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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

That this character of Naphtali


Though books use not to be required to render a reason of their names, which often are arbitrarily imposed more for the author's fancy and the time's fashion, than for the reader's instruction: yet, seeing the time's injuries do oblige the author to conceal his name, the title will not obscurely notify it to some for whose satisfaction this is mainly intended, and signify also the scope of the subject; which aims at giving goodly words, not sugared with parasitic sweetness, nor painted with affected pedantry, but fairly brought forth in an unhampered freedom, for the beauty of the blessing of human and Christian liberty, in its due and true boundaries. This was the subject of a discourse, as some may remember, on that text whence this title is taken, Gen. xlix. 21. "Naphtali is a Hind let loose." In prosecuting of which, the speaker, with several others, falling at the same time into the hands of the hunters, (to learn the worth of that interrupted subject from the experience of the want of it) an occasion was given, and interpreted by the author to be a call to study more the preciousness of that privilege predicated of Naphtali, which is the right and property of the wrestling tribe of Israel, the persecuted witnesses of Christ now every where preyed upon. And now, providence having opened a door for "delivering himself as a roe from the hand of the hunter," he thought it his duty, and as necessary a piece of service as he could do to the generation, to bring to light his lucubrations thereupon; with an endeavour to discover to all that are free born, and are not contented slaves, mancipated to a stupid subjection to tyrants absoluteness, that this character of Naphtali, "satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord," that he is a "hind let loose" from the yoke of tyrannical slavery, is far preferable, in the account of all that understand to be Christians or men, to that infamous stigma of Issachar (the sin, shame, and misery of this age) to be "a strong ass, couching under two burdens; and he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant, and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute." But to all that are not altogether strangers in our Israel, it will appear, that this title is not inaptly applied to the subject and design of this treatise. The party whose case and cause, and contendings are here treated of, being known to have the same situation of residence in Scotland that Naphtali had in Israel, viz. the west and the south (Deut. xxxiii. 23.) will be found, among all our tribes, most appositely to bear the signature of Naphtali, who, in their wrestlings for the interest of Christ and the liberties of his Israel, have mostly jeoparded their lives in the high places of the fields; and chiefly to deserve his elogy, being a "hind", (called wild by nickname in the scorn of them that are at ease, but) truly weak in their present wilderness condition, to wrestle against the force and fraud of their cruel and cunning hunters, who cease not (when they have now got the rest of the roes and hinds of the field made fast asleep, under the bondage of the lions dens and mountains of leopards, by a pretence of a falsely so called liberty of conscience) to seek and pursue the chace of them for a prey; yet really they are "let loose," and not only suffered to run loose, as a prey to the hunters, by the unwatchfulness of their keepers, but made to escape


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