THE DVE RIGHT OF TITHES EXAMINED: In a LETTER from a Gentleman to his friend, wherein is proved that Jesus Christ did not work as a Carpenter, nor did ever command his Apostles or Ministers to work for a livelihood: By way of answer to some passages in Mr. Fishers Baby-Baptism.

By an aged Gentleman, who cannot long expect to have the comfort of Ministers or their Ministery.

Mal. 3.10.

Bring ye all the Tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing.

[depiction of sun]

London, Printed for Thomas Pierrepont, and are to be sold at the Sun in Pauls Church-yard. 1654.

A Copie of a Letter from a Friend.

LOving friend, amongst the many thoughts which these times doth cause within me, no­thing doth so much tronble me, as that the Adversary of mankinde, who transformeth himself into an Angel of light, thereby even to deceive the Elect of the Lord, if it were possible: who hath stirred up, in my apprehension, many men of parrs and gifts, to set themselves against a setled and constant Ministery, which God and Christ Jesus hath appointed and promised unto his Church and people, for to teach them to observe and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and said, Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world, Matth. 28.20. And this hath lately been attempted, by pe­titioning to the Supreme Power now in being, for the taking away of all means and maintenance from those they call Mi­nisters: hoping thereby to destroy and put down that Cal­ling, which I am perswaded the Lord himself did first insti­tute and ordain: And will continue and uphold it, even un­to the end: notwithstanding all their machinations and de­vices: [Page 2]for I am given to understand, they are confident that if they can prevail, to have all the means taken from them, whereby they may have a livelihood, that the Ministery will fall of it self, that then all gifted men may exercise themselves in their places, at pleasure, which being but duly considered of all such as truly fear the Lord, though themselves at pre­sent do not, what woful distractions and divisions will follow thereupon, my heart even trembleth to think on: for if once Maintenance and Encouragement be taken from the Mini­stery, and every man suffered to teach what himself pleaseth and approveth of, then may not men teach Atheisme, Hea­thenism, Turcism, Judaisme, Arrianisme, Libertimsme, Idol­worshipping, & what else mans corrupt and sensual wils may prompt them unto? and vvill not thereby be a fair opportu­nity given vvith liberty for Jesuites and all Sectaries calling themselves gifted men, for to draw Disciples after them, and also thereby making men to be factious, and causing divisi­ons amongst the people: causing thereby disturbances to a­rise, whereby it may be feared, but little peace will follow such courses? For how can the Lord give a blessing to such disordered doings? for God is not the Authour of confusion, but of peace: And the Lord never appointed, but one order & worship to his Church & people, at one time, as the whole Scripture testifieth; and that the Lord would have men to bestow in his service such temporal things, as he had freely given unto them for their use and sustentation; wherefore the Lord himself commanded and taught his people at the be­ginning, even before he appointed a Ministery or Ministers, for to offer Sacrifices unto him of those clean beasts and fruits of the earth which he had given unto them, thereby to manifest themselves his servants, and to shew forth their faith and obedience unto him their great Jehovah and Creatour: as Gen. 4.3, 4. and 8.20. Also Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the rest of the Patriarchs offered Sacrifices to the Lord, accord­ingly, long before they became a Nation or Common-weal; but after that they were multiplied & grown by the blessing [Page 3]and promise of the Lord made unto Abraham, that his poste­rity should be a great people and Nation, which was accom­plished in Egypt, from whence the Lord brought and delive­red them by his great and mighty power: Now the Lord ha­ving brought them forth by the conduct of his faithful ser­vant Moses, from out of Egype to the Mount Sinai, Exod. 19. And the Lord came down upon the Mount Sinai, on the top of the Mount. And the Lord called Moses up to the top of the Mount; and Moses went up. And unto Moses the Lord delivered his Law, the ten Commandements, which are to be kept by all people, with the Ceremonial Law appertaining to the Jews: And also appointed and commanded Moses to make a Taber­nacle, with all the utensils thereof, and the manner of the Sacrifices and offerings which the people were to offer, and to give out of their own proper goods and estates for the maintenance of the Tabernacle, and also the Tithes, with part of the offerings, and fourty eight Cities with their Sub­urbs, which the Lord gave and appointed for the Priests and Levites for the maintenance and subsistance of them and theirs. Now if that order and Priesthood