Page images
[ocr errors]

laws give that privilege to higher birth, which a man of meaner descent must stay, and study, and perform divers exercises for, by the space of fourteen years. To be a knight's son, born in wedlock, is as good a qualification for some preferments, as to be a bachelor in divinity.

The example and wisdom of these noble persons will save me the labour of beseeching the other nobility and gentry of this kingdom; 1. To think the priesthood a function not unworthy of them, or their relations. 2. To look upon the patrimony of the church, as a good provision for their own dear children: as it is also for every mother's son of the commonalty that is duly qualified. And, 3. Therefore, that it is not only an impious thing, because sacrilege, but also an impolitic deed, because destructive of the means of a man's own and his children's well-being, to wish or desire, much more to consent to, or endeavour, the taking away of churchmeans devoted to God for the maintenance of such as attend his service.

This address to the nobles has not made me forget T. B. I mean to take my leave of him in as friendly a manner as I begun; and the rather, because he intimates a wish, that some augmentation of means might be made to the poor clergy. A thing that my soul desireth : and more; I intend to endeavour it, when and wherever it lies in my power. If I had ten thousand pounds, I would give nine thousand of it to that use. A thing which the cathedral church of Worcester hath carefully done: and I know not any cathedral that hath left it undone.

I know a prebendary of the cathedral church of York, that refused three hundred pounds fine for renewing a lease of an impropriation; and chose rather to settle half the clear profits of the tithes for an augmentation upon the vicar. And another, of another church, that hath settled a tithe that cost

three hundred and fifty pounds; with divers other instances of this kind.

He may see I have complied with his wish, I entreat him to condescend to an earnest request of mine; that he would endeavour, if not to augment the means of the poor clergy, yet to recompense the injury his book hath done them.

8. 6. But all this while, do I not forget myself much, and the reader more? I will conclude this preface with a short description of a complete clergyman.

He is a son, like Samuel, begged of God by his devout parents before he was begotten by them; and dedicated to serve God in his sanctuary before he was born ; upon presupposal of shape and temper of body, of abilities and faculties of mind fit for that service: and these allowed for such by men of exquisite judgment : seasoned in his infancy, ‘at home, with piety; at school, with arts; accomplished with sciences and degrees at the university; prepared for holy orders by prayer, and reading (St. Chrysostom de Sacerdotio, St. Gregory's Pastoral, and such other books as learned men shall direct): called by a bishop, or excited by a master of a college, or some grave divine, to receive holy orders. And when he is entered, he governs himself by the canons of the church, and best examples of the age.. In sum; he imitates the author of The Temple, and of this book, The Priest to the Temple, the holy Mr. George Herbert. To whom God assimilate the clergy, and amongst them

The most unworthy,









To the Christian, more designedly to the clergy-reader of the

same time, and rank, and mind, and in like condition with the epistler. Grace, &c. and recovery, and profit by the ensuing tract.


My poor and dear brother, Do not expect, I humbly beseech thee, the high and glorious titles of companion in tribulation, and in the patience of Jesus, &c. I could most willingly (if I thought that I could truly) give thee them; knowing, that what lustre I cast upon thee would by reflex light upon myself.

my mouth is stopped: let God be true, and the justice of God be justified.

1. The reading of those piercing scriptures, 1 Sam. ii. and iii. Jerem. xxiii. Ezek. iii. and xxxiii. Hos. iv. Mal. ii . 2. The view of this ensuing tract; which, methinks, is not a book of thirty-seven chapters, but a bill of seven times thirty-seven indictments against thee and me: strange speculum sacerdotale; in its discovery something resembling the secret of the holy. Urim: as if this good Bezaleel had invented a living, pure looking-glass, in most exact proportions of beauty, that should both present itself as a body of unblemished perfections, and shew all the be

[ocr errors]

holder's deformities at once; that should shew thee both Aaron in the holy of holies, before the mercy-seat, in all his

pure ornaments; and Hophni or Phinehas, ravening for their fees of flesh, and wallowing in their lust at the door of the tabernacle. 3. The reflecting on common conversation in the day of our prosperity, and the paralleling the book of mine own conscience with the author's book, in both which I find myself (not to say thee) written highly defective in every duty the good man commends, and not a little peccant in every particular taxed by him. These three have convinced, and even enforced me to confess, that I am sure mine, and, I fear, thy sufferings are not the mere sufferings of pure and perfect martyrs, but of grievous transgressors. Not only under the rods of God's just judgment, but the scorpions of his heavy displeasure, fierce wrath, and sore indignation. Not only from the smoking of God's jealousy, or the sparks of his anger, but the flames of his furnace, (heat seven times more than ever,) yea, even from the furiousness of the wrath of God. Psalm lxxviii. 50.

God's sinking the gates, his destroying the walls, his slighting the strong holds of Zion; his polluting the kingdom, his swallowing the palaces, his cutting off the horn of Israel: God's hating our feasts, his abominating our sabbaths, his loathing our solemnities, Isai. i. God's forgetting his footstool, his abhorring his sanctuary, his casting off his altar, are to me signs that the glory of God is departed to the mountain, Ezek. xi. 23. that God hath in the indignation of his anger despised the king and the priest, Lam. ii. It must be acknowledged sure, that the hand of God hath gone out against us, more than against others of our rank at other times; at least, that God hath not restrained violence against us, so as he did that against those of our profession in the days of old: the portion of the Egyptian priests, that served the Ox, the Ape, and the Onion, escaped sale in time of the famine. Learned Junius, in his Academia, chap. iv. says, that the Philistines spared the schools of the prophets in their wars with Israel: and that the Phænicians, Chaldæans, and Indians were tender over such places : thus then did God restrain the spirits of princes; yet that God, who in his own law, Lev. xxv. 32. gave the Levites a special privilege of redeeming lands (sold by themselves) at any time, when other tribes were limited to a set time, hath not stayed the madness of the people against us, but that our portions are sold unto others without redemption.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »