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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

For refusing to pay the wicked Exactions of the Cess


HEAD VII.

_The Sufferings of many, for refusing to pay the wicked Exactions of the Cess, Locality, Fines, &c. vindicated._

It will possibly seem impertinent, or at least preposterous at such a time, when the pressure of these burdens is not more pinching to the generality of professing people, and in such a retrograde order, as after the discussion of the foregoing heads to subjoin any disquisition of these questions, which are now out of date and doors with many. But considering that the impositions of these burdens are still pressing to some, and the difficulties of doubts and disputes about them still puzling, the sin and scandal of complying with them still lying upon the land, not confessed nor forsaken, the leaven of such doctrine as daubs and defends the like compliance still entertained, the sufferings of the faithful, for refusing them, still contemned and condemned, and the fears and expectations of more snares of that nature, after this fair weather is over, still increasing; if I may be so happy as to escape impertinencies in the manner of managing this disquisition, I fear not the censure of the impertinency or needlessness of this essay. As to the order of it, it was intended to have been put in its proper place among the negative heads of sufferings; but knowing of how little worth or weight any thing that I can say is with the prejudged, and having a paper writ by two famous witnesses of

Christ against the defections of their day, Mr. M'Ward and Mr. Brown, more fully and largely detecting the iniquity of the cess (from which the wickedness of other exactions also may be clearly deduced) though at such distance at the writing of the foregoing heads, that it could not be had in readiness to take its due place, and time would not allow the suspending other things until this should come to hand; I thought it needful, rather than to omit it altogether, to insert it here. However, tho' neither the form of it, being by way of letter, nor the method adapted to the design of a moving disswasion, nor the length and prolixity thereof, will suffer it to be here transcribed as it is; yet to discover what were their sentiments of these things, and what was the doctrine preached and homologated by the most faithful both ministers and professors of Scotland, eight or nine years since, how closely continued in by the contendings of this reproached remnant still persecuted for these things, and how clearly abandoned and refiled from, by their complying brethren now at ease, I shall give a short transumpt and compend of their reasonings, in a method subservient to my scope, and with additions necessary for applying their arguments against the other exactions here adduced in this head, and bringing them also under the dint of them, though not touched by them expressly. I must put altogether, because it would dilate the treatise, already excresced, into a bigness, far beyond the boundaries I designed for it, to handle them distinctly; and their affinity, both as to their fountain, nature, and ends, is such, that what will condemn one of them will condemn all. What and how many and manifold have been the exorbitant exactions, as the fruits and foments of this cruel tyranny, that the godly in our land have been groaning under these twenty seven years, and upon what occasions they have been, at diverse times, and in diverse manners and measures imposed, I need not here relate, the first part of the treatise doth represent it. The first of these tyrannical exactions, were the fines for not hearing the curates, and other parts of non-conformity; which, together with paying the curates stipends,


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