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Preached before the Society corresponding with the Incorporated Society in Dublin, for promoting English Proteftant Working-Schools in Ireland, at their general meeting in the parish church of St Mary le Bow, on Wednesday, April

27. 1757.

PROV. ix. 6.


Forfake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. HESE are the words of Wisdom herself, speaking in per fon and to fpeak them with effect to the poor of our neighbouring island, that forfaking the follies of their ancestors, they may live as men ought; and go in the way of understanding, through the practice of the duties, and enjoyment of the comforts of this world, to the happiness of the next, is the whole intent of the charity, which we are met to promote: the nobleft and greatest of the kind, that ever existed.

The kingdom of Ireland is bleffed by Providence with all the means of profperity: and yet the bulk of the people are in a condition very lamentable. With health and ftrength, they have little or no industry; with capacities like other men, they have little or no knowledge, even of the common arts of life. With the beft fituation and opportunities for commerce, they have fcarce any of the conveniencies which it imports: with a fertile foil, in a temperate climate, they have fcarce food and raiment. Under a government, which lays on them the fewest burthens, that perhaps ever nation felt, they are inceffantly wifhing for a change: and, which is the fource of all, tho' the light of the reformation fhines round them, and the door VOL. IV. A


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of Christian freedom is open to them, they continue in thick darknefs, voluntary flaves to abfurd superstitions. Attached with fervile awe to the lowest emiffaries of the See of Rome, they imbibe even the dregs of its errors: which many, in other countries of the fame communion, have the wisdom to reject. Hence their idolatry is groffer, their efteem of social duties lefs, their dependence on outward formalities more confident, their enmity to Proteftants bitterer: and their abhorrence of labour almost infuperable, because it will benefit those whom they deteft.

We ought to pity all the mistakes and fufferings of all our fellow-creatures, and yet more of our fellow-christians, how much foever they proceed from their own faults. Even their temporal evils ought to move us very fenfibly: and though penury and nakedness may appear to unaccustomed eyes more grievous than they are; yet the real diftreffes flowing from them are often extremely heavy. But their fpiritual disadvantages, that they have fo little acquaintance with rational piety, univerfal benevolence, the value of moral felf-government, and the genuine fyftem of the truth as it is in Fefus*, these intitle them to much tenderer compaffion, though seldom confidered in that view. For our fellow-fubjects we ought to feel an additional concern, were their interefts ever so separable from our own but in the present case they are united most intimately. While these unhappy creatures remain without proper employment, the country in general must be unhealthy, as well as unpleasant, for want of culture; and thinly peopled, for want of neceffaries: the fight of so much wretchedness must be painful; the relief of it expenfive, and nevertheless unavailing. That part of the British dominions must be deftitute of the wealth and strength, which diligence would quickly procure it: and instead of contributing to the fupport of the whole, must drain and exhaust England for its defence, whenever attacked.

This would be unavoidable, werethe natives ever fo amicably disposed towards us, ever so dutifully towards our fovereign. But being of a different and perfecuting religion; taught by bigotted parents and instructors to regard us as heretics, abhorred of God; and devoted, by his vicegerent on earth, to prefent, as well as future, deftruction: fome of them will think doing mischief to us, when they can without hazard, a


* Eph. iv. 21.


laudable action; and others will imagine fraud, or perjury, or violence against such abominable mifcreants, offences that claim an easy abfolution. These fentiments muft greatly affect their conduct in the ordinary intercourses of life: but unspeakably more, when the interefts of their church come in question. Accordingly, for these, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, they were rebelling perpetually in that of King Charles I. they maffacred, unprovoked, as many compute, about one hundred thousand persons of our faith in that of King James II. and the war that foliowed, not only the meaner fort, but the upper alfo, gave fhocking proofs of the like inhuman spirit. By fuch repeated enormities, multitudes of them, on various occafions, forfeited their eftates with their lives. These forfeitures, their defcendants, whilst they cherish the fame way of thinking, must confider as nullities; and with and hope to regain what they have lost; pining with envy, thirsting for revenge; and imputing their poverty, the fruit originally of their treasons, and fince of their idleness, and maintenance of priefts without end, to our infupportable oppreffions.

Thus uneafy at home, vast numbers of them go abroad, and chiefly into the territories of our enemies or rivals. There fome of them exert themselves in trade to our detriment, which they would not do in their own land for our common benefit. Some again, who have got riches already, carry them away to enjoy them elsewhere. But far the greatest part of these emigrants take up the profeflion of arms in the service of popish powers; attack us with peculiar fierceness in the day of battle, as we have felt to our coft; and are always ready, when a critical juncture shall appear, to return and head their countrymen against us in another meritorious holy war; which we have the more cause to apprehend, as their bishops are nominated by the Pretender; as neither clergy nor laity amongst them have ever given, or offered to give, though presfed to it by some of their own church, any pledge of their fidelity to the present government; and as thofe regions of the island, which they occupy the most entirely, are the nearest to the continent *

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We have been told indeed by a late Apologift for them that they have, for near 70 years past, that is, ever fince they could not help themfelves,

*The cafe of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, Dublin, 1755.




