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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And imprecating destruction to Saul and his accomplices


In that prayer, Psal. xliv. 5. They glory, in hope, that through the Lord they will push down their enemies, &c. yet now they were under the power of tyrannizing dominators which they were resisting: for, ver. 9. they complain they were put to shame, because the Lord went not forth with their armies, and they which hated them spoiled them,--And for his sake were killed all day long: hence, they plead, That the Lord would awake,--and not forget their affliction and oppression. Whereby it is evident they were under the yoke of tyrannizing powers, and resisting according to their might. Which, by whomsoever, or upon what occasion soever the Psalm was compiled, shews, that no want of success in resisting tyrants, can mar the saints faith in pleading for the Lord's assistance and approbation of the duty. Hence, they that, in faith, may pray for, and boast of their treading down their tyrannizing powers that rise up against them, may also, in faith, attempt the resisting of them in their own defence; but here the Lord's people did the former.

2. We find David under Saul's persecution, while he had a party of 600 men to defend himself against his rage, in the psalms which he composed upon that occasion, not only complaining of oppressors, but encouraging himself in the faith that God would be with them that assisted him, in his essay of defending himself, and imprecating destruction to Saul and his accomplices; that the Lord would cut them off in

his truth, and let him see his desire upon them, Psal. liv. 4, 5. last verse. And Psal. lvii. 4. And Psal. lvii. throughout. And Psal. cxl. 7, 9. He imprecates against the head of them that compassed him about, and consequently against Saul. Whence I argue, 1. If the Lord's people, conflicting with, and encompassed with oppressing rulers as so many lions and dogs, may pray and praise for the help of those that assist them, in their endeavours of self preservation from them; then may they make use of their help for their defence, for which they pray and praise; but here we see the Lord's people did the former: Therefore they may do the latter. 2. If we may pray against kings, and for preservation from them; then may we defend ourselves against them, and endeavour the means of that preservation for which we pray. The connexion is before cleared; yet here I add: That which will give a dispensation from our duty of praying for them, will also dispense from the duty of being passively subject to their will; and consequently will allow defending ourselves from their violence; but here we see tyranny and treachery, and designed mischief will give a dispensation from our duty of praying for them, though that be duty as indispensible as subjection. Again, if any thing demur us from resisting of princes, it must be respect to their majesty, and the character of the Lord's anointing upon them; but we see, no respect to that will demur a believer from praying in faith against them: therefore no such respect will hinder, but that he may defend himself against his violence. And indeed, if we consider it right, if the impression of any majesty God hath put upon princes, should bind up our hands from any resistance, it will restrain from prayer resistance: for, if that impression have any force at any time, it must be when a man is most solemnly stated before God, and speaking to God as a Christian, rather than when he is acting as a man with a man like himself: and as prayer resistance is the more formidable and forcible resistance than any other (as this Saul and many other kings, have found by their woful experience) so it is more restricted than other resistance; for we may defend ourselves against many whom we must not pray against, to wit, our private enemies, for whom we are commanded to pray: yet nobody will deny but we may resist their violence: and likewise, we are commanded to pray for kings, when invested with God's authority; but when their degeneration looses us from that obligation to pray for them, and allows us to pray against them when they turn enemies to God (as we see in the prayers of the psalmist) then also we may more warrantably resist them by defensive arms.

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