Christ's College

Christ's College, Cambridge was Bernard's Alma Mater


Faithful Shepherd 6A

Of the analysis and resolution of the text
The text read, the teacher is to resolve his Scripture, to lay it open to the hearers.
What is to be observed in the analysis
1. The author of the words.
2. The occasion thereof.
3. If a particular portion of Scripture or some chapter or verse of chapter then observe the coherence with that which goes before or follows after.
4. The scope or principal intention of the Holy Ghost in that place. From this scope the principal proposition arises – called by rhetoricians, the state and by lawyers the issue.
How to find out the scope of a place and to resolve the same Scripture
This is the chief thing to be laboured in and is to be found out by observing these circumstances – quis, quod, ubi, etc. That is, the person, the thing itself, the time, place, the means, the manner of doing and the end. By the person, time and place may be found the occasion. By the the thing, the matter handled. By the means, the arguments. By the manner, the method - how the arguments are laid down, which method is often cryptic and not natural. By the end, the scope and to the principal proposition, which may be brought to one of these three kinds – Demonstrative, Deliberative or Judicial.
Of dividing a text and the benefit from it
It is a hard thing to find the state of a whole book and to reduce it to one sentence or proposition because it is made up of different kinds. It is more easy with parts of a book or with a portion of Scripture.
Firstly, after the scope be found out, the text is to be divided into its several parts. By this we limit ourselves within bounds to keep ourselves from ranging. The hearer will better follow the matter and understand the meaning in the discourse. It helps the memory to carry away what is heard. Where order is lacking and without division there must needs be a disordered roving, running in and out, here now in the beginning, by and by in the ending. There is confusion, a mixture of things to be to be severed and a separation of things to be conjoined. The discourse is loose, tedious and uncertain, wandering, without stay or limitation.
How to divide particular verses
On the division of books and chapters it is not my purpose to speak because helps enough are to be had for this and are so common in all men's labours and commentaries that it is a needless labour to give any precepts herein.
I therefore here intend to speak of particular Scriptures, one or two verses for a text, and of the division, interpretation and gathering teachings out of them only. Some verses contain evident doctrines or propositions, such as Pr 29:18, Jn 3:36. There note the quality of it – general or special, affirmative or negative, necessary or contingent; the parts, the antecedent and consequent. Where such evident propositions be not found, first look out a totum, what in general to name it – such as a narration, a doctrine teaching something, an exhortation to do or a dehortation to desist; a command, a promise; a threat or rebuke; petition, wish, vow, curse; profession, declaration, a salutation, a counsel, comfort, prediction, praise, thanksgiving, dispraise, admonition, question, answer, mock or taunt, definition, description, accusation, prohibition, accusation, prohibition, detestation, denial or affirmation, etc. Then gather the parts by circumstances even as the words lie in order, if it may be, for the better help of the lower sort.
To find what to call it, which term or name contains the scope of the word may be found out from other Scriptures. So Mt 28:19 is called a commandment by St Paul; Gn 17:4 St Paul calls a promise (Ro 4:20); Psalm 32:1 is interpreted by St Paul (Ro 4:6). Again, we may know how to call it by the sense of the place, even if we do not find it interpreted elsewhere or by other means. By the verb, as in Mt 9:10 a charge given, Ro 12:1 an exhortation, Lk 14:29, 30 a mocking, Ro 9:14 detestation noted by may there be which verb shows the Apostles' detestation of that blasphemy. By nouns – Da 4:24 it is a counsel. By adverbs – Ps 119:5 a wish. By conjunctions though, although, etc, are used as signs. Unless is often 'observe this objection' or 'but less' as in 2 Co 1:24. By interjections, as in Ps 120:5 a complaint. In one verse there may be two or three generals, as in Gn 32:30, the first part a narration, the latter a thanksgiving. Whereupon in such cases according as the text will afford a general division it must first be made into diverse totums and each of them after into their branches by circumstances, as for example Ezekiel 18:30 (Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin).
Ezekiel 18:30
1. These words are by the prophet Ezekiel, whom the Lord raised up so as to comfort the godly and to show the wicked their sins and punishment for the same.
2. The wicked Jews had blasphemously accused the Lord of injustice and murmured against his chastisements.
3. This the prophet reproves them for and confutes their error and shows that God's ways are equal and just and theirs unjust and that not he but they are the cause of his judgements on them, which are justly inflicted.
4. Whereupon in these words the prophet concludes that for these their speeches they deserve punishment and should be punished unless they repented.
5. The verse contains three generals or totums and therefore must first be observed
1. A threatening of judgement
2. An exhortation
3. A promise, which both the sense and the verbs (I will judge, return, shall not be) do point out to us. Now if men please, they may by circumstances divide these into several parts, everyone again, and as the words lie in order – as thus
In the threat, note
1. The cause, in therefore.
2. What is threatened, judgement.
3. Who in general, the house of Israel and more particularly everyone.
4. The manner of judgement, justly according to his ways.
5. The person threatening, the Lord.
So likewise proceed in the exhortation and promise.


Contemporaries 5

Most of the following information is derived from Stephen Wright in the ONDB
Richard Alleine (1611–1681)

Alleine was Richard Bernard's successor at Batcombe. He was one of over 2000 ejected from his living in 1662. Named after his father, Richard Alleine (d c 1655), rector of Ditcheat, Somerset, for over 50 years, he was Oxford educated. He matriculated when 19 at St Alban Hall in 1630 and graduated BA in 1631. He gained an MA at New Inn Hall in 1634. That same year he was ordained in the diocese of Salisbury and licensed to preach the year after that. In 1635 he was appointed chaplain to Sir Ralph Hopton, ironically a chief architect of the royalist supremacy in Somerset, which the Alleine family was united in opposing.
Already, before the civil war, Alleine had assisted his aged father in pastoral duties. One writer speaks of him stirring 'the entire county by his burning eloquence'. In 1642 Alleine senior presented his son to the rectory of Batcombe, not far from Ditcheat. Alleine junior was reported to have been ‘a zealous person for the blessed cause then driving on’. According to Calamy, at his induction service a friend from London took offence at ‘a very fair crucifix’ in the church and ‘most maliciously threw a stone at it and broke it’ as Richard, ‘a great precisian’ and younger brother William Alleine (1614-1677), saintly vicar of Blandford in Dorset from 1653, looked on with approval.
During the civil wars, according to Anthony Wood, Alleine was ‘a preacher up of sedition, a zealous covenanter’. He certainly supported the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 and in 1648 signed the presbyterian-inspired Attestation of the Ministers of Somerset. In 1654 he was an assistant to the commission for the approval of parish ministers in Somerset. He is reported to have had great difficulties extracting tithes from many at Batcombe in the early 1650s.
He was twice married, but little is known of his wives other than the fact that Frances, the second, and five children survived him. A daughter, Theodosia Alleine (fl 1654-1677) was married to Richard's short-lived nephew Joseph Alleine (1634-1668) author of the posthumous evangelical classic An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners (later published as A Sure Guide to Heaven).
After his ejection he lived in Batcombe, issuing a defence of presbyterian ordination in 1661. The Five Mile Act forced him to move to Frome Selwood but he seems not to have been otherwise much constrained by the Clarendon code. In 1669 he was reported to be preaching in his house at Frome and at Batcombe, Beckington and elsewhere in Somerset and into neighbouring Wiltshire and Dorset. He received several fines but they were paid by Thomas Moore, MP for Heytesbury, Wilts. Such was Alleine's grave and pious reputation that magistrates hesitated to put him in prison for fear of the outcry that might result.
His Vindiciae pietatis, or A Vindication of Godliness, first published 1663, went through several editions despite not being licensed. According to Calamy copies were ‘greedily bought up and read by sober people’, proving so saleable that king's bookseller Roger Norton had a large number seized and instead of having them destroyed bought them up 'for an old song' and had them bound and on sale in his shop. Complaints were made and he was forced 'to beg pardon upon his knees at the council table, and send them back to the King's kitchen to be' rubbed over with an inky brush (or 'bisked') then used in the Royal kitchen for lighting fires. Such 'bisked' editions occasionally turn up today.
The book was not killed. It was often reissued with additions, as in The Godly Man's Portion (1663) Heaven Opened (1666), The World Conquered (1668). The latter two titles are currently in print as is Instructions about heartwork. There was also a book of sermons. Part of his 1662 farewell sermon can be found here.
Alleine corresponded with Richard Baxter in 1671 and in April, 1672, was licensed to preach as a Presbyterian at Beckington. He is said to have continued to preach at the house of Robert Smith in Frome until his death in December, 1681. He was buried at the Frome church, where Anglican vicar, Richard Jenkins, delivered a respectful sermon in his memory.


