THE Great Case of Tythes And forced MAITENANCE Once more REVIVED; THE True state thereof enquired into, before the Law, under the Law, among the Jews; likewise under the Gospel, the true Ministers of Christ, their allowance shown; likewise in the cor­ruption of time since Christ; how Tythes have been introduced, wherein Antiquity is searched, and the Judgment of the Fathers of the Church in several ages produced, besides the Scripture it self examined; in all which is clearly proved, Tythes and forced maintenance, are no Gospel maintenance; the Scriptures an­swered, divers Arguments confuted, and Objections answered; which are brought by the Ministery of this last age.

Also the Institution and Division of Parishes, and their Rise, all which are published for the benefit of all, who desire that Gospel order might be established again in all the Churches of Christ.

F. H.

Printed in the Year 1665.

An Epistle to the READER.

Impartial Reader,

THou hast here recommended once more unto thy view, what as from time to time, and from age to age, hath been not only the grand Cause of invocating counsels, but also hitherto even the ground of great dispute and con­troversie, if thou this Treatise do with a single eye peruse, and ballance the same in just and equal scales, thou wilt find it of so much validity, as will poise thy judgement to give sensure, that this is a clear and true demonstration of the matter in hand; if thou be serious in thy view, sincere in thy heart, and single in thy mind, as willing to know the radix, rise, and ground of the matter herein handled, then wilt thou find this the very key which will aright, and may without scruple open unto thee, and demonstrate the very certain infallible and sure testimony, as well of their original rise, growing, begetting, constituting, set­tling, confirming, upholding, and maintaining of them, viz. Tythes; all which that thou mayst be clearly informed, may thou finde as by step and step herein traced, thou wilt finde their original as first how tenths were given before the Commandment was given forth to the Jews, thou wilt also find their growing, and their Institutions thou may clear­ly see, and wherefore they were so instituted, thou wilt [Page] finde them when confirmed, and thou wilt finde them when corrupted, thou wilt finde them when lawful, and thou wilt finde them when not lawful; thou wilt find them when they were to be payed, and thou wilt find a time when they ought not to be payed, And because the Ministers of our age, as we have daily from them, do vaunt and boast themselves of the Orthodox Fathers of their Church, therefore wilt thou find by a narrow search, and a single eye in the reading hereof, unto which I do advise thee, and that in patience and sobriety, thou wilt, as one unbiassed ballance the same, here may thou have their opinions, and judgments also, and their ancient Fathers quoted thou wilt have at large their own words; All which as by this Treatise is intended to inform thy mind, and be as a pre­sident how they are now in this our age apostatized from what they were, and now at length becom'd as usurpation, or abused; And for thy more full and perfect understanding how they were continued and imposed, thou may also read the Orders and Decrees of many great Councils, their Opi­nions, Judgements, and Impositions, from time to time in many ages past; Thou wilt see the testimony of the holy Martyrs and their verdict, and last of all the Scriptures discussed, the arguments confuted, the questions answered, and the objections razed, which the Ministers of our daies do produce, or in times past have been produced, as the basis or ground from which they inferre and lay their seem­ing fair foundation, these thou wilt all see sufficiently, clearly and evidently confuted, their structure defaced, their painted building demolished, their foundation unbottom'd, and they themselves, if their old root of Covetousness were not so strongly centered in them, might be convinced, there is not one stone left, but all is overturn'd, and the bottom [Page] [...]wed, that thereby this Babels foundation may now be thrown down at the last, which hath had so many batteries [...]d assaults against it, this as it is the last, so it is indeed a weighty peice, which if truth might have place (and error and deceit, which since the Apostacy is crept in once rooted [...]t) then needed there not another of this nature, for this indeed doth bolt the door, and if sensibly felt, arightly un­derstood, and the truth of it assented unto, then would there be no entrance; But though all this may not take [...]ld with the worldly Priest, yet herein have I hopes, that truth therein being so sufficiently demonstrated, may take place and footing in every honest Reader, so far as that he may not only be informed, but convinced, and not only so, but being convinc'd by this which doth so candidly mani­fest the same, he may in the zeal of his heart own it, and stand in the defence thereof, vindicating the just cause thereof, and witness with his seal that this is true, which if unbiassed he peruse, it doth evidently appear unto me he cannot but own, as he is willing and aminded to own truth; One thing more is also in this book inserted, to wit, the sufficiency of allowance to the Ministers of Christ i [...] Gospel daies, according the doctrine of Christ and the Apostles; and it were well if Magistrates and Superiors [...]ld weigh it, and that they would with the infallible eye of pure judgement, labour to discern the same, lest they de­ [...]e or uphold that which in this case they ought not, to [...]t, Tythes, lest the Lord be angry for their so doing, it be­ing so repugnant to the testimony of truth.

And so let every honest Reader weigh, and diligently and [...]riously consider, whether he ought to uphold truth or er­ [...]r, light or darknesse, I assume he will say that he ought [...] uphold and maintaine the truth, and to stand by it and [Page] for it, then let me ask him a sober question, in the sobriety and calmnesse of spirit, and I desire that in the coolnesse of the day he may answer it, according to the witness of his conscience; My question is this, whether he doth not believe after that he hath had a serious view of this pie [...] that he meets with such valid arguments, such clearness of demonstration, as may or doth convince him that the im­position of Tythes now in Gospel daies, is absolutely out of the Doctrine of truth, and ought not so to be? And if so convinc'd, whether he ought not to side and adjoyn with that of God in his conscience, in a testimony of this nature, and so partake with truth, which is a duty ought to be, and is incumbent upon every Christian mans heart, which is the desire of him who is a well-willer to Sions prospe­rity.

Edward Guy.

The Great Case of Tythes once more revived, and the True State thereof inquired into, both under the Jews, and also under the Gospel, wherein Antiquity is search­ed, and the Judgment of the most Orthodox Fathers of the Church produced, and also divers Modern Writers, beside the Scripture it self; all which clearly proving, That Tythes are no Gospel Maintenance, neither are Due by any Divine Right. Also, all the Scriptures an­swered, and the divers Objections and Arguments Con­futed, which are brought to maintain them by the Mi­nistry of this Generation.

SInce the seat of Antichrist hath been set, and his Thrown ex­alted so high as it now is, and he himself exalting himself above all that is called God; and not only so, but he hath la­boured to make void the Laws and Commands of the Lord and his Christ concerning his Church, and likewise, to set up his own Institutions and Commandements, which are repugnant and contrary to the Commands of Christ, and the Practice and Ex­ample of the Apostles, and holy Martyrs of old, who laid down their lives, for the Testimony of that doctrine and faith, which they had received of the Lord Jesus Christ the saviour of man [...]d, and knowing the practice and the examples of Christ and [...] Apostles, and holy witnesses, they continued in their doctrine to hold forth still the same in purity, and to keep it unviolated [...]n to their death, that they might shew themselves forth to be followers of their master Christ Jesus, and to abide in his doct­rine, and walke according to the primitive example, notwith­standing all the opposition, and Contradiction of Antichrist and his followers which hath been great throw many ages, since the [...]tions have dranke, and the Kings of the earth of the wine of [...]e whores fornication, and the way that Antichrist and the [Page 2] false Church hath had to exilt themselves, hath been by policy, craft, and deceit, in perswading the Nations, that that which was once given, and offerd freely unto the Lord for his workes sake, is now made of necessity, and Claimed as divine right to th [...] and their Ministers, notwithstanding both the doctrine, the wor­ship, and practice be all together inconsistant with the primitive times truly so call'd.

But seeing the ministry of the false Church who abode not in the doctrine of Christ, (but hath violated it, and now hath turn'd against the Saints, the ministers and seed of the free woman) hath not had power by vertue of their doctrine to worke upon the hearts and Consciences of people, so as to open them and make them freely willing to minister earthly things to their ministers, because indeed most people in the Nations are not perswaded that they have ministred Spirituall things. And therefore the false Church hath perswaded the powers of the earth, who have drunk­en of her Cup, that it is their duty to force and compell all to give unto her and her ministers, as of divine right, whether people be perswaded or no that they are sent of God, and makes the S [...] ­pture a Cloak to cover their force or Injunctions and produceth the example of the primitive Christians for a cover, though they do nothing at all of the worke of the Apostles or ministers of Christ in Converting of Soules, but rather ministring their [...] inventions, & vain traditions of men, instead of the true ordinance of Christ, yet however maintenance they must and wil have though they do none of Christs work, and are so imperious and arrogant as to recken tyths the tenth part of the encrease of the earth what­soever, and of every mans labour, and merchandize, yet this they would perswade all people is by divine right, and a gospell insti­tution, And this hath been received by many in our last gene­ration, whose mindes hath been darkned with the cloude of igno­rance for a truth, and for any to withstand or deny it, hath [...] counted error and heresie, no less then a curse, from mistery Babylon, did come upon all such as did gainesay, also some with losse of lives, as Heretickes upon this account, and in this last age many Imprisoned for divers years even untill death, and many have suffered great spoiling of their goods ten or twenty fold more then that which they pretended due, and yet all this people [Page 3] must believe is Gospel institution and divine right.

The Consideration of which thing hath been an inducement [...] my heart of late to make a true and a narrow search of the [...]fullnesse or unlawfullnesse of this particular thing, not only [...]ing the true state of tithes amongst the Jewes, but also in [...] primitive time, and amongst the ancient fathers of the Church [...] doctrine have been approved amongst the most faithfull [...]ers of the Church of Christ downward untill this last age. [...] of all to speake of the tenths which were given before the [...]mandement was given forth to the Jewes, Abraham in his [...] from redeeming his Nephew Lot, after the pursuit of [...]mer the King of Elam with the rest of the Kings joyned Gen. 14. 9. & 11, 12, 13. [...] him having recovered his Nephew Lot with all his sub­ [...], and all the substance of Sodom and Gomorr ab was met by [...]dech King of Salem, and priest of the most high God, [...] blessed Abraham, and brought forth bread and wine, and [...] into him and to the rest who were with him, unto whome [...] gave the Tithes of all the spoile, that he had taken from Gen. 18. 20. Hebrews 7. 4. [...] [...]oresaid Chedorlaomer, and the rest of the Kings. Chrysostome [...]stands the Text only to be of the spoyls, whereof Abraham [...] M [...]lchisedech a partaker, by giving him the first fruits of his [...] performance. And Jerome often stiling it, Decimas spoli­ [...]da, & Victoriae, that is, the tenth of the spoil of the prey, and [...] Victory. And this is made one of the main basis or ground [...] probation of Tythes due before the Law, which is but only [...] gift of Abraham to Melchizedech of the spoil he had taken; [...] that, but once that we read of; take notice of that: not of [...]lies labours or industries, but of the spoil of what he had [...]. And it is very clear, that it was a voluntary thing and [...] given; and there is a good shew of reason in it, that it was [...] [...]ay of gratitude unto Melchizedech, and to requite his kind­ [...] Gen. 14 18. [...]ho brought forth bread and wine unto his Souldiers after a great [...], which refreshed both him and his Souldiers, which was [...] sign and a courtesie, if Abraham had not given the tenth [...] the spoil he had not sinned; so an example of this nature [...] be a binding law to future generations: for if the Mini­ [...] of this last age will make this a binding rule, we may as well [...] of them bread and wine of every Priest for our selves [Page 4] and whole families, and every Officer may require bread [...] wine of every parish Priest for himself and all his souldiers, [...] the one example is as binding as the other, both of them be [...] voluntary.

The next passage that seems to have any weight in it ab [...] tithes, is Jacobs Vow, This stone, saith he, which I will set up at [...] Gen. 28. 22. pillar shall be Gods House, and of all that thou shalt give me, I [...] surely give the tenth unto thee.

This was an extraordinary occasion, and more then an ordi­nary appearance from God unto Jacob before, when he [...] from his father to Haran, to take a wife of his own kin [...] And the Lord appeared unto him as he laid his head upon a stone the night being come, and said unto him, I am the God of Abra­ham, Gen. 28. 13, 14 the God of Isaac, and the land whereon thou liest, to thee will [...] give it, and to thy seed, and it shall be as the dust of the earth, and [...] shalt spread abroad to the East, West, North, and South, and in thee [...] thy seed shall all the Families of the earth be blessed. He called [...] name of the place Bethel, viz. the House of God, because of th [...] Ver. 19. glorious appearance of God, and of his great promise made [...] him, which he did believe, as may be seen more at large in the whole Chapter. So Jacobs heart being opened and filled full [...] joy and faith, he promised again unto the Lord, and vo [...] vow saying, If God will be with me, and keep me in this way th [...] I [...] Ver. 20. so that I come again to my fathers house in peace, then shall the [...] be my God, and of all that he giveth me, I will surely give the [...] unto thee: which he performed after twenty years, as Josep [...] saith in these words, by offering unto the Lord the tenth of all [...] Joseph. Arcao­ [...]g. a. c. [...]. e. substance which he had got at Haran, after that he returned unto tha [...] place where God did appear unto him, and made his promise unto [...] then Jacob performed his promise unto the Lord. But unto wh [...] hand he gave this tenth, appears not; for before Aaron the J [...] say the Priesthood was solely annexed to the first-born of Fa [...] ­lies, which agreed well with the sanctifying of the first-born commanded in Egypt; hence it comes that Melchisedec is com­monly reputed to be Shem, the eldest son of Noah, but that is con­trovertal, Exod. 13. 1. and so I shall let it pass. But it is thought by so [...] that Jacob payed his vow unto the hands of Isaac his Father, and gave unto him the tenth of what he had gotten, as being the [Page 5] [...] of the Family then living, and a Priest also; but as is said [...] these two instances of Abraham and Jacob are only vo­ [...] and free gifts, as a return of thankfulness unto the Lord, [...] one having got a great victory over his enemies, and the o­ [...] having received a great assurance of the Lord of his promise [...] blessing with him, did bind them to it. But we do not read [...] they were at all obliged by any special commandement, as [...] so much, though 'tis granted, that after Jacob had vowed [...] was obliged, but these are no binding examples unto future [...]rations, especially them that pretends they are Ministers of [...] second Covenant, the Gospel: there is no other mention [...] of Tythes before Moses his time, unless some will dreame, [...] will needs do, that the Levitical Law was written before [...] Creation. Yet some of the ancients seem to have observed a [...]ct had to the quantity of what was as a part of the yearly [...]se consecrated in those times to the Lord: and that even [...] [...]e first memory of sacrifice, Cains offering was not regarded Tertul Lib. a [...] vers. Jud [...]os [...] lii item sepius Gen. 4. 6. [...] say, because he did not well or a right divide what he offered, [...] some quota pars were at that time required.

[...] this reason was from no other cause then the mistransla­ [...] of the text in the story of Cain, where the Jews read it, If [...] offer well, but not divided aright, hast thou not sinned? [...]; unto which agrees the tex [...] of the Septuagint, when as [...] [...]ue translation out of the Original is thus, Why is thy coun­ [...] cast down? if thou do well, art thou not accepted? if thou do [...], [...]n lyeth at the door. But most agreeable to the Text, is that [...] gave with a grudging mind, and not of the best and first of his [...], for it is expresly said, that Abel brought of his first fruits, [...] Cain only of his fruit of the ground. Abel giving then unto the [...] a portion of the best, the other not regarding of what worth [...] offering were. So here is not any certain quantity noted, but Ambros lib. [...] de Cain &. [...] Chap. 7. 1. 6. [...] the [...]ind of the spirit of him that offered, and the quality of the [...]on or gift.

So the chief thing to be noted from this is, That Cain was an hypocrite, and offered with that mind and spirit with which he sl [...] his brother, and so his sacrifice was not accepted.

But this is no plea or ground at all for the payment of Tenths is due.

[Page 6] Tythes were never commanded to be payed by the Lord [...] any, but Israel whose Law was given forth four hundred thirt [...] Galat. 3. 17. years after the promise, as saith the Apostle. Neither were [...] ever payable but by the Jews, after they came to the land of C [...] ­naan, and to Levi's Tribe only, and to the Jewish Priests that [...] no inheritance allotted them by the Lord of all the land of [...] ­naan, or beyond Jordan, but only the tenths, according to th [...] [...]eut. 18. 4. Ezek 45. 13. command of the Lord, for the office of the Priesthood, and [...] the service of the Tabernacle.

How among the Jews tithes were payed, or judg'd to be due, the yearly encrease being either fruit of ground, or cattel; in the law of fruits of the ground, first, the first of the first ripe were of­fered to the Priest in ears of wheat, figs, barley, grapes, oliv [...], Exod. 23 19. [...]ev. 23. 10. [...]um 15 20. pomegranates and dates, of these seven only the first fruits we [...] payed, in what quantity the owner would.

Next the Theruma or heave-offering, or first-fruits of corn, wine, oyl, and fleece, and the like, were given to the Priests, but [...]eut. 18. 4. it being not determined by Moses of what quantity this offering should be, the Jews antiently judg'd it to be enough at the f [...]t [...] ­eth part, but so, that no necessity was that every one should pay so much; he that payed a sixtieth part was discharged, but some of better devotion payed the fortieth. The offerings spo­ken of in Ezekiel, This is the Theruma that ye shall offer, the [...] part of an Ephah of an Homer of wheat, or of barley; It is the sa [...] [...]k. ch. 45. [...]. 11. as if he had said, ye shall offer the sixtieth part of an Homer, for an Ephah, being the same measure with a bath, that is near ou [...] common Bushel; and after this offered to the Priests, every kind being given in season; out of the rest were taken the tythes, which are best divided into the first and second time.

The first tythe was payed to the Levites out of the remainder at Jerusalem, and out of this tenth received by the Levites, the [...]. 18. 21. Levites payed another tenth to the priests, which is called the Tythe of the Tythe; for this is to be taken notice of, that Priests [...]. 18. 28. received no Tythe of Husbandmen; but now them that are no Levites, neither of Aarons Priesthood, they take Tythes of the Husbandmen, and where it is not offered freely, they take it violently and by force; so now in these latter dayes, in the Apo­stacy, the late Priests from that [...]mple, have payed Tythes to [Page 7] [...], being, as they reckon him, Chief Vicar upon earth. [...] also now since the Popes supremacy hath ceas'd with us in England, a late Law hath been made, to pay the first-fruits to the Stat. 26. H [...] [...]; yet notwithstanding the Possessor was not to spend the [...] till he had taken out of these nine another Tithe, which he Deut. 14. 2 [...] Levit. 27. 3 [...] 31. [...] the first two years to carry to Jerusalem in kind, or to con­ [...] it into money, adding a fifth part to the value, after these [...] thus disposed of, the remainder was every way prepared [...] for common use of the Husbandman.

