CHAPTER XI. Of the maintenance of church officers.

The Cambridge Platform (1648)

Chapter 11: Of the Maintenance of Church Officers

1. The apostle concludes, that necessary and sufficient maintenance is due unto the ministers of the word: from the law of nature and 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, and workmen but also speaking of them doth say, that the labourer is worthy of his hire: and requires that he which is taught in the Word, should communicate to him, in all good things; and mentions it as an ordinance of the Lord, that they which preach the gospel, should live of the gospel; and forbiddeth the muzzling of the mouth of the ox, that treadeth out of the corn.

2. The Scriptures alleged requiring this maintenance as a bounden duty, and due debt, and not as a matter of alms, and free gift, therefore people are not at liberty to do or not to do, what and when they please in this matter, no more than any other commanded duty, and ordinance of the Lord: but ought of duty, to minister of their carnal things to them that labour amongst them in the Word and doctrine, as well as they ought to pay any other workman their wages, or to discharge and satisfy their other debts, or to submit themselves to observe any other ordinance of the Lord.

3. The apostle, Gal. 6:6, enjoying that he which is taught communicate to him that teacheth in all good things: doth not leave it arbitrary, 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: if their call sufficeth not, the church by her power is to require it of their members, and where church power through the corruption of men, doth not, or cannot attain the end, the magistrate is to see ministry duly provided for, as appears from the commended example of Nehemiah. 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 is 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 judgement and heart may be satisfied in what he doth, and just offense prevented in what is done.