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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Whereof there are many against tyrants


Seventhly,

This truth is confirmed from scripture-prayers; whereof there are many against tyrants, none for them. Hence we argue, If we are not to pray for tyrants, then we are not to own them; for we are to pray for all that are in authority, 1 Tim. ii. 2. But we are not to pray for tyrants; Ergo, we are not to own them. The minor now must be proved. And this leads me to another subordinate question, which hath also been a head of suffering to some serious seekers of God in our land of late.

The profane emissaries of this and the late tyrant, sent out with bloody commissions to hunt after the Lord's hidden ones, in order to murder all whom they might meet with, that made conscience of adhering to every part of the present testimony; among other trapping questions to discover their prey, they used to put this to them as a discriminating Shibboleth, and tessera of owning the present tyranny, will you say, God save the king? and for refusing this, many have been cruelly murdered in the fields; and many before their bloody judicatories, have for this been arraigned and condemned, and executed to the death. Wherefore to this somewhat must be said, 1. By way of concession. 2. By way of vindication, of scrupling it, and suffering upon it.

First, In the general, it will be necessary to premit by way of concession, 1. It is duty to pray, supplicate and interceed for all men, 1 Tim. ii. 1. not collectively considered nor distributively

for every one universally without exception, but indefinitely and indiscriminately, for the kinds of every individual, for all sorts and sexes, of whatsoever nation or religion, Jew or Gentile, Christian or infidel, not excluding any for these distinctions: and not only so, but for every individual of the kinds, also conditionally, if they be among those all whom the Lord will have to be saved, verse 4. If they be among those all for whom the mediator gave himself a ransom to be testified in due time, verse 5, 9. If they have not sinned the sin unto death, for which we are not bidden pray, 1 John v. 19. Which, because we know not particularly who are guilty of it, charity will oblige us to take into our prayers many that may never be the better of them; yet it is necessary that we pray in faith, for what, or whomsoever we pray, at least, if I may so call it, we must have a negative faith, a belief that they have not sinned that sin unto death; which we cannot have at all, there being some whose demonstrations of desperate displays of affronted wickedness, and hatred of holiness may give ground to doubt of it, as Christians had of Julian the apostate. 2. We are obliged to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, to do good to them that hate us, to pray for them that despitefully use and persecute us, Mat. v. 44. Accordingly our master, who commanded this, did give us a pattern to imitate, when he prayed, Father forgive them for they know not what they do, Luke xxiii. 34. And his faithful martyr Stephen, prayed for his murderers, Lord lay not this sin to their charge, Acts vii. the last verse. We are to pity them, and not to seek vengeance against them, for any injuries they can do to us. Yet, as this doth not interfere with a holy and zealous appeal to God for righting, and resenting, and requiting, the wrongs done to us, that he may vindicate us and our cause, and make them repent of their injuries done to us, to the glory of God, and conviction of onlookers, and confusion of themselves, which may well consist with mercy to their souls; so all we can pray for them in their opposition to us, is in order to their repentance, but never for their prosperity in that course.


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