Some make a third Tythe, but that was only the Tythe of [...] third year, after the first was payed of every year, which was [...] up by the Husbandman within his own gates, for the Levite [...] is within his gates, the stranger, the fatherlesse and the wi­ [...], (and not carryed to Jerusalem) and this Tythe bestowed [...]y third year was called the poor mans Tythe, and that third [...] the second years tythe ceas'd to be payed at Jerusalem: so [...] every third year the Levites at the Temple received not [...] second Tythe at their feasts, but according to the Law, i [...] [...] spent at home in the gates of the Husbandman; neither doth [...] second Tythe, and the poor mans Tythe differ in substance, [...] only in circumstance, the place where the bestowing was [...] only the difference, as the Septuagint Translates it, When Deut. 16. 1 [...] [...] [...]st ended the tythe of all the fruits of thy ground, in the third year, [...] second tiths thou shalt give to the Levite, and to the stranger, &c.

But after the second Temple was destroyed, and the dispersion [...] the Jews, then the laws of first-fruits, offerings, and tythes [...] them ceased; for their Doctors determin'd, that regular­ [...] or according to the Law, no inhabitants but of the land of [...] was to pay any.

First, Because they then wanted their Priesthood and Tem­ [...]Rabbi ben [...] onion in [...] chaze ch [...] de Therum [...] ch. 1 & mi [...] Kotzi in p [...] cept. 133. 2 Ch [...]o. 31. Mal. 3. &c. Neh. 13.

Secondly, Because the Law did restrain the payment thereof to [...], and herein they all agree.

Also Eusebius agrees with the Jewish R [...]bbins herein, That tythes [...] only limited to the land of Israel.

How the payment of these tenths was either observed or dis­ [...]inued, partly appears in the Scriptures, and partly in the [...] of more trusty over [...]rs in their great Sanadrim, or [Page 8] Court of 70 Elders, wherein they agreed, that the overle [...] should be chosen of more honest men. [...]am de [...]nis, ch. 9.

By that which hath been said, may be perceived the state of the Jews Tything, by the Commandement of God, and likewise the Judgment of their own Rabbins and Doctors of the Law, which gives a clear Judgment of the practice, according as was in use, or exercised among them, and all do agree, that they, by a due right, did belong to the Aaronical Priesthood, and to the Levites, and other officers in the Temple and Tabernacle, and for the service there, according to Gods appointment, for hear­ing the Tabernacle and setting it up, and for serving Aaron and his sons; and for the better ordering of things, they were divi­ded into three parts, to wit, the Levites, as the Coathites, G [...] ­shonites, and the Marrarites, and these did receive the tenths of the people, and gave to the Priests their part, which belonged to them according to the Law of God in that Covenant; and [...] the sons of Aaron grew and multiplyed, then the Priests were divided into 24 ranks or courses to serve at the Temple, of which our Prebends, Deans and Chapters take their example, or imitati­on, so to serve by their turns at Cathedrals as they are called, or else from the Church of Rome; but the latter I am rather [...] ­clin'd to believe, because there was no such name of any Mini­ster among the Jews, neither in the Primitive Church truly so called; but the Priests of Aaron gave attendance to execute their office, and to burn incense as their turn and course came. And hereupon Zacharias is said to be of the course of Abia. The L [...] ­vites that were [...]ingers were also divided into 24 ranks or courses, [...]ke 1. of which I believe the present Quiristers or Singers, and S [...] ­plice men do have their imitation, and bring the Levites for proof concerning their offices; but we cannot receive Judaisme for Christianity, neither their practice for Apostolical Ordinances in the Church of Christ.

But how these things do agree with the primitive practice o [...] Christ, his Apostles and Ministers, and the Churches planted by them in their day, is easily seen in that which is written in sun­dry places of the New Testament, so called; and how it com [...] to pass that they which pretend another Priesthood, and to b [...] Ministers of Christ, should receive the tenth of all clean and un­clean [Page 9] beasts, as Pigs, Geese, Eggs, Fowls, Turneps, Wood, and [...]is for the fire; all which things we do not find mentioned, [...] some of them forbidden to be offered under the Law, and yet they pretend to be Bishops and Elders of the Christian Church, so that it seems they cannot distinguish of the time, nor yet of the ministration; for if so, then they would be ashamed to lay claim to Aarons tithes, and the Levites, and yet doth none of their [...], which is contrary to all reason, truth, and equity, for that was given to them that had no portion among their bre­thren in the land, but these Bishops, Presbyters and Priests, have their inheritances among their brethren, and besides have a great part of some Counties and Diocesses for their revenue, and their inferiour officers tithes of all things, yea of such things as was [...] at all tithable in the Law, as is said before, so what dam­nable deceit and hypocrisie is this; is it any other but the Popes [...]? an absolute Apostate for hundreds of years, and must this be received as Apostolick Doctrine and practice, and enjoyned? O for shame, let it never be made mention amongst them that do call themselves Ministers of Christ, neither any who do profess themselves to be Christians, who dare not stand to Christs Do­ctrine and allowance in respect of their maintenance. But in the [...] of time God raised up another Priest, Christ Jesus, who Heb. 7, 16. was not of the Tribe of Levi, neither made after a carnal Com­ [...]ment, as the first Priest was, neither was he consecrated Heb. 7. 13. [...] the order of Aaron, for he pertained to another Tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the Altar, viz. to Judah, he [...] a more excellent ministry, and of a greater and more perfect a Tabernacle, not of the former building, he being the sum substance of all shadows under the first Covenant, hath thereby put an end to the first Priesthood, with all its shadows and [...] Ordinances, and changing the Priesthood which had a command to take tithes of their brethren, there was a neces­sity Heb 7. 12. v. 18. also of the change of the Law, and a disanulling likewise of the Commandment which went before.

Now after Christ Jesus was manifest, the end of the law for righteousness to them that do believe, the end of the Covenant, [...] Priesthood, Tabernacle, Temple, Tithes, Offerings, Obla­tions, and in a word, all the worship of the Jews, and all their [Page 10] Shadows, Types, and Figures, and representations. All the Sab­baths, Fasts, Feasts, and their divers washings, and purifying which all were but as shadows of things to come; and he [...] the sum and substance of them all, and ended them all; [...] whosoever will plead a necessity of all or any one of the former things mentioned in the first Covenant that was faulty, Christ profits him nothing, and he denies the faith of Christ and [...]is Apostles, and Ministers; for Circumcision was once command­ed of God, and as real a Type as any other, and yet they that would need hold it up, after the substance was manifest, to [...], Christ Jesus, the Apostle Paul concludes that Christ profits the [...] nothing, though he elsewhere calls it the seal of the right [...]s­ness [...]. 5. 2. [...]. 4. 11. of faith unto Abraham, which he had before he was Cir­cumcised. The like I also say of all the former Ordinances which pertained to the first Priesthood and Covenant, and holds them up as of necessity, denyes the faith of Christ, and Christ profits them nothing, and do make themselves thereby as debtors to the whole Law: and he that fails in the breach of one is guilty of all. Therefore of how much necessity is it, for them that doth professe Christ and the Faith that was delivered to the Sai [...], to stand fast in that liberty wherein Christ hath made them free, and not to be entangled with the yoake of bondage, but to keep the Ordinances and Commands of Christ unviolated; for they that lay claim to Tyth [...], and would cause us to pay Tyth [...], they themselves do not keep the Law, but would constrain us, that they might glory in our flesh, and would confound the Or­dinances [...]. 6. 13. of the first and second Covenant together, without putting any difference to the time and ministration unto which they did belong. The Apostles and Ministers of Christ, who were made partakers of the Divine nature, and of the word of reconciliation, did not look back, nor draw people back to the former Ordinances of the Jews, and their Priesthood, but testi­fied against them, their Temples, Fasts, Feasts, and New Moo [...]; and for these things, Paul, and Stephen, and divers others, suf­fered great persecution; and Christ the everlasting High [...], though he was the Son of God, the heir of all things, and th [...] first born of every creature, and the Bishop of souls, though he was Lord of all, he made himself of no reputation, nor did [Page 11] [...] lay claim to the possessions of the world, but said, The f [...]xes [...] [...]les, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man [...] whereon to lay his head. He laid no claim to Tenths, nor [...], nor Oblations, neither to Lands, where he travelled [...] [...]he work of the Father, though he laboured for the conver­sion of souls in divers places, as the true Bishop thereof. He laid [...]o claim to any such places as to be his Diocess, neither did look [...] any gifts and rewards from any place, but as he was sent of [...] Father, and was the free gift of righteousness, he ministred [...]: and likewise when he sent out his Disciples, and gave [...] commission to teach all Nations and Disciple them in the Matth. 10. 7. Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, he said unto them▪ [...] Father sent me, so send I you. And again, Freely you have Matth 10. 8. ver. 11. [...], freely give. And again, Take with you neither staff nor [...], nor mony, nor brass in your purses; but into what house or City Matth. 10. 1 [...] Luke 10. 7. [...], enquire who therein is worthy, and abide ye there till you go [...]. And whatsoever is set before you, that do you eat and drink, [...] the labourer is worthy of his meat. And though he sent them [...], as is before said, when they returned again, he said unto [...], Lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nay. Though they [...] sent out as sheep among wolves, yet they preaching the [...] of the Kingdom freely, and turned people to Christ the [...] and living way, whereby their hearts were opened to mi­ [...] unto them, which serv'd for their necessity in the work of [...] Gospel; they did not desire or require any S [...]ipend, Sallary, [...]mentation, or setled Maintenance, but were ministred unto [...] by them who had believed their report, and were made [...] of spiritual things; they never complained of want, [...] never had any cause, nor did not give over preaching of [...] Gospel because they had no setled maintenance, like our lat­ [...] generation of Priests, who if their maintenance do cease, [...] Gospel ceaseth, which demonstrates only they minister for [...] and filthy lu [...]e, and so are out of the Apostles doctrine and [...]; for the Apostles they often denied that which was [...] profered them, lest they should make the Gospel of Christ [...]g [...]able, and their work of no effect. Here was no Tythes [...] of, that we read on, commanded or commended, either to [...] Jews or Gentiles who believed, in the age of the Apostles, [Page 12] that we find mentioned either in Scripture, or any other ancient Records. And after many Christians were converted unto thè Faith, such was the liberality and bounty of believers in the beginning of Christianity, that their bounty to the Evangelical Priesthood was so large, as that it far exceeded what the tenth could have been; or if you look to the first of the Apostles times, then the unity of heart among them about Jerusalem was such, that all was in common, and none wanted; And as ma­ny [...]s 4. 34. as were possessors of lands and houses, sold them, and brought the price of that which was sold, and laid it at the Apostles feet, and it was distributed to every man according as he had need. So the whole Church both Ministers and Believers liv'd in common of that which was freely brought in and ministred for the service of the Saints; so likewise the Church gathered by Mark at Alexandria in Egypt, followed the same practice as the believers at Jerusa­lem. And Ph [...]lu Judaeus saith, That in many other Provinces the be­lievers liv'd together in societies.

And in the Church at Anti [...]c [...], Galatia and Corinth the Saints possessed every man his own estate; where the Apostle Ordain­ed, that a weekly offering should be made for the saints by every man according to the ability of his estate, and this was put in­to the hands of the Deacons of the Churches, whereby the poor [...]s 11. 29. [...]e Ocka [...] in [...]ra [...]0 du­ [...], ch. 107. was relieved, and other necessary services supplied in the Church of God; and this continued for that age.

The next age Monethly offerings were made or given among the saints by devout and able Christians, the Over-se [...] appoint­ed [...]e Synod. [...]ger▪ can 66. by the Church was to receive it, and carefully and charitably dispose them, according to the necessity of the saints, for pro­pagating of Christianity; as the maintenance for the Brethren in their Travels for the service of God, feeding, and cloathing, burying their poor brethren, relieving of Widows and Orphans, and persons condemned to labour in the mettal-mines, or to prison, or banishment into Isles by the heathen Emperors; and these free offerings were never exacted, or otherwise, witnesse [...]ul. his A­ [...]g. ch. 39. [...]2. Learned Tertullian that lived about 200 years after Christ, as it appears; his words are, That every mans gift is to be every month, or as he can, or after the manner he will, and as he is able, so is he [...] give; for, says he, no man is to be forced, but what as be confers of his [...]wn accord.

[Page 13] And further, he upbraids the Gentiles with the Charity and [...]y of the Christians; he saith, Whatsoever we have in the [...]sury of our Churches, it is not raised by Taxation, as though [...] put men to ran some their Religion, but every man once, or when he pleaseth himself, gives what he thinks good, and it is [...]o [...] bestowed in vanity, but for the maintenance of the poor, and the like necessary service aforesaid; and this way of Con­tribution continued until the great persecution of Maximinian Offerings co [...] tinued 340 years. and Dioclesian, about the year 340, as Eusebius, Tertullian, Cypri­ [...], Origen, and others do witness.

Also about this time, some Lands were given to the Church by Eusebius li [...] ch. 22. them that believed, and the revenue thereof was distributed as other [...] gifts were by the Deacons and Elders, for the aforementioned u­ [...], but the Bishops or Ministers medled not with them. Origen [...]aith, It is not lawful for any Minister to possess Lands given to the Church for his own use. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, about the Cyprian in l [...] Epist. 37. 34. 36. [...]ear 250 also testifies the same, and shews how the Church main­ [...] many poor, and that her own d [...]et was sparing and plain, and [...]ences full of frugality.

P [...]sper also saith, That a Minister able to live of himself, ought [...] to d [...]sire any thing to be given unto him, and he that receiveth it, [...] i [...] not without great sin.

The Council held at Antioch, Anno 340. finding that much The Counci [...] of Antioch Anno 340. fault had been among the Deacons and Elders, to whom it pro­perly did belong to distribute the Offerings and free gifts where there was need, which they detaining for their own covetou [...] [...], the Council did ordain, That the Over-seer or Bishop might [...]stribute the goods, but required that they should take no part thereof to themselves, nor the use of the Priest, using the Apostles words, Having [...]ood and raiment, be ye therewith content.

C [...]sostome Homil. 11. in Acta, notes, and he lived about the Chrysost. Ho [...] 11. yera 400, that Christian converts joyned in societies, and lived i [...] Common, after the manner of the former Christians at Jeru­salem, by whose writings it doth appear that there was not the least mention made of Tyths in that age, the Church at this time altogether living by the free offerings of Lands, Moneys, [...]d Goods, and the people were much pressed to bountiful contribution for holy uses, as may be seen in the writings of [Page 14] Jerome and Chrisostome, who brought the liberality of the Jews in their payment of Tythes for an example, beneath which they would not have Christians determine the charity. But about this time there began to be a declination and a coldness in the devotion of them that offered, which made Jerome, Ambrose, and others press very hard upon the people for liberality in point of offering, because it was much less then in the Apostles time, in so much that Cyprian repro­ved sharply, and said, They gave not so much as was worth speaking [...]r. de unit. [...]cles. ch. 23. of. And it doth not appear in any old Monuments of credit, till near the end of 400 years after Christ, that any payment to the Church of any tenth part, as a tenth, was at all in use.

From the year 400, till the year 800 no Canon or other Law was generally received, to compel ony payment of Tythes, although a­mong the Offerings of devout Christians, gifts of that quantity was received as due by the doctrine then in use in some places only, which Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Chrysostome taught by rea­son of the coldness and want of charity among the Christians in di­vers parts; and for their ground and foundation, the first two taught that the tenth was due by Gods Law, which they took only from the Mosaical law, and the other two perswaded only that a less part then a tenth might not be offered, but ought to be paid for holy uses, as the phrase was; and by the reason of the doctrine of Ambrose, they were offered under the name of Tenths in part of Italy, he being the Bishop of Millan there in the year 390.

Likewise Augustine Bishop of Hippo, hath a vehement sermon for the payment of them, whose doctrine brought in the word Tenth in use among Christians; and as is said before his ground only was taken from Moses law in point of offering, these two threatned them with great penaltyes, and heavy Judgements, that did not pay their tenths; but yet take notice to what end they required them, viz. that the poor might not want, and saith, that God had reserv'd them for that use and end; so in process of time, when this doctrine came to be received, divers followed the opinion of the ancient fathers be­fore mentioned, yet hitherto it was not laid down as a positive do­ctrine to pay them as the Jewes did, but only brought the Jewes in for an example that Christians should not pay less.

Leo, call'd the great, about the year 440. who reigned 20 yeares, he very earnestly stirred up mens devotion to offer to the Church, [Page 15] [...] speakes not a word of any quantity; Severin also about the year [...] stir'd up the Christians in Panona to give the tenth to the poor; likewise Gregory not only admonished the payment of tithes, from Greg. Hom. 16. in Evang. & dist. 5. de Cons. [...] Mosaicall law, but also the observing of Lent, which he recko­ned as the tenth part of the year, and this he would have given unto God, saying, we are commanded in the law to give the tenth of all things unto God, and thus ignorance began to enter in, and Juda­ [...] among the Christians brought in by their leaders, and from the opinions of these and other ancient fathers Tithes, Easter and Pente­ [...] came to be introduced and brought into the Church among the Christians.

Also Jerome in these words, I do not take a part as the rest of the Jero. in Epist. ad Nepotian devira clari­corum. [...]s of possession of lands but as a Levite I live of the tenth, and as I [...]e at the Alter, I am sustain'd by the oblation of the Alter, being [...] with food and raiment, I follow nakedly the naked Cross, But [...]re is no necessity to understand his words of tithes, but as the [...] liv'd of tithes serving at the Alter, even so am I maintain'd by the free offering of them that do believe.

