TYTHES Ended by Chri …

TYTHES Ended by Christ WITH THE Levitical Priesthood.

And therefore no Maintenance for a Gospel-Mi­nistry, nor Lawful for Christians to Pay or Take un­der the Dispensation of the GOSPEL.

Being an Answer to two Reviling Pamphlets written against the People of God called Quakers, because they Refuse to pay Tythes. The one by C. N. a Presbyterian; and the other by Cress Wheatly, an Episcopal Priest. The said C. N. and C. W. are herein justly Rebuked for their Enmity and Lyes against the People of God, and their Arguments and Plea for Tythes considered and fully answered. And the People of God Vin­dicated in their Refusing to pay Tythes.

By the Servants of the Lord, T. Rudyard and W. Gibson. Also a Postscript by George Watt.

Also some brief Observations upon some Passages in a Book, Entituled, Christ's Call to Professors, by W. G.

The Priesthood being changed, there is also a Necessity of the Change of the Law, Heb. 7. 12. Freely ye have Received, Freely Give, Mat 10. 8. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the Waters, and he that hath no Money, come buy and eat Milk & Wine, yea, without Money & with­out Price. Why will ye spend your Money for that which is not Bread, and your Labour for that which doth not satisfie? Isa. 55. 1, 2. The Spirit and the Bride say, Come, and let him that heareth say, Come; and let him that is a Thirst come; and whosoever will let him take the Water of Life Freely,
Rev. 22. 17. 21. 6.

Printed in the Year, 1673.

TO THE Considerate READER.


THink it not strange, that Contests of this kind should be 'twixt Us and our Adversaries: I must tell thee, 'Tis not a Quarrel of Yesterday, but bares date from mens Apostacy from the true Faith of Jesus. There­fore have we in the Protestants Book of Martyrs, Fox Acts & Mon. 1 Tom. fol, 618. An. Dom. 1401. amongst others, the Complaint of a good Christian W. S. on this wise; ‘"Whereas (saith he) Christ's Law bids to minister Spiritual Things Freely to the people; the Pope with his Law sells for Money after the quantity of the Gift, Blessing Sacraments, Preaching to the People, as is known a­mongst them."’ The Professors of Religion at this day upon frequent Occasions pride themselves not a little, yea, loudly b [...]ast of the faithful Testimonies of these Men, yet blush not o­penly to appear in Oppòsition to their Doctrine, and to stab their Testimonies by their contrary Practices (Pharisee-like, Gar­nishing the Sepulchres of the Prophets, whom their Fathers wickedly slew) Mat. 23. 29.

The Person who now contends for this Forced Maintenance is one Clement Nedham of Saxelby, in or near the Vale of Be­voyr alias Beaver in [...]eicester-shire; he's a Stranger to me; only this I hear of him, that he is of no small Accompt in those Parts, having been an eminent Captain in our late Civil Wars, and has his House Licensed for Presbyters or Independants [Page 4] to preach in. How suitable a Work it was for him or them to set their hands unto at this day, I leave to the Judicious to consider.

Had Tythes been his or their Gospel-Maintenance under their present Non-conformity, 'twould have been Colour of Quar­rel: Had the old Antipathy 'twixt them and the Conformists been worn out, then to have pleaded for their Friend, had been tollerable: But without any such Pretence, Cause or Provo­cation on our part (Reader) has his Work been to tell our Ad­versaries, we are Thieves, Robbers, Lyars, Slanderers, and such like; and what Ground he hath for it, let God and Good Men judge. Read his Charge and our Defence, and then thou'lt know his Mistake and our Innocency. 'Tis probable thou knowest our Sufferings have not been a little in this Cause; weigh but the Circumstances of the Man, and his Work, and thou wilt see how much his End is to Incense, when more he cannot act against us.

Thomas Rudyard.

THy Letter, bearing date from Saxelby, 18 Feb. 1672 directed to thy Neighbours of Claxton, has been considered: The Matter therein laid down is no new thing, but thy Manner of Argument rather a Novelty, which in its place I may take notice of. Thou art pleased to enter­tain thy Reader with an Accompt of thy many Years Observa­tion of the Contests 'twixt th [...]se called Priests, and those cal­led Quakers concerning Tythes, the one Demanding, the o­ther Refusing the Payment thereof; in and for which the for­mer have under-gone bitter Declamations, and the latter grievous Imprisonments and Sufferings from their Adversaries. Whence its no hard Matter to conclud thee rather a Stander by, then one interested in the Quar [...]el; yet not so far to exclude thy Concern, but to a [...]knowledg thy Aff [...]ctions lean to one Party, as the Stress of thy Lines clearly evidence. I am with many more of o [...]e mind with thee, That as God will blast all Men's Divised Services to him (of which number was this of Ty [...]hes) so also their pretended (not real) Conscience-Sufferings for him: And the Lord God is evi­dencing them in these dayes, although the Blind see it not; and of this are there many Witnesses.

But having read thy pretended Serious and Conscientious Concern for Persons, whose grievous Imprisonments and Suf­fe [...]ings (under Pretence at least of Co [...]s [...]ience) as thy own words are) have affected thee with Comp [...]ssion, I exp [...]cted no les [...] Eff [...]ct of such Affections, then a Case of Conscience serious­ly Stated, and solidly R [...]solved, as a fit Medium for the De­termination of the Justness or U [...]justn [...]ss of their Testimony, supposing, that under less weighty Consideration no Ingenious Man would attempt a Resolve of that Great and Old Case of Contest▪ 'twixt the holy Martyrs of Jesus and the Popish Prelates in the Ages and Generations p [...]st, now revived 'twixt us and their Successors in Cruelty. In this thou seemest noval.

[Page 6] Thou art pleased among many more (in behalf of Tythes) to appear an Advocate against us; but whether the King, Priest, Pope, Presbyter, &c. have in thy Sense Right to them, is yet in Resence, but we Thieves and Robbers for taking and detain­ing what's not our own; strange severe Judgment. So that from a pretended Compassionator of our grievous Sufferings, thou pr [...]sently sheweth thy self an open Accuser of the Oppressed; and how Justly, I question not to manifest in its place.

Thou puttest this Question, What Right in the People to Tythes? alledging, That if the People have not Right, 'twill not concern our Consciences, whether King, Priest, Pope, or who will take them. A strange Assertion; the like to my Knowledge I never before met withal. What I not concern the Conscience of a Christian, whether the Tenth of his La­bour, Industry, and all he has and enjoys by the Blessing of God, be given up to the Praise of his Maker, or to the Pope, Priest, Belial, Devil, who will take them? I do really demand of thee to search all the Dark and Hellish Traditions of the Jews, that made void the Law of God, and all the Decretals of Popish Councils and Prelatical Synods since the Apostacy, and find the like Instance of Atheism. To say, It matters not who has Right, is begging the Question, that will never be granted. For cer­tainly, if part of my Strength, Daily Labour, Sweat of my Brows, Yearly Encrease of that Substance, which God makes me Steward of here to his Praise, shall be demanded of me, 'tis but Reasonable I should know, who he is, that requires such Ser­vit [...]ds? else, wherein I should be God's Freeman, I may be the Devil's Slave. In my Apprehension it had been most Just and Reasonable, first to have asserted the Pope, Priests, Presby­ter, &c. his Title to the things in demand; and when their Propriety had been sufficiently demonstrated, it had been early enough to have insinuated the Quakers Th [...]eves and Robber [...] for refusing to work and labour under such Tusk-Masters.

But here thou proclaimest to the World a Design to stigma­tize others, rather then to clear the Innocency of thy own Party: so without Breach of Charity thou'lt incur the censure, a Partial Controvertist.

[Page 7] And now to the Question, What Right have the People to Tythes [...] I might answer by this Question, What Right has any others to them? For certainly the Law presumes every Man to have a good Right to what he possesses, till his Opposer Out him by shewing a better Title. Therefore have we a common An­glicism, That of Twelve, Possession is Eleaven Points of the Law. And that Man hath good Right to enjoy the Fruit of his La­bours, Strength and Industry, as to those outward Concerns, wherewith God has blest him; and to be accomptable to his Creator is most consonant to the Rule of Holy Scriptures and Right Reason. This in general; but to thy Particulars.

Thou proposest in thy Plea for Tythes, That all manner of Right and Propriety must needs be conveyed to Men in or by some of these five Wayes, viz.

  • 1. Either Free Gift, or Donation from God or Man to Man.
  • 2. Or Right of Inheritance from Ancestors.
  • 3. Or Purchase,—one Man from another.
  • 4. Or Compact, Bargain or Release
  • 5. Or Possession, or Occupancy.

