THE VNDECEIVING OF THE PEOPLE In the point of TITHES: Wherein is shewed,

  • I. That never any Clergy in the Church of God hath been, or is maintained with lesse charge to the Subject, then the established Clergy of the Church of England.
  • II. That there is no Subject in the Realme of England, who giveth any thing of his own, towards the mainte­nance of his Parish-Minister, but his Easter-Offering.
  • III. That the change of Tithes into Stipends, will bring greater trouble to the Clergy, then is yet considered; and far lesse profit to the Countrey, then is now pretended.

By P. H. TRELEINIE Gent.

1 COR. 9. 7.

Who goeth a 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?

LONDON, Printed by M. F. for John Clark, and are to be sold at his shop under S. Peters Church in Cornhill. 1648.

THE UNDECEIVING OF THE PEOPLE In the point of TITHES.

AMongst those popular deceits which have been set a­broad of late to abuse the people, there is not any one which hath been cherished with more endeer­ments, then a perswasion put into them of not paying Tithes: partly, because it carrieth no small shew of profit with it, but principally as it seemes a conducible means to make the Clergy more obnoxious to them, and to stand more at their devotion then they have done formerly. Upon these hopes, it hath been the endeavours of some leading men to represent it to the rest as a publick grievance, that the Clergy being but an handfull of men in comparison of all the rest of the kingdome, should goe away with the tenth (or as some say, the sixth part) of the fruits of the earth; and that the Minister sit­ting still in his contemplations, should live upon the sweat of o­ther mens brows, and taking pains amongst the people but one day in seven, should have the tenth part of their estates allotted to them for their maintenance. And 'tis no marvel if some few, on these mis-perswasions, have importuned the high Court of Parliament from time to time with troublesome and clamorous Petitions to redresse this wrong; and put them up also in the name of whole Counties (although the generality of those Coun­ties had no hand therein) to adde the greater credit and autho­rity to them. In which designe, although they have prevailed no further on the two houses of Parliament, then to be sent away with this generall promise, that in due time their Petitions should be taken into consideration; As in the answer to those of Hartford, Kent, &c. and that it was the pleasure of the several and respective Houses, that in the mean season they should take care that Tithes be duly paid according to Law: yet [Page 4] they which have espoused the quarrell, will not so be satisfied. For when it pleased the Lords and Commons to set out an Ordi­nance bearing date Novemb. 8. 1644. for the true payment of Tithes and other duties according to the Laws and Customes of this Realm; there came out presently a pamphlet entituled, The Dis­mounting of the Ordinance for Tithes; followed & backed by many a scandalous paper of the self-same strain. And when it seemed good to the said Lords and Commons, on the precipitancy of some of the Clergy under sequestration, to set out their additio­nall Ordinance of the 9th of August, anno 1647. it was encoun­tred presently with a scurrilous pamphlet, entituled, A Prepara­tion for a day of thanksgiving to the Parliament for their late Or­dinance for Tithes, newly mounted and well charged with treble da­mages, for the peoples not giving the tenth part of their estates to the Clergy or Impropriators. And this, according to the style of those Petitions, is said to bee the result of the Parliaments friends in Hartfordshire; though I am verily perswaded that few, if any of the Gentry and men of quality in the County, were acquainted with it. But be it the result of few or many of the Parliaments friends (though I conceive they are but back­friends to the Parliament, who set so sleight a value on their Constitutions) the Title doth afford two things worthy consi­deration: First, that the maintenance of the Clergy here by Law established, is said to bee by giving to them the tenth part of every mans estate: and secondly, that the blow goes higher then before it did, and aims not onely at the devesting of the Church of her ancient Patrimony, but at the depriving of the Gentry of their Impropriations, which many of them hold by lease, many by inheritance, all by as good a title as the Law can make them. I know there hath been great pains taken by some learned men, to state the Institution and Right of Tithes, and severall judicious Tractates have been writ about it: which notwithstanding have not found such entertainment as they did deserve: partly, because being written in an Argumentative way, they were above the reach of the vulgar Reader; but princi­pally, because written by men ingaged in the cause, and such as might be by assed with their own interesse in it. For my part, I am free from all those ingagements which may incline mee to write any thing for my private ends, being one that payeth Tithes [Page 5] and such other duties as the Lawes and Ordinances doe injoyn. And though I sit far off from the fountain of businesse, and can­not possibly see at so great a distance, what might best satisfie the doubts and clamours of unquiet men: yet I shall venture to say somewhat in a modest way towards the Vndeceiving of the People in this point of Tithes, whose judgements have been cap­tivated by those mis-perswasions, which cunningly have been communicated and infused into them. And I shall doe it in a way, (if I guesse aright) which hath not yet been travelled in this present point; such as I hope will satisfie all them of the adverse party, but those who are resolved before-hand, that they will not be satisfied. For whereas the whole controversie turn­eth on these three hinges: first, that the maintenance allowed the Clergy is too great for their calling, especially considering the small number of them: secondly, that it is made up out of the tenth part of each mans estate; and thirdly, that the changing of this way by the payment of Tithes into that of Stipends, would be more gratefull to the Countrey, and more ease to the Clergy: I shall accordingly reduce this small discourse unto these three heads. First, I will shew, that never any Clergy in the Church of God hath been, or is maintained with lesse charge to the Subject, then the established Clergy of the Church of England. Secondly, that there is no man in the Realm of Eng­land, who payeth any thing of his own towards the maintenance of his Parish-Minister, but his Easter Offering. And thirdly, that the changing of Tithes into Stipends, would bring greater trou­ble to the Clergy, then is yet considered, and far lesse profit to the Countrey, then is now pretended. These Propositions being proved, (which I doubt not of) I hope I shall receive no check for my undertaking, considering that I doe it of a good intent to free the Parliament from the trouble of the like Petitions, and that the common people being disabused, may quietly and chearfully discharge their duties according to the Laws establish­ed; and live together with that unity and godly love which ought to be between a Minister and his Congregation. This is the sum of my designe, which if I can effect, it is all I aim at: And with this Declaration of my minde and meaning, I trust this short discourse of mine will be, if not applauded, yet at least ex­cused. First then I am to prove this point:

I. That never any Clergy in the Church of God, hath been, or is maintained with lesse charge to the Subject, then the established Clergy of the Church of England.

