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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

But this we cannot contend for publicly


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is the work of the public

spirited lovers of the gospel, which hath been, and yet is the great work of this our day, to carry the gospel, and follow it, and keep it up, through the land, as the standard of Christ, against all opposition, from mountain to hill, when now Zion hath been labouring to bring forth as a woman in travail, and made to go forth out of the city, and to dwell in the field, Mic. iv. 10. Therefore, seeing it is the public work of the day, and all its followers must have such a public spirit, it follows that the meetings to promote it must be as public as is possible. 4. The interest and privilege of the gospel, to have it in freedom, purity, power, and plenty, is the public concern of all the Lord's people, preferable to all other interests; and therefore more publicly, peremptorily, and zealously to be contended for, than any other interest whatsoever. It is the glory of the land. 1 Sam. iv. 21. without which, Ichabod may be the name of every thing; and every land, though never so pleasant, will be but a dry and parched land, where no water is, in the esteem of them that have seen the Lord's glory and power in the sanctuary, Psal. lxiii. 1. Whereas its name is Hephzibah and Beulah, Isa. lxii. 4. and Jehovah-Shammah, Ezek. xlviii. ult. where God is enjoyed in his gospel-ordinances; and the want and reproach of the solemn assemblies, is a matter of the saddest mourning of the Lord's people, Zeph. iii. 18. Therefore, while the ark abode in Kirjath jearim, the time was thought very long,
and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord, 1 Sam. vii. 2. then they heard of it at Ephratah, and found it in the fields of the wood, Psal. cxxxii. 6. But it hath been longer than twenty years in our fields of the woods, and therefore we should be lamenting after it with a greater concernedness; especially remembering, how we were privileged with the gospel, which was sometimes times publicly embraced and countenanced by authority, and ensured to us by laws, statutes, declarations, proclamations, oaths, vows, and covenant-engagements, whereby the land was dedicated and devoted unto the Son of God, whose conquest it was. And now are not all the people of God obliged to do what they can, to hinder the recalling of this dedication, and the giving up of the land as an offering unto satan and antichrist? And how shall this be, but by a public contending, for this privilege, and a resolving they shall sooner bereave us of our hearts blood, than of the gospel in its freedom and purity? But this we cannot contend for publicly, if our meetings be not public. 5. The nature and business of the gospel ministry is such, that it obliges them that exercise it to endeavour all publicness, without which they cannot discharge the extent of their instructions: their very names and titles do insinuate so much. They are witnesses for Christ, and therefore their testimonies should be public, though their lot oftentimes be to witness in sackcloth. They are heralds, and therefore they should proclaim their master's will, though their lot be often to be a voice crying in the


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