of Aaron, which was to be abolished had such great maintenance, then shall not that order of Ministers, which our High Priest Christ Jesus hath set up, and appointed over his Church and chil­dren, have likewise means and subsistence provided for them and theirs in as great a measure, they being Ministers under Jesus Christ of his Gospel, which is far more glorious then that of the Law? And therefore to be provided for, as the Gospel teacheth, notwithstanding the clamours and petition­ing against it by divers, who profess the fear of the Lord, and seeming to be very forward promoters of the worship of God in the purity thereof: but I fear their zeal is not accord­ing to knowledge, but for their own ends, and to set up them­selves: no, nor yet the Gospel-way: and let such men de­clare or shew from Scripture, where ever Christ commanded that his Apostles, Disciples, or Ministers ought not or should not be provided for with means and mainteance, if they can: [Page 4]or that Christ ever appointed, or commanded them, to su­stain themselves by their own labours or occupations, or that Christ Jesus himself ever wrought as a Carpenter. And let all such blinde zealous persons take notice what Christ Jesus him­self said and did, Matth. 4.18, 19, 20. and Mark 1.17, 18. where Christ called Peter and Andrew: and said unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men; and they followed him: And can those Zelotes finde in Scripture, that ever af­ter that they used the trade of fishing for the maintenance of themselves and theirs, but followed their Ministeriall of­fice or Calling, Preaching and saying, The Kingdome of Hea­ven is at hand. And likewise will it not plainly appear to all men, except wilfully blinde, that the Apostles & Ministers of Christ Jesus ought to be provided for by those to whom they preached, as is evident by Christ Jesus his manner of sending them forth to preach the Gospel? Matth. 10.7, 8, 9, 10. and Luke 10.3, 4, 5, 6, 7. For the labourer is worthy of his hire: or did Christ ever forbid tithes to be paid to the Pharisees, which was for their maintenance, but approved thereof? for doth not Christ say, Luke 11.42. For ye tithe Mint and Rue, and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgement and the love of God; these ought you to have done: and not to leave the other un­done▪ where they may observe how our Lord Jesus Christ reproved the Pharisees for their passing over judgement and the love of God, wherein they should have instructed the people, but not for their tithing those small things, which lawfully they might, but in subordination to the weightier matters of the Law; neither can those men who are so earnest to have all Maintenance taken from Ministers, shew that ei­ther Christ Jesus or his Apostles and Ministers have any where in Scripture forbidden their successors and followers, either the taking of Tithes, or other Maintenance for to be allowed unto them: Nay, may it not be said unto those men, that Christ Jesus received Tithes? The reason, for that Abra­ham gave Tithes unto Melchisedeck of all, Gen. 14. which was long before the Lord appointed them to be given unto Aaron [Page 5]& his successors: for Christ Jesus was not an High Priest after the order of Aaron, but of Melchisedeck, unto whom Abra­ham gave a tenth part of all, of whom it is said without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of dayes nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, abideth a Priest continually: and in Psal. [...]0. and Heb 7. The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a Priest for sever after the order of Melchisedeck. Now for that it plainly appeareth that Melchisedeck was a Priest, figure and type of Christ Jesus; And his Priesthood, unto whom tithes were paid by Abra­ham the father of all the faithful; Let those Zelots from Scri­pture prove that neither tithes nor other maintenance ought to be given unto the successours of Christ Jesus, but that they ought to labour, working with their own hands for a livelihood, as those men say: but I affirm, that I never read, neither shall those men ever in Scripture read, that although Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, was called, Matth. 13.55. Is not this the Carpenters son? Is not his mother called Mary? and Mark 6.3. Is not this the Carpenter, the Son of Mary? but yet that he ever wrought as a Carpenter, the Scripture no where testifieth, but the Scripture saith, That at twelve yeeres of age he was found in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the Do­ctors, both hearing them and asking them questions, Luke 2.42.46, & 48. And his mother said unto him, Son why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. Now will any man but a blinde one from these words of Mary say, that Joseph her husband was Christs father? I believe not: but heare Christ his answer, Verse 49. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Fa­thers business? and they understood not the saying. Now if Christ Jesus was thus early about his heavenly Fathers business, can any man that hath his understanding, believe or think that ever he followed his supposed fathers calling, a Carpenter? And I would have such men as are so earnest against Mainte­nance for Ministers, and that say they ought to labour with their hands; to declare unto the World what outward trade, [Page 6]calling, or secular employment John Baptist had, or that he wrought with his hands to get a livelihood. What Scripture-proof they can produce; or that any one of the Apostles, E­vangelists, or Ministers did work with their own hands, save Paul and Barnabas, who did it of their own voluntary ac­cord? for they had neither precept nor command from Christ Jesus so to do: for if they had, surely it would have been mentioned in Scripture. And (no doubt) had there been any, but that Paul would have charged Timothy and Titus whom he calleth his sons, and those other Pastors and Teachers of the Churches, whom he chargeth to feed the flock of Christ Jesus, also to have laboured with their hands for a livelihood, had there been any such precept or command. Nay, Paul doth evidently testifie the contrary in sundry pla­ces of Scripture, for he saith, he had power, and might have been chargeable, as well as other the Apostles of Christ. And let all men consider, and read seriously what Saint Paul saith, 1 Cor. 9.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 Verses; how many arguments doth the Apostle there use to prove that Ministers ought to be maintained? as first, from the power that Christ hath given. Secondly, from warfare. Thirdly, from the planter of a Vineyard and feeder of a flock. Fourth­ly, from the Law of God. Fifthly, from Equity. Sixthly, from the example of those that served at the Altar. Seventh­ly, because The Lord hath ordained, that they which preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel. Eighthly, from 2 Cor. 5.20. They are called Ambassadours for Christ; and was it ever known but that Ambassadours and Souldiers were provided for? and doth not the same Paul, 2 Cor. 11.8. say, I robbed other Churches, taking wages of them to do you service? and 1 Thess. 2.6. he saith, Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the Apostles of Christ. And I pray God that the same minde might be in those men, who are so eager against all Maintenance for Mi­nisters, that was in Saint Paul: Not to seek glory from men, nor their followers or admirers by so doing. And let these men cō ­sider [Page 7]what Paul saith, Gal. 6.6. Let him that is taught in the Word, communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Therefore I say to such men as the Apostle in the next Verse saith, Be not deceived, God is not mocked, nor will not be mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, so shall he also reap: and 1 Thess. 5.12, 13. and 1 Tim. 5.18. For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the Oxe that treadethout the corn; and The labourer is worthy of his reward: and Philip. 4.10. Paul saith, I rejoyced greatly, that now at last your care for me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity: by all which above-said, I am fully perswaded, that it is the will of God the Father, and of Jesus Christ our Lord, Redeemer and Saviour, and of the Holy Ghost our Sanctifier, that the Ministers and Preachers of the Gospel should be provided for with a competent means and allowance: whereby they may cheerfully perform the work of their Ministery and cal­ling without grief of minde and spirit, or their working with their own hands for a livelihood: although Mr. Fisher in his great book lately set forth against Infants-Baptisme, the Mi­nistery and Ministers of all Christendome, page 598. saith, You plead, That the mouth of the Ox must not be muzzled, that tread­eth out the corn: that it is the will of God, that such as preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel: I answer, it is most true, there is a power and liberty allowed for such as serve the Church to eat and to drink and to subsist (in case they can­not subsist otherwise) at the charges of the Church; but it is most commendable and thank-worthy in the Ministery to serve the Church and preach the Gospel freely: and as far as it is possible not to be burthensome in this kinde at all, as namely in case they have any estates of their own, or can im­prove themselves in any such outward employment, labour, or lawful calling whereby to obtein a competent livelihood. And thus the Apostle Paul, and the first Ministers of the Gospel did, they laboured, working with their own hands, as oft as they could conveniently, and their own hands ministred to their own necessities, and they had some honest outward occu­pation, [Page 8]as also Christ himself had, and followed too till he was wholly taken up in travel to preach the Truth. Therefore Mark. 6.3. Is not this the Carpenter?) wherein they wrought at all times, saving when they were actually employed in some service of preaching to the World, writing, disputing, vi­siting, &c. as is plain to him that consults these Scriptures, Acts 18.3, 4, and 20.33, 34, 35. 