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Free of his farm.-P. 237. When the king had irreconcileably quarrelled with the church, he began to affect a great favour for the dissenters; and, as has been often hinted, endeavoured to represent the measure of universal toleration to be intended as much for the benefit of the Protestant dissenters as of the Catholics. He dwelt upon the rigour of the church courts, and directed an inquiry to be made into all the vexatious suits which had been instituted against the dissenters, and the compositions which had been exacted from them, under pretence of enforcing the laws. In short, Burnet assures us, that the royal bed-chamber and drawing-room were as full of stories to the prejudice of the clergy, as they used formerly to abound with declamations against the fanatics.
Dissolving in the silence of decay.-P. 238. In the preceding lines, the poet had intimated the increase of trade and wealth ; an effect of toleration, much dwelt upon in James's proclamation for liberty of conscience, and, indeed, the ostensible cause of its being issued. But Dryden, as every one else, further augured from the Declaration of Indulgence, under the circumstances of the time, the speedy downfall of the church of England, though he is willing to spare the king the odium of hastening what he represents as the natural consequence of her own ambition and intolerance. A writer of his party is less scrupulous in expressing the king's intentions : “ So, on the whole matter, the loyal church of England must either change her old principles of loyalty, and take example by her Catholic neighbours, how to behave herself towards a prince who is not of her persuasion, or she must give his majesty leave not to nourish a snake in his own bosom, but rather to withdraw his royal protection, which was promised on account of her constant fidelity; For it is an approved axiom in philosophy, Cessante causa, tollitur effectus; and we have a common saying of our own, No longer pipe, no longer dance. And now let us leave the holy mother church at liberty to consult what new measures of loyalty she ought to take for her own dear interest, and, for I know, it may be worth her serious consideration."--New Test of the Church of England's Loyalty.
And may be tempted to his former fare.-P. 239.
Many books came out likewise against the church of England. This alarmed the bishops and clergy much; so that they set up to preach against rebellion, and the late times, in such a strain, that it was visible they meant a parallel between these and the present time. And this produced at last that hent and rage into which the clergy has run so far, that it is like to end very fatally. They, on their part, should have showed more temper, and more of the spirit of the gospel ; whereas, for the greatest part, they are the worst natured, the fiercest, indiscreetest, and most persecuting sort of people that are in the nation. There is a sort of them do so aspire to preferment, that there is nothing so mean and indecent that they will not do to compass it; and when they have got into preferments, they take no care, either of themselves, or of the flocks committed to their charge, but do generally neglect their parishes. If they are rich enough, they hire some pitiful curate, at as low a price as they can, and turn all over on him; or, if their income will not bear out that, they perform the public offices in the slightest manner they can, but take no care of their people in the way of private instruction or admonition; and so do nothing to justify the character of pastors or watchmen,
that feed the souls of their people, or watch over them. And they allow themselves in many indecent liberties, of going to taverns and ale-houses, and of railing scurrilously against all that differ from them : and they cherish the profaneness of their people, if they but come to church, and rail with them against the dissenters; and are implacably set on the ruin of all that separate from them, if the course of their lives were otherwise ever so good and unblameable. In a word, many of them are a reproach to Christianity and to their profession; and are now, perhaps, one of the most corrupt bodies of men in the nation." .Somers' Tracts, p. 116.
THE BIRTH OF THE PRINCE,
(BORN 10TH JUNE, 1688.)
Di patri indigetes, et Romule, Vestaque mater,
VIRG. Georg. 1,