1632 By George Herbert

The Parsons Life.

THe Countrey Parson is exceeding exact in his Life,
being holy, just, prudent, temperate, bold, grave in all
his wayes. And because the two highest points of Life,
wherein a Christian is most seen, are Patience, and Morti-
fication; Patience in regard of afflictions, Mortification in
regard of lusts and affections, and the stupifying and deading
of all the clamorous powers of the soul, therefore he hath
throughly studied these, that he may be an absolute Master
and commander of himself, for all the purposes which God
hath ordained him. Yet in these points he labours most in
those things which are most apt to scandalize his Parish.
And first, because Countrey people live hardly, and there-
fore as feeling their own sweat, and consequently knowing
the price of mony, are offended much with any, who by hard
usage increase their travell, the Countrey Parson is very
circumspect in avoiding all coveteousnesse, neither being
greedy to get, nor nigardly to keep, nor troubled to lose any
worldly wealth; but in all his words and actions slighting,
and disesteeming it, even to a wondring, that the world
should so much value wealth, which in the day of wrath
hath not one dramme of comfort for us. Secondly, because
Luxury is a very visible sinne, the Parson is very carefull to
avoid all the kinds thereof, but especially that of drinking,
because it is the most popular vice; into which if he come,
he prostitutes himself both to shame, and sin, and by having
fellowship, with the unfruitfull works of darknesse, he disableth
himself of authority to reprove them: For sins make all equall,
whom they finde together; and then they are worst, who
ought to be best. Neither is it for the servant of Christ to
haunt Innes, or Tavernes, or Ale-houses, to the dishonour of
his person and office
. The Parson doth not so, but orders his
Life in such a fashion, that when death takes him, as the
Jewes and Judas did Christ, he may say as He did, I sate
daily with you teaching in the Temple. Thirdly, because Coun-
trey people (as indeed all honest men) do much esteem their
word, it being the Life of buying, and selling, and dealing
in the world; therfore the Parson is very strict in keeping
his word, though it be to his own hinderance, as knowing,
that if he be not so, he wil quickly be discovered, and disre-
garded: neither will they beleeve him in the pulpit, whom
they cannot trust in his Conversation. As for oaths, and
apparell, the disorders thereof are also very manifest. The
Parsons yea is yea, and nay nay; and his apparrell plaine,
but reverend, and clean, without spots, or dust, or smell; the
purity of his mind breaking out, and dilating it selfe even
to his body, cloaths, and habitation.

Personal Note: "Patience" and "Mortification." Are they still the 2 attributes by which Christians are known? Many may say "patience," but I have seen less of it. Among the Evangelicals "Patience" has lost out to "Mission." Among the "Social Gospel Revivalists," "Activism" takes importance. What happened to "Mortification"? Did we leave that behind with the Victorians? We may want to replace it with "Love," but Herbert means humble obedience to God's will; accepting the disappointments of our lives and recognizing the appointments we have in God's Plan. "Patience" and "Mortification" combine; allowing God to manifest his Plan.

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