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spoke him fair to his face; and he was very much abused by those who were out of place. If we may judge of ancient things from what appears in ages more modern, we may suppose that the times took a turn something like the following:
One man cries out against his being a favourite, and too'intimate with the queen, or queen's mother, as their kinsmen do upon similar occasions : another complains of his being'do foreigner, and a captive, so highly dignified, whilst the natives were neglected. Perhaps their newspapers might be stuffed with clamours against the exotic favourite : and the incensed mob might be taught to cry out, Liberty and Babylon for evei --but no Jew---no favourite---no captive. Well, my beloved, all the ins and outs might have fretted themselves to death, without being able to do any thing against this prime minister, this same Daniel, the king's favourite, if they had not applied to the principal clergy, the Heads of Houses. But I trow, the reverend doctors, the magicians, the masters of the art of astrology, &c. &c. no sooner embarked in the popular cause, but they were more than a match for the favourite, who had fallen by means of their reverences, if the Almighty had had as little to do with them, as he has to do with the greatest part of the clergy.
Well, my beloved, the Heads of Houses, and the disaffected statesmen, met all together, and consulted which was the best way to overturn the state of this praying favourite. But the conduct of Daniel was so exemplary, that they knew they should be able to find nothing wrong in him, unless they could entrap him in matters of religion : therefore, having first persuaded the king, that the church was in danger, they urged the necessity of a law being made, prohibiting any man's praying to God.
Well, Darius the king, was not such a novice in politics, but he knew the necessity of having the clergy on his side ; and therefore, though he could not see into that part of their mysterious divinity, made the decree according to the plan concerted by that learned body.
But it is thought that he would have strained a point with them, if he had known that they were aiming at the life of lris faithful favourite.
But how stiff these biblists are! For this Daniel went on praying to God, reading and expounding the Scriptures in a private house, notwithstanding the king had, under the direction of the clergy, ordained otherwise; this was enough to have provoked the Heads of Houses to have expelled him the University, had he belonged to it; but he not belonging to it, they were obliged to be satisfied with putting him to death without expelling him.
Now, lest any should object to the clergy having the honour of devising this scheme, because there is no notice taken of them in the history, let it be observed, that it was never known
that many great men or noblemen were ever given to interfere in religious matters ; statesmen, in all ages, have been wise enough to take up with the religion which the priests have prescribed to them : therefore, what you give of honour to any body in this affair, let it be given to the clergy. And I pass on to make a comparison betwixt that affair and this before us.
1. They could find no occasion of fault in Daniel ; so it was with the six young men who were expelled the University, for their lives were said to be pious and exemplary.
II. They thought they might entrap him in some matters concerning the law of bis God. So likewise these young men, though they were no whoremasters, no gamblers, no drunkards, no Scripture-revilers, &c. yet they could be entrapped in matters relating to their God.
III. This same Daniel, notwithstanding the penalty denounced in the edict against any who should take upon them to pray to God, perversely, rebelliously, and obstinately persisted in his usual apostolical, puritanical, non-conformistical, and methodistical manner of praying to God in a private house. Soon, no doubt, but these six young men knew it was against the Heads of Houses, &c. that any of the students under their care should pray to God in a private house, or even pray without book in a public house ; for says our text, Six young men were expelled the University for praying, reading and expounding the Scriptures in a private house ; yet they persisted in it. Lastly, under this head. Daniel, president of the princes,
. kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before bis God as aforetime. But how will you be able to find such puritanic conduct among our British noblemen ?--for I wot that a praying nobleman is pretty near as great a rarity as a white crow upon Malvern hills. If outward conduct is to determine inward sentiments, it may be concluded, that most of our people of fashion consider themselves either as immortal, or as on a level with the beasts, destitute of rational souls.
The second instance of clerical conduct which gives countenance to the late act of the Heads of Houses, I shall bring from the clergy of that famous University at Jerusalem in the days of Christ and his Apostles. In the established church of Judea, there were articles of faith and a canon law, which all the clergy professed to believe, regard, and defend. This confession of faith was first compiled by Moses, the founder of that church; and afterwards ratified and confirmed by Ezra and Nehemiah, their two principal reformers; even as the thirty-nine articles of the established church were ratified and confirmed by our English reformers. I know you'll be ready to think that the clergy deemed it an honour to tread in the steps of those pious reformers; but I trow, my beloved, ye are greatly mistaken; for the Ileads of Houses of the University at Jerusalem, even did as
many others have done since, make the commandment void to establish their own traditions. Perhaps you will be ready to startle, like the cows in July, when bit by the envious fies, when
you hear of an University at Jerusalem : but I assure you it was there that the doctors (i. e. teachers) of the law dwelt, and their law was their divinity. Now, where do the neighbouring dogs delight to resort so much as to the place where the carcase is? Or where shall we see such swarms of reverend doctors as at the University? Those pharisees, those lawyers, those scribes and those doctors were all gownsmen; but whether they wore the same uniforms with the gentlemen of Oxford University, my author does not say. Yet this much may be gathered from the bistory, that if that wandering Jew, who they say has lived ever since the times I am speaking of, should chance in his travels to call at Oxford, he would think upon his longevity, from the manners of the men, that it was old Jerusalem risen again from its ruins, and that the ancient Scribes and Pharisees, &c. were all risen from the dead. But we will drop this, and come to the matter in hand, which is, to give a just account of those clergy, that you may see that the Heads of Houses have not departed a jot from the rules of their clerical ancestors.
