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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

That the church judicatories be prelimited


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or assemblies, without the

magistrate's consent, but that the power of convocating and indicting assemblies do belong only to him, and the power of delegating and constituting the members thereof, that he may dissolve them when he pleases; that his presence, or his commissioners, is necessary unto each national assembly; that ministers have no proper decisive suffrage in synods, but only of advice; that the church judicatories be prelimited, and nothing must be treated there, which may be interpreted grating upon the prerogative, nor any thing whatsoever, but what he shall allow and approve, without which it can have no force nor validity; yea, by this a door should be opened unto the utter destruction and overthrow of all church-judicatories, seeing he is made the fountain of all church power. (4.) By this, the magistrate is made a church-member as he is a magistrate, and so all magistrates as such are church-members, even heathens. And yet, (5.) By this he is exempted from subjection to the ministry, because they are made accountable to him in their administrations, and in the discharge of their function are under him as supreme. Yea, (6.) By this the magistrate is made a church officer, having the disposal of the church's government. And not only so, but (7.) By this he is made a church officer of the highest degree, being supreme in all causes, to whom ministers in the discharge of their ministry are subordinate. And so, (8.) By this the church of the New Testament is made imperfect, so long as she
wanted a Christian magistrate, wanting hereby a chief officer; yea, and the apostles did amiss in robbing the magistrate of his power. (9.) By this the magistrate might exercise all acts of jurisdiction, immediately by himself; seeing he can do it as supreme by his commissioners in ecclesiastic affairs. (10.) Finally, by this oath the king is made the head of the church, being supreme over all persons, and in all causes, unto whom all appeals and references must ultimately be reduced, even from church judicatories. Those things are only here touched they are more apodictically confirmed above, and may be seen made out at large in Apol. Relat. Sect. 12. But I proceed. 6. It is contrary unto the solemn League and Covenant; into whose place, after it was broken, burnt, buried, and rescinded, since they have remitted the subjects allegiance by annulling the bond of it, they substitute and surrogate this in its place: and therefore none can comply with the surrogation of the second, except he consent to the abrogation of the first oath. All the allegiance we can own according to the covenants, stands perpetually and expresly thus qualified, viz. in defence of religion and liberty, according to our first and second covenants, and in its own nature must be indispensibly thus restricted: therefore to renew the same, or take an oath of allegiance simply, purposely omitting the former restriction, when the powers are in manifest rebellion against the Lord, is, in effect, a disowning of that limitation, and of the sovereign prerogative of the great God, which is thereby reserved and as much as to say, 'Whatever authority command us to do, we shall not only stupidly endure it, but actively concur with, and assist in all this tyranny.' See Naph. first edition, Pag. 177, 178. Vindicated at length by Jus Populi. chap. 11. By all this the iniquity of the Scots oath of allegiance and supremacy may appear, and also that of the English oath of allegiance, even abstract from the supremacy, is in some measure discovered; though it is not my purpose particularly to speak to that: yet this I will say, That they that plead for its precision from the supremacy annexed seem not to consider the full import of its terms; for under the dignities, superiorities and authorities, there engaged to be upheld, the ecclesiastical supremacy must be included; for that is declared to be one of the dignities of the crown there, as well as here; and hither it was brought from thence. And therefore those Scots men that took that oath there, and pled, that though the oath of allegiance in Scotland be a sin, yet it is duty to take the oath in England, seem to me to be in a great deceit: for the object is the same, the subject is the same, the duty expected, required, and engaged into, is the same, and every thing equal in both. Yet all this iniquity, here couched, is some way comprehended in, and implied by the oath of abjuration: for the civil part is imported in abjuring a declaration, for its declaring war against the king, where it is clear, he is owned as king, and all part with them that declare war against him being renounced, it is evident the abjurers must take part with him in that war, and so assist and defend him; for being subjects, they must not be neutral, therefore if they be not against him, they must be for him, and so under the bond of allegiance to him: the ecclesiastical supremacy is inferred from that expression of it, where some are said to serve him in church, as well as in state, which implies an ecclesiastical subordination to him as supreme over the church.


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