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those resolutions at his prostration before the holy altar, at his induction into the Church of Bemerton : but as yet he was but a Deacon, and therefore longed for the next Ember-week, that he might be ordained Priest, and made capable of administering both the Sacraments. At which time the reverend Dr. Humphrey Henchman,* now Lord Bishop of London,—who does not mention him but with some veneration for his life and excellent learning, -tells me, “ He laid his hand on Mr. Herbert's head, and, alas! within less than three years, lent his shoulder to carry his dear friend to his grave.”
And that Mr. Herbert might the better preserve those holy rules which such a Priest as he intended to be, ought to observe; and that time might not insensibly blot them out of his memory, but that the next year might shew him his variations from this year's resolutions; he therefore did set down his rules, then resolved upon, in that order as the world now sees them printed in a little book, called “ The Country Parson ;' in which some of his rules
The Parson's knowledge.
The Parson condescending.
And his behaviour towards God and man may be said to be a practical comment on these, and the other holy rules set down in that useful book: a book so full of plain, prudent, and useful rules, that that Country Parson, that can spare twelve-pence, and yet wants it, is scarce excusable ; because it will both direct him what he ought to do, and convince him for not having done it.
* At the time Dr. Henchman was Prebendary of Salisbury, of which See he became Bishop in 1660, and in 1663 he was removed to London. He was much esteemed by King Charles II., whose escape at the battle of Worcester he was very instrumental in promoting ; but when the declaration for liberty of conscience was published in 1671-72, this Prelate was not afraid of the King's displeasure, but enjoined his Clergy to preach against Popery.
At the death of Mr. Herbert, this book fell into the hands of his friend Mr. Woodnot; and he commended it into the trusty hands of Mr. Barnabas Oley,* who published it with a most conscientious and excellent preface; from which I have had some of those truths, that are related in this life of Mr. Herbert. The text of his first Sermon was taken out of Solomon's Proverbs, chap. iv. 23, and the words were, “ Keep thy heart with all diligence.” In which first Sermon he gave his Parishioners many necessary, holy, safe rules for the discharge of a good conscience, Loth to God and man; and delivered his Sermon after a most florid manner, both with great learning and eloquence; but, at the close of this Sermon, told them, “ That should not be his constant way of preaching; for since Almighty God does not intend to lead men to Heaven by hard questions, he would not therefore fill their heads with unnecessary notions; but that, for their sakes, his language and his expressions should be more plain and practical in his future sermons. And he then made it his humble request, “ That they would be constant to the Afternoon's Service, and Catechising:" and shewed them convincing reasons why he desired it; and his obliging example and persuasions brought them to a willing comformity to his desires.
The texts for all his future sermons—which God knows, were not many—were constantly taken out of the Gospel for the day; and he did as constantly declare why the Church did appoint that portion of Scripture to be that day read; and in what manner the Collect for every Sunday does refer to the Gospel, or to the Epistle then read to them; and, that they might pray with understanding, he did usually take occasion to explain, not only the Collect for every particular Sunday, but the reasons of all the other Collects and Responses in our Church-service; and made it appear to them, that the whole service of the Church was a reasonable, and therefore an acceptable sacrifice to God: as namely, that we begin with “ Confession of ourselves to be vile, miserable sinners ;" and that we begin so, because, till we have confessed ourselves to be such, we are not capable of that mercy which we acknowledge we need, and pray for: but having, in the prayer of our Lord,
* A private Clergyman of Clare Hall, Cambridge, who suffered much for his gallant devotion to the cause of his King, Charles I.
begged pardon for those sins which we have confessed; and ho. ping, that as the Priest hath declared our absolution, so by our public confession, and real repentance, we have obtained that pardon ; then we dare and do proceed to beg of the Lord, “ to open our lips, that our mouth may show forth his praise;" for till then we are neither able nor worthy to praise him. But this being supposed, we are then fit to say, “ Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;" and fit to proceed to a further service of our God, in the Collects, and Psalms, and Lauds, that follow in the service.
And as to these Psalms and Lauds, he proceeded to inform them why they were so often, and some of them daily, repeated in our Church-service; namely, the Psalms every month, because they be an historical and thankful repetition of mercies past, and such a composition of prayers and praises, as ought to be repeated of. ten, and publicly ; for with such sacrifice God is honoured and well.pleased. This for the Psalms.