I shall not oppose thy Distinctions, but grant, that these or such like must be the Wayes, whereby Right ought to be con­veyed, and Propriety settled amongst Men; adding only, that its still absolutely necessary in every of these,

1. As to the Gift, that it be not given to a void End, and so becomes null.

2. That there be a Lawful Heir, that claimeth by Inheri­tance.

3. That for a Purchase, Compact or Bargain 'twixt Man and Man there be a Real Consideration given, & Vender has right to sell.

4. That Right attend the Occupancy or Possession.

Give but these their due Place, and Reason shall be Judge betwixt us, Whether Pope, Priest, or their Assignes have abso­lute Right to the things in demand, or we whom God has made Possessors of them? And truly, if under any of these reasona­ble Titles our Adversaries had made their Claim, and we refused [Page 7] to render Right, it had been colour of Censure. But to declaim a­gainst a People for detaining that which no Man claims (for ought appears by thine) is Unjust Clamour. Bear with me, if I term thy Proprietor No Man. For its a Common Maxime, Idem est non esse, & non appavere; 'tis the same, not to be, as not to ap­pear. And when the Priest, Pope, Presbyter, or any, who will produce a better Title to Imbondage, then we have to evidence our Freedom, I question not, but we shall avoid to be justly censured for detaining what's not our own; But that we, as well as others, shall have all manner of Evil spoke against us falsly for the sake of our Master, no wise doubt.

And although our Possession be a Plea sufficient against the Decimators Cract Title to the things in demand; yet to re­move all Scruple relating to our Just Interest, I shall be wil­ling to enter into Examination of what is offered against us, and descend to the Particulars, as laid down in thy Letter.

1. First, Of the first, viz. Donation of God or Man. Here thou tellest us, That thou presumest, that we denying them to be a Divine Right to the Clergy will not so claim them.

Answ. Here I must tell thee, that thou grandly Mistakes us▪ For I answer, We claim (as the free Gift of God) our Under­standing, Strength, Ability to Labour, the Product and En­crease of the Fruit of our Fields and the Fleece of our Flocks (out of which our Enemies would extort a Tenth) which we know the Lord God above gives, and thereof has made us Stewards, requiring us to be faithful, that when he calls we may render unto him (who is the Giver of all) a Just Accompt; And not to be found as Prodigalls wasting our Substance a­mongst Harlo [...]s, but that with all we have and do enjoy we may render unto him the Praise of all, who is worthy, having laid a holy Constraint upon our Souls not to put into the Mouths of Pope, Priest, Presbyter, or such like, who are Enemies unto his Truth: Nor we cannot own those Laws of Pope, Priest, &c. to be Just that would take away from us what God freely gives unto us, to uphold their false Worships: So is our Testimony from God against them and their Laws, although to the Loss of our outward Liberty and Estates, and to the incurring of [Page 9] such bitter Censures as thy self utters forth against us. And as to Man's Donation which thou counts to be considered under thy next Head, may be there taken notice of.

2. What right (sayest thou) is due to Men by Inheritance from Ancestors.

Sayest thou to clear our Understanding in this Question 'tis necessary to enquire into the Strength or Truth of that common Objection. viz. That Tythes were originally a forced Payment by Injustice of humane Laws; and that what is Ʋnjustly taken at first, can never be made Lawful by Duration of Time, or Possession. For Answer of which Objection thou tellest us, its worthy Consideration, whether the Objection strikes not more at our Nine parts then at the Clergy's Tenths of the things in Contest; undertaking to demonstrate it from the Norman's Conquest of this Nation, by forreign Force, distributing the Lands to Natives, or others, to hold of him as chief Lord, reserving Rents, Duties, and Services, then continuing the Tenths to the Clergy, forcing the Lands in great part from the Owners, gave them to others, of whom we pur­chased, alledging further, that Ethelwolph a Saxon Conquerer, four hundred Years before, conquered this Nation, and enriched the Church▪ viz. the Clergy, with Tythes of all Lands, Goods, &c. since which time they have held them without Force, or not so forced as the other Part of the Conquests.

Answ. How little this makes for thy Party, or against us, will appear upon Examination. I observe to this second Que­stion, of what Right is due to Men by Inheritance from Ancestors? thou first offerest this.

1. That common Objection, that Tythes were Originally forced by Injustice of humane Laws, and that what is unjustly taken at first, can never be made Lawfull by duration of Time or Possession.

2. Endeavours a Solution of it, by alledging, Our Estates were Originally forced by often Conquests.

3. A Conclusion to thy own Discourse, that Tythes were never so forced. Thefe being the Substance of that Paragraph, lets examine them apart, and in order.

1st. Whether the Strength or Truth of the Objection be removed, [Page 10] that (in thy Sence) defends ours, or that Allegation proved and made good which defends our Adversaries Title?

Answ. 1. I admit, the Objection is full to the Purpose; and clear thy Tythes from the Strength and Truth thereof, and the Case is altered, from what I have understood it to be.

2. Thou givest us an Historical Discourse of England's of­ten Conquests and Invasions, particularly by the Norman, who dispossessed a great part of the Inhabitants of their Lands, which was a Force upon the Inhabitants and a Piece of Injustice done them, gave much of it to his Vassals or Subjects, of whom we purchased. Therefore infinuates, we have more Reason to question all ours, then the Decimat [...]rs Part; and this thou wouldst have thy Reader take for Solution of the Objection; Alas! its not thy Dixi, but Reason in others, that must con­clude, on which side the Ballance falls? What hast thou said that's true, but would have been granted without such Pains, to write what's otherwise, might have been spared. Yet all that said little to the End proposed, viz. to remove the strength or truth of that Objection.

1. I grant, that the Nation was Invaded and Conquered by the Norman.

2. But sayest thou, He forced the Lands in great part, at least, from the Owners, and gave to his Vassals.

What thou meanest by [great part at least from the Owners] I acknowledge my self Ignorant: A strange sort of fraimed Ex­pression! But thy after words would explain.

Sayest thou, From these Vassal [...] Sales have been made from hand to hand, till they are come down to you and I.

So by the words [the Lands in great part at least from the Ow­ners] we must understand in thy sense, All the Lands in England, without Exception. Here I am sure thou hast abused thy Rea­der; for History speaks no such Matter, many Families ha­ving the Titles of their Land, by which they held them before the Conquest confirmed unto him, as thou alledgest Tythes were to the Clergy.

Its true, Those who are in Actual War in such Revolutions, are often debarr'd of the Enjoyment of their Estates, as late Experience has shewen in this Nation; but that all were Outed [Page 11] their Possessions, nothing less. So upon an Uncertain, Ficti­tious and Groundless Supposition thou hast drawn that strange Conclusion.

Yet hast not weakened or removed the Objection. For I ob­serve, thou neither denyest, or wavest the latter part of the Objection; but it yet remains upon thee, What is unjustly ta­ken at first, can never be made Lawful by Duration of Time or Possessi­on: but opposest the first part of the Objection by telling us, that Tythes were never so forced. The Contrary, if prov'd by us, will evidence, whether has been Injurious we or thee in this Matter [...] and that falls to be considered under the 3d Head.

Sayest thou, Tythes were not so forced.

Answ. I have not a little wondered at thy [...]xpression, which is no better then a direct Untruth, by what thy self writest▪ for in a few Lines after thou makest the Force of our Nine Parts and the Clergy's Tenths so parallel, that I cannot see the Diffe­rence. Sayest thou, Ethelwolph, King of the Saxons was of Forraign [...]ace, and came in by Conquest, as did the Norman. What then alters these Cases, that they differ in thy sense, I know not. But let us query a little.

1. Was Ethelwolph the first Possessor or Planter of this Na­tion? Nothing less.

2. Does it appear, that Ethelwolph was Peaceably, and without Force possessed of this Land? Sayest thou, he Conque­red it, as did the Norm [...]n?

3. Had he an Authority and Jurisdiction over the Minds, Persons, Understandings, Estates, Labours and Industries of the People, whereby he could grant and dispose such a Share to one, and such to another, as he pleased? Unreasonable to believe.

4. Nay, further, Had he these without Force or Violence? No; nor with it.

5. Were the Tenths of all these separate from the People's Nine Parts (as thou termest them) whereby the Force and Vi­olence of Ethelwolph could not touch them? Reason denyes it. Yet thou sayst, These were not so forced, I must tell thee, this is to thy Reader a Ridiculous Riddle, yea, meer Non-sense.

