A DEFENCE OF Pluralities, OR, Holding two BENEFICES WITH Cure of Souls, As now Practised in the Church of ENGLAND.

LONDON: Printed for Robert Clavel, at the Peacock in St. Paul's Church-yard. 1692.

A DEFENCE OF Pluralities, Or, Holding Two Benefices with Cure of Souls, As now Practised in the Church of ENGLAND.


THE Use and Continuance of Plu­ralities in the Church of England, since the Reformation, hath been much inveighed against ever since the rise of Puritanism, and represented as [Page 2] injurious to Religion, and subservient on­ly to the Avarice and Ambition of the Clergy. That the Puritans should with so much heat oppose it, is not much to be wondered; because it was allowed by the Church, and the opposition carried with it an apparent shew of religious Zeal. To that waspish Generation it was a sufficient ground of opposing any thing, if it were practised or permitted by the Church, however lawful and indifferent, or per­haps decent and necessary; and no Arti­sice was thought unlawful, which might create to them an opinion of Sanctity a­mong the People. But that an Accusa­tion raised against the Church by her pro­fessed Enemies, should be continued and prosecuted by her own Members, we should have just cause to wonder; if we did not know by frequent Examples to what In­temperancies Mankind may be betrayed by the use of false Principles. None can be ignorant, what Clamours have in late years been raised and carried on against Pluralities, what Accusatious have been formed against them in the Writings and Discourse of many, otherwise deservedly eminent: how they are represented as the great Scandal of the Reformation, and the most pernicious Relique of Popery; that [Page 3] they are traduced as the Cause of many Evils and Inconveniencies in the Church; affirmed to be sinful in the nature of them, or little less than such, obstructing the good of Souls, and destroying the honour and welfare of the Church. And to lay the greater load upon them, all the vio­lent Exclamations, brought formerly by good and zealous men against those enor­mous Pluralities, which obtained in the Church of Rome, are applied to the pre­sent permission and practice of them in the Church of England; as if the same thing were practised among us without a­ny restraint or limitation.

The Clergy in the mean while, assured of the justice of their Cause, and imper­tinence of these Exclamations, have re­mained silent, expecting that this unrea­sonable Accusation should cease with time, or at least make no impression upon those, whom the solly of Puritanism hath not yet infected. But when many Persons of our own Communion engage themselves in the same quarrel, and publickly desame the Church upon this account; it is not fit the injured Clergy should any longer con­tinue their silence, lest it should be thought to imply a Confession of Guilt, or give way to all those Inconveniencies, which a [Page 4] hasty and imprudent change in this mat­ter might probably produce to the Church.

I am not insensible, what a difficult Province I have undertaken: what Oppo­sition and Censures will attend it. Ma­ny will esteem it a Paradox; and most will conclude it a rash Undertaking, to oppose Reason to a Popular Cry, and to endeavour to defend, what almost all men by hearing only one side, have been long since induced to condemn. Many good men, really zealous and concerned for the honour of Religion, will perhaps suppose it to be a Scandal to apologize for what they have hitherto believed to be no less than Evil. To these I doubt not to give intire satisfaction; if they will judge with Candour and Indifferency. Others, who are farr the most violent Adversaries, only zealous in pretence, affecting to gain the Reputation of Extraordinary Piety; not really concerned for the Honour of Reli­gion, but endeavouring to recommend themselves by the pretence of it; will de­cry the Author of this Apology as an E­nemy to Religion and Purity, as an un­godly Pluralist, who prefers his Interest to the honour of God and the good of o­thers: nor will perhaps stop here the ef­fects [Page 5] of their Anger, if he be so unfortu­nate as to be discovered.

Indeed it is so easy, and withal so ad­vantageous a Subject, to expose the Faults of others, and especially the supposed cor­ruptions of a National Church; that the Inclination of Ambitious men to oppose this innocent practice of the Church, may easily be accounted for. It seems to un­wary persons to be an evident Argument of exalted Sanctity, to oppugn the recei­ved Discipline of any Communion; since this insinuates as if they were more reli­gious and knowing than a whole Nation. To such men nothing is more grievous than to be tied down to the ordinary Rules of Religion and Government; since to be religious in the common way, would never distinguish them from other men. Somewhat must be continually attempted by them, which may make the credulous part of Mankind cry out, See a man more religious than all the Clergy, who went be­fore, or are contemporary with him! They all practised, or at least allowed, a scandalous Custom; This man's Piety is extraordinary, and qualifieth him beyond others to be a Go­vernour of the Church. It is lamentable in­deed to consider, that the credulity of Mankind should be so easily wrought up­on [Page 6] by designing men, and that Impostors of this kind should seldom want success. Such Exclamations against the received Order and Discipline of the Church, have ever since the first Foundation of it, been the Common-place to all ambitious Cler­gy-men desiring to appear zealous. No­thing is more easy, than to discover vices in another, or corruptions in a Society. This is a Subject, which will afford con­stant matter to publick Harangues, and can never be exhausted. At the same time nothing is more popular, in that it qualisteth the perverse nature of men, who generally love to hear things and persons of publick esteem decried; and secureth to the pretended Zealot the reputation of a more elevated Piety, than that which ap­pears in any of those whom he opposeth. With this Artifice a man may not only create Authority to himself, but cover his own Faults however gross and numerous, by diverting and fixing the eyes of men upon the Faults of others; or if his own Crimes be too notorious to be dissembled, compensating for them by a wonderful ap­pearance of Zeal. He that will vehe­mently exclaim against Pluralities, and the other supposed Imperfections of the Church, may safely neglect all the parts [Page 7] of his own duty; may be Non-resident, may [...]ordidly enrich himself and his Rela­tions; may injure his Equals, oppress his Inferiours: and all this shall be easily for­given in consideration of his Zeal. If I would recommend my self to a Lecture in the City, I could take no more success­ful method, than to inveigh against Plu­ralities, to accuse the Clergy of negli­gence and covetousness. The name of a zealous Reformer would set me beyond all competition of real Worth and Learning. If I desired to excuse any scandalous Im­moralities, which cannot be dissembled; I would arraign all the Corruptions of the Church, exclaim powerfully against her Governours, and cry up the necessity of Reformation. To so warm a zeal for publick good, private sins would easily be permitted. Those who know the Town, have seen Examples of both kinds within this year.

This Air of Popularity hath been the great pest of the Church in all Ages; when Church-men employ their Designs not so much to preserve the Honour of Religion, as to acquire to themselves a Name and Interest among the Multitude; when they apply themselves to obtain the favour of the professed Enemies of the Church; and [Page 8] for that end stick not to betray her Con­stitutions, and to be instrumental in her disgrace. Doubtless in the ancient Church it would not have been thought any great recommendation of a Catholick Clergy­man, to have sought the favour of the Donatists, to admit and second those hea­vy Imputations, which they cast upon the Catholicks; to call them Brethren, and treat the sincere Members of the Church as Enemies. How can it ever be expect­ed, that the Laity should conscientiously obey the Constitutions of the Church, and retain their duty to her; when the Clergy make light of her Authority, vilifie her Constitution, court the friendship of those who have divided themselves from her Communion, and seek her Ruine? when for their sake they will slight her Sacred Offices, mutilate or disuse her Ceremo­nies, prostitute her Honour, and betray her Cause?

It is undeniable, that this great Cry a­gainst Pluralities was raised by the Ene­mies of the Church, the Puritans, in the last Age. Before the Reformation the same Clamours were raised against Plura­lities by the Mendicant Orders. The Ar­tifices and Hypocrisy of both are so like, that they ought not to be passed by with­out [Page 9] some reflection. These Mendicant Or­ders arose and chiefly infested the Church in the Thirteenth Age. They pretended an extraordinary Call from God to re­form the World, and correct the Faults of the Secular Clergy. To this end they put on a mighty shew of Zeal for the good of mens Souls, and of contempt of the World; accused the Secular Clergy of fa­mishing the Souls of Men, called them dumb Dogs and cursed Hirelings; maintained that Evangelical Poverty became the Ministers of the Gospel; that it was unlawful for them to possess any thing, or to retain propriety in any worldly Goods. As for the Publick Orders of the Church, they would not be tied to them, alledging, that themselves being wholly Spiritual, could not be obliged to any Carnal Ordi­nances. They broke in every where up­on the Parochial Clergy; usurped their Office; in all populous and rich Places set up Altars of their own; withdrew the People from the Communion of their Pa­rish-Priest; would scarce allow the hopes of Salvation to any but their own Disci­ples, whom they bewitched with great pretences of Sanctity, and assiduity in Preaching. These Artifices had raised their Reputation and Interest so high in a few [Page 10] years, that they wanted very little to ru­ine the Secular Clergy, and therewith the Church. But in less than an Age the cheat of these Impostors became manifest to all men. They procured to their So­cieties incredible Riches, built to them­selves stately Palaces; infinitely surpassed that viciousness of which themselves had (perhaps unjustly) accused the Secular Clergy; and long before the Reformati­on, became the most infamous and con­temptible part of the Church of Rome. After the decay of their Reputation the Jesuites arose, that last and greatest Scourge of the Christian Church; who upon the same Principles and Pretences, carried on the same Design, and still prosecute it in opposition to the Clergy, where ever they are planted; altho the World is no less convinced of their Fraud than of their Predecessours, whom, after all their preten­ces to Evangelical Poverty and Simplicity, they have far exceeded in Riches and worldly Interest. After all this it may be easily judged, how little Authority their Opinion in this matter ought to bear; and how unfair it is to alledge the Determi­nations of the Regulars against the Secu­lar Clergy. To cite the Opinions of them in this Case of Pluralities, is no other than [Page 11] to produce the Authority of Baxter or Owen against Episcopacy, or of Milton and Ferguson against Monarchy.

Such were the Opposers of Pluralities in our Church before the Reformation (I mean, the Opposers of the simple use of them, as for the Opposers of the great a­buse of them, many of them were excel­lent men, of which I shall speak hereafter) Since the Reformation, (altho the Abuse of them was not continued) they have been vehemently decried by the Puritans, whose agreement with the Mendicants in the same Principles and Designs, is so evi­dent from the precedent account of the latter, that I need not make any minute comparison. Every one knows, what were the first Pretences and Principles of our Dissenters, and what is their modern Pra­ctice; how they inveighed against our Se­cular Clergy; maintained the unlawful­ness of their Possessions; set up Altar a­gainst Altar; withdrew the Laity from their Communion; put on a specious ap­pearance of Mortification and unusual San­ctity; have long since quitted their pre­cise strictness, but still retain the pretence, and their quarrel to the Clergy. Thus an hardned Hypocrisy will obstinately persist, altho it be notorious that the Cheat has [Page 12] been long since discovered, by the expe­rience of a more licentious practice of those things, which themselves have condem­ned in others. Particularly in this Case of Pluralities, it is well known, that when the Dissenters had by a successful Rebellion e­jected all the Clergy of the Kingdom, toge­ther with their lawful King, and usurped the Authority and Revenues of both; their Leaders and Favourites seized on, and re­tained to themselves, more Benefices, than have been lately united in any Clergy-man of the Church of England. And at this day, many of the Heads of the Sepa­ration hold Plurality of Conventicles, as the Presbyterians of Scotland do of Bene­fices.

To these open and professed Enemies of the Church, I might add those secret ones. those unfaithful Clergy-men, those Traditores, who seek to oblige the Enemies of the Church by betraying her Out­guards to them. Altho I would not lay the imputation of Infidelity upon all; Some, it may be hoped, acted upon a mi­staken Zeal and false Prejudices. But up­on whatever Principle they proceeded, it was long since observed of them, [...] A­pol. p. 337. that with insatiable greediness they heaped up Plurality and Multiplicity of Prebends in [Page 13] Cathedral and Collegiate Churches; and there growing fat, inveighed against the Dualities of the Parochial Clergy as a Mortal Sin. Among all our Bishops since the Reformation, none have so much fa­voured the Cause of our Dissenters as Hooper and Williams, the first through weakness of Judgment, the other through a violent Ambition, which prompted him to oppose whatsoever his Rival Arch-Bishop Laud should undertake. Of these Hooper held two Bishopricks, those of Glocester and Worcester, for many years to­gether; an abuse which this Church had never seen from the time of Stigand to Cardinal Wolsey. And Bishop Williams held, with the Bishoprick of Lincoln, and af­terwards with the Arch-Bishoprick of York, the Deanery of Westminster, a Residentia­ries place in the Church of Lincoln, the Prebend of Asgarvey in the same, and the Rectory of Walgrave.

If I might, in the last place, be allowed to speak freely to the Gentlemen and Lay­men of our Communion, whom the po­pular Cry against Pluralities may have deceived; I would desire them to judge of the Reasons which this Apology shall offer, without prejudice; and in the mean while to cast their Eyes upon those real [Page 14] Pests of the Church, Mental Simony, and Bonds of Resignation; which in time will become her ruine. The removal of these Evils will far more become their Zeal; and from them only a Remedy can be ob­tained herein.

Notwithstanding the seeming difficulty of maintaining what in the opinion of most men is a Paradox; notwithstanding the opposition which may be expected from good men prepossessed herein, and bad men who by such a Defence may be deprived of one of their Common-places of Declaiming; I thought it my duty to undertake this Province, being assured, that therein I should defend the Honour and the Interest of the Church of Christ, which ever since the first Institution of Parishes, hath permitted Pluralities, and cannot now be well supported without them; the wisdom of the Parliaments and the Laws of this Kingdom, which have allowed them; of the Kings and Queens of this Nation, who have confirmed, and continue them; of the Honourable Peers and Universities of this Realm, who have qualified Persons to obtain them; the Re­putation of many excellent Persons both alive and dead, who have granted and enjoyed them; of many eminent Divines [Page 15] and Lawyers, who have justified them: and that I shall hereby free the most Re­verend Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, and o­ther Bishops residing near the Court for the Service of their Majesties and of the Church, from the Imputation of that mortal sin, which all who maintain the unlawfulness of Pluralities, fix upon Non-residence. To the defence of all these Things and Persons I am bound either by respect or duty; and if therewith the for­mer practice of some present Oppugners of Pluralities be defended; I shall not be sorry, altho I should receive no thanks from them.

The Enemies of Pluralities proceed up­on these Heads: either, that to hold more Benefices than one with Cure of Souls is Jure Divino unlawful; or that it is con­trary to the first design of Parochial In­dowments; or that it is highly inconve­nient to the Church. Against these I shall assert, and in order prove these three Pro­positions.

  • I. Plurality of Benefices with Cure of Souls is not Jure Divino unlawful.
  • II. It is not contrary to the first Design of Parochial Indowments.
  • III. It is not inconvenient to the Church.


THAT Pluralities are unlawful by the Law of God, some Casuists of the Church of Rome (chiefly those of the Mendicant or Jesuit Orders) have main­tained, and many Zealous Oppugners of Pluralities among the Reformers have ta­ken up their Opinion; or at least exagge­rated the guilt of Pluralities so far, as that it can searce otherwise be interpreted. If we enquire the Reasons of this heinous Charge; it is certain, that nothing can be Jure Divino unlawful, but either by the Law of Nature, or by the Positive Law of God. For the first, none have been so ridiculous, as to pretend, that the Law of Nature bath determined any thing in this place: That directs no more of Paro­chial Priests, than of Parochial Consta­bles. There remains then only the Posi­tive Law of God, expressed in Scripture, which can fix this guilt upon Pluralities. But if we peruse the Bible from one end to the other, we shall find no Directions herein; no mention being made therein, [Page 17] either of Parochial Priests or Parochial Cures; nor indeed could be, since the in­stitution of them was first made long af­ter the writing of those sacred Oracles, as we shall prove hereafter. As for Texts which may be supposed to allude thereto, which our Reformed Adversaries some­times alledge, they are of no moment in this cause; since it is a received Principle among all Protestants, that nothing is ne­cessarily to be believed unlawful, which is not declared to be such, either by the Law of Nature, or by the express words of Scripture. Yet in this case our Adversaries are not ashamed to betray the Fundamen­tal Principle of the Reformed Church, and arraign that as malum in se, of which Na­ture and Scripture are wholly silent. In our Dissenters this Opinion is yet much more unpardonable, who maintain, that nothing ought to be introduced in the Worship of God, or in Ecclesiastical Dis­cipline, which is not warranted by express words of Scripture. For things indifferent in their own nature, may still remain so notwithstanding the silence of Scripture; but the nature of any thing can never be changed from indifferent to unlawful with­out express words of Scripture.

When Scripture cannot be produced, our [Page 18] Adversaries fly to Metaphors, making great use of a Metaphor frequent in anci­ent Canons, wherein the discharge of the Episcopal or Parochial care is compared to Marriage; that as a man cannot have two Wives, so neither can he have two Benefices. But, alas! shall Metaphors and tropes and similies condemn a man! Hath the Scripture any where said that all the circumstances of Marriage shall be obser­ved in the case of Benefices with Cure of Souls? Doth not every one know, that nothing is more ordinary, than to stretch Similitudes too far, or more fallacious, than to argue from them? Will these men be concluded by the Similitude which themselves bring? If so, it will be as un­lawful to be translated from one Bishoprick to another, or from one Benefice to ano­ther, as it is to change one Wife for another. But against this the early and universal practice of the Church hath prevailed, as to the Lawfulness of it. (The too common practice of it was afterwards restrained by Canons) And, as I suppose, none of our Adversaries will maintain such Translations to be un­lawful.

[Page 19] But the chief foundation of their Opi­nion is the Necessity of Residence, which they suppose to be of Divine Right; and since Residence cannot be maintained in two different places at the same time, that therefore Plurality of Benefices is unlawful. If we demand their warrant for this As­sertion, as in the former case, we shall find them very destitute. The Law of Nature they do not pretend to herein: The Texts of Scripture which they urge are very remote, and scarce applicable to our case. Such are, that reproof of the Shepherds of Israel in Ezekiel; XXXIV. 2, &c. Wo to the Shepherds of Israel, that feed themselves. Sould not the Shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wooll. The diseased have ye not strengthned, neither have ye healed that which was sick—but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them, &c. or that description of them in Isaiah, His watchmen are blind, LVI. 10. they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark, sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber, &c. He must be very acute, that can convict Pluralists out of these Texts: what is there in all this, which may not as well be applied to Priests possessing one Benefice as two? Nay what doth this at all concern Paro­chial Priests as such; being directed a­gainst [Page 20] the Prophets of Israel, many of whom were not Priests, and those who were Priests, not fixed in distinct Pa­rishes? Not to say that he must be blind who sees not, that the first passage is di­rected against the oppression and tyranny of Temporal Governours; the second re­proveth the cowardice and neglect of the Prophets, who did not couragiously op­pose Idolatry, nor warn the People against it, as they ought to have done, when wicked Princes endeavoured to introduce it. Such dumb dogs were the Presbyte­rians and other Dissenters in the Reign of the late King; who formerly made a vio­lent outcry against Popery in the Reign of other Kings, when there was little or no danger of it; but when the danger became real, and Popery in earnest began tobe in­troduced, were then wholly silent, feared to oppose it; but rather assisted to intro­duce it, by encouraging that unhappy Prince in the Usurpation of his Dispensing Power.

I should be thought to trifle, if I should give a serious answer to some other Texts, which are in this case produced by our Adversaries to no better purpose. That Text of S. Matthew alledged by the Puri­tan Conventicler,Matth. 1 [...] 2. Abraham begat Isaac (whence he observed, that Residence was [Page 21] of Divine Right, for if Abraham had not resided, he could not have begat Isaac) is as material as any of them; not to ex­cept the irrefragable Testimony said to be produced by the Assembly of Divines who in their Annotations on the first Chapter of Genesis, having taken notice of all these parts of the World, which God is there said to have created, subjoyned this wor­thy note, Here is no mention made of Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Arch-Deacons, Officials, Pluralists, &c. Ergo, God did not create them.

This Opinion of the necessity of Resi­dence is chiefly taken from the Spanish Bi­shops and Divines in the Council of Trent; Hist. Conc. Trid. p. 217. &c. who often and strongly endeavoured to get Residence to be declared to be of Di­vine Right, and consequently indispensa­ble. Their Authority in this case never fails to be urged by our Adversaries; as if they would represent the Clergy of the Church of England, to be worse than those of the Church of Rome. However it is somewhat absurd to urge against us the Authority of the minor part of that Coun­cil, when themselves will not be bound by the Decrees of the major part of it. We believe the whole Council to be falli­ble, much more the lesser part. They [Page 22] pretend indeed this to have been the more Learned and Honest part of the Council. This is spoken gratis, and may as easily be denied by us. If it were worth the while, it could be proved, that the Spa­nish Bishops were not free from sinister and corrupt designs herein, and the Divines who disputed on their side were all Domi­nican Friers, and consequently no impar­tial Judges of the duty of the Secular Clergy. But to make the most of their Authority, it respecteth not the Case of Parochial Priests, but only of Bishops. The Pope had usurped to himself the Title of Universal Bishop, not only in Name, but Office; upon pretence of which his Flat­terers maintained, that all the Pastoral power of the Church was committed ori­ginally by Christ to him alone, and from him derived to other Bishops, who were no other than his Delegates and Commis­sioners. To overthrow this Doctrine, and assert their own Authority, the Spanish Bishops laboured in the Council to obtain a Declaration of the Divine Right of Resi­dence; since if that were allowed, it would necessarily follow, that their Order also was of Divine Right, and not only by Papal permission and Delegation. Of this the Pope and his Dependants in the Coun­cil [Page 23] being aware, quashed their undertaking. Now all this relates only to Bishops; So that to apply the Opinion of the Spanish Bishops herein to the Case of Parish Priests, may be allowed indeed in our Dissenters, who make no distinction between the two Orders; but is unpardonable in a Writer of the Church of England, who cannot but know, that, altho the Pope hath not original Jurisdiction in toto & in solido in any Diocese beside his own, yet a Bishop hath in all the Parishes of his Diocese; and that, altho Episcopacy is of Divine In­stitution, yet Parochial Cures are not so.

But to clear this matter beyond all doubt, I will examine the Case of Resi­dence more strictly, and first by such con­siderations, as shall equally concern the Case of Bishops and of Parish Priests; Second­ly, I will prove, that the Residence of Bishops is not of Divine Right; and last­ly shew, that although the Residence of Bishops were of Divine Right, yet it would not thence follow, that the Residence of Parish Priests is of the same kind.

Of the general Considerations which concern the Cause of both, the first shall be, that it will be impossible to settle the limits and term of this jure divino Resi­dence. [Page 24] Things of this nature appear very plausible in the theory, and while they are carried no further, seem desirable and excellent; but when they are reduced to practice, the folly of the speculation will soon appear. If therefore the Spanish Bi­shops had been asked in the Council, whe­ther the Residence which they asserted to be of Divine Right, included the whole Year, or only part of it; they could not have agreed in it. If Residence of the whole Year were required by the Law of God, by what warrant did they appear in that place out of their Diocesses, or at any time attend their Prince or his Coun­cil or Officers upon the weighty Affairs of Church or State? If only partial Resi­dence were required, who should define, how much God would accept, or how much might lawfully be spent out of their Diocesses? It might have been alledged against them, that it was rash and unwar­rantable for any man to define the limits of the time required; or rather, that since God himself had revealed nothing as to this matter, it was an evident argument that he intended no such obligation. That if Residence were indeed jure divino ne­cessary, no Authority upon earth could dispence with one days absence; but if so, [Page 25] the interest, and necessities and emergen­cies of the Church could not be managed successfully or supplied. Or if 40 or 60 days were allowed for such occasions, why not as well 70 or 80, since here was no fixed rule to determine the number, be­side the occasions and necessities of the Church, which might sometimes as well require an absence of the whole 365 days as of sixty? And when such cases happen, such a total absence would be lawful for the same reasons, for which they supposed a partial absence to be so. The Spanish Bishops therefore in the Council of Trent, Hist. Conc. Trid. p. 255. at the same time that they desired Resi­dence of Bishops to be declared to be jure divino, required it to be decreed, That Bi­shops are bound to reside in their Bishop­ricks six months in the Year at least. By the same reason that they allowed six months of Non-residence, others might have allowed eight; since the same au­thority or reasons, which could dispense with the jus divinum of Residence for one half of the Year, might dispense with it for two thirds; and if for so much, why not for the whole? This uncertainty of opinion, and impossibility of fixing any certainty herein, manifests the whole sup­position to want all foundation. Yet it is [Page 26] not unfit to be considered, that if the O­pinion of the Spanish Bishops should be al­lowed, a Dualist might easily observe the conditions of their jure divino Residence, residing six months at one Benefice, and six months at the other. So that their Opi­nion is not only false, but also imperti­nent to our purpose, who defend the mo­dern practice of the Church of England, which allows no more than two Benefices to one person.

