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v. 10. "no man shall stop me of this boasting." v. 12. "what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we are." xii. 14. "behold the third time I am ready to come unto you, and I will not be burthensome to you; for I seek not yours, but you; for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children;" v. 17. "did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?" v. 18. 'did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit?" v. 19. we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying." And if at any time extreme necessity compelled him to accept the voluntary aid of the churches, such constraint was so grievous to him, that he accuses himself as if he were guilty of robbery. 2 Cor. xi. 8. "I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service."
If however such self-denial be thought too arduous for the ministers of the present day, they will most nearly approach to it, when, relying on the providence of God who called them, they shall look for the necessary support of life, not from the edicts of the civil power, but from the spontaneous goodwill and liberality of the church in requital of their voluntary service. Matt. x. 11. " 'enquire who in it is worthy, and there abide till ye go thence." Luke x. 7, 8. "in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give.... and into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.” xxii. 35. he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? and they said, nothing." 2 Cor. xi. 9. "that which was lacking to me, the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied." Philipp. iv. 15, &c. "now, ye Philippians, know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only: for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may abound to your account: but I have all, and abound; I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.”
For it does not necessarily follow that because a thing is in
itself just, a matter of duty and conscience, and sanctioned by the word of God, the performance of it is therefore to be enjoined and compelled by the authority of the magistrate. The same argument, and nearly the same words, which are used by St. Paul to prove that provision should be made for the ministers of the church, are also used to prove that the Gentiles ought to contribute to the support of the poor saints at Jerusalem; 1 Cor. ix. 11. compared with Rom. xv. 27. "it hath pleased them verily, and their debtors they are; for if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things; yet no one contends that the giving of alms should be compelled by authority. If then in a case of merely moral and civil gratitude, force is not to be employed, how much more ought the gratitude which we owe for the benefits of the gospel to be exempt from the slightest shadow of force or constraint? On the same principle, pecuniary considerations ought by no means to enter into our motives for preaching the gospel: Acts viii. 20. "thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money." If it be a crime to purchase the gospel, what must it be to sell it? or what are we to think of the fate of those, whom I have so often heard exclaiming in the language of unbelief, 'If you take away church revenues, you destroy the gospel?" If the Christian religion depends for its existence on no firmer supports than wealth and civil power, how is it more worthy of belief than the Mahometan superstition?3
Hence to exact or bargain for tithes or other stipendiary payments under the gospel, to extort them from the flock under the alleged authority of civil edicts, or to have recourse to civil actions and legal processes for the recovery of allow
2. But of all are they to be reviled and shamed, who cry out with the distinct voice of notorious hirelings, that if ye settle not our maintenance by law, farewell the Gospel.' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, III. 39.
3 Si vi et pecunia stat Christiana religio atque fulcitur, quid est quamobrem non æque ac Turcarum religio suspecta esse videatur ? if it must be thus, how can any Christian object it to a Turk, that his religion stands by force only; and not justly fear from him this reply, yours both by force and money, in the judgment of your own teachers.' Ibid. 39.
arces purely ecclesiastical, is the part of wolves rather than ci ministers of the gospel." Acts xx. 29. "I know this that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock." v. 33. "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel;" whence it follows that the apostle neither exacted these things himself, nor approved of their exaction by ministers of the gospel in general. 1 Tim. iii. 3. "not greedy of filthy lucre; not covetous;" far less therefore an exactor of lucre. Compare also v. 8. Tit. i. 7, 11. 1 Pet. v. 2, 3. "feed the flock of God which is among you... for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind." If it be scarcely allowable for a Christian to go to law with his adversary in defence even of his own property, Matt. v. 39, 40. 1 Cor. vi. 7. what are we to think of an ecclesiastic, who for the sake of tithes, that is, of the property of others, which, either as an offering made out of the spoils of war, or in pursuance of a Vow voluntarily contracted by an individual, or from an imitation of that agrarian law established among the Jews, but altogether foreign to our habits, and which is not only abolished itself, but of which all the causes have ceased to operate, were due indeed formerly, and to ministers of another sect, but are now due to no one; what are we to think of a pastor, who for the recovery of claims thus founded, (an abuse unknown to any reformed church but our own,)5 enters into
4 Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves. Paradise Lost, XII. 508. 'Not long after, as the apostle foretold, hirelings like wolves came in by herds.' Considerations on the likeliest Means, &c. Prose Works, III. 358. To the same effect is quoted, in the History of Britain, 'Gilda's character of the Saxon clergy; subtle prowlers, pastors in name, but indeed wolves; intent upon all occasions, not to feed the flock, but to pamper and well-line themselves.' Symmons' ed. IV. 112. 'Immo lupi verius plerique eorum quam aliud quidvis erant dicendi.. pinguia illis plerumque omnia, ne ingenio quidem excepto; decimis enim saginantur, improbato ab aliis omnibus ecclesiis more; Deoque sic diffidunt, lut eas malint per magistratum atque per vim suis gregibus extorquere, quam vel divinæ providentiæ, vel ecclesiarum benevolentiæ et gratitudini debere.' Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano. Ivid. V. 246.
