TITHES Examined and Pro­ued to bee due to the Clergie by a diuine right.

VVhereby the contentious and prophane Atheists as also the dissembling Hypocrites of this age, may learne to honour the Ministers and not to defraude them, and to Rob the Church.

The Contents heereof is set downe in the Page next following.

Written by George Carleton Batchelour in Diuinitie.

Printed at London by T. Este, for Clement Knight dwelling in Paules Church-yard at the signe of the Holy Lambe, 1606.

The contents of this Booke.

1 The state of the question is set downe, and the truth confirmed.1
2 How Tithes stood before the Law.b 4.
3 How Tithes stood vnder the Law. Where it is prooued that then this constitution of tithes was neither ceremoniall nor iudiciall, but morall.11
4 How Tithes stood in the time of the new Testa­ment.21
5 How Tithes stood in the ages of the Church after the Apostles, wherein the point in question is confirmed by the testimonie of Fathers without contradiction, vntill Antichrist by vsurped authoritie disordered the Church.24
6 The obiections answered, and the point in question confirmed.35

To the most Reuerend Father in God, my very good Lord, the Lord Archbishop of Canter­bury his Grace, Primate and Metropo­litane of all England, and one of his Maiesties most Honourable Priuie Counsell.

SVch hath beene the preiu­dice of the times (most re­uered Father in God) not in this age onely, but in ma­ny ages of the world heere­tofore: that many truthes haue lien either neglected, as couered in the dust, or oppressed by the countenance and multitude of such as commonly are ready to condemne the thing, which they will not vouchsafe to vnder­stand. The feare of which censures hath moued me to suppresse for a long time, that which I had written of this question. In which purpose I should still haue continued, if the reasons of o­ther had not more preuailed with me then mine owne opinion. Being therefore perswaded of your graces fauourable acceptance, I haue pre­sumed to offer this as a pledge of my dutie, which as it was intended for the seruice of the Church, so to whom may it more worthily bee [Page] offered then to him, who as in place, so in care and resolution sitteth to aduance the good e­state of the Church.

In offering heereof my case is strange and singular, for I must do it with protestation, that I am far off from thinking that the thing for which I plead will or can be effected, onely the opini­on which many haue conceiued of your Graces wisedome and courage, for the aduancement of the Churches oppressed estate, doth incourage mee also to thinke that by your Graces care the oppressions of the Church may be mollified, if not remooued: that the malice of iniurious cu­stomes and prescriptions against the Church may be abated: that the vse of impropriating may now at least be staied from proceeding to any further greauance of the Church. In which seruice of the Church, as you shall heereafter leaue a memorable name to your selfe: so in the meane time you shall stir vp the prayers of ma­ny for your preseruation and continuance for the good of the Church of God, who with his plentifull graces blesse and direct your wayes to his glory and the comfort of his Church, through Iesus Christ.

Your Graces in duetie and in the seruice of the Church to be commaunded.

George Carleton.

To the Reader.

SEing wee are fallen into these last times, times dangerous and filled with much euill, wherein the furthe­rances of pietie doe dayly decrease, and the Church her selfe euen with that small portion which shee hath left, is become an vsuall praie, either to the prophane Atheist, that will violently rob her, or to the cunning hippocrite that vnder pretence of long prayers will deuoure Gods house: I thought it fit to recommend this learned trea­tise to the indifferent reader, that men of place in the com­mon wealth, indued with knowledge to support the truth, may make a conscience to assist the clergie for obtaining their owne right, least vnder coulour of some vaine title or pretense of custome, the Lord himselfe complaine both against them and vs, that his house is a house of prayer, and we haue made it a den of theeues. Our land, I confesse, is faire and blessed like the kingdome of Canaan, but many of the people are like the Anakims, that eate vp the clergie thereof: and though Iosias were a good king, yet the times were euill, and a pu­nishment Numb. 13. 33. of the former sinnes reserued in Gods iustice to the 2. King. 22. 20. dayes that followed. And howsoeuer wee cannot with Iosua Spelunca la­tronum. Ios. 10. 23. finde kings in this caue, yet I feare mee, wee may fetch out more then fiue times fiue of our great families made richer by the spoiles of the Church, who haue either come in dissem­blingly like Icroboams wife, or boldly like Pharo to the Is­raelites, 1. Kings. 14. saying of the clergie, this people is stronger then we are, come let vs work wisely with them, least they multi­ply, Exod. 1. 9. 10. [Page] and without a witnesse, the leprosie of Gehezie stic­keth so fast vnto their families, as many of our most auncient houses, I am perswaded, haue beene ruinated by this meanes, for the Church liuing dealeth as the Arck with Dagon, 1. Sam. 5. casteth that downe which they had of their owne. If some of them delt but as Dauid with Saul, cut off the lap of our gar­ment it were well (yet I would wish them to haue remorse 1. Sam 24. 5. for it) but to vse the Clergie as the king of the children of Ammon did the messengers of Dauid (who shaued of halfe 2. Sam. 10. 4. of their beards, & cut off their garments in the middle) it is a contempt which the Lord wil not suffer to escape vnpunished.

Now I doubt not but the diligent perusing of this treatise shall so perswade the consciences of all that are not alreadie forestalled by some great sinnes, that tithes are the Lords Psal. 50. portion, holy to himselfe, that this portion he hath giuen to his ministers that serue at the Altar, and so consequently that they may not safely detaine that from the Clergy which belongs vnto them, but rather make restitution with al humi­litie, and desire the Lord with penitent harts to receiue at our hands the tenth part, which in a peculiar manner holily is his owne portion (for by another right, the cattell are his, Psal. 50. that are on a thousand hils) that so in mercy hee may blesse vnto vs, the nine parts that remaine of all our substance, this fruit if it shall bring vnto thee that readest, and rest and peace to the poore Clergy, that are torne with contentions for their owne right, wee shall haue iust cause to reioyce for thy good, and be ready to recommend our further paines to tho blessing of thy prayers, and the benefit of this Church.



The state of the question is set downe, and the truth confirmed.

COncerning Tithes (so farre as I could learne) there haue beene 1. three opinions: First, that Tithes are meere almes, and that the Mi­nisters of the word haue right to nothing, but should liue in high pouertie. This opinion seemeth first to be brought by those who were called Waldenses, vpon the abuse of Tithes, which they saw vnder the Church of Rome. It is recorded an opinion of theirs, by a writer whose name is not expres­sed, in the last aedition of Catalogus testium veritatis, tom. 2. lib. 15. This opinion Iohn Wiclif and his schollers receiued from them, as he receiued matters of greater im­portance. It is recorded the opinion of Iohn Wiclif by one Lib. 2. doct. fid. art. 3. cap. 64. Thomas Waldensis. And among those articles of Iohn Wiclif condemned by the counsell of Constaunce, this is one, Art. 18. Wiclifes Schollers held the same: Iohn Hus a Bohemian, William Thorp an Englishman, as appeareth by their examinations, recorded by maister Fox. The same opinion hath beene since taught by Anabaptists, and Trinitaries, as may be seene in a booke, de antithesi­bus veri & falsi Christi. Anno Dom. 1568. Albae Iuliae.

The second opinion is, that Tithes are not due by Gods law, that is, a determinate quantitie is not prescri­bed 2 in the word, but onely as these men say, a reasonable [Page] or competent maintenance is inioyned. This is the opi­nion of them of the Church of Rome, as Bellarmin de­clareth, Tom. 1. contr. 5 lib. 1. cap. 25. the same is much receiued among our latter wri­ters of the reformed Churches, which onely shew of a generall approbation in this opinion, hath forced me ma­ny times, I confesse, to lay aside my pen, thinking it much more safe to erre with this approbation, then to striue for the truth against such a streame of gainesayers. For I will not thincke that of our men who haue labou­red in reformed Churches, which others might say, that they haue denied Tithes to be due to the Church, vpon a detestation of popery, wherein tithes were so much abused: but this I thinke, that they intending greater points of doctrine, suffered this to lye lesse regarded, and in a manner forgotten, as a thing not altogether so neces­sary, as those other points wherein they made especiall choise to labour. Then the reuerend regard of their names, their persons, their labours being remooued from this question, we take this opinion vnsound, and of lesse probabilitie then the former.

The third is, that tithes are due to the Ministers of the Church, by the expresse word of God. This is the iudge­ment 3. of the auncient fathers, from the beginning without crose or contradiction, vntill the supreame authoritie of the bishop of Rome tooke them away by the meanes of impropriations. This is the conclusion which we purpose heere, God willing, to confirme: First we will refute the two former opinions: then open the story of Tithes, and confirme the point in question: last wee will aunswere obiections.

The first opinion that tithes are almes, implyeth also those seuerall braunches which Bellarmine for inlarging The first opi­nion refuted. controuersies, maketh seuerall questions, or questionable errors. That they are not to be payed to euill Ministers, and that all ministers must resolue to liue in high pouer­ty, as it was tearmed. This opinion is thus ouerthrowen by the words of the Apostle: Who goeth to warfare at any time at his owne cost? who planteth a vineyard and eateth 1. Cor. [...]. [Page 2] not of the fruit therof? or who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the milke of the flocke? The reason stands thus, if he that goeth to warfare may of duty chalenge his wages of the people for whom he fighteth, or he that planteth a vine­yard may of duety challenge to eate thereof, or hee who feedeth a flock may of duty challenge to eate of the milke of the flock: then the Minister fighting for the people against their spirituall aduersaries, planting a vineyard a­mong them, feeding a flock in feeding them, may chal­lenge of duty his reliefe, not beg it as almes: but the first is true; therefore the second. Out of which reason of the Apostle drawen from these examples, it appeareth far­ther, that by the law of nature the teachers are prouided for, because by the law of nature he who goeth to warfare must bee prouided for, by them who set him to that ser­uice: by the law of nature hee who planteth a vineyard eateth of the fruit: by the same law hee who feedeth a flock eateth of the milke. If it bee said, that almes are also to be giuen by the law of nature, for answere wee must obserue this distinction betwene almes, and that thing for which the Apostle heere pleadeth. If almes be not giuen it is a breach of charitie: but if this bee denied, of which the Apostle speaketh, it is a breach of iustice. For as it is iniustice to denie wages to him whom you appoint to fight for you, or to debarre a man from the fruit of that vineyard which he planteth, or to denie him the milke of a flock which he feedeth: so is it in like manner iniustice to denie the Minister that maintenance for which the Apostle pleadeth.

Now if it bee iniustice to denie the ministers mainte­nance, then he hath a right and part in the goods of those whom hee teacheth, for iustice giueth to euery man his owne, and not one mans right to another: whereby it is euident that the Minister hath a part and right in their goods whom he teacheth: Now to take this is not to take almes but to take his owne So then by this reason almes are assuredly ouerthrowen, because almes are not of duty and iustice to bee challenged, as these things are: there­fore [Page] the Ministers maintenance standeth not by almes but by iustice; as the souldiers wages stand not by almes but by iustice; as by iustice not by almes a man may eate the fruit of a vineyard which he planteth, or of the milke of his flock. The same is confirmed by those words, The la­bourer Luke 10. 7. 1. Tim. 5. 8. is worthy of his wages: No man saith, the begger is worthy of almes. Now he that saith, the labourer is wor­thy of his wages, sayth that of iustice hee may challenge it, not beg it as almes; for in as much as it is wages it is due by iustice, but no almes are due by iustice, for so should we take away all difference betweene iustice and charitie: therefore if almes, no wages: if wages, no almes.

The second opinion faith, not tithes, but a competent The second o­pinion refuted maintenance is due by Gods law, and this is vrged to be most agreeable to the Apostles times, the words are one­ly altered, otherwise this is the same with the former that saith, that tithes are meer almes; for this opinion bringeth in with it these consequences: first, that tithes, as tithes, are almes; for he that denieth that they are to be payed of duty and iustice, proueth them almes: secondly, that ministers may not claime any thing out of Gods word, and this also proueth almes. For he that saith to his pa­rishoner, tithes I cannot claim, and therfore no certaine thing out of the word, yet somewhat in conscience you should contribute vnto me, what doth he else, but leaue it to the choise of him to giue what he list? and what is this but almes? If it be said, the people may agree to giue a certaine stipend, yet this is no otherwise then as they may agree to giue almes. If any obiect that the Prince or Maiestrate may appoynt a certaine competent main­tenance, as this indeede is the common hold; I would haue it noted that they who vrge this, forsake the questi­on which they pretend to decide, for this opinion of a competent maintenance is holden as agreeable to the A­postles times: but when they referre the matter to Prin­ces, this is no way agreeable to those times. For it will ne­uer be proued that either then, or at any other time, prin­ces did take order for this competent maintenance. Then [Page 3] this fancy of a competent maintenaunce, wee reiect for these reasons: first, it is not written or commaunded in any scripture, therefore we haue nothing to doe with it. Let them who maintaine it, shew scripture for it, and we yeeld. Secondly, it can not by any deduction be drawen from scripture, therefore it may not be receiued, for those reasons that are brought in to proue it, as that the Lord hath ordeined that they who preach the gospell should liue of the gospell, and such like: these I say, doe onely proue the ordinarie maintenaunce of the ministery, for they speake of the Lords ordinance.

Now the ordinary maintenance of the Ministers, is a perpetuall ordinance, which either hath alwayes beene vsed, or ought alwayes to be vsed in the Church. But cer­taine it is, that this competencie is not the ordinary main­tenance. Thirdly, this competency was neuer in vse from the beginning of the world to this day. Now it is absurd to say that it is the ordinary maintenance of Ministers, which neuer was in vse in any age. Fourthly, it crosseth the vse of the Apostles times, because this competency is at the ciuill maiestrates appointment, that vse was not, this must be gotten by compulsion, that was not, this is not almes in their opinion who maintaine it, that was. Of the Apostolike times, wee shall consider in due place: now we reason thus. That which neuer was in vse at any time in the Church, ought not to be held the ordinary maintenance for Ministers: but this competent mainte­nance was neuer in vse. For beefore the law, tithes were payed by the patriarks to the priests: vnder the law tithes were appoynted to the Leuites and Priests: in the A­postles times there was nothing but almes, as will ap­peare when we speake of those tymes. After the Apost­les times, tithes were in vse againe, this competency ne­uer had place in the Church. And euen there where tithes are taken away from the Church, and put in lay mens hands: yet there is no competencie established to sup­ply that which was taken away: the Scripture commands it not, no Prince hath at any time ordained it, it neuer [Page] was, and therefore as we may well thinke neuer will be. Now to make the ministers ordinary maintenance (for that is it we seeke heere) to stand in such a thing as ne­uer was, and by likelihood neuer will be, seemeth much vnreasonable, and therfore because it standeth with much better reason to denie this opinion, then to hold all the absurdities depending vpon it, following the best reason we thinke it necessary to hold, that the ordinary mainte­nance of Ministers ought not to stand in this vncertaine competency, which is onely a deuise in the braines of some men, and neuer came into practise in the Church.

Againe the Ministers maintenance must be and is ge­nerally acknowledged a morall constitution, but that this competency is no morall constitution it appeareth, be­cause euery morall duty ought alwaies to be done, and sometimes hath-ben done by the godly; but this compe­tency ought not alwaies to stand, and will hardly be pro­ued to haue ben done at any time, therefore surely not morall. Now in tithes it is far otherwise for we will shew, they ought alwaies to bee obserued, and euen then when they were not payed, yet stood they alwaies the ordinary maintenance. Moreouer to maintaine ministers is a ser­uice of God, but all the parts of the seruice of God are deliuered in the word, therefore this competency must either be shewed out of Gods word, or taken for mans ordinance, and not Gods. Further in this competencie many, I take it, are deceiued, for euery man will take vp­on him to define a competent maintenance: and that they call competent, which they thinke (as men deuiding their almes) may suffice a minister. But the scriptures spea­king much of this maintenance, doe neuer tearme it a competency, or that which sparing men in their sauing humour may call sufficient; but an honourable mainte­nance, and sometimes double honour. Now there would be found a great difference between that which the scrip­tures cals an honorable maintenance, and that which men distributing their almes do commonly account sufficient. Then this competency must either be ordained of God, [Page 4] or by man: if by God, it is tithes, for no other mainte­nance ordained by God can be shewed: if by man, then it is not Gods ordinance; now we seeke Gods ordinance, what God hath ordeined for ministers, not what man appointeth.

If any man say, it may be mans ordinance, and yet al­lowed by God, or that God ordaineth the generall, but man appointeth the particular manner: we must intreat him to shew vs where God alloweth man either to make such an ordinance, or to change the parliculer which God hath ordained, seeing the Lord himselfe hath once ordained a maintenance, that must stand, vntill it can bee shewed that God hath giuen liberty to man to change it.

