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But our minister lives sermons. And yet I deny not, but dissolute men, like unskilful horsemen, who open a gate on the wrong side, may, by the virtue of their office, open heaven for others, and shut themselves out.
III. His behaviour towards his people is grave and courteous. — Not too austere and retired ; which is laid to the charge of good Mr. Hooper the martyr, that his rigidness frighted the people from consulting with him. “Let your light," saith Christ, “shine before men ;" whereas over-reservedness makes the brightest virtue burn dim. Especially he detesteth affected gravity, (which is rather on men than in them,) whereby some belie their register-book, antedate their age to seem far older than they are, and plait and set their brows in an affected sadness. Whereas St. Anthony the monk might have been known among hundreds of his order by his cheerful face, he having ever (though a most mortified man) a merry countenance.
IV. He doth not clash God's ordinances together about precedency.—Not making odious comparisons betwixt prayer and preaching, preaching and catechising, public prayer and private, premeditate prayer and ex tempore. When, at the taking of New Carthage in Spain, two soldiers contended about the mural crown, due to him who first climbed the walls, so that the whole army was thereupon in danger of division ; Scipio the general said he knew that they both got up the wall together, and so gave the scaling crown to them both. Thus our minister compounds all controversies betwixt God's ordinances, by praising them all, practising them all, and thanking God for them all. He counts the reading of Common Prayers to prepare him the better for preaching ; and, as one said, if he did first toll the bell on one side, it made it afterwards ring out the better in his sermons.
V. He carefully catechiseth his people in the elements of religion—Except he hath (a rare thing !) a flock without lambs, of all old sheep; and yet even Luther did not scorn to profess himself discipulum Catechismi, “a scholar of the catechism.” By this catechising the Gospel first got ground of Popery: and let not our religion, now grown rich, be ashamed of that which first gave it credit and set it up, lest the Jesuits beat us at our own weapon. Through the want of this catechising, many, who are well skilled in some dark out-corners of divinity, have lost themselves in the beaten road thereof.
VI. He will not offer to God of that which costs him nothing—But takes pains aforehand for his sermons. Demosthenes never made any oration on the sudden ; yea, being called upon, he never rose up to speak except he had well studied the matter : and he was wont to say, “ that he showed how he honoured and reverenced the people of Athens, because he was careful what he spake unto them.” Indeed, if our minister be surprised with a sudden occasion, he counts himself rather to be excused than commended, if, premeditating only the bones of his sermon, he clothes it with flesh ex tempore. As for those whose long custom hath made preaching their nature, [so] that they can discourse sermons without study, he accounts their examples rather to be admired than imitated.
VII. Having brought his sermon into his head, he labours to bring it into his heart, before he preaches it to his people.—Surely, that preaching which comes from the soul most works on the soul. Some have questioned ventriloquy, (when men strangely speak out of their bellies,) whether it can be done lawfully or no: might I coin the word cordiloquy, when men draw the doctrines out of their hearts, sure, all wouid count this lawful and commendable.
VIII. He chiefly reproves the reigning sins of the time and place he lives in.,We may observe, that our Saviour never inveighed against idolatry, usury, sabbath-breaking, amongst the Jews. Not that these were not sins, but they were not practised so much in that age, wherein wickedness was spun with a finer thread; and therefore Christ principally bent the drift of his preaching against spiritual pride, hypocrisy
and traditions, then predominent amongst the people. Also our minister confuteth no old heresies which time hath confuted; nor troubles his auditory with such strange hideous cases of conscience, that it is more hard to find the case than the resolution. In public reproving of sin, he ever whips the vice, and spares
IX. He doth not only move the bread of life, and toss it up and down in generalities, but also breaks it into particular directions.—Drawing it down to cases of conscience, that a man may be warranted in his particular actions, whether they be lawful or not. And he teacheth people their lawful liberty, as well as their restraints and prohibitions; for, amongst men, it is as ill taken to turn back favours, as to disobey commands.
X. The places of Scripture he quotes are pregnant and pertinent.--As for heaping up of many quotations, it smacks of a vain ostentation of memory. Besides, it is as impossible that the hearer should profitably retain them all, as that the preacher hath seriously perused them all ; yea, whilst the auditors stop their attention, and stoop down to gather an impertinent quotation, the sermon runs on, and they lose more substantial matter.