Now to dismiss the Spanish Bishops, and consider the intrinsick merits of the Cause, let us enquire upon what grounds Resi­dence can be thus supposed to be necessa­ry. Certainly the Nature of the thing doth not absolutely direct it. For sup­pose an Incumbents house seated in the ex­treme limits of his Parish, as is the case of many; the Incumbent living herein will be allowed to observe Residence. Now suppose the Incumbent dwelleth not here, but an hundred yards further in another contiguous Parish; shall this Residence cease to be such as is required jure divino, meerly for the difference of the distance of an hundred yards, altho he may per­haps be much nearer to his own Church, than many thousand other Incambents who live within the bounds of their own [Page 27] Parishes? I know it is forbidden by our Civil Laws: But that alters not the state of the Question, when we enquire con­cerning the jus divinum of this Residence. Let us again put the Case of two conti­guous Parishes, united in the person of one Priest, who resides in one of them, and of some other Parish, which besides the Mother-Church, hath a Chappel of case annexed to it. I challenge the most acute man in the whole World, to discover any difference as to matter of Conscience or Divine Institution between these two Ca­ses. For altho our Law maketh a diffe­rence, yet the Law of God and the na­ture of the thing make none. However none ever doubted the lawfulness of hold­ing a Chappel of case with the Mother-Parish. Nay altho the Mother Parish may contain five or seven, or s [...]metimes ten Chappels of ease, no difference is made in the case. Some of these Chappels may be ten miles distant from the Mother-Church; yet here the judgments of men alter not because of such distance. And if ten miles distance be allowed, why not fifteen, or twenty, or thirty which the Canon al­lows for the u [...]most distance of two Be­nefices to be h [...]ld by one person? For whether the Chappel or distinct Church [Page 28] be ten or thirty miles distant from the Mother Church or the other distinct Church, at which the Rector of both doth reside; it is certain, that the Sacred Offi­ces of each must be supplied by a Curate; And then the exclamations of the Anti-Pluralists will lye equally against both ca­ses; That here the Sacred trust is hired out to Mercenaries; That one feeds the Flock, and another receives the Fleece. It would be inexcusable folly to alledge, that in one case the two Parishes are distinct, in the other case but one. For do we think that God will regard this nicety, when in the nature of the thing there is no real difference? Not to say that Plurality of Benefices is in our Church confined to the number of two; whereas Chappels of ease belonging to one Mother-Church are al­lowed to be held without number; altho in foro conscientiae, one Mother-Church with three Chappels of ease doth as really constitute four distinct Benefices, as one distinct Benefice personally united to ano­ther do constitute two Benefices. Yet no scruple is made of the lawfulness of one case, altho the crime of it, if there were a­ny, is really double to the other.

Yet after all, our Adversaries will per­sist, and without regard to the merit or [Page 29] reason of things, will maintain that Plura­lities are unlawful. That they are not unlawful in their nature we have proved; That Non-residence also in the nature of it is not unlawful, is evinced. They re­cur therefore to the Sacred Office annexed to the Benefice, and contend that it ought to be executed by personal attendance; that the Incumbents ought not to receive the fee, and commit the work to the care of some inferior or raw Practitioner, but personally watch over the Cure of Souls committed to their charge. Now in the Case of Chappels of ease Curates are and must be imployed, yet they condemn not the practice. So that it is not simply evil to discharge this imposed trust by Curates. But to dismiss this Case of Chappels of ease, so grievous to our Anti-Pluralists; it is well known, that the Terms of Di­spensations of Pluralities require every Pluralist to reside upon each Benefice some considerable time every year. So that he cannot be said, wholly to commit to Mer­cenaries the trust imposed on him; since himself doth in each Benefice successively discharge it. To this our Adversaries re­joyn, that by the Law of God he is bound to discharge the whole trust in his own person, and not commit any part of it to [Page 30] Mercenaries. Now see the unhappiness of airy Projects. If this be admitted, all the inconveniencies before mentioned in the Case of necessity of perpetual Resi­dence, will return. Or if, to avoid them, they will allow that the Incumbent may sometimes be absent, suppose for two months in every year; then during that time his Office must be supplied by a Sub­stitute. So that for two months time, it will be lawful for any Incumbent to exe­cute his Office by a Proxy; And if for two months, why not for three, or four, or more? Who shall determine the utmost limit of the allowed time? If it be said, that the Laws of the Country shall deter­mine it, as it hath in our Nation, by the space of two months; I answer, that I enquire not now what may be done jure humano, but divino; besides that this Hu­mane Law hath been dispensed with and relaxed by other Laws, in many particu­lar Cases; and especially in the Case of Pluralities.

But to forgive all the absurdities, fol­lies and inconveniencies, to which the O­pinion of our Adversaries necessarily doth betry them, and proceed to the exami­nation of their remaining arguments: It is generally alledged by them, That the [Page 31] care of Souls, being so great a concern, ought to be managed with the utmost di­ligence; that it ought not to be delegated to a more unworthy person; that the common good of the Church and of the Souls of men, require this Office should be discharged by the proper and imme­diate Officer. These things sound very well at the first hearing; but when redu­ced to practice, are found to be insignifi­cant. for it oft-times happens, That the Curate is a better Physician of Souls than the Rector; in which case it conduceth to the Spiritual good of such a Parish, that the cure thereof be supplyed rather by the Curate, than by the Rector in person. I know our Adversaries will presently cry out, Remove the Rector, and let the Cu­rate take his place. But soft and fair; It would scarce be thought just, that a Lay­man should be dispossessed, and his Estate given to another upon no other Title▪ than the greater worth of the latter. It is not enough to distinguish our case by reason of the Spiritual concern of it; for the inju­stice in both cases is alike. In the next place, the Rector, tho in [...]eriour to the Cu­rate in this respect, may in other respects be farr superiour in merit to him. Last­ly, if this were admitted, no quiet or [Page 32] peace in the Church could ever be main­tained, as upon the least reflection will be evident beyond contradiction. Further, if we should suppose the Rector to be al­ways the farr more worthy person, more skilful to direct the Souls of men, and more diligent in applying such direction; yet would not the opinion of our Adversaries be thence evinced. Rather it would be for the common good of the Church, and the Souls of men, that such a person should be entrusted with the care of two Parishes. For altho he ordinarily supplies one Parish by a Curate; yet he is bound to reside at that some considerable time every year, and at all times to inspect and direct his Curate. By which means two Parishes enjoy the benefit of this excellent Guide, which without the permission of Plurali­ties would have been afforded but to one; the number of such excellent persons be­ing in the judgment of all men far infe­riour to the number of Parochial Cures in England.

The last effort of our Adversaries is, That the Ministers of every Parish are bound to give an account to God of the Souls of the persons committed to their charge; that God will not accept this ac­count by any Proxy, but will expect that [Page 33] every Parish Priest should render it in his own person, and according to his own knowledge: That it is not enough to per­form the Divine Offices, and repeat Ser­mons once a week; but they must visit the sick, reprove the scandalous, reconcile dif­ferences, teach their flock by constant ex­ample as well as doctrine. This argu­ment is plausible, and easie to be impro­ved by an ordinary understanding, that I need not add any more, to give to it its full force. Yet withal it will be found to include nothing of Substance, if it be nar­rowly examined. As much of it as infers, that God will exact from every Parish Priest a particular account of every single Soul committed to his care, or that he will in no case accept the discharge of this care by a Substitute▪ is false. For no more can be required, than that the Priest should render a general account of his charge, that he hath been diligent in preaching, in administring the Holy Offices, ready to apply this general care to particular per­sons as opportunity should offer, and exem­plary in his Conversation. And then as to a Proxy, if the Priest alledgeth, that the same authority of the Bishop, which committed the care of the Parish to him, did disburden him of that care, and im­posed [Page 34] it in whole or in part upon a Substi­tute, there is no reason to believe, that God will not accept this plea. We readily grant that the Cure of Souls is a weighty concern, that great diligence ought to be used in the discharge of it; that the per­son to whom it is committed, whether Incumbent or Curate, ought to be con­versant among his [...]lock, and, acquainting himself with the necessities of it, make constant provision for them. The Church had considered this long since; and how­ever our Anti-pluralists be puffed up with an Opinion of their own singular wisdom, had weighed the force of this argument long before them. For this reason, by the constant practice of the Governours of the Church, it hath been provided, that two populous Parishes have not been commit­ted to the care of one person▪ that if one be far more populous than the other, he should make his more constant Residence in the former. These Rules the Arch-Bishops never [...]ail to observe in granting Dispensations of Pluralities, and these a­bundantly obviate all the force of the Objection. For in two contiguous Pari­shes (which is the most ordinary case of Pluralities) the Incumbent of both, altho residing constantly in one of them, may [Page 35] easily minister to the necessities of them both; may inform himself of the behavi­our of his flocks; may administer spiri­tual advice to them; may be exemplary in his life and conversation to [...]ach Parish; may be enabled of his own knowledge to give an account of them to the great Shep­herd of Souls. The case of two remote Benefices, committed to the care of one Priest is more rare: Yet even in this case the Church hath made sufficient provision for the same advantages, by directing the Pluralist, to reside upon the one the great­er part of the year, and upon the other at least three months in the year; and grant­ing to him a Dispensation upon these Con­ditions. That this three months Resi­dence upon that Benefice which is less frequented, added to the constant residence of an able Curate upon it, will fully supply the ends above-mentioned, will easily ap­pear. No man doubts that a Parish Priest in the City of London, holding one Bene­fice there, and residing continually upon it, may be able fully and conscientiously to discharge his duty. Now the number of Souls in the Parishes of London, one with another, may be reasonably compu­ted to be about 5000. Scarce any Parish in England, possest by a Pluralist, upon [Page 36] which he is not bound by the Canon to bestow his more constant Residence, in­cludes 500 Souls: However, suppose that to be the number, in this Parish including 500 Souls, he is obliged to reside three months every year. It is manifest, that in a particular application of the labour and care of the Incumbent to his Parishi­oners, and a particular enquiry into the state and behaviour of them, and com­municating the influence of a good exam­ple to all of them, three months will ef­fect as much in relation to 500 as thirty months, and much more than twelve months will do in relation to these 5000. So that if we grant the people of London to be sufficiently provided for in their spiritual concerns, by the constant Resi­dence of their Parish Priests; much more will the three months Residence of any Rector, added to the constant attendance of his Curate, supply the necessities of any such Country Parish.

These considerations are in some sort applicable to the case of Bishops; And however I have chosen all along to in­stance in the case of Parochial Pluralities or Non residences; because the examples of them are more frequent, and the de­fence of them the more immediate design [Page 37] of this Apology: yet all which hath been hi­therto said of Parish Priests, I conceive may in some measure be true, applied to Bishops.

But I proceed to examine the case of Bishops separately. In the first place, strictly speaking, Residence cannot be sup­posed to be enjoyned even to them Jure Di­vino, if it be permitted to one Bishop to hold two Bishopricks together: Yet for this we have the example and authority of the Primitive Church. For whereas the ordinary discipline of the Church re­quired a Bishop to be placed in every Ci­ty, to govern it and the circumjacent Territory; wherever we find that one Bishop presided over two Cities, we must conclude, that he did in effect govern two Dioceses. Now examples of this kind are frequent in the ancient Church. Thus in the middle of the third Age, the Cities of Leon and Asturia in Spain hadChron. Hisp. p [...] but one Bi­shop, as Vasaeus gathers from the Inscrip­tion of the 67th Epistle of S. Cyprian. In the Council of Ephesus several Bishops were present,Conc [...] pa [...]. 2. [...]. who governed two Cities, as Timotheus Bishop of Telmissus and Eudo­cias, Athanasius Bishop of Diveltus and Sozopolis. In the Province of Europa especially,Ibid. [...] A [...]t. 7. there were many instances of this kind; for therein [...]eraclea and Panium [Page 38] had but one Bishop; so also Bizya and Arcadiopolis, Coele and Callipolis, Subsadia and Aphrodisias. And the Bishops of this Province affirmed in the Council, that this was an ancient custom, which had obtained of old, and from the beginning in the Provinces of Europa, that those Cities never had distinct Bishops. Vetus mos viget in Provinciis Euro­pae —olim & ab initio—nunquam praedictae Civitates proprios Episcopos acceperunt.

Such was the Practice of the ancient u­niversal Church. In the particular Church of England, examples of this kind have been frequent for above a thousand years, and are to this day continued. For such I account to be all those cases, in which two distirct Dioceses have been united and incorporated into one, and thencefor­ward subjected to the government of one Bishop. I know that [...]rom that time they became but one Bishoprick in the eye of the Law, and the common account of the world; but in reality, in truth and con­science, they do still constitute two di­stinct Bishopricks, since no humane Au­thority can alter the nature of things, and dispense with the positive Laws of God, such as are supposed by our Adversaries to intervene in the case of Episcopal Residence. It is manifest, that here is no real change [Page 39] made by this union in the nature of the thing it self. All the Souls which were be­fore committed to the care of two Bishops, are now subjected to one: All the Jurisdi­ction which was before placed in two Bi­shops, is now invested in one. So that, if be­fore this Legal union it was malum in se for one Bishop to govern these two Diocesses, it will continue so to the end of the world notwithstanding ten thousand Laws, and ten thousand years prescription. No hu­mane Authority can make that lawful, which God or the nature of the thing hath made unlawful; no length of time will prescribe against either of these reasons. It is therefore vain to imagine, that a real union of two Diocesses or Parishes, doth any more exempt a man from the suppo­sed guilt of Pluralities, than a personal u­nion. For it is no more lawful to dispense with the Laws of God concerning Resi­dence or against Plurality for ever, than for a certain time; and if unlawful to do it for a certain time, much more to do it for ever. Now the only difference be­tween a real and a personal union is, that whereas in the latter Plurality of Diocesses or Benefices, and consequently Non-resi­dence upon one of them, is dispensed with during the life or possession of some one [Page 40] Incumbent; in the former they are di­spensed with for ever. It therefore unde­niably follows, that wherever two Dio­cesses are perpetually united, altho by the greatest Authority of the Church and Na­tion, and submitted for ever to the go­vernment of one Bishop; the Bishops of that double Diocess will be for ever as much guilty of the Sins of Plurality and Non-residence, as if no such union had been made. In this Nation, the present Diocess of Salisbury is made up of the two Diocesses of Sherburn and Ramsbury con­joyned; the Bishoprick of Exeter in­cludes the two ancient Bishopricks of Kir­ton and S. Germans; the Bishoprick of Norwich those of Dunwich and Elmham; the Bishoprick of Lincoln those of Dor­chester, Sidnacester, and Leicester; the Bi­shoprick of Durham those of Li [...]disfarn and Hexham. So that the present Bi­shops of Salisbury, Exeter, Norwich, Lin­coln and Durham, do as truly hold Plura­lity of Bishopricks, as any Priest in Eng­land doth Plurality of Benefices.

In the Church of Ireland since the Re­formation almost every Bishop admini­sters two Bishopricks, yet no Scruple was ever raised of the lawfulness of this practice. If our Adversaries alledge that this [Page 41] is done by Authority of the Church and Parliament of that Nation; that can ne­ver excuse the intrinsick evil of Plurali­ty or Non-residence, if any such there be. Besides that in our case in England, Plu­ralities are held by the same Authority of the National Church and Parliament. If they alledge that these Irish Bishopricks are thus united because of the smalness of the Revenues, not sufficient to maintain a Bishop singly; I would know, why the same reason shall not be allowed in the case of two Benefices united in the person of one Priest? Altho, if Plurality and Non-residence be in their nature sinful, as they pretend, this reason ought not to be allowed in either case, and both Bishop and Priest ought rather to starve than commit the sin.

Further, upon the Principles of these Anti-Pluralists it would be absolutely un­lawful, for any Bishop to hold another Bishoprick in Commendam, or by way of Administration, either for life or for a certain time limited or unlimited. Yet such Commendams or Administrations have been always allowed in the Church, either because of the poverty of the Bi­shoprick held in Commendam, or to sup­ply the defect of the proper Bishop, dis­abled [Page 42] from performing his Office by age, infirmity, suspension or deprivation. And very lately we had examples of this kind in our Church; when the Administration of the Diocess of Wells was committed to the present Bishop of Salisbury, that of Norwich to the present Bishop of S. A­saph, &c. Yet none of our Anti-Pluralists blamed these Reverend Bishops for ac­cepting the Administration of them; al­tho upon their Principles they were re­ally guilty of Plurality therein, in presi­ding over two Bishopricks at the same time. If it be answered, that this was only for a short time; I reply, that a sinful act ought no more to be continued one year, than fifty. If it be alledged that they enjoyed not the Temporal Re­venues, but only the Spiritual Jurisdiction of these Diocesses; I answer, that this is all which properly belongs to the Episco­pal Function, and constitutes the Chara­cter of a Bishop: The Temporalties are no essential part of him. If it be said, that this was done for the good of the Church; I answer, that S. Paul pronoun­ceth it unlawful to do evil that good may come of it; [...]om. 3. 8. and that if Plurality be in its nature unlawful, no good design can take away the guilt of it.

[Page 43] It appears then plainly, how false and pernicious the Principles are of these An­ti-pluralists; That they make it impos­sible to continue the Government or Ser­vice of the Church without inevitable sin, or to secure the reputation of so many ex­cellent Prelates from partaking in this sin. It is much more easie, safe and charitable to suppose, that in all these cases of Plura­lity and Non-residence, the principle by which every man ought to direct him­self, is the general good of the Church. And this is the true resolution of the Case. Bishops and Priests were not ordained on­ly to serve this Diocess or that Parish in particular, but the Church of Christ in general. Good Order and Discipline in­deed require, that the exercise of his Of­fice be confined to some certain limits and place; but he still remains a Bishop or Priest, not of that place only, but of the whole Catholick Church; and may exe­cute his Office in any part of the Catho­lick Church out of his own limits, if the greater good of the Church shall so re­quire. Whether any mans private case be such, he ought to judge by rules of right reason, taking especial care, that he do not flatter and deceive himself herein by a false judgment: And after the satisfa­ction [Page 44] and direction of his own Conscience, ought to be directed herein by his Supe­riours; the Priests by their Bishop, and the Bishops by their Metropolitan. And when such Cases happen, the rules of Re­ligion and the Laws of the Church allow Bishops and Priests, either to be Non-resident, or to retain the administration of more than one Diocess or Parish. Thus in times of Persecution, it was always thought lawful for Bishops or Priests to be Non-resident, and to execute their Office in any part of the Catholick Church, where-ever they should come. In times of Infection, I will not say it was always thought lawful to be Non-resident; but I am sure it was always thought lawful, for any Parish Priest in that case to take upon him the care of any neighbour Parish, de­serted by the proper Pri [...]t. Upon occa­sion of General, Patriarchal or Provincial Councils, it was always accounted lawful for Bishops to absent themselves from their Diocesses▪ and attend the Council, altho it should last for many months, or years together. All these Cases became lawful for the same reason; because the greater good of the Church did so re­quire.

Upon the same account it is lawful for [Page 45] the Prelates of our Church to attend con­tinually their Majesties in Council or Par­liament, or any weighty offices, or af­fairs wherein they shall please to employ them; and in all these cases to be Non-resident; because it is the interest of the Church in general. It is more for the advantage of this National Church, that the Archbishop of Canterbury should re­side near the Court, and be always ready to advise their Majesties in matters of Religion, and defend the cause of the Church upon all occasions; and more readily receive Appeals, and give dire­ctions to his whole Province; than that he should be tied down in constant Resi­dence in his own Diocess. For this rea­son, all the Archbishops of Canterbury▪ since the Reformation, have for the grea­ter part of the year; and all for these six­ty years last past, during the whole year, resided at Lambeth. For this reason all the Bishops of the Church are w [...]nt to give attendance in Parliament, altho some­times their Sessions continue a whole year together; because the Church reapeth greater benefit by their presence there▪ than it suffers detriment by a temporary absence from their Diocesses. For this rea­son many excellent Prelates have attend­ed [Page 46] whole years together at Court; be­cause it is always of greater advantage to the Church in general, to secure the fa­vour of the Prince to it, and direct his conscience, than continually to attend to the care of any particular Diocess.

On the contrary, if this Principle of these Anti-pluralists be allowed; if Plura­lity be always sinful, and in its nature; if Residence be of Divine Right, and con­sequently in all cases indispensable; it will follow, That all those holy and learned Bishops, who in all Ages have appeared in Councils; That all who have absented themselves in time of Persecution, or, in that and like cases, have taken upon them the care of other Diocesses or Parishes; That all the Bishops of our Church, who have attended Parliaments since the first institution of them; That all the Kings, Lords and Commons of this Nation, who have by publick Laws required their at­tendance therein; That all the Arch­bishops of Canterbury since the Reforma­tion, and other excellent Prelates alive and dead, who have absented themselves from their Diocesses, to attend the publick Service of the Church at Court; have committed mortal sin, and do still continue in it.

[Page 47]That what hath been laid down in the case of Bishops, may not be mistaken, I will subjoyn, That the obligation of Bi­shops to all the parts and consequences of their duty, and particularly as to Resi­dence, is far greater than that of Parochial Priests; in as much as the right discharge of their Office, is of greater concern to the good of the Church, and is also impo­sed on them by Divine Institution. If therefore a Priest ought not to neglect his charge, much less a Bishop: and if the absence of a Parochial Priest ought to be supplied by a Curate; much more doth it seem reasonable, that the absence of a Bishop, if it be long or frequent, should be supplied by a Suffragan Bishop. It is a fatal mistake to imagine, that the care of the Souls of the Laity belongs only to the inferiour Clergy; and that the Bishop hath no more to do but only to govern the Clergy; or that a Diocess doth not more want the constant presence of a Bishop, than any private Parish the presence of a Priest. And therefore in the Church of England before the Reformation, even in the most corrupt times of Popery, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and all other Bi [...]hops attend­ing at Court, or employed by the King in publick Service, constantly maintained [Page 48] Suffragan Bishops in their Diocesses. This practice was confirmed and intirely setled by an Act of Parliament in the Reign of Henry VIII. and from that time Suffragan Bishops were without interruption conti­nued in the Diocess of Canterbury till the end of Queen Elizabeth's Reign, and in some Diocesses till the middle of King James. It were much to be wished, that their Majesties and the Reverend Prelates of the Church would revive the Order, to supply the want of the Episcopal Function in those Diocesses, which are deprived of the benefit of their proper Bishops, either through necessary absence, or through age and infirmities; And for this there need­eth no new Law or Canon.

I have passed through those Considera­tions, which do particularly relate to the Case of Bishops; altho from these an in­vincible argument for the lawfulness of Plurality and Non-residence in Parish Priests may be raised. For if it be law­ful for a Bishop to obtain Pluralities and use Non-residence; much more will it be lawful to a Priest, whose duty is not so strict, nor his office of so great concern to the Church. But I proceed to prove what I before proposed, That altho Plu­rality and Non-residence were Jure Divi­no [Page 49] forbid to Bishops, yet it would not fol­low, that it is in like manner forbid to Priests.

They who maintain the Residence of Bishops to be of Divine Right, proceed upon this Principle, That the Order of Bi­shops is of Divine Institution; and there­fore Bishops are Jure Divino obliged to perform their office in their Diocesses, which office they suppose cannot be dis­charged without residence. Upon this Principle the Spanish Bishops proceeded, when they contended for the Divine Right of Residence in the Council of Trent. This Principle, we of the Church of England do allow; yet it hath been already pro­ved that the Divine Right of Residence in Bishops doth not follow from it. But suppose it should necessarily follow from it; yet would not this involve Paro­chial Priests in the same obligation, un­less their Parochial office also were of Di­vine right, which we do not allow. I know the Presbyterians do contend for this, as making no distinction in Order or Office between a Bishop and a Presby­ter: But for a Church of England Divine to a [...]gue the jus divinum of Parish Priests Residence, from the jus divinum of Bishops Residence, is no other than to betray [Page 50] the cause of the Church and of Episcopa­cy to the Presbyterians. Bishops in the very institution of them were designed by God to preside over the Church in certain Cities, and the Territories of them to be assigned to every one of them: So that not only the Order, but the designation of them to some certain place is of Divine institution. The extent of the Territo­ries of that place, and consequently the greatness or smalness of his Diocess, doth indeed depend upon human Laws, and no more. The Office and Order of Presby­ters is indeed also of Divine institution; but not their designation to any certain place. They were appointed and ordain­ed to assist the Bishop in governing and instructing his flock; not necessarily to preside in any one part of the Bishops Diocess, or to take care of any certain num­ber of the faithful, but to assist in such a manner and method, as the Bishop and the Church should direct. So that altho the division of the whole Catholick Church into many Diocesses be of Divine institu­tion, yet the division of any Diocess into many Parishes is not so. All this will be sufficiently evident, if it be proved, that the Division of Diocesses into Parishes, and assigning those Parishes to the perpe­tual [Page 51] care of so many Priests, was made by meer humane Authority; and that in dif­ferent methods, and gradually, and not began till some Ages after the time of the Apostles and the Institution of Bishops. The proof of this will evince all that hath been laid down by us, and not only over­throw the argument of our Adversaries, drawn from the supposed jus divinum of Bishops residence, but also demonstrate, that neither Plurality of Parochial Cures, nor Non-residence upon such Cures can be jure divino unlawful to a Presbyter; it be­ing absurd, that the circumstances of any matter should be of Divine right, when the substance of the matter it self is not so. And upon this ground Judge Hobart Reports, 149. well maintained the lawfulness of Plurali­ties, however another great Lawyer, Lord Chief Justice Coke was so far mistaken, as to be of a contrary opinion.

I proceed therefore to prove, That the division of Diocesses into Parishes, and subjection of every Parish to a peculiar Priest, was made by humane Authority, long after the Institution of Bishops and foundation of Churches, gradually and not uniformly. When the Christian Re­ligion was first propagated in the Cities of the Roman Empire (for it was very late [Page 52] before it extended to the country villages) we may suppose that for some time at least, one Church supplied the necessities of all the Christians of that City. That the Bishop presided in that one Church, none will doubt. All this while it is cer­tain, there could be no appropriation of certain Presbyters to certain Churches. When the number of the Christians in any City, or in the neighbouring Country, multiplied so far, that one Church could not contain them; others were erected in the City or Country; and the number of these encreased proportionably with the number of Christians of any Diocess. These auxiliary Churches were no other, than Chappels of ease to the Mother-Church, at which the Bishop resided; and were accounted as such, until at least the middle of the fifth Century. The Bishop him­self resided at the Mother-Church, attend­ed by his Presbyters. The auxiliary Churches were served by the Presbyters, at the appointment of the Bishop, either in common, or by turns, or in any other method, which the Bishop in his prudence should direct. If any Bishop thought [...]it to appoint certain Presbyters to attend constantly, and without change upon cer­tain Churches; it was meerly because it [Page 53] was his pleasure. Other Bishops took different methods, as themselves judged best; and might either appoint two Pres­byters (either co-ordinate or subal [...]ern) to serve one Church, or one Presbyter to serve two Churches, or all Presbyters to take their turns in every Church. There was no fixed or determinate rule herein. The truth of all this is attested by Sozomen, Hist. Eccles. L. 1. c. 1 [...]. who wrote about the year 430▪ For he observes it as a singularity in the Diocess of Alexandria, that therein Parochial Churches, (if I may so call those auxiliary Churches before mentioned) were appropriated, or com­mitted to so many certain fixed Presby­ters. Petavius indeed contends,Not. in E­piphan in h [...]eresi A [...]ia­nâ. that the same Custom obtained at this time as well in Rome as in Alexandria; but his opinion and authorities are confuted by Valesius in his Notes upon this place of Sozomen; and will be further overthrown, by that Obser­vation which immediately follows. I will only add in this place, that even in A­lexandria, the whole discharge of the Sa­cred Office was not yet entrusted to the Parochial Clergy, but great part of it re­served to be executed only in the Cathe­dral Church. For Socrates affirms,Hist. Eccl. L. 5. c. 22. that in his time the Presbyters were not per­mitted to preach at Alexandria.

