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

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 endeavours 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 naturally hating constraint : and certainly the less we seem to grudge or envy them their liberty, we will be thereby the nearer gaining on the generouser and better part of them, and the rest would soon lose heart, and look out of coun•tenance, 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 them.

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 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 visi

tation 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 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 assistances 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 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 practicable, 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 merry meetings, 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 indifferent 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 suddenly 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.

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 delights 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 sinners will be reclaimed; bad men will grow good, and good men will grow better. And if a generous man feels, to a great degree, 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 instances 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

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