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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And when the Earl of Gowrie accepted of a remission


offended against the laws, why

might they not be punished according to the laws? When many honest faithful patriots, for the attempt at Ruthven to deliver the country from a vermin of villains that abused the King, to the destruction of the church and kingdom, were charged to crave pardon, and take remission; they would do neither, judging it a base condemning duty, which puts a brand upon our sneaking supplicators and petitioners, and pardon mongers, as unworthy to be called the race of such worthies, who scorned such baseness; and choosed rather to endure the extremity of their unjust sentences of intercommuning and banishment, &c. And when the Earl of Gowrie accepted of a remission, he afterwards condemned himself for it, and desired that his old friends would accept of his friendship, to whom he had the same favour offered to him, refused altogether, lest so doing he should condemn himself, and approve the courts proceedings: and the brethren, conferring with the counsellors, craving that some penalty should be condescended unto for satisfying his majesty in his honour, would not condescend to any, how light soever; lest thereby they should seem to approve the judicatory and their proceeding. The imprisoned ministers, for declining the counsel, had it in their offer, that if they would, without any confession of offence, only submit themselves to his majesty, "for scandal received, not given," they should be restored to their places: but it pleased God so to strengthen them, that they stopped their
mouths, and convinced them in their consciences, that they could not do it without betraying of the cause of Christ. Again, in another case, we have instances of such strictness, as is much scorned now a-days. The ministers of Edinburgh were committed to ward, for refusing to pray for the queen, before her execution in Fothringham castle 1586. They refused not simply to pray for her, but for the preservation of her life, as if she had been innocent of the crimes laid to her charge, which had imported a condemnation of the proceedings against her. Afterwards, in the year 1600. The ministers of Edinburgh would not praise God for the delivery of the king from a pretended conspiracy of the Earl of Gowrie at that time, of which they had no credit nor assurance; and would not crave pardon for it neither. For this Mr. Robert Bruce was deprived of the exercise of his ministry, and never obtained it again in Edinburgh: but now, for refusing such compelled and imposed devotion, to pray or praise for the king, poor people are much condemned. I know it is alledged, that these faithful sufferers in those days, were not so strict as they are now, in submitting to unjust sentences, and obeying and keeping their confinements. I shall grant, there was much of this, and much might be tolerate in their circumstances, when the court's procedure against them was not so illegal, their authority was not so tyrannical, nor so necessary to be disowned, and they were so stated, that they were afraid to take guilt upon them, in making their escapes; whereas it is not so with us. Yet we find very faithful men broke their confinements; as Mr. John Murray, confined at Dumfries, perceiving there was no end of the bishop's malice, and that he would be in no worse case than he was, he resolved without licence, either of king or council, to transport himself: so did also Mr. Robert Bruce.

III.


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