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unholy, infamous, and dishonorable to his ministers and the free gospel, maintained in such unworthy manner as by violence and extortion. 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 another, and especially to pay for what he never learned, or approves not; whereby, besides the wound of his conscience, he becomes the less able to recompense his true teacher ?
Thus far hath been inquired by whom church ministers ought to be maintained, and hath been proved most natural, most equal and agreeable with scripture, to be by them who receive their teaching; and by whom, if they be unable; which ways well observed, can discourage none but hirelings, and will much lessen their number in the church.
It remains lastly to consider, in what manner God hath ordained that recompense be given to ministers of the gospel ; and by all scripture it will appear, that he hath given it them, not by civil law and freehold, as they claim, but by the benevolence and free gratitude of such as receive them. Luke x. 7, 8, Eating and drinking such things as they give you. If they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.' Matth. x. 7, 8, “As ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of God is at hand, &c. Freely ye have received, freely give. If God have ordained ministers to preach freely, whether they receive recompense or not, then certainly he hath forbid both them to compel it, and others to compel it for them. But freely given, he accounts it as given to himself; Phil. iv. 16, 17, 18, Ye sent once and again to my necessity; not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. Having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you,
an odor of sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God;' which cannot be from force or unwillingness. The same is said of alms, Heb. XII. 16, To do good and to communicate, forget not; for with such sacrifice God is well pleased. Whence the primitive church thought it no shame to receive all their maintenance as the alngs of their auditors ; which they who defend tithes, as if it made for their cause, whenas it utterly confutes them, omit not to set down at large.
Tithers themselves have contributed to their own confutation, by confessing that the church lived primitively on alms. And I add, that about the year 359, Constantius, the emperor, having summoned a general council of bishops to Ariminum in Italy, and provided for their subsistence there, the British and French bishops, judging it not decent to live on the public, chose rather to be at their own charges. Three only out of Britain, constrained through want, yet refusing offered assistance from the rest, accepted the emperor's provision; judging it more convenient to subsist by public than by private sustenance. Whence we may conclude, that bishops then in this island had their livelihood only from benevolence; in which regard this relater, Sulpitius Severus, a good author of the same time, highly praises them. And the Waldenses, our first reformers, both from the scripture and these primitive examples, maintained those among them who bore the office of ministers by alms only.
If then by alms and benevolence, not by legal force, not by tenure of freehold or copyhold; for alms, though just, cannot be compelled ; and benevolence forced is malevolence rather, violent and inconsistent with the gospel, and declares him no true minister thereof, but a rapacious hireling rather, who, by force receiving it, eats the bread of violence and exaction, no holy or
just livelihood, no, not civilly counted honest, much less beseeming such a spiritual ministry. And indeed what can be a more honorable maintenance to them than such, whether alms or willing oblations, as these ; which being accounted both alike as given to God, the only acceptable sacrifices now remaining, must needs represent him who receives them much in the care of God, and nearly related to him, when not by worldly force aod constraint, but with religious awe and reverence, what is given to God, is given to him; and what to him, accounted as given to God.
This would be well enough, say they; but how many will so give? I answer, as many, doubtless, as shall be well taught, as many as God shall so move. Why are ye so distrustful, both of your own doctrine and of God's promises, fulfilled in the experience of those disciples first sent? Luke xxi. 35, .When I
, sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.' How then came ours, or who sent them thus destitute, thus
poor, and empty both of purse and faith? who style themselves ambassadors of Jesus Christ, and seem to be his tithe gatherers, though an office of their own setting up to his dishonor, his exacters, his publicans rather, not trusting that he will maintain them in their embassy, unless they bind him to his promise by a statute law, that we shall maintain them. Lay down for shame that magnific title, while ye 'seek maintenance from the people; it is not the manner of ambassadors to ask maintenance of them to whom they are sent.
But he who is Lord of all things, hath so ordained. Trust him then. He doubtless will command the people to make good his promises of maintenance more honorably unasked, unraked for. This they know, this they preach, yet believe not; but think it as impossible without a statute law, to live of the gospel, as if by those words they were bid to eat their bibles, as Ezekiel and John did their books; and such doctrines as these are as bitter to their bellies; but will serve so much the better to discover hirelings, who can have nothing, though but in appearance, just and solid to answer for themselves against what hath been here spoken, unless perhaps this one remaining pretence, which we shall quickly see to be either false or uningenuous.
They pretend that their education, either at school or’university, hath been very chargeable, aud therefore ought to be repaired in future by a plentiful maintenance; whenas it is well known, that the better half of them, and ofttimes poor and pitiful boys, of no merit or promising hopes that might intitle them to the public provision, but their poverty and the unjust favor of friends, have had the most of their breeding, both at school and university, by scholarships, exhibitions, and fellowships at the public cost, which might engage them the rather to give freely, as they have freely received. Or, if they have missed of these helps at the latter place, they have after two or three years left the course of their studies there, if they ever well began them, and undertaken, though furnished with little else but ignorance, boldness, and ambition, if with no worse vices, a chaplainship in some gentleman's house, to the frequent embasing of his sons with illiterate and narrow principles. Or if they have lived there upon their own, who knows not that seven years' charge of living there, to them who fly not from the government of their parents to the license of a university, but come seriously to study, is no more than may be well defrayed and reimbursed by one year's revenue of an ordinary good benefice? If they had then means of breeding from their parents, it is likely they have more now; and if they have, it
needs must be mechanic and uningenuous in them, to bring a bill of charges for the learning of those liberal arts and sciences, which they have learned, if they have indeed learned them, as they seldom have, to their own benefit and accomplishment.
But they will say, we had betaken us to some other trade or profession, had we not expected to find a better livelihood by the ministry. This is that which I looked for, to discover them openly neither true lovers of learning, and so very seldom guilty of it, nor true ministers of the gospel. So long ago out of date is that old true saying, 1. Tim. III. 1, “If a man desire a bishopric, he desires a good work;' for now commonly he who desires to be a minister, looks not at the work, but at the wages; and by that lure or lowbell, may be tolled from parish to parish all the town
* * Next, it is a fond error, though too much believed among us, to think that the university makes a minister of the gospel. What it may conduce to other arts and sciences, I dispute not now; but that which makes fit a minister, the scripture can best inform us to be only from above, whenee also we are bid to seek them. All this is granted, you will say; but yet that it is also requisite he should be trained in other learning, which can be no where better than at universities. I answer, that what learning, either human or divine, can be necessary to a minister, may as easily and less chargeably be bad in any private house. But papists and other adversaries, cannot be confuted without fathers and councils, immense volumes, and of vast charges. I will show them therefore a shorter and a better way of confutation. Tit. 1. 9, ‘Holding fast the faithful word, as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince gainsayers,' who are confuted as soon as heard, bringing that which is either not in scripture, or against it. To pur