Project Canterbury

A Discourse of the Pastoral Care
By Gilbert Burnet
Bishop of Salisbury

First edition London, 1692; third edition London, 1712

Chapter IV. Of the Sense of the Primitive Church in This Matter.

I will not enter here into any Historical Account of the Discipline of the Church, during the first and best Ages of Christianity. It is the glory of this Church, that in her disputes of both hands, as well with those of the Church of Rome, as with those that separate from her; she has both the Doctrine and the Constitution of the Primitive Church of her side. But this Plea would be more entire and less disputable, if our Constitution were not only in its main and most essential parts, formed upon that glorious Model; but were also in its Rules and Administrations, made more exactly conformable to those best and purest times. I can never forget an advice that was given me above thirty years ago, by one of the worthiest Clergy-men now alive; while I was studying the Controversy relating to the Government of the Church, from the Primitive Times, he desires me to join with the more Speculative Discoveries that I should make, the Sense that they had of the Obligations of the Clergy, both with relation to their Lives, and to their Labours: And said that the Argument in favour of the Church, how clearly soever made out, would never have its full effect upon the World, till abuses were so far corrected, that we could show a Primitive Spirit in our Administration, as well as a Primitive pattern for our Constitution. This made even then, deep Impressions on me, and I thank God the Sense of it has never left me in the whole course of my Studies.

I will not at present enter upon so long and so Invidious a work as the descending into all the particulars, into which this matter might be branched out; either from the Writings of the Fathers, the Decrees of Councils, the Roman Law and the Capitulars, or even from the dreg of all, the Canon Law it self, which though a Collection made in one of the worst Ages, yet carries many rules in it, that would seem excessively severe, even to us, after all our Reformation of Doctrine and Worship. This has been already done with so much exactness, that it will not be necessary to set about it after the Harvest, which was gathered by the learned Bishop of Spalato in the last Book of his great Work: which the Pride and Inconstancy of the Author, had brought under a disesteem, that it no way deserves: For whatever he might be, that work was certainly one of the best productions of that Age. But this design has been prosecuted of late with much more exactness and learning, and with great honesty and fidelity, where the interest of his Church did not force him to use a little Art, by F. Thomasin, who has compared the modern and the ancient Discipline, and has showed very copiously, by what steps the Change was made; and how abuses crept into the Church. It is a work of great use, to such as desire to understand that matter truly. I will refer the curious to these, and many other lesser Treaties, writ by the Jansenists in France, in which abuses are very honestly complained off, and proper Remedies are proposed; which in many places being entertained by Bishops that had a right Sense of the Primitive Rules, have given the Rise to a great Reformation of the French Clergy.

