THE Good old VVay AND TRUTH Which the Ancient Christians many Ages and Genera­tions ago witnessed unto in the World from Age to Age; even from the dayes of Christ unto this very time, wherein the same Doctrine, Life and Practice is witnessed unto by us who are in contempt cal­led Quakers, through many Tribulations.

Which our Ancestors, the most ancient and true Christians that ever were upon the Earth, sealed unto, with the loss of their Lives and Liberties.

By which, in short, is fully manifested, in what is treated of herein, that the Doctrine of the Quakers, in denying to Swear any Oath, and their refusing to pay Tythes, and many other things they practise, was the Doctrine and practise of the most Famous and renowned Christians, both testified of in the Scriptures of Truth, and the Books of Martyrs.

Also, A brief Discovery of the Ground and Rise of Tythes; manifesting them no Gospel-Maintenance; but was testified against by the Best and most Ancient Chri­stians many Ages ago.

Written by a Branch sprung from the Ancient Stock of David, which hath long been compassed about with wild Beasts; but thorow the ten­der Mercies of the Lord yet remains alive; whose earthly name is Ambros Rigge.

Printed in the Year, 1669.


OH, Let not prejudice possess thy mind in reading this small Treatise, for then thou wilt reap no benefit thereby; but let thy eye be single to the Truth herein expressed, and thy whole body shall be full of Light; for God ne­ver respected mens persons in manifesting his firm and ancient Truth, and Mysteries of Life, which were ever hid from the wise and prudent of the World, as it is at this day; yet not so hid, but that it is universally tendred to all without re­spect of persons, even from the King upon the Throne, unto the Begger upon the Dunghil; and therefore is mans destruction of himself, as God said to Israel; because man hath so much depen­dancy upon his own wisdom, and natural gifts and parts, that the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness unto him, as they were to the Ru­lers and chief Priests of the Jews in the dayes of old, whom Christ called Blind-Guides, though they had natural learning enough, as Pilate who crucified Christ, had Latine, Greek and Hebrew, [Page] which any natural man may have, who doth not know the things of the Spirit of God, because they are spiritually discerned: Oh, therefore, lean not upon thy natural wisdom, for it will prove a broken Reed in the Day of the Lord, which hasteneth; but receive and obey the Manifestati­of the Spirit of God, which he in infinite Love hath given thee to profit withal; for that is the Talent that he will assuredly require of thee, with advantage, and happy for ever are they who can give an account of the improvement there­of.

A. R.

The Good Old Way, &c.

IN every Age and Generation of the World since man had a being upon the Earth, God had a Seed, either invisible in being, or visible in manifestation, by and thorow which he manifested himself in his own way, time and manner, according to the good pleasure of his Heavenly Will; which Way and manner, in every Age of the World, since sin entred into the World, was contrary to the will and way of Mankind in the Fall; and therefore were they in whom God brought forth his Seed in all Ages, to give testimony in the World unto his Eternal Name and Truth, persecuted, and made a prey upon by the earth­ly powers, who was not acquainted with these secrets of the Lord, which was ever hid from the wise and prudent of the World; and therefore did the Jews and chief Priests with the Scribes agree toge­ther to Crucifie the Lord of Life, and after them many Heathen Emperors rose up against his Members, and destroyed many thou­sands of them for the Testimony of Jesus and Word of God, as both the Scriptures of Truth, and the Histories of the Ancient Christians, which immediately succeeded the Apostles, doth large­ly and plentifully witness, testifie and declare; so that since Mans Fall, He that was born after the Flesh persecuted him that was born af­ter the Spirit, Gal. 4. 29. even as it is manifest at this day, for the Enmity yet remaineth between the Seed of the Serpent, and the Seed of the Woman, Gen. 3. 15. and so will continue until the desoluti­on of all things.

Now in the 11th Moneth in the Year 1668/9 did the Word of the Lord come unto me, Saying, Write, and give a Testimony for my Name thereby, and spread it amongst those who have multiplied thine, and many others Sufferings, for my Name and Testimony, these several years last past, that they may all be left without excuse when I call them be­fore my Judgement Seat, to give an account of the deeds done in their Bodies, who have not yet repented of their evil, but in secret have vin­dicated themselves, as that they have done me service in persecuting [Page 6] them whom I have sent to be Witnesses for my Name and Truth in the Earth.

These Words lay upon my spirit the most part of the aforesaid Moneth, being willing to wait upon the Lord, that he might fur­ther manifest his Will and Mind unto me, what I should write, rather chusing to continue in silence many years, then to set Pen to Pa­per to declare any thing which the Spirit of Truth would not seal unto; which burden of the Word of the Lord continued still upon me, till I gave up thereunto: And upon the 21st day of the same Moneth, in the year aforesaid, I begun to write, and the matter that was first laid upon me to write was concerning Swearing at all, for the denial of which, in obedience to the Command of Christ, I had suffered strait and close imprisonment well nigh seven years; besides other great afflictions that have been added to my bonds by the hands of wicked men, in the said time; all which I have been both made able and willing to bear for the Testimony of Jesus and Word of God; not counting my liberty not life dear unto me, that I might finish my Testimony with joy, being counted worthy not onely to believe, but also to suffer for that ancient Doctrine, Faith and Practice, which the best and most ancient Christians suf­sered the loss of their Liberties, and most of them their lives for; as hereafter I shall make appear.

And furthermore, it is upon my spirit to give some Testimony against that abominable Oppression of Tythes, under which ma­ny groan at this day, it being never any institution of Christ to his Ministers, under the Gospel; nor ever owned by the ancient Chri­stians succeeding them, nor ever claimed as any Gospel right for a thousand years after Christ's dayes, till the midnight of Popery came over the Earth; in the which the several Popes ordered Tythes to be paid to the Mother Church.

To the first, that the Opposers of Gods present Manifestation of this Way and Truth in this our day, (who have magnified them­selves against those whom God hath raised in the Power of his Spi­rit to revive the ancient Testimony of his Servants in the Earth) should flatter themselves in their rigorous proceedings against me, and many others at this day, for our constant obedience to the Com­mand of Christ, having no other thing to charge us withal, but concerning the Law of Christ: Now I say, lest any who hath ap­peared [Page 7] against us herein, should vindicate themselves by or under colour or pretence of any Scripture given forth, either under the First or Second Covenant, or the Law it self by which they now proceed against us, which was never intended to take hold of the Innocent and let the Guilty go free.

Now under the Law of the First Covenant, while Israel stood in Covenant with God, they were commanded to swear by his Name in some Cases, lest they should swear by false Gods and Idols, as was the manner of the Heathens in their dayes; as the Egyptians swore by the Life of Pharaoh; and after them the Romans, by the Life or Fortune of Caesar, which was to neither of them any Command of God, for they then were Ene­mies to him and his people.

But Israel was to Swear by the Living God, Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and sware by his Name, Deut. 10. 20.

And in Leviticus, this was the Precept to Israel, Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsly, neither lye one to another; neither shalt thou profane the Name of thy God; I am the Lord, Levit. 19. 11, 12.

And in Numbers, If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, and swear an Oath to bind his Soul with a Bond, he shall not break his Bond, but do all that proceedeth out of his mouth, Numb. 30. 2.

Thus Israel in their infancy was commanded to swear by the Lord, and to perform their Oaths unto him, by which they bound their Souls both to God, and one unto another, which in its day and time was well-pleasing unto the Lord, they answering his requi­rings therein; but take notice by the way, Israel was but then un­der the Law of outward observances, which made nothing perfect, and so it became them to swear by the Lord, as it becomes a child to suck; but not a man: for when Israel was grown up, (viz.) when Christ came, the Oath of God, who fulfilled the Law, and all the Commands therein, as they received him, and grew in Grace, and the knowledge of him, they put away childish things, and testified against all Oathes, and many other thing, which the Law com­manded, as being but typical, and Figures of good things to come, when the Substance of all these things was brought in, who came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it, as he himself testified to them that were zealous for the Law, and dispised him, the Substance of it.

[Page 8] For Circumcision was an express Command of God to Israel, being Jews outwardly, to them and their Seed for an everlasting Co­venant, Gen. 17. 13. for saith God, The uncircumcised man-child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that Soul shall be cut off from his people, he hath broken my Covenant, vers. 14. this had a fur­ther and more large extent then Swearing ever had, yet when Christ came, the end of the Law for righteousness sake to every one that be­lieved, the Apostle told Israel when they were grown up, That if they were circumcised Christ would profit them nothing, Gal. 5. 2. yet might Circumcision have been more strongly pleaded for; when Paul spoke to the Galatians, being God had commanded it to the Jews, and to their Seed for an everlasting Covenant, which he never did Swear­ing, neither under the First nor Second Covenant; so the Galati­ans had more ground to withstand Paul in crying down Circum­cision, then any hath to withstand the People or God at this day, for denying Swearing: And under the Gospel Swearing is more ab­solutely denied and forbidden by Christ and his Apostles then Cir­cumcision, being, but a little after Christ began to Preach to Israel, under the Second Covenant, by his own mouth, given in special charge to them then in being, Not to Swear at all, Matth. 5. 34, 35, 36, 37. and confirmed by the Apostle James, Jam. 5. 12. and never practised after by any of the Disciples, as was Circumcision; for Paul afterwards circumcised Timothy: Therefore you who are so zealous for Swearing; why are not you so zealous for Circumcision, which was more enjoyned in the Scripture then ever Swearing was, and with less Authority (under the Gospel) denied?