For proof of this, we must behold the Church of God, as it stood under the Law in the Land of Canaan, and as it now stands under the Gospel in the most flourishing parts of Christendom. Un­der the Law, the Tribe of Levi was possessed of 48 Cities, and the Territories round about them, extending every way for the space of 2000 cubits, which in so small a Country was a greater pro­portion, then the rents received by the Clergy for all the Bisho­prick and Chapter lands in the Realm of England. Then had they besides Tithes (whereof more anon) the first-born of mankinde, and all unclean beasts, which were redeemed at the rate of five shekels apeece, amounting in one month to 12 s. 6 d. and of the firstlings of clean beasts, their bloud being sprinkled on the Altar, and the fat offered for a burnt-offering, the flesh remained unto the Priests. Of which, see Num. 18. v. 15, 16, 17, 18. They had also the first-fruits of Wine, Oyl, and Wool, Deut. 18. v. 4. yea, and of all things else which the earth brought forth for the use of man; the first-fruits of the dough, Numb. 15. v. 20, 21. the meat-offerings, the sin-offerings, the trespasse-offerings Levit. 2. 3. & 7. 5. 7., the shake-offerings, the heave-offerings, and the shew-bread: as also of all Eucharisticall sacrifices, the breast and the shoulder; of others, the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw Lev. 7. 33, 34.; and of the whole burnt-offering, they received the skin Ib. v. 8.. Then adde, that all the males of the Tribes of Israel, were to appear thrice yearly be­fore the Lord, and none of them came empty-handed: and that if any had detained any thing in part or in whole, which was due by law, he was to bring a Ramme for an offering, to make good that which was detained, and to adde a fift part to it in the way of recompense. Besides, these duties were brought in to the Priests and Levites without charge or trouble. And if any for their own ease desired not to pay in kinde, but to redeem the same for a summe of money; the estimation of the due was to be made by the Priest Lev. 27. 12, 13.; and a fifth part added, as before, for full satisfaction. In a word, such and so many allowances had the Priests and Levites, that setting by the Tithes of their corn and cattell and of all manner of increase; their maintenance had far exceeded that of the English Clergy; and adding unto these [Page 7] the Tithes of all creatures tithable, it doth more then double it. For in the payment of their Tithes by the Lords appointment, there was not only a full tenth of all kinds of increase, but such an imposition laid on all kinds of grain, as came to more then a sixt part of the crop it self: insomuch that of 6000 bushels, 1121 ac­crued unto the Priests and Levites; 4779. remaining only to the Husbandman. For first, out of 6000 bushels (and so according­ly in all after that proportion) a sixtieth part at least, (and that they tearmed the Therumah of the evill eye, or the niggards first-fruits) was to bee set apart for the first-fruits of the threshing floor; which was one hundred in the totall. Out of the residue, being 5900 bushels, the first Tithe payable to the Levites, which lived dispersed and intermingled in the rest of the Tribes, came to 590 bushels; and of the residue being 5310 bushels, 531 were paid for the second Tithe unto the Priests, which ministred be­fore the Lord in his holy Temple; yet so, that such as would de­cline the trouble of carrying it in kinde unto Hierusalem, might pay the price thereof in money according to the estimate which the Priests made of it. To which a fift part being added (as in other cases) did so improve this Tithe to the Priests advantage; as that which being paid in kind, was but tenne in the hundred, being thus altered into money, made no lesse then threescore. Now lay these severall sums together, and of 6000 bushels, as before was said, there will accrew 1121 to the Priest and Le­vite, and but 4779 to the Lord or Tenant. By which accompt the Priests and Levites in the tithing of 6000 bushels, received twice as much within a little, as is possessed or claimed by the English Clergy, even where the Tithes are best paid, without any exemptions, which are so frequent in this Kingdome.

But then perhaps it will be said, that the Levites made up one of the twelve Tribes of Israel, and having no inheritance amongst the rest but the Tithes and Offerings, besides the 48 Cities before mentioned, were to bee settled in way of main­tenance correspondent unto that proportion. But so it is not in the case of the English Clergy, who are so far from being one in twelve or thirteen at most, that they are hardly one for an hun­dred; or as a late pamphlet doth infer, not one for five hundred; Tithe­gatherers no Gospel-Ministers. who on this supposition, that there are 500 men and women in a Countrey parish, the lands whereof are worth 2000 l. per [Page 8] annum, and that the Minister goeth away with 400 l. a year of the said two thousand: concludeth, that hee hath as much for his own particular, as any sixscore of the parish, supposing them to be all poor or all rich alike: and then cries out against it as the greatest cheat and robberie that was ever practised. But the answer unto this is easie, I would there were no greater dif­ficulties to perplexe the Church. First, for the Tribe of Levi, it is plain and evident, that though it passe commonly by the name of a Tribe, yet was it none of the twelve Tribes of Israel, the house of Joseph being sub-divided into two whole Tribes, those name­ly of Ephraim and Manasses, which made up the twelve. And secondly, it is as evident, that it fell so short of the proportion of the other tribes, as not to make a sixtieth part of the house of Ja­cob. For in the general muster which was made of the other tribes, of men of 20 years and upwards, such onely as were fit for arms and such publick services, the number of them came unto 63550 fighting men; to which if we should adde all those which were under 20 years and unfit for service, the number would at least be doubled. But the Levites being all reckoned from a month old and above, their number was but 22000 in all, (of which see Num. 1. 46. & 3. 39.) which came not to so many by 273 as the onely first-born of the other Tribes: and therefore when the Lord took the Levites for the first-born of Israel, the odde 273 were redeemed according to the Law, at five shekels a man, and the money which amounted to 1365 shekels was given to Aaron and his sons, Num. 7. 47, 48. Which ground so laid accor­ding to the holy Scriptures, let us next take a view of the English Clergy, and allowing but one for every parish, there must bee 9725, according to the number of the parish Churches; or say ten thousand in the totall, the residue being made up of Curates officiating in the Chappels of Ease throughout the Kingdome: and reckoning in all their male children from a month old and upwards, the number must be more then trebled. For although many of the dignified and beneficed Clergy doe lead single lives, yet that defect is liberally supplied by such married Curates, as do officiate under them in their severall Churches. And then, as to the disproportion which is said to be between the Clergy and the rest of the people, one to five hundred at the least: the com­putation is ill grounded, the collection worse. For first, the [Page 9] computation ought not to be made between the Minister and all the rest of the parish, men, women, and children, Masters, and Dames, men-servants, & maid-servants, and the stranger which is within the gates; but between him and such whose estates are Titheable, and they in most parishes are the smallest number. For setting by all children which live under their parents, ser­vants, apprentices, artificers, day-labourers, and poor indigent people: none of all which have any interest in the Titheable lands: the number of the residue will be found so small, that probably the Minister may make one of the ten, and so pos­sesse no more then his own share comes to. And then how mi­serably weak is the Collection wch is made from thence, that this one man should have as much as any sixscore of the rest of the parish, (supposing that the parish did contain 500 persons) or that his having of so much were a cheat and robbery? And as for that objection which I find much stood on, that the Levites had no other inheritance but the Tithes and offerings, Numb. 18. 23. whereas the English Clergy are permitted to purchase lands, and to inherit such as descend unto them; the answer is so easie, it will make it selfe. For let the Tithes enjoyed by the English Clergy descend from them to their posterity, from one generati­on to another, as did the Tithes and Offerings on the Tribe of Levi: and I perswade my self, that none of them will be busied about purchasing lands, or be an eye-sore to the people in having more to live on then their Tithes and Offerings. Til that be done, excuse them if they doe provide for their wives and children, ac­cording to the Lawes both of God and Nature. And so much for the parallel in point of maintenance, between the Clergy of this Church and the Tribe of Levi.

