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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

To assist our forces to apprehend


and would have all to understand,

that no testimony for Christ's supremacy against our encroachments thereupon, shall be comprehended under these matters of mere religion, for which the conscience shall not be constrained: but we will have the consciences of such subjects of his, that dare assert it, brought to a test and probation how they stand affected in this competition betwixt us and this King Jesus, and see whether they will own or decline our authority, because not of him, nor for him, nor to him, but against him and all his interests. Our will is therefore, that all who will countenance any other meetings of his subjects than we have allowed, or connive at them, shall be prosecuted according to the utmost severity of our laws made against them, which we leave in full force and vigour, notwithstanding of all the premises. And for this effect, we further command all our judges, magistrates, and officers of our forces, to prosecute all these subjects and followers of Christ, who shall be guilty of treating with, or paying homage to that exauctorated king of theirs, in their assemblies with his ambassadors in the fields with the utmost rigour, as they would avoid our highest displeasure: for we are confident none will, after these liberties and freedom we have given to all without reserve, to serve God publicly, in such a way, as we, by our sovereign authority, prerogative royal, and absolute power
aforesaid, have prescribed and allowed, presume to meet in these assemblies, except such whose loyalty to Christ doth alienate them from us and our government. As also, under the same certifications, by the same sovereign authority, and prerogative royal, and absolute power foresaid, we charge, impower, warrant, and authorize, against all hazards (hell excepted) all our foresaid judges and officers, in their respective places, to prosecute and execute our laws, against all that may be suspected or convicted of their adherence to Christ, or be found guilty of owning their allegiance to him as their liege Lord, by solemn covenant, which we have caused burn by the hand of the hangman, and declared criminal to own it, or shall be found guilty of declining allegiance to us and our absolute authority, stated in opposition to him and his, or of maintaining that pernicious principle, inconsistent with our government, that their lives are their own, which they will preserve without surrender to our mercy: all which we command to be executed to death, or banished as slaves, as shall be found most conducible to our interest. And to the end, the few that remain of that way may be totally exterminated, we straitly command all our soldiers, horse and foot, to be ready upon order, to march and make search, pursue and follow, seize and apprehend, kill and slay, and cause to perish, all such, whether they shall be found at meetings, or in their wanderings, wherever they may be apprehended: and ordain all our good subjects to be assistant to these our forces, in prosecuting this war against Christ and his followers, and contribute their best help and encouragement, in giving them their required maintenance, and duly paying cess and locality imposed for that end; and that they shall not dare to countenance, converse with, refer, harbour, supply, or keep any manner of correspondence with any of these traitors that adhere to Christ, under the pain of being found art and part with them, and obnoxious to the same punishments to which they are liable; but on the contrary, to assist our forces to apprehend, and raise the hue and cry after them wherever they shall be seen, that they may be forthwith pursued, seized, cut off, and destroyed, which we order to be instantly done upon the place, where they or any of them are apprehended, and that without any delay or mercy to age or sex,' &c.

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