Object. And further, some pleads for Swearing, because the holy men of old time did Swear, (viz.) Abraham, David and Solomon, Joseph, &c.

To which I answer, Moses, who gave forth the Law at the Com­mand of God, said unto Israel, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise unto you, like nnto me, him shall ye hear in all things; and it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hear the voice of that Prophet, shall be cut off from among the People, Deut. 18. 18, 19. which Pro­phet, was Christ, the end of the Law; and when God brought him forth into the World, he commanded Israel to hear him in all things, Matth. 17. 5. who said, Before Abraham was I am; he com­manded Israel, Not to Swear at all.

[Page 9] The same Jesus said, that he was greater then Solomon, Mat. 12. 41, 42. and was Davids Lord, and by him God spake to Israel, who was and is to be heard and obeyed in all things; yea, Whosoever shall break one of the least of his Commandments, and teach men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whosoever shall do, and teach them, shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven, Matth. 5. 19. by which, all you Swearing Teachers, and Swearers contrary to the positive Command of Christ and the Apostle, without any exception, may read your portion; for they who love Christ, both keep his Commandment, and teach others so to do.

For where Christ intended any exception in changing of the Law, in what it had commanded, he plainly expressed it; as in Matthew, where it was said that Moses suffered a man that would put away his wife to give her a Writing of Divorcement, &c. Mat. 5. 31. but saith Christ, I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of Fornication, vers. 31. [Mark] saving for the cause of Fornication; where Christ plainly expresseth the exception when he intended it: And at the 28th verse Christ ex­pressed the exception again when he intended it, (i. e.) Whosoever shall look upon a woman to lust after her, [mark] to lust after her, hath committed Adultery with her already in his heart; so it is plain, that when Christ intended any exception in changing the Law, he did not leave his work imperfect for vain man after him to re­ctifie.

And immediately after this, in the same Chapter, Christ positive­ly commands, without any exception, his Disciples and Followers, Not to swear at all; neither by Heaven; neither by the Earth; neither by Jerusalem, nor by the Head, &c. Mat. 5. 34, 35, 36.

Now here is a plain change of the Law, which commanded Is­rael to swear by the Lord, by him who had all Power in Heaven and Earth given unto him, Matth. 28. 18. that he might rule all Na­tions with a rod of Iron, who fulfilled the Law under which Abra­ham, Solomon, David and Joseph sware; so is their Swearing no plea for any under the Gospel to immitate, but the contrary.

But it is objected, That by those of old time, Christ meant the Ex­positers of the Law, who said, If men swear Truth, it was no evil; but onely they were not to swear to that which was false.

To which is answered, that this being an invention of the Ob­jector, [Page 10] and no where so said in the Scripture of Truth; It needs no other answer, but a denial; for by them of old time, is spoken of them by whom God spoke to Israel under the Law; let the Greek Readers speak if the word therein doth not imply so much.

But when Israel revolted from the Lord in their hearts, and yet kept the Form of Swearing, and said, The Lord lived; yet the Prophet Jeremiah saith, Though they say the Lord liveth, albeit they swear falsly, Jer. 1, 2, and 23. though no truer thing could be said or sworn unto, then that the Lord lived; yet after they ceased to walk with God in his Covenant made with them, but went into Adultery and Deceit, and perverted Judgement, and judged not the cause of the Fatherless, nor the right of the Widdow; and last of all, the wonderful horrible thing was committed in their Land, Their Prophets prophested fasly, and their Priests bear rule by their means, and they loved to have it so; therefore saith the Lord, what will ye do in the end thereof?

So though it was true that the Lord lived, yet he lived not in them who were in the aforesaid Abominations; they held the Form, but were gone from the Power and Life; and so then it was a custo­mary thing with them to swear, even as it is now with the Apostate Christians, who are now in the very same Horrible Abominations of Swearing, Lying, Killing, Stealing, and committing Adultery, their Priests bearing rule by their means, more like lords over Gods Heritage, then any Examples of the Flock, and the people loving to have it so; but what will ye do in the end thereof.

But though Israel play the Harlot, yet let not Judah so offend: But come ye not to Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethauan, nor Swear the Lord lives: And Amos saith, They that swear by the sin of Sa­maria, and saith, the God of Dan liveth, and the manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall and never rise again, Amos 8. 14. but while Israel kept Covenant with God, as I said before, they swore by the Name of the Lord in Truth and Righteousness; but when they revolted they kept the Form, and swore without fear, and prophaned the Name of the Lord, and swore by the Heathen, by Malcam, and by the sin of Samaria, which was no where war­ranted to them by God; even as the Apostate Christians in ourage, swear now upon a Book, for which they have not the least colour of Scripture, it being made up of divers Creatures, which was [Page 11] never commanded to be sworn by, either under the First or Second Covenant, but forbidden.

Object. Again, It is said, the Apostle in the Epistle to the Hebrews allows of Swearing before a Magistrate, in these Words; For men ve­rily swear by the greater, and an Oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.

Answ. To which is replyed, that the Apostle there spoke, of men that were in strife, and not of them who had learned of Christ, as is very clear and manifest from his words, both in that place, and also in his Epistle to the Corinthians, saying, He had fed them with Milk, and not with Meat; for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet are ye able. For ye are carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions; are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1 Cor. 3. 1, 2, 3. Now these are the carnal men that swear by the greater, of which Paul spoke to the Hebrews, who were in strife, and so had not learned Christ, who ends the Law in which the strife is: here Paul makes a clear distinction to the Hebrews, between men in strife and swearing, and grown Christians who had learned of Christ, and did abide in his Doctrine; in saying to the Hebrews, For men verily swear by the greater, &c. [mark] men in strife, and carnal; not you Hebrews: And again, An Oath for con­firmation to them; [mark] to them, (not to you) is an end of all strife; For where envying and strife is, there is contention, and every evil work, Jam. 3. 16.

And there is no more ground given by the Apostle for the Saints to swear at all, by any Oath, from the words before mentioned, then there is ground from Christ's words to the Saints, to exercise lordship one over another, because he saith, Mark 10. 42. The Gentiles do so, &c. Besides, did not those that used swearing in those dayes, do it to put an end to all strife? but is not Oathes im­posed at this day where no strife is? nay, are they not imposed for the beginning of strife? let the Righteous judge how far these who would be accounted Gospel Professors are fallen, that they are short of the practise of those who were carnal, and lived in strife in dayes past.

And the Apostle James, to confirm Christ's words, when he spoke to his Brethren, who had learned of Christ, and come out of the strife, saying, Above all things, my Brethren, Swear not, neither [Page 12] by Heaven, nor Earth, nor any other Oath; but let your yea, be yea, and your nay, nay, lest ye fall into condemnation, Jam. 5. 12. This he spoke without any exception, as Christ had done before to his Di­sciples; so as it was the perfection of the Jews under the Law, not to swear falsly; so it was the perfection of the Christians un­der the Gospel, not to swear at all.

Object. But some have said, that it is vain swearing that Christ, and the Apostle James forbad, in ordinary communication, and not swearing in Courts of Judicature, &c.

Answ. If so, then Christ did not more then what the Law had done before, which is high presumption against God to say; for the Law possitively forbad all vain and false swearing whatsoever, though it made nothing perfect; Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that ta­keth his Name in vain, Exod. 20. 7. This shuts out all vain Swear­ing, without any exception, before the better Hope was brought in, Heb. 7. 19. which was Christ in them the hope of glory, Col. 1. 27. who was and is the Minister of a better Covenant then that which commanded Swearing, which was established upon better Promises, Heb. 8. 6. So the Priesthood being changed, there is made of Necessity a change of the Law, Heb. 7. 12. and Christ did not onely change that part of the Law which appertained to swearing, but divers other clauses and sayings thereof. As first, that of Circumcision, which the Law strictly commanded, Gal. 5. 2. Secondly, Love to Enemies, which the Law commanded to hate, Matth. 5. 53. Thirdly, Overcoming evil with good, &c whereas the Law commanded to take Eye for Eye, and Tooth for Tooth, &c. and many other instances which I might produce; yet he came not to destroy the Law but to fulfil it, Matth. 5. 17. as the Jews who upheld swearing, and haring of Enemies after Christ came, charg­ed him withal, even as the Apostate Christians now charges his Fol­lowers who abide to his Doctrine, and dare not swear at all) to be Destroyers of the Law, and Contemners of Magistracy, and bringers in of new Doctrine. Acts 17. 19. which the same spirit in the dayes of old [...] upon him and them whom God raised up in [...] dayes to preach Repentance and Remission of sins by Jesus Christ; who [...] Marvel not, my Brethren, if the World hate you: 1 Joh. 3. 13. For it hated me before it hated you; and the Servant is [Page 13] not greater then his Lord, &c. John 15. 18, 19.

