 
clergy ; as a body lazy and unactive in the work of religion, and 
whose defects in the discharge of their duty did greatly need to 
be supplied by itinerant preachers. And these preachers, under 
a notion of greater zeal and sanctity, and by pretences to more 
than ordinary measures of the Spirit, drew after them confused 
multitudes of the lower rank and did all that was in their power 
to lay waste the bounds of parochial communion and to bring 
the established service into disgrace. And we cannot have a 

Charge to kis Clergy, 1741, 1742. 321 

more pregnant testimony, how mischievous such practices are to 
religion and how productive not only of confusion, but of 
blasphemy, profaneness and the most wicked and destructive 
doctrines and practices, than these and the like effects, which 
they then had, as they are set before us at large in the histories 
of those times. A sufficient warning to all who have a serious 
concern for religion and a just regard to public peace and order 
in church and state, to use their best endeavours to oppose and 
suppress that spirit of enthusiasm, which is now gone out and 
which cannot be opposed and suppressed more effectually than 
by preserving the bounds of parochial communion and opposing 
all breaches upon them ; and then by every minister s satisfying 
his people, in the course of a regular life and a diligent discharge 
of all duties and offices, pastoral as well as legal, that they need 
no other instruction, nor any other means and helps for the 
saving of their souls, than those which the church has provided 
for them ; on supposition that the people, on their parts, will 
seriously embrace those means and helps and religiously con 
form to the established worship and discipline and submit to the 
advice and instructions of those, to whom the providence of God 
has committed the care of their souls. 

IV. And for the keeping up this good disposition among your 
people, let them be made sensible of the excellencies of the 
public offices of our church ; as a service that comprises all and 
every branch of Christian devotion confession of sins and 
declaration of pardon to penitent sinners a suitable and edify 
ing mixture of psalms and hymns and the scriptures of the Old 
and New Testament acknowledgments of our own weakness and 
addresses to God for spiritual aid and strength confessions of 
faith and remembrances of duty to God and our neighbour, as 
set forth in the Ten Commandments, with the prayer, after every 
branch, to incline the heart to the performance of it supplica 
tions for averting all evil and prayers for obtaining all good, to 
soul, body and estate intercessions for blessings to others and 
thanksgivings for mercies to ourselves special prayers for the 
divine blessing upon kings and counsellors, civil magistrates 
and spiritual pastors ; as those, through whose pious and wise 
administration, national blessings and benefits, spiritual and 
temporal, are in the ordinary course of providence conveyed to 
mankind together with particular prayers and thanksgivings, 
adapted to particular seasons and occasions to which are added 

The Bishop of London s 

proper offices for a devout and solemn administration of every 
Christian ordinance and institution and the whole conceived, 
as public liturgies always have been and always ought to be, in 
a language that is grave, serious and expressive ; without any 
of those irregular flights and redundances, from which extem 
pore prayer is seldom free; and least of all, that sort of it, 
which presumptuously fathers itself upon an immediate dictate 
of the Spirit of God. 

I have only to add upon this head that, next to the internal 
excellencies of the liturgy itself and that knowledge or rather 
feeling of those excellencies, which a reverent regard and atten 
tion will breed in the heart of every sincere worshipper ; next to 
these, I say, nothing contributes more to the possessing the 
minds of the people with a due sense of those excellencies than 
the minister s giving the offices, throughout, the just advantage 
of being performed in a solemn, serious and affectionate 

And as to a personal respect to yourselves and a due regard 
to your instructions; the apostle has plainly pointed out the 
way to secure these, when he grounds the obedience and esteem 
of the people upon the watchfulness and diligence of the pastor. 
His lesson to the people is, Obey them that have the rule over 
you and submit yourselves ; and why ? because they watch for 
your souls, as they that must give an account. And again, Es 
teem those who are over you in the Lord, very highly in love ; and 
why ? for their work s sake. Where there is a due watchfulness 
and working on one side, there will very rarely be wanting a 
due love and esteem on the other. 

V. I have taken notice before that one branch of these 
pastoral duties, that every minister is bound to discharge, is 
admonition and reproof; which cannot be performed from the 
pulpit, without the danger of hardening, instead of reforming. 
And this being, in truth, the most difficult part of the ministerial 
office, and yet highly necessary to be done, and also done in 
such a manner as may make the greatest impression and give it 
the most lasting effects ; I cannot omit to mention one expedient, 
which may make that work less difficult to ministers and more 
effectual upon their people. What I mean is, the having in 
their possession some small tracts against particular vices and 
the more notorious defects in duty, to be occasionally put into 
the hands of those, who are found to be going on in any habitual 

Charge to his Clergy, 1741, 1742. 323 

sin, either of commission or omission, and so to need a more 
close and forcible application ; whether it be by way of restraint 
from vice or incitement to duty, as the case requires. As this 
is the gentlest method of proceeding, there is the least hazard of 
giving offence ; and as the tracts themselves are both short and 
plain, they are most likely to be read and considered ; and they 
make a much deeper impression upon the mind than either 
general admonitions from the pulpit or particular admonitions 
by word of mouth. A great variety of tracts, calculated for 
that use, is constantly provided by the Society for promoting 
Christian Knowledge* ; the members whereof are entitled to as 
many as they apply for, at one half of the prime cost ; which 
reduces the price to a trifle. And, that no part of my diocese 
might want the convenience of being furnished with them as 
they see occasion, the incumbents of the several market-towns 
have readily agreed to take the trouble of becoming members of 
the society and so have put themselves in a condition to furnish 
their neighbours, whether clergy or laity, with as many as they 
shall need. 

This may seem, at first sight, to be a matter of small moment, 
but in the effects it will be found by experience not to be small. 
And great need there is in this degenerate age to have recourse 
to all expedients, whether great or small, for putting a stop to 
the growth of vice and wickedness and for raising and keeping 
alive a spirit of religion among us ; the first, to avert the judg 
ments of God from falling upon a sinful nation ; and the second, 
to make us a proper object of his mercy and forbearance. Vice 
is grown bold and headstrong and has well nigh broken loose 
from the last restraint, that of shame. And though the powers 
put into the hand of the civil magistrate for restraining and sup 
pressing it are very great, the fruit and effect of those powers 
is found by experience to be very small. Nor is it to be ex 
pected that the spiritual powers should be able effectually to 
encounter it in the way of discipline and censure, while they are 
fettered to such a degree and liable to be interrupted in almost 
every step they take. 

And as to the clergy ; the utmost they can do in the way of 

punishment is, in the most prudent and respectful manner, to 

put the magistrate in mind that the authority with which he is 

intrusted is not only for the preserving of peace, but likewise for 

a At their office No. 67 Lincoln s Inn Fields. 

324 The Bishop of London s 

the punishment of vice ; one as a duty he owes to his prince, 
and the other as a duty he owes to his God. Both these are the 
duty of civil magistrates ; and it is greatly to be wished that a 
due regard may always be had to both in the appointment of 
them ; and much to be wondered that any magistrate, who is 
otherwise a serious person and frequents the public service of 
the church and appears to have a sense of duty in all other re 
spects, should need to be put in mind of this branch of it, when 
the scripture so expressly charges it upon him and when he is 
so frequently reminded of it in our own liturgy ; which makes 
it the prayer of him and of the whole congregation, " that all 
who are in authority may truly and indifferently minister jus 
tice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice and to the main 
tenance of true religion and virtue." 

Upon the whole ; till we see a greater probability that 
national wickedness and vice will be restrained and kept under 
in the way of authority, coercion and censure, the great refuge 
of religion must be in the parochial clergy ; and to their pastoral 
labours, under the divine blessing, the nation will be chiefly 
indebted, if vice do not grow triumphant and God do not visit 
us with some remarkable judgment ; or, which is the heaviest 
judgment of all, give us over and remove his candlestick from 
among us. 

This is a melancholy subject; and the thought of national 
judgments an uncomfortable scene ; but yet no way unfit to be 
opened and represented before those who, by their vigilance and 
activity in their several stations, have it so much in their power 
to prevent them. 

And though you may not find such a measure of success as 
might be expected from your pastoral labours, be not dis 
couraged, but labour on. Some of the good seed you now sow, 
though seemingly dead for the present, may hereafter, by the 
blessing of God, take root and spring up ; or if it do not, you, 
however, are sure of your reward from God. 

The earnest wish of religious and good men always has been 
and always will be, to see the world grow better ; and it is more 
peculiarly the duty of the ministers of the gospel to use their 
best endeavours to make it better. But it must be remembered, 
at the same time, that it is a great work to keep it from growing 
worse. And therefore, though that part of the vineyard which 
the providence of God hath committed to your care should not 

Charge to his Clergy, 1741, 1742. 325 

increase in fruitfulness so sensibly as you could wish, do not 
despond nor be discouraged, as if you were an unprofitable la 
bourer ; but consider, for your comfort, how soon it would be 
overrun with thorns and briers (the fruits of the seed sown by 
the wicked one) if you did not watch their growth, and use the 
best methods you can to keep them under or root them up, and 
to sow the seeds of religion and piety in their stead. 

VI. Next to the care of promoting the practice of religion in 
our particular stations, there is a general obligation upon us all 
to use our best endeavours to preserve and maintain the legal 
establishment of it in this church and nation, as the most sure 
foundation, not only of preserving peace and order in church 
and state, but also of preserving and promoting religion and 
the practice of it, within the several districts, which that esta 
blishment has fixed ; provided there be no failure, either on the 
part of the minister or on the part of the people. And where 
either of these is the case, the constitution cannot justly be 
charged, if it fail of attaining the ends of its establishment. 

There are three sorts of people among us who, though of difr 
ferent principles and views, do yet agree in their enmity to the 
established church : they who disavow all revelation ; they who 
are against all establishments, as such ; and they who dislike 
our present establishment. These, all together, are a formidable 
body of men ; ready to join, upon any fair prospect, in an at 
tempt upon the constitution of our church ; and therefore ought 
to be diligently watched and guarded against by all the true 
lovers of it. 

As to the first sort of enemies, they who disavow all revelation; 
it is not to be wondered that they contend with so much earn 
estness for no establishment, because they know how greatly a 
regularity, order and uniformity, in the public exercise of reli 
gion, tends to preserve the honour of it and to defeat their 
schemes for promoting infidelity. Of the truth of which we 
need no other evidence than the particular zeal, which has been 
shewn by the chief patrons of infidelity, against all religious 
establishments, under colour of their being destructive of the 
general liberties of mankind ; whereas, in truth, they are de 
structive of nothing but of that general licentiousness in princi 
ple and practice, to which the schemes and pursuits of these 
people have so visible a tendency. And they know very well 
what they do, when they are contending for such a confused and 

326 The Bishop of London s 

irregular state of things as not only naturally tends to expose 
religion to reproach and contempt, but has been found by 
experience so to do. 

And therefore it has sometimes been a matter of wonder with 
me that the second sort of enemies, those, I mean, who profess 
a serious regard to religion, but are yet against any national 
establishment, should not see that they are doing the work of the 
common enemy ; especially when a nation of gathered and inde 
pendent congregations, without any fixed parochial districts, is, 
at first sight, so very big with confusion ; and when they cannot 
but know what a monstrous degree of profaneness, enthusiasm 
and immorality it produced, when the experiment was made in 
the days of their forefathers. 

As for the third sort ; those who are satisfied concerning the 
expedience, if not necessity, of a national establishment, but are 
dissatisfied with the present ; it is time enough to enter into 
reasonings with them, when they have agreed among themselves 
what the establishment is, which they would introduce in the 
place of the present. They have, indeed, in many of their 
writings, raised exceptions against our liturgy and some other 
parts of our constitution; (and what human constitution was 
ever perfect?) but what they have hitherto done in that way 
has been mainly to justify their separation from the national 
church and goes little further than to the pulling down the 
present fabric. But, surely, it is most unreasonable in them to 
expect that any one who is well satisfied with the present 
should be willing to part with it, till he has a full and entire 
view of what is to succeed in its place ; i. e. till he is enabled to 
form a judgment for himself; first, which of the two is most 
agreeable to the word of God and the practice of the first and 
purest ages ; and next, which of them is best calculated to an 
swer the ends of peace, order and unity in the church, and 
makes the best provision for the instruction and edification of 
every particular member of it. 

VII. Next to a sincere zeal and endeavour to keep up a 
serious sense of religion among your people and a reverent regard 
to our established worship in subservience to that great end, 
there is another point which also demands your care, namely, 
the established provision, which our constitution has made, to 
support the clergy with comfort under their pastoral labours; 
and which, in that respect, is directly subservient to the great 

Charge to Ms Clergy, 1741, 1742. 327 

end of religion. What I mean is, the patrimony of the church 
and the conveying it to the (successive incumbents, unhurt and 
undimimshed. A caution, which I know you will not think un 
seasonable to be repeated 5 , when you remember the two attacks 
that have been made in parliament ; the first, commonly called 
the Tithe Bill ; and the second, of a later date, and distinguished 
by the name of the Quaker s Bill ; both of them indeed de 
feated in the first attempt, but, I doubt, not so as to discourage 
a second. 

You may remember that the design of the Tithe Bill was to 
establish exemptions from tithe for ever, if in a certain number 
of years no tithe at all had been paid. This, if the bill had suc 
ceeded, would, as to exemptions, have made an entire change in 
the present law of tithes. As the law now stands, the incum 
bent is entitled at all times to sue for tithe of common right, and 
the proof of the exemption rests upon the occupant and land 
holder. But, if such a bill shall ever succeed, the proof will be 
put upon the incumbent ; and he will fail in his suit, unless he 
can shew that tithe has been paid within the time limited by the 
act. And this, a new incumbent may not be able to do ; partly, 
because no tithe may have really been paid within the time, 
through private agreements or personal indulgences, by one or 
more of his predecessors, or through a natural inactivity, or an 
unhappy inability to sue for it ; and partly, through the difficul 
ties of making proof of payment of tithe, where it really has been 
paid within the time ; whether through a negligence in keeping 
accounts by former incumbents, or through the concealment of 
those accounts by their executors ; or through the fear of the 
poor to displease the rich, and an unwillingness in one neighbour 
to be witness against another. The manifold and visible incon 
veniences which such a bill must bring upon the church, if it 
should pass into a law, make it the duty as well as interest of the 
whole body of the clergy, not only to do all that is in their 
power to obstruct it, but in the mean time to be guarding care 
fully against the consequences of it, if (which God forbid) it 
should ever succeed ; by getting the best information they can 
of the ground and foundation upon which the claim of exemp 
tion rests, and whether it be such as the law will support ; and 
if it be not, to enter into proper measures for overthrowing it, 

b See Directions, above, p. 311. 

328 The Bishop of London 9 s 

while it is in their power and before it receives a final establish 
ment from such a law as we are now speaking of, which has been 
already attempted with great zeal and may probably be at 
tempted again : and as to moduses also, to take care to vary 
their agreements and compositions for tithe ; and having, from 
time to time, made due entries of such variations, to give special 
direction that the evidences thereof be faithfully transmitted to 
their successors. 

And to induce incumbents the more effectually to provide 
against all encroachments upon the patrimony of the church, 
whether by exemptions or moduses, they must always remember, 
that as they are the proprietors for their own time, and that by 
as good a title as any other estate is enjoyed, whatever the ene 
mies of the clergy may pretend to the contrary ; so they are 
likewise guardians and trustees for God and his church ; and, as 
such, are bound in conscience to use all reasonable care that 
the rights of their respective churches be by them transmitted 
entire to succeeding incumbents. 

I need not say much of the other attack that has been made 
upon the patrimony of the church, I mean, the Quaker s Bill ; 
both because it is of a later date, and because the mischievous 
consequences of the bill, while it was depending in parliament, 
were published to the world, and cannot be so soon forgotten by 
the clergy, whose more immediate concern it is. It is enough to 
say in general that, if it had passed into a law, the whole body 
of the clergy would, in innumerable cases, have been deprived 
at once of the benefit of the established courts of the realm, 
ecclesiastical and temporal; that all apprehension from those 
courts and the exact and regular proceedings therein, which at 
present do in many oases discourage the Quakers from being so 
vexatious to the clergy as their principles lead them to be, 
would then be removed ; that, if these restraints were removed, 
incumbents would be exposed to all the arts, concealments and 
vexations, that they have reason to expect from a people, who 
think the clergy have no right to tithe and who are so far from 
owning an obligation to pay that they think themselves bound 
in conscience to do all that is in their power to avoid it. These 
are difficulties, which the passing such a bill into a law would 
bring, more or less, upon the whole body of the clergy ; but which 
would fall most heavily upon the poor vicars, whose all would 
frequently come within the compass of such an act ; and, as it 

Charge to Ms Clergy, 1741, 1742. 329 

consists of small tithes which are not so easily ascertained, does 
greatly need the assistance of the established courts for that end, 
And God knows, with all the assistance that the laws can give, 
the clergy find it difficult enough to bear up against the many 
advantages which the Quakers, as a kind of body corporate and 
that of no small influence and zeal, are known to be in possession 
of. And how greatly would the difficulty be increased, if the 
present advantages of the laws should be taken from them ! 

VIII. To conclude : As the laws of the land are on the side 
of the church, it is not only her interest, but her duty, on all 
proper occasions, to take the benefit of them and to endeavour 
to defeat all attempts that may be made to deprive her of that 
benefit. But, at the same time, it must be remembered that 
against all manner of attempts, whether upon the constitution or 
upon the rights of the church, our best defence and greatest 
security will always be, the love and esteem of our people ; and 
the only true way to be sure of this is, an exemplary life, a cir 
cumspect behaviour, a diligent discharge of the duties of our 
station and a visible concern for the good of souls. These, I 
say, will, in all events, be the best security to our church that 
human helps can afford and the most likely means of engaging 
God to support and defend it ; especially if, together with our 
own endeavours, we fail not to make our earnest prayer to him, 
to preserve it both in outward peace and inward purity : for its 
outward peace, to pray in the words of one of the collects of our 
church, " that the course of this world may be so peaceably 
ordered by his governance, that his church may joyfully serve 
him in all godly quietness : >J and for inward purity, in the words 
of another collect, " that he will keep his household the church 
in continual godliness ; and that it may be devoutly given to 
serve him in good works, to the glory of his name, through 
Jesus Christ our Lord." 







Held there on WEDNESDAY, July 8, MDCCXLII. 

JOSIAH HORT, a native of Marshfield, in Gloucestershire^ 
was educated at an Academy in London for training Ministers 
among the Dissenters, under Mr. Thomas Rowe, a Non-con 
formist of eminence, at the close of the Seventeenth and in the 
beginning of the Eighteenth Century. The celebrated Dr. 
Isaac Watts, who was sent to the same Academy in 1690, was 
one of his fellow- students there ; and has recorded of him that 
" he was the first genius in the Academy*" A proof that the 
friendship, thus begun, was continued through life, is furnished 
by a Letter from him to Dr. Watts, written only a few years 
before his death and subscribed : " your old friend and affec- 
" tionate servant. * The interval between the completion of 
his studies and his conformity to the Church of England (spent, 
according to some accounts, in the charge of a Dissenting con 
gregation) was but short ; for it was doubtless with a view to 
qualify himself for Episcopal Ordination that in April, 1 704, he 
entered Clare Hall, Cambridge. Without staying to graduate, 
he was, in 1705, admitted to Deacon s Orders by Dr. More, 
Bishop of Norwich, and to Priest s Orders by Dr. Simon 
Patrick, Bishop of Ely. In 1709, he accompanied the Earl 
(afterwards Marquis) of Wharton, as Chaplain, when that 
Nobleman, soon after the change of Ministry, which followed 
the death of Prince George of Denmark, went over to Ireland, 
as Lord Lieutenant. The Earl was quickly recalled and suc 
ceeded by the Duke of Ormonde ; not, however^ before he had 
nominated his Chaplain to a Rectory in the Diocese of Meath. 
A dispute having arisen respecting the right of the Crown 
to present, the affair was riot finally settled in Mr. Hort s 
favour until 1717, when he quitted a Benefice in Buckingham- 


shire, which he had in the meantime received from the Lord 
Chancellor Cowper, and returned to Ireland. In the next 
year, he was appointed to the Deanery of Cloyne, and in 1720 
removed to that of Ardagh. He was consecrated Bishop of 
Ferns and Leighlin, on the s6th of February, 1721 ; trans 
lated to the See of Kilmore and Ardagh, in 1727 ; and raised 
to the Archbishopric of Tuam, in 1742. He died at an 
advanced age in 1751, having been distinguished for zeal and 
beneficence in the successive scenes of his Pastoral labours and 
particularly in the Diocese of Tuam, where his memory is still 
gratefully cherished. In 1738, he published a volume of Ser 
mons, inscribed to the Clergy of his Diocese, to whom he 
accounted for the publication by representing himself as " dis- 
" abled from Preaching by an over-straining of his voice in 
" the Pulpit many years before." 





My reverend brethren, 

IKE providence of God having called me to the government 
of this diocese, I have judged it not improper for me to commu 
nicate my thoughts to you with regard to the execution of your 
ministerial office, in order to the edification and salvation of the 
souls respectively committed to your charge. 

To this end I shall reduce what I have to say to you under two 
general heads : 

The first relates to your conduct in the actual performance of 
divine offices in the house of God. 

The second relates to your behaviour at large towards your 

In speaking to the former, I shall confine myself to these four 
branches of your office, namely, preaching, praying, catechising 
and expounding the holy scriptures. 

I shall begin with preaching, which is one of those means 
appointed by our Saviour, for the enlightening the minds, 
awakening the consciences and reforming the manners of your 
hearers. In order to answer these great ends, some degree of 
skill and address, as well as of pains and study, will be requisite : 
and I shall, for the sake chiefly of such of you as have not been 
long in holy orders, communicate my sentiments with regard to 
the subject, the composition, the style and the pronunciation of 
a sermon. 

336 Horfs Instructions to the Clergy 

The subject of a sermon ought to be some point of doctrine 
that is necessary for a Christian to know ; or some duty that is 
necessary for him to practise, in order to his salvation. I speak 
this in opposition to subtile questions and curious speculations, 
that are above the common level of the auditory, and which have 
often no other effect than to disquiet the minds and consciences 
of those who do not rightly understand them ; and if they please 
curious and itching ears, yet will edify no man in faith and a 
good life. 

Upon this occasion I would recommend it to young preachers 
especially, to compose a set of sermons upon the chief articles of 
the Christian religion, according to their natural order and 
dependence. By this means* they will improve their own know 
ledge at the same time that they are teaching their hearers: 
but this should be done in the plainest and easiest manner, lay 
ing aside metaphysical niceties and the jargon of the schools, and 
especially avoiding to explain mysteries ; for this is generally 
giving words and terms without meaning ; and no man has ever 
succeeded in the attempt. 

When a useful subject is chosen, the next care of the preacher 
is to find out some proper and pertinent text, that will naturally 
lead him to pursue his subject, and that will yield him those 
doctrines and practical deductions which he had in his view, 
without force and torture. For want of this, the whole operation 
will be laborious, obscure and perplexed to the composer; and 
the discourse will be void of that perspicuity, which is necessary 
to engage the attention of the hearers. And I am sure there is 
no want of such texts upon all subjects in the Bible. 

It has given me disgust to observe in some preachers a certain 
affectation of choosing such texts as appear remote and foreign 
to their subject, that by this means they may have opportunity 
of shewing their wit and ingenuity in fetching that out of a text, 
which nobody imagined could be in it. They would do some 
thing miraculous, like bringing water out of a dry rock in the 
wilderness, in order to surprise their auditory ; but this will 
ever give distaste to good judges, and there is no occasion for 
putting one text upon the rack, to make it speak that which 
would naturally and easily arise out of another, that might as 
well have been chosen in the room of it. 

When a useful subject and a pertinent text are chosen, the 
next work is composition, or the ranging of such thoughts as 

of the Diocese of Tuam . 337 

naturally arise upon the subject, into a convenient order and 
method : this will be the plan of his discourse ; and the composer 
will reap no small advantages from this practice. 

First, As it will help him to enter all his loose and detached 
thoughts in their proper places, for want of which some of them 
may escape him when he comes to the finishing part. 

Secondly, It will lead him to break his sermon into heads, 
which is absolutely necessary for giving strength and clearness 
to the whole and for engaging the attention of the audience; 
which will be soon blunted and tired with hearing an harangue 
where all the parts are run into one general mass, and nothing 
distinctly and specially offered to the understanding. 

Thirdly, The memory of the hearers will be greatly relieved ; 
for a sermon thus broken into particular heads will be better im 
printed and more easily recollected, by reason of the depend 
ence and connection of the parts, where one draws another after 
it like the links of a chain. 

And lastly, It will give the preacher an opportunity of inter 
spersing apt texts of holy scripture for the support or illustration 
of every particular head. 

There may indeed be a faulty extreme on this hand ; for I 
have heard a sermon that has been so overloaded with texts of 
scripture that the thread of the reasoning was in a manner lost 
and the whole looked like a piece of rich patchwork, without 
any ground appearing at the bottom. But the other extreme, 
of a penury of sacre*d texts, prevails too much in our modern 
and refined compositions ; which, for that reason, may rather be 
called orations than sermons. 

A due medium -therefore ought to be observed in this case; 
but of the two, the latter extreme is most blamable ; for a 
sermon will appear lean and unsatisfying to a religious palate, 
when it is not sufficiently larded with scripture, but the whole is 
made to rest on the reasonings of the preacher, unsupported by 
the authority of God s word. 

By this means likewise he will become an expert textuary, 
which is the first excellency of a Christian divine ; and the 
people will occasionally be made acquainted with the holy 

Now this is what I call a sermon, in contradistinction to an 
oration, which by one uniform flow of eloquence, without proper 
breaks and divisions, glides like a smooth stream over the soul, 


338 Hort s Instructions to the Clergy 

leaving no traces behind it. The word thus delicately sown 
may, like a concert of music, delight the ear while it lasts, but 
dies with the sound, and the hearer will carry little home, besides 
a remembrance that he was sweetly entertained. 