Proceed we next unto the Ministers of the Gospel at the first plantation, during the lives of the Apostles, and the times next following; and we shall finde, that though they did not actu­ally receive Tithes of the people, yet they still kept on foot their right; and in the mean time, till they could enjoy them in a peaceable way, were so provided for of all kind of necessa­ries, that there was nothing wanting to their contentation. First, that they kept on foot their Right, and thought that Tithes belonged as properly to the Evangelicall Priesthood, as unto the Legall: seems evident unto me by S. Pauls discourse: who [Page 10] proves Melchisedeks Priesthood by these two arguments: first, that he blessed Abraham; and secondly, that he tithed him, or received Tithes of him. For though in our English translation it be onely said, that he received Tithes of Abraham, which might imply that Abraham gave them as a gift, or a free-will-offering, and that Melchisedek received them in no other sense: yet in the Greek it is [...], which in plain English is, that he tithed Abraham, and took them of him as his due, Heb. 7. 6. If then our Saviour be a Priest after the order of Mel­chisedek, as no doubt he is, hee must have power to tithe the people as well as to blesse them, or else he comes not home to the type or figure: which power of Tithing of the people, or receiving Tithes of them, since he exerciseth not in person; it seems to me to follow upon very good consequence, that hee hath devolved this part of his power on those whom he hath called and authorised for to blesse the people. Certain I am, the Fathers of the Primitive times, though they enjoyed not Tithes in specie, by reason that the Church was then unsettled, and as it were in motion to the land of rest, (in which condition those of Israel paid no Tithes to Levi) yet they still kept their claim unto them, as appears clearly out of Origen, and some other Ancients. And of this truth I think no question need be made amongst knowing men. The only question will be this, Whether the maintenance which they had till the Tithes were paid, were not as chargeable to the people as the Tithes now are (suppo­sing that the Tithes were the subjects own). For my part I conceive it was, the people of those plous times not thinking a­ny thing too much to bestow on God, for the encouragement of his Ministers, and the reward of his Prophets. They had not else sold off their lands and houses, and brought the prices of the things which were sold, and laid them at the Apostles feet, as we know they did, Acts 4. 34, 35. but that they meant that the A­postles should supply their own wants out of those oblations, as well as the necessities of their poorer brethren. I trow, the selling of all, and trusting it to the dispensing of their Teach­ers, was matter of more charge to such as had lands and houses, then paying the tenth part of their house-rent, or the Tithe of their lands. And when this custome was laid by, (as possibly it might end with the Apostles themselves) the offerings which [Page 11] succeeded in the place thereof, and are required or enjoyned by the Apostolicall Canons, were so great and manifold, that there was nothing necessary to the life of man, as honey, milke, fowl, flesh, grapes, corn, oyl, frankincense, fruits of the season, yea strong drink, and sweet mears, which was not liberally offered on the Altars, or oblation-Tables: insomuch as the Authour of the Book called the Holy Table, name, and thing, &c. accor­ding to his scornfull manner, saith of them, that they were ra­ther Panteries, Larders, or Store-houses, then so many consecra­ted Altars. And though he make those Canons but as so many Pot-guns, yet as great Criticks as himselfe esteeme otherwise of them, as his Antagonist in that quarrell proves sufficiently. And as for that particular Canon which requires these offerings, it is but an exemplification or particularizing of that which is more generally prescribed by S. Paul, Gal. 6. 6. where he enjoyneth him that is taught to communicate to him that teacheth him, in omnibus bonis, in all his goods, as the Rhemists read it very rightly, & not in all good things, as our late translation. Now this Injunction reacheth to all sorts of people, to the poor as well as to the rich, as appears plainly by a passage in S. Cyprians works, where he upbraids a wealthy widow for coming empty-handed, and without her offering to the Altar of God, and eating of that part of the sacrifice which the poor had offeredLocuples & dives in dominicum sine sacri­ficio venis, & partem sacrificii quod pau­per obtulit sumis. Cyp­de piet. & Eleemos.. To the improvement of the maintenance of him that teacheth, not only the rich men were to offer out of their abundance, but the poor woman also was to bring her Mite. They had not else come home to Saint Pauls commandment, which reacheth unto all sorts of people without any exception; to every one accor­ding to that measure of fortune which God hath given him: Which clearly sheweth, that though the payment of Tithes fall heavier upon landed men, then possibly it might doe in the Primitive times, before the Church was in a condition to de­mand her rights: yet speaking generally of the people of a Church or parish, the charge was greater to them then, then it hath been since; the greatest numbers of the people being freed from Tithes, (because they have no lands from whence Tithes are payable) who could not be discharged from the communica­tion of their goods and substance without a manifest neglect of Saint Pauls Injunction. More then this yet, besides what was [Page 12] communicated in a private way, for the incouragement and sup­port of him that taught; which we may well conceive to be no small matter: the publick offerings of the people were of so great consequence, as did not onely serve to maintain the Bi­shop, according to his place and calling, and to provide also for the Priests or Ministers which served under him; but also to re­lieve the poor and repair their ChurchesBeda in histor Ec­cles. l. 1.. And therefore cer­tainly the faithfull of those times were generally at more charge to maintain their Ministery, then the Subject is with us in Eng­land; the greatest part of which by far pay no Tithes at all to the Parish-Minister, and no man any thing at all towards the maintenance of the Bishop, as in former days.

Follow we our designe through severall Countries, and we shall finde the Clergy of most parts in Christendome, either more plentifully endowed, or else maintained with greater charge unto the Subject, then the Clergy of the Church of Eng­land. In France, the Authour of the Cabinet computes the Tithes and temporall Revenues of the Clergy, besides provisions of all sorts, to 80 millions of Crowns; but his accompt is disallowed by all knowing men. Bodin reporteth from the mouth of Mon­fieur d' Alemant, one of the Presidents of Accompts in Paris, that they amount to 12 millions, and 300000 of their Livres, which is 1230000 l. of our English mony; and he himself conceives that they possesse seven parts of twelve of the whole Revenues of that kingdome. The book inscribed Comment d' Estat gives a lower estimate, and reckoning that there are in France 200 millions of Arpens, which is a measure somewhat bigger then our Acre, assigneth 47 millions, which is neer a fourth part of the whole, to the Gallican Clergy. But which of these soe­ver it be we think fit to stand to, it is resolved by them all that the Baise manie, which consists of offerings, Churchings, Burials, Diriges, and such other casualties, amounteth to as much per annum, as their standing rents: upon which ground, Sir Edwin Sandys computeth their Revenue at six millions yearly. In Italy, besides the temporall estate of the Popes of Rome, the Clergy are conceived to have in some places a third part of the whole; but in most a moyetie. In Spain, the certain rents of the Arch­bishoprick of Toledo, are said to be no lesse then 300000 Crowns per annum; which is far more then all the Bishops, Deans, and [Page 13] Prebendaries, do possesse in England. In Germany, the Bishops for the most part are powerfull Princes; and the Canons of some Churches of so fair an Intrado, and of such estimation a­mongst the people, that the Emperours have thought it no disparagement to them, to have a Canons place in some of their churches. And as for the Parochial Clergy in these three last coun­tries, especially in Spain and Italy, where the people are more superstitious then they be in Germany, there is no question but that the Vailes and Casualties are as beneficiall to them, as the Baise manie to the French.