Heere it must bee well remembred, that to maintaine ministers is a part of the worship of God, for thus Iacob did worship God. Gen. 28. 22. And therefore if the main­tenance be withdrawen, God is robbed saith Malach. 3. 8. God is moccked sath Paul Gal. 6. 6. 7. for of Gods ordi­naunces some are ciuill and doe not immediately touch the worship of God: some are holy, which touch the wor­ship of God immediately: when we speake of this ordi­nance, it may not be consounded with ciuill ordinances, for Maiestrates are Gods ordinance, but ciuil: in such ciuill ordinances, the particular manner thereof is left to man. But in Gods holy ordinances, such I say as belong to the immediate worship of God, it is otherwise: for in such things mans inuentions haue no place, then they who say the generall ordinance is Gods, but the particu­lar manner thereof may be from man, do by consequence hold the Ministers maintenance to be a ciuill ordinance, not holy, which opinion I suppose no man of knowledge and learning will defend. But if we once leaue this opi­nion, and confesse directly that the Ministers mainte­nance is no ciuill ordinance, but holy, belonging to the morall immediate worship of God, then must it needes follow that man hath no authoritie therein, to inuent or deuise any particular manner, but must take it as it is ap­pointed by God. Then if it must be graunted, that one [Page] of these three is Gods ordinance, almes, this competen­cy, or tithes: It is certaine, first that almes in this point, and for this vse are not ordained by God: it is no lesse certaine that this competencie is not Gods ordinance, be­cause God no where appointeth it, the Church neuer vsed it: where vpon it followeth that for the mainte­nance of the ministery, there is no other ordinance, then tithes.


How Tithes stood before the Law.

FOR the better satisfaction to the reader, and seruice to the truth, the labour would not seeme vnprofitable, if wee drew as it were the story of this question along from the beginning to this time, which thing cannot be done exact­ly, because this matter is not remembred exactly by the auncients, and wee must not so much stand vpon narra­tion, as vpon disputation: but out of such remembrances as I could light on, I thought good to obserue how men of all ages haue thought of this point, that when it ap­peareth that the opinions which I reiect are altogether new, and without any testimonie or shew of antiquitie, men may be intreated more indifferently to think of the matter, at least I may seeme not vnworthie of pardon, if I erre in this point, when it shall be seene that I follow not onely the reasons which seeme best, but all antiquity, none contradicting till of late yeeres. For orders sake we wil first consider how this stood before the law, then how vnder the Law, afterward how in the Apostles times, and somewhat after. Last of all, how in the time of the fathers.

[Page 5] Before the law was giuen, we finde tithes vsed by the Godly, as a part of Gods seruice. First, we will shew that by the law of nature, euery man was bound to giue some­thing to God, of those temporall blessings which God giueth, then it shall appeare that this (somewhat) was turned into tithes.

Gen. 4. It is thus written. Cain brought an oblation to Gen. 4. 3. the Lord, of the fruit of the ground. Abel also brought 4 of the firstlings of his sheepe, and of the fat of them, and the Lord had respect to Abel, and his offering, but vnto Cain & to his offring he had no regard. It is expresly no­ted 5 in the text, that Abel offered the best of his flock, de primogenitis, & pinguissimis, the first, fairest, and fattest, which shewed the sinceritie of his heart. In Cain no such thing is noted, but the contrary vnderstood, whether Cain did offer the tenth of the profit of his ground, and Abel the tenth of his sheepe, that question I moue not heere, there is nothing expresly eyther for it, or against it: but out of these words this I obserue. First, that to offer to God of such goods as God doth blesse men withall, was from the beginning accounted a part of the seruice of God, for Cain and Abel both offered, knowing it was looked for at their hands. Secondly, it is hence manifest that they who offer their goods to God, may not offer the worst, and serue God like S. Antony his pig, with that which they make least account of: but they who serue not God with the best of their goods, are found to be followers of Cain.

Thirdly, it appeareth also, that if there were not, neither euer had beene any ministerie ordained, yet notwithstan­ding men should haue stood bound to offer of the best of their goods to God, for this offering seemeth to haue beene, before a ministery was established. If any shall contend heerein, that these offerings were not tithes, I striue not, though with faire probabilitie I might, but thus much appeareth: that by the law of nature present­ly after the creation, men did thinke in conscience them­selues bound to giue the best of their goods to God, as [Page] knowing that this was the will of God. It is likewise to be noted that God who from the beginning, as heere we see, hath a right in euery mans goods, may dispose his owne right as it best pleaseth him: but in disposing this his right to his ministers, hee disposeth and giueth it by the name of tithes. And this is that right which we seeke out, not what man bestoweth, but what God giueth to his Church out of his owne right, which right of the Lord in euery mans goods, is declared heere in the beginning, and the same right of the Lord in euery mans goods remai­neth vnto the end of the world.

This right which the Lord hath in euery mans goods, himselfe nameth tithes, and who knoweth it better then he? When a man would offer this right to God, who knoweth how to offer him his owne? who knoweth how to keepe such a rule in this action, as to assure himselfe that the thing which he offereth is the Lords part, as be­ing neither more nor lesse then that which God hath ma­nifested to be his owne part. It followeth therefore that in offering to God this right, men must either offer tithes or else what themselues list, not what God prescribeth. Now these offerings whatsoeuer they were, were offered as tithes, and whosoeuer offered in this sort afterward, of­fered tithes, because God had manifested that the right which from the beginning he hath in euery mans goods, is tithes. And therefore as soone as it can bee shewed that ther was a Priest, then will it also appeare that tithes were payed vnto the Priest of the Lord.

Now in the 14. of Gen. there is expresse mention of the Priest of the most high God, and withall expresse mention of tithes payed vnto him: the words are these, And Melchisedech king of Salem brought foorth bread and wine, and hee was a Priest of the most high God, and hee Gen. 14. 18. blessed Abraham &c. And Abraham gaue him tithes of all. And vnto these words that which the Apostle obserueth Heb. 7. where he proueth two things: first the greatnesse of Christs priesthood aboue the Leuiticall; this hee pro­ueth because Melchisedech did blesse Abraham, for with­out [Page 6] all doubt the lesse is blessed of the greater: Then he Verse. 7. proueth not onely the greatnesse, but the perpetuall and vnchaungeable estate of Christs priesthood, wherein it differed also from the priesthood of Leuy. This he pro­ueth in Melchisedech, and by him in Christ, because Leuy in Abraham, payed tithes to Christ in Melchisedech, for (saith the Apostle) heere men that die receiue tithes, but Verse. 8. there hee receiueth them of whom it is witnessed that hee liueth. Out of these words wee draw these obseruations. First, that vnder the law of nature, tithes were to bee payed to the priest of the most high God, for these things are expresly deliuered that Melchisedech was priest of the most high God, & that Abraham gaue him tithes of all. Secondly, that this practise of the patriarks is commended by the Apostle in the new Testament, which sheweth that is no wil-worship deuised by them, but warranted from God, therefore we conclude, it was vndoubtedly ordained by God, albeit the time and first institution hereof be not exactly declared, yet that it was ordained of God it appeareth aswell by that which we haue said, because that right which from the beginning God hath in euery mans goods, is declared by the pra­ctise of the patriarks to be tithes: as also because Leuit. 27 it is said, tithes are the Lords, holy to the Lord, which words are not Leuiticall or ceremoniall, as hereafter shall appeare, but declare, that tithes were the Lords alwaies, and that the Lord euen from the beginning hath thus declared what part he hath in euery mans goods. And vpon this ground and reason the patriarks payed tithes before the law. Thirdly, we note that ordinarily the priesthood (before the law giuen) was annexed to the el­dest of the house, the first borne, as here to Melchisedech, which is thought to be Sem, the eldest sonne of Noah, as Lyra noteth, and the yeares agree: For Sem being an hundred yeares old, begat. Arphaxad, two yeares after the floud, and liued after that, 500. yeares. Gen. 11. 11. the end of which 500. yeares, falleth in the 50. yeare of Isaac his age, ten yeares before the birth of Iacob and [Page] Esau. The Lord afterward tooke the Leuites to his ser­uice, in place of the first borne. Num. 8. 16. this ordina­ry course was sometimes broken, and the birth right went from the eldest to another, yet thus much was al­wayes without chaunge, the Priesthood did follow the birth right, and tithes the priesthood.

Fourthly, Leuy payeth tithes in Abraham, whereby it appeareth that to pay tithes is not a ceremonie, for if it were, then should not Leuy be noted heete for paying tithes, that thing cannot be a Leuiticall ceremonie, which is contrary to the Leuiticall ordinances: but that Leuy should pay tithes is contrary to the Leuitical ordinances, which ordaine that tithes should be payed to Leuy. Now because it is against the ceremonies of the law, that Leuy should pay tithes, therefore when Leuy payeth tithes, he payeth them not as a ceremony of the law.

Fiftly, we obserue that before the law tithes were pai­ed to Christ, so saith the Apostle, Heb. 7. 8. Heere men that die receiue tithes, but there he receiueth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liued. In which words the Apostle proueth, that in Melchisedech Christ receiued tithes. Now if tithes were payed to Christ before the Law, what reason may be brought why they should not likewise be payed vnto Christ after the law ceased. Againe, tithes payed to Melchisedech are here brought by the Apostle, as a reason to proue the perpetuitie of Christs priest­hood, therefore tithes must be payed as long as Christs priesthood standeth.

Let the reason of the Apostle be considered: men that die receiue tithes heere, the Leuiticall tithes are but for a time, but when Leuy himselfe payeth tithes (as before the law it was, and after the law it must be) then are they giuen to him of whom it is witnessed that he liueth. Then from these words of the Apostle there is a difference obserued, betweene tithes as payed to Leuy, and as to Christ: as to Leuy they stood for Leuy his time, but tithes die not with Leuy: for they are still to be payed to him of whom it is witnessed that he liueth.

[Page 7] Sixtly, hence we vnderstand the manner and reason of paying tithes to Leuy, for tithes are the Lords, as a right in euery mans goods from the beginning to the end of the world. All tithes are the Lords, holy to the Lord, Leuit. 27. 30. he gaue them for a time to Leuy, so long as Leuy should serue the tabernacle and no longer, when Leuy ceased to minister at the Alter then tithes ceased to be due to Leuy, but tithes then ceased not to be the Lords, for as they were his before the law, so they stand his for euer; because the Lord can neuer loose that right which at the beginning he had in the goods of euery man.

Seauenthly, whereas a question may be moued, whe­ther the tithes which Abraham is said heere to pay to Melchisedech, were tithes of the spoiles (as some thinke they were) or of his owne goods: I thinke the opinion and reason of the most iudicious interpretor is heere to Iohn caluin, be followed, that Abraham payed tithes, not of the spoiles, but of his owne goods, because Abraham would not practise his liberalitie of other mens goods, but of his owne. And in the text it is said, that Abraham had lift vp his hand to the most high God possessor of heauen and earth, that hee would not take so much as a thread or a shoe latchet of that which was taken, which he yeelded to the king of Sodom, prouiding onely to Aner, Escol, and Mamre their portions. It is then more then probable that he payed no tithes of the spoiles, seeing he would not ac­count any part thereof his owne.

Eightly, if Abraham payed tithes to Melchisedech of his owne goods, the question may be moued, whether he payed them yeerely or no? To which question in direct words we haue no aunswere, and therefore wee may bee content to be ignorant where the scripture teacheth not, but in probabilitie it seemeth hee payed yeerely, because they were yeerely payed vnder the law; for tithes were not first instituted to be payed vnder the law, but before, and the same reason was before, which was vnder the law, for the priest, to whom (as Lyra speaking from these scriptures, saith tithes were due before the law) was no [Page] lesse yeerely to bee honoured then afterward; and they who liued before the law had as much reason to shew their gratitude and obedience to God, as afterward. Nei­ther could the distance of place be any hinderance in this matter, for Abraham dwelt at Hebron ouer against So­dom, and Metchisedech at Salem, which in the iudgement of Iosephus is Hierusalem, both in the tribe of Iuda, not far a sunder.

Ninthly, whereas against this, it may be obiected out of the words of the Apostle, Heb. 7. 4. that Abraham gaue to Melchisedech tithes of the spoyles, for answere we must call that translation in some question which trans­lateth [...] spoyles, some learned men of late trans­late it so, but it was not so vnderstood in former times. Ierom. translateth it; de praeciputs, If it might be plainely shewed, that the word in the vse of good authors is taken for spoyles, then we might make lesse question heere. In the meane time we may doubt. It is commonly taken of the autors of the Greeke tongue for primitiae, and some­times pro primitijs manubiarum, but simply for spoyles, not that we know, the Seriac translation taking the word in his vsuall sense, hath thus: To whom the patriarch Abraham gaue tithes and first fruits. Isidorus saith, Abra­ham decimas substantiae post benedictionem dedit Melchi­sedech, sicut sucerdotibus benedicentibus sibi populus secundū legem decimas dabat. Lyra saith, Abraham dedit decimas ipsi. Melchisedech cui debebantur tanquam sacerdoti.

Tenthly, admit (last of all) that Abraham gaue tithes of the spoyles (which thing we cannot yeald without bet­ter proofes then we haue yet seene) this is so far from crossing the right of tithes, that rather it confirmeth all more fully, for if Abraham gaue tithes of the spoyles, much more then of his owne goods, the whole course of the Apostle his speach proueth no lesse, for how can a­ny mans conceit be satisfied with the tithes of the spoyles onely, considering the Apostle speaketh so much of A­braham his paying tithes, insisting so long in it, drawing an argument of such weight from it: he whose kindred [Page 8] is not counted among them, receiued tithes of Abraham, ver. 6. heere men that die receiue tithes, but ther he receiueth them of whom &c. ver. 8. Leuy also which receiueth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham, ver. 9. If there were no other tithes giuen by Abraham to Melchisedech, but of those spoyles onely, why is this compared with Liuiticall tithes, which were payed yeerely? would the Apostle vse this manner of speech of one onely action, vnlesse it shew­ed the common vse and practise how tithes were then payed to the priest, as by common vse and practise they were afterward payed to the Lenites. By this then it ap­peareth out of the story of Melchisedech that tithes were, and are to be payed to Christ alwayes, aswell after as be­fore the law.

Let vs consider the next testimony we finde in storie before the law: the next is Gen. 28. where Iacob voweth to pay tithes of all that God will giue him, the wordes are these: Then Iacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will keepe Gen. 28. 20. me in this iourney which I goe, and will giue mee bread to eate, and clothes to put on, so that I come againe to my fathers 21. house in safety, then shall the Lord be my God. And this stone which I haue set vp as a piller, shall be Gods house: and of all 22. that which thou shalt giue me, I will giue the tenth to thee. Out of these words it appeareth that it was the generall opinion of the godly before the law giuen, that tithes ought to be giuen to God, for otherwise Iacob did offend, vnlesse he knew that this thing pleased God, as being ap­pointed by him.

But because Abulensis out of this place would proue tithes not to belong to the law of nature, that matter would be examined: his reason is, because Iacob vowed tithes; now a vow, saith hee, is not of those things which belong to the law of nature. But Abulensis himselfe per­ceiuing that this proposition is not true generally, frameth an obiection against himselfe, that by remouing the ob­iection be might the better settle that which he taketh to be the truth: his obiection is, that a man may vow that which belongeth to the law of nature; as not to commit [Page] adultry, which obiection he answereth thus: a man may not vow such things with condition, but absolutely. Now saith he, Iacob vowed tithes with condition, therefore they are not such things as are contained in the law of nature. Bellarmins words are much more peremptorie: impium To. 1. Con. 5. lib. 1. ca. 25. fuisset vouere decimas, si absoluté fuisset obligatus eas soluere. These words indeed being examined by the popish doc­trine of vowes, may stand as a glos fit enough for a cor­rupt text, but being axamined by the truth of God, they shall finde no place to stand in. First, where Abulensis saith, a man may not vow a thing belonging to the law of nature conditionally, it appeareth to be false, because as himselfe yeeldeth, a man may vow not to commit a­dultery, so he must yeeld that a man may likewise vow to honour his parents, if God will prolong their liues, this is conditionall and no lesse lawfull then the other, and he that maketh it, can keepe it onely conditionally, so long as God will suffer his parents to liue, if they dye, he is freed from the possibilitie of performing his vow: so he that voweth tithes, can vow them no other way, but conditionally, if God will blesse him with goods, as Ia­cob doth, for it he haue nothing, he is freed from the pos­sibilitie of performing his vow. Other obiections of A­bulensis shall be answered in their place.

