THE LAWFULNES OF TITHES, Demonstrated to the Convincing of such of the QƲAKERS as pre­tend Conscience against the Pay­ment of them: OR, A Demonstration for LIBERTY of CONSCIENCE to the QƲAKERS in the Payment of their TITHES.

By W. J.

It is a Snare to the Man that devoureth that which is Holy, and after Vows to make Enquiry, Prov. 20.25.

LONDON, Printed for John VVilliams, in Cross-Key-Court in Little Brittain, 1675

THE PREFACE TO THE COURTEOUS READER.

Reader,

LEt me find thee such as I bespeak thee, Courteous. Be not offended with this little Treatise at the first sight of it, being so small upon such a Subject of concern; and of the which some Learned Men have writ already. It is small, because it is design'd for the use of those that are [Page]wont to read but small Books, (viz.) the meaner sort of Quakers. It treats upon this Subject, not that I think to doe any great feats by it, but that it may mind those that are Learned in­deed to undertake this, and such o­ther things (wherein the Quakers do disturb the Church) proving not on­ly the Lawfulness of Tithes, viz. that they may be paid, (which I do) but also the necessity of them, that they ought to be paid, or at leastwise the Expediency of them, that they are best to be paid. The aime of such Learned Men as have writ of this Subject already, was not the Satis­faction of these Quakers (of whom they did not so much as dream) but the Confirmation of Princes and Rulers, to continue in the Land, [Page]and Nation such Gospel-Mainte­nance, as was of so long standing, and had been so well begun: Now these Quakers being to be satisfied (if any thing will do it) require this Sub­ject to be managed another way, if not for matter, yet for manner, me­thod, and stile, which I leave to the Discretion of such of the Learned, as shall have the Charity to travail with these poor Men (with the will of God) to reduce, and bring them back to the Establishment, and Peace of the Church.

As St. Paul did acknowledge himself to be Debtor to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians, to the Wise, and to the Unwise: So I think (under Correcti­on) that the Learned in the Univer­sities and else-where, are Debtors in [Page]these dayes unto all the Sects that are among us, viz. to endeavour to re­claim them: Among the which Sects, these of the Quakers (if it may rightly be called a Sect) and not rather a Rage, and a Tumult fomeing out their own shame: I say, this such as it is, is not to be let go in malam rem, as desperate as it seems to be▪

Again, as St. Paul profest that he was ready to preach the Gospel to them which were at Rome also; so I hope our Learned men will not disdain to take pains with these Quakers, though they be gone from us as far as Rome.

The Gain-saying of Tith, and cry­ing out Hireling, is the main thing they cant withal; therein applying them­selves to the humor of such as are pro­phainly Covetous amongst us.

The more unlearned this Sect of Quaking is, the greater learning it re­quires for the Confuting of it; they be­ing not to be wrought upon otherwise than by Demonstrations; which I pre­sume, Learning, Leasure, and Libraries may be able to make out unto them, by shewing them, as a Perpetuity of a Mi­nistry, and a Maintenance to it: So also a propriety both of the one, and of the o­ther; and this to be deduced through the whole Series of times, and ages; the universalities of People and Nations; and the variety of Empires, and Go­vernments.

This little Tract was devis'd by me for the satisfaction of a private Man, my Neighbour: Why I have made it publique, I have given an account al­ready; namely, to mind such as are [Page]Learned, and have leasure from Week­ly Sermons to travail, as they do with the other Sects that are among us; so also with those poor Men called Quakers: I say, to mind them; for it's possible they hear not the clamours and out-cries of these Men, as poor Incumbents do. How good a Work the turning men from the Errour of their ways may be, appears by the great Good St. James pronounces to come of it. Reader, recommend this good Work to whom thou think'st it proper. Be Friendly, and Farewel.

COUNTRY-MEN and FRIENDS CALL'D QUAKERS

§. 1. TO your Question demanding by what Right Tythes become due in the Church of England? As a sick man is cur'd of his disease by vertue of a Medicine; so is an e­vil man heal'd of his malice by ver­tue of the Law. Pythagoras. Break not the Laws made for the wealth of the Country. Justinian Endeavour thy self to keep the Law, that God may be pleased with thee. Aristot. I answer, that it is by the Law of the Land; which being not contra­ry to the Law of God, ought to be obey'd by every Subject. Now this Law of our Land is not only according to the Law of God, but also fitted to it, and devised by it.

That there was a Law for Tythes under the Old Testament, there is no Man doubts. Lex vetus de Sabbato, &c. The Law con­cerning the Sabbath, and the other concern­ing Tythes (in the Old Testament) do shew that Christians are oblig'd to set apart no less than the seventh day for God's Worship and Service; nor less than the tenth part of their fruits or encrease, for the maintenance of those that are Christs Ministers. Grot. de Jure Bell. & Pac. lib. 1. cap. 1. That that Law is still abid­ing, viz. for the Substance and Equity of it, under the Gospel, That is it which some Men would willing­ly be ignorant of. But I prove it thus:

What was in being both for Right and Practice before the Law was given by Moses, and in that Law was exprest, and set forth, and hath not been forbidden since, nor any way abro­gated; that is abiding still: But such is the Law for Tythes, therefore it is still abiding.