[Page 12] 6. But Sixthly, That thou mayst know the Sacredness of this King's Grant, read the History of those Times, and 'twill inform, what Condition Ethelwolph was in, when this Royal Grant was made:

1. When he was under the Horror of Conscience for the In­nocent Blood shed by him.

2. The heavy Pressures of Danish Invasions.

3. The Land under intestine Wars.

Then said Ethelwolph, Promeo Remedi [...], Animae & Regni, &c. to remove the sore Judgments that were upon him and this Land, I give the Tythes of all the Land unto God and his Servants, as the Phrase then was.

So under these Circumstances of Horror, Wars and Distracti­on did the Zeal of this King offer up the People's Just Interest, and Propriety, as a Sacrifice to his Devotion, and that in the Mid-night of Popery.

And if Ethelwolph's Conquest was not as Violent and Forci­ble, as the No man's yea m [...]re, I unde [...]stand nothing. For, sayst thou, The Saxon took the whole Land into his Deme [...]zn; Which the Normans [...]ver did; so for more Cruel to its Inhabit [...]nts, out of which he granted a lenth to the Popish Clergy: If this was not Force, what is Freedom?

So that the Tenths appear not only to be so forced as our E­states, but under Instances of more dism [...]l and [...] C [...]m­plections; so that I see not the least colour of Doubt, but that Tythes were originally a Forced Payment by Justice of huma [...]e Laws. So by thy own Shewing Duration of [...]ime cannot make them Lawful.

Sayest thou, But admitting it true, that T [...]thes were forced from the true Owners of the Lands. It will not concern the present People, you or me, unless we peruse our Lineal Descent f [...]om the Persons, to whom the Injustice was first done.

Answ. 1. Then 'tis granted, that the Persons Line [...] Heirs, who have suffered such Wrong at first have Reason to b [...] Righ­ted: Why then, since there's good Reason to believe, this Nation's Anci [...]nt Inhabitants have many of thei [...] Right Heirs yet living, why were not they excepted out of that Pro­miscuous Censure of thine to be Thieves and Robbers for de­taining [Page 13] what possibly might be their own? Here thou hast been Uncharitable.

2. But surely thou canst not be Ignorant, that if I pur­chase an Estate of another, I have as absolute Right, Interest and Title to have and enjoy all and every the Rights, Interests and Priviledge which the Seller of Right had at the Time of the Sale, yea, as much as any former Heir or Possessor of the Land had, hath, or ought to have; so I that purchase, am in the state, stead and place of the Right Heir, and have all that he hath, or ought to have. In this Matter also thy Ob­jection is of no Force.

Sayest thou, If you or I came in by way of Purchase, since that Injustice done, had Abatement in the Purchase for the consideration of the Tenths, therefore but Nine Parts ours; and puttest a Case of two Fields of an equal value purchased one Tythable, the other Not, we pay a Rate accordingly.

Answ. 1. Generally thou drawest a positive Conclusion from an uncertain Effect, which is Falacious Argumentation. Sayest thou [If you or I came in by way of Purchase, &c.] which con­cludes not, that so we came in, but might be Heirs Lineally descended; which I shall now let pass, and answer thee in thy own Sense more particularly.

2. Then 2dly, The Fallacy and Abfurdity of this Position of thine appears thus:

1st, As to the Purchase, We never purchased Nine Parts of Ten, as thou affirmest, but the Whole, with the Rights, Members and Appertenances thereof. For if but Nine; why then do not the Decimators take their Tenth themselves. I demand of thee, if ever thou sawest in all thy Observation such a Deed of Purchase? Yea further, Had there been such a Reserve of the Tenth Part to the Sellor or Holy Church, as the Pretenders to it termed, thou hadst had Colour of Exception.

2dly, Consider what Tenth is demanded? Not of the Land, the Soyl, or the Renewing Grass of the Field only, which we purchased; but the Tenth of our Labour, Industry, Ʋnder­standing, Corn, Grain, Flocks, Herds, the Produce of whatever Care and good Husbandry (with the Blessing of God) improves [Page 14] toward a Lively-hood, these were the People's or our's before Pope, Priest or Presbyter had any footing in them; and these we pur­chase not of the Seller of the Land. So that if they have any Right in these, it must be by that old Claim the Churches Jur [...] Divino, as has been their Plea for many Centeries; for our La­bour, Industry, &c. as before we never purchased at the Hands of Pope, Presbyter, Vassal, or any others. But

3dly, Was this Injustice done our Predecessors? Well then, is it Just to intail it to their Heirs and Successors forever? Was my Father and Grand-father oppressed by ill Neighbours, must I therefore undergo the like Bondage, and not seek a Re­medy, because they endured it? That were offering Violence to Reason.

Say [...]st thou, We had Abatement in the Purchase, therefore it concerns us not to scruple at the Incumbrance.

Answ. I'll put one (of many Cases) Parallel to this Pur­pose, then judge of it, viz. In many Parts of this Nation, particularly in Kent, by reason of the many frequent Rob­beries committed on Travellers, wh [...]se Relief is to Implead the particular Hundred or Neighbourhood, where such Inju­stice is done. By reason of the frequent Suits brought against them their Lands are sold 1, 2. or 3. years Purchase under the Rate of their Neighbours; Now I appeal to thee, Whether it be Unreason [...]ble that the Inhabitants should concern them­selves to prevent such accustomed Robberies, because they or their Predecessors had a former Abatement in the Purchase? Compare but the Cases, and thou wilt easily discern the Com­plexion of thy own Assertion, viz. That it concerns not us, because we had Abatement.

The next Argument thou drawest is, That [...]e that con­veys the Estate to us by Deed, sells the Estate under such Rents, Du­ties and Services, as are chargeable at that time upon it; and we that purchase set our Hands, as Parties, to such Conveyances, im­plying our Acceptance of the Lands with all known Incumbrances, of which Tythes are one

Answ. 1. I ab [...]lutely deny, as absurd, that Tythes are Part of the Rents and Services reserved Purchase, and admire thou [Page 15] shouldst impose that upon thy Reader, which probably thou must or mayst know to be clearly otherwise. Read but the Clause in our Deed of Purchas [...], and it will explain it self, viz. To be holden of the Chief Lord, or Lord of the Fee or Fees of the Premises for the Rents and Services therefore Due, and of Right Accustomed. Ask but the meanest Man of Reason, and he'll correct thy Understanding, if thou pleadest Ignorance in this Point.

So that I shall conclude this Head (that Tythes being origi­nally a Forced Payment by Injustice of Humane Laws, which thou hast not evidenced to the contrary; and that, What is Ʋnjustly taken at first, can never be made Lawful by Duration of Time or Possession; which thou layest down, and denyest not) and is certainly true, That whatever our Ancestors were a­bused in by Popes Bull [...], Tyrannical Impositions, Ʋnreasonable Bondages of Prelatical Decrees, 'tis consistant with Reason we should be cased thereof, and is no Plea or Ground for their Continuance; Right being our Due, not Bondage our In­heritance from Ancestors.

3d Head. Sayest thou, What Right by way of Purchas [...]? To answer this, it being an Appendent upon the former, thither thou referrest thy Reader back, rather Repeating then Adding to what was said before; alledging, Our Ancestors purchased their Lands with this Imposition of Tythes.

Answ. 1. I answer, That they were Rightfully imposed, or Justly settled, there's nothing offered; but much to the Contrary. And that our Ancestors could purchase Injustice, and intail it to their Successors, I absolutely deny, and thou provest not: If that were practicable, what would have become of their Successors by this day? Reflect at Leasure upon those Violations of the People's Liberties, that have in former Ages been frequently acted upon the Stage of this Nation, some of them under Colour of Law,See Cook 2 Inst. by no less then by an Act of Parliament,Mag. Charta. yet not Autho­rity to Entail Injustice to after Genera­tion

[Page 16] 2. And if I purchase an Estate, I buy it with all the Right, Interest, &c. which the Vendor hath or ought to have in, to, or out of the same; and if any pretends, he has an Incumbrance upon my Estate, he must evidence, it was righly charged, viz. That there was a valuable Consideration for such Charge upon it; which, certain I am, none was given for this Demand or Incumbrance of Tythes. Yea, what Value could be given to part with what God gave Man, and expects from Man, to he knows not whom? God requires his Service all the Day long: Shall he work one or two Hours thereof for the Devil; and answer God, He was Hired, as his Fore-Fathers were Hired; or a Covenant was long since made with Hell and Death by some other Persons, that had as assumed a Jurisdiction over us, it concerns us not? But a Covenant from us he never had, nor can our Adversaries pretend it: Where's then the Reason for such Incumbrance? So unless thou doest produce one, whose Pretence to the Tenth of my Estate, Labour, Industry, &c. is backt with Reason (The Law has a Maxime, C [...]ssante rati [...]ne cessat ipsa lex) such as is a Valuable Consideration for his De­mands expect no less, then that the Right I have purchased will defend me from all other Trivial and Ʋnjust Claims. And ex­cept thou findest a good and just Foundation for the first Sta­blishment and Imposition of Tenths upon us, look not to Im­pose either the Use of former Tenants Custom of the Na­tion, Antiquity of Popes Decretals, backt with Humane Laws, since all manner of Wickedness, Cruelty and Op­pression have in one Age or other had as equal Colou­rable Authority to enforce their Continuance and Impo­sition upon the People. Then which I see nothing offered by thee.

