• The one Iuly 16. 1653.
  • The other Aug. 4. 1653.

Both of them not only against Tithes, but against all For­ced or Constrained Maintenance of Ministers, Examined and found many waies faulty against Piety and Justice, and as such now discovered, By THEOPHILUS PHILADELPHUS.

The Harvest is great, but the Labourers are few, pray ye therefore the Lord of the Harvest, that he would send forth Labourers into his Harvest.

Luk. 10.2.

The Labourer is worthy of his hire.

Luk. 10.7.

Doe yee not know that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the Temple, and they which wait at the Altar, are partakers with the Altar. Even so the Lord hath ordained, that they which Preach the Gospell should live of the Gospell.

1 Cor. 9.13, 14.
Aug. de Temp. Serm. 2 19. Tom. 10. p. 640.

Meus est homo quem feci, mea est terra quam colis, mea sunt & semina quae spargis, mea animalia quae fatigas, mei sunt imbres, & pluviae & ventorum flamina mea sunt, meus est solis calor & cum omnia mea sint elementa vivendi, tu qui manus accommo­das solum decimam merebar is — Deus sibi tantum decimam vendicans nobis omnia condonavit ingrate fraudatur & perfide — redde domino pluenti mercedem &c.

OXFORD, Printed by L. LICHFIELD Printer to the University, for THO: ROBINSON. Ann. Dom. 1653.

TO THE Ministers of England in GENERALL.

DEare Brethren, the Scripture giveth you the title of Watchmen, and o­verseers, Ezek. 3.17. Act. 20.28. and these Titles admonish you of your office, which is to Watch and Oversee yourselves and others, Act. 20.28. Heb. 13.17. Open your eyes I pray you, and look first with­in you, and then about you, and a­bove you, that you may discover (if it may be) why God raiseth such swarmes of Adversaries, (so many thousand Petitioners) to storme you, and to starve you, why so many call you Priests in spight and scorne, who would be your Priests to sacrifice you, if that Gods providence by the civill & military sword, did not pro­tect you, & Black coates who would (were it in their power make you like the Priests of Ceres, by aTunicam quam initiati­onis die indu­erant, novam nunquam erue­bant, quoad tandem lacera gestari, ampli­us nequiret. Lud. de Vi­ves in Aug. de Civ. Dei l. 7. c. 20. ragged, or like to Bedlams, by a naked beggary brought upon you) while you have leave to wear them (though many weary of the contempt of them, and some fearing perill by them, have put themselves into other colours) let them mind you as (mourning habits) of your sad condition, first and most by sinne, and then of the bitter fruits, which God many [Page]times serveth up, as a second course to those, who use to glut themselves with sweet meats.

Give me leave I beseech you (not as a Diocesan, or provinciall Inquisitor, to put upon you any Visitation Articles: or as a Cano­nicall Informer, to present you for any crime or excesse which I knew by any one of you, I would rather cover it in charity, then discover it with Scandall, but to be your remembrancer, admoni­tor, or (if that be too much) Petitioner, praying you to examine, and consider with your selves, whether you have not been too much addicted to ease and delicacy of life, whether you have so ordered your own, and your Wives and Childrens, and servants conversation (so farre as in you lay) as by them to set an imita­ble example of sobriety, piety, modesty, and gravity before their eyes, whose eares you fill with instructions and directions in all morall duties, whether you have not been more remisse and indif­ferent in publique and common concernements of Religion, then in your own particular interests, whether you have accounted your Parochiall Incumbencies as burthens, & Pastorall charges to bestow your vigilance and diligence upon the soules of your Peo­ple, or as Benefices whereto you intentively apply your selves, for your Benefit and advantage in this World, taking the oversight of the flock, rather for filthy Lucre, then of a ready mind 1 Pet. 5.2.

Whether you have made your selves known to be the Disciples of our Saviour, by that Christian character of his Iohn 13.35. Of mutuall love one to another, and have not rather uncharitably censured and estranged your selves from your Brethren, for very small, and meere problematicall dissentings in opinion, whether with David Psal. 119.136. you have bewailed the wickednesse of o­thers, especially theirs, whose duties and sinnes are of neerest affi­nity and offence to your own, It may seem very strange, that an hea­then Pharaoh, should be so favourable to his Priests, that in a time of extraordinary dearth, he would not suffer their lands to be sold, as the lands of his other Subjects. Gen, 47.26. That Jesabell should be so free and bountifull, as to feed 400 false Prophets at her ta­ble 1 Kings 18.19.In his Apo­logy for D. Featly called Sacra Nemesis Sect. 10. p. 163. That the Jewish Priests and Levites, (of whom many were more lewd, then I hope are most of you) enjoyed Tithes, and many other emoluments, amounting to a farre grea­ter valew, then all the revenue remaining to the Ministers of Eng­land, and were never deprived of them from Moses to Malachy (for the space of 1038 yeares) That in the time of the Bishops in every [Page]Parliament since the Reformation (as a late Writer observeth) there hath been a Bill put in against double Beneficed Ministers, pursued with all vehe­mence and eagernesse but ever stopt with a crosse Bill against Impropriations, that then the great scandall and aggrievance was Plurality, and Non-residence, and the great businesse of Religious Christians, to buy Impropriations, for incouragement and support of Incumbent Pastors, That now on the contrary, in this age (pretending an higher degree of reformation, and a greater zeale of propagation of the Gospell) the cry should be up so loud, to put downe all set and certain maintenance of all Ministers, even of those who out of conscience, have refused Pluralities, (when by the favour of Pa­trons they were pressed to accept them) and by the Law of the Land were allowed to enjoy them, and who are most constant, and conscionable in discharge of their duty of Preaching twice a day to their single charges: and lastly, That Godly persons (such as many would seeme to be, and that may be divers are, though in this poynt exceedingly misled) should joyne with the prophane and covetous whom God abhorreth Ps 10.3. To make their portions fat with the spoyles of the Ministry, and that this should be so impe­tuously pursued, by way of petition to the Parliament, as if it were the first and principall worke they had to doe. This is it, which may make us first admire, and then with Rebecca to inquire of the Lord why is it thus Gen. 25.22. May it not be, because the Lord lookes for, (but findes not) more proficiency towards perfection of us of this generation (according to our greater meanes, and clearer light) then he did of those who served at the Jewish or Po­pish Altar, or of such Protestant Clergy men, who have alterd the office of an Evangelicall Minister, from fishing for men, Mat. 4.19. to fi­shing for preferrement, and his conversation, from the simplicity and Godly sincerity of the Apostle 2 Cor. 1.12. to a subtle and ungodly plausibility, to humor and please men more then God, what ever that is (for which God hath raised this storme against us) let us beseech him to shew us the meanes whereby it may be calmed, and to help us effectually to apply them, that his displeasure may be appeased towards us, and that our waies may so please him, that our ene­mies may be at peace with us. Prov. 14.7.

There be some of our Tribe who take it not for a Tempest but for such a favourable Gale of wind as may blow them some good, or at least not blast them or doe them any hurt: and of these I find three sorts. 1. Some have their portion of Tithes in such small [Page]and Scattered parcells that they hope for more, but feare not lesse, by taking away of Tithes. 2. Some have the lesse need to be ga­therers of Tithes, because having gathered Churches in Cityes or great Townes where many of their Church members are Rich and bountyfull to them, I have heard it from a very honest Citizen who (though none of the Richest) gave (for his part) 101 a yeare, and so many more joyned with him in such contribution to their Minister, as made up no lesse then 3001 a yeare, which was paid him with love and chearfullnesse, and this he had without any great expence either ordinary, or extrordinary, wherwith country Benefi­ces (consisting most of Tithes) are heavily burthened. 3. Some who having an elder Brothers blessing in their portion of such re­venues, are willing to give up Tithes upon fair hopes given them that a more quiet, & comfortable provision will be made for them for by some they be excepted against as causes of much contention betwixt a Minister and his People, to whom I shall say something which doth joyntly and somthing that doth severally concerne them. 1. That which is of common concernement is, that none should regard his owne particular interest, so as to preferr it before the common good of able and Godly Ministers in Generall and it for the common good both of the Generation present, and of posterity, that Tithes be continued (as is sufficiently prooved in the Resolution of a doubt concerning the Alienation of Tithes from Ministers added to Sr Henry Spelmans larger Treatise of that Subject, Printed by Philemon Stephens An. 1653.) 2. And severally I say 1. To the Minister who is tuck up to so short an allowance in Tithes, that by Tithes (more proportionably distributed) he may be like to have a more competent allowance allotted unto him, then any way els. 2. For those who are better maintained with­out Tithes it must be consideed that the number of such is but small, and few places there are in these times (wherein many mens estates are so decayed and their opinions so diversifyed) which have a competent number of men, who for their Wealth are able and with good will would be ready to support a learned, and Orthodox Minister, with any congruity to his condition, in regard either of his worth or of his charge, & in some places they are gene­either so poore, so prophane or so like these plundering Petitio­ners, that a good Minister may be more like to be starved thē main­tained among them, Yea there are some of those, who have refu­sed Tithes, and cast themselves upon the Benevolence of their Peo­ple [Page]upon fair offers from them who have been put to com­plaine not only of the cooling of their affections, but of their breach of promises made unto them for their covenanted pen­tions.

Whereupon they have concluded that Ministers must have their maintenance by a legall right or else (for the most part) it is like to come short of the Levites allowance. Judge. 17.10. Thirdly to such as have sufficient subsistence by Tithes, which the Lawes allow and maintaine as their Right; I say they should not be willing to change it if they might have as much, or more, with more ease, and quietnes in another way; Naboth would not part with the Vineyard which was the Inheritance of his Fathers, though Ahab offered him a beter for it. 1 Kings. 21.2. For it is better to enjoy a revenue of an ancient and well grounded Title, then to take a new one of another kind, though of greater valew. It hath been a project of some men (where in some Ministers have acted their part)M. H. P. to re­duce all Tithes to a cōmon stock, or bank, to be dispenced by Com­missioners, and Committees, or some other publique Officers, from whose hands Ministers should receive yearely stipends in a propor­tion, which they call a competency of which an eminent Preacher saith thus.

A Competency, what is that and who shall judge of it? now the good Lord keep his Clergy from the vulgar competency, I speake what I knowe, and I speake it with a wet face, and a bleeding heart. I know Preachers of excellent parts that spend their strength in the Pulpit, who cannot lay out 50s in 5 years upon Bookes, but they must fetch it off the Backs, or out of the Bellyes of their poore Children, call you this a Competency, well, if we deserve no kindnesse, yet do us justice, let us have what your fathers gave us. Mr Rob. Har­ris now Dr Harris Presid. of Trin. Coll. in his Sermon on Isaiah. 38. called Hezck. Recovery.

Thus he Preached above twenty years agoe, when neither thou­sands nor hundreds appeared in a Petitionary way to or for the taking away of Tithes.

And if then it were thus, how much worse would it be with the most of the Ministers of this Nation, if their own Right taken from them, they were to be stinted by some State officer, what they should have, and at what rate they should live.

In short, the inconveniences, and evill consequences of this change, from an Ecclesiasticall to a Politicall Title, are neither few nor small. For

1. It cannot be good for the Minister, to change either his pay­master, or his payment, and it is sittest, that he whose worke he [Page]doth, and whose servant he is, should pay him his wages, God is his Master, and the wages he assignes for his worke is Tithes, which he hath not only ordained, but every yeare by his blessing on the creatures provideth for him.

2ly Since Tithes are by the production of the Divine benedicti­on, they make both a more Honourable, and more comfortable al­lowance, then a money pension arising from trade and commerce can be, wherein there passeth much sinne betwixt the buyer and the seller Prov. 20.14. In this respect, the Country Minister hath somewhat to cheare him up against the disparities, betwixt his condition, and theirs who officiate in the Citty, which I have expe­rimentally observed, having exercised my Ministry, both in Lon­don and elswhere, in London I had much and comfortable commu­nion with many worthy and well minded Citizens, many friendly and free invitations and entertainements, freedome from pub­lique Taxes, the Parishioners of their owne accord paying my part as well as their owne; In the Country, I have found it quite con­trary, yet there also I confesse is much difference; for in some places I have met with Godly & ingenious people, who have used me as well and respected mee as much as I could wish, in some others I have felt the worst of that wicked proverbe Pinch on the Parsons side in unjust and unproportionable assessements & other such injurious usages, as a Samaritan would scarce put upon a Jew, or a Jew upon a Samaritan.

3. The Ministers maintenance by Tithes being according to the Measure of Gods blessing upon the whole, is most equall in res­pect of them that pay, and him that receiveth Tithe, whether the increase be great or small, they proportionably share in gaine or losse, and when there is a plentifull crop, as the quantity is advantagious to both, so when it is scant and short the valew of it by a dearer rate of the measure maketh some amends to both, and so it may best serve for all times (whether they abound or abate) which is not to be expected from a stinted Pention for

4. This Pention of the Minister must either be changed many times as Laban changed the wages of Jacob, changed not by diminu­tion as his was, (for if he had encreased upon his changes, Iacob would not have remembred it as matter of aggrievance) but by augmentation, or it will be much to the prejudice of poore Mi­nisters many wayes, in regard of the different rates of things in [Page]severall ages whereof see many observiable instances with their proofes in the Resolution of the doubt forementioned as of 20 marke a yeare at one time enough honorably to main­taine a studdent in the Innes of Court and this a charge only to be borne by the Sonnes of Noble men,Resolution of the touch of the aliena­tion of Tithes p. 56. and 10 markes a yeare sufficient for a Vicar to maintaine himselfe, and to keepe hospitality when a quarter of Wheat at the dearest rate was twelve Shillings, and the lowest sometime but one Shilling, and a man might buy a Yoake of Oxen for a marke which whe­ther we refer it to the Plenty of provision, or paucity of Peo­ple or scarcity of mony wherein the later ages most abound, because it is continually digged out of the Earth, and seldome buried in the earth againe, (what ever might be the cause and sometimes altogether might concurre) it may reduce the Minister to streights, if those things he must necessarily use increase in price and his pention like a Dwarse growes not at all.

5. The change of Tithes into state pentions is like (though it be pretended to make for the Ministers ease and comfort) to proove extreamely troublesome and oppressive to him, for Ministers will be put in many places to take a part of their owne portion for a favour, which hetherto they might wholy claime and recover as their right: the charge of the new Offi­cers of this designe will eat up a great part of the Tithes of each Parish and when a Minister cometh for his pay they will tell him perhaps money is not come in, or layd out to others that come before him or were worthy to be served before him, and will weary him by long & tedious attendances (with such an intent as Felix had when he sent for Paul the oftener before him, hoping that Mony should be given him of Paul that he should loose him. Act. 24.26.) That they may dispatch of his busines when it hath been dayly a great deale too long allready.

