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nant to the law of God, which hath abrogated that law, which required the payment of them to the Levites. By the promise of God made to Abraham, and his posterity by Sarah, the Levites had an hereditary right to a twelfth part of the land of Canaan, being descendants in a right line from them; but being deprived of that, they had tithes given them partly, in compensation thereof, and partly for their charge and service of the tabernacle; the tithe of which they were to pay to the priests for their charge of the sanctuary and the altar. For the priests did not receive tithes immediately of the people, but of the Levites, to whom the people paid them; and by the account Moses gives of tithes, it appears they were due from none but the inhabitants of the land of Israel, and to none but the Levites. There was another tithe, which the people were, the first two years, to carry to Jerusalem either in kind, or if the way were too far to turn it into money, (adding a fifth part of the value, as the Jews interpret and apply Levit. xxvii. 30, 31,) and there to spend it in feasts at the temple, and every third year, instead of that, they were to spend it upon the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, within their own gates. But that is not the tithe under present consideration.
"Now for men to make a law to compel the payment of tithes, when the Levitical law, whereof tithes were a part, is abrogated by the law of God, what is it but to act in direct repugnancy to his law, and to set up the will of man in opposition to the will of God?
“Again, it is directly repugnant to the law of God upon another account. For the commanding of tithes, under the gospel dispensation, is contrary to the priesthood of Christ, who 'pertaineth to another tribe; of which no man gave attendance at the altar; for it is evident, that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood,' Heb. vii. 13, 14, that is the Levitical priesthood, ver. 11, and consequently of tithes, which began, continued, and ended with it. For Christ made no law for the payment of tithes; but ordained another sort of maintenance for his ministers, namely, a voluntary contribution to their necessities, from those who received them and their ministry. See Luke, x. 7, 8. Therefore, to make a law to compel the payment of tithes under the gospel dispensation, upon pretence that they are due to gospel ministers, is directly repugnant to the law of God, as being con
trary to the priesthood of Christ, who is the head of his church, and hath nowhere commanded the payment of them; but ordained and appointed another maintenance for his ministers, to wit, a voluntary contribution to their necessities, from those who receive them and their ministry.
"The law of man, which hath disposed of tithes to the clergy, so called, is grounded upon an untrue presumption, and therefore doth not oblige the conscience. The presumption that the law of man goeth upon is, that tithes are due to God and holy church the very same topic that the Church of Rome made use of, when it first prevailed upon people to pay tithes to the priests, and which it still makes use of to continue them in that unscriptural practice. But this presumption is untrue; for though we owe all our possessions to God, the merciful and bountiful donor of them, and are commanded to 'distribute to the necessities of the saints,' which are the holy church militant; yet we owe not tithes to God and holy church, that is, the popish clergy here of old, and the prelatical now, because God hath repealed that law which required the payment of them to the Levites, and made none since to pay them to any persons whatsoever, no, not to the ministers of Christ; and therefore much less to those that derive and act from antichrist.
"From what has been said I do infer, that we who cannot in conscience comply with the paying of tithes to the uses by thee hinted, namely, to the maintenance of the clergy, so called, notwithstanding the law has so disposed of them, we may take and apply them to our own; there lying no obligation upon conscience, to obey a law made by man, directly repugnant to the law of God, and grounded upon a presumption that is untrue, as hath been proved by the preceding discourse."
"An Exhortation to a faithful Obedience to the Light of Christ." "The great God, 'who made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters,' Rev. xiv. 7, the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy,' and dwelleth in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones,' Isa. lvii. 15, not only is in the light,' 1 John, i. 7, and dwelleth in the light, 1 Tim. vi. 16, but is light, and in him is no darkness at all,' 1 John, i. 5 Not a figurative or metaphorical light, as some erroneously con
ceive and assert; but he is truly and properly light, infinitely excelling all created light, being eternal or everlasting light,' Isai. lx. 20. In like manner Christ, who is before all things, and by him all things do consist,' Col. i. 17, the 'Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty,' Rev. i. 8. • The Word,' which in the beginning was with God, and was and is God, John, i. 1, 2, testifieth of himself, saying, 'I am the Light of the world,' John, viii. 12. And the evangelist John declareth, He 6 was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,' John, i. 9. And this light which shineth in darkness,' ver. 5; that is, in the dark hearts of men and women, hath shined and doth shine in our hearts, and hath given us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. iv. 6. And we have, through the grace of God, been enabled 'to bear a noble testimony to this divine light, beyond any age since that of the apostles, by powerful writing and preaching, by patient suffering and holy and unblameable living, to the turning of many 'from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which ure sanctified by faith, that is in' Christ Jesus, the true light, Acts, xxvi. 18.
