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Independent Whig.

Nee uUtim fatis validum Imperiiim erat
coercendis Seditionibus Topttliy flagitia
Hominum ut Ceremonias T>eum pro-


L O NT> O N:

Printed for J. Peel e, at Loekes Head,
in Tater-mJler-Row. m.dcc.xxi.





ot Rel


OU5 Gentlemen^ who
are the Reprefenta-*
tives of the Clergy
of England^ are pro-
per Patrons of a
Work, which treats
igion and the Clergy. It is
to promote Liberty, Virtue and
A 2 Piety;

iv Dedication.

Piety ; the Interefts of which, I hope,
you will always efpoufe, and efteem as
your own ; and will confequently ap-
prove my Defign, and give me your
Thanks, whatever may have been the
Succefs of my Endeavours.

The many wild and unfcriptural
Claims ftarted, and impetuoufly main-
tained by very many of thofe you re-
prefent (and I wifh I could fay denied,
though but faintly, by any confiderable
Number of others) gave Occalion to
the following Sheets ; and, having in
them ihewn to my Brethren, the Laity,
the Abfurdity and Impiety of thofe
Claims^ by Arguments fetch'd from
Reafon, the Gofpel, and the Laws of
our Country ; I fliall, in this Addrefs
to your felves, endeavour to convince
you, that it is your Intereft to drop
them; and if I can fucceed in this
Point, I prelume, all other Arguments
may be ulelefs. Thele

Dedication. v

Thefe Gentlemen, in the Heat of
their Demands and Contention for
Power, have gone fo far towards Rome^
and borrowed {o many of her Princi-
ples, that I fee no other Medium left
for them, but either to proceed on in
their Journey thither, (which, as they
have managed Matters, is now a ver.y
fhort one) or to turn back to the Prin-
ciples of the Reformation (a very long
Journey, I confefs ! ) and accept of the
Bifliop of Bangor s Scheme, as much
as they hate it and him. That Scheme^
tho' it may not be altogether fo tooth-
fome^ yet is a fafe Scheme : And tho'
it does not entitle them to all the Power
and Wealth in England^ yet it fecures
to them what they have.

Confider, Gentlemen, that you can-
not take as much of Popery as you
pleafe, and leave the reft. Machiavel
has long fmce told us, that no Govern-

A I ment

vi Dedication.

ment can fubfift long but upon Its ori-
ginal Foundation, and by recurring
often to the Principles upon which it
was firft founded. It will indeed ftand
upon no other ; and when that is fap'd
and undermined, the Superftrufture
muft fall to the Ground^ and the old
Inhabitants find out new Materials,
and ere(5t new Buildings upon other
Foundations] and they are, for the moft
part, undone by the Experiment.

The firft Principles of our Proteftant
Church, are the Principles of the Re-
formation ; namely, the fpiritual Su-
premacy of the Crown ; the Right of
the Laity to judge for themfelves ; the
forming of all Ecclefiaftical Polity by
the Legiflature ; and confequently, that
of creating Clergymen by the Civil
Powder, forgot by too m.any of the
Clergy, and remembred againft their
Wills by the Laity. Whoever wouki


Dedication] vii

maintain the Reformation, muft main-
tain thefe Principles ; or embrace Pope-
ry, if he deferts tTiem. Whether thefo-
lemn Oaths of the Clergy in general,
have been fufficient Pledges and Mo-
tives for their believing and defending
them, I appeal to their Behaviour and
their Writings.

Being the fworn Servants of the Law,
many of them have avowedly contra-
di6ted and bid Defiance to the Law :
Being entrufted with ferving and in-
ftrufting the People, they have deceived
and fet up for commanding the People :
Being chofen by the Crown to minifte-
rial Offices, they have claimed a Power
above the Crown ; from which they
acknowledge, upon Oath, to have re-
ceived all Power. They have done
what in them lay, to make the Mercy
of God of none Etfed:, by damning
whom they pleas'd ; and to difarm his

