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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

The consideration of which woful apostasy


the generality, even of the

professors of this generation, into such a degree of defection and wretched compliance with all their snares, that as it prognosticates universal desolation ineluctable, (if it be not prevented as universal as the compliance hath been,) so it proclaims the infamy of the compliers perjury as indelible as their perfidy with whom they have complied. The consideration of which woful apostasy, in its various steps by which it hath been propagated and promoted, ought to deter and demur all the fearers of God, that would not partake of its threatned punishment, from venturing any more to come near the brink, or border of such precipices, and paths of the destroyer, when so many have stumbled, and fallen, and been hooked, and taken; yea not so much as to look near them, lest they be left to follow their look, but to stand aloof from every appearance of transacting with these man catchers, yea conscience-catchers, who are so cunning to ensnare and destroy; as their predecessors, to whose sins and judgments also they serve themselves heirs, are described by the Holy Ghost, Jer. v. 26-29. They lay wait as he that setteth snares, they set a trap, they catch men,----their houses are full of deceit, therefore they are become great and waxen rich.----Shall I not visit for these things saith the Lord? Many and manifold have been the snares, traps and gins, laid in the way of the professors of this generation and nation, by these mischief hatchers, these keen and cunning persecutors, the party
now regnant or rather raging, in madness and malice against Christ and all that are loyal and zealous for his interest against their encroachings thereon, whereby they have caught and cozened many out of their consciences, and have broken the neck of some, the peace of others, and the hearts of not a few. Yea no nation can be instanced, wherein so many oaths and bonds have been imposed on peoples consciences, so nauseating for naughtiness and number, as well as noxious in their nature, in an age, as have been in Scotland within these 27 years past; on design to waste all remainder of conscience, or sense of religion among people, that so having worn out the awful impression of it, they may introduce what they would, upon a people involved in the same apostasy with themselves and either to incorporate all with themselves in the same combination against the Lord, or to extirpate all dissenters, who should discover any tenderness of conscience, in not going along with them in the same excess of riot. And to the end they might have the greater concurrence and countenance, with the help of hell's policy, they contrived them in such terms as might engage many to take them, and load the recusants with odious obloquies, either as silly scruplers, or seditious schismaticks, or rebels. For this hath been all along their grand project, to level their designs against religion, not directly and formally under that notion, but obliquely to the destruction of the lovers and professors of it under the nickname of fanatical enemies to government. Of these ensnaring engines levelled to these ends, some have been more patent and open, others more latent and hidden; both have made a pray of people, the last chiefly. For a snare the more latent and hidden it be and the more varnished over with the vermillion of pretended honesty and innocence, it is the more dangerous; and will be so accounted by all the circumspect and cautious, as in its design more destructive, and in its effects, when discovered, more dolorous, than that which is more open and manifest. A hook, the braver that it is busked, and the better that it is baited, the surer and more successful it is to catch the simple fish; if it want its busking, they will not so readily bite at it.

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