[Page 54] It is not improbable, that about this time the duty of the Presbyters began at Rome to be fixed to certain Churches; But then, far from being fixed in that me­thod and order which now generally ob­tains; two Presbyters were appointed to attend the service of every auxiliary or Parish Church in the City; and for this purpose, a co-ordinate power was given by the Bishop to them both. This was first observed by the learned Dr. Maurice, Defence of Diocesan Episc p. 47. Mar­garet Professor of Divinity at Oxford; who hath evinced his Observation from a pas­sage of Hilary the Roman Deacon in his Comment on 1 Tim. cap. 3. which is pub­lished among the Works of St. Ambrose. In this place [...]ilary speaking of the Order of the Roman Church, and comparing it with the Jewish Temple, notes, that they had twenty four Courses of Priests. Nunc autem septem Diaconos esse oportet, & ali­quantos Presbyteros, ut bini per Ecclesias, & unus in Civitate Episcopus. But now we must have but seven Deacons, (for as yet Rome had no more, [...] Eccl. L. 7. c. 19. as Sozomen observeth) and such a number of Presbyters, that there may be two for every Church, and over all these one Bishop.

[Page 55] After all, these Parochial Churches were no other than Chappels of ease to the Mo­ther -Church, and the Presbyters officiating in them no other than Curates to the Bi­shop, employed by him, and removable at his pleasure. To these the right of ad­ministring Baptism, and consecrating the Sacred Elements of the Eucharist was not permitted. That was reserved solely to the Bishop, and the Cathedral Church, and not communicated to the auxiliary Churches till after some Ages. This was the occasion of that expression so frequent among the ancient Catholicks, One Altar, one Baptism, one Bishop. All the Chri­stians of the Diocess were baptized at the Cathedral Church, and there only the Sa­cred Elements of the other Sacrament were consecrated by the Bishop, and from thence sent to the Parochial Churches of the Dio­cess, to be communicated to all those, who could not come to the Mother-Church. This practice continued in the Church of Rome till after the beginning of the fifth Century; as appears from the Epistle of Pope Innocent to Decentius: Altho in this Popes time the Presbyters of the remoter Parochial Churches in the Country, had leave given them to consecrate the Sacred Elements, this permission was not yet [Page 56] granted to the City Presbyters, So slow­ly and gradually did the present institution of Parochial Cures or perpetual incardina­tion of certain Presbyters to certain Chur­ches, with full power to administer all the Offices of Religion, take place in the Church: When it was first intirely finisht, is not here material to enquire; nor indeed can any certain time be fixed to the uni­versal introduction of it; since in some Churches it was introduced much sooner, or later than in others, A particular ac­count of the introduction of it in our Na­tional Church, belongs to the second head of this Discourse.

I have now dispatched my first design, which was to shew, that Plurality is not jure divino unlawful. To effect this, I have proved, That Plurality is not for­bidden by the Law of Nature, or by the revealed Law of God. I have fully exa­mined the Authorities and Reasons pro­duced for the Divine right of Residence, upon account of which the enemies to Plu­rality maintain it to be unlawful; and have manifested both to be inconclusive. That it is impossible to reduce this jure divino Residence into practice; that it is incon­sistent with other practices generally al­lowed, [Page 57] and not disallowed even by our Adversaries: That such a perpetual Resi­dence is neither required by the nature of the thing, nor upon account of the Of­fice annexed to the Benefice: That even Bishops in all cases are not bound to main­tain such perpetual Residence in one par­ticular Diocess: That in the ancient Church Bishops have been allowed to preside over two Diocesses; and the same practice hath been all along retained, and is still conti­nued in our Church, without any contradi­ction: That other Cases and Practices of like nature, have been all along, and still are allowed; and that otherwise the Go­vernment of the Church cannot be well maintained: And lastly, that altho Plura­lity and Non-residence were by Divine right unlawful to Bishops, yet it would not be so to Parochial Priests; since the Institution or designation of them to a cer­tain Parish was introduced by humane Au­thority, and not uniformly, and but late­ly in many places, and altogether accord­ing to the discretion of the Bishop.


IN the second place I am obliged to shew, That Plurality of Benefices held by one Presbyter is not contrary to the first in­stitution or indowment of Parishes. This will easily appear from what hath been premised. Before the institution of Paro­chial Churches, it is manifest there could be no indowment of them; but it was long before they were instituted, and af­ter their institution much longer before any particular indowment of them was made. All the Oblations made to them, were still transmitted to the Mother-Church, and le [...]t to the disposition of the Bishop; who generally divided it into four parts, took one for his own maintenance, assigned another to the Presbyters, Dea­cons and inferiour Clergy, a third part to maintain and repair the Edisices of the Church, a fourth to the Poor and the enter­tainment of Strangers. All this is so ma­nifest from the Writings of the Ancients, that it would be lost time to endeavour to prove it. So that at first in all Churches, [Page 59] there was no other than a general indow­ment of the whole Diocess; which con­sisted as well in Lands and Possessions, as in voluntary Oblations of the Laity. Of this indowment the first and general de­sign was, that a competent number of Clergy might be maintained, who under the Bishop should supply the service of the whole Diocess in Sacred matters; that is, to provide for the general Service of the Diocess. The secondary design was, to provide for the convenience of every in­dividual Parish. The first of these was al­ways to be unalterable; the second per­mitted to the direction of the Bishop, to be managed or altered at his dis [...]re­tion.

That Plurality is not contrary to the first design is evident. For notwithstand­ing the permission of Pluralities, a compe­tent number of Clergy to supply the Ser­vice of the Diocess in Sacris is maintained out of the Revenue of the Church. The only seeming Objection is, That hereby great inequality is observed in the Stipends of Presbyters, which in the first general indowment of the Church may be suppo­sed to have been equal. But after all▪ there is as great inequality in the particu­lar indowments of single Benefices; and [Page 60] besides this the supposition is not true. For the Bishop might, if he thought fit, give a double share to some Presbyters more than he did to others, upon account of greater worth; and this both justice and prudence would direct him to do And to this, [...] Tim. 5. [...]. that direction of S. Paul to Timo­thy, Let the Presbyters, that rule well, be counted worthy of double honour, doth not obscurely relate. So that the continuance of Pluralities is rather consonant to the first design; That as, while the Ecclesi­astical Revenue of the whole Diocess was possessed in common by the Bishop and his Clergy, a double share was allowed to Presbyters of eminent merit: So, after the Revenues became divided and fixed to those several places in which the Sacred Office was to be performed, a Plurality of those places should be allowed to Pres­byters of extraordinary Worth and Learn­ing.

The second design is no more hindred by Pluralities than the first. For that was only to provide for the convenience and service of every individual Parish; and this is still effected notwithstanding Plura­lities. At the first division of Parishes and incardination of Presbyters, if the Bishop had thought fit to set one Presbyter over [Page 61] two Parishes, as the Bishop of Rome did two Presbyters over one Parish; here had been no immorality in the thing. And what Bishops might then do, if they had thought convenient; their Successours may now do, if they shall judge it expedient for the good of their Diocess in general. For that is the rule by which they are to direct themselves. The secondary design is but subservient to the first, and ought always to give place to it. So that, if it be more for the general good of that Dio­cess, or of the whole Church, that any Presbyter of it should retain Plurality of Benefices, or be Non-resident at one or both of them; then it is more consonant to the first design of endowment, that such Plurality should be allowed, and Non-resi­dence dispensed with, than otherwise: And the good of any one or two Parishes is not so much to be considered, as the good of the whole Diocess or Church. Now such cases often happen, as will herea [...]ter ap­pear, when we shall speak of the Conve­nience or Inconvenience of Plurality and Non-residence.

If it seem somewhat harsh to a [...]irm, That to allow Non-residence in any case can be agreeable to the second design of the endowment of the Clergy, which was [Page 61] the Convenience and Service of every in­dividual Parish; let it be considered, that always in case of Non-residence, the Sa­cred Service of every individual Parish is to be supplied by a Curate, to be appoint­ed or allowed by the Bishop. So that the design is still maintained; every indivi­dual Parish being provided for and suppli­ed at least by Vicarial Residence. At the first division of Parishes, the Bishops might, if they had pleased, have appoint­ed an inferiour Presbyter to supply the cure of every Parish, residing constantly thereon, and a Superiour Presbyter to o­versee him, not obliged to any such con­stant Residence. And what Bishops might then do, their Successours may with equal Authority do now if they please (the Laws of the Church so permitting) as was be­fore said. Besides upon some accounts the supplying of Benefices by Curates, is more agreeable to this second design. For the first incardination of Presbyters in Paro­chial Churches, was not for life; they were always nominated by the Bishop, and might be removed by him. All this the Bishop still doth, or may do, in the case of Curates; whereas at this time Pa­rochial Priests retain their Benefices for life, cannot be displaced by the Bishop at [Page 63] pleasure, and are most of them nomina­ted by other Patrons, by whom if un­worthy persons be presented, the Bishop shall be compelled to admit them by the Severity of the Laws of the Land; where­as he can never be forced to admit an unworthy Curate, the Law having left the nomination or approbation of him entire­ly to his pleasure. So that for a Bishop to name a Curate to a Pluralist, looks much more like the first institution and design.

A particular account of the foundation and endowment of Parochial Churches, especially in our own Nation, will be per­haps more satisfactory than such a general discourse concerning them. I will there­fore present to the Reader, such an Histo­rical account of the foundation, [...], do­tation, union, alteration and posses [...]ion of Parochial Churches here in England, as may be collected out of the ancient Histo­ries and Monumen [...]s of our Nation yet extant, and from the ancient Capitulars of the Church and Kings of France. For it is certain, that our Church was formed after the example and model of the Galli­can Church; it being easie to observe that the greater part of the Canons and Constitutions of our Church, made before [Page 64] the Norman Conquest, are taken out of the French Capitulars.

What the practice of the Ancient Bri­tish Church was in this matter, is not ea­sie to determine, through distance of time, and want of Records. Before the coming of the Saxons, the whole Nation on this side the Picts wall seems to have professed Christianity; and consequently many au­xiliary Churches must be supposed to have been erected in every Diocess, for the use of Christians living remote from the Mo­ther [...]Church. But whether these Churches were served by certain Priests perpetually affixed to that service, or by itinerant Priests sent by turns from the Colledge of Priests residing with the Bishop at the Cathedral Church, or by any other me­thod, is uncertain. No Decree of any General Council had yet appointed any rule herein; and as for the Decrees of the Popes of Rome, they were of no authori­ty in Britain, being no part of the Roman Patriarchate. Or if the British Clergy had been disposed to have followed the ex­ample, altho not to obey the Decrees of the Church of Rome; yet would not this Example have directed them to supply the cure of the auxiliary Churches by so many fixed Presbyters; since no such practice [Page 65] was yet setled in the Church of Rome. That Decree of Pope Dionysius, which some alledge,Epist. 2. Conc Tom. 1. p. 829. That all other Churches should follow, quod nos in Romanâ Ecclesiâ nuper egisse cognoscitur; Ecclesias verò singulas singulis Presbyteris dedimus▪ Parochias & Coemiteria eis divisimus; & unicuique jus proprium habere statuimus, ita ut nullus alterius parochioe terminos invadat, sed u­nusquisque suis terminis sit contentus; serveth only to declare the practice of the Church of Rome about the year 800, when the Decretals of the ancient Popes were forged by Isidore Mercator.

Mr. Selden, Cap. 9 § [...]. who in his History of Tithes hath treated largely of this Subject, endea­voureth to prove, that such a Parochial division obtained among the British Cler­gy, from a passage of Gildas▪ The words are these, Sacerdotes habet B [...]itannia, Epist. Gil­ [...] [...]. p. 23. sed insipientes; quamplurimos Ministros, Edit. Oxon. sed im­pudentes; Clericos, sed raptores subdolos; Ecclesiae domus habentes, sed turpis lucri gratiâ eas adeuntes; populos docentes, sed praebendo pessima exempla. I suppose Mr. Selden conceived the strength of this Te­stimony to lye in these words, Ecclesiae domus habentes. But whether by these words are to be understood only the Churches themselves, or the Manses of [Page 66] Parish-Priests residing at those Churches, or the Collegiate houses of the Clergy of every Diocess, cannot easily be determined. It is not improbable, that the Country being very thinly inhabited before the coming of the Saxons, there was no divi­sion of it into Parishes; but any pious Priest, who designed to instruct the Coun­try -people, might (with the leave of his Bi [...]hop) in remote places from the Ca­thedral Church, build to himself a Church, and therein instruct as many of the neigh­bouring rusticks, as would frequent it. This Church became then the proper Pos­session of that Priest, and might by him be sold, given, demolished or quitted at pleasure.Conc. Angl. T. 1. P. 53. This Conjecture (for I propose it as no other) is countenanced by the 23d Canon of the Council held in Ireland about the year 450 by St. Patrick, Auxi­lius, Iserninus, and other Bishops; which decreeth, that Si quis Presbyterorum Ec­clesiam [...]dificaverit, &c. If any Presbyter shall build a Church; let him not celebrate in it, before he bring his Bishop to it, that he may consecrate it. And in the old Laws of the Northumbrians (among whom great number of the conquered Britains still re­mained, altho subject to the Saxons) the second is,Ibid. p 495. Prohibemus Presbyterum aliquem [Page 67] Ecclesiam alterius emere: We forbid one Priest to buy the Church of another; and the 22th Law is, If any one shall violently eject a Priest out of his Church, let him be punished. Another passage Mr. Selden pro­duceth to the same purpose out of the an­cient little History de Fundatione Ecclesi [...]e Landavensis, which is found in the begin­ning of a famous ancient Register of that Church,Tom. 3 [...] p. 188. and is since printed in the Eng­lish Monasticon. The words are these, Du­bricius being ordained Archbishop of South Wales, plures Ecclesiae cum suis dotibus, de­cimis, oblationibus, sepulturis, territoriis & liberâ communione, datae sunt sibi, Ec­clesiae Landaviae, & successoribus suis omni­bus, à Regibus & Principibus—Videns a [...] ­tem Dubricius—sibi commissam Ecclesiam, partitus est Discipulos, mittens quosdam dis­cipulorum suorum per Ecclesia [...] sibi datas; & quasdam fundavit Ecclesia [...]; & Episcopos coadjutores sibi, ordinatis Parochiis suis con­secravit.

Mr. Selden admonisheth, that the Author of this History (whom I sup­pose to have writ about the year 1120) speaketh according to the phrase and cu­stom of his own time; which may be ad­mitted as to the description of the dota­tion of the Churches given to Dubricius; but the rest I doubt not to be literally [Page 68] true: yet from thence cannot conclude any division of Diocesses into certain Pa­rishes, or affixing of certain Priests to cer­tain Parishes, to have been then instituted or received; but only that the Province of South Wales was then divided into se­veral Diocesses, and Bishops ordained to every one of them: the word Parochia being the ancient Ecclesiastical name of a Diocess. As for the supply of Country-Churches, this Testimony seems rather to imply, that it was performed by itine­rant Priests, whom Dubricius sent in their turns out of his own College. And if any credit is to be given to the ancient Lives and Legends of the British Bishops and Saints; this was the practice at that time in the British Church: That the Bishops at their Cathedrals, and holy Abbots and Doctors in several parts of the Diocess should edu [...]ate and maintain great num­bers of Priests in a Collegiate life, and pre­side over them; who in their turns should travel about and instruct the Lay Chri­stians in all the circumjacent territories; and that bei [...]g done, return to the Col­lege, and give way to others to succeed them in the same imployment.

[Page 69]Afterwards when the Britains were driven into Wales, and were fully setled in it, that Country being become popu­lous thereby, they found it necessary to divide it into Parishes, and to assign Priests to them. For in the Laws of Howel Dha King of Wales, L [...]x 3. Conc. Angl. T. 1. p 4 [...]9. made about the year 940, there is mention made of the house of the Parish Priest, Domus Capellani Villae, in every Village. Altho the division was yet so imperfect, that at this time fre­quent subdivisions were made; as appears from the 35th Law of the same King:Ib p. 413. And the [...]ixing of one Parish Priest to eve­ry Parochial Church was yet so far from being setled in Wales, that some Ages af­ter it was in very few places received. For Giraldus Cambrensis, describing the obsti­nacy of the Welchmen, in retaining their old Laws and Customs, giveth this for one instance of it. Ecclesiae verò istorum omnes ferè tot Personas & participes habent. Descript. [...]all. L. 2. c. 6. quot capitalium virorum in parochiâ genera fue­rint —Vitium hoc genti ab antiquo com­mune fuit. And this giveth a probable ac­count of the original of those sine cure Re­ctories, which in almost all the Churches of North Wales were distinct from the Vi­carages of the same, and held by distinct proprietors, until within this last thir­ty [Page 70] years, they began generally to be uni­ted.

From the uncertain Practice of the an­cient British Church, I pass to give a more certain account of the institution and division of Parishes in the ancient Sax­on or English Church, upon which their modern division, laws, and customs are founded. When Augustin the first Arch­bishop of Canterbury came into England, attended with several inferiour Clergy, to preach the Gospel, King Ethelbert gave to him ample possessions for the mainte­nance of himself and his Clergy, not ap­pointing any Laws to the direction or di­stribution of it, but leaving that entirely to the discretion of the Archbishop. A Church was built for him at Canterbury, wherein he might fix his Chair, and hou­ses appointed, wherein himself and Clergy might dwell in common. Afterwards, when the same pious King, by the dire­ction of the Archbishop founded Cathe­dral Churches at Rochester and London; he endowed both with large possessions, gi­ven for the Honour of God, and general good of the Diocesses, without giving any further direction. The application of these possessions to the use intended, was wholly left to the several Bishops. In the same [Page 71] manner other Princes proceeded in the foundation and endowment of Cathedral Churches in other parts of the Nation. All this is so manifest from Bede and the several Histories of the foundation and do­tation of the Cathedral Churches of Eng­land, that it would be superfluous to give an elaborate proof of it.Hist. Eccl. L. I. C. 27. Let it suffice to observe out of Bede, that Augustin desiring directions from Pope Gregory, in several points of Discipline to be observed in his new Convert Church; desireth to receive his Directions De Episcopis, qualiter cum suis Clericis conversentur; vel de his quae fidelium oblationibus accedunt Altari (ver [...]io Saxon. quae fideles ad Altaria & Ecclesias Dei afferunt) quantae debeant fieri portiones? To this Question Gregory returns this An­swer, Quatuor fieri debent portiones; una Episcopo & familiae suae propter hospitali­tatem, alia Clero, tertia pauperibus, quarta Eccle [...]is reparandis. Fraternitas tua, Monaste­rii regulis erudita, seor [...]im vivere non debet à Clericis suis in Ecclesiâ Anglorum. From this Answer it appears▪

1. That the Bishop and his Clergy li­ved together at the Cathedral Church. This was not only done by the Roman Bi­shops and their Disciples and Converts in England, according to the direction of [Page 72] Pope Gregory; but also by the Scotch Cler­gy and their disciples in England, parti­cularly by Aidan Bishop of the Northum­bers, (as Bede often relates) whose Dis­ciples converted the larger part of Eng­land.

2. That there were at this time several Churches erected in divers parts of the Diocesses; which the Converts remote from the Cathedral Church frequented, and made their Oblations in them. For both the Roman and Scotch Clergy applied themselves with great assiduity to propa­gate the Faith; and finding great zeal and devotion in their Converts, were soon enabled by them to erect auxiliary Churches in several parts of the Diocesses. Thus Bede relates of Birinus first Bishop of the West Saxons, Hi [...]. Eccl. [...]. 3. c. 7. who came into England a­bout thirty years after Augustin; that ha­ving built and dedicated several Churches in his Diocess of Dorchester, and con­verted much People, he made a pious end.

3. That as well the Oblations made in these auxiliary Churches, as the other Re­venues of the Church belonged entirely to the disposition of the Bishop; who set apart a certain portion of it to the infe­riour Clergy, and divided that among [Page 73] them in such proportion as himself plea­sed; the Clergy being obliged to bring with them all the Oblations made in the auxiliary Churches, at their return to the Cathedral Church and College, after their finishing their course of preaching and ser­ving in these Churches. For as yet there were no other than Itinerant Preachers or Priests, sent by the Bishop from the Ca­thedral Church at certain times to cele­brate and preach in the Rural Churches of such a division; which being done, they returned to the Bishop, who sent o­thers again to perform the same duty, when himself thought convenient. That this was the constant received discipline of the English Church about the year 664, Bede expresly witnesseth in these words.L. 3. c. [...]6 in fine. Si quis Sacerdotum in vicum fortè devene­rit, mox congregati in unum Vicani, Verbum Vitae ab illo expetere curabant. Nam neque alia ipsis Sacerdotibus aut Clericis vicos a­deundi, quàm praedicandi, baptizandi, infir­mos visitandi, & (ut breviter dicam) ani­mas curandi, causa fuit—Vbicunque Cle­ricus aliquis aut Monachus adveniret, gau­denter ab omnibus tanquam Dei famulus ex­ciperetur. Etiamsi in itinere pergens inve­niretur, accurrebant & verbis horum exhor­tatoriis diligenter auditum praebebant. And [Page 74] to the same purpose in another place,Beda Hist. Eccl. L. 4. c. 27. circa med. Erat quippe moris eo tempore populis Anglorum, ut veniente in Villam Clerico vel Presbytero, cuncti ad ejus imperium verbum audituri confluerent, libenter ea quae dicerentur au­dirent, libentiùs quae andire & intelligere poterant operando sequerentur.

And that the same method was gene­rally practiced, at least in the Northern Diocesses of England, when Bede finished his History in the year 731. is evident from several places. So that, at that time there were no other than Pluralist Clergy­men; if they may be so called, who had not the care of any particular Parish or Parishes committed to them; but execu­ted their Office in this, or that, or all the Churches of the Diocess as the Bishop should direct them.

It must not be imagined that those Ru­ral Churches, which were so early erected, had any certain bounds yet assigned to them, or were made Parochial properly so called; but only served to receive as many of the neighbouring Converts from whatever distance, as pleased to frequent them; that so they might with conveni­ence receive the benefit of the holy Offi­ces and Sacraments, without being obliged to come to the Cathedral Church. So that [Page 75] these Rural Churches, were in a strict and proper sense, no other than Chappels of ease to the Mother or Cathedral Church. It is indeed a common errour among our Historians, that the division of Diocesses into Parishes in England, was made in the time of Archbishop Honorius, who presi­ded about thirty years after the death of Augustin. Antiq. Bri­tan. p. 52. For this they are wont to al­ledge Archbishop Parker in the Life of Honorius where he saith: Neque solùm E­piscopos super imposuit; sed etiam Provinci­am suam primus in Par [...]chias dividens, infe­riores Ministros ordinavit. This that learn­ed Archbishop seems to have transcribed from some more ancient Historian; who did not so aptly express what he intended to relate. The truth is, that in the time of Honorius, there was made a second di­vision of the Province of Canterbury into Diocesses, and Bishops setled in these new Diocesses. For in his time the Episcopal Sees of Dorchester and Dunwich were found­ed; which were the only Sees founded since the time of Augustin. This division gave occasion to those words of the Histo­rian; But as for the division of Dioces­ses into Parishes, that was not yet thought of.

[Page 76] In this manner then Cathedral Churches were founded and endowed by the Kings of the several parts of the Saxon Heptar­chy for the general good of the several Diocesses, that is, of their several King­doms. For it is to be observed, that in the first foundation of Bishopricks among the Saxons, the Diocesses had the same li­mits with the Kingdoms; and so continue at this day, as many of them as have not been yet subdivided. The first subdivi­sion was made in the Diocess of York by Archbishop Theodore. Now as Kings first founded Cathedrals for the good of their whole Kingdoms; so great men first found­ed Parochial Churches, for the particular good of themselves, their families and Te­nants. For at that time the great men possessed ample Territories within them­selves; wherein all the Inhabitants were no other than their Servants, tilling their lands, and doing other services to them. When therefore Christianity began to pre­vail apace, many Laymen of great Estates would desire the constant residence of some Priest among them; who might be always ready to instruct themselves, their families, and adjoyning Tenants; either incited by their own devotion, or because it was not easie without it to keep their [Page 77] Tenants together. Oratories and Churches were for this end erected by them; which being consecrated by the Bishop, were by the Founders or Patrons endowed with pe­culiar Maintenance for the Incumbent, which should there reside, and execute the holy Function within the limits ap­pointed by the Patron; which were no other, than the bounds or territory of his own demesnes, tenancies, or neighbour­ing possessions. Some foundations of this kind are mentioned by Bede, made about the year 700. as of Puch a Saxon Count, who invited John Bishop of Hexham, L 5. c. 4. ad dedicandam Ecclesiam in villâ suâ and of Addiâ Saxon Count,L. 4. c. [...]. whoat another time invited the same holy Bishop, to perform the like Office for him.