A 4 Juftice,

Viii D E D I C A T I O Nf

Juftice^ by pardoning whom they
would. They have made Heaven it
[elf to isoait for the Sentence from the
Triefs Mouthy and God himjclf to fol-
low the judgment of the Triefl. They,
have pretended to oblige God Almighty to
o^en and Jlmt Heavens Gates. They
have aflerted^ that the Triefihood is a
princely Tower^ greater and more venera-
ble than that of the Emperor : That
the fj)tritual Government (that is^ a Go-
vernment by Priefts) is farther above
the Civil Tower y than Heaven is above the
Earth : That a Bijho^ is to be honour d
as God : That ^ the Revenue of Priefts
^ ought to be greater than the Revenue
^ of Kings : That greater Puniflhmcnt
' is due to an Offence againft: a Prieft^
^ than to an Offence againft: a King :
^ That Kings and Queens are to bow
' down before the Prieft, with their Face
^ towards the Earthy and to Hck up the
' Duft of his Feet : That it is the

' Royal

Dedication. ix

^ Royal Office of Kings and Queens^ to
^ carry the Prieft in their Bofom^ or on
' their Shoulders : That great Men
^ ought not to fay my Cha^lain^ in any
^ other Senfe than we fay. My King,
^or My God.

As to the King's Nomination of Bi-
fliops^ and the Power he has over the
Convocation^ they have maintained that
^ the Church fliould as reafonably have
' the Nomination and depofing of Kings;
^ and that it is as reafonable that the
^ Parliament fhould neither meet nor
^ a6t without the BiOiop's Licenfe and
^ Authority : That the Cliief Magiftrate
^ is bound to fubmit to the Bifhop, who
^ may excommunicate him : That it is a
^ Contradidion and an Impoffibility, for
^ any State to have Authority over the
' Church;, that is^ over thePriefts : That
^ thePriefts Power extends to the fettling'
^ of Fafting, and Feafting^ and Clothes ;
* ' l^hat

X D E D I C A T I O iSr.

^ That thofe Clergy^ who comply with
^ the Govertimentj and yet retain their
* old Principles^ are the beft Part, and
^ moft numerous of the Clergy;' that is^
that thofe of the Clergy, who are per-
jured, are the beft and moft numerous.
They have decreed, that to maintain
that tlx Sovereignty of England is in the
Three Ejlates of England, namely, in
Kings, Lords, and Commons, is a dam^
noble "Principle. They have afferted,
that the Ijords and Commons have no more
Share in the making of La^^c^Sy than a
Beggar has in one^s Alms : That all Sub'^
jeds are Slaves as to Life and Tro^ertj :
^ And that Refiftance is not lawful for
^ theMaintenanceof the Liberties of our
^ lelves and others; nor for the Defence
^ of Religion ; nor for the Prefervation
^ of Church and 5tate ; nor for the Sal-
^ vation of a Soul ; no, nor for the Re-
^ demption of the whole World.'


Dedication. xi

There is a choice Catalogue of thefe
extravagant Doftrines^ colleded in a
a Pamphlet pubhlh'd fome Years fince,
and entitled, A ne^w Catechtjm^ ^mtb Dr.
HickesV 59 Articles-^ and all of them
taken out of the Writings of Men in the
higheft Reputation amongft you. Yes,
Gentlemen^ all thefe impious, mad and
felfifli Dodtrines have been maintained
by thofe of your Order, and never yet
contradided by any publick Ad of your
Body. On the contrary, with your u-
fual Charity and good Nature, you
have fallen upon thofe who expos'd
them ; tho' they were evidently the
very Corner-Stones of Popery, and a
flat Contradidtion to the whole Spirit
and Progrefs of the Reformation.

There is no Medium between Pope-
ry and the Reformation ; that is, be-
tween the claiming of any Power in
Religion, and the renouncing of all


xii Dedication.