The effect of this will, where there are any kind of talents for 
it, be a good style ; by which I would be understood to mean 
that simplicity and propriety of language, which clearly conveys 
the sense of the speaker into the mind of the hearer. When 
therefore, by the method before prescribed, the preacher is be 
come master of his subject and has ranged all his materials fitly, 
fit- words and expressions will readily offer themselves to answer 
to his clear ideas ; for nothing perplexes the style but a confused 
and perplexed manner of thinking. 

He therefore who would convince and persuade his hearers 
should above all things aim at that perspicuity and simplicity, 
which are the greatest ornaments of language : whereas, on the 
contrary, a tawdry style, garnished with flowers of rhetoric and 
flights of fancy, which are incident to young preachers, makes 
only a bright confusion, that glares upon the mind without 
enlightening it. 

As to the doctrinal part of a sermon, the style cannot be too 
plain and chaste, though it need not descend to be base and 
vulgar (for there is a wide difference between these two) 
because it is addressed to the understanding ; but as the practi 
cal part is designed to move the affections and passions, the style 
may rise, and grow warm with some heightenings of imagination, 
the better to answer that purpose. 

I have only two short remarks to add on this head. The 
first relates to the introduction, the second to the conclusion of a 

As to the former, if an introduction be necessary, it should 
always be short, pertinent and leading as soon as may be to the 
main subject of the discourse. If the text needs any light from 
what goes before and follows it, this should be collected and 
brought to bear upon the text with the utmost brevity and clear 
ness ; for people are naturally impatient to know what the 
minister would be at, and to have him take his main business in 
hand. When I hear a preacher set out with a general preamble, 
that has no immediate relation to his text and can never carry 
him to it but by a mighty circumference, I easily conclude with 
myself what I am to expect in the sequel of the discourse. 

of the Diocese of Tuam. 339 

With regard to the conclusion of a sermon, it should be 
always practical and persuasive to a good life ; it should consist 
of exhortations and motives proper to enforce such duties and 
virtues as ma} 7 pertinently arise from the doctrines and positions 
before laid down. For the great end of preaching is to make 
men better : mere knowledge put into the head, if it does not 
penetrate to the heart and from thence diffuse itself into the 
life and conversation, becomes not only useless but hurtful, as 
it will turn to a man s greater condemnation. 

I shall dismiss this general head with some remarks upon the 
subject of pronunciation or elocution. And here I must observe 
to you that no one manner of pronunciation will befit every 
sermon, nor every part of the same sermon, but that it must be 
diversified according to the nature of every period ; it is impos 
sible therefore to give precise rules where so great a variety of 
circumstances will arise, which require a different modification 
of voice and action ; but every preacher must, in a good 
degree, be left to the direction of his own judgment and the 
best examples. 

All that I shall therefore attempt under this head is to pro 
pose some general rules that will extend to all cases and that 
may be of use for correcting some common faults and mistakes. 

The first is, to pronounce every word and syllable distinctly, 
and to beware of sinking at the close of the period. This is 
undoubtedly the first and chiefest excellence of pronunciation, 
because the very end of speaking is so far lost, as it is not dis 
tinctly heard. 

I would not be here understood to recommend that heavy and 


phlegmatic delivery that retails out words by their syllables ; for 
this is more properly to be called spelling than speaking and is 
apt to tire men s patience and lull them to sleep : but I mean 
that articulate expression, with rests and pauses properly inter 
posed, which shall break and distinguish the parts of a period 
according to the sense ; and herein consists the propriety and 
beauty of elocution, which both speaker and hearer will sensibly 

This rule is calculated for the cure of two faults that are not 
unfrequent ; one is a thick and confused delivery, which runs 
syllables and words into one mass, so that the ear cannot well 
separate them and the hearer is forced to make up the sense by 
conjecture. The other is a rapidity of speech which runs off too 

340 HorCs Instructions to the Clergy 

fast to impress any distinct idea on the mind, by which means 
both the pleasure and profit of a sermon are in great measure 
lost. A little time and practice will certainly cure this fault, 
where there is no natural defect in the organs. 

The second rule I would mention is, to be careful not to 
exceed the compass of the voice. There is a certain ne plus ultra 
to the organs of speech in every man, and his own feeling alone 
can teach him where it lies : if he goes beyond this, his pronun 
ciation will be harsh, unmusical and disagreeable both to him 
self and to his hearers, who cannot receive with pleasure what 
they perceive he delivers with pain and violence ; besides, that it 
is impossible for him duly to temper and govern his voice* under 
these unnatural strainings and efforts. 

It is a great mistake to imagine that a voice must needs be 
well heard, merely because it is loud. This is indeed a noble 
foundation for art and skill to work upon ; but without the aid 
of these, it is often swallowed up and lost in itself. 

A moderate strength of voice, with a due articulation of words 
and distinction of pauses, will go further, even in a large congre 
gation, than the thunder of an unskilful tongue ; and this is that 
suaviloquentia, that mellowness and sweetness of speaking, so 
much praised in some of the Roman orators, in opposition to the 
rusticity of noisy declaimers. 

Let me here add, by way of caution, the danger of forcing and 
straining the internal organs. I wish I were not an unhappy 
example of this kind, and that I did not to this day feel the sad 
effects of making too violent efforts in the pulpit many years 
ago : from my own experience therefore let me advise young 
preachers, who have not the most robust lungs, to have recourse 
to art and management rather than to force, for supplying that 

The third rule I would recommend to you is to observe one 
even and uniform manner of pronunciation. I would not be 
here understood to mean that a preacher is to confine himself to 
one simple note or sound, or to one degree of time and motion, 
from the beginning to the end of his discourse : for this is that 
monotonia, or una qucedam spiritus ac soni intentio, which the 
great teacher of Roman oratory explodes. It would be most 
absurd to do this, unless every thought and every occasion were 
perfectly alike. The spirit and beauty, and, I may say, the very 
essence of pronunciation, lies in proper emphases and accents, 

of the Diocese of Tiiam. 341 

and in varying the notes and times pursuant to the diversity of 
sentiments and occasions. 

But I am levelling this rule against that subsultory way of 
delivery, that rises like a storm in one part of the period and 
presently sinks into a dead calm, that will scarce reach the ear. 
I allow that elevations and softenings of the voice, judiciously 
managed, are both ornamental and useful ; but those sudden 
starts and explosions are most ungraceful and unbecoming the 
gravity of the pulpit, and are of no use, that I can think of, 
unless it be to startle a hearer that happens to be asleep : and 
the other extreme of sinking below the ear is still more 
ridiculous ; for words which cannot be heard may as well not be 

The fourth and last general rule I would suggest is to 
distinguish carefully between the doctrinal and practical part of 
the discourse, in the manner of your pronunciation. The inten 
tion of the doctrinal part being to enlighten the understanding 
and to lead it to the knowledge of truth, by cool reasoning and 
argumentation ; all that is proper and necessary here is that 
simplicity of accent and emphasis, which may serve to point out 
where the force of the argument lies ; and no man, who is master 
of his subject, can greatly err in this part. 

But the practical part of a sermon requires a very different con 
duct ; for the mind having been before sufficiently enlightened 
and the nature and obligation of virtue clearly proved, the inten 
tion is now to persuade the will to embrace it ; to which end the 
passions are to be excited to come in to assist the reason. 
And here it is that the pathetic allurements of voice will be use 
ful and proper : for experience shews us the power of the out 
ward senses in this case, and particularly that action and motion, 
skilfully presented to the eye, and musical sounds, received by 
the ear, produce wonderful effects on our passions and affec 
tions. It is therefore necessary, when your design is to raise 
fear or hope, joy or sorrow, love or hatred, to vary the action 
and pronunciation from cool and sedate to that which is more 
warm and moving ; in order to touch the spring of that passion, 
which you would make use of to answer your end. 

To descend to particulars in this case is impossible, because 
the variety is infinite. The simple accents required in reason 
ing are few and easy, and good sense alone will direct these ; 
but the various modulations of the voice, which render tone and 

Noffa Instructions to the Clergy 

cadence harmonious, are talents of quite another kind : for these 
being in reality nothing but different notes in the scale of music, 
require a musical ear to form and direct them ; and where this 
natural gift is wanting, the preacher will fall into discords and 
only expose himself by his attempt. 

For this reason, the safest way is, generally, of the two 
extremes, to avoid that of running into too much tone and 
cadence ; his defect on this side will, at the worst, only not 
please, but an error on the other side will disturb and displease ; 
and it may moreover carry the appearance of affectation and 
self-opinion, which will expose him to contempt and censure. 

I come next to the second branch of your office in the church, 
and that is reading the public prayers ; and, I do assure you, 
there is no little skill required to do this as it ought to be done. 
I call it indeed reading the prayers, in compliance with the 
common phrase ; but speaking properly, prayers ought to be 
prayed and not read. 

There is a certain propriety of accent, cadence and gesture, 
that befits the solemnity and seriousness of devotion ; and where 
this is duly observed, the minister will find it a great help, both 
to warm his own heart and to draw out the attention and affec 
tions of the congregation. I do allow that prayer is a spiritual 
duty and is properly the action of the soul : but experience 
shews us to be so made and compounded as that our souls 
receive great impressions and changes from our outward senses. 
And therefore the minister should choose those accents and 
gestures that are most apt and proper to excite his own devotion, 
as well as that of the people ; he should pray to their eyes and 
pray to their ears, as the readiest way to affect their hearts. 

But he must at the same time carefully avoid theatrical accents 
and gestures ; all affectation is offensive to good judges ; but 
that of the theatre is of all others the most unbecoming the house 
of God, and will disgust serious persons. And yet if accents 
and diversification of voice be wholly rejected, the prayers will 
seem cold and lifeless, the attention will languish and the devo 
tion lose its spirit and fervour. 

There is likewise a due medium to be observed in the time 
and movement of prayers : if they are read too fast, they cannot 
impress the soul with due sentiments and affections as the min 
ister proceeds ; on the other hand, slow and heavy reading will 
make the work dull and tiresome; and the impatient hearer will 

of the Diocese of Tuam. 343 

be apt to let loose his thoughts to wander upon foreign subjects 
or perhaps compose himself to rest. 

So that it requires some degree of judgment to steer between 
these extremes ; and the reading of the public prayers is an art, 
which all clergymen should set themselves to acquire by study 
and practice and by copying after the best examples. 

And yet I fear that it is too much neglected by those who are 
newly ordained ; and that, when they come first into the desk, 
they strike at random and without any regard to propriety, into 
a certain manner of reading, which every body observes to be 
wrong but themselves ; time and use will soon render this fami 
liar ; and as they never discover the fault, it becomes a habit, 
and they never think of correcting it afterwards. 

It is indeed difficult to change a bad manner ; but difficult 
things may be done and often must be done. And to make 
this point more easy, I will give you one short rule, which may 
be of use both to such clergymen as are yet to form their man 
ner and to those who have habituated themselves to an im 
proper one ; and it is this : let a minister, when he opens his 
book, possess his soul with this thought ; that he is going to 
address himself to the great Majesty of heaven and earth, who 
knows all his thoughts and beholds all his actions ; and that he 
is in the immediate presence of this adorable Being, who is very 
jealous of his honour ; I say, let him possess his soul duly with 
this consideration and he will naturally fall into all the pro 
prieties of prayer. 

The third branch of your office is that of public catechising. 

The compilers of our liturgy acted very prudently in making 
the Church Catechism short and summary, for fear of overbur 
dening the memory and rendering it distasteful and irksome. 
For this reason they did not support the doctrines and duties, 
there laid down, with proofs out of the holy scripture, taking it 
for granted, that this part would be supplied by the pastors of 
the church : this has accordingly been done by many of our 
bishops and learned divines, in their printed expositions of the 
Church Catechism ; descending to many particular questions 
and answers, which naturally branch out from the general heads 
of that summarv. 


Among these I must mention and recommend one in parti 
cular, composed by that most excellent prelate 2 (now with God) 
z Edward Synge, D.D. who was Archbishop of Tuam from 1716 to 17.41.. 

34-4? Ilort s Instructions to the Clergy 

who was my immediate predecessor in this diocese and province, 
in whose steps I beseech God to give me grace to tread. 

With regard to children, the chief use of catechisms is to 
treasure up the materials of knowledge in their memories, though 
they may perhaps enter very little into the sense of them : but 
as their understandings ripen with time, and their appetite for 
knowledge increases, it will be no small advantage that they 
have the words and sentences ready stored up for use ; for they 
will easily put sense to them hereafter, and then it is that a 
more copious exposition becomes seasonable and necessary : 
however, no pains should be spared for enlightening them at 
present according to their capacities. 

And I am afraid that too many of your parishioners who are 
of mature age, and even some who are advanced in years, have 
need to be taught what are the first principles of the oracles of 
God. Shame will hinder such from coming to be catechised 
like children, but that shame will be covered by your putting in 
practice the method I am recommending ; for light and know 
ledge will be obliquely conveyed into their minds, and you will, 
by instructing children in their presence, instruct them at the 
same time, without exposing their ignorance. 

In such parishes as afford a sufficient auditory at the evening 
service, this work may be then most conveniently performed, till 
the short days come in ; but where the parishioners lie remote 
from the church, the morning will be the fittest time. It will 
indeed prolong the service for half an hour ; but they who come 
to worship God but once in seven days may look upon this as 
an easy composition ; and if the minister should not grudge his 
pains, it will be hard if they should grudge their time, when they 
have no worldly business upon their hands. 

If you should at the same time take occasion to explain and 
enforce the doctrines of protestantism and of the established 
church, it might be of great use to fortify your people and pre 
vent apostasies, and perhaps to bring over such as may have the 
curiosity to be your hearers. And to speak the truth, there is 
no other way of effecting this properly upon reasonable creatures 
and Christian, than the way of reasoning and conviction. Coer 
cive laws may restrain and disable those who avow principles 
that are destructive to the church and state, and coercion in 
those cases is wise and necessary ; but they can never convince 
any body : they may tie up men s hands and tongues, but never 

of the Diocese of Tuam. 345 

reach their hearts ; this is only to be done by enlightening the 
mind and working properly upon the conscience. 

I must therefore, my reverend brethren, most earnestly press 
you to be assiduous in the discharge of this part of your office ; 
declaring, at the same time, that I shall distinguish with my re 
gards such ministers and curates as shall distinguish themselves 
by their diligence upon this and the following head : 

Which is, fourthly, the reviving of that almost antiquated 
exercise of expounding the holy scriptures to your congre 

I am afraid the bulk of your people are very little acquainted 
with this divine book ; some for want of inclination to read it, 
and others for want of proper helps for understanding it ; and 
yet this is the book that is able to make them icise unto salvation*. 
This book is the great rule of their faith and practice, and 
according to this book they must be judged at the last day. 

Who then should teach them to understand it but their pas 
tors, who are called by that honourable name, because they are 
to feed their people u- it h knowledge and understanding^ ? For the 
priest s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law 
at his mouth ; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts c . 

By this means you will by degrees lead those into the know 
ledge of the holy scriptures, who will not be at the pains, or 
may want leisure, to read them at home ; or if they do read, yet, 
for want of commentators, are sometimes at a loss for the true 

Let me add that this exercise will be of no small advantage 
even to yourselves, as it will lay you under a necessity of study 
ing the word of God, which you are by profession and promise 
at your ordination, bound to do : for a clergyman can no more be 
unskilful in the holy scriptures, without great shame and reproach, 
than a lawyer in the law. 

The Epistles and Gospels and Lessons for the day will 
furnish you with choice of subjects for this work, which will be 
come easy and familiar to the minister, after he has once made 
himself master of the sense and connection. And the same 
notes will generally serve, as the same portions return in an 
annual rotation. 

But let me not be misunderstood : I am not recommending 

a 2 Tim. iii, 15. b Jer. iii, 15. c Mai. ii, 7. 

346 ffort s Instructions to the Clergy 

this as an additional task, over and above the sermon, but to be 
substituted sometimes in the place of it ; and which, in my judg 
ment, will be more profitable ; especially if care be taken to 
make such practical inferences and applications, in the course of 
the exposition, as may naturally arise out of the text. This will 
indeed make it a sermon in another shape ; with this difference 
only, that the variety of subjects and incidents will enliven the 
attention and give a more agreeable as well as instructive en 
tertainment to the audience ; who, I dare say. will come with a 
better appetite to this exercise, when judiciously performed, and 
fill your churches better. 

It will remain in the minister s discretion to interpose a ser 
mon when he pleases ; but he will do well to note down those 
Sundays, in order to expound in the following year those por 
tions of holy scripture, which by this means were omitted. 

And if the people were admonished to bring their Bibles with 
them, according to the good old practice of our ancestors, and to 
accompany the minister as he reads and expounds, they would 
understand and retain it better and be enabled to spend an hour 
most profitably in recollecting and repeating to their families 
what they had heard at church. 

If this custom, practised in the times of puritanism, was laid 
aside in a licentious age, when all seriousness in religion grew 
out of fashion, let us not be ashamed to revive it ; for it is no 
shame to learn that which is good from any body. After all, if 
a sermon in form should, in compliance with custom, be found 
indispensable, it may however be shortened to allow for the time 
that had been spent in the exposition. 

I come now to the second general head I proposed to speak to, 
viz. your duty at large and out of the house of God. 

The first I should mention is the visitation of the sick. And let 
me assure you that this is a very critical office at certain conjunc 
tures, and that great discretion is required for the right discharge 
of it ; for there may be danger in administering either too much 
fear or too much hope. 

To awaken a sick man to reflect upon his past life and to call 
his sins to remembrance, in order to a particular repentance, 
will be of great use to him ; but care must be taken not to 
throw him into despair of God s mercy and forgiveness ; for 
this will prevent his repentance and shut the door of mercy 
against him. 

of the Diocese of Tuarn. 347 

On the other hand, to set only the mercy of God before him 
and deal out hope too liberally, will be the way to make him 
secure at a time, when his soul is in the utmost danger and 
when repentance is all that he has for it. And by-standers 
will be too apt to lay hold of such sweet doctrine to their own 

I am afraid it is too frequent for wicked livers, when they 
apprehend the approaches of death, to send for the minister, in 
order to receive the communion and absolution as a kind of 
passport, which they hope will do their business at once and 
carry them by a short way to heaven ; and indeed this is a very 
short way, if it would do. But alas ! we do not find in the holy 
scriptures that the way is quite so easy ; on the contrary, we 
find that repentance and a good life are the only sure foundation 
of hope and comfort at the hour of death. For this reason a 
minister ought not to be too ready with his absolutions ; nor 
has he any warrant for it, unless the proofs of repentance be 
strong and the sick person humbly and earnestly desire it ; in 
which case only, the rubric directs absolution to be given. 

And even then, it will be very proper for the minister to 
observe that he has no power to forgive sins absolutely; but 
that all that he can do is to declare, for the comfort of the sick, 
that God forgives him, in case his repentance be sincere and 
his heart thoroughly changed. 

I confess that, when things are come to the last extremity, re 
pentance is all that is in the power of a dying man, after a bad 
life: but God only knows, whether it be the mere effect of 
terror, or whether the heart be so changed as, in case of re 
covery, would have operated to a virtuous life. Charity, \vhich 
hopeth all things,, will make the best of it ; but it is a very poor 
refuge ; and as it would be cruel to refuse a dying man that 
little comfort which his case may possibly admit, so it would 
encourage presumption in the living to give too much. 

But the case is quite otherwise with regard to a virtuous and 
godly man in his last moments ; here none of these cautions are 
necessary, but the minister may safely pour the oil of joy and 
hope with profusion into his soul, 

But the visitation of the sick is only an occasional branch of a 
pastor s duty, and there is another of much greater importance 
and extent, and that is, 

Horfs Instructions to the Clergy 

Secondly, His visiting all his parishioners at their houses in a 
stated and a regular course. By this means only can he learn 
the true state of their souls and all their spiritual wants. In 
the church he is to speak and they to hear only ; but his 
familiar conversation will give them an opportunity of speaking 
in their turns and of opening to him their doubts and scruples 
of conscience ; their fears, their temptations and their ignorance ; 
and he will take fit occasions to admonish and reprove them 
privately, without exposing them to shame, according to our 
Saviour s advice. The tenderness and regard to the character 
and credit of an offender must naturally tend to soften and re 
claim him ; but if after repeated admonitions he should prove 
obstinate and incorrigible, then, and not till then, is he to be put 
to open shame. Presentments, excommunications, judicial cen 
sures and penances, are always to be the last resort, when 
private admonitions and expostulations have been repeated 
without effect. 

If there be domestic quarrels and dissensions, the discreet 
advice of the minister may heal them and restore unity and 
peace and mutual affection between husband and wife, parents 
and children, brethren and sisters. If reciprocal passions or ill 
offices have set neighbours and friends at variance and given 
rise to vexatious prosecutions and lawsuits, which are often 
occasioned by a mere misunderstanding of one another (or by 
malicious whispers and insinuations), he will set things in a 
better light and mollify them to a better temper ; and bring 
them to decide their differences by the cheap and Christian way 
of arbitration, to the saving of families from utter ruin. And 
indeed I have observed that, when once a minister has, by his 
discreet, peaceable and upright behaviour, established himself 
in the good opinion and confidence of his parishioners, he be 
comes from that time a general arbiter and judge among them, 
and all their little strifes are readily submitted to his decision. 

By the same means also he will learn if the worship of God 
be kept up in families, as it ought ; he will discover what good 
books are used among them and what bad ones, which may tend 
to corrupt their principles and manners. He will find if seduc 
ers have been privately at work in his parish, to practise on the 
ignorant and unstable and lead them astray ; and this will give 
him an opportunity to set them right and fortify them. And I 

oftlie Diocese ofTuam. 349 

fear there was never more occasion for the vigilance of ministers 
in this case, than in these days, when the flock of Christ is beset 
with wolves of various denominations. 

To name no more, he will learn from his own eyesight the 
distresses and wants of the poor families in his parish, which will 
move him both to extend his own charity and to solicit that of 
others, for their relief. 

These and a thousand other good ends are to be obtained only 
by the diligence of a pastor in visiting his parishioners at their 
houses ; so that, if he should content himself with officiating in 
the church only and having barely a face-knowledge of them, he 
will leave a great part of his duty undone. 

It is incredible how far this practice would go towards reform 
ing the people and especially those of the lower rank ; for though 
he is doing no more than his bare duty, yet they would mistake 
it for a great honour and condescension on his part, to visit them 
familiarly in their homely cottages ; and, by thus gaining their 
hearts, he would find them soft to his good impressions and 
patient under his reproofs. 

I hope, therefore, my reverend brethren, that you will be 
particularly assiduous in this branch of your duty ; and that, for 
the more easy and effectual performance of it, you will divide 
your respective parishes into convenient districts, to be visited by 
you in a stated course. 

Need I observe to you, in the third and last place, that the 
example of a virtuous and holy life in a minister will have more 
effect upon his people, than a thousand discourses from the 
pulpit, be they never so excellent ? 

The bulk of mankind are much easier led by the eye than the 
ear ; and though he should preach like an angel, yet they will 
despise his doctrine, if they do not read it in his life : but, when 
he shews himself in all things a pattern of good works and pre 
sents in his own life a fair copy of all those graces and virtues 
which he recommends from the pulpit, his people will believe 
him to be in good earnest, and that his sincere aim is to save 
their souls as well as his own. His humility, meekness and 
forgiveness, his charity and moderation, his temperance and 
sobriety, his grave, prudent and peaceable behaviour, his encou 
ragement of religion and devotion in his own family, will procure 
reverence and authority to his person, attention to his preach 
ing and a zeal to imitate his virtues : they will think such a 

350 Horfs Instructions to the Clergy 

labourer worthy of his hire; and he must be of a very perverse 
temper indeed, who will not cheerfully render him his dues. 

I must here make one observation, which most naturally 
arises out of this head ; and that is the indispensable duty of 
residing on your respective cures; for it is of the nature of exam 
ples to be present and before the eye ; so that a minister, who does 
not live among his flock, can never be an example to them. 

I might here mention, as a lower consideration, the convenience 
of residence to yourselves ; not only for the better improvement 
of your glebes and the providing of more comfortable habitations 
for yourselves and successors and being in the midst of your 
business ; but also for avoiding all pretences of withholding from 
you your legal dues. 

When a minister is not resident, either in person or by his 
curate, the parishioners are ready to plead (and indeed with too 
much colour) that they do not receive the valuable consideration 
of their tithes. 

In strictness of law there is no foundation for this plea, 
because tithes are not the property of the tenant or the landlord, 
but free donations to the church by the piety of ancient times ; 
which by unlucky accidents are fallen into the hands of mere 
laymen, who can do no spiritual service for the same : and in 
fact all estates subject to tithes were transmitted or purchased, 
subject to this incumbrance ; for which the purchaser must have 
paid a greater price and the farmer a higher rent, if they had 
been tithe-free. Every man therefore must consider himself not 
as a possessor in property, but as a trustee of the tenth part of 
the produce ; which he holds in trust for the use of the parish 
minister; and which he cannot without injustice withhold and 
apply to his own use, since he has no title to it. 

And the case is become the same, where there are lay-impro- 
priators ; and yet these receive their tithes with less grumbling 
and opposition, though they can neither pray nor preach as a 
consideration for the same. 

The nonresidence therefore of the minister, or even his 
neglects of duty, are a mere pretence set up against paying 
tithes ; and I am afraid that if he would graciously remit his dues, 
too many of these clamourers would readily dispense with his 

But give me leave to observe, on the other hand, that, if in 
law the minister be entitled to his tithes, the parishioners are in 

of the Diocese of Tuam. 351 

good conscience and by the rules of the gospel and the will of 
the donor, entitled equally to his spiritual cares and labours in 
the execution of his office for the good of their souls. If he 
reaps their carnal things, it is in consideration that he shall sow 
unto them spiritual things ,- and as he is partaker of the altar } he 
is required to toait at the aUar d ; and therefore if he proves remiss 
in the discharge of his duty, if he is not at hand to watch over 
his flock, to feed and to guard them, he must not wonder if they 
are untoward and difficult in the payment of their dues ; for 
though the law be with him, yet they will justly set up the equity 
of the gospel against him. 

