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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

The ct ligature was replaced with ct

his own cause: yet we would

beware lest we do any thing that may embolden them, or make them bless themselves in this their stated opposition to Christ's. And because we know not but some of the elect may, for a time, be carried down with the current of this impetuous opposition to him, and may concur actively for a season in promoving this course, we ought, even upon this supposition, so to witness, and so to keep a distance from all apparent or interpretative compliance with what they contrive and carry on, as they may, by beholding our stedfastnes, be provoked to consider their own course; that considering at last how their feet go down to death, and their steps take hold on hell, they may hasten their escape from the company of his enemies, lest they be consumed with the fire of his indignation, if found congregate with the men of these God provoking practices. 2. By paying what is required, I stumble also and offend my weak brethren, while by my example they are encouraged to rush into the same compliance. O! let every man, whose practice may be pleaded as a pattern, remember that word, and who spoke it, "It were better that a milstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the midst of the sea, than offend any of these little ones." 3. Sufferers for refusing this payment are offended, when the payer doth not only encourage the persecutors to proceed with rigour and rage against him, as a peevish and froward malecontent, but does what in him lies to wound the heart and weaken the hands of such
a faithful witness: whereas, if the poor sufferer saw himself, by a joint testimony owned by his brethren, he would be comforted, strengthened, and become more confident in the conflict. 4. In paying these things the compliers, either by their example, lay a snare for the posterity, to whose knowledge their carriage may come; and so instead of the leaving them a pattern of contending earnestly for the faith, they spread a net for their feet, yea pave them a way to defection and apostasy; or else they engage the great God, out of zeal to his own glory, and tenderness to his people who shall succeed, for preventing of their following of such progenitors, wherein they have not been followers of him fully, to give such a testimony against their untenderness, and set such marks of displeasure upon their course, that the thoughts of turning aside with them, and following their steps shall be terrible to all that hear of it, lest, for such a compliance, they fall as they did, for falling from their own stedfastness into the hands of the living God. But alas! for the posterity, under whose curse we are like to go off the stage, because of our not having done what we ought, yea what we might; both for transmitting pure ordinances unto them, and for not transcribing in our practice the noble example of our zealous and heroic ancestors, who valiantly resisted when violently attacked, and by their valour wrestled us into a state of liberty. Well, if we leave those that shall succeed us such an example as this, he is like to make us such an example as will fright the following generations, and force them to serve themselves heirs to them who have gone before us, who did acquit themselves as the good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and not to us, the debt of whose declensions and defections cannot be paid, without the destruction of those who shall serve themselves heirs to us. But alas! who does think on what he owes to the poor posterity; or who doth make confidence to preserve for them that precious treasure put in our custody, and judges it more necessary than to live, to leave the tract of a way contending zealously for God, and the preservation of his interests, and the propagation of his own pure ordinances to the posterity, shining so clearly by suffering and blood, as the way-faring man, and they who shall come after, though fools, need not err therein? Our only comfort is, that the Lord, who shall see his seed, and must prolong his days, will make his pleasure prosper, and preserve some to be witnesses of it to his praise.


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Transcriber's note:

Numbering of headings and subheadings were left as they were in the original. Spelling of many words vary in the text; for example, expressly/expresly, abbreviation for Matthew as Mat. and Matt., Dumfermline/Dunfermline.

Page 82--supplied the word "year" "For resistance of superior powers, we have in this period, first the practice of some noblemen at Ruthven, in the 1582. who took the King, ..."

Long "f" characters were replaced with the standard English "s"; the "ct" ligature was replaced with "ct".


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