For such ill dealing some Ministers had just cause to complaine of some Committee-men of the late Parliament because when they had augmentations assigned them by the Parliament, they could not obtaine them without great diminution, by their charge of jornies, and long wayting upon them before they could get their due from them, which if the prises of corne and other necessary provisions, should rise and their pentions [Page]should fall short or but be at a stand might halfe undoe them; of this kind I have heard strange relations, and those by such honest men that they are not to bee thought more strange then true. This I knowe that when I had an order by Au­thority of Parliament to receive a summe of thirty pound from a Committee in London, and had as many friends and friendly incitements as I thought sufficient, to quicken them to expedi­tious payment, I was so long put off, that having no Ieasure to wayt any longer, I left my suit to the solicitation of a friend, who after many addresses and disappointments but at last pro­cured the payment but with the defalcation of six pence in the pound, which yet I tooke the better because I heard o­thers had sped much worse with such crookt fingered Trape­zites.

6. We have cause to feare as bad dealing by these new Pro­jectors, for Mr H.P. hath told us, That by this checquer worke of Church Revenues the state may have a stock ready upon any great occasion of Publique affaires, and if the State please not to pay in the money they borrowed who shall com­pell them? And what if the State should be behind with the Souldiers in their Pay, and they should seaze on these Ecclesi­asticall Treasuries for their Arreares, As — how shall poore Ministers doe, if that be pleaded against the payment of their Pensions? By such a trick as this, were the Boores of Holland cheated by the Prince of Orange who told them,Phil. Trelayne in his Trea­tise of the Undeceiving of the People in point of Tithes. p. 26. if they prospered in their Warre with the King of Spaine, they should pay no Tithes to their Ministers, and in the meane time that the Tithes should be taken up toward the maintenance of the warres, but when the Warrs were brought to a good issue, and they expected to be exempted from the payment of them to any; they were told they should Pay none to the Ministers as they had done for­merly, but that they were such a considerable Revenue that the State could not well subsist without them.

7. But if we account it no credit for our country to be like those crafty Merchants of Holland, but meane fairely to manage the maintenance of Ministers (cheifly for their ease and Benefit (and if the intent be so, we despaire of the event to be answerable to it) though at first the Trustees of this Ecclesia­sticall Treasury may be chosen for their prudence and integrity, or may in pollicy (to gaine reputation to this ne Project) in­deavour [Page]to give as much content as they can in such an office to Plundered Ministers, yet in after times the Trust may be put into their hands, who have as hard hearts to Godly and Orthodox Ministers, as these two troopes of Petioners against them.

8. If we looke abroad into other Churches of the reformed Religion, we may observe (besides that we now noted of Hol­land) their sad condition by taking Tithes from them, and their just and passionate complaints of their penurious pentions, as of Luther in Germany, Calvin in Geneva, Knox in Scotland. For the first Luther saith I have only Nine old sexagenas, besides these there comes not an halfepeny out of the City to me, or my Brethren, There is need of the elloquence of Pericles to wrest litle more from them, which (if as all) is paid with a Malignant minde. Ego pro me [...] Stipendio an­nuo tantum novem anti­quas Sexage­nas habeo praeter hos ne obulus quidem aut mihi aut fratribus e civitate accedit. Luther. Tom. 2. Epist. Fol. 131. B. Periclea Eloquentia opus est ut vel pauxillum emumgas quod tamen satis maligne praebetur Luth. in Gen. 31. Tom. 3. Operum at. Fol. 33. A.

2.Verisimile est etiam tune neg­lectos fuisse doctores & ver­bi Ministros, quae tamen turpissima est ingratitudo quam indignum est enim fraudare victu corporali eos a quibus animae pascuntur non dignari terrena compen­satione a quibus caelestia bona accipimus. Calvin. comment. in Epist ad Galat. cap. 6. v. 6. Videbat Apost. ideo negligi verbi Ministros quia verbum ipsum contemnebatur fiert enim nequit si verbum habetur in pretio, quin Ministri quoque honeste & liberaliter tracta­rentur deinde his astus est satonae alimentis fraudare pios Minisros ut ecclesia talibus desti­tuatur. Ibid. See more of this in his Coment on Gen. 27. v. 32. Calvin saith It is like that then (that-is) in the Apostles time the Doctors and Ministers of the word of God were too much neglected, which is a most vile and filthy ingratitude, for how unworthy a thing is it to defraud him of Corporall dyet who feeds their bodyes with Spirituall, and not to vouch safe a terrestriall recompence for celestial receipts. — The Apostle saw that the Ministers of the Word were neglected because the Word was contemned for it. It cannot be (saith he) (if the Word be held in good account) but the Ministers will be Honorably and liberally dealt withall, Besides it is the subtilty of Satan to withhold from Godly Ministers sufficient meanes that the Church may be deprived of the fruit of their Service.

3. For Mr Knox, of his discontented mind, at such a muta­tion of Ministers maintenance, to that which I have observed [Page]elsewhere, I will adde only this.M. Knox in his Epist. to the Bishops & Ministers of Scotland added at the end of S. He­nry Spelmans larger Trea­tise concer­ning Tithes. Print. 1647. How a competence may be provi­ded (saith he) except by restoring the Church to her Rights (that is quite contrary to taking away of Tithes) I doe not see what this Right is, if I should stand to define and justify it, here I should exceed the bounds of an Epistle, many of this time have cleared the point sufficiently. I could adde much more of his sort, but his example is mine admoniti­on not to exceed in that kind.

Let their misery, be a monitory to all Ministers, which may be three-fold.

1. Not to give any consent or countenance, to deprive themselves and successors, of that salary for their service, which in the wonted way they may receive, rather as the blessing of their heavenly Father, (for such is their maintenance by Tithes) then as any Beneficence of man, though he be at paine to till the ground,Mr Knox in hss Epist to the Bishops & Ministers of Scotland. Aug. 3. 1571. and at cost to sowe the seed: If men will spoile (as a Godly and Famous Minister of Scotland said to the Ministers his Countrymen) let them doe it at their owne perill, but communicate yee not with their sinnes of what strate soever they bee, neither by consent nor silence, but by publique protestation make this known to the World, that yee are innocent of such robberies, which will ere long, provoke Gods judge­ment upon the contrivers thereof.

2. To commend this cause to God, with prayer and fasting, that he would be pleased to guide the spirits of the Committee and Parliament, so to debate and determine this great doubt (and yet no great doubt if it were not for great concupiscence, of the World, and great slighting of an Orthodox and regular Ministry) as may be most agreeable to the gratious will of Al­mighty God, and to happy progresse of the Gospell.

3. If any of you single, or by associated counsells, and en­deavours can in any warrantable way, hopefully set on foot and prosecute any likely meanes, to incline the minds of the Committee and Parliament to establish Tithes, (ratified by so many Parliaments, and never yet condemned by any) that your delay not to doe it, since they that are on the destructive part are vigilant over all advantages, if not violent to advance their project to speedy effect.

Ob. But have their not been many acts of Parliament, where­in the Rights and Revenues of the King, Bishops, Deanes and Chapters have been confirmed, and notwithstanding that, are they not now all confiscated, alienated, and put into other hands.

Ans. They are so, but that is, because they have taken away the Offices of Kings, Deanes and Chapters, on which those Rights and Revenues were founded, and the foundation digged up, the superstruction cannot stand as before: But yet the State hath declared none intention to put downe the Ministry, and I hope never will doe.

Ob. But if we appeare zealous in this cause, it will be said we are covetous, and as we have been accounted contentious with the State, for the settlement of them.

Ans. If not content with the 10th, we should incroach upon any of the nine parts of the Parishioners, they might call us covetous, as we may call them, f they deny or detaine the 30th from us: But it is no covetousnesse for a man in a just and reasonable way to require his owne, but rather a matter of du­ty, because if he have not his due, he cannot maintaine himselfe and his Family, and if he be not carefull to provide for them, the Apostle judgeth him a denyer of the Faith, and so worse then an in­fidell, 1 Tim 5.8. Nor is the fault of contention to be imputed to Tithes, more then to the purchasing of Lands, taking of Lea­ses, making of Joynters, or other conditions of Marriages, or then to borrowing and lending, or any other civill contracts, concerning which more suits are raised then about Tithes, and if there were not, it is not the fault, either of Tithes or of the Minister, but the Peoples, there being of them (in most places) tenne who would covetously detaine them, for one that will conscientiously pay them. And if a man be put to goe to Law, as the Lender to sue the wicked borrower who payeth not againe Psal. 37.21. He is the contentious person, who will doe no wrong, or will doe no right without suit, not he that being ne­cessitated to it, flyeth to the Law, or Law-makers for refuge [Page]and protection. Besides as the provocation to that is not the Parsons, but the Parishioners fault, so it is the greater, because he can have no fairer probably occasion for it. And therefore it was the manner of a ReligiousCapt. R.W. Captaine, (a true Cornelius of mine acquaintance) when some of his Neighbours entreated him to goe with them to their Minister, as a Mediator for composition of their Tithes, to tell them, there was no need of any mediation for this matter, for the Par­son neither will, nor can doe you wrong, unlesse by taking any part of your nine parts, and if he will not compound with you, at your rate, give him the tenth in kind, and so shall you be sure to give him no more, then his due.

Ob. But when we have done what we can the Parliament will doe what they pleaseSo said K. Iames in his Speech in the Starre Chamber. An. 1616. p. 553. Operum in Fol. for (as the old Treasurer Burleigh was wont to say) he knew not what an Act of Parliament would not doe in England.

Ans. Though they have power to doe what they will, and so much is said of a King, and somewhat more, Where the word of a King is, there is power, and who may say unto him, what doest thou, Eccles. 8.4. Yet we must hope in the exercise of the su­preme Authority, they will make their Justice, and goodnesse, as apparent unto us, as their Power and Greatnesse.

Ob. We might hope so, if there were not many thousands, who solicite them against us, as was noted of the former Petiti­on, subscribed with many thousands of hands.

Ans. Though there be Thousands, who (being as opposite in their principles, as new light, and old darknesse, like Herod and Pilate, reconciled against Christ) combine against us, the one sort out of an erroneous antipathy, to a standing, fixed, and Or­thodox Ministry, the other out of an impious contempt of the power of Godlinesse, both out of an unconscionable concupis­cence of having more then their owne, yet if the case of Tithes were rightly stated, the drift and scope of the alienation of them from the ministry generally nnderstood, and a course ta­ken to procure hands to a Petition for the continuance of [Page]them, according to their antient Right, and countenance would be shewed by them, who are in Authority, to such as subscribe it, I doubt not but the greater number of the most true be­lieving, and Godly living Christians of all rankes, and states throughout the whole Nation, would appeare against the many millenary complaynants, and every thousand of those, worth ten thousand of these.

Ob. Yet it may be in the Committee concerning Tithes, (who thereafter as they represent the cause, with favour or of­fence towards us, will have a great influence upon the Votes and determinations of Parliament) we have but a few friends and among them, are many military men, two Major Generalls, eight Colonells, and one Captaine, who will be like to slight us, because they have obtained so many Victorious successes, by Sea and Land.

Ans. First, Though we know not of many friends, we may have more then we know of, and shall (we trust) have yet more, when our case is throughly known, and duly conside­red.

2. For the Military men, I can say somewhat upon mine owne certain knowledge: at the Committee for Plundred Mi­nisters,Colon. Fleet-wood now commander in chiefe o­ver Ireland. I found more favour from one Colonell (whose name I then knew not, and I thought he had not known mee) then of any, yea or of all the rest, (one ancient friend excep­ted) though at that time they met in an extraordinary num­ber.

3. They are too wise (seeing though they have had ma­ny glorious victories, their work is not wholly done, and yet perhaps may be long in doing) to slight the whole Body of the Ministry, and those who adhere to their just Interest in this particular.

4. That their advances against their enemies may not re­move [Page]them from the solid basis of holy humility (besides which, they can find no sure or safe footing any where) I shall make bold to mind them of what a zelot of theirs hath written of the Army in his Hist. Mr. I. S. in his Epist. to all true Engl. men prope fi­nem. Anglia Rediviva, Or Englands recovery. But we would least of all be thought by this History of things done, to fixe unconquerablenesse and unvariable successe upon this Army, that were to dare providence to undoe us, we know we are as soon broken as made up, as soon flying as conquering, we desire therefore friends not to belieue the Army shall doe more, because it hath done so much, and that it cannot be conquered, because it hath conquered, but that it shall be still victorious, while God is in it, and no longer. And he will be in it and with it, so much the longer, as they keepe the closer to the Military rule of the Emperour Aurelianus, as Flavius Vopiscus re­lates it.*Si viris Tribunus esse, imo si vis vivere, manus militum confine nemo pullem alienum rapiat, ovem nemo contingat uvam nullus anterat. Sege­tem nemo deterat, oleum, sa­lignum nemo exigat; Annon suā coutentus sit. De praeda hostis, non de lacrymis pro­vincialis habeat. Flav. Vo­pis. in Aureliano. If thou wilt be a Tribune, nay if thou wilt live, containe thy Souldiers in their duty, Let no man take so much as a sheepe, or a chiken from another, nor let him tread downe the Coun­try mans corne, or exact of him oyle, or salt, or wood, but be content with his stipend, and if he adde to it, let it be by the spoyles of the Enemies, not by the teares of the Provinciall Subjects. Yet was this Emperour though so precisely in it, but an Heathen, would it not then seeme a prodigi­designe ons of injustice and Impiety in Christian Governors, whether Civill or Military, if they should make no scruple to spoyle all the Ministers of their own Nation, of their due main­tenance, whence they are most antiently, and most Lawful­ly possessed, and that not for the present only, but for perpe­tuity, [...] Rom. 3.31.

And if that hitherto we have said, albeit it seemeth very good and most just in our eyes (though not in ours only) should in theirs seeme otherwise who are to judge our cause, and so their determinations should dash all our hopes into de­spaire of helpe from them, we may yet comfort our selves, if wee have done our endeavour to uphold the right of Religion, in the maintenance of the Ministry, (for their poverty will breed contempt of the word of God, and that contempt Athe­isme.) For mine own part, what ever the issue be of this great debate, it shall not repent me to have done something, (as the suddennesse of the occasion would permit) towards the disco­very and prevention of this grand sacrilegious oppression of us, and I shall not cease humbly to supplicate, and importunate­ly to sollicite the Almighty Majesty, with my heartiest prayers, that he will be pleased to cleare his clouded countenance to­wards us, and to cheare up our hearts, by making our cause, and our persons more gratious in the eyes of our Gover­nours.

