Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

L O N D 0 :
And a modest Plea for their Rights

and better Usage.

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 elemus. Omnis gratia, potentia, honos,
divitiæ apud illos funt, aut ubi illi volunt : nobis relique-
runt pericula, repulsas, judicia, egeftatem, Sat. Bell. Cat.


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



$77 1737




Lord Bishop of LONDON.


T is the peculiar Happincss of our

civil Constitution, that the Rights I

and Properties of Men among us, are so settled and secured by Law, as to leave no room for Diffidence

or Fear'; where the higheít are not exempted from Justice, nor the lowest under any Discouragement to complain. A Complaint from the meanest Subject, express’d in Terms of Duty and Respect, finds Admittance even to the Throne of our Sovereign, and oftentimes á gracious Anfaver thence : And it would be a sad Defect in the Constitution of our Church, if the like Balance were not preserved in it; if there were any Partiality in its Decrees, any Inequality in its Administrations, any Inclination or Contrivance in its Governours, to favour




and indulge only one Set of Men, to the utter impoverishing and enslaving of the rest ; if the greatest, in Thort, had any Toleration to do wrong or the meanest Clergyman among us any Coertion upon him, or any Apprehensions of Danger in suing for Redress.

The Language of our Church in all her Canons and Constitutions, I am sure, breathes nothing but Justice and Equity; makes no Diftinction between Man and Man, nor any Discrimination upon Point of our different Circumstances. And for the little I know of the christian Temper of our most excellent Bishops, I

cannot but persuade myself, that they bear al1 Tim.v. ways in Mind that awful Charge given them

before God, and the Lord Jesus Chrift, and the elect Angels, that they observe these Rules of the Church, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by Partiality. Consequently, Í must 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 should, with all Humility and due Respect, cannot but be deemed an acceptable Service, where it gives them an Opportunity of correcting what they find amiss, 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 Consideration of what Encouragement is usually 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


fa&ti fama sat eft. To ease the weary Shoulder, and relieve the impotent and weak, is an Attempt so agreeable to the kindly Propensions of human Nature, as to need no other Motive. Whether it be attended with Success or no, depends in a great Measure upon the Choice of the Person whose Interest and Affiftance we implore. I mean it a Compliment to your Lordship's Justice and Honour therefore, and a Declaration of the great Esteem I have for that Humility and Meekness, that Kindness and Condescension, that universal Love and Impartiality of Affection, wherewith you embrace your whole Clergy ; that I make it my Option, out of all the sacred College of Bishops, to lay before you a Specimen of such Miseries as press hard upon us, and force us to complain : Before you, who once adorn’d an inferior Station in the Church yourself, and through the several Offices of Religion, ascended gradually to the Top of the highest Order ; but so ascended, 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 Inspection into the State of other Churches; where the sorry Provision for the Maintenance of their Clergy, encourages none but the Refuse of the People, * the Sons of Peasants, and the meanest Burghers, to undertake the sacred Function, and consequently disgrace it: Before you, who have the Care and Superintendency of a Diocese, which as it is a Place of greatest Resort, happens at this time to be a Scene where more Objects of extreme Wretchedness among the inferior Clergy, and more Instances of Injustice and Oppression among the Superior, are daily

Account of Sweden, p. 250



« PreviousContinue »