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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And fines to be exacted from the recusants


II.

But shunning prolixity; to come nearer the point, because perhaps some may alledge such cases are not determined in the scriptures, nor can any case be found parallel to these under consideration, from which we may gather the determination thereof; which I think hard indeed to find, because in the wickedness of former ages such monstrous exactions had never a precedent, for such declared ends, so declaredly impudent. I shall make some suppositions, and propose some questions, all of a piece, and some way parallel to this under debate, and leave any conscience touched with the fear of God to answer.

1. Suppose, when our Lord Jesus and his disciples were tossed upon the waves by the storm at sea, and he was sleeping, that then Herod or Pilate, or the chief rulers, had sent peremptory orders to all men, to supply and furnish with such things as he had, the men they employed, to capacitate them once for all and forever to sink that floating bottom out of sight; and that somewhat should be given to the soldiers engaged in that enterprize, somewhat to the Pharisees for persuading them to it, and fines to be exacted from the recusants, and rewards to be given to such as should keep them in custody that should fall in their hands, either of them that refused to pay the moiety prescribed, or of such of them as should escape drowning. In this case would, or durst any of the lovers of Jesus comply with any of these demands? and not rather chuse to perish

with him, or in opposition to such wicked attempts? Now, hath not the Lord Jesus, and all the interest he hath in the nation, been embarked as it were in one bottom, and floating like a wreck in the sea? And have not these called rulers in this land, in their rage against the Lord's anointed, and the handful who adhere to him, sent their peremptory orders to pay a cess for sinking his floating interests; and to pay the curates for persuading to it; and fines for not concurring in it; and rewards to jailors and others appointed to repress the recusants? Who durst concur then in this compliance, who had love to Christ in exercise, and who had his friends in the same bottom embarked? And besides, seeing the great God had the man of whom this is required, bound with his own consent, under a sacred and solemn oath, and under the penalty of never seeing his face, if he do not venture life and fortune to preserve that precious interest, and all who are embarked with it from perishing. Shall he, notwithstanding of this, give what these enemies to Christ, call for as his concurrence, to enable them to execute their wicked contrivance? Does any man think or dream, that the pitiful plea, of what they call a moral force, will clear and acquit him before God from the guilt of a concurrence in this conspiracy, while in the mean time he furnished whatsoever these enemies demanded of him, with this express declaration, that it was for this cause exacted, and for this end imposed? Or can he think to be saved, when they shall be sentenced, who with so much deliberation and despite have done this thing? O let us consider the after reckoning! And let us not with pretences distinguish ourselves into a defection, or distract ourselves into the oblivion of this, that God is righteous to whom the reckoning must be made.

2. Let it be supposed, under Saul's tyranny, when the Ziphims informed him of David's hiding himself with them, or when Doeg informed him of Ahimelech's resetting him, that an order had been given forth to all Israel, with this narrative: Whereas that rebel David had now openly despised authority, had


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