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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And avouching himself to be their God


The

tenor whereof did import, their sincere and constant endeavours, in their several places and callings, for preservation of the uniformity in reformation, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government: the extirpation of popery, prelacy, error and profanity; the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people; and of the magistrates authority, in defence of the true religion and liberty; the discovery and punishment of incendiaries; the retaining of the peace and union of the kingdoms; the mutual assistance and defence of all under the bond of this covenant; and the performing all duties we owe to God, in the amendment of our lives, and walking exemplarily one before another. This is that covenant comprehending the purpose of all prior, and the pattern of all posterior covenants, to which Christ's witnesses did always adhere, for which the present witnesses do suffer and contend; that covenant, which the representatives of church and state in the three nations did solemnly subscribe and swear, for themselves and posterity, of which the obligation, either to the duty or the punishment, continues indispensibly on the generation; which for the moral equity of its matter, the formality of its manner, the importance of its purpose, the holiness of its solemn engagement, and the glory of its ends, no power on earth can disannul, disable, or dispense; that covenant, which the Lord did ratify from heaven, by the conversion of many thousands at their entering under the bond of
it, securing and establishing unto them, and all the faithful, the blessings and privileges therein express, and avouching himself to be their God, as they had avouched themselves to be his people; that covenant, which, in all the controversies it hath occasioned, did never receive a greater confirmation than from the malice and opposition of its adversaries; that covenant, which malignants do malign and deny, and sectaries scorn and lay aside, as an almanack out of date; which hath been many ways traduced and reproached by enemies, and yet could never be reflected on by any serious in this land, without an honourable and fragrant remembrance: especially that retortion of adversaries of the rigour of its imposition upon recusants, to justify their cruelty upon its asserters now, is to be refelled, not with confutation of its importance, but with disdain of its impudence. For who were the recusants; but wicked enemies to God, and church, and nation, who for their malignancy were then to be prosecuted, not for their scrupling at a covenant, but for their contumacious contempt of a law? This was no violence done to their conscience; for as they had none, and could not pretend to any, so they were never troubled for that, but for their opposition and conspiracy against the common cause. However, it went through at that time: and that the covenanted reformation, in a nearer conjunction betwixt the united churches, might be promoted, the parliament of England called an Assembly


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