And if after all this our God see it good, either to cha­stise us for our errors, or to exercise our patience and humility by poverty and contempt (according to that of David, I am a poore man and lightly esteemed. 1 Sam. 18.23.) We may yet in respect of men hold up our hearts, and our heads with the Heroick Aphorisme of Luther, Insultat No­bilitas nostra miseris Pasto­ribus Ecclesi­arum. mihi autem dubium non est futurum esse, ut unus pius & fidelis Pastor, centum talibus Nobilibus ante­feratur. Luth. in Psal. 121. Tom. 4. op. Lat. Fol. p. 429. Our Nobility (saith he) insult o­ver the miseries of Ministers, but I doubt not but a time will come, that one Godly and Faithfull Pastor, will be better accounted of, then an hundred such Noble men.

Wee feare not any such disdaine from any either Noble or Ingenuous Gentleman; the scorne wee may expect is [Page]rather from such as have so little worth in them (either for wit or Grace) that wee might be more displeased at their respect (as Antisthenes was when hearing that the Wicked men commended him he said he was afraid that he had done somthing ill, that such as they speake well of him,) then to be troubled at their con­tempt (especially for poverty) since even Heathens by the light of Nature and experience have observed that those who have deserved best have had the least part of the wealth of the World.

But for us as wee have more pretious Promises. 2 Peter. 1.4. as we are Christians then ever the Heathens heard of, out of which we may draw comfort against every crosse, so as we are Ministers if we be reduced to an indigent condition wee must (though we doe not monopolize the word Cleros or Clericus) make especiall use of that title to our selves which common use rather then peculiar Right hath appropriated unto our calling as Hierom expoundeth and applyeth from the word [...] in Greek which signifieth lot or portiō are men call­ed Clerkes (saith he) either because they are the Lords lot and portion, or because God is theirs: [...] Grece, sors La­tine appellatur: propterea vo­cantur clerici vel quia de sorte sunt domini vel quia dominus sors (i.e.) pars Clericorum est: qui autem vel ipse pars est domini vel dominum partem habet ta­lem se exhibere debet ut & ipse qui possideat dominum & possideatur à domino. Hieron. ad Nepot. de vita Clericor. Tom. 1. p. 13. he then who is the Lords portion or hath the Lord for his portion (saith he) must shew himselfe such a one as possesseth the Lord and hath the Lord for his possession.

If the Lord be our portion we may be as Paul saith as having nothing yet possessing all things. 2 Cor. 6.10. For God is all in all. 1 Cor. 15.28. And if we be his Portion we must be admoni­shed, and may be comforted with the words of the Apostle Heb. 13.5. Let your Conversation be without Covetousnes and be con­tent with such things as ye have, for he hath said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. And so with him I leave you who is Almigh­ty to Protest you, and Alsufficient to furnish you with [Page]what his Wisdome knoweth to be most convenient for you.

Your Sympathizing Brother Theophilus Philadelphus.


PAg. 6. l. 4. r. since p. 8. l. 33. r. commentatour p. 8. l. ult. r. have p. 10. l. 3. r. Anti-christian. p. 14. l. 27. r. Word. p. 17. marg. r. sacra Nemes. p. 31. r. propose.

The former Petition presented to the Parliament Iuly 16. 1653. Examined and Convicted of Impiety and Injustice.


BEfore I meddle with the matter of this Petition I have somewhat to say to the men that drew it up or subscribed it, and that must be to distinguish: for beingThis Peti­tion with many thou­sand hands was presen­ted to the Parliament on Sat. 16 of Iuly 1653. See Merc. Polit. nu. 163. p. 260. many thousands of them, as the Repor­ter gives in the account it is not probable they were all wholly of one mind in this matter, or all of them well affected to the Parliament.

For we know that the most of those who are zealots for the ta­king away of Tithes, are worst affected many waies: every cove­tous man would be glad of any occasion to save or gaine, to take up with the angle, to catch with the net, to gather with the dragge, as Hab. 1.15. Every prophane person who hateth to be reformed, will be ve­ry well pleased to take or keepe any thing from the Godly Mini­ster, who reproves his ill manners, and who will not permit him to prophane the Sabbath,Iohn Spietle­house in his vindication of the Army for their late dissolution of the Parl. p. 9. nor to take the Sacrament of Lord Supper to his own condemnation. Every Royall Episcopall and ceremo­niall opposite to the present Ministry will be willing to keep back the Tithe, seeing their own Clergy are out of Office, (as Mr Spittlehouse observeth) and of how many of these may we say (without such a lavish confidence, as Solomon noteth to be the property of a foole) [Page 2]that they are either well affected, or adherers to the Parliament, as the Title specifieth.

2. There are some who pretend to Religion, whose principles are very unsound, denying first Tythes, and then the Ministry, or first the Ministry, and then Tythes, (the one for the other, Tithes that they may starve the Ministry, and the Ministry, that they may feed themselves with Tithes) and then Scripture. I could name the man, whose consciences was extreamely cramped against the payment of Tithes, yet had he it so inlarged and loosned, that he would have farmed the Parsons Tithes of his Neighbours lands, in hope by the bargaine to save his owne.

3. Some would have Tithes taken away from the Minister, but not from Impropriators, to that purpose was a Petition presented to the Lord Generall Iuly 4. 1652.The Armies Diurnall, nu. 187. p. 2832. (from diverse said to be well affected persons in the County of Lincolne) with respect and reser­vation of other mens Rights (i.e.) of Impropriators.

4. Some though they Petition against the payment of Tithes, are so well minded to the Ministers of the Gospell, that they would have them allowed an Honourable and Comfortable main­tenance, whereof more in the answer to the latter Petition.

5. The Petitioners we now are to deale withall, without all Justice, would have Tithes taken away from Ministers, and without all mercy, would have no set or certain maintenance set up in stead thereof. To this though it may be thousands have subscribed, I hope of many of them that they are like those who were deceived by Absolon, followed him in the simplicity of their heart (knowing nothing of the depth of his designe 2 Sam. 15.11.) being ignorant of the contrivers of this petition, and not apprehensive of the evill event, if they should prevaile in it, with an implicit faith in their good meaning, who were more active in that put their hands unto it, as diverse have done, without reading what they subscribed, being told but some, and that the least offensive part of the contents thereof.

6. Some would have those, who are possessed of the nine parts to have the tenth added to them, and,

7. Some would have all so alienated out of private hands, as to be made up into a publique stock, at the disposall of the State, of which two last, I have occasion to speak particularly in ano­ther place.

From the Petitioners with their different desires and designes we [Page 3]come now to the Petition it selfe, which we shall not need to set downe entirely altogether, since though handled severally, the rea­der may make up a perfect copy of it, taking it along as it is mar­ked, distinguished by a different character, for more distinct consi­deration, and more punctuall application. I shall divide the Peti­tion into 1. A Preamble. 2. The motion of the Petitioners. and 3. Their motives of obtainment. 1. Of the Preamble.


The Petition.

For as much as the originall ground, of our many years burthensome Warres and Miseries, hath been from the Incroachments, and Innovations, which have been made and inforced upon the People, at the pleasures of some men, ruling meerely according to their will, and power.


THis part of the Preamble, penned as a preparative to the re­movall of the pretended oppression of Tithes (the only thing which in particular the Petition complaineth of) is so farre from making way to what the Petitioners would have, that it rather af­fords matter of defence to the cause they oppose, for they com­plaine. 1. Of Burthensome Warres and Miseries. 2. Of the origi­nall ground of them. 3. That ground is said to be Incroachments, and innovations inforced upon the People. 4. Those Incroach­ments and Innovations they charge upon those, who at their plea­sure rule according to their own will and power.

1. For Burthensome Warres and Miseries: If you mean by Mise­ries, such as commonly come by Warres, as in reason they may, for as men are mustered for Warre, so are Miseries mustered by Warre, payment of Tithes is neither Warre, nor any Military misery pro­duced by it, but rather the contrary, for when Warre makes wast of all, as Joel 2.3. (speaking of an Army of enemies) The Land is as the Garden of Eden, before them and behind them a desolate Wildernesse, yea and nothing can escape them: There is nothing left to be tithed, and wee have seen by sad experience in our own Nation, Ministers dri­ven from their charges, people plundred of their horses, where with they should till their ground, their corne, hath been trodden down [Page 4]or eaten up by the Troopers, and the Tithe could not be had where nine parts were gone, or not be much where they were much dimi­nished.

2. Nor was the matter of Tithes ground or cause of the Nati­ons quarrell, no warre was raised, nor a sword drawn, nor a blow given, either for, or against them. All men know, and the Petitio­ners annot deny but that the visible grounds and causes of the Warre, were of another kind, which had no affinity at all with pay­ment of Tithes, or takiug of Tithes, I say visibly, for secretly and out of sight, some might, and happily did ingage on a side, with such minds as they had, who said, Let us take the houses of God in pos­session. Psal. 83.13. hoping to have their share in a parcell of Tithes as others had in the Bishops, and Deane and Chapters Lands.

3. For Incroachments and Innovations, the taking of Tithes is neither. Not an Incroachment, for an incroachment, is an un­lawfull intrusion into the right of another, particularly where Rights are scituate in vicinity, the taking of Tithes is no such thing as shall be shewed in due place, especially as it is brought in this Preamble, as a ground or cause of our Nationall Warre. Much lesse can Tithing be called an Innovation, since it hath the prescrip­tion of about 3599 years in the World, and in this Land hath been received and practised before the Conquest, and drawn along downeward to this present age.

4. Nor is the tenure of Tithes dependent upon the pleasure of such as rule meerely according to their own will and power (pre­rogative like) for Tithes have been Authorized and Established by many Parliaments, wherein no arbitrary power can be exercised.


The Petition.

And for as much as those many victories, mercifully vouchsafed by Almigh­ty God, in approbation of his cause, hath not been obtained at a low and easy rate, but as through a Sea of bloud, and all kind of miseries, whereof we have had a large proportion, thereby rendring the cause more pretious to our thoughts.


HEre 1. They make mention of our manifold victories. 2. Of the meanes by which they were obtained, the vouchsafe­ment of Almighty God. 3. His meaning by that mercy to shew his approbation of that cause which prevailed. 4. The price the successe hath cost, not being obtained at a low rate, but as through a Sea of bloud, and all kind of miseries. 5. Their own participa­tion of them, in a large proportion. 6. Their more pretious esti­mation of the cause for that reason. And what is all this, or any of this, to the taking away of Tithes.

1. We have had many victories, thence it may follow we may be able to put downe Tithes but not that it is a matter of duty, or justice so to do.

2. The meanes whereby these victories were obtained, was the Mercy of God vouchsafed. If so, we have cause to conceive that mercy was vouchsafed, because the Parliament so soone as they were Assembled was respective of Gods servants making itMay Hist. Parl, L. 1. p. 78. their first care to vindicate destressed Ministers and afterwardsSo in the Letter M. Speaker to the Modera­tor of the ge­nerall Assem­bly of Scot­land, written by the com­mand of the Commons Assembled in Parl. Aug. 3. 1648. p. 8. Augmen­ting their Maintainance out of the Impropriations of Bishops the Estates and Revenues of Deanes and Chapters and out of the impropriations of Delin­quents which they bought out and setled upon Churches that wanted mainte­nance to a very great valew, rather then that this Mercy was afforded that Ministers might be reduced to a more miserable condition, than the meanest labourer in the land, who for the worke he doth may recover his wages in a course of law, which as these Petitio­ners would have it, Ministers may not.

3. If his meaning in that mercy were to shew his approbation of the Cause (as I believe it was) yet we may be too hasty to conclude that God likes out cause, because we like our successe against our enemies. By the warrs between the Israelites & the Benjamites Jud. 20. That cause must be justly considered, and if so, no man can advi­sedly say it was any part of Gods intention by our victories either to Ratifie or Nullifie any claime, or right, or title to Tithes which was no part of the contestation betwixt the Parliament and the Kings party nor betwixt the English and the Scots or Irish, no more than it is now betwixt the English, and the Dutch.

4. Whereas they say these victories were obtained, as through a sea of blood and all kind of miseries though their Hyperbole swels high, yet will it not I trust be able to drowne the ancient Right of Ministers Maintenance, while the Appeale is made unto them who [Page 6]wil act by the dictates of their one judgment, and conscience and not by the passionate expressions of men.

5 For their owne participation of the bloody miseries of warre in a large portion, sure they have survived their sufferings we cannot conceive how that should concerne the Ministers portion save that if it were as souldiers their receiving of pay for their employment, is a war­rant for us to do the like for ours 1 Cor. 9.7. Who goeth a warfare at his owne charge?

6. If as they say this renders the cause more pretious to their thoughts, (though for Gods and their Countries sake, they should more highly value it for their owne) we kmow not why the price should be so much increased upon us (above all the free borne sub­jects of this Nation, that we and our successors must loose all our dues assigned for our duty, and setled upon us in Right of perpetui­ties, by many reiterated lawes of the land wherein we live, while others enjoy what they have, whether by Gift, or purchase, or Inheritance without impeachment.



And whereas among the rest of the aggreivances of this Commonwealth, the unlawfull Antichristian, and unsupportable oppression of Tithes and forced maintenance is not the least, by which our Consciences are ensnared, our estates destroyed our persons imprisoned dayly, for that which hath noe foundation nor warrant from Christ or his Apostles, throughout the whole Word of the Go­spell.


VNtill now the Petitioners said nothing against Tithes, directly or indirectly, though they meant their preamble should make way for their maine charge, which now comes in so full, that if it could be as fairely prooved as it is fully spoken, I should think it worth, I say not of a sea of blood as they phraise it but not of a droppe of Inke, to be bestowed on the defence. But here is no­thing but odious, and exasperating words without any matter of Truth and Weight to bear them up, which tumbled out in a disor­derly passion, will require a more methodicall disposall of them before I answer them, as thus.

Their exceptions against Tithes, are Negative, or Positive. The Negative. 1. That they are not lawfull (i.e.) there is no Law for them. 2. That they have no foundation nor warrant from Christ or his Apostles throughout the whole Word of the Gospell. 2. The positive are that 1. Against both 1. Against piety, because they are Antichristian. 2. Against charity, because they are oppressed with a terme of aggravation, unsupportable oppres­sion, and this they say of all constrained maintainance, as well as of Tithes, their proofe of this oppression is twofold, 1. By them their Estates are destroyed. 2. For them their persons imprisoned daily. 3. Against both piety, and charity, the charge is, that there­by their consciences are ensnared.