Power in Religion : (as you will find
fully made owt in the following Sheets j
The latter is the Charafteriftick of a
Proteftant Minifter^ and the former
the black Mark of a Popifli Prieft ;
and you have it in your Choice,
Gentlemen, which you will chufe to

If you do not think fit to accept the
BtJJoo^ of Bangor'^s Troteflant Scheme,
which is the lame with that of the Re-
formation, and has been ever fince the
Law of the Land, there is but one
Choice left you, namely, that of work-
ing about a Popifli Revolution, ^^r fa^^
if? nefa^'^ and of bringing undifguis'd
Popery and the Inquifition into the
Church, and direft Slavery upon your
Country; and upon your felves, the
Neceflity of throwing your felves blind-
ly upon the Mercy of the Court of
'Rome^ for her Protection, and Licence


Dedication. xiii

to preferve your Dignities and Reve-


You have no Poffibility of keeping
dear of the To^e and the Regale both.
The King will not part with his Prero-
gative; the Parhament will not give
up its Authority ; nor will the People
entirely part with their Senfes. And
for the Biflhop of Kome^ you would
do well to remember what tender U-
fage your Predeceflfors received at his
Hands. He indeed always difcounte-
nanc'd and opprefs'd them. The lazy
Monks, and debauch'd Fryars, were
his Darlings, and peculiar Care. They
were thoroughly detach'd from the In-
terefts of the Laity, and thorough De-
pendents upon the Holy Father : They
WTre therefore diftinguilh'd as his Spi-
ritual Janizaries, . and the Guards of
the Papacy ; and to them he gave away
the Revenues and Maintenance of the


xiv Dedication^.

Secular Clergy^ not fo much trufted
by him.

If you remember this, you will eafi-
ly judge how much more it is your In-
tereft to fubmit to the eafy and gentle
Authority of the Prince, and to live
under the Protection of the Laws of
your Country, by which your Income
and all your Immunities are afcertain'd
and fecur'd to you, than to live expos'd
to the Diftrufts of a foreign cruel Court,
and to the Rapine of foreign and needy
Priefts, who will be perpetually quar-
tered upon you, and drawing Money
from you ; and when probably it will
grow a Maxim in the Roman Toliticks^
that jou mufl be k^£t £oor.

But befides, however good the In-
tentions may be of fuch amongft your
felves, or of thofe you reprefent, to
become the Subjeds^ or^ as you may



vainly imagine-, the Confederates of
Rome'^ they will;, in all Likelihood,
find it utterly impoffible to execute their
Deiigns ; and muft, in all Appearance,
venture their prefent Poffeffions upon
the Succefs of fuch Defigns. And if
they fhould happen to fucceed , they
may have the Glory indeed of the
Wickednefs ; but the Rewards will be,
for the moft Part^ reap'd by new Com-
ers^ who had no Share in the Toil,
Foreign Ecclefiafticks will be the firft
in Favour^ and the higheft in Place :
They will carry off your Honours and
your Preferments : The Sincerity of
your Converfion will be queftion'd, or
pretended to be queftion'd : There will
quickly grow a Diftindtion between
Old Tap/Is and New Converts; as in
S^ain and Tortugal^ where a wide Diffe-
rence is made between old Chriftians and
new; which Difference holds for many
Generations ; and^ in Ihort, all Coun-

xvi Dedication.

tenance will be fliewn, all Favours v/ill
be granted to thole who never bow'd
their Heads to Baal. Your Behaviour
to the late Kmg James will alfo be re-
member'd^ tho' you have forgot his to
you • and you will be call'd Ingratesy
JSlc'w Hypocrites J or Old Rebels.

I am in Hopes, Reverend Sirs^ that,
from all thefe Confiderations, the Gen-
tlemen of thefe Notions will find Rea-
Ion to look back to their Original at
the Reformation, and to preach up the
Principles upon which it ftands, iince
they are like to ftand or fall by thefe
Principles. Let them veer about once
more ; they know how to do it ; and
I will be the firft to declare that they
have been once in the Right, and once
reconcird their Views to the Liberties
of England.

D E D I C A T I O iV. Xvii

I might likevvife fetch an Argument
from their awkwardneis in PoHticks^ to
convince them that they ought to be
Proteftants. They have made it mani-
feft, by many Trials and long Expe-
rience, that they are but heavy In-
triguers, and fadly want both the Tem-
per and Talents of Politicians. The
Proteftant Religion being a plain one,
fupported by obvious I'ruth and com-
mon Senfe, and requiring no Manage-
ments or Finenefs to make it go down
with the People ; would fit them well
enough, if they could be content with
it. But it is quite otherwife with the
Religion of Korne ; which being a fur-
prizing Medly of various and contra-
dictory Parts, requires the utmoft Ad-
drefs. Delicacy and Skill to keep them
from falling to pieces : And, in this Re-
fpe6t, the Church of Rome owes its Fi-
gure and Prefervation to the Court of
liomc^ where all the niceft Secrets of

a Power

xviii Dedication.

