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have passed over the latter: yet Patronage in college*, exerercised in right arid conscientious elections, is of very great importance: it I enter into the particulars concerning them, it will be from a firm persuasion, that offices and honors are no where conferred more uprightly; with a more pure and unadulterated attention to the real purpose of their foundation,than in colleges. When men of merit quit colleges and go into the world, they find a great and mortifying aifference in the means necessary to attain honor and advancement.
If any one should persist, either for the sa^e of evasion, or on grounds deemed reasonable, tp reject the notion that every Patron Is a Trustee, still it would he easy to shew that the right use of Patronage is an impprtapt duty, on account of its, utility, and of the very great mischiefs resulting from the abuse of such a power. Place a good man at the head^ of any department, and he will appoint others like himself, who will each of thern follow his example; so that the whole system will be good; and therefore irresistible:—whereas,, if a bad man were placed at the head, from corrupt, or only indirect motives, or from mere carelessness, he would-be aliupft under a necessity of procuring subalterns of his own character, such as would attend to duty just so far as would be wanted for continuance in office, and no farther: all their views would center in self. The corrupt principal would not dare to appoint any more wprthy men, or better principled, because they would thwart his plans, and expose his selfishness. For the fame reason each, of thelje sugadterns must provide unprincipled underlings, ready to comply and accommodate, without restriction; and so on, till tJ^e whole department became a mass of moral or political corruption; the public good would be only an object; of aerifipn, ana, all; the property dedicated to promote it would be Owed, by a>4 gang of cheats and plunderers. In some cafes, wrong appointments bring on their pernicious consequences so quickly^ and in so striking a manner, that ttyey meet witbsome opposition, and are, in a degree, prevented; but in the, Church, the poison operates more Jlowly, though as surely, and ifo baleful effects are not so visible as to be acknowledged, for some time. This slowness occasions neglect in the unthinking and inattentive; so that before any antidote is sought for, the malady is got to so great a height, that opposition is often ineffectual.—Neither do the good effects of right appointments spring up and shew themselves in the church so
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Sh—id the idea of this result be unavailing, nothing that I can ofler wiB be admitted as of aar force; I will therefore here close my reasonings and observations.
If any man of the veerld shoald deign to run his eye over thefe my remarks, he would probably take the readmit way of saving himself the trouble of thinking and censuring, by this common solution of moral difficulties; "The nun who "writes this Utopian stuff, is a discontented man, and writes "only to indulge his spleen and mortification." If no reply could be made to this solution, without obtruding upon your readers the private history of the writer, it ihoula he, left to take its course; but as the fame might be said who* ever wrote the fame thoughts, a fort of general reply he. comes proper: and if without such reply all the arguments here used must lose their effect, that will oe a sufficient apo.' logy for replying with some care and attention.
In order to hinder the reader from being carried away by
mere declamation, let the saying of the man os the world lie
X x a moulded moulded into some sort of general maxim; perhaps thus: when a man is very much prejudiced by his feelings, no attention should be paid to his reasonings; he is in a manner insane. Now, supposing the subject important, this-, rule can only be useful to those who are incapable of examining an argument; those who are capable, may be expected to point out particular fallacies, whatever may have been the feelings of the writer; at least a sufficientnumber of fallacies to shew that the whole is not worth examining.—If it should be conceived that the writer's discontent prompts him to write, in the hope of stirring up friends to take his part and assist him; and of throwing blame upon those who neglect him; what has been said concerning the difference betweea examining principles and blaming persons, with the manner and temper of the whole might obviate such a supposition: if not, let it be added, that a man's friends cannot know the full worth of all those who are placed above him; nor may they know all their friend's imperfections; or what reports may have been raised against him; or in what light any attempts of his to improve or reform men's religious notions may have been represented.
