A Christian-Testimony Born by some of the PEOPLE of GOD In [...] QUAKERS IN LONDON: [...] [...] their Patient suffering the Taking Away of their Goods for Non-Payment of Tythes to the Parish Priests.

[...] Apostle saith, I have coveted no mans Silver, Gold or Apparel: Ye your selves know, that these Hands have [...]inistred to my [...]essities, and to them that were with [...], Acts 20.3 [...].34.
[...], What is my Reward then? verily that when I Preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel of Christ Without [...], that I abuse not my Power in the Gospel; for though I be free from all men, yet have I made my self [...]ervant to all, that I might gain the more, 1 Cor. 9.18, 19.

LONDON, Printed by Andrew Sowle, 1681/2.

THE PREFACE TO THE READER

Friendly Reader;

THE following matter being an Account of the distraining and taking away of the Goods of some of us, the People called Quakers in the City of London, because we refused to pay unto the Parish Priests Tythes or certain Sums of mony, in Law called Tythes; We, the said People, shall in Christian Ten­derness and Plainness render some Christian Reasons why we cannot pay or give Tythes to the Parish Priests or Ministers.

First, We are not Unbelieving Jews, but Real Chri­stians, therefore we cannot give or pay them Tythes. God commanded Tythes to be paid under the Dispen­sation of the Law, which came by Moses, and those Tythes were ordained for the Relief of the Widdows, Fatherless and Strangers, as well as for the Priests. This command for paying and receiving Tythes, as aforesaid, continued in force amongst the Jews, till [Page]our Lord Jesus Christ came in the Flesh, and had of­fered himself up through the Eternal Spirit; who by his one Offering put an End to the Priesthood of Aaron and Levi, together with their Temple and Tythes, and all the rest of the Shadowy Offerings and Ser­vices: And as the Apostle said, God disannulled this Commandment for the Weakness and Unprofitableness thereof; for the Law made nothing Perfect, &c. For such an High Priest becometh us, who is Holy, Harmless, separate from Sinners, &c. see Heb. 7.18, 19, 26. And again, The Priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change of the Law, Vers. 12. So Christ by his One Of­fering hath Ended this Dispensation of Tything above Sixteen Hundred Years since. But when this Com­mand was in Force, it was only to the Natural Jews, and therefore no Concern of ours, who are by Nature Gentiles.

Secondly, Christ, who ended this Jewish Dispensa­tion of Tything, did not set up Tythes again in the Gospel Dispensation, either among Jews or Gentiles, for the Maintenance of his Ministers, (nor for any other use) but contrary-wise commanded his Mini­sters, saying, Freely ye have received, Freely give, &c. and whosoever shall not hear you, nor receive your Words, when you depart out of that House or City, shake off the Dust of your Feet, Mat. 10.7, 14. Again, But into whatso­ever City ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you, &c. But into whatsoever City you enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the Streets of the same, and say, Even the very Dust of your City, which cleaveth to us, we do wipe off against you, Luke 10.8, 10, 11. Thus it plainly appears, that Christ's Command was and is, to preach or minister [Page]Freely, as they then had, and such now have, received Freely; and those who are truly his Ministers, do keep this his Command; and such have Power in Christ to eat such as is set before them, by those who do receive them; but not to take Tythes or Sums of Mo­ney, for preaching, from those who do not receive, be­lieve nor own their Testimony, nor Sue them at Law, to take away or Spoil their Goods, because they refuse to pay them. This Practice of the aforesaid Priests is contrary to both Law and Gospel. For when the Jews broke the Law of God, in not bringing Tythes into his Store-House, we do not read, nor believe, that God did impower Magistrates to give Warrants to the Priests, under the Law, to distrain or take away their Goods for the same, nor to take Double or Treble the Value of the Tythes then Due; nor to Imprison and Oppress the Bodies of such Offenders; neither was it then said, that such Offenders did Rob the Priests, but that they Robbed God; neither were the Priests or Magistrates to punish them for this Robbery; but the Power of punishing of these, the great God re­served in himself, and he Blasted or Cursed the Fruits of the Earth, as a Punishment for their Rebel­lion, &c. see Mal. 3. Deut. 28.38, 39, 40.

Objection; Some perhaps may object from the A­postles words, on the behalf of the aforesaid Priests of London, and say, Who goeth a Warfare any time at his own Charge? Who planteth a Vineyard, and eateth not of the Fruit thereof? Who feedeth a Flock, and eateth not of the Milk of the Flock? If we sow unto you Spiritual Things, is it a great matter if we shall reap of your Carnal Things?

Ans. What the Apostle saith in this Case we own; but this is not the Case betwixt us and the Priests a­foresaid; for, First, Those Priests do not go to War for us, but against us; therefore we ought not to bear the Charge of this their Evil War.

