"Dr. Fulke saith, speaking of the word, priest, (see his Defence of the English Translations of the Bible, in answer to Gregory Martin, c. 6. p. 160,) It is commonly taken to signify a sacrificer, such as 'Iepeùç is in Greek, and Sacerdos in Latin, by which names the ministers of the gospel are never called by the Holy Ghost. After this common acceptation and use of this word, priest, we call the sacrificers of the Old Testament and of the Gentiles also; because the Scripture calleth them by one name, Cohanim or 'Iɛpes, we thought it necessary to observe that distinction, which we see the Holy Ghost so precisely hath observed. Therefore where the Scripture calleth them ρobréρov, we call them, according to the etymology, elders, and not priests: which word is taken up by common usurpation, to signify sacrificers of Jews, Gentiles, or Papists; or else, all Christians, in respect of spiritual sacrifices. And although Augustine, and others of the ancient Fathers, call the ministers of the New Testament by the name of Sacerdotes and 'Iɛpes, which signify the ministers of the Old Testament; yet the authority of the Holy Ghost, making a perfect distinction between those two appellations and functions, ought to be of more estimation with us.'

"Christ alone remains a priest for ever; and that we may not derogate from him, we give the name of priest to none of our ministers,' saith the Helvetic confession.

"The preaching we plead for, is from the immediate openings of the Spirit of truth, according to the Holy Scriptures; and therefore we wait upon the Lord in silence, with our minds gathered and retired to the manifestation of his Spirit in our hearts, from our own wills, wisdom, reasonings, and studies, that we may receive from him, before we open our mouths in testimony or declaration unto others. This is pure, primitive apostolical preaching; and the contrary thereunto we disown, in all whoever they are, and with whatsoever arts and devices they endeavour to set themselves off, and to palliate their usurped, and consequently unwarrantable and fruitless ministry.

"The ordinances we contend against, are only the traditions and inventions of men, in things pertaining to God, his worship and service. For, this is that which we ought to have special regard unto in all articles of faith to be believed, and in all acts of worship to be performed, namely, that they are of God and of him only. For if there is any thing of human mixture in faith

and worship, neither that faith nor worship are truly divine. They must be of God, or cannot be justly entitled to that appellation. By human mixture, I mean the figments and devices of men, in their adding to, or taking from, or blending with the institutions and appointments of Christ. As for instance, prayer is an ordinance or institution of Christ, but if men shall undertake to pray, either by a precomposed form of their own, or of others, or by the extemporary help of mere memory, or any other natural or acquired abilities, they offend in one or other, if not all the forementioned particulars. The like may be said of preaching, singing, and any act of worship whatsoever, wherein man's carnal will is the chief spring, and his natural wisdom the principal director of the motion.

"If it be asked how we may pray, preach, sing, &c. that our prayers may be heard, and our preaching and singing may be acceptable to the Lord? I answer, when we perform these actions, by the immediate inspiration and assistance of his Holy Spirit, who thereby taught and enabled his people, in all ages and generations past, and is nigh and ready to teach and enable us now so to do, as we in faith and humility wait upon him. And blessed for ever be his holy name, a remnant have had a large experience of his divine power and presence in that respect; and can give in their testimonies, that immediate revelation was not confined to the apostolic age; but that God, who changes not, is the same that ever he was, according to the measure of his divine gift, to all that truly believe and humbly wait for his spiritual appearance."

"An Answer to a Letter about Tithes."


"The case thou desirest my judgment in, as stated by thee, supposes three things;-First, That the motives inducing our Friends to suffer for not paying of tithes are insufficient ;-Secondly, That we suffer upon a mistake, that is, we take that to be the cause or reason of our sufferings, which is not: for, thou sayst, we suffer not for bearing a testimony against tithes, strictly speaking, but as detainers of that which the law has disposed of to other uses;-Thirdly, That the law disposing of the tithes to those uses, obliges us to the payment of them.

"First, then, as to the motives inducing our Friends to suffer for not paying of tithes, thy stating of the case supposes them

insufficient: but, thou dost not tell us what those motives are: thou shouldst, if thou hadst known what they are, have set them down; but because thou hast not, I will give thee a few hints, and leave them to thy consideration, whether they are sufficient

or not.

"Motive 1. The Levitical priesthood, which received tithes, being changed, and a change also of that law which required the payment of them necessarily ensuing thereupon, tithes themselves, considered as the minister's maintenance, consequently ceased with that change: and there being no law of Christ, (who is a priest, not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchisedec) nor of the holy apostles, who had the Spirit of Christ, that commandeth the payment of tithes, the disciples of Christ are freed from all obligation thereunto.

"Motive 2. The present ministers that lay claim to tithes, as they have no precept or commandment of Christ or his apostles for tithes, so neither have they any precedent or example of theirs for them. And therefore tithes are now a mere human institution, and those ministers that claim them, have no right by virtue of gospel precept or precedent to them.