But it is to be observed [...]hat there was divers councells in and [...] the 600 year only provinciall as Mascon and Arles, and some [...] do take it for granted, that a tenth was due by way of offering, [...]d put into the hands of them that ministred to the Church; is [...]en of as good antiquity, grounded upon the Mosaicall lawes, [...]ch they call their Divinas; all which did spring from the doctrine of the foure fathers before mentioned but especially Ambrose and [...] about the year 400, but take his owne words, It is not fit for [...], saith he, to prefer our selves as Christians unless we do the work of Christians, viz. to offer the tenth part of Corn and of Cattell and all the [...] fruites of the earth; and took it for granted as due, only his ground In Serm. de 10th temp. in tem. [...]0. [...] Moses law. And if they should offer less then a tenth, thei [...] of­ [...]g was not accepted; also agreeing with him is Augustine in a [...]on after this manner viz. Deare brethren, for as much as the day [...] Christ drawes near, we ought to assemble our selves together, and to [...] thanks to God, who hath given unto us, by our offering unto God [...] tenths, for God is worthy to have the whole; and this he grounds [...] that of Malachi, honour the Lord with thy substance, &c. [...], exhorting them to pay their tribute to the poor, and their [...]ee to the p [...]rests; then urging more texts out of the old Testament, [Page 16] he tells them, that the neglect of payment of Tithes was the cause of sterillity, and blasting of their corn, and the like. These two great Bishops agree, and as was said before, from the Law of Moses, infers their whole Doctrine; yet notwithstanding the great pressures and hard threats of some of the Bishops at that time, it was not a general received Doctrine, that Tithes ought to be payed, until about the year 800; neither was any thing by the Church then determined or ordained touching the quantity that should be given; though (no doubt) in many places the offer­ings of the more devout sort, Tenths, or a greater part of their encrease, were given according to the Doctrine then in use: And then about this time the offerings and gi [...] to the Church were disposed of on this wise, being received into a common treasu­ry, one fourth part to the Priests, out of which, every one that laboured had his portion; another part for the relief of the poor, sick, and strangers; and a third for the repairing places of publick worship; and the fourth to the Bishop; and general­ly then the Bishop liv'd in some Monastery, and his Clergy with him, from whence he sent them to p [...]ch in the Diocesses and Countryes, and there they received such offerings as were made and brought them to the treasury: So that hereby the reader may take notice that the Priests had not such a peculiar interest in that which was given, but others had a share with them, but now they claim all; their Churches were builded out of the gifts of the people, the poor, fatherlesse, and widow were relieved out of them, and the Prisoners, who suffered for the faith they held, were relieved also, the Bishop and his whole Clergy were su­stain'd; but now they claim it as due, and take Tithes by force and violence three or four fold, and sometimes ten fold, and people thrown into prison, and widows goods spoiled; how un­suitable these practices are from what as they were in the Apostles time, and the antient Fathers for 500 years? Though they are very proud, and boast much of their antient Fathers, yet they will not so much as come near them in example, and yet they cry up the Church, the Church, and Antiquity, when they are far enough off from their practice, though they were in a decli­ning condition in this age I have been speaking of before. Also Jerome upon the third of Malachy in his Commenta [...]y, doth admo­nish [Page 17] Christians to give their Alms to the poor, and double honour to [...] that labours in the Lords service, not binding at all to offer this or [...] part, yet exhorts them not to be more backward than the Jews, wherein they payed their tenths: Neither is Chrysostome at all diffe­rent Córysost Ho [...] 43. upon the Epistle. 1 Co [...] 1. 16. from him in this Doctrine, [...] perswading even labourers and [...]rs to give bountifully their alms to the Church for holy uses, ac­cording to the Apostolical ordinances, relating to the weekly offerings [...] [...]e Churches of Corinth, Galatia, Antioch, and the Jews libera­lity was brought as a president, below which be would not have Christi­ [...]s to determine their charity; and sayes withall, that he speaks these things, not as commanding or forbidding that they should give [...], yet as thinking it fit they should not give less than a tenth part for holy uses, as the phrase was.

Syrril Bishop of Alexandria speaking upon that passage of Syrril de ado­rat. in spir. 8 [...] ver. lib 4. a [...] finem. Gen. 14. 23. Abraham, Gen. 4. 23. who, after he had gained the victory over the King of Sodoms enemies, and rescued Lot, when the King of [...] offered him part of the spoils, he would receive nothing [...] a few Victuals: though, saith he, the holy teachers do war in [...]e behalf of perishing mankind, yet do they not take any thing from the [...] of the world, nor do they heap up unto themselves riches, lest the [...]ld should say, we have made you rich, they only ought to receive the [...] from the hands of those whom they have converted to the [...]h, for it's Christs command, saith he, that those who preach the [...]l should live thereby: so that its evident that very many of [...] antient Fathers, whom this generation have talked so much of, did deny tythes, and a forced maintenance from the world, [...] in this point it's like they will be judged but weak sighted, [...] erroneous in their Judgment by this generation, as they do the Quakers, or men of mean understanding. But I see many will induce them in words, but few in practice.

It was the Judgment also, not of private persons, but of the [...] learned and sound teachers of that age, in the fifth or 600 year after Christ.

Prosper saith, they that live of the Gospel, who will be propriators Pros [...]er de vi [...] contemp. [...] 2 [...] chap 14. of nothing, who neither have, nor desire to have any thing, not possessing [...]ir own, but the common goods; and what is it, saith he, to live of [...] Gospel, but that he who labours should receive necessary supplies by [...] among whom he labours; without forcing. And further saies, [Page 18] though Paul himself had power, yet he would not make use of it, lest he should create an offence, but laboured with his hands, being a t [...] ­maker, that he might not be burthen some to the Churches of Christ.

With him also agrees O [...], saith he, Peter and John saith, Silver and gold have I none: behold the riches of those who were Priests Oigen Hom. 15. in Levit. of Christs, but let us quickly apply these things unto our selves (s [...] he) who are prohibited by the law of Christ, if we have any regard thereunto, to have possessions in the Countrey, and houses in the City, (what do I say) possessions or houses? no not to multiply coats or mo­ney; if we have food and raiment, let us be therewith content.

Jerome also writing to Nepotianus a Clergy man, sayes, I be­seech you that you would not transform our spiritual warfare into a car­nal one, nor imagine your self in the Clergy as if you were in an army, getting spoiles, nor seek after no more than when you came first into the Clergy, lest it be said to you, Their lot shall not profit them.

Neither in any general or Provincial Councel was there any Constitutions made for the right of payment of tythes, till the year 586. in a Councel at Mascon in the Diocesse of Lions: neither Mascon 8. [...]as. 5. is this Councel received into the body of any of the Canons, the Councel consisted of all the Bishops of King Ganthroms Kingdome, onely some Provincial Councels and secular Constitutions be­twixt the sixth and 800 yeares, which supposed tenths to be due, but they were disposed of diversly; now to the Priests, now to the Abbots, & now to the Poor, according to the mind of the giver, the quantity was only arbitrary, but judged that some kind of offer­ing was necessary. Neither till near 800 yeares was there any general law that remains in publick, that is of credit, ordained any law in the Western Church, and for the Eastern Church never any law that mentions Tithes. And further it is observa­ble, that though there were divers National and Provincial Councels held, which supposed them to be due, as divine right, and that lesse than a tenth part ought not to be offered, yet was theré no commandment, or name of tenth in the first eight general Councels.

And though divers of the Fathers, Popes, and Bishops, did de­clare, that Tythes were due, and ought to be payed, yet till the ninth general Councel held at Lateran under Pope Calixius the second, about the year 1119. mentions Tythes, but speaks only [Page 19] [...]ch as had been given to the Church by special consecration, [...] at that time people being led to believe that tithes ought to be [...] for the use of the poor, did dispose them to the heads and ru­ [...] of religious houses (so called) who kept open hospitality then, [...] the relief of the poor, entertainment of strangers, and supply of the [...]s, as is testified by Cassian the Hermite, but the councel held [...] Pope Alexander the third, 1180. seeing much given to the [...], and little to the Priests, made a decree to restrain peoples free­ [...], and indeed about this time much wickednesse, and self-love, and covetousnesse was crept into those houses, or Monasteries by this time, as Histories do relate.

About this time there was no Law, Cannon, or constitution of a­ny general Councel as yet found, that did command tithes to be [...]yed, or expresly suppos'd them duty of common right; before [...]t Councel of Lateran held in the year 1215. under Pope Innocent Cap. 53. in ex­tor. de d [...] 33. cum non sit vide a ca­put. prox. sec 7. Selden. [...] third, about which time the Popes power was grown very great [...] powerful, for about this time every man might have given [...] tithes to what Church he would, and people had more minde given them for the poore, rather then the Priests, as may be un­derstood from the complaint of Innocent the third, he preaching on [...]us charity saies, dedit proprium & reddit alienum, &c. and [...]d out heavily against those that gave their tithes and first fruits [...] the poor, and not to the Priests as hainous offendors, yet about this time no regard was had to the nature of the encrease, but [...]soever did arise in profit, whether by trade, merchandize, or [...]andrie, the tenth was required to be paid, but when Pope Inno­ [...] had commanded, so then no scruple was made of it, but an [...] ­ther took it with too much credulity, neither till this time, were E­ [...]es sent from Rome so frequent, to put in execution that which had been established in two former Councels against that challeng'd [...] of the Laiety, for the Laiety had enjoyed their liberty from the beginning of Christianity, to bestow or retaine them to whom they [...]ld in most places till the year 1200.

About this time, notwithstanding the land occupiers in divers [...], as the Bishop of Matera complained to Pope Innocent, that [...] his Diocesse, they viz. the Laiety divided their tythes at their [...]sures, and arbitrarily gave part to the Church, part to the [...], and part to their kindred, likewise in divers places the thing [Page 20] was so much in controversie, whether that parishes had any due to tythes or no, That we see particularly in the Diocesse of Valentia, 1320. which was, that every man wheresoever he liv'd, he might declare himself to be of what Parish he would, and to that only give his tythes.

The opinion of the Canonists in answer to a question, viz. By what immediate Law that tythes were payable, they are divided among themselves, some say, de jure Ecclesiastico, others jus N [...]urala, others divinum morale; The Canonists with one consent do ground themselves upon the letter of some of those passages of Provincial Councels, Fathers and Popes before mentioned, generally deliver that predial and mix'd tythes are due to be payed jure divi­no, Selden his hist. upon tythes. c. 7. and they usually cite the Levitical precepts to justifie it, for they take this Ecclesiastical Revenue to be no otherwise due to the Clergy by common right (whom they to the utmost maintain as they reason) may as a supreame Steward of Clergies maintenance dispose of this or that particular part of it to where he will, and this was their common opinion.

But for Personal tythes, they yet agree to be jure divine, although Ad Tit. de pa­och. & al pa­ [...]och. extra & significavit. Pope Innocent the fourth make it a wonder to see any man deny it, and divers of them follow him, the best authority, they bring for per­sonal tythes is that of Deut. 12. Where tythes and the offering of your hands are spoken of, and this is a received ground amongst them, that the tenth is due to the Church jure divine, and so would hold up the first Priesthood, and figures against the second who is the substance, only for covetousnesse sake.

But some Canonists, and those of no small note, that agree the determination of the tenth to be only de jure Ecclesiastice, and th [...] no more jus Naturale, or divinum Morale is in it, then what com­mands So Cora, AEn­ [...]ias, Varviar, [...]solute l. r. c. 17. a competency of means to be given to the Priesthood, but they are mingled and confounded among themselves, and the best bottom they have is either from the Popes authority or from the Jews, also many Divines and Schoolmen were at great contest, and their Judgments are various as the former.

The Divines about this time have had several determinations and Doctrines about this point, some hath held it, that the tenth consi­dered quoad quotum partem, or as it is a determined, part devoted from that number is only due by Law Positive and Ecclesiastical, but [Page 21] it is for the sustentation of the Clergy, it is due by the divine [...] Law as they call it, and so they interpret it from the Levitical Commandment of tythes, but others say it is a Judicial or Ceremonial, as some will have it, and that it hath been brought into the Law of the Gospel, by Ecclesiastick Doctrine, and Constitutions, others say [...]s, by the imitation of the Jewish state ordered by the Almighty, and [...] in that regard, per vim obligativum, viz. by a continued force [...] it under the Gospel, and that the Church was not only bound to [...] part, but might as well have ordain'd the payment of a ninth or [...]leventh, this is commonly taught by the old Schoolmen, Hales and Aquinas, Henricus de gandavo, Cardinal Caietan, and divers [...]s.

The second opinion among the Divines is of those that held tythes to be meer almes, and not to be payed to the Ministers of the Gospel by any parochial right, as a necessary duty to the Evangelical Priesthood, but that they might be detained and disposed of at the owners will, especially if the Pastor did not well perform his of­ [...]e; of this were both some of the religious Orders in their preach­ [...], and also others opposite enough to them in Doctrine, The Do­ [...] and Franciscans, who began about the year 1210. and had in their Monasteries great store of Schoolmens writings, made it gainful Doctrine to themselves, though there was a truth in it, they determined that it was not due by divine right, but only due as alms, [...] of charity, not of justice or judicial Law, but to be arbitrarily disposed of accordingly, to such as took any spiritual labour, and with [...]m agree the Mendicants.

Likewise about 800. 900. and a 1000. and after that tyths were Vide Zona in Confil. Gang. 7 Nantz Counce called the Lords goods, and the patrimony of the poor, when as also the Councel at Nants declared the Clergy were not to use them as their own, but as commended to their trust, they were not then given to [...] [...]lergy, but to be disposed of to the use of the poor.

Furthermore, at a general Councel held at Lyons, under Pope Gregory the tenth, in the yeare 1274. when Religion was only made a cloak for covetousnesse, and they sought their gain, and not the good of souls, it was then constituted that it should not be lawful thence forth for men to give their tythes at their own plea­ [...]e, where they would as it had been before, but pay all their tyths [...] the mother Church: by which it may be seen, that though the [Page 22] people who then generally were Papists and in the midnight of Po­pery, did believe they ought to pay tythes then, yet were rather willing to dispose of them where they pleased, till the Popish Coun­cils restrain'd their liberty.

But the great Decree that speaks most plain, and till which no­thing was given forth which did directly constitute them, but rather still suppos'd them as a due by some former right, was made at the Councel of Trent in the year 1560. and yet that great Councel fol­lowed Consil. Trent. Non sent fe­rendi qui va­riis artibus de­cimas Ecclesi­is, &c. the Doctrines of their Fathers, and said, they were due to God, but had no new authority for their great decree, which they com­manded to be obeyed under the penaltie of excommunication.

Having thus briefly past over the Ecclesiastical state, first of the Jews; secondly, of Christ and his Apostles time; thirdly, of the state of the Church near to their time, and the judgement of them which are reckoned the most learned and Orthodox men, and Fa­thers of the Church in every age, till the very height of the papal domination, and hath given some true understanding in every age to the point in hand; It will be requisite that something be said more particularly concerning this Nation, and the practice thereof, and what hath been said with, or against this particular concerning Tythes.

About the year 600. or soon after, Gregory the first who was the first Pope of Rome, sent over Augustine the Monk into England, who was a Canon regular, by whom Ethelbert, King of Kent, was convert­ed, as they call it, but it was but to popery, he and his Clergy a long time after followed the example of the former ages, and imitated the Bed. l. 1 26. practice of the Apostolick primitive Church, living in common up­on the offerings of their converts, and those that received them joyn'd into societies, and with the receipt of the Offerings they maintain'd themselves, they repaired the temples of the Gentiles, which by the advice of Pope Gregory, were not to be destroyed, but to be converted to Christian service, and builded some houses, which they called Churches, in which the Priests exercised their stri­vings, for then the whole Diocesse of Canterbury was indeed the only limitted Parish in regard of profits; and whatsoever was re­ceived through the Devotion of good Christians, as they were called, made up a common treasury for the whole Diocesse, so that it was no matter of what place the bounty was offer'd, so that it was with­in [Page 23] the Diocesse, the truth of this is confirm'd by that of Augustine in his question to Pope Gregory touching the Bishops, whereunto the Pope answers, the custome, saies he, is generally to make four parts, [...], for the Bishop, for the Clergy, for the poor, and for the repai­ [...]n of Churches, but he doth admonish him in tendernesse to the English Saxon Church, that he and his Clergy should use the community of all things, as was in the primitive times in the Apostles daies, but afterwards having brought a great part of the Nation to their faith, they began to preach up the old Roman doctrine, That tythes ought to be payed to God and holy Church, as the phrase was, and having taught the people that pardon of sin, and the joyes of heaven were meritted by good works, and the torments of hell traded by charity, it was no hard matter to perswade them to give their tenths and lands, but also their outward riches to those called Religious houses; then here and elsewhere may testifie in this Na­tion, they and the Clergy had almost gotten the third part of the whole land, so wonderfully besotted were the poor ignorant people, that had not a Law been against such excessive gifts, a farre greater part of the Nation had been in their hands; But how long this com­munity amongst the Clergy continued amongst them, and the free offerings, fully appears not, but that it was not out of use till more then one hundred years after Augustines coming, that is till past seven hundred years after Christ, as may be conjectured out of the Extat. in [...] exempla [...] Saxoni li [...] testimony of Bede, which extends so far in the City of London, till the time of Henry the third, no tithes, as tithes, were generally payed, but only a Decree made, that for every twenty shillings rent Linwood constir. vincia Ti [...] dec. sanci [...] gotiom. a farthing a Sunday was to be paid, which came to fifty two farthings yearly, and this was given by way of offering, but was supposed as due, and the tenth part of the yearly Rent of their houses.

As concerning Laws and Canons for Tythes among the Sax­ [...], it is reported, that in the year 786, in the time of Pope Adrian, when his power began to grow great, he sent two Le­gates with Letters into England, for R [...]formation, as it was call'd; first to Off [...]-King of Merceland, and Alfewold King of Northumberland, who cell'd a Councel in the North, and Offis and Kenulph call'd a Coucel for the South, wherein they o [...]dained, That a tenth of the fruit of the earth should be pay­payed [Page 24] as it was written in the Law of Moses; and when this Councel had thus concluded by Alswold, the Legates and Em­bassadors took all the Decrees and Canons of the Councel and carryed to Offa, and he and his Bishops and Abbots did subscribe it with a Cross to it; likewise Selden makes mention.

That Ethelulfe, King of the West Saxons, in the year 855 he made a law, That the tithe of all his own lands should be given to God and his servants, and should be freed from all Taxes: But there is great difference among Historians about this Grant, some restrain it to the tithe of his own demesne lands, others to the tenth part of his land, and others to the tithe of the whole Nation.

About this time heavy pressures by Danish Invasions, and great Wars came on, so that he call'd a Councel, where were present Bernereddus, King of Mericia, and Edmond King of East Angles, [...]meo re­ [...]o animae [...]ni, & [...]li. and they to remove the heavy judgment that was upon them, gives the tithe of all the land to God and his servants, as the phrase then was.

