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earth. However, these sons of sedition prayed for Cæsar-taught all due obedience to him--paid his tribute--fought in his wars--treated all inferior magistrates with profound respect; and these things they did not for prudential reasons of worldly policy, but from examined and adopted principles of genuine christianity. front soito up The whole farrago of a secular religion is a burden, an expence, a distress to government, and every corrupt part and parcel of it is some way or other injurious to civil polity. Consider a kinga dom as one large family, sum up the priesthood into one domestic chaplain, compare what he costs with the good he does, and judge whether the fa= mily gains as it ought, or loses as it ought not by his chaplainship. ; 1. To come to the point. We apply these general strictures to one article, consisting of fasts, feasts, and holidays. We divide these into five classes, and discharge four of them. In the first we place all those obsolete holidays, which were in vogue before the Reformation, such as the Assumptionthe Conception Silvester-Britius —and such like, which were very properly retained in the ca= lendar at the Reformation for law uses, for the as= certaining of the times of tenures, and of the payment of dues--or of charitable donations, that were dated by these days. In a second class we put all the Sundays in the year;for although some divines hold the morality of the Sabbath, and others place it among positive institutes, yet all agree in the necessity of keeping a day, and a pious clergy know how to improve it to the noblest uses of church and state. In a third we put all red-letter days, as coronation days, birth days, and others. The suspending of business on those days is a very proper compliment to our civil governors, and the health and spirits of gentlemen confined in public offices require relaxation and exercise. Nobody pretends to make religion of these, and they are on many accounts quite necessary. In a fourth class, we put all those Saints' days, and other holi, days, which the clergy are obliged by their supe, riors to observe. They ought not to complain, if they are required to fast on the 30th of January for the expiation of a crime, which no man alive committed ; for they are amply rewarded by many a festival, from which none but themselves ever de. rived the least benefit. All these we dismiss, and retain only a fifth sort of holidays, which constitution and custom engage the whole national church to observe; the smallest number of these is TEN, A very little attention will convince us, that the observation of these ten holidays is productive of no real advantage ; but, on the contrary, of much damage to the nation at large.
As these festivals are generally observed, they hurt the health, the morals, and the little property of the poor---they depress virtue, encourage vice, and generate superstition--they clog business, burden the clergy, increase the rates of parishes, en, danger the peace of society at large, perplex magistrates--in a word, they impoverish the king, dom in proportion to the extent of their influence, To examine only one of these articles : Suppose a day labourer employed all the year at seven shil. lings a week, that is, at fourteen pence a day : ten days of his time are worth to his family eleven shillings and eight pence. Not to earn is to pay, and this poor fellow is actually at the annual charge of eleven and eight pence for the support of annual festivals. Let us suppose further, that his wife earns six pence a day, and his four children four-pence each, at spinning, stone gathering, or any other work; ten days of the woman's time are worth five shillings; ten days of each child are worth three and four-pence. So that this man's wife and children pay for festivals eighteen shillings and four-pence a year. We are further to add the extraordinary expences of this family on these days; for it is all a farce to talk of their fasting, they have no fasts in their calendar, all are festivals with them, and they never fast when they can get victuals. We allow the poor man, then, one shilling on each day to spend at the alehouse, and his family one more for tea, beer, nuts, gingerbread and so on. We are to add then twenty shillings more to his account, and his reckoning stands tlus: • Is not the sum of fifty shillings enormous for this family; 'a heavytax paid for a cargo of idleness ! Let us suppose this poor man to enter thoroughly into the pretended design of the day, to abstain from food as well as work, to fast and pray, and spend nothing, still the fast costs him all the money that he avoids earning, and this simple devotee would pay twenty or thirty shillings a year for the privi- ' lege of emaciating himself...
But the people derive great advantages from festivals!..... Good God! is religion magick ! What people derive advantages from festivals? They, who never attend them? It is notorious the poor are not to be found at church on Easter and Whitsun holidays. Inquire for the London populace at Greenwich, and for the country poor at the sign of the Cross Keys. To say they might reap benefits, and they ought to pay for the liberty, is equal to saying, the sober populace might get drunk at the Dog and Duck, and they ought to pay the reckoning of those who do. - Whatever advantages they derive from churchholidays, many of their neighbours derive great disadvantages from their sinking fifty shillings annually to support them. This poor fellow should pay thirty shillings a year rent for his cottage; but the landlord never gets it, yet he would thank him to pay his rent by ten days work for him. He can pay no rates to the parish, nor any taxes to government; yet were he allowed to earn fifty shillings a year more than he does, he could pay both, and save money to buy a pig, or a bullock, or firing
too. He owes something to the doctor for physic, ånd something to the shop for food, debts contracted in lyings in and illness; he can pay none of these driblets; yet he could pay all, were he allowed to earn fifty shillings a year more, and to deposit it for payment of debts in his master's, hands. Moreover, he got drunk on the feast of the Epiphany, which he, a heathen, called Twelfth night-set up'a score at the alehouse-rolled in the dirt-spoiled his clothes-lost his hat--fought with Sam Stride, who sent him a lawyer's letter, for which he paid six and eight-pence, beside a guinea to Stride to make it up--and on the same night he gave Blue Bridget nineteen pence for the liberty of leaving a bastard to the parishmagistrates were tormented with warrants, and oaths, and deposi-. tions--peaceable subjects with the interruptions of riot and debauchery—the whole business of the parish stood still—and the industrious were obliged to pay out of their honest gains the whole ex pence at last.
What! it will be said, would you keep these people in eternal employinent, and allow them no holidays? I would keep them in perpetual employ. Six days they should labour, and do all they have to do; the seventh, being the sabbath of the Lord their God, the clergy should so perform divine service as to engage them voluntarily to choose to fill a religious assembly; their children should be catechised, and rational and agreeable pains should be taken to instill the great principles of religion into them; they should be taught a practice