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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

As Artaxerxes is approven for that statute


9. Considering the extent of it, they cannot class themselves among the number of them that are indulged thereby. It takes in not only the archbishops and bishops, and the prelatical and malignant crew, but all quakers, and papists, reaching all idolatry, blasphemy, and heresy, and truth also (which could never yet dwell together under one sconce.) Whereby the professors of Christ come in as partners in the same bargain with antichrist's vassals; and the Lord's ark hath a place with Dagon, and its priests and followers consent to it; and the builders of Babel and of Jerusalem are made to build together, under the same protection; and a sluice is opened to let the enemy come in like a flood, which to oppose the accepters cannot stand in the gap, nor lift up a standard against them. Liberty indeed should be universally extended to all the Lord's people, as Cyrus's proclamation was general, who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him. But a toleration of idolaters, blasphemers, and hereticks, as papists, &c. is odious to God, because it is contrary to scripture, expresly commanding idolaters to die the death, and all seducers and enticers to apostacy from God to be put to death without pity; and commending all righteous magistrates that executed judgment accordingly, as Asa, Hezekiah, &c. yea even heathen magistrates that added their faction to the laws of God, as Artaxerxes is approven for that statute, that whosoever will not do the law of God and of the king, judgment should be executed speedily upon him. And in the new testament this was never repealed but confirmed, in that the sword is given to magistrates, not in vain, but to be a terror to, and revengers to execute wrath upon all that do evil, among whom seducers that are evil workers and idolaters are chiefly to be ranked, being such as do the worst of evil to mankind. Ephesus is commended because they could not bear them which are evil: and Thyatira reproved for suffering Jezebel: by which it appeareth, that our Lord Jesus is no friend to toleration. It is true this is spoken against churchmen; but will any think that will be approven in civil powers, which is so hateful in church officers? Surely it will be the duty and honour of these horns spoken of Rev. xvii. to eat the whore's flesh and burn her with fire: and shall that be restricted only to be done against the great antichrist, and not be duty against the lesser antichrists, the limbs of the great one? it is recorded of Julian the apostate, that among other devices he used, to root out Christianity this was one, that he gave toleration openly to all the different professions that were among Christians, whereof there were many heretical in those days: which was exactly aped by James the apostate now for the same end. It is also contrary to the confession of faith, chap. 20, sect. 4. asserting that 'for their publishing such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation, or to the power of godliness, or such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order, which Christ hath established in the church; they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church, and by the power of the civil magistrate.' And therefore to accept of this toleration is inconsistent with the principles of the church of Scotland, with the national and solemn league and covenants, and solemn acknowledgment of sins and engagement to duties, in all which we are bound to extirpate popery, prelacy, &c. With the whole tract of contendings in the fifth period above related, and particularly by the testimony of the synod of Fife, and other brethren in the ministry, against Cromwell's vast toleration and liberty of conscience, mentioned above page ----, for it is plain, if it be not to be suffered, then it is not to be accepted.


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