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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

When they see how they are countenanced by all


and neither the lawfulness

nor indifferency of the thing itself, nor mens authority commanding it, nor the weakness, yea, or wickedness of those in hazard to be stumbled, will warrant the doing of that out of which offence arises,' Rectius Instruend. Confut. 3. Dial. chap. 1. p. 19. Mr. Durham in that forecited place saith, 'It carries offence along with it; in reference to the party who runs unsent, it proves a strengthening and confirming of him, and so a partaking of his sin; in reference to others, either strengthens them by that example, to cast themselves in that snare, which possibly may be their ruin; or it grieves them, and makes them sad, who are tender of such things, or gives occasion to make all difference of that kind to be thought light of.' Hence, if hearing of the curates be an offence or scandal, both in reference to malignants, and in reference to the godly, and in reference to the posterity, then it must be avoided; but the former is true: which is evidenced by parts. First, in reference to malignants, it hardens and encourages them in their opposition to the work of God, and all backsliders and compliers with them in their apostacy; this strengthens their hands in their wicked courses, when they see how they are countenanced by all, and that there is no disrespect put upon them, nor dissatisfaction evinced against their courses, then they conclude that they are approven of all: and this hardeneth them, so that they never once think of the evil of their ways. Next, in reference to the
godly, stumbles the truly tender, by encouraging them to do contrary to their light and conscience, even when they are not clear to hear them, then they are emboldened thereunto when they see others doing so; and so it tends to the wounding of their peace, and makes them halt in the ways of the Lord. Lastly, With reference to posterity, it would prejudge them very much: though now the honest party be not in a capacity to transmit the work of reformation unto their posterity, in such a manner as were to be wished: yet they should do something for keeping fresh the memory of the good old cause, by keeping up some footsteps of a standing controversy for Zion's interest against the common enemy: but now let all join with, and own the curates, what appearance of this shall the posterity see? shall not they conclude that the day is lost, and the cause is gone, when they see that this generation hath fled the fields, or rather sold and betrayed the cause, by owning, countenancing, and complying with the enemy, and no standing testimony against these corruptions? whereas if there were but this much of a standing difference, betwixt the people of God and the common enemies of God, to be seen, posterity shall in some measure be kept from being deceived, and shall see the interest of Christ not killed nor buried quick, but living, though in a bleeding condition, and this will occasion their engaging for Christ, and interesting themselves in the quarrel; and it is far better to see the cause of Christ owned, though by suffering and blood, than sold and betrayed by base flenching and complying with persecutors. This argument may also sound and infer a withdrawing from the addressing ministers, who, to the great scandal of presbyterians, give forth their addresses in the name of all of that persuasion.

X. Our duty to themselves, yea our greatest office of love we owe to them, in order to their conviction, does oblige us to withdraw from them. This may seem a paradox, yet it will be apparent, if we search the scriptures, to see what we owe to scandalous brethren. There we find it is a duty, to endeavour by all lawful means to shame them out of their sin; and it is


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