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of Canterbury, was exactly one of thy sort, and perhaps more than half the Bishops now on the Bench have the like creed, and persuade themselves that all their arrogant usurpations of power and riches are for the glory of God. Ignorance, however, is no excuse for sin, neither shall it be an excuse to such furious bigots as Pope Gregory the Great, William Laud, and Rabshakeh Gathercoal, that “ the God of this world had blinded the eyes of them that believe not.” Thy case is very bad, for thou art not only a bigot but an apostate, and having known the truth hast wilfully entangled thyself in the nets of Satan. To argue with a priest who could publish a sermon like thine on Jude, 8th verse, is quite hopeless; nevertheless it is one's duty to reprove and warn such a one of his iniquity.
For the matter between thee and Charlotte Thompson; I inform thee that some of her late husband's friends, amongst whom the writer of this letter is to be reckoned as one, having become acquainted with the hardships of the case, and having heard that she has paid thee the sum of 4731. 14s. 9d. in full discharge of all thy demands upon her, have entered into a subscription to relieve her distress, and to enable her to send her son John Calvin to Cambridge, according to her good husband's desire when he was alive. This subscription has been confined exclusively to the inhabitants of Tuddington, and has raised the sum of
12001.; of which 9001. has been contributed by the “ schismatics;" who, according to thy opinion, have no claim to be considered Christians, because they have separated themselves from the government of archbishops and bishops.
I think it right to let thee know the progress of this business ; for as thou hast proved that “ drunkenness, adultery, robbery, and murder, and every species of vice and iniquity proceed from the principles of dissent,” thou shouldest be furnished with another of our sins for the second edition of thy sermon; namely, a relief of the fatherless and the widows."
I hear that thou art preparing a strict inquisition for priest's wages ; and that all tithes are to be paid to the uttermost farthing. In this case thou wilt be able to gratify thy propensities by seizing some of the property of
L ETTER XV.
From the Reverend RABSHAKEH GATHERCOAL
to L. S. E.
EVER DEAR BROTHER,
ACCORDING to the promise of my last letter, I send you by parcel (for it is too bulky to send as a letter), the lecture of Edward Mervyn in defence of his darling sin of schism, which he has now so fastened round his neck, that it will be found at last to sink him like a millstone in that gulf of perdition, which long ago swallowed up the celebrated Church of Dissenters, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Owing to the excitement in Tuddington, the lecture, though it was delivered on the evening of a week day, was attended by immense crowds; many persons, unable to squeeze themselves into the chapel, were mounted up on the window-sills outside; and the doors were thrown wide open, that as many as could stand in the street and hear, might catch a sight of the pulpit. All this is somewhat trying to one's nerves, and might alarm any other clergyman; but I feel certain that when the novelty of this opposition is worn off, the people will return to their right senses, and like wandering pigeons, come back at last to their
I shall add no comment on the matter of the lecture, but leave it for your own private consideration. I say nothing further in this letter, except that the affair of Mrs. Thompson's subscription has grievously vexed me. Obadiah Crabtree gave 5001. ; but I intend to pounce on the old Quaker's sheep for tithes, in a very short time.
EDWARD MERVYN'S LECTURE ON
“ CHRISTIAN FRIENDS,
“ If you see me occupying my pulpit for the first time as a decided controversialist, and hear me for the first time discussing the question of Church government, a question which has lately been agitated with great heats in the kingdom, but has never, till within these few weeks, found a footing in the town of Tuddington, you must not blame me for this change from peace to war : for you all know who is the cause of this strife; and that we Dissenters are unwillingly driven to stand up in our own defence.
“ The Reverend Rabshakeh Gathercoal has been pleased to publish a sermon preached by him in St. Mary's Church, which sermon I take it for
granted you all either heard delivered, or have seen in print. That sermon, in the most unmeasured language, charges Dissenters with every species of wickedness ; declares that they are a portion of the Church of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram ; and that the whole secret of dissent consists in spiritual pride, and listening to the suggestions of the devil. The Church of England is set forth as the only true Church under heaven; and all who withdraw from its communion are denounced as filthy dreamers, who defile the flesh, and speak evil of dignities. In short, whatever the most railing tongue can utter, or the most malignant hatred invent, is heaped on us, not only in this printed sermon, but in every sermon which the Vicar preaches ; and we are every Sunday libelled and slandered, and doomed to hell ; and persecuted with such unmitigated scurrility, that it is manifest we have much cause to thank Providence that we are not now living in the days of the faggot, the san-benito, and the stake.
“This unprovoked attack upon peaceable Christians (though, indeed, our Vicar will not allow that we are Christians*) has filled us all with deep sorrow ; we have done all we can to avert the mischief, but all our efforts at reconciliation seem only to increase the blind rage of our adversary; and we, therefore, have deemed it right no longer to sit still, lest some of our friends should
* Letters of L. S. E., p. 183.