Yesterday, the Anglican Church commemorated George Herbert. I have been meaning to post on Herbert since I started this weblog, because he is a great example of an early Christian Agrarian. Thanks to the Ohio Anglican blog for reminding me, though it is a day late. His day on the Lutheran Calendar is March 1, so we can have a second chance to remember this exemplary Christian pastor.
Rather than try to create a biography of him , I would refer the reader to this one, or this one. Suffice to say, he was a Country Parson by choice, and loved his flock of country people. Here are a few gems of his wisdom
Be useful where thou livest
One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters
By no means run in debt: take thine own measure.
Who cannot live on twenty pound a year,
Cannot on forty.
Here is one of my favorite Herbert Stories, taken from Isaac Waltons biography of him, written in the mid 1600’s.
In another walk to Salisbury he saw a poor man with a poorer horse, that was fallen under his load: they were both in distress, and needed present help; which Mr. Herbert perceiving, put off his canonical coat, and helped the poor man to unload, and after to load, his horse. The poor man blessed him for it, and he blessed the poor man; and was so like the good Samaritan, that he gave him money to refresh both himself and his horse; and told him, “That if he loved himself he should be merciful to his beast.” Thus he left the poor man: and at his coming to his musical friends at Salisbury, they began to wonder that Mr. George Herbert, which used to be so trim and clean, came into that company so soiled and discomposed: but he told them the occasion. And when one of the company told him “He had disparaged himself by so dirty an employment,” his answer was, “That the thought of what he had done would prove music to him at midnight; and that the omission of it would have upbraided and made discord in his conscience, whensoever he should pass by that place: for if I be bound to pray for all that be in distress, I am sure that I am bound, so far as it is in my power, to practise what I pray for. And though I do not wish for the like occasion every day, yet let me tell you, I would not willingly pass one day of my life without comforting a sad soul, or showing mercy; and I praise God for this occasion. And now let’s tune our instruments.”