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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

To whom it belongeth as properly to rule the church

shewing how the liberties of

the church were invaded and robbed. But all this was nothing, in comparison of their wrestlings for the royalties of their princely Master, and privileges of his kingdom, against the tyrant's insolences, after he obtained the crown of England; for then he would not suffer the church to indict her own Assemblies. And when the faithful thought themselves obliged to counteract his encroachments, and therefore convened in an Assembly at Aberdeen in the year 1605, they were forced to dissolve, and thereafter, the most eminent of the ministers there assembled were transported prisoners to Blackness; whence being cited before the Council, they decline their judicatory. And one of their brethren, Mr. Robert Youngson, who had formerly succumbed, being moved in conscience, returned; and when the rest were standing before the Council, desired to be heard, and acknowledged his fault; and therefore, howbeit not summoned by the Lords, was charged by the living God, and compelled to compear that day, to justify that Assembly, to the great astonishment of the Lords, and comfort of his brethren; he subscribed the declinature with the rest; and for this they were arraigned, and condemned, as guilty of treason, and banished. Before the execution of which sentence, Mr. Welch wrote to the Lady Fleming, to this effect: 'What am I, that he should first have called me, and then constituted me a minister of glad tidings of the gospel of salvation, these fifteen years already, and now last of all to be
a sufferer of his cause and kingdom? To witness that good confession, that Jesus Christ is the King of saints, and that his church is a most free kingdom; yea, as free as any kingdom under heaven, not only to convocate, hold and keep her meetings, conventions and assemblies; but also to judge of all her affairs in all her meetings and conventions among his subjects. These two points, (1.) That Christ is the head of his church. (2.) That she is free in her government from all other jurisdiction except Christ's, are the special cause of our imprisonment, being now convict as traitors, for maintaining thereof. We have now been waiting with joyfulness to give the last testimony of our blood in confirmation thereof, if it would please our God to be so favourable, as to honour us with that dignity.' After this, the King resolving by parliament to advance the state of bishops again, as in the time of popery, without cautions as before; and further, to establish not only that Antichristian Hierarchy, but an Erastian supremacy: the faithful ministers of Christ thought themselves bound in conscience to protest; and accordingly they offered protestation to the parliament July----1606, obtesting, 'That they would reserve into the Lord's own hands, that glory which he will communicate neither to man nor angel, to wit, to prescribe from his holy mountain a lively pattern, according to which his own tabernacle should be formed: remembring always, that there is no absolute and undoubted authority in this world, except the sovereign authority of Christ the King; to whom it belongeth as properly to rule the church, according to the good pleasure of his own will, as it belongeth to him to save his church by the merit of his own sufferings: all other authority is so entrenched within the marches of divine command, that the least overpassing of the bounds, set by God himself, brings men under the fearful expectation of temporal and eternal judgment.--If ye should

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