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PART l.

Reverend

Mr. Richard

Baxrer;

á

the placedefcribed,

I

perceived

it

was

the

fin-eft

for me

;

for there was

jiff

filch

Employment

as

I

deified,

and

could fubmit to,

withoutthat which I templed, and

with

time

probability

of

peace and quietnefs.

The

Mintfter of the place

was

Mr.

William

Madflard,

a

grave and fevere

Anci-

ent Divine, very honeft and confcionable, and an excellent Preacher, but tome-

what

of iEted

with want

of

Maintenance, and much more with

a

dead- hearted

unprofitable People.

The Town

Maintenance

being

inconfderable,

he took

the

Parfonage

of

Oldbury

near the

Town,

a

Village

of

fcarce twenty Routes, and fo

defired me to

be

one

half

day in

the Town,

and the other at the

Village ;

but

my Lot

after

fell

out to be moftly in the

Town. The

place

is

priviledged

from

all Epifcopal Jurifdi

&ion,

except-

the Archbifhop's

Triennial

Vifitation.

There

are

fix

Parishes

together, two in the

Town,

and four

in the Country, that

have

all

this Priviledge.

At

Bridgnortb

they

have

an

Ordinary

of

their own, who,

as

an

Of-

ficial,

keepeth

a

confant

Ecclefiaftical

Court,

having

the Jurifdi

&ión

of

chore fix

Parilhes.

This reverend

and good

man, Mr.

Madfìard, was

both

Pallor

and

Offi-

cial,

the Place

ufually

going along with

that

of

the

Preacher

of

that Town (though

feparable

)

:

By

which

means

I

had

a

very

full

Congregation to preach to

,

and

freedom from

all thofe

thingswhich

I

fcrupled

or thought

unlawful;

I

ofteri

read

the

Common Prayer

before

I

preached, both on

the Lord's

-days

and 'Holy

-days

;

but

Inver

adminiftred the Lord'sSupper,

nor

ever Baptized

any Child with

the

Sign

of

the Crofs, nor ever wore the Surplice, nor

was ever

put to

appear at any

Bilhop's

Court.

But the People

proved

a

very

ignorant, dead

-

hearted People,

(

the

Town

con-

lifting too much

of

Inns and

Alehoufes,

and having no general

Trade to

imploy

the Inhabitantsin, which

is

the undoing of great

Towns):

fo

that though through

the

great

Mercy

of

God, my firlt

Labours were

not

without

Succefs,

to the Con

-

verfion

of

Tome

ignorant

carelefs Sinners

unto God, and were

over

-

valued by thofe

that

were already regardful

of

the Concernments

of

their

Souls,

yet were

theynot

to

fuccefsful

as

they proved afterwards in other

places.

Though

I

was

in the

fer

your

of

my Affections, and

never

any

where preached with more vehement

de-

fires

of

Mens Converfion

(

and I account my Liberty with-

that,

meafure

of

Suc-

eels

which

I

there had,

to

be a

Mercy which

I

can never

be

fufficiently

thankful

for)

yet with the

generality anApplaufe

of

the

Preacher was muff

of

the fucceft

of

the Sermon which

I

could

hear

of;

and their tipling and

ill

company and dead

-

heartednefs quickly

drowned

all.

§

zz. Whilft

I

hereexercifed the

first

Labours

of

my Miniftry, two

feveral.

Af-

faults

did

threaten my Expulfion:

The

one was a new

Oath,

which

was

made by

Ae.0

4ei

the Convocation,

commonly

called

The

Er cetera

Oath

:

For it

was

to

fwear

us

all,

That

we would never

Confent

to the Alteration

of

-the prefent

Government

of

the

Church,

by

ArcbbJhopo, Bifhopa,

Deans, Arch-deacons,

&c. This raft the Minifters through-

out

England

into

a

Divifron,and new

Difputes. Some woúld take

the

Oath,

and.

Tome

would not.

Thofe that were for it,

laid,

That

Epifcopacy

was

yure Divino, and

alto

fettled

by

a

Law, and therefore

if

the

Sovereign

Power

required it, we

might

well fwear

that

we would nevercontent

to

alter

it;

and the King's Approbation

of

thefe Ca-

nons made them fuffrcientlyobligatory

unto

us.

Thofe that were

againft ir,

laid,

s.

That

Epifcopacy

was

either

contra

jai

Divi-

seam,

or at

beft

not

jure

Divino,

and therefore mutable when the

King and

Par-

liament

pleated.

z.

Or

at

lean that it

was

undeniable,

That

Archbifhops, and Deans,

and Chap

-;

ters,

and

Arch

-

deacons

&.

were not

all

jure

Divino:

nay,that

the

Englifh

frame

of

Diocefans having

many hundred Parilh Churches tinder one

Bithop

in fini graduss,

was not

only againft the

Word

of

God, but

deftruetive

of

all

the

Epifcopacy

which

was known

in the Church at

leafs

for

zoo

years.

;.

They

raid

that it

was

intolerable

to

fwear

to

a

blind Et cetera

;

for litterally

it

included

all

the

Officers

of

the

Ecelefiafiieal

Courts

that

are

now in

Exer=

cite

of

the Government

;

Lay

-

Chancellors

(

that ate the

Keys for

Excommunica-

tion and Abfolution)

Surrogates, Commiffaries,

Officials

, and the reit. And

was

it

ever

known that all the Clergy

was

fworn

to

fuch an Anomalous Rab-

ble?

4.

They

laid

that

for ought they knew this Goverment

in

whole,

or

in tome

part,

might

be

altered by

the King and Parliament

by

a Law

:

And

to

tie

up our

(elves

by

an

Oath that

we would neverobey filch

a

Law, nor confent to that which

the

King

night

command

us,

this they thought

was

a Bond

of

Difobedience,

next

to

a

Rebellion.

y. They