Though the obiection be answeared, yet somewhat may happely stick in the minde of the reader, and we as seeking a truth, would cast all obiections without fauou­ring, for I protest, I haue so captiued my sences to the truth, that against the knowen truth I dare not stirre, therefore I will freely open what I can. To that obiecti­on, that no morall thing may be vowed, because we are bound without a vow to performe such things: this ans­were may stand, that albeit we be bound without a vow to such things, yet it is lawfull to vow them, that we may be stirred vp with more exact care and zeale to such du­ties, as not onely God hath bound vs, but we also binde our selues. Now that it is lawfull to binde our selues to those duties, whereto God bindeth vs, it appeareth by [Page 9] the commended practise of the godly at all times. The people were bound to serue the Lord in the time of Asa, no lesse then at other times, yet they made a couenant and sware to serue the Lord, 2. Chron. 15. 12. 14. Dauid was bound without an oath or vow, to keepe the righte­ous iudgements of the Lord, yet he bound himselfe by an oath: I haue sworne and will performe it, to keepe thy righteous iudgements. Psal. 119. 106. And whereas Da­uid speaketh so often of paying his vowes vnto the Lord, the thing vowed and to be payed is morall. Psal. 50. 14. Offer to God praise, and pay thy vowes to the most high. Psal. 56. 12. Thy vowes are vpon mee, O God, I will render praise to thee, for thou hast deliuered my soul from death, &c. And albeit things ceremoniall might be vowed vnder the law, yet no otherwise but as they drew to some morall duetie. And therefore when the people in vowing things cere­moniall did so stick in the ceremonie, that they looked no farther, then are such vowes reproued, and they are taught, that the vowes which please God, are obedience, a contrite heart, and such like. This which I haue said will answere another obiection. If tithes were alwaies the Lordes, wee cannot vow them, for a vow must bee of a thing that is ours. Iacob then vowing tithes, sheweth that they were not alwaies the Lords, the answere is plaine out of that which hath bene said. It is lawfull to vow vnto the Lord that which is not ours, but his. For what thing is more the Lords, and lesse ours, then our o­bedience, yet we vow it, binding our selues by a new pro­mise to that whereunto the Lord hath bound vs by du­tie. And therfore as Dauid did vow to performe that obe­dience to God, which otherwise he was bound to doe without a vow: so Iacob doth heere vow to pay tithes, though tithes be the Lords right; when this obedience commeth from a willing minde; it is acceptable: now a vow serueth to shew a resolued and willing minde. Ha­uing done with the obiections against this place, let vs gather hence such obseruations as may confirme our purpose.

[Page] First, it is euident hence, that Iacob did not account tithes any part of the iudicials, because no part of the iu­dicials were to be offered in a vow to the Lord, but ey­ther things morall were vowed, or ceremoniall as they lead men to morall obedience. The reason is, vowes were a part of Gods seruice, and iudicials belonged not to the seruice of God, but were of things common, and for the ciuill gouernment of men.

Secondly, it must be considered that the thing where­in Iacobs vow standeth principally, is in these words, this stone which I haue set vp as a pillar, shall be Gods house. Some interpretours take this to be the place where Abra­ham offered Isaac. Lyra saith, that all interpretours take it generally for that place where Ierusalem stood after­ward. Iacob saying it should be the house of God, signifi­eth it should be as a temple where God should be wor­shipped, now vnto the house of God he ioyneth tithes.

Thirdly, if therefore the question be mooued, in what sort these tithes were payed which are heere vowed, whe­ther as things giuen immediately to God, as were sacrifi­ces, or vowed to God, that is to the priest of the most high God? I would gladly learne of other in such que­stions, but in the meane time, vntill I can learne a better answere, I thinke it best to vnderstand the manner of Ia­cobs paying tithes, by the practise of his grandfather A­braham, who payed them to the priest of the most high God. And therefore Iacob after that example vowing to pay tithes, may best be vnderstood to pay them to the priest.

Thus far hauing spoken of the time before the law, so far foorth as scipture speaketh of tithes: before we come to the time vnder the law, let vs consider how heathen men, hauing not the knowledge of the law of God, but onely directed by a glimps of the light of nature, did iudge that tithes were to be payed to such gods as they worshipped, wherein howsoeuer they were corrupt, yet in that corruption may be seene some sparks of the light of nature before the law. I will not bring all, but onely [Page 10] of many testimonies will shew a fevv, wherby a man may iudge of the rest, and vnderstand how this question hath beene conceiued euen among the heathen.

Cyrus king of Persia when he had ouercome the Ly­dians, Herodot. Clio. offered the tithes of all to Iupiter. Among the Ro­mans the custome was ancient of offering tithes to their gods. Camillus vowed tithes to the goddesse called Mater Plutarc. Camil. Matuta, in case hee should ouercome the Ueians. After the victory in low of the tenth a cup of Gold was sent to Delphi, weighing eight talents, as Plutarch witnesseth in the same place. It is reported of Lucullus that hee grevv Plut. Lucullo. rich because he obserued the vse of paying tithes to Her­cules. For that this was an ancient custome among the Romanes, Macrobius proueth out of Varro, who writeth Lib. Saturn. 3. cap 42. Biblith. lib. 8. cap. 2. that it was the common custome among the anucients, vouere decimam. Herculi. Diodorus Siculus opening the reason of that custome saith, that when Hercules was friendly entertained by Potitius & Pinarius, he promised a happie life to such as should offer him the tithes of all their goods, which practise he saith remained in Rome till his time, multi enim Romanorum non solū medio cui sensu, sed qui ditissimi suat habiti, decimas Herculi vouerunt, post­ea (que) fortunatio res facti bona sua ad quatuor talentorum mil­lia Herculi sacrarunt. In which place hee reporteth the same of Lucullus, which after him Plutarch obserued. Xenophon witnesseth that others vsed to pay tithes to A­pollo. [...]. 3. Neither was this thing obserued onely among the ciuill nations, but euen so far as the sence of manhoode reached it was spread also among the barbarous people. Plinie writing of the Sabaeans and Aethiopians, saith that Hist. nat. lib 12. cap. 14. & 19. in the spices, which those countries yeeld abundantly, the marchants may not meddle with any; before the Priests haue laid out the tenth to their gods. And (which one generall testimony may stand in place of many particu­lars) Festus saith: Decima quaeque veteres dijs suis offerebant. Which vse being so generall among all nations, doth shew, that euen from Noah it was dispersed among all people; though much corrupt in them, yet bearing in it selfe eui­dent [Page] signes that it came from the incorrupt light of na­ture before the law giuen. For what other reason can be giuen why such an apparant resemblance of Gods truth, should bee kept and dispersed so far among all nations? And heereupon, I take it Franciscus Iunius departing from the iudgement of other learned men whom other­wise he reuerenceth, vvas moued to say thus much, decimae iure omni post hominum memoriam deo fuerunt sacrae. What is that, iure omni? but aswell vvritten in the consciences of naturall men, fortified by priuiledges of princes, as ex­pressely declared in the word of God. Thus hauing decla­red so far as wee can learne, how tithes stood before the law, let vs consider the same in the time of the law.


How tithes stood vnder the Law. Where it is proo­ued that then this constitution of Tithes was neither ceremoniall nor iudiciall, but morall.

THis being first out of controuer­sie, that during all that time be­tween the law first giuen, and last abrogated, tithes were to be pay­ed to the Leuits by the comman­dement of God: the first questi­on may bee, whether tithes had their first institution and begin­ning in the law. Wee aunswere shortly, tithes were not first instituted in the lavv, but long before, euen from the beginning. What then was insti­tuted in the lavv? all that vvhich concerning tithes was instituted in the law, was that tithes should bee assig­ned to the Leuites so long as they serued the Taberna­cle: this will appeare if wee consider the first and most principall places, wherin tithes are mentioned in the law. The first is Leuit. 27. the words are these. All tithes of the Leuit. 27. 30. land both of the seede of the ground, and of the fruit of the trees is the Lords: it is holy vnto the Lord. Euery tithe of bullocke and sheepe, &c. This is the first place that speak­eth of tithes: in which words there is neither institution nor assignation, but a simple declaration of the Lords right. And heereunto the next place, Behold I haue gi­uen Num. 18. 21. the children of Leuy all the tenth of Israell for an inhe­ritance, for their seruice which they serue in the Tabernacle [Page] of the Congregation. These two places are first in order, and principall vnto which wee must refer all that which in the law is spoken of tithes: the first testimonie decla­reth the Lords right, the second sheweth that out of his owne right the Lord assigneth them to Leuy, I haue giuen them to the children of Leuy. It containeth the end, and condition of the assignation, for the Lord assigneth tithes to Leuy, onely for the time of their seruice at the Taber­nacle, for their seruice which they serue, &c.

By this we may distinguish what is leuiticall, and what is perpetuall in tithes. This proposition, all tithes are the Lords, is no way leuiticall, but containeth a perpetuall truth. That which is leuiticall in this point, standeth in two things, which we may call the leuiticall assignation, and the leuiticall institution of tithes; for these wordes, I giue all tithes to the Leuites, for the seruice which they serue at the Tabernacle, doe containe the assignation of tithes, for all tithes being the Lords, he doth heere assigne them ouer to the Leuites for a time, during the seruice of the Tabernacle. This assignation we graunt to bee leuiticall, and to indure onely so long as Leuy shall serue at the ta­bernacle, that seruice once ended, tithes shall no more be Leuy his right, but tithes shall be the Lords.

The Leuiticall institution of tithes, is contayned in the commandements of paying tithes to Leuy, as where it is said, thou shalt bring thy tithes to the Leuites, the Leuite thou shalt not forsake &c. Where we see the com­mandement for paying tithes to Leuy presupposeth the Leuiticall assignation, the assignation presupposeth the perpetuall right of tithes to belong to the Lord. If these grounds were graunted, the question were at an end, but because there will be question made of these groundes, let them be examined, to trye whether they be sufficient to hould vp that building which is to be laid vpon them.

The first is this, that this proposition, all tithes are the Lords, holy to the Lord: is not Leuiticall, this will thus appeare. If all tithes were the Lords, holy to him before the leuiticall ministery instituted, then they are [Page 12] not leuiticall: but it is true and certaine that all tithes were the Lords before the institution of the Leuiticall ministery: therefore certainely they are not Leuiticall, the proposition is euident, for that cannot be called Leui­ticall, which was before the institution of the Leuiticall order, the assumption is no lesse true, because tithes were the Lords, holy to him aswell before as vnder the law, for if the Lord hath alwayes a right in euery mans goods, if this right was declared to be tithes, by the practise ofthe patriarks, if that practise doth shew that euen then in their times tithes were the Lords, holy to him: it must needes be confessed that tithes were the Lords before the leuiticall constitutions. Now in that by the godly patri­arks tithes were payed to the Lord, is confirmed that tithes were alwayes the Lords, and by that which heere is said, all tithes are the Lords, is declared by what war­rant the patriarks payed tithes, this is sufficient to proue, that tithes were not instituted first in the law. It may be obiected, that albeit tithes be not leuiticall, as being in vse long before the leuiticall order, yet they may be ceremo­niall, for some ceremonies were in vse before the leuiticall ceremonies, to this reseruing a farther aunswere till anon, first, we say that tithes are ceremoniall no otherwise, then as they are leuiticall, and this I suppose, that men which attend to this question will not denie mee: If there be any ceremonie in tithes, it is a leuiticall ceremony. This thing is graunted by Abulensis, and all that haue carried this question against vs, and the common voyce against vs is, that tithes are leuiticall ceremonies. I aske no more, the rest will follow, for if tithes, haue no other ceremo­nie then that which is a leuiticall ceremonie, then before the leuiticall order instituted, tithes had no ceremonie in them at all: and after that order abrogated, tithes re­maining still, haue in them no ceremonie.

Now thus much we willingly yeeld, that all ceremo­nies may not properly be called leuiticall, as sacrificing, and the ceremonies that were in vse before the leuiticall order, but those ceremonies which were ordained with [Page] and for the leuiticall order (as many were) may proper­ly be called leuiticall ceremonies, so that if tithes haue no ceremonie but leuiticall, surely then before the Leuites, they had no ceremonie at all, to cleare these things the better, leauing no doubt vntouched, let vs compare tithes and sacrifices together, whereby it may appeare what is the difference betweene tithes, and such ceremonies as were in vse before the law.

Sacrifices were in vse before the law, and in the law certaine particular ordinaunces for the manner of sacrifi­cing are commaunded, those particular ordinaunces may be called leuiticall, but sacrificing it selfe is not: so tithes were in vse before the law, and certaine particular ordi­nances of paying tithes to the Leuites commanded in the law, which particular constitutions we call leuiticall. Thus far sacrifices and tithes agree: heere it will be ob­iected that tithes were ceremonies before the law, aswell as sacrifices. The answere is in marking the true diffe­rences betweene sacrifices and tithes, which differences will shew the one to be a ceremonie, the other none. The differences are first in the propertie, secondly, in the end of both: First, the proprietie of sacrifices and tithes con­sidered, this difference appeareth between them: the pro­prietie and right in tithes, is alwayes the Lords, and not mans. Now albeit sacrifices are then the Lords, when they are once offered to him, yet till that time man hath the proprietie and right in the thing which he sacrificeth, but in tithes man hath no right, because all tithes are the lords. Then in sacrificing man sanctifieth of his owne to God, which before offering is his owne, and if he should not offer it, remaineth his owne still: but in paying tithes man giueth nothing of his owne to God, but onely ren­dreth to God that which alwaies was his right: in not sacrificing godlynes is violated, in not paying tithes not onely godlines is broken, but iustice also. Now a ceremo­nie standeth not in paying to God that which is his, but in giuing to God that which is thine owne. For example, if thou giue to God, honour, praise, and glorie: here is no [Page 13] ceremonie, thou giuest to him that which was euer his right: but when men by carnall rites did make signe to God of their faith and obedience, then they gaue him that which was their owne in signification of other things.

The second difference is, in the end of both, the end of sacrificing was to signifie the great sacrifice vpon the crosse for the sins of the world, & therfore it was a cere­monie, because it was a carnall type of that holy sacrifice, therefore to remaine onely vntill that sacrifice be exhibi­ted. And in a word, the end of all ceremonies was to sig­nifie something, but the end of tithes, is the honour or maintenance of the ministery at all times. I say, not one­ly the honor of the Leuites, but of the ministers of Christ alwayes, and therefore to remaine so long as that ministe­rie shall stand. And that this was the true end thereof, it appeareth.

First, because tithes were payed to the priests before the law. Secondly, because they were particularly assigned to the priests and Leuites vnder the law. Thirdly, be­cause by the fathers succeeding the Apostles, (as heere­after it shall bee opened) they were challenged to the Church, as Gods ordinance, for the maintenance of the ministery, and by the consent of all Christians yeelded so. If this be not the end of tithes, let any man shew and proue to vs another end of them: if this be their end, e­uen an honourable maintenance of the ministery, then certainely tithes are no ceremonies, because the end of a ceremonie is onely to signifie something, and it hath no other end or vse, whereby as we haue the apparant diffe­rences betweene tithes and sacrifices, shewing plainly the one to be ceremoniall, the other not: so we haue this truth no lesse cleared, that this proposition, all tithes are the Lords, containeth no leuiticall ceremonie, but a per­petuall truth.

For the farther manifestation of this point, it must be considered, that vpon this ground (al tithes are the Lords) the leuiticall assignation resteth, for whereas first the Lord maketh it manifest, that all tithes are his, and after­ward [Page] assigneth them to Leuy, it is declared that heerein he doth wrong no man, for he giueth that to Leuy, which by peculiar right and proprietie is his owne, no man hath right or proprietie in the tithes of his owne goods, but as euery man hath a proprietie in the rest of his goods, so hath the Lord in tithes. Then this right which the Lord hath in tithes, none can challenge from him, for other­wise some man might thus surmise, I am wronged if my goods be taken from me and giuen to Leuy. In these words there is a secret answere to all such surmises, tithes are none of thy goods, thou hast no right in them at all, all tithes are the Lords. And that this is the true meaning of these words, it may appeare, if we compare them with other places which soūd like this, but cannot thus be ex­pounded. It is said that, all the beasts of the forrest are the Lords, and the cattell vpon a thousand hils. Psal, 50. the earth is the Lords and all that therein is. Psal. 24. but these things are said to be the Lords in another sense, then tithes are. I remember well that sentence and rule of Hillary, that he who readeth scriptures as he ought, must not bring a sense to the words, but fet the sense from the words, and not compell the Scripture to speake as hee in preiudice con­ceaueth. If I breake this rule, it is of ignorance, not of wil­fulnesse, & I will willingly take a rebuke, if I faile herein, especially from such as will both reproue and teach mee.

Things are said to be the Lords in diuerse senses, when the earth is sayd to be the Lords, and such like: we vn­derstand that these things are the Lords, in two respects.

First, in respect of a duetie all creatures are the Lords, because he is their creator, for euery thing created oweth a duetie to the creator, as to the great Lord to whom all things owe their homage, albeit euill and corrupt men vnderstand not this, and therefore are farre from this du­tifull obedience: yet they should in regard of this dutie, set the seruice of God before all things whatsoeuer, be­cause he is creatour of all, this reason the Prophet touch­eth where he saith, the earth is the Lords: for (saith hee) he hath founded the world &c.

[Page 14] Secondly, all creatures are said to be the Lords also, in respect of that power whereby he ruleth all, euill and cor­rupt men, though not vnderstanding the same, and being far from yeelding their dutifull obedience to the Lord, are yet subiect vnto this his power, for he directeth eue­ry thing to his proper end, in this respect the Prophet saith: Hee doth whatsoeuer pleaseth him in heauen and in earth. Psal. 135. And in these respects wee vnderstand those Scriptures that say, the earth and the creatures are the Lords, aswell because all things created owe a duety to him, and as it were their homage, as also because all things created, are gouerned by his power and proui­dence.

