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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Without the concurrence of civil authority


II.

Secondly, This truth is confirmed from the common practice of the people of God, even under persecution. Whence I shall draw an argument from examples, which, to condemn, were impious, and, to deny, were most impudent. And, for form's sake, it may run thus: What the people of God, under both testaments, have frequently done, in time of persecution, for defending, vindicating, or recovering their religion and liberties, may and ought to be done again in the like circumstances, when these are in the like hazard; but, under both testaments, the people of God frequently in times of persecution have defended, vindicated, or recovered their religion and liberties by defensive arms, resisting the sovereign powers that sought to destroy them: therefore this may and ought to be done again, when these religious, civil and natural privileges, are in the like hazard to be destroyed by the violent encroachments of the sovereign powers. The proposition cannot be denied, except by them that do profess themselves enemies to the people of God, and condemn their most frequently reiterated practices most solemnly and signally owned of God, to the confusion of their enemies, to the convicton of the world that the cause for which they contended was of God, and to the encouragement of all the patrons of such a cause, to hope, that when it is at the lowest it shall have a revival and glorious issue. It is true, sometimes they did not resist, when either they were not in a capacity, or did not see a
call to such an action, but were not extraordinarily spirited of the Lord for passive testimonies under a suffering dispensation: but it is as true, that many times they did resist, when the Lord capacitated, called, and spirited them for active testimonies. And therefore, if their suffering under these circumstances may be imitated, by a people so stated; then also their actions under these other circumstances may be imitated, by a people in the like case. And by an impartial scrutiny it will be found, that the examples of their endeavoured resistance will be little inferior, if not superior in number or importance, to the examples of their submissive sufferings in all ages; which will appear in the probation of the assumption, by adduction of many instances, which I shall only cursorily glean out of that plentiful harvest that histories afford.

1. I need only to glance at that known and famous history of the Maccabees, of undoubted verity, though not of cannonical authority. In which according to scripture predictions, we have a notable account of heroic enterprises, atchievements, and exploits performed by them that knew their God, and tendered his glory, and their religion and country's liberties, above the common catechrestic notions of uncontroulable irresistible royalty, and absolute implicit loyalty, that have abused the world in all ages. We have there an account of the noble and successful resistance of a party of a few godly and zealous patriots, without the concurrence of civil authority, or countenance of the ephori or nobles of the kingdom, against a king universally acknowledged and subjected unto, that came in peaceably, and obtained the kingdom by flatteries, with whom the greatest part and those of the greatest note took part, and did wickedly against the covenant and nation's interest, and were corrupted by flatteries: yet a few priests, with the concurrence of some common countrymen, did go to arms against him and them; and the Lord did wonderfully assist them for a considerable time; as was foretold by Daniel xi. This fell out under the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, and was happily begun by Matthias a godly priest, and his five sons, who, being commanded under severe certifications to worship according to the then law, and the king's wicked lust, did valiantly resist that abomination, and went to defensive arms: which, while living, he patronized, and, when a dying, did encourage his sons to it by a notable oration, shewing what case his country was in, and what a duty and dignity it was to redeem and deliver it. This was vigorously prosecuted by Judas Maccabeus, expressly for the quarrel of religion and liberty, against that mighty tyrant and all his emissaries.


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