Not only the Bishops Consecration was necessary to prepare these Rural Churches for the Celebration of Divine Offices there­in; but his consent also and approbation was necessary to their erection, and to the determination of their limits. Thus the second Canon of the Synod of Celcyth held under Archbishop Wulfred in the year 816. directs,Conc. Ang. T. 1. p 3 [...]. that Vbi Ecclesia aedi [...]icatur, à pro­priae Diocesis Episcopo sanctificetur. The Capitular of Charles the Great, made at Salz in the year 804. decreeth cap. 3. [Page 78] Quicunque voluerit in suâ proprietate Ec­clesiam aedificare, Capitular. Edit. [...] Ba­Lazio, T, 1 p. 416. uná cum consensu & vo­luntate Episcopi, in cujus Parochiâ fuerit, licentiam habeat. And in this case they were so tender of encroaching upon the Jurisdiction of the Bishop; that Princes did not exempt themselves from the same Obligation. For so I find in another Ca­pitular. Placuit nobis, ut nec Capellae in Palatio nostro, L. 5. c. 334. ib. p. 896. vel aliubi, sine permissu, vel jussu Episcopi, in cujus est parochiâ, fiant. To these agree the Constitutions of later Provincial Councils in our Nation; as of the Council of London in the year 1102. in which was decreedCon. Angl. T. 2. p. 22. Can. 15. Ne nova Ca­pella [...]iat sine consensu Episcopi; and of the Council of Westminster held in the year 1138,ibid. p. 41. in the 12th Canon of which it is or­dred, Ne quis absque licentiâ Episcopi sui in possessione suâ Ecclesiam vel Oratorium con­stituat. The Bishops approbation was no less necessary in the choice of the Priest, who was to officiate in such a private Ora­tory or Parochial Church; and as he could not be admitted without the Bi­shops consent; so neither could he be ex­pelled or dismissed but by him. Thus among the Constitutions of Egbert Arch­bishop of York, Conc. Angl. T. 1. p. 258. made about the year 750, the 23th is, Vt sine auctoritate vel con­sensu [Page 79] Episcoporum Presbyteri, in quibuslibet Ecclesiis net constituantur, nec expellantur. Agreeable to which is the Capitular of the Emperour Ludovicus Pius in the year 816. Cap. 9. Sine auctoritate vel consens [...] Episco­porum Presbyteri in quibuslibet Ecclesiis nec constituantur, Capit [...]l. T. 1. p. 565. nec expellantur.

The Bishops power and propriety in these new Foundations extended yet much farther, namely to the revenues, tithes and oblations wherewith they were endowed. For the sole power of receiving and dispo­sing the Ecclesiastical Revenues of the whole Diocess being originally lodged in the Bishops; they would not for some time diminish it in favour of any particu­lar foundation; but reserved to themselves all the profits and possessions of it, of which they allowed to the Priest there of­ficiating as much as they thought fit. And when some Great Laymen would have appropriated these particular Revenues to the sole use of the Churches founded by them; the joynt authority of Church and State interposed, and remitted them to the disposition of the Bishop; For so one of the ancient Capitulars directs. Multi contra Canonum instituta, Capitular. T. 1. p. 1205. fi [...] Eccle [...]ias, quas aedi [...]icaverint, postulant consecrari; ut do­tem, quam ejus Eccle [...]iae contulerint, ce [...]seant [Page 80] ad Episcopi ordinationem non pertinere. Quod factum, & in praeterito displicet, & in futuro prohibetur. Sed omnia secundum constitutionem antiquam ad Episcopi ordina­tionem & potestatem pertineant. After­wards in some places the Bishops con­descended to satisfie themselves with a fourth part of the revenues of these Rural Churches; permitting the rest to the Pa­rish-Priest, but still directing to what uses it should be imployed by him. This ap­pears from another Capitular,L. 7. c. 375. Ib. p. 1104. Instruendi sunt Presbyteri, pariterque admonendi, qua­tenus noverint decimas & oblationes, quas á fidelibus accipiunt, non quasi suis, sed qua­si commendatis uti debere. Qualiter verò dispensari debeant, Canones sacri instituunt; scilicet, ut quatuor partes ex omnibus fiant; una ad fabricam Ecclesiae relevandam, altera pauperibus distribuenda, tertia Presbytero cum suis Clericis habenda, quarta Episcopo re­servanda. Et quicquid exinde Pontifex jusserit, prudenti consilio est faciendum.

None of these Private Oratories were allowed to be erected, before they were sufficiently endowed for the maintenance of a Priest, who might attend the service of them. So the 16th Canon of the Council of London in the year 1102 de­creeth,Conc. Angl. T. 2. p. 22. Ne Ecclesia sacretur, donec providean­tur [Page 81] necessaria & Presbytero & Ecclesiae. If without such necessary provision a Church were any where erected, the Capitular of King Lotharius directs, that it be endowed out of the possessions of the Free-men of the place.Cap. 1. in Ca­pit. Franc. T. 2. p. 327. Vt secundum jussionem Domini ac Genitoris nostri, unus mansus cum 12 bu­nuariis de terrâ arabili ibi detur, & manci­pia duo, à liberis hominibus, qui in eâdem Ecclesia officium debent audire; ut Sacerdos ibi posset esse, & divinus cultus fieri. The endowments of those times consisted ge­nerally in Glebe, or a certain portion of land; in Slaves to till that land; and in the Oblations of all the Tenants, depen­dants and inhabitants, living within the Territories of the Founder. As for Tithes, they for some while belonged to the com­mon Treasure of the Diocess, and seem to have been paid to the Bishop; the Chri­stian Converts being taught to pay them as due by divine right; and the Priests di­rected to receive them, and account for them to the Bishop: as may be gathered out of the fourth and fifth Constitutions of Egbert Archbishop of York. So that they being antecedently due to the CathedralConc. Angl. T. 1. p. 258. Church, the Founders of Rural Churches were not at liberty to make them any part of the endowment: until Cathedral [Page 82] Churches being abundantly endowed in Lands and Mannors by the Munificence of pious Princes, the Bishops neglected to claim the Tithes of their Diocess to the use of the common treasure of it; or re­mitted them to the several Parochial Churches, to encourage the erection of them. After which they were always made part of the endowment of such Churches. And all these endowments both of Cathedral and Parochial Churches, were made in puram & perpetuam eleemo­synam, as the phrase then was: not in the nature of Alms in the ordinary and mo­dern sense of that word, (as some ignorant persons have pretended) but in free and irrevocable tenure, (if I may so speak) without any tye, burden, claim of service, or reserved rent, upon them: whereby they were distinguished from all grants made to Laymen, either by the King, or by any Great Lords. For to these they never granted any Lands or Possessions without reserving some service, military or base, to be performed for ever by the Te­nants, or possessors in lieu of them; or at least some mark and acknowledgment of their dependance on them [...]nd subje­ction to them: from all which the Lands and Revenues of the Clergy were exemp­ted. [Page 83] As Christianity prevailed very fast, so these Foundations of private Oratories became very numerous; almost every Great Man, as soon as he was converted to the Christian Religion, building one for the convenience of himself, his tenants and dependants. Before the year 800 they seem to have founded in all parts of the Nation; not indeed in the same number, as now obtains (for of their Subdivision we shall speak afterwards) but so as to supply in some measure the necessities of every Diocess: every part of it having at least some one Church within its neigh­bourhood, to which the People might re­pair to pay their Devotions, and receive instruction. Many Canons therefore made about that time insinuate the establishment of Parochial Cures every where, and the division of Diocesses into them. Thus in the Constitutions of Egbert Archbishop of York, the first is,Conc. Angl. T. 1. p. 258. Vnusquisque Sacerdos Ecclesiam suam cum omni diligentiâ aedifi­cet. For in many places the Patrons en­dowed the Churches, but built not the Edifice, leaving that to be done by the Priest out of the Oblations and contribu­tion of the Christians of the vicinage: which was easily effected in those times, when devotion and piety were very great [Page 84] in all Orders of men. The second Con­stitution directs all Priests to sound the Bells of their Churches at the usual hours of day and night, to give notice of the time of prayer, and of the several Offices of Religion, which were then daily perform­ed by the Priests in publick. The sixth enjoyns every Priest carefully to instruct the people committed to him in the Lord [...]s pray­er and the Creed. This Parochial division was long before introduced in France. For the Laws of King Dagobert, made in the year 630. direct, thatTi [...]. 1. [...]. 1 [...]. Capitul. T. 1. p. 99. Si quis Presbytero vel Diacono, quem Episcopus in Parochiâ ordinavit▪ vel qualem plebs sibi recepit ad Sacerdotem, injuriam [...]ecerit, he should be punished in such a manner. In England the first Synod of Celcyth, held in the year 787. commands,Conc. Angl. T. 1. p. 293. Vt omni anno in Sy­nodalibus conventibus, ab Episcopis singula­rum Ecclesiarum Presbyteri, qui populum erudire debent, Ibid. p. 328. de ipsâ fide diligentissimè examinentur. And the tenth Canon of the second Synod at Celcyth, which was held in the year 816. appoints, that at the death of a Bishop. Statim per singulas Pa­rochias in singulis quibusq Ecclesiis, pulsato signo, omnis famulorum Dei coetus ad Basili­cam conveniat, ibiq pariter triginta Psalmos pro defuncti animâ decantent.

[Page 85]In proportion to the increase of these Parochial Foundations, the necessity of sending itinerant Priests through the Dio­cess decreased, and at last wholly ceased. The last mention which I find made of them, is in the 9th Canon of the Synod of Clovesho (now Cliff) held by Archbishop Cuthbert in the year 747, in which it is decreed,Ibid. p. 248. Vt Presbyteri per loca & regiones Lai [...]orum, quae sibi ab Episcopis Provinciae insinuata & injuncta sunt, Evangelicae prae­dicationis Officium in baptizando, & docendo, ac visitando studeant explere. Which con­firms my former conjecture, that before the year 800. the Parochial division of Diocesses was generally received; and that the ordinary instruction of the Peo­ple was then wholly left to the Parish-Priests.

For before this time, those two reasons, which chiefly discouraged the erection and endowment of Parochial Churches, had been taken away. Of these the first was, That all the Lands, Tithes, Oblations, and Ecclesiastical Revenues of the whole Dio­cess belonged to the disposition of the Bi­shop; so that the particular endowment of any Parish Church, did only add so much to the common Treasure of the Dio­cess. This being no small cause of re­straining [Page 86] the devotion of Lay-founders, the Bishops at last condescended, that the whole revenue of the endowment, with all other Ecclesiastical profits, which should come to the hands of the Priest officiating at such a Church; should be taken from the common Treasury of the Diocess, and be perpetually annexed to the Church of that Clerk who received it: So that the Bishop should not any longer receive those profits, nor the Incumbent expect his Sa­lary from the Bishop. This the Bishops willingly did, as soon as by the erection of many Parish-Priests, the necessity of maintaining so many itinerant Priests cea­sed; and their Cathedrals were sufficient­ly endowed for the maintenance of them­selves and their Colledge of Clergy con­s [...]antly attending the service of the Cathe­dral Church. Yet however they parted with the propriety and immediate dispen­sation of that part of the Ecclesiastical Re­venues of their Diocesses; they still limi­ted and appointed the uses, in which they should be imployed by the Parochial Clergy. This appears from several Con­stitutions before cited upon other occa­sions, and from others which may be al­ledged to the same purpose: as the French Capitular,Capitular. T. 1. p. 196. made in the year 779, which [Page 87] orders cap. 7. De Decimis, ut unusquis (que) suam decimam donet, atque per jussionem Pon­tificis dispensentur. Another Capitular di­rects it more expresly in these words▪ Vt Decimae in potestate Episcopi sint, qualiter à Presbyteris dispensentur. Ibid. p▪ 730. The same is decreed in the Council of Worms, cap. 59. and may be found in Regino▪ L. 1. c. 42. This Priviledge of the Bishops continued in England▪ at least until the time of King Alfred, who confirmed it by a Law, and appointed the Tithes, delivered to the Priests, to be divided into three parts,Lex Als [...]di 24. V­nam partem and Ecclesiae reparationem, alte­ram pauperibus erogandam, tertiam verò Ministris Dei qui Ecclesiam ibi curant: Which was consonant to the first limitation of their use, made when they were first taken from the common Treasure of the Diocess; save only, that the Bishops had now long since remitted their fourth part, which at first they did reserve.

The other discouragement of the Foun­dation of Parochial Churches was, That the Incumbents of them would often, ei­ther through levity, or the hope of gain­ing other Churches better endowed, or for any other reason; quit their Churches, and thereby defraud their Patrons of the end which they proposed in the founda­tion, [Page 88] viz. the constant presence of a Priest for their instruction, and the perfor­mance of Religous duties. This therefore was soon remedied, and the Parish Priests forbid to quit their Cures, without the leave of their Diocesan, as well as to ac­cept them without their permission. So the National Synod of France, Capitular. T. 1. p. 154 held in the year 744. in the presence of Boniface the Popes L [...]gate, decreed cap. 5. De Sacerdo­tibus, qui suos titulos abs (que) licentia Episcopi dimittunt, ut tamdiu à communione habean­tur alieni, quous (que) ad suos titulos revertan­tur. And cap. 10. Quando Presbyteri vel Diaconi per parochias constituuntur, oportet eos Episcopo suo professionem facere. The first Capitular of Charles the Great, Ib p. 192. made in the year 769. reneweth both these Ca­nons. Cap. 9. Nemo accipiat Ecclesiam in Parochiam sine consensu Episcopi sui, nec de unâ ad aliam transeat. Another Capitular commands those Clergymen to be degra­ded, who forsook their Churches, and ac­cepted the Cure of others.I. 6. c. 59. Ib. p. 932. Presbyter vel Diaconus, qui deserit Ecclesiam suam, & ad aliam transierit, deponatur. Some Capitu­lars and Councils apply this to the Bishops as well as the inferiour Clergy, and forbid as well them to be translated from one Bi­shoprick to another, as these from one Pa­rish [Page 89] to another. So the first Capitular of the year 789. cap. 21. Item in eodem Con­cilio (Chalcedonensi) nec non & in Sardi­censi (praecipitur)Ib. p. 708. sic 8 [...] L. 1. c. 24. ut nec Episcopus nec Cle­rici transmigrent de civitate in civitatem. This is exprest more fully in another Ca­pitular.Addit. 3 Capit. c. 83. Ib. p. 1172. De titulo minori ad majorem mi­grare, nulli Presbytero licitum sit; sed in eo permaneat, ad quem ordinatus est: Quod si inventus fuerit contra statuta id facere, eâ­dem feriatur sententiâ, quâ & Episcopus, qui de minori ad majorem transmigraverit Civitatem. The same Constitution was made, in almost the same words, by the third Council of Tours, Can. 14. Can. 20. and by the second Council of Rhemes. But more effectually to prevent this inconvenience, it was at length ordered, that at their institution, or before their ordination,Capitul. [...]. 5. c. 175. T. 1▪ p. 857. the Clergy should promise to remain at that place, to the cure of which they were ordained. Vt Presbyteri, qui in titulis consecrantur, se­cundum Canones, antequam ordinentur, pro­missionem stabilitatis loci illius faciant. The like Constitutions were made and received in England, I will produce but one of them,Conc. Angl. T. 1. p. 258. Can. 13. made by Egbert Archbishop of York in the year 750. Nullus Presbyter à sede propriâ sanctae Ecclesiae, sub cujus titulo ordinatus fuit, ammonitionis causâ ad alie­nam [Page 90] pergat Ecclesiam; sed ibidem de votus us (que) ad vitae permaneat exitum.

While the Foundation of Parochial Churches was thus far advanced by Lay­men, and the profits of such as were founded by them, were limited to their Incumbents; the Bishops also in their Mannors, and Demesnes, and Advowsons both in City and Country, built, or gave leave to build, Parochial Churches; and restrained the profits of every one of them to the several Incumbents. The same was done by the Kings in their Mannors: and the practice being received generally, at last an uniformity obtained in this inno­vation of Parochial right.

In the mean time the Bishops with their Canons resided at the Cathedral Church, and attended the daily service of it. The Bishops indeed not so constantly, being obliged to frequent the great Councils of the Nation, and often employed by the King in Embassies, and great Offices; but the Canons were bound to perpetual Re­sidence: and both Bishop and Canons pos­sessed the Revenues of the Church in com­mon; which were received by the Bi­shop, and by him such a portion was al­lowed to the maintenance of the Canons, as he thought fit. This community of [Page 91] possession in Cathedral Churches obtained for a long time. For I do not find that in any Churches, the portion or estate of the Bishops was divided from that of the Ca­nons or Monks till after the Norman Con­quest. Till that time the first endowment of the Bishoprick remained in the joint possession of the Bishop and his Canons; and not only those possessions wherewith the Bishop and all his Clergy were endow­ed at the first foundation of the Episcopal See; but also those, which after the insti­tution and particular dotation of Parochial Churches, were added to the Cathedral Church, by the liberality of following Princes, to increase the honour and digni­ty of the Bishop, that he might be ena­bled to live in a quality equal to the Great men of the Nation. For it must not be imagined, that the endowments of the Bishopricks were made all at once. But in every Age accessions were made to the original endowment of them, by the gift of Princes and pious persons, even till the end of the 13th Age: that so, as the ri­ches of the Nation, and therewith the state of Great men, did gradually en­crease; the possessions and riches of the Bishops might arise in proportion, and en­able them to maintain a port equal to the other Peers of the Realm.

[Page 92]The Parishes, into which Diocesses were at first divided, were but few in compa­rison of the present number of them. For it may be supposed, that altho the Kings, or great Lords, might possess very large Territories in any country, yet they built but one Church for the use of one single Territory. Afterwards themselves found it convenient or necessary, to build seve­ral Churches in several parts of it, one per­haps in every Mannor; or these large possessions being in time cantoned out, and divided into several lesser possessions; every one of the new possessors erected Churches or Chappels within their own limits. Thus every Parish was divided into many subordinate Parishes, and these in proc [...]ss of time became distinct Pa­rishes; and so by degrees that Parochial division was setled, which we now find in England. The difference of our present Parishes in quantity and extent, arising originally from the difference of the seve­ral circuits of the Demesnes or Territories possessed by the Founders.

For some time these Churches of the second foundation, were but Chappels of ease to those of the first foundation. Du­ring that time the Mother-Church was called [...] or the Senior Church; [Page 93] and still reserved the sole right of baptism and burial to her self; and continued in the possession of all the Tithes and pro­fits, which were due to her before the foundation of the Chappels. Thus the Constitutions of Egbert Archbishop of York, Cap. 24. Conc. Angl. T. 1. p. 258. made in the year 750. provide, That the ancient Churches should not be deprived of any part of these Tithes and possessions, to give them to new Orato­ries. Vt Ecclesiae antiquitùs constitutae, nec Decimis nec ullâ aliâ possessione priven­tur, ita ut novis Oratoriis tribuantur. A like Constitution is found in the Capitu­lar of Charles the Great, made at Salz in the year 804. cap. 3. Quicun (que) Capitular. T. 1. p. 416. voluerit in fuâ proprietate Ecclesiam aedificare, unà cum consensu & voluntate Episcopi, licentiam ha­beat. Veruntamen omnino providendum est, ut aliae Ecclesiae antiquiores propter hanc occasionem nulla tenus suam justitiam aut de­cimam non perdant; sed semper ad antiquio­res Ecclesias persolvantur. And to the same purpose is the Capitular in the year 813.Ibid. p. 504. This Constitution is still observed in as many Churches of the second foun­dation, as yet remain under their first condition and title of Chappels of ease: but the other Priviledges of the Mother-Churches, viz. the sole right of baptism [Page 94] and burial are now discontinued: altho they were so strictly observed in England until the year 1300.V. Selden Hist De­cim p 264. that if in any Pleas about the right of particular Churches, it could be proved, that any Church had from time immemorial right of baptism and burial, it should be adjudged to be a Parochial Church and not a Chappel of Ease.

But (to return to the former times) the convenience and good of the Church in general requiring such subdivision of Pa­rishes to be made, and the Lands and Sa­laries, wherewith the new Patrons had en­dowed the Churches of the second foun­dation, being not sufficient to maintain their Incumbents without the Tithes, and hereby all persons being discouraged from proceeding in such new foundations; the Bishops found it necessary to bestow paro­chial right on many of these Chappels al­ready founded, or afterwards to be found­ed: which they did by conferring on them the right of burial, and hallowing Cemiteries near to them for that purpose. By this means they were made distinct Parishes, and freed from any dependance upon the Churches of the first foundation. Yet that the latter might not suffer any great diminution of their former Reve­nues; [Page 95] no more than a third part of the Tithes were allowed to the Incumbents of any Churches of the new foundation. But if the Bishop did not grant the right of burial to them; they still continued in their former condition, and paid their whole Tithe to the Incumbent of the Mo­ther-Church. So the Laws of King Edgar made in the year 967. appoint; That if a­ny Lord would build a Church in his own Lands, within the limits of any Parish, he might pay a third part of his Tithes to it. Quisque Decimas suas Ecclesiae primariae seu matrici persolvat. Concil. An­gl. Tom. 1. p. 444. Si quis autem Thanus Ec­clesiam in terrâ propriâ intra Parachiae prae­dictae limites fundare velit; ei Decimarum suarum trientem persolvere possit. This Law is confirmed and explained in the Ecclesi­astical Laws of King Canutus, made about the year 1032.Ibid. p. 545. Le [...]. 11. in these words, Thanus si in solo suo Templum habuerit, cui locus ad­jaceat Sepulturae destinatus, Decima [...]um sua­rum trientem in id conferre ei potestas esto. Sin circa Templum nullus fuerit designatas humationi locus; tum qui est fundi Dominus dato Sacerdoti novem partium reliquarum, quantulum ei visum fuerit; paying his whole Tithe to the Mother-Church. The same method of making any new Church to be Parochial and independent, by conferring [Page 96] on it the right of burial, was observed be­fore this time in Wales, as appears from the Laws of Howel Dha; of which the 35th is, Si regiâ dante licentiâ, in rustica­nâ Villâ Ecclesia construatur, & in eâ Mis­sae celebrentur, & in atrio illius corpora se­pelientur, ex tunc libera erit illa villa.

By this encouragement new Churches and chappels began to be erected so fast, as in many places to become inconvenient, by impoverishing too much the ancient Revenue of the Churches of the first foun­dation; So that it was found necessary, to dissolve or demolish some of them: and the execution of this was left to the dis­cretion of the Bishops. Before this no new Church could be erected without the Bishops leave, much less the right of bap­tism and burial be given to it, by any o­ther than by him. So the 7th Canon of the Synod of Veru in the year 755.Capital. Tom. 1. p. 171. Publicum baptisterium in nulla Parochiâ esse debet, ni­si ubi Episcopus constituerit, cujus Parochia est. Yet the Bishops, either through neg­ligence, or to gratifie the importunity of Lay-Patrons, or encrease their own Reve­nue, by multiplying the number of Syno­dals and Procurations; had in some places permitted too many Churches to be erect­ed, and the ancient Parishes to be subdi­vided [Page 97] too farr. Against this the third Ca­pitular of Charles the Great, made in the year 803. provides cap. 1. that such unne­cessary Churches should be demolished. De Ecclesiis emendandis, Ibid. T. 2. p. 327. c. 1. & ubi uno in loco plures fuerint, quàm necesse sit, ut destruan­tur quae necessariae non sunt. The Capitu­lar of King Lothaire directs the same to be done, altho the Church should be necessa­ry, in case it be not endowed. Si in uno loco plures Ecclesiae sint, quàm necesse sit, de­struantur. Quòd si forte in aliquo loco sit Ecclesia constituta. quae tamen necessaria sit, & nihil dotis habuerit, volumus ut à liberis hominibus ibi detur, &c. Quòd si hoc popu­lus facere noluerit, destruatur. The Capi­tular of Charles the Bald, Ibid. p. 24. made at Tho­louse in the year 844. restrains the further multiplication of Parish Churches, unless upon evident necessity, cap. 7. Episcopi Pa­rochias Presbyterorum propter inhonestum & periculosum lucrum non divident. Sed si necessitas populi exegerit, ut plures fiant Ec­clesiae, aut statuantur Altaria, cum ratione hoc faciant: sc ut si longitudo, aut periculum aquae, aut silvae, aut alicujus certae rationis vel necessitatis causa poposcerit, ut populus ad Ecclesiam principalem non possit occurrere; statuatur Altare, &c.

In England, as the first foundation of [Page 98] Parochial Churches and Cures, was much later than in France; so also the subdivisi­on of them, and all the benefits or incon­veniencies of it. The first complaint which I find to have been made in our Nation, of the too great multiplication of Churches of the new foundation, is in the Additaments of the Laws of Edward the Confessor; Conc. Angl. Tom. 1. p 621. wherein it is said, that there were now three or four Churches in many pla­ces, where anciently was but one, to the great diminution of the Revenues of the ancient Clergy. Multis in locis modò sunt tres vel quatuor Ecclesiae, ubi tunc temporis una tantum erat; & sic (decimae singulo­rum Sacerdotum) coeperant minui.

Long before the time of the Confessor, the Parochial division of England was brought to so great per [...]ection, that it was known and fixed to which Parish every man did belong.Ibid Tom. 1. p. 448. Can. 6, 9, 15. So the Ecclesiastical Ca­nons published in the time of King Edgar, require that every Priest should present to the Synod the names of such in his Parish, as were contumacious or guilty of any heinous sin; that he should admonish every one of his Parish, quos­que per Paraeciam suam, to bring their Children to be baptized: that no Priest intermeddle in the business of ano­ther [Page 99] Priest, nec in suâ Ecclesiâ, nec in suâ Parochiâ. And the Laws of King Canutus command,Lex. 13. Ibid. p. 545. that if any one be buried out of the limits of his Parish, extra suae Pa­rochiae fines, yet that the fees of his burial should be paid to that Church, to which he did of right belong. But before the time of the Confessor that very division of Parishes was generally fixed, which now obtains in England; as appears from Dooms­day Book; in which the Towns and Pa­rishes do very near agree to the present division. Some Churches indeed were e­rected, and obtained Parochial right after the Conquest, but the number of them was not great.

