be true: and find how false and deviseable that common saying is, which is so much relied upon, that the Christian magistrate is “ Custos utriusque Tabulæ," Keeper of both Tables, unless is meant by keeper the defender only; neither can that maxim be maintained by any proof or argument, which hath not in this discourse first or last been refuted. For the two tables, or ten commandments, teach our duty to God and our neighbour from the love of both; give magistrates no authority to force either: they seek that from the judicial law, though on false grounds, especially in the first table, as I have shown; and both in first and second execute that authority for the most part, not according to God's judicial laws, but their

As for civil crimes, and of the outward man, which all are not, no, not of those against the second table, as that of coveting; in them what power they have, they had from the beginning, long before Moses or the two tables were in being. And whether they be not now as little in being to be kept by any Christian as they are two legal tables, remains yet as undecided, as it is sure they never were yet delivered to the keeping of any Christian magistrate. But of these things perhaps more some other time; what may serve the present hath been above discoursed sufficiently out of the Scriptures: and to those produced, might be added testimonies, ex amples, experiences, of all succeeding ages to these times, asserting this doctrine: but having herein the Scripture so copious and so plain, we have all that can be properly called true strength and nerve; the rest would be but pomp and encumbrance. Pomp and ostentation of reading is admired among the vulgar: but doubtless in matters of religion he is learnedest who is plainest. The brevity I use, not exceeding a small manual, will not therefore, I suppose, be thought the less considerable, unless with them perhaps who think that great books only can determine great matters. I rather choose the common rule, not to make much ado, where less may serve.

Which in controversies, and those especially of religion, would make them less tedious, and by consequence read oftener by many more, and with more benefit.









Owing to your protection, Supreme Senate! this liberty of writing, which I have used these eighteen years on all occasions to assert the best rights and freedoms both of church and state, and so far approved, as to have been trusted with the representment and defence of your actions to all Christendom against an adversary of no mean repute; to whom should I address whai I still publish on the same argument, but to you, whose magnanimous councils first opened and unbound the age from a double bondage under prelatical and regal tyranny; above our own hopes heartening us to look up at last like men and Christians from the slavish dejection, wherein from father to son we were bred up and taught; and thereby deserving of these nations, if they be not barbarously ingrateful, to be acknowledged, next under God, the authors and best patrons of religious and civil liberty, that ever these islands brought forth? The care and tuition of whose peace and safety, after a short but scandalous night of interruption, is now again, by a new dawning of God's miraculous providence among us, revolved upon your shoulders.

And to whom more appertain these considerations, which I propound, than to yourselves, and the debate before you, though I trust of no difficulty, yet at present of great expectation, not whether ye will gratify, were it no more than so, but whether ye will hearken to the just petition of many thousands best affected both to religion and to this your return, or whether ye will satisfy, which you never can, the covetous pretences and demands of insatiable hirelings, whose disaffection ye well know both to yourselves and your resolutions ? That I, though among many others in this common concernment, interpose to your deliberations what my thoughts also are ; your own judgment and the success thereof hath given me the confidence: which requests but this, that if I have prosperously, God so favouring me, defended the public cause of this commonwealth to foreigners, ye would not think the reason and ability, whereon ye trusted once (and repent not) your whole reputation to the world, either grown less by more maturity and longer study, or less available in English than in another tongue: but that if it sufficed some years past to convince and satisfy the unengaged of other nations in the justice of your doings, though then held paradoxal, it

may as well suffice now against weaker opposition in matters, except here in VOL. II.



England with a spirituality of men devoted to their temporal gain, of no controversy else among protestants.