I cannot dismiss this general head without putting you in 
mind of one duty more which, though it be not properly canon 
ical and within my province, yet is truly of religious considera 

I am speaking of that provision for your families, by a prudent 
management of your incomes, which every man is bound by 
the laws of God and of nature to make. St. Paul s admonition 
in this case is at least as binding as any canon of our church : 
If any one provide not for his own and especially for those of 
his own house, he hath denied the faith } and is worse than an 
infidel e . 

And I am sorry to observe that the memories of many 
clergymen lie under just reproach for their neglect of this duty, 
which the laws of God and nature oblige everv man to do. If 

O v 

a clergyman happens to have a temporal estate, something will 
remain for the support of his family who survive him ; but 
where his benefice is his only fund, he must want natural affection 
and justice, or to suppose the best, he must be void of all thought, 
who spends it as fast as it comes in, without laying up some 
part of it for their support. Whether it be owing to indolence 
or bad management, or to idle projects, or whether his income be 
expended in entertainments and high living, falsely called hospi 
tality, though it may more properly be called pride and ostenta 
tion ; yet it makes no difference with respect to them, when 
there is nothing left for their subsistence. 

He would disdain to be told, that the only refuge of his widow 
must be in some charity- house ; and that his daughters, after 
being delicately bred, must be quartered as humble companions 

d i Cor. ix, n, 13. e i Timothy v, 8. 

352 Horfs Instructions to tlte Clergy 

upon some good lady ; where, if they are treated better than 
servants, in point of ceremony and respect, yet their condition is 
so far worse, as they serve without wages ; or if this should not 
be their good fortune, they must be exposed to snares and 
temptations and at last perhaps fall a prey to some rich invader 
of their virtue, for the sake of a maintenance : I say, he would 
disdain to be told this, and yet he is taking the ready way to 
bring things to this issue. For he well knows that he is only a 
tenant for life and that, as he spends all while he lives, all his 
funds must die with him. 

How much better would it be for such a one to retrench all 
superfluities in good time and enter upon a new economy ! 
What if he should not treat with wine, and rival men of perma 
nent fortunes in his entertainments ; what if his wife and daugh 
ters were not to shine in silks, but be modestly clothed in decent 
stuffs, and the savings laid up for their fortunes ; would any 
wise man think the worse either of him or them? No; his pru 
dence and their humility would be universally applauded and 
would be set up as an example to other families in the like cir 

I should therefore think it a most laudable resolution in every 
clergyman, who is not possessed of a temporal estate, to lay up 
one half, or one third, or at the least one quarter of his income, 
according as the thing will bear, for the future occasions of his 
family ; and to look upon such savings as not at all his own, but 
sacred to their use. 

It remains only that I exhort you to that which is not so pro 
perly to be called a distinct and separate head of duty, as a mode 
or quality that ought to run through all the rest : I am speaking 
of zeal, or that fervent desire of doing good to the souls of your 
parishioners, which will animate and enliven every part of your 
duty. This is opposed to that indolence and lukewarmness of 
spirit, which always proceeds with indifference and slothfulness 
in business ; which does what is barely required and no more, 
and therefore generally underdoes in every thing. To such 
tempers every thing goes up hill and against the grain ; and 
is performed as if it were a task, which is done only because it 
must be done. 

But a principle of zeal will turn our duty into delight and 
make us active and diligent ; it will overcome all difficulties and 
spare no pains in promoting the honour of God and the salva- 

of the Diocese of Tuam. 353 

tion of those souls that are committed to our charge. Our 
Saviour gives John the character of a burning and a shininy 
light f , shining by the light of his doctrine and burning by the 
warmth and activity of his zeal : and the same should be the 
character of every minister of the gospel. 

In order therefore to excite you to the effectual discharge of 
your spiritual offices with this laudable temper of mind, I shall, 
as I proposed, lay before you some motives and considerations, 
which, if duly attended to, cannot fail of success. 

The first shall be taken from the nature of that trust, which 
with your o\vn consent has been committed to you. The souls 
of your parishioners are your immediate charge, and you are to 
guide them in the way to eternal salvation. Hence it is that the 
office of a minister is represented in the holy scriptures under 
metaphors and characters importing a very high trust. 

You are called shepherds, who are to feed the flock of Christ, 
by enlightening their minds with the knowledge of divine 
truths ; to establish their faith and influence them to the prac 
tice of virtue. Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me ? says our 
Saviour ; Feed my sheep K , which he repeats three times. The 
trust is comprised in three words, but so big with important 
matter as might fill a volume. However, you may observe the 
principle and spring from whence it is inferred and enforced : 
Lovest thou me ? strongly implying that, wherever there is a 
true love for our blessed Saviour, it will naturally operate by a 
zeal for promoting the salvation of those souls, for whom he shed 
his most precious blood. 

As shepherds, you are likewise instructed to guard your 
flocks from spiritual enemies and dangers, especially as they are 
surrounded with those who will be assiduous to pervert and 
corrupt both their faith and manners. For this reason a good 
pastor will always have an eye upon his flock, to confirm those 
that are wavering, and to reclaim and recover such as have been 
led astray, being seduced by cunning men who lie in wait to 
deceive , for those wolves have ever haunted about Christ s fold. 

And it is in the same view and for the same purposes that you 
are called watchmen ; for you are to watch over the faith and 
morals of your people and guard them against infidelity, idol 
atry, false doctrines, corrupt religions, evil customs and immoral 

f John v, 35. John xxi, 16. 

A a 

354* Horfs Instructions to the Clergy 

practices. Son of man, says God to the prophet, / have made 
thee a watchman over the house of Israel ; and the end follows, 
namely,, to warn the wicked from his evil way. St. Paul takes 
up the allusion, Obey them that have the rule over you, for they 
watch for your souls**. 

And here I cannot but repeat the hint of the necessity of 
residence, which is so clearly and strongly implied in those 
metaphors ; for an absent and rambling shepherd must needs 
neglect the safety of his flock, and a watchman or sentinel will 
be punished, if he leaves his post. 

And lastly, to name no more, you are stewards of the mysteries 
of God \ and dispensers of the means of salvation in his church. 
The church is Christ s household or family ; and it is your office 
to administer their spiritual food to them, even the sincere milk of 
the word, that so they may grow in grace and in the knowledge 
of God their Saviour. 

Now these metaphors of a shepherd, a watchman and a stew 
ard express, in a most significant and lively manner, the nature 
of that trust which is committed to every one who has taken 
upon him the holy character ; and shew that he is responsible 
for the souls of his parishioners. 

And as every trust must one time or other be accounted for, 
this leads me to the other motive, proper to excite you to a zeal 
ous and diligent discharge of your office ; namely, that you will 
most certainly be called to a strict account for the same. This is 
strongly urged by St. Paul, in the place before mentioned, as an 
argument both to ministers and people to discharge their duties 
reciprocally ; Obey them that rule over you, for they watch for 
your souls as those who must give account. 

And what account will a lukewarm, slothful and negligent 
minister give at that day, if hip unhappy parishioners should 
turn evidences against him and, in excuse for their own faults, 
plead that they miscarried through his neglect? will he plead 
his obedience to the canons and rubrics and that he performed 
every service, which the letter of the law required ? Let me as 
sure you, my reverend brethren, that this plea will not be admit 
ted before the great Judge and that the Father and Lover 
of souls requires much more at your hands. 

Canons and rubrics are useful instruments for keeping up 

h Hebrews xiii, 17. * T Cor iv, I. 

of the Diocese of Tuam. 355 

external discipline, order and decency in an established church ; 
and it is small merit in a clergyman to obey these, because he 
will be exposed to ecclesiastical censures for his neglect. But if 
he contents himself with this legal observance and goes no fur 
ther, he will be found wanting when he comes to be weighed in 
the balance. His heart and soul must be set upon his work ; he 
must give up the best of his time and pains to it, labouring in 
season and out of season k , performing many things as a volun 
teer, which laws do not and cannot prescribe ; or he will never 
stand the inquisition of the great day, but be ranked in the 
number of unprofitable servants. This day of reckoning must 
come ; it is what you preach to others and it is what you should 
seriously consider yourselves, lest, after preaching to them, you 
yourselves should be castaways^. 

But as dreadful as this day will prove to slothful and merely 
canonical pastors, it will be no less joyful and happy to those, 
who have been zealous and diligent in saving the souls com 
mitted to their charge. With what pleasure will every such 
minister appear at the head of his happy flock before the great 
Shepherd and in his own words say, Those thou gavest me I 
have kept, and none of them is lost ! The light of his doctrine 
and the living light of his example did not shine in vain, even 
with respect to himself, before his people ; for they that turn 
many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever m . 

If any further motive were necessary, though one would think 
it should not, you may turn to the Office of Ordination, and 
refresh your memories with the solemn promises you made at 
your admission to the order of priests ; and I would earnestly 
advise every clergyman to read over that Office once at least in 
every year, because stale promises are too apt to be forgotten. 

Having thus, my reverend brethren, delivered my thoughts to 
you, though very imperfectly, upon some of the chief branches 
of your sacred function, I hope you will receive them favourably, 
and that they will not be quite unprofitable ; and especially to 
such of you as have not long been admitted to the cure of 

I shall, by God s assistance, endeavour to cooperate with you 
for promoting the great ends of your ministry ; I shall rejoice to 
live in harmony and a good understanding with you ; I shall be 
happy in your esteem and affection and in giving you the best 

k 2 Tim. iv, 2. ! i Cor. ix, 27. m Daniel xii, 3. 

A a 2 

356 Horfs Instructions to the Clergy fyc. 

proofs of mine. If any of you should need admonition, you will 
remember that it is my duty to give it, and yours to take it in 
good part : and I hope always to give it in the spirit of meek- 
nes and with a due regard to the dignity of your character. I 
shall be apt to take good impressions of you and slow to believe 
things unworthy of you ; and would hope that this disposition of 
charity and benevolence will be mutual. I shall cheerfully 
assist you, as far as I am capable, with my advice and with my 
prayers in your behalf; and I hope I shall not want the benefit 
of your advice as there shall be occasion ; and especially of your 
prayers, that God will enable me by his grace to discharge faith 
fully the great trust committed to me, for the promotion of his 
glory and the edification of tHis diocese : that so, when the great 
Shepherd shall require an account of the flocks committed to our 
charge, you and I may be able to give it up with cheerfulness, 
and enter into the joy of our Lord. 

I shall conclude with those awful words of God to the prophet 
Ezekiel in his 33d chapter. son of man, I have set thee a 
watchman unto the house of Israel ; therefore thou, shalt hear the 
word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto 
the wicked, wicked man, thou shalt surely die ; if thou dost not 
speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die 
in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 
Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it ; 
if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity ; but 
thou hast delivered thy soul. 









1HOMAS WILSON was born at Burton, in Cheshire, on 
the 2Oth of December, 1663, " of honest parents, fearing GOD." 
From a school at Chester, he was removed to Trinity College, 
Dublin, where he at first studied for the Medical Profession 
but soon changed his purpose and prepared himself for the 
ministry of the Church. He was ordained Deacon by the 
Bishop of Kildare, on St. Peter s day, 1686; and, in December 
of the same year, licensed to a Curacy in the Parish of Win- 
wick, Lancashire, by the then Bishop of Chester. He was 
admitted to Priest s Orders in 1689. He became Domestic 
Chaplain to the Earl of Derby and Preceptor to his son, in 
1692. His conduct was marked by such disinterestedness and 
integrity as gained for him the entire confidence of the noble 
family and a most beneficial influence over its members. In 
1697, he modestly declined the offer of the Bishoprick of the 
Isle of Man, which the Earl, as Patron of the See, made to 
him ; and it was not until the King (William III) had, in the 
following year, threatened to fill up the vacancy, which had 
continued too long, that Lord Derby could prevail on his 
Chaplain to accept the Preferment. He was thus (to use his 
own expression) " forced into the Bishoprick." 

In 1 707, each of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge 
conferred upon him the Degree of D. D. Some years after 
wards, a vigorous enforcement of discipline in his Diocese led 
to his temporary imprisonment and involved him in consider 
able expences. An appeal to the King in Council vindicated 
the character and proceedings of the injured Prelate ; and 
liberal contributions somewhat lessened the pecuniary burden, 
which had been laid upon him. On three several occasions, 
in the Reigns of Queen Anne, of George I and of George II 


(once before, and twice after, his sufferings in the cause of the 
Church) an English Bishoprick was even urged on his accept 
ance ; but in vain. The latest of these proposals occurred in 
3 735 wnen ne P a id a final visit to England and was intro 
duced to King George II and Queen Caroline. " See here, 
my Lords" (said the Queen to several Prelates, attending her 
Levee) " is a Bishop, who does not come for a translation." 
" No indeed ; and please your Majesty" (said the good Bishop) 
" I will not leave my wife in my old age, because she is poor. 5 
Having entered on the 93rd year of his age and the ^8th of 
an Episcopate, marked, through its whole course, by primitive 
simplicity, piety and zeal, he died on the 7th of March, 1755. 
He has justly earned the title of the Venerable and Apostolic 
Bishop of Sodor and Man, and will retain it, as long as the 
English language shall preserve the numerous writings, prac 
tical and devotional, which he has left behind and by which 
" he, being dead, yet speaketh" to the Church of CHRIST. 

The Life of Bishop Wilson, consisting of authentic notices 
and memorials chiefly furnished by his Son, Dr. Thomas 
Wilson, is prefixed to a complete Edition of his Works, pub 
lished at Bath in 1796. And a more recent Biography, by 
the Revd. Hugh Stowell, has gone through several Editions. 


JL HE venerable author of the following Instructions to 
the Clergy presented a copy of them, in manuscript, 
to every clergyman in his diocese; and, as they are 
admirably adapted to the end for which they were 
designed, we may reasonably presume that this instance 
of his lordship s affectionate concern for his clergy and 
people was attended with the happiest effects. 

The Instructions comprehend several of the most im 
portant branches of the pastoral office ; and, as they are 
the fruit of long experience in the work of the ministry, 
and that too the experience of Bishop Wilson, they carry 
their own recommendation with them and will, we doubt 
not, be favourably received by the reverend body, for 
whose use they are intended and to whom they are most 
respectfully offered. 





Bishop s-Court, March 3, 1 708. 
My dear brethren, 

I PERSUADE myself that you will take the following advice 
well from me, because, besides the authority God has given me, 
I have always encouraged you to give me your assistance to 
enable me to discharge my duty. 

Every return of Lent (a time when people were wont either 
to call themselves or to be called to an account) should put us, 
above all men, upon examining and judging ourselves, because 
we are to answer for the faith and manners of others as well as 
for our own ; and therefore this is a very proper season to take 
an account both of our flocks and of ourselves, which would 
make our great account less hazardous and dreadful. 

Let me therefore entreat you, at this time, to do what I always 
have obliged myself to ; namely, carefully to look over your 
ordination vows. It is very commendable to do this every 
Ember- week, but it would be unpardonable negligence not once 
a year to consider what we have bound ourselves to and taken 
the sacrament upon it. 

In the first place, therefore, if tee were indeed moved by the 
Holy Ghost and truly called to the ministry of the church, as we 
declared we were, this will appear in our conduct ever since. 

364 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

Let us then consider whether our great aim has been to promote 
the glory of God with which we were intrusted and the eternal 
interest of the souls committed to our charge, according to the 
vows that are upon us ? If not, for God s sake let us put on 
resolutions of better obedience for the time to come. 

The holy scriptures are the rule, by which we and our people 
are to be judged at the last day ; it is for this we solemnly pro 
mise, to be diligent in reading and to instruct our people out of 
the same holy scriptures. They do indeed sufficiently contain all 
doctrine necessary to eternal salvation (as we profess to believe) 
but then they must be carefully studied, often consulted and 
the Holy Spirit often applied to for the true understanding of 
them ; or else in vain is all our labour, and we are false to our 

Upon which heads it will behove us to consider, how much 
we have neglected this necessary study; how often we have 
contented ourselves with reading just so much as we were 
obliged to by the public offices of the church ! How apt such 
as read not the holy scriptures are to run to other books for 
matter for their sermons ; by which means they have been too 
often led to speak of errors and vices, which did no way concern 
their hearers, or of things above their capacities : and it has 
often appeared that they themselves have scarce been convinced 
of (and of course have not been heartily in love with) the truths, 
which they have recommended to others ; which is the true 
reason why their sermons may have done so little good. 

But when a man is sensibly affected with the value of souls, 
with the danger they are in, with the manner of their redemp 
tion and the price paid for them ; and is well acquainted with 
the New Testament, in which all this is plainly set forth ; as he 
will never want matter for the best sermons, so he will never 
want arguments sufficient to convince his hearers, his own heart 
being touched with the importance of the subject. Under this 
head, we must not forget to charge ourselves with the neglect of 
catechising ; for, as it is one of the most necessary duties of the 
ministry, so it is bound upon us by laws, canons, rubrics and 
constitutions, enough to awaken the most careless among us to a 
more diligent discharge of this duty. 

But though we should be never so diligent in these duties, if 
our conversation bp not pdifying, wo shall only bring these 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 365 

ordinances into contempt ; and therefore, when a priest is or 
dained, he promises, by God s help, to frame and fashion himself 
and family, so as to make both, as much as in him lieth, wholesome 
examples and patterns of the flock of Christ. 

Under which head it will be fit to consider what offence we 
may have given, by an unwary conversation, by criminal liberties, 
&c. that we may beg God^s pardon and make some amends by a 
more strict behaviour for the future ; that we may be examples 
to the flock, teaching them sobriety, by our strict temperance ; 
charity, by our readiness to forgive ; devotion, by our ardent zeal 
in the offering up their prayers to God. 

They that think all their work is done when the service of 
the Lord s day is over, do not remember that they have pro 
mised to use both public and private monitions, as well to the sick 
as to the whole, within their cures, as need shall require, and 
as occasion shall be given. Upon this head, let us look back 
and see how often we have forborne to reprove open offenders, 
either out of fear or from a sinful modesty, or for worldly 
respects : considerations, which should never come in com 
petition with the honour of God, with which a clergyman 
stands charged. 

Let us consider how few we have admonished privately ; how 
few we have reclaimed ; and how many, who are yet under the 
power of a sinful life, which we might have reclaimed by such 
admonitions ! 

Let us consider how many have been in affliction of mind, 
body or estate, without any benefit to their souls, for want of 
being made sensible of the hand and voice and design of God 
in such visitation ! How many have recovered from the bed of 
sickness without becoming better men, only for want of being 
put in mind of the fears they were under and the thoughts they 
had and the promises they made, when they were in danger ! 
Lastly, how many have lived and died in sin, without making 
their peace with God or satisfaction and restitution to man, for 
want of being forewarned of the account they were to give ! A 
negligence which we cannot reflect upon without trembling. 

It will here likewise be proper to consider how many offenders 
have escaped the censures of the church through our neglect, 
by which they might have been humbled for their sins, and 
others restrained from falling into the like miscarriages. Other 

366 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

churches lament the want of that discipline, which we (blessed 
be God) can exercise. How great then is the sin of those who, 
by laziness or partiality, would bring it into disuse ! 

Because a great deal depends upon the manner of our perform 
ing divine offices, we ought to reflect upon it, how often we read 
the prayers of the church with coldness and indevotion and 
administer the sacraments with an indifference unworthy of the 
holy mysteries ; by which it comes to pass that some despise and 
some abhor the service of God ! Let us detest such indevotion, 
and resolve upon a becoming seriousness when we offer up the 
supplications of the people to God, that they, seeing our zeal, 
may be persuaded that it is not for trifles we pray, nor out of 
custom only that we go to church. 

The great secret of attaining such an affecting way is to be 
constant and serious in our private devotions, which will beget 
in us a spirit of piety, able to influence our voice and actions. 

Having thus taken an account of our own engagements and 
heartily begged God s pardon for our omissions and prescribed 
rules to ourselves of acting suitably to our high calling for the 
future, we shall be better disposed to take an account of our 
flock : always remembering, that our love to Christ is to be 
expressed by feeding Ms sheep. 

I have observed with satisfaction that most people, who by 
their age are qualified, do come to the Lord s supper at Easter. 
Now it is much to be feared that such as generally turn their 
backs upon that holy ordinance at other times, do come at this 
time more out of custom, or to comply with the laws, than out of 
a sense of duty. 

This is no way to be prevented, but by giving them a true 
notion of this holy sacrament, such as shall neither encourage 
the profane to eat and drink their own damnation, nor discourage 
well-meaning people from receiving the greatest comfort and 
support of the Christian life. 

To this end it will be highly conducive (and I earnestly recom 
mend it to you) to make this the subject of a good part of your 
sermons during Lent. But let them be plain and practical dis 
courses, such as may set forth the nature, end and benefits of 
the Lord s supper. That it is to keep up the remembrance of 
the sacrifice and death of Christ, whereby alone we obtain 
remission of our sins and all other benefits of his passion. That 

or Instructions to Ms Clergy. 367 

it is a mark of our being members of Christ s church, a token of 
our being in covenant with God. That a sinner has nothing but 
this to plead for pardon, when the devil or his conscience accuse 
him before God. That we ought to receive as often as conveni 
ently we can, that, as Peter Damian expresses himself, " the 
old serpent, seeing the blood of the Lamb upon our lips, may 
tremble to approach us."" That Jesus Christ presents before 
God in heaven his death and merits, for all such as duly remem 
ber them on earth. 

Let them know that a Christian life is the best preparation ; 
that God respects sincerity of heart above all things ; which 
consists in doing what God has commanded us, to the best of our 
knowledge and power. 

Let them know the danger of unworthy receiving, without 
full purposes of amendment of life. And that they may know 
wherein they have offended and that they may have no cloke 
for their sin, it would be very convenient, some Sunday before 
Easter, to read to them some heads of self- examination (leaving 
out such sins and duties, in which none of them are concerned) 
such as you will find at the latter end of the Whole Duty of Man 
and in many other books of devotion. 

But to make your sermons more effectual (and I desire it and 
require it of you) that you take an account of the state and 
condition of your particular flocks, during the approaching sea 
son and visit and deal in private with those, upon whom your 
sermons have probably had no influence. 

Let them know that the church obliges you to deny them the 
blessed sacrament, which is the means of salvation, until you can 
be satisfied of their reformation. 

Let such as live in malice, envy or in any other grievous 
crime and yet come to the holy table as if they were in a state of 
salvation ; let them be told that they provoke God to plague 
them with his judgments. 

Admonish such as are litigious and vex their neighbours with 
out cause, that this is contrary to the spirit and rules of Christi 
anity ; that this holy sacrament either finds or makes all com 
municants of one heart and mind, or mightily increases their 
guilt that are not made so. 

Tell such as are wont, before that solemn season of receiving, 
to forbear drinking and their other vices, that fast and pray 

368 Bishop Wilsons Parochialia: 

for a few days ; tell them plainly that none of these exercises 
are acceptable to God, which are not attended with amendment 
of life. 

Rebuke severely such as despise and profane the Lord s -day ; 
make them sensible that a curse must be upon that family, out 
of which none goes to church to obtain a blessing upon those 
that stay at home. 

Tell such as have submitted to church censures and are not 
become better men, how abominable that hypocrisy is, that made 
them utter the most solemn promises, which they never meant 
to keep. 

Bv this method you will answer the ends of that rubric 

w / 

before the Communion, which requires all persons that design 
to receive to signify their names to the curate at least some time 
the day before an order which, if observed, would give us rare 
opportunities of admonishing offenders, who yet do not think 
themselves in danger. 

Lastly, in making this visitation you will see what children 
are uncatechised, what families have no face of religion in 
them, &c. 

But for God s sake remember that, if all this is not done in the 
spirit of meekness, with prudence and sweetness, you will never 
attain the end proposed by such a visitation of your parish. 

Do but consider with what goodness our blessed Master 
treated with sinners, and you will bear much in order to reduce 
them. At the same time fear not the face of any man, while you 
are engaged in the cause of God and in the way of your duty. 
He will either defend you or reward your sufferings ; and can, 
when he pleases, terrify gainsayers. 

It is true, all this is not to be done without trouble ; but then 
consider what grief and weariness and contempt our Master 
underwent, in turning sinners from the power of Satan unto God : 
and as he saw the travail of his soul, so shall we reap very great 
benefit by it even in this world. 

We shall have great satisfaction in seeing our churches 
thronged with communicants, who come out of a sense of duty 
more than out of a blind obedience. We shall gain a wonderful 
authority amongst our people. Such as have any spark of grace 
will love and respect you for your friendly admonition : such as 
have none, will however reverence you and stand in awe of you. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 369 

And they that pay you tithes will by this be convinced that it 
is not for doing nothing that you receive them, since your calling 
obliges you to continual labour and thoughts of heart. 

That you may do all this with a spirit of piety worthy of the 
priesthood, you have two excellent books in your hands, The 
Pastoral Care, and The Country Parson, which I hope I need 
not enjoin you to read over at this time. 

I considered that the best men have sometimes need of being 
stirred up, that they may not lose a spirit of piety, which is but 
too apt to languish. This is all the apology I shall make for this 
address to you at this time. 

Now that both you and I may give a comfortable account of 
our office and charge, as it is the design of this letter, so it shall 
be my hearty prayer to God. 

I am your affectionate brother, 




Of answering the ends of this apostolical institution. 

-I HERE is no question to be made of it but that most of that 
ignorance, impiety, profaneness, want of charity, of union 
and order, which we complain of, is owing to the neglect or 
abuse of this one ordinance ; which being appointed by the 
apostles and practised even when baptism was administered to 
people of full age a , it is no wonder that God punishes the con 
tempt of it, by withholding his holy Spirit and those graces 
which are necessary and would certainly accompany the religious 
use of it. 

