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be remembered to the everlasting honour of the London divines, that in those dangerous times they writ and published the best collection of arguments against popery, that ever appeared in the world. At the revolution the body of the clergy joined heartily in the common cause (except a few, whose sufferings perhaps have atoned for their mistakes) like men who are content to go about for avoiding a gulph or a precipice, but come into the old strait road again, as soon as they can. But another temper had now begun to prevail : for, as in the reign of king Charles the first several well-meaning people were ready to join in reforming some abuses, while others, who had deeper designs, were still calling out for a thorough reformation, which ended at last in the ruin of the kingdom: so, after the late king's coming to the throne, there was a restless cry from men of the same principles for a thorough revolution; which, as some were carrying it on, must have ended in the destruction of the monarchy and church.
What a violent humour hath run ever since against the clergy, and from what
corner spread and fomented, is, I believe, manifest to all men. It looked like a fet quarrel against christianity; and, if we call to mind several of the leaders, it must in a great measure have been actually so. Nothing was more common in writing and conversation, than to hear that reverend body charged in gross with what was utterly inconsistent; despised for their poverty, hated for their riches; reproached with avarice, and taxed with luxury; accused for promoting arbitrary power, and for resisting the prerogative; censured for their pride, and scorned for their meanness of spirit. The representatives of the lower clergy were railed at for disputing the power of the bishops by the known abhorrers of episcopacy; and abused for doing nothing in the convocations by those very men, who helped to bind up their hands. The vice, the folly, the ignorance of every single man, were laid upon
the character : their jurisdiction, censures, and discipline trampled under foot; yet mighty complaints against their excessive power: the men of wit employed to turn the priesthood itself into ridicule: in short, groaning every where under the weight of poverty, oppression, contempt, and obloquy. A fair return for the time and money spent in their education to fit them for the service of the altar; and a fair encouragement for worthy men to come into the church! However, it may be some comfort for persons of that holy function, that their divine founder, as well as his harbinger, met with the like reception: John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say he hath a devil; the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, behold a glutton and a wine-bibber, etc.
In this deplorable state of the clergy, nothing but the hand of providence, working by its glorious instrument the Queen, could have been able to turn the people's hearts so surprisingly in their favour. This princess, destined for the safety of Europe, and a blessing to her subjects, began her reign with a noble benefaction to the church; and it was hoped the nation would have followed such an example; which nothing could have prevented, but , the false politicks of a sett of men, who form their maxims upon those of every
tottering commonwealth, which is always struggling for life, subsisting by expedients, and often at the mercy of any powerful neighbour. These men take it into their imagination, that trade can never flourish, unless the country becomes a common receptacle for all nations, religions, and languages ; a system only proper for small popular states, but altogether unworthy and below the dignity of an imperial crown; which with us is best upheld by a monarchy in possession of its just prerogative, a senate of nobles and of commons, and a clergy established in its due rights with a suitable maintenance by law. But these men come with the spirit of pop-keepers to frame rules for the administration of kingdoms ; or, as if they thought the whole art of government confisted in the importation of nutmegs, and the curing of herrings. Such an island as ours can afford enough to support the majesty of a crown, the honour of a nobility, and the dignity of a magistracy: we can encourage arts and sciences, maintain our bishops and clergy, and suffer our gentry to live in a decent, hospitable manner;
yet still there will remain hands sufficient for trade and manufactures, which do always indeed deserve the best encouragement, but not to a degree of sending every living foul into the warehouse or the workдоор.
This pedantry of republican politicks hath done infinite mischief among us. To this we owe those noble schemes of treating christianity as a system of speculative opinions, which no man should be bound to believe ; of making the being, and the worship of God, a creature of the state; in consequence of these, that the teachers of religion ought to hold their maintenance at pleasure, or live by the alms and charitable collection of the
people, and be equally encouraged of all opinions ; that they should be prescribed what to teach by those, who are to learn from them; and upon default have a staff and a pair of shoes left at their door: with many other projects of equal piety, wifdom, and good nature.
But, God be thanked, they and their schemes are vanished, and their places shall know them no more. When I think of that