Instead then of any Historical deduction of these matters, I shall content my self with giving the Sense of two of the Fathers of the Greek Church, and one of the Latin upon this whole business, of the Obligations of the Clergy. The first is Gregory of Nazianze whose Father ordained him a Presbyter, notwithstanding all his humble Intercessions to the contrary, according to the custom of the best Men of that Age; who instead of pressing into Orders, or aspiring to them, fled from them, excused themselves, and judging themselves unworthy of so holy a Character and so high a Trust, were not without difficulty prevailed on to submit to that, which in degenerate Ages Men run to as to a subsistence, or the mean of procuring it, and seem to have no other Sense of that Sacred Institution, then Mechanics have of obtaining their Freedom in that Trade or Company in which they have passed their Apprenticeship. It were indeed happy for the Church, if those who offer themselves to Orders, had but such a Sense of them as Tradesmen have of their Freedom: Who do not pretend to it till they have finished the time prescribed; and are in some sort qualified to set up in it: Whereas, alas! men who neither know the Scriptures, nor the body of Divinity, who have made no progress in their Studies, and can give no tolerable account of that holy Doctrine, in which they desire to be Teachers, do yet with equal degrees of confidence, and importunity, pretend to this Character, and find the way to it too easy, and the access of it too free. But this Holy Father had a very different sense of this matter. He had indeed submitted to his Fathers Authority, he being his Bishop as well as his Father. But immediately after he was ordained, he gives this account of himself in his Apologetical Oration, That he judging he had not that sublimity of Virtue, nor that familiar acquaintance with divine matters, which became Pastors and Teachers; he therefore intending to purify his own Soul to higher degrees of Virtue, to an Exaltation above sensible Objects, above his Body and above the World, that so he might bring his mind to a recollected and divine State, and fit his Soul that as a polished mirror it might carry on it the Impressions of divine Ideas unmixed with the allay of earthly Objects, and might be still casting a brightness upon all his Thoughts, did in order to the raising himself to that, retire to the Wilderness. He had observed that many pressed to handle the holy Mysteries, with unwashed hands, and defiled Souls: And before they were meet to be initiated to the divine Vocation, were crowding about the Altar, not to set patterns to others, but designing only a subsistence to themselves: reckoning that the holy dignity, was not a Trust for which an account was to be given, but a state of Authority and Exemption. They had neither piety nor parts to recommend them, but were the reproaches of the Christian Religion, and were the Pests of the Church: Which infected it faster than any plague could do the Air, since Men did easily run to imitate bad Examples, but were drawn off very hardly by the perfectest patterns to the practice of Virtue. Upon which he formed a high Idea of the eminent worth and virtues which became those who governed the Church: And of the great Progress that they ought to be duly making, not contented with low measures of it, as if they were to weigh it critically in nice balances; and not to rise up to the highest degrees possible in it. Yet even this, was not all: For to govern mankind which was so various, and so uncertain a sort of Creature, seemed to him the highest pitch of knowledge and wisdom, as far above that skill and labour that is necessary to the curing of bodily Diseases as the Soul is superior to the Body, and yet since so much Study and Observation was necessary to make a Man a skillful Physician, he concluded that much more was necessary for the Spiritual Medicine: The design of which was to give Wings to the Soul, to raise it above the World, and to consecrate it to God, here he runs out into a noble rapture, upon the excellence and sublimity of the Christian Religion, and upon the art of governing Souls, of the different methods to be taken, according to the diversity of men's capacity and tempers: and of dividing the word of God aright, among them. The difficulties of which he prosecutes in a great variety of sublime Expressions and Figures: but concludes lamenting that there was so little order, then observed, that men had scarce passed their Childhood when, before they understood the Scriptures, not to say before they had washed off the spots and defilements of their Souls, if they had learned but two or three pious words, which they had got by heart, or had read some of the Psalms of David, and put on an outward garb that carried an appearance of piety in it, these men were presently pushed on by the Vanity of their minds, to aspire to the Government of the Church. To such Persons he addresses himself very Rhetorically and asks them, what they thought of the commonest Employments such as the playing on Instruments or of dancing, in comparison with Divine Wisdom: For acquiring the one they know great pains and much practice was necessary: could they then imagine that the other should be so easily attained: but he adds that one may as well sow upon Rocks, and talk to the deaf, as hope to work upon Persons, who have not yet got to that degree of Wisdom, of being sensible of their own ignorance. This evil he had often with many tears lamented, but the pride of such men was so great, that nothing under the Authority of a St. Peter or a St. Paul, could work upon them. Upon this mention of St. Paul, he breaks out into a rapture, upon his labours and sufferings, and the care of all the Churches that lay on him; his becoming all things to all men, his gentleness where that was necessary, and his authority upon other occasions, his zeal, his patience, his constancy, and his prudence in fulfilling all the parts of his Ministry. Then he cites several of the Passages of the Prophets, particularly those of Jeremy and Ezekiel, Zachary and Malachi, which relate to the corruptions of the Priests and Shepherds of Israel. And shows how applicable they were to the Clergy at that time, and that all the woes denounced against the Scribes and Pharisees belonged to them, with heavy aggravations. These thoughts possessed him day and night; they did eat out his very strength and substance; they did so afflict and deject him, and gave him so terrible a Prospect of the Judgments of God, which they were drawing down upon the Church, that he instead of daring to undertake any part of the Government of it, was only thinking how he should cleanse his own Soul and fly from the wrath, which was to come, and could not think that he was yet while so young, meet to handle the Holy Things. Where he runs out into a new Rapture in magnifying the dignity of holy Functions, and upon that says, that tho' he had been dedicated to God from his Mothers Womb, and had renounced the World and all that was charming in it, even Eloquence it self, and had delighted long in the Study of the Scriptures, and had subdued many of his Appetites and Passions, yet after all this, in which perhaps he had become a Fool in glorying, he had so high a Nation of the care and government of Souls, that he thought it above his strength; especially in such bad times in which all things were out of order: Factions were formed, and Charity was lost; so that the very Name of a Priest was a Reproach, as if God had poured out Contempt upon them: and thereby impious Men daily blasphemed his Name. And indeed, all the show of Religion that remained was in their mutual heats and animosities, concerning some matters of Religion; they condemned and censured one another, they cherished and made use of the worst Men, so they were true to their Party; they concealed their Crimes, nay, they flattered and defended some that should not have been suffered to enter into the Sanctuary: They gave the holy things to Dogs, while they enquired very narrowly into the failings of those that differed from them, not that they might lament them, but that they might reproach them for them. The same faults which they excused in some, were declaimed against in others: So that the very Name of a good or a bad Man were not now considered, as the Characters of their Lives, but of their being of or against a side. And these abuses were so Universal, that they were like People like Priest: If those heats had arisen upon the great Heads of Religion, he should have commended the Zeal of those who had contended for the Truth, and should have studied to have followed it. But their disputes were about small Matters, and things of no consequence; and yet even these were fought for, under the Glorious Title of the Faith, though the root of all was Men's private Animosities: These things had exposed the Christian Religion to the hatred of the Heathen, and had given even the Christians themselves very hard Thoughts of the Clergy: This was grown to that height, that they were then acted and represented upon the Stage; and made the Subject of the Peoples scorn. So that by their means, the name of God was blasphemed: This was that which gave him much sadder Apprehensions, than all that could be feared from that wild Beast, that was then beginning to vex and persecute the Church, (by which probably Julian is meant,) the comfortable prospect of dying for the name of Christ, made that a Persecution was not so dreadful a thing, in his account, as the Sins, the Divisions, and Distractions of Christians. This then was the reason that had made him fly to the Wilderness, for the state of the Church had made him despond, and lose all his courage: He had also gone thither, that he might quite break himself to all his Appetites and Passions, and to all the Pleasures and Concerns of this Life, that did darken the shinings of the Divine Image upon his Soul; and the emanations of the Heavenly Light. When he considered the Judgments of God upon bad Priests and many other strict Rules in the old Dispensation, and the great Obligations that lay upon those who were the Priests, of the living God, and that ought before they presumed to offer up other Sacrifices, to begin with the Oblation of themselves to God; he was upon all these Reasons moved to prepare himself, by so long a Retreat.

