Page images

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.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]




I. Personal duty.

I. 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

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 incommodity; 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 perform, 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 due.

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 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 manners. 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.

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 trouble; but in

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »