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AND OF OUR
THE EXORBITANT CLAIMS AND ENCROACHMENTS OF
FANATICAL AND DISAFFECTED CLERGYMEN.
LOWER HOUSE OF CONVOCATION.
YOU, gentlemen, who are the representatives of the clergy of En. gland, are proper patrons of a work which treats of religion and the the clergy. It is written to promote liberty, virtue, and piety; the interests of which, I hope, you will always espouse, and esteem as your own; and will consequently approve my design, and give me your thanks, whatever may have been the success of my endeavours.
The many wild and unscriptural claims started, and impetuously maintained by very many of those whom you represent (and I wish I could say denied, though but faintly, by any considerable number of others) gave occasion to the following sheets; and, having in them shewn to my brethren, the laity, the absurdity and impiety of those claims, by arguments fetched from reason, the gospel, and the laws of our country ; I shall in this address to yourselves, endeavour to con- . vince you, that it is your interest to drop them; and if I can succeed in this point, I presume that all other arguments may be useless.
These gentlemen, in the heat of their demands and contention for power, have gone so far towards Rome, and borrowed so many of her principles, that I see no other medium left for them, but either to proceed on in their journey thither, (wbich, as they have managed matters, is now a very short one, or to turn back to the principles of the reformation (a very long journey, I confess !) and accept of the Bishop* of Bangor's scheme, as much as they hate it and him. That scheme though it may not be altogether so palatable, yet is a safe scheme : and though it does not entitle them to all the power and wealth in England, yet it secures to them what they bave.
Consider, gentlemen, that you cannot take as much of popery as you please, and leave the rest. Machiavel has long since told us, that no government can subsist long but upon its original foundation, and by recurring often to the principles upon which it was first founded. it will indeed stand upon no other; and when that is sapped and under. mined, the superstructure must fall to the ground, the old inhabitants must find out new materials, erect new buildings upon other foundations, and are, for the most part, undone by the experiment.
The first principles ot our protestant church, are the principles of the reformation ; pamely, the spiritual supremacy of the crown; the
• Dr. Benjamin Hoadley.