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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

And the course of backsliding was carried on


or passing in silence the errors

and exorbitancies of sectaries in England, or the defections current at home, the plots and practices of malignants, the principles and tenets of erastianism; and if they be found too sparing, general, or ambiguous in their applications and reproofs, and continuing so, they are to be deposed, for being pleasers of men rather than servers of Christ, for giving themselves to a detestable indifferency or neutrality in the cause of God for defrauding the souls of people, yea for being highly guilty of the blood of souls, in not giving them warning.' And in that seasonable and necessary warning of the general assembly, Edinbugh July 27. 1649. sess. 27. we are taught how they resented the unfaithfulness of ministers continuing in defections, and how we are to look upon them and carry to them: where they say, it is undeniably true, that many of the evils, 'wherewith this church and kingdom hath been afflicted in our age, have come to pass because of the negligence of some and corruptions of others of the ministry; and the course of backsliding was carried on, until it pleased God to stir up the spirits of these few, who stood in the gap, to oppose and resist the fame, and to begin the work of reformation in the land; since which time, the silence of some ministers, and the compliance of others, hath had great influence upon the backslidings of many amongst the people, who, upon the discovery of the evil of their way, complain that they got no warning, or that if they were warned by some,
others held their peace, or did justify them in the course of their backsliding: we can look upon such ministers no otherwise, than upon these that are guilty of the blood of the Lord's people, and with whom the Lord will reckon, for all the breach of covenant and defection that hath been in the land; the priest's lips should preserve knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts, but such as are departed out of the way, and have caused many to stumble at the law, therefore hath the Lord made them contemptible before all the people, according as they have not kept his ways, but have been partial in his law, because they have lost their favour, he hath cast out many of them as unsavoury salt.' Furthermore, to evidence the purity and power of zeal burning and blazing in these days in their contendings against public enemies on all hands, I shall instance some of their acts and testimonies, clearly condemning the manifold compliances of this generation and which may contribute somewhat to justify the reproached preciseness of a remnant, standing at the furthest distance from them. There is an act for censuring the compliars with the public enemies of this church and kingdom, general assembly, June 17. 1646, sess. 14. 'where, they judge it a great and scandalous provocation, and grievous defection from the public cause, to comply with those malignants (such as James Graham then was) in any degree, even to procure protections


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