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this to the spirit of the Gospel, and the character and conduct of the lowly Saviour of mankind ? Matt. xi. 28-30; xxiii. 1-19. How much calculated are such high sounding titles to swell the pride of frail mortals ? Popes, and Bishops, and Pur. sons are made of like stuff with other men ?
And then, what shall we say to the secular, and lukewarm condition of the generality of the Clergy of the land ?-to the patronage of benefices before mentioned to the common and abominable sale of livings? - to our simoniacal contracts?-our sinecures, pluralities, non-residences *?-to our declaring we
more bloody, libidinous, and detestable head of the church, than was, Henry VIII, the self-created Pope of our own ecclesiastical constitution. Shew me a worse man among all that abhorred race, or a more consummate tyrant over the consciences of men.
* The Curates of our church, in many cases are as culpable with respect to non-residence, as the Bishops, and Rectors, and Vicars. In my own neighbourhood, and mostly in my own parish, we have upwards of twelve chapels, where there is no resident Clergyman. It is much the same in other parts of the kingdom.
The Reader will find several of these defects of the Church of England touched upon by BURNET in the Conclusion of the History of his own Times.- I add,
My Lord S-H has got a Mistress, of whom he is grown weary. On condition the Rev. A. B. will marry her and make her an honest woman, he shall be Rector of such a living in the gift of his Lordship.
The living of C-is in the gift of Mr. G-T; he has got a daughter; if the Rev. CH. P-s will marry her, he shall be presented to the church.
Mr. G-N has a son, who is neither fit for law, physic, or the army. He has such a living in his patronage. This rip of a son shall be trained to the church, and be the incumbent of the family Rectory.
My Lord D---N has got four sons; one shall enjoy the title and estate; another shall go into the army, and be made a general; another shall go to sea, and become an admiral; the fourth shall be trained for the church, and be promoted to a bishopric.
Sir P-R P-R has in his gift a Rectory, of the value of 2000 pounds a year. The Rev. G. W. agrees to give him tive thousand pounds in hand, and five hundred
In this manner are daily bartered the souls of men, like sheep in a market !-Is it probable that such a state of things should be maintained for many ages or years longer? Surely the Legislature of the country ought to take these abuses into consideration, and endeavour to remove them. If there be a God, who judgeth the earth, he cannot look upon such abominations with indifference. Abuses
for ten years.
ate moved by the Holy Ghost to preach the Gospel, when we are moved by nothing more than a desire to obtain à good living, and, perhaps, even deny that there is any Holy Ghost?-to our reading one species of doctrines in the desk, and preaching directly opposite in the pulpit ?
Abundance of persons, moreover, object to several things in the 39 Articles of Religion—to several things in the book of Homilies--and, above all, to the imposition of subscription to any human creeds and explications of doctrines whatever *. No man, or set of men upon earth, as it seems to them, has a right to demand any such thing of a fellow Christian.
of a similar kind have brought destruction upon other countries, and shall England alone be permitted thus to play the devil, and no notice taken of us by the moral GOVERNOUR of the world? Such things are indefensible, and make one blush for the church, in which it is possible they should take place.
The valuable preferments in our Church, are almost universally obtained by money, or by interest; merit having little or nothing to do in the business. There are, however, several exceptions to this general rule, under the government of his present Majesty. But, my indignation constrains me to add,- that MAURICE, the present worthy author of Indian Antiquities, &c. &c.- shame to a venal age !-is left to starve upon a distant and laborious curacy of fifty pounds a year. See his own account in the History of Hindostan, vol. i. p. 119, 120, quarto.
“ Ye bards of Britain, break the useless lyre,
And rend, disdainful, your detested lays;
Devotes to penury his hapless days."
* It may be farther observed, that subscription to the 39 Articles hath kept many a good man out of the church, but not many bad
“ The requiring subscription to the thirty-nine articles,” Bishop BURNET says, “ is a great imposition.”