That it was in being before the Law was given by Moses, appears by Abraham paying Tythes to Melchisedek, Irenaeus (l. 4. c. xxxiv.) and Chrysost. on 1 Cor. cap. xvi. use this Law, in proving the Equity of Tyth under the Gospel, [...], He Tythed Abraham, (i e.) he took Tyth upon him, viz. of his Goods; which implyes, that the one was in Duty bound to pay it, and the other had a Right to demand and take it. The Text saith, Mel­chisedek met Abraham: Wherefore? to beg an Alms of him? No, but to receive his Due from him. O how fain would pro­phane Misers have the Clergy brought unto their Alms! on purpose, that they might deal by them, as Judas would have done by our Saviour Christ. See Calvin's complaint in this case. Abraham did not this by any politick Constitution, nor by any Right of Ceremony: Therefore it was by the Law of Nature that he did it. Gen. 14.20. Heb. 7.11. [...]. The Text hath not [ [...]] but [ [...]] It saith not that Abraham brought to Melchisedek somewhat in Gift, but that he gave him that part and portion which was due unto him. If he had been free either to give, or not to give, then in giving, he would have given what he had pleas'd, and not have been bound to divide. A Division is of one whole thing into parts, which needeth not, but when some part is due out of it.

Moreover, if Melchisedek had no other Right to what he re­ceived from Abraham, but only of Abraham's Bounty, and good will; then how doth St. Paul prefer his Priest-hood be­fore that of the Sons of Levi? For they had a Right, and a Law to receive what they did from the People, [...], &c.

Again, If he had no Right or Authority to receive any thing from Abraham, then was not he greater than Abraham: For I may humble my self to give what I please, to whom I please; but I am inferiour only where I am subject, and bound to pay.

But you'l say, by what Right did Melchisedek receive Tith, or for what? For Sacrificing? No, (we do not Read that he did any such thing) but for Blessing: Melchisedek blessed Abraham, and Abraham pay'd the Tenth, &c.

Hereupon I assume thus: Tyths were due unto Melchisedek, not for Sacrificing, but for Blessing only: Therefore Tyths do remain due under the Gospel upon the same account. The consequence I prove, Heb. 7.12. The Law concerning Priest­hood is not changed, except the Priest-hood be changed also: But the Priest-hood of Christ, and that of Melchise­dek is the same, therefore the same Law remaineth under both.

You'l object again; What was Abraham but a single Per­son? What he did, he did for himself, and what is that to Us?

Not so: Abraham was the Father of the Faithful, and there­upon, saith Chrysostome, he paying Tyth to Melchisedek, did shadow or represent all the Faithful under the Gospel, paying Tith to Christ.

From Abraham I might go to Jacob, and take him vowing a Vow, the subject whereof was, that if the Lord would be with him, Gen. 28.20. &c. then should the Lord be his God: The stone which he set for a Pillar should be God's House; and of all that God should give him, he would give the Tenth unto God. If Jacob had not very well known this Vow of his to be grounded upon good Right on God's part, and Duty on his own; he would never have made it.

Is not the same Right on God's part still, and the same Duty on ours? Is it not God that gives us all that we have, Est enim hoc conscientiae nostrae vulgare & commune Testi­monium, &c. It is a common Testimony of our Conscience known even to the Heathens, that the Necessaries of thi [...] life are to be beg'd of God: From whence it is, that even a mongst the Gentiles Tyths of all things were vow'd unto Hercules. Lambert Danaeus de Oratione Dominica▪ pa. 154. and ought not we to acknowledge him as Jacob did.

To acknowledge God in this case, is not a Will-worship of ours, but a Doctrine taught by the Holy Ghost, Prov. 3.9. [Page 4] Honour God with thy substance, and with the first Fruits of all thine Increase. Though Solomon was not in being when Jacob was, yet the Holy Ghost was; and if he had not been Iacob's Teacher in the making of this Vow, this Vow should not have been Re­corded in the Scriptures to the Commendation of him as it is: Yea, what hindr­eth me to say, that it is written not only for his Com­mendation, but also for our Imita­tion, there being all the Saith St. Aug. Quid enim si diceret Deus, &c. What if God should say, Thou art mine, O man, the ground which thou tillest is mine; the Seeds which thou sowest, the Beasts which thou weariest are mine; the Rain is mine, and so is the Heat of the Sun: Seeing all these things are mine, thou which only lendest thy Hand to the Work, deservest hardly the Tenth: But I keep Nine parts for thee, give me the Tenth, &c. Equity that may be, that we should do as he hath done?

Nay, This Lesson is still taught by the Holy Ghost, Gal. 6.6. Let him that is taught in the word, communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Here is an express command of pay­ing things in Kind under the Gospel. Indeed the word [Tith] or [Tenth] is not here set down; perhaps because that part or portion is suppos'd to be notoriously known. As it is not for Christians to strive about words, 1 Tim. 6.4. so I think it is not for them to strive for want of Words, where the things themselves that are in Question are to be found in the Scrip­tures. To strive for want of Words, what is it but to dote a­bout Questions? Those that oppose Tyths for want of having them nam'd in the New Testament, seem in this to be like those that oppos'd the Consubstantiality of the Persons in the Deity, because the Word [ [...]] is not to be found in the Scripture: And yet the Word [Tything] is to be found in the New Testament, viz. spoken by our Saviour Christ himself, and that asserting the Right of Tythes, saying, that they ought to be pay'd. If you say they ought to be pay'd then, but not now, I ask where it is that our Saviour hath told you so, or what cause is there that it should be so?

Our Saviour declar'd unto the Jews that he was Lord even of the Sabbath, i. e. that he had Power given him, to set his People free from the Necessity of observing the Sabbath; or at leastwise to moderate them in the Observation of it: But of Tyth he said no such thing. It was prophesi'd, that the Jewish Sabbath should cease to be; but of Tythes there is no such Pro­phecy. The continuance of that Sabbath might not consist with Christ exhibited, but Tythes may, being no way con­trary to the Liberty, wherewith Christ hath made us free. If you pay not the tenth, you will pay some other part, viz. ei­ther more or less: More we do not challenge, The Heathens judg'd it reasonable, that those which serv'd at their Idol-Altars, should live thereof: The proportion of Tyth or Tenth they might borrow from the Patriarchs the Sons of Noah, spread­ing it among the Nations. Less you can­not pay, except you will not only alter God's Proportion, but also have less regard to the just Maintenance of your Mi­nisters under the New Testament, than the People of God had of theirs under the Old. As if these were not as worthy to live of the Gospel, as those others were to live of the Altar.