Faithful Shepherd 5B

Chapter 5 continued
The text must be out of the canon of Scripture
For the text, it must be canonical Scripture. The minister is God’s mouth. He must then speak God’s word, not only taking it for his text but making sure all his words agree to the written truth, above which he may not presume.
The prophets came with the word of the Lord (Je 23;28; 1 Pe 4:11; 1 Co 4:6); our Saviour uttered only the word of his Father and as his Father spoke to him (Jn 7:16, 8:26, 12:50; Ac 26:22). His text was the canon of Scripture (Lk 4:16, 17). He interpreted Scripture (Lk 24). St Paul taught nothing but Scripture. It alone binds conscience. It is absolutely perfect. It converts and makes perfect (Ps 19:7; He 4;12; 1 Ti 3:16). Men’s precepts are no rule in religion. Will and affection is too base to rule and to command reason, and reason too swayed by man’s wisdom is too carnal for religion. (Ro 8:7). Ezra’s text was Scripture (Neh 8), Christ’s out of Isaiah (29:13); the Levites’ was the law (2 Ch 17:9). Everyone spoke out of the Book of God and so it continued until popish prelates invented lying legends to beguile the people. They are such as God gives over to believe lies because they did not keep or receive a love of the truth and so remain to this day even their best teachers, by God’s just judgement.
What kind of text
In the past some have preached without a text, but it is not now the custom of the church, which ordinarily must be observed. Nor is that other way so useful for increasing knowledge of the Scripture, nor to cause reverence for that which is spoken, people not seeing where it is grounded. Secondly, it must a text to beget faith, to ground hope and to settle love. We must choose such places as plainly afford us these things, to teach them regularly as the apostle exhorts.
Obscure Scriptures about which controversial questions must necessarily arise leave to the schools and do not handle them among the common people and the ordinary sort. Common assemblies are not suitable either to hear or to judge controversies. Yet it is the fault of many preachers, who commonly use every sermon to raise one point or another that is disputed. They they spend most of their time on it, often without just reason or necessary cause. The fruit of these men’s labours is their hearers contentiousness, talk about words, quibbles and vain ostentation - but not faith working by love and holy sanctification.
It must be a fit text
Thirdly, the text must be for the hearers. If St Paul preach before a heathen Felix, intemperate and unjust, his words shall sound out temperance, righteousness and judgement so that Felix may hear and tremble. Christ Jesus will preach before scribes and Pharisees against false interpretation of Scripture, human traditions and hypocrisy.
This choice of fit text commends the minister’s wisdom in teaching; his faithfulness to perform his office without fear and his care to do good. It will prevent cavils when things are reproved, which the text plainly affords. On the contrary, an inappropriate text shows that the preacher lacks judgement, either to choose his text or to know his audience or both. Otherwise it is that he has but some favourite sermons that must serve his turn alike upon all occasions in any place or that he is fearful and dare not take a text to touch them, especially men of consequence, whom he would rather please by his preaching, to advantage himself and so loathe is such a one to offend. It is the fault of too many in these days - men-pleasers, not the servants of Christ.
This is the reason why many weigh every word, as in a balance, for weight and tunable measure, for fine pronunciation to delight the ear, more for a plaudit than to convince conscience or to remove impiety. They glance at sin sometimes but fair and far off for fear of hitting. They are much in controversies, by which they least displease men who lead sinful lives, who willingly listen to anything except about their sins and reformation of life. These be preachers full of discretion but of little religion and lacking a true and hearty desire to bring men to salvation.
Here then we see that a preacher must have knowledge of his audience, to fit his text to them, considering where they be and what kind of persons - public or private, ecclesiastical or of the body politic, superstitious or religious, of holy life or profane, peaceable or persecutors, zealous or lukewarm, constant or backsliders, of sound judgement or wandering from the truth, either ignorantly or out of obstinacy.
The place must be also considered - a city or a town, a popular place or a last resort. Also, if the meeting be not an ordinary one, he must note the occasion, the purpose and timing - whether in happiness or in sorrow, to rejoice or lament, in time of prosperity or adversity - and so frame his speech.
How to be always ready to speak
Therefore it is also requisite that he be a man experienced in the Word and one who has in reading Scripture gathered together a variety of portions on a variety of subjects and has them ready noted in some little paper book and studies at times to be more ready to speak on them as occasion shall require. If a man wants to know how to speak well at any time, in any place, to all sorts of unknown people, he must take general Scriptures which may rightly concern all and cannot be spoken to any without making an impact, such as these - Ec 12:13, Jas 1:27, 2 Co 1:5, 10, Ju 14, Jn 3:16 or 36, Ac 18:26, etc.


Faithful Shepherd 5A

Of the Preface after the prayer and of the text of the Scripture
Praise finished, he may either stand up or sit down, as the order of the Church is, it is indifferent. The Doctors in Jerusalem, it seems, sat. Our Saviour Christ sat (Mt 13:2; 5:1) but the Apostles stood up (Ac 3:16).
When to use a preface
It is not necessary ever to use a preface but men may if they please. It is sometimes convenient upon unusual occasions in more solemn assemblies, when one speaks to an unknown audience or to a congregation not ones own for the first time or in taking charge of a flock. He may begin as he thinks appropriate to stir up the audience to attention.
Where to get it
From the purpose of their coming, the material in hand being profitable and necessary; from a consideration of God's presence; from the professed Religion, their coming at that presence, the hope given from their former endeavours and the gifts of God in them; from some examples of good hearers; the commendation of hearing and commandment to do it in Scripture; from some sentence of Scripture, containing the drift of the sermon to be delivered; from what he thinks appropriate and as he is able.
Of giving of titles, beware of flattery
Our Saviour used a preface before his sermon (Lk 4:20, 21), so did the prophets before him (Ez 1, 2) and the Apostles after him sometimes (Ac 2:14, 10:34, 13:16). We may also use reverend titles and loving appellations, such as saying 'Men and Brethren, Fathers; you that fear God'. Yea, Luke can write 'Most noble Theophilus' and St Paul can say 'Most Noble Festus'. If in this we give what is due as we know and are Christianly persuaded, we offend not. But yet let us not be in this too much or many, nor often, nor go too far. Keep a wise moderation of the tongue, in what we may easily let slip and in heart beware of flattery. It were better to come a little short on the right hand in this (Jo 31:21, 22) than go too far on the left. Flattery is pernicious everywhere but chiefly a pestilent thing in the pulpit, where the very appearance must be forborne, which we will easily do before the basest but many can hardly do before princes, nobles and their bountiful patrons especially those that preach for praise or to to get a benefice, of which sort there are too many.
Of the text of Scripture
After the preface, declare with an audible voice what portion of Scripture is the text you will treat, whether a book or a chapter or some one or more verses in a chapter (Ne 8:8) and read the same once from the book. And if it be but a short text pronounce it again without the book, distinctly both times. If it be long, read it but once and utter only some part of the beginning again, with a 'and so forth'.
Read the text out of the best commonly approved translation and do not be a controller of it
Read it in the translation to ordinary people and in that which is most commonly received and best approved, and just as it is set down there, without addition, detraction or change of anything therein. It is not fit that everyone be a public controller of a publicly received translation. As it may argue some presumption or pride in the Corrector, so it may breed contention and leave a great scruple and cast doubts into the hearers minds, what reckoning to make of a translation. It also gives great advantage to the Papists who hereby labour to forestall many, so that they think little of translations, which we see can never be so well done and generally approved but some particular persons will be censuring the same, and that not only in private (a thing happily tolerable if the censure be true and wisely proceeded in) but also they must needs show their skill in pulpits. It may seem that such hold it an excellent thing to wag the finger and show off what they know and their opinions, as Persius says to the vain ones, Is your knowledge of no value, unless another know that you possess that knowledge? It is very necessary that the translation be most sound. But it is not expedient that public proclamation always be made of some small defects that by much investigation may fairly be noted in it by every ordinary person but only such faults as need noting, and that by learned men too.
With an ordinary audience we must use only our mother tongue
As the text must be read in the mother tongue, so here to speak a little briefly of it by the way, must the whole sermon before a common assembly, according to the prophets practice, the use of our Saviour, the reasons of St Paul, the custom of the Apostles and as the Primitive Fathers, the Greek and Latin Doctors of the church would do, as their extant sermons declare, without intermixing long sentences in strange languages not understood and different from their native speech.
A foreign tongue hinders the understanding of most hearers (except if it is used rarely, appropriately and briefly) they being ignorant of it and how it relates to what was before spoken or to that which follows after. Unless it is used with discretion, it is hiding from them what we profess rather than teaching them and an unprofitable misspending of time. First, there is no need to utter it, perhaps in Greek, then in Latin and after in English - a treble or a double labour for one. It may be one, two, three or some few more understand a little the languages but all the others do not. Must we therefore, pleasing ourselves, seek to delight the few, to win a little empty praise for our learning, while all the rest stand at a gaze, admiring what is said without edification? We that stand up in Christ's place must not seek our own commendation. There we must paint out the truth lively and plainly, proving ourselves faithful dispensers of God's secrets to the conscience of every believer, doing everything to the utmost of our power. Nevertheless, necessity constraining, such as sometimes to declare the emphasis of a word, often signifying more in the original than in the translation or to note some special phrases to convince someone proudly conceited about his knowledge or in a learned audience, I doubt not of a freedom in this.


