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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Ambiguously whereof the remedy is sect


involves them in the iniquity

of the abolished patronages, condemned by the assembly; for that ministry of such so presented, is made too much to depend upon the will and pleasure of man, and such an imposition is destructive of the church and people's liberties, obstructive of the gospel's freedom and faithful plainness, and occasion of much base flattery and partiality; and in subjecting to, homologating, and fortifying a sacrilegious supremacy, overturning the intrinsic power of the church, contrary to the covenant obliging to the preservation of the government, as well as to the doctrine of the church, in the first article thereof; and in their suffering themselves, either directly or indirectly, either by combination, persuasion, or terror, to be divided and withdrawn from that blessed union and conjunction, which they were obliged to maintain and promove, according to the sixth article of the solemn league and covenant; and in their strengthening the erastian usurpations of enemies encroaching upon the church's liberties and Christ's prerogatives, against which we are engaged expressly in the solemn acknowledgment of sins and engagement to duties, where also we have these words article 2. Because many have of late laboured to supplant the liberties of the church, we shall maintain and defend the church of Scotland, in all her liberties and privileges, against all who shall oppose or undermine the same, or encroach thereupon under any pretext whatsomever. Next, we have many demonstrations of the zeal
and strictness of these servants of Christ, in their synodical determinations of censures, to be past upon many ministerial corruptions; which will condemn the present course of covering and countenancing them, and commend the contendings of a poor reproached party against them, in their conscientious abstracting from them. Of which determinations, I shall rehearse some. Among the enormities and corruptions of the ministry, in their callings, this is one, sect. 4, 5. Silence in the public cause--some accounting it a point of wisdom to speak, ambiguously--whereof the remedy is sect. 15. 'That beside all other scandals, silence or ambiguous speaking in the public cause--be seasonably censured, general assembly, at Edinburgh, June 13. 1646.' There is indeed an act against withdrawers from ministers: but in the self same act they are charged to be diligent in fulfilling their ministry, 'to be faithful in preaching, declaring the whole counsel of God, and as they have occasion from the text of scripture to reprove the sins and errors, and press the duties of the time, and in all these to observe the rules prescribed by the acts of assembly, wherein if they be negligent, they are to be censured, general assembly Edinburgh, Aug. 24. 1647. sess. 19.' Then there is that act, Aug. 3. 1648. sess. 26. for censuring ministers for their silence, and not speaking to the corruptions of the time; 'calling it, a great scandal, through some ministers their reserving and not declaring themselves against the prevalent sins of the times; appointing, that all that do not apply their doctrine to these corruptions, which is the pastoral gift, and that are cold or wanting of spiritual zeal, dissembling of public sins, that all such be censured even to deprivation; for forbearing


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