But is it certain, from the nature of the foregoing observations, that any one who made such, must be discontented} I do not mean with the abuses alluded to, but with his own lowly situation. In the first place, is it necessary that before a man could write such observations he must be in a low situation? Is there any of them which a bishop or even an archbishop might not have made? or any other dignitary?—But suppose the writer os such sentiments were in an inferior nV tuation, does it follow that he is discontented? Is it impossible to prefer the life of a rector to the life of a bishop? I think I have known persons who were sincere in expressing such a preference.—If a man has a strong relish for literary pursuits (including such as illustrate the sacred writings), for the fine arts, and those public assemblies where they are exhibited, particularly dramatic poetry; if he has as strong an inclination for foreign travej as some men have shewn; it his mind be fixed upon mathematical researches, or astronomical observations, or on mechanicaj improvements, he will not desire the cares of episcopacy; he will rather wish to give large portions of time to leisurely conversations and social investigations, with those of his own taste, Nay, to come nearer to the duties of the clergy as such, one may conceive a man more ambitious to set religion and virtue in a good light, to shew how amiable and excellent a thing it is to be uniformly and unaffectedly pious and worthy; to raise the minds of those around him from low selfishness to social benevolence, from gloomy suspicion to mutual confidence, from brutal sensuality and ill-governed passion to the pleasures and satisfactions of purity and moderation, than to superintend the forms of a diocese, study the endless business of legislation and slate trials, and provide sumptuous entertainments for those who are no friends; entertainments seldom consistent with health, or genuine cheerfulness. Assuredly, there are men whose aim is rather to rife in the esteem of the worthy, the discerning, and the pleasing, and to dedicate the chief of their time to such advancement, than to be high in office and authority.
There may be others, who would prefer being invested with ecclesiastical authority, but dislike the methods which arc sometimes said to be necessary for attaining it. Whenaa' ecclesiastic has a Patron and Friend in a very high situation in the state, preferment in the church is offered to him of course, and in a manner on his part wholly unexceptionable; perhaps it is necessary to his Patron's undertaking some great trust; but when an ambitious churchman has to fight his way through a number of obstacles, there are some men who would not for the world take those methods which some persons, who have enjoyed general esteem, are said to have taken; these shy mortals would rather join in the assault on a fortress, than attack some statesman in power. The writer of this paper, be he in what situation he may, having declared against applications, might consistently, in his private capacity, treat the common maxim, "what is not worth asking for, is not worth having," as one very pernicious; as founded on wrong conceptions of the nature of church-preferment; as putting it professedly on a footing ol corruption, and setting its emoluments above its duties and its uses. He might think there was impropriety in ever calling those emoluments profits, which were only instituted in order to give clerical exertions their greatest possible effect.—But I do not fee that a man is of course discontented because he dislikes the means of gaining what he would prefer: he makes his choice, and may be contented with it. If men were always to be spoken of as discontented, because they did not get what they should prefer, but never tried for, no man could be ever spoken of as contented; for- all men would prefer having some things which they never attain.
But besides those who would prefer the life of a rector to the life of a bishop, and those who decline the means of advancing themselves, there is a^ third fort, and they notdisicontented, who judge it no business of theirs to think at all what situation they would wish to fill; that their only business is, to prepare themselves for doing as much good as their abilities will permit, in that station to which they shall be called by legal Patrons. There, is.no more solid ground of contentment than a lively consciousness of having done one's own part, and a full persuasion that one is not obliged to do the duty of other men towards one's self. If a person of this turn conceives that he is capable of doing more good than he is called to do, he feels himself clear of blame: he would accept of a more troublesome office than that he has, if duly called to it; not with a«view to honor or profit, though he is insensible to neither; but because it seemed his duty to obey the call of lawful authority:—whilst no call is* made, his mind is at ease, under a consciousness, that he is following a rule of conduct, which if generally followed, would be productive of the greatest good.
I should hope, that what I have thus said, generally, concerning the writer of this Essay on Patronage, as such, whoever or whatever he may be, keeping quite clear of private anecdotes, and taking the idea of him merely from the things said in the Essay itself, will be thought a sufficient reply to the objection, or taunt, that they are nothing more than the splenetic effusions of discontent and disappointment; and therefore unworthy of attention. If this reply seems infuse ficient, I have nothing more to advance, unless it should be . allowed, that such a discontented and disappointed man as is here supposed to write, may always make use of the following disjunction: Either there will be a future state of rewards and . punishments, or there will not: if not, the business of clerical appointments to teach the belief of such a state, is idle and vain, and may reasonably be neglected: if there will be such a state, with such happiness or misery as is described in the Gospel, the difference of stations here, being but for a moment, (besides that it is by no means certain that a high station is now the happiest upon the whole) is perfectly trifling and insignificant (to the individual, whatever it may be to society,), so long as that Faith is maintained, afld that conduct pursued, which will ensure a happy Eternity.