Neither do I doubt, seeing daily the acceptance which they find who in their petitions venture to bring advice also, and new models of a commonwealth, but that you will interpret it much more the duty of a Christian to offer what his conscience persuades him may be of moment to the freedom . and better constituting of the church: since it is a deed of highest charity to help undeceive the people, and a work worthiest your authority, in all things else authors, assertors, and now recoverers of our liberty, to deliver us, the only people of all protestants left still undelivered, from the oppressions of a simonious decimating clergy, who shame not, against the judgment and practice of all other churches reformed, to maintain, though very weakly, their popish and oft refuted positions; not in a point of conscience wherein they might be blameless, but in a point of covetousness and unjust claim to other men's goods; a contention foul and odious in any man, but most of all in ministers of the gospel, in whom contention, though for their own right, scarce is allowable. Till which grievances be removed, and religion set free from the monopoly of hirelings, I dare affirm, that no model whatsoever of a commonwealth will prove successful or undisturbed ; and so persuaded, implore divine assistance on your pious councils and proceedings to unanimity in this and all other truth.

John Milton.




The former treatise, which leads in this, began with two things ever found working much mischief, to the one side restraining, and hire on the other side corrupting, the teachers thereof. The latter of these is by much the more dangerous: for under force, though no thank to the forcers, true religion ofttimes best thrives and flourishes; but the corruption of teachers, most commonly the effect of hire, is the very bane of truth in them who are so corrupted. Of force not to be used in matters of religion, I have already spoken; and so stated matters of conscience and religion in faith and divine worship, and so severed them from blasphemy and heresy, the one being such properly as is despiteful, the other such as stands not to the rule of Scripture, and so both of them not matters of religion, but rather against it, that to them who will yet use force, this only choice can be left, whether they will force them to believe, to whom it is not given from above, being not forced thereto by any principle of the gospel, which is now the only dispensation of God to all men; or whether being protestants, they will punish in those things wherein the protestant religion denies them to be judges, either in themselves infallible, or to the consciences of other men; or whether, lastly, they think fit to punish error, supposing they can be infallible that it is so, being not wilful, but conscientious, and, according to the best light of him who errs, grounded on Scripture: which kind of error

all men religious, or but only reasonable, have thought worthier of pardon, and the growth thereof to be prevented by spiritual means and church-discipline, not by civil laws and outward force, since it is God only who gives as well to believe aright, as to believe at all; and by those means, which he ordained sufficiently in his church to the full execution of his divine purpose in the gospel. It remains now to speak of hire, the other evil so inischievous in religion : whereof I promised then to speak further, when I should find God disposing me, and opportunity inviting. Opportunity I find now inviting; and apprehend therein the concurrence of God's disposing; since the maintenance of church ministers, a thing not properly belonging to the magistrate, and yet with such importunity called for, and expected from him, is at present under public debate. Wherein lest any thing may happen to be determined and established prejudicial to the right and freedom of the church, or advantageous to such as may be found hirelings therein, it will be now most seasonable, and in these matters, wherein every Christian hath his free suffrage, no way misbecoming Christian meekness to offer freely, without disparagement to the wisest, such advice as God shall incline him and enable him to propound : since heretofore in commonwealths of most fame for government, civil laws were not established till they had been first for certain days published to the view of all men, that whoso pleased might speak freely his opinion thereof, and give in his exceptions, ere the law could pass to a full establishment. And where ought this equity to have more place, than in the liberty which is inseparable from Christian religion? This, I am not ignorant, will be a work unpleasing to some: but what truth is not hateful to some or other, as this, in likelihood, will be to none but hirelings. And if there be among them who hold it their duty to speak impartial truth, as the work of their ministry, though not performed without money, let them not envy others who think the same no less their duty by the general office of Christianity, to speak truth, as in all reason may be thought, more impartially and unsuspectedly without money.

Hire of itself is neither a thing unlawful, nor a word of any evil note, sig. nifying no more than a due recompence or reward ; as when our Saviour saith, “the labourer is worthy of his hire.” That which makes it so dangerous in the church, and properly makes the hireling, a word always of evil signification, is either the excess thereof, or the undue manner of giving and taking it. What harm the excess thereof brought to the church, perhaps was not found by experience till the days of Constantine ; who out of his zeal thinking he could be never too liberally a nursing father of the church, might be not unfitly said to have either overlaid it or choked it in the nursing. Which was foretold, as is recorded in ecclesiastical traditions, by a voice heard from heaven, on the very day that those great donations and church-revenues were given, crying aloud, " This day is poison poured into the church.” Which the event soon after verified, as appears by another no less ancient observation, “ That religion brought forth wealth, and the daughter devoured the mother."

