HONEST JOHN'S OPINION

OF

P A T R O N A G E.

GOOD morrow neighbour; what's your news?
Tell what you ken, pray, don't refuse.
Says he, The folk's all in a rage,
And blame the Church for Patronage.
Sir, my opinion is the same
With those men who the Church do blame;
Curst Patronage usurps a pow'r,
And makes our Church a common wh--re.
The most of Christians own 'tis bad,
And if it rid of it would be glad,
Except such men as have a Son,
Who's forced in by tuck of Drum.
The Patron also may it praise,
While conscience nought against him says;
His worldly wealth he may increase,
By forcing into Church--an Ass.

Such impositions must offend
those who're religously inclined:
It makes dissensions through the land,
And puts the weak mind to a stand.
The bond of all Society,
By Patronage is forc'd to fly;
I mean, true friendship cannot stay,
Where men are void of charity.
The wisest Patron can't find proof
In all the Scriptures, which are the truth;
Nor do we find, in ancient days,
That e'er the Church was treat those ways.

When first the Christian faith took place,
There were well nigh three hundred years,
That Christians their own Pastors choos'd,
Took who were fit, the rest refus'd.
The Christians then, they lib'ral were;
Of what they had, they gave a share;
Their Ministers with bread they fed;
They greatful were, and thanks repaid.

Bud when Constantine did embrace
The Christian faith, he turn'd the chace;
He made a law that he thought good,
And did confirm their livelihood.
A legal right he did them give,
That they their Stipend hard might crave;
'Tis now confirm's a settled Fee,
What first was but gratuity.
That Emp'ror great, he quickly found,
The Christian Clergy could command
The minds of men and make them sway,
And still the government obey.
The Clergy then were so acute,
In forming minds without dispute,
Who did the government obey;
By this the Clergy bore the sway.
The Princes who were great in power
Did still the Clergymen adore,
And frank and freely they did give
Whate'er these Clergymen did crave.

The Clergy they obtain'd their end,
Were well secur'd of Glebe and Teind;
Yet their demands still rose more high,
That scarce a prince could them supply.
Great favours, formerly receiv'd,
Incitements were for new ones crav'd;
At last, they falsely did pretend,
They from the Levites did descend:
And, for the tenth they make a claim
Of all produc'd in ev'ry clime;
Ev'n beasts and grain, sugar and tea,
All to support their luxury.
But still 'tis plain, and will appear,
That Christian Clergy can't compare
With Levites and with Jewish Priests,
Who offer'd sacrifice of beasts.
The Levites lent an active hand,
In conquering Canaan's Land;
Though of the land they had no share,
They were maintain'd, and free of care.
The Clergy do nought, now-a-days,
But point the road the Christian gaes;
Of toil and labour they are freed,
Which both the Priests and Levites did.
Constantine's time, the clergy had
The people's hearts, both good and bad,
And soon could have rebellion rais'd
Against his Highness when they pleas'd:
Which made those great men never stand
To grant the Clergy their demand:
A law was past by Clergy's friends,
And tax impos'd that's called Teinds.
By which the rev'nue of the Church
Was then increased very much;
And now this office bears the van;
Fye, let my son be Clergyman.

Now by this time the Pope of Rome,
Who's by the Romans call'd, Supreme,
None could dispute his right, as such,
To fill up ev'ry vacant Church:
But why should we so much complain,
Of Antichrist and Pope of Rome,
Since arbitrary pow'r is us'd,
In settling Priests, though still refus'd?
To Presbyt'ry we need not claim;
To us 'tis but a borrow'd name:
No court is held to crave a Vote,
If you'll have such a Priest or not.
The Patron, who has got a friend,
Who serv'd him for some noble end,
His Son repays with Kirk and Glebe,
Ev'n though he's one of Haman's tribe.
Sure grace and goodness ne'er can dwell,
Where uproars and convulsions swell;
Nor can they find a joy that's sweet,
Where truth and friendship do not meet.

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