King Athelstone about the year 930, and King Edmond about the year 940, and King Edgar about 970, King Ethelred about 1010, King Knute about 1020 Edward the Confessor, and others of the Saxon Kings, made several laws for tythes, as Histories do relate.

Likewise the Normands, afterwards entring this Kingdom and subduing it, William the Conqueror confirmed the Liberties of the Church. Also Henr. 1. and Hen. 2. did the like, and King Stephen also:

The Reader may understand the principles upon which these men [...]cted, and the Doctrine then that was believed by them, and maintained to be good by Prelates of that age, That heaven was merited by good Works, and sins pardoned for works of Charity, which works was chieflly reckoned to be good by the Prelates of that age, when some Monastry was builded, Church or Chappel so called, and dedication of lands and goods to such places, for the health and happinesse of their souls, they had perswaded many men almost out of their Estates, leaving their Heirs and children very poor. Many instances thereof might be given; but one or two for manifesting the truth of this, King Ste­phen in his dayes gave to the Priory of Eye in Suffolk, as may be [Page 25] seen in an original Charter of his, made to the said priory, wherein he gives the tenths of all his Manors of Stedbrook, Rad­ [...]ge, Seldia, Bedima, with divers other places, for the pardon of his sins, and obtaining the joyes of heaven; and not only, he gave it for the health of his own soul, but for the soul of his Father and of his Mother, and of his Uncle, and interceding Kings to the use and end aforesaid.

Likewise out of another old Charter, granted by Ralph then Bishop of Chichester, to the Abbey of Battel, the tenths of Vula­ [...]e, of Hennam, and of Servin, and of Lezein, and Badhurst, and the tenths of many other places to the said Abbey, for the health of his own soul, and the health of the souls of his An­cestors.

Also out of the Charter of the Monastry of Ridding in Here­foreshire, in the time of King John, Walter Clifford, for the health of his Fathers soul, and of his Wives and Children, doth give the whole Tenths of Hamenesca unto the Church of Lem­ [...]er.

But notwithstanding the many Laws, Canons, and Decrees, of Kings, Popes, Councils and Bishops (alluding to the page be­fore) that every man ought to pay the tenth part of his encrease, yet it was left to the owner to confer it where he pleased, which made so many rich Abbies and Monasteries. And till the year 1200, or thereabouts, every one gave their Tythes at their own pleasure, which made Pope Innocent the Third send his Decretal Epistle to the Bishop of Canterbury, commanding him to enjoyn every man to pay his Temporal goods to those that ministred Spiritual things to them, which was enforced by Ecclesiastical Censures; and this was the first beginning of general Parochial payment of tythes in England, this his Decretal was admitted, and enjoyned by the Law of the Nation, King and People being then Papists.

The Decree of the Pope receiving all possible assistance from the John Wick [...] camplaint [...] of Fox his A [...] and Mon. Bishops and the Priests, in whose behalf it was made, did not on­ly in a short time take away the peoples then desired right to give their Tythes to those that best deserved them, but did also so much corrupt the Clergy, that in the time of Richard the second, Wickliffe, our famous Reformer, did make a heavy complaint [Page 26] to the Parliament in these words following, ‘Ah Lord God, where this be reason, to constrain the poor people to find a worldly Priest, sometime unable both of life and cunning, in pomp and pride, covetous and envy, gluttonnesse, dunken­nesse and lechery, in Simony and Heresie, with fat horse and jolly, and gay saddles and bridles ringing by the way, and himself in costly cloaths and pelure, and to suffer their wives and children, and their poor Neighbours perish for hunger, thirst and cold, and other mischiefs of the world: Ah Lord Jesu Christ, sith within few years men paid their Tythes and Offerings at their own will, free to good men, and able to great worship of God, to profit and fairnesse of holy Church fighting in earth: why it were lawful and needful that a world­ly Priest should destroy this holy and approved Custome, con­straining men to leave this freedome, turning Tythes and Offe­rings unto wicked uses.’

A cloud of witnesses might be brought out of the ancient Fa­thers, and also latter testimonies who witnessed against them, and divers Martyrs, some whereof were put to death, others gr [...] ­vously troubled, and suffered long and great imprisonments, as John Hus, Jerome of Prague, the famous Reformer John Wic [...]liffe, who is spoken of before, and Walter Brute, William Thorpe, Willi­am Swinderby, and it was generally the judgment of all the Wickliffians and the predecessors of the Protestants, the B [...] ­ans being descended from the Waldenses, they did professe and [...]el [...] [...]as Sylvius is Bohe­ [...] history. out, that all Priests or Ministers ought to be poor, and to be content with free gift, or what the people freely offered them▪ so saith AEneas Sylvius in his Bohemian History.

And it is one of John Wickliffes Articles, whose works are [...] much esteemed of by the Protestants of England and Bohemia, as despised by the Papists and their Clergy, having his bones taken up and burnt 41 years after his decease, and his Articles con­demn'd by the Councel of Constance; his own words are, That tythes were and are a free gift as among the Christians and only p [...] [...]his Acts Mon. pag. alms; and the parishioners may, for the offence of their Curates, detain and keep them back, and bestow them upon others at their own will and pleasures.

And his proposition af [...]resaid is maintained by that godly [Page 27] [...] John Hus who was burnt for his testimony at Con­ [...] but take his own words, That the Clergy are not Lords [...] [...]ssessours of Tythes, and other Eccli [...]iastical goods which are Acts and Mo­numents p. 605. [...] given, but onely stewards, and after the necessity of the Clergy [...] satisfied, they ought to be transported to the poore. And a­ [...] Clergy doe abuse the same they are theeves and robbers, [...] [...]ilegious persons, and except they doe repent, by the just [...] of God they are to be condemned.

[...]wise Ambrose Preaching upon the 16. Luke Give an ac­ [...] Ambrose upon the 16 Luke. of your Stewardship, &c. From hence he infers that the Clergy [...] Lords but rather Stewards and Bayliffs of other mens Sub­ [...], farthermore Jerom writing to Nepotianus a Clergy­ [...]h, How can they be of the Clergy, which are commanded to [...] and despise their owne substance, and yet to take away [...] friend, is thiefs, to deceive the Church it is sacriledge, and to [...] that which should be given to the poor.

[...]se Bernard in his Sermon upon these words, Simon Pe­ [...] Bernard upon 17. Luke. [...] unto Jesus Luke 17. from thence infers these words, viz. [...] the goods of the Church are the patrimony of the poor, and [...] thing the the Ministers and Stewards of the same (not [...]or possessours) doe take unto themselves more th [...]n sufficient [...]nt living, the same is taken away from the poore by a sa­ [...] cruelty.

[...] Eusebius in his treatise upon the pilgrimage of Saint Je­ [...] Eusebius upon Jerome. writes thus, If thou dost possesse a garment or any other thing, [...] extreame necessity doth require, and dost not help the needy [...] a thiefe and a robber.

[...] Isidore in his treatise de summo bono, Chap. 42. saith Let Isidore de Summo bon [...], chap. 14. [...] know that he is the servant of the people, and not Lords o­ [...] [...].

[...] and divers more authors that worthy man John Hus [...] at a disputation in the University of Prague in vindi­ [...] of John Wickliffes sevententh article which was, that [...] was a free gift in the time of Christianity, and accounted as [...].

[...] the reformed Church in Geneva they live upon free gift, [...] tythes of all sorts are taken up for the use of the State, and [...] up for the publick treasury.

[Page 28] And that good man William Thorp of whom I made [...] before, who gave a large testimony against divers abuses [...] into the Church, it being the midnight of Pope [...]y, being com­plain'd of by the then Popish Clergy, and brought to exa [...] ­nation in the year 1407▪ being accused before Thomas [...] Arch-bishop of C [...]ter [...]ury, and Chancellour of England▪ [...] gives a very clear testimony about tythes how that they [...] no Gospel maintenance, In his answer he saith, that in the [...] Law neither Christ and his Apostles tooke tythe of the people, [...] commanded they the people to pay tythes, neither to Priests nor Dea­cons, And Christ and his Apostles preached the word of God to the people, and liv'd of pure Aimes or free gift; but after Christs a [...] ­ [...]ion when the Apostles had received the holy Ghost, they tr [...]v [...]lled labouring with their hands, and also he saith that Paul when [...] full poor and needy, preached among the people, he was not [...] unto them, but with his hands he laboured not onely to get his [...] living, but also to relieve others that were poor and needy▪ And further he saith, Tythes were given in the old law to Le [...] [...] Priests, but our Priests come not of Levi, Ergo by the law our Pri [...] cannot challenge tythes, for as the Priesthood is changed so is the [...], Heb. 7. but since Christ in the time of his ministry, and also his A [...] lived by pure Almes, or else by the labour of their hands, for the [...] ­vant is not greater then his Lord: At which words the Bishop [...] unto him, Gods curse have you and mine for thus teaching, [...] further the said William Thorpe saith that those Priests that [...] take tythes deny Christ to becom'd in the flesh, unto whom the [...] said heard you ever Lozell speak thus, and further the said Wil­liam saith that the cove [...]eousness and pride of the priests [...] the vertue of the Priesthood, and also stirs up Gods vengean [...] [...] upon Lords and Commons, who suffer these Priests charitably, [...] the Arch bishop said thou judgest every Bishop proud that [...] goe arrayed as thou dost, by God I deem him to be more me [...] [...] goes every day arrayed in his Scarlet Gown, then thou in thy [...] bare blew Gown: This is an answer much like a Lording Bi­shop, and a tything Priest, but I refer the reader to the whole discourse and testimony of William Thorpe which is large in [...] his Acts and Monuments.

Likewise William Swinderby in the Articles that are charged [Page 29] [...] him is, ‘That for an evil Curate to curse his hearers, Acts and Mo­numents, pag. 607. or excomunicate them for with-holding of his tythes is no­thing but wickedly and wrongfully, getting from them their mony, for if saith he that the priest or curat [...] be a wicked man, (as most of the tything priests are) If the parish­oners doe pay him tythe [...], they are guilty before God of up­holding him in his sin and evil deeds, and further saith he, but whereas Christs Law doth command to minister freely to the people, the Pope with his Law sells for money, whereas Christs Law teaches his Priests to be poor, the Pope justifies and maintaines priests to be Lords.’

Also with him doth agree Walter Brute, as is manifest by the Acts and Mo­numents, pag. 621. Articles charg'd against him, viz. ‘That no man is bound to pay tythes in gospel times, [...]. That if the Parishoners shall know their Curate to be bad they ought to hold from him their tythes. 3. That if any priest receive any thing by [...]y of bargaine or yearly stipend in so doing he is a schisma­tick and accursed. 4. That if we be bound to pay tythes in gospel times, then are we debtour [...] to keep all the whole Law, for to say that men are bound to one part of the Law & not to another is not true, for this were to prefer one part before another, and to set the Law against it self. 5. Seeing that neither Christ nor any of his Apostles, commanded to pay tythes, i'ts manifest and plain, that neither by the Law of Moses, nor by the Law of Christ, that Christian people are bound to pay tythes, but by mens traditions:’ And all these before mention'd were opposite to the whole Nation of Friers of what order so ever, who suffered grievous persecution in their dayes, whose testimony yet lives, and will be priz'd in Ge­ [...] to come, though they be gone to the S [...]pulchres of their Fathers. Also to these may be added the Articles of the [...]ians who were greatly persecuted for their Faith and be­ [...] published about the year 250▪ wherein a Divine write as [...]thes since the gospel were denyed, whereupon they long [...] took away all temporaliti [...]s from their ministers G [...]rardus [...]illus, also before Wickliffe was hu [...]t for an Heretick, (as [...] Church of Rome reck [...]ned him) upon this account, [...] the great Erasmus gave the common exacting of [Page 30] Tythes, in his time no better name then Tyran [...]y.

Moverover the Abbigenses, Bedemontane Protestants have preferred their Religion without corruption longer then any Paul Grisaldus apud Camell, borell inconfili­ [...]m parte. Church with a ministry endowed with Tythes and Hire, in the world.

Likewise the Primitive times never wanted able Teachen, as the best Histories relate, although they lived either upon their labour, or the free gift of them th [...]t were Converted, but did trust their Lord and Master, who sent them out in his na [...]e and power, for the Conversion of Souls, this was very much unlike to the Ministry of this Generation, who knows not how to live by Faith nor of the Gospel, but rather by Jewish Tythes, or rather Popish Tythes, Stipends, Augmentation, Set-wages, Covenants, and Sallaries, or else the old proverb is truely verified, which sprang up in Popish times, No penny, No Pater noster, for evidence whereof there are hundreds in England within this twenty years, that when the aforesaid maintenance was taken away by any temporal Power what­soever they have ceas'd their Ministry, and laid down their Commission, which they say they had from Christ, and mad [...] voide their Call, and all necessity of Conversation of Souls laid aside, we might bring the whole Nation for a Testimony in this, who hath been observant as to the Practice of the Mini­stry about the changes of Government which hath happened in the aforesaid time.

And the former Christians was not so disquieted among themselves with political complying Opinions, and Curio­sities, Niceties, Distinctions and Contentions, although they had none of the aforesaid setled Maintenance untill C [...]st [...] ­tine the Great his time, when they began to grow rich, and give Lands and grea [...] Revenues to the Church, and then they began to Controvert and side in State matters, as is seen in the Councells of Basill and Constance, and divers other former Councells, and grew into pride, and idleness, and fullness, [...] ­somuch that Histories say a voice was heard from heaven, this day poyson hath been shed abroad in the Church.

Great and large are the Testimonies that might be given i [...] this particuler of the best men who were sufferers for Christ, [Page 31] although the greedy cov [...]tous hirelings of every age thought it a [...]range thing that they should deny the payment of Tythes, because some great Councells in the midnight of Popery had c [...]cluded them as due, some one way and some another; And the Clergy of our last age very unwilling to loos any thing that [...]y be Commodious to satisfie their Coveteousness, though [...]y have denyed the Pope and divers Councells in other particu­ [...], yet in this point of Tyths, they wil allow of their constitu­tions as Jure divino, and if that will not serve▪ having solicited [...] Princes of divers Nations to make some Laws for provision for their Maintenance, because they were sensible their Gospel [...]ould not Maintaine them, and now their greatest plea is be­came Jure humano, or as one of the Pastors of the Church of England lately said, He cared not if the Devil was the author of T [...]es, if the Law of the Nation did give him them he would have [...] whether the Parish would or no: and I believe many of them are of his judgement, though they will not be so hardy [...] to deliver it in so open and shamefull words, but however th [...]m that have onely the powers of the earth to be their prop and onely refuge, and flyes to the Hills and Mountaines that ar [...] but earth, temporary and mutable for their help, for their backs and their bellies, yet this doth not make voide the Testi­ [...]ony of them who abide in the Faith, and dare stand un­to Christs allowance in point of Maintenance; for the work of the Ministery, as the Apostles and Ministers of Christ in the first age of the publication of the Gospel did, but take some [...]ther Testimonies that the truth of this may not seeme a new thing, or as yesterday, nor onely of the meaner sort, or of illi­terate men, but even of learned Rabbies of our latter ages. Antho. Bishop of Spaletto d [...] repub. Eccle [...] lib. 9.

‘Antonius De Dominis the learned Bishop of Spaletto de re­pub. Eccles. lib. 9. Saith Christ himself, though he were Lord of Heaven and Earth, and the fullness thereof, yet would not he be possessed of great Lands and incomes, though he said the Fowles of the Aire have nests, and the Foxes have holes, but the Son of Man hath not where to rest his head, yet did not he imbetter his condition, although Luke 9. 58. to the effecting thereof there needed no more then that he should will it to be so, Nor did he demand Tythes though he [Page 32] was a Priest, after the order of Melchezedech indubitably; but whilest he went throw the Cities, and Villages Preaching the Gospel, and instructing men for the kingdom of Heaven and twelve with him, severall women that believed as M [...]y Magd [...]len, Joanna, Susanna, and others did minister unto him of their substance; Nor did he otherwise instruct his disci­ples Luke 8. 1. 2. who were Embassadours on Earth towards Man-kinde in the beginning when he sent them out, he did not bid them for to receive Tythes, or teach people to pay them, but bids them to live upon Almes, carry not with you Gold nor Silver, nor any mony in your purses, not a Scrip, not two Coats, not a Staffe, Supernumerari, for the labourer is worthy of his meat:’ The disicples of Christ being thus taught by their great Master Mat. 10. 9. ‘forsaking their lively-hood, and earthly possessions lived by Faith in God, who would not have sent them abroad, but that he would dispose the hearts of men accordingly in order to their substance, so they relyed upon their Converts for necessary supplyes, and received their benevolence of several pious Women who Ministred unto them, for so saith Paul, have not I power to eat and to drink, have not I power to lead about a woman or a sister, as the other Apostles, the Br [...]thren of our Lord and Cephas, 1 Cor. 9. 5. He at large and clearly sheweth how they who sowes Spiritual things [...] Cor. 9. 5. ought to reap temporal things.’

‘Likewise David Paraeus in his commentary upon Gen. 28. and 2. and 22. Saith, that Tythes or Tenths were freely ar­bitrarily, Gen. 28. and [...]. 22. a man might give them, a man might vow them, or he might not, even as he pleased before the Lord, but un­der the Law they were commanded to be given to the [...], and Levits, hence saith he, our Clergy men infer, that if it were so of old, then they are so now, but this doth not fol­low (saith he) they had a divine Ceremonial right, but that's now ceased; they had Tythes as a compensation of that lot they should otherwise have in land, Ours not, Ours have Towns, Villages, Manners, yea Countries, and Provin­ces; nor is there any end of their insatiable Covetousness: And he conclude [...], that when the Levitical Priesthood did cease, then did the right of that Priesthood cease, and the [Page 33] right of tythes did revert to God, as Governour and Sovereign of the World.’