1. They say, Tithes are unlawfull, the word [unlawfull] may be taken two waies, 1. For that which is against Law, so are all the breaches of any expresse and formall Law, whether it be of pre­cept, or prohibition, in this sense, I doe not think they meane that Tithes are unlawfull, for then they would have said, that Tithes are against the law of God, which if they had said, they could ne­ver have proved. 2. For that, for which there is no Law, and in this sense, I take it, they take the word [unlawfull] for that Answers that they say that they have no foundation nor warrant &c. And can they say that Tithes are unlawfull, or that there is no law for them, when the Law of God is so cleare for them in the Old Te­stament, from the first Historicall, to the last Propheticall writer, and the Law of man is so much for them, as to imprison their per­sons, who contumaciously stand out against the payment of them.

But there is no foundation, nor warrant for them, from Christ and his Apo­stles, throughout the whole word of the Gospell, To which I answer, 1. That the full resolution of this objection which is made by some, as much against the Christian Sabbath or Lords day, as a­gainst Tithes, would require a large discourse, if it had not been fully Answered already by others, whom I have named in the E­pistle Dedicatory: but 2ly I therefore briefly answer. 1. That neither Christ nor any of his apostles have said any thing against Tithes, which doubtlesse they would have done, if there had been so much evill in them, as those Petitioners heape up, against them.

2. That Christ speake rather for them, at least for a constrained or forced maintenance, then against them where he faith Mat. 5.17. He came not to destroy the Law (meaning chiefly the morall Law [Page 8]which afterward he vindicateth from the corupt Glosses of the Jewish Doctors) he virtually ratified his owne Law of Tithes and that of Solomon Prov. 3.9. Honour the Lord with thy substance, & with the first fruits of all thine increase. Because as some learned Expositors take it, he ratified the eight Commandament which fobiddeth not only robbing of men but of God, of which sin God passionately Com­plaines Malac. 3.8. And where our Saviour taxeth the Hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharises for being curious in the Tithing, Mint, and Annise, and Cummin omitting in the mean time the weightier matters of the Law, he approoveth of what they did for Tithing. Saing these things you ought to have done, and blames their omission of what they did not Mat. 23.23. & Luke 11.22. And where he saieth concerning the Apostles paines and pay The Labourer is worthy of his hire 7. He meaneth that their maintenance was not a benefice of Almes but a recompence of Justice; and if so who will be so unjust as to detaine that which is the Spirituall labourers due, by civill Justice constrayned to pay it.

3. For the Apostles let Paul, speake 1 Cor. 9. from 7. to the 14. verse, Who goeth a Warfare any time at his own charges? Who plant­eth a Vineyard, and eateth not the fruit thereof? Or who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the milke of the flock? Say I these things as a man, or saith not the Law these things also, for it is written in the Law of Moses, thou shalt not muzle the mouth of the Oxe that treadeth out the Corne. Doth God take care for Oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope, and that he that thresheth in hope, should be partaker of his hope. If wee have sown unto you spirituall things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnall things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather?

Doe ye not know, that they which Minister about holy things live of the things of the Temple, and they which waite at the Altar are partakers with the Altar. Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which Preach the Gospell should live of the Gospell. Upon this last verse Even so hath the Lord ordai­ned. &c. Mr. Trapp in 1 Cor. 9.14. an ingenuous and religious contemplatour, bringeth in this note as from another: As they of old lived of the Altar, by Tithes, so Ministers now, how else will men satisfy their Conscience in the particular quantity they must bestow upon their Ministers, the Scriptures speak only of a Tenth. Let them that deny it shew us another ordinance of God for the maintenance of evangelicall Ministers: In the mean time they cannot but confesse, that God would hate the Ministers of [Page 9]the Gospell, as well provided for as the Ministers of the Law, and this by ordinance, and that by good Congruity, as a Learned ex­positor though a Papist well collecteth.Si enim Mi­nistris Anti­quae legis atributum suit à Deo jus ex suo Ministerio vivendi quanto magis aequum erat idem jus à domino constitui pro Ministris novae legis Estius in 1 Cor. 1.14.

If so, then it is not in the power of men, to cast out what poore Pittance they please; they must live of Gospell maintenance, and claime what they have, of right, as by his appointment who might have taken 9 parts for his owne service, and left only a 10th to those who deny it, or grudingly pay it;Quid faceres si novem par­tibus sibi sumptis tibi decimum reli­quisset? Aug. de Tract. Serme. 219. And what conld they doe more or worse, if God should deale with them after that man­ner. Besides the same Apostle sheweth that Ministers should have an honourable maintenance, Let the Elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those that labour in the word and Doctrine. 1 Tim. 5.17. But if they have no better allowance then Free-will-offering, in most places they shall rather meet with double con­tempt, then with double honour, and he would not have them on­ly honourably but plentifully provided for, else how should they be able to keep hospitality which he requireth, 2 Tym. 3.2. where among the qualifications of an Evangelicall Bishop, one is, that he be given to hospitality, which that he may doe the better, what he prescribeth to the Galathians, must be observed. Let him that is taught communicate unto him that Teacheth him in all good things. Gal. 6.6. That is not contribute to him as an Almes, but communicate as in a way of commerce, or exchange of Carnall things for things spi­rituall, as later interpreters after Oecumenius observe. As then it is they Ministers duty to make the people, partaker of spirituall things, so it is their duty to returne unto them carnall things, as the Apo­stle resolveth Rom. 15. v 7. And where both live under an Evange­licall Magistrate, the people may be as well constrained to doe their duty, as the Minister his. I might here urge Heb. 7.26. and out of that place collect a stronger argument for the continuance of Tithes, as a right to the Evangelicall Ministry, then any out of the New Testament can be framed against them, but because that is sufficiently done byD. Jones Com. in Heb. 1, 2, 6. p. 161. Dr Jones in his Commentary on Heb. 7.26. and more largely byD. Slater in his Booke of the Ministrs Portion à p. 18. ad 38. Print. 1623. Dr Slater, in his Book of the Ministers por­tion, and by the latter so soundly, as that he is unanswerable, as a Learned Doctor forementioned testifieth of him, in this particular especially I will forbeare to insist upon it.


THeir Negative objection answered, wee come to the Posi­tive.

1. Against piety because antichristian. Tithes are so many years Anticristian that they cannot in their originall be Anti­christian. (i.e.) so long before Christ that they cannot be from his opposite who was since Christ.

2. Suppose the Pope to be Antichrist (which diverse late wri­ters besides PapistsThe exami­ners of the Confession of Faith of the Assembly Ch. 25. p. 274. &c though I make no doubt of it.) And Papists who make him their infallible Guide Antichristian, and we tooke the practice of Tithes Imediately from them, it will not follow thence that Tithes are Antichristin no more then that the old Testament was Jewish because the Ancient Christians had it from the Jewes, nor the old and new Testament both of them Popish because we received the whole Bible from the papists, since it was an especiall providence of God, to make them both keepers and deliverers of the same divine Word, by which their heresies are confuted. 3. In Antichristian Doctors and Papists, we must di­stinguish betwixt that they deliver as men, as Ingenuous, Learned, and morall men, as Christians, and as Antichristians: First, as men they are endowed with the light of nature, and naturall Consci­ence, which in a good measure, teacheth the difference betwixt good and evill, and inclineth to the choyce of the one, and eschew­ing of the other, as we read Rom. 2.14.15. 2. As Learned and Mo­rall men, they have been Authors of many profitable Bookes, of Histories, and Tongues, and Arts, Philosophy naturall and morall. 3. As Christians, they acknowledge the Old and New Testament, and diverse of them have made Learned Commentaries upon them. 4. As Antichristians, they maintaine many errors against the true faith of Christ. Now for Application of this distinction, though whatsoever cometh from a Papist, may before it be tried, be suspected, yet what they doe or write, under the three former notions, is not simply to be denied or refused for their sakes, but only what may be referred to the Fourth denomination. The want of this caution, Valentinus Gentilis leaveQuod ecclesiae reformatae ad­huc in fide Trinitatis cum papistis conve­nirent B; llar. Praefat. in lib. de Christo Toms 1. p. 271 Geneva because he found that they agreed with the Papists in the Doctrine of the Trinity, and the want of this distinction and Application, hath led many [Page 11]inconsiderate Christians, both into the same and other dangerous errours in our daies. 4. It may be more Antichristian to deny Tithes, then either to demand or pay them, for as some hold, there is an Antichrist in manThe examination of the confession ch. 15. p. 178. & Ioseph Salmon a member of the Army, in his Book of Antichrist in man. Printed for Giles Corbet 1649. in 80 p. 4. and this Antichrist, is the fleshly wisdome, the spirituall Serpent, that a man is decei­ved by the wisdome of the flesh, the Carnall policy of the Crea­ture. Now no doubt this wisdome and Policy, will dispose the men of this World, to save their Tithes if they can, and to cavill, and put in all the rubbs and demurres they can, against paying of them, especially if they be men who have lately purchased, and are now become owners of Lordships, who before our late Warres, would have been glad of a Tenantship in an ordinary Farme, this Antichrist, will spurre up these to use all possible meanes they may, to have their Mannors Tith-free. There are another Sect of Antichristians newly sprung up, a sort of Familists, and Quakers, of whom some say,Christo. Feake, Iohn Simpson, Geor. Cockain, Law­rence Wise, in Epist. before the discovery of mysticall Antichrist containing an examination of many Doctrines of the people called Quakers in York-shire, for Tho. Brewster 1653. p. 42. They are farre worse then those grosse and Popish Antichristians, who live in the midst of Antichrists Babilonish territories and dominions, these Antichri­stians doubtlesse, agree with these Petitioners in condemning of Tithes, since they deny propriety and inequality of mens Estates in so much that some of them are not free to be Tenants to other men.


The next positive objection is, that the taking of Tithes, is a­gainst Charity, because that it is Oppression, and that in a grievous degree, unsupportable oppression, destroying their Estates, Imprisoning their Persons daily.


NO oppression at all, therefore no unsupportable oppression, for what is taken or kept from them? Is it not Tith to which they have no more title then Ministers have to the 9 parts, which they possesse: for if they be Landlords, they never bought the 10th: if Tenants they pay not for it, by either fine or rent; the 10th being [Page 12]reserved as the Ministers particular portion, unlesse it be alienated by way of impropriation; and then also it is of a distinct title, and tenure from the other parts of the years increase, and this distin­ction, is as ancient as Collation or distribution of the Land of Ca­naan among the Tribes of Israell. and in this Nation, when all the lands of England were the demesnes of the King, within a little of eight hūdred years agoe the Church was first endowed with the Tenth, and then the remaining 9 parts disposed of assigned and confirmed to the Nobility Gentry and other Subjects of the King­dom. Were the Israeltes (Gods peculiar people when by the mira­culous goodnesse of God towards them, they were first possessed in the land of Canaan put under the yoake of unsupportable op­pression, and kept under untill Malachy for a thousand years toge­ther, the contrary is most cleare by Gods emphaticall expostulati­on with them in the 3d of Malachy, A part whereof is that they brought an oppression upon themselves, yea and procured a curse upon the whole nation Mal. 3.8.9. By their unfaithfull dealing with God and his Ministers in this matter, and their only way to be delivered from that curse, was to pay their Tithes better then they had done, and so it should be farre better with them, for then God promised That then he would open the windowes of heaven and power out a blessing, that there should not be roome to hold it, and that he would rebuke the devourer for their sakes that he should not devoure the fruits ef their ground nor their vines cast their fruit before their time. There be that faigne such a difference and faine would make it good betwixt their state of the Jewes and ours as that might be an oppression with us, that was not with them, but their conceits are groundlesse, and for such are discovered by the Authors forementioned, which if they be too large for the Petitioners to read, let them but be at the cost of 3d to buy a little booke called the Ʋndeceiving of the People in Point of Tithes, Printed for J. Clarke in Cornhill 1653. And at the paines of reading but 15 leaves in 40 for it ariseth not above the account of 30 pages, and they shall find it sufficiently confuted; and for our owne Nation they may see it in pag. 16 of the same Booke that it is well toward 800 years making the computation from 855, to the yeare current 1653 since Tithes were Collated on the Church of England, and have the English all this while beene so dull and stupid, as not to shewe themselves by some memorable act notoriously sensible of such an unsupportable oppression? Untill within these last halfescore years? May it not be matter of [Page 13]wonder that the cheefe patriots of this Nation when they conte­sted with the King for Rights & priviledges, and against the op­pression of the prerogative power, the Councell of State, the Starre Chamber, High Commissioners Consistory Courts never brought in this grand aggrievance, this unsupportable oppression of Tithes, and that where the People were perhaps by the Craft of some counterfeit Joseph Ben Israell stirred up in hope to have each of them a share in the spoyles of the ministry, to petition against Tithes to the last Parliament as many of them did, that they could not make appeare to them, when they were thought to be most sincerely set to promote the publike good of this commonwealth, that there was any such in jury or oppression in them.

But the Petitioners say our Persons are imprisoned upon it dayly, mea­ning for nonpayment of Tithes, to which t may be answered. First, that it seemes not probable sure, such as deny the payment of Tithes find more and greater friends, either to keepe them from Prison or deliver out of it, if they be committed then others in for­mer times have done. Secondly, if more be imprisoned now then have been, it may be, because being made more obdurate in their error and more contumacious against the Justice of the Land then they should be, and then meeke spirited, and religious Christians would be, whereto they are the more animated by some eminent in nothing but in rash censuring and peremptory pratling, confidently foretell that Tithes will downe, must downe, shall be downe, and they dare engage an hundred to five upon it. But their groundlesse presumption and precipitated predictions, shall not make us suspect the prudence sincerity and justice of the Parlia­ment.


The Third and last generall objection positive is that Tithes are against Piety and Charity both: by insnaring their Consciences, which we must conceive to be in that taking of Tithes, being (as they mistake it) unlawfull, Antichristian, &c, they are by such severity as is used to recover them, tempted against Conscience, to make payment of them.


