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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

When they abjured the apologetical declaration


Though a person be not altogether innocent, nor to be reckoned among the righteous; but suppose him wicked and profane, and engaged in an evil course, dishonourable to God, prejudicial to the church and kingdom, and very injurious to us; yet it may be murder to kill him, if he be not guilty of crimes that deserve death by the law of God: for the life of man is not subjected to the arbitrement of any, but his who is the author of life and death; it is necessary to all to obey the law, Thou shalt not kill, without exception, but such killing as is approven by the author of the law, as saith Ames. De Conscientia, cap. 31. quest. 2. Hence, this people so much reproached with extravagant actions, do abundantly clear themselves of that imputation of being of the mind to kill all that differ from them, which was the impudent forgery of the father of lies, in their informatory vindication, Head 3. 'We positively disown (say they) as horrid murder, the killing of any because of a different persuasion or opinion from us, albeit some have invidiously cast this odious calumny upon us.' And it is as clear, they that took the oath of abjuration swore a lie, when they abjured the apologetical declaration, in so far as it is asserted it was lawful to kill all employed in the king's service, when it asserted no such thing, as is shewed above Head 3. To think so much, let be to declare it, far more to practise such a thing against all that served the king, or any merely, because they served him,
or because they are in a wicked course, or because they have oppressed us, were abominable: for these things simply do not make men guilty of death, to be punished capitally by men according to the law of God. But when they are stated in such opposition to us, and serve the tyrant's murdering mandates by all those ways above specified; then we may by the law of God and nature and nations, destroy, slay, and cause to perish, and avenge ourselves on them that would assault us, and are seeking our destruction: as it was lawful for the Jews to do with Haman's emissaries, Esth. viii. 11. 13. and ix. 1, 2. 5. This charge then cannot reach the case.

4. Though murderers, and such as are guilty of death by the law of God, must be punished by death; for, "he that sheddeth man's blood," &c. yet it may be murder for a man to kill another, because he thought him so criminal, and because he thought it his duty, being moved by a pretended enthusiastical impulse, in imitation of the extraordinary actions of such as were really moved by the Spirit of God. As when James and John would have commanded fire to come down to consume the Samaritans, the Lord rebuked them, saying, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of, for the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them," Luke ix. 54,--56. Such impulses had need to be well examined, for ordinarily they will be found not consistent with a gospel spirit, which is always averse from acts of cruelty. Blind zeal sometimes may incite men to fearful work: yea the persecutors have often most of that spirit, as our Lord foretels, "The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you shall think that he doth God service," John xvi. 2. Paul, in his pharisaical zeal, breathed out slaughter against the disciples. And Satan can drive men under several colours, to act such things, as he did the Boors in Germany, and John of Leyden and his followers, whose practices are deservedly detested by all that have any spark of Christianity or humanity: for if this were espoused as a principle, there would be no security for men's lives. But hence it cannot be concluded, that God may not animate some to some rare enterprizes, for the cutting off of tyrants and their bloody emissaries, incendiaries, destroyers of innocent people, and putting

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