1632 By George Herbert

The Parson in reference.

THe Countrey Parson is sincere and upright in all his
relations. And first, he is just to his Countrey; as when
he is set at an armour, or horse, he borrowes them not to serve
the turne, nor provides slight, and unusefull, but such as
are every way fitting to do his Countrey true and laudable
service, when occasion requires. To do otherwise, is deceit;
and therefore not for him, who is hearty, and true in all his
wayes, as being the servant of him, in whom there was no
guile.1 Likewise in any other Countrey-duty, he considers
what is the end of any Command, and then he suits things
faithfully according to that end. Secondly, he carryes himself
very respectively, as to all the Fathers of the Church, so
especially to his Diocesan, honouring him both in word, and
behaviour, and resorting unto him in any difficulty, either
in his studies or in his Parish. He observes Visitations, and
being there, makes due use of them, as of Clergy councels,
for the benefit of the Diocese. And therefore before he comes,
having observed some defects in the Ministry, he then either
in Sermon, if he preach, or at some other time of the day,
propounds among his Brethren what were fitting to be done.
Thirdly, he keeps good Correspondence with all the neigh-
bouring Pastours round about him, performing for them any
Ministeriall office, which is not to the prejudice of his own
Parish. Likewise he welcomes to his house any Minister,
how poor or mean soever, with as joyfull a countenance, as if
he were to entertain some great Lord. Fourthly, he fulfills
the duty, and debt of neighbourhood to all the Parishes
which are neer him. For the Apostles rule Philip. 4.[8] being
admirable, and large, that we should do whatsoever things
are honest, or just, or pure, or lovely, or of good report, if there
be any vertue, or any praise
, and Neighbourhood being ever
reputed, even among the Heathen, as an obligation to do
good, rather then to those that are further, where things are
otherwise equall, therefore he satisfies this duty also. Especi-
ly, if God have sent any calamity either by fire, or famine,
to any neighbouring Parish, then he expects no Briefe; but
taking his Parish together the next Sunday, or holy-day, and
exposing to them the uncertainty of humane affairs, none
knowing whose turne may be next, and then when he hath
affrighted them with this, exposing the obligation of Charity,
and Neighbour-hood, he first gives himself liberally, and
then incites them to give; making together a summe either
to be sent, or, which were more comfortable, all together
choosing some fitt day to carry it themselves, and cheere the
Afflicted. So, if any neighbouring village be overburdened
with poore, and his owne lesse charged, hee findes some
way of releeving it, and reducing the Manna, and bread of
Charity to some equality, representing to his people, that the
Blessing of God to them ought to make them the more
charitable, and not the lesse, lest he cast their neighbours
poverty on them also.

1 guile - allusion to the Disciple and Apostle Nathanael [John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.] [Return]

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