Thus I have done with the first Member of my Argument, in the fifting whereof I de­sire such Can­dour of you, The Melchisedek spoken of in Genesis, and in the Epistle to the Hebrews is most probably thought to be Sem, the eldest Son of Noah, who liv'd in the Dayes of Abraham, and by his Primoge­niture had Right to take Tyths even of him. as may bespeak you not only Civil, but also Christians.

Now of the second Member, viz. That it was exprest, and set forth in the Law given by Moses: And this I prove from Lev. 27.30. Num. 18.8. and 31.2. Chron. 31.4. Hoc jure Abraham, &c. By this Law (viz. of Nature) Abraham gave the tenth to God of those spoyls which he took from the five Kings mentioned in Gen. 14. &c. Quo more Graeci quoque, &c. Aud by the same Law also, the Graecians, Cartbaginians, and Romans, dedicated the Tenth of their spoyls to Apollo, Hercules, Jupiter Feretrius, &c. Grot. de jur. Belli & Pacis lib. 3. cap. 6. My Inference here­hence is this: Moses, Num. 18.8. makes the Faculty of receiving Tyth to [Page 6]belong unto the Priest-hood or Mini­stry by reason of the Anoynting, i. e. their Calling. In the 31. verse, he makes it to belong unto them, because of their Work or Service: But both the Calling and Work of the Ministry do still abide: Therefore also the Faculty of receiving Tyths, which is the Main­tenance of the one, and the Reward of the other. The Minor I prove, Eph. 4.11, 13. Heb. 13.17. 1 Tim. 4.17.

Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 31.4. Commanded the People that dwelt at Jerusalem, to give their Porti­ons to the Priests,As Hezekiah was singularly commended among the Kings of Judah: So did the singularity of his Commendation consist in this, viz. that he was most zealous for Religion and Piety, 2 Chron. 29.& to the Levites, that they might be Encouraged in the Law of the Lord. From whence I Argue thus:

What was well done of Hezekiah by the Ministers of the Law, that is well done still of godly Princes by the Mi­nisters of the Gospel; Upon this account it is, that he is said to do according to all that his Father David did: Upon which account also, viz. of Religion and Piety most of all it is, that David himself was said to be a Man after God's own heart. But it was well done of Hezekiah to encourage the Ministers of the Law, by command­ing the People to give them their Portions; therefore it is well done still of godly Princes, to encourage the Ministers of the Gospel, by commanding the People to pay them their Dues.

Neither Hezekiah, Nehemiah, nor any other godly Prince or Ruler, hath thought fit at any time, Nehemiah was zealous in this matter, even unto Contention, Nehem. 13.10, 11, 12. to require the Priests to attend their Service, without commanding unto them their just Maintenance. Yea, God [Page 7]looks not with any Man to serve any Office in his House for Nought, Mal. 1.10. Neither will God accept of any Man to pretend to the doing of his Work, that shall disdain to receive his Wages. I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts, Mal. 1.13. As he disdains to be meanly dealt with by his People, that pretend unto him, so is it not his manner to deal meanly by his Priests that serve him; as you may see throughout that whole Chapter.

Yea, our blessed Saviour in his Gospel, saith, at the sending of the seventy Disciples, That the Labourer is worthy of his Hire: St. Paul thinks fit to cite this Text of our Saviour, together with such ano­ther from Moses, to prove both Ho­nour and Maintenance to be due to the Gospel-Ministery. 1 Tim. 5. vers. 17, 18. And will any man that is a Christian, call him that la­laboureth, an Hireling for re­ceiving his Hire? If any man do, is not that man's Eye evil, because our blessed Saviour is good? St. Paul 1 Cor. 9. affirms, that for people to expect that their Ministers should attend, and serve them for nothing, An unreasonableness hardly to be imagined, much less to be practised a­mong the Gentiles, except it were by such as were accounted Tyrannous, and so accounted most of all for this, viz. That they were both envious, and pe­nurious to the Gods. is a thing so unjust, and unreason­able, that it is hardly to be i­magined. It were such ano­ther thing as it would be, to make the Oxe tread out the Corn, and yet to muzzle his Mouth the while.

Nevertheless, I do not deny, but that a man may, and ought upon occasions, serve in the Ministry between God and the People, without challenging any Portion or set Mainte­nance at all: But then at the same time, and notwithstanding those occasions, he ought to be so far from either disdaining that Maintenance to himself, or hindring of it unto others, that he ought to maintain and justifie the Right and Power of it, not only unto others that do receive it, but also to himself, [Page 8]though he receive it not. This was St. Paul's practice, 1 Cor. 9.4, 5. Though he wrought with his Hands, rather than he would be chargeable to the Corinthians, because of false A­postles, that perverted them to his prejudice, yet did he justifie unto them, that he had power to forbear working as well as others the Apostles and Ministers of Christ were wont to do.

What St. Paul did in this matter, he did out of Zeal to fur­ther the Gospel, and not out of Envy to hinder any man's just Right or Title, [...]; Have we not power, viz. that power which is of Right? and least of all that of the Ministers of Christ unto their own: Yea, lest any one should construe him in such a sence, he shews himself earnest in their Defence.

