¶ The Priesthood.
BLest Order, which in power dost so excell, That with th one hand thou liftest to the sky, And with the other throwest down to hell In thy just censures; fain would I draw nigh, Fain put thee on, exchanging my lay-sword For that of th holy Word. But thou art fire, sacred and hallowd fire; And I but earth and clay: should I presume To wear thy habit, the severe attire My slender compositions might consume. I am both foul and brittle; much unfit To deal in holy Writ. Yet have I often seen, by cunning hand And force of fire, what curious things are made Of wretched earth. Where once I scornd to stand, That earth is fitted by the fire and trade Of skilfull artists, for the boards of those Who make the bravest shows. But since those great ones, be they nere so great, Come from the earth, from whence those vessels come; So that at once both feeder, dish, and meat Have one beginning and one final summe: I do not greatly wonder at the sight, If earth in earth delight. But th holy men of God such vessels are, As serve him up, who all the world commands: When God vouchsafeth to become our fare, Their hands convey him, who conveys their hands. O what pure things, most pure must those things be, Who bring my God to me! Wherefore I dare not, I, put forth my hand To hold the Ark,1 although it seems to shake Through th old sinnes and new doctrines of our land. Onely, since God doth often vessels make Of lowly matter for high uses meet, I throw me at his feet. There will I lie, untill my Maker seek For some mean stuffe thereon to show his skill: Then is my time. The distance of the meek Doth flatter power. Lest good come short of ill In praising might, the poore do by submission What pride by opposition.
1 Ark. The Ark of the Covenant. The transport for the Ten Commandments. See. 1 Chronicles 13:9 And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. 10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. -- The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769. [Return]
For the Book of Common Prayer ordination of priests.
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