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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

A confederation which is necessary and unavoidable


Jacob sware to Laban, David

to Jonathan, &c. In which the matter must be clear, and mutually understood, and honestly meant, without equivocation and mental reservation, and all ambiguity, as also possible, and likely to continue so: for otherwise, it were but a mocking of God and man, to swear a thing we either cannot, or will not perform, according to the meaning of him in whose favours the oath is given. But withal we ought to be sparing in such things except where the matter of the oath or bond is weighty and necessary, and not multiply them needlesly upon formality or custom; for if there were suitable confidence in one another, there would not be need for so many of these securities. And specially in relative stipulations betwixt man and wife, &c. Where an indissolvable relation is entered into. And, in a particular manner, even in things civil, when we are called thereunto by a lawful magistrate, for deciding of controversies, or our own vindication, or to confirm our obligation to some duty, an oath for confirmation is an end of all strife, Heb. vi. 16. But always in this the matter must be lawful, according to the will of God, and true, and certainly known, and also necessary, weighty, useful, worthy of such confirmation, for the glory of God, and the good of our neighbour, that his holy name be not taken in vain; for otherwise if the matter be false, God is made witness of a lie; if uncertain, conscience condemns us that we know not, nor care not, what we call God witness to; if unlawful,
then God is called to approve what he hath condemned, and so to contradict himself, which is horrid blasphemy. With all which cases, and hell devised impositions on consciences in these days, obtruded to debauch and ensnare them, not one of them, levelling all at one design, how smoothly soever conceived, can be taken without a wound and wramp to the conscience.

3. Of all these cases, only two are applicable to our imposed transactions with our wicked rulers, viz. in the matter of friendly contracts, or in the matter of judicial appearances before them, and swearing and banding before, and to them. In both which, there must be a sort of confederation, with them. In contracts with them it will not be doubted; and in judicial submitting to their authoritative impositions of such securities, it is evident, there must be also a confederation with them, not only in acknowledging their authority, but in coming under mutual exacted stipulations; wherein, by taking these oaths and bands, we give them security of orderly subjection, as members of the community whereof they are judges, and get their security of acquittance, and that we shall not be molested nor prosecuted among the recusants. Now concerning this confederation, I shall concede in two cases, it may be owned, and consequentially oaths and bonds may be given to men of their stamp, 1. A confederation which is more discretive, or discriminative may be allowed to them; that is, such bargains wherein they and we are kept still divided as two parties, and not under one incorporation, as in contracts of co-habitation, living under them as tenants, buying and selling, and the like. But we cannot enter into a confederation unitive with them, which may make us one body or party. 2. A confederation which is necessary and unavoidable; when either an unavoidable strife or contention doth arise between them and us, whereupon we are compelled to answer in law, and can no otherwise be decided but by our oath of confirmation, which is an end of all strife; or when we are falsely accused of some odious and heinous crime, as of murder or adultery: it is then lawful and necessary to vindicate ourselves, by giving all these legal confirmations that we are free of these things; for otherwise to ly under the imputation


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