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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Enjoying her privileges and judicatories


chap. 18. lect. 1. page 585.

in 4to. This must be granted especially in these cases, 1. In the infant state of the church, when the reformation is only begun: then many things may be tolerated, before they be gradually reformed, which, in an adult state, are not to be suffered. 2. In a growing case of the church, advancing out of corruptions, then many things may be borne with, while they are ascending and wrestling up the hill, which in a declining state, when the church is going backward, must not be yielded unto. See that objection of hearing prelatical men in the time of former prelacy, answered above, Period 4. In a constitute and settled case of the church, enjoying her privileges and judicatories, corruptions may be forborn, and the offended are not to withdraw, before recourse to the judicatories for an orderly redress; but in a broken and disturbed state, when there is no access to these courts of Christ; then people, though they must not usurp a power of judicial censuring these corruptions, yet they may claim and exercise a discretive power over their own practice; and by their withdrawing from such ministers as are guilty of them, signify their sense of the moral equity of these censures that have been legally enacted against these and the equivalent corruptions, and when they should be legally inflicted. As we do upon this ground withdraw from the prelatic curates, and likewise from some of our covenanted brethren, upon the account of their being chargeable with such corruptions and defections
from our reformation, as we cannot but shew our dislike of. This the reverend author of Rectius Instruendum justifies, Confut. 3. Dial. chap. 10. p. 8. where he is shewing what separation is not sinful; and gives this for one, If we separate in that, which a national church hath commanded us as her members to disown, by her standing acts and authority, while those from whom we separate own that corruption. Which holds true of the curates, and indulged and addressers, and all that we withdraw from. However it be, certainly those are to be withdrawn from, with whom we cannot communicate without submitting to the laws establishing them, and taking on that test and badge of our incorporation with them, and partaking of their sin, and in hazard of their judgment.

IV. Though in some cases, as we are warranted, so are necessitated to withdraw: yet neither do we allow it upon slight or slender grounds, nor can any tender soul be forced to discountenance the ministers of Christ, (I do not here speak of the prelatical curates), without great reluctancy and grief of heart, even when the grounds of it are solid and valid, and the necessity unavoidable; therefore we reject these as insufficient grounds. Besides what are given already, 1. We cannot withdraw from a minister, for his infirmities or weakness, natural, spiritual, or moral. 2. Neither for personal faults and escapes: we expect a faithful, but not a sinless ministry. 3. Nor for every defect in faithfulness, through ignorance, want of courage, misinformation, or being biassed with affection for particular persons. We do not hold,


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