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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And restitution of good rulers


Fifthly,

This may be confirmed from several promises in scripture.

1. There are many gracious and precious promises of reformation of the magistracy, and restitution of good rulers, as a great blessing from God to mankind, and to the church, Isa. i. 26. 'I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning, afterward thou shalt be called the city of righteousness.' If judges must first be restored before the city can be a city of righteousness, then they must be restored before we can own the government thereof: for that government, under which it cannot be a city of righteousness, cannot be owned, since it is no government, but a rebellion and combination of thieves, see ver. 33. I do not here restrict the promise, as it is a prophecy, to its exact fulfilment, as if no government were to be owned but what answers this promise, of the restitution of the primitive order of magistrates; but I plead, that when the princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves, the government is not to be owned, till judges be so far restored, as to reduce righteousness in some measure, which cannot be under tyranny.

And in the general I may plead, that none is to be owned as a magistrate, but who some way is found in a promise; for there is no ordinance of God, no duty, no blessing, no good thing, either to be done or enjoyed, but what is in a promise; but tyranny, or owning of tyrants, or subjection to

usurpers, is not, nor cannot be in a promise. We have many other promises about magistrates, as, that the Lord will be for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, Isa. xxviii. 6. A tyrant cannot be capable of this happiness, nor we under tyranny, nor any while they own them. Kings shall be the church's nursing fathers, and their queens her nursing mothers, Isa. xlix. 23. Kings are not always so, but all kings to be owned are such as can be so, at least they are never to be owned when they turn destroyers of what they should nourish; but tyrants can never be nourishers. It is promised to the Lord's people, if they will hearken diligently unto the Lord, and keep the sabbath, then shall there enter into their gates kings and princes, Jer. xxiii. 3, 4. But it is never promised, neither doth it come to pass in providence, that these duties procured tyrants.

There are many other promises to the same purpose: from whence may be concluded, the Lord will not always leave his people to howl under uneluctable tyranny, but will accomplish their deliverance in his own time and way, though we are not to look to miracles. Whence I argue, 1. Since all the ordinances of God, and rulers in a special manner, are appointed and promised as blessings, these cannot be owned for his ordinance, which are not blessings, but curses. 2. That which would vacate and evacuate all the promises of magistracy, cannot be a doctrine of God; but this that obliges to own tyrants and usurpers, as long as they are up, would vacate and evacuate all the promises of magistracy: for except the Lord work miracles, (which are not in the promise) and do all without means, they cannot be accomplished. For if any means be used, they must be such as will infer disowning of tyrants; for magistrates cannot be restored, except tyrants be removed; and whatever way they be removed without miracles, by others or their own subjects, they must still be disowned, and that before they be removed: for if they be to be owned before their removal, if they exist, cannot make them to be disowned: dispossession cannot take away their right, if they have it before.


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