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All species of property were consequently reckoned in decades, and by consecrating one of these parts to God, the proprietor recognized the Source of his goods.

However, the payment of tithes was also a civil custom.

When property is inherited or donated, it is not subject to the law of tithes, but its natural increase is.

In the Christian Church, as those who serve the altar should live by the altar ( 1 Corinthians ), provision of some kind had necessarily to be made for the sacred ministers.

Just as Abraham is there represented as offering tithes of the spoils of the enemy to the royal priest, Melchisedech, so in Genesis 28 , Jacob is recorded as giving a tithe of all his possessions to the Lord.

Under the Mosaic Law the payment of tithes was made obligatory.

In Lydia a tithe of cattle was offered to the gods; the Arabians paid a tithe of incense to the god Sabis; and the Carthaginians brought tithes to Melkarth, the god of Tyre.

The explanation of why the tenth part should have been chosen among so many different peoples is said to be (apart from a common primitive revelation ) that mystical signification of the number ten, viz., that it signifies totality, for it contains all the numbers that make up the numerical system, and indeed all imaginable series of numbers, and so it represents all kinds of property, which is a gift of God.

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