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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

Do Not Muzzle The OX

The Churches Duty to Support the Ministry

Circular Letter of the Towaliga Primitive Baptist Association (1848)

The Messengers composing the Towaliga Primitive Baptist Association: To the Churches whom they severally represent-send Christian Salutation.

Beloved Brethren: Having been permitted by the great Head of the Church, to meet in an associate relation, and to receive as evidence of your mutual friendship, the epistles sent by your messengers, we, in return, affectionately address you by letter, according to our usual custom, praying that grace, mercy and peace from God, our Father, and Jesus Christ our Saviour, may be multiplied unto you.

The subject to which we would invite your earnest attention, and which, we believe to be of vital importance is, the support of the Gospels. And as a foundation for the following Circular, we refer you to 1 Corinthians 9:14.--"Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."

The world, ordain, which we find in the text signifies to appoint, to decree, to establish, to institute. We refer 1. To God's appointment. 2. To the nature of that appointment, and 3. To the objections that are made against the support of the Gospel.

1. We refer you to some of those passages which prove God's appointment, 1-Cor. 9; 13 --"Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the temple, and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?" Mat. 10; 9, 10. "Provide neither gold nor silver, nor brass in your purses; nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet slaves; for the workman is worthy of his meat." The first verse referred to, brings to view the custom of the children of Israel and the literal Priests under the command of God; that while the priest waited at the temple, and upon the altar, they were made partakers with the altar; and the principle is kept up to the gospel dispensation, and is referred to by the Apostle, showing the duty of the Church or spiritual Israel towards her minister, and the right that he has to partake of the temporal substance of the Church.

In the second passage which is the language of the Savior. He charges them to provide nothing for their journey, but lays it down as an established principle, that the laborer is worthy of his meat.

2. The nature of that appointment, 1 Cor. 9: 6, 7, 8, "Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare at any time at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Or who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?" Why is it that the Apostle asks the first question, relative to his and Barnabas' forbearing to work? Is it not because he considers the Church bound to support them and release their hands from it? The second question is, "who goeth a warfare at his own charge?" The inference we are left to draw is, that a soldier is not to go on a warfare at his own charges or expense, but the government that he is in the service of and fighting for, is bound to support him. And it would be considered that any government that would withhold and refuse to support her soldiers that were defending her coasts and territory, would act unjustly in withholding from her soldiers their just right, and that they could not expect the smiles of Heaven to rest upon them while acting thus. If the inference be correct that it would be unjust to take a soldier's time and service without rewarding him for the same, it would be equally unjust, for a Church or Churches to have the time and service of her minister engaged in a spiritual warfare in defending her coasts and religious principles, and for the Churches to fail to reward him for his time, trouble, expense and services.

The Apostle still carries out the idea by referring to the husbandman in planting of a vineyard, and asks the question, "Who planteth a vineyard, and eatheth not of the fruit thereof? Or who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the milk of the flock?" The Apostle says "Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same things also? The Apostle would have his brethren to understand that it was not his views as a man only, but that the law saith the same things also. That is, that God's law makes it right, that if a man feed a flock he is entitled to eat of the milk; and if he plants a vineyard to eat of the fruit of it. If God's law holds out the idea, what can be more reasonable than for a Minister who attends to the Lord's vineyard to eat of the fruit thereof? Or the Minister who attends the Lord's flock to eat of the milk of it? In further support of the idea, we refer you to 1 Cor. 9; 11: "If we have sown unto you spiritual things is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?" This verse explains the manner which God has appointed that the Minister should live and be supported. For the further illustration of this subject, we refer you to the husbandman, who sows his seeds at the proper time, according to the laws of nature; he plows in hope and thresheth in hope, and the promise is he shall be made to partake of his hope; or in other words, the Minister sows unto the Church spiritual things -- labors in the gospel field, and in return he expects and has the right to reap your carnal things. And it is your duty in return, to see that he does reap your carnal things to the full extent that he sows to you. We refer you to one other passage, 1 Cor. 9;  9: "For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeath out the corn." We suppose a case. You go to your neighbor to get his ox to tread out your corn or wheat, as the case may be ,when you get him you turn him loose without feed or support; is it not reasonable to conclude that after such treatment, the ox would not visit you often, and have but little disposition to serve you? And it is equally as reasonable to suppose that the owner of the ox, when he knew of the treatment his ox had received, that he would be unwilling to let you have him anymore. We suppose that you agree that the treatment would be hard upon the ox; if so, we ask you is it not equally hard treatment to call a minister to serve you, get his time and service and then muzzle him? or withhold from him that which you are justly bound to give him for serving you; and if so how do you think they can preach to a people that they believe are withholding their just rights from them.

Objection 1st. We, old school Baptists, have declared a non-fellowship against all those things.

Answer.--We remark that not withstanding we have declared anon-fellowship against religious speculations, yet we deny having ever declared non-fellowship against the support of the Gospel or the Gospel Ministry; but we hold it to be the duty of the people that have the time and service of the Minister to reward him for the same.

Objection 2d. We want a preacher that is obliged to preach whether he gets any thing or not.

Answer. -- We suppose then, that you will call a Minister to serve you and say to him, be ye warmed, and be ye clothed, and yet give him not wherewith to warm and clothe him.

Objection 3d. We are opposed to giving to preachers, because there is danger of spoiling them.

Answer.-- The Churches will have to alter very much from what they are now doing, if they spoil their Ministers by giving to them: but we ask you if your fears arise because there is danger of spoiling the Ministers, or because you are afraid it will touch your purse: Again: is it right to call a Minister to serve you through heats and cold -- deprived of the enjoyment around his fireside with his wife and children -- take his time and service, and all the expense attending the same, and all for the good and prosperity of the Church and glory of God: and then for you to withhold from him the temporal blessings which God has blessed you with? It seems that the answer is easy and plain that it is not right.

We say to you in the conclusion, not to call a man that you believe that giving would spoil; for in calling such a man to serve you, you act unfaithfully, and also endanger the Church; for such a man, you must know would make merchandise of the Church if it was in his power. Again, we recommend to you, not to call a man and leave him in a worse condition than you found him: and not to tie your Minister's hands by withholding from him that which is his just right, and  which you are bound to bestow. By withholding, you Ministers will be reduced to poverty, and subject to the frowns of the world; they will also be compelled to retire home to attend to the necessities of their families; and the consequence will be, a famine, produced not for want of bread, but for the word of the Lord. Finally, brethren, Farewell! Let love be without disimulation; abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

William Moseley, Moderator.
Joel Mathews, Clerk.