If this were well considered and pastors would resolve to 
discharge their duty in this particular faithfully, we should soon 
see another face of religion : Christians would be obliged to 
study their religion and to think it something more than a work 
of the lips and of the memory, or the mere custom of the place 
where they live. And being made sensible of their danger (being 
liable to sin, to death and to damnation] this would make them 
serious and thoughtful and inquisitive after the manner of their 
redemption and the means of salvation ; and their consciences 
being awakened and informed, sin would become more uneasy to 
them and virtue more acceptable. In short, by this means 
people would know their duty, the sacraments would be kept 
from being profaned and pastors would be respected and obeyed, 
as being very truly the fathers of their flock. 

a Acts viii, 17. 

Bp. Wilsorfs Instructions to his Clergy. 371 

And certainly no greater injury can be done to religion than 
to suffer young people to come to confirmation, before they 
know the reason of this service and have been well instructed 
in the principles and duties of Christianity. This being the very 
time of seasoning their minds with sound knowledge, of fortify 
ing their wills with sober resolutions and of engaging them to 
piety, before sin has got the possession of their affections ; this 
being also the time of qualifying them to receive benefit by all our 
future labours and of arming them against apostasy, heresy, schism 
and all other vices, to which we are subject in this state of trial. 

In short, I do not know how a clergyman could possibly 
spend one month better than by leading young people, as it 
were, by the hand, into the design of Christianity, by some such 
easy method as this following : if which, deliberately proposed 
to every single person in the hearing of all the rest (who should 
be obliged to be every day present) and familiarly explained, 
not the most ignorant (supposing he had learned, as he ought, 
the Church Catechism) but would be able to give a reason of the 
hope that is in him ; and his faith being thus built upon a solid 
and sure foundation, would, by the grace of God now imparted 
to him in a greater measure, withstand all future trials and 

The method of dealing with young Christians, in order to fit them 

for confirmation. 

I DO not ask you, whether you believe in God : you cannot 
open your eyes but you must, by the world that you see, 
acknowledge the God that made it and does still preserve it; 
that He is infinite in power, in wisdom and in goodness; that 
in Him we live and move and have our being ; that He is 
therefore worthy of all the love and service that we can possibly 
pay Him. 

How" then do you think it comes to pass, that so many who 
profess to know God, do yet in their works deny him** ? Why, this 
shews plainly that man is fallen from that good estate in which 
God created him. He knows that he ought to live righteously, 
as in the sight of an holy and just God ; that he should be 
afraid of doing any thing to offend so powerful a Being ; that 
he should love and strive to please him, upon whose goodness 
he depends; and that he should obey all his laws. And yet 

b Titus i, 1 6. 

372 Bishop Wilson s ParocMalia : 

he cannot prevail with himself to do what he is persuaded he 
ought to do. 

This may convince you that man s nature has been sadly 
corrupted some way or other ; we having, in every one of us, the 
seeds of all manner of wickedness, which, if not kept under, will 
certainly grow up and be our ruin. 

Now, the holy scriptures tell you how this came to pass ; 
namely, that our first parents being created perfect (that is, able 
to know and obey any law that God should give them) God 
gave them the law of nature and right reason to live by, and 
required of them a perfect obedience, with this assurance, that 
they should never die, if they did not transgress one particular 
command of not eating the forbidden fruit, which command 
was given them both to try their obedience and to keep their 
appetites in subjection. 

Now, they did transgress this command and thereby became 
subject to sin, to death the reward of sin and to the wrath of 
God ; for God withdrew the supernatural powers and graces 
which he had given them, so that now, though they knew what 
was fit to be done, yet had they no longer power to perform it; 
which would certainly have driven them to despair, but that 
God was pleased immediately to comfort them with this promise, 
that a time was coming when he would send one to redeem 
them and their posterity from this miserable bondage ; and that 
he would then receive them again into favour, upon reasonable 

In the mean time, Adam begat a race of children after his own 
likeness c ; that is, with such a corrupt nature as his own was now 
become; and his posterity grew every day more and more 
wicked, till at last God destroyed the whole world (except eight 
persons) by a flood. 

But this did not destroy the seeds of sin which was in them, 
for by these eight persons the world was peopled with a -race of 
men, who in a short time did quite forget and forsake God ; and 
for the most part became the subjects of the devil and were 
led captives by him at his will. 

At last, God remembered his promise, and resolving to 
mend that disorder which sin had caused in the world, he sent 
his Son to take our nature upon him and to give mankind 
assurance that God would be reconciled to them upon very 

c Genesis v, 3. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 373 

merciful conditions ; namely, if they would renounce the devil, 
who first tempted man to sin, and accept of such laws and rules 
as were necessary to change their nature, which was now become 
prone to evil continually. 

Now, to assure them that Jesus Christ came with this message 
from God, he did such miracles as none but God could do ; and 
to convince us how much he loved us and what a sad thing sin 
is (which nothing but his death could atone for) he gave his 
life a ransom for us ; the punishment due to us being laid on 

And God, to let us know that he was well pleased with what 
his Son had done and taught and suffered, raised him to life, after 
he had been crucified and received him up into heaven, and gave 
him all power in heaven and in earth, and sent down the Holy 
Ghost, with mighty power, to set up his kingdom, which is his 
church, among men ; to destroy the kingdom of Satan, who 
hitherto had ruled without control ; and to free mankind from 
the tyranny and slavery of sin. 

In order to this, the Holy Ghost appointed certain persons 
(who are called Christ s ministers) and gave them power to 
receive into his church all such as would promise to obey his 

Your parents therefore took care (as the Jews did by their 
children) to consecrate you to God and Christ as soon as you 
were born. And this they did by baptism (as Jesus Christ had 
commanded) by which holy ceremony you were dedicated to 
God, who made you ; to Jesus Christ, who redeemed you ; and to 
the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth all God s chosen servants. 

Thus you were translated (or taken) out of the kingdom of 
darkness into the kingdom, protection and government of Jesus 
Christ d : and being thus received into Christ s church, you became 
a child of God and an heir of the kingdom of heaven. 


But then you are to consider, that before you were admitted 
to this favour, your sureties promised for you, that when you 
should come to age, you should in your own person and with 
your own free consent, renounce the devil and all his works, the 
world and all its wicked customs, and the flesh with all its sinful 
lusts : that you should believe in God, that is, receive the 
gospel as a rule of faith ; and obediently keep God^s command 

d Col. i, 13. 

374 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

You are now therefore called upon to do this before God, 
who knows all the secrets of vour hearts; before God^s minister, 


who will charge you very solemnly to be sincere ; and before 
the congregation, who will be witnesses against you, if you shall 
break your vows. 

I must tell you further that to root or keep out evil habits 
and to get habits of virtue and to live as becomes a Christian, is 
not so easily done as promised. 

You will be obliged to take pains, to watch and pray and 
deny yourself and even lay down your life, rather than deny 
your profession or dissemble it. 

But then you will not think this too much, when you consider 
that it is for your life and that it is to escape eternal death. 

For Jesus Christ has made known to us that this life is a 
state of trial and only a passage to another life, where God will 
take an account how all men have behaved themselves here and 
appoint them a portion suitable to what they have done in the 
body, whether good or bad : When they that have done good, 
shall go into life everlasting ; and they that have done evil, into 
everlasting misery. 

Now, that you may not despair of going through the work of 
your salvation and getting the victory over all your enemies, 
Jesus Christ hath sent down his holy Spirit to be communicated 
by the laying on ofhands e , to all such as are disposed to receive 
him ; by which Almighty Spirit all your enemies shall be 
subdued, all your lusts mortified, your corruptions rooted 
out and your soul purified ; so that, when you die, you will 
be fit to be carried to the quiet and happy regions of para 
dise, where the souls of the faithful enjoy perpetual rest and 

Every Christian, who is preparing himself for confirmation, 
ought to have this or some such short account of the method of 
divine grace read to him distinctly (and explained where there 
is need) once every day for one month, at least, before that holy 
ordinance ; that he may remember it as long as he lives and be 
able to give a reason of the hope that is in him. 

But, forasmuch as he is to renew his vows before God, who 
will be provoked with the hypocrisy and impiety of those, who 

e Acts viii, 17. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 375 

promise what they do not understand, or what they do not think 
of performing, a good pastor will not fail to ask every person, in 
the presence of the rest (that by hearing them often they may 
be better able to remember them) some such questions as these 
following : 

Of renouncing the Devil, fyc. 

ARE you convinced that you ought to love God, as he is the 
author of all good, and upon whom you depend for life and Ireath 
and all things \ 

Why then consider that you cannot possibly love God, un 
less you renounce the love of every thing that may displease 

Do you know that all sin is displeasing to God, as being the 
transgression of his law f ? 

Do you therefore renounce all sin and every thing that would 
draw you from God ? 

Do you renounce the devil, the great enemy of God and man ; 
all his works, such as pride, malice, revenge and lying ; and wicked 
men, which are his agents ? 

Do you know that this is not the world you were made for ; 
that it is only a passage to another ! 

Do you then renounce the world ; that is, all evil customs, all 
that is wicked or vain, all covetous desires and inordinate love 
of riches or pleasures or honours, which are the world s idols 
and draw the heart from the love of God ? 

Will you renounce and abhor all youthful lusts, all sins of im 
purity and uncleanness, and all sins which lead to these ; such as, 
gluttony and drunkenness, filthy words and songs, intemperance and 
an idle life ? 

Do you know that it is a very hard thing to break off evil 
habits ? 

Will you then call yourself often to an account, that you 
may repent and amend, before sin and hell get dominion over 

Will you be careful to avoid all temptations and occasions of 
sin, and especially of such sins as you are most apt to fall into I 

Will you keep a strict watch over your heart, remembering 
that adulteries, murders, thefts and all manner of wickedness 
proceed from thence ? 

f i John iii, 4. 

376 Bishop Wilsorfs Parochialia : 

Since heaven and happiness eternal are blessings too great to 
be attained without labour and pains, will you resolve in earnest 
to enter in at the strait gate, cost what trouble it will I 

Will you be temperate in all things, deny yourself and use 
such abstinence as, the flesh being subdued to the spirit, you 
may in all things obey all godly motions ? 

Are you convinced that the power to do good is from God ? 

Will you then pray to God daily that his holy Spirit may in 
all things direct and rule your heart ? 

And will you take care to remember this great rule of the 
gospel, that he, that makes use of God s grace, shall have 
still more grace ; and he, that neglects it, shall lose what he 
hath ? 

Of faith in God, in Jesus Christ, Sfc. 

YOU know it is your duty to believe in and to love God. 

That you may do so truly, you must often think of God as the 
author and fountain of all good ; you must pray to him, give him 
thanks, and always speak of him with great reverence. 

Will you resolve to do so ? 

And if you set God always before you and remember that he 
hates all iniquity, that he sees all you do or speak or think, this 
will fill your heart with godly fear. 

Are you persuaded that nothing does happen in the world 
without God s knowledge and permission ? 

Will you then trust in the Lord with all your heart and rest 
assured that neither men nor devils can hurt you without his 
leave ? 

Will you consider afflictions as coming from the hands of a 
good God and therefore to be borne with patience, submission 
and a firm faith that all things work togetJier for good to those 
that fear God? 

The holy scripture, as well as sad experience, assures us that 
our nature is corrupt and prone to evil continually. Are you 
truly sensible of this ? 

If you are, then you know for certain that you are liable to 
the wrath of God and that there is a necessity of a Redeemer 
to make your peace with God and to shew you how to please 

Know then that it was for this reason that the Son of God 
took our nature upon him, that he might suffer what we had 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 377 

deserved to suffer, and that God laid on him the iniquities of us 
all, and that he hath obtained everlasting redemption for all them 
that obey him. 

Are you then persuaded that such as do not lay hold of this 
mercy must suffer the wrath of God in their own persons ? 

Are you then resolved to fly to God s mercy, for Christ s sake, 
to obey his laws and follow his example ? 

Will you always endeavour to do what you believe Christ 
would do, if he were in your place and circumstances ? 

Will you set before your eyes his sufferings, his humility, his 
patience, his charity and his submission to the will of God, in 
order to direct, to support and comfort you in all your troubles ? 

And remember that Jesus Christ is now in heaven, in his 
human nature, evermore interceding for all that go to God 
by him. 

Do you firmly believe all that God hath made known to us by 
his Son 2 

Do you believe that we must all appear before the judgment- 
seat of Christ, by whose righteous sentence, they that have done 
good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil 
into everlasting misery ? 

Will you then live like one that believes all this ; being care 
ful of all your thoughts, words and actions, which must then 
be judged ? 

Do you know that in baptism we are dedicated to the Holy 
Ghost, because it is he, who must sanctify our nature and fit us 
by his graces for heaven ? 

Will you then pray earnestly to God, and especially at this 
time, to give you this blessing, since he himself hath promised 
to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ? 

Will you order your life according to that word, which he 
inspired, and take care not to grieve him by continuing in any 
known sin? 

And since you are taught and governed by a bishop and 
pastors commissioned by the Holy Ghosts, will you therefore 
live in obedience to them, to whom Jesus Christ made this 
promise 11 : Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the 
world ? 

Will you treat all Christian people with love and charity, 

s Acts xx, 28. h Matth. xxviii, 20. 

378 Bishop Wilson s Parochicdia : 

as being members of that body, of which Jesus Christ is the 

Will you hope for forgiveness of sins for Christ s sake only 
and believe that the goodness of God ought to lead you to 
repentance ? 

Do you believe that there will be a resurrection both of the 
just and unjust? 

Do you faithfully believe that after this life there will be a 
state of endless happiness or endless misery ? 

Remember then that a saving faith purifieth the heart ; and 
that a good faith must be known by its fruits, as one tree is 
known from another. 

Of obedience to God s commands, fyc. 

ARE you persuaded that the design of all true religion is to 
make men holy, that they may be happy ? 

Do you think that man is able to find out a way to please God, 
and to govern himself by his own reason ? 

So far from it that, when God left men to themselves (as he 
did the heathens) they chose the most foolish and abominable 
ways of serving their gods and fell into wickednesses scarce fit 
to be named 1 . 

Will you then make the law of God the rule of your life ? 

Will you be careful not to love or fear any thing more than 
God ? for that would be your idol. 

Will you worship God with reverence; that is, upon your 
knees, when you ask his pardon or blessing ; standing up, when 
you praise him, and by hearing his word with attention ? 

Will you honour God s name, so as not to use it but with 
seriousness ? 

Will you abhor all manner of oaths, except when you are 
called before a magistrate ; and will you then speak the truth, 
as you hope the Lord will hold you guiltless ? 

Will you remember to keep holy the Lord s day, as that which 
sanctifies the whole week ? 

Will you honour your parents and be subject to the higher 
powers, obeying all their lawful commands ? 

Will you reverence your pastors and take in good part all 
their godly admonitions ? 

* Rom. i. 

or Instructions to Ms Clergy. 379 

Will you be careful not to hurt or wish any man s death, not 
be glad at misfortunes or grieve men without cause ? 

Will you be gentle and easy to be entreated, that God for 
Christ s sake may be so towards you ? 

Will you remember that whoredom and sins of impurity will 
certainly keep men out of heaven ? 

Do you believe that restitution is a necessary duty (where it 
can be made) without which there is no forgiveness 1 

If you believe this, you will never wrong any body by force, 
fraud or by colour of law ; you will pay all your just debts and 
never take advantage of any man s necessity. 

Will you remember that the God of truth hateth lying, that 
the devil is the father of lies, and that liars, slanderers and 
backbiters, are to have their portion in the lake that lurneth with 
fire and brimstone^ ? 

Will you endeavour to be content with your own condition, 
neither envying that of others nor bettering your own by unjust 

Will you in all your actions have an eye to God ; and say to 
yourself, I do this or forbear that, because God hath commanded 

Will you remember this good rule, never to undertake any 
thing which you dare not pray God to prosper ? 

Are you convinced that all power to do good is from God; 
and that without his grace you cannot keep his commandments? 

Will you then pray to God daily, that his holy Spirit may in 
all things direct and rule your heart ? 

May the gracious God enable you to do what you have now 
resolved upon. 

You are now going to profess yourself a member of the church 
of Christ. 

Will you then endeavour to become a worthy member of that 
society ? 

Will you make the gospel of Christ your rule to walk by, and 
obey them that are over you in the Lord ? 

Will you promise, by the grace of God, to continue in the 
unity of this church, of which you are now going to be made a 
complete member? 

If you should be so unhappy as hereafter to fall into any 

k Rev. xxi, 8. 

380 Bishop Wilson s ParocJiialia : 

scandalous sin, will you patiently submit to be reformed by godly 
discipline ? 

Will you be very careful not to let wicked and profane people 
laugh you out of these holy purposes and resolutions, remem 
bering the words of Jesus Christ ; He that denieth me t him will 
God deny ? 

If this short method were conscientiously observed by every 
curate of souls, for thirty or forty days before every confirmation, 
and two or three hours every day spent in reading deliberately 
the short account of religion and in asking every particular 
person the questions, in the hearing of all the rest (which 
according to our constitution ought not to be above thirty or 
forty at one time) I will venture to say that the remembrance 
of this duty would be of more comfort to a pastor on his death 
bed than of all the rest of his labours. 

A prayer that may be used every day during the time of 


O LORD, graciously behold these thy servants, who, accord 
ing to the appointments of thy church, are going to dedicate 
themselves to thee and to thy service. 

Possess their hearts with such a lively sense of thy great 
mercy, in bringing them from the power of Satan unto God ; 
in giving them an early right to thy covenant and an early 
knowledge of their duty ; that, with the full consent of their 
wills, they may devote themselves to thee ; that so they may 
receive the fulness of thy grace and be able to withstand the 
temptations of the devil, the world and the flesh. 

Continue them, Lord, in the unity of thy church and grant 
that they may improve all the means of grace vouchsafed them 
in this church, of which they are members. 

Preserve in their minds a constant remembrance of that love, 
which they are going to renew before thee and thy church. 

That knowing they are the servants of the living God, they 
may walk as in thy sight, avoid all such things as are contrary 
to their profession and follow all such as are agreeable to the 

O Lord, who hast made them thy children by adoption, bring 
them in thy good time to thine everlasting kingdom, through 
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 381 


The method of instructing such as have been confirmed, in order to 
prepare them for this holy ordinance. 

IF Christians do frequently turn their backs upon this sacra 
ment and are not concerned to have it often administered or 
seem little affected when they do partake of it, one may certainly 
conclude, they never truly understood the meaning of it. 

This might surely, in some measure, be prevented, if due pains 
were taken to give young people a distinct knowledge of this 
most important duty ; and of the manner of preparing them 
selves for it, before they should be admitted the first time to 
the sacrament; for want of which, very many continue in a 
gross ignorance both of the meaning and benefits of this ordi 
nance all their days. 

A good pastor, therefore, will not suffer any one to come to 
the holy communion, until he has taken pains to examine and 
inform him very particularly concerning the meaning of this 
ordinance and the ends for which it was appointed ; what this 
sacrament obliges Christians to and the benefits they may expect 
from it ; with what dispositions a Christian should come to it, 
and the great sin of despising it. 

The young Christian should, for instance, be put in mind that, 
as there were in the Jewish, so there are in the Christian church, 
two sacraments. 

That the sacrament of baptism was ordained by Christ for 
admitting us into his church upon certain conditions, which such 
as are baptized in their infancy are to perform, when they come 
to age. 

And the holy supper he ordained, that Christians might have 
an opportunity of renewing their baptismal vows, which they 
are but too apt to forget and of making their peace with God, 
when they had broke his laws and desire sincerely to return to 
their duty. 

Now, as Jesus Christ did by his death make our peace with 
God and obtain eternal redemption for all them that obey him, we 
Christians, in obedience to his command, do keep up the re 
membrance of his death until his coming again, after this solemn 

First, As God is the King of all the earth, we offer unto him 
the best things that the earth affords for the life of man, namely, 

382 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

bread and wine, as an acknowledgment that all we have, whether 
for the support or comfort of our lives, is owing entirely to his 

The bread and wine being placed upon the altar (by which 
they are sanctified, that is, set apart for holy uses) we then pro 
ceed to give God thanks for his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
is the life of our souls, after this manner : 

The priest, by doing what Christ did, by prayer and thanks 
giving, by breaking the bread and pouring out the wine, obtain- 
eth of God, that these creatures become, after a spiritual manner, 
the body and blood of Christ, by receiving of which our souls 
shall be strengthened and refreshed, as our bodies are by bread 
and wine. 

For all this is done to represent the death of Jesus Christ 
and the mercies which he has obtained for us ; to represent it 
not only to ourselves but unto God the Father, that as the 
prayers and alms of Cornelius are said to have gone up for a me 
morial before God, so this service may be an argument with his 
divine Majesty to remember his Son s death in heaven, as we do 
on earth, and for his sake to blot out our sins and to give us all 
an interest in his merits. 

After this we all receive the bread and wine (being thus made 
the body and blood of Christ) in token of communion with 
Christ, our head, and with all his members. 

And that we may have a more lively sense imprinted upon 
our souls, of the love of God, of the kindness of our Redeemer, 
and of the benefits he has by the shedding of his blood obtained 
for us, the minister of God applieth the merits of Christ s death 
to the soul of every faithful receiver, in these words : Eat and 
drink this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and that he may 
preserve thy body and soul unto eternal life. 

By explaining the meaning of this ordinance after some such 
familiar way as this, a young Christian will see, 

That, by joining in this sacrament, we keep up the remembrance 
of Christ s death, which is our salvation : 

We plead with God for pardon, for his Son s sake, after a way, 
which his Son himself appointed : 

We are hereby more firmly united to Christ, our head, and to 
the church, which is his body : 

And lastly, we do hereby express our faith and hope of his 
coming again to reward his faithful servants. 

or Instructions to Ms Clergy. 383 

Now, these being duties of the greatest concern to Christians, 
it is no wonder that the church, directed by St. Paul, very 
seriously exhorts all Christians to examine and to prepare them 
selves for this holy ordinance ; for if a Christian should presume 
to come to the Lord s table without knowing what he is going 
to do, without repentance, without purposes of leading a Christ 
ian life, without faith in God s mercy through Christ, without a 
thankful heart and without charity, he will receive a curse instead 
of a blessing. 

Because many Christians, therefore, especially the younger 
sort, may not know upon what heads and after what manner 
they ought to examine themselves, or lest they should do it by 
halves, or perhaps not at all, a faithful pastor will shew them the 
way, by examining them himself, after this or some such like plain 

Concerning their repentance. 

DO you know that God will not accept of the service of such 
as live in the practice of any known sin \ 

Let me therefore advise you, as you love your soul, to con 
sider seriously, whether you are subject to any evil habit, either 
of lying or swearing or drinking ; or of any sin of uncleanness ; 
or of an idle life, which will lead to these ! And if you find you 
are, your duty is to judge yourself, to beg God s pardon and to 
amend your life. 

Will you do this, and in obedience to God, because he requires 

Will you promise sincerely to avoid all occasions of sin, espe 
cially of such sins as you have been most apt to fall into ? 

If through weakness or temptation you commit any sin, will 
you forthwith confess your fault to God, ask his pardon, and be 
more careful for the time to come 2 

Will you endeavour to live in the fear of God, always 
remembering that a good life is the best preparation for this 
sacrament ? 

Will you constantly pray for God s grace and assistance, with 
out which all your good purposes will come to nothing ? 

Will you strive to keep your conscience tender and awake, 
that you may know when you sin and that your heart may not 
be hardened, which is the greatest judgment I 

384 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

Lastly, Will you be careful to keep a watch over yourself, that 
you may not fall into the sins you have repented of? 

And will you often examine into the state of your soul, espe 
cially before you go to the Lord s table, that you may see whether 
you grow in grace and get the mastery over your corruptions ? 
For if you do so, you are certainly under the government of 
God s holy Spirit. 

Concerning a Christian s purposes of leading a new, that is, a 

Christian life. 

DO you sincerely purpose to make the law of God the rule of 
your life ? 

Will you do whatever yxm believe will please God, and avoid 
what you know or suspect will displease him ? 

Will you shew that you believe and fear and love God with all 
your heart, by being fearful of offending him, by giving him 
thanks for his mercies and by praying to him daily for pardon, 
for grace and for protection ? 

Will you have a great regard for every thing that belongs to 
God, his name, his house, his day, his ministers and his word ? 

Will you be careful to attend the public worship of God, and 
especially upon the Lord s day, as you hope for God s blessing 
the whole week following ? 

Will you be sure to behave yourself reverently in God s house, 
not sitting at your ease when you should stand or kneel, lest your 
prayers become an abomination ? 

Will you reverence and obey your parents, your governors 
and your betters, and especially such as are over you in the 

Will you endeavour to live peaceably and charitably with all 
men, avoiding all malice, revenge, ill-will and contention ? 

Will you be chaste, sober and temperate, as becomes a mem 
ber of Christ and his family, avoiding all excess in meat and 
drink, and an idle life, which are the occasions of sins not fit to 
be named amongst Christians ? 

Will you be true in all your dealings, avoiding all wrong, 
oppression and extortion? 

And will you remember that without restitution, where it can 
be made, there is no acceptance with God ? 

Will you be careful to speak the truth, avoiding the sins of 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 885 

lying, of perjury, of tale-bearing and meddling with matters 
which do not belong to you, as things hateful to God and man I 

Will you be content with your lot, whatever it be ; neither 
coveting what is another s, nor envying his prosperity, nor being 
glad at his calamities 2 

Lastly, Will you do these things out of the love and reverence 
you bear to God, whose laws they are ? 

And will you seriously beg of him to write all these laws in 
your hearts and to incline and enable you to keep them ? 

How a Christian should examine whether he hath a lively faith in 

God s mercy through Christ. 

AS the blood of the paschal lamb sprinkled upon their doors 
was that which saved the Israelites from death, so the blood of 
Jesus Christ is that which saves all Christians that partake of it- 
Do you steadfastly believe this I 

Do you trust in Jesus Christ, and in what he has done and 
suffered for you, and in him only, for pardon and salvation ? 

Do you firmly believe that Jesus Christ is now in heaven, 
interceding with God, by virtue of his death, for all such as on 
earth do religiously keep up the remembrance of that his death, 
until his coming again ? 

Your faith being built upon the promises of God in Jesus 
Christ, and all his promises being on condition that we live as 
becomes Christians, will you seriously purpose to do so ? 