There are divers poor Incumbents in these dayes, that en­deavour to imitate St. Paul in this, as far as their occasions may permit, receiving less, and paying more than the Due, Less than the Due from some of the peo­ple, and more than the Due to some Officers. nevertheless are quiet and silent in favour of the Gospel. And yet they are not Apostles as St. Paul was, at liberty to go far and near; but confin'd to certain Parishes and Places, and therefore not in a capacity, like St. Paul, to take of one Church wherewithal to serve another, 2 Cor. 11.8, 9. They must either receive in some measure their Dues from their own Parishes, or else they can challenge none at all; to say nothing of the many Duties they pay out of what they do receive, to one, and to another.

I have insisted the longer upon this Instance drawn out of the Words of Moses and Hezekiah, on purpose to take you off from thinking the worse of Tyth-paying, for its being exprest, and set forth in the Law of Moses. Every thing that is written there, is not Ceremonial, in such manner as to vanish quite at our Saviour's coming in the Flesh, and to abide no longer. The [Page 9]Law given by Moses was threefold, Moral, Judicial, and Ce­remonial. One and the same thing may in divers respects, partake of these three Laws. I will take the Subject in hand for instance, viz. Tyth-paying. As it is a Maintenance to the Priest-hood, No Sabbath without an Assembly; no Assembly with­out a Ministry, no setled Mi­nistry without a Maintenance, Lev. 23.3. Mal. 1.10. 1 Cor. 9. or Ministery, so it is Moral, in as much force now as ever: As it was appro­priated unto the Tribe of Levi, so it was Ceremonial, and in that respect it is abolish't: The Tribe of Levi have no more to do with it now than other men may have.

In the third of Malachy, the Observation of this Command­ment of Tyth-paying, is establish't with a solemn Blessing, and the Violation of it threatned with a severe Curse. If it had been a meer Ceremony (such as some men would have it to be) the Prophet would not have busied himself much about it. Where do you find the Prophets so greatly to concern them­selves in Ceremonies, as either to bless, or curse in their behalf?

And that you make not light of this Argument; the Fathers in the Council of Tibur (saith Bishop Andrews) us'd for Tyth-paying no other Argument, Patres in Conci­lio Tiburiensi, cap. 13. or Reason but this. Tythes (say they) are to be pay'd, that God being appeased, may the more plenteously bestow things necessary upon us. The Fa­thers also at the Council of Mentz, did use the same Reason. Tythes, say they, Patres in Conci­lio Moguntino, cap. 11. are to be pay'd, lest God withdraw things necessary from us. In saying thus, they did not then de­termine the Right of Tythes, which was determined long be­fore, but they perswaded men in paying of Tythes to deal justly and truly, devoutly also, Aug. libro Hom. 48. Majores nostri, &c. and conscionably. Saith St. Aug. Our Ancestors abounded with great Plenty, because they [Page 10]pay'd Tyth devoutly and truly. Our [Ancestors] saith he; which implies, that Tyth-paying was of common use long be­fore St. Augustin's Dayes.

Thus I have done with the second Member of my Argu­ment, viz. that Tyth-paying was expresly commanded in the Law of Moses.

Now of the third Member, viz. that it hath not been forbid­den since, nor any way abrogated, or done away. Which I prove thus:

Whatsoever is made void at the coming of Christ in the Flesh, either falls void of it self, or else was declar'd void ei­ther by Christ, or his Apostles: But Tyth-paying neither fell void of it self, nor was declar'd void either by Christ or his A­postles; therefore it was not made void at all. The Minor Proposition, or that Tyth-paying fell not away upon either of the fore-mentioned accounts, I prove by Parts; and first, that it fell not away of it self.

What may consist with Christ already given and exhibited, that falls not away of it self; but Tyth-paying may consist with Christ already given and exhibited; therefore it falls not away of it self. The Minor I prove:

What is neither Sacrament nor Sacrifice of the Law, that may consist with Christ already given and exhibited: But Tyth-paying is neither Sacrament nor Sacrifice of the Law; therefore it may consist with Christ already given and exhibi­ted. Or thus: Only such things may not consist with Christ given and exhibited, as made up the Partition-Wall, that was between God and Man first, and then between Men and Men, i. e. between the Jews and Gentiles: But Tyth-paying was no part of that Partition-Wall: It parted not between God and Man, for it was God himself that did appoint it; it parted not between the Jews and Gentiles, because both did pay Tyth to their Priests.

Tyth was pay'd generally in the world, before any Partition be­tween Jew and Gentile was in being; Plin. lib. 12. cap. 14.19. Nat. Hist. Theophrast. lib. 9. cap. 4. de Plantis. Isocrates in commending the Wisdom and Piety of Bufiris, the first King of E­gypt, doth instance in this as a main evidence there­of, viz. that he fixt a sure and large Revenue upon the Priests, exempting them from Wars, and other Incumbrances; thinking he could not do too much for those that served in Holy things. [...], &c. Isocratis de Busiride Orat. as you may see, if you consult Pliny in his natural Hi­story, Isocrates, Theo­phrastus, and others. Saith Alstedius of things abrogated by the Death of Christ; That common saying must be of credit, viz. That the bloud of Christ once shed, forbids any more bloud to be shed in Sacrifice: Now in Tyth-paying there is no bloud, except it be the Heart-bloud of the prophanely covetous, which makes them even Mad to the Robbing of God.

Neither is Tyth-paying a Sacrifice in any other sence, sa­ving that it is Eucharistical, (i.e.) it is a Sacrifice of Praise, and Thanksgiving. What is spent up­on Divine worship, is by a wise Man thought Gain. Plaut. de Milite. He that will not acknowledge God in all his ways, to the intent that he may direct his Paths; nor honour God with his substance, with a Dependance upon him, let him pay no Tythes, Prov. 3. vers. 5, 6.9, 10.