Secondly, They have not planted us a Vineyard or Church unto God; but we being planted of God, they have laboured, and do labour to scatter us by their Cruelties and Oppression, therefore they ought not to have a Reward from us, for whom they do not work.

Thirdly, They do not feed us, who are the Flock of God; but on the contrary, their Works against us have been, and are, to seek to weaken, starve and scat­ter us from tht Fold of our great Shepherd Christ Jesus: But Glory to God, through him, he keeps us, who is stronger then them all, by whom we are ga­thered, perserved, fed and brought to Peace and Rest in him

Fourthly, These Priests have not sown, nor do sow unto us Spiritual Things, but on the contrary; the Fruits of the Flesh, which is Covetousness, &c. they have sown in a plentious manner, to our great Wrong and Injury; therefore we cannot own them as Mini­sters of Christ, nor consent to give our Substance to maintain them as such; but we have true Love to them, and all men, and we could feed them as our Enemies, if we knew they had need thereof, though we cannot feed them as the Ministers of Christ, we not believing them to be such; and that which the more confirms us in our Belief, that they are not such, [Page]is, their being found in direct Opposition to the Com­mand of Christ, who saith, Freely ye have Received, Freely Give; and contrary to the Doctrine and Ex­ample of the Ministers of Christ, both in their Main­tenance and Conversation.

Again, the Apostle Peter writ unto the Elders of the Church of Christ, saying, The Elders which are among you, I exhort, who am also an Elder, and Witness of the Suffering of Christ, and also a Partaker of the Glory that shall be revealed; Feed the Flock of God, which is among you, taking the Over-sight thereof, not by Constraint, but Willingly; Not for filthy Lucre, but of a Ready Mind; Neither as being Lords over God's Heritage, but being En­samples to the Flock; see 1 Pet. 5.1, 2, 3.

First, Observe, the Apostle Peter, and the rest of the Elders of the Church of Christ were made SUCH by Christ himself, who endued them with Power from on High, for the great Work of the Ministry; and by the same means are all the Elders of the Church of Christ made at this Day.

Secondly, The true Ministers and Elders of the Church of Christ do take the Over-sight thereof not by Constraint, but Willingly: God makes them wil­ling to preach Freely, according to Christ's Com­mand; they do not take the over-sight of the Flock for filthy Lucre, but of a ready Mind. Note, The word Lucre signifies Gain; and filthy Lucre is Gain ill gotten: Now that Gain that is gotten in breaking the Com­mand of Christ is not well, but ill gotten; and such is that Gain of the Persons before-mentioned, which is gotten as aforesaid.

Thirdly, The true Elders and Ministers of Christ neither were nor are, Lords over God's Heritage, but good Ensamples to the Flock; and because the Persons before-mentioned do not abide in the Do­ctrine of Christ, neither follow the Doctrine or Ex­ample of his holy Apostles and Elders in their Call, Ministry, Maintenance and Conversation, therefore we cannot esteem them the true Ministers and Elders set up by Christ; and therefore we cannot give them of our outward Substance to uphold them as such. The Apostle Paul saith, There were many in his day, who taught that which they ought not for filthy Lucres sake; see Tit. 1.11. And we have just cause to say there are many such in our day; but the Lord is discovering them daily more and more, and he will bring these their Evil Works to an End, in his ap­pointed Season, which hastens on apace; and in the mean time we are chearfully given up to suffer what­ever the Lord permits our Adversaries to inflict upon us for the Exercise of our tender Consciences to him.

These are some of the many Reasons that might be given, why we refuse, and cannot for good Conscience-sake Pay Tythe; but as we have, so we must continue bearing our Christian-Testimony (in the Spirit of Christ) against paying of them, as being contrary to the Doctrine and Practice of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and his blessed Apostles.

BOOKS Printed and Sold by Andrew So [...]le [...] Shop in Devonshire-Buildings, without Bishops-gate, viz.

  • The Great Case of Tythes, by Francis [...] Price 6 d.
  • Tythes [...]ded by Christ, by William [...] Price 6 d.
  • The Foundation of Tythes Shaken, by [...] Elwood. Price bound 3 s.
  • A Testimony against Tything among [...] by Richard Richardson. Price 10 d.
  • A Treatise of Oathes, containing several [...] Reasons why the People called Quaker [...] to Swear; Confirm'd by Numerous [...] out of Gentiles, Jews and Christians, [...] thers, Doctors and Martyrs, Presented [...] King and Parliament. Price 1 s.
  • An Address to Protestants upon the [...] Conjuncture, in Two Parts, by William [...] Price 1 s. 6 d.

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