[London]: [s.n], 1618. 4to. [vi], xxii, [xii] 491,  pp.(page 249 misnumbered 146). FIRST EDITION, FOURTH VARIANT. Title page in red and black. Contemporary cambridge binding blind stamped, rebacked, text shows occasional browning; generally an excellent copy. Previous owners signature and old stamp of Aylwin Library on paste down. pencil list of catalogue entries by maggs, rosenthal, parke-bernet, etc. Item #11265
First edition, most likely the fourth variant listed by STC, of this early work of anti-establishmentarianism. "This book shows that the practices of the early church are inconsistent with the view that tithes are payable by divine right" (Marke). While the work was only published after being submitted to the censor, and never expressly denied the doctrine of divine right, it still caused great concern amongst the bishops. This led to the intervention of James I, who called Selden before the privy council to compel a retraction, and to furthermore forbid him to answer or defend his work in any way after its suppression.
Selden (1584-1654) was an English jurist and legal antiquary. His earliest patron was the antiquary Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (1570-1631) to whom this work is dedicated. Perhaps due to the controversy of the present work, Selden became very involved in politics, opposing political absolutism. He took part in and instigated the protest on the rights and privileges of the House in 1621, for which he and several others were briefly imprisoned. He was later elected numerous times to Parliament, and played a major role in the impeachment of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham.