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CHAP. X. The Parson in his house.

THe Parson is very exact in the governing of his house, making it a copy and modell for his Parish. He knows the temper, and pulse of every person in his house, and accordingly either meets with their vices, or advanceth theirvertues. His wife is either religious, or night and day he is winning her to it. In stead of the qualities of the world, he requires onely three of her; first, a trayning up of her children and mayds in the fear of God, with prayers, and catechizing, and all religious duties. Secondly, a curing, and healing of all wounds and sores with her owne hands; which skill either she brought with her, or he takes care she shall learn it of some religious neighbour. Thirdly, a providing for her family in such sort, as that neither they want a competent sustentation, nor her husband be brought in debt. His children he first makes Christians, and then Commonwealths-men; the one he owes to his heavenly Countrey, the other to his earthly, having no title to either, except he do good to both. Therefore having seasoned them with all Piety, not only of words in praying, and reading; but in actions, in visiting other sick children, and tending their wounds, and sending his charity by them to the poor, and somtimes giving them a little mony to do it of themselves, that they get a delight in it, and enter favour with God, who weighs even childrens actions, I King. 14. 12, 13. He afterwards turnes his care to fit all their dispositions with some calling, not sparing the eldest, but giving him the prerogative of his Fathers profession, which happily for his other children he is not able to do. Yet in binding them prentices (in case he think fit to do so) he takes care not to put them into vain trades, and unbefitting the reverence of their Fathers calling, such as are tavernes for men, and lace-making for women; because those trades, for the most part, serve but the vices and vanities of the world, which he is to deny, and not augment. However, he resolves with himself never to omit any present good deed of charity, in consideration of providing a stock for his children; but assures himselfe, that mony thus lent to God, is placed surer for his childrens advantage, then if it were given to the Chamber of London. Good deeds, and good breeding, are his two great stocks for his children; if God give any thing above those, and not spent in them, he blesseth God, and lays it out as he sees cause. His servants are all religious, and were it not his duty to have them so, it were his profit, for none are so well served, as by religious servants, both because they do best, and because what they do, is blessed, and prospers. After religion, he teacheth them, that three things make a compleate servant, Truth, and Diligence, and Neatnesse, or Cleanlinesse. Those that can read, are allowed times for it, and those that cannot, are taught; for all in his house are either teachers or learners, or both, so that his family is a Schoole of Religion, and they all account, that to teach the ignorant is the greatest almes. Even the wals are not idle, but something is written, or painted there, which may excite the reader to a thought of piety; especially the IoI Psalm, which is expressed in a fayre table, as being the rule of a family. And when they go abroad, his wife among her neighbours is the beginner of good discourses, his children among children, his servants among other servants; so that as in the house of those that are skill’d in Musick, all are Musicians; so in the house of a Preacher, all are preachers. He suffers not a ly or equivocation by any means in his house, but counts it the art, and secret of governing to preserve a directnesse, and open plainnesse in all things; so that all his house knowes, that there is no help for a fault done, but confession. He himselfe, or his Wife, takes account of Sermons, and how every one profits, comparing this yeer with the last: and besides the common prayers of the family, he straitly requires of all to pray by themselves before they sleep at night, and stir out in the morning, and knows what prayers they say, and till they have learned them, makes them kneel by him; esteeming that this private praying is a more voluntary act in them, then when they are called to others prayers, and that, which when they leave the family, they carry with them. He keeps his servants between love, fear, according as hee findes them; but generally he distributes it thus, To his Children he shewes more love then terrour, to his servants more terrour then love; but an old servant boards a child. The furniture of his house is very plain, but clean, whole, and sweet, as sweet as his garden can make; for he hath no mony for such things, charity being his only perfume, which deserves cost when he can spare it. His fare is plain, and common, but wholsome, what hee hath, is little, but very good; it consisteth most of mutton, beefe, and veal, if he addes any thing for a great day, or a stranger, his garden or orchard supplies it, or his barne, and back-side: he goes no further for any entertainment, lest he goe into the world, esteeming it absurd, that he should exceed, who teacheth others temperance. But those which his home produceth, he refuseth not, as coming cheap, and easie, and arising from the improvement of things, which otherwise would be lost. Wherein he admires and imitates the wonderfull providence and thrift of the great householder of the world: for there being two things, which as they are, are unuseful to man, the one for smalnesse, as crums, and scattered corn, and the like; the other for the foulnesse, as wash, and durt, and things thereinto fallen; God hath provided Creatures for both: for the first. Poultry; for the second, swine. These save man the labour, and doing that which either he could not do, or was not fit for him to do, by taking both sorts of food into them, do as it were dresse and prepare both for man in themselves, by growing them selves fit for his table. The Parson in his house oserves fasting dayes; and particularly, as Sunday is his day of joy, so Friday his day of Humiliation, which he celebrates only with abstinence of diet, but also of company, recreation, and all outward contentments; and besides, with confession of sins, and all acts of Mortification. Now fasting dayes containe a treble obligation; first, of eating lesse that day, then on other dayes; secondly, of eating no pleasing, or over-nourishing things, as the Israelites did eate sowre herbs: Thirdly, of eating no flesh, which is but the determination of the second rule by Authority to this particular. The two former obligations are much more essentiall to a true fast, then the third and last; and fasting dayes were fully performed by keeping of the two former, had not Authority interposed: so that to eat little, and that unpleasant, is the naturall rule of fasting, although it be flesh. For since fasting in Scripture language is an afflicting of our souls, if a peece of dry flesh at my table be more unpleasant to me, then some fish there, certainly to eat the flesh, and not the fish, is to keep the fasting day naturally. And it is observable, that the prohibiting of flesh came from hot Countreys, where both flesh alone, and much more with wine, is apt to nourish more then in cold regions, and where flesh may be much better spared, and with more safety then elsewhere, where both the people and the drink being cold and flegmatick, the eating of flesh is an antidote to both. For it is certaine, that a weak stomack being prepossessed with flesh, shall much better brooke and bear a draught of beer, then if it had taken before either fish, or rootes, or such things; which will discover it selfe by spitting, and rheume, or flegme. To conclude, the Parson, if he be in full health, keeps the three obligations, eating fish, or roots, and that for quantity little, for quality unpleasant. If his body be weak and obstructed, as most Students are, he cannot keep the last obligation, nor suffer others in his house that are so, to keep it; but only the two former, which also in diseases of exinanition (as consumptions) must be broken: For meat was made for man, not man for meat. To all this may be added, not for emboldening the unruly, but for the comfort of the weak, that not onely sicknesse breaks these obligations of fasting, but sicklinesse also. For it is as unnatural to do any thing, that leads me to a sicknesse, to which I am inclined, as not to get out of that sicknesse, when I am in it, by any diet. One thing is evident, that an English body, and a Students body, are two great obstructed vessels, and there is nothing that is food, and not phisick, which doth lesse obstruct, then flesh moderately taken; as being immoderately taken, it is exceeding obstructive. And obstructions are the cause of most diseases.

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