« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
THE AUTHOR TO THE READER.
BEING desirous, through the mercy of God, to please him, for whom I am, and live, and who giveth me my desires and performances; 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.
CONSISTING OF SIX PARAGRAPHS..
§. 1. MY design in this preface to this impression is, first, to own that which I made to the first, that came forth anno Domini 1652; and to bless God for giving me that portion of ingenuity, to imitate Ezra the scribe, Nehemiah the governor, and Daniel the prophet, by giving God the glory of his justice, in bringing upon us those evils which we then suffered; and that degree of courage, in that day, when violence was at the height, to tell the instruments of cruelty the immediate causes of those evils; that God had also rods in store for them; and that from the ruins of that church they had pulled down, an heavy stone would fall upon themselves, and bruise them.
§. 2. Secondly, to do a piece of right, an office of justice to the good man that was possessor of the manuscript of this book, and transmitted it freely to the stationer who first printed it; merely upon design to benefit the clergy, and in them the church of England. He was Mr. Edmund Duncon, rector of Fryarn-Barnet in the county of Middlesex, brother
to Dr. Eleazar Duncon, and Mr. John Duncon, two very learned and worthy persons, and great sufferwho both died before the miracle of our happy restoration; and were happy in that they lived not to see such ostentation of sin and ingratitude, as some since have made: as if they had been delivered from slavery under the tyrant, that they might with more liberty yield themselves servants to sin, under the tyranny of Satan.
§. 3. Thirdly, to tell some of my thoughts for their good, unto my younger conforming brethren, (as for mine elder, dignitaries, and our fathers in God, I look upon them as judges, how I demean myself in this matter :) I say, to tell them, first, what an halcyonian calm, a blessed time of peace, this church of England had for many years, above all the churches in the world besides: (God grant that they may live to see the like:) at the very άkμǹ of which time, when the king, St. Charles of blessed memory, and the good archbishop of Canterbury, with others, were endeavouring to perfect the clergy in regularity of life, uniformity of officiating, and all variety of learning; then did schism, faction, and jealousy kindle that fire, which destroyed both church and state and when they had done so, did cunningly cry out upon such, who laboured most to quench it, as if those very men had been the only or the chief incendiaries. It is meet that the younger clerks be reminded of this: because a considerable number of them, who be now admitted into holy orders, and inducted into livings, were not born before the troubles broke forth, which was about the year 1638. These men therefore shall do well to acquaint themselves with the most exact and impartial histories of the last past forty years, wherein there have been the strangest revolutions that ever happened in England in such a space of time. This is requisite to enable them to teach the people of this land (where all things are forgotten) what use they