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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

The stopping all penal laws against papists

honest: but this not only supposes

an also; what is that? but also granting us the liberty----which is either a needless tautology (for if all sufferings were stopped, then liberty must needs follow) or it must respect the qualifications of the liberty; flowing from such a fountain, absolute power; through such a conveyance, the stopping all penal laws against papists; in such a form as a toleration; for such ends, as overturning the reformation, and introducing popery. This is the favour for which they offer most humble and hearty thanks, more valuable to them than all earthly comforts; though it be manifestly intended to deprive the Lord's people, at the long run, of the heavenly comforts of the preached gospel. Sure, if they thank him for the liberty, they must thank him for the proclamation whereby he grants it, and justify all his claim there to absoluteness, being that upon which it is superstructed, and from which it emergeth, and so become a listed faction to abett and own him in all his attemptings, engaged now to demean themselves as that he may find cause rather to enlarge than to diminish his favours, which can be no other way but assisting him to destroy religion and liberty, at least in suffering him to do what he will without controul. O what an indelible reproach is this for ministers, who pretend to be set for the defence of the gospel, thus to be found betraying religion, through justifying and magnifying a tyrant, for his suspension of so many laws whereby it was established and supported. 4.
It were more tolerable if they went no further than flatteries: but I fear they come near the border of blasphemy, when they say, that the great God hath put this in his royal heart: which can bear no other construction but this, that the holy Lord hath put it in his heart to assume to himself a blasphemous and absolute power, whereby he stops and suspends all penal laws against idolaters, and gives a toleration for all errors: or if it be capable of any other sense, it must be like that as the Lord is said to have moved David to number the people, or that Rev. xvii. 17.

"God hath put it in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast." But to bless God and thank the tyrant for this wicked project, as deliberate and purposed by men, I say is near unto blasphemy. And again where they say, they are firmly resolved by the help of God so to demean themselves as his majesty may find cause rather to enlarge than to diminish his favours; this in effect is as great blasphemy as if they had said, they resolved by the help of God to be as unfaithful, time-serving and silent ministers as ever plagued the church of God; for no otherwise can they demean themselves so as he may find cause to enlarge his favours towards them, it being in no way supposeable that his enlarging his favours can consist with their faithfulness, but if they discover any measure of zeal against antichrist, he will quickly diminish them.

Thus far I have compendiously deduced the account of the progress, and prosecution of the testimony of this church to the present state thereof, as it is concerted and contended for, by the reproached remnant now only persecuted: which I hope this pretended liberty shall be so far from obscuring and interrupting, that it shall contribute further to clear it, and engage them more to constancy in it, and induce others also to countenance it, when they shall see the sad effects of this destructive snare, which I leave to time to produce; and hope, that as the former representation of their cause will conciliate the charity of the unbiassed, so an account of their sufferings thereupon will provoke them to sympathy. To which I now proceed.

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