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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

May disown all allegiance to their pretended authority


all these concessions did not satisfy them, and alledged he might say all this of a tyrant; and therefore commanded him to give it under hand, to own not only the lineal, but the legal succession of king James VII. to the crown of Scotland; which he did, upon a fancy, that legal did not import lawful, but only the formality of their law; withal protesting, he might not be interpreted to approve of his succession. But this was a vain protestation against fact. However, by this we see, what is owning this authority, in the sense of the inquisitors.

The result of all is, to acknowledge allegiance to the present possessor, and to approve his pretended authority as lawful, rightful and righteous; which indeed is the true sense of the words, and any other, that men can forge or find out, is strained. For, to speak properly, if we own his authority in any respect, we own it to be lawful: for every authority, that is owned to be authority indeed, is lawful; authority always importing authorization, and consisting in a right or call to rule, and is formally and essentially contradistinct to usurpation: where ever the place of power is merely usurped, there is no authority but according to his word; a stile without truth, a barely pretended nominal equivocal authority, no real denomination: if we then own this man's authority, we own it to be lawful authority: and if we cannot own it so, we cannot own it all. For it is most suitable, either to manly ingenuity,

or Christian simplicity, to speak properly, and to take words always in the sense, that they to whom they are speaking will understand them, without equivocating.

These preliminaries being thus put by, which do contribute to clear somewhat in this controversy, and both furnish us with some arguments for, and solutions in most of the objections against my thesis, in answer to the questions above stated. I set it down thus: A people long oppressed with the encroachments of tyrants and usurpers, may disown all allegiance to their pretended authority, and when imposed upon to acknowledge it, may and must rather chuse to suffer, than to own it. And consequently we cannot, as matters now stand, own, acknowledge, or approve the pretended authority of king James VII. as lawful king of Scotland; as we could not, as matters then stood, own the authority of Charles II. This consequence is abundantly clear from the foregoing deduction, demonstrating their tyranny and usurpation. In prosecuting of this general thesis, which will evince the particular hypothesis, I shall, 1. Adduce some historical instances, whence it may be gathered, that this is not altogether without a precedent, but that people have disowned allegiance to tyrants and usurpers before now. 2. Deduce it from the dictates of reason. 3. Confirm it by scripture arguments.

I. Albeit, as was shewed before, this question, as now stated, is in many respects unprecedented; yet the practice, which in our day hath been the result of it, to disown, or not to own prevailing dominators usurping the government, or abusing it, is not so alien from the examples of history, but that by equivalency or consequence it may be collected from and confirmed by instances.

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