Power are underftood^ and all the moft
curious Arts in Politicks are pradtis'd ;
where every Abfurdity is finely dif-
guisM^ and every Cruelty is artfully
conceaFd; where, in fine, they have
the Knack of making People pleas'd
with being abus'd, and to forget that
they are Slaves, or never to know it.

Hitherto, Gentlemen, it has been
otherwife with you : Our Pretenders
have but grofsly ap'd Popery : Their
Aims have been too open, and their
Management too coarfe. A blunt De-
mand at once for all the Wealth, and
Reverence, and PowTr of England^ was
fo ridiculous, that, had w^e not before
known their unhappyState of Ignorance,
we fhould have thought they had been
in Jeft when they made it. Nor has
that incurable Appetite of theirs, which
they cannot hide, of combating Con-
icience with down-right Force^ and bru-


Dedication, xix

ti(h Violence^ done them lefs Harm.
In Ihort^ good Counfel they have feldom
taken ^ their foolifh Counfels they never
could conceal ; and, God be thanked,
their wicked Counfels they never yet
have been able, thoroughly, to execute ;
they, are in truth, but doggerel Politi-
cians. EiigUJh Trieficraft is as coarfe as
the Romi/h Trieflcraft is fine. Theirs is
the ^ej)ths of Satan^ and Ours his
Shallo^dDS ; as is excellently faid by the
late Mr. Samuel '^ohnfon.

The Romijh Clergy chofe the Days of
Darknefs to low their Frauds in : They
vended their ,J^ly Trifles, when Igno-
rance had increased the Number of
Buyers : They planted their Power in
the fertile Soil of Superftition ; and by
keeping the People poor, wretched,
ignorant, wicked, and fearful, as they
everywhere do, they ftill maintain their

a 2 But

XX Dedication.

But our High Gentlemen^ who both
know and' lament, that this Nation has
leen more Days of Light and Liberty
(which indeed are feldom (eparated)
fince the Revolution^ than ever it faw
before^ have yet prepofteroufly chofen
that very Time of Light and Liberty
to advance all the wildeft Claims of
Popery, and all the vileft Tenets of
Slavery. What could they mean ?
Did they not know^ that the more Men
find the Ufe of their Underftanding,
the more loth they are to part with it ?
And that thofe Men who are willing to
part with their Underftandings^ muft
have very fliallow onesi^^

The Evglijl) Laity have been us'd
pretty much of late^ to think for them-
felves ; and we find^ as doubtlefs^, Gen-
tlemen, you do^ that the more Men
know of Church Power, the lefs they
like it. They fee that Prieftly Pomp


Dedication, xxi

always ftandsonLay Mifery; that where
the Priefts are Princes^ the People are
the loweft Slaves; and that Church
Power always riles with the Fall of
Liberty and Knowledge.

The Popifli Piiefts too, as they pro-
pagated their lying Tenets in the dark,
lb they did it (lily, and by well weighed
Gradations. Every Invention of theirs
had its proper Seafon. The Fire of Tur-
gatory was kindled at one time ; Indul^
gences were hatched at another. Tran-
fubftantiation ftole in at a convenient
Hour ; and all their Doctrines of Gain
and Power, were broach'd at politick
Diftances, and as Opportunities in-

But our High Priefts, as they have
obferv'd neither Meafure nor Mercy
in their Demands upon us ; fo nei-
ther have they made them at due and

a 3 difcreet

xxii Dedication.

difcreet Intervals. By overloading the
Cart, they, have overturned it. They
have frighten'd us v^ith the broad and
black Cloud of their Pretenfions, and
made Men unanimoufly oppofe that
Heap of Claims and Abfurdities, which,
had they been wife, we might have
been brought to fwallow fingly, l^hey
wanted Patience, as well as Policy.

