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Songs and Ballads for the People

By the Rev. John Mason Neale

London: James Burns, 1843.

VII. The Church-Rate.

Throw out the Church-rate! "Live and learn"
The proverb well may say:
I never heard of such a thing,
And trust I never may.
I know that Church-rates are a debt
To God Almighty due;
And how dares any Christian man
Call them a hardship too?

A hardship to repair the house
Where He is pleas'd to dwell?
Where in His peace our fathers rest,
And we shall rest as well?
Where all His blessings we receive,
Where all His word we learn:
These are the gifts He gives us there,
And this is our return.

The very man who for his rate
A sixpence will not pay,
Will spend upon his house and self
His twenty pounds a-day:
Of all good things he'll have the best,
And must be serv'd the first;
While He Who gave him all he has
May have, for him, the worst.

Where is the man who does not hate
All falsehood and deceit?
And he who will not pay his rate,
I think a downright cheat.
He bought his land for less, because
That rent-charge on it lay;
And so he cheats the seller now
By doing it away.

Our fathers spent both time and gold,
And so our church they built;
And if we cannot keep it up,
'Twill be our shame and guilt.
The parish that can sink to that
Will go from bad to worse;
And for a blessing in their church
Will find a very curse.

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