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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

By reintroducing the antichristian hierarchy of prelacy


comfortable to them, than the

testimony either for his prophetical office, or for his priesthood, because his kingdom was especially impugned at the time;' as Mr. Forbes and Mr. Welch wrote in a letter to the Ministers at court. The corruptions and usurpations wronging this truth, that they contended against, were prelacy and the King's supremacy in ecclesiastical matters; which will be useful to hint a little, how they prosecuted the conflict. When Satan (whose kingdom was then declining) by several instruments and means, both by force and fraud, did endeavour to put a stop to the reformation, by reintroducing the antichristian hierarchy of prelacy, when he could not re-establish the antichristian doctrine of popery; he left no means unessayed to effectuate it. And first he began to bring the name Bishop in request, that was now growing obsolete and odious, by reason of the abuse of it (as it ought to be still, for though the name be found in the scriptures, yet neither is that catechestical application of it to prelates to be found, nor was there any other reason for the translation of it after that manner, except it were to please princes; seeing the native signification of it is an overseer, proper and common to all faithful pastors.) And indeed his first essay reached little further than the bare name, for they were to be rejected to, and tried by assemblies, and hardly had so much power as superintendants before. But it was a fine court juggle for noblemen to get the church-revenues into their hands,
by restoring the ecclesiastical titles, and obtaining from the titulars either temporal lands, or pensions to their dependers; so they were only Tulchan bishops, _a calf-skin to cause the cow give milk_. Yet, though this in our day would have been thought tolerable, the faithful servants of Christ did zealously oppose it. Mr. Knox denounced Anathema to the giver, and Anathema to the receiver. And the following Assembly condemned the office itself, 'as having no sure warrant, authority, nor ground in the book of God, but brought in by the folly and corruption of men's invention, to the overthrow of the church; and ordained all that brooked the office, to demit simpliciter, and to desist and cease from preaching, while they received _de novo_ admission from the General Assembly, under the pain of excommunication.' Hereby they were awakened and animated to a more vigorous prosecution of the establishment of the house of God in its due government. In pursuance whereof, the Assemblies from that time, until the year 1581, did with much painfulness and faithfulness attend the work: until, by perfecting of the second book of discipline, they completed their work, in the exact model of Presbyterial Government, in all its courts and officers; which was confirmed and covenanted to be kept inviolate, in the National Covenant, subscribed that year by the King, his Court and Council; and afterwards by all ranks of people in the land. Whence it may be doubted, whether the impudence of the succeeding prelates, that denied this, or their perjury in breaking of it, be greater. This was but the first brush. A brisker assault follows; wherein, for the better establishment of prelacy, that what it wants of divine right, might be supplied by the accession of human prerogative,


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