But when tithes are said to be the Lords, this is in re­spect of a proprietie and immediate right, that he hath in tithes, for otherwise why should the Lord say that tithes are his, more then the other 9. parts? for in those former respects the 9. parts are his, euen as the earth is his, &c. this then declareth an immediate right and proprietie that the Lord hath in tithes, distinct from the respects of duetie, power and prouidence, in which respects all the rest is his. And that the words force vs, and not we them to this sense: it may farther appeare by the words following, which doe expound the place, and puts it out of doubtfulnesse. Al tithes are the Lords holy to the Lord: These words (holy to the Lord) doe interpret the former, and shew in what sense tithes are the Lords, not onely in respect of a generall duety, or in respect of his power, but euen in this sense, because the proprietie and imme­diate right to tithes is not in man, but in God onely, for that which is holy to the Lord, is seperate from man, and mans vse; in such things man hath no right at all, there­fore if man keepe tithes from the Lord, it must be con­fessed that this is vsurpation and sacriledge. Moreouer, we note the manner of these words. It is not sayd thou shalt pay all tithes to the Lord, for such a precept might argue an institution of tithes: but it is say'd, all tithes are the Lords, which words doe not expresse any new insti­tution, [Page] but declare an auncient right which was begun long before the law.

It is farther to be considered, that the law obserueth a distinction in holy things, by which distinction we may learne how tithes differ from other things, which by the leuiticall law were called holy, for things holy, or sepe­rate from mans vse, are either such as the Lord sepera­teth to himselfe, wherein man hath no right: or such things as man seperateth to the Lord: now tithes are made holy and seperate from mans vse, not by man, but by the Lord himselfe. For it is sayd: Leuit. 27. 28. No­thing separate from common vse, which a man separateth to the Lord, of all that he hath, may bee sould, nor redeemed, but tithes may be redeemed Leuit. 27. 31. by adding a fift part. Therefore tithes are such things, as man hath no power to seperate from common vse, because they stand separate from common vse by the Lord, which sheweth euidently that man hath no right or proprietie in his owne tithes, as he hath in the things which he may sepa­rate from common vse to the Lord.

Then the generall ordinaunce of tithes was not insti­tuted in the law, but long before, as appeareth both by the practise of the godly in former times, and by these wordes declaring the ground of that practise, which ground is the immediate right which the Lord hath al­waies in tithes, for if the former practise, and that which we haue obserued of these words, All tithes are the Lords, be compared together, it is euident that the Lord did not then begin to haue a right in tithes when the law was gi­uen. This right is not instituted in the law, but onely de­clared, whervpon it followeth that this is right perpetu­all, for we call that perpetuall whereof no beginning can be shewed, but the vse therof proued from the beginning. Therefore wee conclude that this proposition, All tithes are the Lords, holy to the Lord, containeth a perpetuall truth, and no leuiticall ceremonie.

To confesse the truth, I finde my selfe in writing this which I know many are ready to gainesay, so affected [Page 15] as they who fortifie an hould against the enimies, where the wall is weakest or lowest there the greatest force of the enimies is set to make a breach, so I finde that we are now as it were in that breach, and if I can fortifie this one peece so as to put the aduersaries out of hope of en­trance heere, I shall be at more ease for the rest: for euery man will graunt mee that tithes were due before the law, and vnder the law assigned to the Leuites, but how the perpetuall right is proued, or how this right may appeare assumed againe after the abrogation of the law, this is that wherat most sticke, this is that which I must fortifie. To that therefore which already wee haue spoken add that which the Apostle saith in the Epistle to the He­brewes, for hee hath so fortified the matter that I know not what may bee brought against him, in those words, Heb. 7. 8. Heere men that die receiue tithes, but there hee re­ceiueth them, of whom it is witnessed that hee liueth: who is hee of whom it is witnessed that hee liueth.? It is spoken there of Melchisedech, but it is verified in Christ, Melchisedech heere is brought in to no other end, but as a type of Christ, to shew how these things spoken of the tipe, are most true in the body Christ Iesus: for there the Apostle proueth the greatnesse of Christs priesthood and the perpetuity of the same, so that these things heere spoken of the tipe, are declared to be verified especially & principally in Christ: then albeit Melchisedech be in some sort witnessed to liue, because ther is silence of his death, yet this is especially & principally true in Christ: then when the Apostle faith, that heere he receiueth tithes who is witnessed to liue, his meaning is that tithes are payed in the priesthood of Christ, not onely in the leuiticall priest­hood. Heere men that die receine tithes, but ther he receiueth them of whom it is witnessed that he liueth, where we haue an euident distinction betwene the leuiticall assignation, and the perpetuall right of tithes. Heere men that die re­ceiue tithes, there is the leuiticall assignation, which was to haue an end: but there hee receiueth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liueth, in these words the perpetuall right [...] [Page] [...] [Page 14] [...] [Page] [...] [Page 15] [...]

[Page] First, whether tithes be ceremoniall. Secondly, whe­ther they be iudiciall. To know whether tithes be cere­moniall Whether tithes be ceremoniall. (that wee may adde more proofes to that which we haue sayd in this point) it seemeth needefull to set down the definition of a leuiticall ceremonie, which may be defined thus: a ceremonie is a carnall type of an holy thing, which for the seruice of the Tabernacle is inioyned onely vntill the time of reformation By an holy thing in this definition, wee vnderstand an Euangelicall truth, by the time of reformation we vnderstand, the first comming and full appearance of our Lord Iesus Christ. All the parcels of this definition are confirmed by the Apostle, Heb. 9. that it is a carnall type of an holy thing, it is proued. ver. 10. where they are called carnall rites, and ver. 23. they are say de to bee similitudes of holy or heauenly things, that such ceremonies were for the ser­uice of the tabernacle, he sheweth, ver. 2. where first he discribeth the tabernacle, and presently ioyneth the cere­monies, as belonging to it, and againe, ver. 8. and 21. so that all those ceremonies had respect to the tabernacle, and that they were ordained to indure onely vntill the time of reformation, it is deliuered in expresse words, ver. 10.

It may be obiected, that albeit all these things be ex­pressed in the Apostle his words, yet his meaning may be not to define a ceremony, but to discribe diuerse kinds of ceremonies, as namely, that of ceremonies some are carnall types, other for the seruice of the tabernacle, o­thers to indure vntill the time of reformation, &c. wee answere for our purpose all is one, whether it be graun­ted that this is a definition, or a diuision of ceremonies: if it be a definition, tithes must agree to this definition, or else it can not be ceremoniall: if it be a diuision of ce­remonies, then tithes must agree to some part of it, other­wise they can be no ceremonies, but we say that tithes neither agree to the whole, nor to any part thereof, for they are neither carnall, nor types, nor carnall types of holy things, nor for the seruice of the tabernacle, nor in­ioyned [Page 17] to indure onely vntill the time of reformation, if no part heereof agree with tithes, how is it possible this thing should bee a ceremonie, let vs then examine the parcels.

First, tithes are not carnall, for carnall in the Apostle his sence, is not taken for euery worldly thing, but for such a worldly and rude element, or as the Apostle cal­leth it, Gal. 4. 9. such an impotent and beggerly rudiment as serued for the institution of the rude and ignoraunt people of the Iewes, hauing no such vse among Christi­ans: but tithes serued not for institution of the Iewes, for they did teach nothing, and yet they haue among Chri­stians the same vse, which then they had: for they serued then, as now also they doe, for honour and maintenance of them who teach the people. Is it possible that this thing should be a Leuiticall ceremonie, which hath the same vse among Christians, which it had in Israell? far­ther, tithes are no types, for a type was instituted for no other vse, but to signifie an holy thing in Christ or his kingdome, but tithes were not instituted for this vse to signifie any thing in Christ or his kingdome, therefore no types, this appeareth plainely, because tithes are after Christ, as they were before, the honourable maintenance of the ministerie alwaies, therefore they signified no­more then now they doe, but as they were, so they stand still, or if any thinke that tithes were instituted onely to signifie some thing, let that thing once be shewed. Now if they be neither carnall, nor types, how can they be car­nall types, and by consequence they are not carnall types of holy things, but they are those holy things themselues, for to pay tithes sincerely to the ministers of Christ, is an holy thing, and this is enough to proue it no ceremo­nie, for no ceremonie is of it selfe an holy thing, but that this is, it is apparant, because now in the time of the gos­pell the same vse of this thing is retained, when all cere­monies are abrogated, neither were tithes instituted for the seruice of the tabernacle. I speake heere of the or­dinance of tithes, not of the Leuiticall assignation: which [Page] assignation I graunt was instituted for the seruice of the tabernacle, but the question of tithes in generall, is much differing from this assignation, for tithes were before the law, this assignation was not, tithes are in vse after the law ended, this is not, therefore there is as much diffe­rence betweene tithes in generall and this assignation, as betweene things perpetuall and temporary.

Last of all, it is euident, that tithes were not inioyned vntill the time of reformation, for they are in vse after that time, therefore we reason thus, no Leuiticall ceremonie may be allowed to remain in the Church any longer then vntill the time of reformation, but tithes are, and haue beene by all godly allowed to remaine in the Church after the time of reformation: therefore tithes are no such ceremonies, the assumption is in the manifest knowledge and consciences of all men: the proposition is proued out of the words of the Apostle, where he describeth ce­remonies in these words, Heb. 9. 10. carnall rites which were inioyned vntill the time of reformation. If those carnall rites were inioyned vntill the time of reformation, then manifestly it followeth that these carnall rites were to be abolished at the time of reformation, and are not to be retained in the Church after that time: heere then of two things we must choose one, eyther to say, tithes are no ceremonie, or to charge the Church of Christians of impietie in the highest degree, for appointing tithes for the maintenance of ministers, and so retaining a ceremo­nie in the Church after the time of reformation, against the expresse doctrine of the Apostle.

But now consider what answere is thought by some to be sufficient. This for sooth, that tithes are vsed now in the time of the gospell, not as a ceremonie, but as an­other thing, they were vnder the law (say they) ceremo­nies, but now they cease to be, and are retained as some other thing: let them be as what you list, this is no suf­ficient answere to that which I haue said, and to shew the weakenes heereof (because in this aunswere is placed all the hope of them who hold tithes ceremonies) let vs take [Page 18] a little paines with it, for the inualiditie of this poore shift being manifested, we may go with more ease through the rest. If this were a sufficient answere to say, we vn­derstand tithes now not as a ceremonie, then surely no­thing in any disputation can be proued, and because this matter reacheth farther then at the first show it seemeth, it shall not be vnprofitable by the way of a short digres­sion, to speake in generall of insufficient answearing, that is, of vnexact distinguishing, where the truth is onely sought out, without heate or contention, there the distin­ction of the answere will shew it selfe so quick, as that it doth not onely answere the sophisme, but also carrieth force and power in it selfe to ouerthrow the contrary falshood, but where the distinction hath not this life in it, there it discrieth it selfe to bee, not as armour of defence as it should be, but onely as that sodaine helpe, which the man in daunger of drowning catcheth after: for exam­ple, that answere which serueth for the common hackney in schooles: verum est materialiter, non formaliter: let it be allowed for a sufficient answere, and what can be con­cluded? That the absurditie heereof may more plainly appeare, I will recite certaine examples.

Thomas Aquinas concludeth, that concupisence which 1. 2. q. 81. art. [...]. ad. 1. passeth the bonds of reason is against nature. Dominicus▪ Soto not consenting to Thomas, and yet being vnwilling to stand against him in contradiction, thinketh this a suf­ficient answere: that which Thomas saith is true, ratione formae, sed non natione materiae, nam ratione materiae (faith Soto) concupisentia illa est naturalis. Martin Luther made this obiection against Indulgences, Indulgences are saide to remit penaunces, but penaunces are good works, such as Fasting, Almes, Prayer and the like: therefore Indul­gences are not good but pernicious, seeing they hinder men from good workes. Bellarmin thinketh it sufficient to answere thus; Indulgences remit penaunces not as they Lib. 2. de Indulg, cap. [...]. are good workes, non quatenus sunt bona opera, but as a­nother thing, as if hee should say, verum est materialiter, non formaliter. Iust as these men distinguish in a ceremo­nie, [Page] tithes are now retained not as a ceremonie, but as another thing.

If this kinde of answere runne for currant, who seeth not that this blinde distinction is at hand ready against any truth though neuer so well concluded? for when a man hath concluded, that to drinke till a man be drunck is a sin, some will finde out this distinction, it is a sinne materialiter, sed non formaliter: for I vse, saith he, non qua­tenus, not as drunkennesse, but as another thing. And why may not another frame the same distinction for whoredome, especially if hee may alleadge the aduise of some Phisitions which hould such phisicke needefull for his body. And so in other things, I would know how a man can conclude against the Ebionites, if this kinde of aunswering bee receiued for good? they receiue circum­cision with the Gospell: how will you disproue them? if you vrge those words of the Apostle, If you be circum­cised Christ profiteth you nothing: may not they aunswere Gal. 5. 3. the Apostle, verum est formaliter, non materialiter. Wee retaine circumcision not formally, non quatenus, not as a sacrament, but as another thing. If this were nothing else but to mocke the Apostles diuinitie, why should any bee so much ouerseene, as to thinke this distinction may stand against vs, which in the like case can not stand against the Apostle? Therefore it is not enough to bring a distinc­tion, but the parts thereof should bee confirmed out of the principles of that profession, wherein the disputation is, if the disputation be in Logicke or Philosophie, then the parts of the distinction to bee confirmed out of Lo­gicke or philosophie, if in diuinitie, then out of the scrip­tures. This sincerely practized would cut the sinewes of many friuelous contentions which are so often moued and repeated againe without end. Thus much concer­ning the idle and endlesse humour of writing, which pro­ceedeth for the most part from insincere answering.

Now to returne to the former answere of those, who thinke they haue said enough, when they say that tithes are not now established in the Church as a ceremonie, [Page 19] but as another thing, it is as if they should say verum est materialiter, non formaliter. For the frame of a ceremo­nie remaineth not, yet the matter, say they, remaineth. Which answere as in some place may stand, so heere it cannot, vnlesse the parts of this distinction be proued by scripture, which no man hath at any time as yet proued. For it should be proued by scripture that tithes were a le­uiticall ceremonie, and that the thing which once was a ceremonie, may be retained in the Church of Christ, but wee haue shewed the contradictary to both, that tithes were neuer a ceremonie, by the discription of a ceremo­nie, and that the thing which was a ceremonie may not be retained in the Church of Christians, because it was inioyned onely vntill the time of reformation: and there­fore we conclude, this answere is euery way weake, and no sufficient exception against our cause.

But for the latter part thereof, it may be thus obiec­ted, some things were ceremonies which yet are, or may bee lawfully retained among Christians, as not to sow a vineyard with diuerse kindes of seedes; not to plow with an Oxe and an Asse; not to weare a garment of diuers sorts, as wollen and linnen together, Deut. 22. I answere these scriptures Deut. 22. doe not speake of ceremonies, but of iudicialls. Of this answere, there are these reasons. First, throughout that Chapter he speaketh of things iu­diciall, and in the Chapter next before, as also in that which next followeth, hee declareth precepts iudiciall of all sorts, concerning matters of state when they goe to warre, touching publike affaires, touching priuate, touch­ing husbandry, touching a mans comely carrying of him­selfe abroad and at home: For iudicialls reach not onely to the great affaires of a state, but euen to a comelynesse in husbandry and apparell, of which ciuill comlinesse these precepts are to be vnderstood, and in a ciuill state well and exactly gouerned, to bee receiued, for ciuill comelinesse, and an exact order is to be setled in euery part of the state.

Another reason that these precepts are to be vnder­stoode [Page] of iudicialls, not of ceremonies is, because these things cannot agree to the discription of a ceremony, out of the Apostles wordes, for neither were these carnall tipes of holy things, neither were they instituted for the seruice of the Tabernacle. Againe it can not bee saide that a ceremonie is negatiue, as a precept may bee, for they are not set downe in negatiues, this thou shalt not doe, but in affirmatiues in doing or vsing, for a ceremo­nie is positiuely to represent an holy thing, for which cause the Apostle calleth them [...]. Heb. 9. 24. Moreouer in these and such like precepts we obserue that albeit some signification may well be drawen from them, yet that will not suffice to proue them ceremonies, for from that which is written Deut. 25. Thou shalt not mus­sell the mouth of the Oxe that treadeth out thy corne. The Apostle 1. Cor. 9. 9. draweth a signification, and thereby a strong reason for maintenance of ministers, and yet I suppose, no man will hould that precept to bee ceremo­niall, for it is iudiciall altogether, because it is of things in common vse, therefore certainely iudiciall: euen so are these precepts Deut. 22. to bee vnderstood. Wherefore the contrary apparaunces being remoued, the truth of this conclusion will better appeare, tithes are no cere­monies.

Now as it is an easie matter for any without much lear­ning to say tithes were ceremonies, and to rest there without reason, without discussing the manner and cause thereof, so if any would enter iudiciously into the care­full and conscionable search heereof, and open vnto vs the signification of this ceremonie, and shew vs the pro­per end and vse thereof, and proue with one sound reason, that tithes were instituted to signifie something onely for a time as all ceremonies were: I should for my part thinke my selse much beholding to him; otherwise if thou shalt tell me a thousand times it is a ceremonie, though this were true that thou saist, yet because thou knowest not the reason and ground thereof, to thee it is as an vn­truth, he who holdeth this a ceremonie, ought to bring [Page 20] an approued reason from the word, and declare the true end and vse of the ceremonie, which will open the sig­nification thereof: till that be done, lie that saith it is a ce­remonie speaketh without vnderstanding.

