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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

This hath a supereminent influence upon all


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preface to the divine right

and original of the civil magistrate, (to which Mr. Durham is not absonant) expounds to be the effect of the fourth vial, Rev. xvi. 8, 9. when in these dog days of the world, power is given to the sun of imperial, especially popish, tyranny, by their exorbitant stretches of absolute prerogative, to scorch men with fire of furious oppressions, they then blaspheme the name of God which hath power over these plagues, in their male-content complaints, grumblings, grudgings, and murmurings under the misery, but they do not repent, nor give him glory, in mourning over the causes promeriting such a plague, and their own accession in exposing themselves to such a scorching sun, nakedly without a sconce. Certainly this would be the remedy that conscience would suggest, and interest would incite to, an endeavour either of allaying the heat or of subtracting from it under a shelter, by declining the oblique malignity of its scorching rays. But will the world never be awakened out of this dream and dotage, of dull and stupid subjection to every monster that can mount a throne? Sure at length it may be expected, either conscience from within as God's deputy, challenging for the palpable perversion of this his excellent ordinance, or judgments from without, making sensible of the effects of it, will convince and confute these old inveterate prejudices. And then these martyrs for that universal interest of mankind, who got the fore-start and the first sight of this, will not be so flouted as
fools, as now they are. And who knoweth, what prelude or preparative, foreboding and presaging the downfal of tyranny, may be in its aspirings to this height of arbitrary absoluteness, and in the many questions raised about it, and by them imposed upon consciences to be resolved. If we consider the object of this question; as conscience can only clear it, so in nothing can it be more concerned. It is that great ordinance of God, most signally impressed by a very sacred and illustrious character of the glorious majesty of the Most High, who hath appointed magistracy; in which, considering either its fountain, or dignity, ends, or effects, conscience must have a very great concern. The fountain, or efficient cause of magistracy, is high and sublime. The powers that are, be of God, not only by the all-disposing hand of God in his providence, as tyranny is, nor only by way of naked approbation, but by divine in-institution; and that not only in the general, by at least a secondary law of nature, but also the special investiture of it, in institution and constitution, is from God; and therefore they are said to be ordained of God, to which ordinance we must be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake: which is the great duty required in the fifth commandment, the first commandment with promise; that hath the priority of place before all the second table, because the other commandments respect each some one interest, this hath a supereminent influence upon all. But tyrannical powers are not of God in this sense. And it were blasphemy to assert they were of the Lord's authorization, conscience cannot bind to a subjection to this. Again, the dignity of magistracy, ordained for the maintenance of truth and righteousness, the only foundations of people's felicity, whether temporal or eternal, including the bonds and boundaries of all obedience and subjection, for which they are intended, and to which they refer, is supereminent; as that epithet of higher, added to the powers that are of God, may be rendered; making them high and sublime in glory, whose highest prerogative is, That, being God's ministers, they sit in the throne


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