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these places we see, that recompense was given either by every one in particular who had been instructed, or by them all in common, brought into the church-treasury, and distributed to the ministers according to their several labours : and that was judged either by some extraordinary person, as Timothy, who by the apostle was then left evangelist at Ephesus, 2 Tim. iv. 5, or by some to whom the church deputed that care. This is so agreeable to reason, and so clear, that any one may perceive what iniquity and violence hath prevailed since in the church, whereby it hath been so ordered, that they also shall be compelled to recompense the parochial minister, who neither chose him for their teacher, nor have received instruction from him, as being either insufficient, or not resident, or inferior to whom they follow ; wherein to bar them their choice, is to violate christian liberty. Our law books testify, that before the council of Lateran, in the year 1179, and the fifth of our Henry II, or rather before a decretal Epistle of pope Innocent lll. about 1200, and the first of king John, “any Man might have given his tithes to what spiritual person he would :” and as the lord Coke notes on that place, Instit. part 2, that “ this decretal bound not the subjects of this realm, but as it seemed just and reasonable.” The pope took his reason rightly from the above-cited place, 1 Cor. ix. 11, but falsely supposed every one to be instructed by his parish priest. Whether this were then first so decreed, or rather long before, as may seem by the laws of Edgar and Canute, that tithes were to be paid, not to whom he would that paid them, but to the cathedral church or the parish priest, it imports not; since the reason which they themselves bring, built on false supposition, becomes alike infirm and absurd, that he should reap from me, who sows
not to me; be the cause either his defect, or my free choice. But here it will be readily objected, What if they who are to be instructed be not able to maintain a niinister, as in many villages ? I answer, that the scrip-. ture shows in many places what ought to be done herein. First, I offer it to the reason of any man, whether he think the knowledge of Christian religion harder than any other art or science to attain. *** be not all their lifetime under a teacher to learn logic, natural philosophy, ethics, or mathematics, which are more difficult, that certainly it is not necessary to the attainment of christian knowledge, that men should sit all their life long at the feet of a pulpited divine; while he, a lollard indeed over his elbow cushion, in almost the seventh part of forty or fifty years teaches them scarce half the principles of religion; and his sheep ofttimes sit the while to as little purpose of benefiting, as the sheep in their pews at Smithfield; and for the most part by some simony or other bought and sold like them; or if this comparison be too low, like those women, 1 Tim. iii. 7, “ Ever learning and never attaining;" yet not so much through their own fault, as through the unskilful and immethodical teaching of their pastor, teaching here and there at random out of this or that text, as his ease or fancy, and ofttimes as his stealth guides him. Seeing then that christian religion may be so easily attained, and by nieanest capacities, it cannot be much difficult to find ways, both how the poor, yea all men may be soon taught what is to be krown of Christianity, and they who teach them, recompensed. First, if ministers of their own accord, who pretend that they are called and sent to preach the gospel, those especially who have no particular flock, would imitate our Saviour and his disciples, who went
preaching through the villages, not only through the cities, Matt. ix. 35. Mark vi. 6. Luke xiii. 22. Acts viii. 25, and there preached to the poor as well as to the rich, looking for no recompense but in Heaven: John iy. 35, 36, “ Look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest : and he that reapeth, receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal.” This was their wages. But they will soon reply, we ourselves have not wherewithal; who shall bear the charges of our journey? To whom it may as soon be answered, that in likelihood they are not poorer, than they who did thus; and if they have not the same faith, which those disciples had to trust in God and the promise of Christ for-their maintenance as they did, and yet intrude into the ministry without any livelihood of their own, they cast themselves into miserable hazard or temptation, and ofttimes into a more miserable necessity, either to starve, or to please their paymasters rather than God; and give nien just cause to suspect, that they came neither called nor sent from above to preach the word, but from below, by the instinct of their own hunger, to feed upon the church. ****
Those preachers among the poor Waldenses, the ancient stock of our reformation, ** bred up themselves in trades, and especially in physic and surgery, as well as in the study of scripture, (which is the only truc theology) that they might be no burden to the church ; and by the example of Christ, might cure both soul and body; through industry joining that to their ministry, which he joined to his by gift of the spirit. Thus relates Peter Gilles in his history of the Waldenses in Piemont. But our ministers think scorn to use a trade, and count it the reproach of this age, that tradesmen preach the gospel, It were to be wished they were all VOL. I.
tradesmen; they would not then so many of them, for want of another trade, make a trade of their preaching: and yet they clamour that tradesmen preach; and yet they preach, while they themselves are the worst trades. men of all. As for church-endowments and possessions, I meet with none considerable before Constantine,
I but the houses and gardens where they met, and their places of burial; and I persuade me, that from them the ancient Waldenses, whom deservedly I cite so often, held, “ That to endow churches is an evil thing ; and, that the church then fell off and turned whore, sitting on that beast in the Revelation, when under pope Sylvester she received those temporal donations.” So the forecited tractate of their doctrine testifies. * * And indeed, how could these endowments thrive better with the church, being unjustly taken by those emperors, without suffrage of the people, out of the tributes and public lands of each city, whereby the people became liable to be oppressed with other taxes. Being therefore given for the most part by kings and other public persons, and so likeliest out of the public, and if without the people's consent, unjustly, ** what shall be found heretofore given by kings or princes out of the public, may justly by the magistrate be recalled and reappropriated to the civil revenue. ****
Thus did the princes and cities of Germany in the first reformation; and defended their so doing by many reasons, which are set down at large in Sleidan, Lib. 6, Anno 1526, and Lib. 11, Anno 1537, and Lib. 13, Anno 1540. But that the magistrate either out of that church-revenue which remains yet in his hand, or establishing any other maintenance instead of tithe, should take into his own power the stipendiary maintenance of church-ministers, or compel it by law, can stand aéither with the people's right, nor with christian liber. ty, but would suspend the church wholly upon the state, and turn her ministers into state-pensioners. **** Seeing the christian church is not national, but consisting of many particular congregations, subject to many changes, as well through civil accidents, as through schism and various opinions, not to be decided by any outward judge, being matters of conscience, whereby these pretended church-revenues, as they have been ever, so are like to continue endless matter of dissension both between the church and magistrate, and the churches among themselves, there will be found no better remedy to these evils, otherwise incurable, than by the incorruptest council of those Waldenses, or first reformers, to remove them as a pest, an apple of discord in the church, (for what else can be the effect of riches, and the snare of money in religion?) and to convert them to those niore profitable uses above expressed, or other such as shall be judged most necessary.
And lest it be thought, that, these revenues withdrawn and better employed, the magistrate ought instead to settle by statute some maintenauce of ministers, let this be considered first, that it concerns every man's conscience to what religion he contributes; and that the civil magistrate is intrusted with civil rights only, not with conscience, which can have no deputy or representer of itself, but one of the same mind; nest, that what each man gives to the minister, he gives either as to God, or as to his teacher ; if as to God, no civil power can justly consecrate to religious uses any part either of civil revenue, which is the people's, and must save thein from other taxes, or of any man's propriety, but God by special command, as he did by Moses, or the owner himself by voluntary intention and the persuasion of his