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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

By compound presbyteries and synods


fully confirmed, the king, Charles

I. being present, and consenting to all; though in the mean time he was treacherously encouraging the Irish murderers, who by his authority made a massacre of many thousand innocent protestants in Ireland. But in Scotland things went well, the kingdom of our Lord Jesus was greatly advanced, the gospel flourished, and the glory of the Lord did shine upon us with such a splendour, that it awaked England, and animated the Lord's people there, then groaning under those grievances from which Scotland was delivered, to aspire to the like reformation. For advice in which, because though all agreed to cast off the yoke of prelacy, yet sundry forms of church government were projected to be set up in the room thereof, chiefly the Independent order, determining all acts of church government, as election, ordination, and deposition of officers, with admission, excommunication, and absolution of members, to be done and decided by the voices of every particular congregation, without any authoritative concurrence or interposition of any other, condemning all imperative and decisive power of classes, &c. as a mere usurpation. Therefore, the brethren in England wrote to the Assembly then sitting at Edinburgh, who gave them answer,----'That they were grieved, that any of the godly should be found not agreeing with other reformed churches, in point of government as well as doctrine; and that it was to be feared, where the hedge of discipline and government is different, the doctrine and worship
shall not long continue the same without change; that the government of the church, by compound presbyteries and synods, is a help and strength, and not a hindrance to particular congregations and elderships, in all the parts of government; and are not an extrinsical power set over particular churches, but the intrinsical power wherewith Christ hath invested his officers, who may not exercise it independently, but with subordination, unto presbyteries, &c. which as they are representative of particular churches, conjoined together in one under their government; so their determination, when they proceed orderly, whether in causes common to all, or brought before them by reference in case of aberration, is to the several congregations authoritative, and not consultatory only. And this subordination is not only warranted by the light of nature, but grounded upon the word of God, and conform to the pattern of the primitive and apostolic church, for the preservation of verity and unity, against schism, heresy and tyranny, which is the fruit of this government wheresoever it hath place.' So from henceforth the Assembly did incessantly urge uniformity in reformation with their brethren in England, as the chiefest of their desires, prayers and cares. And in the year 1643, prevailed so far, that the English parliament did first desire, that the two nations might be strictly united for their mutual defence, against the papists and prelatical faction, and their adherents in both kingdoms; and not to lay down arms, till these implacable enemies should be brought in subjection; and instantly urge for help and assistance from Scotland. Which, being sent, did return with an olive branch of peace, and not without some beginnings of a reformation in England. And afterwards, a bloody war beginning between the King and Parliament, with great success on the King's side, whence the papists at the time got great advantage, (witness the cessation of arms concluded in Ireland,) commissioners were sent from both houses to Scotland, earnestly inviting to a nearer union of the kingdoms, and desiring assistance from this nation to their brethren in that their great distress. And this, by the good hand of God, produced the solemn league and covenant of the three kingdoms, first drawn up in Scotland, and approven in the Assembly at Edinburgh, and afterward embraced in England to the terror of the popish and prelatical party, and to the great comfort of such as were wishing and waiting for the reformation of religion, and the recoveries of just liberties.


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