But here perhaps it will be said that this is nothing unto us of the Realm of England, who have shook off the superstitions of the Church of Rome, and that our pains is spent but to li­tle purpose, unlesse we can make good our Thesis in the Chur­ches Protestant. We must therefore cast about again: and first, beginning with France, as before we did, we shall finde that those of the Reformed party there, not onely pay their Tithes to the Beneficiary, who is presented by the Patron to the Cure or title; or to the Church or Monastery to, which the Tithes are settled by Appropriations; but over and above do raise an yearly maintenance for those that minister amongst them. Just as the Irish Papists pay their Tithes and duties unto the Prote­stant Incumbent, and yet maintain their own Priests too by their gifts & offerings; or as the people in some places with us in Eng­land, doe pay their Tithes unto the Parson▪ or Vicar whom the Law sets over them, and raise a contribution also for their Le­cturer, whom they set over themselves. In other Countries where the supream Governours are Reformed or Protestant, the case is somewhat better with the common people, although not gene­rally so easie as with us in England. For there the Tithes are taken up by the Prince or State, and yearly pensions assigned out of them to maintain the Ministers; which for the most part are so small, and so far short of a competency (though by that name they love to call it) that the Subject having paid his Tithes to the Prince or State, is fain to adde something out of his purse, towards the mending of the Stipend. Besides, there being for the most part in every Church two distinct sorts of Ministers, that is to say, a Pastor who hath Cure of souls, and performs all Ministeriall offices in his congregation; and a Doctor (like [Page 14] our English Lectures, which took hint from hence) who onely medleth with the Word. The Pastor onely hath his Stipend from the publick Treasurer, the Doctor being maintained whol­ly (as I am credibly informed) at the charge of the people: and that not onely by the bounty or benevolence of landed men, but in the way of Contribution, from which no sort of people of what rank soever, but such as live on alms or the poore mans box, is to be exempted. But this is onely in the churches of Cal­vins platform, those of the Lutheran party in Denmark, Sweth­land, and high Germany, having their Tithes and Glebe they had before; and so much more in offerings then with us in Eng­land, by how much they come neerer to the church of Rome, both in their practise and opinions, (especially in the point of the holy Sacrament) then the English doe. And as for our dear brethren of the Kirk of Scotland, who cannot be so soon for­gotten by a true born English man, the Tithes being settled for the most part on Religious houses, came in their fall, unto the Crown, and out of them a third was granted to maintain their Minister: but so ill paid while the Tithes remained in the Crown, and worse when alienated to the use of private Gen­tlemen, that the greatest part of the burden for support of the Ministery, lay in the way of contribution, on the backs of the people. And as one ill example doth beget another, such Lords and Gentlemen as had right to present to churches, following the steps of those who held the Tithes from the Crown, soon made lay-fees of all the Tithes of their own de­mesnes, and left the presentee such a sorry pittance, as made him burthensome to his neighbours for his better maintenance. How it stands with them now since these late alterations, those who have took the Nationall covenant, and I presume are well acquainted with the Discipline and estate of the Scottish Kirk (which they have bound themselves to defend and keep) are better able to resolve us. And so much for the proof of the first proposition, namely, That never any Clergy in the church of God, hath been, or is maintained with lesse charge of the Subject, then the established Clergy of the church of England. And yet the proof hereof will be more convincing, if we can bring good evidence for the second also: which is,

II. That there is no man in the Kingdome of England, who payeth any thing of his own towards the mainte­nance and support of his Parish-Minister, but his Easter-offering.

And that is a Paradox indeed, will the Reader say. Is it not visible to the eye, that the Clergy have the tenth part of our corn and cattell, and of others the increase and fruits of the earth? Doe not the people give them the tenth part of their e­states, saith one of my pamphlets? have they not all their livelihoods out of our purses, saith another of them? Assuredly neither so, nor so. All that the Clergy doth receive from the purse of the Subject, for all the pains he takes amongst them, is two pence at Easter. He claims no more then this as due, unlesse the custome of the place, (as I think in some parts it is) bring it up to sixe pence. If any thing be given him over this by some bountifull hand, he takes it for a favour, and is thankfull for it. Such profits as come in by marriages, chur­chings, and funerall Sermons, as they are generally small, and but accidentall: so hee is bound unto some speciall service and attendance for it. His constant standing fee, which properly may be said to come out of the Subjects purse for the admi­nistration of the Word and Sacraments, is nothing but the Ea­ster-offering. The Tithes are legally his own, not given unto him by the Subject, as is now pretended, but paid unto him as a rent-charge laid upon the land; and that before the Sub­ject, either Lord or Tenant, had any thing to do in the land at all. For as I am informed by Sir Edw: Coke in his Comment upon Littletons Tenures, li. 1. cap. 9. Sect. 73. fo. 58. It appeareth by the Laws and Ordinances of ancient Kings, and specially of King Alfred, that the first King of this Realm had all the lands of Eng­land in Demesne and les grands manours & royalties, they reser­ved to themselves, and with the remnant they for the defence of the Realm enfeoffed the Barons of the Realm with such juris­diction as the court Baron now hath. So he, the professed Cham­pion of the Common laws. And at this time it was, when all the lands in England were the Kings Demesne, that E­thelwolph, the second Monarch of the Saxon race (his father Egbert being the first which brought the former Heptarchie under one sole Prince) conferred the Tithes of all the kingdome [Page 16] upon the Church, by his royall Charter. Of which, thus Ingulph Abbot of Crowland an old Saxon writer.Anno 855. Rex Ethelwulfus, omnium Praelatorum & Principum suorum qui sub ipso variis Provinciis totius Anglia praeerant gratuito Consensu, tunc primo cum decim [...]s terrarum & bonorum alio­rum sive Catallorum, universam dotavit Ecclesiam per suum Regium Chirographum. Ingulph. An. 855. (which was the 18 of his reign) King Ethelwulph with the consent of his Prelates & Prin­ces which ruled in England under him in their severall Provinces, did first en­rich the church of England with the tithes of all his lands and goods, by his Charter Royall. Ethelward, an old Saxon, and of the bloud royall, doth expresse it thusDecimavit de omni possessione sua in partem Domini, & in universo regimine Principatus sui sit constituit. Ethel­ward.: He gave the tithe of his possessions for the Lords own portion, and ordered it to be so in all the parts of the Kingdome under his command. Florence of Worcester in these words, Aethelwulphus Rex decimam totius Regni sui partem, ab omni Regali servi­tio & tribut [...] liberavit, & in sempiterno Graphio in Cruce Christi, pro Redemptione Animae suae & Praedecessorum suorum uni & trino Deo immolavit. Florent. Wi­gorn. King Ethelwolfe for the redemption of his own soul, and the souls of his Prede­cessors, discharged the tenth part of his Realm of all tributes and services due unto the Crown, and by his perpetuall Charter signed with the signe of the Crosse offered it to the three-one God. Roger of Hovenden hath it in the self­same words; and Huntingdon more briefly thus,Totam terram suam propter amorem Dei & redemptionem ad opes Ecclesiarum decimavit. Henr. Huntingd. that for the love of God and the redemption of his soul, he tithed his whole dominions to the use of the Church. But what need search be made into so many Authours, when the Charter it self is extant in old Abbot Ingulph, and in Matthew of Westminster, and in the Leiger book of the Ab­bey of Abingdon? Which Charter being offered by the King on the Altar at Winchester, in the presence of his Barons, was recei­ved by the Bishops, and by them sent to be published in all the Churches of their severall Diocesses: a clause being added by the King (saith the book of Abingdon) that whoso added to the gift, Qui augere voluerit nostrā donationem, augeat omnipotens Deus dies ejus prosperos; siquis verò mutare vel minuere praesump­sert, noscat se ad Tribunal Christi redditurū ration [...], nisi prius satisfactione emendaverit. God would please to prosper and increase his days; but that if any did presume to diminish the same, he should be called to an accompt for it at Christs [Page 17] judgment seat, unlesse he made amends by full satisfaction. In which as in some other of the former passages, as there is somewhat savouring of the errour of those darker times, touching the me­rit of good works; yet the authorities are strong and most con­vincing for confirmation of the point which we have in hand.

