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to the orphans, to the widows, to the proselytes. But some haply may wonder and
say, • Such a man paid tithe : what a shame is this! If that which was no wonder among the Jews, should be a wonder among Christians.' If there were danger in it, to leave tithes unpaid then ; consider what it is to leave them unpaid
For St. Jerome I am in suspense, which church to attribute him to, but will not exclude him though : for he will be a most full witness, as being one who had seen most men's manners, and most places. Thus he, on the third of the prophet Malachi (for I pass by his Epistle to Nepotian ; where he saith, that he lives of tithes): the words are these : “What we said concerning tithes, which anciently were paid to the priests and Levites; understand, that the same ought to be done by the people living in the church under the Gospel, to whom it is commanded, not only to pay tithe, but also to sell all, and follow the Lord. Which, if we will not do, let us at least imitate the Jews in this, to give part of all, and give that which is due unto the priests. Which, whosoever shall not do, is sufficiently convicted to defraud and supplant God, and is cursed with scarcity and want of all things."
Very well, all this is true, they say: But the church was now in peace, and began to set her mind too much on riches. But what say you of that other, under the cross ? Of that, which was so full of glorious martyrs ? Although it be an unjust demand, that the church should be in no better condition when flourishing, than when afflicted ; yet they shall not 'scape so: to that I apply myself. The same did the church ever think concerning tithes, both when she suffered persecution, and when she was free from it.
For the Western church, let St. Cyprian speak. “Which very reason and form is now held among the clergy, that they who by clerical ordination are promoted in the church of God, should not depart from the altar and the sacrifices, but receive tithes of the fruits of the earth under the honourable name of The brethren who live of the sportula ;' i. e. of the oblations of the church ?."
For the Eastern, let Origen, who was ancienter than St. Cyprian:
11 Hom. 4, in Epis. ad Ephes.
2 Epis. 66, ad Firnit.
“ How then doth our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, if they dare not taste of the fruits before the tithes be set apart for the Levites; and I, doing no such thing, so abuse the fruits of the earth, that the priest knoweth not, the Levite is ignorant, and the holy altar partaketh not of any such performance ?" And then he concludes : “ This we have spoke to this end, affirming that this command,” concerning tithes, “ought to stand even according to the letter 3.” And before Origen, St. Clement of Alexandria (who was nearer to Christ's time, and almost touched upon the first century) speaks full to this : “ The paying tithes of our fruits, and of our cattle, teacheth us piety to God, and not to be altogether in love with gain, but to make the priests partakers of our loving affection and charity."
Now I think these passages may satisfy the desires of the most unreasonable, to show the intent and custom of the church.
But if any shall object, and say, private men thought so indeed; the sentence of particular men is oftentimes sudden, and, what the heat of their brain shall suggest to them, that they set down in writing: no news of any deliberation, disputation, determination all this while : all these are, indeed, in councils : show it there, if you can.
I will take them at this challenge; and only wish they would be bound to stand to them.
ARG. X.–And to begin with a council in England, in the year 670 and 673, under Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury. In the second canon thereof, provision is made concerning parishes; now parishes and tithes, if we may believe the canonists, are reciprocal. But this is more yet, that they wholly subscribe to the council of Chalcedon, in which tithes are confirmed. Which two things do sufficiently prove, that both the payment of tithes and the division of parishes were anciently among us ; and that they are not such upstarts, as some fondly have imagined. About the same time also was a council summoned at Mentz, in the seventh chapter whereof we read thus: “We admonish and commend, that tithes which God hath appointed to be paid to Him, be in no case omitted to be paid.” And they add this penalty: “ Whosoever shall, after one admonition, neglect to pay tithes, let them be excommunicated.”
3 Hom, xi. in 18. Numer.
+ Stromat. 2, edit. Veronens. fol. 155.
The second, at Matiscon, almost 200 years before that, cap. 5: “ The Divine laws have commanded tithes to be paid ; which laws, all Christians have a long time kept inviolate.” And it concludes thus :-"We do therefore ordain, that the ancient custom of the faithful be restored (reparetur]. But if any shall be obstinate, let them be for ever separated from the members of the church.” Before that, the first at Aurange, cap. 17: “Concerning tithes, thus we ordain, that every year the fourths, or every fourth year the whole tithe be paid to the bishop." I pass by the second, at Toledo ; and the third, at Arles : I come to that at Chalcedon, one of the four first and principal. Touching which, we read thus, in the 14th chap. of the council at Tribur : “ It hath pleased this council, that tithes and all other their possessions be preserved to the ancient churches, as was decreed in the holy council at Chalcedon, cap. 17."