And will you remember not to presume on God s mercy, or 
expect that he will communicate his graces, while you continue 
under the power of a sinful life ? 

Row a Christian may know whether he has a thankful remem 
brance of Christ s death. 

DO you desire to have a thankful remembrance of Christ s 
death ? 

Why then consider what he has done for you and for all man 
kind, to recover us from a state of sin and misery. 

We were all enemies to God by wicked works. Jesus Christ 
undertook to restore us again to God s favour. God therefore 
laid on him the iniquities of us all : for the sake of his death* 
God was pleased to overlook the untowardliness of our nature, 
to forgive us our sins, to look upon us as his children, to give us 

c c 

386 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

all the grace and assistance which we shall want ; and, if we 
behave ourselves like his children in this state of trial, he will 
for Christ s sake make us happy to all eternity when we die. 

You see what reason we have to remember his death with 
thankful hearts. 

Will you therefore keep these things in your heart, and shew 
your thankfulness for the same, by living like one who has been 
redeemed from death and from damnation ? 

And will you be sure to remember this ; that Jesus Christ did 
indeed die to redeem us from death and hell ? But then he must 
first redeem us from this present evil world, from our vain 
conversation and from all iniquity ; that is, he must make us 
holy that we may be happy, for without holiness no man can see 
the Lord. 

How a Christian may examine and know whether he is in charity 

with all men. 

OUR Lord Jesus Christ having by his death restored all 
mankind to the favour of God, he only expects this of us ; that 
we should love one another as he loved us. 

To this end he hath appointed that in this sacrament we 
should all, as members of one family, of which he is the master, 
as members of one body, of which he is the head, that we should 
eat of one bread in remembrance of his death, and in token of 
that strict union, which there ought to be amongst Christians. 

Will you then walk in love, as Christ hath loved ws, and given 
himself for us ? 

Will you consider whether you have given any just occasion 
of offence, or injured any body, so as that you ought to ask their 
pardon and make them restitution ? 

And that no worldly shame may hinder you from doing so, 
you shall hear the very direction of Christ himself: Matth. v, 
23, 24, If thou bring thy gift to the altar , and there rememberest 
that thy brother hath aught against thee ; leave there tliy gift before 
the altar ) and go thy tvay ; first be reconciled to thy brother, and 
then come and offer thy gift. 

Will you therefore desire forgiveness of all such as you have 
offended ? 

And do you forgive all that have offended you? 

Can you heartily pray for every body ; and will you do so ? 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 387 

Will you (as the apostle directs) love, not in word only, but in 
detd and in truth, that is, doing good, as well as giving good 
words ? 

You will see Jesus Christ every day in some of his members ; 
some naked, some hungry, some in affliction, some wanting 
comfort, others instruction : will you, for his sake, be kind to 
them, according to their wants and your power to help them \ 

After this, a good pastor will let the young Christian see the 
benefits of receiving as often as he has opportunity and the 
great sin of turning his back upon this ordinance. 

He will, for instance, put him in mind that all Christians 
being obliged to examine themselves before they go to this 
sacrament ; this will keep them from falling into a state of sin 
and security. 

That if we find we grow in grace, we shall have the greatest 
comfort ; and if we have not got ground of our corruptions, this 
will make us more careful. 

That our faith will hereby be strengthened, when we call to 
remembrance what Jesus Christ hath done for us, and that 
his love and his power are still the same, if we strive to deserve 
his favour. 

Lastly, That, by duly partaking of this holy ordinance, we 
shall come to such a state that it will be uneasy to us to offend 
God, and the very pleasure of our souls to obey his laws. 

On the other hand, if a Christian turns his back upon this 
sacrament (without good cause) he transgresses an express 
command : Do this in remembrance of me. He shuts himself 
out of Christ s family ; he lives without hopes and without 

If therefore he ask how often he should receive this sacra 
ment, he ought to have an answer in the words of an ancient 
writer : " Receive it as often as you can, that the old serpent, 
seeing the blood of the true Paschal Lamb upon your lips, 
may tremble to approach you." 

And if to these instructions a pastor exhort the young Christian 
to be very careful not to separate from the church, in unity with 
which he may expect the Holy Spirit and all other benefits of 
Christ s passion : and if he likewise require him, at all times 
hereafter, before he designs to communicate, to give his pastor 
an account of it (in obedience to the orders of the church) that 

c c 2 

388 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia: 

he may receive further advice as there shall be occasion, he 
will have done a work worthy of a good pastor and will un 
doubtedly receive a good reward for so doing. 


THE very learned and pious bishop Pearson took occasion 
very often and publicly to bless God that he was born and bred 
in a family, in which God was worshipped daily. And certainly, 
it is a duty which entails very many blessings on posterity ; for 
which reason a pastor should labour with all his might to intro 
duce it into every family under his charge ; at least, he should 
give neither himself nor his people any rest, till he has done all 
that lies in his power to effect so good a work ; which if he does 
not do, this very intimation will one day rise up in judgment 
against him. 

And in truth this duty is so reasonable and advantageous 
that a man, who will but set about it in good earnest, will find 
people less backward than at first he would imagine. 

To acknowledge God to be the giver of all good gifts ; to put 
a man s self, his wife, his children, his servants, and all that 
belongs to him under God s protection ; to ask from him, as 
from a father, whatever we want and to thank him for the fa 
vours we have received ; these are duties, which the reason of 
mankind closes with as soon as they are fairly proposed. 

And then the advantages of family worship will be evident to 
the meanest capacities. 

First, To begin and end the day with God, will be the likeliest 
ways to make servants faithful, children dutiful, wives obedient 
and husbands sober, loving and careful ; every one acting as in 
the sight of God. 

Secondly, This will be a mighty check upon every one of the 
family and will be a means of preventing much wickedness ;- 
at least, people will sin with remorse (which is much better 
than with a seared conscience) when every one knows he must 
go upon his knees before he sleeps. 

Thirdly, This is the way to entail piety upon the generations 
to come. When children and servants, coming to have families 
of their own, cannot be easy, till they fall into the same pious 
.method which they have been long used to. Train up a child 

or Instructions to Ms Clergy. 389 

in the way lie should go, and when he is old he will not depart from 
it ; nor perhaps his children after him for many generations. 

But if there are persons, upon whom these motives make no 
impressions, let them know the evil consequences of neglecting 
this duty : 

That the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. 

Pour out thine indignation, saith the prophet 11 (that is, God 
will do so) upon the families that call not upon thy name. 

Add to this, that ignorance, profaneness and a curse must of 
necessity be in that family, where God is not owned ; where, as 
one observes, not a creature but is taken care of, not a swine but 
shall be served twice a day, and God only is forgotten. I say 
he must be worse than a heathen, whom these considerations do 
not influence. 

I know of no reason that can be offered why every family in this 
diocese might not be brought to observe this duty, except this 
one ; that very many cannot read and are too old to learn the 
prayers provided for them ; (though it would be well if all that 
can read did conscientiously discharge this duty !) Now, where 
this is indeed the case, I make no question but that, with half 
an hour s patience and pains, a pastor might bring the most 
ignorant person to observe this following method of orderly 
devotion : 

First, Let him speak to his family and say, Let us confess our 
sins to God, saying, 

Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our 
forefathers ; neither take thou vengeance of our sins : spare us, 
good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy 
most precious blood, and be not angry with us for ever. 

Then let him say to the family, Let us praise God for all his 
mercies, saying, 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost ; 

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world 
without end. Amen. 

Then let him say to the family, Let us pray for God s blessing 
and protection, saying, 

Our Father, which art in heaven, <S$c. 

And then let him conclude the whole, saying, 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and 
the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen. 
m Prov. in, 33. n j er> Xf 2 ^ 

390 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

There is not one person but can say these prayers already 
and only wants to be put into a method of saying them after this 
orderly manner; and I am sure the comfort and blessing of 
bringing all our people, that cannot read, to this would be un 
speakably great both to them and to ourselves; and for the love 
of God, let it be attempted in good earnest. 


MOST parents are concerned for their children s present 
welfare and too often renounce a good conscience rather than not 
provide for them, while few are careful to give them such in 
structions and examples as, by the grace of God, may secure 
them an eternal inheritance. 

They should therefore be often put in mind of their duty in 
this particular, that they may not have the torment of seeing 
their children for ever ruined by their negligence. 

It is a strange stupidity, and they should be told of it, for 
parents to be much concerned to have their children dedicated to 
God in baptism, and yet utterly unconcerned how they behave 
themselves afterwards. 

The least that parents can do is, to instruct, or get their chil 
dren instructed, in the principles of the Christian religion ; to 
pray for them daily, and to see that they pray daily for themselves; 
to possess their minds with a love of goodness, and with an 
abhorrence of every thing that is wicked ; and to take care that 
their natural corruption be not increased by evil examples. 

It is a sad thing to see children under the very eye of their 
parents and too often by their examples, getting habits of vanity, 
of idleness, of pride, of intemperance, of lying and pilfering, of 
talebearing and often of uncleanness, and of many other sins, 
which might be prevented by a Christian education. 

Parents therefore should be made sensible of their great guilt, 
in suffering their children to take evil ways. They should be 
often told that, human nature being extremely corrupt, we need 
not be taught and be at pains to go to hell ; we shall go 
thither of course, if we do not make resistance and are not 
restrained by the grace of God and our own care and endeavour. 

They should know (however loath they are to hear it) that 
they are their children s worst enemies, when they will see no 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 391 

faults in them, connive at what ought to be corrected, and 
are even pleased with what ought to be reproved. 

He that spareth his rod, saith Solomon , hateth his son (that is, 
acts as if he really did so) ; but he that loveth his son chasteneth him 
betimes, that is, before he grows headstrong and before he is 
corrupted by evil habits. For a child left to himself bringeth his 
mother to shamev. 

In short, a parent, who has any conscience of his duty, will 
not suffer the least sin to go unreproved or without due cor 
rection; but then he will take the apostle s advice % not to 
provoke their children to wrath, by a causeless or too great severity, 
lest they be discouraged, and thereby their children s love, both 
for religion and for themselves, be lessened. 

When children are grown up to years of discretion, parents 
should be admonished to Jit them for confirmation ; a privilege, 
which both parents and children would very highly value, if 
they were made to understand the worth of it, which of all 
things a pastor should take care to explain to them. 

In the next place, it would be great charity for a clergy 
man to interpose his good offices (at least to offer his advice) 
when parents are about to dispose of their children in marriage 
upon mere worldly considerations, and very often for little con- 
veniencies of their own, without any regard to their children s 
future ease and welfare. 

It is seldom that either parents or children pray for God s 
direction and blessing upon an undertaking, which is to last as 
long as life ; but run on headlong, as humour or passion or 
worldly interest lead them, which is the true occasion of so many 
indiscreet choices and unfortunate marriages, which a pastor should 
prevent as much as may be, by admonishing Christians of their 
duty in this particular, both publicly and in private conversation. 

And when parents are providing for their children, let this 
consideration be always present with them both for their own 
and their children s sake : Setter is a little with righteousness 
(that is, honestly gotten) than great revenues without right r . 

When a curse goes along with a portion, it is often the ruin of 
the whole family. These were the remarkable words of the 
pious judge Hale to his children : fi I leave you but little, but it 
will wear like iron." 

Lastly, A pastor s advice would be very seasonable and should 

Prov. xiii, 24. P Prox. xxix, 15. <i Col. iii, 21. r Prov. xvi, 8. 

Bishop Wilsons Parochialia : 

be often repeated to such parents as are squandering away the 
inheritance, which was left them by their forefathers, and left 
them in trust only for those that should come after them ; de 
priving their children of their right, exposing them to hardships, 
to temptations, and to curse their memory. Considerations 
which should make their hearts to ache and force them to put 
an end to that idleness and intemperance, which are the occasion 
of so much sin and mischief. 


IT is the great misfortune of youth that, wanting experience, 
judgment, and very often friends capable of giving them good 
advice and following the bent of their passions, they love and 
seek such company and pleasures as serve to strengthen their 
natural corruption, which, if not prevented by charitable advice, 
will be their ruin. 

And certainly a pastor has much to answer for, who does not 
lay hold of every occasion of shewing young people their danger 
and their duty. 

The first thing a youth should be made sensible of is this : 

That he has in himself the seeds of all manner of sin and 
wickedness, which will certainly spring up and be his ruin, if he 
does not watch against it and pray daily for God s grace to 
preserve him from it : 

That the wickedest man he knows was once as capable of sal 
vation as he thinks himself to be ; but by provoking God to leave 
him to himself, sin and hell have got the dominion over him : 

And that therefore it is the greatest judgment that can fall 
upon any man, to be left to himself. 

To come to particulars : 

First, Young people are apt to be headstrong and fond of their 
own ways, and should therefore be told what God declares by 
Solomon 8 ; Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruc 
tion ; but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. That there 
is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways 
of death. 

Secondly, They love idleness naturally, and therefore should 
be put in mind, that slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep, that 

s Prov. xiii, 18. xiv, 12. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 393 

is, makes men as careless of what will become of them, as if they 
were fast asleep ; and that drowsiness will cover a man with rags. 
Above all, they should be put in mind of our Lord s sentence, 
Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. 

Thirdly, This being the age of sensuality , libertinism and vanity; 
it must be a great grace and very frequent instructions, that 
must secure young people from ruin. 

They should therefore be often told, 

That fools (and only fools) make a mock of sin, it being too 
dreadful a thing to be laughed at : 

That whoredom and wine take away the heart , that is, make a 
man a mere brute : 

That lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, and that swear 
ing and cursing are sins easily learned, but hard to be left off, 
and will be punished most severely : 

That evil communications will corrupt good manners : 

That therefore young people should not, at their peril, run 
into unknown company and temptations, depending upon their 
own strength and good resolutions. They should be told, 

That nobody is very wicked at once ; that there are few but 
had some time good notions, good purposes and good hopes ; 
and those that are profligately wicked became so after this man 
ner : they took delight in loose and wicked company ; then they 
neglected to pray for grace ; then they cast off the fear of God ; 
then holiness ; after that modesty ; then care of reputation ; 
and so contracting evil habits, they became at last abandoned of 
God and left to themselves. 

Fourthly, A good pastor will not forget to exhort young 
people to flee youthful lusts and all sins of impurity, filthy songs 
and filthy stories, which leave cursed impressions upon the 
soul, do grieve God s holy Spirit, which was given them at 
baptism and at confirmation, and provoke him to forsake them ; 
and then an evil spirit most certainly will take them under his 

Fifthly, Such as have parents should be exhorted to love, 
honour and obey them : That, as the apostle saith*, it may be 
well with them, and that they may live long on th# earth. That 
they may escape that curse pronounced, Deut. xxvii, 16. Cursed 
is he that setteth light by his father and mother ; and that of the 
Wise Man 11 , The eye that mocketh at his father and despiseth to 
* Ephesians vi, 3. * Prov. xxx, 17. 

394 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out ; that is, 
such a one shall act in every thing he does as if he were blind. 

In short, children, as they hope for God s favour and blessing, 
should strive to please their parents; be grieved when they 
have angered them ; take their advice kindly and follow it 
cheerfully ; and never marry without their consent, as they 
hope for happiness in that estate. 

Above all things, young people should be obliged to observe 
the Lord s day : they should be taught to reverence God s 
house and God s ministers, who pray for them and are to give an 
account of their souls. 

They should be exhorted to pray daily for themselves, and 
against being led away by the violence of evil customs and the 
ways of the world, which they have renounced at their baptism. 

And when they have run into errors (which they are but too 
apt to do) they should be made sensible of the ruin they are 
bringing upon themselves, that they may return to a better 
mind and, after the example of the prodigal in the gospel, beg 
God s pardon and sin no more ; being often forewarned that 
God will, one time or other, make them to possess the iniquities of 
their youth 7. 


A PASTOR will find that worldly -mindedness is one of the 
most universal diseases of his flock and the most difficult to be 

People see an absolute necessity of taking care for themselves, 
and duty obliges them to provide for their families. 

But then this care very often increases beyond necessity, and 
what was at first a duty becomes at last a sin ; when Christians 
begin to set their hearts upon the world, to place their happiness 
in its favours, to dread its frowns and to depend upon it as a 
good security against future evils. 

Now, the consequence of such a love for the world will be, 
that many Christian duties must give place to worldly business ; 
the very commands of God shall often be broken to gain worldly 
ends ; men shall make a mere idol of the world ; love and fear 
and think and depend upon it more than upon God. and will at 

y Job xiii, 26. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 395 

last be so bewitched and blinded with it that they shall not see 
the sin and vanity of all this, until the approach of death opens 
their eyes, and then they see the folly of their choice, but see too 
that it is too late to make a better. 

In short, it is hard to live in the world and not to love it; and 
nothing in nature can prevent or cure this disorder, but a sincere 
belief of the gospel and a resolute practice of the duties of Christ 

For the Christian religion lets us know that while we are in 
this world we are in a state of banishment ; that here we have 
no abiding place ; that God has made our life short, on pur 
pose that we may have no pretence to set our hearts on this 
world ; that it is a dreadful thing for a man to have his portion 
in this life 2 ; that a man s true happiness does not consist in the 
abundance of the things which he possesseth; and that God 
hath ordained that all things here shall be uncertain and full of 
troubles, that we may be led more easily to set our affections on 
things above, not things on the earth. 

And forasmuch as it is found by sad experience that, the more 
men have, the more fond they will be of the world, Christians 
should be often advised to receive its favours with a trembling 
hand and to remember that, the more a man has, the more he 
must account for, the greater danger he is in and the more pains 
he must take to preserve himself from ruin; for it was not for 
nothing that our Lord said, How hardly shall they that have riches 
enter into the kingdom of heaven ! 

In short, there is no greater hindrance to piety than the love 
of the world ; God therefore having made that and the care of 
our souls the great business of our lives, he has bound himself to 
take care of us, and that we shall want nothing that is necessary 
for this life. Take no thought, saith our Lord a , for your life, what 
ye shall eat ; nor for your body, what ye shall put on. Does not 
your heavenly Father feed the fowls of the air ? Does he not know 
that ye are better than they, and that ye have need of these things ? 

Let not therefore Christians flatter themselves with the hopes 
that worldly business will excuse them from serving God ; our 
Lord has already told us what sentence such people must ex 
pect 11 : Not one of those men shall taste of my supper. That is, 
those that were so taken up about their oxen, their fields and 

z Psalm xvii. a Matthew vi, 25. b Luke xiv, 24. 

396 Bishop Wilsorfs Parockialia : 

their worldly business, that they would not mind their Lord s 

And indeed our Lord tells us in another place c , that the very 
word of God will be lost on those whose hearts are full of 
the cares of this world, which choke the word, and it becometh 

But then Christians have another way of deceiving themselves, 
and that is, with the hopes of reconciling a love for the world with 
the love of God. 

And yet our Lord Christ assures us that they are as utterly 
inconsistent as light and darkness ; that no man can serve two 
masters ; and that whoever will be a friend of the world is the 
enemy of God. 

To conclude : All Christians are by their profession obliged 
not to love the world. 

They are also obliged to use all proper means to prevent this 
love, which would otherways ruin them. 

Especially, they are obliged to great watchfulness and earn 
est prayers for God s grace to keep them from becoming slaves 
to the world ; from placing their confidence or happiness in 
it; from taking delight in the possession of it; from distract 
ing cares about it; from taking unjust ways to better or secure 
their portion in it ; from being extremely grieved at the loss of 
it, or unwilling to part with it, when God so orders it ; from an 
hard heart and a close hand, when the necessities of the poor 
call for it. And lastly, from being diverted, by the hurry of this 
world, from the thoughts of the world to come. 

For what will it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world 
and lose his own soul ? Remember Lofs wife. 


MEN of estates are but too apt to abuse the advantages they 
have above others, and they are unwilling to hear of it ; they 
imagine they are above advice, and for that reason they are in 
most danger. 

But whatever they fancy, a good pastor will shew them their 
danger and their duty, whether they will hear or whether they will 

c Luke viii, 14. 

or Instructions to Ms Clergy. 397 

Now, such persons being subject to idleness, to intemperance 
and to hear hard upon their poor neighbours, they should have 
prudent hints given them to avoid these sins which do easily 
beset them. 

That such, for instance, who have plenty without taking pains, 
may not contract an habit of idleness, which is the parent of 
infinite evils ; (a man that has nothing to do being ready to do 
any thing that the devil shall tempt him to ;) a dislike to busi 
ness ; a love of ease ; a dependance upon an estate more than 
upon God s providence ; running into company to pass away 
time ; a neglect of family duties ; an evil example to children 
and servants ; an estate going to ruin for want of God s bless 
ing and an honest care. 

And though no man can call such a person to an account for 
leading an idle and a useless life, yet God often does do it; 
and hence it is we so often see families of an ancient standing 
broke, and estates crumbled into pieces, because the owners 
thereof were above taking pains and neglected to pray for God s 
blessing upon their estates and families. 

It will be great charity therefore, however such people will 
take it, in a pastor to put them in mind, 

That we are none of us proprietors, but only stewards; for 
the whole earth is the Lord s, and he disposes of it as he 
pleaseth : 

That such as have received more than others have more to 
account for : 

That if they only seek to please themselves, they may justly 
fear the sentence of the rich man d ; Remember that thou in thy 
lifetime receivedst thy good things, for which thou art now tor 
mented : 

That not only the wicked, but even the unprofitable servant, 
was cast into outer darkness : 

That if men have estates, they have greater opportunities of 
gaining God s favour, by doing good to others : 

That if they have more time to spare, they have more time 
and more reason to serve God : 

And if they feel not the afflictions of poverty, they are more 
obliged to assist and help them that do. 

But if, instead of doing so, they consume their estates upon 

d Luke xvi, 25. 

398 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

their lusts ; and when having received more favours from God, 
they should be examples and encouragers of religion, they be 
come themselves the greatest contemners of religion ; if their 
plenty makes them forget God, and their power more trouble 
some to their poor neighbours, then an estate is a curse and 
not a blessing. 

In short, those that have estates should be charged, as the 
apostle directs e , not to be highminded ; not to trust in uncertain 
riches, but in the living God ; that they do good ; that they be rich 
in good works ; ready to distribute, willing to communicate ; laying 
up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, 
that they may lay hold on eternal life. 

They should be exhorted to give God thanks for his favours ; 
to lay by a reasonable certain proportion of their incomes, to be 
bestowed in works of piety and charity ; to be examples of in 
dustry, sobriety and godliness to their children, families and 
neighbourhood . 


THE poor being God s peculiar care, they ought to have a 
great share in the concern of his ministers, to relieve, to instruct 
and to comfort them. 

For nature being averse to contempt and sufferings, which are 
often the lot of poor people, they are therefore too apt to charge 
God foolishly for the unequal distributions of his providence ; 
so that their minds must be satisfied and their spirits supported 
by such considerations as these : 

First, That Jesus Christ himself, though Lord of the whole 
creation, yet made it his choice to be born and to live in 
poverty ; to convince the poor that that condition is not un 
happy, if they do not make it so by their impatience. 

Secondly, That there is no state whatever but has its proper 
difficulties and trials ; and the rich especially, who are so much 
envied, are often forced to confess that, as our Lord has told 
us, a man s life and happiness consisteth not in the abundance of the 
things which he possesseth. And as to the next world, the poor 
have much the advantage of the rich, in wanting so many temp 
tations to the ruin of their souls ; and in the less account they 

c i Timothy vi, 17. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 399 

have to make for what they have received. And then the poor 

(as an excellent poet expresses it) 

will bless their poverty, who have 

No reckonings to make when they are dead. 

Thirdly, They should be put in mind that God has made 
poverty the lot of many of his dearest servants, fitting them for 
future and eternal happiness by the short afflictions of this life ; 
weaning their affections from things temporal and forcing 
them, as it were, to look for rest and ease and an inheritance 

Fourthly, Let them therefore be often exhorted to put their 
trust in God, who is the helper of the friendless. 

To have much in their thoughts the joys of heaven, which 
will enable them, as it did our Lord himself, to bear with 
patience the hardships of their condition ; not to envy such as 
are in better circumstances, nor to endeavour to better their own 
by unjust ways. But to believe assuredly that, if it is not their 
own fault, God will make them sufficient amends in the next life 
for what he denied them in this. 

Thus poor Lazarus no sooner expired, but he was carried by 
the angels into Abraham s bosom, to enjoy perpetual rest and 

Let them therefore be comforted with such scriptures as these : 

Your heavenly Father knows what things ye have need of. Cast 
therefore all your care upon him, for he carethfor you f . 

Be content with such things as ye have, for God hath said, I will 
never leave thee, nor forsake thees. 

Setter is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and 
trouble therewith^. 

Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs 
of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him 1 ? 

But then they must be put in mind often to pray to God, 
to deliver them from the sins to which their poverty might tempt 

Not to give themselves up to sloth and idleness, but to do 
what they well can for an honest livelihood ; to bring up their 
children in the fear of God, and to be sure not to set them evil 
examples of murmuring against God, of coveting what is an 
other s, of filching and stealing ; for if they should be guilty of 

f i Pet. v, 7. s Heb. xiii, 5. h Prov. xv, 16. * James ii, 5. 

400 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

any of these sins, they will lose all title to the promise of Jesus 
Christ k , Blessed are ye poor, for your s is the kingdom of heaven. 

And if to these exhortations a clergyman adds his alms, or 
procures the charity of such as are more able than himself, he 
will discharge a very material part of his duty and he will 
have the prayers of those who have the freest access to the 
throne of grace. 


MAN (as Job saith 1 ) being lorn to trouble, a pastor can hardly 
visit his flock but he will meet with some who will want words 
of comfort ; with which therefore he should be always furnished, 
both to guide and to support the spirits of the afflicted. 

For Christians in affliction are but too apt to distract them 
selves and increase their burden, by considering only what 
flesh and blood suggest, not what faith and religion propose for 
their support and comfort. 

They are too apt to charge God foolishly ; to be angry with 
those, whom he has made or permitted to be the instruments of 
their affliction; to grow dejected and melancholy upon the 
thoughts of the sins, which they suppose have provoked God to 
visit them ; and lastly, to despair of ever seeing an end to their 

Here then the pastor s help will be seasonable and charitable; 
for he will teach such as are in trouble to seek comfort in God 
and in the aids of religion. 

