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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

The disobedience must be notour


It is lawful passively by forcible constraint to submit to the execution of such wicked sentences, as impose these burdens, if it be not by way of obedience to them: this is suffering and not sinning. Hence it is easy to refel that objection; if it be lawful (which hitherto was never questioned) for a man, who is sentenced to die, to go to the place of execution, then a man, being under the moral force of a law, which is equivalent, may pay cesses, localities, fines, &c. Ans. 1. Might it not be doubted, whether a man's going upon his feet to be execute, had as manifest, and from the nature of the thing, a tendency, yea and proper casuality to advance the design of the enemy, and his refusing to go, had as clear a testimony against the clamant wickedness of their course, as his refusing to pay their impositions. Whether, I say, in this case, a man might not, yea, ought not to refuse to go to the place of execution. But 2. Whosoever would conclude any thing from it, to give it either life or legs, must make it run thus: let the order run in this form (else there is no parallel, and so no inference) we appoint all the opposers of our course (that is all the lovers of our Lord Jesus) whom we have for their rebellious rendezvouzing at conventicles sentenced as enemies and traitors to die, to come and be hanged by virtue of our sentence: otherwise besides the moral force of the law, adjudging them to die, we shall use force, and drag them like dogs to the place of execution; and
in putting us to this trouble, they shall fall under the reproach, that being sentenced to die, they scrupled forsooth, yea refused to go on their own legs to the gibbet. Let this, I say, be made the case, which to me is the exact parallel, and there every child will know what to answer, or to hiss the objection as pure ridicule. 3. I suppose the objection speaks of a righteous and innocent person, who for righteousness it brought, as a sheep to the slaughter (for a malefactor, who hath lost all right to his life, is not to be understood) then to make the case parallel, it must be taken for granted, (1.) There is a public law with the penalty of death, statute for the violation thereof. (2.) That the person to be executed, hath not only transgressed that law, but his disobedience to the law is notour. (3.) That he is processed and convict of the transgression thereof: Whereupon follows. (4.) The sentence, and then the execution. Now the law being wicked, and the man from the fear of God, being constrained to disobey the law, he can in nothing be justly construed active, but in that disobedience or renitence: but in the whole of what befals him for this, he being a captive prisoner, is to be looked upon as passive. Yea the very act of going to the place of execution in the present case, howbeit, as to its physical entity, it is of the same kind, with the executioner's motion that goes along with him, yet in its moral and religious being, whence it hath its specification, it is wholly the suffering of a captive. Well then, ere any thing can be pleaded from the pretended parity; seeing there are laws, made for paying such exactions, cesses, salaries, and fines, for the declared ends of ruining the people and interests of Christ; it is necessary, in order to a just parallel, that the law must be first disobeyed. (2.) The disobedience must be notour. (3.) The delinquent must be processed and pursued, as guilty of the transgression, and convicted thereof, whereupon sentence passeth against him for the breach of the law. Here I grant all with advantage to the cause: as in the first case, so in this, he who is judged guilty of the breach of this wicked law, and who is sentenced for that violation, ought to suffer patiently the spoiling of his goods, and not to decline suffering, if it were unto blood, striving against this sin.

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