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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

To whose arbitriment it is only subject hath not approven


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(to whose arbitriment it is

only subject) hath not approven, is murder, as Dr. Ames saith, De homicidio Conscienc. Lib. 5. Cap. 31. Quest. 2. For in the New Testament, though in the general, the power of punishing is given to the magistrate, yet it is no where determined, neither what, nor how crimes are to be punished. If therefore penal laws must be taken from the Old Testament; the subject of executing them, as well as the object, must be thence deduced; that is, what is there astricted to the magistrate must be so still, and what is permitted to the people must remain in like manner their privilege; since it is certain, the New-Testament liberty is not more restricted as to penal laws than the old. 3. Those judicial laws, which had either somewhat typical, or pedagogical, or peculiar to the then judaical state, are indeed not binding to us under that formality; though even these doctrinally are very useful, in so far as in their general nature, or equity of proportion, they exhibit to us some documents of duty; but those penal judgments, which in the matter of them are appended to the moral law, and are, in effect, but accurate determinations and accommodations of the law of nature, which may suit our circumstances as well as the Jews, do oblige us as well as them. And such are these penal statutes I adduce; for, that blasphemy, murder, and idolatry, are heinous crimes, and that they are to be punished, the law of nature dictates: and how, and by whom, in several cases, they are to be punished, the law
judicial determines. Concerning the moral equity even of the strictest of them, Amesius de Conscien. Lib. 5. Mosaical appendix of precepts, doth very learnedly assert their binding force: 4. Those judicial laws, which are but positive in their form, yet if their special, internal, and proper reason and ground be moral, which pertains to all nations, which is necessary and useful to mankind, which is rooted in, and may be fortified by human reason, and as to the substance of them approven by the more intelligent heathens; those are moral, and oblige all Christians as well as Jews: and such are these laws of punishing idolaters, &c. founded upon moral grounds, pertaining to all nations, necessary and useful to mankind, rooted in, and fortified by human reason; to wit, that the wrath of God may be averted, and that all may hear and fear, and do no more so wickedly; especially if this reason be superadded, when the case is such, that innocent and honest people cannot be preserved, if such wicked persons be not taken order with. 5. Those judicial laws, which being given by the Lord's immediate authority, though not so solemnly as the moral decalogue, are neither as to their end, dead, nor as to their use, deadly, nor as to their nature, indifferent, nor in any peculiar respect restringible only to the Jews, but the transgressions whereof both by omission and commission are still sins, and were never abolished neither formally nor consequentially in the New Testament, must be moral; but such, as these penal laws I am speaking of, they cannot be reputed among the ceremonial laws, dead as to their end, and deadly as to their use, or indifferent in their nature: for sure, to punish the innocent upon the account of these crimes, were still sin, now as well as under the Old Testament; and not punish the guilty, were likewise sin now as well as then. If then the matter be moral and not abolished, the execution of it by private persons, in some cases when there is no


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