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ST. PAUL'S TEACHING AND PERSONAL EXAMPLE
Paul's injunctions about raising church funds, 136.-His instructions to
Galatians, Corinthians, and Philippians about giving, 137.—Paul's application of Mosaic claims to Christians, 138.— Is the law concerning tithe abrogated ? 138.—Paul's example, and instructions to Corinthians and Ephesians concerning almsgiving and hospitality, 141.— The proper recipients of Christian almsgiving, 142.-Paul's own standard as to giving, 144.-Retrospect of entire field of revelation as to tithe-paying and benevolence, 146.-Denial of God's claim to a portion of income equivalent to spiritual anarchy, 148.
ROM the foregoing instances of Paul's minis
tering to the needs of Christians, let us pass to his teaching on the subject of monetary obligations, given to the churches which he founded among the Gentiles.
In the churches of Corinth and of Galatia, when on a certain occasion money was needed for the saints (that is, apparently, the poor of the church of Jerusalem), the apostle, with a founder's authority, directed or gave order :
'Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper.'
Here four things may be noticed about this method of raising a charitable fund :
1. It seems to be assumed that every one would give.
1 1 Cor. xvi. 2.
2. Givings were to be stored beforehand.
4. Giving, or laying by, was to be exercised every Lord's day. And it should be observed that sometimes collections, enjoined by the apostle, were on behalf of Christians outside the churches in which the contributions were made.
Other instructions upon giving, taught by Paul to his Galatian converts, seem to occur in connection with their support of the ministry, for
1 Gal. vi. 6, 7.
“Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived ; God is not mocked : for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” 1
In addressing the Christians at Corinth Paul entered more fully into the right of Christian ministers to the support of the faithful ;' whilst to 2 1 Cor. xvi. 1. the Christians at Rome, his words on the subject of almsgiving may serve as a broad general principle for all churches.
“ If the Gentiles have been made partakers of their [the Christian Jews'] spiritual things, they (the Gentiles] owe it to them (the Christian Jews] also to minister unto them in carnal things."
The Christians of Philippi, likewise, may be mentioned in this connection, their liberality being recognized by the apostle, who wrote that “in the beginning of the Gospel no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving, but ye only : for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my need.""
3 Rom. xv. 27.
4 Phil. iv. 15-17
There were other churches where, for good
reasons, Paul chose to forego personal remunera11 Cor. ix. 12. tion, but he did not thereby give up his right
thereto; for, with the Corinthian Christians, he
argues thus :
“ Have we no right to eat and to drink? What soldier ever serveth at his own charges ? ... If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things ? ... Know ye not that they which minister about sacred things eat of the things of the temple, and they which wait upon the altar have their portion with the altar? Even so did the Lord ordain that
they which proclaim the Gospel should live of the 1 Cor. ix. 4-14. Gospel.”
Here the apostle seems to have in mind two sources of maintenance for the Jewish priesthood.
The one probably included tithes brought to the 3 Neh. x. 37-40. storehouse of the temple, and the other consisted
of those portions of the sacrifices which were brought 4 Deut. xvii. 3. to the altar and retained by the priest," as signified
by the words : “ They which wait upon the altar have their portion with the altar.”
Some may contend, however, that the law was abrogated under the Gospel. If so, how much of the law, and in what sense? Is the law so abrogated as that we may now, at our pleasure, murder, lie, and steal ?
* The Rev. Watts Ditchfield, a vicar whom I know in Bethnal Green, was calling on a shoemaker, who declared he would not come to church to hear the Commandments read, for, said he, “The Ten Com. mandments were long ago abolished.” To argue, the vicar judged to be just then undesirable; but, acting on a sudden thought, he said, “Oh! I am very glad the eighth commandment is abolished, for I am just now in want of a pair of boots, and ļ thịnk these are my
Have we not already seen that Christ came to fulfil the law-to confirm it to the least iota?' and 1 Matt. V. 17-18. fulfilling is the perfecting, not the destruction, of anything. Hence the payment of tithes and offerings applicable to the support of the ministry, and to other religious and charitable works, is clearly the duty of Christians, unless it can be shown that Christ repealed God's law previously promulgated. And this, as Leslie writes" :
2 Divine Right of Tithes, Toronto
edition, p. 81. “ He never did, but rather confirmed it by approving the tithe payments of the Pharisees, and by ordaining that they who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. Some would have the Gospel merely eleemosynary-nothing due, but all freewill offerings. But was this so in the Temple ? I trow not: for though there were freewill offerings, there were also tithes and other offerings, the withholding of which was counted as robbery. Moreover, if the ministers of the Temple were sure of at least a tenth, whilst the ministers of the Gospel are not sure of a hundredth part of some men's incomes, where is the truth or appropriateness of the apostle's comparison ?
Besides, what was it that the Lord ordained ? That every man should give just what he pleased ? This men could do without any ordinance being issued to that end. That which leaves every man perfectly at his own liberty is no law at all ; and
size." Whereupon he picked up a pair as he spoke, and hurried out of the shop with the boots under his arm. The shoemaker soon followed : and never afterwards raised objections to the reading of the Commandments. (From the Quarterly Letter of the Navvy Mission Society, December, 1902, p. 2.) Would that all who for excuse argue that the law is abolished, and so try to evade their responsibility as to setting aside a proportion of their income for God, could be thus quickly convinced !
if every man were left thus to act, Christ ordained what amounted to nothing. *
The great apostle of the Gentiles therefore seems to lay down two great principles : one, that tithes and offerings of the faithful are due for the furtherance of the Gospel ; the other, that every one should lay up in store, on Sunday, in proportion to his income, so as to have a fund from which distribution may be made as needed : for, concerning the support of ministers and the support of the poor, Mr. Rigby justly says, “ Both are duties, under the New Testament as under the Old, but each for a different design, and a different
significance, and one should never be confounded 1 Rigby, The Tithe Perumoth with the other.1
In addition to the passages already considered, there are other points concerning Christian giving which occur here and there in the writings of the apostle Paul.
* The Rev. Richard Duke, of Stirling, Ontario, an earnest advocate of tithe-paying, in support of his conviction that the tithe law is binding upon Christians, argues thus :
1. It is a principle in jurisprudence that when the reasons which originated a law continue to operate, and there is no explicit repeal of the law, the law remains in force. And this principle appears to have the lucidity and force of an axiom.
hich passed away was the symbolical and figurative. Tithing was neither one nor the other, but a duty issuing from the moral law, which is of perpetual force.
3. True, there is no formal re-enactment of the law of the tithe. But why should such a formal re-enactment be looked for? The law had not become obsolete ; it was not indifferently observed. On the contrary it was conspicuously honoured in the observance. Similarly there is no formal re-enactment of the Sabbath law; but Christians recognize the law respecting the seventh of time, and by a parity of reasoning should recognize the law respecting the tenth of substance. The Christian Guardian, Toronto, Jan. 13, 1904, p. 9.