IF the case were such with the Petitioners, as it is with the Re­formed Protestants in France, who are forced to pay Tithes to Popist Priests, for the service of Antichrist, they might have some more apparent cause of complaint, for oppression by Tithes, espe­cially in respect of Conscience, but they very well know, that they without scruple of Conscience, may lawfully suffer, what another without wounding of his Conscience cannot offer to them, and the Petitioners, if they could deny these for a while, untill they had made a just difference betwixt Conscience and Worldly lusts, they would never think it lawfull for them, to with-hold the Tithes untill an Officer lay hold on them, to bring them to prison, for refusing to pay it. Suppose the State should make an unjust Warre as they judge of it, and make Military Assessements to maintaine it, when they know they shall be forced to pay their part, if they withstand it, will they think it their duty in Consci­ence (rather then submit) to stand out to Imprisonment. This is of a much contrary savour, to that meekenesse and patience, which our Saviour commands unto his Disciples practice Mat. 5.40. when he faith unto them, if any one will sue thee at the Law, and take away thy Coat, let him take thy Coat also. May we say in like case, not so Lord, I will goe to prison rather then to part with either, of such a mind he seemed to be, who not long since, being demanded the Tithes which he never denied, untill he was denied to be the taker of the Tithes of the Minister from his Neighbours) said he would rott in prison before he would pay them as he had done, which all men who know him, conceived (though he made profession of an higher straine of Religion then the World could teach him) to be the dictate rather of Covetousnesse then of his Conscience, for he might have suffered without offence for that, what the Lawe had ordered in that behalfe or if his sufferings which pacience, and si­lence might have implyed his consent to what he accounted to be Antichristian or any way unlawfull, he might have paid the Tithes with an expresse profession or protestation of his Judgment and Conscience (more truly his conceit & concupicence) against it and how could he doubt had not greedinesse of gaine bemisted his eye-sight that he might with good conscience have parted with so much of his owne estate, (undoubtedly his owne) rather then to goe to prison for non payment of that which the Law resolves to be the right of another man. Doubtlesse if conscience were not [Page 15]blinded with a pinne and a Webb of worldly mindednesse it would dispose a man to a doubtfull ease, rather to part with some of his owne Nine parts for feare of doing wrong rather then to invade and lay violent hands upon the tenth. Up­on this ground was set up the payment of Mortuaries as a supplement or satifaction for such Tithes as through Inconsideration or Oblivion might be unpaid, or detained from the Parson, in the Parishioners life time, and it was called a mor­tuary, because it was to be paid at the death (not that he might be prayed for when he was dead, to ease his soule of the paine of Purgatory, as some have ignorantly imagined) asLindwood Fr vinc l. 1. tit. de consue­tud. cap. Sta­tuimus. Fol. 14, 15, 16. Selden of Ti­thes cap. 10. p. 287. Altare Damas­cenum majus. 450, 451. Non remitti­tur peccatum nisi restitua­tur oblaturm. Aug. Ep. 54. Mared. Authors of most credit have reported, the rise, and use, of such extraordinary payments. I shall not need now, to answer the scrupling or insna­ring the conscience, in respect of Judaisme, as if Tithing were a typicall Ceremony abolished by Christ. 1. Because the Petitio­ners have neither said expressely, nor by intimation, any thing thereof. 2. Because the wisest of those who are adversaries to the payment and taking of Tithes, have least to say with any probabi­lity or appearance of an objection, under the title typicall Juda­isme.


The Petition.

Wee are therefore emboldned in Conscience towards God and you, to present these our just desires, for the wellfare and preservation of the Commonwealth, which will be established by righteousnesse, and therein implore your serious in­deavours, that this unjust oppression of Tithes and forced maintenance, may be abolished, as a testimony of your resolution, to instate this Common-wealth in all their just rights, and Liberties, and in so doing, you will ingage the hearts of all honest and Godly people of this Nation, who have been bowed downe un­der this oppression, and all being disingaged from corrupt and selfe interests, will cheerefully adventure their lives and Estates, for your preservation, and the Nations Peace, being the just end of our Warre, the proper and long hoped for fruits of Righteousnesse, bringing glory. to God in discharge of your trust to him, and to this wearied Common-wealth, in loosing the bonds of wickednesse, and setting us free from Antichristian tyranny.


Here are many things of severall sorts jumbled together, by the Petitioners which must be reduced to a Logicall Analy­sis, that they may be distinctly answered, though by them confu­sedly composed or put together, we shall martiall them in this me­thod, the whole containeth two principall parts. 1. A Motion. 2. The Motives subjoyned to procure it such acceptance and suc­cesse as they desire.

1. For their Motion, it is, that the Parliament would use their se­rious endeavour, that this unjust oppression by Tithes, and forced Maintenance may be abolished. As motives hereto, they make it matter, 1. Of Conscience, 2. Of Justice, 3. Of Piety, 4. Charity, 5. Of Pru­dence. 1. Of Conscience, for Conscience toward God and the Parliament, mooved them to present the motion unto them. 2. Of Justice, for they call it their just desire, and make freedome from Tithes, one of the Peoples just Rights and Liberties, and the just end of our Warre, and the discharge of trust reposed in the Parlia­ment. 3. Of Piety bringing glory to God. 4. Of Charity, in easing them, who have been bowed downe under this oppression, and setting them free, from the yoake of Antichristian tyranny, and bring succor to this wearied Commonwealth, and a meanes of its welfare and preservation, in loosing of the bond of Wicked­nesse. 5. Of Prudence, hereby you shall honour your selves, by giving testimony of your resolutions, to instate this Common­wealth, in all their just rights and Liberties.

2. You will ingage all the hearts, of all the honest and Godly people of this Nation, who being disingaged from corrupt interests, will cheerefully adventure their Lives and Estates for your preser­vation, and the Nations peace. This being the summe of their de­sires, aimes, and hopes, wee shall now make a more particular and punctuall answer thereunto.

And First, of their motion they implore, Their serious endeavours, that this unjust oppression of Tithes, and forced Maintenance may be abolished. That it is neither Oppression, nor Injustice, for Ministers to take Tithes of the People, and to require them according to the Law, hath been made manifest before, that it is a Forced Maintenance, is their fault, who will not doe right unlesse they be forced to it. But whose Maintenance doe they meane, whether the Ministers only, or theirs also, who live upon, and are maintained by Impropriations, they cannot in reason except against the one, and accept of the o­ther [Page 17]nor should they think the latter, an oppression, rather then the former, unlesse because there are more of them, then of Impropria­tions: and on the other hand, they should lesse grudge the allow­ance, of those that labour for it as Ministers doe, then those that labour not, but if they intend the taking away Tithes from all that claime and receive them from the people as their right: then I demand of them, 1. Whether that either or both of them shall have any thing given them as a valuable consideration, for that which is taken from them, they seeme to incline to neither, for with them both, the one and the other are unsupportable oppressi­ons, so farre they are impartiall, if so they may find it, a more dif­ficult matter, to take away Tithes, then they are aware of: For though Ministers obliged to an higher degree of selfe-denyall then other men, for the things of this World, and having a right to Tithes, but for terme of life, and no heires or successors in sight, to lay hold on the interest that is taken from them, may quietly suf­fer themselves to be deprived of them, and some endowed with a greater measure of grace, may be affected, like to those Religious Christians, who took joyfully the spoyling of their goods. Heb. 10.34. yet Lay-Impropriators, being aboutOf 9000 Livings in this Kingdome, there are a­bove 4000 so castrated by Sacrilegious Impropria­tors. So he who writes in an Apology for D. Featly in a Book which he calls Sacra Remiss. Sect. 10. p. 63. Sir Henry Spelman re­ports the Ministers to be but 3845 that is 55 fewer then the former number yet a great one. Sir H. S in his Apology for his Book De non temer. Eccles. p. 10. Foure thousand, many of them, Noblemen and Gentlemen civill cor­porations and others, besides Colledges in both Uni­versities, who account their right in tithes, as sure as land of Inheritance to themselves, their heires, execu­tors and Assignes, will not be so tame if they be ta­ken from them, unlesse by a just and satisfactory rate, they be purchased of them, the cost whereof will a­mount to so great a valew, as may puzzle the wisest heads how to find out any way, without a farre more insupportable oppression, then these Petitioners com­plaine of: to redeeme them from the hands of those who at present are possessed of them, and if that could be done, and were done, and the Ministers portions taken from them, as if they were stolen goods in the hands of Fellons, without any recompence or certain meanes of temporall subsistence, how abominable and scandalous, partiality and tyranny would that appeare to be, to all truly Religious and Conscientious Christians.

A Second query to be resolved by them, may be this, whether they intend, that the Tithes should be taken from the present ow­ners [Page 18]of them, and the right, and the disposall of them, devolved into the hands of Feofees or Committees Authorized by the State, to receive them, to set or let them, and the Monies made of them, made up into a common stock for publique use, if so, such a course may give them more cause of complaint for oppression, then the Minister ever did or could doe, since they will have to doe with their superiors in power, who may make them pay what they please to impose, and they may impose more then is right, upon the wrong report of some malitious neighbour, who may overrate their portion, besides some quick course may be taken with them, for speedy payment, perhaps before hand (as in some other cases) so that they shall not have credit enough, to runne behind in Ar­rears one year or two, as many are wont to doe with their Mini­sters: or whether they would have every one, who hath a right to the nine parts, to be endowed with the tenth also, which hereto­fore they had not, if this be their mind, they will shew themselves no good friends to the Parliament, nor to many of these, who in most doubtfull and dangerous times, have most faithfully adhered to them, since by the spoyles of the Ministry, those generally shall be most gratified, who wish no good successe, nor prosperity to the publique affaires, untill Royalty, Prelacy, Ceremonies, Superstiti­on, the Service Book, confused Communions at Easter, Mad and Pagan Revels at Whitsontide and Christmas, as Papists or Pye­tide, as some Anti-papists call it, be restored.


NOw from their motion and their meaning in it, to their mo­tives, which wee will take in the order premised.

The First is, their consciences towards God and the Parliament. Con­science towards God? To robb God of his right, when they should honour him with their own substance Prov. 3.9. And the labou­rers in his harvest of their hire, that crying sinne Iames 5.4. Is this Conscience? If it be, it is of too neer affinity to theirs, who think it matter of Conscience, and think they doe God good service in killing of his servants, Ioh. 16.2. And was it their duty, a duty of Conscience, to petition the Parliament, to Vote the Ministers into a miserable condition (by taking from them and theirs their main­tenance) [Page 19]whom they ought to protect in all their just rights and Priviledges, as well (if not more tenderly, then any Subjects of th [...]s Nation: Is not this such a Conscience as the Jewes had (such in intention, but I trust will never be such in successe) when they stirred up devout and honourable Women, and the chiefe of the City of Antioch, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coast. Act. 13.50.

Their Second motive is, that it will be an Act of Justice to take a­way Tithes, for as they justly desire it, so should the Parliament in justice grant it, restoring to the people, their just rights and Liber­ties, according to the just end of our Warre, and the trust they have undertaken: Wherefore they cannot faile without injustice. And all this is just nothing, since the justice of the Ministers cause against the Petitio­ners Criminations, is already sufficiently cleared in Section 6th.

The Third motive is taken from Piety: To take away Tithes will bring glory to God, as they conceive it, but they are as much mistaken in the end, as they were in the beginning of their male­volent motion, Conscience stirred them up to Petition, and in Petitioning their aime was, and the end of their desires, if not de­nied, would be the glory of God, as much belike as it was to the glory of King David, to have his Servants beards cut, coats curtaild by Hanun the Ammonite, 2 Sam. 10.4. their piety in this is much like their Conscience, as but now was observed.

4th Motive to induce putting downe of Tithes is, that Charity requires it, for it will be a lifting, and holding up of those, who are bowed downe under the oppression of them, a setting of them free from the yoake of An­tichristian tyranny, a bringing of succour to this wearied Commonwealth, and a meanes of its well-fare and preservation, a loosing of the bond of wickednesse. To all these particulars, I have formally or virtually answered be­fore, so that I need doe no more here, but to direct to their place of refutation, which is Sect. 6.


THe 5th Motive is such as that it requires a distinct considerati­on by it selfe and it is a motive of prudence, if the Parliament upon their Petition will use their serious endeavours that this un­just oppression of Tithes may be abolished. 1. They will give Te­stimony [Page 20]of their resolutiou to instate this Comonwealth in all their just Rights and Libertyes.

Where the Petitioners seeme to make Ministers no part of the Commonwealth who (besides their Spirituall Ministry towards the Soules of men are both a considerable portion of the whole and beare a larger portion in publike payments, then other men.

2. For that they intimate that by taking their estates from them they shall give testimony of their resolutions to instates this com­monwealth in all their just rights and priviledges, the quite con­trary will be a clearer & a readier Inference for hath not the Par­liament as good Authority, and may they not with as much justice take away the meanes and revenues of other Subjects of this Na­tion, as well as of Ministers, and rather because many by treason may forfeit their Lands and inheritances from themselves and their heirs; but the fact of a Minister cannot transmit the guilt of such a fact or forfeiture upon his successour. Because he is not in his predecessors Loynes, as the Child in the Loines of his Parents Levi in the Loines of Abraham, and all of us in the Loines of Adam & it may somewhat scruple the Consciences of a Christian to im­poverish the Ministry because their destitution may produce great detriment to the progresse of religion which whosoever dares vio­late will not sticke much at an act of Ministry in secular matters Dionisius made bold to robb the Temples of his heathen Gods of their Rights and ornaments, and when he had done so he set them to sale in the open Market wheereby when he had made up a great summe of mony,Ferunt sublata de fanis in forum protulisse & per praeconem vendidisse exactaq, pecunia edixisse ut quod quis­que à sacris haberet id ante diem certum in suum quid­que fanum referret ita ad impietatem in Deos in homi­nes adjunxit injuriam. Ci­cero de natura Deorum l. 3. P. 255. Nu. 63. he made proclamation, that all he had sould, should be again restored to the Temples from whence he had taken them, and so saith the Ro­man Orator, who reports the story. To impiety a­gainst the Gods, he added injustice towards men, yet to give the Divell his due, it seemes he was more loath to stand-guilty of Sacriledge, then of simple theft, for he so ordered his cheating traffique, as in the last ac­compt to make his Subjects rather then his gods to be loosers by the bargaine.

