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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Did oblige all their posterity

engagements are national promises,

plighting and pledging the nation's public faith, for the preservation and propagation of religion and liberty, to succeeding posterity; which if succeeding generations may reverse, then the faith of men, and the faith of nations, can be of no force above a century of years; nay nor after the decease of them that personally made the promise: and so every new ruler, every new parliament, yea every person coming up to succeed the father in any capacity, might be free not to stand to it, which were very absurd. Certainly that promise of the jewish nobles and rulers, not to exact usury of their brethren, but to restore, and not require it of them, did not only oblige themselves but would bring their posterity under the curse, if they should exact the same debt there remitted, Neh. v. 12, 13. And does not a national promise of preserving the reformation, bind as much to the curse of the breach of it? 2. They are national vows, avowing and avouching, and devoting themselves and their posterity to be the Lord's people, and to keep his statutes, and promote his interests, which do bind the posterity. Jacob's vow at Bethel, that the Lord should be his God, Gen. xxviii. 21. did oblige all that his posterity, virtually comprehended in him; he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us, saith the prophet many hundred years after, Hos. xii. 4. The Israelites vow to destroy the Canaanites, did oblige all their posterity, Numb. xxi. 2. Not only by virtue of the Lord's command, but by virtue
of their vow; as we are obliged to preserve the reformation, not only by virtue of the Lord's command, but by virtue of our covenants. Vows are bonds to the soul, which must stand, Numb. xx. 2, 4. And whereas it is said, that as a woman's father or husband might disannul her vow, and so the magistrate might abrogate the covenant: besides the impertinency of this comparison, as might be easy to demonstrate, it may be, by giving and not granting that he might do so; yet if the father and husband shall hold their peace, then all her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand, ver. iv. 7. but so it was, that the supreme magistrate did give his consent to the national covenant, and the successor did swear the solemn league and covenant, and received the crown on the terms thereof, to preserve and promote religion and liberty; and therefore his vows must stand, they cannot be made void afterwards; for, it is a snare to devour that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry, Prov. xx. 25. So we find the Rechabites were obliged to observe the vow of their forefathers Jonadab, Jer. xxxv. 6. 14. And if the father's vow obliges the children, shall not the nation's vow oblige the posterity? 3. They are national oaths which do oblige posterity: Esau's oath to Jacob, resigning his birth-right, did oblige his posterity never to recover it, Gen. xxv. 33. Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel to carry up his bones into Canaan, Gen. 1. xxv. which the posterity, going forth of Egypt in after ages, found themselves straitly sworn to observe, Exod. xii. 19. and accordingly buried them in Shechem, Josh. xxiv. 32. The spies swore to preserve Rahab alive and her house, Josh. ii. 12, &c. which was without the consent of the magistrate, and yet Joshua found himself obliged to observe it, Josh. vi. 22. Moses swore unto Caleb to ensure him an inheritance, Josh. xiv. 9. and upon this ground he demands it as his right, ver. 12. which he could not do, if successors might reverse their predecessors lawful oaths.


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