Before or about the time of the same King, most of the Churches of the second foundation seem to have become wholly independent of the Churches of the first foundation; and to have received not on­ly a third part, but the whole of the Tithe of their several districts: whether that happened through the negligence of the Incumbents of the Mother-Churches, or by the appointment of the Bishops, to settle at last a sufficient maintenance on the Priests of these new Churches, or by publick Law, is uncertain. In France it was first began by the Constitution of Lu­dovicus [Page 100] Pius, Capitular T. 1. p. 565. made in the year 816. cap. 12. which directed the whole Tithes to be paid to the new erected Churches. Sanci­tum est de villis novis, & Ecclesiis in il­lis noviter constructis, ut Decimae de illis villis ad easdem Ecclesias conferantur. In England I rather suppose the depend­ence of the new upon the old Church­es to have worn off by degrees, or to have been taken away by particular compositions between the Patrons or In­cumbents of the several Churches, made with the leave of the Bishop; and the whole to have been effected before the Conquest, or shortly after. Yet many marks and acknowledgments of the ancient depen­dance might remain for some Ages, how­ever now forgotten. Particularly I know a Parish-Church in this Nation (the name of which for private reasons I conceal) which being founded above a thousand years since, did then include all the neigh­bouring Country within its limits. After­wards, yet before the time of the Con­quest, several new Churches were erected within her bounds, which at first might pay the whole, and then two third parts of the Tithes to her, as was done in other places in like cases. But in a short time a composition was made between the several [Page 101] Patrons and Incumbents, confirmed by the Bishop; That the Incumbents of the new Churches should pay only the tenth part of all their real profits to the Incumbent of the Mother-Church: which Composi­tion I find to have been duly observed a­bout the year 1370, altho at this time, no such pensions, or any other mark of superiority remain to the Mother-Church.

For some while after the foundation of Parochial Churches, and appropriation of the Tithes to them, no other limits were set to them than those of the possessions of the Founders, who obliged themselves and all their Tenants and dependants to make their Oblations and to pay their Tithes to the Churches founded by them.

But if any persons lived near to them, who were independent from the Patro [...]; they were at liberty to frequent any other neighbour Church, and to pay their Tithes to it. Particularly great numbers of Christians were induced by the seeming devotion of the Monasteries, to frequent them rather than Parochial Churches, and to make their Oblations, and pay their Tithes to them, and to be buried in their Cemiteries; at which time the Oblations made, or Legacies left to any Church upon [Page 102] account of burial were very great. To prevent this disorder, it was at last enact­ed, that the limits of every Parish should be certainly fixed, and all persons obliged to pay their Tithes, Oblations and Mor­tuaries to their own Parish Churches. So the French Capitulars,L [...]. c. 149. Capitular. T. 1. p. 730. Vt terminum ha­beat unaquae (que) Ecclesia, de quibus Villis De­cimas recipiat. Which Constitution is sound also in Regino. L. 1. c. 24. Another Capitular forbids any Priest to perswade the Parishioners of another Priest to frequent his Church, and to pay his Tithes to himself.Capitular. L. 7 c. 198. T. 1. p 1067. Statutum est, ut nullus Presbyter fidelibus sanctae Dei Ecclesiae de alterius Presbyteri Parochiâ per­suadeat, ut ad suam Ecclesiam, relictâ pro­priâ Ecclesiâ, conveniant; & suas Decimas sibi dent. This Constitution is verbatim repeated in the Saxon Constitutions,Conc. Angl. T. 1. p. 593. whose Author and time are not known (altho they seem to have been published about the year 1000) and this clause added to it, Sed unusquis (que) suâ Ecclesiâ & populo contentus, quod sibi non vult fieri, alteri ne­quaquam faciat. The 24th Canon of the Council of London, held in the year 1102. provided in the same manner for the bu­rial of Parishioners, Ne Corpora defuncto­rum extra Parochiam suam sepelienda por­tentur, Ibid. T. 2. p. 22. ut Presbyteri Parochiae perdant quod [Page 103] inde illis debeatur. It was therefore in the beginning of the twelfth Age, that the constitution of Parishes and Parochial rights received its last perfection; inso­much as before the end of this Age, it was accounted a matter indisputable, and the general practice of the Church of England, for every man to pay his Tithes to his own Parish Priest.Append. ad Conc. Late­ran. p. 4. c. 4. For among the De­cretals of Pope Alexander III. writ about the year 1179,Conc. Labb. T. 10. p. 1569. is one directed to the Bi­shops of Worcester and Winchester, wherein he saith; Cum homines de Hortun secundum generalem Ecclesiae Anglicanae institutionem de frugibus suis in automno, novem partibus sibi retentis, decimas Ecclesiae, cujus Paro­chiani sunt, sine diminutione solvere tenean­tur. In Wales the matter was not yet so fully setled; but the Great men paid their Tithes to what Religious persons or use themselves pleased; yet ever believing themselves obliged to pay them to God, and to consecrate them to some religious use.

To compleat this History of the Insti­tution of Parishes and Parochial rights in England, it will be necessary to add some­what concerning the beginning and occa­sion of the Vicarages, which make up al­most one half of the Parishes in England, [Page 104] to the great detriment of Religion, and impoverishment of the Church. In the eighth, ninth, and tenth Ages, the Devo­tion of Princes and great persons was ge­nerally employed in building and endow­ing Monasteries, to which they gave ve­ry large possessions, and therewith the Advowson of the several Parochial Chur­ches; or where no such were, the Monks themselves founded and endowed Parochial Churches, within their Mannors, and in right of the foundation became Patrons of them. These Churches, or at least as many of them as were near to the Mona­stery, the Monks supplied by themselves, either by turns or by lot, according to the direction of the Abbot; and convert­ed the whole Tithes and profits of them to the use of the Monastery. I suppose the number of these not to have been very great. As to the great number of Chur­ches said to have been appropriated to the Abbey of Croyland between the years 800 and 950, in the Charters recorded by In­gulphus, Hist. De­cim. c. 9. [...] [...] (which Mr. Selden alledgeth in this case) all the Charters of Ingulphus be­fore the [...] of King Edgar, may be pro­ved to be [...]. In the time of Edgar [...] new Monasteries were erected, and the ancient Monasteries also then received [Page 105] their chief endowment; and both, as well as those which were founded after, obtain­ed to themselves great number of Advow­sons. But these Churches they could not now personally supply as formerly, since the Reformation of the Monastick Order began by Dunstan about the year 944, and after much difficulty completed by him, with the assistance of Edgar, Ethel­wold and Oswald before the year 980. The strict observation of the Rule of St. Benedict being then introduced, the Monks could no longer supply any Paro­chial Cures, being not permitted to be absent from their Cloisters so long, and so often, as that employment would require. They were therefore forced to quit that office entirely to the Secular Clergy, whom they presented to the Bishop, in the same manner as Lay-Patrons did, with this only difference, that they generally reserved to themselves some small pension, to be paid annually by the Incumbent, and were allowed to do it. These pen­sions were not very grievous during the times of the Saxons: and the Church there­by found no great inconvenience before the Norman Conquest.

[Page 106]After the Conquest, the Norman Prin­ces generally bestowed the Bishopricks and Abbies of England to those of their own Nation; who according to the Spirit of that time, oppressed without mercy the poor inferiour English Clergy, as the Norman Noblemen did the English Laity. The Abbots then began to exact larger Pensions from the Incumbents possessing the Benefices of their donation: And what the Norman Abbots began, even the Eng­lish Abbots were forced to follow, to sup­port themselves at that time, when the Norman Kings continually exacted great Sums of money from them; and scarce nominated any, but in virtue of a Simo­niacal bargain. Both these reasons indu­ced the Abbots to increase from time to time, the Pensions of their Clerks; and to procure to themselves more Advow­sons, that they might increase the num­ber, as well as the value of their Pensions. Against these innovations it was decreed in the Council of London, in the year 1102.Con. Angl. T. 2. p 22. That the Monks should, neither obtain any new Advowsons, without the leave of the Bishop; nor impoverish their Churches by exorbitant Pensions. Can. 20. Ne Monachi Ecclesias, nisi per Episcopos ac­cipiant; neque sibi datas ita spolient suis [Page 107] redditibus, ut Presbyteri ibi servientes, in aliquo penuriam patiantur. This Consti­tution was renewed in the Council of Westminster, ibid. p. 34. in the year 1126. Can. 4. Nullus Abbas, Prior, Monachus, vel Cleri­cus, Ecclesiam sive Decimam, seu quaelibet Beneficia Ecclesiastica, de dono Laici, sine proprii Episcopi assensu suscipiat.

In the mean time, most of the Prebends were founded in Cathedral Churches of the old Foundation, as we now distinguish them, viz. in those which were then held by Secular Canons. Of these many were endowed with Tithes or portion of the Tithes of some Benefice, the Advowson of which belonged to the Bishop, or some other Founder of the Prebends. In this case it was lawful to such a Prebendary to serve the cure of the Benefice perso­nally, if it could consist with his atten­dance required at the Cathedral Church; or to supply it by a Curate, who in time became a Vicar; or which was the most ordinary way, to reserve to himself a cer­tain Pension appointed by the Bishop, and not to be altered without his leave; per­mitting the remaining profits to the In­cumbent. In all which cases, such pru­dence and moderation was used; that I find no complaints of this kind made a­gainst the Secular Canons.

[Page 108]But the oppression and covetousness of the Monks became intolerable; notwith­standing all the Decrees made against them, they continued their corrupt pra­ctice herein; and used several artifices to impoverish their Churches, and draw the profits of them to themselves. Some­times they would treat with mercenary Priests, and hire them from year to year to supply the cure of their vacant Bene­fices; that so none, being in real posses­sion of them, might be able to claim the profits, which they in the mean time u­surped to themselves. Against this abuse was a Canon made in the Council held at Auranches in Normandy by the Popes Le­gates,Conc. Angl. T [...]. p. 101. Can. 9. in the year 1173 (which obliged all the Subjects of the King of England) Vt Ecclesiae Vicariis annuis non comittan­tur, that Churches should not be commit­ted to yearly Curates: And the Council of Lateran held at that time, under A­lexander III. directed, That if a Clerk were not presented within a certain time, the right of Presentation should devolve to the Bishop.

At other times they obliged the Clerks whom they presented to their Benefices, to pay such large Pensions to them, as ren­dred it impossible to their Clerks, to sub­sist [Page 109] with honesty and decency. Against this the forementioned Council of Auran­ches provided; That, besides the Obla­tions,Conc. Angl. T. 2. p. 22. Can. 9. at least a third part of the Tithes should remain to the Priest, who should serve the Church. De tertiâ parte Deci­marum nihil Presbytero, qui servit Ecclesiae, auferatur. The Popes also of this time published several severe Decrees against this oppression. Thus Alexander III. writes to the Monks of the Diocess of York in the year 1170. Intelleximus, quod in Eccle­siis vestris, Extrau de Praebend. c. Avaritia. de quibus certas portiones consue­vistis percipere, portiones & antiquos reditus minorastis; quos Clerici Ecclesiarum istarum habuisse noscuntur. Ideo (que) mandamus, qua­tenus si quas portiones vel antiquos reditus Clericorum sine consensu Archiepiscopi vestri minuere praesumpsisiis, ad integritatem pri­stinam revocetis. The same Pope soon af­ter wrote thus to the Bishop of Worcester, De Monachis, Ib. cap. D [...] Monachis. qui Vicarios Ecclesiarum pa­rochialium ita grava [...] [...]t hospitalitatem tenere non possint eam providentiam habeas, quòd ad praesentionem eorum nullum reci­pias, nisi tantum ei de proventibus Ecclesiae coram te fuerit assignatum, [...]de jura Epis­copalia possint persolvere, & congruam su­stentationem habere. To the same pur­pose a Canon was published by this Pope, [Page 110] in the Council of Lateran in the year 1179, which may be found Extr. de Prae­bend. cap. Extirpandae. Ten years after this,Extr. de suppl. n [...]g­lig. Prae­lat. c. Si­cut. Pope Clement made a famous Decree, which at last effectually overthrew this ar­tifice of the Monks, in these words. Cùm Monachi quidam Ecclesias, quae ad Praesenta­tionem eorum pertinent, propriis usibus depu­tare nituntur, nec volunt ad eas, cùm vaca­verint, vocare personas.—admissos ita Pensionibus onerantes—Mandamus, ut nisi praedictae personae intra tempus à Latera­nensi Concilio statutum, ad vacantes Ecclesias personas idoneas praesentaverint: ex tunc liceat (Episcopis Diocesanis) appellatione remotâ ordinare Rectores qui iis praeesse no­verint & prodesse.

The Monks being driven from all these artifices, at last sell upon that mischievous design of Appropriation, which gave the greatest blow to the Secular Clergy they ever received since the first dotation of the Church. By the power of money, they obtained of the Court of Rome, that the profits of certain Churches, whose Ad­vowson belonged to them, should be ap­propriated to themselves and their succes­sors for ever. Herein they first began with a few; then, finding their money to prevail in that corrupt Court, proceeded [Page 111] further; and at last put no bounds to their covetousness. When they first gained these Bulls of Appropriation, they pre­tended the Discipline of their Order to be so far relaxed in virtue of them, that they might personally serve the cure of their appropriated Churches: and this, for some while, they took upon them to do, con­verting thereby the entire profits of them to their own use. But here the Bishops interposed, and, since they could do no more, applied themselves to reduce the Monks within the bounds of their Cloi­sters; and by several Constitutions forbad them to serve their Churches personally. One of these Constitutions made by an unknown Bishop, in the reign of Henry III.Conc. Ang. T. 2. p. 239. may be found among the English Coun­cils. Cum inhonestum sit & Canoni inimi­cum, ut viri Religiosi, quibus concessum est in proprios usus convertere Ecclesias, Ecclesiis parochialibus personaliter deserviant; sta­tuimus ut in Ecclesiis sic eis concessis perpe­tuos Vicarios per nos constituant, & certam & competentem Vicariam ad taxationem no­stram in dictis Ecclesiis infra 40 dies eis assignent. Ibid. p. 253. A like Constitution was made by Walter de Cantelou Bishop of Worce­ster in the year 1240. Praecipimus, quòd viri Religiosi, Vicarios praesentent ad Eccle­sias [Page 112] suas, quas habent in proprios usus, in qui­bus nondum sunt Vicarii constituti. The same command is almost verbatim repeated in the Constitutions of William de Gren­feld Archbishop of York, made in the year 1306; and in those of Gilbert Bi­shop of Chichester. Canc. Ang. T. 2. p. 44. Not only did the Bi­shops force the Monks to find perpetual Vicars in their appropriated Churches; but also appointed the Stipend, which they should be obliged to pay them.Ib. p. 183. This the Provincial Council of Oxford in the year 1222. taxed at five marks, which was the fixed salary of a Curate at that time. For so the Constitutions ofIb. p. 440. Wil­liam de Grenfeld tax it: Stipendia Presby­terorum unius anni duximus taxanda quin (que) marcas. Cap. 28. Ib. p. 374. And before him Peter Quivil Bi­shop of Exeter, in his Canons made in the year 1287. commanded, That every per­petual Vicarage should have certain por­tions of the profits assigned it, Valentes ad minus pretium unius Capellani stipen­dia, quinque marcas. At this time the names of a Vicar and a Chaplain or a Cu­rate, were used indifferently;Ib. p. 158. So that in the Constitutions of Richard Bishop of Sarum, made in the year 1217. we read, Qui Parochialem habet Ecclesiam, si in eâ non velit residere, ordinet in illâ perpetuum [Page 113] Vicarium. Nor was there any difference in their Office, until the Vicars or Curates of the Benefices appropriated to the Monks, being instead of annual stipends, endowed with certain portions of the Tithes (which they still retain) began to receive Institution from the Bishop, and Induction into the profits of their Cures, in the same manner as Rectors did into their Benefices.

The way of appropriating Churches being once opened by the Monks, and the method fixed; they multiplied daily, and were easily obtained. It was enough to pretend their Treasure exhausted, or their Houses dilapidated, or their Abbot put to great expences in a journey to Rome, to procure the appropriation of a Church. The example was afterwards followed by Nunneries, Hospitals, Mili­tary Orders, Confraternities, Gilds, and even by the Seculars themselves, who sometimes procured Churches to be ap­propriated to Prebends, Colledges and Chantries. By this means, within the space of 300 years, above a third part, and those generally the richest Benefices in England became appropriated. Yet that the Secular Clergy may not be in­justly censured herein, we must not sup­pose, [Page 114] that all the Appropriations which they now possess, were at first procured by them; but rather almost all of them were made originally to the Monks, and others; and after their dissolution con­veyed to the Seculars by exchange, gift, or purchase.

From this History which I have given of the Foundation and endowment of Pa­rochial Churches in England; it may suffi­ciently appear, how grosly they mistake, who imagine that the first design of these Foundations, require the constant residence of a Beneficiary perpetually tied down to that one place and Benefice. From the beginning to the end of it, it appears, that no more was ever designed, than that eve­ry Parish should be provided for in Sacris either by alternate, or by perpetual Cu­rates. Whether those bare the title of Parson, Vicar, or Curate; whether they executed their Office there in their own right, or in right of another; whether the care of that Parish was solemnly com­mitted, or only delegated for a time to the Priest officiating; doth in no wise con­cern the design of the foundation: which only required, that the service of it should be perpetually supplied, in all the Offices of Religion, by Priests authorized by the [Page 115] Bishop. That this was the sole design, may be easily collected from almost every part of this History. I will not here re­capitulate the whole, and form the parti­cular deductions which may be made; lest I should seem to question or injure the judgment of the Reader, who may with equal exactness make the observa­tions, and draw the consequences for his own satisfaction. But some things, which have not yet been touched, and which manifest the same design, it will not be unfit to add.

Of these the first is, concerning the Re­sidence required of Vicars, the Obligation of which is still continued. The Rectors of Parishes were permitted to be absent, and to substitute Curates in their place; as is evident from the Constitution of Ri­chard Bishop of Sarum before cited; but Vicars were from the first institution of them obliged to personal Residence, So the tenth Constitution of St.Conc. Angl. T. 2. p. 227. Edmund Archbishop of Canterbury, made in the Synod of London, in the year 1237. Ad Vicariam statuimus nullum admittendum, nisi qui renuncians Beneficiis aliis, si quae ha­bet curam animarum habentia, juret resi­dentiam ibi facere, ac eam faciet continuè corporalem. This Canon is confirmed inIbid. p. 272. [Page 116] the Legatine Constitutions of Othobon. The reason of this is expressed in the 12th Ca­non of the same Council, that so some Priest may be resident at every Church, to discharge the cure of Souls. Provideant Diocesani, ut semper apud Ecclesiam resideat aliquis, qui de animarum cura sit sollicitus. At this time the Stipend of a Vicar was taxed at five marks, and the Stipend of a Curate at as much; as was before shewn. So that it was supposed a Vicar could not maintain a Curate; for if he allowed five marks to him, as the Canon required, no­thing would remain to sustain himself. Hence, if the Vicar did not make personal residence, it was taken for granted, that the service of that Church could not be supplied; and for this reason residence was enjoyed to them. The Canon made no provision for Vicars able to maintain a Curate, because there were none such at that time. But afterwards, when Vicara­ges exchanged their Stipends for certain portions of Tithes, many of them be­came of considerable value; and to the Incumbents of such, the design of the Ca­non doth no less permit substitution of Curates, than to the Incumbents of Par­sonages: and since every Law is best in­terpreted by the known design of it, those [Page 117] Vicars cannot in conscience be impleaded of perjury against their Oath of residence exacted in vertue of this Canon; who be­ing Non-resident, maintain a Curate con­stantly residing; since they fully satisfie the design of the Canon, which was, that no Parochial Church should be destitute of the presence of a Priest. To justifie this assertion, it may be observed, that the obligation of personal residence was ex­tended at the same time to all Incumbents of Parsonages, not exceeding the value of Vicarages, that is, of five marks; and that for the same reason, because they were supposed unable to maintain a Cu­rate. Thus in the Council of Oxford in the year 1222, it was decreed,Conc. Angl. T. 2. p. 183. Quia inho­nestum nimis est, ut Ecclesiae prop [...]er mino­res redditus Pastoribus maneant desolatae; praesenti decreto statuimus, ut Ecclesiae, quae in redditibus ultra quinque marcas non ha­bent, nonnisi talibus personis conferantur, qui resideant in eisdem, & in propriâ personâ ministrent in eisdem. For this reason also, none but a Priest could be admitted to such a Benefice, because none other was capable of executing intirely the minist [...] ­rial Office; and if a Deacon were admit­ted, the poverty of the Bene [...]ice would not permit the substitution of a Curate-Priest. [Page 118] To this purpose (as a friend of mine hath informed me from a Manu­script) William de Bleis Bishop of Worce­ster published a Canon about the year 1230. Nullus nisi Sacerdos admittatur ad Ecclesiam, cujus aestimatio non excedit quin­que marcas; sed admissus residentiam faciat in eâdem Ecclesiâ.

Further in consequence of this general design of supplying the religious occasions of every Parish by some means or other, it was thought no less unlawful, for one Priest alone to manage the cure of too great a Parish, than to hold two Benefi­ces; and therefore in Parishes of very great extent, two Priests or more were ordained to the cure of one Church, or at least, required to attend the constant service of one Church. So little did the first design of these foundations favour that Presbyterian notion of the reciprocal necessity of one Presbyter and one Church. At first such large Parishes had two or more Priests ordained to them, with equal title and authority; but afterwards, this being found in many respects inconvenient, was discontinued in England, Ib. p. 272. and at last wholly forbid, in the Legatine Constitutions of Othobon (in Wales the practice continued much longer.) Yet the [Page 119] same number of Priests was still directed to be maintained; one being Superiour, and retaining the Title, the others being Curates or assistants to him. For this the Constitution of Walter de Kirkham Ib. p. 297. Bishop of Durham, made in the year 1255, is express. Si aliqua Ecclesia ab antiquis tem­poribus divisa, & aliis temporibus habuerit duos Capellanos; & postea quacunque occa­sione eadem Ecclesia fuerit consolidata: Re­ctor tot numero Capellanos habeat vel susti­neat, quot Ecclesia prius divisa necesse habuit sustinere. This was also one of the Con­stitutions of the Provincial Council of Ox­ford Ib p. 183. in the year 1222; That in all large Parishes, two or more Priests should con­stantly be maintained, their number being proportioned to the largeness of the Parish. Statuimus, ut in singulis Parochialibus Ec­clesiis, quarum Parochia est diffusa, duo sint vel tres Presbyteri, pensatâ pariter magni­tudine Parochiae & Ecclesiae facultate; ne fortè aegrotante uno Presbytero, vel debili­tato, &c. Before both, the Council of Auranches had in the year 1173 com­manded,Ib. p. [...] that the Incumbents of the lar­ger Parishes should, if they were able, main­tain another Priest under them, Can. 5. Sacerdotes majorum Ecclesiarum, quibus ad ho [...] suppetunt facultates, alium sub se Presby­terum cogantur habere.

[Page 120] The design of Parochial Foundations, and all the Ecclesiastical Constitutions hi­therto mentioned do as well permit two Churches to be held or supplied by one man, as one Church by two men: if the general design before mentioned be not de­feated, that is, the service of every indi­vidual Parish in religious Offices. If then two Parishes lye so near, that one person may supply the cure of them both; this design is as much answered, as if the same were done by two persons. He cannot indeed reside in both in a Law-sense; but in truth and in an Ecclesiastical-sense he resideth at both, who constantly supplieth the ordinary duty, and is always at hand within convenient distance, to supply the extraordinary duty of them both. If the greater distance of the two Parishes will not permit this; the general design is sa­tisfied, if either of them be supplied by a Curate; And this ever was, and still is provided for in all cases of Plurality.

After an Historical account of whatso­ever concerns the institution, endowment and rights of Parishes, it will be fit to add an account of the Constitutions and Pra­ctice of the Church in r [...]lation to Plurali­ties. The ancient Canons forbid a Priest to quit the service of that Church or Dio­cess, [Page 121] wherein he first received Orders; which made it unlawful to him to execute his Office in two several Diocesses. To this I suppose that Capitular to refer; Non liceat Clericum in duabus Civitatibus ministrare, nec Abbatibus plura Monasteria aut Cellas habere. Append. 1. d L. 4. c. 14. Capitul. T. 1. p. 794. The latter part of it however forbids Plurality of Abbies to be held by one Abbot; which was indeed consonant to the first institution and de­sign of their Order. Some Abbots at this time in France held an enormous Plurality of Abbies; and if the same licentiousness were then permitted to the Secular Cler­gy, it was but convenient to restrain them by a prohibition.Capitul. L. 6. c. 73. T. 1. p. 934. Such a prohibition was made in the sixth Council of Paris. Placuit omni Synodali conventui, ut nullus Presbyterorum amplius quàm unam Eccle­siam sibi vendicare praesumat. Another Capitular renews this prohibition, and af­fixeth a reason to it.L. 6. c. 73. Ibid. Quia sicut quisque saecularis non amplius quàm unam habere de­bet uxorem; ita & unusquis (que) Presbyter non ampliùs quàm unam habere debet Ecclesiam. The same may be found in the Constitu­tions of Herardus Archbishop of Tours, Ib. p. 1291. made in the year 858. Cap. 49. These Canons are all expressed in general terms; as provisions made against any corrup­tions [Page 122] are wont to be: Yet no more is intended to be forbidden, than what is in truth unlawful or inconvenient. All these Canons are best explained by Regino, who about 100 years after, collected the Ca­nons of the Church, and Capitular Con­stitutions then received and practised. In him this prohibition of Plurality is thus related:L. 1. c. 254. Sicut Episcopus non plus potest ha­bere quàm unam civitatem, & vir unam ux­orem; ita Presbyter unam tantùm Eccle­siam. Ita (que) nullus Presbyter praesumat plures habere Ecclesias, nisi forte alios Presbyteros sub se in unaquaque illarum habeat. As a Bishop cannot have more than one City, and an Husband no more than one Wife; so a Priest no more than one Church. Let no Priest therefore presume to hold more Churches; unless he hath other Priests (or Curates) under him in every one of those Churches.