56 Under the law he gave them tithes ; under the gospel, having left all things in his church to charity and Christian freedom, he hath given them only what is justly given them. That, as well under the gospel, as under the law, say our English divines, and they only of all Protestants, is tithes; and they say true, if any man be so minded to give them of his own the tenth or twentieth; but that the law therefore of tithes is in
litigation with his own flock, or, more properly speaking, with a flock which is not his own? If his own, how avaricious in him to be so eager in making a gain of his holy office! if not his own, how iniquitous! Moreover, what a piece of officiousness, to force his instructions on such as are unwilling to receive them; what extortion, to exact the price of teaching from one who disclaims the teacher, and whom the teacher himself would equally disclaim as a disciple, were it not for the profit! For "he that is an hireling, whose own the sheep are not.... fleeth because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep," John x. 12, 13. Many such there are in these days, who abandon their charge on the slightest pretences, and ramble from flock to flock, less through fear of the wolf than to gratify their own wolfish propensities, wherever a richer prey invites; who, unlike good shepherds, are for ever seeking out new and more abundant pastures, not for their flock, but for themselves."
'How then,' ask they,' are we to live?'8 How ought they force under the gospel, all other Protestant divines, though equally concerned, yet constantly deny.' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, III. 6, 7.
Any one may perceive what iniquity and violence hath prevailed since in the church, whereby it hath been so ordered, that they also shall be compelled to recompense the parochial minister, who neither chose him for their teacher, nor have received instruction from him.' Ibid. 23. 'If he give it as to his teacher, what justice or equity compels him to pay for learning that religion which leaves freely to his choice whether he will learn it or no, whether of this teacher or of another, and especially to pay for what he never learned, or approves not?' Ibid. 30.
7 This passage is remarkable for being perhaps the only remark in the treatise which alludes directly to Milton's times. He refers to the ministers of the presbyterian establishment, of whom he complains heavily in other works. They have fed themselves, and not their flocks.' Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence. Prose Works, III. 87. 'Rambling from benefice to benefice, like ravenous wolves, seeking where they may devour the biggest.' Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, II. 36. 'Aliis fortasse in locis haud æque ministris provisum; nostris jam satis superque bene erat; oves potius appellandi quam pastores, pascuntur magis quam pascunt.' Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano. Symmons' ed. V. 247.
8 In his discourse on The Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church, he answers the sluggish objection' of how ministers shall live, by proposing the public foundations for their education should be so conducted that the youth therein may be at once brought up to a competence of learning and to an honest trade: and the hours of teaching so ordered, as their study may be no hindrance to their labour or other
to live, but as the prophets and apostles lived of old? on their own private resources, by the exercise of some calling, by some industry, after the example of the prophets, who accounted it no disgrace to be able to hew their own wood, and build their own houses, 2 Kings vi. 2. of Christ, who wrought with his own hands as a carpenter, Mark vi. 3. and of St. Paul, Acts xviii. 3, 4. to whom the plea so importunately urged in modern times, of the expensiveness of a liberal education, and the necessity that it should be repaid out of the wages of the gospel, seems never to have occurred.1 Thus far of the ministers of particular churches.
With regard to the PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH (especially in those particular churches where discipline is maintained in strictness) such only are to be accounted of that number, as are well taught in Scripture doctrine, and capable of trying by the rule of Scripture and the Spirit any teacher whatever, or even the whole collective body of teachers although arrogating to themselves the exclusive name of the church.2 Matt. vii. calling.' Prose Works, III. 27. The destruction of the clerical order for which Milton contends in these passages is a singular proposal. It is extraordinary that he should have seen no distinction between the ordinary case of religious teachers, and that of our Lord, even if he had united a secular business with his ministry, which Mark vi. 3, does not prove, or of St. Paul and other inspired men.
Our great clerks think that these men, because they have a trade, (as Christ himself and St. Paul had) cannot therefore attain to some good measure of knowledge.' Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence, Prose Works, III. 51. 'This was the breeding of St. Paul, though born of no mean parents, a free citizen of the Roman empire; so little did his trade debase him, that it rather enabled him to use that magnanimity of preaching the gospel through Asia and Europe at his own charges.' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. III. 27. The church elected them to be her teachers and overseers, though not thereby to separate them from whatever calling she then found them following beside; as the example of St. Paul declares, and the first times of Christianity.'Ibid. 40.
1 'They pretend that their education, either at school or university, hath been very chargeable, and therefore ought to be repaired in future by a plentiful maintenance.' Likeliest Means, &c. Prose Works, III 35. See also Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence, III. 80.
24 'I shall not decline the more for that, to speak my opinion in the controversy next moved, whether the people may be allowed for competent judges of a minister's ability. For how else can be fulfilled that which God hath promised, to pour out such abundance of knowledge upon all sorts of men in the times of the gospel? How should the people examine the doctrine which is taught them, as Christ and his apostles continually