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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

The qualification of aptness to teach is wanting


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Nay, they can give no proof

of their ministry at all, further than may be competent to dumb dogs that cannot bark, Isa. lvi. 10, 11. For they nor no man can say, That the diseased they have strengthened, or healed that which was sick, &c. Ezek. xxxiv. 4. And it is known to all that know them, that if ever there were any that assumed to themselves the name of Levites, who departed out of the way, and caused many to stumble at the law, and corrupted the covenant of Levi, and therefore were deservedly contemptible and base before all the people, (Mat. ii. 8, 9.) they are the men. Let any man judge then, whether they have the qualifications of the messengers of the Lord of hosts. Hence, they that can give no proof of their ministry, but that which proves them to be such whom the Lord condemns, and such who deserve to be contemned of all, cannot be acknowledged to be qualified as the Lord's ministers; but the prelatic curates can give no proof of their ministry, &c. Ergo----(3.) The qualification of aptness to teach is wanting; yea, incompatible with them, not only such of them as are noted for ignorance, of whom clearly that is verified, they are blind watchmen, they are all ignorant (Isa. lvi. 10.) but even their greatest clerks and rabbies may fitly be called after the name of their forefathers, whom Christ calls blind leaders of the blind, concerning whom he gives a command to let them alone, Mat. xv. 14. Either generally they are discovered to be such masters of Israel, as know not these things,
John iii. 10. being men not exercised in religion, and have not learned the truth as it is in Jesus; or they are such, as if they have had gifts or grace, yet now they are palpably blasted of God, and so cannot profit the people at all, being such as do not stand in God's counsel, for then they should have turned the people from their evil way, and so they are not apt to teach others when they are not taught of God, but steal his words every one from their neighbour, clearly discovering they are not sent of him, Jer. xxiii. 21, 22, 30, 32. And because they do not stand in God's counsel, they cannot declare all the counsel of God, Acts xx. 27. For they can neither be apt to teach repentance towards God, since they cannot be supposed to be sensible of these sins to be repented of, for which the land perisheth, and is burnt up like a wilderness, Jer. ix. 12. For then they would first repent themselves of their own conformity with prelacy, of their breach of covenant, &c. All that they can do in such a subject is, to see vain and foolish things, and not to discover the land's iniquity, but to see false burdens, and causes of banishment, Lam. ii. 14. Nor can they be apt to teach faith, seeing in many things they teach otherwise than Christ hath taught us in his word, and consent not to wholesome words, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, from such the command is to withdraw, 1 Tim. vi. 3,--5. whose mouths must be stopped when they teach things which they ought not, Tit. i. 9,--11. which is undeniable to all that know what sort of stuff they preach, contrary to the word of God, and the principles of our covenanted reformation. Hence if none of them be apt to teach, then none of them is fit to be heard; but none of them is apt to teach: Ergo----'It is true private christians may not judge of the endowments and qualifications of ministers; yet every private christian hath the judgment of discretion, and that way may judge such an one if he


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