4th Head. To thy 4th Head, What Right by Compact or Release from Man to Man.

Answ. I see no more in this then thy be [...]ting again the former troden Path The Tenant has the Leaser's Right, the Farm is the Te­nant's, the Rent the Land-lord's; and whatever was the Leasor's Right to have is in the Lease, as to the Land he holds, pay­ing [Page 17] his reserved Rent. But the Tenants Strength, Labour, Industry and Understanding, the Encrease of Stock, is not by Lease from the Land-lord, but by the free Gift of God (as was said before) of and from whom he holds it. If Priest, Pope, &c. have a Tenth of the Land, why does he not sow it and improve it to his own Advantage. 'Tis that only we claim under the Land-lord, If he pretends to a Right to the Tenth of our Labour, Industry, &c. let him produce his Title; and if it precede, or be superiour to our's, we shall conde­scend: till then, our Land-lord's Title has set us free from Priest, Pope, Presby [...]er, or whoever claims by, from, or under them.

5th Head. What Right by virtue of Possession or Occupancy? This (sayest thou) is a Proper, Natural and Just Claim to the first Planters and Possessors of any Part of the Earth, not before pos­sessed or planted.

Answ. 'Tis well then, from the beginning it was not so: And how then came this Course to be altered? The Great God gave Man the Fruit of his Industry, Wisdom and Understan­ding; the Pope took part of it away, and gives it to his Crea­tures; was not this Inv [...]ntion of Man (that altered the Course that God had made) Evil, God's Law made void by Man's Traditions? So Tythes entred; Man coming to God and his Law again, denies Tythes, that the Devil had settled contrary to the Pure Holy Law. And here's the Quarrel 'twixt the Priest, Pope, Presbyter, &c. & the People called Quakers, who cannot put into their Mouthes; so Priest, Pope, Presbyter, &c. prepare War against them. And we do respect the Intention of Buyer and Seller, Donor and Donee, he that made us Posses­sors, and he that would Dispossess; and conclude, as Christi­ans, That in despight of Popes Decrees, Priests Canons, &c. we are free from all their Dark and Superstitious Gifts and Impo­sitions whatsoever.

And he, who will take the Pains to enquire, may be well Infor­med, That this Imposition of Tythes was not the Fruit of Chri­stianity, but an Effect of the Christian [...] Apostacy from the Faith [Page 18] of Jesus: For the Christians many Hundred Years after Christ knew no such thing as Tythes, till the Popes and Pre­latick Authority imposed them by their Bulls, Decrees and Ca­nons: But that these Bulls, Decrees and Canons did meet with many Oppositions from the Faithful Martyrs of Jesus, is plen­tifully set forth in History,Fox Acts & Mon. p. 564, 605, 607, 621. as of many more we may instance John Wickliff, John Huss, William Thorpe; William Swinderly, Walter Brint, and many others bear their Testimonies against this Antichristian Imposition, and all o­ther Unjust and Forced Priest Maintenance, which for Con­science sake towards God they could not (no more then we) submit unto; yet in all their Conversation towards Men were Blameless; whose Faithfulness will be had in Everla­sting Remembrance with them that fear the Lord, and bear Witness to his Holy Name, which is set up as a Standard to the Nations, and those that put their Trust in him is he pretious, although a Stumbling-Stone, and a Rock of Offence to all such who have and do wilfully D [...]spise his Tender of Mercy, and this his Day of Visitation.

In case thou beest an Enquirer, I doubt not thy Informa­tion; if an Imposer upon others, I do not in the least suppose its Prevalency with such, whose Hearts are towards God. However, if there yet remains a Spirit in thee to oppose us, take the Pains to consult the Learned Rabbies of thy Party and Perswasion, and fairly state this Case of Tythes, and plain­ly tell your Opinions and Iudgments,

  • 1. Whether Priest, Pope, or who else have Right to them,
  • 2. Who are to pay them,
    • and for what?
  • 3. By what Authority? whether of God, Holy Scrip­tures, Edicts and Decrees of Popes, Princes, Parliaments or Councils, by which of them are they to be payed? who hath set them up, and when set up? Let us understand the Ti­tle plainly by which they are claimed.

[Page 19] And if upon a solid Stating the Question, and sober Re­solve, we are found detaining that which of Right belongs to a Just Proprietor, whether of our Daily Labour, the yearly Produce of the Earth, or Encrease of our Herds, or what else God has made us Stewards of here, we shall be ready to re­ceive Instruction, and exercise our Conscience in being con­tent with our own, which according to that Wisdom God has given us hitherto, we have, of which the Lord is our Witness. And until we have otherwise learned, we must be­lieve, 'tis rather thy Mistake, than our Just Desert, that cen­sures out Sufferings as the meet Reward of Thieves and Rob­bers; who have in this Case kept a Conscience void of Of­fence towards the God of our Peace; with whom we have Peace and Satisfaction, although in the World we (a [...]others, who have been alike Faithful in this Matter) have had Trouble.

Thy Friend, Thomas Rudyard.

An Answer to C. Nedham's second Letter.


THy Former came to me in Manuscript; as I intended its Answer this Latter in Print, before which I neither saw or h [...]ard of it: However, it may please thee or thy Party (its against my Desire) to trouble the Press; and whatever thy Hopes may be, in sowing such Seeds of Contest, sure I am, thy Joy will be small in Harvest. I have not backt thy Question, though as subtil as our Enemy could forge it; For I am sure, Reason and Truth's on our side, which hath and yet will plead our Innocency, and prevail, whatever Dirt thou attemptest to cast upon us.

Thou informest in thy Second. That thou hast read the Case of Tythes reviewed by F. H. written in 1655. to which thy main Objection is, That there's not therein any one Argument or Reason to prove the People's Right to Tythes.

Answ. Consider but what Tythes are; and 2d, F. H's manner of writing; and that will remove thy Scruple.

1. Know, that Tythes are no distinct and seperate Part of a man's Estate, as the Tenth Acre, &c. but part of that En­crease which man's Labour, Industry, Care and Prudence which the Blessing of God has brought forth. Nor can Pope, Priest, &c. without Consent of the Farmer, take the Tenth, or any one Sheaf, &c. as his own; but is by Law a Trespasser, yea, in such a Degree that he's Inditable for Theft and Rob­bery, as one that sets upon the Person or House of another to extort that by Violence he supposes his Due: For its not their's in the Sense of the Law, before Separation made by [Page 21] the Party; without which Pope, Priest or Impropriator can­not say of one Blade of Grass or Ear of Corn, It is mins. Which clearly evidences not only Possession, but the Propriety and Right to be solely in the Farmer. And as a clear Proof see the Statute 2 E. 6. it gives the Priest no such Title as he can bring his Action, De placito quod reddat ei decimas, of a Plea that he render unto him his Tythes, but only an Action of Debt for not setting forth the Tenth, which Jure Divino these Law-Makers supposed was the Priests Right and Propriety. But had Pope, Priest, &c. such a Propriety as thou wouldst Insinnate, they might separate or set them out themselves, or bring an Action, Quod reddat, &c. which by the Law they cannot, as the meanest Country-Practitioner may inform thee. So that Question of, What Right in the People to Tythes, is but a noval start up Query: yet in F. H. his Treatise wants not An­swer, if persons will take Reason for Answer. For

2. Observe the manner of his handling that Case of Tythes, it was according to that sure Maxime, Errores ad sua principia referre—est refellere; To bring Errors to their First is to see their Last. He has clearly demonstrated how Wickedly they were Introduced at first; how Cruelly Maintained for many after Ages; the Faithful Testimonies that English Martyrs and Forreigners have born against them all along; and that such Forced Maintenance is no Gospel-Maintenance; Where's room left then in Gospel-Days for Scruple? But against Caus­less Cavils there's no Fence, of which I desire with many o­thers to see an End.

