soon found it necessary, for the sake of preserving 
the public peace, to assume to himself 
the right of presenting to all vacant benefices
In Scotland, the most extensive 
country in which this presbyterian form of 
church government has ever been established
the rights of patronage were in effect abolished 
by the act which established presbytery 
in the beginning of the reign of William III
That act, at least, put in the power of certain 
classes of people in each parish to purchase
for a very small price, the right of electing 
their own pastor. The constitution which 
this act established, was allowed to subsist for 
about two-and-twenty years, but was abolished 
by the 10th of queen Anne, ch. 12, on 
account of the confusions and disorders which 
this more popular mode of election had almost 
everywhere occasioned. In so extensive 
a country as Scotland, however, a tumult 
in a remote parish was not so likely to 
give disturbance to government as in a smaller 
state. The 10th of queen Anne restored 
the rights of patronage. But though, in 
Scotland, the law gives the benefice, without 
any exception to the person presented by the 
patron; yet the church requires sometimes 
(for she has not in this respect been very uniform 
in her decisions) a certain concurrence 
of the people, before she will confer upon 
the presentee what is called the cure of souls
or the ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the parish
She sometimes, at least, from an affected 
concern for the peace of the parish, delays 
the settlement till this concurrence can be 
procured. The private tampering of some 
of the neighbouring clergy, sometimes to 
procure, but more frequently to prevent this 
concurrence, and the popular arts which they 
cultivate, in order to enable them upon such 
occasions to tamper more effectually, are 
perhaps the causes which principally keep up 
whatever remains of the old fanatical spirit
either in the clergy or in the people of Scotland
The equality which the presbyterian form 
of church government establishes among the 
clergy, consists, first, in the equality of authority 
or ecclesiastical jurisdiction; and, 
secondly, in the equality of benefice. In all 
presbyterian churches, the equality of authority 
is perfect; that of benefice is not so. 
The difference, however, between one benefice 
and another, is seldom so considerable
as commonly to tempt the possessor even of 
the small one to pay court to his patron, by 
the vile arts of flattery and assentation, in 
order to get a better. In all the presbyterian 
churches, where the rights of patronage are 
thoroughly established, it is by nobler and 
better arts, that the established clergy in general 
endeavour to gain the favour of their 
superiors; by their learning, by the irreproachable 
regularity of their life, and by the 
faithful and diligent discharge of their duty. 
Their patrons even frequently complain of 
the independency of their spirit, which they 
are apt to construe into ingratitude for past 
favours, but which, at worst, perhaps, is seldom 
any more than that indifference which 
naturally arises from the consciousness that 
no further favours of the kind are ever to be 
expected. There is scarce, perhaps, to be 
found anywhere in Europe, a more learned
decent, independent, and respectable set of 
men, than the greater part of the presbyterian 
clergy of Holland, Geneva, Switzerland, and 
Where the church benefices are all nearly 
equal, none of them can be very great; and 
this mediocrity of benefice, though it may 
be, no doubt, carried too far, has, however, 
some very agreeable effects. Nothing but 
exemplary morals can give dignity to a man 
of small fortune. The vices of levity and 
vanity necessarily render him ridiculous, and 
are, besides, almost as ruinous to him as they 
are to the common people. In his own conduct
therefore, he is obliged to follow that 
system of morals which the common people 
respect the most. He gains their esteem and 
affection, by that plan of life which his own 
interest and situation would lead him to follow
The common people look upon him 
with that kindness with which we naturally 
regard one who approaches somewhat to our 
own condition, but who, we think, ought to 
be in a higher. Their kindness naturally 
provokes his kindness. He becomes careful 
to instruct them, and attentive to assist and 
relieve them. He does not even despise the 
prejudices of people who are disposed to be 
so favourable to him, and never treats them 
with those contemptuous and arrogant airs
which we so often meet with in the proud 
dignitaries of opulent and well endowed 
churches. The presbyterian clergy, accordingly, 
have more influence over the minds of 
the common people, than perhaps the clergy 
of any other established church. It is, accordingly, 
in presbyterian countries only, 
that we ever find the common people converted
without persecution completely, and 
almost to a man, to the established church
In countries where church benefices are, 
the greater part of them, very moderate, a 
chair in a university is generally a better establishment 
than a church benefice. The 
universities have, in this case, the picking 
and chusing of their members from all the 
churchmen of the country, who, in every 
country, constitute by far the most numerous 
class of men of letters. Where church benefices
on the contrary, are many of them 
very considerable, the church naturally draws 
from the universities the greater part of their 
eminent men of letters; who generally find 
some patron, who does himself honour by 
procuring them church preferment. In the 
former situation, we are likely to find the