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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

As the reason of that punishment of Zedekiah


loosed and broken; or if any

external be meant, they are only the yokes, of their exactions and usuries. For Answ. I grant, that it is the great duty of a people humbling themselves before the Lord, "to break off their sins by righteousness, and their iniquity, by shewing mercy to the poor," Dan. iv. 27. but that this is the genuine and only sense of this place, cannot be proved, or approved by the scope; which is, to press them to those duties they omitted, whereby the poor oppressed people of God might be freed from the yokes of them that made them to howl, and to bring them to the conviction of those sins for which the Lord was contending with them, whereof this was one, that they exacted all their labours, or things wherewith others were grieved (as the margin reads) or suffered the poor to be oppressed. (2.) If it be alledged, that this is the duty proper to rulers to relieve the oppressed, &c. I answer, it is so; but not peculiar to them: yet most commonly they are the oppressors themselves, and cast out the poor, which others must take into their houses. But the duty here is pressed upon all the people, whose sins are here cried out against (ver. 1.) upon all who professed the service of God, and asked the ordinances of justice (ver. 2.) upon all who were fasting and humbling themselves, and complained they had no success (ver 3.) the reasons whereof the Lord discovers (ver. 4, 5.) whereof this was one, that they did not loose those bands, nor break these yokes, nor relieved the oppressed; and
those works of justice (ver. 6) are pressed upon the same grounds, that the works of mercy are pressed upon (ver. 7.) sure these are not all, nor only rulers. Hence I argue, if it be a duty to break every yoke of oppression and tyranny, then it is a duty to come out from under their subjection; but the former is true: therefore also the latter.

3. In answer to that grand objection of the Jews subjection to Nebuchadnezzar, I shewed what little weight or force there is in it. And here I shall take an argument from that same passage. The Lord commands his people there, to desert and disown Zedekiah, who was the possessor of the government at present, and says, it was the way of life to fall to the Chaldeans, Jer. xxi. 8, 9. which was a falling away from the present king. Either this commanded subjection to the Chaldeans is an universal precept; or it is only particular at that time. If it be universal, obliging people to subject themselves to every conqueror, then it is also universal, obliging people to renounce and disown every covenant-breaking tyrant, as here they were to fall away from Zedekiah: if it be only particular, then the owners of tyranny have no advantage from this passage. And I have advantage, so far as the ground of the precept is as moral, as the reason of that punishment of Zedekiah, which was his perfidy and perjury. Hence, if the Lord hath commanded to disown a king breaking covenant, then at least it is not insolent or unprecedented to do so; but here the Lord hath commanded to disown a king: therefore,--


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