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tle to the Hebrews clearly enough explains) to acknowledge the greater. And they who by Melchisedec claim from Abraham as Levi's grandfather, have none to seek their tithes of but the Levites, where they can find them. If Abraham, as father of the faithful, paid tithes to Melchisedec, then certainly the ministers also, if they be of that number, paid in him equally with the rest. Which may induce us to believe, that as both Abraham and Melchisedec, so tithes also in that action typical and ceremonial, signified nothing else but that subjection which all the faithful, both ministers and people, owe to Christ, our high priest and king. any
literal sense, from this example, they never will be able to extort that the people in those days paid tithes to priests, but this only, that one priest once in his life, of spoils only, and in requital partly of a liberal present, partly of a benediction, gave voluntary_tithes, not to a greater priest than himself, as far as Abraham could then understand, but rather to a priest and king joined in one person. They will reply, perhaps, that if one priest paid tithes to another, it must needs be understood that the people did no less to the priest. But I shall easily remove that necessity, by remembering them that in those days was no priest, but the father, or the first-born of each family; and by consequence no people to pay him tithes, but his own children and servants, who had not wherewithal to pay him, but of his own. Yet grant that the people then paid tithes, there will not yet be the like reason to enjoin us ; they being then under cerernonies, à mere laity, we now under Christ, a royal priesthood, 1 Pet. ii. 9, as we are coheirs, kings and priests with him, a priest for ever after the order or manner of Melchisedec. As therefore Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedec because Levi was in him, so we ought to pay none because the true Melchisedec is in us, and we in him who can pay to none greater, and hath freed us, by our union with himself, from all compulsive tributes and taxes in his church. Neither doth the collateral place, Heb. vii. make other use of this story, than to prove Christ, personated by Melchisedec, a greater priest than Aaron: vers. 4, “ Now consider how great this man was,” &c.; and proves not in the least manner that tithes be of any right to ministers, but the contrary: first, the Levites.bau“ a commandment to take tithes of the people atcording to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham,” ver. 5. The commandment then was, it seens, to take tithes of the Jews only, and according to the law. That law changing of necessity with the priesthood, no other sort of ministers, as they must needs be another sort under another priesthood, can receive that tribute of tithes which fell with that law, unless renewed by another express command, and according to another law; no such law is extant. Next, Melchisedec not as a minister, but as Christ hiniself in person, blessed Abraham, who“ had the promises,” ver. 6, and in him blessed all both ministers and people, both of the law and gospel : that blessing declared him greater and better than whom he blessed, ver. 7, receiving tithes from them all, not as a maintenance, which Melchisedec needed not, but as a sign of homage and subjection to their king and priest: whereas ministers bear not the person of Christ in his priesthood or kingship, bless not as he blesses, are not by their blessing greater than Abraham, and all the faithful with themselves included in him ; cannot both give and take tithes in Abraham, cannot claim to themselves that sign of our allegiance due only to our eternal king and priest, cannot therefore derive tithes from Melchisedec. Lastly,
the eighth verse hath thus ; “ Here men that die receive lithes : there he received them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.". Which words intimate, that as he offered himself once for us, so he received once of us in Abraham, and in that place the typical acknowledgment of our redemption : which has it been a perpetual annuity to Christ, by him claime as his due, Levi must have paid it yearly, as well as then, ver. 9, and our ministers ought still, to somo Melchisedec or other, as well 110w as they did in Abraham. But that Christ never clainied any such tenth as his annual due, much less resigned it to the ministersy ms so officious receivers, without express commission or assignment, will be yet clearer as we proceed. Thus much may at length assure us, that this example of Abrahain and Melchisedec, though I see of late they build most upon it, can so little be the. ground of any law to us, that it will not so much avail them as to the authority of an example. Of like impertinence is that example of Jacob, Gen. xxviii. 22, who of his free choice, not enjoined by any law, vowed the tenth of all that God should give him : which, for aught appears to the contrary, he vowed as a thing no less indifferent before his vow, than the foregoing part thereof: that the stone, which he had set there for a pillar, should be God's house. And to whom vowed he this tenth, but to God? Not to any priest, for we read of none to him greater than himself: and to God, no doubt but he paid what he vowed, both in the building of that Bethel, with other altars elsewhere, and the expense of his continual' sacrifices, which none but he had a rightto offer. However therefore he paid his tenth, it could in no likelihood, unless by such an occasion as befel his graudfather, be to any priest. But, say they, “All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or
of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's, holy unto the Lord,” Lev. xxvii. 30.. And this before it was given to the Levites; therefore since they ceased. No question; For the whole earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof, Psal. xxiv. 1, and the light of nature shows us no less : but that the tenth is his more than the rest, how know I, but as he so declares it? He declares it so here of the land of Canaan only, as by all circumstance appears, and passes, by deed of gift, this tenth to the Levite; yet so as offered to him first a heave offering, and consecrated on his altar, Numb. xviii. all which I had as little known, but by that evidence. The Levites are ceased, the gift returns to the giver. How then can we know that he hath given it to any other? Or how can these men presume to take it unoffered first to God, unconsecrated, without another clear and express donation, whereof they show no evidence or writing? Besides, he hath now alienated that holy land ; who can: warrantably affirm, that he hath since ballowed the tenth of this land, which none but God hath power to do, or can warrant? Their last proof they cite out of the gospel, which makes as little for them, Matt. xxiii. 23, where our Saviour denouncing woe to the scribes and Pharisees, who paid tithe so exactly, and omitted weightier matters, tells them, that these they ought to have done, that is, to have paid tithes. For our Saviour spake then to those who observed the law of Moses, which was yet not fully abrogated, till the destruction of the temple. And by the way here we may observe, out of their own proof, that the scribes and Pharisees, though then chief teachers of the people, such at least as were not Levites, did not take tithes, but paid them: so much less covetous were the scribes and Pharisees in those worst times than ours at this day. This is so
apparent to the reformed divines of other countries, that when any one of ours hath attempted in Latin to maintain this argument of tithes, though a man would think they might suffer him without opposition, in a point equally tending to the advantage of all ministers, yet they forbear not to oppose him, as in a doctrine not fit to pass unopposed under the gospel.
On the other side, although it be sufficient to have proved in general the abolishing of tithes, as part of the judaical or ceremonial law, which is abolished all, as well that before, as that after Moses: yet I shall further prove them abrogated by an express ordinance of the gospel, founded not on any type, or that municipal law of Moses, but on moral and general equity, given uis in stead : 1 Cor. ix. 13, 14, “Know ye not, that they who minister about holy things, live of the things of the temple ; and they which wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar? So also the Lord hath ordained, that they who preach the gospel, should live of the gospel.” He saith not, should live on things which were of the temple, or of the altar, of which were tithes, for that had given them a clear title; but abrogating that former law of Moses, which determined what and how much, by a later ordinance of Christ, which leaves the what and how much indefinite and free, so it be sufficient to live on: le saith,
" The Lord hath so ordained, that they who preach the gospel, should live of the gospel ;" which hath neither temple, altar, nor sacrifice : Heb. vii. 13, “ For be of whom these things are spoken, pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar :" his ministers therefore cannot thence have tithes. And where the Lord hath so ordained, we may find easily in more than one evangelist: Luke x. 7, 8.
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