« ElőzőTovább »
he asks; and consult in your answers more with the estate of his soul, than the conveniency of his estate; for no flattery is so fatal as that of the physician or divine.
LXXV. If the sick person inquires concerning the final estate of his soul, he is to be reproved rather than answered; only he is to be called upon to finish his duty, to do all the good he can in that season, to pray for pardon and acceptance: but you have nothing to do to meddle with passing final sentences; neither cast him down in despair, nor raise him up to vain and unreasonable confidences. But take care that he be not carelessly dismissed.
LXXVI. In order to these and many other good purposes, every minister ought frequently to converse with his parishioners; to go to their houses, but always publicly, with witness, and with prudence, lest what is charitably intended be scandalously reported; and in all your conversation be sure to give good example, and upon all occasions to give good counsel. VII. Of ministering the sacraments, public prayers, and
other duties of ministers. LXXVII. Every minister is obliged publicly or privately to read the common prayers every day in the week, at morning and evening; and in great towns and populous places conveniently inhabited, it must be read in churches, that the daily sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving may
LXXVIII. The minister is to instruct the people, that the baptism of their children ought not to be ordinarily deferred longer than till the next Sunday after the birth of the child; lest importune and unnecessary delay occasion that the child die before it is dedicated to the service of God and the religion of the Lord Jesus, before it be born again, admitted to the promise of the gospel, and reckoned in the account of the second Adam.
LXXIX. Let every minister exhort and press the people to a devout and periodical communion, at the least three times in the year, at the great festivals; but the devouter sort, and they who have leisure, are to be invited to a frequent communion; and let it be given and received with great reverence.
LXXX. Every minister ought to be well skilled and studied in saying his office, in the rubrics, the canons, the articles, and the homilies of the church, that he may do his duty readily, discreetly, gravely, and by the public measures of the laws. To which also it is very useful that
it be added, that every minister study the ancient canons of the church, especially the penitentials of the eastern and western churches : let him read good books, such as are approved by public authority; such which are useful, wise, and holy; not the scribblings of unlearned parties, but of men learned, pious, obedient, and disinterested; and amongst these, such especially which describe duty and good life, which minister to faith and charity, to piety and devotion; cases of conscience, and solid exposition's of scripture. Concerning which learned and wise persons are to be consulted.
LXXXI. Let not a curate of souls trouble himself with any studies but such which concern his own or his people's duty; such as may enable him to speak well, and to do well; but to meddle not with controversies, but such by which he may be enabled to convince the gainsayers in things that concern public peace and a good life.
LXXXII. Be careful in all the public administrations of your parish, that the poor be provided for. Think it no. shame to beg for Christ's poor members; stir up the people to liberal alms by your word and your example. Let a collection be made every Lord's day, and upon all solemn meetings, and at every communion; and let the collection be wisely and piously administered: ever remembering, that at the day of judgment nothing shall publicly be proclaimed, but the reward of alms and mercy.
LXXXIII. Let every minister be sure to lay up a treasure of comforts and advices, to bring forth for every man's need in the day of his trouble; let him study and heap together instruments and advices for the promoting of every virtue, and remedies and arguments against every vice; let him teach his people to make acts of virtue not only by external exercise, but also in the way of prayer and internal meditation.
In these and all things else that concern the minister's duty, if there be difficulty, you are to repair to your bishop for further advice, assistance, and information.
WRITTEN BY THE
RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,
LORD BISHOP OF SARUM.