He will convince them (for instance) 

That events are not left to chance, but that all things come to 
pass by the appointment or permission of God : 

That the very hairs of our head are all numbered : 

That we are under God s care, as well when he suffers us to 
be troubled as when he smiles upon us: 

That he is a very undutiful child, who will love and obey his 
father just as long as he pleaseth him and no longer: 

That God has a right to try whether Christians are sincere 
or not ; that is, whether they will believe him to be their God 
and Father, as well when he corrects as when he gives them 
their desires : 

k Luke vi, 20. l Chap, v, 7. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 401 

That we are in darkness and do not ourselves know what 
would be best for us : 

That God has made no earthly comforts full and lasting, on 
purpose that Christians, seeing the vanity of all worldly enjoy 
ments, may not desire to set up their rest here but be obliged to 
think of another life, where all tears will be wiped away : 

That God often punishes us in this world, that he may not be 
obliged to punish us hereafter : 

That the best of men have need of being awakened into a 
sense of their duty and danger : 

That a disciple of Jesus Christ must take part in the sufferings 
of his Lord and Master, as he hopes to be a partaker of his glory; 
for if we suffer with him, iae shall also reign with him. 

It is thus a Christian may be taught to submit to God s 
dispensations and to make an advantage of what the world calls 
misfortunes, afflictions, calamities, judgments : and that, instead 
of being impatient, fretful or dejected , he should rather rejoice in 
tribulation, in wrongs, in losses, in sufferings, and be glad that he 
has a proper occasion of offering his will a sacrifice to the will of 
God, which is a most acceptable oblation. 

When a pastor has made his distressed patient sensible of the 
reason and benefit of afflictions, he will then proceed to shew him 
how to quiet the disorders of his soul. 

He will advise him (for instance) not to torment himself about 
the cause of his troubles or the instruments of his afflictions, or be 
over anxious concerning the issue of them. For this will only 
create vexation, fruitless complaints and a sinful distrust, which 
are all the effects of pride and self-love, and serve only to bereave 
him of that peace of mind, which is necessary to carry him 
through his trials with the resignation of a Christian. 

He will then shew him that, by being brought into these cir 
cumstances, whether his afflictions be for trial or punishment, he 
has a special title to the favour of God and to many great and 
precious promises, provided he submits to God^s order and 
appointment. For God has declared himself to be the helper of 
the friendless ; the comforter of the afflicted ; a light to them 
that are in darkness and know not what way to take. He has 
promised to be a father to the fatherless and an husband to the 
widow , that he will undertake the cause of the oppressed and 
of such as call upon him in their distress. So that no man ought 


402 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

to think himself destitute and miserable, who has God to fly to 
and God s word for his comfort. 

Upon the first approach of troubles, therefore, his spiritual 
guide will direct him to fall down before God to humble him 
self under his afflicting hand to acknowledge that GocTs judg 
ments are right, and that he of very faithfulness has caused him to be 
troubled; beseeching God that he may make good use of his 
troubles ; to cast his whole care upon God, trusting in his wis 
dom to know and his goodness to appoint what is best for him ; 
resolving, by the grace of God, to make that his choice which he 
has prayed for all his life, that God s will may be done. 

He will also assure him that, let his mind be never so much 
disordered and his soul oppressed with sorrow, God can support 
and comfort him ; that he has a promise of the same grace, which 
enabled St. Paul to take pleasure in afflictions, in persecutions, in 
infirmities, in reproaches ; which enabled the first Christians to 
take joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing that they had in 
heaven a better and an enduring substance rn ,- which enabled 
holy Job, under the severest trials, to submit without repining to 
God s appointment, saying only, The Lord gave, and the Lord hath 
taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. 

Lastly, His pastor will tell him, that St. James is so far from 

looking upon the case of the afflicted as desperate that he affirm- 

eth Blessed is the man that endureth temptation ; for when he is 

tried (that is, approved) he shall receive a crown of life, which 

fadeth not away. 

And sure no man wiH think his own case hard, whatever his 
afflictions may be, when he is put in mind of the sufferings of 
Christ his Lord and Master, who had not where to lay his head ; 
who was set at nought by those he came to save ; who was 
called a dealer with the devil, a glutton and a wine-bibber; 
who was assaulted by all the powers of hell, so that his soul was 
sorrowful even to death ; was betrayed by one disciple and for 
saken by all the rest ; was falsely accused by the Jews, set at 
naught by Herod, unjustly condemned by Pilate, barbarously 
treated by the soldiers, was led as a sheep to the slaughter and 
suffered death, even the death of the cross. 

This was the treatment, which the Son of God met with when 

m Hebrews x, 34. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 403 

he was on earth ; and this will silence all complaints, or else we 
are very unreasonable indeed. 

But after all, our greatest comfort is this: that this Jesus, who 
himself was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; who felt 
the weakness of human nature and the troubles to which we are 
subject : this Jesus is our advocate with the Father ; who for his 
sake will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able to bear, 
but will enable us, as he did St. Paul, in whatever state we are to 
be therewith content. 

Wherefore, let them that suffer according to the will of God com 
mit the keeping of their souls unto him in well-doing as unto a faith 
ful Creator n. 


SERVANTS make a considerable part of every clergyman s 
charge and will always stand in need of a particular application. 
They have as many duties and temptations as other Christians 
and have need of as much care to implant the fear of God in 
their hearts to encourage them to bear with patience the 
difficulties of their state to teach them the duties of their 
calling and to secure them from such sins as they are most 
subject to. 

Servants ought not to imagine that the meanness of their con 
dition will free them from being accountable to God for their 
behaviour in that state of life, in which his providence has placed 
them. They are as capable of eternal happiness and as liable to 
eternal misery as the masters they serve ; and as strict an account 
will be required of them. And therefore the apostles are very 
particular in setting down the duties of their calling and the sins 
they ought to be most careful to avoid. 

For example : That they should be diligent in their business, 
not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers } but as the servants of Christ, in 
singleness of heart, fearing God ; Jcnoicing that of the Lord they shall 
receive a reicard . 

They should be often put in mind to make a conscience of their 
master s interest, that nothing under their care be lost or wasted 
by their negligence. This is to shew all good fidelity P. 

n i Peter iv, 19. Col. iii, 22, 24. P Titus ii, 10. 


404 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

To be exactly just and honest ; not purloining, as the apostle 
speaks, but remembering that he was an unjust steward and not 
to be imitated by any honest servant, who made himself friends 
at his master s cost<l. 

To bear with patience the orders and the reproofs of those, to 
whom they are subject, not only to the good and gentle, but also to 
the froward. St. Peter saith expressly, that such submission is 
not only a duty, but a duty acceptable to God*. 

They should have a strict charge given them to avoid lying, 
which is hateful to God s , and talebearing, which is the occasion 
of much sin and mischief. Not to corrupt their own or others 
hearts and memories with filthy stories, wicked songs or profane 
expressions. Never to be tempted by the authority of a wicked 
master or by the example of a wicked fellow-servant, to do any 
thing that is unjust, extravagant or any way unlawful. To 
avoid sloth and idleness, which are very bad characters of a 

They should be often called upon to be careful to keep the 
Lord s day holy. 

Servants have a special right and interest in that day, given 
them by God himself not to spend it in idleness and vanity, 
but in going to church and hearing God s word and begging his 
grace, comfort and blessing, that, whatsoever their lot is in this 
life, they may not fail to be happy in the next. 

For this reason they should be put in mind that their state of 
life does not excuse them from praying to God daily as well as 
they can, that they may faithfully discharge their duty and 
patiently bear the burden laid upon them ; which the meanest 
servant will be better content with, if he is put in mind of our 
blessed Lord, who, though he was the Son of the Most High, yet 
he took upon him the condition of a servant, to teach us hu 
mility and that the lowest condition is acceptable to God, where 
people are careful to do the duties of such a state. 

Lastly, Servants should know that labour is the punishment 
of sin appointed by God himself, who passed this sentence upon 
Adam*, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread ; condemning 
him and his posterity to labour and toil, that they might look 
for rest in heaven, since there is so little true satisfaction on 
earth. So that such as accept of this punishment, in submission 

Q Luke xvi, i. r i Pet. ii, 18, 20. s Prov. vi, 17. t Gen. iii, 19. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 4-05 

to the appointment of God, have indeed a better title to pardon 
and happiness than such as spend their lives in ease and 


THERE is not a more desperate estate than that of the 
formal Christian, who has the outward show of godliness, but 
denies the power thereof; who performs the common duties of 
Christianity without any great concern to do them well ; 
believes in God without sense of his presence or thoughts of 
being accountable to him ; and in Jesus Christ, without feeling 
the want of a Redeemer ; without considering the life of Christ, 
which he ought to imitate, or the gospel, which is his rule to 
walk by ; who believes in the Holy Ghost, without thinking how 
much he stands in need of his aids; without considering the 
enemies he has to deal with, the difficulties he shall meet with, 
the self-denial he is to undergo, or the good works he must 
abound in, as he hopes for heaven. 

In short, he hopes for heaven with the indifference of one 
who scarce thinks of going thither, and believes eternal torments 
without being concerned to avoid them. He knows he ought to 
do more than he does, but he has some faint hopes that what he 
does may secure him from hell. 

Now, this being the case of an infinite number of people, a 
pastor can hardly look abroad without meeting with one or other 
of these formal, indifferent, thoughtless Christians, who live 
without fear of dying, and, if not hindered by timely care, will 
die unhappily. 

These Christians therefore should be often put in mind of 
God s displeasure against such as pretend to be his servants, 
without any concern to serve him faithfully ; of the folly of 
being indifferent, when a man s soul lies at stake ; of the abso 
lute necessity of an inward conversion as well as of an outward 
religion ; of the very great sin of neglecting or abusing the 
means of grace, which God vouchsafes unto us. 

He will shew him moreover that without a lively faith it will 
be impossible to please God ; that without a serious repentance 
there is no forgiveness ; and that without holiness no man shall 
see the Lord. 

In short, such Christians should have no rest, until thev shall 

406 Bishop Wilsons Parochialia : 

be forced, out of a sense of their danger, to ask in good earnest, 
What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and 
lose his own soul ? And that it was not for nothing that he com 
manded his followers to seek the kingdom of God in the first 
place and before all other things. 

He will then shew him, that all outward ordinances from the 
beginning were appointed either to create or to promote or to 
secure a lively sense of God and of the duties we owe him 
amongst men. 

And as these ordinances are not at our peril to be neglected, 
so neither are they to be depended upon, unless they lead us to 
the love of God and of our neighbour, and become a means of 
recovering in us the image of God, in which we were created, 
which consists in righteousnes and true holiness. 

When he has convinced them of this, he will exhort them to 
lose no time, but to beg of God to increase their faith to plant 
his fear in their hearts to awaken in them an hearty concern 
for their souls, and to give them such a measure of hope and love 
of God as may enable them to overcome the difficulties, the 
temptations and the dangers of a Christian life. 

And the good pastor will not fail to add to these endeavours 
his own earnest prayers that God, of his great mercy, would 
awaken the careless world into a better sense of religion and 
care for their souls ; that men may desire in good earnest to 
serve God and be solicitous how to do it most acceptably, with 
out abusing the means of grace, or deluding themselves with the 
foolish hopes of serving God and mammon, of being indifferent 
here and happy hereafter. 


TO visit people of this character, when they come to die, is 
so frightful and so difficult a part of a clergyman s duty that one 
would be at any pains to prevent so afflicting and so uneasy 
a task ; and which can only be prevented by dealing with such 
people very often and plainly, while they are in health. 

By representing to them the danger they are in, while they 
live in open rebellion against God : that, as sure as God is just, 
he will call them to a severe account for the abuse of his good 
creatures for defiling their own bodies for tempting others 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 407 

to sin for mispending that very time, which God has given 
them to work out their salvation for the evil example they 
give for leading an idle and unprofitable life and for dis 
honouring God, his laics, his name, his word and his day. 
Upon all which accounts, they are under the displeasure of 
Almighty God ; his judgments are hanging over their heads 
continually ; nor have they any hopes of mercy but by a speedy 

For (as it is plain from God s word u ) the sentence of eternal 
death is already pronounced against them, and God only knows 
how soon it may be executed. Whoremongers, drunkards, 
unjust, profane and even the unprofitable, shall not inherit the 
kingdom of heaven, but shall be cast into outer darkness, where 
the worm dieth not, and where the fire is not quenched. 

By doing this faithfully, a pastor will keep the conscience and 
the fears of a sinner awake ; he will sin at least with uneasi 
ness ; and finding that sin is a real slavery, he may perhaps at 
last resolve to seek for ease in the w r ays of God s commandments. 

That he may do so, we ought to set before him the happiness 
which he is yet capable, by God s grace, of obtaining ; for the 
very design of the gospel (as Jesus Christ himself tells St. Paul x ) 
is, to turn men from darkness to light , and from the power of Satan 
unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an 
inheritance amongst them that are sanctified by faith in Christ 

After this a pastor must endeavour to drive him from all his 
holds of false hopes and vain purposes. For instance of 
repenting time enough hereafter ; as if sinners could repent when 
they please, or as if it were enough to be sorry for one s sins, 
which a man may be, when it is too late to amend and to bring 
forth fruits meet for repentance. 

Let him therefore see that, by deferring his repentance, he 
makes it still more difficult to repent ; and that, when once he 
has filled up the measure of his sins, he must after that expect 
neither grace nor pardon. 

Lest he should depend upon the goodness and longsuffering 
of God, let him know that this ought to lead him to repentance. 

That it is a great mercy that God, notwithstanding all a sin 
ner has done to provoke him, will yet restore him to favour, and 
be a father to him. 

u Galatians v, 19. x Acts xxvi, 18. 

408 Bishop Wilsons Parochialia : 

Let him know that there is certainly evil towards that man 
who sins and prospers in his sin, it being a sign of God s great 
est displeasure, and that he leaves such a man to himself: a 
condition the most to be dreaded. 

Let him be assured that, if once the sentence of the unfruitful 
tree is passed, Cut it down ; why cumbereth it the ground ? the 
prayers and tears of the whole world cannot save it. 

And lastly, endeavour to convince him that God is just as well 
as goody and that he has already shewn that his mercy and good 
ness can be provoked, since he has condemned creatures of a 
much higher and better order than we are, even the very angels 
themselves, when they rebelled, which he hath reserved in ever 
lasting chains unto the judgment of the great day. 

After this, represent to him the mercy of God, in sparing him 
so long and in not cutting him off in the midst of his sins ; his 
readiness to forgive such as truly turn unto him ; and that there 
is joy in heaven over a sinner that repenteth. 

And that he may not think his case desperate (as great sin 
ners are apt to do when their consciences are awake) or that 
it is a thing impossible to overcome the evil habits he has con 
tracted ; let him understand that, as the goodness, so the power 
of God is infinite ; that the same Spirit, which raised up our Lord 
Jesus Christ from the dead, can raise a sinner from the death of 
sin unto a life of righteousness. 

This let him steadfastly believe and use his endeavours, and 
such a faith will work wonders. 

Now, if a sinner is once brought to a sense of his evil condition 
and has thoughts of becoming a new man, he will still want his 
pastor s assistance and advice, what methods to take in order to 
his sincere conversion. 

And first, he must be told plainly that he has a work of 
labour and difficulty to go through, such as will require thoughts 
of heart, great patience, earnest prayers and earnest endeavours, 
self-denial and perseverance ; but then he must consider that it 
is for Ms life, and that Jesus Christ has told us that strait is the 
gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life. 

He must then be made sensible that, as of himself he can do 
nothing, so by the grace of God he can do every thing that God 
requires of him, which he must pray for with the concern of one 
that is in earnest. 

To his prayers he must add his best endeavours ; that is, he 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 409 

must avoid the occasions of sin, keep out of the way of tempta 
tions, avoid all company that may any way divert his thoughts 
from his holy purposes ; he must fast, and deny himself a great 
many things which his corrupt heart hankers after. 

And if these things appear difficult unto him, let him ask 
himself, whether it is better to do so now than to dwell with 
everlasting burnings hereafter? 

A sick man for his health will do all this : he will avoid com 
pany ; he will observe rules ; he will take very bitter potions, 
he will endure very many things to make the remainder of a 
short life comfortable. A sinner, that considers that his soul lies 
at stake and that eternal happiness or misery will be the event, 
will not think any thing too much which God prescribes. 

Lastly, if to these pious endeavours a pastor adds his own 
prayers for the sinner that God would touch his heart, take 
from him all obstinacy and blindness ; that he would awaken 
him, give him a lively sense of his sad condition ; call him to 
repentance, enable him to break all his bonds, graciously forgive 
him, and give him all those helps that are necessary to become 
a new creature : a pastor (whatever is the consequence) will 
have the comfort of having done a good work and his duty. 


WHAT the church of England so passionately wishes for 
(namely, that godly discipline may be restored) this church, by 
God s favour, does actually enjoy. Notorious sinners are put to 
open penance, and punished in this world, that their souls may be 
saved in the day of the Lord, and that others, admonished by their 
example, may be more afraid to offend. 

Now to make this a real blessing to our church and people, it 
is necessary that they should be often and plainly told the 
meaning and reason of church discipline. 

They should be told, for instance, that the church is Christ s 
family; that all the members of Christ s family ought to be 
blameless and holy, as they hope for any reward from him ; 
that none are admitted into his household, but such as do 
solemnly promise to live as becomes his servants ; that therefore 
such as, after this, turn disorderly livers, are first to be rebuked, 

410 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

and by fair means, if possible, brought to reason ; if not, to be 
turned out of his house, till they become sensible of their error ; 
which if they do, and give sincere marks of their repentance, 
they will be readmitted into the church and partake of its 
privileges as formerly. 

Now that all this may be orderly performed, Jesus Christ 
himself ordained his apostles and gave them power to ordain 
others, to be the stewards of this his family. To them he gave 
the keys of his house, with full power to receive such as they 
should find worthy, and to shut out the unworthy. 

For the faithful discharge of which trust they will be account 
able to him, their Lord and Master ; which consideration ought 
to make them very careful to do nothing by prejudice or parti 
ality? : to use the power which the Lord hath given them for 
edification, and not for the destruction of his people 2 . 

Then let your people know, that our power is purely spiritual; 
and that when we force people by fines and imprisonments to 
submit to discipline, this is by the laws of the land, and we 
execute those laws, not properly as Christ s ministers, but as 
subjects to the civil power : for when princes became Christians 
and were persuaded that they were answerable to God for the 
manners of their subjects, they endeavoured to ease themselves 
of that burden, by putting it into the hands of churchmen, 
which has had this unhappy effect, that Christians are often 
more afraid of worldly punishments than of being denied the 
holy sacrament and other ordinances of the Christian religion, 
prescribed for their salvation. 

Christians therefore should be made sensible that, as by bap 
tism they are made members of Christ s church and family, 
children of God ; that is, have a right to apply to God with the 
freedom of children and heirs of the kingdom of heaven ; so, by 
church censures, they are verily cut off from these privileges, 
until they sincerely repent of their sins and are restored by 
Christ s ministers to the peace of the church. 

If any are so foolish as to say (as some have done) that they 
can go to another church, ask them, as the apostle did a , Is Christ 
divided ? that is, is he the head of a party and not of the whole 
church ! Is not our s a member of that church \ Have not Christ s 
ministers here the same authority from their Lord as any other 
Christian bishops and pastors, viz. the authority of binding and 
y i Tim. v, 21, z 2 Cor. xiii, 10. a i Cor. i, 13. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 411 

loosing ? And, if we proceed according to the rules of the gospel 
and our sentence be confirmed by Christ, what will it profit 
them, if, for want of being reconciled by their proper pastor, 
they shall be shut out of heaven I 

Read therefore the commission which Jesus Christ has given 
us ; read it to them out of his word b : Verily 1 say unto you, 
Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth (proceeding according to the 
rules of the gospel) shall be bound in heaven, &e. and, He that re- 
ceiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me c . And whoso despiseth me, 
or whomsoever I send, despiseth God that sent me&. 

Let people know that we take no pleasure in using our 
authority ; that we do not desire to lord it over God s heritage. 
Our aim and endeavour is to oblige sinners to change their 
course of life and be converted, that their souls may be saved ; 
and that whenever they give us hopes of a sincere repentance, 
we receive them with open arms and joyful hearts. 

Convince them that it is not to expose offenders that we 
oblige them to do public penance, but that they may give glory 
to God and declare to all the world that, since they have been 
so unhappy as to dishonour God by breaking his laws and 
despising his authority, they are heartily sorry for it, and think 
it no shame to own it after any manner the church shall order ; 
believing that such a submission to God s ministers will be 
acceptable to God himself and a means of obtaining his pardon 
through their intercession. 

Assure them that in the primitive times Christians begged 
with prayers and tears to be admitted to public penance, as the 
only way to obtain the pardon of their sins ; they looked upon 
it as much a favour, as if a man, who had forfeited his life or 
estate, could have them restored upon acknowledging his crimes 
and promising amendment. 

Lastly, let them know for certain that, if the church should 
not take notice of them, but admit them to her holy offices and 
sacraments, while they continue impenitent, this would be no 
more a blessing to them than it was to Judas, of whom the devil 
took more sure possession, after he had received the sacrament 
from our Lord s own hands. 

By taking pains to instruct penitents (and your people too out 
of the pulpit) in these particulars, 

b Matth. xviii, 18. c John xiii. 20. d Luke x, 16. 

412 Bishop Wilson } s Parochialia : 

Offenders will be brought to a sense of their evil condition ; 
they will perform penance after an edifying manner. 

You will promote the honour of God, the good of sinners, the 
truth of religion and the public weal and secure the authority 
of the church. 


IF one seriously considers how the generality of Christians go 
out of the world, how ill prepared for eternity, and how seldom 
such as recover make that good use of sickness which God 
designs by such visitations ; bne cannot but wish that such as 
have the care of souls would think in good earnest how to 
improve such momentous occasions to the best advantage. 

And surely a good pastor must have a great concern upon his 
spirits, when any of his flock are visited with sickness. 

For if the sickness shall be unto death, here is a soul, 
in a few days, to enter upon a state of endless happiness or 
endless misery : a thought which should make one s heart to 

But if the sick person shall recover and is not bettered by 
his sickness, here is, perhaps, the last opportunity, which God 
may afford that man of seeing the error of his ways, for ever 
lost ; and where the blame will lie, God himself has told us d : 
He is taken away in Ms iniquity, but Ms blood will I require at the 
watchman s hand. 

Why, what could the watchman do? He could at least de 
liver his own soul. But he must do a great deal more : so saith 
the Spirit of God by Elihu e : When a man is chastened with pain 
upon his bed, and Ms soul draiveth near unto the grave : if there be 
with him an interpreter, that is, one able to explain the meaning 
and use of such visitations ; if he say, I have sinned, and it 
profited me not, that is, if he be brought to true repentance ; then 
will God be gracious unto him, and his soul shall see the light. Lo, 
all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his 
soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. 

In short, sickness, whether mortal or not, cometh not by 
chance, but is a warning for men to prepare for eternity. And 

d Ezek. xxxxiii, 6. e Job xxxiii. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 413 

it mightily concerns such as have the care of souls not to lose 
such occasions of doing the greatest good to the souls of men, 
always remembering that, / was sick and ye visited me not f , is 
one of those reasons, for which men will be shut out of heaven. 

Now, the design of this paper is to propose a method of 
answering the ends of the church in her excellent Office for 
visiting the sick. That such as are put into our hands, by the 
providence of God, may be dealt with as their needs require : 
whether it be to examine the sincerity of their faith and repent 
ance, or to receive their confession and administer absolution to 

such as earnestly desire it : or to awaken the consciences of the 


careless ; to comfort dejected spirits ; or lastly, to exhort such 
as recover to consider the mercy they have received and to 
dedicate the remainder of their lives to the service of God. 

And, in the first place, a good pastor will not always stay till 
he is sent for. He knows that the repentance of the dead comes 
too late and that the fear of death, which is to determine a man s 
state to all eternity, will make men willing to hear reproof and 
to take advice : such an opportunity, therefore, he will not lose, 
if he can possibly help it. 

They that omit the salutation Peace be to this house and to 
all that dwell in it. or pronounce it so low as not to be heard, 
have not well considered the authority they have, as ministers 
of Christ, to offer peace and salvation to all that are disposed to 
receive its. 

If the short litany and prayers following be said with delibera 
tion and devotion, there cannot better be made use of : besides, 
they are the voice of the church, which will be sure to be heard 
at the throne of grace. 

After these follow two exhortations, which should never be 
omitted ; but then they should be read with very great delibera 
tion, that the sick person may weigh what is said and receive 
instruction and comfort from it. 

And now, forasmuch as a well-grounded faith in God will be 
the sick person s best defence against the assaults of the devil h , 
who will be sure to tempt him, either to despair of God^s mercy 
or to presume upon his own righteousness or to be impatient, 
and to charge God foolishly ; the church, therefore, in the next 
place directs us to examine the sick person s faith, that is, whe- 

Matth. xxv, 43. s Matth. x, 13. h Eph. vi, 16. 

414 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

ther he believes as a Christian man ought to do, or no : and in 
order to that, to ask him Dost thou believe in God the Father 
Almighty, fyc. ? 

But lest sick people and such as are of slow understanding 
should profess with their lips what they are not able to apply 
to their souFs comfort ; it will be highly charitable and useful, 
after repeating the Creed, to propose the use that ought to 
be made of it, in short questions, after some such way as this 
following : 

Do you believe that it is God, who ordereth all things both in 
heaven and on earth ? 

Then you must believe that nothing can come by chance ; and 
that, as our Lord saith, evened sparrow does not die without God s 
knowledge and his leave. 

Do you believe that this present visitation of your s is from 

If God is our Father, his correction must be for our good. 
Do you firmly believe this ; and that this sickness is ordered 
by him for some special end ? 

