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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

His testimony against the supremacy


of Christ, in opposition to

the erastian supremacy encroaching thereupon, therefore he must live no longer, but is condemned to die, and most basely handled, as if he had been a most notorious thief or malefactor; he is hanged, and afterward his head placed upon one of the ports of Edinburgh, where it abideth to this day, preaching not only against the enemies rebellion against God, but against the defection of many ministers since, who have practically denied that great truth for which he suffered, to wit, his testimony against the supremacy, and for declining the usurped authority of him who arrogated it. At the same time there was a proclamation, which they caused to be read at all the church-doors, discharging ministers to speak against them or their proceedings, whereby profane and malicious persons were encouraged to witness against their ministers. By which means (though many were in no hazard, thinking it commendable prudence, commended indeed by the world, but hateful unfaithfulness before God, to be silent at such a time) some faithful ministers giving faithful and free warning, and protesting against the present defection, were condemned of treason, and banished out of the three dominions. Others, without a legal citation, or without access to give in their defences, were sentenced with banishment, and could never get an extract of their sentence: and further, were compelled to subscribe a bond, under pain of death, to remove out of all the dominions betwixt and such a day. This was the lot, and
also the blot of these famous and faithful ministers, Mr. John Livingston, Mr. Robert Macward, Mr. John Brown, &c. who spent the rest of their days in Holland, serving their generation by their excellent writings. Then, after they had disposed of many other ministers, whom they thrust out, for not keeping the 29th of May, having now laid by the most eminent, and whom they feared most of the ministry, they shortly thereafter outed, and violented the rest from the exercise of their ministry, and straitned them with strange and severe confinements; yea, because they would not be outdone in suppressing religion by any, no, not by Julian the apostate, they proceeded to poison all the springs and fountains of learning; ordaining that none be masters in universities, except they take the oath of supremacy, and own the government of prelacy; and none be admitted to teach in a school, without the prelate's licence. These courses brought many ministers and expectants to great sufferings.

II. Hitherto they reached only noblemen, gentlemen and ministers, and others whom they thought might stand in their way of advancing their cursed designs. The next drift is, when they had emptied the churches of ministers, and filled them with the vermin of ignorant and scandalous curates, to force the people to conformity, and to disown and discountenance their own ministers; first, by severe edicts of exorbitant fining not only the persons themselves contraveening, but those that had the superiority over them, and rigorous exaction of these fines, to the depopulation of a poor country, by military force; whereby, where there was but one church in the bounds, still enjoying a minister whom the people could hear, the profane soldiers would beset that church in time of worship, and cause all within to pay their fines, or take the garments from them that could not, and beat them to the effusion of their blood: and where the church was planted with a curate, the soldiers would come, and call the names of the parishioners, and amerciate the absents in such fines as they pleased. In other places they went to private houses, and by force drove them to church, even though sick and unable. But where the dissenters were numerous, great bands of legal robbers were sent to exact and extort


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