Contemporaries 4 (Chart)

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Faithful Shepherd 4

Originally appearing on Heavenly Worldliness this is a modified version of Chapter 4 of Bernard's Faithful Shepherd
Of Prayer before the Sermon
The minister and man of God well prepared then, he proceeds to the godly order of divine service, as it is called. We follow the pattern appointed by the church, without wanting to give any offence. The custom is that after a psalm has been sung you may ascend into the pulpit (Ne 8:7), appropriately placed for the benefit of all, or most – so that you can see everyone and they can fix their eyes on you (Lk 4).Begin with prayer before you read the text, as was the custom of the ancient fathers (St Augustine testifies also to it). We are bound here too by religious reverence. Prayer must be the proem (or introduction). It is the Lord who gives both wisdom to understand and words of utterance. It is the Spirit (Ep 6:19, Jn 16) who strengthens their hearts in speaking, who guides them in the truth, calls things to their remembrance and makes them able ministers of the gospel. The disciples (Mt 10; 2 Co 3:5,6) might not go out before they had received the Spirit (Lk 24: Ac 1, 2:47, 13:48); nor may we go up and speak without it.It is not by the instrument that men are converted nor is it (2 Co 3:6) in the words that the power to save lies (Dt 29:4; Is 63:17). But it is the Lord's blessing thereupon, who adds to the church by this means such as are ordained to be saved. Paul plants, Apollos waters, but God gives the increase. Otherwise all is in vain, even if wonders were showed from heaven with the preaching of the Word.
What is required in a Minister to be able to pray well
Here for the minister to do his work, faith is required to go to the throne of grace boldly. Feelings of desire and need of God's blessing are required to pray ardently. Love and sympathy for his hearers are required to cry to God compassionately. A consideration of God's glorious majesty there present is required to speak to him reverently. It must be with understanding and affection; the matter well digested into an order and spoken in a few words briefly.
Long and tedious prayers not commendable
It is not helpful, usually, to be long in prayer, except sometimes on extraordinary occasions. Remember that one may more easily continue praying with devotion than others can hear in silence, religiously giving assent with good attention. Half hour prayers are too tedious, though usual with some men. This is their indiscretion - wearisome to all and liked by none but those who pray them, people who seem to strive to win God by words, or to waste time. It may be assumed that such people do not weigh men's weakness, or that they think prayer is not fervent unless it is stretched out to such a length. Meanwhile, experience shows to every man's feeling that fervency of spirit in prayer is not so lasting but even in a short while is interrupted with wavering thoughts and fantasies so that the edge of godly fervency of affection is soon blunted. Let everyone in praying consider what he is in hearing, and so measure his time and by the like or dislike of the Christianly disposed, whose minds must in these things be our measure.
Of the voice in prayer and gesture
The voice must be audible, continued with one sound, the words uttered deliberately, not huddled up in a hasty manner too irreverently. The gesture is with bended knees; with the eyes and hands lifted up towards heaven.
A set form of prayer in the beginning
It is not amiss (except on some unusual occasion) to observe in the beginning one set form of prayer, as many godly men do. In our prayer we are the people's mouth to God, therefore those who in the pulpit pray for themselves in the singular number, as thus: 'I pray thee open my mouth, etc' are by so doing breaking off from the course of their public function and making it a private action, out of tune and without concord to the rest and so a jarring thing.


Faithful Shepherd 3B

This is the second part of Chapter 3 on the Minister’s wise and godly proceeding in his pastoral charge to teach his people.

3. Taught but unsanctified
If they have been a taught people and have knowledge but without a show of sanctification teaching about the Law must be urged on them with legal threats (2 Co 7:8) to bring them to feel their sin. Focus on some particular sin that they are guilty of and stress the evil of that sin on them and the wrath of God that must follow (Ac 8:22). Make them sorry so that in the end they may repent from it. Bring true repentance for one sin and it will lead to a hatred of them all. When they are humbled, preach consolation.
4. A believing and conscientious people
If they know and believe, living religiously in a holy way of life , they must be encouraged, commended and entreated to continue and grow daily. Deliver the law without the curse as a rule of obedience not to condemn them (2 Th 1:5, 4:1; Ac 11:23) and stir them with the sweet promises of the gospel to believe it and practice it to the end.
5. Backsliding
If they be declining or already fallen back either in their understanding or way of life call them back and labour to recover them, by convincing them of errors, correcting their vices (Ga 1, etc, Isa 1, etc, 1 Co) and by showing their future miseries if they fall and their happiness if they return again in good time.
6. A mixed congregation
If the people be a mix as our congregations are, they must be dealt with in all the ways we have outlined above.Inform the ignorant, confirm such as have understanding, reclaim the antagonistic, encourage the virtuous, convince the erroneous, strengthen the weak, recover again the backslider, resolve the uncertainty of those who doubt, feed with milk and strong meat continually in season and out of season. When you yourself do not want to labour and the people do not want to hear (1 Ti 4:1, 2), when pleasures disappear, when worldly cares carry away much labour and appear to be so much waste with little hope of profit to follow, yes, even in persecution, then do not cease. Remember that you have a flock to feed and their blood to answer for (Ez 3, Ac 20). Weigh with compassion their misery, consider your glory and reward in winning souls and that it is God who will fully recompense when the people despise you and consider you as nothing.
It is not good to preach without preparationIn performing your office always be very keen to speak but do not attempt to discharge your public duties without preparation. The person best able to think on his feet, the one with the finest memory for recall or with the most voluble tongue for utterance (excellent gifts but much abused due to idleness and the pursuit of vain glory) may not exempt a man from studying, reading, writing and for some time meditating and being continual in prayer. Indeed men of God with extraordinary gifts in the past were diligent searchers. The Saviour and chief prophet exhorts the teachers in Jerusalem in this way (Jn 5). Paul binds Timothy to it (1 Ti 4:13). Peter plainly shows it to be the practice of the prophets (1 Pe 1:10). It seems that Jeremiah read the Psalms (Je 10, Ps 79:6), Daniel perused Jeremiah (Da 9:2). It is certain that Paul had his books and parchments, not to write in but to read from, if Calvin may be believed. Peter we may see looked into Paul’s letters (2 Pe 3:16).
The emptiness of preaching extemporeIt does not fit the weightiness of the work or the reverence of the place to run suddenly to stand up in the place of God. A rash attempt in such high mysteries simply breeds contempt. A man who desires to show off his extemporary faculty shows his indiscretion and folly. Who that is wise will speak before princes or princely peers of princes’ affairs openly with lightness and suddenly of matters on great importance? Who will, who respects the Lord, give the sentence of life and death rashly? The minister in Christ’s chair speaks of Christ, before God and his angels. The matter is the secrets of the kingdom. The precious treasures of heaven are opened by him and set to sail. He is setting before his hearers life and death, heaven and hell, and is pronouncing the sentence of salvation or damnation on them.
Spontaneous undigested ideas of the mind are bound to be delivered in a rash way
Such speaking is often little to the purpose and often as far from the matter as the man is from serious meditations. The world is full of carpers – not all are conscientious hearers. By the rash and heady trundling out of something, without realising you may give an occasion to those disposed to evil, either out of contempt or in order to be contentious. People with this disposition labour for praise. They either play the worldling all the week or delight in their pleasures and yet can suddenly give people a sermon. However, they often lose what they are looking for from the wise and judicious hearer. Holy things are not to be handled hastily lest we throw pearls to pigs. Maintenance is provided and time is allotted for this and so we do not need, unless we choose, to undertake such work without preparation. Such lightness in preaching gives an airy idea of preaching though not the regular preaching seriously done by study and thinking about the future.Preaching should not be a labour of the laps or talk of the tongue, the result of a light imagination, but a serious meditation on heart knowledge grounded in much study and the illumination of the Spirit.To preach this way will make people take your words seriously. It will move your hearers to reverence, bring more credit to God’s ordinance, work more effectively, yes, pierce more deeply, if you speak with authority, as you will if your words carry the weight of reason and religion and are delivered with a conscious knowledge of the truth.

