תמונות בעמוד

Prosperity, be joysul; but in the day of advel>£ty, consider: God also hath set the one over against ether., to the end that man should sind nothing 9ftts him JLccL vii. 1.4. *s to the end that man," i»Ot knowing what shall happen next, or how" soon it may happen, should neither be too much plated by the one, nor dejected by the other« ** God hath" indeed sometimes, "chastened us V)fh the rod of men, ai)d with the stripes of tha children of men; but his mercy hath not depart* ed away from us," 2 Sam. vii. 14. 15. "The} Lord will never leave off his mercy, neither shall any of his works perish; neither will he abhor; »he posterity of his elect: and the seed of them that love him, he will not take away." Eccl. xlvii. 22,

Be ye not therefore " wearied and faint in your mind. The order to which ye belong, and even, the establishment on which it subsists, have often been struck at, but in vain; still every blow that was aimed at them misted of its effect, and produced events contrary to the intention of thole who direct it. Many remarkable instances of this kind there have been; the time would fail me, should I attempt to number them: But one there is, which ought not to be passed over, because it will administer reflexions of a very encouraging nature, and very apposite to the design of this present solemnity.

When marriage, at the reformation, was sirst allowed to the clergy of this kingdom, there is no doubt, but that some who then fat at the helm, and gave no good proofs of any real regard for religion, intended it as a politic device to lessen their interest, and keep them low in the world.

And And yet so has God ordered matters, that even from hence many signal advantages have redounded to our church; some of which I shall so far presume upon your patience, as to lay before you.

And sirst, several temptations, under which the Popish clergy lay, towards embracing an in

this means effectually removed; and all uneasy jealousies of our riches, greatness, power, and union, are in good measure abated. And this, in times when even the diminished revenues and privileges of the church are looked upon with a suspicious eye, is some advantage to her; as it gives her leave to enioy those poor remains of ancient piety, which she possesses, without that envy and ill.will which would otherwise attend them. Little reason there is (God knows) to envy her on this account: for notwithstanding the large incomes annexed to some sew of her preserments, I will be bold to fay, and do not doubt to prove, that this church, in proportion to the numbers of its clergy, hath in the whole, as little to subsist on, as almost any even of those Protestant churches, which are thought to be most meanly provided for. However, since this little is by some thought too much, and vain jealousies of our strength and power are, on this account, entertained or pretended; 'tis well that these apprehensions are qualisied by a sense of our marriage circumstances, which even they, who are pleased to think us under no other tye to the True interest of our country, will allow to be an effectual curb upon us. They who marry, give hostages to the public^ that they will not attempt

terest distinct from that of their



the ruin or disturb the peace os it: since in the public fafety and tranquillity, that also of their wives and children, that is, of their nearest and dearest relations, is involved, according to these remarkable words of the prophet Jei emy, directed to the Jew i in Babylon. "Take ye wives,"

fays he, "and beget sons and daughters, and "take wives for your sons and give your daugh"ters to htrfbands, that they may bear sons and "daughters, that ye may be increased there, and. "not diminished: And seek the peace of the "city, whither I have caused you to be carried. "—For in the peace thereof shall ye have peace." Jcr. xxxix. 6, 7.

By this means also the foul impurities, that that reigned among the unmarried, especially the monkish ckrgy, and the scandalous reflexions which fell upon the whole order on that account, have been prevented. '1 is true, these enormities have been thought more and greater than they really were. Twas the interest of those, who thirsted after the possessions of the clergy, to represent the possessors in as vile colours as they could; and many of those poor people were, doubtless, frightened and betrayed into false and difadvantageous confessions; the general prejudices of the time falling in with these acounts, and procuring them an univerfal reception; and our historians taking them afterwards upon trust, as their credulity, laziness, or partiality led them. However, after all the abatements that can be made, there was too much truth in some of these representations, so much as brought the whole function into disgrace; and made the offering of

the t he Lord to abhorred. And it 5s plain, that the Cure of this evil is one of those many bleffings, 'Itfhich haVe arisen to our religion, and churchi from a mart led clergy.

Another is, that great numbers of men,- de& cended from them, have been distributed into all arts and professions, all ranks and orders of men amongst us i and have, by the blessing of God iipon their industry, thriven so well, and raised themselves so high in the world, as to become in times of difficulty, a protection and a fafeguard to that altar at which their ancestors ministered. And I question not, but that there are many here this day, who will have the fame success in the world, and will make the fame use of it. We shay fay to our countrymen, as Tertuiian, in his apology, did to the Romanst Hrjlerni fitmus. H vejira omnia implevimus. urhes. insulaSy caftellti, tnunicipia, conciiiabula, castra ipsn, tribus, decutias, palatium, Senatum, forum {t. 37.] We the sons of the clergy, are but of yesterday, as k 'were -, and yet the country, the city, the court, the army, the fleet, the bar, the bench, and the Senate house itself, hath had, and still hath it large share of us: Men often famous, often high* 1y useful in their generation; useful in their pul> lie and in their private capacities; useful to their country, and useful to the churchy being ah honour and a support to that order from which they descended. The lot os the sons of the cler* gy in this case, is like that of the sons of Levi, of whom it was faid,—'* I will divide them ift '** Jacst, and scatter them in Israel" Gen. xlis. 7. This dispersion of that particular tribe among

the rest of the tribes, was intended as their punishment, but proved in the .event and in many respects a great blesfing, both to them and to thd whole Jewijb community.

Again, even the secular cafes arid avocations which accompany marruge, have not been without their advantages; inasmuch as the clergy, have by this means, been generally fornished with some measure of skill in the common affairs of lise, have gained some insight into men and things, and a competent knowledge of (what is called) the.world: A knowledge to which most of the order, while under the obligations of celibacy, were great strangers. And of this kind of knowledge they have made admirable use in their prosession, towards guiding and saving soiils; for it has enabled them to preach to their flocks after the most rational and convincingj the most apt and sensible manner, "rightly dividing the word "of truth, like workmen that needed not to be "ashamed ;' and so explaining and applying the general precepts of morality contained in the gospel, as that the consciences of those to whom they addressed their doctrine, should readily bear wimess of the truth, and seel the power of it* Tis, perhaps, for this reason, among others, that our practical Divinity is allowed to excel', and to be as sound and affecting, as that of our Popish neighbours is flat and unedifying. For he thit preaches to man, should "understand what is iri "man," to such a degree as is requisite to qualify him for the task: And that skill can scarce be duly attained by an Ascetic in his solitudes, or a Monk in his cloystcr. I speak the sense' of

Vol. II. Bb St.

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