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those, whom I have so often heard exclaiming in the language of unbelief, • If you take away church revenues, you destroy the gospel ?** If the Christian religion depends for its existence on no firmer supports than wealth and civil power, how is it more worthy of belief than the Mahometan superstition?t
Hence to exact or bargain for tithes or other stipendiary payments under the gospel, to extort them from the flock under the alleged authority of civil edicts, or to have recourse to civil actions and legal processes for the recovery of allowances purely ecclesiastical, is the part of wolves rather than of ministers of the gospel. I Acts xx. 29. “I know this that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.' v. 33. • I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel ;' whence it follows
* • Bit of all are they to be reviled and shamed, who cry out with the distinct voice of notorious hirelings, that if ye settle not our maintenance by law, farewell the Gospel.' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, Ul. 389.
† Si vi et pecunia stat Christiana religio atque sulcitur, quid est quamobrem non æque ac Turcarum religio suspecta esse videatur? For if it must be thus, how can any Christian object it to a Turk, that his religion stands by force only ; and not justly fear from him this reply, yours both by force and money, in the judgment of your own teachers?' Ibid. 389. I Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves.
Paradise Lost, XII. 508. • Not long after, as the apostle foretold, hirelings like wolves came in by herds. Considerations on the likeliest Means, &c. Prose Works, III. 358. To the same effect is quoted, in the History of Britain, Gildas's character of the Saxon clergy: subtle prowlers, pastors in name, but indeed wolves; intent upon all occasions, not to feed the fock, but to pamper and well-line themselves. IV. 112. Immo lupi verius plerique eorum, quam aliud quidvis erant dicendi.....pinguia illis plerumque omnia, ne ingenio quidem excepto ; decimis enim saginantur, improbato ab aliis omnibus ecclesiis more ; Deoque sic diffidunt ut eas malint per magistratum atque per vim suis gregibus extorquere, quam vel divinæ providentiæ, vel ecclesiarum benevolentiae et gratitudini debere.' Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano. V. 246.
that the apostle neither exacted these things himself, nor approved of their exaction by ministers of the gospel in general. 1 Tim. iii. 3. not greedy of filthy lucre ; not covetous ;' far less therefore an exactor of lucre. Compare also v. 8. Tit. i. 7, 11. 1 Pet. v. 2, 3. • feed the flock of God which is among you ...... not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.' If it be scarcely allowable for a Christian to go to law with his adversary in defence even of his own property, Matt. v. 39, 40. 1 Cor. vi. 7. what are we to think of an ecclesiastic, who for the sake of tithes, that is, of the property of others, which, either as an offering made out of the spoils of war, or in pursuance of a vow voluntarily contracted by an individual, or from an imitation of that agrarian law established among the Jews, but altogether foreign to our habits, and which is not only abolished itself, but of which all the , causes have ceased to operate, were due indeed formerly, and to ministers of another sect, but are now due to no one ; what are we to think of a pastor, who for the recovery of claims thus founded, (an abuse unknown to any reformed church but our own,)* enters into litigation with his own flock, or, more properly speaking, with a flock which is not his own? If his own, how avaricious in him to be so
* Under the law he gave them tithes ; under the gospel, having left all things in his church to charity and Christian freedom, he hath given them only what is justly given them. That, as well under the gospel, as under the law, say our English divines, and they only of all Protestants, is tithes ; and they say true, if any man be so minded to give them of his own the tenth or twentieth ; but that the law therefore of tithes is in force under the gospel, all other Protestant divines, though equally concerned, yet constantly deny. Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, III. 354.