Great and large are the testimonies that might be given, both [...] of Ancient and Modern writers, who were the clearest in their judgments against tithes, how that they were not Go­ [...] maintenance, neither of Divine right doth belong to any [...] under the Gospel, who professeth Christ come in the [...]. But what I have already said in this particular might [...] sufficient, seeing so large things to this have been declared [...] other hands; but I am the more willing to instance divers A [...]thors, who by our Protestants are owned as Orthodox, that they may be thereby throughly convinced that this is no new Doctrine, for which we suffer the spoyling of our goods, and [...] persons imprisoned; but that the covetousnesse of the [...] and Tithes have been testified against by many faithful and constant men in ages past, who died in the faith, who [...]hough they be dead, yet their testimony still lives, and will [...]nd for age [...]. But you shall hear what state the Clergy and [...]stry was in about the time of the Council of Basil in the year 143 1. by Lod [...]vicus, the Cardinal Arlatensis, a man very much praised for his constancy and wisdome in that Council [...] Basil: Lod [...]vicus seeing the cowardliness of the Bishops and others of the Clergy, that they were more afraid to grieve tem­p [...]ral Princes, then afraid to offend God; and afraid to be [...]iled of their temporalities, rather than afraid that their [...] should be devoured; Albeit, saith he, if you were true Bi­shops, and true Pastors of souls, you would not doubt to put your lives in hazard for your sheep; neither he afraid to shed your blood for [...] Church in the cause of Christ; but at this present, saith he, ( [...] [...]re is the pitty) it is too rare to find a Prelate in this world, [...] in this age, which doth not preferre his Temporalities before his [...]lities; with the love whereof they are so withdrawn, that [...] [...]o study rather to please Princes then God, and confess God in [...], but Princes they will confess openly, of whom the Lord speaks [...] Gospel, every one that confesseth me before men, him will I con­fess before my Father which is in heaven, &c. And contra [...]iwise, [...] Lord will not confess him before his Father, which is afraid [...] confess the Lord before men, for fear of loss of their world­ly [Page 34] glories, and temporal riches, and displeasing of Princes, of which it may be more largly seen in the History of the Coun­cil Basils Histo­ries by Eneas Sylvius. of Basil, published by AEneas Sylvius.

So you that doth profess reformation, and the Scripture to be your Rule, and your Ancient Fathers to be your examples, whom the Ministry of this last age hath talked of, and see now if you will own them in practice; do not reckon your selves a­ny more as Ministers of Christ, who cannot be content wit [...] his allowance, and let forceing for maintenance by tithes alo [...] to the Priests of the first Covenant, and let bargaining alo [...] for Wages, and seek not hire of them you work not for; and if your Gospel will not maintain you, then have you great rea­son to question it, whether it be the very same that Chr [...] and his Apostles preached in the primitive times: and it is ma­nifest, as aforesaid, that they required no Tithes, Stipends, Augmentations, or Sallaries, neither was ever any such word heard of amongst them, as, What will you give me, and I'll be your Minister? And yet there was no complaint of any wants for Christ asked his Disciples when they had been travellin [...] abroad preaching the Gospel, though they had neither staff, nor scrip, nor money, If they wanted any thing? and they said Nay. But this generation must know before hand, what is to be had at such and such a place, and what is it worth [...] Annum, or else no Gospel is like to be preached there. But if any one should ask the Ministry of this age, by what righ [...] they claim tythes? they cannot say by a better right then the Apostles had, nor I hope will not, for they pretend to be but successors of them. And if the extent of their Commission be enquired into, they will give it you in these words or the like presently, viz. As my Father sent me, so send I you: But if one ask if they will stand to this in all respects, I have little hope that they will comply in point of maintenance; I have good ground so to judge, even many at this day have boasted of their Call and ministry, and have thrown many into pri­son for these Popish tythes. For if a Law or Statute were made for the taking of them away, they would give over the publication of their Gospel, which demonstrates their Commission is not of God, or else why should taking away [Page 35] of [...]hes invalidate them? I desire they were tryed, who boa­ [...] of Calls and Commissions, I am afraid we should scarce­l [...] one in 500 that would open his mouth; for if the [...] were taken away, the effect would also fallow; if [...]nance were taken away, their preaching would cease. [...] I shall return to speak something further concerning our [...] Nation.

I [...] i [...] needful to inform the Reader a little, that when the [...] Doctrine was received in any Nation, that Nation was [...]d into so many Bishopricks as was judged needful; and [...] Bishoprick into so many parishes as were thought con­ [...]ent (for Parishes are but of a late erection, as to which [...]ing may be hereafter said) for till then most preachers [...]re sent out of Monastryes and Religious Houses (so called) [...]ad the people at their own free will did give their tythes [...] offerings where they pleased, till about the year 1200, [...] till that time every owner of the nine parts did give the [...]th to the Priest, or to the poor, as he would. But after [...], Parishes being set up, and Priests appointed, and tythes [...] to them, after 40 years possion, what before was owned [...] free gift, is now claimed as a debt, and prescription was pleaded by the Priests as their Just title; but people seeing t [...]selves run into a snare, began to contend, but all too [...] for the Pope being grown great, thunder'd out his Inter­di [...]t against this Nation, Excommunicated the King, affright­ [...]d the Subjects with his Bulls, stuffed with Commination or Cars [...]; and that against the very point of Arbitrary dispo­sal of Tythes: and the Pope did highly insult over Kings and Pri [...]es about this time, witness Frederick Barbrosa, Hen. 6th [...] King John, and some others, as the Histories of them [...]kes mention; so that by the power of the Pope Parochial payment came just to be setled, yet notwithstanding the Eng­ [...] Parliaments not willing wholly to forget the poor, for whose sakes tythes were chiefly given, did make divers Laws, th [...] a convenient portion of the tythes should be set a part for [...] poor of the parish for ever, as in the Statutes Rich. 2d. 15. [...] and the 4th of Hen. 4.

The Pope having by these means brought in Tythes, and the [Page 36] Priests made a pretended title, by prescription they set up Courts, called Ecclesiastical Courts, which remains to this day (amongst them that say they are reformed) to recover thei [...] tithes by, and the Priests came to be the Judges of the Co [...]rt, so people might easily understand what might be expect [...] from them; yet them that did not pay, no greater punishment could they inflict upon them but Excommunication: Yet notwithstanding this general Decree, the Pope did dispense, and did give exemption to divers Orders of his Clergy (so called) to free them from payment, as the Hospitallers, Tem­plers, and generally to all lands which belonged to the Re­ligious Persons and Houses, which is the reason that divers at this day, who have any Land which sometimes belong'd to th [...] Monastryes now dissolv'd, say, they are tithe-free.

Now when the Pope, by colour of the Jewish Laws (by which tythes were given to the Levitical Priesthood) had gai­ned an universal payment of tythes to all his Clergy; he in further imitation of that earthly tabernacle, sets up a new building after the former pattern; and therefore to himself he claims First-fruits and Tenths, as a Successour of the [...]ew­ish High-Priest, Sins also he undertakes to pardon, Cardinals are appointed as leaders of the Families, Mitres are ordained fo [...] the head as Aaron had, Synagogues they built, now falsely call'd Churches, with Altars like the Jews, with Organs and I [...] ­struments of Musick with Singers and Porters, &c.

And into the form of the Levitical Priesthood they trans­formed themselves, and this was taught for Catholick Do­ctrine at that time, and yet is still upholden, and pleaded for by the Protestant Clergy, there by wholly denying Christ Jesus come in the flesh, the end of all Types and Figures. Like­wise afterward Henr. 8. being a Papist, and believing the Popes Doctrine, as also did his Parliament, made a Law, that every one should set out and pay his tithes, as due to God and holy Church. Also a second Law in his time was made to the like purpose, for great need and reason he had, having dissolv'd the Monastryes who had many ti [...]hes, and either had them in his own hand, or sold them unto o [...]hers, to be held as Lay possessions. And they having no Law whereby to recover [Page 37] them, he made a new Law to enforce the payment of them, [...] [...]ill restrained the Tryall of tithes in the Ecclesiastical [...].

After him also Edward the Sixth, in pursuance of his Fathers [...], made a Law for the payment of praedeal and personal tythes, under penalty of Treble damages, who also re­ [...]ain'd the tryal to the Ecclesiastical Court; these Laws sup­p [...]s [...]d them due to God and Holy Church, therefore they re­q [...]ired every man to yield and set out their tithes as had been acc [...]omed; likewise some Ordinances were made in that which was call'd the Long Parliament, in the time of the War, [...]ded upon the former Laws, for Treble damages; all [...]th Laws were grounded on the Popes Decrees and Constitu­t [...], and his ground is upon the Jewish Priesthood, as be­ [...] is made good by strong supposal, all which indeed is without any true ground in Gospel times. For a Gospel­ [...]stry I think it not amiss to add here by the way a com­plain [...] made to the Parliament, not long after the dissolution of the Monastryes in England, when Lay-men began to pos­sesse appropriated Churches and Tithes into their hands; but tak [...] the words of Loderick Mors, sometime a Gray Friar, &c. Exlicello dicto, the complaint of Loderick Mors, alim im­press. Geneva. ‘Ye that be Lords and Burgesses of Parliament House, I re­quire ye in the Name of all my poor brethren that are Eng­lishmen, that ye consider well (as you will answer before the face of Almighty God in the day of Judgment) this abuse, and see to amend it, when as Antichrist of Rome durst openly without any vizard, walk up and down throughout England, [...] had so great favour, and his children had such crafty wi [...], that they had not only almost gotten all the best lands of England into their hands, but also the most part of all the best Benefices, both of Parsonages and Vicarages, which were for the most part all improperd unto them (the Impropriati­ons held by them were much more then one third of all the Parish Churches in England (divided into three parts.) And when they had the gifts of any not improperd, they gave them unto their friends, of the which alwayes some were learned, for the Monks found of their friends children at School, and though they were not learned, yet they kept [Page 38] kept hospitality, and helped their poor friends; and if the Parsons were improperd, the Monks were bound to deal Alms to the poor, and to keep hospitality, as the writings of the gifts of such Parsonages and lands do plainly declare. And as touching the Alms that they dealt, and the hospitali­ty that they kept, every man knoweth that many thousands were well received of them,’ and might have been better if they had not had so many great mens horses to feed, and had not been overcharg'd with such idle Gentlemen, as was never out of the Abbeys, and if they had any Vicorage in their hands, ‘they set in sometimes some sufficient Vicar, though but sel­dome to preach, and to teach. But now that all the Abbeys with the Lnds and Goods and inpropered parsonages be in temporal mens hands; I doe not hear that one halfe penny worth of Almes or any other profit comes unto the people of those Parishes, your pretence of putting downe of Abbeys was to amend that which was amiss in them, it was far amiss that a great part of the Lands of the Abbeys, (which were given to bring up learned men and to keep hospitality, and to give Almes to the poor should be spent upon a few superstiti­ous Monks, which gave not forty pounds in Almes, when they should have given two hundred pound: it was amiss that the Monks shoulld have parsonages in their hands, and deale but the twentieth part thereof to the poor, and preach­ed but once a year to them that payed the Tythes of parso­nages: It was amiss that they scarcely among twenty set one sufficient Vicar to preach for the maintenance which they re­ceived: but see now, that which was amiss is amended as it is in the old Proverbe, It is amended even as the devil amended his dams leggs, when he should have set it right he brok it quite a pieces; the Monks gave too little Almes and set unable parsons many times in their Benefices, but new where twenty pound was given yearly to the poor in more then one hundred places in England, is scarce one meales meat given: this is a faire amendment, where they had alwayes one or other Vicar that either preached or hired some, now there is none at all, but the Farmer is Vicar and Parson and all; and onely an old cast away Monk or Frier which can scarcely say his Mattens, is hired for 20. or 30. [Page 39] shillings meat and drink, yea and in some places for meas and drink alone without any wages: I know, and not I a­lone, but 20000. more, know more then 500. Vicorages and Parsonages, and thus well and Gospelly serv'd after the new Gospel of England, and so the Author goes on in his com­plaint, because that the maintenance was taken away, and there was a great famine for want of Pastours.’

By all which may be seen what condition those religious houses, and Abbies, as they were called, were in at that time; and now they onely served to maintaine idle and super­sticious Monks and Friers, which did deceive the Nations with fabulous stories under pretence of preaching the Gospel, and now these benefices being taken away from the Papists, their Gospel ceased in England, and have been translated over and over unto divers Sects who separated from them; but 'tis to be observ'd that as the tythes and hire was taken away, and con­v [...]ted to other uses, their Sect did alwayes fall. And it is [...]lamentation that these Tythes, and now forc'd maintenance which was first decreed by the Popes Canon Laws should now be holden up by them that profess reformation and separation from them, and Scriptures to be their rule.

Having thus briefly run over the Doctrin, Decrees, and Pra­ctices, and Opinions concerning Tythes, from the Apostles [...]me downward, we finde them various, as may be understood by that which is before written, and the right of Tythes was never clear, but remain'd in controversie even amongst the most great and learned men in divers ages since the time of Christ, yea even amongst the greatest of P [...]pists in the time of [...]he Popes domination, and in all ages there were that with­stood the payment of them untill this day, and many of the Martyrs for that amongst other things, suffered in the flames, and at great difference they ever were as about the end, the property, and the use of them, as may be hereby collected into severall heads: And first of all the Tythe among the lews were payed to the Levites and Priests: Secondly, that they were not for the Priests onely, but for the Strangers, Fa­therless, and Widows: Thirdly, When the Levitical Priesthood was taken away by the coming of Christ, the Law for tithing [Page 40] was also changed: Fourthly, That neither Christ nor his A­postles in their age never received any, nor demanded any: Fiftly, That in the beginning of the Church for the first 300. years, whilest the Simplicity of the Gospel was retained, no Tythes was either claimed or payed amongst Christians: Sixtly, But as the power of Godliness came to be lost, and the mistery of iniquity began to work, mens imaginations taught in stead of the doctrin of Christ, began to preach up Tythes, fetching the ground from Moses writings, that in the first practise of the payment of Tythes, after the apostacy was entred in, they were not payed as Tythes, but as free offerings and as the bounty of the giver, and were not given for the Ministers maintenance onely, but chiefly for the poor. It was no received doctrin generally that Tythes ought to be payed, till near 1000. years after Christ, that the Pope had set up his authority and dominion over the greatest parts of Europe [...] Seventhly, That after they were confirm'd by the Pope, and commanded to be payed, there was no compulsary law made but onely excommunication: Eighthly, After that they were accounted an Ecclesiastical duty, and never called a civil right, but were tryed in Ecclesiastical Courts: Ninthly, Untill a­bout the year 1200, the common practice was for every one to bestow his tenths where he pleased: Tenthly, They were first brought in as a duty owing to God and to the Church, and so was required & enforced, and therefore there is no civil property or right in him that claimes them: that first fruits and tenths are but a late invented thing, & claim'd by the Pope as successour to the Jewish High priest as he sayes. Eleventh, That Tythes were the same in the ground and foundation, whether claim'd by a Priest, Impropriator, or by an Abbey, and differed nothing but in the person of him that possessed them: Lastly, All may see the declining estate, the corruption and error that crept in among men, after the power of truth was lost, so was the fruit also, which caused such earnest pressing to needfull contributions, and then afterward was it necessary for Laws and Decrees to enforce them, but in the beginning is was not so; while that Purity and Simplicity of the Gospel remain'd, for then their Charity abounded, even oftentimes [Page 41] beyond their ability, to whatsoever need the Church re­quired.

But now to proceed to answer some other pleas which are come up in these latter dayes, for now the Priests of this age begins to be ashamed to make claime for Tythes Jure Divine, they have been so beat out of that their hole, and their plea Jure Ecclesiastico was but determined in the midnight of Po­ery, and they are ashamed to derive their Authority from the Pope or his Decrees, but now humane right is pleading, some­time by gift of Kings and Princes, others plead the temporal Laws of Kings and Parliaments, others plead prescriptions by a legall right of their possessions, others plead a legall right by purchase, and lastly the Priests they pleade the equity of the Law of Moses still to be in force, and alleadges all the Scrip­tures in the New Testamens for their proofe, unto which here­after some what is said, these are the most pretences that of late hath been made by the Priests of our daye, or the maine rea­sons that hath been alleadged for Tythes; and first whereas they pleade the gift of Kings, as one by King Ethelwolfe as be­fore in this book: To that is answered, that if it could be proved, that if the whole land had been in the particular possession of any such King they had said something, but by what right could he give the tenth part of all the encrease, and fruits of the labours of all the people of his Dominions, who had no legall property therein? but if King Ethelwolfes grant must be the foundation of Tythes, then how many in [...]ceeding Kings and Bishops have violated his deed, by ap­propriating them to Monastries & Abbeys and such like houses, which shews the vanity of this argument. Another argument which seemes more strong is urged, that the temporal Lawes of Kings and Parliaments say, By the Law, that they have as good a propriety to the tenth part as any hath to the ninth of their Lends.

Ans. To such may be said, that the Law doth not give any man a propriety either in Land or Tythes, or any o [...]her things, but doth only conserve and preserve every man in his proper right, whether by gift or by purchase, or by descent, and doth secure him from the injuries or violence of another. But let's not be [Page 42] deceived with a new formed pretence, lately taken up to blinde the simple mindes with a name of legall propriety & civil right, for that's but a meer shift, for I may give my Land which I have by gift, purchase or inheritance, or I may sell it, and so cannot they that seemes to lay claime to Tythes, but it matters not much what any say, when they see their other claimes will not serve, they would evade and shift from one thing to another to blinde people.

But lets hear what the makers of the Law saith of them, though in the height of Popery, passing by the Saxon times and King Stephen, who in their blinde superstition, being perswaded thereunto by the Doctrin then taught of the Popish Clergy, that remission of sins was obtain'd by good works, [...] aforesaid, they gave divers gifts and tenths for the health of their souls, and their Fathers souls as is aforesaid; but lets come to Henry the eighth, upon whose Law all others that are since made are builded, who in his time cast off the Popes Yoke; in that Act concerning Tythes it is declared, that Tythes were due to God and holy Church, and they blame men for being so wicked as not to pay them and therefore that Law is made; and here is the ground of their Law, viz. not any property or civil right in Priests or others, for the Law requires them as due by Divine right, and therefore cannot be by any civil or temporal right, (for a man to claime that by humane right from humane law, which commands them as due to God and holy Church as that Stat. of Hen. the eighth doth) is but a meer juggle and decelt, and that Law of Hen. the eighth, and the rest since, takes them as granted due to God and holy Church, but if they be not, but onely supposed as a duty, then the Law cannot be binding, as they are in all the Sta­tutes.

