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fo impiously bent upon destroying Confcience, and the Constitution, and exalting the Priesthood, that when any Man was oppressed in a paltry and tyrannical Bishop's Court, the Judges in Westminster-hall durft not obey their Oaths, and the Law, by relieving him; but were forced to be forfworn, to avoid the Anger of his Grace. This upftart, Plebeian Priest hoped to see the Time, when ne'er a Fack Gentleman in England would dare to stand before a Parfon with his Hat on. A fine Scene truly! to fee a Gentleman of Fortune and Breeding, ftand ftooping, and bare-headed, to a fmall, ill-nurtured Vicar; who had, perhaps, formerly cleaned his Shoes, and lived upon the Crumbs that came from his Table.

LET us look back into former Ages, and round Europe, at this Day, and fee whether abject Slavery in the People is not, and always has been, the certain Confequence of Power in the Priests. It cannot be denied.

I THANK God, I know no Power which our Clergy have, but that of fuing for Tythes, and the like Privileges, which they receive from the Law alone. Thofe Ecclefiaftics who claim, by Divine Right, any other Power, than that of Exhortation, talk Nonfenfe, and belye the New Teftament. To the Law, and the People who made that Law, they owe their Bread; and

and to fet up for an Independency, in Oppofition to both, and pretend to a Mastership over them, is arrogant, dangerous, and ought to be penal. I am told, that it is capital, here in England, for a Proteftant to go over to the Romi Religion; and yet fhall a Priest dare publicly, from the Prefs and the Pulpit, to claim and justify the most effential, and most formidable Principles of Popery; and thereby declare his Reconciliation with that bloody Religion, which is fupported by Frauds, Bondage, and human Slaughter? And fhall he, for all this, go unquestioned? This, in my Opinion, is to contend with Impunity for Ufurtion and Rebellion.

SOME Would feem to qualify these Preten fions, by faying, That they claim a Power, but not an independent Power. Which feems in this cafe a fort of Contradiction: For if it is a Power, and yet depends upon another Power; then it is, properly speaking, a Jurifdiction of Subjection, and an Authority under Authority. And while the Law, and the Hierarchy, are thus owned to be Mafter and Man, we defire no more.

IT is certainly as impious as unjust to deny an unlimited Toleration to all Diffenters whatfoever, who own the Laws, and our civil Form

of

of Government. As to their religious Opi-, nions, they are juftified in them by Sincerity; and even where that is wanting, God alone is able to judge, and alone has a Right to punish. In Matters of Confcience, he who does his best, does well, though he be mistaken. Here all Men must determine for themfelves. He who follows another in this Cafe, without Inquiry, is Man's Votary, and not God's. As we have a Right to inquire into the Truth of any Religion, we have alfo a Right to leave it, if it appear falfe: But if it ftand the Teft of Examination, and appear true, then is our Adherence to it founded upon our own Judgment, and not upon Authority. If there be no Right of Inquiry, where is the Ufe of Perfuafion, which implies Doubt? Or of reading the Scripture, which implies Understanding? We believe not a thing, till we think it true; and cannot believe it, if we think it falle: And to punish Men for having Eyes, or having none, is equally devilish and tyrannical.

MEN difagree daily about Matters which are fubject to the Examination of Sense; and is it likely, that we can be all of a Mind about Things which are invisible and difputable? Doctors themselves are daily cavilling; every one contradicts another, yet all are in the right, and

and each demands our Faith to his particular Invention. We cannot follow all; and among equal Authorities, pray which is the beft? For the fame Reason that we cannot believe every one of them, we need believe none of them, upon their own Word.

IT is moreover juft, that all Proteftants fhould be equally employed in a State to which they are equally well affected. The Magistrate has nothing to do with Speculations that purely concern another Life: Nor is it of any Consequence to him, whether his Subjects have a greater Fondness for a Cloak, or a Surplice: Their Affections to the political Power, and their Capacity to ferve it, are only to be confulted and encouraged. Provided a Man love Liberty and his Country, what is it to the Commonwealth whether he fing his Prayers, or fay them? Or whether he think a Bishop, or a Pref byter, the nearer Relation to St. Paul?

THESE Two Words (Bishop and Presbyter) fignify, in Scripture, one and the fame thing, and are equally used to defign one and the fame Officer. Our great Churchmen, indeed, have been pleased to think the Bible mistaken in this Matter, and to be in the right themselves. They have made Epifcopacy and Presbytery as oppofite to each other, as Paradife and Purgato

ry ja

ry; and have frequently gone to cutting of Throats, to prove their Point.

IMUST Confefs, that a Diocese, and a Seat in the House of Lords, are unanfwerable Reasons for the Divine Right of Epifcopacy. There is no way of confuting them. You may as well argue with a Guiney Merchant against the felling of Slaves.

BESIDES, a Lordly Creature, who never preaches, (Miracles having long ago ceased) and keeps a great Table and Equipage, and enjoys all the great and good Things of this Life, carries in all these Marks fuch an Evidence of his being St. Paul's right Heir, in a lineal Defcent, that I wonder any body dare doubt it.

HOWEVER, as the plaineft Things in Faith are made doubtful among Divines, who have an admirable Knack at ftarting Difficulties, where nobody else would expect them; I am of Opinion, that the Teacher who walks on Foot, has as good a Title to dispute about Religion, and to maintain his own, as the Right Reverend Doctor, who fupports his Orthodoxy with a Coach and Six; and should be as much encouraged by the Civil Magiftrate, if his Principles and Behaviour square with the Conftitution. Is a Man a better Neighbour, or Subject, for nodding to a Table, at the upper End

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