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larly princes, as well as noblemen and other wealthy persons, that they built many religious houses for those who were inclined to live in a recluse or solitary manner, endowing those monasteries with land. It is true we read of monks some ages before, who dwelt in caves and cells in desert places. But when public edifices were erected and endowed, they began gradually to degenerate into idleness, ignorance, avarice, ambition, and luxury, after the usual fate of all human institutions. The popes, who had already aggrandized themselves, laid hold of the opportunity to subject all religious houses, with their priors and abbots, to their peculiar authority; whereby those religious orders became of an interest directly different from the rest of mankind, and wholly at the pope's devotion. I need say no more on this article, so generally known and so frequently treated, or of the frequent endeavors of some other princes, as well as our own, to check the growth, and wealth, and power, of the regulars.

In later times this mistaken piety of erecting and endowing abbeys began to decrease. And therefore, when some new-invented · sects of monks and friars began to start up, not being able to procure grants of land, they got leave from the pope to appropriate the tithes and glebes of certain parishes, as contiguous or near as they could find, obliging themselves to send out some of their body to take care of the people's souls; and if some of those parishes were at too great a distance from the abbey, the monks appointed to attend them were paid for the cure either a small stipend of a determined sum, or sometimes a third part, or what are now called the vicarial tithes.

As to the church-lands, it hath been the opinion of many writers that in England they amounted to a third part of the whole kingdom. And therefore, if that wicked prince above mentioned, when he had cast off the pope's power, had introduced some reformation in religion, he could not have been blamed for taking away the abbey-lands by authority of parliament. But, when he continued the most cruel persecution of all those who differed in the least articlé of the popish religion, which was then the national and established faith, his seizing on those lands, and applying them to profane uses, was absolute sacrilege in the strongest sense of the word; having been bequeathed by princes and pious men to sacred


In the reign of this prince the church and court of Rome had arrived to such a height of corruption in doctrine and discipline as gave great offence to many wise, learned, and pious men, through most parts of Europe; and several countries agreed to make some reformation in religion. But although a proper and just reformation were allowed to be necessary, even to preserve Christianity itself, yet the passions and vices of men had mingled themselves so far as to pervert and confound all the good endeavors of those who intended well: and thus the reformation, in every country where it was attempted, was carried on in the most impious and scandalous manner that can possibly be conceived. To which unhappy proceedings we owe all the just reproaches that Roman Catholics have cast upon us ever since. For when the northern kingdoms and states grew weary of the pope's tyranny, and when their preachers, beginning with the scandalous abuses of indulgences, and proceeding further to examine several points of faith, had credit enough with their princes, who were in some fear lest such a change might affect the peace of their countries, because their bishops had great influence on the people by their wealth and power; these politic teachers had a ready answer to this purpose : “Sir, your majesty need not be in any pain or apprehension : take away the lands, and sink the authority of the bishops: bestow those lands on your courtiers, on your nobles, and on your great officers in your army, and then

you will be secure of the people.” This advice was exactly followed. And in the Protestant monarchies abroad little more than the shadow of Episcopacy is left; but in the republics it is wholly extinct.

In England, the reformation was brought in after a somewhat different manner,

the same principle of robbing the church. However, Henry VIII., with great dexterity, discovered an invention to gratify his insatiable thirst for blood on both religions.

but upon








WHOEVER has examined the conduct and proceedings of both parties for some years past, whether in or out of power, cannot well conceive it possible to go far toward the extremes of either without offering some violence to his integrity or understanding. A wise and a good man may indeed be sometimes induced to comply with a number whose opinion he generally approves, though it be perhaps against his own. But this liberty should be made use of upon very few occasions, and those of small importance, and then only with a view of bringing over his own side another time to something of greater and more public moment. But to sacrifice the innocency of a friend, the good of our country, or our own conscience, to the humor, or passion, or interest of a party, plainly shows that either our heads or our hearts are not as they should be: yet this very practice is the fundamental law of each faction among us, as may be obvious to any who will impartially and without engagement be at the pains to examine their actions, which, however, is not so easy a task: for it seems a principle in human nature to incline one way more than another, even in matters where we are wholly unconcerned And it is a common observation that in reading a history of facts done a thousand years ago, or standing by at play among those who are perfect strangers to us, we are apt to find our hopes and wishes engaged on a sudden in favor of one side more than another. No wonder then that we are all so ready to interest ourselves in the course of public affairs, where the most inconsiderable have some real share, and, by the wonderful importance which every man is of to himself, a very great imaginary one.