We must be allowed therefore to recollect what hath been; and conclude from thence, what will, or may be; to put ourfelves, when it is requifite, in the condition of our forefathers; adopt their feelings, to excite our vigilance, though not our refentment;

felves, been perfectly well affected. But we can by no means truft, against all probability, and the experience of fucceffive ages, to the bare word of a nameless author. And much less can we do it, when a contemporary author, an officer of his own nation and belief, living amongst our enemies, where he may speak out with fafety and applause, treats our happy eftablishment as an ufurpation; and frankly declares, that the Irish Papists have a fettled antipathy to Englishmen, with a strong attachment to France, and the House of Stuart *.

We have also been told by the fame Apologift and others, that whatever the Court of Rome may have done, the Church of Rome hath never patronifed perfecution, or rebellion, or breach of oaths or promises, to introduce or fupport its doctrine or discipline. But if we must be in danger of these things, whenever the Court of Rome, or its partisans have power; it is but a forry confolation to tell us, that the Church of Rome hath no hand in them. And yet whence are we to learn the tenets of that Church? Not furely from a few obfcure, or at beft private writers: but from the decrees of her councils, general and particular, the uniform determinations of her Popes, the edicts of her princes †, the received opinions of her divines; the conftant practice of her members, whenever an inviting opportunity pre. fents itself; and that practice not once condemned as unlawful, by any pretended authority amongst them; though there have been many and loud calls upon them to condemn it, if indeed they disapprove it. But they have better ways than this; they force the most notorious facts alledged against them, into a neutrality, if not into their service, by misrepresentations; or, if any be intractably stubborn, they pafs it over in total filence. Thus particularly this Apologift, though he relates a variety of hiftorical occurrences, to show that his Catholic friends were innocent, .or excufable in them all, no more mentions or hints at the horrid butchery of 1641, than if he had never heard of any fuch thing. And the Irish officer, poor man, hath forgotten it as entirely, in his narration of matters, relative to the Papists of that ifland: though he remembers a great deal more, than is true, of what preceded, and followed it. Treating persons in this manner, is really hold, ing their understandings in too much contempt; and being almost as void of judgment, as of honefty and fhame.

*Lettres d'un Officer Irlandois a un Officer Francois de fes Amis, Mem. de Trev. Aout. Sept. 1756.

† See a difcourfe concerning the laws, ecclefiaftical and civil, made against heretics. London, printed for John Wyatt, 1723,

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resentment; and make fupplemental provifions for fecurity, where the former have proved infufficient.

How they came to be infufficient, needs not be minutely examined here. Ireland, remote from the reft of Europe, and haraffed continually by domestic feuds, was in a state of great ignorance and rudeness at the reformation. God, whofe judgements are unfearchable*, raised up then in that country none of the burning and shining lights †, which he did elsewhere. Popery therefore, while the attention of England was engaged at home, kept its ground, and foon fortified it by foreign schools and connexions. The firft rebellions indeed, which followed on this, principally weakened the authors of them: but the dreadful maffacre almoft extinguished the Proteftants. And though the perpetrators of it fuffered in their turns very feverely: yet the furvivors were buoyed up with hopes, in the two next reigns, of recovering all: which they were on the point of accomplishing, when the arrival of our deliverer King William, and their unsuccessful oppofition to him, broke their strength, but not their obftinacy. However, fince that time, the persons of figure have been gradually coming over; fome on right motives; others in confequence of fuch regulations, as the Legislature can justly make in its own defence, and Papifts can never confiftently blame, though wrong minds may be tempted by them to hypocrify. Still, profelytes on fuspected inducements, and fome of them only from the profeffion of a falfe religion to the profeffion of none, are not likely to have much influence, were they to endeavour it, on their inferiors who accordingly have adhered to the Romish communion,

And were they never to quit it, their priests unquestionably, had they uprightness and prudence enough, might give them both better difpofitions to industry, and juster notions of Chriftianity. But there is no profpect that they ever will, in any great measure; or fhould they do their beft, the most refined popery is a dangerous corruption of the gofpel; and hath befides a large mixture of things hurtful to civil fociety. But especially where a person of the fame perfuafion keeps up a claim to the Crown, its votaries will never be further good fubjects, than as their feeming fuch may procure connivance

*Rom. xi. 33

+ John v. 35.


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