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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

It is a covenanted and bonded obedience to a wicked law


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with the enemies for liberty

upon these terms, is sinful. For it is not only an acknowledgement of a wicked power, in owning and transacting with them as judges, who can free them and bind them as prisoners by law, which is disproved above; but it is a binding themselves over to a packed, perverse, and law-perverting judicatory, not as prisoners by forcible constraint, but a willing consent, acknowledging the legality of their imprisonment, and obliging themselves to observe it when demanded: yea, it is a covenanted and bonded obedience to a wicked law; for it is a wicked law, to exact from a sufferer for truth his re-entry to prison, for no crime but his duty. As also it is a justifying of a wicked sentence; for it is a wicked sentence, that an innocent man shall return to prison when they please; which is justified when they bind themselves to obey it. This is no ways like a man's going to the gibbet on his own feet; for the man does not bind himself to do that, neither is it exacted of him as an obedience to a law, nor is it given forth as a part of his sentence, only he chooseth it for his own ease: but if all these did concur, it were unlawful for a martyr for righteousness to obey such a law, or voluntarily to submit to such a wicked sentence. Neither is it of any pertinency to urge, that it is lawful for a man to submit so far to a robber, as to bind himself to return to him against such a day with another purse to him: for this is a necessitated bargain, to give what a man hath, and promise more to
save his life, and is like a man's casting his goods out at sea to save the ship; the other is not so, but elective: this is only a choice of the least of two evils of suffering, but the other is a choice of one of two evils, which is sin, which cannot come under a Christian's election at all; this is a compact with the robber, which is still discretive, and no ways unitive of the robber and him, in any bargain of concord, or confederacy, or acknowledged subjection, only a passive surrender to his greater force as an enemy; but the other is unitive, as between rulers and ruled: this is not any obedience to a law, nor is the man's purse required to be given, or promised under that notion, as the other is. I shall here also subjoin some more of that foresaid letter of Mr. Rutherford's, in the second place, says he, 'A speaking to them in writ, and passing in silence the sworn covenant, and the cause of God, which is the very present controversy, is contrary to the practice of Christ and the apostles, who being accused, or not accused, avouched Christ to be the Son of God, and the Messias, and that the dead must rise again, even when the adversary initiated the question.' Now plain it is, that neither in the bonds nor petitions, is there any word of the cause or testimony suffered for. 4. As it is sinful, so it is very scandalous in several respects; in that at least it hath the appearance of evil, which Christians should abstain from, 1 Thes. v. 22. and seems to be a voluntary subjecting themselves to their impositions (at least of that to return to prison again) a willing acknowledgment of their unjust usurpations; a spontaneous consenting to their mischiefs framed into a law, and exacted under the notion of a law; a gratifying of the enemies of religion, and pleasing them more than any thing a prisoner can do, except he should wholly deny the cause: and therefore chiefly always this overture is most acceptable from those that durst give any testimony, because they look upon it as some indication of their fainting


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