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all the measures of it which are given by the apostle, 1 Cor. xiii. For this grace is not finished by good words, nor yet by good works, but it is a great building, and many materials go to the structure of it. It is worth your study, for it is the fulfilling of the Commandments.
XLIX. Because it is impossible that charity should live, unless the lust of the tongue be mortified, let every minister in his charge be frequent and severe against slanderers, detracters, and backbiters; for the crime of backbiting is the poison of charity, and yet so common, that it is passed into a proverb, [After a good dinner let us sit down and backbite our neighbours.]
L. Let every minister be careful to observe, and vehement in reproving those faults of his parishioners, of which the laws cannot or do not take cognizance; such as are many degrees of intemperate drinkings, gluttony, riotous living, expenses above their ability, pride, bragging, lying in ordinary conversation, covetousness, peevishness, and hasty anger, and such like. For the word of God searches deeper than the laws of men; and many things will be hard to be proved by the measures of courts, which are easy enough to be observed by the watchful and diligent eye and ear of the guide of souls.
LI. In your sermons to the people, often speak of the four last things, of death and judgment, heaven and hell; of the life and death of Jesus Christ; of God's mercy to repenting sinners, and his severity against the impenitent; of the formidable examples of God's anger poured forth upon rebels, sacrilegious, oppressors of widows and orphans, and all persons guilty of crying sins : these are useful, safe, and profitable: but never run into extravagances and curiosities, nor trouble yourselves or them with mysterious secrets; for there is more laid before
you can understand; and the whole duty of man is, To fear God and ep his commandments. Speak but very little of the secret and high things of God, but as much as you can of the lowness and humility of Christ.
LII. Be not hasty in pronouncing damnation against any man or party in a matter of disputation. It is enough that you reprove an error; but what shall be the sentence against it at the day of judgment, thou knowest not, and therefore pray for the erring person, and reprove him, but leave the sentence to his Judge.
LIII. Let your sermons teach the duty of all states of men to whom you speak; and particularly take care of servants and hirelings, merchants and tradesmen, that they be not unskilful, nor unadmonished in their respective duties; and in all things speak usefully and affectionately; for by this means you will provide for all men's needs, both for them that sin by reason of their little understanding, and them that sin because they have evil, dull, or depraved affections.
LIV. In your sermons and discourses of religion, use primitive, known, and accustomed words, and affect not new fantastical or schismatical terms; let the Sunday festival be called the Lord's day; and pretend no fears from the common use of words amongst Christians. For they that make a business of the words of common use, and reform religion by introducing a new word, intend to make a change, but no amendment; they spend themselves in trifles, like the barren turf that sends forth no medicinable herbs, but store of mushrooms; and they give a demonstration that they are either impertinent people, or else of a querulous nature; and that they are ready to . disturb the church if they could find occasion.
LV. Let every minister in his charge, as much as he can, endeavour to destroy all popular errors and evil principles taken up by his people, or others with whom they converse; especially those that directly oppose the indispensable necessity of a holy life; let him endeavour to understand in what true and useful sense Christ's active obedience is imputed to us; let him make his people fear the deferring of their repentance, and putting it off to their death-bed; let him explicate the nature of faith, so that it be an active and quickening principle of charity; let him, as much as he may, take from them all confidences that slacken their obedience and diligence; let him teach them to impute all their sins to their own follies and evil choice, and so build them up in a most holy faith to a holy life: ever remembering that in all ages it hath been the greatest artifice of Satan to hinder the increase of Christ's kingdom, by destroying those things in which it does consist, viz. peace and righteousness, holiness and mortification,
LVI. Every minister ought to be careful that he never expound scriptures in public contrary to the known sense of the catholic church, and particularly of the churches of England and Ireland, nor introduce
doctrine against any of the four first general councils; for these, as they are measures of truth, so also of necessity; that is, as they are safe, so they are sufficient; and beside what is taught by these no matter of belief is necessary to salvation.
LVII. Let no preacher bring before the people in his sermons or discourses, the argument of great and dangerous heresies, though with a purpose to confute them; for they will much easier retain the objection than understand the answer.
LVIII. Let not the preacher make an article of faith to be a matter of dispute; but teach it with plainness and simplicity, and confirm it with easy arguments and plain words of scripture, but without objection ; let them be taught to believe, but not to argue, lest if the arguments meet with a scrupulous person, it rather shake the
foundation by curious inquiry, than establish it by arguments too hard.
LIX. Let the preacher be careful that in his sermons he use no light, immodest, or ridiculous expressions, but what is wise, grave, useful, and for edification; that when the preacher brings truth and gravity, the people may attend with fear and reverence.
