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therefore yon had much'better look to your own department, than be diverting; yourself with Politics. Let Cob-" belt have his own province; for I do not know which of you have the most honourable or dangerous post! Your's 1 understand to be to remove the rubbish from the noble fabric of Jietigion, which is nearly invisible by that same rubbish, and the weeds that grow thereon. Then consider the number of priests, who are obstinate in not allowing you even to look at it: yea, more in number than the regular militia, and they will fight better, being both better paid, in addition to its being their own immediate cause.
Our great men at court, and in parliament, have said that the Protestant clergy are a most useful and respectable body of men, and have undoubted rights to the church property 1! i Now you and your correspondents have been on doctrines in religion, but this is the religion of priests; and you ought to tell them in the strongest language, that they are only useful to corrupt ministers of state—that they are only respectable by numbers, and their danger to the people's liberty—that they have no rights to the church property, but what they got by consenting to the murders of Henry the Eighth; for if they had not countenanced his most Inordinate passions, they would have fared no better than his Holiness the Pope! At their first gaining possession, they turned the overseers or deacons out of place, and gave the poor only what they chose, which was soon found inadequate to their wants; and the good kings and popes of that day made the law, of allowing the poor one-fourth of what was due to them. But the Defender of the Faith had occasion for so much of this same property, to bribe the nob!e9, that the poor were turned out to Starve, till good Elizabeth thought proper to tax them, to support one another. But, who could believe it? The priests did not get themselves made overseers, or they might ere this have had the taxing the people at their pleasure, and been paid three-fourths (as formerly) for their trouble!
Now, "Sir, when you make a clear way, this will all be seen by every one; therefore let it be done; and then the priests will fall on you pellmell, in one way or other, and so you'll have your hands full, without your politics. But be comforted—all who ever taught the people to think freely, and learn the truth, were prosecuted by the established priesthood of the day; and not only the established priests," hut all priests, who make money under the cloak of religion! As you live in London among good sober priests'} perhapa
Tol. in. x
you do not know how those in the country eat up and disturb the land. Look into the tithe causes in the Exchequer (I do not mean that they have much profit by that, as the lawyers take the twenty per cent.) — 1 am afraid you have not seen to the bottom. Then, Sir, there is the Ecclesiastical courts, to whose records you cannot be admitted. Lord Cochrane complains of the Prize courts; but, as he ■was told in the House of Commons, those trifles were not worth noticing. His Lordship does not know that if he measures by fathoms, those courts may measure by roods. A ten years litigation for an alteration in the manner of tithing lambs or eggs, when the whole contest is not worth ten pounds per annum, costs four or five thousand; and this i» all for the support of religion!
If you knew half of what is going on, you need not meddle with politics for an age to come; anil if you are not fully acquainted with the evils your country is suffering from the clergy, I wish you would acquire that knowledge, and advocate the cause of the rights ofthe people, by exposlug the usurped revenues of the clergy.
Keswick, Dec. 1812. J. S. M.
REMARKS OX MR. BURBOX's COMMUNICATIONS.
To the Editor of the Freethinhing Christians, Magazine.
MR. Burdon may very properly be designated as one who overflows with "idle, ridiculous, and pompous assertions. Having nothing better to exhibit, he distributes these liberally, and seems to take it for granted, that his sim* pie affirmative is quite sufficient to decide upon morals, subjects of great interest, and supreme importance. For my part, 1 do not think half so cleverly of him, as he thinks of himself; and I am of opinion also, that both Jesus and Paul were far wiser, better, and more honourable men than Mr. Burdon is likely to be for some considerable time. He appears to possets a mind essentially weak and illiberal. He gays, among other silly things, that Christianity, or the precepts of Jesus, " must be taken literally or not at all.'r This must be reckoned among one of the most astonishing discoveries of the year 1812. May I be permitted to a*k this great luminary why they u must be taken literally, or apt at all?" Possibly the answer may be, because Mr. Burdon has said so, and" surely Burdon isau honourable maul"
y A i ' The second part of the constitution is, that the church or
} -\ O J kingdom is one and indivisible, and that should it consist of
'" J millions of branches, they must all be connected byv and
'"/^ M governed upon, the principles of this constitutiorrVUheir f laws must be the same, and an intercourse must be kept up between them, though ever so widely scattered. The Quakers and Methodists, though, in other respects, not entitled to the character of Christian churches, do, in this, point, come the nearest, as they conduct all their concerns upon one plan; meeting by delegation annually, to consult the general concerns of their bodies. The Christian church is one, not so much distinguished by uniformity of faith, as by the union of all its parts, and an entire submission to the laws, and the constitution of the Christian \ church; for consistent with the New Testament account, \ there can be no more than one Christian church; and were I there two bodies professing Christianity, and holding all its doctrines in the purest manner, and each of them governed by its laws in every other respect, yet acting separately and unconnected, neither of them would be the Christian church, as the unity and indivisibility of it forms an essential part of its constitution ; and the only way to become such would be by uniting together, and forming one body under one head, though having many members, " that there might be no schism in the body." That this union is an essential part of the constitution, the following passages will prove. Rom. xii. 4. "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office ; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.—1 Cor. i. 10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same (kings, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment.—1 Cor. xii. 12 to 27. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ (the Christian church)» for the body is not one member, but majjy ; but now are there many members, yet but one body ; and the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee ; nor again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you ; nay, much more, those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary, that there should be no schism in the body, but the members should have the same care one for another, And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members io>