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in Favour of the Tories. But you any in the Sincerity with which

London, March 10th, 1701.

fhall never find

I am, &c.

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LETTER XIV.

Feb. 15, 1703.

A M perfuaded you have great Satisfaction in the News of the Queen's Gift of the first Fruits and Tenths to the poor Clergy, as it is a strong Proof of her Zeal for our established Religion. The Roman Emperors who perfecuted Chriftianity before the Days of Julian the Apoftate, occiderunt Presbyteros; but he, in Appearance more moderate, tho' in Truth wilier and more malicious than his Predeceffors, occidit Presbyterium. He spoiled the Churchmen of their Means of Living, and by this Method had well nigh deftroyed the Priefthood. Starving is doubtlefs as effectual a Form for Death to affume, as any other, and perhaps one of the most terrible Forms it can affume.

The Queen's Piety on this Occafion is the Contraft of Julian's Malice; there is nothing wanting to compleat the Merit of the Defign, but to fubftitute the Word Reftitution, instead of Bounty or Donation: However, it must be acknowledged, that there was much to be faid to justify the Right of the Crown to this Branch of Church-Revenues, which King Henry VIII. laid his Hands on; for this Revenue had been for Ages enjoyed by the Pope, as Head of the Church, therefore the vestC

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ing it in the Crown, was but a natural Confequence of one throwing off the ufurped Supremacy of Rome.

What farther enhances the Merit of this Gift, is the prefent Exigency of publick Affairs: It is done at a Juncture when the Crown is not in a giving Condition. It is to be hoped that late Pofterity who fhall enjoy the Benefit of it, will revere the Memory of the pious Donor; and that our fucceeding Monarchs may be excited by this laudable Example, to raise up the drooping Head of the English Church, plundered and covered with Rags by an unbelieving Prince, and his facrilegious Creatures, under the Veil of Reformation. A Prince more dangerous to the Chriftian Religion, than Julian or Attila, because he communed with it in the House of God, as a Friend. His Title of Defender of the Faith gave him an Opportunity to destroy his Charge, that Church, which is always in the Condition of a Minor..

I am here induced to lament the Avarice of Exclefiafticks, who, when they had an ample Dominion over the Minds of Men, grafped at too great a Share of the good Things of this World; they were not content with a competent Income; they thought their Power, their Revenues, their Number, could never be fufficiently augmented. Thefe Maxims, joined to their Vows of Celibacy, which took in both Sexes, and their Care to conceal their Shame when they broke these Vows, rendered them Enemies to Society, to human Nature. And as Reformations are too apt to run into an Extream, oppofite to the Evil defigned to be reinedied, the Church of England has dearly paid for the Avarice of that of Rome: Men knowing that the Church had obtained too much,

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eafily

eafily took up a Notion that they could not leave her too little. They knew that the Monks in dark Ages, had importuned from the Fears of intimidated dying Sinners, unreasonable Grants of great Eftates, and along with these, the reforming Generation made no Scruple to rob the Church of its natural Inheritance, which it had enjoyed from the Piety of pureft Times, in Imitation of a Pattern given by God himself, when he condefcended to compile a Body of Laws, both civil and ecclefiaftical for the Government of his chofen People.

The Land which had been given by fuperftitious Penitents, to found or endow the Nurferies of religious Idlenefs, were perhaps very properly refumed in Favour of the Crown, rather than of the Heirs of the Donors; for had they been restored to the latter, it would have produced fuch infinite Confufion among the Claimants, as probably would have redounded lefs to their Benefit and the Nation's, than the Method which was taken. But does it alfo follow, that there could be a Difficulty to afcertain the right Owners of the parochial Tithes, which were found in the Hands of the Monafteries? It was easy to know that the Monafteries had taken them from the Parish-Priefts, and by worfe Means, if poffible, than their Influence over the ftaggering Refolutions of dying Men. They robbed the fecular Clergy with a strong Hand, by the Aid of the ufurped arbitrary Power of the See of Rome, which was wrought upon by Money, to interpofe in Favour of the Regulars; not without an Eye to fome political Maxims, little less than treasonable; for the Allegiance of the Subject was divided, by that Solecifm in Politicks, imperium

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in imperio; and frequent Experience told us, that the Regulars knew no Sovereign but the Pope: Thefe Sufferings of the parochial Clergy were not a Reason, at the Reformation, why they should not be restored to their own.

Indeed if it shall happen that the christian Temper of Pofterity, one Way or other, fhall bring back the Tithes, or an Equivalent for them, to the Church, I fhould never wifh that it might be endowed with great Eftates in Lands into the Bargain. My only Defire is, that Religion may not fuffer by making the Clergy contemptible, who will always be held in Contempt, if they are obliged to live in Poverty.

In the mean while there might be fome other Expedients found out, that would contribute to place them in a comfortable Condition to attend their great Charge, the Care of Souls. There are too many Parishes in England, both in City and Country: It is true, there are fome Parishes too large, which ought to be divided; but there are a great many more too fmall, which would be better united: Two or three infufficient Provisions for fo many Paftors of little and ill attended Flocks, may amount to a competent Maintainance for one able Minifter, who may do his Duty with Satiffaction to a decent Congregation.

Perhaps alfo it is not now neceffary, that the Revenues of Colleges fhould be as ample as formerly for the Education of Youth, when the Nation is overstocked with Learning already, and there are not Benefices fufficient to receive the Men who have gone thro' the Courfe of their academical Studies. I could therefore rejoice that we had fewer People educated on Charity to fill the Church; not at all dreading the Want of a Sup

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ply from those of better Fortunes, if we could contrive to advance the Benefices to a reasonable Value; which would be much furthered by taking away fome Superfluities of Schools and Colleges, and beftowing them in the Endowment of the Church, where they are most wanted. I am far from thinking it for the Benefit of Religion, or of the Nation, to diminifh the Number of Profeffors or Fellows in either University. It will always be neceffary to the Permanency of found Learning, that there should be a confiderable Number of Men of good Parts and Education maintain'd at full Leisure to attend their Studies in every Branch of Literature. But will this alfo prove, that there is a national Advantage in bringing forward yearly, at the publick Expence, an hundred Perfons to the Degree of Batchelor of Arts, who know not afterwards which Way to turn themfelves, and have Reason to wifh, that inftead of reading Ramus and Ariftotle, they had been taught to throw the Shuttle, or hold the Plough of their Fore-Fathers.

A poor Man may be as honeft as a rich one, but it is not generally fo easy to tempt the latter into mean and fcandalous Actions. The Neceffities of fome of the lowest of the Clergy, are apt to lead them into Mistakes that cause a Clamour against the very Priesthood, and do a real Differvice to Religion. And yet these meaneft of the People (who feek the Prieft's Office, that they may eat a Piece of Bread) are immediately ready to fancy themselves Gentlemen, and that their Families are alfo advanced in Blood and Degree. Hence it happens in their Oeconomy, that during. the Father's Life-time, the Son is bred at a Freeschool, undoubtedly defigned to be a Bishop at

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