Contemporaries 3

Isabel Wray, Lady Darcy (d 1622)
Wray (d 1622), a patron of clergymen, was, along with her sister Frances Wray (d August 1634), a great help to Bernard in his early days, providing him with the finance he needed to proceed to Christ's College, Cambridge. Isabel was the daughter of Sir Christopher Wray of Glentworth (c1522-1592), the lord chief justice and his wife Ann Brocklesby [nee Girlington] (d 1593). Unlike their anti-puritan father the daughters and their brother Sir William, were sympathetic to radical Protestants like the Se-Baptist John Smyth (d 1612).
In 1586 Isabel had a Katherine Wright, who was believed to be possessed by a demon, taken to her house at Walton, near Chesterfield, for godly ministers to treat her. Eventually John Darrell (c1562-c1607), who later enjoyed a spectacular, if short-lived, career as an exorcist, was credited with curing Wright. He later sent Isabel his own account of his successful exorcisms and she no doubt introduced him to the circle of Puritans led by Arthur Hildersham, centring on Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Darrell moved to Ashby and these Puritans became his staunch supporters.
According to the ODNB Isabel and her second husband Sir William Bowes were angered by opposition to the millenary petition for church reform made when James I came to power. They expressed their views in a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury of 17 December, 1603. Paying what was then an unusual tribute to female skills in matters theological, Sir William wrote that he had consulted with his wife before writing as ‘she is verie wise, especiallie in thinges of this kind’. He passed on his wife's detailed criticisms of the University of Oxford's disparaging answer to the millenary petition and Isabel added her own postscript, comparing the Answer to Rabshakeh's ultimatum to Hezekiah (2 Kings 18) - 'railing Rabshakeh’ was a stock figure for a blasphemer in literature of the time. She also prayed that God would turn the king's heart and lead him to favour the petition. Shrewsbury replied to Lady Bowes that ‘your indiscrete comparison bewrayes the weaknes of your womanhode, thoughe much disagreeing from the modestie of your sex’. He went on, invoking the example of Eve, to warn Sir William against following his wife's counsel and bewailed the influence Puritan ministers had on ‘simple women’.
It was at Isabel's Coventry home that Bernard later met in conference with Hildersham, Smyth, William Brewster, John Dod, Thomas Helwys, John Robinson and others in 1606 to discuss conditions in the Church of England. At this conference Smyth and Helwys argued against the Church of England and in favour of separation from it. Their position was rejected by the majority but at this point Bernard seems still to have been favourable. Eventually he decisively rejected separatism and vehemently attacked separatists. Perhaps Isabel was still sympathetic at this point too. In 1611 Helwys dedicated an anti-predestinarian work, A Short and Plaine Proofe, to her, voicing his gratitude for past support and hoping God would reveal to her the truth of his arguments.
There is no evidence that Isabel gave Helwys any further support but she continued to be generous to Puritan ministers, particularly where they had lost their livings for nonconformity. Among those who benefited from her patronage were Paul Baynes (1560-1617) and Richard Rothwell (b 1563). She was the sponsor of Rothwell's successful ministry in Durham and paid his salary of £40 a year.
Isabel was first married to Godfrey Foljambe (1558–1595), a Derbyshire JP and MP. Four years after his death, she became, in 1599, the second wife of Sir William Bowes of Bradley Hall (c 1575-1611), a Durham gentleman who, during Elizabeth's reign, held several important offices in the north of England and served on embassies to Scotland. Sir William died in 1611 and on 7 May 1617, Isabel married her third husband, John Darcy, third Lord of Aston (1579-1635). She was his second wife. She herself died on 12 February, 1622, at her house in Aldwark, near Rotherham, Yorkshire and was buried in nearby Rawmarsh.
Frances first married Sir George St Paul (c 1562-1613), Baronet of Snarford, then Robert Rich (1559-1619), first Earl of Warwick, on 14 December, 1616. He had been married to Penelope Devereux with whom he had seven children but they divorced in 1605. She lived until August, 1634.

Faithful Shepherd 3A

Originally appearing at Heavenly Worldliness this is a modified version of the first part of Chapter 3 of The Faithful Shepherd

Of the Minister’s wise and godly proceeding in his pastoral charge to teach his people

A Minister must feed his flock
A minister placed over a congregation, as we say, is appointed to it by God, and there he must be content to stay, unless he be lawfully called from there, or some necessity compel him to depart.That flock he must forthwith begin to feed, and not only desire their fleece. Wages are due to the worker. The painstaking labourer should reap the profit and not the idle loiterer.
How to rightly and usefully feed different sorts of people
To rightly feed it is necessary, to weigh what state they stand in and to consider their condition. A counsellor must know the case to give sound advice, the physician must know his patient to administer a wholesome potion and he who will benefit a people must be skillful to understand his hearers.
1. Ignorant and unteachable
If ignorant and unteachable, prepare them to receive the Word and win them from their own ways, adopted customs and superstitious practices; from their supposed good intents, the examples of their blindly-led forefathers; from well liking Popish religion as the best according to carnal reasoning and worldly thinking; from dislike of the truth now taught them; and from the misguided idea that they are in fact happy enough. See these and such like impediments, as rubbish to be removed and aim to lay a foundation by reasoning with them and powerfully convincing them of sin so that they may be pricked in their hearts and see the necessity of your preaching to them. (Acts 17:2, 3:17; 2:36).If this touches them and they become co-operative then deliver gospel teaching more generally at first and, as they change, more particularly. (Acts 17:30, 31). If they remain obstinate and will not receive the Word after sufficient time of trial they deserve to be left (Mt 10:14; Pro 9:8; Mt 7:6; Acts 19:8, 9, 17:33).
2. Ignorant and teachable
If ignorant but willing to be taught, they must be first catechised and taught the grounds and principles of religion – the Creed, Lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments and teaching on the sacraments. With this milk they must be fed or else never expect them to be able to receive strong meat. They cannot understand or judge interpretations without it. (1 Cor 3:1; Heb 5:13; Jn 16:12; 1 Pet 3:21; Lk 1:4). All arts have their principles which must be learned, so has religion.
That people must be catechised and the manner how
Experience shows that little profit comes by preaching where catechising is neglected. Many there are who teach twice or three times in a week and yet see less fruit for many years labour by not also catechising than some reap in one year who perform both together.This sort of catechising is to be performed by propounding questions and the people answering them. This plain and simple kind is the best and will bring the most profit, though it seem childish, and tedious to many.
Children (as all are without knowledge, yes babes at first) must be dealt with as children. Many teach the catechism but in a rambling style. Experience declares that this does not help the more coarse sort at all, which is what most in country congregations are like. Those who will catechise correctly must teach, that is listen as well instructing. Catechising is listening and instructing and one catechised is resounding. In schools masters never help scholars who do not listen, even though they give lectures.Let the people then learn the catechism word for word and answer every question. Do not interrupt beginners with interpretations nor go further with any than he is able to say well. After come to the meaning and ask for an answer then from them, how they understand this or that in one question and another but do not go beyond their own ideas. Wait a while for an answer but not too long. If someone does not know, ask another; if anyone only stammers at it, help him and encourage him by commending his willingness. If no-one can answer a question, explain plainly how they might have understood it and then ask someone again and praise him if he understands it and answers after your telling him.
Note variations in ability and deal with them accordingly. Take a word or a part of an answer from one, while expecting more from another. Teach with a cheerful manner, with familiarity and lovingly. Openly commend those who are keen. Also speak to them heartily in private too. Aim at goodwill. Hardly anyone will learn from one he hates. Feel free to answer anyone asks and gladly take the opportunity to show that you are always willing to teach. Be familiar but beware of contempt. Never permit anyone to laugh at others who fail. It will totally discourage them from coming. Make much of the lowest, esteem the best, as appropriate, to make the rest want to reach the same standard. Rebuke the wilful and obstinate as they deserve, so that their example does not make those easily led careless or the better sort less attentive.
Thus through God’s goodness you may benefit others by catechising. Also draw them into it without compulsion. If you are proud and cannot stoop to their capacity or you are too impatient to hear an ignorant answer or disdain being familiar, few will come to you willingly and none except by force and you will not benefit many. Experience has been my schoolmaster and taught me these things and I find great fruit from it to my comfort.
We must suspect that we have failed in our duty if no-one benefits from our efforts. Perhaps our hearts do not sincerely seek what we seem to profess to seek. We teach as usual, of course, but we do not conscientiously endeavour to save our people.