And whereas these Petitioners, so presse the putting downe of Tithes, as an earnest of instating the Commonwealth, in all their just Rights and Liberties, by which they meane not the representa­tive of the people Assembled in Parliament, but particular Sub­jects, [Page 21]it may be a leading case for them, to loose their Rights and Liberties, and when all are set free from Tithes, at that gappe may breake in, as it did in Germany, the LevellingBonorum communitatem humanitati cū primis esse con­sentaneum. Sleyd. com­ment. l. 10. prior. Community, which takes away all bounds of propriety, where walls and hedges, locks and bolts, will not be endured, as being injurious incroach­ments upon Christian liberty, and thereforeFactum est ut vulgus ab operibus atque labore desiste­ret & qua quis (que) re care­ret ab aliis qui abunda­bant etiam in­vitiis acciperet Jbid. it may be lawfull for those that have strength enough in their hands, to break down such partition walls, and to breake up locks and bolts, and any thing that stands betwixt them and their due limited Liberties, so it was believed and practised, by such as the Divell stirred up to hinder, and to slander the work of Reformation in Luthers time, with this community of Goods, they held an equality ofEx dignita­te sunt omnes aequales Sleyd ibid. 51. 64. persons, and then what is the Landlord better then the Tenant, and why should he Labour and Sweat, fare hard, and weare poore apparrell, that his Landlord and Landlady, may live as idely as the Lillies of the field, which may fare as deliciously as the rich glutton, Luke 16. and be as gloriously arraied as Herod Acts 12. yea why should he pay a fine or a rack-rent, and he and his Family rise up early, sit up late, eate the bread of Carefulnesse, not only to uphold their idlenesse, luxury, and bravery, but their vaine pastime, gaming, hunting, hawking, and so give his mony to maintaine Cards and Dice, and his Childrens bread to doggs, and their flesh to nourish birds of prey, and though such mutterings be but the wicked issue of Sathans Conjunction with humane corruption, for it is the un­doubted will of God, and a speciall part of his divine providence (without which the world would soon fall into horrid confusion) that there be degrees of prelation, and subordination, of prehemi­nence, and dependance betwixt man and man, in respect of wisdom power honour and riches.

But yet we must take heed that by one unrighteous principle and practice we draw not on another, and truly from the deniall of all set maintenance to Ministers to the deniall of fines and rents to Landlords there is but a very little way of distance, and the pas­sage from them to these is downe the hill, for though both be very ungodly and unreasonable, yet upon such tenets as are now given forth the pretence of oppression may be more colourably pleaded against fines and rents and harriots and services of Tenant to the Landlord then against Tithes to the Minister and if these Petioners should prevaile in their motion for the one it would be a motive to others to hope that they may be freed from the other also, and [Page 22]so farre the Devil hath driven on the designe of boundlesse liberty amongst us already, for there be some of those new Antichristians before mentioned who arenot free to be Tenants to other men,Examinati­on of the Quakers Doct p. 42. that is they have such a latitude of Christian freedome that they cannot put themselves into so narrow & servile relation as tenant­shippe beings with it.


THe other motive of prudence to the abolishing of Tithes, is that in so ding the Parliament wil ingage the hearts of all the ho­nest and godly people of this Nation who have been bowed downe under the oppression and who being disingaged from Corrupt and selfe interests, will chief­ly adventure their Lives and States for their preservations and the Nations Peace.

Where there are two particulars which deserve distinct conside­ration: the one who will be ingaged to the Parliament upon the taking away of Tithes, the other how farre they will be inga­ged.

For the first they say all the Godly and honest of this Nation who are bowed downe under the opression of Tithes, and disengaged from corupt and selfe interests where they bring in the Godly people with two qualificati­ons of little affinity one with the other, for to be disengaged from corrupt and selfe interests, very well agreeth with the sincerity of of the most sound hearled Christians, but to say that those who account Tithes such a burthen as to be bowed downe under them if they speake it either of all, or of greater number of the better sort of men is as hard to be prooved, as easy to be spoken, for very many truly religious men are rightly informed and well perswa­ded of the Right of Tithes and pay them as dues, to which they are obliged by Justice and conscience, and many of the wiser sort of Godly persons account it their priviledge to have the Mi­nisters maintained by Tithes whereto they have an ancient and a legall Rightand that they are not put to it as the Christians are in France, to give them pentions out of the nine parts besides the paiment of the Tenth, to Popish Priests and hold it a priviledg and liberty of an English Subject if he have a sonne sit for the calling of the Ministry to breed him up to that calling, and that when he hath [Page 23]bestowed cost upon his education to that purpose, and he is both furnished with gifts, and imployed in a Ministeriall office that he should have beneficium propter officium the wages assigned to the work and though the number of Ministrs be much lesse then the rost of the Nation, (as among the Israelites, the Levites were not as some mistake the matter the tenth or twelfth part of the posterity of Jacob, but not so much as the sixtith part of the descendants from his Loines) yet they are a very considerable part of the Com­mon wealth who in any publique charge pay a bove the portion of other men as hath beeen noted before, and have a capacity and opportunity to serve the State more then is incident to the condi­tion of other men, not only in the time of peace but of warre also: I had it from a Courtier of good credit, that the last king, when a Cour-chaplineDr R. was rather popular then Courtlike in his Preaching, & his Sermon relished more for the Peoples right then of the Kings prerogative that checking him for it, told him he looked for as good service from his Clergy in the Pulpit, as from his Army in the Field, and he meant it not onely by their prayers (as his Grandmother did when shee more feared the praiers of John Knox and his Disci­ples then an Army of 20 thousandMr Trap in Acts 10.4. men) but by their instructions and perswasions of the People. There are yet enough ready to beare witnesse and worthy to be believed in a cause of weight who well remember that the Ministers who have been of a contrary Judgment to these Petitioners in point of Tithes) have done such good offices to the Parliament and the Army, with the People as (to speake modestly without upbrading of either) might render them more capable of their protection then of their opposition.

The other particular is, how farre they will be engaged, they say they will cheerefully adventure their Lives and Estates for the Parliaments preservation, and for the Nations Peace, viz. in so doing that is if they will use their serious endeavours that the oppression of Tithes and forced maintenance may be abolished it is much to be feared as be­fore hath been touched, that the Petitioners here are not disinga­ged from corrupt and selfe interests, since some of them hope thereby to gaine that which the Minister must loose but for the cōdition of their engage­ment in so doeing. It was held a very politique caution in the 3d Article of the late Nationall League & Covenant that they who tooke it were no further bound to preserve and defend the Kings Maje­sties person and Authority then in the preservation and defence of the true Religion and the Liberties of the Kingdome. So that if he set hmselfe a­gainst [Page 24]either of these the ingagement did not oblige to his defence, so their ingagement being but conditionall in so doing if the Parlia­ment will not doe so as they would have them, they are discharged from adventnring themselves or estates for their preservation and the Nations peace, there was never such a capitulation put upon any Parliament, nor ever was the Nations peace put upon such unequall and unreasonable termes. But say the Parliament, should assent to their proposall, would that content and quiet them, would they not moove for somewhat more, which the Parliament might conceive to be much worse for the Nations welfare, and therefore in prudence and conscience, must think it fit to be deni­ed, there be some to whom the Answer of Sir Walt. Rawleigh to Q. Elizabeth may be applied, who when she asked him when he would give over his begging, he told her Majesty, not till shee gave over giving: So some are of such unstable spirits, and boundlesse desires, that they make the obtainment of one favour, the induce­ment to moove for another, and if they sped in never so many, they are all lost in the last, wherein their humor is not satisfied.

But it will be a great deale too much to grant what they moove for, in their present Petition, for besides the knot for the lawful­nesse of Tithes, by Scripture and reason, especially for a setled and certain maintenance (which cannot be expected without con­straint) it will not consist, I humbly conceive, with the prudence of the Parliament (after they have incurred the offence of the Royall party, by putting downe Kingship, the Prelaticall, by put­ing down Bishops, Deanes and Chapters, the superstitious party by putting downe the Service-Book, the Profane party, by putting down Stage-plaies, December Saturnals commonly called Christ­mas holidaies, and carnall sports and recreations on Sabbath day.) by gratifying them herein, to give just cause of discontent, to all Regular and Orthodox Ministers of the Land, and to all those who are for a set, certain, and sufficient maintenance for them, which I am confident, is the mind of the most and best of all the people of the English Nation.

If it be said, that by taking Tithes from the Ministers; and in giving them to the People (though they constitute no other Main­tenance that may be required and procured by force of Law, for one they shall loose, they shall oblige hundreds. I answer, though it would be a great beneficence from the Parliament to the people, to give them the Tithes they never had in Right, nor in possession, [Page 25]by these Petitioners complaint of them, as unsupportable oppres­sion, they would learne to take them, not as favours, but as just Rights, since they are bound in justice to free them from, or if they should apprehend them as free-will-offerings or donatives that would work upon them, but for a very little while in any way of gratefull resentment, since their manifold Antipathies, under the Tithes now mentioned (being in them mightily predominant a­bove all ingenuity) would soone bury it in the grave of oblivion, or stifle it with a stronger sent of malignant disaffection toward them. Whereas if they were kept up as the constant Revenue of Incumbent Pastors, as the soules of the people, as well as the bo­dies of Ministers, might be better provided for, so the State might have better service from them both, of which something hath been said, which the Reader may remember, and apply to this poynt, though I doe not repeat it in the place.


There remaineth only one prudentiall motive more, besides the common formality, And your Petitioners shall &c. And that is, Thus will your light breake forth as the Morning, and your righteousnesse shall goe be­fore you.


HOw necessary it is, that the Parliament should be, as we heare they are, much in prayer, and that all the well affected of the Nation, should heartily pray for them, not only that no cor­rupt ends, and selfe interests of their own, may dispose them to act otherwise, then according to the rule of truth and justice, but that they may not, by any importunity of subtle insinuations, be swayed from their own syncerity, to serve the partiall and perniti­ous designes of other men, such a one is that of the Petitioners, as not only against Tithes, but against all forced and constrained maintenance, whereby they plausibly pretend, that it will be, a meanes to bring glory to God, a way to the welfare of the Common-wealth, that thereby it will be established by Righteousnesse, and that then the light of the Parliament, if they use their serious endeavours to a­bolish [Page 26]Tithes, will breake forth as the Morning, and their Righte­ousnesse goe before them.

Before we believe any of this, we must believe the Jewes were not deceived, when they imputed their prosperity to their burning incence to the Queene of Heaven, & powring out Drinke-offerings to her. Jer. 44.16, 17. Whereas the truth was, for that wickednesse (as the Prophet tells them, from v. 22. to 26. of the same Chapter, all their calamities under which they groaned, came upon them. Wee know not then, how from such injurious acts, as the Petitioners propose and plead for, to foretell such faire and favourable effects as they promise, except as Micajah said to Ahab in an Ironicall sense, Goe against Ramoth Gilead and prosper. 1 Cron. 1.5. So the re­sult of what hath been said on both sides in this matter, might be given up to the Parliament, as in a summary conclusion in this manner.

Though Pharaohs favour were such to his Idolatrous Priests, that in a time of extraodinary dearth, he would not diminish their meanes, but made a reserve or exeption of their Lands alone which were not alienated, as the Lands of his other Subjects Gen. 47. v. 21. Though the sacrificing Priest of the old Testament had a liberall allowance alotted them by God, though the Apostle Paul in the New Testament held the Ministers of the Gospell, as worthy to be mainteined as the Ministers of the La, and that it was but a small matter v. 9. That they who sow Spirituall things should reape Carnall things though Popish Priests have Tithes paid nuto them, not only by their owne disciples, but by the Protestants of France (albeit they also beare the charge of their owne orthodox Ministers by giving them pensions) though in the time of the Prelates tithes were ge­nerally paid even to the Idle and scandalous Ministers & that ac­cording to the Law of the Land (for Easter dues were not to be deteined from them, unlesse upon a due and orderly conviction they were put out of office) though many of them rich and being qualified to hold plurality of Benefices with care of Soules, yet now, when the Ministers bee neither Heathenish, Popish, nor Prelaticall, though you have so farre reformed them as to make them more entirely Incumbent upon their Spirituall employments by debarring them of the exercise of all civill offices, and now though the iniquity of the times by multiplicity of errors and heresies makes more need of Learned and Orthodox Ministers, and more worke for them which will put them to more charge of [Page 27]bookes to be furnished for that worke though they have done faithfull and profitable service for the commonwwealth for which some of them have been paticularly thanked by the Councell of State, not withstanding all this now take away the Tithes, and let them have nothing as they may claime as their Right to maine­taine them. And what you take from them bestow upon those who hate both you and them and thereby give the occasion to in­sult over their poverties who would not bow to a compliance with their superstitions or profainesse. Let them be spoiled of all they have that they be tempted to perplexed thoughts for their future provision what they shall eat or what they drinke, and wherewith they shall be clothed and to dishonest shifts as the un­just Steward was and in the next generation (by inhumane perse­cution worse then Dioclesians) for want of meanes to feed the Ministers, let there be want of Ministers to feed the People. This shall make much to the glory of God for the Welfare, Peace and Preservation and prosperity of this Nation. It shall bring in the bloody Irish Rebls, and the barbarous theevish Highlanders meek­ly submit their necks to the yoake of the English Goverment then the greatest Dutch men of warre shall be willing to strike saile, to your smallest pinke or pinnace, yea and the High and Mighty Sates of the Netherlands shall come downe and begge conditions of peace at your hands, and be gladde to buy it at any rate you will be pleased to sette upon it, then neither the French, nor the Dane, shall dare to affront you, or make any at­tempt against you by Land or by Sea, lastly then thongh the re­proach of your unrighteous dealing blast your Names with black­est defamie our Light shall breake forth as the Morning, and your Righteousnesse shall goe before you making way for your grati­ous acceptance before God and man.

This in effect though not in forme, is the equipollence of the Petitioners propose and promise in their Petition to the Parlia­ment, which their wisdome I doubt not, discernes too well to ex­pect they should prosper the better at home or abroad by any such meanes as these Petitioners have projected.

They will say perhaps I have made their matter worse then it is by mine aggrivation, for though Tithes and all constrayned main­tenance be taken away the People shall not want Preachers for there be many will Preach for nothing. It may be so, and for some that will take that office upon them, and drive other Trades besides [Page 28]their Preaching may be worth nothing, and yet I thinke they will not long hold out in that worke, at that rate theBucol In­dex Chron. ad An. 1535. p. 534. Jesuits when they beganne to set up and to gaine customers, and credit, professed they would both preach in Churches and teach in Schooles for nothing But when upon such faire pretences they had put them­selves into acquaintance & employment they found a way of thri­ving in worldly wealth (time for time) above not only the Tith­taking Clergy but above all other religious orders of the Church of Rome, for in lesse then 100 years they have increased from ten (their founderPhil. Ale­gamb. Bilio­thec. Script. societat. Jes. Statim post prefat. & cen­sur. and nine more) of his brotherhood toSee the pro­gresse of Ig­natius writ­ten by L. O. and Printed with S. Edw. Sands Europae Speculum An. 1632. p. 56. 11875 fellowes and 475 Colledges from the yeare 1534 or 1535 to the yeare 1632.

