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their power to relieve them*. We should be involved in all the miseries that human nature, in a civilized state, is capable of undergoing. - And from being one of the first, most powerful, and happy nations upon the face of the earth, we should become one of the lowest, weakest, and most wretched kingdoms in Europe. And could any man, for the sake of ridding the country of these bugbears, thé Bible and the Priests †, wish to see all this evil come upon us! If
Ten millions of acres of wheat, rye, &c. at 4l. per acre 40,000,000
3,200,000 Ten millions of lambs, when weaned at 5s per lamb 2,500,000 Two millions of calves at 20s. per
2,000,000 Four millions of pigs at 5s. per pig
1,000,000 Fruits and vegetables for 3,000,000 of people . 4,500,000 Poultry, eggs, &c. &c. &c.
75,100,000 * The public and private charities of London amount to 750,000 pounds annually; and the poor-rates of England and Wales altogether, make the enormous sum of 2,200,000 pounds a year, besides all private charities and sunday-schools. ARTHUR YOUNG, Esq. tells us, in his Letter to Mr. WILBER FORCE, that the amount of what is paid for labour of all sorts in England is not less than one hundred millions sterling - poor-rates and charities of every sort cannot amount to less than seven millions.
+ It is a melancholy reflection, that among all the clergy in this country, there were not quite 200 wlio sacrificed their interest to principle in the reign of Queen ELIZABETH. See GRAY's Sermons at the Bampton Lecture, p. 238.-In CHARLES the Second's time, however, there were upwards of 2000 clergymen, who sacrificed their interests to principle, besides a considerable number of conscientious men, it is to be presumed, who continued in their places.
Bigotry and persecution generally defeat their own purposes! What a consequence did not this mad measure give to the dissenting interest in England? The same foolish game was played by the Bishops and Clergy in the present century. Instead of encouraging, moderating, and regulating the pious zeal of a few young men, in Oxford, by gentle and lenient measures, they shut their churches against them, and compelled them to go out into the high-ways and hedges to preach to those who were inclined to hear them; and though they were then but a small band, they are now become a any person approves not of religion and its ministers, he is at perfect liberty, in this free country, to decline paying
goodly company, and have already overspread England, Scotland, Ireland, America, and the West Indies. All this weight too is thrown into the dissenting scale! A few more such imprudent measures, and down goes Mother Church!
We have spoken on a former page on pluralities and non-residence. The former, indeed, in all ordinary cases, implies the latter. We scarce ever read an account of deaths in the periodical publications, but we find an account of one or more instances of this nature. The poet Mason is a point in hand. Though a worthy man, and a character highly respectable, he had, it appears, accumulated several preferments in the church at the same time. And it is well known to be the custom of great numbers of the Clergy in the Establishment to procure as many as their interest will reach. This we call good management, prudent foresight, taking care for a familyand the like. If there be no God, it is all very well. But if we are accountable creatures, and are to exist in a future state, our present trading in Livings and Souls will not yield us satisfaction another day. It is popery, rank popery, the worst part of popery, under the highest pretensions to being the most pure and reformed part of CHRIST's holy catholic church. I remember an anecdote apposite to the subject in hand. Bishop BURNET, in his Charges to the Clergy of his Diocese, shewed a great deal of disinterested integrity, by vehemently exclaiming against pluralities, as a most sacrilegious robbery. And, in his first visitation at Salisbury, he urged the authority of St. BERNARD, who being consulted by one of his followers, whether he might accept of two benefices, replied-And how will you be able to serve them both? I intend, answered the priest, to oficiate in one of them by a deputy.-Will your deputy be damned for you too? cried the saint. Believe me, you may serve your cure by proxy, but you must be damned in person. This expression so affected Mr. Kelsey, a pious and worthy clergyman then present, that he immediately resigned the rectory of Bemerton in Berkshire, worth 200 pounds a year, which he held then with one of greater value. See Bp. BURNET's Life, by T. BURNET, Esq.
We have observed, that all the bulk of church-preferment in this country, is engrossed by about one thousand clergymen, out of the righteen thousand. I do not pretend to be accurate in this statement; but I should sup, ose it is not far from the truth. Whereas the emoluments of the Establishment are capable of providing for 10,000 persons in a comfortable way, by abolishing pluralities, without disturbiug the present order of things. Let every Bishop retire within bis diocese, and dwell among his clergy, as a father in his family. Let every Clergyman reside upon his living, superintending his people, as a shepherd his flock. And let no man be pronioted to the tirst Livings in the kingdom, merely because he is related to or connected with some great personage; but let the most active, them any attention. He may think and act according to his own pleasure. Why then should any man desire to see his
useful, and laborious ministers, especially when the infirmities of age come on, be accounted worthy of double houour, by being rewarded for their extraordinary services with the best Livings which the country affords.
All this, I too well know, is visionary. It is a plausible theory, but never will be reduced to practice. If it should please God, however, to put an end to the present unhappy war, and favour us once more with a settled state of things, I think it might be well for the great body of the poor Rectors, Vicars, and Curates of the country, to petition Government to take their distressed circumstances into consideration. If it should have no other effect, it would call the attention of the public to the horrible monopolies of prefermen is which prevail among the Bishops and higher Orders of the clergy. I would recommend that Committees should be formed in every district through England and Wales, to correspond with a grand and superintending Committee in London. Let them investigate the business of church-preferments thoroughly, and drag to broad day-light all the great offenders in this pretended spiritual commerce. See a book called the Miseries and Great Hardships of the Inferior Clergy, for some useful information.