The chief design then of the former prohibitions was to provide, lest the Cure of any Parish should be neglected. This being satisfied by substitution of Curates, the original power which the Bishops had of dispensing in this case, was continued to them. In the first Institution of Paro­chial Churches, the Bishops might, if they had pleased, have committed the care of [Page 123] two Churches to every Presbyter, and al­ways in this matter, have continued to act, as their own prudence and the gene­ral good of the Church directed them; till their whole power herein was trans­ferred to the Pope by the Lateran Coun­cil. Before that Council the care of this whole matter was committed to the Bi­shop, that every Church should be sup­plied by a Priest of its own, but that on­ly ubi id fieri facultas providente Episcopo permiserit, Capitular. T. 1. p. 565. cap. 11. as saith the Capitular of Ludo­vicus Pius in the year 816:Conc. T. 10. p. 985. And not un­like to it is the ninth Canon of the Coun­cil of Rhemes in the year 1131. The Bi­shops might unite, divide, and direct the cure of Parochial Churches, as they thought convenient.

In time,Concil. T. 10. p. 1516. through the negligence of the Bishops,Hoveden, Hist. par. [...]. ad ann. 1179. such a Plurality crept into the Church, as ought not to be permitted. Against this a Canon was made in the third Council of Lateran in the year 1179. Can. 13. Quia nonnulli, modum avaritiae non ponentes, dignitates diversas Ecclesiasti­cas, & plures Ecclesias Parochiales, contra sacrorum Canonum instituta nituntur acqui­rere —ne id de caetero fiat, districtive in­hibemus (declaring the Institution of a se­cond Benefice to be void) —Quia in tan­tum [Page 124] jam processit quorundam ambitio, ut non duas vel tres, sed sex aut plures, perhibean­tur habere; cùm nec duabus possint debitam provisionem impendere. At this time then, many Clergymen possessed six or more Benefices, and their rapaciousness gave oc­casion to the Canon; which for that rea­son none will deny to have been necessary. This Canon not taking its desired effect,Can. 29. Conc. T. 11. p. 180. the famous Canon of the 4th Lateran Council, held under Pope Innocent in the year 1215 was made; wherein after a re­cital of the precedent Canon, it is decreed. Vt quicun (que) receperit aliquod Beneficium ha­bens curam animarum annexam, si prius tale Beneficium obtinebat, eo sit jure ipso priva­tus; & si fortè illud retinere contenderit, alio etiam spolietur.—Hoc idem in per­sonatibus decernimus observandum; adden­tes, ut in eâdem Ecclesia nullus plures Dig­nitates aut Personatus habere praesumat, etiamsi curam non habeant animarum. Circa sublimes tamen & literatas personas, quae majoribus sunt beneficiis honorandae, cùm ra­tio postulaverit, per sedem Apostolicam po­terit dispensari. The Council therefore thought it reasonable to permit Pluralities, to persons of extraordinary merit; and to such the Council allows,Clement on Tit. 2. cap. 3. gloss. Can. 5. to hold two Benefices incompatible: Such in [Page 125] the Canon Law are those accounted, which require residence; as all are, having cure of Souls annexed. Herein the Council allowed no more than was always practi­sed, and thought reasonable; only the power of Dispensation was now lodged wholly in the Pope, which was before common to all Bishops. This turned to the great injury of the Church; For at the Court of Rome, Dispensations were promiscuously granted, without any other design than that of getting money; where­as Bishops were not wont to grant them, but for the general good of their Diocess, to entertain persons of eminent worth therein: or if they had done otherwise, would not have been able to have main­tained their reputation in their Diocesses. All that was left to the Bishops, was the power of forcing Clergymen, who enjoy­ed Pluralities by the Papal Dispensation, to reside successively in every one of their Parishes, and to maintain Curates, when and where they did not personally re­side. To this purpose a Constitution was made by Richard Bishop of Salisbury in the year 1217.Conc. Angl. T. 2. p. 158. Ibid. p. 369. and another by Peter Qui­vil Bishop of Exeter in the year 1287. As for the power of dispensing with resi­dence, that de jure communi always be­longed [Page 126] to the Bishops, and was still con­tinued to them, being afterwards confirm­ed by the 13th Canon of the Council of Lions in the year 1274. in these words. Super residentiâ faciendâ possit Ordinarius gratiam dispensativè ad tempus facere; Conc. Labb. T. 11. p. 983. pro­ut causa rationabilis id exposcet. In vir­tue of this power Peter Quivil in the Con­stitution above cited, alloweth Non-resi­dence to Rectors of Churches, whose ab­sence was supplied per institutos Vicarios, by Vicars or Curates allowed by the Bi­shop; or to whose Prebend or Dignity such Churches were annexed. Afterwards the Court of Rome encroached upon the right of Bishops in this case also, and usur­ped to it self the sole power of dispensing with residence, which had so long re­mained in the Bishops. The Power in­deed of dispensing with Pluralities since the Council of Lateran and afterwards with Non-residence, was ill placed in the See of Rome; because thereby injury was done to all other Bishops, and a door was opened to great corruptions: But none ever thought it unreasonable that such a power should be lodged somewhere. All the Petitions of the Parliament of Eng­land, made to our Kings before the Refor­mation, against Pluralities and Non-resi­dence, [Page 127] did not so much oppose the being of them, as the sole granting of them by the Pope; which exhausted the Treasure of the Nation, and diminished the original Power of the Prelates of the Church.Abridg­ment of the Records, Num. 50. For in the Complaint of the Commons made in Parliament 2 H. 4. against Pluralities, wherein it was desired, that all such, as procured any Bulls from Rome for Plura­lity or Non-residence, should incur the pain of Provisoes; the Chaplains of Arch­bishops and Bishops, and all Scholars are excepted. When therefore the King and Parliament 21 H. 8. forbid any more such Bulls to be obtained from Rome, and ap­pointed them to be granted by the Arch­bishops of the several Provinces; they did not confer any new power on the Archbishops, but only restored to them their original Power; the exercise of which had been long interrupted by Papal Usur­pation.

From what I have said, it will be easie to answer a scruple, which some have rai­sed, viz. That neither a Papal Dispensation before the Statute 21 H. 8. nor an Archie­piscopal Dispensation since, could satisfie any Pluralist or Non-resident in point of conscience, where there is not a just and sufficient cause: Because such a Dispensa­tion [Page 128] is against the chief design of the Laws made against them before that Sta­tute, and now against the chief design of that Statute also. It hath been already proved, that both Plurality and Non-residence are made unlawful only jure hu­mano; so that if they be dispensed with by the same authority, the Conscience is fully satisfied. The Division and Setling of Parishes was first formed, by the Authori­ty of the several Diocesans; and from them alone proceeded the Obligation to Resi­dence and Singularity of Benefices: So that to them de jure communi belonged the power of dispensing with both, till it was appropriated to the Pope in the Late­ran Council, and in England to the Arch­bishops by the Statute 21 H. 8. In the case therefore of a Dispensation granted, by the Ordinary before the Lateran Council, by the Pope after it, and by the Archbishops since the Statute, the obli­gation, as to such particular persons, is relaxed and annulled, by the same Autho­rity by which it was imposed. As for the opposition of Dispensations to the chief design of the Canons and Laws made against Plurality and Non-residence; the design of a Law is no more to be taken from the former, than from the latter part [Page 129] of it. It can never be said, that any Law did either chiefly or secondarily de­sign to oblige those whom it doth parti­cularly except from its obligation. Sup­pose a Law should be made to oblige all adult persons, except Clergymen, to take up arms upon some urgent occasion: Should the Clergy notwithstanding this exemption, esteem themselves obliged in conscience by the Law, to take up arms, only because the general design of the Law was, that all adult persons should enter into arms? Certainly in no Law, was the former part ever known to annul the lat­ter, altho the latter may restrain and qua­lifie the former.

It is to be observed, that in all the Constitutions and Decrees made against Pluralities, which have been already reci­ted, no difference is made between Plura­lity of Bishopricks, Prebends, Archdeacon­ries, or any other Ecclesiastical prefer­ments, and Plurality of Benefices with cure of Souls; the same Prohibition lieth a­gainst both. So the third Council of Lateran, Supra. Can. 13. Quia nonnulli Dignitates diversas Ecclesiasticas, &c. and the 4th Council of Lateran, Can. 29. In eâdem Ecclesiâ nullus plures Dignitates aut Perso­natus habere praesumat, &c. Nay many Ca­nons [Page 130] do peculiarly concern these, which relate not to Parochial cures: as the De­cree of the Council of Winchester in the year 1076.Conc. Ang. T. 2 p. 12. Nulli liceat duobus Episcopati­bus praesidere; which was made against the ill example of Stigand, who with the Bishoprick of the South-Saxons, held that of the East-Angles, and afterwards, Win­chester with Canterbury. After this Ca­non, no Bishoprick was held in England with another in Commendam, till Cardinal Wolsey; Yet since the Reformation we have seen several examples of it. In the Legatine Constitutions of Othobon all man­ner of Commendams are strictly forbidden; yet nothing is now more ordinary.Ibid. p. 281. In the 12th Canon of the Council of West­minster held in the year 1126.Ibid. p. 34. it is for­bidden: Ne uni personae in Ecclesia diversi tribuantur honores, that different Dignities in the Church be not given to one per­son. Yet now one Person is sometimes a Bishop, an Archdeacon and a Parish Priest. Nay (which formerly would have been accounted monstrous) a Parish Priest in the Diocess of another Bishop: In other per­sons we see the Dignities of a Dean, Arch­deacon, Prebendary and Parish Priest uni­ted. In the eighth Canon of the Council of Westminster held in the year 1127.Ibid. p. 36 it [Page 131] was forbid under an anathema to hold plu­rality of Archdeaconries: Vt nullus Ar­chidiaconus in diversis Episcopatibus diver­sos Archidiaconatus teneat, sub anathemate prohibemus. Yet our time hath afforded many examples of the contrary, and no censure put upon them. In the Council of Lateran it is forbid to the Canons of Ca­thedral or Collegiate Churches, to hold the cure of a Parish-Church together with their Canonry. Pope Honorius III. first allowed them to augment their Prebends, with the perpetual annexation of Parochial Churches, reserving a competent stipend to the Curates. All these Canons are securely broken, and no exclamation made; only because in the Statute 21 H. 8. concerning Pluralities, no mention is made of Bishopricks, and Preferments without cure of Souls; altho that Sta­tute doth not in the least annul the obli­gation of the ancient Canons concerning them, which still remain in their full force; as was adjudged in the case of Goodman Dean of Wells, [...] 273. p. 35. who 20 years after the making of that Statute, was by virtue of the 29th Canon of the fourth Council of Lateran, deprived of his Dea­nery, because he had accepted the Prebend of Wiveliscomb in the same Church.

[Page 132] As the prohibition of Plurality was extended equally to all Ecclesiastical Pre­ferments; so also the obligation to Resi­dence was, both by the design of the several foundations, and by the Decrees of the Church, no more required of one than of the other; nay required much more strictly of Bishops, Archdeacons, and Prebendaries, than of Parochial Priests. The necessity of Episcopal residence for the benefit and convenience of the Diocess, and the conformity of it to the first de­sign of the institution of their Order, cannot be called in question. In the Church of England they were commanded to reside and celebrate personally at their Cathedral Churches, by the Provincial Constitutions of Edmund Archbishop of Canterbury, Conc Angl. T. 2. p 227. made in the Synod of London in the year 1237. Cap. 22. Archiepiscopi & Episcopi moram trahentes apud Cathedrales Ecclesias, con­gruenter ibidem Missas celebrent. In the Legatine Constitutions of Othobon they are said to be obliged to personal residence both by Divine and by Ecclesiastical right. Episcopi ad personalem residentiam circa gregem Domini sibi commissum tam Divinis quàm Ecclesiasticis praecept is noscuntur astri­cti. Conc. Angl. T. 2. p 277. Forty years after this Archbishop Peckham renewed the injunction, and to [Page 133] some Bishops, who would not reside, ap­pointed Coadjutors. For Archdeacons, the design of their institution was, that they should be the eye of the Bishop; that they should personally visit all the Clergy of the Diocess every year; that they should diligently enquire into the behaviour of them, examine the state of all the Parochial Churches, and signifie the faults or defects of both to the Bi­shop. An institution, which, if duly main­tained and executed, as the Canons direct, would contribute more to the establish­ment of good Order and Discipline in the Church and Clergy, than all the little projects of private persons. For the dis­charge of this Duty, Archdeacons were jure communi obliged to perpetual residence; and when that was slighted, the obligation was enforced by many Canons and Con­stitutions; and at last it was forbidden to them to exact or receive Procurations from any Churches which they did not personally visit. So the Constitutions of Peter Quivil Bishop of Exeter, cap. 40. (and to the same purpose are the Decrees of several Provincial Councils in England) Singulis Archidiaconis praecipimus, Ibid. p. 3 [...] ut ab Ecclesiis, quando personaliter non visitant, Procurationes exigere vel percipere non prae­sumant. [Page 134] As for Prebendaries, it is noto­rious, that it was the design of the foun­dation and endowment of Cathedral and Collegia [...]e Churches, that they should attend the service of them: and this ob­ligation was ever esteemed much stricter, than that of residence upon Parochial cures, till the middle of the 13th Age.Hi [...]t. Con­cil. [...]ident. p. 217. If we may believe Father Paul (an Author much admired by the enemies of Plurali­ties) Canons of Churches were first requi­red by Papal Constitutions to reside, when other beneficed Clerks were left at liber­ty. Certainly it conduceth more to the interest, honour and support of Religion in general; and the good of the whole Diocess in particular, that according to the design of those Foundations, ten or more Pre [...]endaries, persons of extraordi­nary merit and knowledge (as they are supposed, and ought to be) should con­stantly attend at the Cathedral Church, seated in the chief City of the Diocess; to see the publick Worship of God performed with decent solemnity, to instruct the in­habitants of a populous City, and to ad­vise the Bishop upon all occasions: than that ten little Country Villages should be supplied by the constant personal atten­dance of the Incumbents of their Churches. [Page 135] Formerly therefore, no doubt was made that they were more strictly obliged to attend the service of the Cathedral, than any Incumbents were to attend the cure of Parochial Churches: insomuch as when they had so far relaxed the obligation of their duty in the tenth Age, as to pretend to execute it sometimes by Substitutes or Curates, the Kings and great Persons of England would not endure it: which the Monks taking advantage of in the time of King Edgar, supplanted the Secular Canons, and caused them to be ejected out of many Cathedral and Collegiate Churches. The crime alledged by Edgar and the Monks against them, as a reason of their ejection, was that they did not execute their duty personally, but per vi­carios. For some time after this, it was thought the indispensable duty of all Pre­bendaries to give constant attendance upon the Cathedral Church, either per se or per alium; which obligation continued very long in the Church of England; insomuch as frequent examples can be given of Co­adjutors assigned to Prebendaries,Vid. Regi­str Peck­him, sol. 159. when by old age, sickness, or any infirmity they were disabled from personal attendance upon the service of the Church to which they belonged. Which custom continued [Page 136] at least until the year 1300. All the abovementioned Canons, Constitutions, and jus commune of the Church, concern­ing the Residence of Bishops and Arch­deacons, remain still in their full force. (The Case of Prebendaries is altred, by par­ticular Local Statutes, and by later Eccle­siastical Constitutions.) And to the resi­dence of Archdeacons and Prebendaries a new obligation is added by the Statute 21 H. 8.Cap. 13. concerning Residence, which includes every spiritual person promoted to any Archdeaconry, Deanery or Dignity in any Monastery or Cathedral, or other Church Conventual or Collegiate, as well as Beneficed with any Parsonage or Vicarage.

To manifest yet more fully, that it was never the design of the Church, in the first institution of Parochial Cures, that they should in all cases be supplied by the Incumbent in person, I will add this observation, That from the first beginning of Parechial cures, Deacons were admit­ted to possess them, al [...]ho it were notori­ous that they could not execute the Office personally, since they could neither absolve penitents, nor celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist. For if we look upon the ancient Church of France (by the example of which we have often observed the mo­del [Page 137] of our Church to have been framed) there Presbyters and Deacons were alike capable of enjoying Benefices.Capitular▪ T. 1. p. 154. So the tenth Canon of the French National Council, held by Boniface the Popes Legate in the year 744. Quando Presbyteri vel Diaconi per Parochias constituuntur, oportet eos Episcopo suo professionem facere; and in the Capitu­lars it is decreed, That a Priest or Deacon who forsakes his Church, L. 6. c. 59. Ibid p. 932. and takes another, shall be deposed. If we enquire particu­larly into the custom of the Church of England in this matter, there the same practice did obtain; insomuch as that it was ordered in the Council of Westminster, Con. Angl. T. 2. p 34. in the year 1126, Can. 8. that none should be ordained Priest or Deacon, but to some Title either of Benefice or Pre­bend. Nullus in Presbyterum seu Diaconum, nisi ad certum titulum ordinetur. Indeed John Peckham Archbishop of Canterbury, Ib. p. 328. in the Council held at Lambeth in the year 1280. decreed, That all Rectors of Churches having cure of Souls, should cause themselves to be promoted to the Order of Priesthood within a year; and that for the future none should be admitted to the cure of Souls, nisi promotus ad Sacerdotium, but a Priest, upon pain of Deprivation. However it is manifest, that this Constitution never did [Page 138] obtain in the Church. For Deacons were all along allowed to possess Benefices, un­til the late Act of Vniformity; being only obliged to receive the Order of Priesthood, when their Age would permit, and the Bishop should require it.

To the same purpose it may be obser­ved, That it was always allowed to Prin­ces and Great Persons, to retain Chaplains in their Service, and in their Family, who might possess Benefices conferred on them by their Patrons, and consequently must supply the cure of them by Substitutes. The Order of Domestick Chaplains in the Families and [...] Retinues of Great Men is neither any innovation, nor corruption in the Church, as some would fancy. For the Capitular of Karloman, Capitular. T. [...]. p. 146. made in a full Synod in the year 742. directs, Cap. 2. That every Governour should have a Priest with him: Vnusquisque Praefectus unum Presbyterum secum habeat. And in the first Capitular of Charles the Great, Ib. p. 369. made in the year 802. it is ordered Cap. 21. That the Priests and other Clergymen living in the service of the Counts, should be sub­ject to the Bishop according to the Canons. Presbyteros ac caeteros Canonicos, quos Co­mites suis in ministeriis habent, omnino eos Episcopis suis subjectos exhibeant, ut cano­nica [Page 139] institutio jubet. In England, in the Saxon times, Plegmund, Ethelnoth and Edsi were promoted from Domestick Chaplains of the King to the Archbishoprick of Can­terbury, and Stigand from Domestick Chaplain of Count Harold to the Bishop­rick of the East-Angles. In Wales the same practice was received early. For in the Laws of Howel Dha made in the year 940. it is provided,Lex 3. Conc. Ang. T. [...]. p. 409. that in the progresses of the King and his Court, lodgings for the Chaplain and Clerks of the King shall be taken up at the house of the Parish-Priest; and so also for the Chaplain of the Queen. In truth, if men would judge without prejudice, it must be acknowledged, That it is more for the interest of the Church and of Religion in general, that men of eminent learning and prudence should at­tend in the Courts of Princes and Noble­men, to admonish, instruct, and advise them, their relations and dependants, in matters of Religion and publick concern; than that the same persons should be obliged to attend personally upon the in­struction of a few rusticks; who may learn as much as they are capable of, from the meanest Curate. As for Archbishops and Bishops, Chaplains are yet more ne­cessary to them, to be subservient to them [Page 140] in the government of the Church. And this the Commons of England were so sensible of, that in the Petition made in Parliament 2 H. 4. against Pluralities and Non-residence, they excepted the Chap­lains of Archbishops and Bishops, as was before said. And for the Kings of our Nation, their design in the munificent en­dowment of Churches, was as well to provide fit rewards for able persons em­ployed in their own service, as to provide persons for the service of those Churches. Formerly therefore, while the Laity were either wholly unlettered, or given to a Military life, the King made use of the Service of Clergymen in all the Offices of the Chancery, Privy-Seal, Secretary, in all Courts of Justice, and in Embassies: And if Clergymen had not then been permitted to serve the King herein, none of these Offices could have been duly exe­cuted. The service of these Clergymen the King rewarded with Benefices and Ecclesiastical Preferments; and for the re­ward of the Masters and Clerks in Chan­cery, fixed many Advowsons in the gift of the Lord Chancellour or Keeper for the time being; which still continue, altho the reason of it hath long since ceased.

[Page 141] To return to the History of Pluralities, after the power of dispensing with them was taken from the Bishops, and fixed wholly in the Pope by the Lateran Coun­cil: no further care or decency was ob­served therein, but within 60 years they grew so enormous, as not to be defended. This the Mendicant Friers, who in the intermediate time arose and multiplied, made great use of in their exclamations against the Secular Clergy, and by it made them odious. One of this Order, John Peckham being promoted to the Archbishoprick of Canterbury, applied himself with great zeal to overthrow these Pluralities. For which end he made a Canon in the Council of Reading in the year 1279.Conc. Angl. T. 2. p. 320. that all Benefices, held by one Clergyman without a Papal Dispensation, should be void except the last: and that all Clergymen who should hereafter re­ceive more Benefices than one, without a Papal Dispensation, Seu titulo institutionis, seu commendationis, seu custodiae, should be ipso facto deprived of all, and incur the sentence of Excommunication. Afterwards in the heat of opposition, he proceeded so far, as to inveigh against all Plurality of Benefices as a mortal sin; and in the Council of Lambeth in the year 1281.Ib. p. 340▪ af­ter [Page 142] a long invection against the sin of Plurality, admonished Primò, secundo & tertiò omnes hujusmodi pluralitatem damna­biliter occupantes, that they should within six months, freely and absolutely resign all their Benefices, except one, into the hands of their Diocesan. For disobedi­ence to this injunction or admonition, he refused to confirm John de la More elected to the Bishoprick of Winchester, and John de Kirkby elected to the Bishoprick of Rochester; and notwithstanding all ap­peals and opposition, annulled their E­lections, ob crimen pluralitatis; and cau­sed the one to renounce the right of his Election, and the other to be rejected in the Court of Rome, to which he had appealed. The principle indeed, upon which he did proceed, was false; but the enormity of Pluralities was at that time so great, that it became the care of an Archbishop to oppose and reform it. I will produce the example of a score of Pluralists, who all died while he sat Arch­bishop; that from thence it may be judged, how different the case then was, from that which now obtains in the Church of England.

[Page 143] Bogo de Clare held thirteen Benefices with cure of Souls in the Province of Can­terbury, Ex Regi­stro Win­chelse. f. 34. & Pat. 22. E. [...]. in Tur­ri London. beside several Prebends: But all this was inconsiderable to what he held in the Province of York; in which his Spiritual Preferments did, according to the tax of those times, amount to the yearly value of 1980 Marks; as ap­pears by a Certificate of the Archbishop of York, in the Register of the Church of York.

Galfridus Haspal died possessed of fifteen Benefices in the Province of Canter­bury.

Radulphus Fremingham held nine Bene­fices in the same Province.

Malcolmus de Harle held five Benefices in the same Province.

Henricus Sampson held six Benefices in so many several Diocesses of the same Pro­vince.

Adam de Stratton died possessed of twen­ty three Benefices in the same Province.

Adam de Walton held seven Benefices in the same Province.

Petrus de Wynch held eight Benefices in the same Province.

Adam Pain died possessed of fourteen Benefices in the same Province.

[Page 144] Hugo de la Penne held seven Benefices in the same Province.

Willelmus Brumton died possessed of ten Benefices in the same Province.

Rogerus de la Ley held seven Benefices in the same Province, beside several Arch­deaconries and Prebends.

Rogerus Barret held six Benefices in the same Province.

Willelmus de Monteforti held eight Be­nefices in the same Province.

Robertus de Drayton held seven Benefi­ces in the same Province.

Willelmus de Percy held eight Benefices in both Provinces.

Hugo de Cressingham held nine Bene­fices.

Ricardus de Hengham held fourteen Be­ne [...]ices.

Johannes Clarel held fifteen Benefices.

Hugo de Clos held fourteen Benefices.

