Title : Free Thoughts on the Projected Application to Parliament for the Abolition of Ecclesiastical Subscriptions  
Author : Augustus Montague Toplady  

Toplady was passionate in his desire to defend the orthodoxy of the Church of England and as such he was horrified by any suggestion that the required subscription to the liturgy and the thirty nine articles should be relaxed.

Influential sections of the Church of England were pressing for change in the early 1770's and their agitation took the form of a petition (The Feathers Tavern Petition, initially drawn up on 17th July 1771) that was presented to parliament on 6th February 1772, being rejected by 217 votes to 71. Following a further rejection the following year there was a small exodus from the Church of England to Unitarian chapels.

This work boisterously ridiculed the reformers, ending with the plea that:

If unsound Doctrines make shift to creep now and then, into the Church , notwithstanding the Hedge of Subscription, by which she is guarded; what would become of her, if she dismissed her Guard, and the Hedge was totally removed? On the whole, I take Leave of the Subject, with the same ardent wish for the Church of England, which a celebrated Historian expressed for the State of Venice: ESTO PERPETUA !

September 27, 1771.


The work also includes a short lettter entitled "A Card to the Reverend Haddon Smith" that is typical of Toplady's sarcastic style that causes problems for our modern sensibilities.







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