"And as God is light, in whom is no darkness at all, so he is love, 1 John, iv. 8, love in perfection, love itself, love which passeth knowledge, Eph. iii. 19, love incomprehensible and inexpressible. And he who is love hath abundantly displayed his love toward the children of men in general. There being nothing in them to move him to love them, but he loved them because he is love For 'herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins,' I John, iv. 10. This is such an evidence and demonstration of his being love, and of his loving of us, that the evangelist in contemplation thereof, breaks forth into this seraphical language, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved, John, iii. 16, 17. God so loved the world,—so, as there never was such another instance of divine love. And therefore the same beloved disciple testifies to it in another place, as the greatest demonstration of divine love. 'In this
was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him,' 1 John, iv. 9. Now, this love of God, we have also been enabled from the shedding of it abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us, Rom. v. 5, to bear a testimony unto, in our love to him, and to one another. And because the loving of one another is the grand test of true discipleship,- By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another,' John, xiii. 35,-our blessed Saviour earnestly presseth them to love one another, from the example of his love to them, 'A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another,' John, xiii. 34. This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you,' John, xv. 12. Not that we can possibly raise our love to one another, to that proportion of love wherewith Christ hath loved us, but we ought to imitate his copy as far as we are able,-‘As I have loved you.' The as here, is a note of similitude or comparison, not of quality or equality, we ought to love one another with love unfeigned; without reserves, partiality, or hypocrisy. We should press after the highest degree of love attainable in this present state.
"These two attributes of God, light and love, have been, and are much upon my mind, and it is the desire of my soul, that we all inspect and examine ourselves, and that impartially, how we stand as in his sight, who knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts, with respect to his light and love.
"None should be offended at an exhortation of this kind, considering the subtlety of our adversary, the devil, and our own proneness to think better of ourselves, than we ought to think. A Laodicean frame is apt to seize many, and they are ready to say, They are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; when they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. See Rev. iii. 17. A dull, sleepy state will come upon us, if we do not watch. Christ therefore counselled his disciples, Take ye heed, watch and pray,—and what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch,' Mark, xiii. 33, 37. Watchfulness is the duty of every one of us, and where that is, there will be a self-examination. And because good men and women are subject to remissness therein, the apostle puts the church of God at Corinth in mind of their duty, Ex
amine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your ownselves; know ye not your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?' 2 Cor. xiii. 5; that is, such as are not approved of God, but are fallen into a stupid state. Which shows, that those who were in a good condition, were approved of God, and did know that Jesus Christ was in them, may through unwatchfulness and want of diligence, lose that good condition; and though they may have a name, yea, think themselves to be alive, yet be spiritually dead.
"We have great need, therefore, to be frequent and impartial in the examination of ourselves, lest we be deceived in a matter of such weight and moment as this is. Those Jews, a professing people, in our Saviour's time, spoken of, John, viii. had as high a thought of themselves as any modern professors, 'We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man,' ver. 33. 'Abraham is our father,' ver. 39. 'We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.' ver. 41, and yet they were under a most dreadful mistake; for notwithstanding their pretences of being the children of God, and of Abraham, he positively told them, 'Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do,' ver. 44. Nay, they were so conceited of their good estate, though it was extremely bad, that they judged our Saviour himself, 'Say we not well, that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil,' ver. 48; and a little after, 'We know thou hast a devil.' It is not unknown who they were, that cried, 'The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are these,' Jer. vii. 4; and yet all this while they spake lying words, and made the cry of religion, a cover for their defects in moral righteousness. Nor can those who read the Holy Scriptures, be strangers to what our Saviour saith, concerning men of great pretensions without corresponding practice, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father, which is in heaven,' Matt. vii. 21. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name have done many wonderful works?' ver. 22. But observe the answer of Christ to such nominalists without the nature, and formalists without the power of godliness, Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: Depart from me ye that work in