By the vigorous opposition made to these extravagant Pluralities by Archbi­shop Peckham, some Reformation seems to have been made. for when Pope Vr­ban V.Con [...]. Angl. T. 2. p. 612. in a Bull dated 1365. May 5. after a long invection against Pluralities, com­manded the names of all the Pluralists in England to be transmitted to him (not that he intended to reform the abuse, but [Page 145] only to squeeze money from them) the Plurality of those times was found to con­sist, not so much in Benefices with cure of Souls, as in Prebends of Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, of which there was then a far greater number than remains now in England. Yet the Pope in his Bull makes no difference between Plurali­ty of Spiritual Promotions with or with­out cure of Souls, but taxeth both alike. I have seen the return made to the Pope, of all the Pluralists residing at that time in or about London; wherein (if my me­mory fails me not) I observed no great number of Benefices with cure of Souls held by one man; but many examples of great number of Prebends held by one person. Among whom is William de Wick­ham, who held thirteen Prebends and Dig­nities in so many several Churches, and but one Benefice with cure of Souls, in the Province of Canterbury. For by this time almost all the Prebends and Arch­deaconries of England, were got into the hands of Canonists, who quickly found out subtle distinctions, quirks and devices, whereby to evade the obligation of per­sonal constant residence upon their Digni­ties. As for Benefices with cure of Souls, more were then held by several men, than [Page 146] is now allowed in the Church of England. Whether Pluralities continued in the same state till the Reformation; whether in the intermediate time they increased or de­creased, I cannot certainly affirm; but suppose it not unlikely, that as the cor­ruptions of the Court of Rome granting Dispensations grew daily more exorbitant, so less shame or modesty was observed by her, in giving enormous Dispensations of this kind; and just before the Reforma­tion, flourished in England a more mon­strous Pluralist, than was ever known be­fore, that is, Cardinal Wolsey, who with the Archbishoprick of York, held two Bishopricks and the best Abbey of Eng­land.

In the beginning of the Reformation in England, the Papal Power being abolished by Act of Parliament; it was found ne­cessary to invest the power of granting Dispensation of Plurality in some person. For this purpose the Statute 21 H. 8. was made, which restored to the Prelates of the Church their original power of dispen­sing herein, long since taken from them by Papal usurpation; only restored it not to every Ordinary to be executed in his own Diocess, as was formerly; but fixed it wholly in the Archbishop of the Pro­vince [Page 147] In this Act, the 29th Canon of the fourth Lateran Council is confirmed in relation to Benefices with cure of Souls; viz. That if such a second Benefice be ta­ken without Dispensation, it shall void the first. Then the power and manner of Dispensation is declared and appointed; and the persons named who shall be ca­pable of receiving such a Dispensation: that is, all Chaplains of the King, Queen and Royal Family; eight Chaplains of every Archbishop, six of a Duke or Bi­shop, five of a Marquess or Earl, four of a Vicount, three of a Baron, Lord Chan­cellour and Knight of the Garter, two of a Dutchess, Marchioness, Countess or Baroness being Widows; one of the Chief Justice of the Kings Bench, and Warden of the Cinque-ports: all Brothers and Sons of Temporal Lords and Knights; all Doctors and Batchelors of Divinity or of the Ca­non Law, who shall be admitted to any of those Degrees by either of the Univer­sities. These are the only persons ca­pable of receiving Dispensation, but as yet they have no right to claim it: that is to be acquired by their particular merit, of which the Archbishop is made the sole Judge. After all, no more than two Be­nefices are allowed to be dispensed with, [Page 148] except only in one case; that is, when any of the Kings Chaplains are sworn of the Kings Council; such being made capable of receiving a Dispensation for three Be­nefices; a case which perhaps never hap­pened to any except Dr. Wotton: and I am not assured whether he took the ad­vantage of it. As for Secretary Boxall and some others in Queen Mary's time, when the Popes dispensing power was revived, they are not to be accounted for.

When such a Dispensation is, in virtue of this Act, granted to any one, both the Grant if self and the C [...]nons of the Church limit the use of it; that so neither of the Benefices therein personally united, may receive any de [...]riment, either in spiritual or mixt matters. The 41th Canon of the Synod held at London in the year 1603. directs. That no Dispensation for keeping more Benefices with cure than one, shall be granted to any, but such only as shall be thought very well worthy for his learning, and very well able and sufficient to discharge his duty, &c. Provided always, that he be by a good and sufficient caution bound, to make his personal Residence in each his said Benefices, for some reasonable time in every year; and that the said Benefices be [Page 149] no more than 30 miles distant asunder; and lastly, that he have under him, in the Be­nefice where he doth not reside, a Preacher lawfully allowed, that is able sufficiently to teach and instruct the people. The form of the Dispensation, which hath been al­ways used since the Reformation, begins with a supposal of the great merits of the person to whom it is granted, and af­terwards adds these Conditions. Provi­ded alway, that in each of the aforesaid Churches, as well that from which you shall be absent for the greater part, as the other, in which you shall make perpetual and per­sonal residence, you preach thirteen Sermons every year, according to the Constitutions of the Church of England in that case set forth, and therein handle the holy Word of God sincerely, religiously and reverently: and that in the same Benefice from which you shall be chiefly absent, you keep hospita­lity for two months every year, and in that time entertain and relieve the inhabitants of the same Parish, especially the poor and needy, in proportion to the profits and reve­nues of the Benefice. Provided also always, that the cure of that Church from which you shall be chiefly absent, be in the mean time well supplied in all things by some fit Mi­nister, able to explain and interpret the Prin­ciples [Page 150] of the Christian Religion, and to preach the Word of God to the people, if the reve­nues of the said Church can coveniently maintain such a Curate; and that a com­petent and sufficient Salary, to be limited and appointed by the Bishop of that place according to his discretion, or by us or our Successours, in case the Diocesan Bishop shall not do his duty herein, be given and paid bonâ side to the said Curate. Herein it is to be observed, That altho no more than two months Residence, upon the Benefice less frequented, be expressed, yet thirteen Sermons are injoyned to be preached yearly at it; which being not ordinarily to be performed in distant Parishes (as for contiguous Parishes the Pluralist may re­side constantly upon both in an Ecclesia­stical sense) without the residence of as many weeks, I have for that reason often said in this Discourse, that a Pluralist is bound to reside three months in every year upon that Benefice which he less frequent­eth.

I have now finished the History of Pa­rochial Foundations and Pluralities in this Nation; and now dare to appeal to the judgment of the Reader, whether the granting of such Pluralities, as are now [Page 151] allowed, be against the first design of the foundation and endowment of Parochial Churches. I fear the same judgment will not be passed concerning some other Cases, which have been incidentally mention [...]d; as, of the Residence of Bishops at their Ca­thedral Churches, which for the greater good of their Diocesses, the Council of London held under Archbishop Lanfranc commanded to be translated to the princi­pal Cities of their Diocesses; of the obli­gation of Prebendaries and Archdeacons to constant Residence; of the incompati­bility of two such Dignities; of the un­lawfulness of holding Commendams in ano­ther Diocess, or being translated from one Diocess to another. All these cases were manifested to be consonant to the first de­sign of the Foundation and Endowments of Cathedral Churches; yet contrary pra­ctices are introduced, and no exclamation made against them. Other like cases might be named; as,Extr▪ de Testam. cap. Cumin off. as, that formerly Cler­gymen, if they had proper possessions sufficient to maintain them, should receive no allowance from the Church; that they were bound to spend all in hospitality and alms, or bequeath what remained to the Church, whence they got their money or possessions. Many of these old customs [Page 152] may be agreeable to the first design of the endowment of the Church; yet not ne­cessary, and some of them not fit to be continued. If any of them do deserve to be revived; they are such as may be effected by the old Laws still in force; and want no new Laws, but only the pleasure of Superiours, to put them in execution.

But supposing Plurality to have been against the first design of Parochial insti­tution and endowment; what wonder is it, that Ecclesiastical Ordinances of hu­mane institution, should in the compass of 1100 years change and deviate from their first design; when Civil Ordinances do so often change, and therewith some­times force a change of Ecclesiastical Con­stitutions, as must necessarily happen in all mixt cases. It is notorious, that in the first design of Parochial Cures, no Quare impedit could be brought against a Bi­shop; that formerly the persons and goods of Clergymen were not subject to the ju­risdiction or cognisance of Laymen; that all Estates and Possessions granted by the Crown to Laymen were in consideration of Military or other Service to be paid by them; that no Taxes could be impo­sed on the Clergy but by themselves in [Page 153] Convocation; that all Tithes were given, and appropriations of them made for the maintenance of Clergymen, or at least for religious uses; that no place was ex­empted from the Jurisdiction of the Or­dinary by the first institution (which re­mained intire till the end of the eleventh Age) that the direction of the Kings Con­science in deciding Matters of Equity, that is, the execution of the Office of Chancellour, belonged wholly to the Clergy. In all these and many other ca­ses, which might be produced, the first design is wholly changed; and yet no such vehement accusation is brought against the innovations. Perhaps some of these old Institutions may, by the change of circumstances of times, deserve to have been changed; and the change to be con­tinued. For altho it be in many things a good rule to reduce matters to their first institution, yet it is not always so. In the first Institution all things were adapted to such circumstances of other things as then obtained; and if in length of time the latter change, reason will direct the former to be changed with them. But it is enough to shew that derivation from the first design is not always blamable, [Page 154] and that the charge of it lyeth equally against many other cases, which yet are not blamed. I need not add any more concerning this head; since I have shew­ed, that the permission of Pluralities is not contrary to the first design of the division and endowment of Parishes.


IT remains in the third place to be ma­nifested, That the use of Pluralities, as now practised, is not inconvenient to the Church. These inconveniencies as they are urged and exaggerated by the oppugners of Pluralities (more particu­larly by a worthy Gentleman, who calls himself the The Parsons Counsellor, Par. 1. c. 4. & 7. and by an eminent Author, whose Character and Worth I reverence too much to name him in this place) may be reduced to these four heads: Neglect of the Cure of Souls; Dilapidations; Disuse of Hospita­lity and Alms; and Scandal.

For the first, it is affirmed, The words of the lat­ter Author are inclu­ded in un­cis. That Plu­ralities are prejudicial to the advancement of Christian Religion; that there are ma­ny Pluralists in England, that hardly see either of their Livings in a Year; that almost all the greatest and best Livings in the Kingdom are now held by Plura­lists, and served by mean Curates; that hereby many poor Souls are neglected in [Page 156] danger to perish; that in many places two great Parishes are left to the care of two Boys, that came but the other day from School, and perhaps fitter to be there still; while the Shepherd that takes the fleece, either feasts it out in his Lords family, or takes his ease upon a Prebend or Deane­ry: That it is no other than [Hiring out the Sacred Trust to pitiful Mercena­ries at the cheapest rate; that it is a thing of high scandal for one to receive the Fees, and commit the Work to the care of some inferiour or raw Practitioner;] that no Clergyman can with conscience expect his dues from his Parishioners, that doth not perform his duty in the first place.

For the second, it is alledged, That Non-residence and Dilapidations for the most part go hand in hand; that you shall sel­dom see a Non-resident, but he is also a Di­lapidator.

For the third, it is pretended, That one end of the Law of Residence 21 H. 8. was to maintain Hospitality; that every Clergyman ought to remember, that the poor have a share in the Tithes with him. For which purpose the Decree of Pope Sylvester concerning the quadripartite, [Page 157] and of King Alfred concerning the tri­partite division of the Goods of the Church are produced. That generally the best Livings of the Kingdom are ser­ved with poor Curates, and no Hospitali­ty kept.

In the last place, it is urged, That [those who are guilty of such disorder, have much to answer for the reproach they have brought on this Church, and on the Sacred Function by their ill practises; that these are things of so crying a na­ture, that no wonder if the Wrath of God be ready to break out upon us: that these are abuses, that even the Church of Rome, after all her impudence is ashamed of; and are at this day generally discountenanced all France over: that it is an inexcusable fault, and a scandal that may justly make us blush: that all the honest Prelates at the Council of Trent] the greater and better number of the Prelates and Fathers in that Council, endeavoured to suppress it: that the Pope formerly gave frequent Dispensations to take Pluralities without number or measure; and that thereby in this Kingdom many Bishopricks, Abbies, Priories, &c were enjoyed (viz. the pro­fits [Page 158] of them) by Foreigners, who never saw them, or took any care of their du­ties; that it is not much better now: nay, that the grievance is now become as great as ever, and deserves a new and stricter Reformation: that we are now in a far worse condition than before the making this Act (21 H. 8.) for that Dispensations from Rome were costly, came slowly, being far to fetch: that there is ten Dispensations for Pluralities now, for one then; and few of those dispensed with were Non-resident upon both Livings as now they be: that it is scandalous for Clergymen to appear worldly minded or greedy of riches, &c.

In these Objections the Author first mentioned hath affirmed many things, which are downright false; in other things hath betrayed a gross ignorance. The other Author is a person of too great worth and learning, to be guilty either of fraud or ignorance; but only hath suffered himself to be herein transported, with too much heat and zeal, before he well con­sidered the Case. So that wheresoever in the following Answers I shall charge fraud or ignorance upon the Objections, I desire it may be referred to the first Objector only.

[Page 159] For a general Answer to these Obje­ctions, it may be observed, that neither a neglect of the Cure of Souls, of Cha­rity and Hospitality, nor Dilapidations, nor the Scandal consequent to any of these faults, are a necessary consequence of Plurality. If no Clergymen posses­sing one Benefice were Non-resident, and in that sense neglected the cure of Souls; if none of them were guilty of Dilapi­dations, Inhospitality, &c. and upon that account scandalous: or if all Pluralists were guilty of these disorders; then all such faults might be justly charged up­on Plurality. But if many Clergymen possessing but one Benefice, are Non-re­dent, uncharitable and dilapidators; and if many Pluralists do reside at one Li­ving for the greater part, and at the o­ther for some considerable part of the year; and do neither dilapidate, nor neglect alms or hospitality; it must be acknowledged, that such faults are not the necessary consequences of Plurality, but of the vicious and depraved nature of some men, which would continue and exert it self, as well in the posses­sion of one Benefice, as of two: As a [Page 160] bad man will be so, whether he liveth at London or at York, or at both places. Such therefore are meerly personal faults, and cannot without fraud be charged upon Plurality.

For a particular Answer to the first Objection, I affirm, That the Cure of Souls is not neglected by Plurality. For in all cases of Plurality, the Pluralist ei­ther personally supplies the cure of both Livings, and in an Ecclesiastical sense re­sideth upon both, being so near to either as to be personally conversant among them, and always at hand to satisfie extraordinary occasions; or if the grea­ter distance of the Livings will not per­mit this, one of them is supplied by a Curate. If he be Non-resident from both, that is a case for which I am no more obliged to answer, than such are, who possessing but one Benefice reside not at it. And of this sort there are a much greater number, than of those who pos­sessing two Benefices, reside at neither. Where two Benefices not contiguous are possest by one man, we acknowledge that one of them must be supplied by a Curate; and that to supply a Benefice [Page 161] by a Curate is not unlawful, was before largely proved. Besides the Pluralist him­self is obliged to reside at that Benefice, which he less frequenteth, at least three months every year; and if he doth not perform this obligation, his Superiour is to be blamed, who permits it. All this while, it must be remembred, that I ac­count not for such cases, where the In­cumbent is absolutely Non-resident, ei­ther for his health, or because he is em­ployed by the King, or in any publick Station, or liveth in the Family of his Lord, or attendeth the Service of the Church, in general by prosecuting his studies elsewhere, or the service of any Cathedral of which he is a member. All these Cases are incident as well to Una­lists as Pluralists, and more frequent in them; so that it concerns the one as well as the other to defend them; it being unreasonable that the Pluralist should be obliged alone to defend the [...]ault com­mon to both, if it be indeed a fault. This Caution will throw off all those Ex­clamations against Pluralists, of neglect­ing poor souls; of serving the best Li­vings by mean Curates; of the Shep­herds taking the Fleece, and feasting it [Page 162] out elsewhere; of hiring out the Sacred Trust to Mercenaries; of committing it to raw Practitioners, to Boys, &c. For all this let them answer, who supply their one Benefice by a Curate; and what they shall alledge for themselves, a Pluralist may much better apply to his Case, who resides nine months at one Living, and three at the other, as the Canon requireth. But yet, not to dismiss the Objectors thus; why must all Curates be esteemed pitiful Mercenaries? If because they supply the Cure for a certain sum of money; that name may be as well fixed upon all Incumbents themselves, who receive Titles to be converted into money; but especially up­on all the Clergy of the City of Lon­don, whose Stipends are fixed by Act of Parliament, and paid in money. The way of making Curates odious, by fix­ing such a name upon them, may pass with unthinking men; but by the same reason, the Enemies of the Church may call all Clergymen, and even the Bi­shops themselves, Mercenaries. Further, why must all Curates be accounted piti­ful Mercenaries, Boys, fitter to be kept still at School, and raw Practitioners? Ma­ny [Page 163] persons now of great rank and cha­racter in the Church, have been Cu­rates; nay far the greater part of the present Incumbents were once Curates; and of the present Curates, many are persons of great worth and learning, most of them very well fitted to direct and in­struct such Country-Parishes, as are com­mitted to their care: And if all be not such, it is not the fault of the Pluralist, but of the Bishop who ordains them, or allows them. Not a few of them are older and better Practitioners than the Incumbent himself; and then, instead of an high Scandal, it is an high benefit to the Church, for one to receive the Fees and another to supply the Cure. If it be asked, with what conscience in that case the Incumbent can receive the pro­fits; it may be as well asked, with what conscience a Landlord can receive rent from any husbandman, who bears the whole labour and charge of tilling the ground; or with what conscience a Bi­shop can receive the profits of his Bi­shoprick, who committeth the exercise of almost all his Jurisdiction to Lay-Chan­cellours and Officials; or with what con­science an Incumbent can receive the pro­fits [Page 164] of his Chappels of ease, which are necessarily served by Curates; or with what concience either B [...]shop or Layman can receive the profits of an Impropria­tion, which were originally given for the discharge of the cure of that Church. I do not hereby in [...]inuate, that any of these cases are unlawful; but maintain, that if it be unlawful for an Incumbent to receive the profits, because the Cure is discharged by another, it will be dif­ficult to defend these and such other ca­ses.

As for the charge of hiring out this Sa­cred Trust to Mercenaries at the cheapest rate: I am sorry to see a mistake of that nature. The allowance generally made to Curates is very large and plentiful; and if it be not so, it is the fault of the Bi­shop, in whose power it is to fix the Sti­pend. And for expecting dues from Pa­rishioners without performing personal du­ty, a Parsons Counsellour ought to know, that these dues are not the gift of the present Parishioners, but of the ancient Princes and Great Men of our Nation; and are held by as good a Title as any Lands or Estates in England, which all proceeded from the gift of the Crown at [Page 165] sometime or other. If it be said, that the former were given for personal Sacred Service; so were the latter given for per­sonal Military Service, which yet hath long since ceased to be paid: But after all, it is the effect of pure ignorance to imagine, that the endowments of the Clergy, were given for the personal per­formance only of Sacred Service by the proper Incumbents at those particular pla­ces, where the endowments are made; as was above sufficiently proved in the histo­rical part of this Treatise.

Lastly, That almost all the greatest and best Livings of England are now held by Pluralists (who hardly see either of their Livings in a year) and served by mean Curates; is no better than a calumny.

To the second Article, touching Dila­pidations, I only answer, That Dilapida­tion is no more incident to a Pluralist, than to an Unalist; and for this I appeal to Experience, as well as the Objector: and add, that where ever it is found, it is the fault of the Bishop and Arch­deacon, if it be not corrected and a­mended.

[Page 166] The third Objection is drawn from the neglect of Alms and Hospitality; and to this the former Answer might suffice, That Pluralists are no more guilty of this neglect, than Unalists. But because the Objection is popular, I will consider it somewhat further. It is said, that the Clergy are obliged by the design of the Act 21 H. 8. to maintain Hospitality: so were the Laity possessing the Lands of dissolved Abbies, not only by the design, but by the express words of the Act 31 H. 8. yet no such thing was ever done by them, nor required of them. It is added, that the Decree of Pope Sylve­ster directeth a fourth part of the goods of the Church to be given to the poor; but it is somewhat shameful for a Pro­fessor of the Law, to cite the Decrees of Pope Sylvester, as genuine, which were forged almost 500 years after his death. As to the Law of King Alfred; why are not those Laws as well produced, which direct a community of possessions in the Bishop and his Clergy, as in the first en­dowment of the Church? May that Cler­gyman be accursed, who doth not give Alms of that he hath, and maintain Ho­spitality [Page 167] among his Neighbours and Pa­rishioners according to his circumstances and ability: yet no man can, without great ignorance of the change of times, imagine the same obligation of alms and hospitality to continue in the Clergy, which was formerly. Before the Refor­mation, it was the humour of all orders of men in the Nation, to maintain an ef­fuse Hospitality (to which they were the more induced, by the great cheapness of all things consumable); and without it no Great man could keep up his Interest or Reputation. Now the Lay-Nobility and Gentry have wholly laid it aside, and if it could be continued by the Clergy, it would be accounted no other than Luxu­ry and Prodigality. Then it was a real Charity to make constant Feasts for the inferiour people, who lived very mean­ly and hardly. Now they generally live so well, that a good entertainment would very little oblige them, and would scarce be a work of Charity. Then the Re­venues of the Clergy were very great; no Taxes were imposed on them, but by themselves; the recovery of their rights and dues was easie, being left wholly to the decision of their own Courts; their [Page 168] Title for life was secure; what ever change in Government happened, they were un­disturbed; they were not obliged to make any provision for Posterity; and lastly little Learning was then required or expected of them, and consequently few Books necessary to them. On the contrary, since the Reformation, the far greater part of their Revenues have been taken away from them, and even of that little which remains, a great part is di­minished by prevailing modi decimandi; and after all it is often not to be obtained but by course of Law, and that taken out o [...] the hands of Ecclesiastical Judges in most cases of moment, and put into a long, costly, and difficult method; they are burdened with constant ordinary Taxes unknown to Laymen; in extraordinary Taxes they are generally forced to pay a much greater proportion than other men, who in some places oppress them as they please herein, without any remedy: con­cerning the insecurity of their Title, it is not necessary to say any thing, and the Law hath allowed them to bring up chil­dren for the service of the publick, and consequently to make a competent pro­vision for them; and lastly, a great mea­sure [Page 169] of Learning and Knowledge being be­come necessary to them, a much grea­ter number and variety of Books is now requisite, than was formerly to them. These considerations may perswade any reasonable man, that it is not just to ex­pect equal Alms and Hospitality, in the present as in the ancient Clergy. But af­ter all, Plurality is so far from obstruct­ing, that it increaseth both Charity and Hospitality in the Clergy; enabling them to perform both more freely and plenti­fully, than otherwise they could do; and that may be as well performed in the Benefice less frequented, as in the other. For there is no Benefice so rich, which a man may not, if he so pleaseth, expend wholly in Alms and Hospitality, in that three months residence, which the Canon requireth. As to matter of fact, that no such Residence is made, if it were true, it would be the fault of the Bishop, who doth not enforce the Pluralist to observe the terms of his Dispensation. But when it is generally affirmed, it is no more true, than that other charge, that no Hospitality is kept by Pluralists.

[Page 170] For the fourth Accusation, raised from the Scandals consequent to Plurality, there need no other answer, than that since all the disorders and inconveniencies, from which the supposed Scandal doth arise, are proved to be unjustly charged upon Plurality, the imputation of Scandal must fall to the ground.

If Plurality be neither unlawful in it self, nor contrary to the design of the endowment of Churches, nor the cause of any notable inconveniencies, as hath been largely proved; it cannot be the oc­casion of any Scandal to those who right­ly judge. It will indeed still be occasion of Scandal to such as have been deceived by the unjust exclamations, which have been made against it, and refuse to be un­deceived: but then the fault lyes wholly, not in the nature of the thing, but in the Authours of the Scandal, who represent an innocent practice of the Church as an inexcusable Scandal. If the Surplice and Cross be scandalous to any; those men only are to be blamed, who have perswa­ded the simple people, that they are un­lawful or superstitious. If the Confession of the Trinity be matter of Scandal to a [Page 171] Socinian, he must lay the whole blame upon his own understanding. The Church is not obliged to account for these things, nor to change her Doctrines, Ceremonies and received Practices, to please the hu­mour of brainsick men. However some­what must be particularly answered to that violent exclamation, whereby they pretend the practice of the Church of England herein, to be more corrupt and enormous, than it ever was before the Reformation, or now is in the Church of Rome. It is alledged, that the Church of Rome, after all her impudence, is ashamed of these abuses: yet it is well known, that the practice is continued and defended by her. The Example of France is produced against us; but I would fain know what abuse our Church hath in this kind, com­parable to their Commendatory Abbots? The opinion of the greater and better num­ber of the Prelates in the Council of Trent, is produced with ostentation against Plu­ralities; yet I make use of the same Hi­story of that Council,Pag. 252. and therein I find these words: The wiser sort of Prelates agreed uniformly to inhibit all, of what con­dition soever, to have more than three Be­fices. It is acknowledged, that the Pope [Page 172] formerly gave Dispensations for [...], without number or measure: and pre­sently added, that it is not much better now, nay far worse. Of the truth of this let every man judge. Our Church hath confined her Dispensations to the number of two Benefices, and the measure to the distance of 30 miles. The number is ne­ver exceeded; the distance very rarely, and that only when the Archbishops are over-ruled by an express command from Court, which hath not been done in late years.Hist. Counc. Trent, p. 251, 252. Father Paul could have told the Author of this Objection, that in the Church of Rome, 30 or 40 Benefices in divers places of Christendom were often united in favour of some one person; that Bishopricks were often given to men not having the Episcopal Order; and that Pope Clement VII. did in the year 1534 grant to this Nephew the Cardinal de Me­dicis, all the Benefices and Spiritual Pre­ferments of the whole Christian World, Secular and Regular, with and without cure, being vacant, for six months toge­ther. Or if these Examples will not sa­tisfie, let the Practice of Plurality in Arch­bishop Peckham's time (as it was before set down) be remembred. Will any one [Page 173] now say, that such exorbitancy of Plura­lities is now practised in our Church? Af­ter the conviction of this principal ar­ticle of accusation, it will not be necessary to pass on to the consutation of lesser mi­stakes; as that formerly in this Kingdom many Bishopricks and Abbies were injoyed by Foreigners, who never saw them: Whereas there never were in England above four such Bishops, and not one Abbot that I could ever find. That Dispensations were then few, because they must be had from Rome, came slowly, &c. whereas their Le­gates and Procurators here resident were wont to grant them. That there are ten Dispensations for Pluralities now for one then; which is affirmed without any proof or ground: and that few of those dispensed with, were Non-resident upon both their Li­vings, as now; whereas then Bishops and Noblemen were wont to retain in their Families five times as many Chaplains and Clergymen, as they do now.

