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they have any that can do it; and whether this point of family exercise be specially provided for in the choice families in the parish. 6. Whether he be careful of the relief of the
poor, and of visiting the sick, whensoever he knows of any, even though they neglect to send for him; and for this end make inquiry, and the rather prevent their sending, because they commonly defer that, till it can be of little or no use to them,
7. Whether he does in private plainly and freely admonish those he knows, or hath cause to suspect, to be given to uncleanness, or drunkenness, or swearing, or any kind of inordinate walking, especially if they be of that quality that engages him frequently to converse with them; and if they continue such, leaves off that converse; and if their miscarriage be public, brings them to public censure.
8. Whether he watches exactly over his own conversation in all things, that he not only give no offence, but be an example to the flock, and preach by living.
9. Whether he spend the greatest portions of his time in private, in reading, and prayer, and meditation,-a thing so necessary to enable him for all the other parts of his duty.
10. Whether he makes it the great business, and víthal the great pleasure, of his life, to fulfil the work of his ministry, in the several parts and duties of it, out of love to God, and to the souls of his people.
11. If he does not only avoid gross offences, (which, in a guide of souls, were intolerable), but studies daily to mortify pride, and rash anger, and vain-glory, and covetousness, and love of this world and of sensual pleasures, and self-love, and all inordinate passions and affections, even in those instances wherein they are subtilest and least discernible by others, and commonly too little discerned by ourselves.
12. If he not only lives in peace with his brethren and flock, and withal as much as is possible, but is an ardent lover and promoter of it, reconciling differences, and preserving good agreement, all he can, amongst his people.
It hath not escaped my thoughts, that some of these questions, being of things more inward, may seem less fit to be publicly propounded to any; and that the best observers of them, will, both out of modesty, and real humility, and severe judging of themselves, be aptest to charge themselves with deficiency in them, and will only own, as most, sincere desires and endeavour, which, likewise, they that practise and mind them least, may, in general, profess; neither is there any more particular and punctual account to be expected of such things from any man in public; but the main intent in these, (as was said before), is serious reflection, and that each of us may be stirred up, to ask ourselves over again these and niore of the like questions, in our most private trials, and our secret scrutinies of our own hearts and lives, and may redouble our diligence in purging ourselves; that we may be in the house of God vessels of honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, and prepared to every good work: and, for those other things more exposed to the knowledge of others, if any brother hears of any faultiness in any of the number he shall not do well to think rudely to vent it in the meeting, till first he have made all due inquiry after the truth of it; yea, though he hath it upon inquiry to be true, yet ought he not, even then, to make his first essay of rectifying his brother, by a declaration to the full meeting, without having formerly admonished him, first alone, and then (according to our Saviour's rule) in the presence of one or two more; but having done so, if neither of these reclaim him, then follows of necessity to tell the church: but that is likewise to be done with great singleness of heart, and charity, and compassion; and the whole procedure of the whole company, with the person so delated, is to be managed with the same temper,
according to the excellent advice of the Apostle“. “My brethren, if any man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
V. Paper given in by the Bishop to the Synod,
October 1667, containing Proposals touching the following things :
1. Solemn reading of the Scriptures.
2. Reducing of the people to a reverend gesture in prayer.
3. Plain and practical, and catechetical, preaching
5. A weekly day for catechising, and the reading of the Scriptures joined with it.
5. A short and plain form of catechism.
6. A more exact and spiritual way of dealing with public penitents.
7. As likewise of preparing people for the communion; more frequent celebration whereof is so much to be wished, but so little, or scarce at all, to be hoped in this church.
8. That, in preaching, the most abounding and crying sins be more sharply and frequently reproved, particularly cursing and swearing; and the worship of God in families more urged.
9. The due educating and moulding the minds of young students in presbyteries.
10. More frequent and more exact visitation of churches; and the visiting of families by each minister in his own charge.
The words of the Paper were as follow:
1. That the reading of the Holy Scriptures in our public meetings, when they are solemnest and fullest, be constantly used, and that we endeavour to bring our people to a reverend and affectionate esteem of that ordinance, and attention to it.
a Gal, vi. 2.
2. That, both by our own example, and by frequent instruction and exhortation, we study to reform that extreme irreverence and indecency that hath generally prevailed in peoples deportment in time of public worship, and particularly of prayer: and that they be reduced to such a gesture, as may signify that we are acknowledging and adoring the great Majesty of God.
3. That we endeavour to adapt our way of preaching, with all evidence and plainness, to the informing of the people's minds, and quickening their affections, and raising in them renewed purposes of a Christian life; and that some part of our sermons be designed for the plain and practical explication, of the great principles of religion.
4. That we fix some certain times, at least one day in the week, throughout the year, for catechising, and that, withal, there be reading of the Scriptures, and prayer at the same time; to which, besides that part of the people that are for each time particularly warned to be present, those others that are near the church, and at leisure, may resort; for, the work of the ministry is a husbandry of more continual labour and attendance than that of our country people that labour the ground, and therefore cannot well be duly discharged if it be wholly cast over upon the Lord's day, without ever meeting with them, or bringing any considerable part of them together, all the week long.
5. It seems absolutely necessary that each minister would resolve on some short and plain form of catechism, for the use of his people; for, it is not, I think, to be imagined, that ever people, will have any fixed knowledge of the articles of religion, by lax, and continually varied, discourses and forms, or by catechisms too long and too hard for them : and would some draw up several short forms, they might be revised at the next Synod, and possibly
one framed out of them, which, by consent, might: be appointed for the use of this diocess for the in terim, till one shall be published for the whole church.
6. That which hath been formerly proposed would be reminded, of a more exact and spiritual way of dealing with public offenders, that their reception might be both more apt to recover the penitents themselves, and to edify the church.
7. For more frequent communion, (if it could be had), or, however, for the better improving it, when we have it, seldom as it is, what hath been formerly suggested, touching the way of examining and preparing people to it, and other particulars relating thereto, need not be repeated, but need very much to be really practised, if they can be of any
8. Likewise, enough hath been formerly said, (it were well if any thing might once appear to be done), touching the worship of God in families, ese pecially the prime ones within our bounds: as likewise touching the exercise of discipline, for the repressing of swearing and drunkenness, and all profaneness, so much abounding every where; and that our doctrine be likewise, more particularly and frequently applied to that purpose.
9. Something hath likewise been said concerning the training up of such young men amongst us as intend the ministry, not only as to their strain of preaching, but the moulding of their minds to more inward thoughts, and the study of a devout life, and more acquaintance with the exercises of mortification, and purging of their own hearts, by those divine truths which they are to preach to others, for the same purpose; for how shall they teach what they have not learned ?
io. That churches be more frequently and exactly visited, and by each minister the families of his congregation.
This paper being publicly read, and consented