« PreviousContinue »
"them to avoid, they would return your favour “ as near as possible in the same style and manner. “ However, that your advice may not be wholly “ lost, particularly that part of it which relates to “the Pretender, they desire you would apply it to “ more proper persons. Look among your own “ leaders; examine which of them engaged in a “ plot to restore the late K. James, and received “ pardons under his seal; examine which of them " have been since tampering with his pretended “ son, and, to gratify their ambition, their ava“ rice, their malice, and revenge, are now will“ing to restore him at the expence of the religion “and liberty of their country. Retire, good my “ Lord, with your pupil, and let us hear no more of “ these hypocritical infinuations,lest the Queen and " ministers, who have been hitherto content with “ only disappointing the lurking villanies of your “ faction, may be at last provoked to expose them.”
But his respect for the clergy is such, that he, doth not insinuate as if they really had these evil dispositions; he only infinuates, that they give tog much cause for such infinuations:
I will, upon occasion, strip some of his insinua. tions from their generality and folecisms, and drag them into the light. His dedication to the cler-, gy is full of them, because here he endeavours to mould up his rancour and civility together ; by which constraint, he is obliged to shorten his paragraphs, and to place them in such a light, that they obscure one another. Supposing, therefore, that I have scraped off his good manners, in order
to come at his meaning, which lies under ; he · tells the clergy, that the favour of the Queen and
her minifters, is but a colour of zeal towards them ; that the people were deluded by a groundless cry of the church's danger at Sacheverel's trial; that the clergy, as they are men of sense and honour, ought to preach this truth to their several congregations; and let them know, that the true design of the present men in power, in that, and all their proceedings since, in favour of the church, was, to bring in Popery, France, and the Pretender, and to enslave all Europe, contrary to the laws of our country, the power of the legislature, the faith of nations, and the honour of God.
I cannot see why the clergy, as men of sense, and men of honour (for he appeals not to them as men of religion) fhould not be allowed to know when they are in danger, and be able to guess whence it comes, and who are their protectors. The design of their destruction, indeed, may have been projected in the dark; but when all was ripe, their enemies proceeded to so many overt acts in the face of the nation, that it was obvious to the meanest people, who wanted no other motives to roufe them.' On the other side, can this author, or the wisest of his faction, assign one single act of the present ministry, any way tending towards bringing in the Pretender, or to weaken the succession of the house of Hanover? Observe then the reasonableness of this gentleman's advice: the clergy, the gentry, and the common people had the utmost apprehensions of danger to the church
under the late ministry; yet then it was the greatest impiety to inflame the people with any such apprehensions. His danger of a popisl, successor, from any steps of the present ministry, is an artificial calumny, raised and spread against the conviction of inventors, pretended to be believed only by those, who abhor the constitution in church and state ; an obdurate faction, who compass heaven and earth to restore themselves upon the ruin of their country: yet here, our author exhorts the clergy to preach up this imaginary danger to their people, and disturb the public peace with his strained feditious comments.
But how comes this gracious licence to the clergy, from the whigs, to concern themselves with politics of any fort, although it be only the glosses and comments of Mr. Steele? The speeches of the managers at Sacheverel's trial, particularly those of Stanhope, Lechmere, King, Parker, and fome others *, seemed to deliver a different doctrine. Nay, this very dedication complains of Jome in holy orders, who have made the constitution of their country (in which and the coptic Mr. Steele is equally skilled) a very little part of their study, and get made obedience and government the frequent Jubjects of their discourses. This difficulty is easily folved; for, by politics, they mean obedience. Mr. Hoadley t, who is a champion for resistance, was VOL. II.
† Dr. Benjamin Hoadley, created bishop of Bangor by King George I. in 1715; translated to Hereford in 1721, to Salisbury in 1723, and to Winchester in 1734.
never charged with meddling out of his function : Hugh Peters, and his brethren, in the times of usurpation, had full liberty to preach up fedition and rebellion ; and so here, Mr. Steele issues out his licence to the clergy, to preach up the danger of a popish pretender, in defiance of the QUEEN and her administration.
Every whiffler in a laced coat, who frequents the chocolate-house, and is able to spell the title of a pamphlet, shall talk of the constitution with as much plausibility as this very solemn writer, and, with as good a grace, blame the clergy for meddling with politics, which they do not understand. I have known many of these able politicians furnished, before they were of age, with all the necessary topics of their faction, and, by the help of about twenty polysyllables, capable of maintaining an argument, that would shine in the Crisis; whole author gathered up his little stock from the same schools, and hath written from no other fund.
But, after all, it is not clear to me, whether this gentleman addresseth himself to the clergy of England in general, or only to those very few (hardly enow, in case of a change, to supply the mortality of those self-denying prelates he celebrates) who are in his principles, and, among these, only such as live in and about London ; which, probably, will reduce the number to about half a dozen at most. I should incline to guess the latter ; because he tells them, they are surrounded by a learned, wealthy, knowing gentry, who
know with what firmness, self-denial, and charity, the bishops adhered to the public cause, and what contumelies those clergymen have undergone, &c. who adhered to the cause of truth. By those terms, the public cause, and the cause of truth, he understands the cause of the Whigs, in opposition to the QUEEN and her servants: therefore, by the learned, wealthy, and knowing gentry, he must understand, the bank, and East-India company, and those other merchants or citizens within the bills of mortality, who have been strenuous against the church and crown, and whose spirit of faction hath lately got the better of their interest. For, let him search all the rest of the kingdom, he will find the surrounded clergy, and the surrounding gentry, wholly strangers to the merits of those prelates, and adhering to a very different cause of truth; as will soon, I hope, be manifest, by a fair appeal to the representatives of both.
It was very unnecessary in this writer, to bespeak the treatment of contempt and derihon, which the clergy are to expect from this faction, when-ever they come into power. I believe that venerable body is in very little concern, after what manner their most mortal enemies intend to treat them, whenever it shall please God, for our sins, to visit us with so fatal an event; which I hope it will be the united endeavours both of clergy and laity to hinder. It would be some support to this hope, if I could have any opinion of his predicting talent (which some have ascribed to people of this author's character) where he tells us, thať