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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Abjuring it in so far as it declares


I

shall say nothing of the necessity, or conveniency, or expediency, or formality of this declaration: but the lawfulness of the matter, complexly taken, is so undeniable, that it cannot be renounced, without condemning many very material principles of our reformation: only success and incapacity is wanting to justify the manner, whole procedure, formality, and all the circumstances of the business; if either the declarers themselves, or any other impowered with strength, and countenanced with success to make good the undertaking, had issued out such a declaration in the same terms, and had prevailed and prospered in the project, many, that have now abjured it, would approve and applaud it. But passing these things that are extrinsic to the consideration in hand it is the matter that they required to be abjured and condemned, it is that the enemies quarrelled at, and not the inexpediency or informalities of it: and it must be taken as they propound it, and abjured and renounced by oath as they represent it; and therefore the iniquity of this subscription will appear to be great, in two respects; 1st, In denying the truth. 2dly, In subscribing to, and swearing a lie. 1. They that have taken that oath have denied and renounced the matter of that declaration, which is truth and duty, and a testimony to the cause of Christ, as it is this day stated and circumstantiate in the nation, founded upon former (among us uncontroverted) precedents and principles of defensive wars, disowning
tyranny, and repressing the insolency of tyrants and their accomplices; the whole matter being reducible to these two points, declaring a resolved endeavour of breaking the tyrant's yoke from off our neck, thereby asserting our own and the posterities liberty and freedom, from his insupportable and entailed slavery; and a just threatening to curb and restrain the insolency of murderers, or to bring them to condign punishment: whereof, as the first is noways repugnant, but very consonant to the third article; so the second is the very duty obliged unto in the fourth article of our solemn league and covenant. But all this they have denied by taking that oath. 2. By taking that oath, they have sworn and subscribed to a lie, making it as they represent it, abjuring it in so far as it declares, &c. and asserts it is lawful to kill all employed in the service of the king, in church, state, army, or country; which is a manifest lie, for it asserts no such thing. Neither will any other sense put upon the words, in so far as salve the matter; for as thereby the takers of the oath shall deal deceitfully, In frustrating the end of the oath, and the design of the tenderers thereof; and to take an oath in so far, will not satisfy, as Voetius judgeth, de Pol. Eccl. p. 213. So let them be taken which way they can, either for so much, or even as, or providing, it is either a denying the truth, or subscribing a lie: and consequently these poor people suffered for righteousness that refused it.

HEAD IV.

_The Sufferings of People for frequenting_ Field Meetings _Vindicated._

Hitherto the negative heads of sufferings have been vindicated: now follow the positive, sounded upon positive duties, for doing, and not denying, and not promising and engaging to relinquish which, many have suffered severely. The first, both in order of nature and of time, that which was first and last, and frequently, most constantly, most universally, and most signally sealed by sufferings, was that which is the clearest of all, being in some respect the testimony of all ages, and which clears all the rest,


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