How Witty are some prophane Ones now a dayes (some Poor, and others Rich) to upbraid the most Laborious of Christ's Ministers, As the Heathens did phansie to themselves a variety of Gods, and every God an Au­thor of some earthly benefit un­to them; so did they honour every such God with a special part of that benefit whereof they supposed him to be the Author: As Lyaeus with the Fruit of the Vine; Ceres with the Fruits of the Earth; Mi­nerva with Oyl, &c. Meta­mor. lib. 8. Fab. 5. the one with their Labour, and the o­ther with their Estates! (A Reproach most grievous unto ingenuous Men, such as the Ministers of Christ ought to be.) Holy Jacob was far from this; what he gave unto God, he called not his Labour, much less his Estate; but God's Gift. He saith not unto [Page 12]God, of all that I shall labour for, or of all that I shall get; but of all that thou shalt give me, I will give the Tenth unto thee.

Thus, I think, I have prov'd, that Tyth-paying falls not of it self, at the Death of Christ, because it may consist with it; yea, it is a real Thanksgiving unto God, for the grace and bene­fit of it.

Now it is my part to prove, that Christ did not declare it void in his Life time, i. e. while he was upon Earth. He's so far from that, that he enjoyn'd the Practice of it, Mat. 23.23. and Luk. 11. from the 37. verse to the 43. He omitteth the washing of his Hands before Dinner, though it were to the Offence of the Pharisee that invited him to his House. He's so far from saying, that that ought not to be left undone, that he defends the Omission of it; as he did also in another place, the rubbing of the Ears of Corn by his Disciples on the Sabbath­day: So little regard had he for either humane Traditions, or needless Ceremonies. But of Tyth-paying even to the smallest things, he sayeth, these things ye ought not to leave un­done.

It is much to be considered, that when our blessed Saviour had speech of the greatest and weightiest things of all, Faith, Judgment, and Mercy, that at the same time, and as it were in the same Paragraph, where he saith, that the one ought to be done, he saith also, that the other ought not to be left un­done.

How you may understand this speech of our Saviour, I know not, but Bishop Andrews saith, that the Primitive Church did generally understand it to be spoken in Confirmation of Tyth­paying: To the Proof of which, he quotes St. Chrysostome speak­ing for the Greek Church, and St. Augustin for the Latine. The speech indeed was design'd first, and principally for Faith, [Page 13]Judgment, and Mercy; but then it was accessorily and ad­ditionally for justness and exactness in paying of Tyths. If he had not meant that Tythes should be pay'd, he would either have oppos'd them, as he did many Traditions and Ceremo­nies; or else at the least he would have said nothing of them, thereby to suffer them to fall of themselves.

Now remains only the third part of the Proposition to be prov'd, viz. That Tyth-paying was not declar'd void by the A­postles.

If the Apostles declar'd Tyth-paying null and void, then that Declaration of their's is to be found either in their Acts written of them, or in their Epistles written by them. But it is to be found neither in the one, nor in the other: Therefore not at all.

The Minor proposition I leave to be disprov'd by you, viz. By shewing where such Declaration of the Apostles is to be found. They do declare against Circumcision, Sacrificing, the Priesthood of Levi, making a Difference in Meats and Drinks, and Dayes, &c. These were shadows of things to come; whereas Tyth was nothing else but a Political Mainte­nance assign'd of God, to the use of those that did serve at the Altar.

If you say that as the Altar is now down, so must the Main­tenance go down with it. I answer, that as the Gospel is up in the room of the Altar, so must the Maintenance stand up with it, though not in such things as were but Occasional, and did belong unto Sacrificing; yet in such things as are Fun­damental, and do relate unto Blessing. Though Levi's Sacri­ficing be past and gone, yet Melchisedek's Blessing is still in being.

If you allow that those which preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel, In Tyth men pay not ac­cording to what they have not, but according to what they have, which is the greatest Equity that can be: there the Rich is not spared, nor the Poor opprest. The benefit, viz. without a blessing, which might be made of the ceasing of Tyth-paying, whose should it be? the Land­lords or the Tenants! I will not determine, because I think the thing it self in this Na­tion is hardly to be suppos'd, and that upon many and several ac­counts, though the Clergy only are upbraided by the Envious and Prophane; and among the Clergy, those that labour most in the Word and Doctrine. and yet deny Tyth-pay­ing; can you shew any other way that [Page 14]may be more just, and equal than this, and no less certain and stedfast? A Fixt-Ministry, such as that of the Gos­pel is, must have also a Fixt-Mainte­nance. As Princes and Rulers are God's Ministers in things of Justice, so are Gospel-Preachers God's Mi­nisters in the things of Religion and Worship. Now, as Tribute is due to Princes for their continual Atten­dance on the things of Justice: So is a just Maintenance due to Gos­pel-Preachers for their continual At­tendance on the things of the Gospel. Render to all their Dues; Tribute to whom Tribute, custom to whom, &c. Rom. 13.

As Incumbent Ministers are confin'd to a certain Place, so are they also confin'd to their Calling. It is not free for them to shift themselves out of it, as others may do out of theirs. They are barr'd from having Trades, as St. Paul had, yea, from using of Merchandise, or any other means of Lively-hood, be­ing confin'd to this one thing. And would you pretending to be Tender Christians (for a man cannot be a great Christian, but that he must be tender too) would you, I say, that Princes and Rulers that are Christians, should be so unreasonable as to confine men, free born, freely educated, and brought up with much cost and expence to a certain Calling (which is for the good of all men) and not provide that they may live thereof, as may become that calling?

