Wherein is held forth The Propriety, and Title that Ministers have to them, The mischiefs which would ensue if Tithes were brought into a common Treasury, and Ministers reduced to Stipends. The danger of gratifying the Petitioners a­gainst Tithes, and all imposed Mainte­nance. And something of the Spirit and end of their Actings.

Collected, and composed by One that hath no Propriety in Tithes, and humbly tendred to this present Parliament.

ROM. 2. 22. Thou that abhorrest Idols, dost thou commit Sacriledge?

LONDON,Printed byAbraham MillerforThomas Ʋnderhillat the Anchor and Bible inPaulsChurch yard, near the little North door, 1659.

CERTAIN QUERIES Concerning the PROPRIETY and RIGHT OF The Ministry of England TO TITHES.

1. WHether the Ministry of England hath not as good a Propriety in Tithes, as Noblemen, Gentlemen and Free-holders have in their Lands? The Reasons of this Query are,

1. Because Ethelwolph sonne of King Egbert (who had brought the Saxon. Heptarchy into a Monarchy) had all the Lands in England for his Demesne, as is acknow­ledged See S. Hen. S [...]e [...]mans Counc [...]ls anno. 855. by Sr Edward Cook in his Commentaries upon Littletons Tenures, and conferred the Tithes of all the Kingdom upon the Church, by his Royal Chartar dated Anno 855. in these words, K [...]ng Ethelwolph, by the con­sent of his Prelates and Princes which ruled in England under him in their seve­ral Provinces, did enri [...]h the Church of England with the Tithes of all his Lands and Goods by his Charter Royal, &c. Adding in the end, That who so should encrease the Gift, God would please to prosper, and encrease his daies: But if any should presume to diminish the same, that he should be called to an account for it at Gods Judgment Seat, &c. And this he did, not only as Lord Para­mount, but as Proprietary of the whole Land, the Lords and great men at that time having no property or estates of permanency, but as accountants to the King, whose the whole Land was, and yet they also gave their free con­sents, which the King required that thereby they might be barred from plead­ing any Tenant-right; as also to oblige them to stand in maintenance of Tithes against all pretenders.

2. Because the people can have no Right, or Propriety in them; for they never bought or paid for them: Neither could they come by Inheritance; For that which was not their fore-fathers could not descend to them: Neither came they to them by Donation, which they can never shew.

2. Whether it be agreeable to Piety, Prudence, Justice, and Equity to alienate Tithes from the Ministry, which have been so freely given by our own Christian Kings out of zeal to advance Gods glory, confirmed by many Acts of Parliament, oft-times renewed, and reitered, as by Magna Charta thirty times confirmed, and [Page 2] many other Statutes since, yea by the Text, and Body of the Common Law, which affirms Tithes to be due Jure Divino, as Sr Edw. Cook testifies in the second part of his Reports.

3. Whether the inconveniencies and evils can possibly be foreseen, which will ensue upon the alteration of such fundamental Laws of this Nation, as have con­tinued in force through all changes for above a thousand years together?

Tithes have been given to the Church for maintenance of Gods Word and Ministers, with a curse to all such as should alienate them.

4. Whether it is agreeable to Piety and Prudence, to pull them from God, to rend them from his Church, to violate the dedication of our Fathers, the Oaths of our Ancestors, the Decrees of so many Parliaments, and to expose our selves to those horrible curses which the body of the Nation hath obliged it self to, in case they consented to the alienation of the same? as N [...]hem 10. 32, &c.

5. Whether it be not more then probable that the Ministry hath had a propriety in the Tithes in all Christian Churches, ever since Christians had a propriety in their estates; since Origen, and Tertullian, who lived not much above two hundred Orig. Hom. Han Num. Cypr. epist. 66. years after Christ, tell us, That the community amongst Christians was not whol­ly ceased in their time, and yet where it was, the Tithes were paid?

6. Whether it be not Sacriledge to alienate Tithes from the Church, having been dedicated and consecrated unto God, either by the voluntary consent of Churches, or by Donation of Princes? Seeing what is voluntarily consecrated by man, is confirmed by God, and may not be alienated, Lev. 28. 14, &c. which Law is the same under the Gospel, as appears in the example of Annanias, Act. 5. 3. whom Peter arraignes, and God condemns, for this very Sacriledge. Why hast thou (said Pe­ter) kept back part of the price of the Land? Whilest it remained (viz. unsold) was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? viz. to have conse­crated, or not consecrated it, vers. 5. And Annanias hearing these words, fell down and gave up the ghost.

