Verse 28. "I am their inheritance" - Those who affect to form their ecclesiastical matters on the model of the Jewish Church have with one consent left this out of the question. They will not live on the free-will offerings of the people; but must have vast revenues, and these secured to them by law. That every minister of God should be supported by the altar I grant; but I think, instead of that method of paying the parochial clergy which I see is so much objected to, and breeds so much dissension between the pastors and their flocks, it would be better, on these accounts, to assign them a portion of land adequate to their supply, or let the state maintain them as it does its other officers. In Israel God was their inheritance and their possession; but they had the breast and shoulder of all sin-offerings and trespass- offerings, and all dedicated things were theirs; and they had a portion of all the dough that was prepared for bread. These were considered as the Lord's property, and these he gave to them; and this is always implied in the Lord's being their inheritance and their possession. They had a plentiful support.
Hitherto tithes have been thought the best mode of paying the clergy, and providing for the poor of each parish; but these matters have undergone such alterations since the time of their institution, that some emendation of the system is at present absolutely necessary.
There should be a public acknowledgment of God in every nation, and this should be provided for by the state in a way the least burdensome to the people, that all may rejoice in the benefit. Happy the nations that have a Bible so correct, and a Liturgy so pure, as those in the British empire! In such cases, a religion established by the state is an unutterable blessing to the nation; only keep it to the Bible, and to the Liturgy, and all, under God, will be well; but when the sermon is against these, all is bad.