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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Found that verified in their experience


6.

The Lord hath so signally owned, successfully countenanced, and singularly sealed field preaching in these unfixed exercises, that both ministers and people have been much encouraged against all opposition to prosecute them, as having experienced much of the Lord's power and presence in them, and of the breathings of the enlivening, enlarging, enlightening and strengthening influences of the Spirit of God upon them. The people are hereby called, in this case of defection, to seek after these waters that they have been so often refreshed by: for in this case of defection, God being pleased to seal with a palpable blessing on their souls, the word from ministers adhering to their principles, they may safely look on this as a call from God to hear them, and follow after them so owned of the Lord. And it being beyond all doubt, that the assemblies of the Lord's people to partake of pure ordinances, with full freedom of conscience in the fields, hath been signally owned and blessed of the Lord, and hath proven a mean to spread the knowledge of God beyond any thing that appeared in our best times; and in despite of this signal appearance of God, and envy at the good done in these meetings, all endeavours being used by wicked men to suppress utterly all these rendezvouzes of the Lord's militia, both by open force and cunning Midianitish wiles; ministers cannot but look upon it as their duty, and that the Lord hath been preaching from heaven, to all who would hear and understand it, that
this way of preaching, even this way, was that wherein his soul took pleasure, and to which he hath been, and is calling all who would be co-workers with him this day, to help forward the interest of his crown and kingdom. Many hundreds of persecuted people can witness this, and all the martyrs have sealed it with their blood, and remembered it particularly on the scaffolds, that they found the Lord there, and that he did lead them thither, where he had made them to ride upon the high places of the earth, and to eat the increase of the fields, and to suck honey out of the rock, and that in their experience, under the Spirit's pouring out from on high, they found the wilderness to be a fruitful field, and, in their esteem, their feet were beautiful upon the mountains that brought good tidings, that published peace, that brought good tidings of good, that published salvation, that said unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. And all the ministers that followed this way, while they were faithful, and had but little strength, and kept his word, and did not deny his name, found that verified in their experience, which was said of Philadelphia, Rev. iii. 8. that they had an open door which no man could shut. The characters whereof, as they are expounded by Mr. Durham, were all verified in these meetings: where 1. The ministers had a door of utterance upon the one side opened to them; and the people's ears were opened to welcome the same, in love to edification, simplicity, and diligence on the other. 2. This had real changes following, many being made humble, serious, tender, fruitful, &c. 3. The devil raged and let himself to oppose, traduce, and some way to blast the ministry of the most faithful more than any others: just as when Paul had a greater door and effectual opened to him, there were many adversaries, 1 Cor. xvi. 9. 4. Yet the Lord hath been observedly defeating the devil and profanity in every place, where the gospel came, and made him fall like lightning from heaven, by the preaching of the word. 5. And the most experimental proof of all was, that hereby ground was gained upon the kingdom of the devil, and many prisoners brought off to Jesus Christ. And therefore seeing it is so, this must certainly be a call to them who are yet labouring in that work, which others have left off, to endeavour to keep this door open with all diligence, and reap the corn while it is ripe, and when the sun shines make hay, and with all watchfulness, lest the wicked one sow his tares, if they should fall remiss.


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