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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

He feared some would let the papists understand

have suffered much in our day

of blasphemy, rebuke and trouble, which yet we find was not so odious in our reformers eyes as this dull and degenerate age would represent it. That in some cases it is lawful and laudable for private persons, touched with the zeal of God, and love to their country, and respect to justice trampled upon by tyrants; to put forth their hand to execute righteous judgment upon the enemies of God and mankind, intolerable traitors, murderers, idolaters; when the ruin of the country, destruction of religion and liberty, and the wrath of God is threatened, in and for the impunity of that vermin of villains, and may be averted by their destruction, always supposed, that these, whose office it is to do it, decline their duty. The mind of our reformers as to this is manifest, both in their practice and opinion. We heard before of the slaughter of Cardinal Beaton, and of the fiddler Rizzio: we shall find both commended by Mr. Knox, giving account how these that were carried captives to France for this cause from St. Andrew's were delivered. 'This (saith he), we write, to let the posterity to come to understand, how potently God wrought in preserving and delivering of those that had but a small knowledge of his truth, and for the love of the same hazarded all; that if we, in our days, or our posterity that shall follow, shall see a dispersion of such as oppose themselves to impiety, or take upon them to punish the same otherwise than laws of men will permit, if such shall be left of men, yea
as it were despised and punished of God: yet let us not damn the persons that punish vice, (and that for just cause,) nor yet despair, but that the same God that dejects will raise up again the persons dejected, to his glory and their comfort; and to let the world understand in plain terms what we mean; that great abuser of this commonwealth, that poultron and vile knave Davie was justly punished, March 9, 1565, by the counsel and hands of James Douglas, Earl of Morton, Patrick Lord Lindsay, &c. who, for their just act, and most worthy of all praise, are now unworthily left of all their brethren.' This is not only commended by the author alone, but we find it concluded by all the brethren at that time, when the Queen brought in the idol of the mass again, and the proud papists began to avow it: Then let it be marked that, 'The brethren universally offended, and espying that the Queen by proclamation did but delude them, determined to put to their own hands, and to punish for example of others; and so some priests in the West land were apprehended, intimation was made to others, as to the abbot of Cosragnel, the parson of Sanquhar, and such, that they should neither complain to the Queen nor council, but should execute the punishment that God has appointed to idolaters in his law, by such means as they might, wherever they should be apprehended.' Upon this the Queen sent for Mr. Knox, and dealt with him earnestly, that he would be the instrument to persuade the people not to put hand to punish. He perceiving her craft, willed her Majesty to punish malefactors according to law, and he durst promise quietness, upon the part of all them that professed Christ within Scotland: but if her Majesty thought to delude the laws, he feared some would let the papists understand, that without punishment they should not be suffered so manifestly to offend God's majesty. Will ye (quoth she) allow they shall take my sword in their hand? 'The sword of justice (said he) Madam, is God's, and is given to princes and

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