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the Holy Scriptures; as for example:-Art. 20, attributes to the church a power of ordaining rites and ceremonies, and authority in controversies of faith. Art. 23. says, That they are lawfully called and sent forth to the office of public preaching, who are called and sent by men. Art. 25. affirms, That the sacraments are certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace. Art. 26. asserts, That evil ministers act in the name of Christ, and do minister by his commission and authority. Art. 27. says, That baptism is a token of regeneration, by which the promises of remission of sins, and our adoption to be the sons of God, are visibly sealed by the Holy Spirit; and that baptism of infants, is by all means to be retained in the church, as being most agreeable with the institution of Christ. Art. 34. affirms, That every particular, or national church, hath authority to institute, change, or annul ceremonies, or rites of the church, instituted by human authority, so that all things be done to edification. Art. 36. says, That the book of the consecration of archbishops, bishops, and of the ordering of priests and deacons, &c. contains nothing that is of itself either superstitious or impious. Whereas that book savours of superstition, and has no foundation in the Holy ScripArt. 37. determines, That it is lawful for Christians to bear arms, and go to war, at the magistrate's command. Contrary to the precept of Christ. Art. 39. says, That at the magistrate's command, it is lawful to swear in a cause of faith and charity. When Christ and the apostle James have expressly forbid all swearing.
"There are also other errors in others of the articles, which I omit at present. But by these which I have mentioned, and as it were cursorily hinted at, thou mayst easily see how contrary they are to the Holy Scriptures, and how wide from truth; and are therefore in no wise to be subscribed by the followers of the truth.
66 Lay aside therefore all thoughts about a licence from the bishop, and reverence his supreme authority only, who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Let not the enemies' threats, citations, courts, excommunications, prisons terrify thee; but, fear God, perform the office to which divine Providence hath called thee; and who shall harm thee, if thou follow after that which is good? Either God of his mercy will avert the impending storm; or, if he suffer it to fall, will give thee strength to go through it; the way of the cross is that of the crown; do not
thou prefer prosperity before adversity; but humbly pray to God, that his will may be done; and in every state of life, let glory and honour ascend to him for ever and ever. Amen.
"Take care of thy flock, though small at present, with all diligence. Be a faithful and gentle pastor, and, doubt not, but that, trusting in God, thou shalt in his time see an increase to thy wish. Thou hast learned of me the most easy and sure method of teaching; let not thine own industry be wanting, to the improvement of thy scholars.
"Remember my love to Friends, especially to Moses West, and his wife, who kindly entertained me at their house. I commend thee unto God, the Father of mercies, and rest, formerly thy master, but now
66 Thy fellow Servant,
"the 9th of the Tenth Month, 1704."
RICHARD CLARIDGE having seen in the light of truth, the emptiness, formality, and superstition of the National Church, and its ceremonies, a concern increased upon him, that he might stand clear from contributing to the support of the same, either immediately, or consequentially.
A Narrative of his Testimony against the Steeplehouse-rates, being intermixed with those for the Poor, &c. is here subjoined.
When I came first to live at Barking, which was in the year 1700, I observed there was no warden's rate for the steeple-house repairs, as, tiling, leading, or other covering of the roof, glazing the windows, paving the floor, paint
ing, or beautifying the walls, &c. Nor for their communion-table, or altar, carpet, cloth to cover the consecrated elements, (as they call them,) nor for their pulpit-cloth and cushion; nor for the surplice, buying, mending or washing of it; nor for the Book of Common-prayer, book of homilies, book of articles of religion, book of constitutions and canons ecclesiastical, book of articles of enquiry at visitations; nor for the court-fees, paid when they come into, and go out of their office, to the bishop's or arch-deacon's officers, as registers, apparitors, and the like; nor for the priest's dinners, and their own at visitations; nor for procession-charges, vestry-dinners, compotations, bells, and bell-ropes, and other expenses. I observed, that the wardens had no distinct rate for these things, as is usual, in other places: I inquired of some ancient Friends, that had lived long in the town, whether there was any rate for the steeple-house, &c. And they said, Nay, whereupon I paid the poor's rate as they and others did, but not without some dissatisfaction of mind; and therefore, when I paid the collectors of the poor's rate, I asked them, Whether it was for the poor only, and not for the steeple-house also? They answered, it was for the poor, and it was not enough to pay them neither, with more of this kind; yet still I remained dissatisfied, because I knew, having been a parish priest for so many years, there must be money raised some way or other, to defray the warden's charges. Besides, I had a great concern upon me, to find out the matter, that I and other Friends might bear our testimony against steeple-house, or warden's rates.
And therefore, I told Jonathan Goddard, over
seer of the poor, when I paid him for the half-year, due the 29th of the Seventh Month, 1701, that I had a jealousy, that the steeple-house rates were intermixed with the poor's; and if they were, and I could find it out, except they were divided, 1 could not pay him any more; for I was free to pay to the poor, but to the steeple-house I could not pay, for conscience toward God.
I had much exercise upon my spirit, and cried unto the Lord, for his help and assistance, for I saw I was likely to meet with opposition, both from some Friends there, who were not so zealous for truth as they ought to have been, and had paid it so long, and also from the parishioners, who would be against dividing the rates.
Afterwards, upon inquiry, I found the two rates were intermixed, as Nicholas Brown, and Robert Pitman, who had served the offices, informed me. And the Lord was graciously pleased to assist me, so that I was enabled, faithfully to keep up my testimony against them; and though Jonathan Goddard, overseer for the year 1701, came often, and made demand of that which he called the poor's rates, though that was an amusement, because the steeple-house rates were intermixed with them; yet I constantly refused to pay him, unless the two rates were divided, and then I was ready to pay what properly belonged to the poor, for I never refused to pay him that; and the vestry-men making a great clamour about my not paying, I with Thomas Lacy (who lived then at Eastham) and William Kemp, went to John Lockey's house, who was a justice of peace, and one of the vestry, and being a Presbyterian dissenter, and counted by some a moderate man, I applied
myself to him, expecting some redress, as to this intermixture of rates; but I was greatly disappointed in my expectation, for I found him hot and eager against Friends; for when he could not persuade me to pay without insisting upon a division of the two rates, he was somewhat rough, nor could I obtain any relief.
I remember one argument he used, to prove, we did not pay at Barking, to the steeple-house rates, was this; namely, "Barking Rate," said he, "will not pay the poor by a great deal, therefore you pay nothing to the steeple-house, or church, as he called it." I replied, there were four wards belonging to Barking-parish-Barking-ward, Ilford, Chadwell, and Rippleside-ward, and all these wards were rated alike, and made up in effect but one rate. Now though Barking fell short by reason the majority of the poor lived there; yet the other wards made up what Barking wanted: and therefore, though our numerical money was paid to the poor only, yet forasmuch as all the wards made up but one common rate, and the warden's rate was paid in whole, or in part, out of the overplus of the other wards' money, we being members of the whole, and consequently interested mutually with them in every part, we paid to the steeple-house, &c. as well as they, unless we were rated less than they, which we were not. For all the money that the warden receiveth out of the poor's rates, and placeth to the steeplehouse accounts, is apparently for the steeplehouse, and we of Barking have all our quotas in that money or if they call it by no other name but the poor's rates, and poor's accounts; yet if the steeple-house, &c. comes in but for a