I have given this long Abstract of his Apologetical Oration, not only to set before my Reader the Sense that he had of the sacred Functions, but likewise to show what were the Corruptions of that Age, and with how much Freedom this Holy Father laid them open. If there is any occasion for applying any part of this to the present Age, or to any Persons in it, I chose rather to offer it in the Words of this great Man, than in any of my own. I wish few were concerned in them; and that such as are, would make a due Application of them to themselves, and save others the trouble of doing it more severely.

I go next to another Father of the Greek Church, S. Chrysostom, whose Books of the Priesthood, have been ever reckoned among the best pieces of Antiquity. The Occasion of writing them, was this: He had lived many years in great Friendship with one Basil; at last, they having both dedicated themselves to sacred Studies, the Clergy of Antioch had resolved to lay hold on them, and to use that Holy Violence, which was in those times often done to the best Men, and to force them to enter into Orders. Which when Basil told Chrysostom, he concealed his own Intentions, but pressed Basil to submit to it, who from that, believing that his Friend was of the same Mind, did not go out of the way, and so he was laid hold on; but Chrysostom had hid himself. Basil, seeing he could not be found, did all that was possible to excuse himself: but that not being accepted of, he was ordained: Next time that he met his Friend, he expostulated severely with him for having forsaken him upon that Occasion: This gave the Occasion to those Books, which are pursued in the way of a Dialogue.

The first Book contains only the preparatory Discourses, according to the Method of such Writings. In the 2d. he runs out to show from our Saviour's Words to St. Peter, Simon lovest thou me?

