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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

That the taking of this imposed oath of abjuration


and that not a private discretive

judgment, but a public definitive sentence (in their capacity) by the most solemn way of declaring it, that can be, by oath and subscription under their hand; whereby they have condemned all the sufferings of their brethren, who sealed their testimony in opposition to this compliance with their blood, and finished it with honoured joy, as foolish and frivolous profusion of their own blood, nay, as just and legally inflicted and executed upon them, as being rebels, of murdering principles and practices: for this cannot be vindicated from a more than indirect justifying of all the murdering severity executed upon them. 3. And hereby they have unkindly and unchristianly lifted themselves on the other side against them, and take part rather with their enemies than with them; for thus they used to plead for it, when they pressed this oath upon them that scrupled it; when any war is declared against the king, 'any of his majesty's soldiers may question any man whom he is for, and if he be not for the king, he may act against him as an enemy, and if they will not declare for the king and disown the rebels, they are to be reputed by all as enemies.' Which, whatever weakness be in the arguing, plainly discovers, that they take the abjuring of that declaration, in that juncture, to be a man's declaring of what side he is for, and that he is not for the emmitters of that declaration, but for the king and his party: which, in the present state of affairs, is a most dreadful owning of Christ's
enemy, and disowning of his friends. Hence, a disowning of the Lord's persecuted people, and condemning their practice, and an owning of their persecutors, and espousing their side of it, is a sinful confederacy; but the taking of this oath is such, as is evident by what is said; therefore it is a sinful confederacy.

3. Considering the nature, conditions, and qualifications of so solemn and serious a piece of God's worship, and way of invocating his holy name, as an oath is; it will appear, that the taking of this imposed oath of abjuration, was a dreadful and heinous breach of the third command, by taking his name in vain, in the worst sort, and so cannot be holden guilty. I prove it thus: An oath which cannot be taken in truth, judgment and righteousness, is a breach of the third command; but this is an oath which cannot be in truth, judgment and righteousness: which is evident; for, 1. It cannot be taken by any conscientious man in truth, in sincerity of the heart, simplicity of the mind, singleness and honesty in the intention, not putting any other sense than the imposer hath, and which is the clear sense of it without oath and beyond it. For if he take it according to the meaning, then he should swear it unlawful ever to declare war against the king, and consequently never to rise in arms against him upon any pretence whatsoever: for, if we may rise in arms for our own defence, we make and must declare a defensive war. And indeed, in themselves, as well as in their sense and meaning who imposed them, these two oaths never to rise in arms against the king, and this of abjuration, are one and the same. Then also should we swear it unlawful, at any time, upon any occasion, or for any cause, to kill any such as serve the king in church, state, army or country, either in peace or war: for that is their thought, and the sense of the oath itself, or what is beyond it: and in part, for their exemption and immunity from all condign punishment, this oath was contrived. But in fine, how can this oath be taken in truth; when it is not apparent,


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