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Times's of Me Lord he fent
that are not Sent of God, run for Self.ends, and lay hold of all Advantages for their own Exaltation, Honour and Preferment, in this World; seeking their own, and not the things of Jesus Christ. And this is the cause that Truth falls in the Streets, and Equity cannot enter. So that the Apostles, as Paul, Stepben, and others, suffered for Te: ftifying against their Temple, Fasts, Feafts, Times, Months, Years, Rudiments and Commands of Men.'
Now our Lord Christ also, as he Commanded his, that he fent, so he set them an Example : And he is the Everlasting High Priest, the Son of God, the Heir of all Things, the First Born' of every Creature, the Bishop of Souls; tho he was Lord of all, yet he made himself of no Reputation, and laid no Claim to the Possessions of this world; say. ing, The Foxes bave Hóles, the Birds of the Ait bave Nests, but the Son of Man bath not whereon to lay bis Head : He laid no Claim to Tithes, nor Offerings, nor Oblations, where he travelled in the Work of his Ministry; though he laboured for the Conversion of Souls in divers places, as the true Bishop thereof, yet he laid no Claim to them, as his Diocess, nor looked for Gifts or Rewards from any place : But as he was sent of the Father, and was the Free Gift of Righieousness, he miniftred freely; and likewise, when he sent out his Disciples, to Teach all Nacions, and Disciple them in the Name of the Fatber, Son,
and Holy Ghoft, Mat. 28. 19. he faid, As my Father hatb fent me, even to send I you, John. 20. 21. And again, Freely you. bave received, freely give : Take with you neither Bag, nor Scrip, nor two Coats, nor Money in your Purses: But into what Housle or, City you enter, enquire who therein is worthy ? and there abide, till gou go therce; and what is set before you, eat : For the Labourer is worthy of his meat, Mat: 1o. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, Luke 10. 7. What, it seems, they must, if they got Food and Raiment, be content therewith ! yea, they said at their Return, They lacked not any ibing. These preached the Gospel 'freely, the New and Living Way, the Word of the Kingdom; and turn'd People to Christ,
who open'd their Hearts to minister to · their Necessities in the Work of the Gol
pel: These delir'd no Stipend, Şallary, Aug. imentation, or Settled Maintenance; buç
were content with what was ministred unto them, only by them who believed, and partook of their Spiritual Things. They gave not over Preaching the Gospel, because they had no Sectled Maintenance; like as I have known fome, in my time, who manifested themselves to minister for Hire; and filthy Lucre; so were out of the ApoAtles Doctrine and Practice, who sometimes deny'd what was freely offer'd them; left they should make the Gospel chargeable; and their Work of no effect. But no Tiches ken of at all by them, that we read
of, nor commanded or commended either ta Few or Gentile, who believ'd, in the Age of the Apostles, that we find either in Holy Scripture, or any other Ancient Records. So thus far. Primitive. Christianity was kept up. don
Renjember I tell thee, In this time many were Converted to the Faith; and such was the Liberality and Bounty to the Evangelical Ministry, that it exceeded the Tenth, and their Love and Unity was great į and some offer'd alt they had, and fold House and Land; and brought the Price, and laid it ar the Apostle's Feet, Acts 4. 34. and it was distributed to every Man as he had need Mark, the Preachers did not engross it to themselves; but every Man, according as he had need of Food and Raiment, received, with which they were content. So the Church lived freely of what camc freely, for 'thie Service of it. And thus it was at Jerusalem in those Days.
So likewife the Church, gathered by Mark at Alexandria in Egypt, followed the same Practice. Hieron. ini Vit. Marc. And Pbilo Fun deus faith, That in many other Provinces, the Bea lievers lived together in Societies. :
And in the Church at Antioch, the Saints pofsefs'd every Man his own Estate, Atts 11. 29. So likewise in Galatia and Corinth, where the Apostle ordered, That a Weekly Offering should be made for the Saints, by every Man, according to his Ability and Estate,
i Cor. 16.
1 Cor. 16. 1, 2. And this was put into the hands of Deacons, whereby the Poor were relieved, and neceffary Services supplied in the Church of God and this continued for thac Age..
In the next Ages, Monthly Offerings were freely made, and given to the Saints, by devout and able Christians; and the Overseers, appointed by the Church, were to receive them, and carefully and charitably dispose of them, according to the Necellity of the Saints, Concil. Gangi. Cam. 66. As à Maintenance for the Brethren in their Travels for the Service of God, Feeding, Cloathing and Burying their poor Brethren, Relieving of Widows and Orphans, and Persons condemned to labour, in Metal - Mines, or to Prisons, or Banishment into Ides by the Heatben Emperors.
And these Free Offerings were never exq acted, witness Tertullian, that lived about Two Hundred Years after Christ; whose words are these, (Apol. c. 39.) 'Every Man gives a "small Sum every Month, or when he will; 'bui it is, if he will, and be able ; for no
Man is compelld, but he gives freely. See here Gospel-Maintenance bare-fac'd, that oppresses no Man, nor overburdens him ; for there is enough in one hard or other co do all that's needful, easily and cheerfully, But this suits not with them that seek High Things to themfelves. i n
And And this way of Free Contribution contihued until the grear Perfecution of Dioclefian and Maximian, about the Year 395. 1
About this time fome Lands were given e to the Church, by them that believed, and
the Revenue thereof was distributed, as other Free Gifts were, by the Deacons, for-the air foresaid uses; Selden's History of Titbes, C. 4o lect. I. '
s. : Origen faith, “ It is not lawful for any Minister to posless Lands for his own ufe, that
are given to the Church. Homila 16. upon Genefisiana..
Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, allo testifies E the fame, and thews how the 0. Church maintained many Poor, Cyp -> I and that her own Diet was
* Epift. 37,34) paring and plain, and her Ex. 1 .. pences full of Frugality. This was about the Year 250.. y ;:. ! ,
Prosper also faith, "That a Minister, able to ' live of himself, ought not to desire any
thing to be given unto him; and he that "receiveth it, doth it not without great Sin. De Vità Contemplat. i o .
The Council held at Antiochen! Anno 340. finding that much fault The Council had been among the Deacons, Anna to whom ic properly did bes: , ; long to distribute the Offerings and Free Gifts, where there was need, which they detaining for their own Covelous Ends, the