Object. Again, its said Paul swore from that Scripture, I protest before God, &c. and in saying, I call God to witness; which is said to be an Oath.

Answ. As to the first, it is an intrusion of the Translation, It be­ing neither in the Greek Copies, nor in the Latine, nor some English Copies.

To the second, that he calls God to witness, is no Oath, but an earnest attestation; for an Oath is that whereby something is sworn by; as Israel was to swear by the Lord in Truth, Judgement and Righteousness; and calling God to witness is no more, then to say, I speak in the presence of God, who knows the hearts and thoughts of all men, and is no formal Oath, neither under the Law nor Gospel.

Neither is there any command more full in either Law or Gospel, then Christ's Command to his Disciples, not to swear at all by any Oath, without any exception, being seconded by the Apostles com­mand to his Brethren, as I said before, enjoyning them earnestly, above all things, not to swear by any thing either in Heaven or Earth, lest they fell into condemnation, which Commands were binding to all both then present, and the succeeding Saints and Chri­stians several hundred years after Christ ascended to the Father, and the Apostles Testimony was finished in the World: yea, the anci­ent Christians many years after their dayes, kept the Doctrine of Christ and the Apostle James, testifying to their death against the Heathen Emperors, who would have compelled them to Swear, affirming it a special mark and character of a Christian, from Christ's words, not to swear at all, as shall be made evident anon.

By all which it will manifestly appear, that the Quakers denial of all Swearing is no New Doctrine, but the renewing of that which was commanded and practised by the best of Christians above six­teen hundred years ago, and continued in force and practice many hundred years, even till the Beast that John spoke of in the Reve­lation got up and made war with the Witnesses, and with the Saints, and overcame them that kept the Testimony of Jesus and Word of God, Rev. 13. 7. and then the power of Darkness came over the Earth, which set up Swearing, contrary to Christ's Commands, [Page 14] under which many of the ancient Christians suffered cruel Martyr­dom, for standing faithfull Witnesses for the Name of the Lord in the Earth, and for denying to swear at all to those under whom they were; as a cloud of Witnesses might be brought out af the Ecclesi­astical Histories of them that denied all Swearing in divers Ages; onely for brevity I shall instance a few.

First, Polycarpus, who was, as its said, John's Disciple, and had been a Christian Eighty six years, when he came to suffer Martyr­dom, the Proconsul requiring him to swear By the Emperors good Fortune, and By Caesars Prosperity, (Irenius lib. 3. cap. 1.) which was the Custom of the Romans at that time, and divers Heathen Emperors to set up their Images to be worshipped, and their Persons to be Sworn by; but Polycarpus denied, and said, he was a Chri­stian, and would shew forth the Doctrine of Christianity, if he de­sired the same, if the Proconsul would appoint a day to hear it; so Polycarpus refused to Swear, and kept Christ's Doctrine, for which he was led away to be burned, being an old man, and full of dayes, Acts and Monuments vol. 1. fol. 55, 56, 57.

Secondly, Basiliades, an Officer, and afterwards a Martyr, being re­quired to Swear, affirmed plainly, that it was not lawfull for him to Swear, for that he was a Christian: hence it appears that it was the proper mark of a Christian, not to Swear. Acts and Mon. vol. 1. fol. 71. Euseb. cap. 6. pag. 98.

Thirdly, In the dayes of Domitius Nero, who began to reign about sixty seven years after Christ, under whom was the First of the Ten cruel Persecutions of the Christians, he caused the Chri­stians of all sorts to suffer; he commanded Rome to be set on fire in twelve places, and to avoid the infamy thereof, he accused the Christians with it, and caused them to be put to death. After him began Domitian the Emperor to reign, who began the second Per­secution of the Christians, who was a Blasphemer of God, and an Idolater, in his dayes was John the Evangelist banished into the Isle of Patmos.

This Domitian the Emperor, fearing the coming of Christ again, commanded, that all that could be found of the Stock of David in Jury should be put to death: The inquisition was this, they com­manded those they suspected to be Christians, to swear whether they were indeed Christians or not; but the Christians refused to [Page 15] Swear, confessing that they were Christians, and could not deny Christ nor his Doctrine; for which they were commanded to be put to death.

Fourthly, The Waldenses or Lionists, whose names are so famous among the reformed Churches, and who are said immediately to succeed the Apostles, and were the most ancient and true Prote­stants, professed it no way lawfull for a Christian man to Swear: In defence of whom, in the very matter, Bishop Ʋsher, (De Success. cup 6.) late Bishop of Armath, Primate of Ireland, pleaded their cause against the Papists and Jesuits, who are Swearers, and Break­ers of Oathes.

Fifthly, The Plowman in his Complaint, which is so much esteem­ed of, and commended in the Book of Martyrs, saith ‘Lord thou giveth us a Commandment of Truth, in bidding us say yea, yea, and nay, nay, and swear for nothing: thou givest us also a Com­mandment of meekness, another of poorness; but, Lord, he that calls himself thy Vicar on Earth hath broken both these Commandments; for he maketh a Law to compel men to Swear, and by his Law he teacheth, that for a man to save his life may for­swear and Lye; and so, Lord, through comfort of him and his Laws, the people need readeth to Swear or Lye; nay, oft-times to forswear themselves; Lord, here is little truth, &c. Acts and Mon. vol. 1. fol. 527.

Sixthly, It is one of John Wickliffs Articles, whose Works were as much esteemed by the Protestants in England and Bohemia, as dispised by the Papists and their Clergy, having his bones taken up and burnt forty one years after his decease; and his Books were also burned by the Papists; and this Article was condemned, with many other, by the Counsel of Constance: That all Oaths which be made for any Contract or civil Bargain between man and man be unlawfull: John Hus, and Jerome of Prague were condemned for holding of John Wickliff's opinions, Ex Actis Consilij Con. stat. vol. 1. fol. 606.

Seventhly, Walter Brute, a Teacher among the People of God, in the Age of Scorners called, The Devil's Servant, or Lollard, against whom the Pope and King Richard the second, and the then un­godly Bishops, made so much ado to have the Name of Truth extin­guished, and the Professors thereof cut off. This is Walter's Test­mony [Page 16] concerning Oathes; ‘I believe and obey the Doctrine of Al­mighty God, and my Master Jesus Christ, which teacheth that Christian men, in the affirmation of Truth, should pass the righ­teousness of the Scribes and Pharisees of the old Testament, or else he excludeth them from the Kingdom of Heaven; for he saith, Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: And as concerning Oathes, he saith, It hath been said of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thy self, but shalt perform those things unto the Lord thou knowest; But I say unto you, thou shalt not Swear at all, neither by Heaven, nor by the Earth; but let your communication be yea, yea, and nay, nay, for whatsoever is more then these cometh of evil: Therefore as the Perfection of the ancient men of the old Testa­ment was not to forswear themselves; so the Perfection of a Christian man is not to Swear at all; because he is so commanded of Christ, whose Commands in no wise must be broken; although the City of Rome is contrary to the Doctrine of Christ.’ Acts and Mon. vol. 1. fol. 653. Rich. 2d's days.

Eightly, Chrysostom, who was a Bishop of Constantinople, in com­mendation of whom much is said in the Ecclesiastical History; he blameth them greatly that brought forth a Book to swear upon; charging his Clerks, that in no wise, they constrained any body to Swear, whether they think a man sweareth true or false, saying. It is a sin to Swear well, &c. Acts and Mon. vol. 1. fol. 701, 702.

Ninethly, Jerome, who was an ancient Father and Teacher in the Church, whom all the Protestants owned, upon that place, Matth. 5. 37. and James 5. 12. these were his words, It was per­mitted under the Law to the Jews, as being tender, and as it were In­fants, that they might offer Sacrifices to God, lest they should sacrifice to Idols; so they might swear by God, not that it was rightfull so to do, but because it was better to swear by God, then by false gods and Devils; but the great Evangelist admits not of an Oath, since every true saying is equal thereunto, &c.