7. Whether it is not against the light of Nature, and custom of all Nations, to disannull the Will of the dead? Gal. 3. 5. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men, though it be but a mans Covenant (or Testament) yet if it be confirmed (viz. by the death of the Testator) no man dissanulleth it, i. e. no man ought to disanull it. There­fore Tithes having been given by Testament, confirmed by the death of the Testa­tors, Is it not against the light of Nature, and custom of all Nations to alienate them? Heb. 9. 16, 17. For a Testament is of force after men are dead.

8. Many Impropriations having been restored to the Church by godly Noble­men, and Gentlemen, and others having been bought in and setled in the most le­gal way that could be devised upon the Ministry; Is it not against all Justice and E­quity to take them from the Church again? and will it not discourage all men for the future from works of Piety and Charity when they see them thus perverted?

9. Whether it be not more then probable that there was a positive Precept gi­ven by God to the Fathers for the giving to him the tenth part of their substance, as he had formerly required the seventh part of their time? And whether do not the examples of Abraham and Jacob so readily giving their tenth, evince this; Or with­out such a Precept, Had it not been will-worship in them? And do not such posi­tive Precepts (if unrepealed) binde all to the end of the world? as we see in the case of the Sabbath.

10. Whether Tithes, as an honouring of God, be not enjoyned in the first Com­mandment? As they tend to preserve the publike worship of God, in the second [Page 3] and fourth Commandement? And as maintenance to the persons of Ministers, in the fifth Commandement? being part of the honour due to spiritual Parents.

11. Whether Tithes can be called Antichristian, which were paid long before Antichrists time? And when Antichrist [the Popes of Rome] were the first that durst take upon them to alienate them from the Church, by granting Exemptions, Ap­propriations, &c. thereby robbing the Church and Parish Ministers, to gratifie the This also is justified by Bellarm. de clericis, l. 1. c. 25. Monks and Fryers? And whether Alexander of Hales and Thomas of Aquin. (who lived about four hundred years ago) were not the first that pleaded for these alie­nations made by the Pope? And whether they were not the first that to justifie the Popes Proceedings, pleaded that Tithes were Jewish?

12 Whether these Scriptures do not concern Christians, as well as they did the Jews? Prov. 3. 9, 10. Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine encrease: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. Prov. 20. 25. It is a snare to devoure that which is holy, and after the vow to make enquiry. Prov. 23. 10, 11. Remove not the old Land-mark, and enter not into the field of the fatherlesse: For their Redeemer is mighty, and he shall plead their cause with thee. And Sr Edw. Cook saith in his Institutes, Our Law-books teach us, that Instit. 2. c. [...]. the Church is ever understood to be under age, and to be a Pupil and Fatherlesse: and that it is not agreeable to Law or Right that such should be dis-inherited. Mal. 3. 8, 9, 10, &c. Will a man rob God? yet ye have robbed me: But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In Tithes and in Offerings. Ye are accursed with a curse: for ye have rob­bed me, even this whole Nation. Bring ye all the Tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now therewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windowes of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it: And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of Hosts: And all Nations shall call you blessed: And ye shall be a delightsome Land, saith the Lord of Hosts.

13. Whether those Texts in the New Testament do not prove, that to Gospel-Ministers belongs as large, if not larger maintenance than to the Levitical Priest­hood, as their Ministry is more excellent, and the blessings conferred thereby are greater. Luk. 10. 7. The labourer is worthy of his hire. 1 Cor. 9. 4. Have we not power 2 Cor. 3. 6, &c. to eat and to drink? ver. 6, &c. Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear Working? Who goeth to warfare any time at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a Flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the Law the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzle the mouth of the Ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for Oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes no doubt it is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope: and that he that thresh­eth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, Is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnalthings. Ver. 13, 14. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the Temple? And they which wait at the Altar, are made partakers with the Altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. Gal. 6. 6. Let him that is taught in the Word, communicate to him that teacheth in all good things. Phil. 4. 17. Not that I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. 1 Tim. 5. 17, 18. Let the Elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the World and Doctrine. For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzle the Ox that treadeth out the corn: And the labourer is worthy of his reward.