Bernard Family Tree

John Bernard (1515-1592 26 Aug buried) Married Anne Wright (c1520-15?) Third wife

Richard Bernard (11 Apr 1568-1641 Mar) Married ?

1. Cananuel (born 1601)

2. Besekiell (baptised 18 Oct 1602)

3. Hosell (baptised 30 Apr 1605)

4. Masakiell (baptised 27 Sep 1607)
Married Mary
20 Mar 1636 emigrated from Weymouth, Dorset, to Weymouth, Mass, Tailor or clothier

John (1633) Nathaniel (1635)
Mary (27 Sep 1637) Sarah (5 Apr 1639)

5. Mary (baptised 24 Sep 1609-died c1683 Providence, RI)
Married (15 Dec 1629, High Laver Church, Essex, England)
Roger Williams (born London c1599-died 1683 Providence, RI)
10 Dec 1631 emigrated to New England , from Bristol on Lyon

6. Beniemene (born 11 Oct 1613 died the next day)

A Timeline

1568 11 Apr Born Epworth, Lincolnshire
30 Apr Baptised at Epworth

b. John Welsh of Ayr, Scots Reformer
Mary Queen of Scots flees to England, arrested by Elizabeth I
1569 Pope excommunicates Elizabeth I
1571 b. Puritan Henry Ainsworth
1577 b. Richard Sibbes Puritan
1592 [24] Enters Christ's College, Cambridge

1593 d. Henry Barrowe, John Greenwood, John Penry, Puritans and separatists
1595 [27] Graduates BA
1598 [30] Graduates MA, first edition of works (?)

Edict of Nantes passed in France guaranteeing protestant rights
1599 b. Oliver Cromwell
1601 [33] Marriage and birth of Cananuel. Translates Latin poet Terence
19 Jun Becomes vicar at Worksop, Notts
1602 [34] 18 Oct Baptism of Besekiell
Large Catechism first published
1603 James I becomes King, Arminius takes up his non-predestination position
1604 Puritans meet James at Hampton Court. Hopes dashed
1605 [37] 9 Apr Deprived of his living in Worksop
30 Apr Baptism of Hosell
1606 Forms separatist congregation in Worksop
1607 [39] Returns to original charge at Worksop
June Faithful Shepherd first published. Also an edition of his works.
27 Sep Baptism of Masachiell
1608 [40] Book against separatism published
‘Presented’ for refusing to use the sign of the cross in baptism
1609 [41] An expanded edition of Faithful Shepherd appears
The sinners safety published
24 Sep Baptism of daughter Mary
d. Jacobus Arminius

1610 [42] Contemplative Pictures published and a pro-Anglican book
Arminians issue Remonstrance containing 5 articles
1611 Again ‘presented’ for refusing to use the sign of the cross in baptism
King James Bible first published
1612 [44] Moves to Somerset

Josuahs Godly Resolution (on household duties) first published
1613 [45] Book on catechising and maintaining the minister published
1614 [46] Complete works published
1615 b. Puritan Richard Baxter
1616 [48] Davids Musick (Psalms 1-3), A Staffe of Comforth to Stay the Weake published and A Weekes Worke, And A Worke For Every Weeke first published
b. Puritan John Owen
1617 [49] Commentary on Revelation published
1618 Book of Sports published. Contradicts Puritan view of the Sabbath. Forced to read it
Synod of Dort called in the Netherlands to answer the Arminians
1619 [51] Work against popery published
1620 Plymouth, Massachusetts colony founded by Puritans
1621 [53] The Good Mans Grace. Or His Stay In All Distresse and The Seaven Golden Candlestickes published
1623 [55] Looke Beyond Luther first published
b. Blaise Pascal, philosopher b. Francis Turretin, theologian
1624 [56] Son Cananuel becomes rector of Pitney, Somerset

1625 [57] Son Cananuel becomes vicar of Huish Episcopi, Somerset
Charles I becomes King. Opposes Puritans
1626 [58] Rhemes Against Rome published

1627 [59] The Isle Of Man and book on witchcraft first published
1628 [60] Ruth's Recompense published
William Laud becomes Bishop of London and steps up oppression of Puritans
b. Puritan John Bunyan
1629 [61] 15 Dec daughter Mary marries Roger Williams in High Laver, Essex

The Bible Battles published
Complete works published
Charles I dismisses Parliament
1630 [62] Common Catechism with commentary first published
John Winthrop and many other Puritans emigrate to America
1631 [63] 11 Oct Birth of Beniemene who dies the next day
10 Dec Mary and Roger emigrate from Bristol to New England
Christian See To Thy Conscience published
1632 b. John Locke, founder of empiricism
1633 [64] Birth of grandson John to Masachiell
Book of Sports is renewed
1634 [65] October Cited for his nonconformity
1635 [66] Birth of grandson Nathaniel to Masachiell
The Ready Way to Good Works published
1636 [67] 20 Mar Masachiell (tailor) emigrates from Weymouth to New England
Writes to church elders and magistrates in Massachusetts Bay Colony about their church practices and enfranchisement provisions
Harvard founded by Puritans
1637 [68] 27 Sep grand daughter Mary born in New England
1638 The National Covenant
1639 [69] 5 Apr grand daughter Sarah born in New England
1640 Works with John Talbott, Milton Abbas and Robert Walstead, Bloxworth, to circulate a petition against the etcetera oath
Charles I summons Parliament. They curtail his power
1641 [71] Anatomie of the Service Book, Short View of the prelatical C of E, The Article of Christs Descension into Hell and a book on the Sabbath published. Edition of Works published
31 March death at Batcombe, Somerset


