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England, and fourteen for the different classes of Diffenters and Methodists. Of about seventy thousand inhabitants, it is not supposed that more than five thousand attend any place of public worship on any one day, so that perhaps not much more than twice this number, that is ten thousand, attend any public worship at all, or can be said to have, or at least much to value, any religion. On the whole, it is pretty clear, from the best accounts that I can collect,

that there are more persons attend public worship in this town out of the established churches, than in them. Confequently, of the seventy thousand inhabitants of this town, fixty-five thousand (including the five thousand who have some religion, and the sixty thousand who have none) are compelled to pay a very great annual sum, to support the religion of the other five thousand. Now, is there any natural reason, or equity, in this? And do these five thousand, who do not pay a tenth part of the expence of their own religion, behave better, as citizens, than the other five thousand, who, besides paying for their own religion, pay inuch much more towards that of their neighbours? Or do they behave so much better than those who profess no religion at all, as to make it worth the while of the community at large to be at that expence for them? Were all the inhabitants left to their free votes, there can be no doubt but that the sixty-five thousand would bid the five thousand pay for their own religion, if they chose to have any. Consequently they are taxed and oppressed to serve a minority. If those who attend public worship more or less, he estimated at twenty thousand, still as more of this additional number worship out of the churches than in them, the great majority will be made to pay for the minority.

As to those who conscientiously worship God in places which Mr. Madan contemptuously calls conventicles, they certainly behave as well in society as those who frequent the churches. Few or none of the criminals whom you are continually carrying to Warwick ever belong to any of our focieties, and we seldom trouble you with our poor. Look


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into your jails and workhouses, and you will find very few Diflenters in them. Instead, therefore, of being treated with contempt and insult, as we continually are by such preachers as Mr. Madan, we are intitled to your thanks; as our religion, which teaches us to behave so well, and be so little burthensome to you, not only costs you nothing, but as we contribute our full share to the maintenance of

yours. In fact, you members of the church of England are, in the eye of reason, greatly in debt to the Dissenters. If what we have given to the support of your religion from the time of the establishment of it were reckoned up, it would amount to a very great sum; and that this is a debt, which ought to be repaid, is most evident, because it is money advanced by us for your use. If this sum was repaid, as in equity it ought to be, it would supply all the expence of our religion for centuries to come.

You will say that you are under no obligation to do this, because what we have paid for your benefit was by Act of parliament. But can an Act of parliament authorize a manifest injustice? And when you are taxed with oppressing your neighbours in exacting of them that for which you have given them no equivalent, will it be sufficient, at the great day of judgment, to say that you had an act of parliament for doing it? They were acts of parliament that authorized the burning of Protestants in bloody queen Mary's time. But will those acts of parliament juftify Bonner and Gardiner, and other popish bishops and popish statesmen, who promoted that horrid perfecution? You do not believe that they will. And if so, neither will any act of parliament, paffed before or since that time, excuse you in the sight of God, for exacting of any man more than, in the eye of reason and equity, he ought to pay. If an act of parliament will not justify the taking inen's lives, neither will it justify the taking their money.

Whatever, therefore, you may think about this matter, the church of England, as a body (without considering the cruelties inflicted upon the Dislenters during all the reigns


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of Elizabeth, James I. Charles I. Charles II. and James II.) Nands a debtor in the book of God's account to the Dissenters, for their proportion of tithes, for whatever has been exacted from them for the repair of churches, and for every other expence from which the Dissenters as such derive no advantage. And yet, instead of contributing to the expence of building or repairing our meeting-houses, in return for what we do for yours, you think you do us a great favour in permitting us to build them with our own money, and that we are allowed to live peaceably among you, promoting the good of the country, by our industry and sobriety, which in general are conspicuous and exemplary.

