but he received tithes; and that not in the right of any thing in himself, but merely in the virtue of his typical office,--so that originally they did manifestly pertain to that principal priest, whom these represented, whose personal priesthood i is standing, unalterable, and eternal, and therefore the rights thereunto belonging are such too.

If it be objected, Why then did not Christ in his life receive tithes ? I answer, First, Because though he were the substance, yet the standing typical priesthood was not abolished, till after his ministry on earth was finished : for his priesthood was not consummate till his sitting at the right hand of God. Secondly, Because he took upon him a voluntary poverty for especial reasons belonging to the state of his humiliation, and to the dispensation of man’s redemption k. You will say, Now Christ's priesthood is consummate, and he himself is in Heaven, whither no tithes can be sent, therefere none are due, because he hath no typical priests on earth to represent him.-1 answer, Though he be in Heaven in his body, yet he is on earth in his ministry, and in the dispensation of the virtue of his sacrifice; and the ministers of the gospel are “in his stead !” and ought to be received as “ Christ himself m.” So then men are not by this excused from rendering God's dues unto him; First, Because there is, in respect of him, whose sacrifice we commemorate and show forth to the people, due a testification of homage unto him : Secondly, Because in respect of us, there is due a reward of our labour; for “the labourer is worthy of his hire.” To lay all together in one view, inasmuch as all the types of Christ as a priest, have received tithes as due ; and inasmuch as that right was not grounded upon any thing in or from themselves, but upon their typical office, and so did originally pertain to the principal priest whom they typified ; and inasmuch as his person and office is eternal, and therefore such are all the 'annexa' and dues thereof; and inasmuch as he hath no where dispensed with, or denied, or refused, or revoked this right which from him, as the principal, all his types ever enjoyed; and lastly, inasmuch as he hath left to the ministers of his Word, the dispensation of his sacrifice, and made them his “ambassadors," and in “his stead" to the church, to set forth him crucified in his ordinances ; for my part I do not see why unto them, in the name and right of their master, those rights should not be due, wbich were manifestly his in his types, and of which himself hath no where in bis Word declared any revocation.

i Dicit Apostolus, ad tempus decimas Levitis solutas fuisse, quia non semper riverent; Melchizedek vero, quia immortalis fit, retinere usque in finem quod à Deo semel illi datum est. Calu, in Heb. vii. 8. k 2 Cor. viii, 9. 12 Cor.

m Gal. iii. 14.

v. 20.

But not to enter upon any disputes or unwelcome controversies, thus much I cannot by the way but observe, That these,—who labour in the Word and doctrine, and therein are ambassadors for Christ, and stand in his stead to reveal the mysteries, and dispense the treasures of his blood in the church,-ought to have, by way of homage to Christ, and by way of recompense and retribution to themselves, a liberal maintenance, befitting the honour and dignity of that person whom they represent, and of that service wherein they minister : The apostle saith, That they are worthy of double honour", an honour of reverence, and an honour of maintenance ;—and doubtless the very heathen shall rise up in judgement against many, who profess the truth in both these respects; for the heathen themselves did show so much honour to their devilish priests, that I remember one of the Roman consulso seeing a priest and some vestal virgins going on foot, and he riding on his chariot, descended, and would not go into it again, till those diabolical votaries were first placed; nay, the very kings and emperors in Greece, Egypt, Rome, &c. thought it one of the greatest honours to be withal the priests of the people. Amongst the Christians, when the Synod of Nice was assembled by Constantine's command, and some accusations, or (as the historian P calleth them) calumniations were presented to the emperor against some bishops and ministers, he looked not on the particulars, but sealed them up with his own signet; and having first reconciled the parties, commanded the libels to be burnt, adding withal, that if he should himself see a bishop in adultery, he would cover his nakedness with bis own royal robe; " Because," saith he,

“ Because," saith he,“ the sins of such

n I Tim. v. 17, 18. Lam. iv. 16. Phil. ii. 29. 2 Cor. i. 41. Hosea iv. 4. o Liv.- Alex. ab Aler. lib 2. cap. 8. Clem. Alex. Suro. lib. 7.—Diodor. Sicul. lib. 2.-Theodoret. Hist. lib. 1. cap. 11.-Socrat. lib. 1. cap. 8.

men ought not to be divulged, lest their example do as much hurt to the souls of others, as their fact to their own : for as a good life is necessary for themselves, so is their good fame necessary for others"." The meaning of that noble prince, was not that such men's sins should go unexanıined, or exempted from punishment, but to show both in how high honour they who are worthy in that function, ought to be had for their work's sake“; and how wary men should be in giving liberty to their tongues or distempered passions to censure, mis-report, or scandalize the persons and parts of such men, against whom Timothy was not to receive an accusation without two or three witnesses '; and to give notice of those ill consequences, which would ensue upon the public observation of the sins of those men, who in their doctrine preach the truth, and build up the church. For doubt. less of other men who preach lies in hypocrisy, there cannot too much of their secret villanies and personal uncleanness be detected, that so the lewdness of their lives may stop the progress and growth of their evil doctrine.