I can omit to observe how frequently thou re-itteratest that Appellation upon us as Thieves and Robbers for taking what's not our own: What is there that we take with Vio­lence, or otherwise? How do we take what another never had? without taking thou supposest no Theft or Robbery, as its very true; so callest thou it taking to prove us Thieves? (for a Detainer without Taking is no Theft) Most Horrid Abuse. Nay, were we Debtors which is the most thou canst pretend to, and more then can be proved against us, must every one be called a Thief and Robber that payes not what his incensed Adversary charges upon him as a Debt? I am sure thy Party [Page 22] cannot deny but in this thou hast been egrediously Abusive, yea those Appillations which in the Front of thy former Letter thou termest, Bitter Declamations in our Mouthes against our Cruel Adversaries, is by thee utterred familarly against us, and with how much Reason let the Impartial judge.

The next Exception to F. Howgill's Discourse is, That after his Accompt of the several Kings by name, who had granted Tythes, &c. he alledges, that they were Popish Kings, and gave them to Popish Priests; and that the Poor had a Share of them. To all which thou makest Four or five Demands.

The First, Whether every thing that was given by Papists to Pa­pists for that Reason becomes the People's?

Answ. I answer in short, It doth not.

The Second, being an Explication of thy First, I grant in the Affirmative.

The Third, Might not Popish Kings do what they would with their own? Doth their baslowing them to Bad Ʋses give you or me a Right to them?

Answ. 1. I answer, What was their own, they might dispose of as they would, not Prejudicing the Interest of another. But that the People's Labours, Industries, Ʋnderstandings, &c. were their's, is opposite to the real Priviledge of a Christian, and a Free-born English-Man, that owns no such Bondage of work­ing for he knows not whom, nor yet for what.

2. To the second part of thy Demand I answer, That my Right preceded their Wrongful Imposition. I claim not meer­ly because of their Bad Ʋses, but because my Right was not in their Power to bestow or continue to any Ʋse against my Will. So I claim not under their Ill Uses, but by my Title, which was above and before them, and shall be when their's is not.

Thy Fourth, If the Clergy ought to give the Poor a Share with them, and do not, is the Fault yours or their's? How are your Con­sciences conoerned? Are Tythes therefore your's, &c? Your selves pay neither Poor nor Priest.

Answ. I answer, Thou canst not make us in Fault for the Priests Covetousness; but how long they have Robbed the [Page 23] Poor is app [...]rent. But the End of F. H's instancing the Poor had a Share at first, was to shew how fairly and speciously the Pope and Devil introduced this Imposition of Tythes; I am perswaded, much like the Daily Collections at the Doors of the late Licensed Separatists Meeting-places for the Release of Poor, and Defraying the Charge of their Gospel-Ministry, as they term it; of which Contributions sober Men believe the Poor have but a small Share allowed them.

Thy Fifth, Sayest thou, May such M [...]n as are Tenants to Hospital Lands say, They will pay no Rents, because the Founders were Papists, and gave them to Poor People to Pray for them when Dead.

Answ. I answer, The Case is no way parallel. If I take Land of a Person, I'll pay him his contracted Rent; let him do what he please with his Money.

But who's my Land-lord for Tythes? Of whom do I take a Lease? To whom is Rent reserved? ? Unto whom came I into Covenant? This Case of thine is so forreign to the Mat­ter, that it has not the least Alliance.

Next, Thou tellest thy Reader of thy Thanks to F. H. for thy Information of Stephen Bish [...]p of Chichester, and W. Clifford, pag. 10. their giving the Tythes of some particular Lands for the Pardon of their Sins, Health of their or their Fa [...]her's Souls. From all which thou obse [...]vest, as if F H. having told thee, that Tythes were a Forced Maintenance, here hims [...]lf [...]ath proved them to be a Free Gift.

Answ. 1. There might be sufficient Exception t [...]ken against thy warring the point, for which the Instances of R [...]tephen, &c. were brought, 'twas to prove the Evil and Superstitious Ends for which those Tythes were given, which thou om [...]ttest to answer.

2. Here also thou bringest a false Conclusion from his Dis­cou [...]se, and so abuses that Author. What! because some par­ticular Tythes were given, must Tythes in general be a Free Gift, as thy words insinuate? But

3. I answer Further, What was in their Power to give, as [Page 24] the Tenth of their Mannors, &c. or the Tenth of the Rents, &c. relates not to us, but was free for them to give: but to give the Tenth of Man's Time, or his Labour, &c. was not their's, and they could not intail it to after Generations, as I in­stanced before; and this is no Proof against us, or Matter of just Exception against him.

Yet upon this Trivial and Groundless Exception, atten­ded with thy strained Observation, art thou pleased to make Four or Five further Demands, which as they require I shall re­turn an Answer.

The Substance of thy First is, Whether if we or thou should give a Ninth Part of our Estate to Teachers of our Per­swasion,pag. 10. and then sell the Eight Parts, and abate the Buyer proportionably in the Price, would not we accompt the Buyer a Thief that should take that Ninth, and call it his own? Tell me whether this be the Case?

Answ. 1. I answer, Its not our Case; yet

2. I grant that I may sell or give a Ninth, Eighth, Se­venth, a Quarter, or Third, or what part or parts I will of my Estate, and make him to whom I give or sell an Unquestio­nable Title (respecting the Law, &c.) as also the Remainder to whom I please, provided hereby each knows his own, then let them dispose of it to what Uses they please, one hurts not the other: But I cannot sell or intail the Labour, Strength, Industry, &c. of any Man to the Service of another, or to Evil, or to my supposed Good Uses.

But if he whoh as any of the parts, tilling his own for that part, or in Consideration of that Land, according to the Mind or Will of the Giver, Worship an Idol, pray for a Soul de­parted, &c. or with the Increase and Profits thereof sacrifices to the Devil or Heathenish Godds, it concerns not him who has the other: yet if I sell the whole to one, as all our Deeds of Purchase are, having dedicated a Ninth or Tenth to one or other Godd of my Imagination, this shall not obliege him to whom I have sold to Pray for, Worship his Godd, Labour for his Deity, or such like, to the Infringing of his Just Liber­ty, [Page 25] or Imposing upon that Person whom God in Christ has made a free Agent to Labour for him All the Hours in the Day, and the Dayes of his Life, and to dedicate the Fruit of his Industry to the Lord only, to whom he is accomptable, So I agree a Ninth of the Land, which is certain, I may give or sell, which is certain and partionable; but part of Man's La­bour, &c. neither give nor sell I can, its not to be partitioned or divided; Man cannot serve two Masters, God and the De­vil; for he's wholely the Lord's. I gave him not his Strength, his Industry, &c. I cannot require it of him without his Con­sent.

I set him, or Lease him Lands, I may require it from him according to my Contract, and do him no Wrong. And here's the Difference; so that if Men have been so Wicked to give or grant, or thou or we be so Wicked and Unjust to give, grant or sell what's not our own, our grant is void, and hurts not him whom we would Wrong: And he that's so In­jurious is the Thief and Agressor, and not he that deny­eth to subject himself to such Injustice. And this is our Case.

Thy Second Demand is but a Repetition of a for­mer, which had its Answer in its place;pag: 10. so I shall pass it over.

Thy Third Demand is, Whether we may not as fairly teach such as are Tenants to Papists at this Day, or to vitious Land-lords,p. 10, 11. to pay no Rents, because employed to Popish or Prophane Ʋses, &c?

Answ. I answer, We neither teach others, nor deny to pay our Rents to our Land-lords for being Vitious in their Con­versation, or being Papistical, Episcopal, Presbyterian, &c. in their Judgment; nor doth the Evil Uses to which they im­ploy their Rents (which we are not probably privy, much less accessary unto) when in their hands concern us or them as Te­nants. But Tythes, if we pay, we know the Uses and abet them, and cannot plead Ignorance to God and Man; as I [Page 26] may instance a short Case, As if I delivered a Knife this day to one, and to morrow he kill a man therewith, I (having neither been in his Counsel, nor abetted such Action) am not guilty of such Blood, nor an Accessory in the Law: But 'tis otherwise if I give it to that End, or abet such Design, the Blood will then also lie at my Door. The Case then of Rent to Land-lords and Tythes to Priests differeth in this; the first abets not, but is Ignorant of the Evil Use or Murder, so Innocent; the second knows them, and is an Accessory thereto, so Guilty of the Fact. Therefore do we Pay the Former, but Deny the Latter.

Again, Thou queriest, Do not Contracts between Buyers and Sellers of Land equally obliege, as between Land lord and Tenant?