We shall haue lesse trouble to disproue the other o­pinion, Tithes not iudicials. which holdeth tithes iudicials, because it is hol­den with much lesse shew of reason: for to be briefe heerein, we reason thus. No holy things are iudicials: but all tithes are holy things, therefore no tithes iudicials: The proposition of this syllogisme is manifest by that distinction which must be acknowledged between things holy and common: holy things are taken from common vse, which things are of two sorts, eyther such as the Lord separateth from common vse, as the sabboth, and tithes, and such like: or such as man separateth from common vse to the Lord, of which those words are Leuit. 27. 28. Nothing separate from common vse, that a man doth sepa­rate to the Lord, of all that he hath, may be sold nor redee­med, and in the verse following, things separate from common vse are expounded, separate from man. Thus are all holy things separate from common vse or from man, but all iudicials are of things in common vse, not se­parate from man, therefore no iudicials are holy things, no holy things iudicials.

By this which we haue said, the question I hope is clea­red which was mooued in the beginning of this chapter, how tithes stood vnder the law, It appeareth that then they were not as ceremonies, nor iudicials, but a perpe­tuall ordinance and part of the morall truth. Before wee passe from this place, I would adde a word of the anti­quitie of these two opinions which I haue last refuted. The iudgements of former ages is a great presumption, and men of iudgement will very hardly depart from an ancient opinion without great reasons. Now as the opini­on which I seeke to confirme is ancient, and hath beene lield by the best learned in the Church from the begin­ning till these late yeeres: so those other two opinions last spoken of, are both new, though the one somewhat [Page] [...] [Page 20] [...] [Page] elder then the other. That tithes are ceremonies, is an o­pinion deuised about an hundred yeeres since, not aboue: the other, that tithes are iudicials is auncienter, for it was first deuised by Alexander de Hales an English man the father of schole-diuinitie, the first that wrote vpon 3. part. q. 51. 3. the sentences. This Hales died in the yeare of Christ 1250. saith Iohn Bale. The same opinion is maintained by Thomas Aquinas scholler to Hales. These their chief­tains the schole-men follow, and hence it is now a recei­ued 2. 2. q. 87. Art. 3. opinion among them of the Church of Rome, that tithes are iudicials. But one thing I wish to be obserued; that after the Pope had through corruption made tithes away from their proper Churches by impropriations, then forsooth to salue this corruption, least it might haue beene thought open sacriledge, these deuises were first in­uented. This I thought good to note, that it may bee knowne that this corrupt opinion of tithes came in with infinite corruptions and deprauations of the truth.


How Tithes stood in the time of the new Testament.

LEt it bee examined in the next place, how tithes stood in the time of the new Testament. In this time we finde no expresse mention that tithes were payed, nor any expresse proofe that they were not, but there is great proba­bilitie that they were not. First, because we finde no expresse te­stimonie for them. Secondly, because that vse of paying tithes, as the Church then stoode, was so incommodious and cumbersome that it could not well be practised. And therefore as circumcision was laid aside for a time, whilst Israell trauailed through the wildernesse, not because the people of right ought not then also to haue vsed it, but because it was so incommodious for that estate and time of the Church, that it could not without great trou­ble be practised: euen so the vse of tithes in the time of Christ and his Apostles was laid aside, not because it ought not, but because it could not without great incum­brance be done. And as circumcision was resumed as soone as the estate of the Church could beare it: so tithes were reestablished as soone as the condition of the church could suffer it, for tithes can not wel be payed, but where some whole state or kingdome receiueth Christianitie, [Page] and where the maiestrate doth fauour the Church, which was not as then. Now as soone as it can be shewed that a Maiestrate did fauour the Church, so soone will it also appeare that tithes were established.

Thirdly, moreouer tithes were payed to the priests and Leuites in the time of Christ and his Apostles, now the Iewish sinagogue must first be buried, before these things could be orderly done, when the sinagogue was buryed, and the estate of the Church could beare the pra­ctise, then were tithes brought into vse in the Church.

Fourthly, in the times of the new Testament and some­what after, there was an extraordinary maintenance by a communitie of all things, which supplied the want of tithes, but this communitie was extraordinary, and not to last alwaies: now as this extraordinarie maintenance decayed, tithes being the ordinarie maintenance of the ministerie grew in vse againe, and if it should so hap­pen, that the Church should bee in the like case a­gaine as then it was, then must paying of tithes cease for the same reason, as then it did. And then might that communitie be reduced againe for that time, that is, an extraordinarie maintenance at an extraordinarie time: but this could not preiudice the right of the ordinarie maintenance, when fit time serueth, albeit then that for these reasons tithes were not vsed de facto in the time of the new Testament, yet it appeareth that de iure they ought to haue beene payed, if these incumbrances had not disturbed the conuenient practise thereof: Mat. 23. 23 You tith mint, and annise, and cummin, and leaue the weigh­tier matters of the law, &c. these ought yee to haue done, and not to haue left the other vndone, from which words ti­thing hath the approbation of Christ, as a thing that ought to be done, there is an apposition betweene things of the same kinde, the greatest morall things in mercy and iudgement, and the least morall things in paying the least tithes. Thus Origen and other fathers vnderstand these words, as belonging no lesse to Christians, then to Hom. 11. In num. August. in Psal. 146. Iewes, Luke. 18. the proud Pharisee in his prayer saith: [Page 22] I fast twise in the weeke, I giue tithes of all that euer I pos­sesse, where we finde tithes accounted morall, as fasting. Heb, 7. 8. the Apostle sheweth from Abrahams paying tithes to Melchisedech that Christs priesthood is perpe­tuall, not subiect to change as was that of Leuy, which declareth that tithes follow that priesthood which is per­petuall. Briefly I reason thus, there is no proofe through out all the new Testament, for any other ordinary main­tenance of the ministery: therefore tithes remaine still the ordinarie maintenance.

But because the Apostles times are so much obiected against vs for the pretended competencie, we must bet­ter consider these times so far forth as they touch this maintenance. In the Apostles writings ther be two things to be obserued concerning this point. First the examples of that maintenance which then was in vse. Secondly, the reasons and proofes which the Apostles vse to moue the people to contribute: both these things stand against the pretended competencie, for if the examples be con­sidered, that which was done appeareth to be nothing else but almes, if the proofes be weighed, they are such as proue another thing then that which then was practi­sed, and if they bee well examined they prooue tithes due Now the Apostles reasons are good and strong, when as by such proofes as indeed proue the ordinary mainte­nance due, he calleth for some other thing of the people, because tithes the ordinary maintenance could not in that estate of the Church well bee payed. If these things be examined in order, it will appeare first by the exam­ples and practise of that time, that those contributions were nothing but almes, for no man was compelled to giue any thing, but euery man gaue as hee was moued. It shall bee sufficient of many to shew a few exam­ples, the Apostle speaking of such contributions Ro­manes. 15. 26. 27. saith, it hath pleased them of Mace­donia and Achaia to make a certaine distribution, &c. By which words hee describeth an almes, and in the words following, where he saith, It pleased them, & their debtours [Page] are they: he sheweth this distribution was but almes, for if it were giuen at their pleasure, and if they who recei­ued it, were their debtours, surely it can bee nothing but almes. The circumstances of that action proue no lesse, for they of Macedonia and Achaia, as likewise they of Rome, were not bound in any other dutie then meere charitie to maintaine those at Rome. And as heere wee finde that hee accompteth it so, euen so hee calleth it in plaine termes by the name of Almes, Act. 24. 17. After many yeeres I came and brought almes to my nation. By this it may appeare that the Apostle accompted such contributions as then were vsed in the Church, meere Almes.

Tertullian speaking of this vse, which as it seemed con­tinued to his time, saith thus: vnusquis (que) stipem quum ve­lit, & si modo possit apponit, nam nemo compellitur sed sponte confert. Then from the vse and practise of the Apostles times nothing can bee proued but almes, and therefore this competent maintenance cannot bee drawen hence, first because this competency by them who striue for it, is not meant almes: secondly because they who hould this, doe thinke that the people may bee compelled to contribute some thing, but this is directly against the vse of the Apostles times, for no man was compelled, but that onely was taken which was willingly giuen. Third­ly because they would haue it at the appointment of the maiestrate, which thing is not answerable to these times. This may suffice to proue that this competent mainte­nance doth not agree with the vse of these times where­of wee speake.

This the Waldenses and after them Iohn Wiclife did foresee, and well vnderstood, that if the practise of the A­postles be vrged in this point, then assuredly nothing can be clamed but almes. And therefore they vrging that vse did truely thereupon couclude that the ministers mainte­nance must be almes though they vrged those times with­out reason, yet that being once graunted the other must follow.

[Page 23] Now let vs consider the reasons which the Apostles vse in mouing these contributions, these reasons if a man consider them aright, doe reach farther then they are ap­plyed; and indeed doe conclude another thing, for seeing the contributions then practised were almes, and the rea­sons confirme a due maintenance, surely they confirme another thing then was practised at that time. For ex­ample the reasons whereof wee haue spoken, 1. Cor. 9. Who goeth to warfare at any time of his owne cost? who planteth a vineyard and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flocke and eateth not of the milke? These rea­sons doe not so much proue that which then was in vse, as another thing: what that other thing is, that is heere in question? wee say tithes: other say, a competent main­tenance, but these reasons proue the ordinary mainte­nance of ministers due.

Now because tithes, the ordinary maintenance, could not bee payed without great incumbrance, the reasons shew that in place thereof for a time some other thing must of right bee payed. So the Apostle reasoneth, 1. Cor. 9. 13. Doe you not know that they who minister a­bout the holy things, eate of the things of the temple, and they who waite at the alter, are partakers of the altar? So also hath the Lord ordained that they who preach the Gos­pell should liue of the Gospell.

This reason concludeth very strongly for tithes, and for nothing else, for it must be graunted that the Apostles words concluding something certainely, doe rather con­clude that which was the ordinarie maintenance com­monly receiued in the Church, then that which was ne­uer in vse in the Church, certainly not in those tymes. Now tithes were ordinarily receiued in the Church, as the ministers maintenance, but this competencie as it is vrged, was neuer in vse in the Church, surely not in the Apostolike times. Now it were hard to say that the A­postle reasoneth for such a thing as was neuer in vse.

Againe, the Apostle saith, the Lord hath ordained the ministers maintenance, this ordinance is not indiui­duum [Page] vagum, but some certaine thing, beeing a part of gods worship. Now we can say that tithes are the Lords certaine ordinance, but who is able to say and proue so much for this competent maintenance? As for the vse and practise of the Apostles times, assuredly it was no perpetuall ordinance of the Lord, but an extraordinarie vse for a time: wee seeking the ordinary maintenance, and this being extraordinarie to indure but for a short time, shall neuer finde that which we seeke in the vse and practise of those times. Then whereas the Apostle saith, the Lord hath ordained that they who preach the gospell, should liue of the gospell, there must be some or­dinance of the Lord shewed, but none can bee shewed, but either tithes or the vse of the Apostolike times, ther­fore this ordinance must eyther be tithes, or almes, but not almes: for this vse of the Apostles times were extra­ordinarie, therefore the ordinary and perpetuall ordi­nance of the Lord for the ministers maintenance, can be nothing else but tithes, and that the reasons vsed by the Apostle doe in truth confirme tithes, albeit they name not tithes, it is the iugdement of diuers fathers, as heere af­ter may appeare.

Now that which standeth with best reason, with the perpetuall and ordinary practise of the Church before and since Christs time, and hath the full consent and testi­monie of the auncients, I prefer before that which stand­eth with no reason, was neuer vsed in the Church, and hath the testimonie of no auncient father.


How Tithes stoode in the ages of the Church af­ter the Apostles, wherein the point in question is confirmed by the testimonie of fathers with­out contradiction, vntill Antichrist by vsur­ped authoritie disordered the Church.

HOW long that communitie of all things lasted in the Church, which began in the Apostles times, wee cannot precisely de­termine, but it seemeth to haue beene in some vse in Tertullians time, for so hee saith, omnia sunt Apol. cap. 39. indiscreta apud nos praeter vxores. Eusebius laboureth to proue out of Philo, that the Christians at Alexandria conuerted by Hist. Oct. lib. 1. cap. 17. Mark, had all things common. But the testimony of Philo speaketh of those who were called Essaei, not of Christians, yet that this communitie was long continu­ed among christians, it is out of doubt. Some thinke that Vrbanus Bishop of Rome Ann. 223. did make some mu­tation in the vse of this communitie, who first of all is re­ported to haue retained lands to the Church vse, for whereas before we read Act. 2. 34. as many as were pos­sessours of lands, sold them and brought the price to the A­postles: Afterward it was thought expedient for the per­petuall [Page] reliefe of the Church, that such lands should not be sould, and the price giuen, but the lands themselues should be giuen to the Church, Fassiculus temporum as­cribeth this to Urbanus, praedia caepit ecclesia possidere huius (vrbain) tempore, de quibus clericis & notarijs sumptus de­putabant qui gesta martirum conscripserunt, antea viue­bant more Apostolico qui in actis Apostolorum scribitur. Marsilius Patauinus saith likewise, that Vrban was the first that possessed lands and temporalties, yet it seemeth that Defens. P [...]. par. 2. c. 25. vse began before Vrbanus his time, if Gratian cite truely the words of Vrban.

Albeit there may be some question of the authoritie of this testimonie, the credit whereof I will neuer seeke to salue: yet because in a matter of story, it agreeth with other stories of that time, I thincke it not amisse for the stories sake to set it downe as it is in Gratian, and in the first tome of councels, Videntes autem summi sacerdotes, & alij at (que) Leuitae, &c. that is, The chiefe Bishops and o­ther, Cuns. 12. q. [...] and the Leuites or ministers, and the rest of the faithfull perceiuing that whereas lands and inheritances were wont to be sold, and the price giuen to the Church, it might be more profitable if those lands and inheritan­ces themselues were giuen to the Churches that are go­uerned by Bishops, because the faithfull that liue in com­mon might better be serued and much more conueni­ently by the rents of such lands, both for the present time, and for the time to come, then by the price in money: heereupon those lands which before they were accusto­med to sell, they begunne to bestow vpon Cathedrall Churches, and to liue of the rents. Now these lands were Matriabus ecclesijs. within the priuiledge of euery such diocesses of the Bi­shoppes In dictione singularum parochiarum spiscoporum. who hold the place of the Apostles, and so the same lands are, and for the time to come ought to be. Out of these, the Bishops being faithfull stewards heereof ought to minister all necessaries to them that desire to liue in common, so that among them none want, for these things are the oblations of the faithfull, by these meanes the cathedral churches gouerned by the Bishops haue by [Page 25] Gods help had such increase, and so many so well pro­uided, that among them none that liueth in common wanteth any thing, but receiueth all necessaries from the Bishop and his ministers. And therefore if either now, or heereafter any shall take those lands, let him bee ac­cursed, &c.’

Out of which testimonie, first it appeareth, that the communitie of things lasted in some sort to this time, and therfore tithes are not spoken of so long as this com­munitie was in vse. It is also apparant by that which fol­lowed, that this thing was the first occasion that the com­munity ceased, and that tithes came in vse againe. Second­ly, we obserue that the land and temporalties of Bishops were not for this end, and vse giuen them, that they should keepe all to themselues, but that they thence might comfort such as wanted, especially in the mini­stery. Thirdly, it appeareth plaine sacriledge to take such lands and temporalties away from the Bishops and the Church. For first the lands were sold and the price giuen, afterward the lands were giuen, if it were in the choise of the giuers, whether they would giue the price in money, or in lands: I demaund this question, when they gaue the price in money, was it not sacriledge to take it back againe, or any part thereof? as Ananias and Saphi­ra did, Act. 5 1. Now if it were such sacriledge to take backe the price, is not the same to be thought of the lands themselues? for in this question, what difference is betweene the lands, and the price of those lands?

Now whereas the question may be moued concerning Abby lands, which were giuen for superstitious vses: first the Ciuilians and Canonists are agreed vpon the poynt: for the Canonists hold that a custome may make a law how erroneous soeuer the beginning was: the Ci­uilians iudge that if a thing be giuen to the Church for vnlawfull vses, those vses must bee altered, but the thing remaine. But now admitting that an errour in the bee­ginning make a nullitie in the gift from the beginning: yet we say this toucheth not Bishoprik lands at all, for [Page] whoseuer is diligent in the story of the Church, will con­fesse a great difference betweene lands giuen to Bishop­riks, and to Abbyes: for Bishoprick lands were giuen presently vpon the planting of Churches. And no story can shew that euer there was a Church planted in the best times: but either lands were committed to the go­uernment of Bishops for the vse of the Church, or else the price was brought to them, who then gouerned the Churches: but in Abbey lands the case was nothing like, for this indowment of Abbyes with lands was of late, in the time of superstition, brought in vse, not vpon the cal­ling and planting, but vpon the corrupting of Churches, For which cause it must be confessed that these two things, are not to be spoken of confusedly, as if one and the same case were in both, seeing they are from such dif­fering beginnings, and for such differing ends.

