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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 30 Mar 2015

In today’s slice of Herbert, he speaks about how pastors must apply the word of God to different people and situations.

Taking up an idea he first mentioned in the last chapter, Herbert here divides the Christian life into two states: war and peace.

Those that are in a state of war, in a battle with particular sins, the pastor needs to strengthen and fortify. Those that are in a state of relative peace, he must warn and encourage not to grow cold.

As part of this discourse, Herbert has some advice for how to deal with doubters, whether atheists or just wavering believers. His arguments from New Testament prophecy are interesting, and particularly make use (as other seventeenth-century preachers did) of the exiled state of the Jewish nation away from Jerusalem, to show that biblical prophecies came true.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 28 Mar 2015

In today’s extract from Herbert’s book on being a pastor, he talks about what the pastor’s library should be like. But he’s not talking about books…

Some pastors have very interesting libraries. Some like to show them off to others! But when Herbert turns here to speak about the pastor’s library, he is not so much interested in books and learned tomes and how to keep them in good order, but in the pastor’s own life, which is the most vital basis of his sermons to others.

He is especially concerned with repentance, which “consists in a true detestation of the soul, abhorring, and renouncing sin, and turning unto God in truth of heart and newness of life.” It is the first step to pleasing God. And as the pastor learns what it is like for himself, he can teach it to and encourage it in others. Repentance is the pastor’s library.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 27 Mar 2015

In today’s portion of George Herbert’s pastoral manual, he discusses how the pastor must survey the faults of the parish, especially idleness.

In a fairly long chapter, Herbert here addresses the chief sin of England: idleness. It is because people are idle and have little to do that they end up drinking too much, sleeping around, and getting into trouble, he says. So it is good for the country, and for their souls, to encourage folks not to be idle, but busy in some employment or other.

In this pursuit, he does not neglect to praise those who bring up children. It is such a great delight he says, though hard work, and we should “take as much joy in a straight-growing child or servant, as a gardener does in a choice tree.” All should have a calling, or be preparing and studying for one. It is the pastor’s job to encourage this, on the basis of Ephesians 4:28 — “Let the thief no longer steal but work, doing something useful with their own hands that they may have something to share with those in need.”

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