Answ. I answer, They do equally obliege. I perceive this Query is but a Relick of the former mistaken Assertion in thy former Letter, That Tythes are part of the Rents and Services re­served in our Deeds of Purchase, which has Answer in its place. And he that's but a N [...]vice of a Conveyancer knows very well, that there's not one Clause in our Deeds that oblieges us to pay Tythes; but to pay Rent to the Land-lord be sure there wants not such a Covenant in our Lease.

And further, that I may explain to thy Understanding, That Tythes, for which thou pleadest, and the Priest persecutes, are neither a Reserved Rent nor a Tenth of my Estate, that I ne­ver purchased, nor a distinct Part that the Seller reserved upon the Sale to some other Proprietor, as thou wouldst insinuate, appears in this, that they differ from the nature and tenure of all such Proprieties and Interests; as for Instance.

  • 1. If I have a Third or other Part of a House, Land▪ &c. which I have purchased, I can have Writ of Partition for such part, and know my own.
  • 2. If Land-lord, I can enter, and Seize for my Rent.
  • 3. If chief Lord of the Fee, I can make a Distress for the chief Rent, &c.
  • 4. If Title to any part of Land in others Possession, I can [Page 27] bring an Ejectment, or other real Action, and Recover my In­terest.

But the Priest, Pope, Presbyter [...] &c. for Tythes can neither Distrain, Re enter, Seise, Eject, or Enter upon any man's Possessi­on; which shews the Mistake thou hast run upon through­out thy whole Discourse, and that they have no such Interest as Tenth, one or other part or just Propriety in our Estates, as thôu supposest, and doest unadvisedly suggest. And here's the mistaken Foundation thou hast unadvisedly built upon.

Thy Fourth Demand is rather framed into a Resolve then a Question, alledging, (although others have esteemed T [...]thes due to God of Divine Right, &c.) thou hopest, we are not required, nor do we believe them Spiritual.

Answ. I agree with thee, we do not, nor moral neither, un­der the Gospel.

But to end this Paragraph thou tellest thy Reader, That some think, that if they were indeed Spiritual, neither we nor the Priests would strive for them.

Answ. A Quaint Observation: And must we believe, that those Spirituals of thy Cast should only pallate them, if they were such? If that be thy Judgment, why so much Contest about such Carnals?

But I pass it, to thy Fifth Demand (Ʋnto F. H. his alledging, That the Law gives no Man a Property, but preserves mens Rights, &c.) thou excepts, That Laws are made for Maintenance of the Poor, &c.

Answ. I answer, They are good Laws; and 'tis Equal and Just the Poor should have Relief. And to give to the Poor was a Law before men made a Statute to enforce the Justness thereof; which if Tythes had been to a pretended Preacher of the Gospel, the Cases had been parallel, which now hold no Equality.

But sayest thou, The Author viz. F. H. hath not yet proved, why Laws may not be admitted for Maintenance of Ministers, as well as Poor?

[Page 28] Answ. To which I answer, Thou requirest a meer Absurdity of him: What! to prove a Negative? Wise Men will tell thee, He who affirms must prove. Make but good the Affir­mity, which hitherto thou hast not, and we will grant thee the Negative. Its a Task I question not when set about will cost thee Pains; and there I leave it.

I have not willingly avoided any Question or Query thou hast put or desired Answer in; but according to my Under­standing given thee a plain Resolve to whatever might proba­bly remain a Debt or Scruple in the Mind of thee or thy Friends concerning us, and our Testimony toward God in this Mat­ter.

That any of our Perswasion in London should have their Rea­son vanquisht in the Strength of thy Arguments, as thou affirmest, I assure thee, it appears to me strange, if not incredible: I must be plain to tell thee, I rather judge the Over-Fondness of thy own new Notions, occasioned thee to mistake the Persons or their Judgments in this Case of Controversie. And how­ever thou mayest conceitedly term our Sufferings in this Cause Acts of Prodigality, we know its not for Self, but for the God of our Life that we undergo such Spoil and Hardship from our Merciless Enemies.

And I must tell thee, That I have not only weighed thy Arguments against our Testimony, which have their Answer; but also that Address thou makest to our Friends, which with­out due Observation I cannot let slip, the reading whereof brought to mind that Parallel of Judas his Salutation of our Saviour (when he betrayed him into the Hands of the Priests) Hale Master, and kissed him. So it pleaseth thee to give us the Appellation of thy Dear Friends, and with smooth words to tell us, Thy Soul truly pitties us; when alas, 'tis but a Mask to co­ver that Face that would either Blush or wax Pale at such Acti­ons. The Wise Man tells thee, He that Hateth Dissembleth with his Lip [...], and layeth up Deceit within him, Prov. 26. 24. Whose Cause pleadest thou against us▪ Into whose Hands wouldst thou betray us after thy smooth Salutation? Is it not into such Hands as [Page 29] Judas did his Master? why tellest thou us not? Art thou asha­med in plain words to discover? yea, not improbable that's in secret reserve. But its not difficult to guess who desires to be Executioner: What! thy Dear Friends, and yet charging us,p. 13 14. That under a disguise of Godliness for many years we have been highly guilty of those Wicked Sins of Stealing, Slandering and Lying, and what not; yea, insinuating, That we are more Criminal before God and Man then Common Notorious Thieves: And shall not we know what Mercy thou hast in store for thy Dear Friends after all? yea; sayest thou, Malefactors suffer Death by Law for stealing things of small Accompt, but your Robbery is oft of great Value; p. 14. Here's the Judgment, which thou wantest a New-England Law to execute. For the Laws here (sayest thou) are very Favourable: Yes, they extend only to the depriving us of our Civil Liberty, Imprisonment of our persons, and Confiscation of our Goods and Estates (Life excepted) too easie a requital for such Facts as thou wouldst make thy Dear Friends guilty of. What shall be said to this? but as the Wise Man, That Violence covereth the Mouth of the Wick­ed, and his Tender Mercies are Cruel, Prov. 10. 6. 12. 10. If this be Entertainment for thy Friends, what Quarter must E­nemies expect at thy hands?

Much more might be added, or returned upon thee; but whether we or thou and thy Party have uttered a Reproach or Slander, or are guilty of Lying, Stealing and bearing False Witness against our Neighbour, let God's Witness in the Unpr [...]judiced amongst, them that have heard thy Charge and our D [...]fenc [...] give a Judgment.

And now I must tell, I take it well from thy Hands or the Printer, that have been so kind to place J. Wilfford's Letter to close thy Discourse, notwithstanding it seems to thee as nothing to the Question; I am satisfied, the Simplicity of his will wound, wher [...] thy Sophi [...]ry cannot, and shall have a place in the Con­sciences of such who are at this day real Enquirers after the Good Old Way and Promised Land.

And now since I have been so fair to answer thy Question, What Right the People have to Tythes? judge it not an Unreasona­ble Demand to answer me, Who has that Right thou denyest [Page 30] us? Let's know whether it be the Popish, Episcopal, Presbyterian, &c. Cause thou pleadest? If thou be an Advocate to a Just Cause, never be ashamed of thy Client. How consonant the Cause is to thy late Profession in Civil or now Religious Mat­ters, I leave to thy own Consideration: I shall forbear Refle­ction, and request thee, That if any thing yet remains, wherein thou mayest suppose Writing or the Press Serviceable to thy Interest; ra­ther chose solid Arguments then severe Reflections to convince the Reader; nor let thy Prejudice pass Judgment upon a sup­posed Offender till thou hast heard his Plea and Defence; 'tis possible his Innocency may correct that Prejudice which leads to False Judgment.

And to conclude remember the Wise Man's words, It is an Honour for a Man to cease from Strife; but every Fool will be med­dling, Prov. 30. 3. If thou hast done Foolishly in lifting up thy self, or if thou hast thought Evil, lay thine Hand upon thy Mouth: the for­cing of Wrath bringeth forth Strife, Prov. 30. 32, 33. This at present may suffice (till I have thy Reply) from him who is a Re­al Friend to thee and all Men

Thomas Rudyard.
TYTHES NO Goſpel-Ord …

TYTHES NO Gospel-Ordinance.

OR, A Justification of all those, whonot only in this Age, but in the Ages past since the Apostacy, have for Conscience sake born their Testimony against TYTHES.

Wherein is Demonstrated, That it is directly contrary to Christ's Commission given to his Ministers, and contrary to the Apostles Practice;

Occasioned through C. N's Unreasonable and Unchristian like Contending for the Lawfulness of Tythes.

By G. W. a Lover of the Truth.