Then consider for what ends a loving father corrects his child : 


either he is careless or disobedient or forgets his duty ; or takes 
such ways as would ruin himself, if he were let alone. 

Is not this your case ? 

To be sure, if it were left to your own ordering, you would 
never choose afflictions ; but God sees that it is good for you to 
be in trouble ; or it may be, God will try whether you will love 
and trust in him, as well in sickness as in health. 

Will you therefore, like a dutiful child, be thankful that your 
heavenly Father takes so much care of you ? 

Will you endeavour to bear your sickness patiently and sub 
mit to God s will, whether it be for life or for death ? 

Does not this affliction convince you that nothing deserves 
our love but God, since no being else can help us in the day of 
adversity ? 

Will you therefore, in the first place, make application to God 
by prayer for an happy issue out of this affliction ? 

JESUS, you know, signifies a Saviour ; and we all hope that he 
will be a Saviour to us. But this he will not be, unless we obey 
him as our Lord, that is, as our ruler and lawgiver. 

You must therefore consider wherein you have broke his 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 415 

laws, and you must repent of it, ask God s pardon and resolve to 
do so no more, as you hope that he will be a Saviour to you. 

You believe that he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and lorn 
of the Virgin Mary. 

Why then you are sure that he is the Son of God, he is able to 
save such as come unto God by him ; and as he was born of a 
woman and took our nature upon him, he knows, for he has 
felt, our weaknesses and will pity our infirmities. 

You believe that he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, 
dead and buried. 

Are you not then hereby convinced what a sad state man was 
in, when God could not be reconciled to him, till his own Son 
had suffered what man had deserved to suffer ? 

And do not you see, at the same time, that no true penitent 
need despair, since here is a sufficient price paid for our redemp 

Neither ought you to doubt, that God will deny us any thing, 
since he spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all. 

Do you therefore place all your hopes of mercy in Christ s 
death and in the promises of God, for his sake, made to us ? 

Will you endeavour to follow the example of your Lord and 
Saviour, who bore with submission and patience whatever God 
thought fit to lay upon him ? 

And will you remember that he did so, though his very judge 
found no fault in him ? But we suffer justly, for we receive the due 
rewards of our deeds. 

And lastly, you will do well to remember the dying words of 
our Saviour ; and when you come to die, commend your spirit into 
the hands of God. 

You believe that Jesus Christ rose again the third day from the 

Why then you are sure that his sufferings and death were well 
pleasing to God, who otherwise would not have raised him to 
life again. 

And though your soul, when you die, shall go into an unknown 
world ; yet, if you die in the favour of God, you will have the 
same God to take care of you that Jesus Christ had. 

And lastly, you are hereby assured that God, who raised 
Christ from the dead, will also quicken our mortal bodies ; for so 
he hath declared in his word. 

Since you believe that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, and 

416 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia: 

sitteth at the right hand of God, you must conclude that all power 
in heaven and in earth is committed unto him. 

And can there be greater comfort for a sinner than this ; that 
he who died for us is ever with God, pleading the cause of his 
poor creatures that come unto God by him ? 

Though therefore, for your own sake, you cannot look for 
favour, yet for Jesus sake you may, who ever liveth to make inter 
cession for us. 

Will you therefore endeavour to set your heart above, where 
your Saviour is ? 

And that you may do so more earnestly, remember your 
Saviour s words, when he was leaving the world : I go to prepare 
a place for you, that where I am, ye may be also. 

You believe that Jesus Christ shall come to judge both the quick 
and the dead. 

If you believe this so truly as you ought to do, you will take 
care to judge yourself beforehand, that you may not be con 
demned of the Lord, when he cometh to judge the world in 

Will you therefore examine your life and see wherein you have 
offended, that you may repent and make your peace with God, 
remembering that, as death leaves you, judgment will find you ? 

However, you have this to comfort your soul, if you are sin 
cerely penitent, that he who knows our infirmities, he who died 
to redeem us, is to be our judge. 

And God grant that you may find mercy in that great day. 

You profess to believe in the Holy Ghost, to whom you were 
dedicated in baptism, and by which you were sealed to the day of 

Now, if you have grieved this Holy Spirit and by wicked works 
have driven him from you, you must sadly repent of it and earn 
estly pray God to restore him, without whose aid you can never 
be sanctified, never be happy. 

And when you call yourself to an account, consider whether 
you have lived in obedience to those, ivhom the Holy Ghost has set 
over you ; that is, the ministers of the gospel. 

Do you propose to live and die in the communion of this church, 
in which you were baptized I 

Our Lord tells you what a blessing it is to be a member of 
that church, of which he is the head. 

or Instructions to Ms Clergy. 417 

lam (saith he) the vine, ye are the branches ; as the branches 
cannot bear fruit, unless they abide in the vine, no more can ye, 
unless ye abide in me. 

In short, a member of Christ s church has a right to the 
forgiveness of sins to the favour of God to the merits of 
Christ to the assistance of the Holy Ghost and to the 
ministry of the holy angels: blessings, which you can never be 
sufficiently thankful for. 

Do you firmly believe that God, in consideration of Christ s 
sufferings, will forgive all such as with hearty repentance and 
true faith turn unto him ? 

But then you must consider that forgiveness of sins is to be 
hoped for only in God s own way, that is, by the ministry of 
those, to whom God has committed the word of reconciliation. 

And that the promise of forgiveness of sin should be no pretence 
for continuing in sin in hopes of pardon. 

Do you believe that we shall all rise again, some to everlasting 
happiness and some to everlasting misery ? 

If this faith be in you of a truth, it will convince you of the 
vanity of this world, its profits, pleasures, honours, fame and its 
idols ; so that you will not, as unbelievers do, look for your 
portion here. 

Do not you see what a mercy it is, when God punisheth sin 
ners in this life, since they whose punishment is deferred till the 
next must suffer everlastingly ? 

And if the difficulties of repentance and an holy life affright 
you, consider this one thing, Who can dwell with everlasting 
burnings ? 

Remember the words of Christ to the penitent thief >This 
day shalt thou be with me in paradise. 

Let the expectation of that happy day and a faith and hope 
full of immortality make you diligent to make your calling and 
election sure, and sweeten all the trouble and difficulties of 
doing it. 

And may Almighty God strengthen and increase your faith, 
that you may die in this belief and in the peace and communion 
of the church. Amen. 

The sick Christian having thus professed his faith in God, the 
next thing necessary to be inquired into is the truth of his 

E e 

418 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

repentance. The church therefore orders that now the minister 
shall examine (not exhort him to it only) whether he repent him 
truly of all his sins. 

And verily the church in this consulted the necessities of sick 
persons, who are not able to attend to long exhortations and 
are too apt to forget what is said to them after that manner ; and 
may be brought to know the true state of their souls by 
examining them, that is, by short, plain and proper questions ; 
of which hereafter. 

In the mean time, a prudent pastor will find himself obliged 
here to consider more particularly the circumstances of the 
person with whom he has to do, that he may examine his 
repentance accordingly. 

For instance, Christians are not always sensible of their own 

First, Some are very ignorant and know not why they live, or 
what will become of them when they die. 

Secondly, Some are vainly confident and must be humbled. 

Thirdly, Some are too much dejected and must be comforted. 

Fourthly, Some are hardened and must be awakened. 

Fifthly and lastly, Such as hope to recover will be aot to put 
off their repentance and reject the counsel of GoW^or their 

Now, something in all these cases should be said, to dispose 
the sick to a sincere repentance. 

1. To such as are very ignorant. 

Such as are ignorant should be made sensible that this life, is 
a state of trial and a passage only to another. 

That God has given men reason and conscience and has also 
given them laws to walk by. 

That after this life we must all appear before the judgment-seat 
of Christ, who will render to every man according to his deeds 1 . 

That such as have done good, shall go into life everlasting ; and 
such as have done evil, into everlasting misery. And. that thus it 
will be, whether men lay these things to heart or not. 

And the only comfort a sinner has is this, that God for Christ s 
sake will accept his sincere repentance. 

I require you, therefore, as you value your soul, to make 
your peace with God speedily. And that you may know wherein 

1 Rom. ii, 6. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 41 9 

you have offended, I will set before you the law of God, to the 
end you may judge yourself and call on God for mercy, as 
often as I shall put you in mind of any sin you have been 
guilty of. 

2. To such as are vainly confident. 

Such as are confident of their own righteousness, or depend 
upon an outward profession of Christianity, should be put in 
mind of our Lord s words to the Pharisees k : ye are they that 
justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts. 

They should be told that the publican who durst not lift up 
his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be 
merciful unto me a sinner, returned justified before him, who 
thought too well of himself. 

And that our Lord invited such only as were weary and 
heavy laden to come to him, because these only are prepared to 
become his true disciples. 

Thou sayest that thou art rich and hast need of nothing (saith 
our Lord to the church of Laodicea) and knowest not that thou 
art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naJced^. 

You see how sad a thing it is to have too good an opinion of 
one s self. 

And it is only because Christians do not consider the many 
duties that they have omitted and the many sins they have been 
guilty of, that makes them speak peace to their souls. 

In the laws of God, therefore, which I am going to set before 
you, you will see, as in a glass, the charge that is against you ; 
and I require you to judge yourself, as you expect favour from 

3. To such as want comfort, being dejected. 

And first, if the sick person is under agonies of mind, on 
account of some great sin or wickedness long lived in, a prudent 
pastor will not too hastily speak peace to him ; he will rather 
endeavour that he may continue to sorrow after a godly sort : 
that is, not so much for having offended against a God, who can 
destroy both body and soul in hell, but as having offended a 
gracious Father, a merciful Saviour and an holy Spirit. 

Such a sorrow as this will not lessen a Christian s horror for 
sin, but will make him more humble, more fearful of offending ; 
k Luke xvi, 15. * Revelation iii, 17. 

E e 2 

420 Bishop Wilsoris ParocMalia : 

acknowledging God s justice and his own unworthiness, but yet 
resolving to lay hold of the promises of mercy, for Christ s sake, 
to penitent sinners. 

But then, there being a sorrow that ivorJceth death, making 
sinners impatient, doubting God s goodness, questioning his 
promises, neglecting repentance ; such a sorrow is to be resisted 
and discouraged, as a temptation of the devil, being the effect 
of pride and of an unwillingness to submit to God. 

But if the sick person s sorrow proceeds, as it too often does, 
from mistakes concerning God : the extent of Christ s sufferings ; 
the unpardonableness of some sins and some states ; the sincerity 
of his own faith and repentance ; he is then to be comforted with 
such truths as these : 

That God delighteth in mercy. 

That he is gracious and merciful, abundant in goodness and 
truth, forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin n . 

That the devil, knowing this, uses all his arts and endeavours 
to tempt sinners to despair. 

That therefore God himself bids us to call upon him in time of 
trouble, and he will hear us. 

Nay, he calls himself a father, on .purpose that sinners may 
consider how a father would deal with his own child, when he 
saw him truly sensible of his errors. 

That Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners , even 
such as were lost P : That he ever liveth to make intercession for 

And we have his own promise for it ; He that cometh unto 
me, I will in no wise cast out T , and, He that believeth in him 
shall receive remission of sins 8 . 

That the gospel is a most gracious dispensation, requiring only 
such an obedience as a poor frail creature can pay. 

That that faith is not to be questioned which purifieth the 
heart* ; which worJceth by love u ; that is, makes us do what we 
can to please God ; and which resisteth temptations and enables 
us to overcome them. 

That wherever amendment of life followeth such a faith as 
this, there is true repentance : and that where there is sincerity, 
there our obedience will be accepted, though it is not perfect as 
the law requires. 

m Micah vii, 18. n Exod. xxxiv, 6, 7. i Tim. i, 15. 

P Matt, xviii, n. ^ Heb. vii, 25. r John vi, 37. s Acts ii, 38. 

t Acts xv, 9. u Gal \, 6. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 

In short, no man will have reason to despair, if he considers, 
that God doeth nothing in vain : and that if he visits a sinner ; if 
he exhorts him by his ministers ; if he touches his heart ; if he 
gives him time to consider his ways, when he might have taken 
him away without warning ; why, it is because he designs to be 
gracious, if the sinner is not wanting to himself. 

I will therefore set before you the law of God, not to affright 
you, but that you may know and confess and forsake your sin and 
find mercy, as God hath promised*. 

4 To such as are hardened in wickedness and must be 


This is indeed a melancholy case ; but a good pastor, while 
God continues life, will continue his endeavours, for he does not 
know but this is God s time. 

He will therefore try what the sword of the Spirit will do, that 
word which, the same Spirit tells us, is profitable for correction 
as well as for instructiony. 

He will therefore put him in mind that, if he dies in his sins 
unrepented of, he will go out of the world a professed enemy to 
that God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell ; who will, as 
the holy Scriptures assure us, take vengeance on all them that know 
not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and 
who shall be punished with everlasting destruction*. 

He will let him know that this may be his condition in a few 
days ; for our Lord assures us that, as soon as ever the wicked 
man died, he was carried to hell a . 

That this is the last time, perhaps, that ever God will afford 
you to beg his pardon; and you will be desperately mad to 
neglect it. 

It is true, God is not willing that any should perish, and he 
can conquer the stubbornest heart, but he will not do it by 

He has shewn his mercy in afflicting your body and in taking 
from you the power to do evil. 

What is this for, but that you may open your eyes and see 
your danger and ask his pardon and beg his assistance and be 
delivered from the severity of his wrath, which you must cer 
tainly feel, without a speedy repentance ? 

It may be, you do not know the charge that is against you ; 

x Isaiah Iv, 7. y 2 Tim. iii, 16. z 2 Thess. i, 8, 9. a Luke xvi, 23. 

Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

I will therefore repeat to you the substance of those laws, which 
you have broken and by which you must be judged. 

If you have any concern for your soul, if you have any fear of 
God in your heart, you will hear and judge and condemn 
yourself, that you may escape in the dreadful judgment of the 
last day. 

5. To such as, in hopes of recovery, put off their repentance. 

Such should be made sensible that sickness is not only the 
punishment, but the remedy of sin b . 

That it is the chiefest of those ways, by which God shews men 
their sin by which he discovers to them the vanity of the world 
that bewitches them by which he takes down the pride of the 
heart and the stubbornness of the will, which has hindered their 

In short, it is God s time : so that not to repent in sickness is 
in effect to resolve never to repent. 

For what shall incline a man to repent when he recovers, 
which does not move him now I 

His hopes of heaven and his fears of hell will not be greater 
then than now. 

And it would be the utmost presumption to expect that God 
will give that man an extraordinary degree of grace, who despises 
the most usual means of conversion. 

A pastor, therefore, will set before him the law of God, which 
he has transgressed, that he may see the need he has of repent 
ing, and that he may not provoke God to cut him off before his 
time, because there is no hope of amendment. 

Examination of the sick person s repentance. 

DEARLY beloved, you are, it may be, in a very short time to 
appear before God. 

I must therefore put you in mind that your salvation depends 
upon the truth of your repentance. 

Now, forasmuch as you became a sinner by breaking the laws 
of God, you have no way of being restored to God s favour, but 
by seeing the number and the greatness of your sins, that you 
may hate them heartily, lament them sorely and cry mightily to 
God for pardon. 

b Micah vi, 9. 

or Instruction* to his Clergy. 423 

I will therefore set before you the laws of God, by which God 
will judge you ; and I will ask you such questions as may be pro 
per to call your sins to your remembrance ; and you will do well, 
wherever you shall have reason, to say with the publican God 
be merciful unto me, for I have offended in this or that thing. 

And be not too tender of yourself; but remember, that the 
more severe you are in accusing and condemning yourself, the 
more favour you may expect from God. 

Your duty to God, you know, is to fear him, to love him, to trust 
in him, to honour and to obey Mm. 

Consider, therefore, seriously Have you not lived, as if there 
were no God to call you to an account ? 

Has the knowledge of God s almighty power and his severe 
justice made you fearful of offending him ? 

Are you convinced that you have not loved God so much as 
his goodness and care of you deserved ? 

Has the love of God made you desirous to please him I 

Have you so put your trust in God as to be contented with 
what he has appointed, without murmuring and without ques 
tioning the wisdom of his choices ! 

Have vou not been unthankful for God^s mercies I 


Have you never, as you know of, taken any false oath ? 

Have you never been accustomed to swear, to curse or to take 
God s name in vain ? 

Have you not very often spent the Lord^s day idly 2 

Have you not been careless and irreverent in God s house \ 

Have you been careful to pray to God daily for his pardon, 
his grace and his protection ? 

Have you constantly received the Lord s supper, when you 
have had an opportunity \ 

Have you never gone profanely to the sacrament, without 
examining yourself and without purposing to lead a new life ? 

Have you not despised God s word, his ministers or his 
house \ 

Your duty to your neighbour is to love him as yourself. 
Have you so loved all men as to wish and pray sincerely for 
their welfare? 

Have you not hated your enemies ? 

Have you paid due reverence in heart, in word, in behaviour. 

424 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

to your parents and to all such as were over you in place and 
authority ? 

Have you not been subject to sinful, unadvised anger ? 

Have you never done any thing to shorten the life of your 
neighbour ? 

Have you not lived in malice or envy, or wished any man s 
death ? 

Have you not been accustomed to sow strife and dissension 
amongst your neighbours ? 

Have you not fallen into the sins of drunkenness, gluttony, 
tippling or an idle life ? 

Have you kept yourself free from the sins of whoredom, 
impurity or uncleanness ? 

Have you none of the sins of injustice, extortion or of any 
way wronging your neighbour, to answer for ? 

Have you not been unfaithful in any matters of trust com 
mitted to you ? 

Have you not been subject to the evil habits of lying, slander 
ing or talebearing ? 

Have you never given false evidence, outfaced the truth or 
countenanced an evil cause ? 

Have you not been pleased with evil reports ; and have you 
not been too forward to propagate them ? 

Have you not been vexatious to your neighbour and grieved 
him without cause ? 

Have you not been dissatisfied with the condition which God 
allotted you ? 

Have you not coveted your neighbour s goods, envied his 
prosperity or been pleased with his misfortunes ? 

Have you done to others as you wish they should have done 
to you I 

Can you call to mind any injury or injustice, for which you 
ought to ask pardon or make restitution ? 

And remember you are told the truth, that the unrighteous 
and unjust shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. 

Is there any body that has grievously wronged you, to whom 
you ought to be reconciled ? 

Remember that, if you forgive not, you will not be forgiven ; 
and that he will receive judgment without mercy, who hath shewed 
no mercy. 

Are you therefore in charity with all the world I 

or Instructions to Ms Clergy. 425 

Have you been kind to the poor according to your ability ? 

And remember that, the moment Zaccheus resolved to do right 
to every body and to be kind to the poor, our Lord tells him 
that salvation was then to come to his house. 

You would do well therefore, as a proof of your thankfulness 
to God, to be liberal to the poor, according to your ability. 

And if you have not already settled your worldly concerns 
and declared what you owe and what is owing to you ; it is fit 
you do so now, for the discharging a good conscience and for 
preventing mischief after your death. 

And be very careful that, in making your will, you do no 
wrong, discover no resentment, that the last act of your life may 
be free from sin. 

And now I will leave you for a while to God and to your 
own conscience ; beseeching him to discover to you the charge 
that is against you ; that you may know and confess and 
bewail and abhor the errors of your life past ; that your sins 
may be done away by his mercy and your pardon sealed in 
heaven, before you go hence and be no more seen. 


CONCERNING confession, archbishop Usher has these 
words : " No kind of confession, either public or private, is 
disallowed by our church, that is any way requisite for the due 
execution of the ancient power of the keys, which Christ 
bestowed on the church / 1 

Concerning absolution, bishop Andrews hath these words : 
" It is not said by Christ, Whose sins ye wish and pray for, or 
declare to be remitted ; but, Whose sins ye remit : to which he 
addeth a promise, that he will make it good and that his 
power shall accompany the power he has given them and the 
lawful execution of it in his church for ever." 

And indeed the very same persons baptize for the remission 
of sins, and administer the Lord s supper as a seal of the for 
giveness of sins to all worthy communicants. 

It is not water that can wash away sin, nor bread and wine ; 
but these rightly administered, by persons truly authorized, and 
to persons duly qualified by faith and repentance. And thus 

e Answer to the Jesuit, p. 84. 

426 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

absolution benefi teth, by virtue of the power which Jesus Christ 
has given his ministers d . 

In short our Lord having purchased the forgiveness of sins 
for all mankind, he hath committed the ministry of reconciliation 
to us ; that having brought men to repentance, we may in Christ s 
name, and in the person of Christ^ pronounce their pardon. 

And this will be the true way to magnify the power of the 
keys, which is so little understood or so much despised ; namely, 
to bring as many as possibly we can to repentance, that we 
may have more frequent occasions of sealing a penitent s pardon 
by our ministry. 

And now, if the sick person has been so dealt with as to be 
truly sensible of his condition, he should then be instructed in 
the nature and benefit of confession (at least of such sins as do 
trouble his conscience) and of absolution. 

For instance he should be told that, as under the law of 
Moses, God made his priests the judges of leprosy f and gave 
them rules, by which they were to determine who were clean 
and fit to enter into the congregation (which was a type of 
heaven) and who were not clean : 

Even so, under the gospel, he has given his priests authority 
to judge sin, which is the leprosy of the soul. He has given 
them rules to judge by, with authority to pronounce their par 
don, if they find them qualified ; for this is their commission 
from Christ s own mouth, Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are 
remitted unto them. 

But then we dare not take upon us to exercise this authority, 
until sinners give such signs of a sincere faith and true repent 
ance, as may persuade one charitably to believe that amendment 
of life will follow, if God shall think fit to grant them longer time. 

At the same time, therefore, that we are bound to encourage 
penitents earnestly to desire absolution and to exhort them to 
receive the Lord s supper, as a pledge to assure them of pardon ; 
we must sincerely admonish them not to hope for any benefit 
either from the one or the other, but upon condition of their 
sincere repentance. 

It will be proper, therefore, before absolution, and for more 
satisfaction, to ask the sick person some such questions as these : 

Have you considered the sins which you have been most 
subject to ? 

d John xx, 23. e 2 Cor. ii, 10. f Lev. xiii. 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 427 

Are you convinced that it is an evil thing and bitter to forsake 
the Lord ? 

Are you resolved to avoid all temptations and occasions of the 
sins you have now repented of? 

Do you verily believe that you shall not fall into any of these 
sins again? 

If you should do so, will you immediately beg God s pardon, 
and be more watchful over yourself? 

Will you strive with all your might to overcome the corruptions 
of your nature, by prayers, by fasting and by self-denial? 

Do you purpose, if God shall prolong your days, to bring forth 
fruits meet for repentance ? 

Are you in perfect charity with all the world ? 

Every Christian, whose life has been, in the main, unblam 
able, and whose repentance has thus been particularly examined, 
and who has given a satisfactory answer to these questions, ought 
not to leave the world without the benefit of absolution, which 
he should be earnestly pressed to desire and exhorted to dispose 
himself to receive, as the church has appointed. 


IF a person of this character be visited with sickness, a pru 
dent pastor will not presently apply comfort, or give him assur 
ances of pardon ; he will rather strive to increase his sorrow to 
such a height as, if God should spare him, might produce a 
repentance not to be repented of. 

It was thus (as Dr. Hammond observes) that God himself 
dealt with such kind of sinners?. 

The children of Israel did evil again , that is, they went on in their 
wickedness, upon which God sorely distresses them. They cried 
unto God, but he answers them, / will deliver you no more. How 
ever, this did not make them utterly to despair ; for they knew 
that his merey had no bounds; they therefore still went on to 
apply to him for pardon and help and resolved to do what was 
at present in their power towards a reformation ; at last, God 
was prevailed on to accept and deliver them. 

And thus should we deal with habitual sinners : we should 
not break the bruised reed ; \ve should indeed give them assur 
er Judges x, 6-16. 

428 Bishop Wilson s Parochialia : 

ances of pardon, upon their sincere repentance : but, forasmuch 
as it is very hard even for themselves to know whether their 
sorrow and resolutions are such as would bring forth fruit an 
swerable to amendment of life, all that a confessor can do is to 
exhort such persons to do all that is in their present power ; 
to take shame to themselves ; to give glory to God in a free 
confession of their crimes (which St. James saith is of great use 
towards obtaining their pardon) to pray without ceasing ; to 
warn others to beware of falling into the same sad condition ; 
and to consider that a wicked life, to which God has threatened 
eternal fire, cannot be supposed to be forgiven by an easy 

And though the church has* no rules in this case to go by but 
such as are very afflicting, yet God is not tied to rules ; he sees 
what is in man and may finally absolve one, whom his ministers 
dare not, until after a long probation they have reason, in the 
judgment of charity, to believe that his repentance is sincere. 

And this a prudent pastor will be careful to observe, both to 
prevent the scandal of an hasty absolution and because he 
knows such ministrations do no good to those that receive 



AND, in the first place, a pastor should be very careful to 
put his people in mind that the first fruits of health should 
always be offered to God. 

And forasmuch as there is nothing more common nor more 
to be lamented than for people in sickness to make very solemn 
promises of better obedience and, upon their recovery, to forget 
all and to return to their former careless life ; a pastor will 
warn them betimes how God hates such backslidings, how un 
thankful, how provoking it is, and the readiest way to draw 
down a worse evil, or to be given over to a reprobate mind. 

And indeed a man that has received the sentence of death in 
himself that has seen the hazard of a death-bed repentance 
that has felt the horror of sin, when it is most frightful ; for 
such a person to grow secure, is an amazing instance of the cor 
ruption of our nature ; and therefore it will require a pastor s 
greatest care to prevent a relapse. Especially to guard his people 

or Instructions to his Clergy. 429 

against general purposes of amendment, which lull the mind 
asleep ; and before people are aware, they are just where they 
were before sickness seized them. 

A love for sin returns ; God is provoked and grace with 
drawn ; and every relapse makes a Christian s case more 

A Christian, therefore, who is in good earnest, must be put 
upon rectifying the errors of his life immediately, as he hopes for 
mercy, whenever God visits him again. 