But you will not have Princes and Magistrates to appoint un­to you in this matter; There are many things lawful not only to be done by Christians, but also to be commanded them by their Superiors, that have less Authority from the Scriptures than Tythes may have. From some mens im­pertinent requiring of scrip­ture for every humane Or­dinance, Doctor Sanderson observes that the mis-un­derstanding of the Doctrine of the perfection of the Scriptures, occasions much of Errour relating unto things indifferent, specially in things of Prudence and Policy. As if Magistrates might not ordain in these things, but what they can shew Scripture for: where­as it is enough that they ordain nothing against the Scripture. you will be free in the things of God, viz. to Rob him if you please: As if it were not the chiefest [Page 15]concern of Princes, to provide and see, that God be not rob'd either of the truth of his Service, or of the just Maintenance that belongs thereunto. Shall some few private men perswade them, that a bles­sing can rest long upon this Nation with­out a Ministry; or that to Oppress and Beggar the Ministry, be the way to con­tinue the Blessing which this Land has so long enjoy'd? I think, they will not in­cur that Sentence against themselves, viz. That those which despise him shall be lightly esteemed, 1 Sam. 2.30. Shall God himself appoint unto you in his own things? Or hath he not done it already? If that which we contend for be not of his appointment, shew any thing else that he hath appointed in the place of it. Tyth to be once his appoint­ment you acknowledge; shew where, and how he hath quitted that Right of his, and what he hath taken in exchange of it, (i. e.) what he hath ordain'd to succeed Tyth in the Mainte­nance of the Ministry?

Either Tythes are God's Right of propriety still, or else he hath taken something else in exchange of them, Saith Doctor Williams, God hath commanded the Tenth of all the increase of Goods to be pay'd out, thereby to shew that he re­serves a Chiefery of every thing unto himself. Of the sufferings of the Saints, p. 29. or else he hath no propriety at all, and consequently, he hath nothing now wherein he may be rob'd; And if there be nothing wherein God may be rob'd, then is there no such sin as Sacriledge. Oh how fain would prophane Misers that Sacri­ledge should be no sin! Whereas St. Paul makes it to be as great a sin, if not greater, than Idolatry, Rom. 2.22. There is no sin that blasphemes the Name of God more than this.

If God had now under the Gospel no propriety wherein he might be rob'd; why doth St. Paul, Gal. 6. (where he bids those that are taught in the word, communicate unto those that teach them in all good things) give warning in the next Verse, that they should not deceive themselves, as if God might be mock't? Now if in point of Right and Propriety, God were not concern'd in what Christian people do communicate un­to their Ministers, how might he be mock't therein? For God to be mock't, and to be rob'd, I think is one and the same thing.

If you acknowledge that God hath a Right of Propriety in any part or portion of his Blessings unto you; Quod debebat Abraham Deo, &c. What Abraham ow'd to Ged, that he pay'd into the Hands of Mel­chisedek. Calvin on the Epist. to the Hebr. cap. 7. vers. 4. you must needs also grant, that his Ministers have a Right to use that part, or portion of his, (viz.) of his Gift, and Assign­ment. I have prov'd this already, Num. 18. at the eight and thirtieth Verse.

§. 2d. I have prov'd that Tyth falls not of it self, as being in­consistent with the Death of Christ: Heb. 7.18. It is not in that respect either weak or unprofitable that it should be abrogated. I have prov'd also, that our blessed Saviour has not declar'd against it, but for it. The like I have prov'd by the Apostles; saving that they have not us'd the Word [Tyth] or [Tenth] in this matter. To this you'l add, that they receiv'd not Tythes themselves. And in this you triumph against us, as if we were contrary to the A­postles.

That none of the Apostles at any time, or in any place, re­ceiv'd any manner of Tyth, I think is more than you can prove. Certain it is, that they did receive, and that both in a plentiful measure, and in an Honourable manner too. Of their Receipts, they were not only able to maintain themselves, [Page 17]but also to succour others. They commanded Collections to be made over whole Regions, 1 Cor. 16.1, 2, 3. 2 Cor. 9.1, 2, 3. and Countries, and directed them to be sent to all places, where the Exigency of the Brethren did require Relief. In short, they did as the occasion of their Apostleship did re­quire; And the People did by them as the difficulties of those times did permit. The People did then pay their Tithes unto others, the Jews to the Levites, and the Gentiles to the Idol Priests.

What should the Apostles do in those days with Tithes, whenas they were not fixt to any certain Place, nor tyed to any certain Congregation of People? What should twelve men do with the Tith of the whole World? Gal. 4.15. From Jeru­salem unto Rome, St. Paul was not out of his Pa­rish, but all along as he went among the Christians, he might command what he pleas'd. Acts 4.37. What could the Apostles then have more, than to have the Peo­ple at their Service, and what they had at their dispose? The People sold their possessions, and laid the price of them at the Apostles Feet.

The Apostles were so far from being Poor, that they were in a capacity to provide for the Poor. Yea, they were beyond the serving of Tables; they must have Officers under them for that, whilst they should attend a higher work, viz. Praying, and the Ministry of the Word, Acts 6.4.