XI. His similies and illustrations are always familiar, never contemptible.--Indeed, reasons are the pillars of the fabric of a sermon ; but similitudes are the windows which give the best lights. He avoids such stories whose mention may suggest bad thoughts to the auditors, and will not use a light comparison to make thereof a grave application, for fear lest his poison go farther than his antidote.
XII. He provideth not only wholesome but plentiful food for his people.—Almost incredible was the painfulness of Baronius, the compiler of the voluminous ' Annals of the Church,' who, for thirty years together, preached three or four times a week to the people. As for our minister, he preferreth rather to entertain his people with wholesome cold meat which was on the table before, than with that which is hot from the spit, raw and half-roasted. Yet, in repetition of the same sermon, every edition hath a new addition, if not of new matter, of new affections. “Of whom,” saith St. Paul, “ we have told you OFTEN, and now we tell you weeping.” (Phil. iii. 18.)
XIII. He makes not that wearisome, which should ever be welcome. Wherefore his sermons are of an ordinary length, except on an extraordinary occasion. What a gift had John Halsebach, Professor at Vienna, in tediousness ! who, being to expound the Prophet Isaiah to his auditors, read twenty-one years on the first chapter, and yet finished it not.
XIV. He counts the success of his ministry the greatest preferment.—Yet herein God hath humbled many painful pastors, in making them to be clouds, to rain, not over Arabia the Happy, but over the Stony or Desert so that they may complain with the herdsman in the poet :
Heu mihi, quam pingui macer est mihi taurus in arvo!
“My starveling bull,
Ah woe is me!
How lean is he!" Yet such pastors may comfort themselves, that great is their reward with God in heaven, who measures it, not by their success, but endeavours. Besides, though they see not, their people may feel benefit by their ministry. Yea, the preaching of the word in some places is like the planting of woods, where, though no profit is received for twenty years together, it comes afterwards. And grant, that God honours thee not to build his temple in thy parish, yet thou mayest, with David, provide metal and materials for Solomon thy successor to build it with.
XV. To sick folks he comes sometimes before he as sent for— As counting his vocation sufficient calling. None of his flock shall want the extreme unction of prayer and counsel. Against the communion, especially, he endeavours that Janus's temple be shut in the whole parish, and that all be made friends.
XVI. He is never plaintiff in any suit but to be right's defendant.—If his dues be detained from him, he grieves more for his parishioners' bad conscience than his own damage. He had rather suffer ten times in his profit, than once in his title, where not only his person, but posterity, is wronged ; and then he proceeds fairly and speedily to a trial, that he may not vex and weary others, but right himself. During his svit he neither breaks off nor slacks offices of courtesy to his adversary; yea, though he loseth his suit, he will not also lose his charity. Chiefly he is respectful to his patron ; that as he presented him freely to his living, so he constantly presents his patron in his prayers to God.
XVII. He is moderate in his tenets and opinions.-Not that he gilds over lukewarmness in matters of moment with the title of " discretion ; but, withal, he is careful not to entitle violence, in indifferent and inconcerning matters, to be zeal. Indeed, men of extraordinary tallness, though otherwise little deserving, are made porters to lords;
and those of unusual littleness are made ladies' dwarfs: whilst men of moderate stature may want masters. Thus many, notorious for extremities, may find favourers to prefer them ; whilst moderate men in the middle truth may want any to advance them. But what saith the apostle ?—“If in this life only we had hope, we are of all men the most miserable.” (1 Cor. xv. 19.)
XVIII. He is sociable and willing to do any courtesy for his neighbour-ministers. He willingly communicates his knowledge unto them. Surely, the gifts and graces of Christians lay in common, till base envy made the first enclosure. He neither slighteth his inferiors, nor repineth at those who in parts and credit are above him. He loveth the company of his neighbour-ministers. Sure, as ambergris is nothing 80 sweet in itself, as when it is compounded with other things ; so both godly and learned men are gainers by communicating themselves to their neighbours.
