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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

He expresly refused to disown that declaration


never any before was capable

of. The pressing of it hath been so impartial, upon travelling to the country, &c. And their acceptance of the pass annexed to it thought so necessary, as without it no business could be gone about. Its subscription so universally unscrupled, even by the generality of great professors and ministers too; the thing abjured represented so odious, as no honest man could refuse to renounce; and the matter renounced, under its best aspect and construction, esteemed only a paper declaration of a party very despicable, wherein the principles, profession, or confession of the church seems no way concerned; and if any way concerned, yet the concern appearing so finall, as few or none durst state their sufferings upon that head. Yet I believe, if either such as have taken it, or others that may have the tentation of the like hereafter, will impartially ponder it; so much iniquity may be discovered in it, as may oblige the one to mourn in the sense of its fulness, and the other to beware of its danger. And so much rather would I offer this to consideration, that I know one who was wofully wheedled into it, that found the bitter effects of this poisoned pill in his wounded conscience, after reflections on the deed, in such a measure that he despaired of ever recovering peace. And this man had as much, and more to say, to justify his deed, than any that ever took it; having it with all the advantages that ever it could be tendered with: for, being urged thereunto before the justiciary,
he expresly refused to disown that declaration, and the principles whereupon it was founded, and told them that it was misrepresented in the proclamation: and when they yielded to an abstract disowning of it in so far as the proclamation represents it, or, if so be, it might be so represented, he gave in a sense in writ, wherein he would take it; shewing that, upon supposition, the declaration did assert such things as was represented, he would disown it: and after the sense was accepted as satisfactory, he refused to swear after the ordinary manner, following the clerks, blind manuduction, but behoved to have it written down: and when it was written, with express specification of that apologetical declaration, he refused to swear it, till it was altered and corrected, and the word pretended put in the stead of it: which done, before he subscribed it, he protested it might be constructed in no other sense, than the genuine meaning of the words he delivered in, and that it might not be reckoned a compliance for fear of his life: yet, notwithstanding of all this, he lost the jewel of inward peace, and knew the terror of the Lord for many days. Therefore I shall chiefly insist on discovering the iniquities of this last oath, called the abjuration oath, both because it is the smoothest, and more generally taken than any other, and approven by many that condemn the rest, and refusing it hath been punished by death, and most illegally pressed upon all, under the penalty thereof, as none of the rest was; and because as all other oaths successively imposed, were so contrived that the last did always imply and involve the substance of the former, so it will appear that the iniquity of none of the preceeding oaths was altogether wanting in this. But to the end, both the complication of the iniquities of this oath may be evinced, and the continued strain of all the oaths (which have also been heads of suffering, though not to this degree) may be discovered; I shall touch somewhat of all the sorts of them, and shew that their iniquity cleaves to this last oath: and then come to canvass this oath itself, after I have premitted some general concessions.

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