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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

We grant these actions are extraordinary and unimitable

and praise of the action. Yet

the same call and motion of zeal might have impowered others to do the like: the text speaks of no other call he had, but that of zeal, ver. 11, 12, 13. yea, another was obliged to do the same, upon the ground of that moral command, Deut. xiii. 6.-9. having the ground of God's ordinary judgment, which commandeth the idolater to die the death; and therefore to be imitate of all that prefer the true honour and glory of God to the affection of flesh and wicked princes, as Mr. Knox affirmeth in his conference with Lethingtoun, rehearsed before, per. 3. Further, let it be enquired, What makes it unimitable? Certainly it was not so, because he had the motion and direction of God's Spirit; for men have that to all duties. It was not, because he was raised and stirred up of God to do it; for God may raise up spirits to imitable actions. It was not, because he had an extraordinary call, for men have an extraordinary call, to imitable actions, as the apostles had to preach. We grant these actions are extraordinary and unimitable; which, first, do deviate from the rule of common virtue, and transcend all rules of common reason and divine word; but this was not such, but an heroic act of zeal and fortitude: Next these actions, which are contrary to a moral ordinary command are unimitable, as the Israelites robbing the Egyptians, borrowing, and not paying again, Abraham's offering his son Isaac; but this was not such: next those actions, which are done upon some special mandate of God, and
are not within the compass of ordinary obedience to the ordinary rule, are unimitable; but is not such: as also miraculous actions, and such as are done by the extraordinary inspiration of the Spirit of God, as Elias's killing the captains with their fifties by fire from heaven; but none can reckon this among these. See Jus Populi at length discussing this point, and pleading for the suitableness of this action, cap. 20. If therefore the Lord did not only raise up this Phinehas to that particular act of justice, but also so warrant and accept him therein, and reward him therefore, upon the account of his zeal, when there was a godly and zealous magistrate, able, and whom we cannot without breach of charity presume, but also willing to execute justice; how much more may it be pleaded, that the Lord, who is the same yesterday, to day and forever, will not only pour out of that same spirit upon others; but also when he gives it, both allow them, though they be but private persons, and also call them, being otherwise in a physical and probable capacity to do these things in an extremely necessitous, and otherwise irrecoverable state of the church, to which in a more intire condition he doth not call them? And particularly, when there is not only the like or worse provocations, the like necessity of execution of justice and of reformation, for the turning away of wrath, and removing of judgments, that was in Phinehas's case, but also, when the supreme civil magistrate, the nobles of the kingdom, and other inferior rulers, are not only unwilling to do their duty, but so far corrupted and perverted, that they are become the authors and patronizers of these abominations, Naph. prior Edit. p. 23.

3. When the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab, and they cried unto the Lord, he raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, who made a dagger, and brought a present unto Eglon, and put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly, Judg. iii. 21. That this action was approven will not be doubted, since the Lord raised him up as a deliverer who by this heroical action commenced it; ond since it was a message from God, and that it was extraordinary, were ridiculous to deny: for sure this was not the judicial action of a magistrate, neither was Ehud a magistrate at this time, but only the messenger of the people sent with a present. Yet it is imitable in the like case, as from hence many grave authors concluded the lawfulness of killing a tyrant without a title.

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