[Page 4] 14. Whether to speak of a sufficient maintenance without Tithes, be not a meer fancy, that never was, nor (as I believe) ever will be brought into action? And whether it would not trouble the wisest men that are, to name a stipend that would be sufficient at all times, as Tithes are; which proceeding from the wisdom of God, cannot be matched, much lesse betterd by mans wisdome?

15. Whether be not Tithes the fitrest maintenance for the Ministry, seeing hereby they partake with the people in times of plenty, which will more inlarge their hearts in thankfulnesse; and suffer with them in times of scarcity, which will more affect them with sense of Gods judgments? for that when natural affections concur with spiritual, they are more active and vigorous.

16. Whether the practice of the Heathens, which used to give a Tenth to their gods, will not rise up in judgment against Christians, if they rob God of the Tenth which their Predecessors have given to him?

17. Whether the judgment of so many eminent Divines as have held it Sacri­ledg to alienate that from the Church which was once consecrated to God, should not lay a restraint upon all men from practising that which is so hazardous and scandalous? That it is Sacriledge, is the judgment of Calvin, Polanus, Kickerman, Perkins, with many others.

18. Whether all or most of the Arguments bent against the morality of Tithes, do not equally militate against the morality of the Sabbath? as Dr Sclater hath shewed in his parallel in the end of his book of Tithes.

Certain Queries concerning bringing Tithes into a Common Treasury, and reducing Ministers to stipends.

1. IF Tithes should be brought into a common Treasury, and Ministers paid out thence, whether would our Countrey-men that say Tithes are such an intole­rable burden, be any whit eased? Yea would they not be more burdened by how much their Tything would be looked more narrowly into?

2. Would not the trouble of Ministers be far greater, being enforced to send, or go from Market to Market for every bushel of Corn or Mault, &c. that he spends in his house?

3. If a dearth come, would it not tend to the ruine of many Ministers Families, who will be for ced to spend more in a quarter then they receive for their half years allowance?

4. If things should rise in the price the next hundred of years as they have done the last, how shall Ministers be then able to live upon these stipends?

5. How many Officers must there be imployed in every County to bring the Tithes into a common Treasury, all which, either in whole or in part, must be maintained out of them? And how will this curtail the Ministers share?

6. What attendance must Ministers give quarterly, or each half year, upon the Trustees, or Treasurers in every County, till they have list or leisure to pay them? What trouble, journeys and expences will this put them to? How will they be en­forced to bribe, and pay for expedition, or to be fobbe [...] off with base and clipt mo­ney? or be forced to take wares for their money, if the Treasurers be Tradesmen; as many have been served of late in the case of Augmentations?

7. Will not Ministers hereby be cast upon ten [...]ations, to speak only pleasing things (like Trencher-Chaplains) lest their stipends should be taken from them?

[Page 5] 8. Can it be expected that Ministers can or will be so liberall to the poor, and gi­ven to hospitality, when they buy all with the peny, as when they have it in Tithes?

9. Will not such as bear the bag, and upon whom the Ministers must depend for their subsistance, Lord it over them with pride and contempt enough? as bad, or worse then the Bishops and their Chancellors did?

10. Though such as are of the best repute in each County, should be chosen out to be the Treasurers, yet do we not see by daily experience, how men are mistaken in judging of the honesty of others? And how many men fall from their former principles of honesty? and that if neither of these should be so, yet how apt standing waters are to putrifie.

11. If contentious suits have been between Ministers and People about Tithes, hath it not for the most part arisen from the peoples covetousness, pretending cu­stoms, prescriptions, or compositions, to defraud the Ministers of their due?

12. Were not Patrons at the first made choice of, to defend the Ministers right against the fraud and injustice of the people? And may not the wisdome of the Par­liament finde out the same, or some such like course, whereby the Minister shall neither be engaged in contentions with his people, nor troubled with avocations from his study thereby?