Now that the King charged all the lands of the Kingdome with the payment of tithes, and not that onely which he held in his own possession, is evident both by that which was said before from Sir Edw: Coke, and by the severall passages of the former Authours. For if all the lands in the kingdome were the Kings Demesnes, and the King conferred the tithes of all his lands on the church of God, it must follow thereupon that all the lands of the Realm were charged with tithes be­fore they were distributed amongst the Barons for defence of the kingdome. And that the lands of the whole Realm were thus charged with tithes, as well that which was parted in the hands of tenants, as that which was in the occupancy of the King himself; the words before alledged doe most plainly evidence; where it is said that he gave the tenth of all his lands, as Ingulph; the tithe of his whole land, as Henry of Huntingdon; the tenth part of his whole kingdome, as in Florence of Worcester; the tenth part of the lands throughout the kingdome, in the Char­ter it self. And finally, in the book of Abingdon, the Charter is ushered in with this following title; viz. Quomodo Ethelwol­fus Rex dedit decimam partem regni sui Ecclesiis, that is to say, how Ethelwolf gave unto the church the tenth part of his king­dome. This makes it evident, that the King did not only give de facto, the tithe or tenth part of his whole Realm to the use of the Clergy; but that he had a right and a power to doe it; as being not onely the Lord Paramount, but the Proprietary of the whole lands; the Lords and great men of the Realm not ha­ving then a property or estates of permanency, but as ac­comptants to the King, whose the whole land was. And though it seems by Ingulph their consents were asked, and that they gave a free consent to the Kings Donation; yet was this but a matter of form, and not simply necessary: their approbati­on & consent being only asked, either because the King was not willing to doe any thing to the disherison of his Crown, with­out the liking and consent of his Peers; or that having their [Page 18] consent and approbation, they should bee barred from pleading any Tenant-right, and be obliged to stand in mainte­nance and defence thereof against all pretenders. And this ap­pears yet further by a Law of King Athelstanes, made in the year 930, about which time not only the Prelates of the church, as for­merly, but the great men of the Realm, began to be settled in e­states of permanency, and to claim a property in those lands which they held of the Crown; and claiming, to make bold to subduct their tithes. For remedy whereof, the King made this Law, commanding all his Ministers throughout the kingdome, that in the first place they should pay the tithesVt im­primis de meo pro­prio red­dant Deo decimas; & Episco­pi mei simi­liter faci­ant de suo proprio, & Alderman­ni mei & Praepofiti mei. of his own estate, (that is to say, that which he held in his own hands, and had not estated out to his Lords and Barons) and that the Bishops did the like of that which they held in right of their churches; & his Nobles and Officers of that which they held in property, as their own pos­sessions or inheritance. By which we finde that tithes were gran­ted to the Clergy out of all the lands in the kingdome, and the perpetuall payment of them laid as a rent-charge on the fame, by the bounty and munificence of the first Monarchs of this Realm, before any part thereof was demised to others. And if perhaps some of the great men of the Realm had estates in pro­perty (as certainly there were but few, if any, which had any such estates in the times we speak of) they charged the same with tithes by their own consent, before they did transmit them to the hands of the Gentry, or any who now claim to lay hold under them.

So then, the land being charged thus with the payment of tithes, came with this clog unto the Lords and great men of the Realm; and being so charged with tithes by the Kings and Nobles, have been transmitted and passed over from one hand to another, untill they came to the possession of the present owners. Who whatsoever right they have to the other nine parts, either of fee-simple, lease, or copy, have certainly none at all in the tithe or tenth, which is no more theirs, or to be thought of, then the other nine parts are the Clergies. For whether they hold their lands at an yearly rent, or have them in fee, or for tearm of life, or in any other tenure whatsoever it be they hold them, and they purchased them on this tacite condition, that besides the rents and services which they pay to [Page 19] the Lord, they are to pay unto the Clergy, or unto them who do succeed in the Clergies right, a tenth of all the fruits of the earth, and of the fruits of their cattell, and all creatures ti­thable, unlesse some ancient custome or prescription doe dis­charge them of it. And more then so, whether they hold by yearly rent, or by right of purchase, they held it at lesse rent by far, and buy it at far cheaper rates, because the land it self and the stock upon it is chargeable with tithes, as before was said, then they would doe, or could in reason think to do, were the land free from tithes, as in some places of this Realm it is. To make this clearer by example of an house in London, where, according to the rent which the house is set at, the Minister hath 2 s. 9 d. out of every pound in the name of a tithe. Sup­pose we that the rent of the house be 50 l. the Ministers due ac­cording unto that proportion, comes to 6 l. 17 s. 6 d. yearly; which were it not paid, and to be paid by law to the Parish-Minister, there is no question to be made, but that the Land­lord of the house would have raised his rent, and not con­tent himself with the 50 l. but look for 56 l. 17 s. 6 d. which is the whole rent paid, though to divers hands. And if this house were to be sold at 16 years purchase, the Grantee could expect no more then 800 l. because there is a rent of 6 l. 17 s. 6 d. reserved to the Minister by Law, which is to be considered in the sale thereof; whereas if no such rent or tithe were to issue out of it, he would have as many years purchase for the sum remaining, which would inhaunce the price 110 l. higher then before it was. Now by this standard we may judge of the case of lands, though by reason of the difference of the soil, the well or ill husbanding of grounds, and the greatnesse or smalness of the stock, which is kept upon them, it cannot be reduced to so clear a certainty. But whatsoever the full tithe of all be worth to the Minister, we may undoubtedly conclude, that if so much as the tithe comes to yearly, were not paid to him, the Landlord would gain it in his rent, and the Grantee get it in the sale: no benefit at all redounding to the Tenant by it, nor any unto him that buyeth it. Or if we will suppose with one of my pam­phlets, and let it be supposed this once for our better procee­ding, that he who officiates in a parish where tithes are paid in kind without any substractions, hath the fift part of every [Page 20] landed mans estate, that is to say, four pounds in every 20 l. per annum: the Purchaser or Tenant, be he which he will, may po­sitively build on this in his better thoughts, that if four pounds in twenty were not paid to the Minister, the Tenant must pay to his Landlord, and the Purchaser must buy it at the same rates, as he did the rest of the land. But being that neither the Tenant pays rent for it, nor the Purchaser hath it in his grant for him that selleth the land unto him, the tithe of the increase of their land and stock, and other creatures tithable in their possession can be none of their own, but must be his, and onely his, whom the mu­nificence of Kings and Princes, confirmed by so many Laws and Statutes, have conferred it on. His part indeed it is, not ours, (not the tenth part of our estates, as my pamphlet saith) & he receives it of us as a rent or duty, transmitted to us with the land from one hand to another; not as a matter of gift, or an act of courtesie.

