« PreviousContinue »
The Parliament had, some Years before, rez liev'd the Subject, from the Power and Jurisdiétion of the Ecclesiastical Courts, to which Prosecutions for Tither : were limited by an A&t made in the Thirty Second Year of Henry tbe
but the People did not long enjoy the Benefit of that Relief: For some, who styl’d themselves Ministers of the Gospel, got an Ordinance of Parliament for the Ordination of Ministers, pro Tempore, Dated October the second 1644. And another for Tithes, Dated November the eighth following. Upon this they fell to prosecuting such as refus’d to pay them Tithes, in the Courts at Westminster, and petty. Courts in the Country, and the Severity of their Prosecutions was so great, that the Author has taken particular Notice of it, and set forth some of their cruel Exaétions.
After be bas given an Extract, or short History of Tithes, from the first Appointment of them under the Law, taken mostly from the History of Tithes by the Learned Antiquary J. Selden, ke. then, considers the several Claims - made to them. As first, By Divine Right. Secondly, By the Gifts of Kings and Princes. Thirdly, By the Laws of Kings and Parliaments. Fourtbly, By Particular Gifts, Appropriation, Consecration and Donation of the Owners of the Land. Fifibly, By Prefcription and Legal Possession. Sixtbly, By Purchase. Tbe Arguments advanced for each
of these Claims, are particularly answer’d;
But observing, that he is not so full in bis Answers to the Arguments for the Di. vine Right as he might have been, giving, we think, this as a Reason for it,
56 * Tho' Divine
page 32 Right, says be, hath been long pretended, “ few are now left who will only stand
to it, and the generality, both of Lawyers, “ Priests and People, are of a contrary Mind;" we have collected and put together in an Appendix, sucb Arguments as we found advanced against the Divine Right of Titbes, in Pieces publish'd either some Years before, or presently after, this Author's; by which the Reader may judge, whether any of them could bave that Force upon the Generality of Lawyers, Priests and People, as make them of a contrary Mind. And we thought such a Collection might bave this farther Ser. vice, that in Time to come, it might prevent Authors from advancing Reasons and Arguments for the Divine Right of Titbes, as some bave done very lately, which were fully answer'd and confuted so long ago.
In this Appendix, we bave also given a Short Account how the Author came to embrace the Principles of the People call’d Quakers,
and in what Manner fome of the First of them appear’d, and publisid their Doctrine and Prin. ciples in this Nation, and the Opposition they met with from the Teachers of tbose Times, for preaching against Tithes and Hireling Ministers.
These Teachers represented the Principles of
the Quakers as destructive to the Gospel, and * See pa. inconsistent with Peace and Civil Society;
bave therefore given the * Answers they tben made to that Charge, and have fubjoin'd a Defence of some Principles beld by them, in which they differ from other Religious Denominations': Tbe. Arguments for these are fupported by Scripture, and the concurring Sena timents of Ancient and Modern Authors.
To the Country-men, Farmers, and
Husbandmen of England.
Treatife is sent abroad, that in a
Head comprehended, it shall be acceptable to me to receive it.
The Method of the Discourse.
First, I have begun with Tything amongst the Jews, which, either in Precept or Example, is the Foundation for all others.
Secondly, I bave given you a foort View of ibe Doctrines, Opinions, Decrees and Practices of the Primitive Church concerning them, and from thence downward until this Day, wbicb is enough to clear the whole Point.
Thirdly, Out of wbicb, having made some sort Observations, I state the Cafe as it concerns us in England.
Fourthly, And then bearing wbat every one bath to say for them, and giving them particular Answers:
Fifthly, 1 proceed to satisfie some great Objections, and to conclude the zbole, in as much Brevity as the Variety of the Subject would permit.