He that Justifieth the▪ Wicked, and he that Condemneth the Just, are both an Abeminaiion to the Lord, Prov. 17. 15.

Printed in the Year, 1673.

TYTHES No Gospel-Ordinance.

MAN by Wisdom knows not God; neither can the Things of God be found out by Man's Wisdom, but are altogether hid from it; they are of too pure a Nature for that Eye to see, or for that Heart to receive: But there is an Eye, that God in his Loving-kindness has open­ed, that can with great Delight behold those Glorious Truth [...] that he has promised; and there is a Heart that can Rejoyce in the sensible Feeling of the opening of that Wisdom that the World by all their Wisdom cannot see or know: This was it that caused Abraham to Rejoyce, who saw the Day of Christ, his Eye affected his Heart, he rejoyced at what he saw; and blessed Paul counted all things Loss in respect of this True Wis­dom and Knowledge, which only is to be found in Christ Jesus, through the Death of the Cross, which crucifies unto all this World's Wisdom and Glory, so that Death having past there­on, that New Life may be witnessed wherein all things become New; and into this Life hath the Lord our God begotten a Remnant, which are accounted to him for a Generation, un­to whom he has revealed his Counsels, and his Wisdom is with them, and by it are they made able to judge of things that differ; and in which Judgment we certainly find where Men's Standings are, the Lord being come in Numbers of his Saints to Judge the Inhabitants of the Earth, so it was in the Apo­stles dayes, and so it is now in the True Church: For the Spiritual Man judgeth all things, yet is [...]e Judged of no Man; and without all Doubt the Apostle in those Dayes, by the Wise Men of this World, was esteemed a Boaster, yet was he certain of what he said, knowing, that in the True Wisdom [Page 34] of the Spirit of God, they could fathom all Men, but could not be fathom'd by them that were out of this Wisdom: The Wisdom of the Servants of the Lord is in the Light from a­bove; but the others is in the Darkness from below, which cannot comprehend the Light, nor those that live therein: Yet Vain Man in this Fallen Wisdom will be a Judging and speaking Evil of the things he knows not, among whom is found C. N. although to his great Infamy and Confusion; who has wedded the Cause that Antichrist by his Servants has supported against the true Christians in many Ages; and hath ju­stified that Ungodly Generation, & condemned the Generation the Righteous, who in the Patience of the Lamb, and in his Li­ving Testimony, have born their Testimony against that Car­nal Imposition and Maintenance of Tythes, as do testifie Re­cords in Ecelesiastical Matters; witness that Truly Noble-Minded William Thorpe, who among the rest of the Testimonies he had for the Lord, this was one against Tythes; he lived in the dayes of Henry the 4th of England, and was persecuted by Thomas Arundell, the then Arch Bishop of Canterbury, a Man highly infamous for his Envy to the Truth, and to those that followed the Lord according to the Measure of Light they had then received; where Thorpe openly declared, ‘"That although Tythes were brought in and ordained by Gregory the 10th, yet it was not consonant nor agreeable to Truth; nor the Practice of the Apostle Paul, whose Example (saith he) all ought to follow, even as he was a Follower of Jesus Christ, who received no Tythes, neither did his Disciples; but God opened the Hearts of those they went unto, so that they had no Lack; and some wrought with their Hands, that so the Gospel might not be thought Burthensom by any, such Care took they of the Gospel."’ The whole Discourse of Wil­liam Thorpe with Thomas Arundell touching this Matter would be too tedious to insert here, although it is truly deserving our Knowledge, and may be found at large in Fox's Acts and Monuments in his Universal History, fol. 669, 700.

Thus we may perceive, that the Honest-hearted, not only in this Age, but in several Ages, have born their Testimony [...] this settled and forced Maintenance, as being bad in its [Page 35] Original; and that that is Bad in its Root cannot be Good in its Fruits: It was a Work brought forth in the fallen Wisdom, because directly Contrary to that Way that Christ ordered his Ministers to walk in, for when they were to go forth, they were not to make any Provision, but to relie on the Lord that sent them forth; and when they returned, their Answer was, That they lacked nothing: And the Apostles, who were the true Ministers in the true Church, followed the same Example, who had the Lord to take Care of them, who alwayes takes Care of his own.

But the Wisdom of this World hath fashioned out to it self a Church, some after one Fashion, some after another, so that the whole of their Inventions makes up a Spiritual Babel; and all her Likenesses and Imitations are truly discerned by those that follow the Lamb, her gilded Cup cannot deceive them; the Elect of God cannot be deceived, it is not possible they should; neither canst thee C. N. deceive them, although thou appear with a very fine spun Thread of Babel's Wisdom: yet in the Wisdom of the Lord, which is with his People, thou & the rest of you that are concerned in this Work are found out, & weighed in the Ballance of God's Sanctuary, & found to be of one Spirit with the former Builders of Babel that were in times past, whose Names stink to Posterity, and thus have brought on your own Heads all the Righteous Blood that hath been shed on this Accompt; and it doth cry to God for Vengeance, because you have opposed the Righteous Seed in many Ages, and still do, notwithstanding that the Lord has very eminently appeared for and with his Servants on this Accompt, by enabling them in the Virtue of his own life, to testifie against the Hireling and his Wayes; who cryes to the People, Hear the Word of the Lord, and they have it not, neither hath the Lord sent them: But Christ's Sheep knows his Voice, and a Stranger they will not follow; and therefore it is, we cannot follow thee C. N. thy Voice is a Strangers Voice, thou savourest not the things that are of God, but of the Serpent, wherefore we may justly say to thee, get thee behind us Satan; For what dost thou aim at? Is it not to save thy self? or is it not that thou wouldst provide for the [Page 36] Hirelings of thy own Fraternity, hoping that you shall yet see such dayes as you despise, and therefore plead for them at a distance? but the Lord to his everlasting Praise has delivered us out of the Hand of that Lordizing Generation, and hath given unto them the Reward of their Works, even Shame and Contempt.

And Friends and People, since we have to do with these Workers in Mystery Babylon, if we would know them aright, we cannot know them truly but in their Ground, in their Rice, in that that's hid like a Snake in the Grass, that that co­vers itself with a Fig Leaf of Self-Righteousness, they ap­pear like Sheep, but at last manifest themselves to be inwardly Ravening Wolves, and secretly smite the Righteou [...] in the hinder parts, as they are in their Travel towards the Holy Land, as the Enemies of God and his People did in the dayes of old that Cursed Race of Esau (who no doubt could claim some Right in Abraham to be their Father) yet they were in one Spirit with the Philistines▪ and would both of them have hin­dred the true Israelite: to enter and enjoy the Possession that God had Provided for them. Oh Foolish M [...]n, and Unwise I Know you not, that none of your Weapons against God's In­heritance shall prosper: And do you Professors still go on from one degree of Wickedness to another, till you meet joyntly in Unity of spirit with the Wicked Enemies of God, that have been in many [...]ges, and still are, and to strengthen the Hands of those that should be weakened, and seek to weaken the Hands of those that should be strengthened, the Lord God of our Life, that you have opposed, will c [...]tainly remember you, and all you Workers in Mystery Babylon shall be stripped naked to the loathing of your Professions: For in you is found the Blood of the Saints, you being found in the Unity of spirit with the Former and Latter Persecutors. The Day is come that God is revealing the Secrets or Men by his Son Christ Je­sus; and the hidden things of Babylon, which you plead for, are brought to Light by the Brightness of his coming, from which you cannot be hid. And he hath brought in an Everlast­ing Priesthood; and hath put an End to that old Priesthood, [Page 37] and its Maintenance, which in God's Day and Time was Glorious, of which Priesthood you never were; and there­fore with what Confidence can you plead for that Mainte­nance that never did the Work of that Priesthood? And it is most manifest that that Priesthood is now changed from whence the Apostle pleads a Necessity of a Change of that Law, since the Priesthood was changed, and you your selves confess that that Priesthood is changed; and wherefore then will you plead for keeping that part of the Law? the Reason here­of is so manifest (that it is Self-Interests) that you cannot hide your selves; for having not your Call from God to be Mini­sters, you cannot depend on him for a Livelihood; and so being unacquainted with the Life of Faith, but living in that wisdom that is from below, will be assured of that Maintenance. And thus 'tis plain, who it is thar pleads for Tythes; it is Man's Self in his fallen Wisdom; and if Self be not answered, Self will persecute for it, if he hath it not; and this hath been their Pra­ctices for many Ages, and still are.

