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it were in my Power to remove those false and foolish Prejudices, which too many of the Vulgar lave entertain'd in relation to the Clergy and their Rights. And one would think, that to mention them were an effecual Confutation of them.
Such, in the first Place, is the Conceit of those, who think a Clergyman guilty of Covetousness and Extortion, if he require the Tythe of such Things, as his Predecessor · did not, or a greater Compensation for them: As: if the Neglects, or Oversights of a Predecesor were any real Bar to the Right of the present Incumbent: If, indeed, a Clergyman be cut off from his Rights by any old settled Modus, or Prescription, he had much better be silent, than to raise a Storm to no Purpose; but if he be not, by what Law of God or Man, is a Clergyman forbid to pursue his Rights more than another Person: Nor can the Laity blame Clergymen on this Account, except they measure the A&tions of themselves, and the Clergy by two several Rules; For why may not they, as well as others, make the best of their own, by all honest and legal Methods?
'Tis certain, that, if a Clergymnan be poor, and unable to do such Works of Charity as are expected of him, he shall be despised and even revil'd, as if he were guilty of a real Fault: And, yet, if he endeavour to mend this Fault by improving his Benefice, this shall be thought a greater. The Case is very hard-: For 'tis Criminal for you to be poor, and yet 'tis more fo to grow rich, especially, if this be done by demanding your Ecclesiaftical Dues.
If a Tenant, or Chapman, have made a hard Bargain, and hurt himself, 'tis expected, that you should make it easy by abating in your Tythes; and yet if you offer to raise a Tenant, whose Composition was before unreasonably low, the Landlord shall abet his Cause, and you shall be told by those who ought to know better, that 'tis unjust for you to take more for Tythes, than was paid before the Farmer took his Farm (except the Tenant before he agreed with his Landlord, were apprised, that the Tythes were to be raised). But as this is a Reason of no force in any Court; so when the Clergyman has got his just Right, let the Landlord be ask'd to abate so much in his Rent, as the Tenant has been raised
in his Tythe: And will he think it reasonable so to do? No, no, what is thought Reason and Justice, in relation to Clergymen, is not thought so when it comes to be the Case of another Man. Nor was it ever expected of any Men in the Earth but the Clergy, that they should suffer for the foolish Bargains that others make.
The young Academic, or Clergyman, may think that Men of such Notions are very rare, and that such Practices as these are too monstrous to be common; but in Icfs than seven Years Experience, he will be convinced of the contrary, especially if he get into a Country Benefice. And tho' this Precaution can do no other good, yet it may fore-arm him against that Treatment that he is like to meet with. If by this, or any other Hints or Cautions given to the Clergy, I have, or shall do any real Service to the Church, and them, I have my End; For I am,
Their entirely devoted Servant.
Chap. XI. Of Voidance by Death, Cesión,
Refignation, Al of Law or Deprivation