Tenthly, In like manner doth Theophilist, an ancient Father of the Church, whom the Protestants own, and have often cited his Doctrine, for proof upon the place in controversie, saith, Learn hence that under the Law it was not evil for one to Swear; [Page 17] but since the coming of Christ it is evil, as is Circumcision, and in sum, what ever is judicial; for it may become a child to suck, but not a man.

Eleventh, And Ambross saith upon Psalm 110. Let him then Swear that cannot repent of his Oath; and a little after the said Am­bross saith, Do not immitate him in swearing, whom you cannot immi­tate in following; and indeed the principle solution given by him is, Swear not at all.

Twelfth, Many other Saints and Martyrs I might instance at large, both in Henry the fourth, and Henry the sixth's days, where­of some were burned, some cruelly handled, who said, It was not lawfull to Swear in private Cases. Vol. 1. pag. 896. Hen. 6. days.

Thirteenth, In Henry the fourth dayes it is said, That neither the Pope nor Prelates, neither any Ordinary can compel any man to swear by the Bible-book, or any Creature of God; for saith a Master of Divinity, It is not lawfull either to give or to take any Oath upon a Book; for every Book, saith he, is nothing else but divers Creatures of which it is made: Therefore to swear upon a Book, is to swear by Creatures, and this swearing is ever unlawfull. Acts and Mon. vol. 1. fol. 701.

It would melt any tender heart to hear of the Cruelties and Tor­tures which that Blood-thirsty spirit invented to destroy the Bo­dies of those who kept the Commands of Christ, and could not be forced to swear by all the Cruelties that the power of darkness, either in Henry the fourth's dayes, Henry the sixth's dayes, Richard the seconds, or Queen Maries dayes could invent to torment their Bodies withal, which was not a few, as may be seen upon record at this day in the first, second and third Volums of the Books of Martyrs.

But they who loved Christ, and kept his Commands, in those dayes had power and strength given them to endure what ever the Lord suffered wicked hands to inflict upon them, by which their Faith and Patience was fully tried and manifested; but after the Ini­quities of their Adversaries were full, the Lord brought swift and fore destruction upon them, divers manner of wayes, as a just re­ward of their Blood and Cruelty, as may be read at large, in the latter end of the said Books: For God in every Age shewed his se­vere wrath against the Spirit of Persecution about Worship and Sa­crifice [Page 18] unto him, (Gen. 3.) even from the dayes of wicked Cain unto this hour, that spirit is accursed, and drove out from the presence of the God of Israel where ever it appeareth at this day, even as it was in the dayes of Pharaoh, Saul, Nebuchadnezer, Herod, Pilate, and all the Chief Priests; and after them the wicked Empe­rors and Kings; and after them the divers Popes and their Blood­thirstly Rabble of Clergy, and all other, under what Name or Form soever at this day, where that spirit of Persecution yet re­mains, the Curse and Vengeance of the Almighty doth pursue it, where ever it goes; though God suffer long, as he did Pharaoh and the rest, to vex Israel, till their iniquities was full: even so the Lord in these latter Ages hath suffered many to act much violence and wickedness against his Heritage, for their obedience to the Commands of his Son, and they who love him now keeps his Com­mands, as they did in the dayes of old; for he saith unto his, If ye love me keep my Commandments, and his Commandments is not grie­vous but joyous, 1 John 5. 2, 3, 4. and John said, Hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his Commandments; for he that saith I know him, and keepeth not his Commandments, is a Lyar, and the Truth is not in him, 1 John 2. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

By all which it is more then manifest that the most ancient true and faithfull Christians in their day and time gave a testimony a­gainst Swearing at all, and suffered for it, both under the Pope, and many Heathen Emperors; but they who would be accounted Christians now, having got the power into their hands, are found in the same spirit of Persecution, as they were in, under which the true Christians alwayes suffered, and do act as furiously, accord­ing to the power given them from above, as they did in dayes past, and no doubt would run as high as they did, in Burning, Hanging Gibbitting and Strangling, if they had the least colour of Law to countenance them therein.

By all which, let the sober and honest hearted judge, whether the Quakers Doctrine of not Swearing be any new Doctrine or not? and whether our Sufferings this many years for our obedience to the Commands of Christ be not vindicated both by Christ, and all his Disciples in their dayes, and by all the ancient Christians before cited? and whether they, who now calls themselves Christians, are not far degenerated from the Life and Doctrine of Christianity, [Page 19] though they retain the name, and from the practice of the ancient Christians, breaking Christ's Commands, and forcing others so to do, which in time will pull down the wrath of God upon their heads, if they repent not; For it is not every one that saith Lord, Lord, that shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doth the Will of my Father which is in Heaven, Matth. 7. 21. It is not the name of Christianity, nor a Profession of Christ's words recorded in the Scripture, that will hide you in the day of the Lord that hast­neth, which shall burn as an Oven, wherein all the Proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall be as stubble, and the day that cometh shall leave them neither Root nor Branch, Mal. 4. 1. the Mouth of the Lord hath spoken it: For the Earth is filled with violence, and the Land mourns because of Oathes; (Jer. 5.) and the Proud are counted happy, and they that work wickedness are set up, and they that tempt God are even delivered, Mal. 3. 15. and they that reprove Iniquity in the Gate are made a prey upon; for which God hath begun to visit this Nation with his sore Judgments, which will bring desolation in the end to them who continue in the aforesaid Abominations.

Object. And furthermore, some wicked and malicious spirits have said, we who are called Quakers will not sware, because we desire to plot and contrine mischief against the King and Government, &c.

This is altogether false and groundless, as many years experience will witness for us, who were never found plotting against any Government under which we have been, but have from time to time patiently born the rod of the wicked since we were a peo­ple; and if we durst break the Command of Christ to Swear any Oath, we should as willingly swear obedience to the Power and Go­vernment under which we are, as any Oath that could be tendred us; this, for my own part I speak heartily, willingly, and freely, without any reserve of mind whatever; and if any should have power given them to imprison my body so long more as I have suf­fered here, if I would not consent to hurt the Kings Person, or the person of any, I could as willingly suffer for the denial of that, as I have for my constant obedience and adhering to the Command of Christ, who saith, Swear not at all; for the same Jesus com­mands me not to war with flesh and blood, but to love my Ene­mies; and though I should suffer five times more then I have done, I could never be brought to redeem my self through the destructi­on [Page 20] of the person of another, though never so wicked and ungodly; for I know Vengeance is the Lords, and he will repay it, Rom. 12. 19. and therefore have I committed my just and innocent cause unto him, who in every Age and Generation of the World recompenced Tribulation upon them that troubled his people, 2 Thess. 1. 6. though he spared some of them long, to see if his long suffering would lead them to repentance; but as they heardned their hearts against him, and his people, he manifestly appeared in many Judgments against them, to awaken them, as he hath done of late years against those who have oppressed his Royal Seed in this Age, which he hath caused to spring up in his people, scornfully called Quakers, which shall spread over the face of the Earth; yea, it is as easie to stop the course of the Sun from running his course, as a Giant, as to hin­der the growth of the Seed of God; for he hath blessed it, and no inchantment shall prevail against it; yea, if all our bodies should be destroyed in whom it is risen, yet after us shall all the Fami­lies of the Earth be blessed in it; for the more it is persecuted, the more it grows; as when a Vine tree is cut, the more it is cut, the thicker it spreads; so doth the Truth at this day, as in Ages past, He was made perfect through Sufferings, Hebr. 2. 10. and he is the same still, and will remain when all the wrath of man which works not the righteousness of God shall have an end, and be no more; and therefore we cannot fear him that kills the body, and hath no more that he can do; but are taught both to love and fear him, who after he hath killed the body, hath power to cast both into Hell, Matth. 10. 28, 29. and therefore are we made a gazing stock to the World now, and have as little love from the world, as our fore-fathers had in dayes past, marvelling not why the world hateth us, seeing it hated him who is the Prince of Life, and condemned him to death as a Blasphemer and a Deceiver, before it hated us, Luke 5. 21. Matth. 27. 63. for the Servant is not greater then his Lord; and it was the chief Priests that was the chief Murtherers of him, for they stirred up the Rulers to do it, Luke 23. 13. which happily otherwise they would have dreaded; and so brought Innocent Blood upon their heads, and upon their Posterity for ever.

