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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

Be enjoined to keep presbyteries


II.

By this time, and much more after, the king gave as many proofs and demonstrations of his being true to antichrist, in minding all the promises and treaties with him, as he had of his being false to Christ, in all his covenanted engagements with his people. For in this same year 1666, he, with his dear and royal brother the duke of York, contrived, countenanced, and abetted, the burning of London, evident by their employing their guards to hinder the people from saving their own, and to dismiss the incendiaries, the papists, that were taken in the fact. The committee, appointed to cognosce upon that business, traced it so far, that they durst go no further, unless they would arraign the duke, and charge the king, and yet before this, it was enacted as criminal for any to say the king was a papist. But having gained so much of his design in Scotland, where he had established prelacy, advanced tyranny to the height of absoluteness, and his supremacy almost beyond the reach of any additional supply, yea above the pope's own claim, and had now brought his only opposites, the few faithful witnesses of Christ, to a low pass; he went on by craft as well as cruelty, to advance his own in promoting antichrist's interest. And therefore, having gotten the supremacy devolved upon him by law (for which also he had the pope's dispensation, to take it to himself for the time, under promise to restore and surrender it to him, as soon as he could obtain his end by it, as the other brother succeeding
hath now done) he would now exert that usurped power, and work by insnaring policy to effectuate the end which he could not do by other means. Therefore, seeing he was not able to suppress the meetings of the Lord's people for gospel ordinances, in house and fields, but that the more he laboured by violent courses, the greater and more frequent they grew; he fell upon a more crafty device, not only to overthrow the gospel and suppress the meetings, but to break the faithful, and to divide, between the mad-cap and the moderate fanatics (as they phrased it) that he might the more easily destroy both, to confirm the usurpation, and to settle people in a sinful silence, and stupid submission to all the incroachments made on Christ's prerogatives, and more effectually to overturn what remained of the work of God. And, knowing that nothing could more fortify the supremacy than minister's homologating and acknowledging it; therefore he offered the first indulgence in the year 1669, signifying in a letter, dated that year June 7, his gracious pleasure was, 'to appoint so many of the outed ministers, as have lived peaceably and orderly, to return to preach and exercise other functions of the ministry, in the parish churches where they formerly served (provided they were vacant) and to allow patrons to present to other vacant churches, such others of them as the council should approve: That all who are so indulged, be enjoined to keep presbyteries, and the refusers to be confined within the bounds of their parishes: And that they be enjoined not to admit any of their neighbour


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