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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Some upon the account of persecution


in a great measure killed. Other

churches, which are keeping and contending for the word of Christ's patience, are so wasted, and almost worn out, with persecutions, afflictions, and calamities, that, after they have been, and are (so much) daily killed for the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus, it may well be said, there hath been, and is, a great slaughter of the witnesses. And it were hard to determine, which of them can give the largest and most lamentable account of their sufferings, or which of them have had the greatest and most grievous experiences of the treachery and truculency, violence and villany of atheistical and papistical enemies: whether the reformed church of France, howling under the paw of that devouring lion, the French tyrant; or the protestants of Hungary under the tearing claws of that ravenous eagle, the tyrant of Austria; or those of Piedmont, under the grassant tyranny of that little tyger of Savoy. The accounts they give in print, the reports they bring with them in their flight from their respective countries, and the little hints we have in gazettes and news-letters, must needs enforce a conviction, if not extort a compassion of the greatness of their pressures; and that with such a parity, that it is doubtful which preponderates. I shall not make comparisons, nor aggravate nor extenuate the sufferings of any of the churches of Christ, beyond or below their due measures; but will presume to plead, that Scotland, another ancient, and sometimes famous reformed church, be inrolled
in the catalogue of suffering churches, besides these mentioned; and crave, that she may have a share of that charity and sympathy which is the demand and desire of afflicted churches of Christ, from all the fellow members of that same body: and so much the rather is this her due, that, whereas, among all the rest of the churches, Christ's witnesses are killed in some particular respect, and each of them have their own proper complaint of it; some upon the account of persecution, some of defection, division, &c. of this it may be said, in all respects, both the witnesses of Christ, and a witness for Christ, are killed with a witness. This is the case of the sometimes renowned, famous, faithful, and fruitful, reformed, covenanted church of Scotland, famous for unity, faithful for verity, fruitful in the purity of doctrine, worship, discipline, and government; which now, for these twenty-seven years past, under the domination of the late tyrant, and present usurper of Britain, hath been so wasted with oppression, wounded with persecution, rent with division, ruined with defection, that now she is as much despised, as she was before admired; and her witness and testimony for reformation, is now as far depressed and suppressed in obscurity, as it was formerly declared and depredicated in glory and honour. And yet, which should move the greater commiseration, her witnessings and wrestlings, trials and temptations, have not been inferior, in manner or measure, quality or continuance, to any of the fore-mentioned churches, though in extent not so great, because her precinct is not so large, whereby the number of her oppressed and murdered children could not be so multiplied, though her martyrs be more, and the manner of their murder more illegal, than can be instanced in any of them during that time. A particular enumeration or ennaration whereof, cannot be here exhibited, but is referred and reserved to a peculiar treatise of that subject, which ere long the world may see. Only I shall give a compendious account of the kinds and causes, grounds and heads of their sufferings, who have been most slighted, and least sympatized with, though they have sustained the greatest severities of any; and, in end, endeavour to vindicate the merit of their cause, in the most principal heads upon which their sufferings have been stated: whereby it will appear to impartial men, that will not be imposed upon, there hath been, and yet is, a great and grievous, and some way unparalleled, persecution in Scotland, at least inferior to none: which hath not hitherto been duly considered, with any proportion to the importance thereof.


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