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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

In their answers to the estates that year 1648


both kingdoms (a principal end

of that covenant) is so far advanced, that the government of the church by congregational elderships, classical presbyteries, provincial and national assemblies, is agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, and voted and concluded in both houses of Parliament.' After this the malignants in England being crushed in all their projects, the King renders himself to the Scots in Newcastle: by whom (because by covenant they were not obliged to defend him, but only in defence of religion and liberty, which he had been destroying, and they defending, because in this war he did directly oppose and oppugn these conditions, under which they were only to defend him; and therefore they had all along carried towards him as an enemy, as he to them; and because, by the same covenant, they were obliged to discover, and render to condign punishment all malignants and incendiaries, of whom he was the chief, and to retain the peace and union of the kingdoms, which could not be retained in maintaining their destroyer, and to assist mutually all entred into that covenant, which he was fighting against) he was delivered up unto the English, and kept under restraint in the isle of Wight, until he received his just demerit, for all his oppressions, murders, treachery, and tyranny; being condemned and execute January 30th, in the 1648-9. Which fact, though it was protested against, both before and after, by the Assembly of the church of Scotland, out of zeal against the Sectarians, the executioners
of that extraordinary act of justice; yet it was more for the manner than for the matter, and more for motives and ends of it, than for the grounds of it, that they opposed themselves to it, and resented it. For they acknowledged and remonstrated to himself, the truth of all these things upon which that sentence and execution of justice was founded. And when a wicked association, and unlawful engagement was on foot to rescue him, they opposed it with all their might: shewing, in their answers to the estates that year 1648, and declarations and remonstrances, the sinfulness and destructiveness of that engagement; that it was a breach of the commandments of God, and of all the articles of the covenant; declaring withal, they would never consent to the King's restitution to the exercise of his power, without previous assurance, by solemn oath, under his hand and seal, for settling of religion according to the covenant. By which it appears, they were not so stupidly loyal, as some would make them. Yet indeed it cannot be past without regret, that there was too much of this plague of the king's-evil even among good men: which from that time forth hath so infected the heads and hearts of this generation, that it hath almost quite extinct all loyalty to Christ, and all zeal for religion and liberty.

Then it began to infuse and diffuse its contagion, when after the death of Charles first, in the year 1649, they began, after all that they had smarted for their trusting these treacherous tyrants, and after that grace had been shewed them from the Lord their God, by breaking these men's yokes from off their necks, and putting them again into a capacity to act for the good of religion, their own safety, and the peace and safety of the kingdom, to think of joining once more with the people of these abominations, and taking into their bosom these serpents which had formerly stung them almost to death. Hence these tears, lo the origin and spring of our defection! There was indeed at that time a party faithful for God, who considering the many breaches of the solemn league and covenant, and particularly by the late engagement against England, did so travel, that


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