And who is it now that stirrs up the Rulers against his Appear­ance? Is it not the chief Priests, who both are, and ever were the [Page 21] greatest Enemies that he and his people had upon the Earth? who knows, that if people should cease from man, and follow Christ, and learn of him, down goes their Merchandize by which they maintain their Pride and Pomp, for the preserving of which they will cry up any thing that will promote their trade, as hath been manifest in England within these late years; but God hath shaken his hand at their dishonest gain, and is bringing contempt and mise­ry upon them, Ezek. 22. 12, 13. and they will become a by-word to many in Ages to come; and the Arm of Flesh which they have so long trusted in shall wither before them; and the Lord will more and more gather his Sheep from their mouthes, that they shall not alwayes prey upon them, Ezek. 34. 10. the Mouth of the Lord hath spoken it; and all their rage and madness shall but heap Coals of fire upon their own heads; for they have over-passed the deeds of the wicked in Drunkenness, Swearing, Whoring, Ly­ing Couzening, Cheating, Pride, Luxury, Wantonness, Covetous­ness which is Idolatry, a Generation of Vipers, stinging, and most grievously persecuting all who will not put into their mouthes; I might fill a Volumn of their multiplied iniquities, which ever were the certain tokens, and fore-runners of desolation and destruction, and the people thorow their evil example are overwhelmed in all manner of debauchery and uncleanness, even drinking in iniquity as the Ox doth water: Oh, was ever Sodom or Nineveh so over-grown with iniquity, as England now is? what will be the end of all these Abominations under which this Land mourns? Oh, that my head were as water, and mine eyes a Fountain to tears, that I might thorowly bemoan the Calamity of this people; for all flesh hath corrupted his way before the Lord, their thoughts are the thoughts of vanity, and their works the works of iniquity, de­struction and misery is in their wayes, and the way of peace they know not, Rom. 3. 16, 17. Oh, repent, repent, and amend your wayes, for the Kingdom of God is at hand, Matth. 4. 17. the Sword of the Almighty is drawn, it is fitted and furbished for a mighty slaughter, and it shall wound the hairy scalp of every one that goeth in iniquity, Plalm 68. 21. Oh, therefore, return, return unto the Lord while he is near, and seek his face while he may be found; for he willeth not the death of a Sinner; therefore, if ye perish, your destruction is of your selves.

A Brief Discovery of the entering in of Antichrists and false Prophets, with their Marks and Fruits who instituted Swearing, contrary to Christ's Command, and many other things which now are, and for a long time have been up­held contrary to the Scripture, and practice of the Saints of old.

NOw you who call your selves Christians, open your eyes, and see from whom you have derived Swearing upon a Book, which now you are so zealous for, that most of you calls it an Or­dinance of God, let both Christ and the Apostles Testimonies be Witnesses against you herein; and not onely them, but the Testi­mony of the best and most ancient Christians, since their dayes, who under-went most grievous Sufferings, both from the hands of many Heathen Emperors several hundred years before there was a Pope; and after that Beast arose out of the Sea, (which then had flowed over the Earth) under whom many faithfull Martyrs suffer­ed for their obedience to the Faith and Doctrine of Christ, who testified against Swearing, and many other abominable Idols, which that Beast had derived from the Heathens, against Christ's Com­mand, all whose Testimonies stands as a Cloud of Witnesses against you at this day, who are swearing upon Books, and laying your hands upon them, saying, So help me God; which, at the best was but invented by Justinian the Heathen Emperor, and after him by the Pope, from whom it is derived at furthest; and so condemns the Quakers to lose all their Goods and Lands, and to lie in Prison during the Kings pleasure, onely because they cannot deny Christ, nor his Commands, nor the practice of the Ancient Christians many hundred years ago; though there is a witness in many of you that the people of God, whom you thus cruelly per­secute, never plotted any mischief against the King, or any man, nor ever countenanced any who would; so that there is not any people in England, Scotland or Ireland that the King may more conside in, then in the true born Quakers, who cannot betray the [Page 23] Lord, nor the King; but they who are not faithfull to God and his Truth, can never be faithfull to the King.

Here follows several instances of the Priests practices, for which they have no Scripture, but were instituted by the Pa­pists and Bishops of Rome.

1. CLaudius Espontius a Popish Bishop, at a Council held at Pysoy in France, in the year One thousand five hundred, ordained, that Infant Baptism should be received by tradition, be­cause it could not be proved by Scripture.

2. Ignatius, Bishop of Rome, was the first that ordained that Infants should be Baptised, and have Godfathers and Godmothers; oh, what blaspemous words hath Antichrist brought in against God? how can these be God and Father, or God and Mother to the Child? and how can they promise and vow that the Child shall forsake the Devil and all his Works, and keep Gods holy Will and Commandments, and walk in the same all his dayes, when as the same men and women do believe before hand, that neither they themselves, nor the child can ever perform these things? Is this Scriptural, or Papistical, answer Priests?

3. Pius, Bishop of Rome, built the first Temple after the Apostacy, in honour to the Virgin Prudentia; and since the Papists have built thousands and consecrated them, for which they have no Scripture, or example from Christ or any of the ancient Christians.

4. Dionysius, in the year Two hundred sixty seven, divided both Rome, and all their Places into Parishes and Diocesses for Bishops.

5. Silvester, Bishop of Rome, ordained, that all Churches should be Christened and anointed with Oyl; and called them St Peter, St Paul, St Katherine, St Maudlen, St Hellen, St Dunston, St An­thony, St Gregory, St Clement, St Giles, &c. which superstitious names are upheld to this day, by those who say they deny the Pope.

6. Clement, Bishop, ordained Confirmation of Children, and said none was perfect that wanted that; he also ordained, that Children should be smore on the cheek, and signed with the sign the Cross.

[Page 24] 7. At Lyons in France they appointed holy dayes to encrease their Religion, (viz.) Christmas, Candlemas, Lammas, which was never ordained nor consecrated of Christ nor any of his Servants, who neither went to Mass, nor observed any Mass-Dayes, but kept Gods Command, who said, Six dayes shalt thou labour and do all that thou hast to do, &c. Exod. 20.

8. Boniface the fourth ordained Stephen, Innocent, Lawrence, Michael, Martin, John Baptist, and all the Saints dayes to be kept holy, against Gods command before cited; and the Apostle testifi­ed against such Observations, Gal. 4. 10.

9. Gregory ordained, that Mass, or short prayer should be said over the Tombs of the Dead: Now Priests, see the original of your Prayers over the dead, and see if it be Apostolical, yea or nay?

10. Gregory also ordained, that neither Flesh, nor any thing that had affinity in it, as Cheese, Milk, Butter, Eggs should be eaten on such dayes as were Fasts; here came in that Doctrine of De­vils, commanding to abstain from Meats, which God hath com­manded to be received with thanksgiving, of them that believe and obey the Truth.

11. Sabinianus ordained, that People should come together to hear Service, by ringing of Bells at certain hours.

12. John the twenty second, Bishop of Rome, ordained Bells to be tol'd three times a day; here was the original of your Bells and tolings, from the Popes Decrees.

13. Singing of Mattens at set times Hicrom appointed, as Poly­dore and others say.

14. Pelagius the second commanded Priests to say them daily; and Ʋtilianus invented the decent tunes wherewith the Hyms be sung, and joyned thereto the Organs, &c.

15. Telesphorus appointed that Lent should be kept before Easter, and added another week to it, which is called Quinqua­gessima; and also ordained Epistles and Gospels; and Damasus divided them as they are read at this day in the Reformed Churches so called.

16. Anastasius commanded that People should stand at the read­ing of the Gospel.

[Page 25] 17. Higinus the nineth Bishop of Rome, ordained the Commun­nion to be celebrated three times a year.

18. Pius, about the year Four hundred and seven, after Christ, the tenth Bishop, ordained, that Easter-day should be kept on the Sunday.

19. Ʋrbanus the seventeenth Bishop of Rome, ordained Church­yards to be hallowed, and forbad marriage of Priests.

20. Sextus the twenty fourth Bishop of Rome, in the year Two hundred and twenty after Christ, ordained the Priests to wear ho­ly Garments, as Copes, and divers other things, in imitation of Aaron; and then came in Surplices; he commanded Images to be set up in Churches.

Much more such Trumpery might be instances too tedious to re­hearse, which is now upheld among the Protestants, so called, as great Ordinances of God, though such things were never ordained by him in any Age of the World, but invented by the several Antichrists which John saw entring into the World in his day, which are upheld by the false Prophets of our Age, without any ground or colour from that which they pretend to be their Rule (viz.) the Scriptures, who have either in matter or form erred from the Spi­rit of Truth and the Scriptures in every thing relating to their Wor­ship, professing in words to know God, but in works denying him, being abominable and unclean, and to every good work a Repro­bate.

A few words followeth concerning Tythes, manifesting them no Gospel-maintenance, but since Christ and the Apostle dayes invented by the Papists.

