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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And is invaded by erastian prelacy


a continued prosecution of

an hereditary war against Christ, by an atheistical, papistical, prelatical, and tyrannical faction; and how it hath been concerted, contended for, maintained, and sealed actively and passively, by an anti-pagan, anti-popish, anti-prelatical, anti-erastian, anti-sectarian, and anti-tyrannical remnant of the followers, professors, confessors, and martyrs of Christ in all ages. Now it remains in the third and last place, to consider the merit of the cause as it is now stated, to see whether it will bear the weight of those great sufferings wherewith it hath been sealed. I hope all the lovers of Christ, who have an esteem even of his reproaches above all the treasures of Egypt, will grant, that if these sufferings be stated on the least or lowest of the truths of Christ, then they are not mistated, nor built upon a bottom that will not bear them, or is not of that worth to sustain them. For certainly every truth, the least of truths, is of greater value than any thing that we can suffer the loss of for it; yea, of infinitely greater value, than the whole world. So that if I prove these heads of suffering to be truths wherein conscience is concerned, the cause will be sufficiently vindicated from the loadings and lashings of such as prefer peace to truth, and ease to duty, who to justify their own backwardness and detestable lukewarmness, call some of them only state questions about things civil, and not gospel truths and heads to state suffering upon: and if they be truths and duties,
the cause will some way be rendered more illustrious, that it is stated upon the smallest hoofs and hair-breadths of the concerns of Christ's declarative glory; as being a greater witness of its owners love and loyalty to Christ, and of their pure and tender zeal for his honour, than if for more substantial and fundamental truths, which a natural conscience may reclaim to decline, when for the meanest circumstantials of Christ's truths they dare and are ambitious to bestow their dearest blood. But if the complex of them be impartially considered, no unprejudiced arbiter will suffer himself to have such extenuating impressions of the present word of patience, and testimony of the suffering remnant in Scotland this day: but it will appear to be a very weighty and worthy concern, as any that either men or Christians can be called to witness for; being the privilege of all mankind, the duty of all Christians, and the dignity of all churches, to assert; it is for the glory and crown prerogatives and imperial regalia of the King of kings, with reference to his visible kingdom, of which the government is laid upon his shoulders, against the heaven daring usurpations and encroachments made thereupon, both as he is Mediator, and King, and Head of the church, and as he is God and universal King of the world. As he is Mediator, it is his peculiar prerogative to have a supremacy and sole sovereignty over his own kingdom, to institute his own government, to constitute his own laws, to ordain his own officers, to appoint his own ordinances, which he will have observed without alteration, addition, or diminution, until his second coming: this his prerogative hath been, and is invaded by erastian prelacy, sacrilegious supremacy, and now by antichristian popery, which have overturned his government, inverted his laws, subverted his officers, and perverted his ordinances. As he is God and universal King, it is his incommunicable property and glory, not only to have absolute and illimited power, but to invest his deputed ministers of justice with his authority and ordinance of magistracy, to be administred in subordination to him, to be regulated by his laws, and to be improved for his glory, and the good of mankind; this glory of his, hath been invaded by tyrants and usurpers arrogating to themselves an absolute power, intruding themselves without his investment into authority, in a rebellion against him, in opposition to his laws, and abusing it to his dishonour, and the destruction of mankind. Against both which encroachments the present testimony is stated, in a witness for religion and liberty, to both which these are destructive. This will appear to be the result and tendency of the testimony in all its parts, opposed by the enemies of religion and liberty, and the end of all their opposition, to bring it to this crinomenon, who shall be king? Jesus or Caesar? Let any seriously search into all their proclamations and edicts against religion and liberty, this will be found to be the soul and sense of them, practically and really speaking to this purpose, especially since this man came to the throne.

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