But long ere wealth came into the church, so soon as any gain appeared in religion, hirelings were apparent; drawn in, long before by the very scent thereof. Judas therefore, the first hireling, for want of present hire answerable to his coveting, from the small number or the meanness of such as then were the religious, sold the religion itself with the founder thereof, his master. Simon Magus the next, in hope only that preaching and the gifts of the Holy Ghost would prove gainful, offered beforehand a sum of money to obtain them. Not long after, as the apostle foretold, hirelings like wolves came in by herds: Acts xx. 29, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” Tit

. i. 11, “Teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.” 2 Pet. ii. 3, “ And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.” Yet they taught not false doctrine only, but seeming piety: 1 Tim. vi. 5, “Supposing that gain is godliness.” Neither came they in of themselves only, but invited ofttimes by a corrupt audience: 2 l'im. iv. 3, “For the time will come, when they will not endure sound

doctrine, but after their own lusts they will heap to themselves teachers, and uns Punua

having itching ears?" and they on the other side, as fast heaping to themPatio selves disciples, Acts xx. 30, doubtless had as itching palms: 2 Pet. ii. 15,

“ Following the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” Jude 11, “ They ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward.” Thus we see, that not only the excess of hire in wealthiest times, but also the undue and vicious taking or giving it, though but small or mean, as in the primitive times, gave to hirelings occasion, though not intended, yet sufficient to creep at first into the church. Which argues also the difficulty, or rather the impossibility, to remove them quite, unless every minister were, as St. Paul, contented to preach gratis ; but few such are to be found. As therefore we cannot justly take away all hire in the church, because we cannot otherwise quite remove all hirelings, so are we not, for the impossibility of removing them all, to use therefore no endeavour that fewest may come in; but rather, in regard the evil, do what we can, will always be incumbent and unavoidable, to use our utmost diligence how it may be least dangerous: which will be likeliest effected, if we consider, first, what recompence God hath ordained should he given to ministers of the church ; (for that a recompence ought to be given them, and may by them justly be received, our Saviour himself from the very light of reason and of equity hath declared, Luke x. 7, “ The labourer is worthy of his hire ;'') next, by whom; and lastly, in what manner.

What recompence ought to be given to church-ministers, God hath answerably ordained according to that difference, which he hath manifestly put between those his two great dispensations, the law and the gospel. Under the law he gave them tithes ; under the gospel, having left all things in his church to charity and Christian freedom, he hath given them only what is justly given. That, as well under the gospel, as under the law, say our English divines, and they only of all protestants, is tithes; and they say true, if any man be so minded to give them of his own the tenth or twentieth ; but that the law therefore of tithes is in force under the gospel, all other protestant divines, though equally concerned, yet constantly deny. For although hire to the labourer be of moral and perpetual right, yet that special kind of hire, the tenth, can be of no right or necessity, but to that special labour for which God ordained it. That special labour was the Levitical and ceremonial service of the tabernacle, Numb. xviii. 21, 31, which is now abolished: the right therefore of that special hire must needs be withal abolished, as being also ceremonial. That tithes were ceremonial, is plain, not being given to the Levites till they had been first offered a heave-offering to the Lord, ver. 24, 28. He then who by that law brings tithes into the gospel, of necessity brings in withal a sacrifice, and an altar; without which tithes by that law were unsanctified and polluted, ver. 32, and therefore never thought on in the first Christian times, till ceremonies, altars, and oblations, by an ancienter corruption, were brought back long before. And yet the Jews, ever since their temple was destroyed, though they have rabbies and teachers of their law, yet pay no tithes, as having no

« ForrigeFortsett »