Thus much then may be drawen, I say not from Ur­banus his testimony, but from the practise of the Church in the Apostles times, that whatsoeuer was giuen to the Church, there being no errour or superstition in the gift, that of right ought to remaine to the Church and to take that away, is sacriledge, what is sacriledge if this be not?

Now as this doth maintaine the right of Bishops temporalties to the Church, because that gift was giuen to the Church in the beginning without errour or super­stition: so it maintaineth the right of tithes, which haue beene giuen by the common consent of Christians to the Church. If there were no other right sauing this, that tithes haue beene dedicated to the Church, and in that dedication there was no errour or superstition, this were enough to proue that tithes could not be taken a­way, no more then Ananias and Saphyra might take a­way any part of that which they had vowed to the Church. But when we haue this reason added to the ex­presse will of God, that all tithes are the Lords, alwaies to bee giuen to him, as we haue shewed, heerein must needes be double sacriledge, and manifest impiety com­mitted, [Page 26] to take that away from God, which God and man hath decreed should be his.

A learned and godly minister of Scotland hath set foorth of late certaine sermons against sacriledge, yet not touching this question of tithes in this sort, but ra­ther declaring his opinion, that in some cases tithes might be changed into another meanes of sufficient pro­uision, if such godly zeale were now among men, as was of old time, yet these cases wherein this change may be admitted, hee doth not open, but as now the zeale of men standeth, hee is vtterly against the change. But it fareth with him, as it must needes doe with all that sincerely write eyther against sacriledge or for the main­tenance of ministers, for let a man throughly touch these points, and will hee, nill hee, hee shall proue tithes due, as this man doth, though not purposing the same, for hee proueth, that to take away any thing of that which is holy to God, is sacriledge. Now that tithes are euer holy to God, wee haue proued, both dedicated to him by man, and aduouched by himselfe, so that of all things that can bee called holy in this sense, nothing hath that place before tithes. If then sacriledge be in taking away holy things from God and his Church, it appeareth more in taking away tithes, then in any other thing what­soeuer. Neither can sacriledge heerein be excused though men should establish something in place of that holy thing taken away.

First, beecause the changing of holy things is sacri­ledge no lesse (though happely a lesse kinde of sacri­ledge) then taking away of the same. If Nabucadnezzer hauing taken away the holy vessels out of the house of the Lord, should in place thereof haue put some other: might his sacriledge thereby be excused? or Beltassar ta­king the vessels of the Lords house, and in them banquet­ting with his Lords and Concubines, if he should in stead there of haue placed other, could any iustifie his sacri­ledge therefore? no more can the taking away of tithes bee iustified, though something in place thereof should [Page] [...] [Page 26] [...] [Page] bee appointed by men. Secondly, againe albeit wee should admit, that in some things of the Church this might bee done, yet that it can bee in tithes wee vtrer­ly denie, vnlesse it bee proued that the change is made by the same power and authoritie by which tithes are made holy to God: now wee haue shewed that man did not make tithes holy to God and his Church, but the Lord himselfe.

Heerein then wee haue not onely the consent of man, but the expresse approbation of God, so that if all the men of the world should agree to change tithes, yet this would not make it lawfull without expresse war­rant from God, who hath appropriated tithes to him­selfe, and out of his owne right assigneth them to the maintenance of the ministerie. Thirdly, what reason should moue any man to thinke it sacriledge, to take a­way lands giuen to the Church, albeit giuen for super­stitious vses; and yet thinke it no sacriledge to take away or change tithes, which were not giuen for superstitious vses, but for maintenance of preaching? For hee that alloweth some other prouision in place of tithes, graun­teth that to take away tithes in some case, is not sacri­ledge: If the restitution of some prouision in place of tithes could salue the Sacriledge, why may not the Sa­criledge of men bee excused, who take away as much of the Church lands as are at the value of tenne thou­sand pounds, and in place thereof giue tenne pounds? For when any thing is taken away, that a thing of the same value should bee restored, who can expect? and and who shall bee iudge? if then to giue some thing in place of that which is taken away, salue it from the crime of Sacriledge, who seeth not to what a wretched estate the Church must needes bee brought? for may not all bee taken away, and something bee giuen backe in place thereof, and yet that something bee as good as nothing? But they who admit that tithes may bee taken away from the Church, doe it with this caution, so that a sufficient prouision bee left. This is a castle in [Page 23] the aier, that neuer stoode on the earth. For if wee speake of the ordinary maintenance of the preaching ministerie, a sufficient maintenance is not, neither at any time hath beene without tithes, and in this point the world is not like to alter.

Then to speake of a sufficient maintenance without tithes, is but a conceit in the braines of some men, which neuer was brought into action neuer will be: God allow­ing a sufficient maintenance to the ministery, nameth it tithes. Now what stipend can man name that will sup­ply the place of tithes? I suppose it would much trou­ble the wisest to name a stipend that would bee suffici­ent at all times, but tithes are sufficient at all times, how­soeuer the price of things rise or fall, the minister hath his part with his people in all estates by tithes: which proportioning of the ministers estate making it able to answere all estates a like, whether deare, or cheape: pro­ceeding from the wisdom of God cannot be bettered or matched by mans wisdom. Were it not then much easi­er to bring that ordinance in vse, which standeth so agre­able with the lawes of God, & nature, & of godly kings: then to deuise strange courses, which neuer were in vse; and being deuised will neuer proue sufficient? But let vs returne to the vse of this time whereof wee speake.

The vse of giuing lands to chiefe Churches, whether begun before Urban, or by him, so much as in him ly­eth, he confirmeth, prouiding that those lands so giuen may bee retained to the vse of the Church, such lands and possessions were then giuen to the head Churches of euery countrey, and committed to the Bishops who gouerned those Churches, as to wise and faithfull ste­wards to husband the same, according to the necessities of the Church through their diocesses. It grew after­ward in processe of time, that the Bishops held those lands for their proper vses, but this was from a latter vse, the distribution of Church goods, being first brought into foure parts, and by little and little afterward, as authority so power to maintaine that authoritie falling [Page] into the hand of one man. The former vse was so anci­ent, that it is hard to fetch the beeginning thereof. In the time of Urbanus Origen liued, for Hierom saith, that Lib de scriptor. eccles. Origen was 17. yeares old in the tenth yeare of Seuerus, and died about the 70. yeare of his age, so hee liued long before and after the time wherein Urban sat in the Sea of Rome. In his time that order of the Church, which before was held in the communitie of all things decay­ing: tithes were accounted due, and called for. That thus they were accounted in his time, it appeareth by these testimonies: Quomodo abundat iustitia nostra plus­quam Orig. Hom 11. in Num. Scribarum & Pharisaeorum, si illi de fructibus ter­rae suae gustare non audent, priusquam primitias sacerdoti­bus efferant, & Leuitis decimae separentur: & ego nihil horum faciens, fructibus terrae ita abutar, vt sacerdos ne­sciat, Leuites ignoret, diuinum altare nonsentiat? where O­rigen for the farther manifestation of his meaning doth distinguish these tearmes, lex, mandata, iustificationes, praecepta, testimonia, but forasmuch as serueth our pur­pose, hee obserueth that it is not written, haec est lex de­cimarum, as it is written of things ceremoniall: haec est lex paeschae, lex Azymorum, lex circumcisionis, where Ori­gen noteth that this is a mark of a ceremonie, for of such it is neuer written saith hee, hoc est mandatum Paschae, but haec est lex Paschae, &c. by which he proueth that tithes are no ceremonies, and he layeth downe this posi­tion, Christus nos redemit de maledicto legis, non de male­dicto mandati, nec de maledicto testimonij; aut iudiciorum, which sentence would bee fauourably expounded, as ta­king usaledictum for the obligation which did bring the curse with it: but I seeke out onely the iudgement of Origen for the point in question: vpon these reasons he saith plainely, hanc ego legem (speaking of the law where­by Ibid. tithes were payed) obseruari etiam secundum literam, sicut & alia nonnulla necessarium puto, and againe, non vi­detur huinsmodi anima habere memoriam Dei, nec cogi­ture, nec credere quia Deus dederit fructus quos caepit, quos i [...]a recondit quasi alienes à Deo, si enim â Deo sibi dates [Page 28] crederet, sciret vti (que) munerando Sacerdotes, honorare De­um de datis & muneribus suis, farther he expoundeth that saying, Mat. 23. these things you ought to haue done, and not to haue left the other vndone: to bee a precept no lesse for the vse of Christions, then Iewes. Out of which testi­monies we see plainely what Origen (whom Hierom ac­counteth the most learned of the Fathers) esteemeth of tithes. Of diuerse things so expresly affirmed by him, we may especially obserue two.

First, that Origen (who by Hieroms account was borne in the yeare of Christ 188.) had receiued from his el­ders no other knowledge of this question, then this, that tithes are due among Christians, secundum literam, aswell as among Iewes.

Secondly, it is to bee obserued, that as soone as wee first heare any thing spoken of this question in the church we finde that tithes were not accounted ceremoniall, or iudiciall, but morall and perpetuall precepts for the Church. Now as Origen receiueth and reporteth the do­ctrine of the Church before him, so immediately suc­ceeding the Apostles, for betweene the death of Iohn the Apostle, and Origen were but 84. yeares, so that which Origen heere deliuereth of tithes, was neuer crossed in the Church following, till Antichrist oppressed all. Now this seemeth to mee, a very great presumption for the truth, if there were no more, that a sentence should bee kept in the best times of the Church, so long vncontrol­led, and neuer altered, till the mist of superstition came in, which changed all things. But let vs consider the rest which follow.

Next after Origen followeth Cyprian who reprouing Cyprian ep. 66. Geminius Faustinus, whom Geminus Victor had made o­uerseer of his will this hee sharply rebuking as being a­gainst the Canons saith, that ministers (or as he termeth them by a word in vse in that age, Presbyteri) haue no­thing to doe with secular affaires: but as the Leuites had no other businesse but to attend on the Altar, so the Lord had prouided for ministers, that they might not be draw­en [Page] by worldly occasions from their holy businesse: but might liue of that honorable stipend with their brethe­ren, In honore sportulantium fratrum. as they who receiued tithes of the fruit of the earth. &c. Tanquam decimas ex fructu accipientes ab altari & sa­crificijs non recedant, sed die ac nocte celestibus rebus ac spi­ritualibus seruiant. Where he saith the ministers liued in honore sportulantium fratrum: It sheweth that auncient vse whereof we spake before, that the goods of the Church, whether rents of lands, or tithes, or whatsoeuer other prouision, were in his time retained according to the an­cient custome, in the Bishops hands, and out of them did the Bishop minister to the necessitie of euery one, for sportula was the stipend or allowance of each Presbyter or minister, which the Bishop then vsed to distribute a­mong them, of the goods of the Church. This was the ancient vse of the Church, before the diuision of Pari­shes: for at this time the diuision of Parishes was not yet instituted, so wee finde tithes payed before Parishes were deuided: but then brought to the Bishop and by him distributed among the Ministers.

It is the common opinion that Dyonisius did first in­stitute the deuision of the parishes, who was Bishop of Rome by Hieroms account in the yeare 266. that is some Inter decreta Dionisij & caus. 13. q. 1. eight years after Cyprians martyrdome or Origens death, for they two dyed almost within one yeare. By this time parishes began to be deuided, and tithes orderly assigned to seuerall Churches.

Heere the question may be moued, when began tithes to be distinctly assigned to their seuerall Churches. This question wee mooue for our ministers at the common law, who following a common error, and taking vp some rumor without skanning, hould that tithes were not as­signed to any certaine Churches before the councell of Lateran: and that in the former times before that coun­cell, it was lawful for a man to pay tithes to what Church he would; so he paied, it was no matter to whom. But this is a tale not onely without all groūd of story, but against the testimonie of auncients: for presently vpon the de­uision [Page 29] of parishes, it was assigned to what seueral chur­ches tithes should be paid. Gratian bringeth a testimony out of Dionisius himselfe to proue this. Ecclesias singulas, Caus. 3. q. &c that is: wee haue assigned seuerall churches for se­uerall ministers, and deuided to each their parishes and church-yards, & appointed that euery one should haue their proper right, so that none may intrude vpon the parish or right of another. The same is also confirmed by the testimonie of Leo the fourth, who saith, de decimis &c. that is, concerning tithes not wee onely, but also those aunceaunts that haue bene before vs, haue thought good that the people should pay them to baptismall Churches.’ By a baptismall Chuch is meant such a Chuch where all who dwell within the circuit of that parish ought to be baptised, and it is distinguished by this name from Chappels, for albeit diuerse Chappels were founded within the same circuit, yet it was the ancient order that Baptisme might not bee celebrated in those Chappels, but onely in the chiefe Church in that circuit. This is confirmed out of a councell of Toledo, plures baptismales Caus. 16. q. plures. ecclesiae in vna terminatione esse non possunt, sed vna tan­tummodo cum capellis suis. The counsel called Cabilonense about the yeare 650. hath thus: Ecclesiae antiquitus con­stitutae Ibid. Eccle. nec decimis, nec vlla possessione priuentur, ita vt nouis oratorijs tribuantur. And in case a man should build a Church or Chappell within his owne libertie, yet hee might not pay tithes to it, but the tithes must goe to the auncient Church as in former times, for so saith a coun­cel of Wormes about the time of Charles the great. Qui­cun (que) Ibid. qnicu [...] voluerit &c. that is, If any man will build a new Church within his owne liberty, hee may, so hee haue the consent of the Bishop in whose diocesse it is, but then the Bishop must prouide that the auncient Churchs loose not their right and tithes, by these new, but the tithes are alwaies to be payed to the auncient Churches.

Anastasius Bishop of Rome, Ann. 398. hath two testi­monies to the same purpose,Statuimus &c. that is, we ap­point Ibid. statui [...] that if any shall with-hold the tithes and offerings [Page] which the people are to pay, or shall giue them from the baptismall Churches without the knowledge of the Bi­shop, or of him whose duetie it is to looke thereto, and will not be ruled by their counsell, he be accursed and de­barred from the communion.’

Now if hence any shall surmise that hee may by the sufferance of the Bishop doe this, because he is comman­ded without his knowledge not to doe it: that is answe­red, Concil. Wormac: that the Bishop himselfe may not giue that license to pay tithes from Baptismall Churches; and in an other place it is said, that if the Bishop should do so, he should turne the house of God into a den of Ibid. q. 7. theeues, and should therefore bee excommunicate with­out hope of returne. Againe, Anastasius saith, quidam laici qui vel in proprijs, vel in beneficijs suas habent basilicas, con­tempta Caus. 16. q. 1. Episcopi dispositione, non ad Ecclesias vbi baptismum & praedicationem, & alia Christi Sacramēta percipiunt, de­cimas suas dant, sed proprijs Basilicis, vel alijs Ecclesiis pro libitu sue tribuunt, quod omnibus modis legi & sacris cano­nibus constat esse contrarium. The councell of Chalcedon Can. 16. witnesseth that the country parish Churches were vnder the iurisdiction of seuerall Bishops, and if a question rose to which Bishop the parish belonged, 30. yeares prescription was required to proue the right. If a­ny citie should bee afterward renued by the authoritie of the Emperour, then the ordination of Parishes should follow the new ordination of that citie. Thus were parish Churches vnder the gouernment of Bishops, and tithes assigned to their proper Churches, long before the coun­cell of Lateran: that counsell prouided nothing at all in this point, onely whereas the Regulars and Seculars were then deuising a trick to defraud the Churches of tithes, the counsell prouided to take order to stop that iniustice, for the Regulars and Seculars when they let their houses or farmes, would couenant that the farmer should pay tithes to them, heereby the Church to whose parish the farme belonged, was defrauded. To redresse this abuse the counsell of Lateran, Cap. 56. ordaineth that such tithes [Page 30] should not be payed to the land-lords, but to the parish Church. This is the rather to be noted, because it ope­neth the manner and beginning of that wickednes, which came in by such fraternities, for from these beginnings impropriations came in, now the counsell cunningly hel­ped forward the matter, for by taking away priuate au­thoritie, there was a priuiledge cunningly thrust into the Popes hands, and therefore this abuse was forbidden by the counsell, because they who would doe it, must fetch a license from the Pope, for before this time began those dispensations as heereafter will bee shewed. Before wee proceede to the testimonies of succeeding Fathers, one thing I would note concerning patronages of Churches, for that is a thing not vnworthie of knowledge, and per­taining to the question which I follow.

The Church had of old, euen from the Apostles times, or very neare them, lands and possessions, which were desposed by the chiefe of the clergy, that is, Bishops, there were also, as parishes were distinguished, some portions of land assigned to euery parish Church, Ministers then hauing temporalties, as now wee call them, it could not choose but questions might arise concerning those pos­sessions. Now when any troublesome question did arise, those godly men in the beginning would not bee conten­tious in the law, no not for their owne lands, wherefore because they should neither bee drawen from the seruice of the Church through sutes, nor yet loose their land vp­pon the sute of contentious men: there were certaine temporall men appointed eyther by godly kings, whom Marsilius Patauinus calleth Legislatores, or by such as gaue those lands, to be Patrons of Churches, who might be readie to defend, the Church-rights, that the Bishops and Pastors might with more fruit, and lesse incum­brance apply their vocations.

