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We are willing to be counted fools by such wiselings; but let him know, that wisdom himself said, “He that will be wise, must first become a fool."
He proceeds, and says, “ It was a privilege to them that were invited to the marriage of the King's Son, though they made light of the invitation, and would not come.” Mat. xxi.
Answer. Those that rightly come to the marriage of the King's Son, the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, must put off the garment spotted with the flesh, lest it be said to them, “ Friend, how camest
thou in hither, not having on the wedding garment ?” - Let every true christian fear, lest he bring on himself
that awful sentence, “ Depart from me all ye that work iniquity, I know you not;" notwithstanding they had eat and drank in his presence, and in his name they had cast out devils, and done many wondrous works, and he had taught in their streets; yet nevertheless, because they were found in the acts of sin, they must depart from him.
Now, says he, “Every inhabitant, partaking in the public privilege of a gospel ministry, reason and justice requires, that every one should bear a part of the external charge, in order to the maintenance of it.”
Answer. But every person not partaking of what he calls so, and believing that, as these erroneous priests preach it to be a bondage, and not a privilege; to force such to pay too, is altogether unreasonable, and great injustice ; let all sensible christians judge.
4th. He says, “ It is warrantable from scripture, that such inhabitants as refuse to pay any thing toward the support of the ministry, should have their just proportion taken from them by legal distress.”
Answer. We want him, or any of his brethren, to show us that warrant from holy scripture; for he hath not done it yet: and where shall we find that it is warrantable from scripture, and the doctrine and practice of Christ and his apostles ? for what he has produced from holy scripture, has fairly proved to the contrary; and as for his legality, that great word, it is only what others
of his' spirit have pleaded in former ages. Did not Nebuchadnezzar persecute the servants of God by a law? Could not they say they suffered legally? Did not the Jews say concerning our Lord, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die ?” Did not the people of Massachusetts make a law, and by it hang the poor innocent quakers? Did not all those say, that they suffered legally? And do not some of the New-England ministers justify it in their pulpits to this day? though others there are (I believe) really sorry for it.
“Oh, but (say our modern teachers, who have money for it) we hope you will not compare us christians to Jews and heathens."
Why not, if found in their practices ? For when once people go to persecute others for their conscientious dissent, it is most certain they go from the spirit of Christ, as may fairly be proved from Christ's own expressions; and doubtless all persecutors are antichrists, notwithstanding their fine gilding of it over, with the words, legal distress, and prosecution.
In his fourth page he begins thus, “ For it is a just and legal debt, as has already been proved.” (To those that agree to it, and contract it, he should have added.)
Answer. But unjust and illegal to those who cannot, for conscience sake, consent to it, and therefore it is a mistake in him to say, “ It has already been proved ;" for he hath not, nor can he prove it (to force any by a coercive power) to be consonant to the holy scripture. In
page the 4th he says, “God has given his ministers a just right to some proportion of every man's estate, in the place were they minister."
What, Jews, heathens, and all ? What, every man, whatsoever? Where proves he that? For my part, if I were a minister for money, I should think that what I got from other people against their wills, would never prosper, but would be a curse to, and upon me, and tend to the consumption of the rest of my estate, rather than augmenting of it: and I have heard some moderate ministers, who have money for their preaching, say the same.
He goes on further, and says “And that part of each man's estate, which God gives ministers a right to by his just and equal law.”
Answer. By his just and equal gospel he forces none; but leaves every one to be fully persuaded in their own minds.
And he must needs say, “That the gospel power ex. ceeds the power of any law whatsoever.”
And the gospel is free, not forced, as he in vain would endeavour to prove from holy scripture. That must be an unjust law that forces people to buy whether they will or no, and therefore none of God's law or way; for all his laws and ways are equal.
And he also says in page the 4th, “They have as much power to challenge it as any other debt or wages."
