Of the maintenance of Church Officers.
THe Apostle concludes, (1) that necessary & sufficient maintenance
is due to the ministers of the word: from the law of nature &
nations, from the law of Moses, the equity thereof, as also the
rule of common reason. moreover the scripture doth not only call
Elders labourers, & workmen, (2) but
also speaking of them doth say, that the labourer is
worthy of his hire: & requires that he which is taught in
the word, should communicate to him, in all good things; (3) & mentions it as an ordinance of the
Lord, that they which preach the Gospel, should live of the
Gospel; & forbideth the muzling of the mouth of the ox, that
treadeth out the corn.
2 The Scriptures alledged requiring this maintenance as a bounden duty, & due debt, & not as a matter of almes, & free gift therefore people are not at liberty to doe or not doe, what & when they pleas in this matter, no more then in any other commanded duty, & ordinance of the Lord: but ought of duty, to minister of their carnall things to them, (4) that labour amongst them in the word & doctrine, as well as they ought to pay any other workmen their wages, and to discharge and satisfy their debts, or to submit themselves to observe any other ordinance of the Lord.
3 The Apostle (Gal. vi. 6) enjoining that he which is taught communicate to him that teacheth "in all good things," does not leave it arbitrary, (1 Cor. xvi. 2,) what or how much a man shall give, or in what proportion, but even the latter, as well as the former, is prescribed and appointed by the Lord.
4 Not only members of churches, but " all that are taught in the word, "are to contribute unto him that teacheth in all good things. In case that congregations are defective in their contributions, the deacons are to call upon them to do their duty: (Acts vi. 3, 4,) If their call suffices not, the church by her power is to require it of their members; and where church power, through the corruption of men, does not or cannot attain the end, the magistrate is to see that the ministry be duly provided for, as appears from the commanded example of Nehemiah. (Neh. xiii. II; Isa. xliv. 23; 2 Cor. viii. 13, 14.) The magistrates are nursing-fathers and nursing mothers, ; and stand charged with the custody of both tables; because it is better to prevent a scandal, that it may not come, and easier also, than to remove it, when it is given, it's most suitable to rule, that by the church's care each man should know his proportion according to rule, what he should do before he do it, that so his judgment and heart may be satisfied in what he does, and just offence prevented in what is done.