If then we pay not any thing of our own to the Parish-Mi­nister, which ariseth to him from the increase of corn and cat­tell, and other creatures tithable by the law of the Land; I think it cannot be affirmed by discerning men, who are not led aside by prejudice and prepossessions, that we give any thing at all of our own unto them, more then our Easter-offering, be it more or lesse. 'Tis true, some Statutes have been made about the pay­ment of personall tithes, out of the gains arising in the way of trade: and I remember Dr Burgesse writ a book about it, for which he stands as highly censured by the Independent As in the Book cal­led Tithe­gatherers no Gospel-officers., as for other things by those of the Prelaticall party. But then I think it is as true, that either those Statutes were drawn up with such reser­vations, or men of trades have been so backward to conform un­to them; that little or no benefit hath redounded by them to the Parish-Minister, more then to shew the good affections which the Parliaments of those times had unto the Clergy. And if we pay nothing of our own towards the maintenance of the Clergy out of the increase of our grounds and stock, as I have plainly proved we doe not; and that no benefit come unto them from the gains of trading, as I think there comes not: if those small vailes and casualties which redound unto him from Marri­ages, Churchings, and the like occasions, be given unto him for some speciall service which he doth perform, and not for his administration of the Word and Sacraments; I hope my second [Page 21] Proposition hath been proved sufficiently, namely, that there is no man in the kingdome of England who payeth any thing of his own towards the maintenance of his Parish-Minister, but his Easter-offering; if so, as so it is for certain, there hath been little ground for so great a clamour as hath been lately raised a­bout this particular: lesse reason to subduct or to change that maintenance which the piety of our Kings have given, and the indulgence of succeeding Princes have confirmed in Parliament, without any charge unto the subject. Which change, though possibly some specious colors may be put unto it, will neither be really beneficiall to the Clergy or Laity. And that conducts me on to my last Proposition, viz.

III. That the change of Tithes into Stipends will bring greater trouble to the Clergy, then is yet considered; and far lesse profit to the Country, then is now pretended.

This is a double Proposition, and therefore must be looked on in its severall parts: first, in relation to the Clergy, whose ease is very much pretended, and next in reference to the Occupant, whose profit onely is intended in the change desired. It is pre­tended for the Clergy As in the Kentish Petition and other projects of that kind. to be a very difficult thing to know the dues demandable in their severall parishes, that it maketh them too much given unto worldly things, by looking after the inning and threshing out of their corn; and doth occasion many scandalous and vexatious suits betwixt them and their neighbours: all which, they think will be avoided, in case the Ministers were reduced to some annuall stipend. And to this end it is propounded by the Army in their late Proposals, that the unequall, troublesome, and contentious way of Ministers maintenance by Tithes, may be consi­dered of, (in Parliament) and a remedy applied unto it. But under favor of the Army, and of all those who have contrived the late Petitions to that purpose; I cannot see but that the way of main­tenance by annuall stipends will be as troublesome, unequall, and contentious too, as that of Tithes by Law established; e­specially if those annuall stipends be raised according to the platform which is now in hand. For, as far as I am able to judge by that which I have seen and heard from the chief contrivers, the design is this. A valuation to be made of every benefice over all the kingdome, according to the worth thereof one year with another; a yearly summe according to that valuation to be [Page 22] raised upon the lands of every parish, which now stand chargeable with Tithes; the mony so assessed and levied, to be brought into one common treasury in each severall Coun­ty, and committed to the hands of speciall Trustees hereun­to appointed; and finally, that those Trustees doe issue out each halfe year such allowances to the Ministers of the seve­rall parishes, respect being had unto the deserts of the person and the charge of his family: yet so, that the Impropriatours be first fully satisfied according to the estimate of their Tithes and Glebe. This is the substance of the project. And if the moneys be assessed in the way proposed, onely upon the landed men, whether Lords or Tenants, and not upon Artificers handicrafts, and men of mysterious trades, who receive equall benefit by the Ministers labours; the way of maintenance by stipends will be as unequall altogether, as by that of tithes. And if it be but as unequall, I am sure it will be far more troublesome. For now the Minister or Incumbent hath no more to doe, but to see his corn brought in and housed (being to be cut and cocked to his hand both by law and custome) and being brought in, either to spend it in his house, or sell the residue thereof to buy o­ther provisions. Which if hee think too great an avocation from his studies, he may put over to his wife, or some trusty servant, as Gentlemen of greater fortunes doe unto their Bai­lifs. And I my self know divers Clergy men of good note and quality, to whom the taking up of Tithes brings no greater trouble, then once a month to look over the accompts of their servants: besides, that many of them, keeping no more in their hands, then what will serve for the necessary expence of hous­hold, let out the rest unto some neighbour at an yearly rent. But when the Tithes are turned to money, and that the Minister hath neither corn nor hay, nor any other provision for ex­pence of houshold, but what hee buyeth by the penny: what an unreasonable trouble must it needs prove to him to trudge from one market to another, for every bit of bread he eats, & every handfull of malt which he is to spend? And if corn happen to be dear, (as it is at this present) one quarter of a years provisions bought at the price of the market, may eat out his whole years allowance. Besides, I would fain learn, for I know not yet, whether the valuation be to be made yearly, and to hold [Page 23] no longer then that year, or being once agreed on to endure for ever. If it be made from year to yeare, either the Minister must be at a certain trouble in driving a new bargain every year, with each severall and respective Occupant within the parishes; or at a greater trouble in attending the Trustees of the Coun­ty, till they have list and leisure to conclude it for him. But if the valuation once made be to hold for ever, which is I think, the true intent of the designe; I would fain know, in case the price of all commodities should rise as much by the end of the next hun­dred years, as it hath done in the last, and so the next hun­dreds after that; how scant a pittance the poor Minister will have in time for the subsistence of himself and his family-charge. For since the 26 of King Henry the 8th when a survay was taken of all the spirituall promotions in this kingdome, and the clear yearly value of each returned into the Court of the Exchequer, the prices of commodities have been so inhaunced, that had not Benefices been improved proportionably, but held unto the va­luation which is there recorded, the Ministery in generall had been so poor, so utterly unable to have gone to the price of the markets, that many must have digged or begged for an hungry livelihood.