If an idle life has been his fault, he must take to business ; 
if intemperance, he must at his peril be sober ; if he has been 
given to appetite, to ease and to luxury, he must deny himself 
and labour to mortify these corrupt affections ; if he has ob 
served no method of living, he must for the future fix proper 
times for prayer, for fasting, for retirement and for calling him 
self to an account. In short, he must avoid, as much as possible, 
all occasions and temptations to sin; if he is overtaken in 
a fault, he must immediately repent of it and be more careful ; 
he must not be discouraged with the difficulties he will meet 
with, for the power of God is sufficient to make a virtuous life 
possible, easy and pleasant, to the weakest Christian that depends 
upon his grace. 

Let him therefore be exhorted to persevere in his good resolu 
tions ; to depend upon God s power and promises to assist him, 
to pray daily for light to discover and for strength to overcome 
the corruptions of his nature ; and lastly, to be always afraid 
of backsliding : and then sickness and death, whenever they 
come, will be a blessing. 

And as a faithful discharge of this duty will give a curate of 
souls the greatest comfort at the hour of death, so there is 
nothing doth more preserve the authority, which a faithful 
pastor ought to have over his flock. 








WlLLIAM ROWLEY, whose father was Incumbent of 
Ropley, in Hampshire, was born there in 1765. He was edu 
cated at Winchester School. From thence he proceeded, at the 
customary age and standing, to New College, Oxford ; where 
he was admitted Scholar in 1783 and elected Fellow in 1785. 
Subsequently, he vacated his Fellowship of New College, upon 
being chosen Fellow of Winchester College. He was appointed 
Canon of Christ Church, in 1804; and Regius Professor of 
Divinity, in 1809. The Bishoprick of London having become 
vacant in 1813, he was nominated by the Crown to that im 
portant See, which is very seldom recorded to have been filled 
otherwise than by translation. After fifteen years of assiduous 
and successful labour in the cause of Religion, he was advanced 
to the Archbishoprick of Canterbury. He died in 1848 ; 
having displayed in the Primacy, through twenty years of more 
than ordinary trial and difficulty for the Church, administrative 
abilities of the highest order, together with such combined 
meekness and dignity, moderation of spirit and firmness of 
purpose as furthered his usefulness in every department of 
that various service^ which his eminent station required him 
to render to GOD and his country. 


Jb OR a considerable time past my attention has been anxiously 
turned to the divisions in the Church, occasioned by differences 
of opinion with respect to the intention of certain rubrical direc 
tions in the Liturgy and diversities of practice in the perform 
ance of Divine Service. These questions, relating to matters in 
themselves indifferent, but deriving importance from their con 
nection with the maintenance of uniformity and order in the 
solemn ministrations of the Church, are rendered difficult by the 
ambiguity of the rubrics in some instances, and, in all, by the 
doubts which may arise as to the weight which should be allowed 
to general usage, when it varies from the written law. It is 
partly on these accounts, and partly from uncertainty with re 
spect to the extent of the powers committed to the Archbishop 
of the province, in the preface to the Book of Common Prayer, 
for the resolution of doubts in regard to the contested points, 
that I have not felt myself justified in expressing an authorita 
tive opinion upon questions, occasionally submitted to me on 
these subjects. I was, indeed, willing to hope that these con 
troversies, like many of much greater importance which have 
for a season disquieted the Church, would be suffered to die 
away of themselves, when the arguments on each side had been 
thoroughly sifted, from the good sense of the parties engaged in 
them and the general conviction of their unprofitableness. But 
having been disappointed in this expectation and considering 
the tendency of continued agitation to weaken the sacred bond 
of affection, which ought to unite the clergy and laity as mem 
bers of one body in Christ, I hold it a duty to come forward, in 
the hope of allaying animosities and putting a stop to dissensions, 
which are shown by experience to be not only {modifying but 
mischievous. With this view I would call your attention to a 
few considerations, which, with persons who are desirous of 
peace, will, I trust, have their due weight. 

436 Archbishop Howlers Letter. 

It has long been observed that, in the performance of Divine 
Service in the generality of our parochial churches, there has 
been a deviation, in certain particulars, from the express direc 
tions of the rubric, and that, in some cases, a difference in 
respect to the sense of the rubric has led to a diversity in prac 
tice. In regard to such points, in themselves non-essential, the 
most conscientious clergymen have felt themselves justified in 
treading in the steps of their predecessors ; and hence the irre 
gularity (for all departure from rule is irregular) which seems, in 
some instances at least, to have existed from the beginning, 
became inveterate. There have, I apprehend, at all times been 
clergymen, who have been distressed by this inconsistency ; and 
of late years it has been regarded by many excellent men as 
irreconcilable with the obligations, which they took upon them 
selves on their admission into holy orders. Under the influence 
of these scruples, they thought it right to adhere as closely as 
possible to the letter of the rubric in their ministrations : whilst 
others of their brethren, not less conscientious, have been deter 
mined by considerations, in their estimation of great weight, to 
follow the usage, which they found established in their respective 
churches. Under these circumstances, a diversity of practice has 
arisen, which is not only inconsistent with the principle of uni 
formity maintained by the church, but is sometimes associated in 
the minds of the people with peculiarities of doctrine and gives 
birth to suspicions and jealousies, destructive of the confidence 
which should always subsist between the flock and their pastor. 
To prevent the increase of an evil, which might terminate in 
actual schisms, was confessedly most desirable ; and the most 
effectual mode of accomplishing the object, it has been thought, 
would be found in general conformity to the rubric. Universal 
concurrence in this easy and obvious regulation would have com 
bined the several advantages of securing compliance with the law 
of the church and the land, of putting a stop to unauthorized 
innovations and of excluding party distinctions, in their charac 
ter decidedly un-Christian, from the public worship of God ; and 
I cannot but regret that measures which, with a view to these 
good purposes, have been recommended by high authorities, 
should not have been received with unanimous acquiescence, as 
the means of restoring order and peace, without any departure 
from the principles of the church, or offence to the most scrupu 
lous conscience. 

Archbishop Rowley s Letter. 437 

At the same time I am sensible that those who object have 
much to allege in their justification. If the written law is against 
them, they plead an opposite usage, in parochial churches at 
least, reaching back, perhaps, to the time when the intention of 
the lawgiver was best understood, superseding its literal sense 
and determining its real meaning ; they appeal to the general 
consent of bishops, clergy and laity, implied in the absence of any 
effectual interference during so long a period ; they object to the 
sudden revival of rules which, in their opinion, are obsolete, and 
still more, to their rigid enforcement after so long a term of 
abeyance. In fairness to them we must allow that this dislike 
of alterations in the manner of worship to which they have been 
accustomed from their infancy, proceeding, as it does, from 
attachment to the ordinances of the church, ought not to be 
visited with unkindly censure ; and we can hardly be surprised 
at any change being regarded with suspicion, when so many 
attempts have been made to introduce innovations, which are 
really objectionable, and tend, as far as they go, to alter the 
character of our church. It must also be granted that the 
intention of the church is not always clearly discoverable from 
the language of the rubric, nor determinable with absolute cer 
tainty from the records of early practice. In such cases it may 
with some show of reason be said that, as the eminent men 
to whom the several revisions of the liturgy were successively 
entrusted, did not see the necessity of giving directions so precise 
as to ensure a rigid conformity in every particular, we may be 
contented to acquiesce in slight deviations from rule, suggested 
by convenience and sanctioned by long usage. 

Now, whatever may be the force of the arguments on either 
side, a difference of opinion will probably always exist in regard 
to the contested points. But all parties will concur in regarding 
these points as of far less importance than the maintenance of that 
mutual confidence, which, next to support from above, forms the 
main strength of the church, producing the harmonious coopera 
tion of its several members and disposing the people to look up 
with reverence to their pastor, as their spiritual instructor and 
guide. In whatever degree or by whatever means the tie of 
affection is loosened, a proportionate diminution wiU follow of 
that moral influence, on which the efficiency of the clergyman s 
teaching will always depend. 

The case then, if fairly considered with reference to the 

438 Archbishop Howley s Letter. 

existing dissensions, and the results to be expected from their 
continuance, will show the necessity of mutual forbearance to 
the peace and the honour, I may even say, to the safety, of the 
church. The laity, it may be hoped, will see the propriety of 
respecting the consciences of such of the clergy as have held 
themselves bound to strict compliance with the express direc 
tions of the rubric, without regard to former disuse ; and the 
clergy will perceive the expediency of not pressing too harshly 
or abruptly the observance of laws which, having by themselves 
and their predecessors been long suffered to sleep, have now the 
appearance of novelty. I am fully alive to the importance of 
uniformity in the celebration of Divine Service ; but I think it 
would be purchased too dearly at the expense of lasting divi 
sions a consequence which, I trust, will be averted by a sus 
pension of the existing disputes. My hope of such an adjustment 
is grounded on the wisdom, temper and piety, which are engaged 
on both sides of the question. A settlement, which would have 
the sanction of law, is at the present moment impossible ; and, 
were it possible, could hardly be attempted with hope of success, 
till the subsisting excitement has been allayed by time and 
reflection. But till that time shall arrive, our regard to the 
spiritual interests of our brethren ought surely to put a stop to 
contentions which, besides the offence against charity, engage 
much time and ability, which might be infinitely better applied 
and which can afford pleasure to those only who bear ill-will to 
our church. The matters in controversy, considered in them 
selves, are not of vital importance : the service in our churches 
has in general been conducted in conformity to the apostle^s 
direction, with order and decency ; and, whether performed with 
exact regard to the letter of the rubric or with the variations 
established by general usage, will still be decent and orderly. I 
therefore entreat you to consider, whether the peace of the 
church should be hazarded by prolonging an unprofitable con 
troversy, at a time, more especially, when her energies are 
directed, with such hope of success, to the promotion of religion 
and morals, and when the clergy and laity are zealously engaged 
in united exertions for the erection and endowment of churches 
and schools and for other pious and beneficial objects, in almost 
every part of the country. 

What I would most earnestly recommend, for the present, is 
the discontinuance of any proceedings, in either direction, on 

Archbishop Howley s Letter. 439 

the controverted questions. In churches, where alterations have 
been introduced with general acquiescence, let things remain as 
they are ; in those, which retain the less accurate usage, let no 
risk of division be incurred by any attempt at change, till some 
final arrangement can be made with the sanction of the proper 
authorities. In the case of churches, where agitation prevails 
and nothing has been definitely settled, it is not possible to lay 
down any general rule, which may be applicable to all circum 
stances. But is it too much to hope that those, who are zealous 
for the honour of God and the good of his church, will show, by 
the temporary surrender of their private opinions, that they are 
equally zealous in the cause of peace and charity ? 

On the particular questions, which disquiet the public mind, I 
think it unadvisable to pronounce an opinion. Upon careful 
examination, I have found reason to think that some of these 
questions are more difficult of solution than is commonly ima 
gined and that the meaning which occurs at first sight is not 
always the most correct. And the general question, in respect 
to what should be conceded to usage in controlling or modifying 
the written law, seems to me to be open to much doubt. But, 
if I were ever so fully persuaded in my own mind, I should be 
unwilling, for reasons already assigned, to pronounce a judgment, 
which, not having legal authority, might be accepted by some 
and disregarded by others and might thus increase the confu 
sion, which it was designed to remedy. For similar reasons I 
have not thought it expedient to call the bishops of my province 
together at this time, though it will be my desire, as well as my 
duty, to seek their advice and assistance, when a fit opportunity 
presents itself. I am, however, fully assured of their general 
concurrence in deprecating the continuance of discussions, which 
will undoubtedly multiply strife and contention, but which, in 
the present posture of things, can lead to no beneficial result. 

In order to guard against misapprehension, I think it proper 
to state that all I have here said is strictly confined to the 
rubrical questions, which have occasioned the present agitation. 
All change in the performance of the service, affecting the doc 
trine of the church, by alteration, addition or omission, I regard 
with unqualified disapprobation. I may further remark that 
the danger to the church would be great, if clergymen, not 
having due respect either to episcopal authority or established 
usage, should interpret the rubric for themselves, should intro- 

440 Archbishop Rowley s Letter. 

duce or curtail ceremonies at pleasure, or make Divine Service in 
any way the means of expressing their own theological opinions 
or party views. In respect to the ritual, the preface to the Book 
of Common Prayer directs all persons having doubts, or diversely 
taking any thing in the performance of the church service, to 
resort to the bishop of the diocese for the resolution of such 
doubts and the appeasing of diversities. Had due attention 
been paid, from the first, to this salutary rule, the church might 
perhaps have been saved from much of the dissension, which at 
various times has divided her members, and grieved and per 
plexed her rulers, and which, if not speedily checked, may again 
cause a serious disturbance of her peace. Considering the 
course I have suggested as offering the only immediate means of 
averting such a calamity, and at the same time preparing the 
way for a final arrangement at a convenient season, I earnestly 
recommend its adoption, in the hope that, through the blessing 
of God, it may lay the foundation of lasting peace ; " and to this 
end" (I borrow the words of a learned and pious ritualist) 
" to this end may the God of Peace give us all meek hearts, 
quiet spirits, and devout affections, and free us from all preju 
dice, that we may have full churches, frequent prayers and fer 
vent charity ; that, uniting in our prayers here, we may all join 
in His praises hereafter, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. 


Jan. u, 1845. 










JOHN KAYE was born at Hammersmith, on the 27th of 
December, 1783 ; and educated principally under the cele 
brated Dr.Burney, who kept a Classical School of great repute 
at Greenwich. At an early age, he entered Christ s College, 
Cambridge, where he gained the highest honours of the Uni 
versity and a Fellowship; taking the Degree of B. A. in 1804. 
Such was the estimate of his merits soon formed by those, who 
had constant intercourse with him, that, in 1814 and whilst he 
was still of comparatively short standing, he was elected to the 
Mastership of his College, which had become vacant under cir 
cumstances of peculiar difficulty for the Society. Two years 
after, he was appointed Regius Professor of Divinity ; and, in 
1820, raised to the Bishoprick of Bristol, from which he was 
translated to the See of Lincoln, in 1827. In the midst of that 
active life, which the watchful superintendence of an extensive 
and populous Diocese compelled him to lead, he found leisure 
for the prosecution of Theological studies ; and published a suc 
cession of valuable Works, illustrative of the doctrines, disci 
pline and history of the Primitive Church, which are written 
in a style simple, clear and forcible. He began the series, as 
Bishop of Bristol ; and was engaged in continuing it, at the 
time of his death, which occurred, after a short illness, on 
the 1 8th of February, 1853; at a season, when the Church of 
England could ill spare a Prelate, beloved as he was by his 
numerous personal friends and held in honour by all, who had 
opportunities of observing the Professional learning, the acute- 
ness and skill in controversy, happily controlled by a calm and 
unruffled temper of mind, the excellent principles and sound 
judgment, the pure and fervent piety, for which he was 

The following Charge and Portions of a Charge are taken, 
with the consent of Bishop K aye s representatives, from a 
volume, edited by his son, in the year after his lamented death ; 
and entitled : " Nine Charges, delivered to the Clergy of the 
" Diocese of Lincoln, with some other Works," 




My Reverend Brethren, 

W E live in times of no ordinary character. In making this 
assertion, I run no hazard of committing an error into which it 
is natural to man to fall the error of overrating the magnitude 
of the transactions, which have occurred while he has himself 
been an actor in the scene of life. In the interval of three years 
which have elapsed since we last met, events have taken place 
important in themselves, but still more important in their pro 
bable influence on the future fortunes of the civilized world. It 
is unnecessary for me to specify them in detail. They will im 
mediately suggest themselves to your recollections ; and supply 
my justification, when I repeat that we live in times of no ordi 
nary character. 

If we attempt to carry our view onward into futurity, we can 
discover little that is cheering in the prospect ; little to encou 
rage the hope that we are drawing near to a state of permanent 
tranquillity and peace. It may be that the fury of the tempest 
has for a while subsided ; but we must not too hastily infer from 
this interval of quiet that all will be in future calm and serene. 
There is still a distant murmur of the wind, a lowering of the sky, 
a heaving of the wave, to warn us that the danger is not passed 
and that we must continue to watch. He must be an inattentive 
observer of the state of public opinion and feeling, who does not 
discern in it the elements of future struggles and collisions. 
There is a disposition to search out blemishes and faults in all 
that is established to regard all existing institutions as impedi 
ments in the way of the prosperity and well-being of the country. 
So long as this disposition prevails, a desire of change and its 
necessary accompaniment, a restless and discontented spirit, 
must also prevail. To little purpose do we urge that, with our 

446 Bishop Kaye s Charge at the 

present institutions, notwithstanding the defects, real or imagin 
ary, which are imputed to them, our country has risen to an 
astonishing height of power, and its inhabitants have enjoyed a 
larger share of prosperity and happiness than usually falls to the 
lot of nations. It is easy to reply that these beneficial results 
have been obtained, not by the operation of our present system, 
but in spite of it ; or that the system might be suited to ignorant 
and unenlightened times ; but that its various irregularities and 
anomalies, as they cannot stand the test of rational examination, 
can no longer be tolerated and must give way to a system, better 
suited to the increased and increasing intelligence of the age. 

If this is a correct account of the state of public feeling at the 
present moment, we cannot be surprised that the established 
church shares the fate of all other institutions ; that it is the 
object of frequent attack ; that it is denounced, not merely as 
useless, but as positively injurious ; as obstructing instead of ad 
vancing the interests of true religion. We cannot be surprised 
at being told, as we repeatedly are, that its days are already 
numbered and that it is destined to sink at no distant period 
before the irresistible force of enlightened public opinion. When 
in former times the clergy spoke of the dangers impending over 
the church, they were charged with exciting a cry, of which they 
knew the falsehood, from interested motives ; but now that its 
adversaries declare it to be in danger and exultingly tell us that 
it is tottering to its fall, we cannot be accused of childish prone- 
ness to alarm, if we suspect that these confident anticipations 
are not merely the suggestions of their wishes, but that they 
intend their prediction to work its own accomplishment. 

At the .Revolution, when the principle of toleration was first 
recognised by the law, it was nevertheless thought necessary, for 
the security of the established church, that none but members of 
it should be admitted to the possession of political power. The 
sacramental test was in consequence retained ; but though 
retained, it soon ceased to be enforced: and when three years 
ago it was formally abolished, they who pressed the abolition did 
not so much complain of any practical grievance, resulting from 
it, as that the continuance on the statute-book of the enact 
ments by which it was required was regarded by our dissenting 
brethren, as implying an offensive and groundless distrust of their 
attachment to the constitution. With the repeal, however, of 
the sacramental test, the principle that political power should be 

Triennial Visitation in 1831. 447 

lodged exclusively in the hands of members of the established 
church was abandoned. The following year produced a still 
wider deviation from the principles, on which the union of the 
established church with the state had previously been supposed 
to rest. At the Revolution, the attempts of the last misguided 
monarch of the Stuart race to make his own religion that of 
the state, were too fresh in the recollections of Protestants to 
permit them to pronounce temperately and dispassionately on 
the case of their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects ; who were, in 
consequence, excluded from the benefits of the Act of Toleration, 
and during the greater part of the last century performed their 
acts of public worship only under connivance. These restraints 
however, on the public exercise of their religion, which ought, in 
my opinion, never to have been imposed, had, during the reign 
of George III, been gradually removed ; and in the session of 
1829, the civil disabilities affecting them were also done away. 
All offices, some few exeepted, were thrown open to them and 
they were admitted to seats in parliament ; in other words, the 
principle that the legislature of this country should be exclu 
sively protestant was abandoned. Last year, a further change 
was attempted, though unsuccessfully; it was proposed to 
remove the civil disabilities, affecting the Jewish subjects of the 
realm. Had that attempt succeeded, the legislature would have 
ceased to be exclusively Christian. 

To turn from the measures themselves to the principle, on 
which many of their advocates urge their adoption : the prin 
ciple is, that it is unjust to subject men to civil disabilities on 
account of religious opinions. The ends of civil and religious 
society are said to be totally distinct that of the former being 
the temporal of the latter, the eternal happiness of men. The 
state, therefore, has no concern with the religion of its subjects; 
its concern is not with opinions, but with actions ; and with them, 
only so far as they affect the frame or well-being of society. 
Doubts may reasonably be entertained respecting the soundness 
of the principle so confidently put forth. The relations, in which 
man stands to his fellow-men, and consequently the duties arising 
out of those relations, originate in the appointment of God. That 
broad line of distinction, which it is attempted to draw between 
man in his religious and in his civil character, cannot be drawn. 
Moral and social is necessarily connected with religious obliga 
tion ; it is equally, though less directly, to be referred to God, as 

448 Bishop Kay^s Charge at the 

its author. In proportion as men take a more enlightened and 
comprehensive view of their relation to their Maker, they will be 
better qualified and more anxious faithfully to discharge their 
social duties ; and the state has consequently a deep interest in 
the soundness of the religious opinions of its subjects. My 
object, however, is not to combat, but to state the opinions pre 
valent at the present moment, concerning the course which the 
civil magistrate ought to pursue with respect to religion ; and I 
state them, in order to point out their bearing on the interests of 
the established church. If the advocates of these opinions are 
consistent, they cannot be favourable to an established church. 
Finding it in existence, they may apprehend greater mischief 
from attempting to remove "it than from suffering it to remain; 
but they must still consider its existence as an evil. According 
to them, the state ought to be of no religion ; it ought to pro 
tect all modes of faith, but to prefer none the system, which 
still, I believe, exists in the states of New England ; and accord 
ing to which every member of the community is bound to con 
tribute towards the support of the ministers of the gospel, but 
may select the particular religious society, to the minister of 
which his contribution shall be paid. This system is too narrow 
for the enlarged- conceptions of the age, in which we live. It 
establishes Christianity ; but as to believe is an act, not of the 
will, but of the understanding, to compel men to contribute 
towards the support of the ministers of a religion, with the 
evidences of which their "understandings are not satisfied, is 
said to beran indirect violation of their right of private judg 

Looking, then, at the feeling, with which all existing institu 
tions are regarded, and at the growing indifference, I should not 
perhaps use too strong a term were I to say dislike, to civil 
establishments of religion, we should wilfully close our eyes, did 
we not recognise the probability that attempts will be made to 
dissolve the union at present subsisting between the church and 
the state in this kingdom. That such attempts, if successful, 
will be productive of great evil that they will tend to the 
general decay of religion and morality throughout the land 
and that their baneful effects will be felt not least sensibly in 
those religious communities, which dissent from the established 
church ; these are assertions which the past history of our 
country fully warrants : though, when they proceed from me, 

Triennial Visitation in 1831. 449 

they will perhaps be imputed to the personal interest, which I 
have in the maintenance of the existing order of things. But 
the point to which I wish particularly to call your attention is, 
in what manner ought the present state of public feeling and 
opinion to operate on the minds and conduct of the clergy ? 
Surely it ought to stimulate them to increased diligence in the 
discharge of their pastoral duties ; to render them more earnest 
and assiduous in ministering both to the temporal and spiritual 
wants of their flocks ; more circumspect in their conversation 
and deportment ; more pure and holy in the whole tenour of 
their lives. Let not those who scruple not to resort to any 
mode of attack when the object is to injure the established 
Church let them not be enabled to give weight to the objec 
tions which they urge against the system, by appealing to the 
negligence or misconduct of the individuals, by whom it is ad 
ministered. A single vicious or frivolous or even careless 
minister of religion produces a more mischievous impression on 
the minds of all classes of society and adds greater number to 
the ranks of infidelity or dissent, than the most ingenious argu 
ments which can be advanced against the evidences of Christ 
ianity or the particular doctrines and discipline of our own 

Happily, there never perhaps was a time, when the clergy 
stood in less need than at the present moment of being urged 
by authoritative admonitions to the diligent performance of 
their duties. There never perhaps was a time, when they en 
tertained juster notions of the responsibility attaching to the 
ministerial character. Doubtless exceptions may be pointed 
out ; strange would it be if they could not ; but strangely also 
must that understanding be perverted which, fastening exclu 
sively on the exceptions, can draw from them a general conclu 
sion unfavourable to the established Church. Just cause have 
we for thankfulness to Almighty God that, in times of great 
difficulty, he has been pleased to impart to his ministers a more 
abundant portion of the spirit of wisdom and knowledge and 
holiness. Let us humbly beseech him to continue to increase 
our strength in proportion to the burden, which we may be 
called to bear ; and let us not on our part be wanting to 
cherish the gracious influences, which he vouchsafes to us, 
gladly entertaining every holy suggestion and good resolution, 
and striving daily to advance in those qualifications, which will 

450 Bishop Kaye s Charge at the 

render our ministry effectual to the spiritual benefit of our 

The detrimental operation of temporal prosperity on the cha 
racter of the ministers of religion has been the frequent subject 
of lamentation to its friends ; whilst its adversaries have taunt 
ingly remarked that the purity of the Church always shone 
brightest amidst the flames of persecution. We mean not to 
deny that the effect of adversity is to prove the sincerity of 
Christians to separate the pure ore from the dross. One 
good, therefore, will probably arise from the dangers, which 
threaten the established Church that all who aspire to the 
ministry will weigh more seriously the difficulties of the task, in 
which they are about to engage ; and more accurately count the 
cost, before they enter upon the holy warfare. He must be a 
very careless observer of the signs of the times who can seek 
admission to the ministerial office in the anticipation of a life 
of ease and enjoyment. The satirist of former days might be 
justified in associating the idea of lazy pomp and luxurious in 
dulgence with high ecclesiastical dignity ; or the poet, in repre 
senting the country parsonage, removed from the noise and 
turmoil and contention of the world, as the chosen abode of 
tranquillity. But rarely, in real life, do we now find the original 
of either picture. The clergy, whatever their condition, elevated 
or humble, must live in a state of constant anxiety and watch 
fulness, because the eye of malevolence is constantly pursuing 
them, to note every fault and omission and indiscretion. These 
are facts, which, as I have already observed, can scarcely fail to 
strike the most careless observer : and must surely induce every 
candidate for admission into holy orders to pause and to ask 
himself, whether he is fully prepared to encounter the d