The SPIRITUAL GOVERNMENT. [The Societies.]30

The SPIRITUAL GOVERNMENT. [The Societies.]
CHAP. III.

The Endeavours used in the City for the restraining of Vice, promoting of Christian Knowledge, Religion and Sobriety at Home, and extending the Knowledge of the Gospel in other Parts, by means of the Religious Societies. Society for Reformation of Manners. Reformation of the Stage. Society for promoting Christian Knowledge. Society for Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Societies of Young Men. Charities and Provisions made for the Poor. Provisions for them in the Winter. Charity Schools: Their present State. Reformation in singing Psalms. The Commission for the Augmentation of small Livings by Queen Anne's Bounty. The Act for building Fifty new Churches in the City and Suburbs. The Scots Corporation.

NOW as an Appendix to the Ecclesiastical Consideration of this City, we shall shew and set forth Two very material Things with relation hereto: Namely, in what State Religion and Good Manners stand here at present; and what Helps and Provisions are made, either by the Magistrates Care, or good Citizens Charities, for the poorer sort of People.

How Matters stand in the City as to Sobriety and Charity.

J. S.

As for the former, no small Care hath been of late Years taken for reducing the Inhabitants to Sobriety and Religion. And as the Citizens have used to combine and enter into Societies for the furthering and more convenient regulating of their Trade and Traffick; so in the Reign of King William, many well disposed Persons united themselves into Societies for this End and Purpose, to contrive the more effectually to put a Check to the open Vices of Drunkenness, Whoredom, Customary Swearing and Cursing, and Profanation of the Lord's Day; and also to find out Ways for the bringing into use the Practice of the Christian Religion, in the National Way and Service of the Church of England. Thus there is a Society set up in London for the promoting of Christian Knowledge, and another for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and chiefly in the Plantations of America. Another Rank of Societies of Young Men, that meet together at set Times for Religious Exercises.

Societies for Sobriety and Religion.

It must be said for the Honour of London, that the Citizens have generally had a Concern for Religion: And how they have of late Years stood disposed towards, it, evidently appears, by their constituting, to their great Charge, so many Societies and Funds for promoting Christianity and Vertue in themselves and others, which I cannot better enumerate than in the Words of a late Sermon. "There be set up of late many open Offices of doing Good. Worthy Men formed into Societies for several noble and excellent Ends; viz. for the private Exercises of Religion, for the Publick Reformation of Manners, for the propagating Christian Knowledge, for the erecting Parochial Libraries, for the maintaining Schools of Charity, for supporting the constant Morning and Evening Prayers of the Church, and for encouraging more frequent Communions. And besides these voluntary Societies, there be other fixed and legal Corporations to carry on many admirable Works of Piety and Charity; viz. for Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; for Stocks and Work-houses to enable the Poor to labour and live; for Relief of the Widows and Orphans of the poorer Clergy; and for governing her Majesty's Royal Bounty, and receiving other Benefactions, to augment in time their small and insufficient Cures." These noble Designs he calls deservedly the Glory of our Age, I may say, and of our Nation, but especially of our Metropolitan City.

Citizens religiously disposed.

Duke of Devon's Funeral Sermon by Dr. White Kennet.

The first Society, which is called The Society for the Reformation of Manners, consisting of good and zealous Citizens, and many of them of no mean Wealth and Rank, was designed to controul Looseness, and to prevent the Youth of the City from being spoilt by Harlots and loose Women, and from spending their Time in Taverns or Alehouses, and distempering themselves by Excess of Drink, and breaking the Sabbath. These Persons, either by their own Personal Pains, or by their Purses, employing Constables and others, to watch ill Houses, and take straggling loose Persons, and bring them before the Magistrates, and inform against them, for the better putting the good Laws of the Land in Execution against all such Evil-doers.

Society for the Reformation of Manners.

This Society began at first in the Year 1690, after this Manner: Five or six private Gentlemen, Members of the Church of England, met sometimes, and consulted together by advisable Methods to put the Penal Laws in Execution against certain notorious Sins, which were too publickly and openly practised in the Streets. Against which were several good Laws: But the Failure was, that for want of Information, and the Discharge of the Duty of Constables, and such like Officers, they were not executed. They entered therefore into a Fraternity for the remedying of this. This afterward shewn and offered to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Judges, a considerable Number of them approved thereof under their Hands: And most of the Bishops occasionally countenanced this Society by their extraordinary Circular Letters printed in 1699. And King William having this Affair laid before him by one of the Chief Ministers of State, promised the Societies his Protection and Countenance. And the late excellent Queen Anne since, issuing her Proclamation against Vice and Profaneness, was pleased to signify her Approbation of this Work; as is shewn in an Account of this Society, and the Progress of it, printed Anno 1703, and divers times before and since; together with another Book, giving an Account of the Progress of the Reformation of Manners.

The Beginning and Progress of this Society.

This hath done much Good, and put some considerable Stop to Vice, that was running on in a high and desperate Degree in the Nation. And, to the Honour of the City, other Nations have followed the City's Example, or highly approved of this Course. For the furthering this Good, a Book came forth, entitled, Essays upon the Execution of the Laws against Immortality and Profaneness, the Author John Disney, Esq;

The good Effect of it.

This Society do appoint and encourage Constables and other discreet Persons, to go about Streets and Markets, and other publick Places, to take up Drunkards, Swearers and Cursers, and

such