« AnteriorContinuar »
This done, he sets himself to the consideration of the duties of the day; and, if there be any extraordinary addition to the customary exercises, either from the time of the year, or from the State, or from God, by a child born, or dead, or any other accident, he contrives how and in what manner to induce it to the best advantage. Afterwards, when the hour calls, with his family attending him he goes to the Church; at his first entrance humbly adoring and worshipping the invisible majesty and presence of Almighty God, and blessing the people, either openly, or to himself. Then, having read divine service twice fully, and preached in the morning, and catechized in the afternoon, he thinks he hath, in some measure, according to poor and frail man, discharged the public duties of the congregation. The rest of the day he spends either in reconciling neighbours that are at variance; or in visiting the sick; or in exhortations to some of his flock by themselves, whom his sermons cannot, or do not, reach. And every one is more awaked, when we come and say, Thou art the man. This way he finds exceeding useful, and winning: and these exhortations he calls his privy purse; even as princes have theirs, besides their public disbursements. At night, he thinks it a fit time, both suitable to the joy of the day, and without hindrance to public duties, either to entertain some of his neighbours, or to be entertained of them *: where he takes occasion to
* Let not this be abused, as giving countenance to modern “Sunday-visiting." Cottage-Lectures, if there be no public
discourse of such things as are both profitable and pleasant, and to raise up their minds to apprehend God's good blessing to our Church and State ; that order is kept up in the one, and peace in the other, without disturbance or interruption of public divine offices.
As he opened the day with prayer, so he closeth it ; humbly beseeching the Almighty,“ to pardon and accept our poor services, and to improve them, that we may grow therein ; and that our feet may be like hinds' feet, ever climbing up higher and higher unto
THE PARSON IN MIRTH. The Country Parson is generally sad, because he knows nothing but the cross of Christ; his mind being defixed on it, with those nails wherewith his Master was. Or, if he have leisure to look off from thence, he meets continually with two most sad spectacles, Sin and Misery; God dishonoured every day, and Man afflicted. Nevertheless, he sometimes refresheth
Service, would be a preferable plan for the Country Parson in these days : though we need not doubt, that where the spiritually-minded George Herbert was, the repast, if any, was very simple, and the time and instruction of the servants duly regarded. Yet, after all, it savours too much of the age of James I.; and the devout Author himself, by his qualifying expressions, seems like a man conscious that he was working his way out of worse days into better.
himself, as knowing that Nature will not bear everlasting droopings, and that pleasantness of disposition is a great key to do good: not only because all men shun the company of perpetual severity; but also for that, when they are in company, instructions seasoned with pleasantry both enter sooner, and root deeper. Wherefore he condescends to human frailties, both in himself and others ; and intermingles some mirth in his discourses occasionally, according to the pulse of the hearer.
CARE OF SERVANTS' TIME.
His servants are all religious: and were it not his duty to have them so, it were his profit; for none are so well served as by religious servants ; both because they do best, and because what they do is blessed, and prospers. After religion, he teaches them, that three things make a complete servant ; truth, and diligence, and neatness or cleanliness. Those that can read are allowed times for it; and those that cannot, are taught: for all in his house are either teachers, or learners, or both; so that his family is a school of religion ; and they all account, that to teach the ignorant is the greatest alms. Even the walls are not idle ; but something is written or painted there, which may excite the reader to a thought of piety: especially the 101st Psalm ; which is expressed in a fair table, as being the rule of a family. And when they go abroad, his wife, among her neighbours, is the beginning of good discourses ; his children, among children ; his servants, among other servants. So that, as in the house of those that are skilled in music, all are musicians; so in the house of a preacher, all are preachers. He suffers not a lie or equivocation by any means in his house; but counts it the art and secret of governing, to preserve a directness and open plainness in all things: so that all his house knows, that there is no help for a fault done, but confession.—He himself, or his wife, takes account of sermons, and how every one profits ; comparing this year with the, last. And, besides the common prayers of the family, he straightly requires of all to pray by themselves, before they sleep at night, and stir out in the morning ; and knows what prayers they say; and, till they have learned them, makes them kneel by him: esteeming that this private praying is a more voluntary act in them, than when they are called to others' prayers; and that, which, when they leave the family, they carry with them.
FROM “THE CHURCH-PORCH.”
Be calm in arguing ; for fierceness makes Error a fault, and truth discourtesy. Why should I feel another man's mistakes, More than his sicknesses, or poverty ? . In love I should: but anger is not love, ; Nor wisdom neither : therefore, gently move.
Calmness is great advantage. He that lets
As cunning fencers suffer heat to tire. ... Truth dwells not in the clouds : the bow that's there
-Doth often aim at, never hit, the sphere.
Pitch thy behaviour low, thy projects high ;
A grain of glory mix'd with humbleness,
Let thy mind still be bent; still plotting, where,
Active and stirring spirits live, alone :