The Jerusalem clergy finding that their living depended upon subscribing the articles given by Moses and the homilies compiled by the Prophets, they could, for the sake of a venerable re. putation, and a fattish living, or as ye would say, for the good of the church, very readily subscribe and attest them upon oath, notwithstanding many of them, called Sadducees, did not believe any thing about them. Now, not to take any notice of the vulgar opinion, namely, that there are a great many Sadducees in our Universities, I cannot but observe the weakness of those who blame such of the clergy who swear to articles they do not believe, seeing that was practised by the clergy of the first established church that was in the world.
About something more than 1700 years since, there arose some dissenters, who made a great stir among the people, and brought great uneasiness upon the clergy. I do not mean that those were dissenters from the articles of faith which were of old given to the saints; but they were dissenters from the clergy, and did not spare to detect their errors, both in principks and practice; a practice which our modern methodists are said to be guilty of, to the great concern of the Heads of Houses.
Those were laymen, not regularly educated at the University, and who took upon them to preach without receiving authority from the archbishop of Jerusalem : I think his name Caiaphas, and I wot, he was primate of all Judea. Well, those men were not only laymen, but even the riff-raff of them, even fishermen : note, they were not attornies, or merchants' clerks; por were they chymists, nor were they apothecaries, but fisher
men. And yet they prayed extempore, and yet they preached, and yet they expounded the Scriptures to the great confusion of the holy trade of priestcraft. The established church was now thought to be in danger. And how it could be thought so, was something strange, seeing those praying and preaching dissenters proved all their doctrines from the articles and homilies given by Moses and the Prophets, even as our modern methodists prove their doctrine from the articles and homilies of the church of England; and the church of England has been thought in no small danger from these same methodists upon grounds equally substantial. Believe me, my beloved, the learned, the zealous Doctor Sacheverel, was not the first, nor the last, who was grieved for the church. But he is dead and gone, therefore I return to the clergy at Jerusalem; and ye cannot but remember how active they were in procuring the destruction of Jesus Christ, and, when he was risen from the dead and ascended into glory, they abated nothing of their zeal for their established church. For no sooner were they aware of the power of the apostles' doctrine (by the apostles I mean those who took upon them to pray, read, and expound the Scriptures in private houses, as you may see in the subsequent parts of the history) as these six young men who were expelled the University are said to have done. Seeing, I say, their extraordinary fervour in preaching, they cried out against them as persons drunk with new wine, by which we may understand enthusiasm, Acts ii. 13. Well, my beloved, this is the very cry of the clergy against all such as preach Jesus and the resurrection, and from their mouths the vulgar catch the sound ; so with many, a methodist and an enthusiast, a dissenter and a fanatic, are thought to be synonimous terms. From hence we may learn that a slander may as well be thrown out in a sermon as in a farce, and will issue with as good a grace from a pulpit as from a theatre. But no more of this, because our time draws towards the other end.
It is very remarkable how zealous those gentlemen of the gown, who aim no higher than a good fat benefice, have always shewed themselves when the doctrine of Christ in its simplicity hath been preached; for why? Truly, because it lays the axe to the root of the tree of priestcraft, and throws down the importance of the parson into the dirt.---If the clergy were all to observe the rules given by Christ to his disciples in his sermon upon the mount, where would be all their titles, their riches and grandeur, their coaches, their livery-men, and their plate ? But ye know that these rules are different from this craft, whereby the parsons get their wealth, as heaven is different from hell. But as priesteraft is lucrative, it will be sure to find supporters, whilst the houses have got one Head left upon them.
In Acts v. we find that Peter and the rest of his praying, reading, and Scripture-expounding brethren, were brought before
the Vice-Chancellor and the Heads of Houses for an hearing, and after an hearing of several hours they took counsel to slay them, v. 33. But there was one Dr. Gamaliel, the head of a certain house, who, sided with them, and probably proved their doctrine from the articles of the Jewish church as by law estab-lished. I trow this same Doctor Gamaliel was tinctured with the doctrine they preached, as the principal of Edmund-Hall, who defended the faith of the six young men who were expelled the University of Oxford for praying, &c. may be supposed secretly to have believed in the articles which he once subscribed, though he dare not now to avow his faith openly.
There is one thing in the account that is something remarkable, namely, the wise motion of Dr. Gamaliel over-ruled the bloody designs of the priests; but it was not so at the other University, for although the principal of Edmund-Hall defended and proved the methodistical doctrine from the articles of the church, and spoke highly of the piety and exemplariness of the lives of the young men, his motion was over-ruled, and the six young men were expelled. As before observed, what is one methodist among a host of divines?
Another thing we may take notice of, namely, those ancient doctors had a law by which they could put people to death for praying, reading, and expounding the Scriptures; but our Universities have no such law, or it is no way doubtful but that the same zeal which will, under a protestant government, expel the students of the University for praying, &c. would, for the same reasons, burn offenders at the stake, were they favoured with a popish King. So that if the Heads of Houses were less bloody in their designs than their ancestors, it is not to be imputed to want of good will, but to the protestant restraints which they are under.
Remarkable was the procedure of the Jews against Stephen, related Acts vi. 9. 'Then there arose certain of the synagogue, 'which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, &c. disputing 'with Stephen,' &c. This same Stephen was a low churchman, a whig, and a puritan, and therefore was sure to be opposed in that blinded age. But who were they, my beloved, that here are said to have risen against Stephen?---Not bargemen, linkboys, lamplighters, and Irish chairmen; but gentlemen of the synagogue. Certain of the synagogue, i. e. devout men of the established church; their Lauds, their Calamys, and their Sacheverels. But to what synagogue did they belong, think you? Why, they belonged to the synagogue of the libertines. Was ever one egg more like another than ancient things are to modern? If the gentlemen of the synagogue of the libertines would have been quiet, Stephen might have gone on preaching and praying without opposition; but then it would have spoiled the priests' trade of getting wealth.