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this as the saying of our Saviour, that “the labourer is worthy of his hire." And both by this place of Luke, and that of Matt. x. 9, 10, 11, it evidently appears, that our Saviour ordained no certain maintenance for his apostles or ministers, publicly or privately, in house or city received, but that, whatever it were, which might suffice to live on and this not commanded or proportioned by Abraham or by Moses, whom he might easily have here cited, as his manner was, but declared only by a rule of common equity, whichi proportions the hire as well to the ability of him who gives, as to the labour of him who receives, and recommends him only as worthy, not invests him with a legal right. And mark whereon he grounds this his ordinance; not on a perpetual right of tithes from Melchisedec, as hirelings pretend, which he never claimed, either for himself, or for his ministers, but on the plain and common equity of rewarding the labourer; worthy sometimes of single, sometimes Ol double honour, not proportionable by tithes. And the apostle in this forecited chapter to the Corinthians, ver. 11, affirms it to be no great recompence, if carnal things be reaped for spiritual sown; but to mention tithes, neglects here the fittest occasion that could be offered him, and leaves the rest free and undetermined. Certainly if Christ or his apostles had approved of tithes, they would have, either by writing or tradition, recommended them to the church; and that soon would have appeared in the practice of those primitive and the next ages. But for the first three hundred years and more, in all the ecclesiastical story, I find no such doctrine or example: though error by that time had brought back again priests, altars, and oblations; and in many other points of religion had miserably judaized the church. So that the defenders of tithes, after a long pomp, and tedious preparation out of heathen authors, telling is that tithes were paid to Hercules and Apollo, which perhaps was imi tated from the Jews, and as it were bespeaking our expectation, that they will abound much more with authorities out of Christian story, have nothing of general approbation to begin with from the first three or four ages, but that which abundantly serves to the confutation of their tithes ; while they confess that churchmen in those ages lived merely upon freewill-offerings. Neither can they say, that tithes
were not then paid for want of a civil magistrate to ordain them, for Christians had then also lands, and might give out of them what they pleased ; and yet of tithes then given we find no mention. And the first Christian emperors, who did all things as bishops advised them, supplied what was wanting to the clergy not out of tithes, which were never motioned, but out of their own imperial revenues; as is maaifest in Eusebius, Theodoret, and Sozomen, from Constantine to Arcadins. Hence those ancieniest reformed churches of the Waldenses, if they rather continued not pure
sir ce the apostles, denied that tithes were to be given, or ihat they were ever given in the primitive church, as appears by an ancient tractate in the Bohemian history. Thus far hath the church been always, whether in her prime or in her ancientest reformation, from the approving of tithes: nor withoui reason; for they might casily perceive that tithes were titted to the Jews only, a national church of many incomplete synagogues, uniting the accomplishment of divire worship in one temple; and the Levites there had their tithes paid where they did their bodily work; to which a particular tribe was set apart by divine appointment, not by the people's election : but the Christian church is universal; not tied to nation, diocess, or parish, but consisting of many particular churches complete in themselves, gathered not by compulsion, or the accident of dwelling nigh together, but by free consent, choosing both their particular church and their church officers. Whereas if tithes be set up, all these Christian privileges will be disturbed and soon lost, and with them Christian liberty.
The first authority which our adversaries bring, after those fabulous apostolic canons, which they dare not insist upon, is a provincial council heid at Cullen, where they voted' tithes to be God's rent, in the year 356 ; at the same time perhaps when the three kings reigned there, and of like authority. For to what purpose do they bring these trivial testimonies, by which they might as well prove altars, candles at noon, and the greatest part of those superstitions fetched from paganism or Jewism, which the papist, inveigled by this fond argument of antiquity, retairis to this day? To what purpose those decrees of I know not what bishops, to a parliament and people who have türown oui both bishops and
altars, and promised all reformation by the word of God? And that altars brought tithes hither, as one corruption begot another, is evident by one of those questions which the monk Austin propounded to the pope, "concerning those things, which by offerings of the faithful came to the aitar;" as Beda writes, l. i. c. 27. If then by these testimonies we must have tithes continued, we must again have altars. Of fathers, by custom so called, they quote Ambrose, Augustin, and some other ceremonial doctors of the same leaven : whose assertion, without pertinent scripture, no reformed church can admit; and what they vouch is founded on the law of Moses, with which, everywhere pitifully mistaken, they again incorporate the gospel; as did the rest also of those titular fathers, perhaps an age or two before them, by many rites and ceremonies, both Jewish and heathenish, introduced ; whereby thinking to gain all, they lost all: and instead of winning Jews and pagans to be Christians, by too much condescending they turned Christians into Jews and pagans. To heap such unconvincing citations as these in religion, whereof the scripture only is our rule, argues not much learning nor