1998.1631

Description

No more Church Rates!
Notwithstanding Church Rates are now condemned by the best men of every creed; notwithstanding they are given up in a large number of Parishes all over the Country; notwithstanding the House of Commons has twice passed a Bill for their total abolition, there is a party determined that Church Rates shall, if possible, continue to be levied in the Parish.
What is it that they really ask you to do? Why, simply give them the power of making every Rate-payer - whether he attends their Church or not - whether he approves of their religious views or practices or not - PAY TOWARDS THE EXPENSE OF THEIR WORSHIP!
They have the use of the Church rent-free, and their Minister is paid out of the property of the country - cannot they, then, pay for their own bread and wine? Is it BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO POOR to do so that they want to make everybody share the cost! Why they would be ashamed to make the demand on that ground!
It is because they are UNWILLING, and think it a hardship to defray their own expenses? The Independents do so - the Baptists do so - the Methodists do so - nay! Tens of thousands of Churchmen, who attend other churches, now do so - WHY SHOULD NOT THEY?
They tell you "IT IS THE LAW." Tell them in reply, that it is NOT THE LAW UNTIL YOU PLEASE TO MAKE IT SO BY A MAJORITY IN VESTRY. Tell them that, if it were ever so clearly Law it is contrary to the Gospel. Tell them that it is a violation of the Christian Law, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so to them."
Surely no Parishioner who likes fair play, and has any regard for the feelings of his neighbours, will support so discreditable a proposal. Surely no Churchman who honestly pays all his other debts, and wishes to look his dissenting neighbour in the face, will try to shuffle his religious debts on to other people's shoulders. If, however, you wish to appear to be either too poor, or too covetous, or too proud to support Religion voluntarily, go and vote for the Rate! But if you believe what the Bible tells you, that "God hates robbery for a burnt offering" then go and Vote against it, and persuade your neighbours to do likewise!

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