But if the Petition had been liable to so many exceptions as you have made against it, especially for the principall part of it the abo­lishing of Tithes, the Petitioners had not received thankes from the House by the Speaker as they did Saturday 16 of July. 1653 with this answer that the House was in debate of the thing they Petiti­oned for (as Mercurius Politicus Mercur. Po­liticus num. 163. hath reported both the presenting and the acceptance of that Petition.

Ans. It is the wisdome of Parliament, and hath been their practice heretofore to receive Petitioners who complaine of op­pression, with patience and indulgence, for thereby they come to know the State of things better then otherwise they would doe, since complaints raise debates and debates beget votes and determinations which may stint the strife. Secondly, their thanks is no argument of their approbation of the Petitioners Mo­tion for they might thanke them for somewhat else as the for­mer Parliament thanked the Petitioners of Kent, (mooving them against Tithes as these doe, but with more moderation and equity towards the Ministers) for their formerSo in the re­solutions concerning the Alienati of Tithes forecited p. 15. services and good affections to the Publique, promising to take their pe­tition into consideration in due time, and in the meane time re­requiring them to take care, that Tithes be paid according to Law, no lesse was meant doubtlesse by the present Parliament, though there were more hope given for speedy decision of the doubt in question because it was in debate already, wherein the Lord direct them to such a resolution as may be most pleasing to himselfe, and most comfortable to those who are truly Godly and most profitable for the propagation of the Gospell, and for pre­vention of scandall to the Christiā Religion professed amongst us.

AN ANSWERE TO THE Later Petition.

THE three Authorized Intelligencers, for the Newes both of and to this Nation, have given notice this weeke, of a Petition against Tithes, presented to the Parliament from the County of Kent, with much difference for the measure, but without any contra­diction for the matter they move for.

The Armies Diurnall nu. 191. p. 2905.For one of them saith no more of it but this. A petition from Kent was presented to the Parliament, for the taking off of Tithes. That is all he saith of the Petition, the acceptance it had is another thing whereof we shall speak afterwards.

The Repor­ter of the se­verall pro­ceedings of State Affaires num. 202. p. 3189Another saith somewhat more but not all in these words.

The Petition.

To the Parliament of the Common-wealth of England, the humble Peti­tion of many of the well affected of the County of Kent, was this day delivered.

Humbly desiring that Tithes of all sorts, root and branch, may be abolished, and that the Jewish and Antichristian burthen on the estates and consciences of the Godly may cease, and that we may not be insnared with forced maintenance, or any thing like it instead thereof. And your Petitioners shall owne the Lord in you, and blesse the Lord for you, and pray, and hope, and waite to see your hands stretched out for the Lord, till you shall help to teare the flesh of the Whore and burne her with fire.

A Mesc. Polit. num. 165. p. 2636. Third farre larger then the other two.


Which having read (after some silent admiration of such an high degree of malevolence against the Ministers of God, as the Petitioners discover) I could not but be very sadly affected, asdIoseph Scalig. Et uberi­oribus lachrymis deploravit nimiam vivacitatem suam quod ad ea us (que) tempora du­rasset quibus in dubium voca­retur meritum & satisfa­ctio servatoris nostri Iesu Christi. Bucol. Ind. Chr. ad annum 1609. p. 773. e­dit. 5. Scaliger was, to think how long I had lived, having li­ved to see such impious injustice, so bold faced, as to offer to tempt the Supreame Judicatory of the Nati­on professing themselves protectors of Religion and Learning, to persecute the Preachers of the Gospell, by taking from them, that supply for their subsi­stence, which Morall equity, Christian piety, and Ci­vill Justice, have conferred on them, and confirmed to them, as their Right, this mooved me again while my spirit was warme in the former worke, to bestow some serious thought and observations upon this later, as well as the former petition, and though they agree in the summe and substance of their desires, and that wherein they agree, be wholly answered al­lready (so that what confuteth the one confuteth the other) yet what I find in this from Kent, differing from the other (from whence I know not, but not from Christendome for ought I see in it) worthy of consideration, I shall take notice of it, and make an­swer to it, as it shall deserve: and first for the threefold report of this petition, of the two former which are shorter, we may say as a learnedD. Donne in his Apology for the Ie­suits, at the end of his Ig­natian Con­clave. Doctor said of writing of the Jesuites, he favours them most who saies least of them, and for the Third, which is longer then both, as a Learned man being demanded, which of Ciceroes orati­ons he liked the best, answered The longest, so on the contrary, wee may say of these three relations of the Kentish petition, that the longest is the worst, for we have in them three degrees of compa­rison, malum, pejus, pessimum, whereby I meane not to reflect any of­fence upon the Reporters, but on the matter reported, for they who said lesse, haply might think they said enough of it, except it had been better and he that set it forth more largely meant it may be to give a more compleat character of the spirits and dispositi­ons of the Petitioners, for further information and satisfaction of the Reader for which he deseveth thanks.

Here though the proverb say of evills, the least is to be chosen, I shall choose the greatest, not doubting to fit an antidote answe­rable [Page 31]to the dimension of the malignity thereof, and yet I shall not need to be very long about it, since the work for the chiefe part of it, is already done, in the returne which hath been fitted to the former petition.

And for the later, what I shall say concerning it, I shall reduce,

  • 1. To the Petitioners.
  • 2. To the Petition it selfe.

wherein I shall distinctly consider,

  • 1. What they purpose unto the Parlia­ment.
  • 2. By what inducements they would prevaile in their proposall.

And under these two heads, I shall set downe all their Petition, in such sort as that though it be brought in by divided Portions an ordinary Reader following the distinct character may so put them together, as to make it up into an entire peece at his plea­sure.

3. After that with, modesty and humility, I shall speak some­what of the Parliaments Answer unto that.

The Title of the Petitioners.

1. For the Petitioners though we heare nothing of their number covnted up to thousands, as was noted of the former Petitioners yet they are men of account not only such as call themselves (as they did) the well affected but some of them also Justices of peace.


THey may be so and yet not have dignity and worth in them to give any reputation to such a Petition it is one of the great incōeniences if not mischiefs which hath ensued upon many revolts from & rebellions against the Parliament (where in the County of Kent hath not had the least share of guilt) that the number of men of eminecy where in they might confide hath been very small for as it was in the first reformation of Queen Elizabeth for want of learned and orthodox Divines there was a necessity to make use of Mechanicall Men out of the Shop no lesse learned thē Popish Priests who attati­ned to Ecclesiasticall dignities Prebends and Rich Benefices asCambd. Hist. of Qu: Elizab. An. 1559. l. 1. p. 19.Camb. ob­serveth. So now in many Contryes, such is the scarcity of those [Page 32]whom the Parliament dare trust in offices of authority, (though some of them whose parentage parts & estates gives them a prela­tion above others, constantly adhered to them) that they are faine to abate many graines of Weight and worth in High Sheriffs and Justices of Peace more then heretofore, and to put in some into these offices who had little else to commend them to any employ­ment of power & credit, but thē that they were Anti-royalist, Anti-prelatists, Anti-presbiterians: And that these Justices are above all the Anti-ministerians and Anti-decimists they are eo nomine lesse to be valewed and more and more unworthy of their places, be­cause as Justices of Peace, by ordinance of Parliament they are to relieve Ministers in point of Tithes against such, as unduly de­taine them from them.

But be they what they may be, were they Justices of the Highest ranke, and of the best qualifications that ever acted in those offices, such a Petition as they have subscribed, would much more dispa­rage them, then they could honour such a Petition, which now in the Second place cometh to be considered, and therein, 1. What they propose unto the Parliament. 2. By what inducements they would prevaile in their proposall.

The Petition.

For the first their motion is, That Tithes of all sorts, root and branch, may be abolished, and that the Jewish and Antichristian Burthen on the E­states and Consciences of the Godly may cease, and that we may not be insna­red with forced maintenance, or any thing like it instead thereof.


That Tithes are neither a burthen, which any good man should be unwilling to beare, nor Jewish nor Antichristian, nor a snare to the conscience, hath been abundantly shewed, in the answer to the Former Petition: yet there is something observable in this, that was not in that, for it more fully expresseth, how farre they would stretch the line of confusion, and to lay the stone of emptinesse, Isay 34.11. upon the Portion of the Ministers, viz. Tithes of all sorts Root and Branch may cease, and no forced maintenance or any thing like it in stead thereof. All sorts of Tithes, that is great [Page 33]and small praediall and personall, the Tithes of Impropriators as well as of Incumbent Pastors.

I cannot tell whether in this Latitude they meane the Tithe of the Sea, as well as the Land,Resolved that the tenth of all prises taken or to be ta­ken, and cu­stomarily due to the L. High Admi­rall be ap­pointed for sick and wounded men. Merc. Polit. nu. 165. p. 2640. for there is such a Title which the Lord Admirall was wont to have of Sea prizes, and is now assig­ned to succour sick and maimed Souldiers. Tith or Tenth, by which upon some common offence, as the Lot fell, everyResolved that the tenth of all prises taken or to be ta­ken, and cu­stomarily due to the L. High Admi­rall be ap­pointed for sick and wounded men. Merc. Polit. nu. 165. p. 2640. tenth Souldier was to be cudgelled. But sure they meane as many as they know of and suspect may put them to any cost or expence: They adde root and Branch, these words are taken out of the 4th of Malachy 22, 23. where God threatens the wicked with burning vengeance, which will leave neither root nor branch, and those wicked ones, are prin­cipally they, who in the precedent Chapter, he had arraigned for robbery in Tithes, and in offerings, if they had but made one step back, and compared the sinne and punishment together, they might from both, with more prudence and better conscience, have ta­ken the Text for a prohibition of them, that they should make no motion against Tithes, or a commination against them, if they did so, then have presumed to use that of root and Branch against Tiths, either to pluck them up by the root, or so much as to croppe their branches. After Tithes of all sorts, they move against all for­ced maintenance, non induring any thing like it in stead thereof. What shall Ministers have no Tithes, though by so many titles due unto them, no certain maintenance, nothing like that? Whether their dislike of Ministers, or the likeing of their Idoll Mammon, which they hope to increase, by this saving the ablative doctrine, as some call it, is hard to say, but easy to see that no Petition like this for inju­stice and impiety, was ever made by any sort of men, pretending to any Religion, true or false, to any Parliament that ever this Na­tion had, whether Popish or Protestant, or of what denomination soever, old or new, yet they call themselves, not only the well af­fected, but the Godly, for the Petition runnes thus, — That the Antichristian burthen — on the Godly may cease, and their next words are, that we may not be ensnared. Godw. of Rom. Antiq. l. 4. c. 6. p. 275.

Fairefall their petitioning predecessors, and Country-men of Kent, who when they presented their desires to the last Parl. For the taking away of TithesThe resolu­tion of the doubt cited at the letter R. p. 7, 8. professed their good meaning, to establish a suf­ficient maintenance for Godly and well deserving Ministers, yea a very good meaning to extend it so farre, as to succor and provide for their Widdowes, and Fatherlesse Children, which was the eighth proposition of their new project. [Page 34]yet the Parliament (though they civilly entertained the Petitio­ners, telling them that they took notice of their good affections to the publique) sent them away with a charge, that Tithes were paid according to Law. And their Petition (so farre as it was against Tithes, was found many waies faulty, and was accordinglySee the re­solution of the doubt touching ali­enation of Tithes an­nexed to Sir Henry Spelm. larger Trea­tise of Tithes Printed 1647 from p. 7. to p. 22. refu­ted in Print.

Thus much for the proposall or request to the Parliament: Now we are to observe, by what inducements they indeavour to prevaile, which they set downe, partly as a Prologue, partly as an Epi­logue to their petition forementioned, their prologue in these words.


Though the Kings of the Earth, have been unwilling that the annoynted Iesus should Raigne, yet the observation of the out-goings of the most high in these later daies, causeth your Petitioners, to believe that the day of the accom­plishment of the promises on that behalfe of the Sunne of Righteousnesse, is daw­ned if not approached very neere its noone, who is weary alwaies, to behold the burdens on the backs, the yoaks on the necks, and to heare the groanes and cryes of his people, wherefore he hath powred forth a spirit which hath encountred and vanquished our open oppressors, and powred contempt upon those, who were but partiall deliverers. The sunne of whose power set a noone because it ripe­ned not, the desires and Petitions of Gods people, by a favourable influence, but suffered their hopes to blast, after so many promises and protestations, and so much expence of Treasure and bloud. The same God who hath pulled them downe hath set you up, but not to rule for your selves, but for the people God, not to seeke your own, but the honour of Christ, and wee can doe no lesse then hope and Pray, that the spirit of the Lord may fall downe upon you (and to teach you to rule after the heart of Christ) to whom we make hold to make this hum­ble addresse, not to interrupt your weighty affaires, nor misdoubting your wis­dome and faithfulnesse, but to shew, how our hearts owne you as our Parliament, and to confesse we dare not neglect our Assistance to the great worke of the Lord, though it be but in being your remembrancers, of what you have proposed to us of your desires, in your late Declaration, to the breaking of all our yoakes, and removing all our Burthens, at which our Soules joy, and to keep warme the breathings of that spirit, we humbly crave leave to spread before you, one grand burthen under which we have groaned till our hearts ake.


IN this part (which is a large porch to a little pile of building) their discourse is made up of five sorts of persons, 1. The Kings of the earth. 2. The annoynted Jesus. 3. The late Parliament. 4. The present Parliament. 5. The petitioners themselves.

1. Of the Kings of the Earth, they say, that they have been un­willing that Christ should raigne, which is true enough, not be­cause they say so, but because we read so, the Kings of the Earth set themselves &c. the rulers take Counsell together against the Lord and against his annoynted, saying let us breake their Bonds, and cast away their cords from us, Psal. 2. v. 2, 3. And as true that they would not have him to rule over them shall be destroyed, Luke 19.4, 27. He shall breake them with a rod of Iron, and dash then in pieces like a Potters vessell. Psal. 2.9.

