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Or is't not rather both their shame and sin,
Too narrow, and
Too thin, to stand
Take pity on her, Lord, and heal her breaches ;
Clothe all her enemies with shame : All the despite that's done unto her reaches To the dishonour of thy name.
Make all her sons
Rich precious stones,
THE Deacon! That's the Minister.
True, taken generally;
Intent, used specially,
At whose appointment, in whose stead,
He doth what he should do,
By Law, and custom too.
Loves not to vary, when he sees
No great necessity;
With all humility;
Lord, thou didst of thyself profess
Thou wast as one that served,
Though none so much deserved.
Thy way to exaltation
Was by humility;
No difference of degree
But, if thy precept cannot do't,
To make us humbly serve,
If still from both we swerve,
Which by the blessing of thy Spirit,
Whom thou hast left to be
And minister to thee,
The Priest, 1 say, the Presbyter, I mean,
As now-a-days he's call’d By many men : but I choose to retain
The name wherewith install’d He was at first in our own mother tongue : And doing so, I hope, I do no wrong.
The Priest, I say, 's a middle Officer,
Between the Bishop and The Deacon; as a middle offerer,
Which in the Church doth stand Between God and the people, ready press’d In the behalf of both to do his best.
From him to them offers the promises
Of mercy which he makes ; For them to him doth all their faults confess,
prayers and praises takes ; And offers for them, at the throne of
grace, Contentedly attending his own place.
The Word and Sacraments, the means of grace,
He duly doth dispense,
With truth's clear evidence ;
The public censures of the Church he sees
To execution brought : But nothing rashly of himself decrees,
Nor covets to be thought Wiser than his superiors; whom always He actively, or passively, obeys.
Lord Jesus, thou the Mediator art
Of the new Testament,
Of God and man, when sent
Yea, after the order of Melchisedeck,
Thou art a Priest for ever.
Such as decayeth never.
Thou camest to do the will of him that sent thee,
And didst his honour seek
Being thyself so meek,
Lord, grant that the abuse may be reform’d,
Before it ruin bring
As if 'twere no such thing :
The Bishop? Yes, why not? What doth that name
But sure if men did not despise the thing,
Some Priests, some Presbyters, I mean, would be
This the main difference is, that I can see,
But who can show of old that ever any
That Presbyters from Bishops first arose, ,
However, a true Bishop I esteem
If constituted so at first, and maim'd,
All order first from unity ariseth,
May talk of, but intends not, reformation.