TYthes were never commanded to be paid by the Lord to any but Israel under the Law; neither was it ever payable, but by the Jews in the first Covenant, under the Levitical Priesthood, out of the Land of Canaan, to such Levites as had no part nor portion allotted them in the promised Land, the Tythe or Tenth part of the increase thereof was commanded to be given unto them by the Lord, for the Office of the Priesthood, and for the service of the [Page 26] Tabernacle, Deut. 18. 4. and the Levites out of the Tythes were to offer up to the Lord a Tenth part of the Tythes, and give it unto Aaron the Priest, for himself and his Sons, Ezek. 45. 13. and no other portion had the Levitical Priests out of the Tythes, but the tenth of the tenths, for the rest had the Levites that did serve at the Tabernacle, and it was also to relieve Strangers, Fatherless and Widows, Deut. 14. 29. So Israel's Tythes were not all given to the Priests, but the Poor was maintained out of it beside, for there was not to be a Begger in Israel; here was the end for which it was at first instituted.

But Christ the Everlasting High-Priest being come, he changed that Priesthood, which was but to continue until the time of Re­formation, Hebr. 9. 10. and the Priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change of the Law, that took Tythes, Heb. 7. 12. after which there was never any Command given by Christ to any of his Ministers or Servants under the Second Covenant, either to take or receive Tythes of any people; and for Eight hundred years after Christ it was never imposed upon the People, but they might give it to whom they would, at their own pleasure.

And the Maintenance which Christ allotted his Ministers under the Gospel is expressed in Luke, into whatsoever house they entred, to eat and drink such things as were set before them, for the Labourer was worthy of his hire, Luke 10. 7, 8. This is the hire the Ministers of Christ are contented withal at this day; but the Ministers of An­tichrist are not contented with their Allowance, nor the allowance of the First Covenant, which shews that they are Ministers of nei­ther, for if they were, they would act according to one; but their Fruits plainly testifies to their faces, that they are Ministers of Antichrist, who have run when the Lord never sent them, Mat­thew 7. 16, 17, 18.

Object. Now some have pleaded for Tythes from Abraham's gi­ving the Tenth of the Spoils of the Kings, &c. to Melchisedeck, &c. Heb. 7. 2.

Answ. This was not Tythe of Lands increase, neither was it any Command of God to Abraham, but a free voluntary gift out of the Spoils he had taken in war; (but Mark) He was yet in the loyns of his Father when Melchisedeck met him, Hebr 7. 10. and there­fore no Gospel Plea: So who would have Tythes from the Scrip­ture, [Page 27] must go and meet the Souldiers as they return from the Spoils of their Enemies, and receive the Tenth thereof at their hands, if they will give it them freely; for it is evident, that he who chang­ed the Priesthood, and fulfilled the Law which commanded Tythes of Lands, sprang out of Judah, of which Tribe Moses spake nothing concerning Priesthood, Hebr. 7. 13, 14.

And it is yet far more evident, for that after the similitude of Mel­chisedeck their ariseth another Priest, verse 15.

Who is not made after the Law of a carnal Commandment, but after the Power of an endless Life, verse 16.

For there is verily a disannulling of the Commandment going before, [mark] a disannulling of the Commandment, that was carnal, where Tythes were included, for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof, verse 17, 18.

Because it made nothing perfect, but the bringing of a better hope did, by which they drew nigh to God, verse 19. which better hope was, Christ in them the hope of glory.

By all which it is evident, that whoever receives or payes Tythes as any Legal right, denies Christ come in the Flesh, and such are the Antichrists which the Scripture speaks of, 2 Joh. 7. and this is the reason why they who now witness him come in their Flesh can­not uphold that Priesthood which takes Tythes, knowing that he hath changed the Priesthood, and the Law also, and not thorow covetousness to save so much of our Estates, as some have falsely judged; for if we had no reason for the denial of Tythes, but to save our goods, we would assuredly pay them, knowing aforehand, if we do not pay them, we shall certainly lose three times so much, at the best; therefore humane reason would not lead us to de­ny them upon that score; but it is only in Conscience towards God that we cannot pay them, knowing the Priesthood changed, and the Law also that commanded them disannull'd, as is said above; land therefore, if we should uphold that which Christ have disannul'd, we should be Antichrists, like them, and wo would be our portion; And therefore we joyfully suffer the spoiling of our goods for the Name of Christ, and the hope that is set before us, Hebr. 10. 34. knowing that the Captain of our Salvation was made perfect thorow Sufferings, Hebr. 2. 10.

And because we could not deny him come in our Flesh, have the [Page 28] Chief Priest of our Age devoured much of our Substance, even beyond the bounds of humanity, and the Law by which they pre­tend to claim it, which, at most, allows them but treble damages against them that refuse to pay them, yet they have not been con­tented with five times the value; nay, it would pierce any tender heart to hear of the havock and spoil they have made of our Bodies and Goods throughout this Nation, for our witnessing Christ come in the Flesh; appearing manifestly worse then the Jews that scourged the Apostles of Christ, for they abated Paul one stripe of forty every time they whipped him, 2 Cor. 11. 24. though their Law allotted forty stripes, yet they would not go to the rigour thereof: But these merciless Wolves have exceeded in cruelty, to the power they have had given them, all that ever I read of in any Age; for proof hereof I refer the Reader to a Book called, A Record of Sufferings for Tythes, wherein they are thorowly proved grievous Wolves indeed, Acts 20. 29. who have exceeded the rigour of their own Laws many degrees, even to the utter undoing, as far as in them lies, of whole Families.

Object. Some have pleaded the right of Tythes under the Gospel, from these words, Ye pay Tythe of Mint, and Annis, and Commin, &c. these things ought ye to have done, &c. Matth. 23. 23.

Answ. This was spoken by Christ to the Scribes and Pharisees, who denied him, and upheld the first Priesthood, and therefore he called them Blind-Guides, and cried many woes against them, for their Hypocrisie, Matth. 23. 16, 17. and seeing they did not own own him who fulfill'd the Law, they ought tythe their Mint and Annis, &c. and so all those who know not Christ the better hope brought into them to tythe their increase; but who so doth, must not assume the title of Christians, for they can never be recei­ved Jure Divino by any under the Second Covenant; I suppose the Tythe-mongers have been ashamed of that plea several years.

Therefore let us come to their plea Jure Humano, which is their main Prop or Pillar; they say, by the Law of man, They have as good right to the Tenth part, as the Owner hath to the Nine parts, &c.

This is much like the Jews plea against Christ, to take away his life, John 19. 7. because they had a Law so to do, which made them bold and impudent, not regarding the evil they did in executing [Page 29] their Law, when it turned against Christ and his followers, neither would their Law they were so zealous for, defend them from the stroke of Gods terrible vengeance, which after they had filled up the measure of their Iniquity, came upon them and their Poste­rity, though they were suffered to reign long over the Heritage of God.

But let these Tythe-mongers tell us, who first invented this Tythe to Priests since Christ? and if they can clear the Pope of it, and deduct it from the Scriptures, or the ancient Christians, let them; and then they will have some colour of Christianity to de­mand them.

But this Jure humano was the main plea in Oliver Cromwels time, by these tything temporising Priests, to uphold their pluralities and Tythes, though they could throw away the Common-prayer-Book at his Command, and silently suffer the people to want that which the same Priests now cries up as an Oracle and Ordinance of God, and Divine Service; for the reading of which they now wholly plead Tythe their due Jure humano, yet in those dayes, when that which they now call Divine Service was rejected by them, they pleaded and ravened as much for the Fleece as they do now, though they suffered thousands to perish without that which they now threaten damnation to all who will not hear and receive; which if they had been true Shepherds, they would have laid down, not only their liberty and their Tythes, but their lives for their Flocks in those dayes, rather then they should have been led away by those they now count Wolves, John 10. 11, 12, 13. but the Love of their Tythes and Pluralities which Oliver suffered them to enjoy, over-ballanced their love to their Flocks: and no question, if the Pope come and hold out the Mass Book to them in one hand, with Tythes and large Revenues in the other, and promise, in accepting of the one, they shall enjoy the other, and for refusal shall lose both, these cunning Steers-men, that can alwayes sail in the eye of the wind, will no doubt swallow this Pill with little or no difficulty also, and cry up the Mass-Book for as Divine an Oracle, and Ordinance of God, as the Directory was with them in its day, or as the Common-Prayer now is with all its Rites and Ceremonies now in their esteem; for then also they may plead for their Tythes Jure humano.

[Page 30] And they who formerly endured turning out, could silently suffer their Flocks to be devoured by them whom they counted Wolves, and durst not openly declare against them, nor enter into their Synagogues and dispute with them, as the manner of Paul, and the true Ministers of Christ was, Acts 17. 16, 17, 18. for fear of loss of liberty, or some other profit; if such be not the Hire­lings that Christ spoke of, that flees before the Wolf, and leaves their sheep, I know not any Hirelings at all; for was the Com­mon-Prayer Idolatry in Oliver's dayes, and Divine-Service now? how was the nature and property of it altered.

