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Aaron

P36,
1754

58512

A

PREMONITION

TO THE

R E A D E R.

T

HE ensuing Treatise was first pubo
lith'd about the Year 1657, and so

well accepted, that within about two
Years Time it passed three Editions.

The Author, a zealous Protestant and Lover of Liberty, was excited to write on this Sub ject, by the numerous Complaints of the People, at that Time labouring under fevere Prosecutions for Tithes.

For although the Power and Jurisdiction of the Ecclefiaftical Courts, to which Prosecutions for Tithes were limited by an Act made in the 32d Year of King Henry the Eighth, had been taken away, and the Bishops and their Clergy removed ; yet the facceeding Preachers, equally mindful of their own Intereft, soon obtained an Order of Parliament for settling themselves pro tempore, dated the 2d of O&tober 1644, and an Ordinance for Tithes dated the 8th of November following ; under the heavy burden of which the People in vain continued to express great Uneasiness : A 2

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For, when several Years after, upon Cromwell's being made Protector, one of the Articles of Government, by him sworn to and subscribed, did express, that as soon as may be a Provihon less subject to Scruple and Contention, and more certain than the present, be made for the Encouragement and Maintenance of able and painful Teachers, a Clause was inserted therein, that until fuch Provision be made, the present Maintenance (viz. by Titbes] Mall not be taken away nor impeached. By which Clause, the Preachers, secure of the Continuance of the old Pay, sat down at Ease, prosecuting such as refused to pay them Tithes, both in the Courts at Westminster, and before the Justices of the Peace in the Country, with such extreme Severity, that our Author has taken a particular Notice of it, and pathetically deseribed some of their unmerciful Exactions, pag. 43.

After he has given an Extract, or short Hiftory of Tithes, from the first Appointment of them by the Law of Moses, taken chiefly from the History of Tithes by the learned Antiquary John Selden, he 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 ; fourthly, By particular Gifts, Appropriations, Confecration, and Donation of the Owners of the Land ; fifthly, By Prescription and legal Polesion ; fixthly, By Purchase . To the Arguments for each

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of which Claims he returns a particular
Answer. But,

As the Author has not been so full in his

Remarks on Impropriate Tithes, nor lo copious

in his Answers to the Arguments of those

who plead for the divine Right of Tithes, as

he might have been, for which latter he gives

this Reason ; Though divine Right, says he,

hath been long pretended, few are now left who

will only fand to it, and the Generality, both

of Lawyers, Priests and People, are of a con-

trary

Mind. pag. 3i. Wherefore for the Sake
of such Readers as may not be thoroughly
fatisfied in those Points, we have thought
proper to annex by way of Appendix,

it. A Discourse of Impropriate Tithes,

written by Thomas Ellwood.

2d. Reasons given by Thomas Bennett, an

Inhabitant of the Parish of Alballows, Bark-
ing, London, concerning the unjust Exaction
of Titbes, presented to Thomas Adams, Lord-
Mayor of that City, Anno 1645.

3d. Some Arguments against Tithes, ex-
tracted from a Treatise written by the cele-
brated John Milton. And,

4th. In Conclusion, we have added a few

Extracts from a Tract, under the Title of An

Answer to the Country-Parson's Plea against

the Quakers Tithe-Bill, by a Member of the

House of Commons ; wherein a pretended legal

Property in Tithes, so much insisted on by

some of the Clergy, is set in a strong Light.

Having

Having laid before the Reader these Hints
of the Contents of the Work, and the Ap-
pendix thereto, we fhall fubjoin in brief our
Inducement for the Republication of both ;
which is for the Information of the present
Generation ;~that the Youth of our Society,
or others into whose Hands they shall fall, may
not be ignorant of the Reasons which at first
did, and fill do, determine us in an inflexible
Testimony against the Payment of Tithes
and they will find it clearly proved, that no
Obligation to a contrary Conduct can arise
from any legal or Parliamentary Sanction.

Yet as from this Plea, fome, not of our
Profession, who in other Respects make no
great Shew of Bigotry, are so weak as to
urge the Payment of them, and fome who
are of our Profession, under the fame Con-
fideration or Pretence, and from the Influence
of Example and Perfwasion, may be induced
to pay them ;--to each of these it is necessary
to lay a Word or two; for, in regard to the
latter, we do not observe that our antient
Friends, who wrote on this Subject, have said
much directly to such an inconsistent Con-
duct; not apprehending, as we suppose, the
Degeneracy would ever be so great as to re-

quire it.

And though a divine. Right to Tithes is by
Protestants at this Time gencrally disclaimed,
yet it still is upon that Supposition the Na-
tional Law enforces the Payment of them, as
the following Sheets abundantly make ap-

pear.

$

pear. We are to consider then, and judge of the Confiftence or Inconfiftence of the Conduct of any Member of our Society in this particular, as we would of the Conduct of any Protestant Disenter on the Principle of Liberty and Conscience ; who, on Pretence of being determined by an outward Law, acts contrary to his own professed Principles. There is a Language, and much stronger, in Astions than in Words. Every one who pays Tithes to a National Ministry, by that Act, feems to declare his Belief that they are, by the Constitution of the Christian Church, due to that Ministry, antecedent to any National Law, and that it is truly and properly a Gofpel Ministry, whether of this or any other National Church ; because not only the Law by which they are recovered, but the Parfon who claims them, takes all this for granted. For can it be fuppofed he will plead a Right to Tithes, without declaring himself to have this Right as a Minister of Christ ? From whence this shameful Absurdity undeniably follows, that every Man, under the Profession of Quakerism, who pays Tithes, either profeffes what he does not believe, or believes what he does not practise. For,

The Basis of our Religion is the universal Manifestation and immediate Teaching of the holy Spirit ;—from which arifes a Faith, that all acceptable Worship is performed in and under its Influence ; – that all Gospel Ministry flows from its Emanations ;-that this in Vel

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