We were not yet ripe for Popery.
We had Judgment enough to fee that all
thofe Claims, all thole new Doctrines, e-
vidently and folely tended to theClergy's
Advantage, and our Undoing : And we
thought it was as confiftent with natu-
ral Equity and common Senfe, that we
fliould be Judges in our own Cafe, as
that you fhould be in yours. Indeed, if
any amongft you had maintained Doc-
trines evidently grievous to your felves,
and manifeftly tending to the Know-
ledge and external Happinefs of the


Dedication, xxiii

People, we fliould at lea ft have thought
you in Earneft, If, for Example, you
had contended^ that the Priefts fhould
faft Three Days in the Week, and the
Laity only when they pleas'd ; that the
Priefts ftiould be entirely at the Mercy
of the People for a Maintenance ; and
fhou'd be reftrain'd from taking above
Thirty or Forty Pounds a Year Sallary ;
and forbid all Pomp and Affluence, be-
caufe they vitiate the Mind, and breed
Pride and Lazinefs, two Faults heinous
in a Minifter of God : I fay, if you had
contended for fuch Liberty in the Laity^
and for fuch rigorous Reftraints upon
your felves, it wou'd have carried in it
the Face of Sincerity and Self-Denial.
But, for Priefts, u^ho are known to
have been, at firft, the Alms-men of
the People, (and who moftly are ftill
educated by the Charity, and main-
tained by tlie Benevolence of the Laity^
to talk of Palaces,Revenues, nay Thrones

a 4. and

xxiv^ Dedication.

and Principalities, and be for afluming
Empire ovpr their Mafters, and grow-
ing great by the Poverty of the Peo^
pie, is fuch a ftretch of Arrogance and
Folly, as cannot be aggravated, as it
would not be credible, did we not fee
it. The Pretentions of the great Turk
are not half fo deteftable.

Who w^ould not rather be a Slave to
a Monarchy than a Monk ? The Op-
prelTion ot Temporal Tyrants never
has been, and never can be fo great as
the Oppreffion of Priefts. Temporal
Tyrants only make their Slaves as mu
ferable as Laymen can do. They take
almoft their All ; but the little that is
left, they leave them to ufe as they
pleafe : Whereas the Prieft, where he
has Power enough, exercifes his Ty-
ranny over the Bellies and Palates of
his more miferable Vaflals, and futters
them to eat (if he leaves them any


Dedication, xxv

Thing to eat) but what he pleafes^ and
vvhen he pkales.

In Truths the Subjects of Priefts,
Abroad^ are in a viler State than the
Priefts Black Cattle : They are worfe
fed^ and not more knowing.

Can you deny^ Gentlemen^, that the
more Power the Prieft poffefleSj juft
fo much the more Men fuffer in their
Souls and Bodies? Nor can it be other-
wife j Power produces Pride and De-
bauchery in the Clergy^ and Vaflal-
lage begets Bafenefs and Poverty in the
People. Whatever is gain'd to the
Clergy, is gained from the Laity; fo
that for them to be rich, we muft be
Beggars ; and that they may be Lords^
we muft be Slaves. This I take to be


xxvi Dedication.^

Will you, or can you lay. Gentle-
men, that, thole Claims are conducing
to the Welfare of Mankind • which,
where-ever they prevail, do effeftually
diveft Mankind of every Thing that
fwTetens human Life; and renders it
delireable, or indeed fupportable? Is
that Pov^er for our Benefit, which dif-
arms us of our Faculties, cows our
Minds with flavifh Fears, and gives us
up a Prey tothofeMen, whofe Strength
lies in our Weaknefs, and whofe Prof-
perity is owing to our Undoing ? This
is what it has always done, and what
it does at this Day in S^ain^ Italj^ and
other Prieft-ridden Countries : And
this is what it would as effedtually do
in Evglandy if EngliJJjmcn would fuf-
fer it

Thefe Claims of yours, Gentlemen^
have done you great Prejudice. They
have made Men afraid of your Spirit,


Dedication- xxvii

which feems to them to be mercilefs
and inlatiable. So that, if you are
begrudged what you have^ you may
thank your felves ; it is owing to your
claiming what you ought not to have. If
a Clergyman enjoys the Tythes of Part
of my Eftate^ by Virtue of the Law ;
and not content with that^ would have
Tythes of the Whole, in Spite of the
Law ; it is natural enough for me to
think that the Man is a Knave, who
would have no Man's Property fecur'd
by the Law but his own.