What tender and fervent Love both to Christ and to his Church, a Priest ought to feel in himself before he enters upon the feeding those Sheep, which Christ has purchased with his own Blood. To lose the Souls of the Flock first, and then ones own Soul, for his Remissness, was no light matter. To have both the Powers of Darkness, and the Works of the Flesh to fight against, required no ordinary measure both of strength and courage. He pursues the Allegories of a Shepherd and a Physician, to show by the Parallel of these laid together; the labours and difficulties of the Priesthood, especially, when this Authority was to be maintained only by the strength of Persuasion; and yet sometimes severe methods must be taken; like Incisions to prevent Gangrenes, or to cut off a Part already corrupted. In the managing this, great Art and Prudence was necessary: a Bishop ought to have a great and generous, a patient and undaunted Mind: Therefore, Chrysostom says that he found, though he truly loved his Saviour, yet he was so afraid to offend him, that he durst not undertake a Charge, that he did not yet judge himself qualified for. It was not enough that a Man was tolerably well esteemed by others: He ought to examine himself; for that of a Bishop's being well reported of, is but one of many Characters, declared necessary by S. Paul. He complains much that those who raised Men to Orders, had more regard to rank and wealth, and to much time spent in a vain search into profane Learning (though Christ chose Fisher-men and Tent-makers) than to true Worth, and an earnest Zeal for the real good of the Church. In the 3d. Book, he runs out with a great compass on the praises of the Priestly Function; he looked upon it as a dignity raised far above all the Honours of this World, and approaching to the Angelical Glory. A Priest ought to aspire to a Purity above that of other Mortals, answering that of Angels. When a Priest performs the Holy Functions, is sanctifying the Holy Eucharist, and is offering a Crucified Christ to the People, his thoughts should carry him Heavenwards, and as it were translate him into those upper Regions. If the Mosaical Priest was to be Holy that offered up Sacrifices of a lower Order, how much Holier ought the Priests of this Religion to be, to whom Christ has given the Power both of retaining and forgiving of Sins: But if S. Paul, after all his Visions and Labours, after all his Raptures and Sufferings, yet was inwardly burnt up with the concerns of the Church, and laboured with much fear and trembling, how much greater Apprehensions ought other Persons to have of such a Trust. If it were enough to be called to this Function, and to go through with the Duties incumbent on it in some tolerable manner, the danger were not great; but when the Duty as well as Dignity, together with the Danger belonging to it, are all laid together, a Man is forced to have other Thoughts of the matter. No Man that knows he is not capable of conducting a Ship, will undertake it, let him be pressed to it never so much: Ambitious Men that loved to set themselves forward, were of all others the most exposed to Temptations: They were apt to be inflamed by the smallest Provocations, to be glad at the faults of others, and troubled if they saw any do well; they courted Applause, and aspired to Honour; they fawned on great Persons, and trod on those that were below them; they made base Submissions, undecent Addresses, and often brought Presents to those in Authority; they durst not in any sort reprove them for their Faults, though they reproached the poor out of measure for their failings. These were not the natural Consequences of the Dignity of the Priesthood; but unworthy and defiled Persons, who without true Merit, had been advanced to it, had brought it under Reproach. There had been no due care used in the choice of Bishops; and by the means of bad choices, the Church was almost ruined, through the gross Ignorance and Unworthiness of many in that Post. Certainly, a worthy Priest has no ambitious aspirings: Those who fly to this Dignity from that base Principle, will give a full vent to it, when they have attained it. If Submissions, Flatteries, and Money it self, are necessary, all will be employed: Therefore it was an indispensable Preparation to it, that one should be duly sensible of the greatness of the Trust, and of his own Unfitness for it; that so he might neither vehemently desire it, nor be uneasy if he should happen to be turned out of it. A Man may desire the Office of a Bishop, when he considers it as a Work of toil and labour, but nothing is more pestiferous than to desire it, because of the Power and Authority that accompanies it: Such Persons can never have the Courage that ought to show it self in the Discharge of their Duty, in the reproving of Sin, and venturing on the Indignation of great Men; he confesses he had not yet been able to free his Mind from that Disease, and till he had subdued it, he judged himself bound to fly from all the steps to Preferment; for the nearer he should come to it, he reckoned the appetite to it, would rage the higher within him; whereas, the way to break it quite, was