Faithful Shepherd 2

Originally appearing at Heavenly Worldliness, this is a modified version of Chapter 2 of Bernard's Faithful Shepherd of 1607.
Of the lawful entrance of a Minister into the Ministry and also into his charge and place
We see that it is no disgrace for anyone to be a minister of the gospel. It is a calling worthy of any qualified in the excellent manner. However not everyone is worthy of it or suitable for it but only such as are called and sent by God, being provided with gifts to some extent and so able to discharge the office of a teacher and stirred up with a godly affection to want the office.
A minister must be called by God and sent by the Church. Thus being sent by God, the church, or they to whom the authority of the church is committed, must conduct an examination. They must test you and approve you by discovering whether you have been equipped with such gifts as are necessary for a minister. They must then call and institute one lawfully presented to a pastoral charge to take care over the flock. We may not take it on us before we are called. If any run before the Lord call, as many do for profit, ease and honour, they may condemn themselves by haste and go without expectation of good speed (Lk 24, Ac 1). God appoints only those he prepares beforehand, giving them gifts to perform their duty. Jerome says that if a priest is ignorant of the Law of the Lord then he is shown not to be priest of the Lord, after all. In the same way, an unfit man who is ignorant and vain may be man’s minister but he is not Christ’s messenger.
Motives to the Ministry
Again, if we run without the authority of the church it is presumption, contempt of authority, breach of order, the nurse of confusion, the mother of schism and the bane of churches’ peace. If we begin well we are more likely to end well. First let us take our warrant, then proceed in the commission and aim at a right end. Let true zeal move you for God’s glory, the advancing of Christ’s kingdom, the conversion of sinners and to build the body of Christ. Seek to open the eyes of the blind, to turn them from darkness to light, from Satan to God, to edify the body of Christ and to overthrow the power of darkness. Do not enter for profit, for fear of poverty or for ease, because you do not want a menial job. Nor simply to be held in high esteem. Let the chief ends of the ministry be what you aim at. Seek God not yourself, lest with Judas you find your desire being for the bag and so losing God’s blessing. There is a proper end for everything. The Lord shows why he has appointed pastors for his church. If we surreptitiously seek anything else, hoping to gain from it something God’s appointment does not aim at, it is a hypocritical abuse of holy things by a deceitful heart, as Jezebel did when she called a fast for Naboth’s vineyard. Such hearts reveal themselves eventually in idleness, covetousness or proud aspiring.
The Minister’s gifts must fit his place
When God has equipped and the church approved, because God’s gifts come freely so we must endeavour to purchase a place by simony. Nor should you choose it because you are eager for the best post, but according to your gifts. Look for the place where your gifts are most likely to profit a people.A man may be a fit minister of Christ yet not be suited to every congregation. Few are as well suited to a meek company as a mild and soft spirit; to a small group as one with a quiet voice (otherwise only some will hear while the rest must stand and gaze); to stubborn people as an undauntable mind - a hard knot requires a hard wedge; to a great assembly as one with a loud voice; to a more learned church a good student and to a less educated sort as one with less understanding. Join like to like, that pastor and flock may fit together, for their best good.The congregation reaps small benefit where the preacher’s gifts do not suit the place. Therefore, as we must have conscience to enter into the ministry rightly so we must be very particular to settle ourselves ourselves with the right people. That is the best way to make it easy for ourselves and to edify them.


Faithful Shepherd 1B

Here is the rest of Chapter 1, originally posted at Heavenly Worldliness
HY then should any disdain (O you sons of nobles) to take this calling on you? Hear, I pray you, (you heralds of the ever living God) may it possibly seem a small thing (2 Co 2:15, 10:5) to be a people separated to God himself from the multitude of men? To be the sweet savour of Christ in all that are saved and them that perish? To cast down the imagination of man, and every high thought against God? To bring it captive to the obedience of Christ? Is it a small matter to meddle with the secrets of God, to save souls, to open for or shut against the door to the kingdom of heaven?Many other callings are both on the earth and for the earth or earthly matters. But this concerns the soul and heavenly things. This calling in every part forces heavenly thoughts on a man in a way that no other really does. When a minister truly speaks God’s Word, he can speak freely to all and they must listen to him with reverence, as though God spoke. Otherwise, it will be easier for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement than for that person or people (Mt 10:14,15).Erasmus says that if we rightly think about it, though they are not equal to kings in magnificence, pastors, bishops and all pastors, are kings. And in case that may seem an exaggeration, he proves it by comparing the matter and scope of the one calling with the other. The honour and exaltedness of a bishop (see Ambrose in his Pastorali) are beyond compare. Even the splendour of a king or crowned prince is very much inferior to it in comparison, just as the lustre of lead cannot compare with that of gold.Then again a little later in the same book he says that there is nothing in this world as excellent as a priest, nothing as exalted as the power of a bishop. Now lest this should be taken as spoken only of such as are bishops it is clear that here he must mean bishops and priests as he speaks of priests before bishops.
It must be understood of good bishops and priests, of course. He says that there is nothing in this world as unwholesome as impious bishops and priests, as the papists are. Their God is their belly, they glory in flattering themselves about their ability, honour and the idle talk they busy themselves with. Their understanding is earthbound. They are greedy and determined to listen only to their own grasping words. They are like creatures who are very experienced in finding pleasure in the places where they daily dabble. They have a rapine spirit at work in them. They combine their benefits and honour with insatiable lust. For them murkiest darkness is eternally reserved.But for such as are faithful a crown of glory is reserved. By saving souls they shall shine in heaven like the stars for ever and ever. We thus see the necessity of this calling, its honourable nature and how highly it is magnified by God himself and good men. There is no reason why among us who are called Christians, it should be thought of as such a contemptible calling when the very heathen, who never knew the true God, revered it so much. It is recorded that among the Athenians no king was created before he had taken orders and was made a priest. The Egyptians are said to choose their priests from philosophers and their kings from priests.
Uzziah, a mighty king in Judah, though he offended by being presumptuous, nevertheless by his act declared his high esteem for the priest’s office. He showed that it was not as lowly in his eyes as the Christian ministry is among many of us. It is an office more suitable for the mightiest person of the best education and noblest birth than for the basest of the people and the lowest sort, the type of person on whom it is cast, for the most part, because the wise men of the world, men of might and nobility, consider it beneath their dignity. The Word itself is too simple a subject for their deep conceits and ambitious policies. But this is the Lord’s doing (1 Co 2) so that the foolish things of the world might confound the wise; the weak things the mighty; vile things and despised things (so is God’s choice) to bring to nothing the things that are; that all may be said to be of him, and he have the more glory, who for this is to be praised forever. Amen.


Faithful Shepherd 1A

Originally appearing at Heavenly Worldliness, this is a modified version of the first half of Chapter 1 of Bernard's Faithful Shepherd of 1607.
F the necessity and excellence of the ministry and the word preached
When the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God in his wisdom (1 Co 1:25) to appoint what the world considers a weak means to save his elect - the foolishness of preaching. This is how God usually shows his power to save all who will be saved. From the beginning, preaching and prophesying have been the way.
This is how it was before the fall and after. In Paradise, God taught Adam and Eve both law (Gn 2:16, 17) and gospel, (Gn 3:15). Before the flood, think of Enoch (Jd 14) and Noah (1 Pe 3:19) and after the flood, Moses, Abraham (Gn 20:7, 18:19) Isaac and Jacob and Joseph (Ps 105:22). Jeremiah says (7:25) that from Moses’ time the Lord kept sending his servants the prophets. James says that ordinary teachers of Moses continued down to his own day (Ac 15:21). The Apostle Paul tells us that as Christ sent his apostles and gave them a promise at his ascension (Mt 28:18,19) so he gave gifts for the ministry and preaching that will go on to the end of the world (Ep 4:12, Is 66:11, Je 33:21). Without such gifts people perish (Pr 29:18). How can people call on him in whom they have not believed? How can they believe in one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without a preacher? So preaching is very necessary and so are preachers. This is why the Holy Spirit calls ministers of the gospel 'Light, Salt, Saviours, Seers, Chariots of Fire and their Horsemen, Pastors, Planters, Waterers, Builders and Stewards, Watchmen, Soldiers, Nurses, etc'. He compares them to things both common and useful for their purpose, to draw our attention to how much such people are needed by churches and by nations.
Experience teaches us that it is more through the faithful preaching of the Word that people become civil and humane than by passing laws. Laws can hold sin back but only the Word brings about a good conscience to God, true obedience to men and Christian love and piety. Yes, the Word can work the sort of humiliation and subjection (being the power of God) of a voluntary sort, that no human power can. We see this in the example of the King of Nineveh, his nobles and people.
Therefore, even if men have no more grace, they should consider it necessary to promote preaching. Princes should uphold and maintain it. Why then should men not covet to be in this calling even for the public good. It is not only profitable and necessary but also a very honourable activity and a worthy work (1 Tm 5:1) that both God himself and the worthiest men that ever lived have taken up.To pass over others, Solomon that most wise king, who for regal magnificence and power had no peer, nevertheless called himself The Preacher. Our Saviour Christ chose to honour this calling, and performed in his person the office of a Preacher among men on earth. Before everyone he refused to be a Judge or to be made a King, though he ordained both and is truly both. David, a worthy warrior and a valiant champion, a royal King indeed, did not disdain to be a Prophet of God to the people. Once Priest-like he danced gladly before the ark of God in a white garment. Isaiah is held to be of royal blood yet was a prophet and teacher in Judah.
Some of our leaders, like wicked Esau, condemn the calling for a pot of stew - worldly pomp, pleasure and profit. They wish their children to be anything - worldly lawyers, cheating businessmen, killing medical men, bloodthirsty soldiers, (this is not to be understood as spoken of most men but of those who are thoughtless in their callings) idle loose-livers, swearing ruffians, walkers on Shooters Hill and couriers on Salisbury Plain, to carry on in sin - rather than (as they call them) priests. And yet this state is magnified by God and man. The Lord requires that his ministers be received with double honour. To whom did Christ ever say, except to them, he that hears you hears me, and him that sent me. He who despises you despises me and my Father also?
Think of the honourable titles God sends them out with and how he calls them ministers of God (Ti 1:1), workers together with God (2 Co 6:1), ambassadors of Christ Jesus (2 Co 5:19), elders (Ac 5:20; 1 Ti 6), overseers (Ti 1), fathers, men of God, friends of God, disposers of the secrets of God’s holy ones (Ps 89:19, 106:16), prophets, angels? These are all titles of reverence, honour and pre-eminence.


