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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

The fourth Prelacy and Supremacy


The following period, from the year 1638, to 1660, continues and advances the testimony, to the greatest height of purity and power, that either this church, or any other did ever arrive unto, with a gradation, succession, and complication of wonders, of divine wisdom, power, justice and mercy, signally and singularly owning and sealing it, to the confusion of his enemies, comfort of his people, conviction of indifferent neutrals, and consternation of all. Now after a long winter, and night of deadness and darkness, the sun returns with an amiable approach of light and life; now the winter was past, the rain was over and gone, the flowers appear on earth, and the time of singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. Now the second time, the testimony comes to be managed in an active manner, as before it was passive: as the one hath been always observed to follow interchangeably upon the other, especially in Scotland, and the last always the greatest; which gives ground to hope, though it be now our turn to suffer, that when the summer comes again after this winter, and the day after this night, the next active testimony shall be more notable than any that went before. The matter of the testimony was the same as before, for the concerns of Christ's kingly prerogative, but with some more increase as to its opposites: for these grew successively in every period, the last always including all that went before. The first period had Gentilism principally to deal with; the second Popery; the third Popery and Tyranny; the fourth Prelacy and Supremacy; this fifth hath all together, and Sectarianism also, to contend against. The former had always the opposites on one hand, but this hath them in extremes on both hands; both fighting against one another, and both fighting together against the church of Scotland, and she against both, till at length one of her opposites prevailed, viz. the Sectarian party, and that prevailing brought in the other, to wit, the Malignant, which now domineers over all together. Wherefore, because this period is in itself of so great importance, the revolutions therein emergent so eminent, the reformation therein prosecuted wanting little of its perfect complement, the deformation succeeding in its deviation from the pattern being so destructive; to the end it may be seen from whence we have fallen, and whether or not the present reproached sufferers have lost or left their ground, we must give a short deduction of the rise, progress, and end of the contendings of that period.

In the midst of the forementioned miseries and mischiefs, that the pride of prelacy and tyrannical supremacy had multiplied beyond measure upon this church and nation, and at the height of all their haughtiness, when they were setting up their Dagon and erecting altars for him, imposing the service-book, and book of Canons, &c. the Lord in mercy remembred his people, and surprised them with a sudden unexpected deliverance, by very despicable means; even the opposition of a few weak women, at the beginning of that contest, which, ere it was quashed, made the tyrant tumble


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