LX. Let no preacher envy any man that hath a greater audience, or more fame in preaching than himself; let him not detract from him or lessen his reputation directly or indirectly; for he that cannot be even with his brother but by pulling him down, is but a dwarf still; and no man is the better for making his brother worse. In all things desire that Christ's kingdom may be advanced; and rejoice that he is served, whoever be the minister; that if you cannot have the fame of a great preacher, yet you may have the reward of being a good man; but it is hard to miss both.
LXI. Let every preacher in his parish take care to explicate to the people the mysteries of the great festivals, as of Christmas, Easter, Ascension-day, Whit-Sunday, Trinity-Sunday, the Annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary; because these feasts containing in them the great fundamentals of our faith, will with most advantage convey the mysteries to the people, and fix them in their memories, by the solemnity and circumstances of the day.
LXII. In all your sermons and discourses speak nothing of God but what is honourable and glorious; and impute not to him such things, the consequences of which a wise and good man will not own: never suppose him to be author of sin, or the procurer of our damnation. For God cannot be tempted, neither tempteth he any man. God is true, and every man a liar.
LXIII. Let no preacher compare one ordinance with another; as prayer with preaching, to the disparagement of either; but use both in their proper seasons, and according to appointed order.
LXIV. Let no man preach for the praise of men; but if you meet it, instantly watch and stand upon your guard, and pray against your own vanity; and by an express act of acknowledgment and adoration return the praise to God. Remember that Herod was for the omission of this smitten by an angel; and do thou tremble, fearing lest the judgment of God be otherwise than the sentence of the people.
V. Rules and advices concerning Catechism. · LXV. Every minister is bound upon every Lord's day before evening prayer, to instruct all young people in the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the doctrine of the sacraments, as they are set down and explicated in the Church Catechism.
LXVI. Let a bell be tolled when the catechising is to begin, that all who desire it may be present; but let all the more ignorant and uninstructed part of the people, whether they be old or young, be required to be present; that no person in your parishes be ignorant in the foundations of religion: ever remembering, that if in these things they be unskilful, whatever is taught besides is like a house built upon the sand.
LXVII. Let every minister teach his people the use, practice, methods, and benefits of meditation, or mental prayer. Let them draw out for them helps and rules for their assistance in it, and furnish them with materials, concerning the life and death of the ever blessed Jesus, the greatness of God, our own meanness, the dreadful sound of the last trumpet, the infinite event of the two last. sentences at doomsday: let them be taught to consider what they have been, what they are, and what they shall be; and above all things what are the issues of eternity; glories never to cease, pains never to be ended.
LXVIII. Let every minister exhort his people to a frequent confession of their sins, and a declaration of the state of their souls; to a conversation with their minister in spiritual things, to an inquiry concerning all the parts of their duty; for by preaching, and catechising, and private intercourse, all the needs of souls can best be served; but by preaching alone they cannot.
LXIX. Let the people be exhorted to keep fasting-days, and the feasts of the church; according to their respective capacities ; so it be done without burden to them, and without becoming å snare; that is, that upon the account
of religion and holy desires to please God, they spend some time in religion, besides the Lord's day; but be very careful that the Lord's day be kept religiously, according to the severest measures of the church, and the commands of authority: ever remembering, that as they give but little testimony of repentance and mortification, who never fast; so they give but small evidence of their joy in God and religion, who are unwilling solemnly to partake of the public and religious joys of the Christian church.
LXX. Let every minister be diligent in exhorting all parents and masters to send their children and servants to the bishop at the visitation, or other solemn times of his coming to them, that they may be confirmed: and let him also take care that all young persons may by understanding the principles of religion, their vow of baptism, the excellency of the Christian religion, the necessity and advantages of it, and of living according to it, be fitted and disposed, and accordingly by them presented to the bishop, that he may pray over them, and invocate the holy Spirit, and minister the holy rite of confirmation. VI. Rules and advices concerning the visitation of the sick.
LXXI. Every minister ought to be careful in visiting all the sick and afflicted persons of his parish : ever remembering, that as the priest's lips are to preserve knowledge, so it is his duty to minister a word of comfort in the tinie of need.
LXXII. A minister must not stay till he be sent for; but of his own accord and care go to them, to examine them, to exhort them to perfect their repentance, to strengthen their faith, to encourage their patience, to persuade them to resignation, to the renewing of their holy vows, to the love of God, to be reconciled to their neighbours, to make restitution and amends, to confess their sins, to settle their estate, to provide for their charges, to do acts of piety and charity, and above all things, that they take care they do not sin towards the end of their lives. For if
For if repentance on our death-bed seem so very late for the sins of our life; what time shall be left to repent us of the sins we commit on our death-bed ?
LXXIII. When you comfort the afflicted, endeavour to bring them to the true love of God; for he that serves God for God's sake, it is almost impossible he should be oppressed with sorrow.
LXXIV. In answering the cases of conscience of the sick or afflicted people, consider not who asks, but what