The main and principal Foundation of the Law of England is the Law of God, so says the Law-Book, Doctor and Student. cap. 2. pag. 4. in these words,

‘There is a Law written in the heart of man, which is man cre­ated in the Image of God, and this Law is alwayes good and righ­teous, stirring up the man to do that which is good, and abhor the evil; and therefore against this Law, (saith the Book) Pre­scription, Statute, Custom may not prevail; and if any be brought against it, they are void, and against Justice, &c.’

If so, then let all who hath the least spark of reason left in them judge, whether it is not high presumption against God, and his un­limitted Prerogative and Royal-Law written in the hearts of his people, according to his Promise by the mouth of his holy Prophet Jerimiah? Jer, 31. 33. to set up mans Law above it, and force the execution thereof against it; for in the Second Covenant, where­in God promised to write his Law in his peoples hearts, Tythes and their Law were abolished, as is said before; therefore Prescription, Statute, and Custom that is brought against the aforesaid Royal-Law of God written in the heart, is void and against Justice by the aforesaid Law-Book of England, which will not admit of Jure Hu­mano to prevail against Jure Divino.

Here followeth several Presidents of the Ancient Christians, some in the Apostles dayes, and some since, who had no Tythes from the People, who gave Testimony against them that did require them.

IN the Churches of Antioch, Galatia and Corinth the Saints possessed every man his own estate, where the Apostle ordain­ed a weekly offering of the Saints, that every man might offer free­ly of what God had blessed him withal, which was put in the hands of Deacons for the maintenance of the poor, and other necessary uses, Acts 11. 29. for Christ having in Luke 10. allotted their Ministers their Maintenance, they were contented with it; and when they returned to him again, they could say they had no want; but then they lived not in pride, nor fulness of bread, nor went in long Robes, nor maintained their Wives in pride and excess, as the men of our Age do; for such Christ never sent in any Age; for they were not Lord Bishops, nor call'd of men Masters, but were Patterns and Examples to the Flock, and and said to the Disciples and Brethren, Be ye Followers of us, even as we are of Christ; but now if people should follow none, but they that are Followers of Christ, the Tythe-mongers would have none at all.

But the aforesaid contribution continned amongst the Ancient Christians about Three hundred years till the great Persecution un­der Maximinian and Dioclesian, as Eusebius witnesseth, and so doth Turtulian, Origen, Cyprian, and others, here was not Tythes so much as spoken to of the Christian Ministers, but they did abide in the Doctrine of Christ, and having food and rayment they were therewith content.

After which time some Lands were given to the Church, but Origen saith, ‘It is not lawfull for any Minister to possess Lands, given to the Church, to his own use.’

Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, also testified the same, and shew­eth how the Church maintaineth many poor, and that her own ex­pences was full of frugality, and her diet sparing and plain, Cyprian [Page 32] Epist. 27, 34, 36. Prosper also saith, ‘That a Minister able to live of himself, ought not to desire any thing of the people, and he that receiveth it, doth it not without great sin. ’And the Bohe­mians in their fruitfull and Christian Exhortation to Kings and Princes, to stir them up to zeal for the Gospel, in many Articles against the Clergy of their Antichristian Practises: In the fifteenth Article against them, they say thus, &c.

‘That they receive Tythes of men, and will of right have them, and preach, and say, that men are bound to give them Tythes, and therein they say falsly; for they cannot prove by the New-Testa­ment, that our Lord Jesus Christ commanded it, and his Disciples warned no man so to do, neither did themselves so receive them; but although in the Old-Testament it were commanded to give Tythes; yet it cannot thereby be proved, that Christian men are bound thereunto; for this precept of the Old-Testament had an end in the first year of our Lord Jesus Christ, like as the precept of Circumcision; wherefore, Beloved, consider, and see how your Bishops seduce you with things that have no proof; Christ said in the 11th of Luke, Give Alms of those things that remain, but he said not, Give the Tenth of the Goods ye possess, &c. Acts and Mon. vol. 1. fol. 860. Col. 2. in Hen. 5. dayes.

But the first that restrained peoples freedom in this kind, was the Council under Pope Alexander the third, Anno 1180. by whose time much Wickedness and Idolatry was crept in among them, as History relates.

But the most strictest decree was made at the Council of Trent, under Pope Pius the fourth, about the year 1560. they command­ed Tythes to be paid under the penalties of Excommunication. About the years 800, 900, and 1000. and after, Tythes were called the Lord's Goods: So here was the rise of Priests Tythes which for many hundred years they held Jure Divino, as they said, which ever since they have exacted against the Law of God and right rea­son, and have not only robbed God, but the poor also; and there­fore is every Parish forced, to keep the poor from starving, unto whom (if any) the Tythes do most properly belong; and yet though the Priests go away with the Tythes, it is very hard, in many places, to get them to contribute any thing to the Poor-Tax, manifesting their Charity far short of the Levitical Priests, who [Page 33] formerly out of the Tythes maintained the Widows and Father­less, &c. and consequently far beneath the Ministers of the Go­spel: And furthermore, did ever any, either of the Levites or Mini­sters of the Gospel sue any people at Law, that separated from them, for Maintenance? nay, was ever such inhumane actions known from the worst of the Merchants of Babylon (let History testifie) as to tear four or five times so much as they pretend their due, from them who do not like their Wares, and troubles them for nothing; nay, Baalam, though he loved the wages of unrighteousness; yet he durst not take it, but these are not contented with three times so much, which modesty would blush to appear in; if these be not the greedy dumb Dogs which Isaiah spoke of, which can never have enough, I know not where they are, Isa. 56. 10, 11, 12.

The with-holding of these pretended dues, at farthest, is but a [...]spass against them, and it is their manner often to pray to the [...]d, to forgive them their trespasses, as they forgive them that [...] against them, &c. Now let the honest hearted judge, [...] they forgive such as trespass against them, when they [...] the utmost rigour of the Law against such as trespass against then, yea or nay? How do these men think to be forgiven of the Lord? For, saith Christ, if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will forgive you your trespasses; but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Heavenly Fa­ther forgive you your trespasses, Matth. 6. 14, 15. And Peter said, Lord how often shall my Brother sin against me, and I forgive him, till seven times? Jesus said unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven, Matth. 18. 21, 22. So if these Priests could really prove that Tythe was their due, the with-hold­ing of them is but a trespass committed against them once a year at farthest; now if Christ would not allow of Peter's forgiving his Brother seven times, but would have him forgive him seventy times seven, which is Four hundred and ninety times; what kind of Christians are they who take treble revenge at least, and oftentimes five times for every trespass against them? this is so far from Chri­stianism, that Jews and Turks would blush at it. Thus far it was laid upon me to give this short Testimony against this abominable Oppression, under which many groans at this day, that if possi­ble the ears of people might be opened, and that they may see [Page 34] how they have been blinded with things that have no Foundation, nor colour from the Scripture; and they who pretend the Scrip­ture to be their Rule, may see that they walk beside their preten­ded Rule, in either paying or receiving Tythes as any Gospel­right; therefore are they justly condemned and reproved by their own Rule, which will for ever stand a witness against them, both in that, and all other ungodly practices by them upheld at this day, for which they have not the least colour of Scripture to vindicate them therein.

Ambros Rigge.


I Could not let this little Book pass without annexing hereunto some few of the Bonner like practises of Leonard Letchford, Priest of Hurst-Pierpoint, who calls himself a Gospel-Minister, which within this seven years last past he hath done against Am­bros Rigge for his obedience unto the Commands of Christ, as be­fore is expressed. And secondly, of the proceedings of the afore­said Letchford against Ambros's wife, because she could not in consci­ence pay him Tythe, for the causes aforesaid, as knowing it no Gospel right.

To the first, it alwayes hath been the practice of the spirit of Antichrist, the better to effect its mischievous purposes, to destroy and root out the Flock of Christ's Fold; first to clothe them with Wolves skins, and then to set the Dogs and Lions to devour and tear them to pieces.

