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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

To encourage themselves in their murdering villanies


Now,

having thus at some length endeavoured to discuss this some way odd and esteemed odious head, to which task I have been as unwillingly drawn, as the actors here pleaded for were driven to the occasion thereof, whom only the necessity of danger did force to such atchievements, to preserve their own and brethren's lives, in prosecuting the cause; and nothing but the necessity of duty did force me to this undertaking, to defend their name from reproach, and the cause from calumnies. I shall conclude with a humble protestation, that what I have said be not stretched further than my obvious and declared design doth aim at; which is not to press a practice from these precedents, but to vindicate a scripture truth from invidious or ignorant obloquies, and not to specify what may or must be done in such cases hereafter, but to justify what hath been done in such circumstances before. Wherein I acknowledge, that though the truth be certain, such things may be done, yet the duty is most difficult to be done with approbation. Such is the fury of corrupt passion, far more fierce in all than the pure zeal of God is to be found fervent in any, that too much caution, tenderness, and fear, can scarce be adhibit in a subject, wherein even the most warrantable provocation of holy zeal is ordinarily attended with such a concurrence of self-interest, and other carnal temptations, as it is impossible, without the signal assistance of special grace, to have its exercise in any notable measure or manner,
without the mixture of sinful allay; as the true nonconformist doth truly observe as above. Yet this doctrine, though in its defined and uncautioned latitude be obnoxious to accidental abuses (as all doctrines may be abused by men's corruption or ignorance, misapplying the same) is nevertheless built upon such foundations, that religion will own to be firm, and reason will ratify their force. And I hope it is here so circumscribed with scripture boundaries, and restricted in the narrow circumstantiation of the case, that as the ungodly cannot captate advantage from it, to encourage themselves in their murdering villanies, seeing they never were, never can be so circumstantiate, as the exigence here defined requires; so as for the godly, I may presume upon their tenderness, and the conduct of that Spirit that is promised to lead them, and the zeal they have for the honour of holiness, with which all real cruelty is inconsistent, to promise in their name, that if their enemies will repent of their wickedness, and so far at least reform themselves, as to surcease from their cruel murdering violence, in persecuting them to the death, and devouring them as a prey, then they shall not need to fear from the danger of this doctrine, but as saith the proverb of the ancients, wickedness proceedeth from the wicked, but their hand shall not be upon them. But if they shall still proceed to murder the innocent, they must understand, they that hold this truth in theory, will also reduce it to practice. And bloody papists must know, that Christians now are more men, than either stupidly to surrender their throats to their murdering swords, or supinely to suffer their villany to pass unpunished; and though their favours have flattered many, and their fury hath forced others, into a faint succumbing and superseding from all action against them; yet all are not asleep; and I hope there are some, who will never enter into any terms of peace with them, against whom the Mediator hath declared, and will prosecute a war for ever, but will still own and aim at this, as the highest pitch of their ambition, to be found among his chosen, called, and faithful ones, who maintain a constant opposition against them. However, though the Lord seems, in his providence, to put a bar upon all public appearances


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