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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

That we must discountenance him

that faults in members or defects

in ministers, do pollute the ordinances, and so necessitate a separation; but agree with what Mr. Durham says on Revelations, chap. 2. lect. 6. p. 147. in quarto. Sincerity discovered will cover many faults. 4. Nor for every discovery of hypocrisy; though we may have ground to suspect a man's principle and motive be not right, yet if he be following duty unblameably, and have a lawful call, what then! "notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached, therein we may rejoice," Phil. i. 18. 5. Nor yet for real scandals, not attended with obstinacy, if ministers will take reproof and admonition, and at least by doctrinal confessing, and practical forsaking them, satisfy the offended. 6. Yea, though his scandals be so gross, that we must discountenance him, when he persists in them: yet that is not a disowning of his ministry, or a rejecting his commission, but a discountenancing for his disorders, until they be removed. But the Apologet. Relat. sect. 14. p. 290, 291. says, (1.) 'There may be ministerial corruptions, that cut the very throat of the office, and make one no officer,----and it is past questioning, such may be shunned, without all hazard of separation. (2.) When personal faults are very gross and palpable, open and avowed, such may be shunned without any hazard of separation; because the man's being an officer, before God, is much to be questioned; and there is great probability, that by the very deed itself, he had forefaulted the same,
though such should be the corruption in a church, that notwithstanding of all this he may be maintained. (3.) Separation is one thing, and not hearing such or such a man is a far other thing: there may be many just grounds of exception against a particular person, why people may refuse to countenance him, without any hazard of separation, or joining with separatists in their principles: separation is one thing, and refusing to attend the ministry of such a man is another thing; for a man may join with ordinances in another congregation, and so testify that he hath no prejudice at the ministry, but only against such a man in particular.' Whence it is an ignorant as well as malicious calumny, to say, that our withdrawing from the curates, and also from some ministers, whom otherwise we respect and reverence as godly ministers, for their offensive defections, is a disowning all the ministry of Scotland. Whereas, we do profess indeed a disowning of the curate's ministry, but for our reverend presbyterian ministers, though we do discountenance many of them with sad hearts, for not keeping the word of the Lord's patience in this hour of tentation, nor adhering to the principles and constitutions of the church of Scotland: yet this is not a disowning of their ministry, but a refusing to countenance them in their present administrations, in this disturbed state, till these offences be removed.

V. As to disown the ministry were hateful sectarianism; so to dissolve or break off communion with a true church, whereof we are members, were an unnatural schism, which is horrid sin. But because among all the various sufferings, wherewith the poor tossed and racked remnant now persecuted, have been exercised, this hath not been the lightest; that they have been on all hands stigmatized as schismatics and separatists, not only because they have maintained a resolved withdrawing from the curates, but also have discountenanced many presbyterian ministers, with whom they have been offended for their declining

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