Marsilius Patauinus witnesseth thus much: Dominium Defens. pac. part 2 Cap. 14. temporaliū quae sunt pro ministrorū Euāgelicorū sustentatio­ne statuta, est legislatoris, aut eius vel eorū, qui per legislato­rem ad hoc fuerint deputati, vel per eos qui talia dederunt, si [Page] fuerint singularès personae, quae supra dicta temporalia dede­rint, et ordinauerint ex bonis suio ad vsum praedictum. Qui sequidem sic statuti ad ecclesiasticorum temporalium defen­sionem & vendicationem, vocari solebant ecclesiarum patro­ni. Nam antiquitus viri sancti at (que) perfecti ministri euāgelici Christum imitari volentes, contra nullum voluerunt conton­dere iudicio. Our purpose is not to stay in examining eue­ry defect in Marsilius, whereunto he was carried by an earnest welwilling to the Emperours cause, and an hatred against the abuses of the church as then it stood. Onely we note that temporall patrones were appointed by the first doners, not to bestow church-liuings, as now they doe, but to defend the right of the land giuen to the church. For at the first, patrones had no more right, nei­ther could retaine any more to thēselues then that which was common to all. This appeareth out of diuerse testi­monies (which I cite onely for storie sake: for although these be not vndoubted testimonies, yet vndoubtedly this vse may bee made of them) Whereas one Iulius had founded a church, Gelasius writeth to Senectior Bishop of that dioces, wherein the church was founded, to dedicate Or as the glosse seemeth to read the dota­tion. the same. Prouided, that first Iulius did resigne the dona­tion: and he must know that he can retaine therein no right to himselfe, praeter processionis aditum, qui omnibus christianis dibetur. What is ment by processionis aditus, I Caus. 16. q. 7. leaue to the canonists to expound: but by the words it seemeth to be a thing common to all christians. It is like­wise witnessed, that one Frigentius, founding a Church, retained no more then the former. The same is confir­med Ibid. by a constitution of the fourth Toletan councell. Nouerint conditores basilicarum in rebus quas eisdem confe­runt, nullam se potestatem habere, sed iuxtà canonum insti­tuta, Concil. Tolet. 4. can. 32. sicut ecclesiam, ita & dotem eius ad ordinationem epis­copi pertinere. But in the same councell it is graunted, that the founders of churches in their life time onely may no­minate a minister to the church. Thus much concerning the beginning of patronages: where wee may note how far this thing among many is drawen by corruption frō [Page 31] the beginning: for patrons were first instituted for de­fence of the church rights from the wrong and insolen­ces of corrupt and contentious men. But the rights of the church, are at this day euery wher ouerthrowen, as it were by a common conspiracie of men, against the church & ministerie, partly by auncient corruptions, partly by lat­ter. And where can the church haue her right, for cor­rupt customes? but doe the patrones stand in the gap to defend the church-right? doe they not looke on whilst enery one maketh hast to carry away the spoiles, one in­uiting another as to a common pray. They will say, it were to much for them to defend the church in this spoi­ling age: yet this they should doe from the beginning. Sed quis custodiat ipsos custodes? but I returne to my storie.

Wee haue shewed out of such records as are least, when tithes began to be established in the church, after the Apostles: how parishes were seperated, and tithes se­uerally assigned to each limitation; that the vse of paying tithes to limitted churches was not a matter deuised by the councell of Lateran, but in better vse, and more in­corrupt order before that councell then euer since: that the vse of patronages in the beginning was for the de­fence of the church-rights. Now we are to inquire how the succeeding fathers did write of tithes after they were once assigned to particular churches.

Chrisostome teaching an husbandman how he may be a worthie Christian and doe good workes though hee build no Churches, saith: quasi ducta vxore vel sponsa, vel data virgine, sie erga Ecclesiam affectus esto, dotem ascribe Hom, 18, i [...] Act. illi, ita benedictionis praedium multiplicabitur, quid enim non erit illic bonorum? parumne est obscero toreular benedici? panumne est Deum ex omnibus fructibus prius partem ac decimas accipere? ad pacem agricolarum hoc vtile, and pre­sently after, preces illic perpetuae propter te, laudes ac synax­es propter te, hee doeth not onely teach them that they ought to pay tithes, but he giueth these reasons, because their seruice, prayers, preaching, is for thee: and because [Page] this is the meanes to haue a plentifull blessing vpon the rest, hee witnesseth also the same vse of paying tithes in his time, by reproouing the abuses of Bishops and mini­sters, when they seemed more carefull to receiue tithes, then to procure the good of the people, of which sort many were in his time, and many moe are in our dayes: Si populus decimas non obtulerit, murmurant omnes: at si peccantem populum viderint, nemo murmurat contra cos. Hom. 44. in Mat. Hierom speaking in the person of a minister of the gos­pell, saith thus. If I then being a part of the Lords inhe­ritance, take not my part among my brethren, but as a Le­uite Ad Nepotia. de vitacler. and Priest, liue of tithes, hauing meat and raiment, heerewithall I am contented. Againe he saith, quod de de­cimis diximus, quae olim dabantur à populo sacerdotibus & In Malach. 3. 8. Leuitis in Ecclesiae quo (que) populis intelligito. In which place he saith farther: Ecclesiae populis praeceptum est dare deci­mas, for proofe he alleadgeth S. Paul, the elders that go­uerne well, are worthy of double honor, especially they who la­bour 1. Tim. 5. most in the word and doctrine, expounding honour, maintenance: and vnderstanding that maintenance, tithes. Out of which testimonies of Hierom (who is by Erasmus iudged the most learned of the Latine Fathers) it may be obserued.

First, that the precept of tithes is taken to bee part of the morall law, and ought to be in no lesse force among Christians then among Iewes, such strangers were the learned Fathers in these late deuises which now are found out, that tithes should be ceremoniall or iudiciall, for al­beit these tearmes, decimae debentur iure diuino, were not in vse in those auncient times, yet the Fathers expresly deliuered that which is aeqiualent, that Christians are bound to the law of tithes aswell as Iewes were: that the precept for paying tithes is now to bee vnderstood in the Church secundum literam.

Secondly, we obserue that the reasons vsed in the new Testament by the Apostles doe truely in the Fathers iudgements conclude for tithes, and not for the pretended competency, which thing was vtterly vnknowne to the [Page 32] Fathers. Ambrose faith: Quicun (que) recognouerit in se quod In serm. Quadrages. sideliter non dederit decimas, modo emendet quod minus fe­cit, quid est fideliter dare? nisi vt nec peius, nec minus ali­quando afferat de grano, aut de vino, aut de fructibus ar­borum, aut de pecudibus, aut de horto, &c. In Augustins time, it seemeth the people, at least in Africa, were very negligent in paying tithes, and therefore hee exhorteth them very earnestly to that duetie, Maiores nostri ideo co­pys Lib. 50. Ho­moliarum ho­mel. 48. omnibus abundabant, quia Deo decimas dabant, & Caen­sari censum reddebant: modo autem quia discessit deuotio Dei, accessit indictio fisci: noluimus partiri cum Deo deci­mas, modo autem totum tolletur. In which place he wit­nesseth two things. First, that it was the custome of the Church long before his time to pay tithes. Secondly, that this thing pleased God so much, that hee blessed them who vsed it, so that therefore they had abundance: and that men now in his time wanted, because they were not faithfull in this seruice of God: and therefore preaching vpon the 146. Psal. vpon these words, he maketh the grasse to grow vpon the mountaines: he compareth the husband man to the mountaine, that receiueth raine and bringeth forth grasse, hee compareth preaching to the raine, and tithes to grasse, ecce mons es, accipe pluuiā, & da faenū, and therefore a little after he saith exime partem aliquam red­dituum tuorum, decimas vis? decimas exime, quanquam parum sit, dictum est enim quia Pharisaei decimas dabant, & quid ait. Dominus, nisi abundauerit iusticia vestra plusquā Scribarum & Pharisaeorum non intrabitis in regnum coelo­rum, & ille super quem debet abundare iusticia tua, deci­mas dat, tu autem vix centessimam das. Where S. Augu­stin expoundeth the words of the Gospell as Origen and other Fathers did, as no lesse belonging, yea much more to Christians then to Iewes. Hee speaketh not doubting (as some vnderstand his words) but because the people of his country were so far from performing this duetie, if there bee any doubt in his words, it is onely in this, whe­ther the tenth part were not too little, for so doth his words imply, decimas vis? decimas exime, quanquam paris [Page] sit. And he whom thou must exceede in righteousnesse payeth tithes, whereby he implyeth, that thou must pay more, for hee doth not leaue it at the peoples libertie to pay tithes, or not to pay, as some take it: but sheweth them that were so far from this duety, that they ought to pay tithes and yet doe more then that. Leo the first, liued in S. Augustins time, but yonger; Gratian citeth his words thus. Nullus decimas ad alterū pertinētes accipiat: not long after this, the councell called Marisconense 2. was held, Caus. 16. q. 2. wherein it was thus decreed. Leges diuinae sacerdotibus & ministris ecclesiarū pro haereditaria portione omni populi prae­ceperūt, Concil. Matif. 2. can. 6. decimas fructuū suorū sacris locis praestare, vt nullo habere impediti, spiritualibus possent vacare ministerijs: quas leges Christianorum congerics longis temporibus custodiuit intemeratas. Vnde statuimus vt mos antiquus reparetur, vt decimas ecclesiasticas omnis populus inferat. This councell was held about the yeare of Christ: 580. The testimo­nie of the fathers of this councel is to be obserued They witnesse that the ordinance of tithes was very auncient in the church before them: and as auncient, so vniuer­sally receiued among Christians. They witnesse likewise that the right thereof is from the law of God. Before this councell almost an hundreth yeares, was held the first councell of Orleans, which affirmeth the same. Af­ter this the same truth was likewise cōfirmed by diuerse councells. Concil: Caebilonēs: 2. cap. 19. concil: Melens. cap. 2. Concil. Valent. cap. 10. Concil. Foreiuliens. cap. vlt. Concil. Mogunt: cap. 17. Concil. Rothomag. which is thus cited by Gratian: Omnes decimae terrae, siue de frugibus, siue de pomis arborum, domini sunt, & illi sanctificantur Ones, boues, & Caus. 16. q. 1. caprae quae sub virga pastoris transeunt, quioquid decimae e­uenor it sanctificabitur Domino. The Fathers of this coun­cell show that they vnderstood the precept of tithes Le­uit. 27. literally, no otherwise to be vnderstoode for Iewes then Christians. Concil. Triburiens. cap. 13. and 14. saith thus: quid si dicerit Dominiss, nempe meus es ô homo, mea est terra quam colis, mea semina q [...] spargis, mea animalia quae fatigas, meus est solis ardor: & quum omnia mea sint, [Page 33] tu qui manus accomodas solum decimam merebaris, sed ser­uo tibi nouem, da mihi decimam, si non dederis decimā au­feram nouem, si dederis mihi decimam multiplicabo nouem. Si ergo querat aliquis cur decimae dantur, sciat quod ideo dandae sunt, vt hac deuotione Deus placatus, largiùs praestet quae necessaria sunt, & vt ministri Ecclesiae exinde releuati, liberiores fiant ad spiritualis exercitij explecionem. Gregory the first saith thus: sicut offerre in lege iubemini, fratres Hom. 16. in Euang, charissimi, decimas rerum, it a ei offerre contendite decimas dierum, where Gregory expresly applyeth the precept of tithes written in the law to Christians, teaching that chri­stians in the law were commaunded to pay tithes. Beda in his booke called Scintillae proueth tithes due by Scrip­tures and Fathers, he citeth out of Augustin: decimae ex debito requiruntur, & qui eas dare noluerit, res alienas in­uadit. And againe: haec est Domini iustissima consuetudo, vt si tu illi decimam non dederis, tu ad decimam reuoceris: And many other testimonies.

Caesarius Arelatens. Episc: saith, decimae non sunt nostrae, sed Hom: 9, Ecclesiae. Walafridus Strabo saith, decimas Deo & sacerdoti­bus eius dandas, Abraham factis, Iacob promissis insinuat, De rebus ec­clesijs. cap. 87. deinde lex statuit, & omnes doctores sancti commemorant. Leo the fourth, about the yeare of Christ, 840. is thus ci­ted by Gracian, de decimis iusto ordine, non tantum nobis, sed etiam maioribus visum est a plebibus tantum vbi sacrosancta Caus. 16. q. 10. baptismata dantur, debere dari. About this time and after it, tithes were established by constitutions of Princes, as by Charles the great, and other. Some learned men haue thought, because some Princes haue made constitutions for tithes to bee payed to the Church: that therefore tithes are held by no other right then Princes constituti­ons. But before this time tithes were alwaies held by the lawes of God, and not of Princes. I graunt if Princes were so vngodly, as they were in the time of the Apostles, that they would not yeeld to Gods ordinance heerein, but would resist the same: then could not tithes be pay­ed, as in the Apostles times for that cause they were not, but the right ceaseth not, and as wicked Princes cannot [Page] take away the right by stopping the practise: so godly Princes cannot make a right, but onely confirme it, when by their good lawes they yeeld to Gods ordinance. Though Ezekias by a Godly law command the keeping of the Passeouer: yet the Passeouer may not therefore 1. Chron 30. be called the constitution of Ezekias. It is the more to be maruailed, that men of learning are so hasty in con­cluding that tithes are nothing but princes constitutions, because they finde them confirmed by some few princes. After this time the Church succeding, agreed with the former Churches in this opinion, as appeareth by the testimonies recorded. Auent: lib. 3. Anual. Synod. Arelat: 4 cap 9. Synod. Anglic. cap. 17. in which place it is testi­fied, that tithes ought to bee payed, as it is commanded in the law, they testifie also that no man can giue accep­table almes of the rest, vnlesse first he separate the tenth to the Lord, which he hath appointed for himselfe from the beginning, they testifie farther, that many grudging to pay the tenth part, are therefore often themselues brought to atenth part: the same is confirmed by Raba­nus Maurus, in Num. lib. 2. ca. 22. & 23. Leges Boiorum apud Auent. lib. 3. Gregory. 2. apud Auent. lib. 3. Concil. Warm. caus. 16. q. 1. Nicolaus 1. (about the yeare of Christ 858.) caus. 16. qu. 2.

And thus in the story of tithes wee are come to those timees wherein the change began, for all this while there was no change thought of in this question. After this, be­gan those late deuises wher of we spake before, for now the Pope being growen to such an incorrigle pride and li­berty, that he would do al things after his owne pleasure, no Prince or Emperour being able to bring him into or­der, began by his al-oppressing power to change this or­dinance of tithes, which from the beginning remained vn­touched till now, for after it was once found out, that all things holy & profane, were ready marchandise for them that brought most: then came in exemptions first, and afterward impropriations, transfering tithes from one to an other: when exemptions first came in, I cannot cer­tainely [Page 34] define. In the schisme between two Popes Alex­ander the third, and Victor the fourth, Alexander pre­uailed by force & perfidiousnes, as they speake who write thereof, of him it is testified: Cistercienses, Hospitalarios, & Templarios decimarum solutione exemit, before that time Catus. test. veril. tom. 2. lib. 15. Iohn xv. gaue the like priuiledge to Saint Benets Monks at Casinum as witnesseth Leo Marsican: Hostiensis Epis­cop. Lib. 2. cap. 1. histor. Casinensis monasterij, in these words. hoc vltra Iohannem duodecimum, &c. in suo priuilegio au­toritate Apostolica addidit, nulli Episcopo licere ab vllo ex populis monasterio subiectis, vel a quibuslibet vbi (que) terrarum ad se pertinentibus Ecclesijs, decimas viuorum seu oblationes defunctorum qualibet occasione percipere. This Iohn was Pope Ann. 990.

After this the marchandise of exempting and appro­priating was well followed: this new practise of Popes against the auncient ordinance of God was first maintai­ned by the wit of Alexander de Hales, and after by Tho­mas of Aquine as we haue shewed. Their deuise is that tithes are iudicials: they framed new distinctions to cou­lour the Popes vsurpation, after he had first by impro­priations broken the ordinance of God, and put tithes a­way from the teachers, which from the beginning of the world till these times, had not beene done before. All the schole-men in a manner follow these two in this question: who with their vnfruitfull disputations dark­ning the church, as they carried many parts of the holy truth into bondage, so it is not much to bee maruailed if this truth of tithes found among them the same intertain­ment, which other parts of the truth of greater impor­tance did finde. After this time the right of tithes seemed to lie buried by the Popes vsurpation, without great re­sistance: yet some were found though few, who against the flattery of schole-men, preserued the truth of this question. Nicolaus Lyra, albeit carried into some supersti­tions by the streame of those times, yet taught this point not after the late schole-men, but after the auncient fa­thers. So did Strabus an Anglosaxon the author of the [Page] ordinary glosse. Iohannes Semeca, author of the glosse vpon Gratians decrees, did withstand Pope Clement the fourth, exacting tithes through Germany, which thing Semeca tooke to be vnlawfull, and was therefore excom­municate by the Pope, and put from the place of go­uernment, which he held at Halberstade. Against which iniustice, Semeca appealed to a councell, and had many great men fauoring his cause. Whilst the contention grew hot betwene them, the death of them both ended the quarrell: the storie is in Krantzius. And thus the Pope oppressing all with his greatnesse, making open sale of tithes, instituting impropriations, laid wast the Churches euery where. And in this sort they stood vntill the time of reformation began by the blessed labours of them whom God raised vp for that seruice. After which time the opinion that tithes were ceremonials was first deuised.


