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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

For expressly they are threatned to die like common men


restricted to the Lord's immediate

way of taking them off, is not credible: for, it can have no tolerable sense to say, they shall be thrust away, because they cannot be taken with the Lord's hands: neither is there need, that he should be fenced with iron, &c. And let iron, &c. be taken tropically for the Lord's sword of vengeance; yet how can it be understood, that he must be fenced therewith? or that he will thrust them away, as a man must be fenced against thorns? What defence needs the Lord against tyrants! It is only then intelligible, that the Lord, in his righteous judgment, will make use of men and legal means, and of those who cannot take them with hands, in his judicial procedure against them. Hence I argue, if tyrants are to be dealt with as thorns, that cannot be taken with hands, but to be thrust away by violence, then, when we are not in case to thrust them away, we must let them alone, and not meddle nor make with them, and so must not own them, for we cannot own them without meddling, and without being pricked to our hurt; but the former is true: therefore,--Of this same nature, another threatning confuting the pretence of the prince's impunity, may be subjoined out of Psal. lxxxii. 6, 7. "I have said, ye are gods, and all of you are children of the most high, but ye shall die like men, and fall as one of the princes." From which words the learned author of the history of the Douglasses, Mr. David Hume of Godscraft, in his discourse upon Mr. Craig's sermon, upon the words, doth strongly
prove, that the scope is to beat off all kings, princes and rulers, from the conceit of impunity for their tyrannical dominations; that they must not think to domineer and do what they list, and overturn the foundations or fundamental laws of kingdoms, because they are gods; as if they were thereby uncontroulable, and above all law and punishment: no, they must know, that if they be guilty of the same transgressions of the law, as other capital offenders, they shall die like other men, and fall as princes, who have been formerly punished. It is not to be restricted to a threatning of mortality; for that is unavoidable, whether they judge justly or unjustly, and the fear thereof usually hath little efficacy to deter men from crimes punishable by law: neither can it be understood only of the Lord's immediate hand taking them away, exclusive of men's legal punishment; for expressly they are threatned to die like common men, and to be liable to the like punishment with them: now, common men are not only liable to the Lord's immediate judgment, but also to men's punishment. Hence, if tyrants and overturners of the foundations of the earth must be punished as other men, then when they are such, they cannot be looked upon as righteous rulers, for righteous rulers must not be punished; but the former is true: therefore,--According to these scriptures, which either express or imply a precept to have no respect to princes in judgment, when turning criminals, we find examples of the people's punishing Amaziah, &c. which is recorded without a challenge, and likewise Athaliah.

2. There is a precept given to a humbled people, that have groaned long under the yoke of tyranny and oppression, enjoining them, as a proof of their sincerity in humiliation, to bestir themselves in shaking off those evils they had procured by their sin, Isa. lviii. 6. "Is not this the fast that I have chosen, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" which are all good works of justice and mercy, and more acceptable to God, than high flown pretences of humiliation, under a stupid submission, and hanging down the head as a bulrush. We see it then a duty to relieve the oppressed, and to repress tyranny, and break its yoke. If it be objected, (1.) That these are spiritual bonds and yokes, that are here commanded to be


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