Nothing is more common with you
than to call the Impropriations of the
Abbey-Lands^ by the dreadful Name
of Sacrilege. You fay, and fome of
you have faid it in Print, and many
more in the Pulpit, that fuch Impro-
priation was robbing the Church. Wliat
Church, Gentlemen? Was it not the
Church of Rome ? And are you of that


xxviii Dedication.

Church ? It is certain, that the rejmnd
Troteflant Church of England never pof-
fels'd any of thefe Lands. And how
you, who are Trotcjiants^ and not Suc-
ceflfors to the Monksy can hold from the
Top/I? Monks y by divine Right, Land 5
and Immunities, which thefe gluttonous
and cheating Vermin acquired by dia-
bolical Rogueries ; is fuch a Riddle as
can only come from Ecclefiafticks, but
can never be folved by Laymen. Did
you ever hear. Gentlemen, that the
primitive Preachers of Chri/ly fet up
for being Heirs to the Riches and Re-
venues of the Heathen Tem^leSy when
they were deferted or demolifh'd? And,
in my Opinion, thefe Pagan Revenues
were more honeftly got, as well as
more innocently us'd, than the Lands
and Income of the To£i//^ Mona-


Dedication, xxix

Our Gentlemen of this Gift have
long provok'd one Part of the World^
and deceived the other, by their Cant
of divine Right; which, tho' a very
Jeft in it felf, and long (ince exploded,
is a Title they clap to all their Pof-
feflions, let them come by them how
they will. This is fhameful Boldnefs.
It is certain the Gofpel has not given
you one Foot of Land, or one Shilling
of Money ; nor did ever God Almigh-
ty appear perfonally to do it by Word
of Mouth. Your Church is a Crea-
ture of the Conftitution, and you are
the Creatures of the Law : And you
moft evidently belie Divine Right, if
you pretend to derive from thence,
what all the World fees you owe to
fecular Bounty ; I will not fay to devout

If you could be but perfwaded to
reconcile your Principles and Pretenii-


XXX D E b I C A T I O If .

ons to the Security and Happinefs of
Mankind,, all Mankind wou'd be recon-
ciFd to you and your Pretenfions. 1 do
not remember to have ever heard the
Clergy contemned, where they did not
lirll deferve Contempt When any of
them depart from the Meeknefs of Mini-
fters, noBody v^ill pay them the Regard
due to Minifters^ fuch who intermed-
dle in every Thing, will be refpedted in
nothing. Such who oppofe every pub-
lick Good, and every Adtion favoura-
ble to Liberty, and beneficent to the
World, will be deem'd Foes to Liber-
ty, and to the World. Such who pro-
anote Strife, and Perfecution, will be
reckoned Enemies to Peace and Chari-
ty ; and thofe who are at the Head of
all publick Mifchiefs^ will themfelves
be thought a publick Mifchief If
they promote the known Principles,
and endeavour to fupport the known
and main Pillars of Popery, can they


Dedication xxxi

expert to be treated as Proteftants ?
If they promote Rebellion, and prac-
tice Perjury^ can they either be ac-
counted good Subjeds or Chriftians ?
And if they are the Patrons of Tyran-
ny^ and the Promoters of Immorality^
what Quarter can they expe^ to
find in a Free Country^ or amongft
Men of Virtue ?

If you ask me, why all this from a
Layman to hu ghoftly Guides ? The
Aniwer is ready — The Work was
neceffary; and, Gentlemen, thofe of
your Order made it neceffary : The
Intereft of Truth and Liberty was
concerned; and, indeed, at Stake; by
the conftant Attacks of thofe of your
Robe upon them : which Attacks were
fo far from being difavowed by you,
that the wicked Authors of them
were not only treated as the Chief
Champions of the Church's Caufe;


xxxii Dedication.

but all who opposed them have been
fallen upon with the fterneft Outrage,
and the utmoft Bitternefs of Spirit ;
together with lying Calumnies, un-

Online LibraryRobert BrownThe Independent Whig → online text (page 1 of 28)