Not without people agree with them, and hire them. ( Ind though they do agree with them, I do not grant that they have any colour, from the New Testament, to make any such law, even among themselves; it being inconsistent with the nature of the glorious gospel of Christ.) Upon which a passage comes into my mind, between an Indian and a New England minister, well known to some of their teachers in New-England, who (for preaching) took from a dissenter from the presbyterian way, one of his cows: The Indian asked him why he did so ? The priest answered, if I hire you to make a fence for me, would you not expect your wages? Yes (says the Indian) but he no hire you, and when me do man's work, then man pay me; but when you do God's work, then God
pay you. The poor Indian was in the right, for truly God's pay is better than all the silver and gold in the world.
Oh! but, say they, how must we live?
If they had faith in God and Christ, they need not fear a living in this world.
But, say they, “ The people are so hard-hearted, that if there were not a law for it, the ministers might starve."
Then their doctrine must starve the people's souls, or else surely they would not let their bodies starve: that must needs be a lifeless, dull, dead ministry, that will not open people's hearts, so as to keep the preachers free starving; but I think there is no fear of their starving for they generally live like lords among the people
. Ba let them remember withal, that they are not to lent: over the heritage of God.
“ It is (says he) agreeable to the doctrine of Christ zł his apostie, that such as refuse to pay their just decu should be distrained for the same, by virtue of the co sword amongst the christians.” Rom. xiii. 14.
Answer. He should prove the debt to be just, and the this text would have been to his purpose : for those tri contract debts, ought to pay them. In page 5th, he talks of the law and light of nature
, e reason, and says, “It is the law of God written in C heart.” Rom. ii. 15. He adds, “All the laws of God sweetly harmonize both one with another, and the dr trine of Christ and his apostles; there is no manner i jar between any of these.”
Answer. But there is a wonderful jar between the crrupt nature or law of man, and the divine nature or bil of God; he should have distinguished between the cu. rupt nature, reason and law, and the divine; for erce he rightly divide between the precious and the vile
, cannot be as the mouth of God to the people. Now the corrupt and covetous nature in those that seek their ga from their quarter, and preach for hire, and divine kr money, says, “That those that cannot pay them" (thou for conscience sake) “ they must be forced to it, whether they will or no.”
But the divine nature of Christ and his apostles ser “ Freely ye have received, freely give.” Mat
. x. 8. 1 their gospel is not free, they have not received it fros Christ. Also, if they have not received it freely, the may call it their own gospel, but it is not Christ's
. Ar though Christ's ministers had power to eat and drisk and to forbear working, yet, says the divine nature in tk apostle, “ I have used none of those things ; neither do write, that it should be so done unto me." I Cor. ix. I And that it is not covetousness, that divers quakers : called, cannot pay the covetous priests, is manifest;
ey take much more, and sometimes double and treble, I could easily bring many instances and living witnesses
prove what I assert, from Virginia, Maryland, and undantly in New-England (without going over to Great itain) in which many thousands of pounds have those al ministers taken by force, within these fifty years, om such as for conscience sake, could not put it into eir own mouths; and then war has been proclaimed ainst those poor sheep. Well, let the righteous judge, t the self-righteous ( I do not mean them) but those 10 are clothed upon with the righteousness of the Lord sus Christ, as he wrought it outwardly for them, and so as he works it by his holy spirit, in their hearts. Next to his 3dly, Touching government and magis. ites, which the people called quakers ever owned and noured in their way, though they could not cringe, rape and bow, after the common mode of the sinful nes, nor give titles to them in Aattery : but we reckon at those magistrates that are a terror to hypocrites and il doers, ought to have a hearty inward respect and honir, shown to them generously in action and courteous pression, and not in a parcel of idle compliments. Such agistrates as the above, were never a terror unto us,
it we have blessed God on their behalf in our solema "semblies publicly, and often in the secret of our souls ivately; and many times prayed for our persecutors , so. I wish this priest be not too much inclining to such. lay his eyes be opened !
goes on, and endeavours to animate and stir up ne magistrates to persecution, by insinuating that those Sho, for conscience sake, cannot give any thing to the riest, are evil, unjust, and wicked persons : who, not. vithstanding, take them in a general way, and their conersations, are as just as the brightest of their church nembers, as divers of themselves are forced to acknow dedge.
If for this testimony to our innocence, any should imgine we boast, it is he, and such as he, that are the Occasion of this confident boasting, and we have our great apostle, eren Paul, for our example.