You have heard the councils speak : and that upon mature deliberation, disputation, determination ; that they did establish, not define; confirm, not appoint, tithes; that they were formerly granted by private consent, and suffrage of the fact, as they speak, before they went to the councils. For subscription in the first council, admonition in the second, prescription of long time in the third, conservation and penalties in the fourth, do import rather an approving and ratification, than an indiction or appointment of them.
ARG. XI.—But now, forsooth, all the question is about the jus, or law; and thence we must derive either the institution or the abrogation of them. Thither, therefore, they betake themselves : and truly I will not balk the law nor the policy of either body, canonical or civil.
For even from thence I have collected a few passages to this purpose : sparingly, indeed, as becomes a divine ; yet abundantly enough to our purpose. Nor indeed shall ye need to fear that we will take any from the Decretals ; we shall be very scrupulous how we meddle with those dregs. Only some few passages we
shall make use of from the more sound decrees ; and those, too, before the year 400. The decree of Symmachus the First: “ Whosoever shall dispose of the tithes without the consent of the bishop, let him be anathema “.” Again, of Anastatius the First : “ Whosoever shall detain his tithes, let him be suspended from the communion.” In the 29th chap. of the decrees of Gelasius : “ It is meet that there be four parts made, as well of the revenues of tithes, as of the oblations of the faithful ; as was long since decreed with great reason.” But if parishes and tithes, bishops' stipends and tithes, clergy and tithes, be reciprocal, as the experienced in those laws are of opinion, then we may carry up this point a great deal higher, even to the second epistle of Calixtus the First, to the first epistle of Urban the First, up to the very times of Justin Martyr. Although, were there none of all these, yet the canon which is Dist. 12, (" Let that custom which is not known to usurp any thing against the Catholic faith stand firm,”) especially being supported with the judgment of Saint Augustine", and Saint Jerome', (whose opinion it is, That as the prevaricators of the Divine laws, so the contemners of ecclesiastical customs, are to be curbed,) may be strong enough against the abrogation of tithes.
ARG. XII.-As for the civil law, (that we may satisfy our politicians,) That is so far from the opinion that they may be abrogated, that it frees them from all injury by prescription; which, nevertheless, by itself alone, in other cases, cancels laws. For so we have it in the seventh book of the Code ® : “ Tithes, by the command of God, are set apart for the priests, that they who are accounted of the Lord's inheritance should live of his inheritance."
They cannot, therefore, by privilege of any, be granted to laymen, lest the authority of the supreme magistrate should prejudice the Divine command. And also, in the Authenticks, in the same Title. Thus Justinian : “ But if any private man shall possess tithes, either without title or with title, he cannot be
5 Cap. xvi. q. 1. 7. Ad Lucia.
6 Ad Casulan.
secure by any prescription of time. For those things cannot be strengthened by tract of time, which, by right, could be of no effect at the beginning." I have other testimonies at hand; but I promised brevity. The emperors, as you have heard, are of opinion, that the things which belong to God may not be abdicated.
ARG. XIII.—The Scriptures, the Fathers, the Councils, both Laws, are with and for us. Now, unless Reason be against us, we are safe. To that, therefore, we come in the thirteenth place. But there, to proceed distinctly, I shall divide this one question into three members. First, Whether reason will, that there be a certain allowance to the ministers of the Gospel ? Secondly, Whether this, out of the yearly profits ? Thirdly, Out of what part?
I. For the first. The business is long since brought to this pass by Saint Paul'. The ministers of the Gospel have a power to eat and drink, and not to work: the reason; “Every labourer is worthy of his hire ; whether he cut his own vine or feed his own flock : and the ox must not be muzzled, that treadeth out the corn ." This is one degree. Secondly, But if any labourer, much more labourers in the commonwealth, “Every soldier warreth at the public charge; not at his own. They that assist the commonwealth, are to be assisted by the commonwealth. But a minister of the Gospel is a labourer and assistant of the commonwealth. This a second degree. Thirdly, But if he must be maintained, who is any way profitable to the commonwealth ; he, whose help she useth in spiritual and eternal things, much more; and, if it might be, with such additions of fortune, as they used to be honoured with, who have deserved well of the republic'. For all reward is beneath the inerit of this, and there is no comparison betwixt spiritual sowing and carnal reaping. Wherefore, without doubt, carnal things are due to them who sow spiritual.
II. I come to the second member ; Whether out of the yearly profits? Postellus, a man of great learning, is of opinion ?, that this is a common principle engrafted in all nature ; viz. That a
9 1 Cor. ix.
1 In Prytanæo.
2 De Orbis Concordia, 1. iii. c. 10.