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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Which was all that Jeremiah did


not as tests of their allegiance.

3. There may be also, in some cases, obedience allowed to their lawful commands because of the lawfulness of the thing commanded, or the coincidency of another just and obligging authority commanding the same. We may do many things which a tyrant commands, and which he enforces; and many things also whether he will or not; but we must do nothing upon the consideration of his command, in the acknowledgement of obedience, due by virtue of allegiance, which we own of conscience to a lawful magistrate. We must do nothing, which may seem to have an accessoriness to the tyrant's unlawful occupancy, or which depends only on the warrant of his authority to do it, or may entrench on the divine institution of magistracy, or bring us into a participation of the usurper's sin. In these cases we can neither yield obedience in lawful things, nor in unlawful: 'nor can we own absolute subjection, no more than we can absolute obedience; for all subjection is enjoined, in order to obedience: and to plead for a privilege in point of obedience, and to disclaim it in point of subjection, is only the flattery of such, as having renounced with conscience all distinction of obedience, would divest others of all privileges, that they may exercise their tyranny without controul, Naphtali, p. 28. prior edit.'] 4. There may be addresses made to such as are not rightful possessors of the government, for justice, or mercy, or redress of some intolerable grievances, without scruple of accepting that which is
materially justice or mercy, or seeking them at the hand of any who may reach them out to us, though he that conveys them to us be not interested in the umpirage of them. Thus we find Jeremiah supplicated Zedekiah for mercy, not to return to prison; and Paul appealed to Caesar for justice. But in these addresses we may not acknowledge the wicked laws that brought on these grievances, nor conceal the wickedness, no more than the misery of them which we have endured; nor may we own the legal power of them that we address, to take them off, nor signify any thing, in the matter and manner of our representations, that may either import a declining our testimony, for which we have suffered these grievances, or a contradiction to our declinature of their pretended authority: only we may remonstrate, what cruelties we have endured, and how terrible it will be to them to be guilty of, or accessory to our blood, in not pitying us; which was all that Jeremiah did. And as for Paul's appeal, we find he was threatened to be murdered by his countrymen, Acts xxiii. 14. from whose hands he was rescued, and brought before the judicatory of Festus the Roman deputy, not voluntarily; thence also they sought to remand him to Jerusalem, that they might kill him, Acts xxv. 3. whereupon he demands in justice that he might not be delivered to his accusers and murderers, but claims the benefit of the heathens own law, by that appeal to Caesar, which was the only constrained expedient of saving his own life, Acts xxviii. 19, by which also he got an opportunity to witness for Christ at Rome.

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