Out of the 18,000 Clergymen belonging to the Establishment of this country, there are several hundreds of zealous and lively men (and the number is much upon the increase) who, properly speaking, are the only true members of the Church of England. They believe, and preach, and live her doctrines. These conscientious men, however, are, as we have already observed, almost universally dubbed Methodists, in a way of contempt, by the majority both of Bishops and Clergy. This is shameful treatment, but so it is. Those“ downy doctors, that recumbent virtues preach," who will swear any thing, and subscribe any thing, no matter whether they believe it or not, for the sake of a good bishopric, or fat rectory, are among the first to exélaim against their more zealous, useful, and pious brethren. Master, so saying, and so doing, thou condemnest us. Woe unto you, ye scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in! See Ez. xxxiv. chap.
“ Wheu nations are to perish in their sins,
“The priestly brotherhood, devout, sincere,
native land involved in a destruction so complete? Be assured, whenever it comes, it will be promiscuous. The
As meek as the man Moses, audi withat
Cowper's Erpostulation. As a body of men, the established Clergy of this country are by no means deficient in talents, or in learning of any description. So far is this from being the case, that it is probable there never existed a body of men of the same number, wbo possessed equal natural and acquired qualifications; but, we are deficient in humility, in self-denial, in piety, and in zeal for the honour of God and the 'salvation of souls. We want a more serious attention to the grand peculiarities of the Gospel: we are deficient in various of those qualifications which are requisite to make us successful in winning souls to CHRIST. To our shawe be it spoken, with half our literary attainments, we suffer the Methodists, and several of the Dissenters, to out-do us exceedingly in real and positive usefulness to mankind. We let the cause of Christ suffer and lose ground in our hands. A large party of our Order is inattentive both to religious and literary pursuits. They are mere men of the world. :; Another part is so occupied with literary and philosophical studies, that they have neither time por inclination to attend to the peculiar employment of ministers of the Gospel. There is a third class of our Clergy, which is highly respectable, but whose ministerial labours are so cool and languid, and whose public discourses are so merely moral and so wholly unevangelical, that inankind are made neither much wiser nor better by their feeble exertions. In the primitive ages the divine heralds carried the sound of the Gospel throughout all lands, from “ the British isles to the banks of the Ganges,” in a very short space
of time. But we have suffered Heathenism to'return again into some countries, Mahometanisın to over-run others, and Infidelity to diffuse itself among all orders of society. And it is not improbable, but in the course of a few more years, the Gospel of CHRIST, THROUGH OUR NEGLECT, LUKE-WARMNESS, AND SUPERSTITION, will be in a great degree banished from Christendom. We must either awake from our lethargic state, and return to evangelical principles and practices, or all is lost. Most of the higlier ranks of society in this country both among the clergy and laity, have forsaken the Gospel scheme of saving a ruined world; and it is ex.. ceedingly probable the supreme Head of the church will ere long remove our candlestick, lay aside the great body of us Parsons, as a useless set of men, and deprive us of those means of grace,
which we bave so long enjoyed to so little purpose. The neglect of the Son and Spirit of God is the master sin of Christendom.
I could wish the Reader would give himself the trouble to con
generation then living will be, in every temporal sense, at least, totally ruined: and wo man shall be able to extricate himself from the general calamity. In that case, and, indeed, in every other possible case, the Gospel of Christ affords the only sure refuge. It is calculated for both worlds. The Lord God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will be withheld from them that walk uprightly. Those that live in the entire spirit, and under the full influence of this Divine Religion, have, even now, large enjoyment of its comforts*. And whether we sider well what Mr. WIIBER FORCE has written upon this subject, in his Practicul View of the prevailing religious system of Professed Christians, in the higher and middle classes in this country, contru. ted with real Christicnity. If we had a number of such able and faithfu! labourers in the cause of Christianity ainong the laity, much good might be expected to result from their endeavours. In my opinion, men of this description are peculiarly called upon in the present day, when Infidelity is making such rapid advances, and the Clergy are in such disgrace, to exert themselves in every possible way to stem the torrent of iniquity, which is ready to bear all down before it.
See some useful thoughts on the necessity of new measures, in the Dean of Middleham's Political and Moral Consequences of a religious education, and its reverse.
* Turo back, and consider well the cases of Lord RUSSEL, MORATA, CLAUDE, WALKER, HERVEY, LELAND, ROMAINE, BEDELL, and LEECHMAN. Instead of this small number, we could have produced some hundreds of characters of a like happy kind, if it had been consistent with our design.
Bishop BURNET's declaration alone we will here transcribe, as lie was a inan of piety, and of large experience of men, and things, and because he delivers it as his last dying speech, and the sum of all liis experience:
* True religion,” says he," is a perfection of human nature, and the joy and delight of every one that feels it active and strong within him.-Of this I write with the more concern and emotion, because I have felt viis the true, and indeed the only joy which runs through a man's heart and life. It is that which lias been for many years my greatest support. I rejoice daily in it. I feel from it the earnest of that supreme joy, which I pant and long for. I am sute there is nothing else can afford auy true or complete happiness. - I have, considering my sphere, seen a great deal of all that is most shining and tempting in this world. The pleasures of sense I did soon nauseate. Intrigues of state, and the conduct of affairs have something in them that is more specious; and I was for years deeply immersed in these, but still withi hopes of reforming the world, and of making mankind niser and better. But I have found, That which is crooked cunnot be made straight. I acquainted myself