Obrazy na stronie
[ocr errors][merged small]

Q. But since the Interest of the Clergy is supported by what they plead for, doth not this make it reasonable to suspeat that all revealed Religion is only Priest-craft ?

A. It is very fit that they who quit all other Methods of procuring Subsistence should live of that Gospel they preach; and though Men may be swayed by Interest, yet the Truth and Falíhood of 'Things no ways depend upon it'; and the Measures of judging concerning them are quite of another Nature. It is sufficient Evidence must convince a Man that is impartial, concerning the Truth of what is asserted; and it is reasonable to suppose, that they who make it their Business to search into these Matters, should be best acquainted with the Grounds of Conviction.

And we find that our Value for the Laws of the Land and the Art of Physick, is no ways abated by the great Advantages they make who follow either of those Profesions.

Q. Is it reasonable to be prejudiced against Religion upon account of the bad Lives of some of the Clergy?

A. As long as Clergy-men are cloathed with Flesh and Blood as well as other Men, we ought not to be prejudiced against Religion, because some few are overcome by the Follies and Infirmities of Mankind; the many remarkable Instances of Piecy and Devotion, of Charity and Sobriety among the sacred Order, should rather confirm us in our holy Faith, fince they, who have had the greatest Opportunities to examine the Grounds of Religion, shew forth the Truth and Excellency of it by holy Lives suitable to their Profeflion.

[blocks in formation]

Q. How may the Clergy bejt preserve that Honour and Respect which is due to their Character?

A. By discharging the Duties of their Profef

fion with great Zial and Conscience ; by behaving Bp Stil. themselves with Gravity and Sobriety, with Meekling fleet. ness and Charity, the solid Ornaments of their

holy Function, and the surest Method to raise themselves above the Reproaches of a malicious World; for true Value and Esteem is not to be acquired by the little Arts of Address and Infinuation, much less by Flattery, and by complying with Men in their Follies, but by Steddiness and Resolution in the Performance of their Duties, joined with all that Charity and Gentleness in their Behaviour, which is consistent with being true to their own Obligations.

Q. Wherein consists that Love we owe to the Ministers of God?

A. In being ready to asist them in all Difficulties, and in vindicating their Reputation from those Aspersions which bad Men are apt to load them with. In covering their real infirmities, and interpreting all their Actions in the best Sense; never picking out the Faults of a few, and making them a Reproach to the whole Sacred Order.

Q. Why ought we to provide a Maintenance for the Clergy?

A. Because they are in a peculiar Manner Servants of the great God of Heaven and Earth, to whose Bounty we owe all that we enjoy; and therefore should dedicate a Part of what we receive to his immediate Service, as an Acknowledgment of his Sovereignty and Dominion over all. And what makes this Duty farther reason



[ocr errors]

able, is, that in order to be Instruments in God's
Hands in procuring our eternal Welfare, they
renounce all ordinary Means of advancing their
Fortunes; they surrender up their Pretensions to
the Court and Camp, to the Exchange and the
Bar; and therefore it is highly fit that their la-
borious and difficult Employment, purely for
God's Glory and our Salvation, should receive
from us the Encouragement of a comfortable and
honourable Subsistence.

Q. Why ought their Maintenance to be Honour-
able and Plentiful ?

A. That Parents may be encouraged to devote their Children of good Parts to the Service of the Altar; for it is not probable they will sacrifice an expenceful Education to an Employment that is attended with small Emoluments. And if some Persons have Zeal enough to engage in the Ministry without a Respect to the Rewards of it, yet common Prudence ought to put us upon such Methods as are most likely to excite Men of the best Parts and Ability to undertake the sacred Funclion ; that the best Cause may have the best Management, and the purest Religion the ablest Defendants.

It is also necessary that their Maintenance should bear some Proportion to the Dignity of their Character, who are Embaladors for Christ; and should raise them above the Contempt of those who are too apt to be influenced by outward Appearances. For though Wisdom is better than Ecclef. 9. Strength, nevertheless, as Solomon hath long lince 16. observed, the poor Man's Wisdom is despised, and bis Words are not heard. And farther, that by this Means they may be better enabled not only to provide for their Families, which is a Q 93


Duty incumbent upon them as well as the rest of Mankind, but to be Examples to their Flock in Charity and in doing Good, as well as in all other manner of Virtue.

Q. What Maintenance do the Laws of the Land align to the Clergy ?

A. First, the Manse, or House and Glebe, which was the original Endowment of the Church, without which it cannot be supplied; and without which it could not be consecrated; and upon which was founded the original Right of a Patronage. Secondly, the Oblations, which were the voluntary Offerings of the Faithful, very considerable in the Primitive Times; fo that the Necessities of the Church were liberally supplied from the great Bounty of the People; and when, upon the spreading of Christianity, a more fixed and settled Maintenance was required, yet fomewhat of the ancient Custom was retained in coluntary Oblctions. Thirdly, Tithes, which are the main legal Support of the Parochial Clergy. The Reason of their payment is founded on the Law of God; and their Settlement among us hath been by ancient and unquestionable Laws of the Land; so that, in the judgment of the greatest Lawyers, nothing is more clear and evident than the legal Right of Tithes.

Q. What makes it highly reasonable that the Subjects of England Mould chearfully submit to the Payment of Tithes?

A. Because Tithes were granted by the Bounty and Munificence of the first Monarchs of this Realm to the Clergy, out of all the Lands in the Kingdom, and the perpetual Payment thereof laid as a Rent-charge for the Church on the same, before any Part there.

fol. 58.

He was demised to others. And if perhaps ome of the great Men of the Realm had hen Estates in absolute Property, as it is certain there were very few, if any, that had, they charged the same with Tithes by their own Consent, before they did transmit them to the Hands of the Gentry, or any who now claim from them. For it appears from Sir Ed-Lib.1.c 9. ward Coke, that the first Kings of the Realm had Sect. 73. all the Lands of England in Demesne, and les Grands Manours and les Royalties they reserved to themselves; and with the Remnant they enfeoffed the Barons of the Realm for the Defence thereof, with such Jurisdiction as the Court Baron now bath. And at this Time it was, when all the Lands of England were the King's Demesne, that Ethelwulf the second Monarch of the Saxon Race after the Heptarchy, conferred the Tithes of all the Kingdom upon the Church by his Royal Charter, which is extant in Abboc Ingulf, and in Matthew of Westminster. A. 855: So that the Land being thus charged with the Payment of Titbes, came with this Clog unto the Lords and great Men of the Realm, and hath been so transmitted and passed over from one Hand to another, until they came into the Possession of the present Owners, who must have paid more for the Purchase of them, and required larger Rents from their Tenants, if they had not been thus charged. And whatever Right they may have to the other nine Parts, either of Fee-simple, Lease, or Copy; they have certainly none at all in the Titbe or Tenth, which is no more theirs, than the other nine Parts are the Clergy's.

[ocr errors][merged small]
« PoprzedniaDalej »