"Motive 3. All those things which were of a nature purely ceremonial and typical under the Levitical law, are wholly abrogated and at an end under the gospel dispensation. Now of such a nature were tithes under the Levitical law, and therefore are wholly abrogated, and at an end under the gospel dispensation. "That tithes were merely ceremonial, appears manifestly from their being an heave-offering. But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave-offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit, Num. xviii. 24. Now if any thing under the Levitical law were purely ceremonial, heave-offerings undoubtedly were; and tithes being of the nature of heave-offerings, they were purely ceremonial also.

"If it should be asked, what tithes were typical of, for all the heave-offerings of the Levitical law typified something or other under the gospel dispensation? I answer, tithes being an heave-offering unto the Lord, were typical, as all the other heave-offerings were, of Christ, who is the great heave-offering. They were the shadows, he the substance; they the types or figures, he the anti-type or thing figured. In three things they specially typified or prefigured Christ.

“1. In his crucifixion; for as the types were heaved or lifted

up to the Lord, so Christ was heaved or lifted up in the oblation of himself to God upon the cross.

"2. In his resurrection; wherein he was raised up from the dead.

"3. In his ascension; wherein he was exalted to the right hand of his Father in heavenly glory.

"These are some of those motives which induce our Friends to suffer in the case of tithes; and do thou judge of their sufficiency.

[ocr errors]

"Secondly, Another supposition of thine is, that we suffer upon a mistake; that is, we take that to be the cause or reason of our suffering, which is not for thou sayst, We suffer not for bearing a testimony against tithes, strictly speaking, but as detainers of that which the law has disposed of to other uses.'

"Answer. If this were our case, we were then to be pitied, and tenderly dealt with, as a people erring through ignorance, and not of obstinacy, as some adversaries, nor of covetousness, as others have charged us. For involuntary ignorance, is, if not in some men's opinion, excusable; yet it is surely pitiable.

"But this is not our case, we know for what we suffer, namely, for bearing a testimony against tithes, and that not in a lax sense, but strictly speaking, namely, against tithes, not as a mere civil tenth, disposed of by the law for mere politic uses, but as an ecclesiastical tenth for pretended spiritual uses; the pretence being as due to God and holy church, when God has nowhere in the New Testament, given any tithes to any ministers whatsoever, for their maintenance.


"Thirdly, Thou supposest, that the law having disposed of tithes to those pretended spiritual uses, obliges us to the payment of them. But I deny the supposition; for we are under obligation to such laws of men, as are agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, and not to those which are directly repugnant thereFor as the author of that old book, intitled, The Dialogue in English between a Doctor of Divinity, and a student in the Laws of England, saith, That all the laws of man, which be not contrary to the laws of God, must be observed and kept, and that in conscience.' Again, Laws of man not contrary to the laws of God, nor to the law of reason, must be observed in the law of the soul.' But, If any law made by man bind any person to any thing, that is against the said laws, it is no law, but a corruption, and a manifest error.' Again, 'Where the

[ocr errors]

law of man is in itself directly against the law of reason, or else the law of God, and then properly it cannot be called a law, but a corruption.'

Lastly, Every man's law must be consonant to the law of God. And therefore the laws of princes, the commandments of prelates, the statutes of commonalties, nor yet the ordinance of the church is not righteous nor obligatory, but it be consonant to the law of God.' Dialogue I. Chap. 25. Ch. 4. Ch. 19. Dial. II. Ch. 15. Dial. I. Ch. 4.

"So that the law of God being always just and righteous, is the root and foundation, rule and standard of all good laws made by man; and supersedes all obligation to human laws, that are not agreeable to the divine.

"Bishop Taylor saith, 'When divine and human laws are opposed, these must always yield to those; and without dispute God is to be obeyed rather than man; and although we must obey man for God, we must never obey man against God, and therefore it was excellently counselled by Ben-Sirach, Let not the reverence of any man cause thee to sin.' Ductor Dubit. Book 3. Chap. 1. Rule 1. N. 42. p. 443. Edit. 4. 1696. another place of the same book, he saith, 'A law that is founded upon a false presumption, does not oblige the conscience.'


66 So, the aforesaid author of the Dialogue saith, 'Where the law is grounded upon a presumption, if the presumption be untrue, then the law is not to be holden in conscience.' Now the law of man which hath disposed of tithes to the clergy, so called, is not only directly repugnant to the law of God, but also grounded upon an untrue presumption, and therefore does not oblige the conscience.

"It is directly repugnant upon a twofold account to the law of God.

“The law that required the payment of tithes under the Levitical dispensation, ceased with that priesthood. For, as the apostle testifies, The priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law,' Heb. vii. 12. 'There is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before,' ver. 18. The word for disannulling signifies an abrogation or abolishing: whence it follows, that the priesthood which received tithes being changed, and the law that commanded the payment of them, being changed, disannulled, abrogated, or abolished, that law of man, which now revives the payment of them, is directly repug

« VorigeDoorgaan »