Contemporaries 2

Philip Bisse (c1540-1613)
OME time in the summer of 1612 Bernard left Nottinghamshire and headed south to Somerset. It was Bishop James Montague, whom he had known at Cambridge, who gave him a licence to preach in the diocese of Bath and Wells but it was Dr Philip Bisse, Archdeacon of Taunton, who 'purchased the advowson of Batcombe for one turn' and presented the living to Bernard in November 1613. (Technically it involved John Bernard, Bernard's father or brother and James Bisse, brother to Philip). Bernard remained as rector for the rest of his days.
Bisse had been rector at Batcombe himself from 1564 and was apparently a godly man with views approximating to Bernard's own. He probably died the same year that Bernard became rector or just after. (From 1577 Robert Duxberrie had been the stipendiary curate at batcombe). Bisse was one of four eminent clergymen who Henry Barrow the separatist consulted with in 1593. No doubt he urged commitment to the national church. Not to be confused with a later bishop of the same name Bisse served as Archdeacon of Taunton, subdean and canon of Wells and prebendary of Milverton. He was the son of Richard Bisse of Stokeland. The Bisses were a wealthy local family in Batcombe, as well as in other local villages such as Spargrove.
Bisse was a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1561-1565, when presumably he married. He became a docotr of divinity in 1580. At his death in 1613 he left his library of about 2,000 (1,849 to be exact and worth £1200) mostly theological books to newly founded Wadham College, Oxford, where they can still be seen. This was one of the largest private libraries of the time.


Toplady Extract

An extract from The Works of Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778) Vol IV, pp 313, 314

Some time after the commencement of the 17th Century, a singularly ingenious piece of spiritual allegory was published under the following title, “The Isle of Man, or the legal Proceeding in Manshire against Sin.” The author was the Rev. Mr. Richard Bernard, rector of Batcombe in Somersetshire. This performance seems to have had a great run; my copy is of the eighth edition, printed at London , A. D. 1632.
The above work, in all probability, suggested to Mr. John Bunyan, the first idea of his “Pilgrim’s Progress” and of his “Holy War”. The former of these is, perhaps, the finest allegorical book extant, describing every stage of a believer’s experience, from conversion to glorification, in the most artless simplicity of language, yet peculiarly rich with spiritual unction, and glowing with the most vivid, just, and well conducted machinery throughout; it is, in short, a master piece of piety and genius; and will, I doubt not be of standing use to the people of God so long as the sun and moon endure. It has been affirmed, and I believe the truth, that no book in the English tongue has gone through so many editions, the Bible and Common Prayer alone excepted.

Opinion is divided on how much influence Bernard's work had on Bunyan. The suggestion seems to go back at least as far as 1682 and Thomas Sherman's unauthorised sequel to the first part of Pilgrim's Progress.

Faithful Shepherd Contents

ONTENTS of the first edition of The Faithful Shepherd
Chapter 1
Of the necessity and excellence of the ministry and the word preached
Chapter 2
Of the lawful entrance of a minister into the ministry and also into his charge and place
Chapter 3
Of the minister’s wise and godly proceeding in his pastoral charge to teach his people
Chapter 4
Of Prayer before the Sermon
Chapter 5
Of the preface after the prayer and of the text of the Scripture
Chapter 6
Of the analysis and resolution of the text
Chapter 7
Of the annotations ('scholies') and interpretation of the words
Chapter 8
Of gathering doctrines from the text
Chapter 9
Of the making use of the doctrine, showing what to do with it
Chapter 10
Of application of the uses to the hearers
Chapter 11
Of prevention of objections
Chapter 12
Of the conclusion of the whole Sermon
Chapter 13
Of such things which are required of a Minister to perform the whole work


Contemporaries 1

William Brewster (1567-1644)
Refusing as a young man to conform, Bernard was deprived of his living in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, and in 1604 went to Gainsborough, where he spent time with William Brewster and John Robinson. For about 3 years Bernard was an avid separatist. Unlike Brewster he soon reverted to Anglicanism.
Brewster grew up in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire but in 1620, like Robinson, he sailed on the famous Mayflower for the famous Plymouth Colony, New England, where he became a leader. He went to America with his wife Mary and two of his sons.
Scrooby Manor was in the possession of the Archbishops of York and was occupied by Brewster's parents, William and Prudence. William was estate bailiff for the archbishop for 31 years, from about 1580. With the job went that of postmaster, an important position that involved providing stagehorses for the mails. Scrooby was on the Great North Road.
William junior studied briefly at Peterhouse, Cambridge before entering the service of William Davidson in 1584. In 1585, Davidson went to the Netherlands as an ambassador to the States-General. In 1586 he was appointed assistant to Queen Elizabeth I's Secretary of State but lost the Queen's favour the following year.
Cambridge was a centre for reformed religion but it was in the Netherlands that Brewster had opportunity to hear and see more of it. Following Davidson's disgrace, he returned to Scrooby and from 1590 (until 1607) he held the position of postmaster. By this time Brewster's brother James, vicar of the parish of Sutton and Lound, Nottinghamshire, was a rather rebellious Anglican priest. From 1594, it fell to him to appoint curates to Scrooby church. The brothers were soon brought, with other leading members of the Scrooby congregation, before an ecclesiastical court for dissent. They were set on a path of separation from the Anglican Church. From about 1602, Scrooby Manor, Brewster's home, became a meeting place for dissenting Puritans and in 1606, they formed the Separatist Church of Scrooby.
Restrictions and pressures applied by the authorities convinced the congregation of the need to emigrate to the more sympathetic climate of Holland but to leave without permission was illegal so things were complex. On its first attempt, in 1607, the group was arrested at Scotia Creek but Brewster and others were able to escape along the Humber the following year. In 1609 Brewster was made ruling elder of the congregation.
In Leiden the group managed to make a living. Brewster taught English and later printed and published religious books for sale in England, though they were proscribed. In 1619 the printing type was seized by the authorities under pressure from the English ambassador and Brewster's partner was arrested. Brewster escaped and, with the help of Robert Cushman, obtained a land patent from the London Virginia Company on behalf of himself and his colleagues.
In 1620 he headed for America. There he served both as a church leader and as an advisor to Governor William Bradford. As the only university educated member of the colony, Brewster acted as pastor until Ralph Smith's arrival in 1629. Thereafter, he continued to preach until his death in April 1644.
In 1631 Bernard's daughter Mary Williams (1609-c1683) emigrated to New England with her husband Roger Williams (1599-1683). His son Masakiell (b 1607) also went to New England with a group led by Rev. Joseph Hull in 1635.
Brewster was granted land among the islands of Boston Harbour and four of the outer islands that still bear his name. He married a Mary Wentworth and together they had six children (Jonathan, Patience, Fear, Love, Wrestling and one more). Descendants have include William Howard Taft, Zachary Taylor and Katherine Hepburn.