But what is this to the taking away of Tithes, were they not Heathen Kings Ps. 2.1. Who never received the Law of Tithing who were most unwilling that Christ should reigne over them and were not the most notorious, such under whom Christ in his Members underwent those ten most cruell persecutions in the first Centuries in the Christian profession? Truly this if it be brought in as any reason or inducement to the removall of Tithes (and if it be not what maketh it here) is so farre repugnant to all reason, that may rather argue thus Constantine protecteth Christs Ministers in their persons, in the execution of their offices, and of enjoyment of their portions; therfore he is willing that Christ should reigne, then on the contrary Julian though he suffer them to live & permit them to Preach spoyleth them of their meanes & mayntenance, therefore he is willing that Christ should reigne when as a Learned and Zea­lous Divine as great an enemy to Popery & Superstition as any man,M. Knox. in his Epistle to the Bishopps & Ministers of Scotland Printed at the end of S. Hen. Spelm. Appology for his Booke de non Teme­rand: Ecclesiis. Of all the persecutions intended against Christ, that of Julian was held most dangerous, for saith he to kill the Ministers of the Gospell is nothing so hurtfull, as to kill the Ministry, when men are taken away there is hope others will be raysed up in their places, but if the meanes of mayntenance be taken a­way there followeth the decay of the profession it selfe, men doe not apply them­selves commonly to callings for which no rewards are appointed, and say that some have done it out of Zeale, some out of heat of Contention, yet in after times, it is not like to continue so neyther let any one tell me that a Minister should have other ends proposed to him then worldly mayntenance, I know that to be truth yet as our Lord said in the Gospell these things yee ought to have done, [Page 36]and not to leave the other undone (speaking of payment of Tithes to the Phari­ses) it behoveth them (saith he) to be paid, if not it is not to be expected that men should follow that calling.

2d. Person they bring into their prologue Christ where two things are observable. 1. His glorious advances towards the height or high noone of his dominion. 2. His tender compassion to his people being weary alwaies to behold the burthens on the backs, the yoakes on the necks and to heare the groanes and cryes of his People. 3. His assistance of his servants to incounter, and vanquish their open ene­mies, and oppressors. 4. His pouring contempt upon those who were but partiall deliverers. For the first they set him up in a Royall equipage, which were well done if they did it to a good end but put their act and end together, they are both like the Jewes arraying him like a King Math. 27.28, 29. And afterwards ranking him among Theeves v. 38. Nay worse then so, for it is better to suffer as an evill doer with innocence 1 Pet. 4.15, 16. Then to act with evill doers with anevill conscience, but these would make Christ likeJoseph. warres of the Iewes. l. 2. c. 13. p. 623. Gessius Florus president of Judaea a patrone of Theeves they would rob and spoile Christs servants of their meanes, and Christ their master must beare the name of it, as if it must be done by his warrant and to his honor. The holy Apostles had not so learned Christ, and therfore they well deserved the Apology of the Towne Clarke of Ephesus, when pleading on their behalfe, he told the tumultuous multitude they are no robbers of Churches Act. 19.37.

2. For his tender compassion to his People they speake of, we confesse he is very sensible of their sufferings in all their afflictions he was afflicted Isaiah. 63.9. And when Saule persecuted the Christians he tooke his tyranny as acted against himselfe Act. 9.4. But this is very ill applyed to the payment of Tithes, that is neither such a Burthen on their backs, nor yoke upon their necks, as should make them grone or crye, if they be sick of Ahabs disease when he betook him to his bed and refused his meat because he might not have Nabothes Vineyard 1 Kings. 21.4. Christ will not sympathize with them in such suffering, and their concupicence after the Ministers maintenance (which makes them sick to the heart & their hearts to ake as they say of themselves) is farr worse then that of Ahab for he would have given him a better! Vineyard or a valueable consideration in mony for it. v. 1, 2. But they would have Tithes taken away, and all certaine maintenance and nothing like it in stead thereof, wherein if they should prevaile (which God forbid) [Page 37]the groanes and cryes of the spoiled and oppressed Ministers would be heard & heeded pittyed, and they relieved by Christ, as for them if they know the plague of their owne heart (which by their words seeme to be too much love to the things of this Life, which makes them discontented with their owne estates, unlesse they may have others added to it, & too litle love, if not a great deale of hatred to the Ministers of Christ, whom they would give up to ignominious misery) they would find more cause of groaning, and cryes, and heart aking for that, then for any thing they doe or can endure by payment of Tithes.

3d Thing they Speake of Christ, is the powring forth of his Spirit which hath encountred and vanquished their open opressours by this it should seeme that Tithetakers are not open opressours (and if oppressours at all they must be open for Tithtaking is no secret businesse) for they have not been encountred but by some uncon­scionable litigants at law, and such Petitioners to the Parliament much lesse are they conquered, no nor was Tithes any part of the publique quarrell as hath been already observed, in an answer to the former Petition.


The 4th particular of Christ, is that he hath powred forth contempt on those who were but partiall deliverers what contempt he hath pow­red out & for what may fitly come under the eonsideration of the 3d sort of persons viz. The late Parliament whom they meane to be but partiall deliverers, of whom they further say in the next words — the sunne of whose power set at Noone because it ripened not the desires and petitions of Gods People by a favourable influence, but suffered their hopes to blast after so many promises and protestations and so much expence of treasure, and blood. Wherein are two things to be noted. 1. What they suffer. 2. And why.


FOr the first they suffered contempt. They did so, and more contempt then was fit to be suffered, if it had been cast upon a single and private Subject for base and scurrilous Ballets were made and sung in the open market places of Townes, and in the [Page 38]chiefe Streets of London untill by publique authority some were clapt up in Prison for that which they well deserved. Another contempt they intimate in the phraise of the Prophet Amos c. 8. v. 9. The sunne of their power set or went downe at Noone that is their Sunshine glory as the great and most awfull Assembly of this Nation was suddenly turned into a Night like darkenesse of ob­scurity and privacy, and this at noone if they meane that they were interrupted in their worke, when but halfe the day was done or time spunne out, for noone is the middle of the day it is not like they intended to sit as long as they had done another twelve years, yet it was a contempt cast upon them, I confesse they were forced to dissolve when they might have been so happy as with prudence & honour freely to have given up their power and pla­ces to a new representative. But why came this contempt upon them? That the second particular, to which I will not take upon me to returne any answere of mine owne, because I will not intrude myselfe into the Secrets of God, or Misteries of States.


The reason they render is, Because they ripended not the desires & Pe­titions of Gods People, by a favourable influence, but suffered their hopes to blast after so many promises and Protestations, and so much expence of bloud and Treasure.


ALL which having reference to their request following, wee may guesse their meaning to be, that they were but partiall deliverers, the Sunne of whose power set at noon &c. because they did not free them from the oppression of Tithes, if so, doth it not im­ply a commination to the present Parliament, that if they doe not understand and vote downe Tithes as an oppression, their Sunne may be like to set at noone, as well as the others, and truly, if men like minded to these Petitioners, had had so much power in their hands, as to scatter them when they were met in a collective body, it is very probable, that the receiving Petitions for Tithes, the Mi­nistry and Universities (as they did) might have beene a principall [Page 39]cause of such a dissolution. But that God had no quarrell at them nor powred any contempt upon them, for that is clearly evicted, by what hath been answered to the former Petition. Besides the prime cause (uponIn the De­claration of the Lord Ge­nerall Crum­well & Coun­crll of Offi­cers Aprill. 22. 1653. p. 5. better warrant then these Petitioners words appears to be) the purpose of perpetuating themselves in the supreame go­vernment.

4. Of the present Parliament they say, that the same God who hath pulled the former Parliament downe, hath set them up, not to rule for themselves, but for the people of God, not to seek their own but the ho­nour of Christ. Wherein their words be good, and if their meaning be no worse, they may passe without exception: But if they mean themselves only, or their own party, to be the people of God, and their Petitions though most unrighteous and unreasonable, as this is, must sway the votes and determinations of Parliament, their opinion is a meere deceipt, and their expectation, I trust, will be de­ceived.


5. For themselves they say, We can doe no lesse then hope and pray that the spirit of the Lord may fall downe upon you (and teach you to rule af­ter the heart of Christ) to whom we make hold to make this humble addresse, not to interrupt your weighty affaires, or as misdoubting your wisdome, and faithfulnesse, But to shew you how our hearts owne you as our Parliament, and to confess we dare not neglect our Assistance to the great worke of the Lord, though it be but in being your remembrancers of what you have proposed to us in your late Declaration, to the breaking of all our yoakes, and removing all our burthens, at which our soules joy, and to keep warme the breathings of that spi­rit, we humbly crave leave to spread before you, one grand burthen, under which we have groaned till our hearts ake.


Which words may be resolved into these particulars.

  • 1. Their pro­fessed
    • 1. Good opinion of the Parliament.
    • 2. Great affection to the Parliament.
    • 3. Zeale for the Parliament.
    • 4. Their joy in the Parliament.
  • [Page 40]2. Their own sad condition, by the grand burthen of Tithes under which they groane untill their hearts ake.
  • 1. For the First, their good opinion of the Parliament: They make no doubt of their wisdome and faithfulnesse.
  • 2. For their great affection to the Parliament, they desire by this to shew, how they own them as their Parliament.
  • 3. Their zeale for the Parliament, in praying that the spirit of the Lord may fall downe upon them, and teach them how to rule after the heart of Christ.
  • 4. their joy in the Parliament, for their Declaration to break off all their yoakes, and remove all their burthens.
  • 1. For the First, we think so well of the Parliaments wisdome, that they need not the advice of these petitioners, and their faith­fulnesse, that they will not be corrupted by their sollicitati­ons, to act otherwise then according to the rule of piety and Justice.
  • 2. For the Second, their hearts owning this Parliament, thats somewhat, for some great enemies to Tithes have taken the bold­ness to tell the World in print, that there hath been no Parliament since there was not a King to parly withall. But not much, for it may well be suspected, as was observed of the other petitio­ners that it is with an implicit condition that the Parliament own them and their cause, as they represent it under the notion of op­pression by payment of Tithes.
  • 3. For their professed zeale in praying for the Parliament, that the spirit of the Lord may fall downe upon them and teach them to rule af­ter the heart of Christ, we say Amen to this prayer, only with this ad­dition, that the spirit of God, and heart of Christ, and the word of God, and Christ, may all work together, for their guidance and direction, both in their consultations and conclusions.
  • 4. Whereas they professe their joy in the Parliament, for their Deolaration to breake all their yoakes, and to remove all their Burthens. Wee question whether the Parliament in any Declaration, hath speci­fied Tithes to be a burthen or a yoake, we believe they have not, nor can they on the suddaine, take off all burthens, while there is so great a necessity to maintaine a fighting Navie by Sea, as well as an Army by Land.

2. The other part, which is the close of their prologue, or pro­em to their proposall against Tithes, is their sad condition, by that grand burthen under which they have groaned till their hears ake, [Page 41]besides what wee have observed before of the burthens on the back, and yoakes on the necks of Gods People and of their groanes and cryes. Wee shall here touch only at two things, the one is how such Joyes as but now they professed, and such groaning and aking of the heart (by the grand burthen not yet mooved) can agree together. The other is, that suppose Tithes were a burthen they may bee mistaken in the weight of it, and I think many are so, who when Warrs and plunder have impoverished, many obstru­ctions of Trade beene an hinderance to the recruiting of their state, and great payments have oppressed them, by the clamors of such as these Petitioners put all their aggreevance upon the Score of Tithes which without the other detriments would never bee matter of complaint to any but to such as are way­ward or covetuous. Thus much of their Prologue, their Epilogue is but short, no more but this upon the granting of their request your Petitioners shall owne the Lord in you, and Blesse the Lord for you, and Pray and hope and wayt to see your hands stretched out for the Lord, till you shall helpe to teare the Flesh of the Whore, and burne her with fire.

If they put downe Tithes, and all forced maintenance, and set up no­thing like it in stead thereof, then they will owne the Lord in them, and blesse God for them, what not otherwise, if the Lord be and appeare in them will they not owne him, but upon their owne conditions, we see nothing in their Petition that may induce us to conceive their sence to be any other then hypotheticall. But what o they meane by Praying, and Hoping, and Waighting to see their hands stretched out for the Lord till they shall helpe to teare the Flesh of the Whore and burne her with fire, What Whore do they meane whose flesh shall be torne, and what tearing, burning, if they meane by the whoreIoseph Sal­mon in his Book of An­tichrist in man. that common whore not commonly knowne untill a late writer made discovery of her calling her the whore, the Babilon, the Antichrist in man, that is the fleshly Wisdome or carnall pollicy of the Creatures, as he extends the Word, that is no worke either for this or any o­ther Parliament, if they mean as most of the Orthodox Protestants hold the Antichrist of Rome (and so far their words [their hands stretched out till they shall help to teare) induce us to stretch fanaticall fancy by tearing and burning her the utter ruine of that Arch­enemy of Christ Revel. 17.16. To which place they allude (though cat, they say teare the flesh) how is it like to be done by any acting of this Parliament which is limited for its sitting to the space [Page 42]of a yeare and a little more, and then what an abuse is this of the holy Word of God the holy practice of prayer and the venerable Assembly of the Parliament to seale or shut up their suits unto them with such a fantasticall conclusion.

The Acceptance of their Petition.

THat I may not make an end, or take my leave of my Rea­der with such a distastfull folly. I will make up my last period with the Parliaments acceptance of, and answer unto these importunate Petitioners, which is set downe in this sort.

The Petitioners called in, and being come to the Barre Mr Speaker by command of the House returned them this answer. Mercur. Pol. num. 165. p. 2636. Gentlemen the House doth take notice of your good affection to the Parliament, and hath commanded me to tell you that the Businesse in your Petition shall be in due time under consideration, and the House will doe therein as the Lord shall direct them. Wherein they shew their civility by their smooth courteous answer to so rough and rigorous a Petition, their wisdome in accep­ting of their affection as it was pressed, not of their Judgment, and in that they would not rashly, but upon due considera­tion returne an Answer, and their Piety, in that they resolved to doe there in, as God shall direct them.

Now the God who standeth in the Congregation of the Mighty. Ps. 28.1. Observing both what they doe and with what minds and to what ends they act, direct their councells and debates to resolutions of Piety and Justice that they may not doe unjustly, by the misguidance of false information or corrupt affection nor accept of the persons of the wicked for feare or favour or reward v. 2. But Defend the Poore, and Fatherlesse, doe Justice to the afflicted and needy, v. 3. Defend poore and despised Ministers who are as Fathers having none of their Tribe as heretofore in places of Anthority, as Fathers to Protect them, Deliver the poore and needy out of the hand of the wicked. v. 4. Deliver those [Page 43]that are Poore from their Poverty by supplying them with meanes of comfortable subsistance, & by keeping those that are not poore, that the hands of the Wicked may not impoverish them; and good Lord make the Rulers whom thon hast set over us Rich in Grace Heroick in Spirit to act for thee, thy cause, thy truth, thy Church; and all faithfull Pastors, who feed thy flock, that they may be fed with that portion which thy gratious Benificence hath provided for them.


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