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done amiss ; and instead of revenging his Folly upon his own Head, out of Envy and Malice, He, murthered his Brother, becanje his own Works were Evil, and his Brother's Righteous, 1 John 3. 12.
Now, I say, it was very probable, that from the beginning God signified his Pleasure, that all Mankind Ihould make an Offering of a Tenth unto him, as an Homage for his Right to all the Increase that a Man had, and as a sufficient Motive to engage Him to send down a continual Stream of Blessings upon him, without which, he could neither be Prosperous, nor Successful; por live with Esteem in the World:
This is the only Cause can be arligned, why the Practice of this Duty should become afterward so universal ; that not only the Jewish Nation were enjoined by the Law of Moses to do fo: But the Gentile Nations round abour, which were not within the Covenant of Promise did the same Thing; and were altogether as Strict and Cautions, and Exact about the Perfor
mance of a Duty, which even the Finger of God pointed oat onto them, that they ought to do: And that the Omillion of it was a very great Sin, from which they could not Excuse themselves without making Satisfation.
If then, in the beginning, and ever fince God laid a claim to an Oblation out of the Increase of every Man's Substance, we have a fufficient Afsurance of the indispensable Neceffity is incumbent opon us to pay it: If we do expect a Blessing from him, or hope to increase our Store, this is the readiest Course we can take. This is to Honour Him with our Substance, and to pay him a religious Worship and Service, with a part of the abundance He has bestowed upon us. It is a Compliance with the Psalmist's Injunction. Psalm 29. 2. To give the Lord the Honoar due unto his Name, to worship the Lord with Holy Worship. • O-, with that Part, which is Holy unto the Lord, Lev. 27. 30. 2. I come Secondly to shew, That
this Cuftom of paging First fruits
or Tithes, which commonly in the
Whenever was the Original of this Duty; unless we allow it to be from i the Divine Institution, and a particular Command Revealed to Adam at first, as I have mentioned above There is no beginning of it to be found, but the Practice of it is to be found long before, there is any express mention made of a Law for it; and therefore we may well suppose it to have been always known.
The first time that we find, in the Scripture, an express Command for it ; or, a Declaration of its being the Lord's, is Escod. 22. 29. Where it is said, Thou shalt not delay to offer : the first of thy ripe Fruits. And Lev.
C 2 27. 30.
27. 30. And all the Title of the Land, whether of the Seed of the Land, or of the Fruit of the Tree is the Lord's; it is Holy unto the Lord.
Consequent hereunto, it is enjoined as a Positive Law, Deut. 14. 22, 23. The Contents whereof calls it Tithes of Divine Service. Thou shalt truly Tithe all the Increase of thy Seed, that the Field bringetb forth Year by Year: And thou malt eat before the Lord thy God The Tithes of thy Corn, of thy Wine and of thine Oyle and the Firstlings of thy Herds, and of thy Flocks: That thou mayst learn to fear the Lord thy God always.
But that the Practice of this Duty is often mentioned before; appears, in that of Abraham's paying Tithes to Melchizedec, who was God's High Priest. Of Jacob's vowing a Tenth of all his Goods unto the Lord. These Two are exprelly mentioned in the Book of. Genesis, which gives but a foort History of those early Times.
And the Learned Doctors among the Dr, ComJedo's in their most credible Traditions of Tithes, affirm; that the rest of the Patriarchs, Part .
Chap. s. did liberally give their Tithes to the Lord's Priests. Thar Ifaae did so, and therefore he measured the Fruit of the Land, that he might be just in that Matter. That allo Job, among other Holy and Devour Men, according to the general Pradice, paid bis Fishes, and we know he lived before the Days of Mofes.' And the fifth Précept * of Noah, against Theft and Rapine,
was thought especially to be a good Security to God's Portion. :)
The First of those inspired Patriarchs, that the Holy Scripture mentions for paying of Tithes, is of Abrabam, Gen. 14. 19, 20. Where Abrabam returning from the Battle against four Kings, he brought back all their Goods, and gave Tithes of all to Melchizedec, who was the Priest of the moft High God. And be blessed him, &c.
Which Place St. Paul refers to, Heb. 7. when he sets forth the Honour and Dignity of Christ's Priesthood be