This you call toleration, and make a mighty boast of it, as if it was a great favour that you do us, and much more than you are obliged to grant. But thus many other debtors, instead of paying what they owe, abuse their creditors; and many more would do it if an Act of parliament would clear them, and authorize their insolence. Acts of parliaments, to be sure, can do wonders. They can make and unmake kings. They changed the established church of England from popery to protestantism, and they can change it from protestantism to popery again. Acts of parliament can alter your liturgy, and from a trinitarian, can make it an unitarian one. They can abolish tithes, and order that the falaries of the clergy, like those of civil officers, be paid out of the public treasury. They can reduce the emoluments of some livings, and by that means raise the value of others, so that every man's salary would bear a just proportion to his duty. And such things as these, which the parliament can do, if you were unanimous in petitioning for, you would certainly have.

But there are some things that king, lords, and commons cannot do; and as they cannot make white black, nor black white, so neither can they make vice to be virtue, or virtue vice. Consequently, they cannot make that to be honest, which, in the eye of God and of reason, is essentially dishoneft.


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An act of parliament may give all my property to my next neighbour, without alleging any reason for it, and I, having no power of refstance, must subunit. But in that case, would not king, lords, and commons be as great rascals as a highwayman who should do the same thing in the same arbitrary and violent manner? Do not then depend too much upon acts of parliaments, especially in matters of religior. In all things of this nature obey God and

Consult the dictates of your own natural reason and conscience, and then you need not fear what man can

not man.

do unto you.

If all who really labour in God's great harvest, and elpecially those who preach the gospel to the poor (who stand in the greatest need of instruction) were to receive their wages, in proportion to the real use of their labours, out of the tithes, and other public funds, from which the clergy are now paid for doing (or rather for not doing) the same work, it would be no small sum that would go out of their pockets into those of the methodist preachers, who have civilized, and christianized, a great part of the uncivilized, and unchristianized part of this country. But if they be not recompenced out of that fund, they will be recompenced out of another, fomething more permanent.

When this great globe, and all that it inherit, mall disolve, I had rather be found in the company of such humble labourers in God's vineyard than in that of the generality of your dignified, and beneficed clergy, who have had their good things in this life.

From the veneration with which Mr. Madan would inspire you for civil establishments of christianity, and the abhorrence and contempt with which he treats Disenters, you would naturally imagine that such establishments of chriftianity have been from its first promulgation, and that our mode of religion is quite an upstart thing; whereas the very contrary is well known to be the truth of the case. In every article in which we differ, our system is the antient one, and

yours modern.


What is it that diftinguishes Diffenters from the members of established churches? They are the following particulars, and no other whatever. They chuse and they pay their own ministers, without burdening the state with any expence on that account. They also dismiss their ministers whenever they are dissatisfied with them, and they acknowledge no authority in any man, or in any body of men, to settle articles of faith, or rules of discipline for them. In all these things they judge and act for themselves, holding themselves to be answerable to God and their own consciences only.

These principles are common to all Dissenters, though we differ much from one another in other things, and in all of them we differ from established churches, like that of England. Your creeds and forms of public worship are dictated by acts of parliament. Your ministers, at least most of them, are appointed either by the king, or particular patrons. You have only a right to complain in case of their misbehaviour, but without any other controul over their conduct. You have no power either to chuse, or to dismiss them, and their incomes are fixed by the law; so that whether you approve of their services, or not, they can enforce the payment of their dues, to the uttermot farthing by a regular well known course of law. They can levy a distress, and throw you into prison, for the non-payment of tithes, as well as for that of any other debt.

Now all these things are comparatively of late date in the history of christianity, and they took place not all at once, in consequence of any proper alliance with the state, which is entirely a fi&ion of modern times, but one after another, as circumstances were favourable to the clergy. For they, like other bodies of men, never loft fight of their interest; and the ignorance and superstition of former times were exceedingly favourable to them.

When the emperors became christians, they gave power to the bishops, whom they were then disposed to favour, to enforce the decrees of their councils, with respect to articles F 3


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