And yet we doe not see an end of the mischief neither; for when the Tithes are changed to a sum of money, and the mony brought into a common bank or Treasury, hee will bee sure to undergoe a certain losse, and be vexed with more uncertain trou­bles. For when this Clergy-office is once erected and settled in a constant course or method, as all offices be; there must be Trea­surers, Receivers, Tellers, Auditours, besides under-offices, in each severall County: every of which will look to have some benefit by his place and office, if not his whole subsistence by it. And I would fain know of these grand Projectors, by that time every one of these Cooks hath licked his fingers, and each Cer­berus hath had his mouth full; how pitifully short the Commons must needs prove to the hungry Clergy, who are to live on the remainder. Now as the losse is more then certain, so will the trouble be as great as the losse, and no lesse certain too, though it be uncertain. For when the poor Clergy-man hackneyeth to receive his Stipend, how many put-offs shall he finde, ere he speed of his business. For either Mr Treasurer is not at leisure, or the [Page 24] money is not yet come in, or better men then he must be sped before him: and having danced a fortnight in this attendance, may possibly be forced to a composition, and take egs for his money, or else pay very dearly for his expedition. Such courses have been formerly complained of in the Kings Exchequer; Committees in the Countrey are not free from the like complaints: and much I fear, lest this new Office prove as full of delaies and trouble (for the best of us are but men, and subject to corrupt affections) as either of the others have been found to be. But then, if Mr Trea­surer have a further power either of augmentation or of dimi­nution, according as he judgeth of the Ministers diligence, or looks upon him in respect of his charge and family: what a base vassallage and thraldome must the poor Clergy-man bee brought to, in having such a Super-Intendent to judge of his parts and diligence, or to assigne him an allowance for his wife and children? How punctually must Mr Treasurer be attended and crouched unto, gifted, and bribed from time to time, either in hope to have the yearly Stipend mended, or else for fear to have it lessned? The Chancellors were thought to Lord it with too high an insolency, when the poor Country-Minister did ap­pear before them. But these who are to bear the bag, and upon whom the Clergy must depend for a poor subsistence, will bee sure to Lord it over them with contempt enough; more then the Chancellour or Bishop in the worst times of their Govern­ment: in case at last they doe not think all wast which is given to Christ, under pretence of keeping it for more pious uses. And what a trouble and vexation to ingenuous mindes this must needs be thought, let the Reader judge.

So then, the way of Ministers maintenance by yearly Stipends being as unequall, and more troublesome then that of Tithes; let us next see whether it may not prove as contentious also. Tis true indeed, there have been many suits in the Courts of West­minster, between some Incumbents and their neighbours about matter of Tithes; but if it be examined where the fault lieth most, I doubt it will be rather found to proceed out of cove­tousness in some parishioners, then any difficulty in discovering the demandable dues, or any contentiousness in the Ministers. For many Countrey people reckoning all good gains of which they can defraud the Parson, are apt enough on all occasions [Page 25] to subduct their Tithes, and either to pretend customes, or plead prescriptions, to decline the payment. And though they commonly attempt it first in such trifling matters, as are not considerable in themselves, and would bring a scandall on the Minister, should he be too strict, and trouble them for matters of so sleight a nature: yet when he looks upon the consequent, and that the withholding or subducting of those petit Tithes, is but to make a way for the rest to follow; hee findes more reason to insist on a punctuall payment, then otherwise the nature of the thing would bear. And if a suit ensue upon it, I see not why it should be charged upon the Minister, who is accomptable to God, the Church, and his whole succession, from any diminution of the Churches rights, by his remisnesse or con­nivence. But wheresoever the fault lies, contentious suits doe sometimes happen, there is no question of it. And can wee think contentions will not also rise about the payment of the Stipends? Some men conceive themselves to be over-rated, o­thers are apt enough to think that the Tradesmā who gets more by his shop, then they doe by the Plough, should be as liable as themselves to this common burden; and some beleeving that no Tithes are due at all, will neither pay in kinde or money. Some course must then be taken to inforce a payment, where pay­ment is denied upon these pretentions: and there is no compul­sive course without some contention. And then supposing that some course must be taken to inforce a payment, (as I can see no hope how it will be avoided) I would next know by whom this course must be pursued. If by the Trustees for the County, they will be like to prove but ill solicitors in another mans business, as being to get nothing but their pains for their labour; besides that, spending, as they must, on the common stock (and men we know, are very apt to cut large thongs out of another mans leather) the bill of charges for one suit, may pos­sibly devour the fruits of the whole Benefice. If by the Mini­ster himself, as it is most likely, we are but where we were be­fore, and by avoiding one contention for Tithes in kind, the Mi­nister must be ingaged in another for Tithes in money, which comes all to one. For that such suits will follow on this alte­ration, I look on as a matter unavoidable; considering especial­ly, how infinitely the Countrey-man, who aims at nothing in [Page 26] the change but his gain or profit, will finde himself deceived of his expectation, and consequently will be more stubborn and untractable when he seeth his errour.

For that the change of Tithes into annuall Stipends, will not be so much unto his profit as he doth expect, & hath been intimated to him by some leading men, who have the hāmering of the plot, will be no hard matter to demonstrate. I know that nothing is pretended openly in the alteration, but that the Occupant may have his Tithes at a certain rent; and not be troubled to ex­pect till the Parson comes to set out his dues. But I know too, that generally they have been fed with a secret hope, that if the Parliament prevailed in the present war, they then should pay no Tithes at all, but every man of what estate or trade soever, should be contributory to the charge of the Ministers mainte­nance. Iust so the Prince of Orange dealt with the Boors of Hol­land: assuring them, that if they prospered in the war against the King of Spain (which was then in hand) they should pay no Tithes unto their Ministers; and in the mean time that the Tithes should be taken up towards the maintenance of the war for the common liberty. But when the war was brought to so fair an issue, that the Boor thought to be exempted from the payment of Tithes: Answer was made, that they should pay none to the Minister as they had done formerly, whereby their Mini­sters in effect were become their Masters, but that the Tithes were so considerable a Revenue, that the State could not possibly subsist without them; that therefore they must be content to pay them to the States Commissioners, as they had done hither­to, and that the State would take due care to maintain a Mi­nistery. By means whereof they doe not onely pay their Tithes, as in former times: but seeing how short the publick allowance made their Ministers, doth come of that which some are plea­sed to call a competency, they are constrained (as it were) out of common charity, if not compelled thereto by Order, to con­tribute over and above, with the rest of the people, for the improvement and increase of the Ministers pension. And so it was in Scotland also, after the Lords of new erection had ingrossed the Tithes. I cannot say that there is any such designe as to an­nex the Tithes to the Crown, (though if they be taken from the Clergy they ought of common right to return again unto [Page 27] the Crown, from whence they came.) But I dare say the Land­holder will conceive himself as much defrauded of his expecta­tion, as if there was: and when he findes, that in stead of pay­ing no Tithes at all, he is to pay a valuable consideration in money for them, will think himself so far from being beholding to the Vndertakers of this project, that he will think the old way better, and more easie to him. His money he accompts his own, and parts as sadly from it as from so much of his bloud. The Tithes he looks upon as another mans, which never were in his possession, or to be reckoned of as a part of himself; and therefore lets them goe without grief and trouble. And I have marked it commonly amongst my neighbours (who I beleeve are of the same temper with other Occupants) that the same men who took no thought for parting with their Tithes in kinds, having compounded for them at a rate in money, invented more de­lays, & made more excuses to put the payment off for a week or two, and so from one day to another, then for the payment of their Tithes in all their life time. So dear a thing is money to us Country people, that he who shall perswade us to redeem a supposed inconvenience with a reall and a constant expence of treasure, will be counted but an evill Counsellor. A visible e­vidence whereof we have now amongst us. For though the quartering of Soldiers be the heaviest bondage that ever a free­born people did languish under, and such as men of means and quality would buy out upon any tearms: yet generally the Country man had rather make himself a slave, and his wife a drudge, and let them spend upon his victuals, then part with mony to remove them to some other place. My inference here­upon is this; either the valuation of each severall Benefice will be true and reall to the worth, or not. If not, it may re­dound indeed to the Ploughmans profit, but then it comes ac­companied with a publick fraud, which I beleeve no Christian State will be guilty of. And on the other side, if the rates be made according to the full worth of the Benefice, it will be little to the profit of the Husbandman; who might have far­med his tithes as cheap of the Parson or Vicar; besides the hearts-grief it will be unto many of them to part with ready money for a thing of convenience, without which they might live as happily as their fathers did.