English Works by Richard Bernard

BERNARD produced around 30 works in English in his life time and they are listed here. His interests are chiefly pastoral.
1. A Large Catechisme Following The Order Of The Common Authorized Catechisme Published For The Use Of his Christian friends and welwillers, the inhabitants of Worsopp, Gainsborough, and Epworth 1602 (Also 1607, 1612)
2. The Faithfull Shepheard The Shepheards Faithfulnesse: Wherein Is For The Matter Largely, But For The the maner, in few words, set forth the excellencie and necessitie of the ministerie; a ministers properties and dutie; his entrance into this function and charge; etc 1607 (see below)
3. A double catechisme one more large following the order of the common authorized catechisme, and an exposition thereof: now this second time published: the other shorter for the weaker sort: both set forth for the benefit of Christian friends and wel-willers. 1607.
4. Christian Advertisements And Counsels Of Peace Also Disswasions From The Separatists Schisme, Commonly called Brownisme 1608 (Also The Separatists Schisme? - not extant)
5. The Sinners Safetie, If Heere Hee Looke For Assurance 1609
6. The Faithfull Shepheard Amended And Enlarged: With The Shepeards Practise In Preaching Annexed Thereto 1609 (see below)
7. Contemplative Pictures With Wholesome Precepts. The First Part: Of God. Of The Diuell. Of Goodnesse. Of badnesse. Of heaven: of Hell. 1610
8. Plain evidences: The Church of England apostolical, the separation schismatical 1610
[Josuahs Godly Resolution In Conference With Caleb, Touching Houshold Gouernement For Well Ordering A Family: A two-fold catechisme: one short, the other more large; both for instruction. In the end, certaine rules, for guiding to a holy conversation. 1612 (Also 1629) - the same as previous catechisms?]
9. Two Twinnes: Or Two Parts Of One Portion Of Scripture. I. Is Of Catechising. II. Of The Ministers Maintenance 1613
10. Davids Musick: Or Psalmes Of That Royall Prophet, Once The Sweete Singer Of That Israel Unfolded Logically 1616
11. A Staffe of Comforth to Stay the Weake 1616
12. A Weekes Worke, And A Worke For Every Weeke 1616 (Also 1628 and 1650? (A Weekes Worke Containing Rules And Directions How To Walke In The Wayes Of Godliness Both To God And to Men) )
13. Key Of Knowledge For The Opening Of The Secret Mysteries Of St Johns Mysticall Revelation 1617
14. The Fabulous Foundation Of The Popedom: Or A Familiar Conference Between Two Friends to the truth Philalethes, and Orthologus 1619
15. The Good Mans Grace. Or His Stay In All Distresse 1621
16. The Seaven Golden Candlestickes 1621
[The faithfull shepeard wholy in a manner transposed, and made anew, and very much inlarged both with precepts and examples, to further young diuines in the studie of diuinitie With the sheperds practise in the end 1621]
17. Looke Beyond Luther, Or, An Answere To That Question, So Often And So Insultingly Proposed By Our adversaries, asking us; where this our religion was before Luthers time? Etc 1623 (Also 1624)
18. The Isle Of Man, Or, The Legall Proceeding In Man-Shire Against Sinne Wherein, By Way Of A Continued allegorie, the chiefe malefactors disturbing both Church and Common-wealth, are detected, etc 1626 (Also 1627, 1628, 1629, 1630, 1640, 1632, 1634, 1635, 1648, 1658, 1659, 1668, 1674, 1677, 1683, 1719, 1778, etc.)
19. Rhemes Against Rome 1626
20. A Guide To Grand-Jury Men Divided Into Two Bookes: In The First, Is The Authors Best Advice To Them what to doe, before they bring in a billa vera in cases of witchcraft, etc 1627 (Also 1629, 30)
21. Ruth's Recompense, 1628
22. The Bible-Battells. Or The Sacred Art Military For The Rightly Wageing Of Warre According To Holy Writ 1629
[The Common Catechisme With A Commentary Thereupon, By Questions And Answers, Following The Verie wordes, as they lie in their order without alteration and Good Christian, Looke to thy Creede 1630 (Also 1631, 1632, 1635, 1640)]
23. Christian See To Thy Conscience Or A Treatise Of The Nature, The Kinds And Manifold Differences Of Conscience 1631
24. The Ready Way to Good Works 1635
25. The article of Christ's descension into hell 1641
26. The Anatomie Of The Service Book, Dedicated To The High Court Of Parliament Wherein Is Remonstrated the unlawfulnesse of it, etc (by Dwalphintramis) 1641
27. A Threefold Treatise Of The Sabbath Distinctly Divided Into The Patriarchall, Mosaicall, Christian Sabbath: for the better clearing and manifestation, etc 1641
28. The Bibles Abstract And Epitome The Capitall Heads, Examples, Sentences, And Precepts Of All The Principall matters in theologie: collected together for the most part alphabetically, etc (Pro Richardo Barnardo) 1642
29. An Epistle Directed To All Justices Of Peace In England And Wales 1642
30. Certaine Positions Seriously To Bee Considered Of Shewing The Danger Of Doing Any Thing In And About the worship of God that hath not warrant from his written word 1644
31. Thesaurus Biblicus, Seu, Promptuarium Sacrum Whereunto Are Added All The Marginal Readings With The words of the text, etc (with William Retchford) 1661 (Also 1664)
Collected editions of his works in Latin and English appeared in 1598 (?), 1607, 1614, 1629 and 1641. Bernard's very first published work was a translation of the Latin poet Terence, which went into at least six editions.


The life of Richard Bernard 1568-1641

HIS prolific Puritan pastor and writer who produced mostly practical works deserves to be better known and it may be possible through this blog to bring that about.
His most influential work was The Faithfull Shepheard and his practice (1607 and 1621), a handbook for ministers. He also produced several catechisms and a commentary on Revelation. His most popular work The Isle of Man (1627) reached its sixteenth edition in 1683 and was reprinted in the 19th Century. His Faithfull Shepheard rivalled Baxter’s Reformed Pastor and his Isle of Man may have inspired Bunyan’s Holy War. In 1865, James Nichol republished his sermons on the Book of Ruth, Ruth’s Recompense. He also wrote against separatism on one hand and prelatic imposition of ceremonies and popery on the other. Other works include Christian See to thy Conscience and Bible Battles.
The son of John Bernard (1515-1592) and his third wife, Anne Wright, it appears that when a small boy, two prominent ladies (Isabel and Frances Wray) took notice of him and paid for his schooling. Like Puritans William Perkins and William Ames, he became a student at Christ’s College, Cambridge. This was in the 1590s (entrance 1592, BA 1595, MA 1598).
Back home in Epworth, Lincolnshire, he completed a translation of ancient Roman playwright Terence. Married by 1601 he and his wife had six children. Some had quite unusual names, eg Cananuel (who later became a minister himself), Besekiell and Hoseel. His refusal to conform meant he was deprived of his living in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, in 1604 and went to Gainsborough, where he spent time with William Brewster (1567-1644) and John Robinson (1575-1625). Appearing to embrace separatism, in 1606 he covenanted with about a hundred people from Worksop and neighbouring parishes to form a church. By the following year he had returned to his parish post, his brief separatist flirtation over.
From 1612 he was based in Somerset where he succeeded a faithful and godly man called Dr Bisse in the parish of Batcombe, near Shepton Mallet, North East Somerset. In 1634 his nonconformity was again attacked. The Bishop of Winchester had been a friend in college and perhaps this enabled him to weather the storm. His successor at Batcombe was Richard Alleine (1611-1681). (Cf Brook, vol 2, 460 who says Bernard’s assistants were Robert Balsom (d 1647) then an Edward Bennet). In the ODNB Greaves comments that ‘throughout most of his career Bernard was an example of those godly protestants who practised as much nonconformity as they could within the established church, yielding to authority as necessary but willing to work with those bishops who appreciated his marked commitment to elevating the piety of his parishioners through preaching and catechising.' His daughter Mary married Roger Williams (1603-1684) in 1629 and emigrated with him to New England in 1631.