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parish to value it. And I x senetk i musee talk with a great viza ram muss derimenting language, be sa i sene = aC complimenter; but it be sta me Dessze, the other gives bajas caurums. It airs good, this unusual fors keuse au ma esteemed according to es résu. Ir sane 3 IZ observed in writing becas es. II WEWE. I ai are to bless upon OCCASICE. * @nes hum. . much more those 30 ae rcm ines
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used so diligently in their writings, nay, which our Saviour himself used, Mark x. 16. cannot be vain and superfluous. But this was not proper to Christ, or the apostles only, no more than to be a spiritual father was appropriated to them. And if temporal fathers bless their children, how much more may and ought spiritual fathers ? Besides, the priests of the Old Testament were commanded to bless the people, and the form thereof is prescribed, Numb. vi. Now as the apostle argues in another case, if the ministration of condemnation did bless, how shall not the ministration of the Spirit exceed in blessing? The fruit of this blessing good Hannah found, and received with great joy, 1 Sam. i. 18. though it came from a man disallowed by God : for it was not the person, but priesthood, that blessed; so that even ill priests may bless. Neither have the ministers power of blessing only, but also of cursing. So in the Old Testament Elisha cursed the children, 2 Kings ii. 24. which though our Saviour reproved as unfitting for his particular, who was to shew all humility before his passion, yet he allows it in his apostles. And therefore St. Peter used that fearful imprecation to Simon Magus, Acts viii. Thy money perish with thee : and the event confirmed it. So did St. Paul, 2 Tim. iv. 14. and 1 Tim. i. 20. Speaking of Alexander the coppersmith, who had withstood his preaching, The Lord, saith he, reward him according to his works. And again, of Hymeneus and Alexander, he saith, he had delivered them to Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme. The forms both of blessing and cursing are expounded in the Common Prayer Book,
the one in The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c. and, The peace of God, &c. The other in general in the Commination.
Now blessing differs from prayer in assurance, because it is not performed by way of request, but of confidence and power, effectually applying God's favour to the blessed, by the interesting of that dignity wherewith God hath invested the priest, and engaging of God's own power and institution for a blessing. The neglect of this duty in ministers themselves hath made the people also neglect it; so that they are so far from craving this benefit from their ghostly father, that they oftentimes go out of church, before he hath blessed them. In the time of popery, the priest's benedicite, and his holy water, were over-highly valued; and now we are fallen to the clean contrary, even from superstition to coldness and atheism. son first values the gift in himself, and then teacheth his
But the par
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 ?
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.