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gree about fharing it amongst them. Thefe difficulties do indeed preserve them from any great corruptions, which their crazy constitution would extremely subject them to in a long peace. That confluence of people in a persecuting age to a place of refuge nearest at hand, put them upon the necessity of trade, to which they wisely gave all ease and encouragement. And if we could think fit to imitate them in this last particular, there would need no more to invite foreigners among us; who seem to think no farther than how to fecure their property and conscience, without projecting any share in that government which gives them protection, or calling it perfecution, if it be denied them. But I speak it for the honour of our administration, that although our fects are not fo numerous as those in Holland, which I presume is not our fault, and I hope is not our misfortune, we much excel them, and all Christendom befides, in our indulgence to tender consciences. One fingle compliance with the national form of receiving the facrament, is all we require to qualify any fectary among us for the greateft employments in the ftate; after which, he is at liberty to rejoin his own affemblies for the rest of his life. Besides, I will suppose any of the numerous sects in Holland to have so far prevailed, as to have raised a civil war, destroyed their government and reli
gion, "When this was written, there was no law against occasional conformity.
gion, and put their administrators to death; after which, I will suppose the people to have recovered all again, and to have fettled on their old foundation. Then I would put a query, whether that fect, which was the unhappy instrument of all this confusion, could reasonably expect to be intrusted for the future with the greatest employments, or indeed to be hardly tolerated a
mong them ?
To go on with the sentiments of a church-ofEngland man: He does not fee how that mighty paffion for the church, which some men pretend, can well consist with those indignities and that contempt they bestow on the perfons of the clergy. It is a strange mark whereby to diftinguish high-churchmen, that they are such who imagine the clergy can never be too low. He thinks the maxim these gentlemen are so fond of, that they are for an humble clergy, is a very good one : and fo is he, and for an humble laity too; since humility is a virtue that perhaps equally befits and adorns every station of life.
But then, if the scribblers on the other side, freely speak the sentiments of their party, a divine of the church of England cannot look for much better quarter from thence. You shall observe nothing more frequent in their weekly papers, than a way of affecting to confound the terms of clergy and high-church, of applying both indifferently, and then loading the latter with all the calumny they can invent. They will tell you, they honour a clergyman; but talk, at the
fame time, as if there were not three in the kingdom who could fall in with their definition.
After the like manner, they insult the univerfe'ties, as poisoned fountains, and corrupters of
Now, it seems clear to me, that the Whigs might easily have procured and maintained a majority among the clergy, and perhaps in the universities, if they had not too much encouraged or connived at this intemperance of speech and virulence of pen, in the worst and most prostitute of their party : among whom there hath been, for some years paft, such a perpetual clamour against the ambition, the implacable temper, and the covetousness of the priesthood; such a cant of high-church, and persecution, and being priestridden ; so many reproaches about narrow principles, or terms of communion ; then such scandalous reflections on the univerfties, for infecting the youth of the nation with arbitrary and Jacobite principles, that it was natural for those who had the care of religion and education, to apprehend some general delign of altering the conftitution of both. And all this was the more extraordinary, because it could not eagly be forgot, that whatever opposition was made to the usurpations of King James, proceeded altogether from the church of England, and chiefly from the clergy, and one of the universities. For if it were of any use to recal matters of fact, what is more notorious than that prince's applying himself first to the church of England; and, upon their refusal to fall in with his measures, making the like advances to the difenters of all kinds ? who readily, and almost universally complied with him, affecting, in their numerous addresses and pamphlets, the style of our brethren the Roman Catholics ; whose interests they put on the same foot with their own: and some of Cromwell's officers took posts in the army raised against the Prince of 0. range. These proceedings of theirs they can only extenuate by urging the provocations they had met from the church in King Charles's reign; which, though perhaps excusable upon the score of human infirmity, are not by any means a plea of merit equal to the constancy and sufferings of the bishops and clergy, or of the head and fel}ows of Magdalen-college, that furnished the Prince of Orange's declaration with such powersul arguments to justify and promote the revolution.
Therefore, a church-of-England man abhors the humour of the age, in delighting to fling scandals upon the clergy in general; which, befides the disgrace to the reformation, and to religion itself, cast an ignominy upon the kingdom, that it doth not deserve. We have no better materials to compound the priesthood of, than the mass of mankind, which, corrupted as it is, those who receive orders must have some vices to leave behind them when they enter into the church; and if a few do still adhere, it is no wonder, but rather a great one, that they are no worse. Therefore, he cannot think ambition, or love of power, more justly laid to their charge, than to other men; because that would be to make religion itself, or at least the best conftitution of church-government, answerable for the errors and depravity of human nature.
Within these last two hundred years, all sorts of temporal power have been wrested from the clergy, and much of their ecclesiastic; the reason or justice of which proceeding, I shall not examine: but, that the remedies were a little too violent, with respect to their pressions, the legiflature hath lately confessed, by the remission of their firs-fruits. Neither do the common libellers deny this; who, in their invectives, only tax the church with an insatiable desire of power and wealth, (equally common to all bodies of men, as well as individuals, but thank God, that the laws have deprived them of both. However, it is worth observing the justice of parties. The sects among us are apt to complain, and think it hard usage, to be reproached now, after fifty years, for overturning the state, for the murder of a King, and the indignity of an usurpation; yet these
very men, and their partisans, are continually reproaching the clergy, and laying to their charge, the pride, the avarice, the luxury, the ignorance, and fuperftition of Popish times, for a thousand years past.
He thinks it a scandal to governinent, that fuch an unlimited liberty should be allowed, of