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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Than that cunningly contrived oath of abjuration


In

vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird; yet though this is a truth, such silly birds have the bulk of us been, such silly doves without a heart, and so senselessly stupefied, as to suffer ourselves to be blindfolded and hood-winked into snares, of such a manifest baseness, as none could be readily supposed might fall into, who did not brutishly abandon all common sense of reason, besides religion; as a test, and oaths of arbitrary allegiance, bonds of conformity, and irregular regulation, &c. Some again, and these, alas! too many, have been ensnared with snares of a more smooth, and subtile complexion, and poisoned with gilded arrows, coloured over with the specious pretexts of the enemies relenting condescendency and tenderness, stooping now to universal and general terms, obviously thought capable of a very good construction, and daubed over with the untempered mortar of the frequency of the most universally unscrupled supscription of very good and conscientious men and the rarity of recusants lying under the reproach of some few, wild, fantastical fools. These well busked hooks have caught many; of which sort have been many banded indemnities, and easily swallowed oaths thereunto appended. Though the present indeed is contrived without gins of this sort, and now all these snares of oaths and bands are as illegally taken away as they were before imposed; upon the same design, to catch silly fish by other methods; not with hooks, as before, but with a large spread
net, to hale the whole school to antichrist's shore; and to put to proof and practice the vastness of that leviathan prerogative of absolute power, to dispense with all oaths; especially because, in all of them, even the most monstrous, people might think there was some tye obliging them to maintain the protestant religion, therefore to obliterate that, and bury it in oblivion, all now are taken away; but the guilt of them still remains upon the land, and the grievous cry of suffering for refusing them still continues; and therefore the iniquity of them must be looked unto and lamented, and that with an eye to the account and reckoning must be rendered for them, to a greater judgment than that of creatures. But among all these destructive and diabolical devices, there have been none more charming and cheating, than that cunningly contrived oath of abjuration, as it is called, enjoined to be taken by all within the kingdom, by a proclamation about it, representing a late declaration emmitted by that party, whose sufferings I am vindicating (as a manifesto of their enemies) under the most odious character, that the malice of men helped with hell's hatred could devise; and requiring all to abjure it in the most peremptory manner, and under the severest penalty that ever was heard. This oath, I say, was contrived with such cunning, and followed with such keenness, that it hath involved more under its obligation, and engaged more to subscribe it, than any other that went before it: because it hath been painted over with such pretexts, as


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