Will you have the Christian Church to be always in its In­fancy? Will you have the World generally to be either Jewish, or Heathen, and but a few converted unto Christ? Will you have Kings and Princes to be Persecutors of the Christians, for being such? Will you have Idol-Priests to abound in every place, and will you have the People to be Idolaters? If so; then were there need that your Ministers should be Apostles, and you [Page 18]your selves such Christians as those were, that laid the price of their Possessions at the Apostles feet. Or will you not rather give God thanks that the Church is spread throughout the World, that whole Nations are become professedly Christian, Kings and Queens are become Nursing-Fathers, and Nursing-Mothers; Idol Priests vanish't, and the People turn'd from I­dols, to serve the living God? In this condition, the Church a­mong us hath not need of Apostles, but ordinary Ministers; not of Apostles, to lay the Foundation, but of Ministers, to build thereon: Ministers orderly call'd, and ordinarily appoint­ed, to succeed one the other in all the Parts and Divisions which are made throughout the Land; which Divisions, we call Parishes.

Now will any sober minded man deny a certain, known Main­tenance to be due unto every man from the place where he is bound to give his Attendance? 1 Cor. 9.12. Saith St. Paul to the Corinthans, If others are partakers of this power over you, are not we much rather? So say I; If Impropriators and Farmers be partakers of this power of re­ceiving Tythes from Parishes, are not we much rather? And yet we are only troubled by you, that labour among you, and are willing to live peaceably; Why do you not rather suffer wrong? Why do you not rather suffer your selves to be defrauded? so willing, that we suffer our selves not only to be defrauded, but also openly wrong'd and injur'd: and with these doings ye ap­plaud your selves for Perfection, cry out upon us for Persecution. 1 Cor. 9.6. But to the matter in hand. The Apostles expected not that the Church in all succeeding Ages should be supplyed with Apostles as they were. Saith St. Paul of Christ after his Ascension, He gave some Apostles, Eph. 411.and some Prophets, and some Evangelists, and some Pastours and Teachers.

Though Pastours and Teachers do succeed the Apostles in the Ministry, As the Apostles were ex­traordinarily called and en­abled to their Ministry; so were they also extraordina­rily provided the necessaries of life: Which extraordina­ries are ceas'd to the suc­ceeding Ministers. The like either of the one, or of the other is not to be expected again; except there should be a new Gospel to be Preacht, and new Miracles to be wrought. yet in a strict sense are they not Apostles as they were: and therefore in diverse Cir­cumstances the same things are not to be expected from them: No new Gospel, no Revelation, no Miracles, and there­fore neither must they expect from the People such things, as the Apostles did, (viz.) to have the People every where at their Service, and what things they have at their dispose. But as they are stinted in their Ministry, (viz.) to build on the Foundation which the Apostles have laid; so are they stinted also in their Maintenance, not to command what they please, but to receive what is appointed unto them, and that not every where, but only from the place where they are appointed to serve.

By that time the Ministry came to be in Pastours and Teach­ers, the Gospel was spread far and near, the World was gene­rally become Christian, and the Christian Church had Peace and quietness in many Lands and Nations, Kingdoms, and States; then the Christians being thus spread and multiplied were glad also to encrease the number of their Teachers, divid­ing themselves into such parts and parcels, Parishes and Con­gregations, as that they might conveniently be served by them.

Parishes, and Decimations, or Tith-payments, were here­tofore held to be Reciprocal, (i. e.) implying one another: And still we say not, the Tith of the Lordship or of the Mannor, but the Tith of the Parish: and yet Tith was paid long before Lands and Nations were divided into Parishes, yea, before they were divided into Bishopricks; nay, before the Church had [Page 20]perfect Peace or Quietness. And not only so, but Churches also were endow'd by devout persons, Euseb. Eccl. Hist. lib. 9. cap. 8. Origen affirmeth, that the Commandment for Tyth paying ought still to stand according to the Letter of it. In his 11. Hom. up­on Num. 18. And Clem Alexandrinus who liv'd very near the first Century, affirms the Tenth of the Fruits, and other Encrease to be due to the Priests. [...]. Men and Women, even in the midst of Martyr­doms. This is storied to be done in the Em­perour Trajan's days; yea, before his dayes no man can tell how soon they began; they were always in doing, notwithstanding the greatest perse­cutions.

But before I can go on with my Argument, I must return to the Apostles again; between whom, and the succeeding Pa­stours and Teachers, I have shew'd to be a great difference; of which difference, those that are prophanely greedy, as envious to the calling of the Ministry, as they are Miserable to detain their Dues, will take notice: And yet they will have them to agree in this one thing, viz. That the present Pastors and Teachers have no more House and Home than some of the A­postles had. That we should have the like Liberty, Command, and Authority as they had, they would not wish by any means. That we have not these things as they had is, I think, a con­vincing Argument, that though it might be prov'd that they receiv'd not Tyths, yet it doth not thence follow, that we ought not to receive them.

If they receiv'd not Tyths in those early dayes of Christiani­ty, yet others did: As the Levites among the Jews, and the I­dol-Priests among the Heathens. As they did continue their Priest-hood, so did they also continue to receive their Tythes. Though they were void de Jure, yet de Facto, they were not, until they were declar'd, and made known to be so: And then saith Musculus a Protestant Writer, the Tyths were taken from them, and confer'd upon the Gospel-Ministers.

Postellus, a very Learned Man, saith in his Book, wherein he treats of such things as the whole World is agreed on, that it is a Natural Principle, an inbred Notion to every man, that sets not himself to resist even the Light that is within him, to think it reasonable that out of the yearly Encrease that God gives him in his Goods and Substance, he should return a Por­tion of that as a Holy Tribute to the Maintenance of God's pub­lique Worship and Service.