to keep himself at the greatest distance from it: nor had he that vivacity, or lively activity of temper, which became this Function; nor that softness and gentleness of mind, that was necessary to prepare him to bear injuries, to endure contempt, or to treat People with the mildness that Christ has enjoined his followers, which he thought more necessary to a Bishop than all Fastings, or bodily Mortifications whatsoever: And he runs out into a long Digression upon the great Mischiefs that a fretful and spiteful temper did to him that was under the power of it, and to the Church, when a Bishop was soured with it. It will often break out, it will be much observed, and will give great scandal: For as a little Smoke will darken and hide the clearest Object: so if all the rest of a Bishop's Life were brighter than the Beams of the Sun, a little Blemish, a Passion, or Indiscretion, will darken all, and make all the rest be forgotten: Allowances are not made to them, as to other Men; the World expects great things from them, as if they had not Flesh and Blood in them, not a Humane but an Angelical nature; therefore, a Bishop ought by a constant watchfulness, and a perpetual strictness, to be armed with Armour of Proof of all sides, that no wound may hurt him. Stories will be easily believed to his disadvantage, and his Clergy about him will be ready to find them out, and to spread them abroad. He lays this down for a certain Maxim, That every man knows himself best: and therefore whatsoever others might think of him, he who knew well that he had not in himself those qualifications, that were necessary for this Function, ought not to suffer himself to be determined by that. After this he lays open the great Disorders, Factions, Partialities, and Calumnies, with which the Popular Elections were at that time managed: and the general Corruption that had overrun the whole Church; so that the Strictness and Authority, the Gentleness and Prudence, the Courage and Patience, that were necessary to a Bishop were very hard to be found all together. He instances to make out the difficulty of discharging the duty of a Bishop, in that single point, of managing the Widows: who were so meddling, so immoral, so factious and so clamorous, that this alone was enough to employ a Bishop's prudence, and to exercise his patience: from that and another Article relating to it concerning the Virgins, he goes to consider the Trouble, the Difficulties, and Censures that Bishops were subject to, by the hearing of Causes, that were referred to them: Many pretending they were wronged by their Judgments, made shipwreck of the Faith, in revenge: and they pressed so hard upon the Bishops time, that it was not possible for him to content them, and discharge the other parts of his Duty. Then he reckons up the many Visits that were expected from Bishops: the several Civilities they were obliged to, which it was hard to manage so, as not to be either too much or too little in them: Matter of censure would be found in both extremes. Then he reflects on the great temper that ought to be observed in the final sentence of Excommunication; between a gentleness to Vice on the one hand, and the driving men to Despair and Apostasy on the other. And he concludes that Book with Reflections on the vast Burthen that follows the care of Souls. In his 4th Book he runs through a variety of Arts and Professions; and shows how much skill and labour was necessary for every one of them: from whence he concludes strongly, that much more was necessary for that which was the most important of all others; so that no consideration whatsoever, should make a man undertake it, if he did not find himself in some sort qualified for it: more particularly he ought to be ready to give an account of his Faith, and to stop the mouths of all gainsayers, Jews, Gentiles, and Heretics: in which the Ignorance of many Bishops, carrying things from one extreme to another, had given great occasion to Errors. A Bishop must understand the stile and phrase of the Scriptures well. From this he runs out into a very Noble Panegyric upon St. Paul, in whom a pattern was set to all Bishops. His 5th Book sets out the labour of preaching the temptations to Vanity in it; the censures that were apt to be made if there was either too much or too little Art or Eloquence in Sermons: to this he adds the great exactness that a Bishop should use in preserving his Reputation; yet without Vanity: observing a due temper between despising the censures of the Multitude, and the servile courting of applauses: In his Sermons he ought above all things to study to edify; but not to Flatter his Hearers: or to use vain arts to raise esteem, or admiration from them. Since a Bishop whose mind was not purged from this disease, must go through many tossings and be much disquieted: and upon that he runs out so fully, upon the temptations to desire applause for Eloquence, and a readiness in speaking, that it plainly appears that he felt that to be his own weak side. The 6th Book is chiefly employed to show how much a harder thing it was to govern the Church, than to live in a Desert, under the severest mortifications.

