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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 speaking 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 ?

CHAP. XXXVII.

Concerning detraction. THE country parson, perceiving that most, when they are at leisure, make others' 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 flock, and the discomfort, discredit

, and hinderance of the pastor. On the other side, if it be unlawful to open faults, no benefit or advantage can make it lawful: for we must not do evil, that good may come of it. Now the 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 discussing 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 may 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.

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RULES AND ADVICES

TO

THE CLERGY.

I. Personal duty. 1. REMEMBER that it is your great duty, and tied on you by many obligations, that you be exemplar in your lives, and be patterns and presidents 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 spiritual wisdom, and skilful in the things of God; 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 to 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 parish.

V. Let no minister be litigious in any thing ; not greedy or covetous; not insisting upon little things, or quarreling 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

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