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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Lay to heart the doom of false swearers


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either that the declaring

of a war against the king, or killing some for some causes (which shall afterwards be made appear to be lawful) that serve him, are to be abjured and disowned? or that the declaration does assert any such thing? And indeed it will be found to be a denying the truth, and a subscribing to a manifest falsehood, invoking God to be witness thereto. 2. This oath cannot be taken in judgment; that is, with knowledge and deliberation, &c. All the terms of it have much of obscure ambiguity, declaring a war, and killing any who serve the king, may be constructed in several senses, good and bad, but here they are indefinitely expressed, and universally condemned. Particularly that (in so far as) hath several faces, and can never be sworn in judgment; for if it denote a casuality, and signify as much as because or wherefore, then all declarations of war against any that have the name of king whatsoever, upon whatsoever grounds, and all killing of any serving him, though in our own defence, must be universally condemned, for the consequence is good as to every thing, if it import a restriction, excluding other things in the declaration, but obliging to abjure only that; then it implies also an affirmation, that these two things are contained in it, which will not appear to the judgment of them that will seriously ponder the declaration itself; if again it be a supposition or condition, and to be interpreted, for if so be, then all that the judgment can make of it is, that it is uncertain,
and so the conscience dare not invoke God as a witness of that which is uncertain whether it be a truth or a lie. 3. This oath could not be taken in righteousness: for the matter is not true, certainly known, lawful, possible, weighty, necessary, useful, and worthy: it is not true, that the declaration imports so far as it is represented in the oath of abjuration; neither is it certainly known, but by collating these two together the contrary will appear; neither is it lawful (if it were true that such assertions were in it) to abjure all declarations of war against the king, and to swear it unlawful ever to kill any, if he be once in the king's service, in church, state, army, or country; nor is it possible to reduce this assertory oath into a promissory one lawfully, as most part of such oaths may and do necessarily imply; for when I swear such a thing unlawful, it implies my promise, by virtue of the same oath, never to practice it: But it is not possible (as the case stands) for a man to bind up himself in every case from all declared war against the king, or from killing some employed in his service; what if there be a necessary call to join in arms with the Lord's people, for the defence of their religion, lives and liberties, against him? what if he commands massacre? Shall not a man defend himself? nor endeavour to kill none of that murdering crew, because they are in his service? was ever a fool so fettered? nor is it of such weight, to be the occasion of involving the whole country in perjury or persecution, as by that oath was done; nor was it necessary, in this man's time, to make all abjure a declaration out of date, when the object of it Charles II. was dead, and no visible party actually in arms to prosecute it; nor was it ever of any use or worth, except it were implicitely to gratify their greedy lusting after the blood of innocents, or the blood of silly souls cheated by their snares, by involving them in the same sin of perjury and conscience debauching false swearing, whereof they themselves are so heinously guilty. But let them, and such as have taken that oath, and not fled to Christ for a sanctuary, lay to heart the doom of false swearers, 'the flying roll of the curse of God shall enter into their house,' Zech. v. 4. 'Love no false oath, for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord,' Zech. viii. 17. 'The Lord will be a swift witness against false swearers,' Mal. iii. 5. And let them sift their conscience before the word, and set the word to the conscience, and these considerations will have some weight.


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