And, indeed, when the two parties that divide the whole commonwealth come once to a rupture, (without any hopes left of forming a third with better principles to balance the others, It seems every man's duty to choose one of the two sides, though he cannot



entirely approve of either; and all pretences to neutrality are justly exploded by both, being too stale and obvious, only intending the safety and ease of a few individuals, while the public is embroiled. This was the opinion and practice of the latter Cato, whom I esteem to have been the wisest and best of all the Romans. But before things proceed to open violence, the truest service a private man may hope to do his country is, by unbiassing his mind as much as possible, and then endeavoring to moderate between the rival powers; which must needs be owned a fair proceeding with the world, because it is, of all others, the least consistent with the common design of making a fortune by the merits of an opinion.

I have gone so far as I am able in qualifying myself to be such a moderator: I believe I am no bigot in religion, and I am sure I am none in government. I converse in full freedom with many considerable men of both parties; and if not in equal number it is purely accidental and personal, as happening to be near the court, and to have made acquaintance there, more under one ministry than another. Then, I am not under the necessity of declaring myself by the prospect of an employment. And, lastly, if all this be not sufficient, I industriously conceal my name, which wholly exempts me from any hopes and fears in delivering my opinion.

In consequence of this free use of my reason, I cannot possibly think so well or so ill of either party as they would endeavor to persuade the world of each other and of themselves. For instance; I do not charge it upon the body of the Whigs or the Tories that their several principles lead them to introduce Presbytery and the religion of the church of Rome, or a commonwealth and arbitrary power. For why should any party be accused of a principle which they solemnly disown and protest against ? But to this they have a mutual answer ready: they both assure us that their adversaries are not to be believed ; that they disown their principles out of fear, which are manifest enough when we examine their practices. To prove this, they will produce instances, on one side, either of avowed presbyterians, or persons of libertine and atheistical tenets; and

on the other, of professed papists, or such as are openly in the interest. of the abdicated family. Now it is very natural for all subordinate sects and denominations in a state to side with some general party, and to choose that which they find to agree with themselves in some general principle. Thus, at the restoration, the Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Independents, and other sects, did all, with very good reason, unite and solder up their several schemes to join against the

church; who, without regard to their distinctions, treated them all as equal adversaries. Thus, our present disscnters do very naturally close in with the Whigs, who profess moderation, declare they abhor all thoughts of persecution, and think it hard that those who differ only in a few ceremonies and speculations should be denied the privilege and profit of serving their country in the highest employ-, ments of state. Thus, the atheists, libertines, despisers of religion and revelation in general, that is to say, all those who usually pass under the name of freethinkers, do properly join with the same body : because they likewise preach up moderation, and are not so over-nice to distinguish between an unlimited liberty of conscience, and an unlimited freedom of opinion, Then, on the other side, the professed firmness of the Tories for episcopacy, as an apostolical in-V stitution; their aversion to those sects who lie under the reproach of having once destroyed their constitution, and who, they imagine, by too indiscreet a zeal for reformation, have defaced the primitive model of the church ; next, their veneration for monarchical government in the common course of succession, and their hatred to republican schemes: these, I say, are principles which not only the nonjuring zealots profess, but even papists themselves fall readily in with. And every extreme here mentioned flings a general scandal upon the whole body it pretends to adhere to.

But surely no man whatsoever ought, in justice or good manners, to be charged with principles he actually disowns, unless his practices do openly, and without the least room for doubt, contradict his profession; not upon small surmises, or because he has the misfortune to have ill men sometimes agree with him in a few general sentiments. However, though the extremes of Whig and Tory seem, with little justice, to have drawn religion into their controversies, wherein they have small concern, yet they both have borrowed one leading principle from the abuse of it: which is, to have built their several systems of political faith, not upon inquiries after truth, but upon opposition to each other, upon injurious appellations, charging their adversaries with horrid opinions, and then reproaching them for the want of charity; et neuter falso.

In order to remove these prejudices, I have thought nothing could be more effectual than to describe the sentiments of a church-ofEngland man with respect to religion and government. This I shall endeavor to do in such a manner as may not be liable to the least objection from either party, and which I am confident would be assented to by great numbers in both, if they were not misled to those

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