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sities : about 1,000 in the gift of the several cathedrals, and other clerical institutions : about 5,700 livings are in the nomination of the nobility and gen. try of the land, men, women, and chil. dren; and there may be 50 or 60 of a description different from any of the above, and nearer to the propriety of things. These are all so many heads of the church, the king or queen of the country being a kind of arch-head.
6 The bishops of the establishment, are, contrary to all ancient usage, chosen by the civil power, the clergy and people over whom they are to preside, not having the least negative upon their election. When they are chosen too, they take their seats in the upper house of parliament, like unto the temporal lords: this is good human policy, supposing the kingdom of Christ to be a mere worldly sovereignty; but it is utterly inconsistent with the spirituality of our Saviour's empire, and has had for many ages a most unhappy effect upon the interests of his religion in the world. Their emoluments are of such a nature,
their worldly engagements so numerous, and the temptations to the pleasures, honours, and amusements of life so strong, that their minds become secularized, and they lose all lively relish for the peculiar duties of ministers of the gospel; which they therefore very generally commit to the inferior orders of the clergy. They are as much officers of the crown, as the judges and magistrates of the land. They are chosen by the civil power, they are paid by the civil power, they are amenable to the civil power alone, the clergy and people not possessing the least controul. And then, as to the titles, by which they are designated, they carry the most indisputable marks of the anti-christian apostacy. His grace, the most reverend father in God, William, by divine providence, lord archbishop of Canterbury? --The right reverend father in God, John, by divine permission, lord bishop of London!—What is there in the titles of the pope of Rome, that is more magnificent than the sound of these words? How unlike is all this to the spirit of the gospel, and the charaeter and conduct of the lowly Saviour of mankind ? Mat. xi. 29-30; xxii. 1-12. How much ealculated are such high sounding titles to swell the pride of frail mortals ? Popes, bishops, and parsons are made of like stuff with other
6 And then, what shall we say to the secular, and lukewarm condition of the generality of the elergy of the land? to the patronage of benefices?-to the common and abominable sale of livings? to our simonical contracts? our sinecares, pluralities, non-residences**
* The curates in many cases are as culpable with respect to non-residences, as the bishops, the rectors, and vicars. In my neighbourhood, and mostly in my own parish, we have upwards of twelve chapels, where there is no resident clergyman. It is much the same in other parts of the kingdom.
The reader will find several of these defects of the church of England touched upon by Burnet-I add,
My lord s-h has got a mistress, of whom he has grown weary. On condition the rev. A. B. will mar. ry her, and make her an honest woman, he shall be rector of such a living in the gift of his lordship.
The living of C-h is in the gift of Gt; he has got a daughter; if the rev. Ch. P-- will marry her, he shall be presented to the church.
to our declaring we are moved by the Holy Ghost to preach the gospel, when we are moved by nothing more than a
Mr. G-n has a son, who is neither fit for law, physic, nor the army. He has such a living in his patronage. This son shall be trained to the church, and be incumbent of the family rectory,
My lord D-n has got four sons, one shall enjoy. the title and estate ; another shall go into the army, and be made a general; another shall go to sea, and become an admiral; the fourth shall be trained to the church, and be promoted to a bishopric. Sir
PP- has in his gift a rectory of the value of 2000 pounds a year. The rev. G. W. agrees to give him five thousand pounds in hand, and five hundred a year for ten years.
In this manner are daily bartered the souls of men, like sheep in a market! is it probable that such a state of things should be maintained for many ages or years longer? if there be a God who judgeth ihe earth, he cannot look upon such abominations with indifference. Abuses of a similar kind have brought destruction upon other countries, and shall England alone be permitted thus to play the devil ! and no no. tice be taken of us by the moral Governor of the world? Such things are indefensible, and make one blush for the church in which it is possible they should take place.
The valuable preferments in our church are almost - universally obtained by money, or by interest : merit having little or nothing to do in the business. My indignation constrains me to state, that Maurice, ay. thor of Indian Antiquicies, &c. &c.- shame to a venal age! is left to starve upon a distant and labo. rious curacy of fifty pounds a year.
desire to obtain a good living, and, perhaps even deny that there is any Ho. ly Ghost ?-to our reading one species of doctrines in the desk, and preaching directly opposite in the pulpit?
“ Abundance of persons object to several things in the 39 articles of religion-to several things in the book of homilies--and to the imposition of subscription to any human creeds and explications of doctrines whatever. * No.
“ Ye bards of Britain break the useless lyre,
And rend, disdainful, your detested lays ;
Devotes to penury his hapless days.
Subscription to the 39 articles hath kept many a good man out of the church, but no bad ones.
“The requiring of subscription to the 39 articles," Burnet says, " is a great imposition."
Whiston being one day in discourse with lord chan. cellor King, who was brought up a Dissenter at Exeter, but had conformed ; a dispute arose about signing articles which we do not believe, for the sake of preferment. This the chancellor openly justified, "be cause," said he, “ we must not lose our usefulness for scruples.” Whiston who was quite of an opposite opinion, asked his lordship, “If in his court they allowed of such prevarication?" He answered, " We do not." " Then," said Whiston, “ suppose God Al. mighty should be as just in the next world as my lord chancellor is in this, where are we then ?"