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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

All solemn securities of oaths or bonds


of such enormities, were shamefully

scandalous to religion. But we cannot allow any transactions of this sort, which are elective and voluntary, to make or pursue either peace or pleas with them, when our own interest or benefit draweth us thereunto; but ere we go to law, or give oaths and bonds to, and before the unjust and perfidious, and such also as we cannot own as magistrates, we would rather take wrong, and suffer ourselves to be defrauded as the apostle adviseth, 1 Cor. vi. 1, 7. It was not unlawful, as expositors shew from that place, for the Corinthians to answer in law for their own vindication, being pursued by a heathen; but it was utterly a fault to go voluntarily one with another. And if to pursue a brother was a fault, then much more to go to law with an apostate, with whom there should be less meddling. And if to go before the unjust magistrates, as these heathen judges were at Corinth, who yet were magistrates, was utterly a fault, then much more to go before such as have neither rightful nor righteous authority at all: which yet must be acknowledged, if we take oaths and bands before them: for none can exact these but acknowledged magistrates. Hence it is apparent, it would be an elective confederation with these wicked usurping judges, when brought before them to take their tendered oaths and bonds, not as parties pursued before them, but as transacting with them, with whom, as well as before whom, we must give these confirming securities: and so not only must we acknowledge them to be gods,
among whom the Lord sitteth, whose holy name is interposed in such solemn transactions; but also we must swear and enter in bonds to them as they require. This indeed is necessary when called before them against our will, and accused of horrid crimes, as was always in the imposition of the oath of abjuration audaciously imputed to the refusers, that they asserted murdering principles, and owned it lawful to kill all that served the king; in such a case, to declare with the most solemn asseverations, for vindication of truth, that we disown not only all such assertions, but all such thoughts as that it is lawful to kill all that serve the king, or any that serve him because they serve him, or because they have injured us any manner of way, and to declare our abhorrence of all murder and assassinations. But to swear such things to them, when we are altogether innocent, would be a granting that we were legally suspected, by offering a legal purgation. And so all the subjects of Scotland should take upon them to purge themselves from a suspicion of murder, which were odious. And to abjure a declaration, as asserting such things, when it asserts no such thing, is a swearing to a lie.

4. All solemn securities of oaths or bonds, that are sacred promises, are by strictness of law, of most strict and indispensible obligation, as Mr. Durham on the third command, shews in many cases: No man's loss, or private prejudice, can make it void, (though we swear to our own hurt, we must not change, Psal. xv. 4) nor indifferency in the matter, if once engaged in, for then our souls are bound, Numb. xxx. 2. nor deceit of others, if the deceit be circumstantial only, as in the Gibeonites case; nor the extortion of it by fear or violence, if the matter be lawful; nor rashness and sin in the manner, if lawful in the matter, as with the Gibeonites; nor another meaning afterwards devised, not according to the imposer's mind, nor our own at first who took it, (that is but a swearing deceitfully, Psal. xxiv. 4.) nor any good meaning or design in reversing the oath (Saul was punished for breaking his oath with the Gibeonites, out of zeal, 2 Sam. xxi. 2.) nor though the oath be conceived by creatures, (as by the altar


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