XIX. He is careful in the discreet ordering of his own family.-A good minister, and a good father, may well agree together. When a certain Frenchman came to visit Melancthon, he found him in his stove, with one hand dandling his child in the swaddling clouts, and in the other hand holding a book and reading it. Our minister also is as hospitable as his estate will permit, and makes every alms two, by his cheerful giving it. He loveth also to live in a well repaired house, that he may serve God therein more cheerfully. A clergyman who built his house from the ground wrote in it this counsel to his successor :
“ If thou dost find
Without thy cost,
My labour is not lost."
XX. Lying on his death-bed, he bequeaths to each of his parishioners his precepts and example for a legacy.—And they, in requital, erect every one a monument for him in their hearts. He is so far from that base jealousy that his memory should be outshined by a brighter successor, and from that wicked desire that his people may find his worth by the worthlessness of him that succeeds, that he doth heartily pray to God to provide
a better pastor after his decease. As for outward estate, ne commonly lives in too bare pasture to die fat. It is well if he hath gathered any flesh, being more in blessing than bulk.
It has been objected to Milton that in his Lycidas' he enumerates among “vernal flowers" many of those which are the offspring of Midsummer, and of a still more advanced Leason. The passage to which the objection applies is the following:
“ Ye Valleys low, where the mild whispers use
To strow the laureat hearse where Lycid lies.” A little consideration will show that Milton could distinguish between the flowers of Spriog and the flowers of Summer. The “Sicilian Muse” is to “call the vales, and bid tlem hither cast their bells, and flow'rets of a thousand hues.” There were not only to be cast the “quaint enamell’d eyes” of “vernal flowers,” but “every flower that sad embroidery wears;" or, in the still clearer language of the original manuscript of the poem, "every bud that sorrow's livery wears.” The “vernal flowers” were to indicate the youth of Lycidas, the flowers of “sorrow's livery” were emblems of his untimely death. The intention of Milton is distinctly to be traced in his first conception of the passage. After the “zathe [early) primrose,” we have,
" And that sad flower that strove
To write his own woes on the vermeil grain." This is the hyacinth, the same as “the tufted crow-toe.” He proceeds with more of sorrow's livery
“ Next add Narcissus, that still weeps in vain.” Then come “the woodbine,” and “the pansy freak’d with jet.” In the original passage “ the musk-rose" is not found at all. Milton's strewments for the bier of Lycidas, we hold, are not confined to vernal flowers, and therefore it is unnecessary to elevate Shakspere at the expense of Milton: “While Milton and the other poets had strung together in their descrip. tions the blossoins of Spring and the flowers of Summer, Shakspere has placed in one group those only which may be found in bloom at the same time." * The writer allades to tho celebrated passage in the Winter's Tale,' where Perdita, at the summer sheep-shearing,
• Patterson on the Insects mentioned by Shakspere. IST QUARTER,
bestows the “flowers of middle summer upon her guests “of middle age, and wishes for
some flowers o' the spring" that might become the “time of day” of her fairest virgin friends :
SHARSPERE. This is indeed poetry founded upon the most accurate observation-the perfect combination of elegance and truth.
The exquisite simplicity of our first great poet's account of his love for the daisy may well follow Shakspere's spring.garland. Rarely could he move from his books; no game could attract him; but when the flowers began to spring,
“ Farewell my book and my devotion." Above all the flowers in the mead he loved most
“these flow'rés white and red,
Chaucer welcomes the “eye of the day" when “the month of May is comen.” Another true poet has immortalized that solitary mountain daisy that he turned down with his plough on a cold April morning : “Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r, Cauld blew the bitter-biting north Thou's, met me in an evil hour ;
Upon thy early, humble birth ; For I maun crush amang the stoure Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth Thy slender stem.
Amid the storm, То spare thee now is past my pow'r, Scarce rear'd above the parent earth Thou bonnie gem.
Thy tender form. Alas! it's no thy neboor sweet,
The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yield, The bonnie lark, companion meet ! High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield, Bouding thee 'mang the dewy weet! But thou, beneath the random bield Wi' speckl'd breast,
O'clod or stanc, When upward springing, blythe, to greet Adorns the histie stibble-field, The purpliog east.