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humbly, heartily, and thankfully ascribe the mercy of my deliverance from this sickness.
"Grant, Lord! I earnestly beseech thee, that the sense of this, and all other thy mercies to me, may remain with me; and that I may, as long as life shall last, give diligence, through thy Holy Spirit's influence and assistance, to improve the few days I have to live, to thy honour and glory; waiting for thy salvation, according to thy word; expecting every day to be my last, always looking unto Jesus, that as he has been the author, so he would be the finisher of my faith, and perfect the good work of righteousness and holiness, which he has graciously begun, and is carrying on in me.
“In the 63d year of my age."
In the year 1712, Richard Claridge published "An Apology for John Bocket's Gentile Divinity and Morality, and those People who neither in former Ages had, nor at this Day, have the Holy Scriptures afforded to them;" wherein he proves the universality of the divine light; and that the faithful, even among the heathen, have been accepted according to their obedience thereunto.
In the latter end of the year 1713, being the 64th of his age, beginning to be sensible of a decay of his wonted strength and vigour, and finding the fatigue of his employment disagreeable to the infirmities of age; and having, through the blessing of God, a competent estate for his subsistence, he left off keeping school, and removed from Tottenham to George's Court, near Hicks's
Hall, London, where he dwelt the remainder of his days.
In the year, 1714, a Bill depending before the parliament, to prevent the growth of schism, intended to suppress the schools of all dissenters; he published on that occasion the several papers following,
"Reasons against the Bill to prevent the Growth of Schism."
"If ever the practice of moderation were seasonable, it may be supposed now, when, for aught we know, the lasting happiness of the kingdom and the church, may depend immediately upon this rare and desirable temper, acknowledged of all most excellent.'-Dr. Fuller's Moderation of the Church of England, in his preface to the reader, p. 1.
"Moderation is a virtue, and one of the peculiar ornaments and advantages of the excellent constitution of our church, and must at last be the temper of her members, especially the clergy, if ever we seriously intend the firm establishment of the church, and do not industriously design, by cherishing heats and divisions among ourselves, to let in Popery at these breaches.'Archbishop's Tillotson's Preface to Bishop Wilkins's Sermons, p. 2, 3.
"Ammianus Marcellinus informs us, that the Emperor Valentinian, became renowned by the moderation of his government, In that he interposed not in the diversities of opinions, so as to disturb or punish any of his people; laying no injunctions on their belief, nor with threatening edicts, made his subjects bow their necks to the worship that himself espoused; but left all things of that kind, in the same posture as he found them.'-Stubb's Essay, in Defence of the Good Old Cause, p. 67. "It was the prayer of King Charles I. That men might be kept in a pious moderation of their judgments in matters of religion. Eik. Basil. Sect. 16. And that among all parties pious ambition, might be stirred up, to overcome each other, with reason, moderation, and such self-denial, as becomes those who consider that our mutual divisions are our common distractions, and the union of all is every man's chiefest interest,—Ibid. Sect. 19.
"Heresy and schism, as they are in common use, are two theological scarecrows, which they who uphold a party in religion use to fright away such as, making inquiry into it, are ready to relinquish or oppose it, if it appear either erroneous or suspicious,'-John Hales of Schism, p. 1.
"Brief Notes, by Way of Query, upon the Bill to prevent the Growth of Schism," &c.
"I. Whether it be agreeable to the law of God, to deprive parents of the liberty of educating their children, according to their own persuasion?
"II. Whether parents, if not capable to instruct them themselves, are not the most proper persons to choose such masters or tutors, as they think best, since their love and affection to them must need exceed that of others?
"III. Whether this is not most consonant to the law of nature, the dictates of right reason, and the universal consent and practice of mankind?
"IV. Whether the schism, as mentioned in the bill, lies in teaching Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and other languages; or rather, in not conforming to the Church of England?
"V. If the schism lies in not conforming to the Church of England; then whether this bill, if passed into a law, will not deprive Protestant dissenters of the liberty granted by the Act of Exemption or Toleration, and subject them to such penalties, as by the said act they are exempted from?
"VI. Whether the imposing or inflicting penalties upon Protestant dissenters, for not conforming to the Church of England, is not a force upon their consciences, and consequently plain persecution?
"VII. If Julian the Apostate (to his perpetual infamy) was the first that prohibited Christians the choice of schoolmasters for their children; will it be commendable for a Christian legislature to write after his copy?
"VIII. Whether it is not as natural for men to have different opinions, as to have different complexions; and as impossible, by laws or penalties, to alter the one as the other?
"IX. Whether the passing of this bill will not make more dissenters than conformists, since it is natural for men to hate persecution?
"X. Whether the mutual exercise of love and forbearance
among Protestants, is not a likelier way to keep out Popery, than rending and tearing one another?
"XI. Whether it be agreeable to the freedom and generosity of spirit, which is the glory of the English nation, and where learning and commerce do so much flourish, that any restraint should be put on useful learning?
"XII. Whether such restraint be agreeable to the generous resolution of the present House of Commons, who have resolved, That a reward be settled by parliament, upon such person or persons, (without distinction of party,) as shall discover a more certain and practicable method of ascertaining the longitude, than any yet in practice ?'"
Note, The two last of the foregoing queries were proposed by John Eccleston.
“Bishop Taylor's Judgment concerning the Power of Parents over their Children, in his Ductor Dubitantium,' Edit. 4. 1696. Pag. 701.
"So long as the son is within the civil power of his father, so long as he lives in his house, is subject to his command, is nourished by his father's charge, hath no distinct rights of his own, he is in his father's possession, and to be reckoned by his
"In the law of the twelve tables, it was written, That the private religion of a family should not be altered; which Cicero, Lib. 2. de Legibus, expounds to mean, that all those to whom the care of the father of the family did appertain, were tied to the celebration of the same rites; and the lawyers say, that children are within the holy rites of their parents, while they are in their power. Page 700.
"The father's commands are exacted, before the laws of God or princes do require obedience; because the government of children is like the government of the sick and the madmen, it is a protection of them from harm, and an institution of them to obedience of God and of kings; and therefore the father is to rule the understanding of his child, till it be ruled by the laws of God; that is, the child must believe and learn, that he may choose and obey. Ibid.
"The father hath the prerogative of education. Ibid. "A Turk, a Jew, a heathen, can reckon their children in sacris parentum; they have a power, a natural and proper
power, to breed up their children in what religion they please, but not to keep them in it, for then, when they can choose, they are under no power of man; God only is the Lord of the understanding. Page 700, 701.
"In the countries of the Roman communion, if the father be an heretic in their account, they teach their children to disobey their parents, and suppose heresy to destroy the father's right of power and government. Between Christian and Christian, there is no difference as to matter of civil rights, no law allows that." Page 701.
Being now pretty much sequestered from the care of worldly affairs, he devoted the greater part of his time to the service of truth, attending one or other of the meetings of Friends in and about the city of London, being frequently concerned to testify unto others what himself had tasted and experienced, of the power and virtue of that universal and saving grace, which it has pleased God freely to bestow upon the children of men.
On the 8th of the First Month, this year, he, with another Friend, took a short journey into Kent, to the marriage of Benjamin Owen, which was celebrated at Rochester on the 9th, where they had a very large and good meeting; and in the evening of the next day, they had another meeting at Maidstone, which, though in a little house, was large, and many were tendered by the Lord's power, which was eminently felt and witnessed at the said meeting. On the 11th they returned to London.
Some time after the happy accession of King George to the British throne, an act of parliament was made, entitled, "An Act for the further Security of his Majesy's person and Government," &c. By which all preachers and teachers of separate