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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And because the incorporation of Lanark did not


4.

But here, as in Egypt, the more they were afflicted, the more they grew, the more that the enemies rage was increased, the more were the people inflamed to inquire about the grounds of their suffering, seeing rational men and religious christians die so resolutely upon them; and the more they insisted in this inquisition, the more did the number of witnesses multiply, with a growing increase of undauntedness, so that the then shed blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church, and as by hearing and seeing them so signally countenanced of the Lord, many were reclaimed from their courses of compliance, so others were daily more and more confirmed in the ways of the Lord, and so strengthened by his grace, that they chose rather to endure all torture, and embrace death in its most terrible aspect, than to give the tyrant and his complices any acknowledgment: yea, not so much as to say, God save the king, which was offered as the price of their life, and test of their acknowledgment, but they would not accept deliverance on these terms, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Which so enraged the tygrish truculency of these persecutors, that they spared neither age, sex, nor profession: the tenderness of youth did not move them to any relenting, in murdering very boys upon this head, nor the grey hairs of the aged; neither were women spared, but some were hanged, some drowned, tied to stakes within the sea-mark, to be devoured gradually with the growing waves, and some of
them of a very young, some of an old age. Especially after the murder of the never to be forgotten martyr, Mr. Cargil, the multitude of merciless sufferings upon this account cannot be enumerated; which increased far beyond all the former steps, after the Lanark declaration, which was burnt with great solemnity by the magistrates of Edinburgh in their robes, together with the solemn league and covenant, which had been burnt before, but then they would more declaredly give new demonstrations of their rage against it, because they confessed, and were convinced of its being conform unto and founded upon that covenant. And because the incorporation of Lanark did not, because they could not, hinder the publishing of it; therefore they were threatened with the loss of their privileges, and forced to pay 6000 merks. Upon the back of which, the sufferings of poor people that owned the testimony were sadder and sharper, and further extended than ever: some being banished for soldiers to Flanders, &c. some to be sold as slaves in Carolina, and other places in America, to empty the filled prisons, and make room for more, which were daily brought in from all quarters, and either kept languishing in their nasty prisons, or thieves holes, in bolts and irons to make them weary of their life, or dispatched as sacrifices, and led as dumb sheep to the slaughter, without suffering them to speak their dying words, for beating of drums, or disposed of to masters of ships to be transported to slavery.

5. Had they satisfied themselves with murdering them out of hand, it would have been more tolerable, and reckoned some degree of mercy, in comparison of their malice; which, after all their endeavours to murder their souls, by ensnaring offers, enslaving bonds, blasphemous and contradictory oaths, and multiplying captious questions to catch the conscience, or at least vex the spirits of the righteous, whom they could not prevail with to put forth their hands into iniquity, did proceed to invent all exquisite torments more terrible than death. Some at their first apprehending were tortured with fire-matches, burning and for ever thereafter disabling their hands: then laid fast, and locked up in great irons upon their legs, where they lay many months in the cold of winter, without any relaxation. Some were tortured with the boots, squeezing out the marrow of their legs: others with thumbkins, piercing and bruising the bones of their thumbs: and some tormented with both one after another, and besides, kept waking nine nights together by watchful soldiers, who were sworn not to let the afflicted person sleep all that time.


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