The obiections answered, and the point in que­stion confirmed.

THus far haue wee followed the story of Tithes from the begin­ning, though not so exactly as might be wished, yet so as ser­ueth sufficiently to shew how the right of tithes haue stood: that they were alwaies due to the teachers of the Church, before the law, vnder the law, and in the time of grace. And this is sufficient to shew that this thing belongeth to the morall law, and so to the law of nature. For that which alwaies remaineth the same in all ages of the church, doth surely belong to the moral law. Thus haue tithes alwaies stood the same in all ages of the church, vntil late corruptions breaking in like a flud, haue taken away the knowledge and right difference of things. But if a man with iudgement think of the mat­ter, he will confesse that late vpstarts opinions, especial­ly such as are maintained neither by scriptures, auncient fathers, nor reasons (for they who hould tithes from the church haue no other argument then such as moued the Pope to take them away, might, and vsurpation, and that most pleasing reason of gaine) A man I say of iudge­ment [Page] and indifferencie must needes yeeld that these later opinions ought not to prescribe against so auncient a truth.

Now least any scruple might remaine, wee purpose last of all to consider the obiections moued against our conclusion. Bellarmine passeth somewhat hastily by it, and maketh but one obiection, but Alphonsus Tostales Bishop of Abula doth insist in the question and seeketh to breed more trouble. First hee would prooue that tithes belong not to the law of nature. Secondly, not to the morall law.

And first he obiecteth thus: God did institute in the olde Testament, that tithes should be payed, therefore Abulens. in Mat. cap. 23. qu. 136. this is not pertaining to the law of nature: the reason is, that which is naturall is not instituted by a law, for vnto such things the bond of nature sufficeth: we answere, we finde many things instituted in the law, which out of question belong to the law of nature, as the whole deca­log. Abulensis reasoneth against this answere thus: things pertaining to the law of nature, are not put among other precepts, but onely they are contained in the decalog, tithes are put with others. I answere to this last obiecti­on, and to the former thus: tithes haue two respects.

First, if wee respect the generall ordinance of tithes, they were not instituted in the law, for this ordinance was before the law, and so tithes were alwaies the Lords, as wee haue shewed. Secondly, if wee respect the parti­cular assignation of tithes to the Leuites, this is all which was instituted in the law. Now this Leuiticall assignati­on is put with other precepts, but the generall ordinance of tithes is included in the decalog. The parts of this di­stinction we haue proued, wherefore all that Abulensis can proue by this argument, is onely this, that the Leui­ticall assignation was not belonging to the law of nature, which we yeeld. Againe, where he saith, nothing belong­ing to the law of nature is set among other preceps, this is false: for those things which are included in the deca­log, are often repeated among other precepts, therefore idolatry, whordome, and such like are forbidden, not onely [Page 36] in the decalog, but among other precepts: vsury is a­gainst the law of nature, as naturall men haue witnessed, yet it is set among other precepts, and the Prophet Eze­kiel sheweth that all these, vsury, idolatry, whordome, &c. are the breaches of the morall law, Ezek. 18. therefore those things that beelong to the law of nature are set a­mong other precepts. To that obiection which Abulen­sis draweth from Iacobs vow, we haue answered before.

Farther he obiecteth thus: If they were of the law of nature, then should all nations be bound thereto, to this wee haue answeared before, shewing that all Christians haue thought themselues bound thereto, and that euen heathen men haue thought no lesse.

Another obiection is: If they belong to the law of na­ture, then should they be due to Gods ministers; and yet in the old Testament tithes were not giuen, nor any part of them, to the priests, which were gods chiefe ministers, but onely to the Leuites which were ministers of lesse place. I aunswere: where as Abulensis saith, the priests had no tithes, which saying he often repeateth; we think it enough to aunswere him with the authoritie of other. Lyra a Iew borne and more skilfull in the auncient af­faires of the Iewes, then Abulensis, vpon the 7. Heb. saith thus: Leuitae generaliter recipiebant decimas a reliquo po­pulo. Inter Leuitas autem illi qui erant maiores illius tri­bus, videlicet sacerdotes summi filij▪ Aaron, non solum ac­cipiebant decimam à populo, sed etiam de parte Leuitarum recipiebant, quae vocabatur decima decimae Num: 18. This testimonie spoileth his argument. Hierom also witnesseth asmuch, in Malach. 3. Againe, in the language of the fa­thers, this word Leuites vnder the gospell is alwaies vsed for a preaching minister. Whereby they signified that tithes were due to labouring ministers. Bishops were o­therwise prouided for: albeit in the beginning Bishops had the distributing of such things among the ministers. He obiecteth farther. When GOD disposed of tithes Num. 18. He saith: I haue giuen the tithes to the children of Leui, for their seruice at the tabernacle, &c.

[Page] Wherein is meant, that he gaue this possession but of late to the Leuits: and therefore commanded them to pos­sesse nothing among their brethren (thus much we graūt, what is the conclusion?) now if tithes were due by the law of nature, then would not God take from them the right of possessing the land among the Israelites. Wee aunswere: this last inference is deuided, ther is no proofe brought for it, neither is there any affinitie betweene the antecedent and consequent: For GOD may command the Leuites to possesse no lands (other then was assig­ned to them, which was a large portion) because no worldly businesse should call them away from the ser­uice of GOD, and because the ministers of the gospell might bee instructed, not to intangle themselues with the affaires of this world to much, in which sense the A­postle giueth that instruction to Timothie: no man that warreth doth intangle himselfe with the affaires of this life, beecause hee would please him that hath cosen him 2. Tim. 2. 4. to bee a souldier: and yet the generall right of tithes may belong to the law of nature for all this. But admitting the conclusion, we say it concludeth onely of the Leuiticall assignation, not of the generall ordinance. Another ob­iection is. The Leuites by the law of nature were not dedicated to the seruice of the Tabernacle, therefore the tenth was not determinable by nature. We answere: The dedication of the Leuites to the seruice of the Taberna­cle was ceremoniall. That therefore tithes should be ce­remonial, the consequence houldeth not: no not so much as to proue the Leuiticall assignation ceremoniall. It proueth that assignation onely temporary not perpetu­all: For it is to last no longer then the seruice of the Leuites. This is all that can be truely inferred.

Another obiection is thus: That thing is onely per­tayning to the law of nature, whose bond and duety may bee determined by naturall reason, but naturall reason doth not determine numbers, for there can no naturall reason bee brought, why rather the tenth part then more or lesse should bee payed. Wee answere by distinguish­ing [Page 37] both lawes naturall and morall. If wee vnderstand the law of nature to reach as farre as the morall law in his largest sence, (as Abulensis vnderstandeth it) then tithes belong to the law of nature, euen as doth the san­ctifieng of a seauenth day to God, and naturall reason doth aswel determine the tenth in number as the seauenth in number. And because Abulensis taketh naturall in this sence, (for in Leuit. cap. 1. qu. 1. he saith: Moralia prae­cepta naturalia sunt) therefore in answering whensoeuer I admit tithes to belong to the law of nature, I would bee vnderstood to speake in this sence. But if wee take the law of nature, for that which floweth from naturall principles and is manifested to the naturall man by natu­rall meanes: so wee graunt tithes not naturall. We may also distinguish things morall, for either they are morall by diuine institution, or by nature: things morall by na­ture are those that belong to the law of nature, in which sence the morall law and naturall law is all one.

But morall by institution are all things beelong­ing to the true worship of God; which things as they come not from the principles of nature, so they are not knowen to the naturall man. Among these things are a sanctifieng of a seauenth day by God, and sanctifieng of tithes to God: which things are morall by diuine insti­tution, and so naturall by a secondarie declaration after, and vpon the law of nature, and in that sence reduced to the law of nature, as all things that are reueiled in the true worship of God, being morall, not by nature but by di­uine institution.

Another obiection is: If it were morall, then must it remaine as it then stood, but then it stood so, as to bee payed to the Leuits, not to the Priests, therefore it should not now bee payed to the Priests, yet now it is payed to the Priests, wee aunswere, this is a fallacy [...] the ambiguitie is in this word Priest. They are not now giuen to such Priests as then were, but they are now giuen to the labouring ministers: who albeit in the time of Abulensis were commonly called priests, and [Page] (the word being vnderstood aright) may iustly be so cal­led: yet in truth they answere not to the Priests of the old Testaments, but to the Leuites, as we haue shewed. Againe, we haue proued out of Lyra and Hierom, that euen then also they were giuen to the Priests.

An other obiection is: tithes were the Leuites right for their seruice: but there was no more reason to giue tithes to Leuites, then to Priests: this is answered, it rest­eth vpon those grounds, that no tithes were then giuen to Priests, which is vntrue, and that tithes were assigned to the Leuites which speaketh onely of the assignation, and not of the generall ordinance.

Another obiection is: the seruice of the Leuites was a greater thing, then that which was giuen for their seruice: but the seruice it selfe ceaseth, therefore all the Leuites right ought to cease: we answere, we admit the conclu­sion. All the Leuites right ceaseth, that is that Leuiticall assignation, but the perpetuall ordinance of tithes, as it was before Leuy can not be taken away by the particu­lar assignation.

Another obiection he frameth thus: If it were na­turall, then it could not bee changed nor altered by any dispensation: wee answere, hoc illud est. This is the great obiection that carried Abulensis, and all the rest to de­uise these quirks and subtilties against tithes, wee can easily answere, that the Popes dispensation heerein was vnlawfull and impious, but all meanes must bee attemp­ted that mans wit can deuise, beefore the Popes high crowne bee touched. This is the obiecton which onely was thought vnanswerable, all the rest are but brought to fill vp a number, as doing their seruice to this: now this reason is with vs of no strength, what accompt soeuer the Papists make of it, and euen among them, there are diuerse which doubt not but that the Pope doth dispense with some things euen against the law of nature, as ap­peareth by those cases, which are called casus Papales, Apud francis. Astesanum itē Hostiensē. which are drawen also into verses beginning thus:

Si sit Catholicus papam non iudicat vllus.

[Page 38] Wherein it is said that hee hath power to dispense in ex­emptions and periurie, to dispense with that which is cur­sed anathemate, to dispense against all the rules and ca­nons of the Church, to dispense with that sinne which is greater then adultery, and such like, and therefore no maruaile if he dispensed against the right of tithes. And these are the great reasons that Abulensis bringeth against this question.

Bellarmine bringeth but one argument, and that to proue tithes not ceremonial, but iudicial, he saith tithes are not ceremoniall but iudiciall: nam non ordinantur immedi­atè De cleric [...] lib. 1. ca. 25. ad colendum deum, sed ad aequitatem inter homines, but how doth he proue this? for faith he, God commanded tithes should bee payed to Leuy, because Leuy was the tenth part of Israell, that there might be a proportion be­tweene their estate, and the rest: we answere this reason for paying tithes is found in no Scripture, but in Bellar­mines idle conceipt, who afterward misliking it, ouer­throweth it, and findeth Leuy to be the twelft part of Is­raell. Againe, if this were a reason to pay tithes, then ought not tithes to haue beene payed before the law, for this reason had no place when Abraham and Iacob payed tithes, farther the reasons that are in the Scripture doe o­uerthrow this reason, for God assigneth tithes to Leuy out of his owne proper right, beecause all tithes are the Lords Leuit. 27. If the Lord before and in the law had right to all tithes, then this true reason both taketh away Bellarmins false reason, and proueth that false which Bel­larmine saith, tithes had no immediate ordination to the worship of God Last of all, if this reason conclude any thing against vs, that tithes are not morall, because they haue no immediate ordination to the worship of God, by the same reason it holdeth likewise against all mainte­nance of ministers, & yet they who denie vs tithes, graunt that some maintenance is due, and part of the morall law. Now looke what ordination the maintenance which they yeeld vs, hath to the worship of God, the same we proue of tithes: but Bellarmine saith asmuch for vs, as wee can [Page] [...] [Page 38] [...] [Page] desire, certum est (saith he) praeceptum de soluendis decimis, qua parte diuinum & naturale est, non posse vlla lege huma­na To. 1 con. 5. lib. 1. c. 25. vel consuetudine contraria aboleri, ac proinde certum est, Ecclesiam habere ius petendi decimas, etiam vbi consuetudo est, vt non soluantur, in hoc enim omnes theologi & Canoni­stae conueniunt. If this bee so certaine, then it is also cer­taine that if it were not for the Popes dispensations to the contrary, all Papists would assent to our conclusion.

By this graunt of Bellarmins wee haue gotten some­what, that all the schole-men and canonists, that is, in a manner all papists, hould that the precept of tithes is di­uine and of the law of nature in some sort, and that ther­fore the Church hath right to claime tithes; which words would bee well noted, for if therefore the Church hath right to demaund tithes, because in some sort tithes be­long to the morall and naturall law, then are tithes nei­ther iudiciall nor ceremoniall in any sort. For that which the Church may alwaies demaund is naturall, and diuine. But the Church, saith Bellarmine, may alwaies demaund tithes, that is, the tenth part, though custome bee against it. Therefore the tenth part is due by the law of God and of nature. Now the Church hath not alwayes right to demaund things ceremoniall, or iudiciall.

By this which Bellarmine graunteth, we haue enough, for he proueth that the quota pars is naturall and diuine. And whether Bellarmine graunt thus much or not, the force of the truth will compell euery man to confesse that the thing which must of right alwayes be demaun­ded in the Church, is naturall, and diuine. Now certaine it is, that the Church hath no right to demaund any o­ther kinde of maintenance then tithes.

Abulensis (who seemeth to bee much more curious then Bellarmine) moueth this question, quo nam iure de­betur In Mat. 23, q. 148. decima? after much disputation, his resolute aun­swere is, debetur iure canonico, quia non debitur iure na­turae, nec diuino, nec ciuili, quum illud non imponat onera pro ministris dei, ne (que) est enim aliqua lex ciuilis quae obliget omnes Christianos, quum non sit aliquis vnus princeps secu­laris [Page 39] omnium, sicut est vnus princeps ecclesiasticus. In which wordes wee obserue the absurdities whereinto great wits must needes fall, when once they resolue to haue the truth, as Saint Iames saith, in respect of persons, for by this it appeareth what they would hold if the Popes authoritie to the contrary, did not set a byas vpon their wits and words.

First, he saith, tithes are due onely iure Canonica, but what then must bee said of those times beefore this ius Canonicum was inuented? Tithes were proued by the auncient Fathers to bee due, when there was no Canon law in the world, and were more sincerely held by the Church before, then after the Canon law came in, held by the Fathers from the law of God, and no other.

Secondly, he graunteth that tithes are not due, iure ci­uili, and giueth reasons why they cannot stand by that law, which are well to be marked, because, saith he, tithes are the ministers right through all Christendome. Now neither doe the ciuill magistrate impose those rights, nei­ther is there any one ciuil Prince that ruleth ouer al chri­stendome, therefore they are not, neither may be impo­sed by the ciuill lawes. If this reason be good, then is it certaine that tithes haue nothing to doe with iudicials: for nothing is iudiciall, but that which may bee imposed by the ciuill lawes, this is an euident truth which none de­nieth that knoweth what are iudicials, whereby it is no lesse euident that Abulensis doth vtterly ouerthrow all that deuise at once, which the schole-men so busily build vp.

Thirdly, wee reason from his enumeration of lawes thus: Tithes are due by some law, either by the lawe of God, or by the ciuill lawes, and Princes constitutions, or by the Canon law. But Abulensis and the rest of that side graunt that they are not due by the ciuill law, and Princes constitutions: and wee proue that they are not due by the Canon law, (because they were more duely, more orderly, and sincerely payed and held before the Canon law was inuented, then euer they were since) [Page] therefore it must follow that they are due by the law of God. As this standeth against the Papists, so it standeth no lesse strong against such as hold tithes Princes consti­tutions: because it is proued that tithes were held as or­derly, and duely in the Church, before they were confir­med by Princes constitutions, as afterward. Princes in­deed may confirme or forbid the vse, but they cannot make or take away the right.

Wherefore seeing all that standeth against vs is decla­red to be of no force: and that we haue proued that the maintenance in the Apostles times, was nothing but almes: that tithes were established in the Church as the auncient ordinance of God: that this ordinance is not iu­diciall beecause it is holy, and of things separate from common vse: nor ceremoniall, because it was not ordai­ned to remaine onely vntill the time of reformation, but remaineth after that time: seeing these things stand thus, we may safely conclude that tithes are now due to the ministers of the Church by the ex­presse word of God, as they haue beene alwaies accounted in the best ages of the Church.


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