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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

In appointing ordinances immutable


by no human authority to be reversed; in appointing ordinances immutable, without addition or diminution, for matter or manner; instituting a government, which no man or angel can, without blasphemy, arrogate a power either to invert or evert, change or overturn; and constituting officers, which must depend only on his authority, and his alone; and must be cloathed only with his commission, and his alone; guided by his instructions, and his alone; acting according to his laws and prescribed platform, and his alone; without any dependence on, subordination to, licence, warrant or indulgence from any mortal. And therefore we disown and detest every thing that hath not the stamp of his authority, either in doctrine, worship, discipline or government: and will discountenance prelacy, supremacy, popery, and all corruption contrary to his institution, who is sole and supreme lawgiver to the conscience, and will submit to, or comply with nothing that may directly or indirectly signify our respect unto them. Hence we will take none of their oaths, subscribe none of their bonds, yield to none of their impositions, pay none of their exactions; neither will we hear or receive ordinances from any minister, but the faithful authorized ambassadors of Christ our king, whatever either rage or reproach we suffer for it. We assert and affirm also, that our exalted Prince is King of the whole world, by whom kings reign, and princes decree justice, as his ministers of justice, in subordination to him; whom he hath hath appointed to rule over us, with just boundaries, that they may not exceed, and true characters, by which we should know them and pay them deference. And therefore, whosoever shall arrogate to themselves, and extend their power beyond and above his prescripts, being neither called to, nor qualified for, nor improving the office for the ends he hath appointed; we will acknowledge them no otherwise than usurping tyrants, and not magistrates nor ministers of justice, to whom he hath given the sword by his perceptive will; only as lions, bears, wolves, to whom he hath given a rod by his providential will; in that case we may be passively subject, when we cannot do better; but will never own conscientious allegiance to them, nor own them as our lawful magistrates; and therefore we will not bow down to their idols they have set up, nor prostitute either conscience or liberty to their lust, but will endeavour, under our Master's banner and conduct, to preserve whatever he hath intrusted to us religion, life, liberty, estate, and whatsoever the Lord our God hath given us to possess, as they unjustly possess what their god gives them; and will maintain a war of constant opposition to them (against whom our Lord hath declared a war for ever) without parley, treaty of peace, capitulation, composition, truce, or any transaction; we will neither meddle nor make with them, less or more, nor seek their favour, nor embrace it when it is offered, on any terms that may imply any obligation to surcease from our duty to our King, and irreconcileable opposition to them,' &c.

Now I shall come more distinctly to the purpose, in offering a short vindication of the heads and grounds of our great sufferings, dividing them into their principal parts, which I reduce to two, to wit, negatives and positives. The negative grounds I reckon three principally. 1. For refusing to acknowledge a corrupt ministry. 2. For refusing to own a tyrannical magistracy. 3. For refusing to swear and subscribe their unlawful imposed oaths, chiefly that of abjuration, which was the occasion of suffering unto death. The positive grounds are also three. 1. For frequenting field-meetings, to receive gospel ordinances from faithful ministers. 2. For maintaining the principle and practice of defensive resistance of superior powers. 3. For maintaining the privilege and duty of offensive revenge, in executing justice upon murdering enemies of mankind, in cases of extreme necessity, in prosecuting which, I shall intertex some subordinate questions relating to their respective heads, and endeavour to discuss them briefly.


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