Page images







In and about


And a modeft PLEA for their Rights
and better Ufage.

In a LETTER to a Right Reverend Prelate.

By the Reverend Mr. THO STACKHOUSE.

Nos omnes, ftrenui, boni, nobiles atque ignobiles, vulgus fumus,
fine gratia, fine auctoritate; iis obnoxii, quibus, fi refp.
valeret, formidini effemus. Omnis gratia, potentia, honos,
divitiæ apud illos funt, aut ubi illi volunt: nobis relique-
runt pericula, repulfas, judicia, egeftatem, Sat. Bell. Cat.

[blocks in formation]

Printed for J. ROBERTS, at the Oxford-Arms in Warwick-

BX 5175 577 1737




то тНЕ

Lord Bishop of LONDON.


T is the peculiar Happiness of our civil Conftitution, that the Rights and Properties of Men among us, are fo fettled and fecured by Law, as to leave no room for Diffidence or Fear; where the higheft are not exempted from Juftice, nor the loweft under any Difcouragement to complain. A Complaint from the meaneft Subject, exprefs'd in Terms of Duty and Refpect, finds Admittance event to the Throne of our Sovereign, and oftentimes a gracious Anfver thence: And it would be a fad Defect in the Constitution of our Church, if the like Balance were not preferved in it; if there were any Partiality in its Decrees, any Inequality in its Adminiftrations, any Inclination or Contrivance in its Governours, to favour B


[ocr errors]


and indulge only one Set of Men, to the utter impoverishing and enflaving of the reft; if the greateft, in fhort, had any Toleration to do wrong or the meaneft Clergyman among us any Coertion upon him, or any Apprehenfions of Danger in fuing for Redrefs.

THE Language of our Church in all her Canons and Conftitutions, I am fure, breathes nothing but Juftice and Equity; makes no Diftinction between Man and Man, nor any Difcrimination upon Point of our different Circumftances. And for the little I know of the chriftian Temper of our moft excellent Bishops, I cannot but perfuade myself, that they bear alTim. v. ways in Mind that awful Charge given them before God, and the Lord Jefus Chrift, and the elect Angels, that they obferve these Rules of the Church, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by Partiality. Confequently, I muft believe, that as they are indeed the common Fathers of us all, their Care extends to the Benefit, and their Ears are open to the Complaints of all; that Grievances in the Church (however they come to creep in) will never be tolerated long, after they are once detected and laid bare; and that a Representation of these Grievances, attended, as it fhould, with all Humility and due Refpect, cannot but be deemed an acceptable Service, where it gives them an Opportunity of correcting what they find amifs, and of clearing their own Character from the Imputation of any criminal Connivance.

I WAS going to call it a Service, my Lord, that merited fome Reward, from the Confideration of what Encouragement is ufually given to Discoveries of a lower Nature, where the civil Power is any way abus'd, or the Crown defrauded in any part of its Revenue ; fed mihi


falti fama fat eft. To eafe the weary Shoulder, and relieve the impotent and weak, is an Attempt fo agreeable to the kindly Propenfions of human Nature, as to need no other Motive. Whether it be attended with Succefs or no, depends in a great Measure upon the Choice of the Person whofe Intereft and Affiftance we implore. I mean it a Compliment to your Lordfhip's Juftice and Honour therefore, and a Declaration of the great Efteem I have for that Humility and Meekness, that Kindness and Condefcenfion, that univerfal Love and Impartiality of Affection, wherewith you embrace your whole Clergy; that I make it my Option, out of all the facred College of Bishops, to lay before you a Specimen of fuch Mileries as prefs hard upon us, and force us to complain: Before you, who once adorn'd an inferior Station in the Church yourself, and through the feveral Offices of Religion, afcended gradually to the Top of the highest Order; but fo afcended, as not to forget the Condition of those that are left at the lowest Distance beneath you: Before you, who have had long Experience, and made great Infpection into the State of other Churches; where the forry Provision for the Maintenance of their Clergy, encourages none but the Refufe of the People, the Sons of Peasants, and the meanest Burghers, to undertake the facred Function, and confequently difgrace it: Before you, who have the Care and Superintendency of a Diocese, which as it is a Place of greatest Refort, happens at this time to be a Scene where more Objects of extreme Wretchedness among the inferior Clergy, and more Inftances of Injustice and Oppreffion among the Superior, are daily


* Account of Sweden; p. 25.
B 2


« EelmineJätka »