That Tythes were never till of late pretended a civil right, is plain, for as they were imposed by the Pope, so they are try­able in his Courts, and those very Statutes which do pleade made by late Parliaments, appoint them to be tryed in Ecclesi­astical Courts: And the Act of 32. of Hen the eighth, Tythes are their called Spiritual gifts, and therefore no temporal or civil right, for before the dissolution of the Monastries in Hen. [Page 43] the eighths dayes, they were never called a temporal right.

[...] what is the property that is now claimed? It cannot [...] person, or the Priest hath them not untill he enter into [...] office, & when he parts with his office he looseth his Tythes, [...] that the property cannot be in the Priest, but it was sup­ [...] due to the office, and what is that? It was a Popish [...], when Tythes were first payed to it, how should the right [...] now, the office being laid aside, and the Pope also that [...] up▪

Others who pleade à legall right by prescription, because [...] have so long possessed them, therefore they judge them [...] right.

[...] was the old device of the Pope, first to preach that [...] were due, and then to limit them to Mon [...]stries and [...], when forty years were past, to claim that as a debt, [...] before was payed as Charity, or at the most as the free [...] [...]ering of the owner: and thus the Pope got first fruits and [...] and Peter pence, and great sums of moneys out of this [...] Nation [...], and he might as well pleaded his prescrip­ [...] any of his branches can doe now; is any [...]o blinde as [...] see what poor shifts are now made to uphold to great an [...], that hath no better support then this, that it hath [...] [...]long payed?

[...] shall the continuance of an oppression, give right to [...] the grievance? How many great and heavy press [...] [...] and other things long say upon the Nation, as may be [...] Henry the third, when the Pope got above one hundred [...] twenty thousand pound per annum, which was then more [...] then the Kings Revenue. Now there is no such office in [...] is plaine, for when Henry the eighth renounced the Pope [...] declared by Act of Parliament, assented unto by the [...] to be head of the Church, and all the Ecclesiastical or­ [...], were not to claim their Benefices from the Pope but from [...] King as by Act of Parliament; but this is more fully & large­ [...] [...]orth in a Printed paper by Gervase Benson, to which I [...] to the Reader.

[...] as to the Impropria [...]ours which lay claim by purchase, [...] have bought the [...] of the state, and payed great sums of [Page 44] money for them, and may be many have no other Subsistance.

Unto this it is answered, that in the root & ground al [...] is a like, whether they be claimed by Priest or Impropriator, [...] seeing those that sold them had no good title, these that [...] derived from them cannot then be good, but being it was [...] King or State that sold them, and that the whole Nation [...] the benefit of their moneys, and the Nations was eased in [...] taxes and subsidies and charge which unavoidably would [...] come upon the Nation at that time, seeing the Nation had [...] generall profit; it is equitable and just, when they cannot [...] what is sold, that the impropriators should have their [...] repayed, which went to the bearing and paying of the [...] ­lick charge of the Nation: and it is reason that it should be payed, by the Nation in generall, and so there [...] be no detriment to any particular person; onely it is [...] that the rate be moderate, for it is believed upon good [...] that the value was but little, and the rate small which the [...] propriators payed for them, because of the charges and [...] zards that was upon them, for the purchaser could buy [...] more, then what the Monastries had, which was disolved [...] Henry the eighth, and these Monastries were to finde a suffic [...] Priest or Curate, which had his allowance out of them, [...] a convenient portion of Tythe, and likewise a portion of [...] Tythe was se [...] a part yearly for the maintenance of the poor [...] the Parish for ever, as is evident by divers Acts of Parlia [...] after the dissolution of the Monastries; these foresaid charg [...] were to continue upon them as before, as may be seen at large in a Treatise called the poor Vicarsplea.

Others say the Lawes were made by Parliaments, the repres [...] v [...]s of People, and though that tythes were not due before, yet [...] might give tythes because as their owne, they being the body of [...] People.

Answ, This supposeth a particular donation of the [...] not onely in their Legistative capacity to binde themselves by [...] Law, but by a particular Act of Free gift, but its evident [...] Act never intended any such thing, for it gives nothing, [...] commands what was given before, and as to this or all o­ther Laws that Princes, Parliaments, Popes, Councells, [...] [Page 45] [...] what ever else was by any man made for the payment of [...] since Christ Jesus came in the flesh, joyn'd all together, [...] doe they all or any of them binde the conscience? for if [...] be not due by the Law of God, as hath been proved be­ [...] that they are not, who hath set them up? the Laws of [...] the best, and what is man or the sons of men, that [...] Laws in the place, where God disanuls his own com­ [...] Heb. 7. 12. As is manifest in this point of Tythes by [...] Scripture, verily it is better to obey God then [...], for Christ hath not put that power into any mens hands [...] a compulsary maintenance for his Ministers, seeing [...] his Apostles and Ministers, their practice was other­ [...] is before mentioned.

[...] But some may say hath not the Magistrates, Power as [...], t [...] command the payment of them to Ministers whom [...] of.

[...]. If so as Magistrates, then the Turk, Tartarians, and [...] Magistrates have the like, but it may be said, as [...] Magistrates.

[...]. Then may not France and Spaine, and Italy claim [...], for what Nation in Europe will not say they have [...] Magistracy, though a f [...]r greater part of them be [...], and may not the Papists by a [...] good right claim and [...] maintenance for their Ministers as Henry the eigth, [...] other could or can doe: but I would not be mistaken, [...] I went about to l [...]ssen the Magistrates power in things [...]oral and civil, as to raise taxer, assessements, or sub­ [...] or other chrages for the service, defence, and [...] being of a Nation, but I distinguish betwix [...] things [...], and such as are called Spiritual, and so give unto Cesar [...] things that are his, and unto God the things that are his, [...] civil things or temporal things they have power from [...] to make Laws, and preserve a Nation in peace, and to [...] for the well being of a Nation, because in such [...] they are their own Masters; but in matters of Religi­ [...] Spiritual things no man ought to be imposed upon, [...] one must give an account to Christ, who is the head [...] Church, and must stand or fall to his own Master: But [...] Law had been just in commanding Tythes, can it be [Page 46] judged equall to give treble damages, where they are not pay­ed: if a man be oweing a just due debt, no more by the law is recovered, but what the debt is, besides the charges of the Law, how cruel therefore are those injunctions, which in a matter of so just scruple, require and impose the treble values and furthermore to be required by a Law to set out the te [...] makes a man a voluntary agent in that thing, against which hi [...] conscience testifies, and he that cannot doe so, they sue and hal [...] before Courts and Magistrates, to get judgements of tr [...]bl [...] damage; and by that judgement frequently being put it [...] the hands of such persons as will doe it effectually to the Priests minde, they take away sometimes 6. or 7. yea oftentimes ten fold damage, what I say in this particuler I can prove by [...]ny witnesses in this Nation within this ten years; and though in the Ecclesiastical Courts the ordinary might not examine [...] upon his own oath concerning his own Tythes, but now [...] as make conscience of swearing, which Christ forbids, o [...] [...] they cannot themselves tel what tyth they had are cast into pri­son for contempt, & there may ly as long as they live, and many have dyed in prison upon that account. O what reformation is this? what, compell a man himself to set out the Tyths of his own goods to maintaine a hireling priest, it may be, a time server, a prophane one, or a turn-coat, and so to make a man sin against his own conscience, or else take ten sold as much, and not onely so but force him to swear or [...] him to prison, there to lye without hope of any reliefe▪ [...] Priests is not this the wages of unrighteousnesse that her [...] i [...] all this work about tenths and first fruits, and mortuaries & the like, which are no other then the superstitious reliques of Popery. O did but the Rulers and Magistrates know and consider what havock is made through the Nation, what driving of goods, Oxen out of the plow, Horses out of their teames, the Cowes from poor and indigent children, and what carrying of pots, and pans, and kittles, and fetching away the cloathes off, of poor peoples beds, me thinks it should make the Nation a shamed of such cruel practices; or else of such Priests and Tythes as are the cause of all this: manifold instances I might give about all these things up and down the Nation, but [Page 47] that I would not trouble the reader too much because they have been publickly made known before by other hands [...]d pens.

There are some other that have claimed Tythes and a pro­priety in them, as that they are right by a divine right, and for it pleades the Law of Moses; but as to that I shall not say [...]uch more, neither is there any necessity for it, because that most of the Ministry are ashamed to make this plea.

Others have pleaded the Decrees, Canons, and Constituti­o [...] of Popes, and General Councils, Bishops and Convocati­ [...], and these have said that Tythes are due by an Ecclesia­stical Right, and by that right generally under the Papal power they claimed them, and others paid them: And this continued in England till the Popes Supremacy was cast off by [...]. the 8th and then he received Frst fruits and Tenths. [...] of this plea many are ashamed, or few will own as judg­ [...]g the ground too weak to claim it by, on Ecclesiastical right.

Lastly, The main and great plea of the Ministry of this last age is, That Tythes are not due by the Law of God, because it was limited only to the land of Israel, and to the Levites, only they say the equity of the Law is still in force, which obligeth all to give a compe [...]ent maintenance for the Ministry; a [...]d to maintain this, they bring in all the Scriptures of the New Testament which seemeth to encline that way; and be­ [...]se they know of no other way for maintenance, but by [...]hes, as they are supposed now to be established, many [...]ave ignorantly gone about to make inferences and conclu­sions from them, as to prove their assertions. But to all which [...] return this answer:

That these plead not for Tithes properly, but for a mainte­nance by way of Tithes, as they suppose most convenient, &c. And the first Scripture they bring in, is Luke 11. 41. You pay tithe of mint and rue, and all manner of herbs: as also, Matth. 23. 23. You pay tithe of mint, and annise, and cummin. Also Luk. 28. 12. I am not as this Publican: I pay tithes of all that I pos­sess, &c.

[Page 48] It is answered, That Christ spake this to the Jews and Pharisees in t [...]e time when the Levitical Priesthood was not ended, and they were bound by the Law, whilest it was of force, to observe this Ordinance amongst the rest, which were in the first Covenane, which was faulty, which continu­ed until the time of Reformation, viz. Till Christ was offer­ed up, and said, It is finished, and was the ed of the Law for righteosnesse unto all that believe; but it is manifest that the Jews then, unto whom Christ spake, were not believers, but were such as withstood the Son of God, and did not receive him, who was the sum and substance of all the types and sha­dows of that Covenant; and so this is great ignorance to conclude that because these Scriptures are written in the New Testament, so called, that therefore Tithing is a Gospel Ordinance, for it is manifest that these Scriptures had rela­tion to the Jews who were under the Law, and not under the Gospel; and so their plea, as to this, is made void. But though Divine Right have been long pleaded, and are yet by some, but few are now left that will only stand to [...]e; for, if Tithes b [...] absolutely due, as by the Law of God, no cu­stome, prescription, priviledge, exemption, dispensation, law or constitutions of man or men, can acqui [...] any from the utmost penny of the tenth part; but scarce the tenth Parson in England payes Tithes in kind, and many plead that they are Tith-free, and pay none at all; but if any will stand to this, and plead Divine right, then they are to be payed and received for the end and use for the which they were com­manded, for the Levites, Strangers, Poor, the Fatherless and Widow, and then, where is the Impropriators share? And some Lawyers of late, of very good fame in England, have gi­ven their Judgement, That Tithes are not due by the Law of God.

Other Scriptures they seem to plead for the receiving of their Tithes, as Rom. 13. 7. Render therefore to all their dues Tribute to whom tribute is due. And Matth. 22. 21. Give un [...] Caesar the things which are Caesars, and unto God the things which are Gods.

[Page 49] Answ. Herein is a clear distinction betwixt the things which are Caesars, and the things which are Gods; this speaks only of Tribute, and Custome, or Taxes, or As [...]ements, which the Civil Magistrate doth claim by Law and by Cu­ [...]ome, for the preservation of a Nation, or conservation of every man in his proper and particular right; and herein every one ought to render Subjection and Obedience, not on­ly for fear of wrath, but for Conscience sake. But these Scri­ptures hath no relation to Tithes at all, nor forc'd mainte­nance for Priests.

Object. But it may be objected, Hath not the Magistrate p [...]wer to command or make Laws for the payment of Tenths, o [...] what other part he will to the Ministry?

Ans [...]. This was answered before: If God disanulled his own Command, Hebr. 7. for the payment of Tithes, who o [...] what is man that he should make a Law, as well to con­sta [...]ict that his Command, as also on the contrary to esta­blish them? And seeing the work of the Ministry in the work o [...] the Lord for conversion of souls; and that lie is the Lord of the Harvest, he provideth for his Labourers and Harvest­men whom he sends out, so that there need not any out­ward Law be made in this particular. The Ministers of old [...]eded not, though believers were but few; and the Ministry of this age reckons whole Nations to be Believers, and yet they dare not rely upon them for their subsistance, but runs to the temporal powers, to make them a forcing Law to establish their maintenance, which demonstrates they are no [...] true be­ [...]ers, whom they reckon to be so, or else, that the Lord of the Harvest never sent them forth; or else, that they do di­ [...]st the Lord of the Harvest, who, they say, sent them out to preach.

Other Scriptures are brought to plead for Tithes, or at least some part of them, and forced maintenance, as 1 Cor. [...]. 9. Thou shalt not muzzel the m [...]th of the O [...] [...] treadeth [...] the corn, &c. Ver. 7. Who plants a Vineyard, and eats not of [...] fruit thereof? and who seedeth a flock, and [...]ateth not of the [...]k of the fl [...]ck? Ver. 11. If we have sown unto you spiritual [...]gs, is it a great thing if we shall reaep your carnal things.

[Page 50] Answ. Unto all which I answer, That they which do be­lieve, and have received spiritual things indeed, that they are enjoyned by the Doctrine of Christ, and of his Apostles, and not only so, but even from natural things, all that believes are largely taught their duty therein, to distribute and com­municate freely unto them who labour in word and doctrine, and are sent out in the work of the Lord, that they be com­fortably provided for by them that are partakers of heaven­ly and spiritual things from the Lord, as to go on in the warfare of the Lord, and to plant in the Vineyard of the Lord; yea, and it is agreed that the Ministers of Christ did not do these things at their own charge; but if they might not be muzled that treads out the Corn, yet they may be muzled that treads out no Corn, but runs ramping through the Lords fields and spoils the Corn, these ought to be muzled.

Again, they that watch over a fleck, though they may eat of the milk of the flock, yet they that kill them that are sed, and feeds themselves with the fat, and cloaths themselves with the Wooll, and worryes the Lambs, they ought not to eat of the milk of the Lords flock; and of such as they r [...]c [...], on Unbelievers and Hereticks, and they looks upon, belongs to another Master, and not to the fold of Christ, they ought not to clip and shear other mens. Sheep. But in short, all the aforesaid Scriptures makes nothing at all for Tythes, or any part thereof, either from believers, or not believers; and these Scriptures also grant, that every man is the sole owner of his own labour and possession, y [...] ought every one freely to glorifie God with his substance, and to communicate to him that teacheth in all good things needful; and such sacrifice God doth well accept.

Again, Other Scripturs they bring, in which there is as little ground or footing as in the former, but that they are necessita­ted to get a shelter and a seeming cover for their practice to blinde people withall, that they may get their money: And so they bring, 1 Cor. 9 10, 13, 14. For it is written, or saith he, It's altogether for our sakes no doubt this is written, that he aha [...] ploweth should plow in hope, and he that thresheth in hope, should be [Page 51] made partakers of his hope. Ver. 13. And do you not know that [...]y who ministereth holy things, live of the things of the Temple, [...]d they that wait at the Altar, are partakers with the Altar, even s [...] hath the Lord ordained, that they who proach the Gospel, should [...] of the Gospel. Upon these Scriptures, as upon the for­ [...]r inferences hath been made to prove their lawful receiv­ing of Popish Tithes, and forced maintenance.

The Apostle having travelled and laboured in the Gospel of Christ among the Corinthians, afterwards wrote unto them, exhorting them to steadfastness in the Faith, and also re­proving the disorders that was amongst them, which was cr [...]e in, in his absence, which was sown by them of the Cir­cumcision, who boasted themselves against Paul, and led a­way the heart of the Corinthians from him, as much as in them lay, into the liberty of the flesh, and looked upon Paul as in bondage, whereunto the Apostle useth plainnesse of speech, and tells them, that doubtlesse he was as an Apostle to them, and magnifies his Office, and declares also his pow­er which he had received from Christ, as he told them, ver. 4. Have not we power to eat and to drink? And I and Barnabas, [...]ve not we power to forbear working? doubtlesse, yes: It was the same that Christ gave unto his Disciples when he sent them forth, with them that are worthy to stay, and to eat, and drink what was set before them; and doubtlesse they had power to forbear labouring with their hands, but they would not alwayes use it, least they should seem burthen­some, but laboured rather to make the Gospel of Christ without charge; so this which is alledged as out of the law, for the equality of it, as the Ox not to be muzled when he [...]ode out the Corn, and a Husband man Ploughs in hope to receive a Crop; and the thresher thresheth in hope to get out the corn; even so, he that ministreth in Word and Doctrine, in the faith and hope, is also made partakers of his hope, and goeth not to war of his own charge, but Christ maketh pro­vision for them, and opens the hearts of people to contribute freely in the work of the Lord, and for his service, And see­ing the Corinthians allowed this power unto others, who sow­ed dissention among them, the Apostle urgeth it that he much [Page 52] more had power, though he had not used it. And further, like as they that ministred at the Temple, who were partakers of the Altar, as God had appointed them; likewise now they that preach the Gospel, live of the Gospel, as God hath or [...] dained it. But that clause, ver. 14. [even so] hath been mi­serably strain'd by this last generation of teachers, as though they that preached the Gospel should live of Tythes, even a [...] they, viz. the Levites that ministred a [...] the Altar, did live of the Offerings and Tithes that pertained to the Altar. Bu [...] there is no necessity to understand the words [even so] as thereby to infer, that they who preach the Gospel should live of Tithes; but as the Levites liv'd of Offerings nnd Tythes, that ministred at the Altar in their day, even so, they that mi­nister the Gospel, should live of the Gospel in their day, and be content with Christs allowance. And, as the Apostle saith elsewhere, having food and raiment, to be therewith content; for to live of the Gospel, is not to live of Jewish Tithes, or Popish Tithes, nor forced Maintenance, for this is contrary to the practice of the Ministers of the Gospel; for we never read of any commandement given for payment of Tithes un­der the Gospel, neither exhortation to any, neither repre­hension of any for not paying, in all the writings of the A­postles; so that we conclude, there is none due, neither ought to be received by any Minister of the Gospel; but people being generally taught, that the Scripture is the four­dation of Faith, and practice of Christians. The teachers of the last age, they know that people will expect to have some ground or Scripture for proof of their arguments or pleas, and they not having what they could desire, brings such as they can get, miserably turning and twineing, perverting and straining these and the like Scriptures before mentioned to blind people withal; but the day is manifest that disco­vers all the crooked paths, and windings, and turnings of the old Serpent, and ministers of unrighteousnesse, and wages of unrighteousnesse.

