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prosperity, be joyful ; but in the day of adversity, confider: Godalfo hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him;" Eccl. vii, 14. " to the end that man, not knowing what shall happen next, or-how foon it may happen, should neither be too much elated by the one, nor dejected by the other, “God hath” indeed sometimes, “ chastened us with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men; but his mercy hath not departe 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 the posterity of his elect: and the feed of them that love him, he will not take away." Eccl. xlvii.-22. · Be.ge not therefore" wearied and faint in your mind." The order to which ye belong, and even the establishment on which it subfifts, have often been struck at, but in vain ; ftill every blow that was aimed at them miffed of its effect, and produced events contrary to the intention of those 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 paffed over, because it will administer reflexions of a very encouraging nature, and very apposite to the design of this prem fent solemnity.
When marriage, at the reformation, was first allowed to the clergy of this kingdom, there is no doubt, but that some who then sat at the helm, and gave no good proofs of any real regard for religion, intended it as a politic device to lefsen their interest, and keep them low in the world,
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 first, several temptations, under which the Popish clergy lay, towards embracing an interest distinct from that of their country, are by this means effectually removed; and all uneafy 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 enjoy those poor remains of ancient picty, which the possesses, without that envy and ill-will which would otherwise attend them. Little reason there is (God knows) to en. vy her on this account: for notwithstanding the large incomes annexed to some few of her prefer. ments, I will be bold to say, and do not doubt to prove, that this church, in proportion to the numbers of its clergy, hath in the whole, as little to fubfift on, as almost any even of those Protes. tant 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 qualified by a sense of our marriage circumstances, which even they, who are pleased to think us under no other tye to the frue 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
the ruin or disturb the peace of it: since in the public safety and tranquillity, that also of their wives and children, that is, of their nearest and
deareft relations, is involved, according to these · remarkable words of the prophet Jei emy, directo
cd to the Jews in Babylon. " Take ye wives," says he, “and beget sons and daughters, and “ take wives for your sons, and give your daugh".ters to husbands, that they may bear fons and “ daughters, that ye may be increased there, and ~ pot diminished: And seek the peace of the “ city, whither I have caused you to be carried. “-For in the peace thereof thall ye have peace.” Jer. xxxix. 6, 7 .
By this means also the foul impurities, that that reigned among the unmarried, especially the monkish clergy, and the scandalous reflexions which fell upon the whole order on that account, have been prevented. 'Tis true, these enormities have been thought more and greater than they really were. 'Twas the interest of those, who thirfted after the poffeffions of the clergy, to represent the poffeffors in as vile colours as they could; and many of those poor people were, doubtless, frightened and betrayed into false and disadvantageous confessions; the general prejudices of the time falling in with these acounts, and procuring them an universal 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 Lord to be abhorred. And it is plain, that the cure of this evil is one of those many bleffings, 'which have arisen to our religion, and church,
from a marı ied clergy. : Another is, that great numbers of men, defi
cended from them, have been distributed into all Arts and profeffions, all ranks and orders of men amongft us; and have, by the bleffing of God upon 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 queftion not, but that there are many here this day, who will have the same fuccess in the world, and will make the same use of it. We may say to our countrymen, as Tertul'ian, in his apology, did to the Romans, Hoferni fumus, et veftra omnia implevimus, urbes, infulas, castelli, municipia, conciliabula, castra ipfa, tribus, decurias, palatium, Senatum, forum [c. 37.] Wc the sons of the clergy, are but of yefterday, as it were'; and yet the country, the city, the court, the army, the fleet, the bar, the bench, and the Senate house itfelf, hath had, and still hath a large share of us : Men often famous, often highly useful in their generation; useful in their pub lic and in their private capacities; useful to their country, and useful to the church; being an honour and a support to that order from which they defcended. The lot of the sons of the clergy in this cafe, is like that of the fons of Levi, of whom it was said," I will divide them in ** Jacob, and fcatter them in Ifrael," Gen. xlix. 7. This difperfion 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 bleiling, both to them and to the whole Jewish community : Again, even the secular cares and avocations which accompany marriage, have not been witha out their advantages ; inasmuch as the clergy, have by this means, been generally furnished with some measure of skill in the common affairs of life, have gained some insight inco 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 celia bacy, were great ftrangers. And of this kind of knowledge they have made admirable use in their profession, towards guiding and saving souls ; for it has enabled them to preach to their flocks after the nost rational and convincing; the most apo and fenfible manner, “rightly dividing the word « of truth, like workinen 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 witness of the truth, and feel 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 that preaches to man, should “understand what is in to man,” to such a degree as is requisite to qualify him for the talk: . And that skill can scarce be duly attained by an Ascetic in his folitudes, or a Monk in his cloyster. I speak the sense of Vol. II,