1632 By George Herbert

The Parson arguing.

THe Countrey Parson, if there be any of his parish that
hold strange Doctrins, useth all possible diligence to
reduce them to the common Faith. The first means he useth
is Prayer, beseeching the Father of lights to open their eyes,
and to give him power so to fit his discourse to them, that it
may effectually pierce their hearts, and convert them. The
second means is a very loving, and sweet usage of them,
both in going to, and sending for them often, and in finding
out Courtesies to place on them; as in their tithes, or other-
wise. The third means is the observation what is the main
foundation, and pillar of their cause, whereon they rely; as if
he be a Papist, the Church is the hinge he turnes on; if a
Schismatick, scandall. Wherefore the Parson hath diligently
examined these two with himselfe, as what the Church is,
how it began, how it proceeded, whether it be a rule to it selfe,
whether it hath a rule, whether having a rule, it ought not to
be guided by it; whether any rule in the world be obscure, and
how then should the best be so, at least in fundamentall things,
the obscurity in some points being the exercise of the Church,
the light in the foundations being the guide; The Church
needing both an evidence, and an exercise. So for Scandall:
what scandall is, when given or taken; whether, there being
two precepts, one of obeying Authority, the other of not
giving scandall, that ought not to be preferred, especially
since in disobeying there is scandall also: whether things
once indifferent, being made by the precept of Authority
more then indifferent, it be in our power to omit or refuse
them. These and the like points hee hath accurately digested,
having ever besides two great helps and powerfull perswaders
on his side; the one, a strict religious life; the other an
humble, and ingenuous search of truth; being unmoved in
arguing, and voyd of all contentiousnesse: which are two
great lights able to dazle the eyes of the mis-led, while they
consider, that God cannot be wanting to them in Doctrine,
to whom he is so gracious in Life.

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