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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Desiring to intice the people to the worship of false gods

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must be lawful also. Or if it be indifferent, that which is in its own nature indifferent, cannot be in a case of extreme necessity unlawful, when otherwise the destruction of ourselves and brethren is in all human consideration inevitable. That which God hath once commanded, and never expresly forbidden, cannot be unlawful, in extraordinary cases, but such are these precepts we speak of: therefore they cannot be in every case unlawful. Concerning this case of the obligation of judicial laws, Ames. de Conscienc. Lib. 5. Cap. 1. Quest. 9. 6. Those laws which are predicted to be observed and executed in the New Testament, cannot be judicial or judaical, restricted to the old: but such is this. In the day, that a fountain shall be opened for the house of David for sin, and for uncleanness; which clearly points at gospel times; it is said, "The Lord will cause the prophets and the unclean spirits to pass out of the land: and it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, thou shalt not live----and shall thrust him through when he prophesieth," Zech. xiii. 3. Which cannot be meant of a spiritual penetration of the heart: for it is said, he shall not live; and the wounds of such as might escape, by resistance or flight, are visible in his hands, ver. 6. It is therefore to be understood of corporal killing inticers to idolatry, according to the law, Deut. xii. 9. either by delivering them up to the judges, as
Piscator on the place says, or as Grotius saith, they shall run through, as Phinehas did Zimri, Numb. xxv. Understand this of a false prophet, desiring to intice the people to the worship of false gods; for the law impowered every Jew to proceed against such----which law expressly adds, that they should not spare their son, if guilty of such a crime. From all which I conclude, if people are to bring to condign punishment idolatrous apostates, seeking to intice them; then may oppressed people, daily in hazard of the death of their souls by compliance; or of their bodies, by their constancy in duty, put forth their hand to execute judgment, in case of necessity, upon idolatrous apostates and incendiaries, and the principal murdering emissaries of tyrants, that seek to destroy people, or enforce them to the same apostacy; but the former is true: therefore, &c.

4. The same may be inferred from that command of rescuing and delivering our brother, when in hazard of his life; for omitting which duty, no pretence, even of ignorance, will excuse us, Prov. xxiv. 11, 12. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, behold we knew it not: doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul doth not he know it, and shall not he render to every man according to his works? That is, 'Rescue out out of the hand of the invader, robber, unjust magistrate, &c. and that either by defending him with your hand, or tongue, or any other lawful way: men use to make a great many excuses, either that they know not his danger nor his innocence, nor that they were possessed of so great authority that they might relieve him, that they have enough to do to mind their own affairs, and not concern themselves with others, &c. He proposes and redargues here, for examples sake, one excuse, comprehending all the rest.' As commentators say, Pool. Syn. Crit. in loc. This precept is indefinitely given to all: principally indeed belonging to righteous magistrates; but in case of their omission, and if, instead of defending them, they be the persons that draw or send out their destroying emissaries to draw them to death, then the precept is no more to be restricted to them, than that verse. 1. not to be envious against evil men, or vers. 10. If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small, can be said to be spoken only to magistrates. Hence, if it be a duty to rescue our brethren from any prevailing power that would take their lives unjustly, and no pretence even of ignorance will excuse the forbearance of it, then it must be lawful, in some extraordinary cases, to prevent the murdering violence of public incendiaries, by killing them, rather than to suffer ourselves or our brethren to be killed, when there is no other way, in probability, either of saving ourselves, or rescuing them; but here the former is commanded as a duty: therefore the latter also must be justified, when the duty cannot otherwise be discharged.

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