Of the Patrimony of the Church, and the Distribution thereof.
1. By the Patrimony of the Church, we mean whatsoever thing hath been at any time before, or shall be in times coming, given, or by consent or universal custom of countries professing the Christian Religion, applied, to the public use, and utility of the Church; so that under the Patrimony we comprehend all things given, or to be given, to the Church and service of God, as lands, buildings, possessions, annual rents. and all such like wherewith the Church is endowed either by donations, foundations, mortifications, or any other lawful titles of kings, princes, or any persons inferior to them; together with the continual oblations of the faithful. We comprehend also, all such things as by law, or custom, or use of countries, have been applied to the use and utility of the Church; of the which sort are teinds, manses, glebes, and such like, which by common and municipal law and universal custom are possessed by the Church.
2. To take any of this Patrimony by unlawful means, and convert it to the particular and profane use of any person, we hold it a detestable sacrilege before God.
3. The goods ecclesiastical ought to be collected and distributed by the Deacons as the Word of God appoints, that they who bear office in the Church be provided for without care or solicitude. In the Apostolic Church the Deacons were appointed to collect and distribute whatsoever was collected of the faithful to distribute unto the necessity of the saints: so that none lacked among the faithful. These collections were not only of that which was collected in manner of alms, as some suppose, but of other goods, movable, and unmovable, of lands and possessions the price of whereof was brought to the feet of the Apostles. This office continued in the Deacons' hands who intromitted with all the goods of the Church ever until the estate thereof was corrupted by Antichrist, as the ancient canons bear witness.
4. The same canons make mention of a fourfold distribution of the Patrimony of the Church, whereof one part was applied to the Pastor or Bishop for his sustenance and hospitality, another to the Elders and Deacons and all the Clergy; the third to the poor, sick persons. and strangers; the fourth to the uphold (maintenance) and other affairs of the Church, specially extraordinary (affairs). We add hereunto the Schools and Schoolmasters also. who ought, and may be. well sustained from the same goods. and are comprehended under the Clergy. To whom we join also Clerks of Assemblies, as well particular as general, Syndics or Procurators of the Church's Affairs, takers up of Psalms (leaders of Psalmody, Precentors). and such like other ordinary office of the Church, so far as they are necessary.