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* ' ¦ Nwwich 9 J > ec . 5 , 1820 . € K For the priest ^ lj ^ s should keep knowledge , ancf they should seek thte liw at his mouth . But ye are departed out of the way , ye 'have * caused many to stumble : therefore have 1 made you , contemptible and base before all the people , according as ye have not kept my ways . "—Malachi vii . 7—9 .
Sir , CANNOT help thinking that your I Correspondent Philalethes [ pp . * 657 —662 ] has been rather unfortunate in the time he has chosen to attempt a vindication of the Established clergy . In « ali periods of our history their
conduct has justly demanded the censure of the impartial historian . They have always been more anxious to curtail the liberties of the people than solicitous to preserve them . Instead of propagating generous notions of freedom , they have constantly endeavoured to instil into the minds of men the most
slavish maxims , and taught lessons of the most blind and abject submission . This , at least , is my impression from reading the history of the Church , of England . If I am wrong , your Correspondent will be kind enough to point me out the instances in which the
clergy , as a body , have stood forth the champions of civil and religious liberty , in which they have been the patrons of any attempt to check superstition and bigotry , or the authors of any plan for promoting that liberal spirit of which he is so zealous an advocate . When
he can shew that such has been their conduct , I will readily retract any thing I may have said to their disparagement , and join in those praises which Ue seems to think so justly their due . But the conduct of the clergy on a . recent occasion has not been
much calculated to alter my opinion of them . Take , for instance , that of the bishops in the House of Lords , and we fmd one of them applying the constitutional maxim that "the King can do iip wr <> agf * to tyis private and dowestic . character ! . Is . this ignorance QK , $ fy # ocn& $ } Another employs Ms learning in translating the most filthy
expressions of one of those wretched with ^ iies who , to tib& eternal disgrace of ^ kk ^ m ^ rfi ^ Wire ^^ m ^ mt ^ to von ^ irtitf $ ufcft % tisstie fcf falsehood , frati 4 ^ fed imp ^ tjf , as the anttais ot no period can parallel . ^§ &k f at tiieir r ^ Xri-kl *»¦ ! " * € »• # - ? *~ v » - * Cl « -k . *^ < - | / YTrwAntl-I rv ^ . < V * -. H-JT ^ -m- m ¦ lanations and expositions of Matt
exp . v . 32 y and tell me if lahytlliiig wMch it is in the power o ^ Ma ^' to ^ y'of them could more effectually a Hold them up to con ^ emp ^ i liook at the speech of another , relative to the divorce ei&use in the infamous Bill of
Pains and Penalties , and see him after wards sneaking out of the House when he ought to have given his vote . Lastly , remark the coilduct of Bishop Van Miidert in throwing every obstacle in the way of Her Majesty ' s returning her public thanks to God for her signal
add happy deliverance , and preventing a clergyman of high rank , of noble family , and of unblemished character , from officiating on that occasidh . And such is a fair sample of the general conduct of the clergy of the Church of England .
< The sacred function in such handsis made—Sad sacrilege—no function , but a trade . " To celebrate the progress of murder , rapine and bloodshed , their pulpits were always open . When tens of thousands of their felloiv-creatures
were weltering unburied on the plain of slaughter , they could raise the notes of triumph and exultation—they could pray , preach , address , dine , shout , and exhibit every expression of joy j but the peaceful triumph of innocence , the vindication of a persecuted and oppressed female , could find no claim for
their sympathy : while the whole nation was thrilling with honest exultation , they could stand by , the sutler * and mortified spectators of the triumph , or if they moved , it was ta interpose some pitiful obstacle to rejoicing . .. ¦ ..
_ Your Correspondent is offended at the language which I have used in reference to these men ; I wilt therefore now content myself with quoting the words of our Saviour as applied to certain characters in his time ! and
leave your readers to discover if there be no class of persdns ta whom they are most completely applicable at the present moment ; ^ v ' ¦! ' (' " Beware off Hals ® rptophets ^ which cpmc to you i $ sheep ' s clothing , but
under the i Gtfi ^ t S | Xj ) re ? : And can thut be any eticouragement to folly , vice and sin which assures us , that in piroportion to ^ he delinquency will be the suffering ? But I have trespassed too loug . -. ^ ¦ ^ ^ STEPHEN FREEMAN .
The National Clergy . ^
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Dec. 2, 1820, page 731, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2495/page/43/