Civil Taxes for the Church

This is a great quote about imposing civil taxes for the needs of the Church, from John Wilson, in Mr. Schwertley’s book, National Covenanting, on p. 285:

There will be still something earthly in the church, as long as she is upon the earth. Seeing then there is still something earthly, and which needeth early supports, even in the gospel-church, I would fain know, why she is not capable of receiving favour and assistance from the Magistrate, with respect to that earthly part, as well as the church of Israel? Have not her ministers bodies and families, which need meat, drink, sleep, clothing, lodging, and protection, as well as the Jewish priests? Hath she not external ordinances, which need outward accommodations, communion elements and utensils, with houses, tables and seats for her assemblies? Does she not need schools for educating the youth, with maintenance to these schools? Now, if the magistrate, as a kind of nursing-father [Isaiah 49:23], shall contribute his assistance to provide these necessaries for the gospel-church; is it not a strange imagination, to fancy that this doth change her nature, or turn her to an earthly church, or kingdom of this world?…Will any man say, that this kind assistance doth lessen her spirituality? Nay, doth it not rather add thereto, in regard that spiritual instruction and gospel-preaching is hereby increased and spread over all the land…Again, is not a stipend contributed by private hands as much a worldly encouragement as one appointed by the Magistrate? Nay, sometimes the one may be a far greater worldly encouragement than the other. (A Defence of National Churches).


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