[Page 28] And if it be not to the profit of the Ploughman this way, I am sure that in another way it will not be to his content, or his profit either. For taking it for granted, as I think I may, that I have hit on the designe which is now on foot, that is to say, that the yearly profits of each Benefice in every County be brought into one common bank or treasury within the County, and then disposed of by Trustees, according as they judge of the deserts of the person, and take into consideration his family-charge: it may so happen, (and will doubtlesse) that in a parish where the tax or sessement cometh to 400 l. per annum, the Minister may not be allowed above an hundred. The residue will be wholly in Mr Treasurers power, either to feast it with his friends, or lay up for his children; or at the best to settle it on such who relate unto him, or can make means and friends to enlarge their pensions, though such perhaps as were never seen nor heard of by the parish, whence the money comes. And if men think it, as it is, an ill peece of husbandry, to have the soil carried off their own land, and laid on anothers, to the impoverishing of their own, and enriching of his, I cannot see but that it will be thought a worse peece of husbandry, and prove of very ill digestion to most Country stomacks; to have the fat of their livings carried to another place, and given unto a man whom they never saw, and who is never like to feed their souls with the bread of life, or their bodies with the life of bread: their own poor Minister mean while, from whom they have reason to expect it, being so discouraged and impoverished that he can doe neither. For whereas those who were possessed of the rich­er benefices, did use to keep good hospitality, to entertain their neighbours, and relieve their poor, and doe many other good offices amongst them as occasion served, both to the benefit and comfort of all sorts of parishioners; it may so happen, and it will (as before I said) that the Minister may be so ill befrien­ded by Mr Treasurer, and the rest of the Trustees for the County, that in stead of being either a benefit or a comfort to them, in the way proposed, he may prove a burden, & a charge. And though I doubt not but as great care will be taken, as can be desired in the choice of those who are to have the disposing of the publick monies: yet to suppose that men once settled in an office of such trust and power, may not be subject unto partialities and [Page 29] corrupt affections, were an imagination fitter for the Lord Chan­celour Verulams new Atlantis, or Sr Thomas More his predeces­sors old Vtopia, or a Platonick Common-wealth, then the best­tempered government in the Christian world. For my part, loo­king into the designe with the best eyes I have, and judging of it by the clearest light of understanding, which God hath given me, I am not able to discern but that the change of Tithes into Stipends (in the way propounded) will bring greater trouble to the Clergy then is yet considered; and far lesse profit to the coun­trey then is now pretended: which is the third and last of my Propositions; and is, I hope, sufficiently and fully proved, or at the least made probable, if not demonstrative.

I have said nothing in this Tract of the right of Tithes, or on what motive or considerations of preceding claim, the Kings of England did confer them upon the Clergy: contenting my self at this time with the matter of fact, as namely, that they were settled on the Church by the Kings of this Realm, before they granted out estates to the Lords and Gentry, and that the land thus charged with the payment of Tithes, they passed from one man to another, untill it came unto the hands of the present Occupant; which cuts off all that claim or title which the mis­perswaded subject can pretend unto them. I know it cannot bee denied, but that notwithstanding the said Grants and Charters of those ancient Kings, many of the great men of the Realm, and some also of the inferiour Gentry possessed of Manours, be­fore the Lateran Councell,Ante Concilium Lateranen­se, bene po­terant Lai­ci decimas sibi in feu­dum reti­nere, vel aliis qui­buscunque Ecclesiis dare. Lind­wood in Provine. cap. de de­cimis. did either keep their Tithes in their own hands, or make infeodations of them to Religious houses, or give them to such Priests or Parishes, as they best affected. But after the decree of Pope Innocent the 3d, (which you may find at large in Sr Edw: Cokes Comment upon Magna Charta, and other old Statutes of this Realm, in the Chapter of Tithes) had been confirmed in that Councel, (Anno 1215) and incorporated into the Canons and conclusions of it, the payment of them to the Minister or Parochiall Priest, came to be settled universally over all the kingdome: save that the Templars, the Hospitalers, and Monkes of Cisteaux held their ancient priviledges of being ex­cepted for those lands which they held in occupancy from this generall rule. Nor have I said any thing of Impropriations; part­ly, because I am perswaded that the Lords and Gentry, who [Page 30] have either Votes or Friends in Parliament, will look well enough to the saving of their own stakes; but principally, because coming from the same original grant from the King to the Subjects, & by them settled upon Monasteries and Religious houses, they fell in the ruine of those houses to the Crown again, (as of due right the Tithes should doe, if they be taken from the Clergy;) and by the Crown were alienated in due form of law, and came by many mean conveyances to the present Owners. Onely I shall de­sire that the Lords and Commons would take a speciall care of the Churches Patrimony, for fear lest that the prevalency of this evill humour which gapes so greedily after the Clergies Tithes, doe in the end devour theirs also. And it concerns them also in relation to their right of Patronage, which if this plot goe on, will be utterly lost: and Churches will no longer be presentative at the choice of the Patron; but either made Elective at the will of the People, or else Collated by the Trustees of the severall Counties (succeeding as they doe in the power of Bishops) as now Committee-men dispose of the preferments of the sequestred Clergy. If either by their power and wisdome, or by the Argu­ments and Reasons which are here produced, the peoples eyes are opened to discern the truth, and that they be deceived no longer by this popular errour, it is all I am at: who have no other ends herein but onely to undeceive them in this point of Tithes; which hath been represented to them as a publick grie­vance conducing manifestly to the diminution of their gain and profit. If notwithstanding all this care for their information, they will run headlong in the ways of spoil and sacriledge, and shut their eyes against the light of the truth, shine it never so brightly: let them take heed they fall not into that infatuati­on which the Scripture denounceth, that▪ seeing they shall see, but shall not perceive; and that the stealing of this Coal from the Al­tars of God, burn not down their houses. And so I shut up this discourse with the words of our Saviour, saying, that no man ta­steth new wine, but presently he saith, that the old is the better.

FINIS.

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