But to return to the point that I am upon: liberal maintenance is due to those that labour in the Word and doctrine, out of justice, and not out mercy, for their work's sake. I will not press the examples of heathens themselves in this duty, for the shame of Christians. We find that the priests of Egypt u had portions out of the king's own treasuries, and that their lands were still reserved unto them. And we find besides these lands, that they had the third part of all yearly tributes and levies, as Diodorus Siculus y tells us. But we will first look upon the example of God's own priests and Levites under the law : Secondly, Upon the precepts and commands of the gospel. God is not less mindful of ministers under the gospel, than of those under the law. Now then, if you will not believe that a liberal maintenance is now by God allotted unto us, look what he did allot unto them: first, look upon the proportion of their persons, and then upon the proportion of their maintenance : for their persons, it would not be hard to prove that the tribe of Levi, though the thirteenth part of the people in regard of their civil division, were not yet the fortieth part of the people.

[ocr errors]

* Vita Episcoporum sibi, fama aliis necessaria. Aug. s 1 Thes, v. 12, 13. tl Tim, v. 19.

u Plin. lib. 12. cap. 14.-Alex. al Alex. lib. 3. cap. 22. x Gen. xlvii. 22. y Lib. 2. z Vid. Selden's Review of his History, cap. 2.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Look into the numbering of them, and compare Number i. 46. with iii. 39. The other tribes were numbered from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to bear arms, which was to the age of fifty years, as Josephus reports; for, at that age, they were supposed to be unserviceable for war;--and yet thus their number amounted to six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty men, able to go to war. The Levites, on the other side, were numbered from one month old and upward ; and yet the whole sum amounted but to twenty and two thousand. Now conjecture the number of those in the other 'tribes, who were under twenty years of age, and who were too old for warlike 'service, to be but half as many as the rest; yet the whole number of the tribes, reckoned from their infancy upward, will amount, at the least, to nine hundred and two thousand men. Of which number, the number of the Levites is just the one and fortieth part. After, we find, that they increased to a mighty number more b; but the whole people increased accordingly : for the tribe of Judah, which was before but seventy-four thousand, was then five hundred thousand, and, in Jehoshaphat's time, eleven hundred thousand at least Well then, the Levites were but the fortieth part of the people (not so much), so that that tribe was but almost a quarter as numerous as the rest. Now look in the next place to the proportion of their mainteance. One would think, that the fortieth part of the people could require but the fortieth part of the maintenance in proportion. But, First, They had the tenth of all the increase of seed, and fruit, and great and small cattle a. Secondly, They had forty-eight cities with suburbs for gardens, and for cattle :-which cities were next to the best, and, in many tribes, the best of all; in Judah, Hebron,-in Benjamin, Gibeon, both royal cities; so that those, with about a mile suburb to every one of them, can come to little less than the wealth of one tribe alone, in that little country, which from Dan to Beersheba was about a hundred and sixty miles long. Thirdly, They had all the first-fruits of clean and unclean beasts f; of the fruits of the earth, and the fleece of the sheep %; of men to be redeemed h. Fourthly, The meatofferings, the sin-offerings, the trespass-offerings, the heaveofferings, and the wave-offerings, were all theirs ! Fifthly, They had all vows and voluntary oblations, and consecrations, and every hallowed thing * Sixthly, Excepting the Holocaust, they had either the shoulder, or the breast, or the skin, or something of every sacrifice which was offered'. Seventhly, The males were to appear three times a-year before the Lord, and they were not to come empty handed". Lastly, Unto them did belong many recompenses of injury, which was the restitution of the principal, and a fifth part". Now put the tithes, the cities, and these other constant revenues together; and the priests and Levites, who were but about a quarter as many as one tribe, had yet about three times the revenues of one tribe.

b1 Chron. xxxij. 3 e Numb. xxxv. 2.

Numb. xviii, 15.

* 2 Sam. xxiv. 2. Chron. vii. d Levit. xxvii. 30. fNumb. xviii. 13. 5 Deut. xviii. 4. Neh, x. 35. i Numb. xviii. 9, 10, 11. k Numb. xviii. 8, 9. I Numb. xviii. 18. Lev. vii. Deut. xviii. 3. m Exod. xxiii. 15, 17. n Numb. v. 7, 8. o Gal. vi. 6 p 1 Tim. v. 17, 18.

But to leave this argument. Let us consider what the apostle saith ; "Let him that is taught in the Word, communicate to him that teacheth, ảv mãos dyabois, in all his goods," as Beza well expounds ito.--" The elders that labour in the Word and doctrine, are worthy of double honour : for the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn, and the labourer is worthy of his reward P." “Who goeth a warfare, at any time, at his own charges ? Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man” (that is, am I partial ? do I speak merely out of affection, and human favour to mine own cause, or calling ?)“ or saith not the law the same also ? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? or saith he it altogether for our sakes?” That is, Doth God provide laws for rewarding and encouraging the labour of brute beasts, and doth be leave the maintenance and honour of his own immediate officers to the arbitrary and pinching allowances of covetous and cruel men ? “For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, That he that plougheth, should plough in hope; and he that thresheth in hope, should be partaker of his hope:” That is, that the encouragement of the ministers, in their service, might

« VorigeDoorgaan »