eager in making a gain of his holy office! if not his own, how iniquitous ! Moreover what a piece of officiousness, to force his instructions on such as are unwilling to receive them ; what extortion, to exact the price of teaching from one who disclaims the teacher, and whom the teacher himself would equally disclaim as a disciple, were it not for the profit !* For
he that is an hireling, whose own the sheep are not .....fleeth beause he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep,' John X. 12, 13. Many such there are in these days, who abandon their charge on the slightest pretences, and ramble from flock to flock, less through fear of the wolf than to gratify their own wolfish propensities, wherever a richer prey invites; who, unlike good shepherds, are for ever seeking out new and more abundant pastures, not for their flock, but for themselves.f
How then,' ask they, are we to live? How ought they to live, but as the prophets and apostles lived of old ? on their own private resources, by the exercise of some calling, by honest industry, after the example of the prophets, who accounted it no disgrace to be able to hew their own wood, and build their own houses, 2 Kings vi. 2. of Christ, who wrought with his own hands as a carpenter, Mark vi. 3. and of Paul, Acts xviii. 3. 4. to whom the plea so importunately urged in modern times, of the expensiveness of a liberal education, and the necessity that it should be repaid out of the wages of the gospel, seems never to have occurred.t Thus far of the ministers of particular churches.
* 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 bim.' Ibid. 372. If he give it as to his teacher, what justice or equity compels him to pay for learning that religion which leaves freely to his choice whether he will learn it, or no, whether of this teacher or of another, and especially to pay for what he never learned, or approves not?' Ibid. 380.
t • They have fed themselves, and not their flocks. Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence. Prose Works, I. 200. Rambling from ben. efice to benefice, like ravenous wolves, seeking where they may devour the biggest.' Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, II. 303. Aliis fortasse in locis haud æque ministris provisum ; nostris jam satis superque bene erat ; oves potius appellandi quam pastores, pascuntur magis quam pascunt.' Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano, V. 247.
With regard to the people of the church (especially in those particular churches where discipline is maintained in strictness) such only are to be accounted of that number, as are well taught in Scripture doctrine, and capable of trying by the rule of Scripture and the Spirit any teacher whatever, or even the whole collective body of teachers, although arrogating to themselves the exclusive name of the church. I Matt. vii. 15, 16. · beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves : ye shall know them by their fruits.' xvi. 6. take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees,' compared with v. 12. 'then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine, John vji. 17, 18. • if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself: he that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory. Acts xvii. 11. “they searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so. 1 Cor. ii. 15. “ he that is spiritual, judgeth all things.' x. 15. 'I speak as to wise men ; judge ye what I say. Eph. iv. 14. that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.'. vi. 14, &c. “stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth. Philipp. iii. 2.
Our great clerks think that these men, because they have a trade, (as Christ himself and St. Paul bad) cannot therefore attain to some good measure of knowledge.' Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence, I. 162. “This was the breeding of St. Paul, though born of no mean parents, a free citizen of the Roman empire ; so little did his trade debase him, that it rather enabled him to use that magnanimity of preaching the gospel through Asia and Europe at his own charges.' Likeliest Means to remore Hirelings, &c. III. 377. · The church elected them to be her teachers and overseers, though not thereby to separate them from whatever calling she then found them following beside; as the example of St. Paul declares, and the first times of Christianity. Ibid. 390.
7 • They pretend that their education, either at school or university, hath been very chargeable, and therefore ought to be repaired in future by a plentiful maintenance, Likeliest Means, &c. Prose Works, III. 385. See also Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence, I. 193.
I • I shall not decline the more for that, to speak my opinion in the controversy next moved, whether the people may be allowed for competent judges of a minister's ability. For how else can be fulfilled that which God hath promised, to pour out such abundance of knowledge upon all sorts of men in the times of the gospel? How should the people examine the doctrine which is taught them, as Christ and his apostles continually bid them do? How should they discern and beware of false prophets, and try every spirit, if they must be thought unfit to judge of the minister's abilities? Apology for Smect ymnus. Prose Works, I. 255. Every member of the church, at least of any breeding or capacity, so well ought to be grounded in spiritual knowledge, as, if need be, to examine their teachers themselves, Acts xyii. 11. Rev. ii. 2. How should any private Christian try his teachers, unless he be well grounded bimself in the rule of Scripture by which he is taught? Of true Religion, &c. IV. 267.