The last occasion of Scandal pretended to be administred by Pluralities, is that it causeth the Clergy to appear worldly­minded; whereas they ought rather in imitation of the first Preachers of the Go­spel, to affect, or at least sit down con­tented [Page 174] with Poverty; that they ought only to propose to themselves the glory of God, and not their own interest; and that it is unevangelical to desire increase of possession. These Topicks appear very plausible indeed, and were therefore em­ployed against the Secular Clergy for­merly by the Mendicant Friers, and lately by their successours in hypocrisie the Puri­tans. Yet it was always observed of them, that they were more greedy of riches, and at the same time more sordid, than any other generation of men. Whether the Observation be not true of these also, let the world judge. But to come to the merits of the cause; it is a very fallacious argument, to infer from the Poverty and Simplicity of the first planters of the Go­spel, that their Successours ought to be so. It may with as much reason be de­duced from the community of possessions, which obtained among all Christians in the Apostolick times, that the goods of all Christians ought to be common now. In the beginning of Christianity, the Lai­ty as well as Clergy were generally poor:1 Cor. 1. 26. For not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble were called. Yet no man thinks it reasonable, that the Laity should be [Page 175] now concluded by this example. To the first Preachers of the Gospel, the Miracles wrought by them created a sufficient re­gard and reverence; but after the ceasing of Miracles, that was to be obtained to the Clergy by their Learning and Autho­rity, neither of which can be got or main­tained without competent riches. Cer­tainly God best understood what was fit to be done herein, when he founded the Church and State of the Jews: Yet he commanded the Clergy to be endowed far in proportion above the Laity. Where­as now, all that the Clergy desire, is that the small remaining part of what was an­ciently given to them, by the munifi­cence of our Princes; and which after all raiseth them not equal level with ingenu­ous persons of the Laity; should not be taken from them. The envy and malig­nity, wherewith almost all sorts of men look upon the possessions of the Clergy, is indeed unaccountable. It cannot be de­nied, that they are Englishmen and free­born Subjects as well as others, that they have the same Rights and Priviledges with others; that what they possess was given to them by the same Authority (if not greater) by which any Laymen hold [Page 176] their Estates; that out of their possessions they contribute as much as any others to the support of the publick, nay far more than any others in proportion; that they live as soberly and inoffensively (to say no more) as others do; yet a competent Estate invested in them, shall be envied and maligned, which in the most vicious Layman of the Nation would have escaped without envy or murmur. As if a man must be made incapable of all the com­forts and blessings of life, only because he peculiarly attends the publick Service of God, and instructs other men in piety and virtue. But it is pretended, that they are obliged by their profession to seek on­ly the glory of God, and to despise the riches of this World. All this other Chri­stians are obliged to do as well as they; to seek the glory of God in the first place, and to despise Riches, when they are not consistent with the preservation of Reli­gion. But to imagine, that a Clergyman ought in no wise to seek his own tempo­ral good, or the encrease of possession, is Fanatical Non-sense; which no man, that ever pretended to it, would abide by in his own concern. It is not contrary to the Gospel nor the design of the Sacred [Page 177] Office, simply to desire riches or encrease of possessions; but only by sinister me­thods to procure, or to make an ill use of them. Now Pluralists are no more in­clined by the nature of Plurality, to make an ill use of their revenues or pos­sessions, than Unalists are by the nature of one Benefice to do the same. Any one may perform the duties of a good Clergy­man, and a good conscience, or he may neglect them, in either case. It is there­fore the ill use, not the being, of riches, which ought to be blamed in Clergymen. But I hope the Clergy are not yet so cor­rupt, that it can be justly said, that they make not generally as good use of their revenues, as other men.

I have answered all the pretended in­conveniencies of Pluralities, and shewn, that many of the things objected are false, some of them, not really inconvenient; and that as many as are really so, are not the consequents of Plurality, but com­mon as well to Clergymen holding one Benefice as two; and such as may, and ought to be remedied by the Bishops, and other Ecclesiastical Superiours, only by executing the Laws and Canons of the [Page 178] Church still in force, without any neces­sity of calling in the assistance of new Laws. But supposing that some slight inconve­niencies did attend Plurality, if still it carries far greater conveniencies along with it, it must be acknowledged, that the per­mission aud continuance is not really in­convenient to the Church. And that it doth include such conveniencies, upon a short view will easily be discovered.

First then, Plurality is not only conve­nient, but even necessary to the Church in its present condition, by reason of the great number of Benefices of little value, which are found in England; the cure of which can no way be provided for but by Plurality. In this Nation are some Benefices not exceeding the value of five pounds per annum; many hundreds not exceeding twenty pounds, and some thou­sands not exceeding thirty pounds. Now in almost all these the Cure of Souls must utterly be neglected, if it be not allow­ed to Clergymen to hold two of them together, since one will not afford a sub­sistence. None of the oppugners of Plu­ralities can deny the reasonableness of this case: Yet if those who maintain the sin­fulness of them, would reason consistent­ly, [Page 179] such a Pluralist ought no more to be allowed, than of the two greatest Li­vings in England. For if Plurality be sin­ful in its own nature, and Residence due jure divino; it would be equally unlawful to hold two Benefices of 20, as of 200 pounds per annum. But it is too ordi­nary a thing for men in their heat, not to see the consequences of their own po­sitions.

Thus Plurality is in many cases neces­sary to provide to the Clergy even a sub­sistence, as to the necessaries of life; and in other cases is necessary to provide for them such a competency of subsistence, as is agreeable to their character and order in the world. For (as an excellent Pre­late of our Church hath observed) those seem to have very little regard to the flou­rishing condition of a Church, Bishop of Worcesters Charge. p. 48. who would confine the sufficiency of a subsistence meerly to the necessaries of life. There ought to be sufficient provision made, to encourage ingenuous persons to enter into the Cler­gy, to free them from anxious cares when initiated, and purchase to them such necessaries, as the manner of the service they undertake doth require; and to reward such, as by extraordinary [Page 180] Worth and Learning, shall merit more than others. All these provisions are ab­solutely necessary, to the well being of any Church; but none of them, in the present circumstances of things, and po­verty of the revenues of the Church, can be fully obtained, without the permission of Plurality.

The number of Benefices in England, which may singly answer any of the ends above mentioned, is very small. Did not the hopes of obtaining somewhat more than a bare competence, influence Parents and Youth; none of good condition, or sit for any other imployment, would be bred up to the Clergy, or enter into holy Orders. For here, all the Topicks of E­vangelical poverty, and how a Clergy-man ought not to seek the things of the world, or to desire riches, would per­swade very little: Parents would not breed up their sons to the Clergy upon such conditions. It is certain, that the most frugal person, cannot breed his son to the Clergy in the University under the expence of 200 pounds. If Pluralities were taken away, it would be little less than madness to imagine, that any Pa­rent will bring up his son carefully at [Page 181] School, and afterwards bestow 200 pounds upon his education in the University, on­ly to purchase poverty for him. Or if any Parents should be so good natured or zealous as to do it, yet it would be im­possible to perswade Young men well educated, who are naturally aspiring, and led by their hopes, to enter into a Cleri­cal life, in which they can expect no more than a bare competence; and not rather take up other professions, which will pro­duce to them infinitely more profit with less labour. It would be vain in this case to urge to a Young man, that in a Clerical life he must be contented with a bare competence; that the riches of this World ought to be despised, &c. He would cer­tainly answer, that if things be so, he will never enter into that State of life, which shall lay such an obligation of self-denial upon him. For upon whatever principles, men already initiated into the Sacred Office, do proceed to execute their duty, and continue in it notwithstanding pover­ty or any other discouragement; it is un­deniable, that it is the hopes of advance­ment, which perswadeth almost all to en­ter into Orders: and it must be great want of understanding, to imagine that it [Page 182] can or will be otherwise. Young men will never be brought to it, when they shall see, that others of no better birth, parts or education than themselves, ob­tain plentiful Estates by taking up other Professions. If Pluralities, which encrease the subsistence of the Clergy beyond a bare competence, were abolished; it would infallibly follow, that no Parents of qua­lity would breed up their sons to the Clergy; that no Young man of good parts and pregnant hopes would enter in­to the Clergy; that there would remain none for the service of the Church, but of the lowest and meanest sort of the people, and of those only such, as through insuperable dulness could not hope to make their Fortunes in any other Profes­sion.

Further, a bare Competence as to ne­cessaries of Life, will not suffice to purchase to the Clergy such other advantages, as are absolutely necessary to them in the service of the Church: these are Authori­ty, Ability to exercise Charity, and helps of Learning. None of these can be obtained in such a Provision, as only supplieth the necessities of Life. To be­gin with the last, every Man, who knows [Page 183] the World and the business of Learning, must confess, that the Study of Divini­ty, and those other Sciences, which are necessary to a compleat Divine, is so vast and diffuse; and the number of Books, wherewith he ought to be acquainted, so very great; that a small Estate can never enable him to obtain such as are even ne­cessary, to make him useful or consider­able in his Profession. It is well known, that there are ten times more Books re­quired, to the Study of Divinity, than to any other Profession; altho the Re­wards, and temporal Advantages of o­ther Professions are far Superiour to those of the first, and yet no Man murmers at them. In the purchase of such Books, as are absolutely necessary to a learned Divine, a Revenue of six score Pounds per annum (which the late Acts of Parlia­ment seem to suppose a sufficient Revenue for a Clergy-Man, imposing a Tax in the nature of a mulct upon Pluralists posses­sing more) would contribute very little. And if the necessary helps to Learning be denied to the Clergy, they cannot main­tain the Honour and Well-being of the Church; nor defend the cause of Christi­anity in general, or of the reformed Re­ligion [Page 184] in particular, as it ought to be. What can be expected from a Clergy-man, however Learned and Industrious, when through want of a proportionable Estate, he shall not be able to obtain the Instruments of doing good, of performing eminent Service to the Church or to the World; when his Library must be redu­ced to a Concordance, a Postil, and a Po­lyanthea, and his Purse will reach no fur­ther?Preface to Hist. of Tithes. Of these indeed Mr. Selden hath said the Library of a Clergy-man doth consist, and from thence taketh occasion to upbraid them of Ignorance. The Charge indeed then was false; for the Clergy were then in a flourishing condi­tion; and had arrived to as great an height of Learning, as was ever known in the Christian Church. But if by the diminution of the encouragements and revenues of the Clergy, their Libraries should be indeed reduced to such a con­dition; they would soon give just occa­sion to the Enemies of the Church, to upbraid them of Ignorance, and to make their advantage of it. If we call to mind all the famous Writings of our Cler­gy, published since the Reformation, to the increase and support of Religion, the [Page 185] advancement of Knowledge, and the ho­nour of the Nation: We shall find, that they were almost all written by those who were well preferred in the Church. A Soul oppressed with Poverty, can ne­ver raise itself to attempt any great de­sign in this Nature; or if it should at­tempt it, in a condition unable to pur­chase the necessary helps of Learning, the attempt would be but vain. I know that the Case of Mr. Hooker will be objected against this Assertion: But it is a vulgar Errour, which the Author of his Life hath also taken up, that he was but meanly preferred. For to my certain knowledge, at the time when he wrote his celebrated Books of Ecclesiastical Polity, he had very great prefer­ments, of which he died posses­sed.

It is no less necessary to the support of Religion, that a Clergy-man be able to give Alms liberally, and to maintain some sort of Hospitality in the place where he liveth: as well to give Example to the Laity, as to oblige the Poorer sort to the Practice of their Duty, by that In­fluence, which the Application of Cha­rity to them shall obtain. The necessity [Page 186] of this is not indeed so obvious in great Cities; But whoever knows the state of Country Parishes, and the Conditions and Humours of the Poorer sort there; will confess, that a sense of Religion can hardly be kept up among them, unless it be in the Power of the Parish-Priest to oblige them by Charity and Hospita­lity.

Above all it is necessary to the preser­vation of Religion, that the Clergy do not want those helps, which will give to them Respect and Authority among the People; which a bare Competence can never do, unless they be able to maintain themselves in a condition above the com­mon Rank of Men. It is certain, that it is not so much the force of Reason, or the sense of Duty, which maintains Reli­gion among many of the meaner and un­learned sort; as the Opinion which they have of their Pastors, and the deference which they are taught to pay to their Judgment and Direction. If the Clergy should be reduced to a bare Subsistence; all this authority would fall to the Ground; and their Persons thereby becoming con­temptible to the People, Religion would be despised with them. Even among Per­sons [Page 187] of greater Knowledge and better Edu­cation, Piety and Vertue in that case could scarce be maintained; when such would scorn to converse with those, whose Poverty made them far Inferiour to their Quality. Men may frame to themselves what Systems they please in their Closets, and in Speculation, and imagine that the Clergy however poor, will still be honoured for their Works sake; that Vertue and a conscientious Discharge of their Duty will procure to them everlasting respect and Authority. But when these Systems are reduced to practice, Experience demon­strates the Folly of them. If an Angel should descend from Heaven, and take upon him the Ministerial Office; if he abstained from working Miracles, he would never be able to procure any great Respect to himself, or do eminent Ser­vice to the Church and to Religion; un­less he might converse with the Gentry upon equal ground, and were raised a degree above the Commonalty. Let any Gentleman fancy himself stript of his large Possessions, and reduced to a bare subsistence; and then let him imagine, if he can, that his Vertue will secure that Authority among his Neighbours, which [Page 188] a large Estate, and Power delegated to him for the sake of it, did before procure to him.

In the last place, it is necessary, that additional Provisions be made for the Re­ward of those Clergy-men, who by ex­traordinary Learning and Industry, shall deserve more than others. For without this the Church would be deprived of the benefit of almost all the extraordinary Labours of her Clergy; since scarce any would be found willing to undertake any unnecessary pains, if after all there were no hopes of being distinguished from o­thers, who labour not so much, as well by their Preferment as by their Merit. It is commonly said indeed, that Prebends and other Dignities in Cathedral Churches, were intended for Rewards of extraordi­nary Merit, and are sufficient to that pur­pose. But it is to be considered, that those are given promiscuously, as Bene­fices are, to Men of ordinary as extraor­dinary worth, and that it never did or can happen otherwise; that the Persons of extraordinary worth to whom they are given, are generally those who ply next at Court, that Rewards of extraor­dinary Merit, ought to be provided for the Clergy of other Diocesses, as well as [Page 189] for them; that many Bishops have not the gift of one Prebend, wherewith to Reward their Chaplains and deserving Clergy; and the Arch-Bishop himself of no more than three: and consequently that no constant Provision can be made for extraordinary Merit, otherwise than by Pluralities.

Other great inconveniencies, which would arise from confining the Revenues of the Clergy to a bare Subsistence, might be urged; as, that it would reflect dishonour upon Religion; that it would soon intro­duce a general Ignorance; that it would induce them to follow a Secular Life; that it would tempt them to prevaricate, to flatter Vice in Rich Men, and to betray the Cause of Religion in times of Tryal, such as we lately saw. These and the above-mentioned Considerations make it absolutely necessary, that the Clergy should be endowed with, and permitted to enjoy ample Possessions and Revenues. God therefore foretold it as the great Blessing of his Church, which should be founded among the Gentiles, that Kings should be her Nursing-Fathers, Isa. 49. 2 [...]. and Queens her Nursing-Mothers. Which Prophecy may well be expounded, to denote (a­mong [Page 190] other things) the Favour and large Rewards▪ which Secular Princes, when converted to the Faith, should bestow upon the Ministers of the Church, for the increase and continuance of the Faith. This was abundantly performed in our Church, by the Kings and Queens and Noble Personages of England, whose Me­mory is for ever blessed; and the En­dowment made by them, confirmed by innumerable subsequent Laws. Then the Endowment was so large, and the num­ber of extraordinary Provisions in Con­ventual, Cathedral, and Collegiate Churches, and from Chauntries and Ob­lations, so very great; that the assistance of Pluralities was not so very necessary to uphold the Honour of Religion, and of the Clergy. But when by Impropria­tions at first, and afterwards by the Alie­nation of Abbey and other Church-lands, almost all the extraordinary Provisions were taken away, and the ordinary Pro­vision reduced to less than half; it is im­possible to maintain the design of those Endowments, that is, the flourishing con­dition of the Church, without the assist­ance of Pluralities. In the continuance of this benefit to the Church, we doubt [Page 191] not, but their present Majesties will imi­tate the Piety and Devotion of their An­cestors; and as they once preserved this Church from eminent danger of Ruin, by their Wisdom and Valour, will also maintain the well-being and the flourish­ing estate of it by countenancing and con­tinuing all those Institutions, Customs, and Practises, which are necessary to that end.

I might insist upon many other Con­veniencies and Benefits, which accrue to the Church from the use of Pluralities; as, that hereby young Clergy-men are trained up in Curacies under others more grave and experienced, and fitted for the Service of any Parochial Church in their own Right; who, if at their first admis­sion into Holy Orders, the Cure of Souls and Government of Parochial Churches had been committed to them, would be apt to commit many indiscreet acts, and execute their Trust unskilfully. Yet the present circumstances of things make it necessary to admit those, who are educa­ted to the Clergy, into Orders as soon as their Age permits, otherwise the Church would soon want a competent number of Candidates to supply her Service; [Page 192] since Fellowships in Colledges do not sa­tisfie for the tenth part of them; And from the finishing of their Studies, to their Presentation to a Benefice, there is no other Provision made for them than by Curacies. That by the same benefit Provision is made for Deacons, who are incapable of possessing a Benefice them­selves. That hereby the Cure of Souls in many Parishes is executed by two Per­sons; which is a great advantage to those Parishes, and to Religion in general. For it may happen, that the Incumbent of any one Parish be negligent in his Duty, or unlearned: but it can scarce happen, that in a Parish held by a Pluralist, and served alternately by the Incumbent and his Curate, that both Incumbent and Cu­rate should be alike negligent or unlearn­ed. That hereby Provision is made for Chaplains, attending and assisting Bishops in the execution of their Office, and Go­vernment of their Diocesses; or main­taining and preserving Religion and Ver­tue in the Families of Noblemen.


I Have now finished what I had to say in defence of Pluralities, and submit the whole to the Consideration of indif­ferent Judges. Having done this, I hope I may be allowed to speak to the Pluralist Clergy (whose Cause I have all this while defended) with all freedom. Them I must conjure by the Honour of God, and (which to ingenuous Persons ought also to be an irresistable Argument) by the sense of their Duty, to make such use of the favour of Plurality granted to them, that Religion and the Church may receive no inconvenience thereby, and no just occasion of Scandal may be given by them. I have proved indeed, that Plu­rality doth not in its own Nature beget any Inconveniencies or Scandals. But if it be not rightly used, if the terms of the Dispensation be not fulfilled, if they so behave themselves, as if they cared not for the Souls of either Parish; or if they live wholly at one, and seldom visit the other; if they think themselves wholly disburthen'd of the Cure of Souls, by the [Page 194] delegation of it to a Curate; if they put no bounds to their desire of Pluralities, hold two by Union, a third by Seque­stration, and perhaps a fourth under the Name of another Man by Simoniacal Contract; if they neglect to give Alms and to use Hospitality in both their Benefices according to their Abilities; if they suffer their Houses to be dilapidated, and have no regard to the good of their Successors: much more, if without any reasonable Excuse, they are continually or frequently absent from both their Cures, either to hun [...] after better Preferment elsewhere, or to follow their Pleasure and live more at ease in great Cities and Towns: If they are not excused by Per­sonal Attendance in the Families of Bi­shops or Great Men, or by prosecution of their Studies in the Universities, or by designs of publick Service to the Church, more advantageous to Religion in general, than the Personal supplying any two Country Cures would be; or by indis­position of Body, real and not pretended: If without any of these Lawful Excuses, they absent themselves from the Cure of Souls committed to them▪ or do not im­mediately betake themselves to the Per­sonal [Page 195] execution of it: When any of these Reasons cease, which did before excuse them; in all these cases Plurality will in them be the occasion of great Inconveni­encies to the Church, and Scandal to Re­ligion. It was never my design to de­fend such Practises, nor can they be ex­cused by any Principles laid down in this Treatise.

But because all Men will not be per­swaded to do their Duty, I beg leave in the next place, to address my self, with all Reverence to the Arch-bishops and Bi­shops of our Church, and entreat them to force such Pluralists to do their Duty. This they are empowered to do by the Canons and Laws of our Church and Na­tion still in force: By the due execution of which they may regulate all such dis­orders, and all other corruptions, which have crept into the Church. It is not the fault of her Constitution, which oc­casions any of these Inconveniencies, but the neglect of her Orders, and non-exe­cution of her established Discipline. If these were vigorously revived; if their Lordships would please diligently to at­tend and inspect their D [...]ocesses, force their Arch-deacons to do their Duty, the Chap­ters [Page 196] of their Cathedral Churches to ob­serve their Statutes, the Pluralist Clergy to fulfil the terms of their Dispensations, and all their Clergy to obey the Canons, and to do their known Duty: all that Benefit and Reformation would follow, which some (not knowing the excellence of the present Constitution) propose to obtain by such new Laws and Projects, as would perhaps shake and endanger the whole Fabrick of the Church. What the Lord Bacon observed concerning Na­tural Philosophy, that a superficial know­ledge of it makes Men Atheists, but a perfect knowledge of it reduceth them to Religion; is fully as true in Ecclesiastical Polity. An imperfect view and know­ledge of the Constitution and State of our Church, makes Men desirous of a Change or Reformation; but a thorough know­ledge of it, makes them not only be con­tent but pleased with her present Consti­tution, only desirous that her excellent Laws and Institutions may be put in pra­ctice. This case of Pluralities was gene­rally esteemed the most scandalous and inexcusable of all her supposed Corrup­tions: yet upon a strict examination of it, it doth now (as I hope) appear to [Page 197] be neither scandalous nor inconvenient; but lawful, necessary, and advantageous to the Church. All the real inconveni­encies of it, proceed wholly from the ill use of it, and from the faults of private persons, to which the best Institutions are equally subject; and which it is to be ho­ped their Lordships the Bishops, will in time remedy, by the due application of that Authority, which the Laws of this Church and Nation have already invested in them.



PAge 6. line 14. for grali [...]i [...]th read gratifieth. p. 13. l. 2 [...]. for Asgarvey read Asgardby. p. 17. l. 9. for cause r. case. p. 23. l. 28. for cause r. case. p. 37. l. 3. for true r. truly. p. 45. l. 16. for in r. to. p. 83. 1. 8. for have founded r. have been founded. p. 87. 1. 13. in the Marg. for Alsadi r. A [...]fredi. p. 123. l. 28. for districtive r. districtius. p. 124. l. 29. for Clementon r. [...] p. 153. l. 28. for derivation r. deviation.

BOOKS Printed for R. Clavel, Publish'd in Michaelmas Term, 1691.

A De [...]ence of Pluralities, or holding two Benefices with Cure of Souls, as now practised in the Church of Eng­land.

The State of the Protestants of Ireland under the late King James's Government, in which their Carriage towards him is Justified, and the absolute Necessity of their endeavouring to be fre [...]d from his Government, and of submitting to their present Majesties is demonstrated.

Observations on a Journey to Naples, being a farther Discovery of the Frauds of Romish Priests and Monks: Written by the Author of the former Book, Entituled, The Frauds of Romish Priests and Monks, set forth in Eight Letters.

L. Annaei Elori Rerum Rom [...]norum Epitome, cum Interpretatione & Notis in usum Serenissimi Delphini, unà cum In­dicibus copiosissimis oppidò necessariis. Will be published at the end of this Term.

[Page] Compendium Graecum Novi Testamen­ti, continens ex 7959 versiculis totius Novi Testamenti tantum versiculos 1900 (non tamen integros) in quibus omnes universi Novi Test. voces, unà cum Ver­sione Latina inveniuntur. Auctore Jo­hanne Leusden: Editio quinta; in qua, non tantum Themata Graeca & Voces deriva­tae exprimuntur, sed etiam Tempora Ver­borum adduntur. Tandem ne aliquid ubi­cunque desideretur, in hac Novissima Edi­tione Londinensi cuilibet Voci aut Compo­sitae aut Derivatae Radix adjicitur propria, in Tyronum gratiam.

De Presbyteratu Dissertatio Quadripa­rita Presbyteratûs sacri Origines, naturam Titulum Officia & Ordines ab ipsis Mun­di primordiis usque ad Catholicae Ecclesiae consummatum plantationem complectens, in qua Hierarchiae Episcopalis Jus Divinum & immutabile, ex Auctoritate scriptua [...]um Canonicè expositarum & Ecc [...]siasticae Traditionis suffragiis, brevitèr quidem sed luculentèr asseriter. Authore Samuele Hill, Diaeces [...]ôs Bathoniensis & Wellensis Pres­byterio. Londini Typis S. Roycr [...]ft L. L. Oriental. Typographi Regis Impensis R. Clavel in Coemeterio D. Pauli, MDCXCI.

Sometime since Published for R. Clavel.

FOrms of Private Devotion for every day in the Week, in a Method a­greeable to the Liturgy; with Occasional Prayers, and an Office for the Holy Com­munion, and for the Time of Sickness.

A Scholastical History of the Primitive and General Use of Liturgies in the Chri­stian Church, together with an Answer to David Clarkson's late Discourse concern­ing Liturgies.

Roman Forgeries in the Councils, during the first Four Centuries, together with an Appendix concerning the Forgeries and Errors in the Annals of Baronius.

The Frauds of Romish Monks and Priests, set forth in Eight Letters, lately written by a Gentleman in his Journey into Italy. The Third Edition.

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