Now in the year 1662, and since, this spirit hath manifestly ap­peared in the aforesaid Letchford; for when by the spiritual Wea­pon he could not at all defend himself, as a Minister of Christ ought to do, he stirred up the Rulers in Hurst, aforesaid, as know­ing aforehand that for Conscience the said Ambros could not swear, to tender him the Oath of Allegiance, on purpose to insnare him, for the refusal of which he was committed to Horsham Goal the 28th day of the 3d Moneth aforesaid; after the said Letchford had effected this, he, with George Vinter Priest of Cove-old, cloathed the [Page 35] said Ambros with a reproach, as though he had run away from his Wife and Children in Lincolnshire, and had left them to the Parish; which when this report was spread, it was asked George Vinter, who formerly was said to be a Lincolnshire man, out of what Town the said Ambros run away; who before witness said, out of the Town of Eagle, which after Examination proved an abominable Lye; for the best part of twenty persons of the Town of Eagle in Loncolnshire, with several Officers both of their Church and others, who had lived in the said Town, some twenty some forty, some fifty years, and never knew any such man as Ambros Rigge live there in all their time, as may appear by a Certificate given under their hands, yet to be seen; yet these two Priests by these and other abominable Lyes and aggravations, got the Judge, at the Assizes following, to condemn the said Ambros in a praemunire, at which Assizes Letchford appeared in person as one of the fiercest of Am­bros's Accusars, saying, he would aggravate the matter, at which words the Judge reproved him, and stopt his mouth; so after he had got what he then saw was possible against Ambros, he afterwards stirred up the Magistrates and the Goaler to add as much affliction to his Bonds as he could; by the which R. Luckin, then Goaler, to whom he wrote many threatning Letters, if he would not be severe towards Ambros, and keep him close; so that the said Luckin said, that they would hang Ambros if they could, and seeing it his op­portunity to act his will upon him, and several others in prison with him for Conscience sake, called them into the Wards, and be­gun, in the first place, to deny them small Beer, unless they would give six shillings a Kilderkin for that which was sometimes worse then water; and because Ambros, and others, could not uphold that Oppression, was forced to drink water well nigh a year and a half; & to try Ambros further, Luckins turned him into the low Goal among the Fellons, and there kept him his own pleasure; and in the Win­ter following, when the Frost and Snow lay thick upon the ground, the Goaler shut up Ambros again in the middle Ward, and took away his Bed, and forced him to lie upon the Boords for many weeks together, being close lockt up, and would hardly suffer his Friends to bring him food, and as difficult many times for him to get water to drink; in all which trials and exercises the Lords presence was not wanting to him, which made all these trials seem joyous unto [Page 36] him; it was not long after but the said Goaler died. After him came John Moorcock to have some rule, though but a Servant in the Prison, unto whom L. Letchford wrote a Letter, to stir him up against the said Ambros, giving the flattering titles of Master Moor­cock, who being of as bad and wicked spirit as himself, was easily induced by him to cruelty; in answer to which the said Moorcock, about the 8th hour at night, in the depth of the next Winter, made a mutiny in the Town of Horsham, pretending the Quakers had broke out of Prison, and raised a great Company with Clubs and Staves, and brought them up to the upper Ward where Ambros was at work, and without any occasion given them, they seised upon him, pulling and haling him down stairs into the lower Ward, among the Fellons, where Moorcock himself put great Irons upon him, and left him in that condition many dayes and nights, which con­tinued so long as the said Moorcock continued in any Office in the Prison; and when Letchford saw that would not do his business, he writ a grievous Letter to the Sheriff against Ambros, and spurr'd up the Magistrates against him, who were more wise then to give much ear unto him, though he could never justly lay any thing to Ambros's charge, that he had either wronged the King or any man upon the earth; but only because he would not break the Command of Christ to Swear; whom the said Letchford often threatned with the Gallows, both in word and writing, and sought many wayes to bring it to pass; but hitherto the Lord hath chained him by his mighty Power, glory and praise be unto his name forever.

And when he saw that all these devices and strategems failed him, he pretends to have Tythes due from Ambros his Wife, against whom he imployed several rude Bailiffs; and when they did not prosecute her to his mind, he turned Bailiff himself, and joyned himself to a rude, swearing, bruitish Fellow, who, with himself, pursued Ambros his wife, till they took her, who caused her to be set upon the Bailiffs Saddle, and with mocking and jearing sent her along in the mans Saddle to Horsham Prison to her Husband; and at the Assizes got two of his kindred to swear falsly against her, whereby he pro­ved eight pounds due to him from her, as he pretended, for the levelling of which, he the said Lechford, hearing that Ambros and his Wife had hired a Room or two, and had some Goods for their necessary use in Horsham, sent four Bailiffs, who entred into the [Page 37] said Rooms in Leonard Letchfords name, with an Execution in the name of Mary Luxford, who brake, and spoiled, and robbed the said Ambros Rigge of Goods to the value of thirty pounds; yea, they carried away Ambros's proper goods, which he bought for his use in the Prison several years before, leaving not so much as a Bed to lie upon in the Winter season; which goods aforesaid, Robert Ryde Bailiff of Horsham sold, at his own price and time, of which he would never render any Account, though he was often required, and several times promised he would; but the last time he was sent unto, he sent word, that he must have more goods for Letchford from Ambros; and afterward one of Horsham asked Am­bros, if Letchford had not robbed him of more Goods? saying, that Letchford was heard to say, that he would never leave off till he had undone Ambros; which though the party was one of his own Judgment, could not but condemn him herein.

Afterwards, this Letchford hearing that the King was like to take some pity of Ambros, with many others, who had suffered many years strait & close imprisonment, having nothing to charge them with, but obedience to the Commands of Christ, he, with others, not unknown, stirred up all the power they could, and got several hands to sign a Pa­per, representing Ambros to the King, a turbulent Ring-leader of the Sect of the Quakers, and a Stranger in the Country, and not fit­ting to have liberty, thinking thereby to strengthen his Bonds by these aggravations. Oh, that all who had any hand in this wicked Return, may find repentance thereof before they go hence, lest it stand recorded against them in the day of Account; for it was the same spirit that accused Paul to Felix, Acts 24. 5. who said, they found him a pestilent Fellow, a mover of Sedition among all the Jews throughout the World, and a Ring-leader of the Sect of the Nazarens: the same spirit also called the Lord of Life, the Prince of Devils; and the Servant is not greater then his Lord; for if they have called the Master of the House Beelzebub, how much more them of his houshold. And this Priest, Nebuchadnezar like, hath caused the Furnace to be heat seven times hotter, then for false Swearers, who is but to remain a year in Prison; but seven years imprisonment is accounted too little by him, for those who cannot Swear at all, to break the Command of Christ; good were it for such Persecutors of the Innocent, that their Cradles had been [Page 38] their Graves; for then had not the cry of Oppression followed them to Judgement, which in every Age of the World was the overthrow of the Oppressors, and pulled down the Wrath of God upon their heads, and if they were to go into everlasting punishment, in the dayes of Christ, that did not visit and refresh the least of his Ser­vants in Prison, what will become of them that sends Robbers to take away the goods of the Servants of Christ which they provi­ded to supply their wants in Prison? such actions is scarcely heard of among the Heathens: Is this the way to convince gainsayers? did ever either Christ or any of his Ministers use this way of ga­thering the lost Sheep of Israel, though he had all Power in Hea­ven and Earth given him, that he might rule all Nations with a Rod of Iron? were ever Prisons, Gibbets, Stocks, Fire or Faggot to restrain or destroy the Bodies of the worst of Hereticks, ever used or commanded to be used by Christ or any of his Ministers on Earth? you who so much pretend the Scripture to be your Rule; what Examples have you therein of these things from the Ancient and true Christians? but is not the Heathen Kings and Emperors, both in the Scriptures, and the several Popes, and their Antichri­stian Clergy, since the Scriptures were written, your patern for these things? If you could prove those to be in Error whom you so falsly accuse, the way that you take with them would but more harden them therein; for it is a great dishonour to a Christian Na­tion to oppress and abuse the worst Infidel in the World.

And have not you kept some of the Servants of Christ in Pri­son well nigh seven years, whom you have judged Deceivers? now since their commitment and confinement, how often have you sent your Ministers to convince them? Is not your whole Flock of Clergy able to do it? If you had had the least love to their Souls you would have travelled and laboured night and day, by sound Doctrine and Arguments, to have put to silence the ignorance of the foolish and deceived, if you could have proved them such; if you had warred with them with the Sword of the Spirit; viz. The Word of God, and have defended your selves by that, we should have believed you had been sent of God, and guided by his Spirit, but we see you are short of the Papists, who are gross Idolaters, for before they delivered those they counted Hereticks to the Se­cular Power to be punished, they sent their Priests often to admo­nish [Page 39] them, and to convince them by Arguments. From all these your proceedings we are bold to conclude, that if there were no more Tythes and great Benefices in your Parishes to be reaped, then there is at Horsham Goal, you would be as seldom seen there, as you were in the Prison aforesaid, and have as little care over your Flocks, as you have of them there. Oh, that you would consi­der what you are a doing, before it be too late; for the Spirit of the Lord will not alwayes strive with you; large hath been the day of your Visitation, which you have most grievously abused: The Jews Chief Priests did think they had done well when they per­secuted the Servants of Christ, who had more colour of Scripture for what they did, then you have; therefore are ye more inexcusa­ble before the Lord.

R. T.

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