And further, Consider what the Effects of this Settled Main­tenance have been all along since this Settled Maintenance was imposed; Do not Histories at large acquaint the World with the Clergies unsufferable Pride, living in Excess and Wantonness, and in the Venities of the Heathen; inso­much that those that feared the Lord could do no less then cry out against them, and lamented the Cursed Fruits that were produced by this Settled Maintenance of Tythes, to be no Preduce of any Gospel-Ordinance, but the Invention and Fruits of the Fallen Wisdom of Man, and so clearly out of the Way of the Lord's Ordaining, who sent his Ministers out without a­ny of these Provisions, and they lacked nothing, and that was Christ's Way, hereby teaching his Ministers to live by Faith; and tha [...] as they had Freely Received, so they were Freely to Give; and he that goeth forth otherwise has not Christ's Com­mission.

Therefore harken all you that are concerned in this Work with C. N. Consider whom it i [...] you serve; for herein the Lod bears me witness; You are of A [...]tichrist: Let your Covers be [Page 38] what they will, the Lord by his Spirit hath found you out, and you are of that Man of Sin whom Christ has revealed by the Brightness of his Coming, and will destroy by the Breath of his Month; your Works have been the Works of Babel's Brats, whom God hath meeted out for Destruction: And Blessed shall those Men be, that in pure Love to God have their Hearts sitted, as the Spiritual Archers of God, to shoot at you, oh you Sons of Babel! Blessed be our God, who hath made our Bow to stand in Strength against you▪ and in the Power of his Might we shall not spare, emptying our Quivers at you, because God is on our side; and in God we believe, that in his Strength we shall remain Conquerers; For our Faith standeth in the Power of God, which Power is over you all.

This was the Plea of the Wicked in the dayes past, We have a Law; by which they crucified the just; it is the same still with the Children of the same Father: when they are argued with in Matters of Tythes, by Christian Arguments are, put to their Wits End, say they, We have a Law for our Tythes▪ and we will hav [...] their; and this is that that C. N. has to say, They have a Law for it, &c. But it is evident, that this was no Law of Christ's Institution, nor of his Apo­stles, whom we are to follow, as they were Followers of Christ.

And further observe, That Persecution, Pride, and Ar­rogancy, and the like, have been the Fruits of such as have and do Contend most for it; and if according to Christ's Doctrine, we are to judge of the Tree by the Fruit, this must be an Evil Tree, that hath produced such Bad Fruit. But what is the Reason that C. N. with those of his Brotherhood, concern themselves now for Tythes? They are they that are generally displaced from them: But have they not an Eye to Reversion? a Hope to get into the Saddle if they could [...]et the Riders off? And is it not therefore you would keep the Beast in Readiness, that you might get on as soon as Occasion shall offer? Hath not God let some of you have a Tryal of your Hearts already in such [Page 39] a Condition; and who abounded more in Pride and Idle­ness then your Families? Who were Examples of more Vanity then your Wives and Children? And are you not the same still, where you can? And as you then Lordized over such as beard you, so do you still if any one do but Contradict you, and Conscientiously Contend with you; therefore may we not conclude, that your Desires to be in the Rooms of those that are now in, is not because they are Worse then you, but because you would Eat the Fat, and Drink the Sweet, and Live in Idleness, as you did be­fore? It is high time for you to refrain your lusting after the Onions and Garlick of Egypt, this Egyptian-Maintenance, that gratified their and their Families Lusts? And if you were come unto the Wisdom of God, that teach [...]th to pro­fit by every Dispensation, you would consider, God's Hand has been lifted up against you, and for what; has not your Evil Entreating the Tender People of the Lord, some of them for Refusing to Pay Tythes, some for other Causes, been the Reason of it, &c? But as in the dayes of Old, so now; they will not see, although the Lord's Hand hath been lif­ted up against them; and it is vident to some that knew some of you in the dayes past, that at some times some Good Desires after God were begotten in some of you, until they were choaked by your Coveting and Complying under your Fat Benefices; and this the true Witness of God in your Consciences will bear you Witness of in the Secrets of your own Hearts; and Glad should [...] be to hear or see that such were returned to those Desires again: but how few of you are come to be sensible of what you have done, and to cry out, That you have offended the Lord and his Peo­ple; but on the contrary, your Desires are [...] after that Sweet Morsel that you have lost, and after your Lordizing Power, which God in his Mercy has delivered his [...]ple from.

Happy were it for you, that yet you would consider, why the Lord hath and doth Contend with you, if that per­adventure your Eyes might be opened, your Ears uns [...]opped, and your Hearts affected, before this Glorious Day pass over [Page 40] your Heads, wherein God in his Great Loving-kindness hath visited Thousands, otherwise you shall [...] remain in your E­state of Darkness, whilst others dwell in the Light, and are at Unity with him that is True Light, whose Light ma­ny of you have opposed, and many of you have Blasphe­med, by speaking Evil of it. Yet I would make a Diffe­rence of you, and in the Fear of the Lord would be con­tent to be made an Instrument to pull some of you, as Brands out of the Fire, that you might be saved, and might come to know that Blessed Fellowship that is in the Light, and with those that walk therein, that so you might be­come Ministers indeed, Ministers of a Savory Life, Savo­ry to God, and Savory to the People of the Lord; but you are too wise in your own Wisdom to receive him that is esteem'd Foolishness to that Wisdom that is from below; you are too high to receive and believe in the True Light, by whom all Men are lightened that come into the World, who is the Way to the Father, and in which Light there is Life, which Life Leavens the Soul to God; this Light you have stumbled at; and there is no coming to the Father but by it; he is the Way, and the Truth: But it is the Poor that have received the Gospel, which is the Power of God; They were the Master-Builders that rejected him, as not fit for their Building; but to the True Builders he was, and is still the Chief Corner Stone, on which is founded all God's Holy Building in all Ages of the World, both Pro­phets, and Apostles, and all the holy Martyrs: he is the Way, the Inward Way; the Light of Life, that quickent unto God; and those that have experienced it can t [...]ll what its Good­ness and Worth has been to their Souls. Wisdom is justi­fied of her Children, And could you, as the Apostles, count the Loss of all your Attaintments Gain, that you might find this Knowledge, and this Wisdom; then would you be Happy, in coming to know this Only True Teacher, the Light, which many of you in Pride and Arrogancy have Opposed [...]; and it will shew you all that ever you have done; and what plainer Evidence can you have? is not this [Page 41] God's Salvation to the Ends of the Earth, to whom all are to look unto, and be saved: For to as many as received him, he gave Power to become the Sons of God; and he that hath received the Light, and hath Unity with it, hath Unity with God, with Christ, and with his People: And thus Christ is known to be a Saviour, who shall save People from their Sins.

Therefore whilst it is called to day, and the Peo­ple of the Lord have any Desires to God for you, when the Light of the Lord dawneth in upon your Hearts, re­fuse it not, but open unto him, and he will shew you his Salvation, he will lead you in a Way that you have not known, through the Pathes of Judgment unto the Land of E­verlasting Rest, which otherwise cannot be known.

So all of you know, That the true Priesthood is known, which differs from the Old both in Services and Mainte­nance; and unto this New Priestood all are invited, to his [...]nward Teachings, who is the New and Living Way, Life is in Christ Jesus, who is our Head, and from him doth his Members receive Life; because he liveth, we do live also; and he that receiveth him, receiveth us whom he hath sent▪ and yet of our selves we are nothing, but as he is pleased to operate in us, that so the Glory might be the Lord's, and that he might have the Preheminence over all, who is God blessed forever and ever.

And as for the particular Answers to the Articles of C. N. it is another's Work, I meddle not with it; but ha­ving found C. N. a Blasphemer against God, and his Holy City, who have born their Testimonies in the Spirit of the Lamb against that Forced Maintenance of Tythers, in ma­ny Ages of the World, I was not clear of him, nor of those that are at Unity with him in this Work, until I had laid God's Judgments over their Heads, and there must leave it: And remember this for all that you have done, Vengeance is the Lord's, and he will certainly repay; and conclude with Desires of Good-will to all Men, warning them, that [Page 42] they joyn not with thee C. N. or any in thy Spirit in this Cursed Imployment of seeking to strengthen the Hands of Persecutors against God's Inheritance; for his People that serve him are precious to him, and they that touch them are as they that touch the Apple of his Eye: The Lord upholdeth the Righteous, and maketh them as Pillars, supporting the Truth, against which the Gates of Hell shall not prevail.

George Watt.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. Searching, reading, printing, or downloading EEBO-TCP texts is reserved for the authorized users of these project partner institutions. Permission must be granted for subsequent distribution, in print or electronically, of this EEBO-TCP Phase II text, in whole or in part.