I remember an Anecdote concerning the famous WILLIAM WHISTON and Lord Chancellor KING, which is not foreign to our purpose. WHISTOn being one day in discourse with the Chancellor, who was brought up a Dissenter at Exeter, but liad conforuned, a debate arose about signing articles which men do not believe, for the sake of preferment. This the Chancellor openly justified, " because,' said be, “ we must not lose our usefulness for scruples." Whiston, who was quite of an opposite opinion, asked his Lordship, “ If in his court they allowed of such prevarication?" He answered, “We do not."
Then,” said WHISTON, suppose GOD ALMIGHTY should be as just iu the next world, as my Lord Chancellor is in this, where are we then ?”
this to the spirit of the the lowly SAVIOUR 1-12. How much swell the pride of frail sons are made of like st
And then, what shai condition of the genera patronage of benefices ! abominable sale of livin. sinecures, pluralities, no
more bloody, libidinous, au HENRY VIII, the self-cre; tution. Shew me a worse more consummate tyrant or
* The Curates of our chi respect to non-residence, as In my own neighbourhood, upwards of twelve chapels, It is much the same in othei
The Reader will find sevi England touched upon by tory of his own Times. I a
My Lord S-H has got a On condition the Rev. A. B. woman, he shall be Rector ship.
The living of C-1 is in daughter; if the Rev. Ch. P sented to the church.
Mr. G-N has a son, w army. He has such a living i. be trained to the church Rectory.
My Lord D.
in his ne Rev. G.
and five hund wner are daily bi -Is it probable th: ned for many ages of y untry ought to take the sur to remove theneth annot loo!
the Christian Even Toleration
Clergy, espe: liberty. And
WILLIAM's st it.-It apo nd thing are I of CARIST. i in your reli
To talk of et, who but at, a very pope, rs will be better
? world lay in ved, for many nted with, who ! LTON followed the Civil Power LOCKE followed leration in 1689. works which have ich still remains to has not yet been we have had the nations, which obo lous freedom, others
rights of conscience. at we ever can be a ill every good subject iny regard to religious peaceable, industrious, obedient subject to the s, let his religious views is to have a just claim to lege, and emolument of in fact the
appred state of things. There en the governing and the
for superiority. But when $ equal privileges with his contention is removed, and iey should any longer be at
Can any thing in the whole absurd systein of Popery be more improper, than to make every young man, without exception, subscribe, when he becomes a member of either of our English universities, he believes from his soul, ex animo, tbat every thing contained in the Articles, llomilies, Common Prayer, and offices of Ordination, is agreeable to the Word of God? when in all ordinary cases, he has never seriously and attentively read either one or another of them? How is it likely, that a boy, raw from school, should be competent to such a task? And, if he is to subscribe upon the faith of others, on the same principle he may subscribe to the Mass-Book, the Koran, or any other book whatever.
After a careful examination, I, for my own part, am constrained to object, pede et manu, to several things in the 141 Canon, and consider the requirement, en oath, of canonical obedience to the Bishop of the diocese where we officiate, as one of the most detestable instances of antichristian imposition that ever was exercised over a body of Clergy*. And yet, after we have gotten our education, at a considerable expence, póssibly at the expence of our whole fortune, we must take this abhorred oath, or renounce the profession to wbich we have been trained, after our fortune, with which we should have begun business, is gone, and the proper time of life expired. These things ought not so to be. Let it be observed, however, that this is not the fault of the Bishops, but of the Constitution. It is one of the existing laws of the Establishment, and cannot be dispensed with as things now stand; and the Bishops are as much bound to administer the oath, as we are to take it.
Moreover, there are not a few persons again, who object to some things in the Baptismal office--in the office of Confirmation—in the office for the Sick--in the Communion
* The 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 38th, 58th, 720, 139th, 140th, and 141st, Canons, are most of them peculiarly objectionable. Prior to experience, it would appear highly incredible, that conscientious and liberal-minded Clergymen should be able to swear such kind of obedience. The good LORD pardon his servants, for we surely consider not what we do.
Let any man seriously read, and soberly consider these several Canons, and then judge of their tendency. They contain the very worst part of popery, that is, a spirit of infallibility. They proceed, at least, upon the infallibility of our own church, while we disavow that infallibility, and condemn the pretension in the church of Rome.