I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts, and my Name is dread­ful among the Heathen, Mal. 1.14. When was the time, Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, and unto God the things that are Gods. Saith Mr Leigh, It is ob­servable in this place, that the Article is twice repeated in the Greck Text, when our Saviour speaks of God, and but once when he speaks of Caesar; shewing our special care should be, to give God his Due. Annot. p. 50. or where was the place, that God's Sove­raignty was not acknowledg'd, viz. by giving unto him the things that are his? You know that in the late Troubles, Tyths were pay'd without dispute. Mi­nisters are not the only Men now a dayes that are concern'd in Tyths; they have no Personal In­heritance in them; they neither descend unto them from their Ancestors, nor yet go down from them to their Posterity: They are to them only a Maintenance to their calling, and a Reward to their Service; and that in many places so slender an Allow­ance, by reason of Impropriations, and other Deductions, Not only Poverty, but also the con­tempt, which by the ruder sort is usually cast upon it, should not be grievous unto a good Clergy-man, but that it doth disable him divers wayes, both Spiritually and Tem­porally rendring him the less profita­ble unto those, whose concern it is to submit themselves unto him, and to receive profit by him. Heb. 13.17. that while they live, they do but hardly sub­sist, and when they dye, they leave not wherewithal to pay a Mortua­ry. Nor do I see the generality of People to love them the more for being poor, nor the readier to pay them their Dues for being small; but so much the bolder either to detain them from them, or [Page 22]else to diminish them unto them: Though indeed those that are truly Religious, and consequently well-will'd to the calling, may have a Tenderness for them upon that ac­count.

What was in the World of a known Right, and constant Practice, all along before the Law was given by Moses; What was expresly commanded in that Law, and of which there has been no Prophecy that it should cease at any time; What did no way typifie Christ to come in the flesh, and now that he is come, doth not derogate therefrom; What hath not been de­clar'd voyd, either by Christ, or his Apostles; What was no part of the Partition-Wall that was between Jews and Gentiles; What ceased not with the Jewish-Church and Common-Wealth, but continued in the Lands and Nations among whom the Jews were disperst: What the Primitive Christians did ne­ver disown as to the matter of Right, and for Practice, did put in use as soon as conveniently they might, mean-while supply­ing the Church even with the Sale of their Lands and Possessi­ons: What the Law of the Land most Religiously commands, threatning most severe Punishment unto those that fail; What is not only lawful in it self, but also expedient for you (for a payment of greater Equity you cannot devise,) That judge you, if you may not part with, with a safe conscience, viz. without fear of displeasing God in so doing.

While you tarry for further satisfaction (if you desire any) by an impartial Reading of other learned mens Works, I have published this little Tract, on purpose to beg this Condescension at Learned Mens hands. And I beseech you, shew not your selves so desperate, as to render their Labour lost that shall travel to do you good. The gain saying of Tyth is indeed but an Out-work of your Sect: yet is it the main thing that you trust unto; as being both an In let to the Greedy and Prophane to come in unto you; and also an Out­let of Obliquies and prophane Speeches, to the disparage­ment of Religion and Piety. either set forth already, or to be set forth hereafter purposely for your use, and to your capacity; I think you can do no less than suffer your Tyths to be had from you in quietness, out of Tenderness, First, to the word of God, of whose Sentence in [Page 23]this case you must needs be doubtful at the least: Secondly, of opppsing the ge­neral and constant practice of the Chri­stian world for the space of fourteen hundred years and upwards: and third­ly, of controuling the Law of the Land wherein you live, the resisting where­of is Self-damnation, Rom. 13.2. And yet indeed to watch you leading Home your Corn, is both un­seemly, and difficult; and then to take what you do not lay out, is not proper to be done.

Be perswaded to lay out your Tyths as others do, that so a­mong your Neigh­bours you may make way for that Blessing to light upon us, Julian the Apostate, could not devise a better Me­thod to destroy Christianity, than by taking away the Maintenance of the Ministry. which God hath promised unto those that Ho­nour him with their substance, Prov. 30.10.

I think you not so stupid, as not to take notice of the justness of God's providence in these late years, altering greatly both the Weather, You'l say, far be it from you to seek the destruction of Christianity: I say so too; yea, so far as not to endeavour any such thing, the just and plain consequence whereof, may impair, or but occasion any the least detriment unto it. Ne­vertheless, it is reported of your Teachers, that they make but light even of the person of Christ him­self: What then do they make of his Office, and what wonder is it that they teach you, to cast off his Institutions, viz. his Word, Sacra­ments, Ministry, &c. making use of you to cry Hirelings against us; whilst they privily (as St. Peter saith) and I presume, unawares to many of you, do bring in dam­nable Heresies, denying even the Lord that bought them, 2 Pet. 2.1. O let them not under pretence of the power of Christ within you, perswade you to make light of the Person of Christ without you, it is Christ without you that hath bought you. Honour him as ye ought, and despise his Institutions if you can. and the Fruits of the Earth, from what they were wont to be. This is occasion'd by our Mis-doings, a­mong the which, I think no Man will reckon Tyth-paying, it being not only justifiable in it self, but also Commendable, and withall, of a longer standing, than that any such thing may be laid to its charge. What may be thought of the con­trary, viz. Gain-saying of Tyth, a Novelty, and that a dangerous [Page 24]one too, I leave to you to consi­der. My Son, fear thou the Lord, and the King, and meddle not with those that are given to change, Prov. 24.21, 22. And yet, what you would have, may not properly be said to be a change; for a change is of something into some­thing, or of one thing for another: But what you would have, (if you know what it is) is a bring­ing of something into nothing.

If you will not be concern'd in these Words of Solomon, your Design aiming further than a change; be pleas'd to hearken to St. Paul, bidding you to study to be quiet, and to do your own business; which I think not to be that either of Church or State.

Upon condition you study to be quiet in such manner, that King and Kingdom, Church and State, Land and Nation, may be in quiet for you, I bid you heartily to Farewel.

FINIS.

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