But another seeming hold, is, 2 Cor. 11. 8. I robb'd other Churches, taking Wages of them, to do you service.

[Page 53] Answ. Here the Apostle shews how he had behaved him­self amongst them, though he had power to eat and to drink, and to forbear labour, and to receive of them (to wit, the [...]hians) those things needful, yet he had not done so for rea­sons given, before mentioned, and in divers other places, though he saith, whilest he was present with them, that he wanted, as in ver. 9. And had preached the Gospel freely un­to them, ver. 7. and did not use his power as aforesaid, but rec [...]ived something from the Brethren of Macedonia, which [...] freely given and ministred by them, amongst whom he [...]d ministred before; and he made use of thir, even while he [...] in the Corinthians work: and this he took, being offered fr [...]ly by the Macedonians, that he might preach the Gospel fr [...]ly among the Corinthians, and this he reckoned as wages, [...] as taking from others, that he might serve the Corinthi­ans and that he might keep himself clear, and not be bur­ [...]some; but this was ingratefully done of the Corinthi­ans seeing it was that which they freely allow'd unto them, [...] had deceived them, to wit, false Apostles: but what doth all this prove for Tithes and forced maintenance? even no­thing at all; but on the contrary, proves receiving freely that which was given freely by them, unto whom he had preached freely, and the ingratitude also of the Corinthians.

But being willing to answer all the Pleas and arguments that [...] I heard, and al the Scriptures in the New Testament (so cal­led) which hath been brought in for a plea, by the Ministrey of this last age, that their cover may be rent, and their vaile [...]e away; and the feeblenesse of their arguments shewed son [...], that people may see, they are without foundation, or my grounded bottome for these challenged Tythes and forced maintenance and that all may see we doe not suffer impri­s [...]ment, and spoiling of our goods wilfully, or ignorantly, [...]t for our abiding in the Doctrin of Christ, and keeping sted­l [...]st to the ordinances, and order of the Gospel in the purest time of the publication thereof; but take one other Scripture which they alledge and I have done, which is, Heb. 7. 8. And [...]re men that dye doe receive Tythes, but there he receiveth them of [...] is is witnessed that he liveth.

[Page 54] Answ. Unto which I answer, because this is written in the New Testament so called which they ignorantly call the Go­spel; therefore because this word (here) is mention­ed in the Scripture; they have concluded that the Ministers of the Gospel doe receive Tythes, which they as miserably wrest as they doe the words (even so) for here the Apostle is exalting the Priesthood of Christ above the Priesthood of Levi, and shews that Melchizedech was greater then Abraham, after whose order Christ was made an High Priest, and that Levi payed Tythes in Abram unto Melchizedech: and these words, Here men that dye receive Tythes, hath wholly relation unto Abraham and to Levi in that Covenant, and not so much as any shadow at all of paying or receiving Tythes in the second Priesthood, for if perfection were by the Levitical Priesthood, what further need was there that another should arise after the order of Melchizedech: And all the aforementioned Scrip­tures, which are the greatest seeming ground that the Ministry of this last age pretend Tythes and forced maintenance from, proves nothing at all, but rather to the contrary, as hath been said & much more might be said; for it is manifest that all the Ministers of Christ never received any Tythes or forced mainte­nance from the world, who were in the unbeliefe, neither of them who were not of their Church, nor of such as they re­ckoned as Hereticks, but this last generation of Apostates ex­ceeds all that ever went before them, in Covetousnesse; if they be but remaining within such a Parish (which was first set up by the Pope and his Emessaries, and ratifyed by the Princes of the Earth, that have drunk the whores Cup) whether they be believers or unbelievers, prophane, Schismatickes, or Here­tickes; yea or such as they'l curse and give up to Satan: Tythes and forced wages, mortuaryes and oblations, besides many other things that they claim as due, this they must and will hav [...]s and will tell you he that Preacheth the Gospel must live of the Gospel? O sad generation who fills the world with darknesse, and blindes the mindes of people, may it not truly be said and looked for; that which was Prophesied of old, and came to passe concerning the Levitical Priesthood, when they had violated the Commandements of the Lord: [Page 55] For your sake shall Sion be plowed as a Corne field, and Jerusalem become as beapes: and truly I doe reckon it as one of the maine transgressions of the Ministry of this last age, which should have been leades of the people, but have caused them to erre; that the Nation hath been plowed up and turn'd over as a hus­bandman turnes ground, and therefore the Nation hath not enjoyed its rest, nor the Land its Sabbaths: neither I look will or can doe, whilest these abominations are held up.

Likewise, Let all the now call'd separated Churches be proved and tryed, who reckon that they are separated from the world, and yet many of them have received pay and wages of those who are of the world, for their teachers, who send none out at their own cost, to preach to the world, and this is likewise hypocrisie and an abominable thing, and here also the R [...]rs of our present age might learn wisdome (seeing that all the ministers of Christ never received any maintenance from the world, or from them that did not look upon them as mi­nisters of Christ, nor own them as such) to with-hold their hands from upholding any with their worldly sword, or com­pell others to maintaine them by their penall Laws, but to leave Christ Kingdome to his owne rule, who is Lord of the harvest, and sends forth labourers, and hath spirit and life, and power, and wisdome to put upon them, and give unto them, who chuses whom he pleaseth, and will not be limited, who sent forth Fisher men, Shepheards, Herdsmen, Plough men, Tillers of ground, and Keepers of flockes, who spoke plaine word [...], and reached to the consciences of men of the meanest capacity; and yet our litterall Rabbies cannot understand, who are yet wise in the worlds wisdome, gathered into Schooles and there Study, and learn a trade, and trades with their words, thereby to get their livings, and what doctrine as suites the times; that they study to uphold their maintenance. In the time of Popery they studyed the Popish Doctrin, and preached it to the Nations, in the time of Prelacy they changed to a New form, and when that was lai'd aside; Presbitery step'd on the Stage, and that Doctrin and worship was studied and preached, and the Universityes and Schooles sent out such as would suit that time, then after that Indepen­dency [Page 56] that was propagated, and then the Universityes and Schooles sent out such as would suit that time, and now E­piscopacy is started up from the grave, and all the former lai'd a side, and look what pleaseth them best which hath the greatest livings to dispose, and that is sure by them to be cryed up, and studyed and preached, and here's the spring of the teachers, the Universityes and Schooles sends forth, who wheeles about any way to preserve them in esteem and in their maintenance.

But let the Rulers and all wise men consider, that Christs love to the world for whom he died is not lessened nor abated, neither is his Spirit diminished, nor his power shortened that he will not, or cannot send forth fit Ministers for his service, or that he needs Universities or Schools, or Magistrates to provide main­tenance for those that he sends forth, for let the Magistrates look to their own Kingdom which is of this world, and to restrain and punish the evil doers therein, and to encourage and protect the good, and then all would be agreed, and the Nations preserv'd and kept in peace and quietnesse, every one enjoying his true liberty and freedom in the things that are spiritual, and which belong to the Kingdom of God, and herein would be no detri­ment at all to the Magistrates, or the Kingdoms of the world, nor any dimunition from their power; and oh that they might learn wisdom, and as they would not have men to entrench upon their prerogative and power, as it is not meet, so likewise that they would not intrench upon the Soveraignty and power of Christs Kingdom which is over all, and do we not say, thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, and know this, that his glo­ry he will not give unto another; and let me speak freely the main reason wherefore the Nations have been broken into strife, and fractions, and warre, is because many men hath made an in­road, and an intrusion upon the Soveraignty of Christ, and a­gainst such his power hath and will ever turn against, because they will not allow him that is the most high to rule and reign in Kingdomes and the consciences of men, which he alone hath right to do, and this power, honour, and glory the Lord hath not given to any other, nor yet will do, but to the Son of God the Light of the World, the life of men, and the Saviour of man­kind, and what is man or the Sons of men, that they should [Page 57] strive with the Lord in this thing; Let all the Rulers of the Earth consider betimes, was not this it that destroyed the whole Nation of the Jews? was not this it that confounded all the Ro­man Monarchs, and brought them all to a miserable end, because they would not suffer Christ to be head among the Christians, and also how many Princes, though otherwise wise, have lost their Crowns and Kingdoms, because they would not suffer Christ to have dominion in his peoples hearts, but persecuted them for keeping his Statutes, and then his power turn'd against them, as sad experience hath witnessed in many Nations, and chiefly by the instigation of the Ministry of every age since the Apostasie [...]red in, have stirr'd up the temporal Kings, and temporal Princes to make Laws, and to compel all to obey them, and have pressed it upon the Magistrates, as their duty, when their Gospel would not maintain them to make Laws for them, to compel peo­ple to give them tythes, and forc'd maintenance, and hire, or else most dreadfully complain upon the Magistrates, as that Christ was little beholden to them, if they would not compel & force accord­ing to the Priests mind, they have then judged them as lukewarm, & irreligious persons, and such as had no care of the Church of God at all, and thus the Pope and Prelates of every age downward un­till this very time, have put on the Magistrates and Rulers to work drudgery for them, and intermeddle in those things which properly and solely belongs to Christ Jesus, or else have stir'd up the Princes of the earth to make war one against another, only to vindicate their covetous and ambitious quarrel, which was only a self-seeking, and pride, and not the honour of God, nor the prosperity of his saving truth; and so greatly wrong'd the Princes of the earth, busying and troubling them with their own covetous and self-seeking affaires (falsely calling it the Church affairs) and for the honour of Christ, when they have neglected their own necessary and urgent affaires in many Na­tions, and Kingdoms to the great harm of Princes, and detri­ment to the Nations, and trouble to the people, as is evident in the history of divers Christian Princes, from the time of Constan­tine, until this very day 1664.

O it is sad and lamentable to behold how Emperors and Prin­ces have been gull'd and cheated by these pestiferous, worldly, [Page 58] and carnal Priests, who have not minded the Law of Jesus Christ, nor the conversion of souls, but their own bellies, and to be chief­ly medling in state matters, and Princes affairs (which did not, neither do belong unto them) rather then the flock of Christ, insomuch that they are grown to that height, and pride, and im­periousnesse, that no King, or Potentate could keep his Crown or Prerogative and Kingdome in quiet, nor possesse his own dominion in peace, except he was subject unto them: Instances I might bring many of Emperours and Kings, whose Kingdomes have been interduced, and the King and his people curst, and excommunicated because of some factious Legate, Bishop, or Pryor, who have complain'd to the Pope, and upon every small sentence and Judgement against Princes, and all under pretence of vindicating Church priviledges, and what a mischief and stir the former Bishops of Canterbury, Priors, Monks and others, what stirs and broiles they have made in this our English Nation, and what trouble they have put the Princes thereof unto, and involved them in, and the whole Nation, only for their own par­ticular interest, our own Chronicles and Histories of the Nation doth sufficiently testifie, unto which I refer the Reader, rather then to trouble in this discourse, and since the Popes yoke hath been thrown off, how have the Nations been involv'd in trouble, and Princes disturbed with the Covetous Priests affairs, as about tythes, glebe lands, Augmentations, forc'd maintenance, hire and mortuaries, and about their caps, and tippets, and hoods, and altars, and tables, and crosses, and unholy railes, and bells, and fonts, surplices, and girdles, and such other like trumpery, how hath the Nation been troubled, and peoples consciences been burdened, and one disjoynted from another, in which God hath not been glorified at all, nor his people edified, and all this and much more the Magistrates hath been pressed upon, and very much troubled. And for being afraid of offending their worldly Priests, they have becom'd their servants, and drudges to work their slavery, and yet all is too little, and great commotion and strife hath been, and is in the Nation this day about these trivial, yet troublesome things, by which the hearts and consciences of good people are troubled, and the Nation vexed, and all under the name of vindicating the Church priviledges.

[Page 59] O all ye Magistrates and Potentates of the earth arise, and [...]and upon your own legs, and shake your selves and these things [...] off you, and trouble not your selves with that which is too p [...]derous and weighty for you to bear, which you are never able to made thorow, keep peace in your own dominions, and exe­c [...]te justice and judgement among all people without having re­spect to this or that particular judgement, for that's the way and the only way to preserve the Nation and people in peace and qui­ [...]nesse, and let Christs Kingdome alone, and his Church alone to him that is the head thereof, who gave his life for it, and hath a case of it, and let Christians alone as Christians, and as C [...]ists subjects, to be governed by Christ, who is the King, Law­ [...]r, and Judge of his people, who only hath right to rule in the hearts and Consciences of the sons of men, who doth teach, hath taught, and yet will teach his people, as is witnessed by the Prophet Isaiah. And this Glory and Power he hath not given to any man, as man, whatsoever; but he himself teacheth how [...]e will be worshipped, to wit, In Spirit, and in Truth. And [...]soever would arrogate unto themselves that power, then doth [...]e power of the Lord Jesus Christ turn against them. And therfore be warned, all ye Potentates of the earth, and let your e [...]thly wisdome cease, and carnal policy cease, and earthly [...]rivance cease, and worldly consultations cease; make room all, give place and give way to him who is risen and com'd in his second appearance in his Sain [...]s, who must have way, and will have way, or else will force his way, though not by bow, s [...]ear, buckler, or shield, or carnal weapons of war, for out of his mouth goes the two-edged sword, and hot coals of fire are kind­ [...] by the breth of his mouth: And the breth of the Lord shall [...]n the wicked, and burn up all mountains and hills before it. Consider what God did to Amaleck of old, whose King was [...]g a mighty Prince, and to Sihon, and Ogge King of Bashan, who was of the Race of the Giants, mighty for fortitude; and, [...]oreover, Ammon and Edom very great. Nations, all these rose [...]p to stop the Lord in his way, and Israel, unto whom the pro­mise of God was made. And what was the issue thereof, when the Lord was glad to force his way, though to the detriment and [...]ine of all those mighty Nations? Christ the light of the world, [Page 60] now in the end of the world, and in this last age, hath chosen a people out of many peoples, and a family out of many families, and a nation out of many nations, to serve him and worship him, to honour and obey him in life, spirit and power, in their gene­ration, and unto them the promise of eternal life is made, and the kingdome that is not of this world, and the inheritance that fades not away. And Christ the King of eternal glory is their leader, and many are determined to follow him, and loves not their lives to the death, and are willing to lay down all in this world for that which is promised, and would fain walk on their way in quietnesse and peace, without any molestation to any man in person or estate in the world, eating their own bread, and drinking their own water, either by labour or by price; but, alas, their way is stopt, and Divinations is sought against them, the Balaamites are called forth to enchant, and divine, and curse, and they give counsel to the Princes to stand up in defiance, and seek by all means possible to stop, and hath fram'd many engines, to see if that will do, to wit, forcible laws, confiscations, premu­niries, Jayles, Prisons, houses of Correction, fines, stockings, whippings, execrations, cominations, and excommunications, and what not that can be invented by wordly policy, and now the battel is set, though one party hath no carnal weapon i [...] their heart or hand, and all Nations mark the issue, remember the battel and the end thereof, and do no more, if the Lord do not manifestly say, and make it evident one way or other (for I dare n [...]nit him a way) saying as he did of old, touch not mi [...] anointed, do my Prophets no harm, to every Kingdom, Natio [...] and People, who riseth up against the inheritance of the Lord and if he bring not a rebuke upon whatsoever Nation, People o [...] Family, that arises up in opposition against Christ and his people, whom he hath redeemed, then let all conclude that God is no [...] among us, neither is with us, nor hath spoke unto us, but to be sho [...] in this matter, because a few words to the wise is enough, and a little councel to the prudent may suffice, but in this particular of which I have been treating most what about tythes, and Mini­sters maintenance in this I shall conclude, and also assent unto, as being the judgment of thousands of the Lords people, as that the Ministers of Jesus Christ, who are truly so, manifest in doctrine [Page 61] and works, who sow unto us or any people spiritual things, they should and ought to reap of our temporal things. But here lies the difference; First of all, that the spirit of the Lord in our consciences must be our judge, who these Mini­sters are, and no other mans direction, for to the Conscience were alwayes the Ministers of Christ made manifest, and not approved with the reason and wisdom of man. Secondly, that our gifts may be free, and by no mans compulsion; and this is according to primitive example, and the Church of Christs order in the first Gospel-times, which all do con­clude was the most purest time. And would not this ease the temporal Magistrate of much trouble that he puts him­self unto, and also be more acceptable to God and man? for who hath made him a judge of these things in Gospel [...]es?

But seeing I have run over the many particular judgements from the Apostles time downward, and hath given the best [...]dent that can be given in every age, as to this particu­ [...], and seeing divers things are written by other hands, [...] may be enough to satisfie the Consciences of all who [...] scruple in this matter: And so I shall conclude upon [...] many good reasons and grounds before mentioned, which is agreeable, some of them, in every age unto the Doctrine of Christ, and the Practice of the Apostles, and [...] is a certain and positive truth, believed among us, which [...] is agreeable unto the Scripture, That Tythes and for­ [...] Maintenance, as to the Ministers of Christ, never was, [...], or shall be counted as Gospel Maintenance, neither [...] the Consciences of Believers at all obliged in this mat­ [...]er.

Concerning parochial Churches, and division of Par [...]shes and Parish profits.

COncerning these parish Churches about which there is such heavy stir at this day, and for parish pay, and an injuction for all to worship there, is a very novelty, and compared with the Apostles time, though its granted that there were places wherein the Saints did assemble themselves for the worship of God, yet no limitting to any such place, nor no limitting, nor no tying to pay, these were but set up at best in the time of Popery, and not alto­gether in the beginning of it neither, for as is mentioned before, the Teachers was sent out of the Monasteries and religious houses so called, and the people did go to worship at any place, and at their own free will gave their offerings where they pleased, till the year 1200. as before is mentioned, as learned Selden hath well ob­serv'd in his exact Treatise of tythes.