judgment, but the lost labour of much unprofitable reading. And yet a late hot querist* for tithes, whom ye may know, by his wits lying ever beside him in the margin, to be ever beside his wits in the text, a fierce reformer once, now rankled with a contrary heat, would send us back, very reformedly indeed, to learn reformation from Tyndarus and Rebuffus, two canonical promoters. They produce next the ancient constitutions of this land, Saxon laws, edicts of kings and their councils, from Athelstan, in the year 928, that tithes by statute were paid : and might produce from Ina, above 200 years before, that Romescot or Peter's penny was by as good statute-law paid to the pope, from 725, and almost as Tong continued. And who knows not that this law of tithes was enacted by those kings and barons upon the opinion they had of their divine right? as the very words import of Edward the Confessor, in the close of that law: “ For so blessed Austin preached and taught;” meaning the monk, who first brought the Romish religion into England from Gregory the pope. And by the way I add, that by these laws, imitating the law of Moses, the third part of tithes only was the priest's
the other two were appointed for the poor, and to adorn or repair churches ; as the canons of Ecbert and Elfric witLess. Concil. Brit. If then these laws were founded upon the opinion of divine authority, and that authority be found mistaken and erroneous, as hath been fully manifested, it follows, that these laws fall of themselves with their fálse foundation. But with what face or conscience can they allege Moses or these laws for tithes, as they now enjoy or exact them; whereof Moses ordains the owner, as we heard before, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, partakers of the Levite; and these fathers which they cite, and these though Romish rather than English laws, allotted both to priest and bishop the third part only? But these our protestant, these our new reformeà English presbyterian divines, against their own cited authors, and to the shame of their pretended reformation, would engross to themselves all tithes by statute; and, supported inore by their wilful obstinacy and desire of filthy lucre, than by these both insufficient and impertinent authorities, would persuade a Christian magistracy and parliament, whom we trust God hath restored for a happier reformation, to impose upon us a judaical ceremonial law, and yet from that law to be more irregular and unwarrantable, more complying with a covetous clergy, than any of those popish kings and parliaments alleged. Another shift they have to plead, that tithes may be moral as well as the sabbath, a tenth of fruits as well as a seventh of days: I answer, that the prelates who urge this argument have least reason to use it, denying morality in the sabbath, and therein better agreeing with reformed churches abroad than the rest of our divines. As therefore the seventh day is not moral, but a convenient recourse of worship in fit season, whether seventh or other number; so neither is the tenth of our goods, but only a convenient subsistence morally due to ministers. The last and lowest sort of their arguments, that men purchased not their tithe with their land, and such like pettifoggery, I omit; as refuted sufficiently by others: I omit also their violent and irreligious exactions, related no less credibly; their seizing of pots and pans from the poor, who have as good right to tithes as they ; from some, the very beds; their suing and imprisoning, worse than when the canon-law was in force; worse than when those wicked song
of Eli were priests, whose manner was thus to seize their pre tended priestly due by force: 1 Sam. ii. 12, &c., “Whereb men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” And it may 1 feared, that many will as much abhor the gospel, if such violence as this be suffered in her ministers, and in that which they also pretend to be the offering of the Lord. For those sons of Belial within some limits made seizure of what they knew was their own by an undoubted law; but these, from whom there is no sanctuary, seize out of men's grounds, out of men's houses, their other goods of double, sometimes of treble value, for that which, did not covetousness and rapine blind them, they know to be not their own by the gospel which they preach. Of some more tolerable than these, thus severely God hath spoken: Isa. xlvi. 10, &c., “ They are greedy dogs; they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." With what anger then will he judge them who stand not looking, but, under colour of a divine right, fetch by force that which is not their own, taking his name not in vain, but in violence? Nor content, as Gehazi was, to make a cunning, but a constrained advantage of what their masier bids them give freely, how can they but return smitten, worse than that sharking minister, with a spiritual leprosy? And yet they cry out sacrilege, that men will not be pulled and baffled the tenth of their estates, by giving credit to frivolous pretences of divine right. Where did God ever clearly declare to all nations, or in all lands, (and none but fools part with their estates without clearest evidence, on bare supposals and presumptions of them who are the gainers thereby,) that he required the tenth as due to him or his Son perpetually and in all places ? Where did he demand it, that we might certainly know, as in all claims of temporal right is just and reasonable ? or if demanded, where did he assign it, or by what evident conveyance to ministers ? Unless they can demonstrate this by more than conjectures, their title can be no better to tithes than the title of Gehazi was to those things which by abusing his master's name he rooked from Naaman. Much less where did he command that tithes should be fetched by force, where left not under the gospel, whatever his right was, to the freewill-offerings of men ?
Which is the greater sacrilege, to belie divine authority, to make the name of