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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And other spies and flies their delations

informing trade, exposing to all the inconveniencies of Jesuits, and other spies and flies their delations, in case any thing be spoken reflecting on the government, a great temptation to ministers. (4.) The worst of all is upon their matter of preaching, which is so restricted and limited, that nothing must be said or done contrary to the well and peace of his reign, seditious or treasonable; and in case any treasonable speeches be uttered, the law is to take place against the guilty, and none other present, providing they reveal to any of the council the guilt so committed, as in the former proclamation: and in the last it is further declared, that nothing must be preached or taught, which may any way tend to alienate the hearts of the people from him or his government. Here is the price at which they are to purchase their freedom (a sad bargain to buy liberty and sell truth) which yet hardly can be so exactly paid, but he may find a pretence for retrenching it when he pleases; for if a minister shall pray for the overturning of a throne of iniquity, or for confounding all that serve graven images, and for destruction to the pope, and all that give their power to that beast, there will be something said against the well of his government; or if any shall hear this and not delate it, then the same pretence is relevant; or if he shall preach against the king's religion as idolatry, and the church of Rome as Babylon, and discharge his conscience and duty in speaking against the tyranny of the times; or let him preach against any public sin faithfully, a popish critic or Romish bigot shall interpret it to be an alienation of the people's hearts from the king and his government. But who can be faithful, and preach in season and out of season now, but he must think it his duty to endeavour to alienate the hearts of the people from such an enemy to Christ, and his absolute tyranny, so declaredly stated against God? What watchman must not see it his indispensible duty, to warn all people of his devilish designs to destroy the church and nation, and preach so that people may hate the whore, and this pimp of her's? sure if he preach the whole counsel of God, he must preach against popery and tyranny. And if he think this indulgence from absolute prerogative, granted and accepted on these terms, can supersede him from this faithfulness, then he is no more the servant of Christ but a pleaser of men. Therefore since it is so clogged with so many restrictions, so inconsistent with duty, so contrary to scripture, so clearly violatory of covenant-engagements, so cross to the constant contendings and constitutions of this church, and acts of assembly (see page ----, &c.) it were a great defection to accept of it.

11. Considering the scandal of it, they dare not so offend the generation of the righteous by the acceptance, and dishonour God, disgrace the protestant profession, wrong the interest thereof, and betray their native country, as thus to comply with the design of antichrist, and partake of this cruel tender mercy of the beast; who hath always mischief in his heart, and intends this as a preparative for inducing or inforcing all that are hereby lulled asleep either to take on his mark, or bear the marks of his fiery fury afterwards. For hereby foreign churches may think, we are in a fair way of reconciliation with antichrist, when we so kindly accept his harbinger's favours. And it cannot but be very stumbling to see the ministers of Scotland, whose testimony used to be terrible to the popish, and renowned through all the protestant churches, purchasing a liberty to themselves at the rate of burying and betraying the cause into bondage and restraint, and thus to be laid by from all active and open opposition to antichrist's designs, in such a season. The world will be tempted to think, they are not governed by principles but their own interest in this juncture, seeking their own things more than the things of Christ; and that it was not the late usurpation upon, and overturning of religion and liberty that offended them, so much as the persecution they sustained thereby; but if that arbitrary power had been exerted in their favours, though with the same prejudice of the cause of Christ, they would have complied with it as they do now. Alas, sad and dolorous have been the scandals given, and taken by and from the declining ministers of Scotland heretofore, which have rent and racked the poor remnant, and offended many both at home and abroad, but none so stumbling as this. And therefore the tender will be shy to meddle with it.

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