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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Prelacy was again restored in parliament

authorize bishops, ye should bring into the church the ordinance of man, which experience hath found to have been the ground of that Antichristian Hierarchy, which mounted up on steps of bishops pre-eminence, until that man of sin came forth, as the ripe fruit of man's wisdom, whom God shall consume with the breath of his own mouth. Let the sword of God pierce that belly, which brought forth such a monster; and let the staff of God crush that egg, which hath hatched such a cockatrice: and let not only that Roman Antichrist be thrown down from the high bench of his usurped authority, but also let all the steps, whereby he mounted up to that unlawful pre-eminence, be cut down and utterly abolished in this land: and beware to strive against God with an open displayed banner, by building up again the walls of Jericho, which the Lord hath not only cast down, but also hath laid them under an horrible interdiction and execration; so that the building of them again must needs stand to greater charges to the builders, than the re-edifying of Jericho, to Hiel the Bethelite in the days of Ahab.' Yet notwithstanding of all opposition, prelacy was again restored in parliament. And to bring all to a compliance with the same, presbyteries and synods universally charged, under highest pains, to admit a constant moderator without change; which many refused resolutely, as being the first step of prelacy. Upon this followed a great persecution of the faithful, for their non-conformity, managed by that mongrel and monstrous kind of court, made up of clergymen and statesmen, called the high commission court, erected in the year 1610, whereby many honest men were put violently from their charges and habitations; the generality were involved in a great and fearful defection. But the cope-stone of the wickedness of that period, was the ratification of the five articles of Perth, 'kneeling at the communion; private communion to be given to the sick, private baptism: and confirmation of children by the bishop; and observation of festival days:' which were much opposed and testified against by the faithful, from their first hatching in the year 1618, to the year 1621, when they were ratified in parliament; at what time they were also witnessed against from heaven; by extraordinary lightnings and tempests. And against this the testimony of the faithful continued, till the revolution in the year 1638. Here we see how the cause was stated in this period; and may gather also wherein it agrees; and how far it differs from the present testimony, now suffered for under all rage and reproach.

I. The matter of the testimony was one with that we are suffering for, against popery, prelacy and supremacy; except that it was not so far extended against tyranny, because that tyrant was not such an usurper, nor such a violator of the fundamental constitutions of the civil government, as these that we have had to do withal. But as to the managing the testimony; they far outstripped their successors in this generation, in conduct and courage, prudence and zeal, as is above hinted in many instances; to which we may add some more. When several plots of papist lords had been discovered, conspiring with the king of Spain, and they were by the king's indulgence favoured, and some were also persuaded to treat with them, famous Mr. Davidson opposed with great resolution; declaring before the synod of Lothian, 'That it savoured much of defection in these days, that such notorious rebels to God, his church, and the country, should be so treated with; we should not rashly open a door to God's enemies, without better proof of their manners nor were yet seen.' And when a convention in Falkland was consulting to call home these conspiring traitors, Mr. Andrew Melvin went thither uncalled; and when found fault with by the king for his boldness, he answered, 'Sir, I have a call to come here from

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