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ples, who had no regard for the welfare of his successors, has never pressed his demands on the gardeners; but I feel it a duty I owe to the Church to gather to the utmost farthing, and I have already given directions to the excellent and orthodox Mr. Screw to take the proper steps in this business. You know, my dear Brother, that “the ox which treadeth out the corn is not to be muzzled :" we who are cessors of the Apostles, have we not power to eat and drink ? for who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the milk of the flock? I intend to get all the corn I can, and all the milk I can ; would that I could indeed eat of the great tithes ! But, alas ! the impiety of a generation which hated the Church has robbed the clergy of their dues, and the great tithes are in the hands of the Duke of
Something, however, still remains worth eating, and I will take care that no muzzle is put on the mouth of your dutiful brother Rabshakeh.
The vicarage is a good house; it wants, however, a bath-room and a conservatory; and I intend to make Mrs. Thompson, the late Vicar's widow, pay my bill for these desiderata, in the form of dilapidations, which we estimated as high as 4701. Mrs. Thompson pleads her nine children, but she has done too much mischief in the parish to find any mercy from me.
The spiritual state of the parish is deplorable. The population of the town is about 6,000 souls. The Independent Chapel has a congregation of 500; the Baptists, 300; the Wesleyan Methodists, 800; the Ranters, 400 ; the Roman Catholics, 100; the Quakers, 50. All this pesti
, , lential swarm of Dissenters is owing to the lax discipline and bad principles of the late Vicar.
Thompson was one of your Evangelicals, a canting hypocrite, whose maxims were full of mischief. Dear Screw says he was always preaching justification by faith, and that he taught false doctrine about the true Church by totally omitting to show that in the Church of England only is there salvation. He never said a word about the sin of schism and dissent, and by this method the parish church was crowded in the morning service-but by what sorts of persons ? Why, one-half of his congregation, at the very least, were Dissenters; for there was a general feeling amongst the schismatics to go to Church once on Sundays. Their phrase was, “ they wished to show respect to Mr. Thompson, who was a very good man,
and preached the Gospel.”
You will be shocked to hear that the Vicar went so far as to ask the Dissenting Ministers to dine at the Vicarage, two or three times every year. Really this was too bad : it-has made the parlour smell of schism, so that I have been obliged to have it new painted and coloured, to
get rid of the puritanical odour. Thompson often drank tea with the Independent teacher, who instructed him in Hebrew; and he in . return taught the teacher's eldest lad algebra, and the elements of methematics.
The effect of this system you may easily conceive. All things are topsyturvy. The Church of England has lost all that dignity and pre-eminence which are due by apostolical constitution; and the Church people, if Church people they can be called, care nothing for Bishops, Archdeacons, and tithes.
There is not a tract of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in the whole parish; Thompson denounced them from the pulpit, but the Tract Society's poison is in every house in the town. The people seem to me either decided Calvinists, or fanatical Arminians, and every old woman talks of her “experience,” and praises
good Mr. Thompson.” In short, I find myself amongst a perverse and crooked generation, strangers to the scriptural authority of the Clergy, and nursed in the ignorance of dissent and schism. By all this you may judge there is much work on my hands, but the greater the obstacles the greater shall be my zeal; and guiding myself by those glorious doctrines so ably advocated in the fourteen letters of L. S. E., I hope shortly to bring about a complete reformation in this dark and heathenish town.
My next will, I hope, let you fully into my plans, which I intend to put into operation without delay ; for no time must be lost in resisting the encroachment of those swarming locusts the Dissenters, who will soon eat up every green thing in the earth, or what is worse, prevent the clergy from eating that verdure and fatness of the land which is theirs by apostolical right.
My dear Brother,
The Reverend RABSHAKEH GATHERCOAL to the
Rererend Julius Scrops, Rector of Amberwell.
REVEREND AND DEAR SIR,
I HAVE received your flattering and kind letter, and hasten to reply to its contents. Allow me, however, to remark, that the compliments which you bestow on my zeal and abilities are wholly undeserved ; the merit of my exertions must be attributed to the influence of L. S. E., whose letters have hitherto been the oracle of my actions and the guide of my
counsels. You wish to hear the
my conversion from the powers of darkness unto light, from Dissenting conventicles to the communion of the Church of England. You will have already learned from the letters of my elder brother, L. S. E., that my parents were “rigid Dissenters, of the Congregational Independent denomination." My honoured father was a tallow chandler, and under the paternal roof I was educated in the odour of sanctity and of boiling tallow. Like my dear brother, I was what he calls “a Dissenter on principle ;" that is, I railed against the Church