And for the Hymns and Lauds appointed to be daily repeated or sung after the first and second Lessons are read to the congregation; he proceeded to inform them, that it was most reasonable, after they have heard the will and goodness of God declared or preached by the Priest in his reading the two chapters, that it was then a seasonable duty to rise up, and express their gratitude to Almighty God, for those his mercies to them, and to all mankind; and then to say with the Blessed Virgin,“ that their souls do magnify the Lord, and that their spirits do also rejoice in God their Saviour:” and that it was their duty also to rejoice with Simeon in his song, and say with him, “ That their eyes have” also “seen their salvation ;” for they have seen that salvation which was but prophesied till his time: and he then broke out into those expressions of joy that he did see it; but they live to see it daily in the history of it, and therefore ought daily to rejoice, and daily to of fer up their sacrifices of praise to their God, for that particular mercy. A service, which is now the constant employment of that Blessed Virgin and Simeon, and all those blessed Saints that are possessed of Heaven: and where they are at this time inter. changeably and constantly singing, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God; glory be to God on high, and on earth peace.” And he taught
them, that to do this was an acceptable service to God, because the Prophet David says in his Psalms, “ He that praiseth the Lord honoureth him."
He made them to understand how happy they be that are freed from the incumbrances of that law which our forefathers groaned under: namely, from the legal sacrifices, and from the many ceremonies of the Levitical law; freed from Circumcision, and from the strict observation of the Jewish Sabbath, and the like. And he made them know, that having received so many and so great blessings, by being born since the days of our Saviour, it must be an acceptable sacrifice to Almighty God, for them to ac. knowledge those blessings daily, and stand up and worship, and say as Zacharias did, “ Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath-in our days—visited and redeemed his people; andhe hath in our days remembered, and shewed that mercy, which by the mouth of the Prophets, he promised to our forefathers; and this he hath done according to his holy covenant made with them.” And he made them to understand that we live to see and enjoy the benefit of it, in his Birth, in his Life, his Passion, his Resurrection, and Ascension into Heaven, where he now sits sensible of all our temptations and infirmities; and where he is at this present time making intercession for us, to his and our Fa. ther: and therefore they ought daily to express their public gratulations, and say daily with Zacharias, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that hath thus visited and thus redeemed his people.”—These were some of the reasons, by which Mr. Herbert instructed his congregation for the use of the Psalms and Hymns appointed to be daily sung or said in the Church-service.
He informed them also, when the Priest did pray only for the congregation, and not for himself; and when they did only pray for him; as namely, after the repetition of the Creed before he proceeds to pray the Lord's Prayer, or any of the appointed Col. lects, the Priest is directed to kneel down, and pray for them, saying, “ The Lord be with you ;” and when they pray for him, saying, “And with thy spirit;" and then they join together in the following Collects: and he assured them, that when there is such mutual love, and such joint prayers offered for each other, then the holy Angels look down from Heaven, and are ready to carry
such charitable desires to God Almighty, and he as ready to receive them; and that a Christian congregation calling thus upor. God with one heart, and one voice, and in one reverent and hum. ble posture, looks as beautifully as Jerusalem, that is at peace with itself.
He instructed them also why the prayer of our Lord was prayed often in every full service of the Church; namely, at the conclusion of the several parts of that service; and prayed then, not only because it was coinposed and cornmanded by our lesus that made it, but as a perfect pattern for our less perfect forms of prayer, and therefore fittest to sum up and conclude all our imperfect petitions.
He instructed them also, that as by the second Commandment we are required not to bow down, or worship an idol, or false God; so, by the contrary rule, we are to bow down and kneel, or stand up and worship the true God. And he instructed them why the Church required the congregation to stand up at the repetition of the Creeds ; namely, because they thereby declare both their obedience to the Church, and an assent to that faith into which they had been baptized. And he taught them, that in that shorter Creed or Doxology, so often repeated daily, they also stood up to testify their belief to be, that “the God that they trusted in was one God, and three persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost; to whom they and the Priest gave glory.” And because there had been heretics that had denied some of those three persons to be God, therefore the congregation stood up and honoured him, by confessing and saying, “ It was so in the beginning, is now so, and shall ever be so world without end.” And all gave their assent to this belief, by standing up and saying, Amen.
He instructed them also what benefit they had by the Church's appointing the celebration of holidays and the excellent use of them, namely, that they were set apart for particular commemorations of particular mercies received from Almighty God; and -as reverend Mr. Hooker says--to be the landmarks to distin. guish times; for by them we are taught to take notice how time passes by us, and that we ought not to let the years pass without a celebration of praise for those mercies which those days give us occasion to remember, and therefore they were to note that the