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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

By which odious and and invidious obloquies


farther inquiry. This were yet

more tolerable from open enemies, if there were not another more pressing discouragement, in the ninth place, peculiar to them in Scotland; that having to do with treacherous as well as truculent enemies, as they have been much destroyed by open force, so much more by fraud; while, by ensnaring favours, some have been flattered from the testimony, others disdaining and suspecting, as well as deprived of, and secluded from, these favours, have stuck to it; hence defection brought on division, and division confusion, which hath reduced the reformation to a ruinous heap. In the next place, as the consequent of the former, while the purer remnant have been resolutely prosecuting the testimony, and not only keeping themselves free of, and standing at the farthest distance from, all degrees of compliance, but also witnessing against their brethren involved in them and thinking it their duty to discountenance them in these corruptions and backslidings; they have been therefore reproached and misrepresented very industriously, as "Ignorant, Imprudent, Transported with blind zeal, Extravagant, wild Separatists, Espousing new and nice notions, rejecters of the ministry, imposers on the ministry, deniers of all government, usurpers of an imaginary government of their own, that died as fools, and as guilty of their own blood." By which odious and and invidious obloquies, they have easily prevailed with many, both at home and abroad, that are more credulous than considerate, to believe these
things of them: hence, with prejudicate people, a contrary representation will find difficult acceptance. However, this moreover is another great disadvantage, and renders an essay to vindicate their sufferings very uneasy; that they are thrust at, and tossed on both hands, by enemies and professed friends: and by enemies that are not Papists, but professed Protestants, owning the same fundamentals in opinion, though in practice not holding the same head: and by friends, that not only are Protestants, but Presbyterians, under the bonds of the same solemn and sacred covenants, the obligation whereof they still own; and not only so, but such, whose piety and godliness cannot be doubted. This is a gravamen grievous to bear, and greatly aggravates the difficulty. Finally, the greatest of all is, that not only their cause is rendered odious, but must be confessed truly stated as heads of suffering. For now it is the dragon's chief stratagem with us, like to be the most subtile, ensnaring, and successful of any, that ever he set on work since ever he began this war with the Lamb, (which yet I hope will prove as fatal to his interest as the former), to bring the sufferings of Christ's witnesses to such a state, that may seem to spectators little or nothing relative to religion, that so he may destroy both them and their testimony unlamented, and by that trick divert others from concerting that same necessary witness in the season thereof. And, for this end, he will change both matter and manner, in managing the war. He will not now persecute for the old controverted heads of Popery, with fire and faggot, as formerly, for refusing to worship our Lady, or the "blessed Sacrament of the Altar." These weapons and engines are so worn out of use, that they will not work now as they did before. And that old bawd of Babylon is become so ugly, and out of date; that he does not believe her beauty can be so bewitching, except that she put on a new busk: but her eldest daughter, the prelatical church, of the same complexion with herself, except that she is coloured with Protestant paint, is fitter for his service to allure our land into fornication; and who will not be enticed, must be forced to communion with her, by finings, confinings, exactions, extortions, and impositions of oaths, &c. Religion must be little concerned here; for there is preaching enough, and of protestant doctrine too, and without


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