1632 By George Herbert

The Parson's Condescending.

THe Countrey Parson is a Lover of old Customes, if
they be good, and harmlesse; and the rather, because
Countrey people are much addicted to them, so that to
favour them therein is to win their hearts, and to oppose
them therin is to deject them. If there be any ill in the
custome, that may be severed from the good, he pares the
apple, and gives them the clean to feed on. Particularly, he
loves Procession, and maintains it, because there are con-
tained therein 4 manifest advantages. First, a blessing of
God for the fruits of the field: Secondly, justice in the Pre-
servation of bounds: Thirdly, Charity in loving walking,
and neighbourly accompanying one another, with reconciling
of differences at that time, if there be any: Fourthly, Mercy
in releeving the poor by a liberall distribution and largesse,
which at that time is, or ought to be used. Wherefore he
exacts of all to bee present at the perambulation, and those
that withdraw, and sever themselves from it, he mislikes, and
reproves as uncharitable, and unneighbourly; and if they
will not reforme, presents them. Nay, he is so farre from
condemning such assemblies, that he rather procures them
to be often, as knowing that absence breedes strangeness,
but presence love. Now Love is his business, and aime;
wherefore he likes well, that his Parish at good times invite
one another to their houses, and he urgeth them to it: and
somtimes, where he knowes there hath been or is a little
difference, hee takes one of the parties, and goes with him
to the other, and all dine or sup together. There is much
preaching in this friendliness. Another old Custome there is
of saying, when light is brought in, God send us the light of
heaven; And the Parson likes this very well; neither is he
affraid of praising, or praying to God at all times, but is
rather glad of catching opportunities to do them. Light is a
great Blessing, and as great as food, for which we give
thanks: and those that thinke this superstitious, neither
know superstition, nor themselves. As for those that are
ashamed to use this forme, as being old, and obsolete, and
not the fashion, he reformes, and teaches them, that at
Baptisme they professed not to be ashamed of Christs Cross,
or for any shame to leave that which is good. He that is
ashamed in small things, will extend his pusillanimity to
is greater. Rather should a Christian Souldier take such
occasions to harden himseife, and to further his exercises
of Mortification.

Editor's Note: Herbert uses the "pare the apple" image with retelling jokes.

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