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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Totally deprived of our judicatories


matter of no great importance;

yet that night his body was cast in a fever, with the terror of his conscience, and he promised he should never obey their commandments any more. These were faithful men, yet we find they challenge themselves, in deep humiliation, for their short-comings and defections. At the renovation of the national covenant March 30th, 1596, was the greatest solemnity ever had been seen in Scotland before that time; so that the place might worthily have been called Bochim. O when shall we see such a day, when even the most faithful among us, shall mourn over our far more aggravated defections! but if they mourned then for these first degrees of declensions; we may say, 'How heavily would these valiant men groan, who formerly contended so stoutly for the liberty of the church of Scotland, if they beheld this our laziness (that I may call it by no worse name!') I know notwithstanding of all this, that some encourage themselves in a base compliance with the present corruptions of our church, from the practice of these worthies; alledging, they did not scruple to hear and join with prelatical men, dispensing the ordinances. But this objection will be easily refelled, if we consider, first, the period wherein they were but growing up to a more perfect reformation, and therefore might bear with many things which we cannot, after we have been reformed from them: they were then advancing, and still gaining ground, we are now declining, and therefore should be more shy to lose what we have gained.
They had then of a long time enjoyed their judicatories, unto which they might recur for an orderly redress of such grievances that offended them; and when they were deprived of them, yet they were still in hopes of recovering them; and so suspended their total secession from that corrupt church, until they should recover them; in the mean time still holding their right, and maintaining their cause against these invaders. But we were, at the very first beginning of this unhappy revolution, totally deprived of our judicatories, and denuded of all expectation of them in an ordinary way, and of all place, but what they are masters of to contend with them that way; therefore must keep ourselves free of their communion. But next, if we consider their practice, we shall find these worthies were not such conformists, as our compliers would make them. What if we find among them meetings, that were called and counted as seditious and schismatic as ours are now? We find a field meeting, yea, a General Assembly at Dumfermline, without and against the king's warrant, when the ports were shut against them, in the year 1585. But that is not so pat to the purpose, as that we find private meetings at Edinburgh, and that in the very time of public service in the churches, discharged by open proclamation in 1624, wherein it is charged, that they had no respect to the ordinary pastors, contemned and impugned their doctrine, disobeyed and controuled their discipline, abstained to hear the word


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