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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Contested against Maximus the tyrant


of these times. Not unlike

is the passage of Ambrose, who, in favours of Valentinian the rightful governor, contested against Maximus the tyrant, and not only disowned him, but excommunicated him, for which he was threatened with death. And yet it is observable, that when Maximus offered to interpose his power in defence of Ambrose, that he might not be banished by Justina the empress, he would not accept of the help of Maximus, whose power he disallowed and disowned. Whence I observe, that it is not without a precedent for a minister to disown a tyrant, to refuse favour from him: yea, and to excommunicate him, yea, even without the concurrence of his fainting brethren; for all which some of our faithful ministers have been much condemned in our day, especially Mr. Donald Cargil for excommunicating Charles the II, and James, Duke of York, as if such a thing had never been done before: whereas, we see what Ambrose did to Maximus. And this same faithful minister, Ambrosius minister at Milan, in Italy, did also hold out of the assembly of the Christians Theodosius the emperor, though a most virtuous prince, for that grievous scandal committed by him, against the innocent people at Thessalonica in killing so many of them in a passionate transport. But, 3. since this objection of primitive Christians is much insisted on, both against this and the head of defensive arms: I shall further take notice of several distinctions, that do make the difference between their case and ours very vast. (1.) There is a great
difference betwixt a prince of the common religion of his subjects, but distinct from some of them, whom yet he does not seek to entice to his religion, but gives them liberty, and the benefit of the law as other subjects: which was the case of many in these primitive times sometimes. And a prince, by all means, both foul and fair, pressing to a revolt from the true, and to embrace a false religion. In this case (which is ours with a witness) it must be granted we should be wary, that we neither engage with him, nor own allegiance to him, when he would withdraw us from our allegiance to God. (2.) There is a great difference betwixt a prince persecuting the true religion, which only a few of his subjects here and there did profess, who in regard of their paucity were never in capacity to be looked upon as the body of the people, impowering him as their public servant; (which was their case) and a prince persecuting that religion, which was professed by the body of the nation, when they set him up. In this latter case, men of great sense have denied he should be owned for a prince, because then he is stated against the common good. This was our case under the former king, and yet under this, though all professors be not now persecuted, the public religion and ancient reformation is persecuted in a few, whom he intends to destroy, and in their destruction to bury it. (3.) There is a difference betwixt a prince persecuting religion, publicly owned and received of his subjects, yet never approved nor confirmed by law (as it was not in the primitive times) and a prince persecuting religion ratified and established by the laws of the land, which is our case. It will seem clear to every soul, not benighted with court darkness, that he then of course, and by law, falleth from his right in this case, because now he is not only stated against the common good, but against the very laws by which the subjects must be ruled. Then he ruleth not as a prince, to whom the law giveth his measures and bounds, but rageth as a tiger and tyrant, and ought to be carried towards as such. (4.) There is a difference betwixt a prince suppressing that religion established by law, which he never professed, nor never gave his consent to these laws (as might be the case of some of the Arian emperors) though it be unlawful for any people to set up any mortal over them, who is not in this case bound to the good behaviour; and a prince, opposing and oppressing that religion, which himself hath professed, and is ratified by laws with his own consent: which was our case under the former king, who did give the most solemn ratification of them that ever was given, but afterwards most perfidiously retracted it.

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