I will go no further in this abstract, I hope I have drawn out enough to give a Curiosity to such as have not yet read those Excellent Books, to do it over and over again. For to any that has a true relish, they can never be too often read: every reading will afford a fresh pleasure, and new matter of Instruction, and Meditation. But I go in the last place to offer St. Jerome's sense in this matter. I shall not bring together, what lies scattered through his works, upon this Argument, nor shall I quote what he writ in his Youth upon it, when the natural flame of his temper joined with the heat of Youth might make him carry his thoughts further, than what humane nature could bear: But I shall only give an abstract of that which he writ to Nepotion on this Head, in his old Age, as he says himself: a good part of that Epistle being a reflection upon the different sense that old Age gives of these things, from that which he felt during the ardour of Youth.

He begins with the title Clerk, which signifying a Lot or Portion.

Imports either that the Clergy are God's Portion, or that God is theirs, and that therefore they ought to possess God, and be possessed of him. He that has this portion, must be satisfied with it, and pretend to nothing, but having Food and Raiment, be therewith content: and (as men carried their Crosses naked, so) to be ready to carry his. He must not seek the advantages of this world in Christ's warfare; some Clerks grew richer under Christ, who made himself poor, than ever they could have been, if they had continued in the service of the God of this World: So that the Church groaned under the wealth of those, who were Beggars before they forsook the World: Let the Strangers and the Poor be fed at your Tables, says he, and in these you entertain Christ himself. When you see a trafficking Clerk, who from being Poor grows Rich, and from being mean becomes great, fly from him as from a Plague. The conversations of such men corrupted good minds: They sought after wealth, and loved Company, the public Places of conversation, Fairs and Market places: whereas a true Clerk loves silence, and retirement: then he gives him a strong caution against conversing with Women: and in particular against all those mean compliances, which some Clerks used towards rich Women; by which they got not only Presents during their lives, but Legacies by their Wills. That abuse had grown to such an intolerable excess, that a Law was made excluding Priests from having any benefit by Testaments: They were the only persons that were put under that incapacity: Heathen Priests were not included in the Law, yet he does not complain of the Law, but of those who had given just occasion for making it. The Laws of Christ had been contemned, so it was necessary to restrain them by humane Laws. It was the Glory of a Bishop to provide for the poor, but it was the Reproach of a Priest to study the enriching of himself. He reckons up many Instances of the base and abject Flattery of some Clerks, to gain upon rich and dying persons, and to get their Estates. Next he exhorts him to the constant and diligent study of the Scriptures; but to be sure to do nothing that should contradict his discourses or give occasion to his Hearers to answer him thus, Why do not you do as you say? Then he speaks of the Union that ought to be between the Bishop, and his Clergy: the affection on the one side, and the obedience on the other. In Preaching he must not study to draw applauses but Groans from his Hearers. Their Tears was the best sort of commendation of a Sermon, in which great care was to be taken to avoid the methods of the Stage, or of common Declamations. Great use was to be made of the Scriptures. The mysteries of our Faith and the Sacraments of our Religion ought to be well explained: Grimaces and solemn Looks are often made use of to give Weight and Authority to that which has none in it self. He charges him to use a plain simplicity in his Habit, neither shewing too much nicety on the one Hand, that savours of Luxury, nor such a neglect on the other, as might savour of Affectation. He recommends particularly the Care of the Poor to him. Then he speaks of Clergy-Men's mutually preferring one another; considering that there are different Members in one Body, and that every one has his own Function, and peculiar Talent: And that therefore no man ought to over-value his own, or undervalue his Neighbours. A plain Clerk ought not to value himself upon his Simplicity and Ignorance, nor ought a learned and eloquent Man measure his Holiness by his Rhetoric; for indeed of the two, a Holy Simplicity is much more valuable, than Unsanctified Eloquence. He speaks against the Affectation of Magnificence and Riches, in the Worship of God, as things more becoming the Pomp of the Jewish Religion, than the Humility of the Spiritual Doctrine of Christ. He falls next upon the high and sumptuous way of living of some Priests, which they pretended was necessary to procure them the respect that was due to them; and to give them interest and credit: but the World, at least the better part of it, would always value a Priest more for his Holiness, than for his Wealth. He charges him strictly to avoid all the excesses of Wine, and in Opposition to that to fast much, but without Superstition, or a nicety in the choice of such things as he was to live on in the time of fasting. Some showed a trifling Superstition in those Matters, as well as Vanity and Affectation; that was indeed Scandalous. Plain and simple Fasting was despised as not singular nor pompous enough for their Pride. For it seems by what follows, that the Clergy was then corrupted with the same disorders, with which our Saviour had reproached the Pharisees, while they did not study inward Purity, so much as outward Appearances; nor the pleasing of God, so much as the praise of Men. But here he stops short, for it seems he went too near the describing some eminent Man in that Age; from that he turns to the Government of a Priest's Tongue: He ought neither to detract from any one himself, nor to encourage such as did: The very hearkening to slander, was very unbecoming. They ought to visit their People, but not to report in one place, what they observed in another; in that they ought to be both discreet and secret. Hippocrates adjured those that came to study from him, to be secret, grave, and prudent in their whole behaviour; but how much more did this become those, to whom the Care of Souls was trusted. He advises him to visit his People rather in their Afflictions, than in their Prosperity; not to go too often to their Feasts, which must needs lessen him that does it too much. He, in the last place, speaks very severely of those who applied the Wealth of the Church to their own private Uses. It was Theft to defraud a Friend, but it was Sacrilege to rob the Church. It was a Crime that exceeded the Cruelty of High-way Men, to receive that which belonged indeed to the Poor, and to withdraw any part of it to ones private Occasions. He concludes with this excuse, That he had named no Person, he had not writ to reproach others; but to give them warning. And therefore since he had treated of the Vices of the Clergy in general Terms, if any was offended with him for it, he thereby plainly confessed that he himself was guilty.

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