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It has been often urged as a Reafon against laying open the true Principles of our Highs. Clergy, that in censuring some we condemn all, and that Religion fuffers by exposing the bad Clergy: Far be it. bę from me to censure the whole Body, there have been, and still are, Men of an exemplary Life and Conversation, good Learning and found Judgment, who know the Principles of the Reformation, 0:1 whichi (I always thought) the Church.pf Esglänt is built, and, without which, it cannot subfift: But whilst some are vindicating these Principles, shall Numbers of unlearned and difloyal Sprigs of Divinity be fuffered to-debauch the Nation with the most deftructive Doctrines? nay, even fuch as are directly contrary to the Reformation; and who, instead of defending it, run back to their Anceftors in Queen Mary's Time, and trump up a Jargon of Noise and Nonsense, bellowing out their being the Lord's Ambaffadors, lineally defcended from the ApoAles, having an uninterrupted Sueceffion, the Power of making Creeds, and in dort, of riding the Lairy, and many more fuch Abfurdities; Things that a Proteftant cannot hear without Indignation! And what is ftill more abfurd,
they will not yet, it seems, throw off the Mark, but call themselves Protestants, though it is as plain as the Sun at Noon Day, they are only Wolves in Sheeps Cloathing, i. e. Papists in Disguise.
Once for all, I desire the Reader to note, that when I mention the Clergy with the least Disrespect, I mean only those, who fo peculiarly glory in being High Churchmen, or who have either by their Actions or Preaching exposed themselves to public View and Contempt. And I confess again, that no one has a greater Veneration for a good Protestant Divine of the Church of England, than my self.
Truth is very hard to be found, even in our own Nation, where the Protestant Religion is openly professed; the Clergy would keep the Key of Knowledge, and not let the Laity come at it, at least without paying them well for it, and then we only have it at fecond-hand, with their Explanations. This brings to my Mind a remarkable Passage of a late Author. "I made a Romantic Search • (says he) after a fair Lady, called Truth, whom, after 'many tedious Journies and ob
• ftinate Encounters by the way, I found, at • laft, in a large Castle, guarded by a nume
rous Regiment of black Giants, who told • me that she was their Prifoner, and that it
was in vain to attempt her rescue. They • told me farther, that they and their Predes cessors bad kept her there for above a Thou• sand Years, and levied upon Mankind im• mense Sums of Money for maintaining them
in their religious Ignorance, which they con• stantly paid with great Thankfulness and Humility.' How far this agrees with the late Proceedings of our High Clergy, is too plain and too true to need any Comment ; the Cafe muft certainly be bad, if the Clergy are afraid to let the Laity use their Reason and their Senses: Some of them are against having the Bike read, without we believe as they believe, that is, believe their Explanations ; so that consequently we are not to believe the Bible, but their Explanation of it. Now if the Bible is the Religion of Proteftants, if it be the only Rule of Faith, by which we muft live, and at last be judged, and if this sacred Book contains all Things neceflary to Salvation, Jet every Man read it, and judge for himseli, and not let another be judge for him ; why do we blame the Popish Clergy for locking up the
Bible from the Laity, if we thus follow their Example and thrust our Interpretations and Decisions upon others ? Has not the Almighty given the Laity the Use of their Senses,, as well as the Clergy? or do we any where find in the inspired Writings, that God has any where placed Spiritual Rulers over the Consciences or Purses of the Laity ?
Our High Clergy would be thought very Religious ; for they make a horrid Outcry of the Church upon-all Occasions.
The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord are weg (fay. they); but let us consider what sort of a Church some of our High Clergy will make it: Why truly we find it made up of a Hodgepodge Composition : They tell us, that it is not the Congregation, i. e. the People that allemble there, that conftitute the Church, but it must be a Stone Wall, a High Steeple, a fine Altar Piece, a musical Organ, and a Ring of Bells, with other Ingredients, to make it decent and orderly, that a Piece of Lawn, or a black Gown can invent: That this Church must be governed by Most Reverends and Right Reverends, with a Number of about fifty Thousand in their Regimental Habits ; and notwithstanding 'tis a Time of profound
Peace and. Tranquility, yet-we (the Laity) maintain them in whole Pay.
They tell us of the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, and at the End of it they put this, knocking-down Argument, as by Law established : This. unanswerable Reason the Clergy are sure to let the Ears of the Laity ring with; and you shall scarce ever hear the Church mentioned but established by Law at the Tail of it. They tell us also that this Church is the purest and the best conftituted of any other in the World. I readily join with them as to its being the best constituted, 'as will appear by the following Story, which I have šeceived from a dignified Man in the Church, and therefore-I do not question the Truth of it: A Country Parson, having a good fat • Living, as he calls it, upon his receiving a • Quarter's Tithes, the Parson's Eyes rolled
upon the Money, so that his Collector ex
pected he would have worshiped' it: After • several Ejaculations, (I did not enquire wheother they were extempore) he pulled off his • Beaver, and held it in.one Hand, while he ? swept in the Money with the other, repeating
it often, over with an orthodox Voice, Our Church is the best conflituted Church in the