2 Cor. 11.7. and 12.12, 13, 18. 1 Cor. 4.11, 12. 1 Thess. 29. 2 Thess 3.6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Thus far Master Fisher: To all which I briefly thus say, and hope that which is above written will satisfie all men whose under­standings are not blinded, and whose judgements are free and unprejudicated, doth not fully confute what Mr Fisher hath there written, and likewise cited by me: and I must needs further say, that Mr. Fisher did not do well for to leave out in his allegation of Mark 6.3. the Son of Mary: Shall I say he was blind & did not see it? or that he did it wilfully to deceive his simple followers? I leave all men to judge as they please: for I am perswaded that Mr. Fisher knoweth full vvell, being so vvell acquainted with the Scriptures, as himself pretend­eth to be, that those speeches and sayings were onely used by such as could not endure Christ his teaching and doctrine, thereby to disgrace both him and it, as is plain in Matthew and Mark in the Verses before and after above-alledged. And may not I truly say, that some formerly, and that some men there were and are of latter times, even in our memories, that have spoken against the faithfullest and painfullest Mini­sters and Preachers that have boldly reproved sin, hoping thereby to draw men to repentance, have they not been scof­fed at and called, one the son of an Oatmeal-man, another the son of a Smith, another the son of a Carpenter; and by other names according to their fathers Trade or occupation, there­by to disgrace them and their Ministery: now because they were so called, did they therefore labour in their fathers cal­ling? surely no. Secondly, to his proofs out of the Acts, how doth it thereby appear, that Paul was either by precept or command to labour in some Trade or Occupation to get his [Page 9]living, more then the rest of the Apostles or Disciples? As for Mr. Fishers proofs out of the Corinth. examine his and mine, and approve of them which are most agreeing to the minde of the Spirit of God, and the practice of Christ Jesus himself and of his Apostles, Disciples and Ministers, declared and set down in the New Testament. And for Mr. Fishers text 1 Thess. 2.9. I desire you to compare mine with his taken out of the same Chapter 6 Verse, and that out of Chap. 5.12, 13. as also that out of 1 Tim. 5.18. by all which places I hope it will cleerly appear that Ministers ought to have maintenance. Now concerning Mr. Fishers last proof, viz. 2 Thess. 3.6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Verses: I say, that the Apostle there speaketh not of Ministers, but of such that professed themselves to be Christians, and yet would live idlely upon the Churches charge: if you will but duly read and consider the said Ver­ses. Lastly, I desire all such men as are so opposite against a Ministery or maintenance for Ministers, to consider serious­ly with themselves, what judgements the Lord in Scripture did not onely threaten, but brought upon those places and persons who have contemned his faithful Ministers and Mes­sengers, taking from them their maintenance which was due unto them from the Law and Gospel, or ever did those places and persons enjoy peace and quietness from the Lord, till they repented, and till the Lords worship was first restored, and his Ministers and messengers provided for: Let these men declare from Scripture, if they can; and may not such men be termed worse then Pharaoh, for he allowed a portion for the Priests of Egypt, Gen. 47.22. Neither did the Heathen Mo­narchs that ever I read of, suffer their Priests to labour for their livelihood, but allowed maintenance unto them: And will Christians, professing the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, labour to deprive his Ministers and Messengers of maintenance, forcing them to labour for a livelihood? God forbid: but, I trust, the Lord, by his Providence, hath raised up these men that now are the Supream Power of this [Page 10]Common-weal, to perform the Lords will, for the setling of a competent maintenance for his Ministers or Messengers, to the rejoycing, I hope, of the hearts of all that truly love and fear the Lord. And that they may so do, the good God of heaven and earth make them as so many Zerubbabels, and Nehemiahs, for the setting up of his worship in purity among us, and the upholding of pious, able, and godly Ministers in the Common-weal, over which the Lord hath set them; that so not onely we, but our posterities may bless and praise the Lord therefore: Now leaving what I have written to your self, and all others that fear the Lord; and whose con­sciences are unbiassed to judge of what I have written. And if it be not according to truth, let them not approve of it; but if not, rather reprove it; Farewell.

FINIS.

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