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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Where we are bound to extirpate popery


of whole spring and original, and of its nature and terms, channel and conveyance, end and design, is shewed in the historical narrative thereof, and cannot be denied by any presbyterian, whose constant principle is that there should be no toleration of popery, idolatry, or heresy, in this reformed and covenanted church. Reason and religion both will conclude, that this is to be witnessed against, by all that will adhere to the cause of reformation overturned hereby, and resolve to stand in the gap against popery, to be introduced hereby, and that will approve themselves as honest patriots in defending the laws and liberties of the country subverted hereby. And besides, if it be considered with respect to the granter; it is palpable his design is to introduce popery, and advance tyranny, which can be hid from none that accept it, the effectuating whereof hath a necessary and inseparable connexion with the acceptance of the liberty; and is so far from being avertible by the accepters, that it is chiefly promoted by their acceptance, and the design of it is to lay them by from all opposition thereto. If it be considered with relation to the accepters, it is plain it must be taken as it is given, and received as it is conveyed, from its fountain of absolute power, through a channel of an arbitrary law disabling and religion dishonouring toleration, which is always evil; and with consent to the sinful impositions, with which it is tendered; concerning and affecting the doctrine of ministers, that they shall preach nothing which may alienate the subjects from the government: against all which there is no access for a protestation, confident with the improvement of the liberty, for it is granted and accepted on these very terms; that there shall be no protestation; for if there be, that will be found an alienating of the hearts of the subjects from the government, which, by that protestation, will be reflected upon. If it be considered with respect to the addressers for it, who formally say a confederacy with, and congratulate the tolerator for his toleration, and all the mischiefs he is machinating and effectuating thereby: then seeing they have presumptuously taking upon them to send it in the name of all presbyterians, it concerns all honest men, zealous Christians, and faithful ministers of that persuasion and denomination, in honour and conscience, to declare to the world by some public testimony, that they are not consenters to that sinful, shameful, and scandalous conspiracy, nor of the corporation of these flattering addresses who have betrayed the cause; with which all will be interpreted consenters, that are not contradicters. Further this toleration is sinful as is cleared above, Period 6. And to accept of it is contrary to our solemn covenants and engagements, where we are bound to extirpate popery, preserve the reformation, defend our liberties, and never to accept of a toleration eversive of all these precious interests we are sworn to maintain. And it is heinously scandalous, being, in effect, a succumbing at length, and yielding up the cause, which hath been so long controverted, and so long contended for; at least an appearance of ceding and lying by from contending for the interests of Christ, of condemning our former wrestlings for the same, of purchasing a liberty to ourselves at the rate of burying the testimony in bondage and oblivion; of hardening and confirming open adversaries in their wicked invasions on our religion, laws, and liberties; of being weary of the cross of Christ, that we would fain have ease upon any terms, and of weakening the hands, yea, condemning the practice and peremptoriness of these that are exempted from the benefit, or rather the snare of it, and suffer when others are at ease. It is also attended with many inconveniences; for either such as preach under the covert of it, must forbear declaring some part of the counsel of God, and give no testimony seasonable this day: or else if they do, they will soon be discovered, and made a prey. Hence, seeing there must be a testimony against this toleration, it is certainly most expedient to give it there, where the meeting is without the reach and bounds of it, and interdicted by the same proclamation that tenders it, and where the very gathering in such places is a testimony against it: for to preach in houses constantly and leave the fields, would now be interpreted and homologating the toleration that commands preaching to be restricted; especially when an address is made in name of all that accept the benefit of it, from which odium we could not vindicate ourselves, if we should so make use of it.

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