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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

But whensoever the time be of fulfilling the promise

5. There are promises of the Lord's making use of his people, and strengthening them to break in pieces the power of his and their enemies, and his defending, and maintaining them against all their power and projects, when they think most to prevail over them. As is promised in the threatned catastrophe of the Babylonian usurpation, Jer. li. 20,--24.--"Thou art (says he to Israel, of whom he speaks as the rod of his inheritance in the preceding verse) my battle ax and weapons of war, and with thee will I break in pieces," &c. Whensoever this hath been, or shall be accompshlied, (as it may relate to the vengeance to be execute upon the New Testament Babylon) it clearly implies their breaking in pieces powers that were supreme over them. Hence, If the Lord will make use of his people's vindictive arms against Babylon ruling over them, then he will justify their defensive arms against Babylon oppressing them. Here it is promised, &c. So Micah iv. 11. to the end. Many nations shall be gathered to defile and look upon Zion, and then the Lord shall give an allowance and commission to his people to arise and thresh, &c. What time the accomplishment of this is referred to, is not my concern to enquire: it seems to look to the New Testament times, wherein the Lord's people shall be first in great straits, and then enlarged; but to restrict it to the spiritual conquest over the nations by the ministry of the word, (though I will not deny but that may be included) seems too great a straitning of the scope, and not so apposite to the expressions, which certainly seem to import some forcible action of men, and more than the peaceable propagation of the gospel. It is usually referred to the latter days of that dispensation, when both the Jewish and Gentile Zion shall be totally and finally delivered from Babylon, or antichristian tyranny; before, or about which period, the enemies of Christ and of his people shall attempt their utmost power to destroy the church, groaning under their bondage; but when they are all well mustered in a general rendezvous, the Lord's people shall have a gallant game at the chace. But whensoever the time be of fulfilling the promise, it ensures to the people of God the success of their defensive arms against them that pretended a domination over them. And it looks to a time, when they should have no rulers of their own, but them under whose subjection they had been long groaning, and now brought to a very low pass; yet here they should not only resist, but thresh them. Hence, If in the latter days the people of God are to be honoured, and acted forth with such a spirit and capacity to thresh and beat down these powers under which they have been long groaning; then, when the Lord puts them in such capacity to attempt it, they should be ambitious of such an honour; but here it is promised, &c.

The same may be inferred from the prophet's vision, Zech. i. 19, 20. He sees four carpenters resisting the four horns; the horns scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head; but the carpenters came to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah. These horns had the supreme power over Judah for a time, while they were in no capacity to resist them; but as soon as the Lord furnishes them with capacity and instruments impowered to resist them, they do it effectually. The carpenters are certainly the Lord's people themselves; for here they are opposite to the Gentiles, which all were except the Lord's people. Hence, if the Lord promises, when reconciled to his people, to furnish them with instruments to fray and scatter the power of tyrants, who have long borne down their head; then when they are so furnished, they may resist them: but the Lord here promises that, &c. This is more plainly promised also, Zech. x. 5. &c. "Then they shall be as mighty men which shall tread down their enemies,--And the pride of Assyria shall be brought down"--Hence, if the Lord, when he shall have mercy on his people, will bless their resistance so, as to bring down the pride and sceptre of them that had the power over them; then, in hope of such a blessing, they may attempt such a duty, when the call is clear.

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