As for the Brittains little or no testimony is extant of any cre­dit, that discovers their order in their times, but some about the 500 year after Christ was found amongst them, for when Da [...]ri­trius was Bishop of South Wales, and his See appointed at Lan­dasse, divers Churches were erected, and oblations, and other pro­fits were appropriated to him and his successours, likewise menti­on is made of a Church build in the time of the Romans, to the honour of Saint Martin, in which Austin and his followers, when they came first from Rome, made their holy assemblies, as they were call'd, but Guildas saith, that about the year 580. the Cler­gy having Lordship, had resort to them for filthy lucres sake.

First, Parochia or Parae [...] be diversly taken, as first it was taken by the Saxons, for Bishoprick, or a Diocesse, or otherwise, for a limitted place within that Diocesse, called a lesse Parish, but it is manifest that these Parishes had no profits at all belonging un­to them, but only were places where Augustine sent his Monks unto in the time of the Saxons, and to preach and receive the of­ferings, and they were carried into a general treasury for the Cler­gy, for then they had all things in common, so at that time when they began to grow rich they began to build some houses, call'd Churches, and to repair the old Temples of the Gentiles, as Pope [Page 63] Gregory advised them out of the offerings of the People, (but now Parish Priests, takes tenths and oblations also, and that by force, and will neither build nor repair these Masse houses, and so are worse then the Papists in their time) for the conveniency of the neighbouring inhabitants were assigned to the Ministring Priests where they exercise their shrivings; but not so limitted that every one was bound to keep his devotion within the limits of such a place or any parish, for in the respect of offerings, and profits, Canterbury was indeed the only limitted parish, so it was not ma­terial at what place they met, or where they offered their bounty, so they did it any where, and its commonly received, That Honorus, who succeeded Augustine at Canterbury, about the Seldens Hist. of Tythes, Chap. 9. year 630. divided his province into Parishes, as some of the greatest and most learned Writers relate.

But when the Popes Doctrine was received and devotion grown great, such as it was, most lay men of great estates de­sired the Country residence of some Chaplaines or Clarks, that might alwayes be ready for their instruction, their Families, and adjoyning Tenants; and then Parish Churches began to builded by them also, and the bishops hallowed them, as it was called, and they were endued by particular maintenance from the Founders, the Territories, Demesnes, and Tennants, and Neighbouring possessions, & they assigned the limits where the holy function should be exercised & appointed▪ the persons that should repaire the Church and offer there, and provided a speciall sallery for the performance, and made the revenue perpetually annexed to the Church of that Clark who received it, and so the offering were restrained from the Common trea­s [...]ry of the Diocesse.

Out of these Lay Foundations, chiefly undoubtedly came these kinde of Parishes which at this day are in every Diocesse; their difference in quantity being originally, because of the several Circuits Deme [...]nes, or Teritoryes possess [...]d by the Founders, sometimes greater, and sometimes lesser. At what [...] these Lay Foundations began to be frequent, appears not, but some mention is made of them about the year 700 as Bede Hist. Bode Eccles. lib. 5. cap. 45. [...]ith who mentions one Puch a Sax [...]n Noble man, and one Addi who builded also and endu [...]d them with sallary; but a­bout [Page 64] the year 800. many were founded by Lay men, and re­corded to be appropriated to the Abbey Crowland, by this time Lay Foundations grew very common, and Parochical limitts also of the Parishoners devotion, and in a Councell held under Wilfride Archbishop of Canterbury, we finde that where Chur­ches are builded, and that they are Consecrated by the Bishop of the same Diocesse, a Cannon of the same Synod ordaines that thorow every Church upon the death of every Bishop, that all the Families of every Parish were to meet at the Church, and sing 80. Psalmes, and 600. Psalters, and 20. Missayes with Fasting and Prayer for the Soule of the Bishop deceased: ma­ny more instances might be given, and presidents about these Parishes, but enough of this onely to informe the Reader of their Original; from these it doth fully appear that the limits of Parishes were understood: but the first expresse mention of limitation of profits to this or that Church, as in the Lawes of King Edgar made in the year 970, in the very midnght of Popery, where it was ordain'd that every man should pay his Tythes to the most ancient Church or Monastery, where he heard Gods service; but some Parishes had other beginnings in regard of the inconveniency, which made Pope Alexander write to the Bishop of Yorke that he heard of a c [...]rtaine Parish in his Province was so far distinct from the Parish Church, that the inhabitants could not repaire to it in Winter; where­upon he commands the Archbishop to build a Church in that Town, and to institute a presentation of the Rectour that might have to his use all profits encreasing in those limits, and acknowledge a superiority to the Mother Church, and so by the Authority of the power either by the Pope, Bishop, or Princes, who received their Doctrin; the limits, and maintenance of Parishes have been more or lesse as they ordained, and as they doe continue to this day.

Likewise in other Kingdomes and Nations, where the Pope had Authority, the like Rules as aforesaid were observ'd, as might be evidenced by sundry Authors; but not to trouble my selfe or the reader any more, with such unprofitable stuffe [...] I have onely given these instances to show the ground and rise of them, and shewn how that people then were not limited to [Page 65] any particular place in respect of worship, neither in respect of pay, orduty, so call'd but now them that pretends reformation, & hath denyed the Pope and his Doctrin, as they say, they claime both, and if all between such a hedge, and such a ditch, such a water, and such a way, will not come and worship at that place called their Parish Church, and hear their service and joyn with them in it, though it be never so repugnant to the Doctrin of Christ, and the true worship of God, but more e­specially if they come not with their pay: they'l give them up all unto Satan by whole sale, and cast them into prison, and denounce them Hereticks, and cry to the temporal power for helpe against these Non conformists, for they are not fit to live in a Nation, because they are not commodious to us; and then get an order, fetch away their goods, break open the gates, carry away poor mens Corn, drive away Oxen, & Cows, & [...]rayl away the Pots and Pans, hale away cloths of poor peoples Beds, and then cry they are not subject to the Orders and Canons of the holy Church; no not conformable to our Lawes, and this is the practice of our great reformers, of our latter ages, which is far worse then in the very height of Popery: by reason of which practices the Land mournes, and because of which we cannot joyn with them in their worship, neither give them pay for doing of mischiefe, nor suffer the Lords goods to be given to such covetous lazy Priests; who serves not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies

And for denying of these late innovations and new upstart things which are no Congruity with the primitive Church of Christ; we are great sufferers at this day, but have rather chosen to keep our consciences clear, and the Doctrin of Christ inviolable whatsoever wee suffer, till God make our innocency and our righteousnesse appear as the Noone day, and pleade our Cause in the midst of all our Enemies.

The End.

The poor Husband-mans complaint, his hope and confidence.

LEt Pope and Priests doe what they may,
God will take Tythes ere long away:
For they're oppressive in the Land,
Which makes good men against them stand:
For wee oppressed are thereby,
Which makes us to the Lord sore cry,
To ease us of this burthen sore;
That wee may praise him ever more.
That he would hearken our addresse,
Which wee to him in humblenesse
Presents our suit to ease our griefe,
And thorow pitty send reliefe.
For by the mercilesse Merchants Crew,
Of Babell [...] Citty doth renew,
Our sufferings most heavily,
Housholds expos'd to penury.
Our Kine, and Oxen they by force,
Drive away without remorse.
Our Bedding, Pewter, and at last
Our selves are into Prison cast.
Thus to misery they their doome,
By Authority fetcht from Roome
Doth expose our sad estate,
And whole housholds ruinate,
By that which they usurpate,
They wh [...]le Familyes extirpate.
O great oppression thou againe,
Makes us doubly complaine.
Our heavy burthen fetcheth groanes,
This cruel Tything forceth moanes:
And wrong fully they have pretence
Of Scripture made for their defence:
From Levies Tribe they would possesse,
Tythes to them are by successe:
[Page 67] And thus the Gospels day in vain,
To get their prey they would disdaine,
[...] Gods worship that shall stand,
When they have done what's in their hand
For what is done against Gods power,
Shall be thrown down as in an houre.
The world shall destroyed he,
Who lives not long may come to see
God will try as there is need,
And send deliverance to his seed,
This is my faith I do believe
That God will sore the wicked grieve,
Therefore let wicked men repent,
That unto hell they be not sent;
And if they subject be to God,
They [...]ay escape his heavy rod,
The time comes on, and hast apace,
Wherein great Babylon God will race
O [...] of her power and might so great
That she'l be turn'd out of her seat,
That Christ may reign whose due it is,
That all the faithful him may blisse,
[...]bylons Merchants with their pay
I [...] Gods time hee'l turn away
[...] is com'd to be their foe
Which is cause to bring their woe,
[...] they shall cry woe and alas
When there is non to make redresse,
[...] [...]ne houre shall Judgement come
With violence perpetual doome,
Of death and famine shall she taste,
Her stately buildings all laid wast,
[...] day of howling shall betake
And she thrown down into the lake,
[...] dreadfully her doubled cup,
Of wrath and sorrow she'l drink up;
[...] [...]hy the Lords decree shall stand,
[...] purpose now is near at hand,
[Page 68] And what is Prophecy'd shall come,
Babels Merchants they shall mourn,
They shall weep and howl right sore,
Their Merchandise will sell no more;
After that which they did lust,
Departed from them, is as just.
Read your sentence, Babels train,
Judgment comes with might and main,
The wrath of God, and fury great
Powred from his Judgment seat:
From his presence, yea from him
Will your cup be fill'd to'th brim,
Kings will mourn, and cry alass,
When they these things see come to pass,
For through Christs power and renown,
Down goes Babel, she goes down.
J. R.

As one fore-seeing the day of terror that is to come upon Babel, makes this Invitation.

COme out of her my people, O return,
Make haste, her day's at hand to weep and mourne,
Her dayes of howling hastens on apace,
She hath nigh liv'd her time, and run her race:
Return, return, least that her plagues you taste,
For desolate must she be, her buildings waste,
Her fiery burning smoake is nigh as hand,
For fear of torments, Kings at distance stand.
The voice of mourning shortly comes to pass,
Babylon's Merchants cry, Alass, alass,
This City great is now com'd ruinate,
And all her stately buildings desolate.
Thus Babylon the great is thrown to'th ground,
And never any more is to be found:
Then shall the glorious day, and then the voice
As if of mighty thunderings, Saints rejoyce,
[Page 69] And they their song of Halelujah sing,
Their praises, honour, glory, to their King.
Their joy and splendor, now the Saints do say
The Lamb is come, this is our Nuptial day.
Oglorious sun-shine, King of Saints we'll praise,
And in thy powerful wonder we amaze
W [...] admirable joy, our souls to thee
The song of Sion sing; O praised be
Thou holy, holy, glorious righteous God,
Who Babylon hath shaken by thy rod,
And gives thy Saints the songs of joy to sing,
Praise to their God, praise to their gracious King.
The saints in righteosness thou wilt aray
With fine adornings, thee to praise alway,
And i [...] thy glorious habitation rest,
For eve [...] more with joy their souls be blest.
[...], rejoyce, ye [...]saints of the most high,
To Sions King give praise eternally:
The wondrous joyes unto you which are come
Unto the marriage supper of the Lamb,
In admiration which to you belong,
The doubled Halelujah is your song:
When Babels just reward that day shall be
As a great mil-stone cast in to the sea:
Reward her as she hath rewarded you,
Double her cup, her torments eke renew.
For in so much as she the saints blood shed,
With rigteous judgments shall she be judged:
Sit down ye sufferers in the patience seat,
And willingly content, though it be great;
Tour measure's hard in this your suffering day,
But your reward shall come with double pay.
Resign your selves, and willingly sit down,
In the expect [...]nce of the glorious Crown,
For why, your portion glorious shall be,
A great reward is sure, you shall it see,
Fre [...] not your s [...]lves because of wicked men,
Your day will joyous be, even so.


E. G.

The great complaint and Outcry of one of the suf­ferers of Sion.

O Rulers of England and Teachers, and People how long will it be are you will awake out of the deepe slumber, that hath ceased upon you, and consider a little: you doe all look upon in this age that Popery is Idolatry, and to maintaine their worship and practice is not consistant with the worship which you own, but doe you think that talking against Popery in the generall, whilest that you are upholding it many par­ticulars in point of Lawes and worship, doe answer your pro­fession, or will preserve you in the day of the Lord, when the Righteous judgements of God shall be revealed; seeing that though you have broken off from them in some Circumstantial and Ceremonial things, for that very maine Basis and Founda­tion upon which it standeth is absolutely Covetousnesse, and filthy lucre, but to speak plain, Tythes, Offerings, Oblations, Mortuaries, Peter pence & qu [...]dnon is claimed and looked upon to be due as to the Pope in imitation of the Jews High priest, with all the Rable of that Crew, even from the very Bishop to the Quirister boy; and yet in point of wages and pay all the aforesaid ordinances which Constitutes by Authority from Rome stands as Evangelical or Jure divino unto this day amongst the reformed Churches so called, which are not onely discon­sonant to the first primitive times, but also contrary to the very Law of the Jews, when Tythes, Oblations, and offerings were due to be payed, for then the Husbandman, Poor, Fatherlesse, Widows, and Orphants might all eat together of that which was offered, or given according to the Command▪ but now them which pretends another Mninstry, and layes little claime to the Levitical Priesthood, and have also possessions of Lands amongst their brethren which the Levits had not; these goes with Tythes, Offerings and divers other things never claimed by the Levites, but claimed by popish constitutions in the mid­night of Popery; and all these things the reformed Priests so tearmed, layes claim unto and must have, and will have, [Page 71] or else the whole Nation shall ring with their noise, Common [...], Exchequer, Capiter Court, Assise and Sessions, Shrieffs, [...]alers, Bayliffs, and every common Catch pole shall be em­ployed to doe their work, and all too little, to satisfie their [...]ltrous eye: And if they can get a serowle und [...]r any hand that hath Authority; they'le break open doors, pull down [...]dges, carry away the Corn at their pleasure, drag away pots [...] kittles, and tugg away beding and cloathes of all sorts; C [...]ildrens nights beds as a Priest of this order did in Kent, [...]ly, yea Curtaines and Vallans, drink bear out of the Cel­ [...]r, and if it be but halfe a Cheese; and this is their plea, be that [...]eth the Gospel, shall live of the Gospel, and the aforesaid [...] and man, Fatherlesse and Widows, hath not any part or [...]re in the aforesaid falsly claimed Tythes, but all is too little, to satisfie the insatiable Covetousnesse of these Evange­ [...]cal Priests, falsly so called: O how can yee know and be­ [...]old these things, and not blush and be ashamed; and shall [...] Lawes which have been made in the night of darkenesse [...] popery, of necessity be a rule in this age to Magistracy and [...]istry, which pretends they are in a more pure lig [...] O [...] the Lord would open all your eyes to consider, but [...]ow [...], them unto whom his marvellous light is shed, cannot bu [...] [...] [...]nto you, and also bear their testimony against the afore­ [...] grievances and disorder which are executed beyond mea­ [...] [...]pon the poore people in this Nation, which certainly if [...] amended will draw down Gods heavy judgements upon [...] Nation; and so I cannot but as one among the rest give [...] [...]y Testimony for God and his Truth against such Cruell [...], and falsly pretended maintenance of Black Coates, [...]d turn Coates, and my testimony is true and to seale it, I [...]ve given up my Life and Estate.

By a Servant of the Lord.
M. L.

To all who say you are gathered out of the world into Church-fellowship, these Queries are for you to answer.

1. WHat was the woman that was cloathed with the [...] and crowned with twelve stars, which travelled i [...] pain to bring forth?

2. What was the Sun she was cloathed withal, and 1: stars she was crowned withal, and when was she so cloathed and crowned?

3. And what was the man-child that was brought forth, seeing Christ was born of the Virgin in Bethlehem long before John saw this in the Isle of Patmos?

4. And when did the woman fly into the Wilderness, and what is the Wilderness into which she fled, and what is the wing [...] of the great Eagle, which she did fly withal?

5. And what is the time, times, and the half time, which she is to be in the Wilderness, and when did it begin, [...] when will it be expir'd, and whether is the Woman ever to come out again, and when shall be the time of her return?

6. When was the time, that the man-child was caught o [...] unto God, which the women brought forth, seeing Chr [...] was ascended long before this man-child was caught up to God, which was to rule the Nations, and how long is it since

7. And whether is he ever to descend again, and be mad [...] manifest to Rule the Nations, and when shall he begin [...] reign?

8. When was the Dragon in Heaven, and how came he there, seeing that it's written, No unclean thing can enter there, or no­thing that doth defile?

9. And when was he cast out of heaven into the earth, and how long hath he to reign in the earth?

10. When began he to persecute the remnant of the Wo­man seed, and how long shall his reign be?

[Page 73] 11. When begins the one thousand years that he shall be bound? Or, whether is it begun or to come?

12. When shall he be taken hold of, and with the beast and false Prophet thrown into the lake of fire?

13. What is Mistery Babylon, and when had she her rice, when was her City raised up, over which she rules as a Queen?

14. And what is the golden cup of fornication she hath made the Nations drunk withal?

15. And what is her merchandize which her Merchants trade withal, and the sea upon which they carry their Traf­fick, and upon which the Ship-masters, and Ships ride, and when shall it be dryed up, and what shall dry it up?

16. When shall the City over which she hath reigned be destroyed? and when shall her flesh be burnt with fire? and what is the Gospel that shall be preached again?

17. And how long hath it been since it hath been preached to the Nations, seeing it's to be preached again to the Nati­ons, and whether is the time begun or not? When was the Gospel lost, seeing all Europe is professing it, or whether is it yet to come, when it shall begin to be preached again to Kin­ [...], Tongues, and Nations?

18. And what is the light of the Lamb, the Nations that unsaved shall walk in after the seven Vials be poured, upon the [...]t of the Beast? Declare if thou have understanding.

Francis Howgill.
The End.


Several faults have escaped the Presse un-corect, but the most material are these.

Page 7 line 1 for chief vicar, read Christs chief vicar, p. 30 l. 3 for preferred, r. preserved, l. 21 for conversation, r. conversion, p. 35 l. 20. for possion, r. possession, p. 37 for their r. there, p. 43 l. 28 for pound per [...], r. pound out of this Nation per an [...]. p. 47 l. 18 for on r. an, p. 48 l. 7 for ed r. end, p. 58 l. 12 after the word Pope, r. and upon every small complaint was ready to hear them, [...] give sentence and Judgment, p. 64 l. 10 for 80 r. 30 for Psalter [...] r. Psalteries.

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