13. May there not arise as many or more quarrels, in case Tithes be brought into a common Treasury, whilest some pretend conscience, and so will pay none at all; others think themselves over-rated; others think that the Tradesman, who gets more by his Shop than they do by the Plough, should bear an equal share in this common burden? And who then shall take course to enforce such to pay? If the Treasurers in the Country, surely they will prove but cold Solicitors in anothers cause. But suppose they do stir, they must spend out of the common stock; and such suits being like to be many, especially in such times as these, how will the Mini­sters stipends be curtailed thereby? Besides, may it not be supposed, that they which spend of other mens purses, are like to cut large thougs out of others hides?

14. If the Countryman shall pay a rate in money for his Tithes, will it not come far more hardly from him? even like drops of bloud, money being usally very short with them. And will he not think it far easier to part with a cock of Hay, or a sheaf of Corn, or such a small thing, than to part with so much money as his whole Tithes may come to, once or oftner in the year? And how little will he think him­self eased hereby?

15. If Tithes be brought into a common Treasury, when a Living is worth two, three, or perhaps four hundred pounds by the year, a great part of it will be dispo­sed to other places, and will it not certainly be a great grief to the people, that their Tithes shall go to they know not whom? certainly to such as neither feed their souls with the bread of life, nor their bodies with the staff of bread? And will not their poor want that relief, and themselves that entertainment, which they used to have at their Ministers house, to the aggravation of their discontent?

Certain Queries concerning our late Petitioners against Tithes, and an imposed Maintenance.

1. VVHether have we not cause to suspect, that those persons which petition against Tithes and an imposed Maintenance, are acted by Jesuites, who cunningly creep in amongst them, seeking hereby to overthrow the English Mini­stry, [Page 6] which hath so strongly opposed them, both by word of mouth and wri [...]ings? And the rather, because of that Scottish Jesuite, who lately turned Anabaptist, and upon examination at Newcastle confessed that he was sent over for that end. And I have good information that there are lately come over 100. Iesuites that have their fre­quent meet­ing in London to drive on this design. Osterweeke a great Agitator, went here under another name, who in his Romish Pontificalibus did lately officiate at the Mass publickly in Dunkirk, as the Printer hereof can prove; besides some other like examples which might be easily pro­duced.

2. Whether can such Petitioners be rightly stiled the godly and well-affected of the Nation, who strive hereby to bting the greatest judgement upon the Nation that ever did, or can possibly befall it? viz. A samine of the word, Amos 8. 11, &c. And the removing of our Teachers into corners, Isa. 30. 20.

3. Whether have we not cause to belieye, that the far greatest part of the Gentry, Yeomandry and Commons of the Land that have Tithes to pay, are desirous to have them continued to the Ministry: seeing so many thousands of them out of a few Counties, have formerly petitioned for the same, and the City of London of late. And no doubt but many thousands more out of every County would do the like, if they had the least encouragement thereunto.

4. Whether if Tithes were wholly taken away, would the generality of the peo­ple be at all eased, seeing both Purchasers and Tenants must pay so much the more for their Land?

5. Whether can we imagine that the Parliament, that hath so often and lately declared to the world, That they will be exceeding tender of every ones Liberty and Property, will now so soon after, take away the Propriety of all the Ministry of Eng­land at one blow, to the ruine of so many thousand Families for the present; to the discouragement of Parents from bringing up their Children to the Work of the Ministry for time to come, and so to the endangering of the removal of the Gospel from amongst us.

6. Whether would not these Petitioners (if Tithes were removed) cry out and complain as much of the tyrannicall oppression and burden of Rents, as the Ana­baptists in Germany did, and so never be quiet till they have levelled all things?

7. Whether all persons, whose eyes are open, do not clearly see, that the actings and motions of many persons of all ranks, doth demonstrate that the Jesuites Rules for reducing England to Popery are prosecuting? See the Iesuites [...]i­rections translated in Baxters Pre­face to his Holy Com­monwealth: and also the Preface to Dailles A­pology for the Reformed Churches, by Thomas Smith, Printed at Cambridge, 1653. And whether it be not the duty of all worthy Patriots, especially the Honourable Members of the Parlia­ment, to oppose such a damnable design with their Wisdome and Power? And all the godly Party of the Land to stand in the gap, by improving their Interest in Heaven, for the stopping of Popery, and the upholding the Gospel-Ministry?

—Si non prosunt singula, mult a juvant.

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