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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

The pretended benefit of that indemnity


time, since the taking of the

bond of peaceable living, there hath been an universal preferring of peace to truth, and of ease to duty. And the generality have been left to swallow all baits, though the hook was never so discernible, all those ensnaring oaths and bonds imposed since, which both then and since people were left to their own determination to chuse or refuse; many ministers refusing to give their advice when required and requested thereunto, and some not being ashamed or afraid to persuade the people to take them. The ministry then also were generally insnared with that bonded indulgence, the pretended benefit of that indemnity, which as it was designed, so it produced the woful effect of propagating the defection, and promoting the division, and laying them by from their duty and testimony of that day, which to this day they have not yet taken upon their former ground. For when a proclamation was emitted, inveighing bitterly against field meetings, and absolutely interdicting all such for the future under highest pain, but granting liberty to preach in houses upon the terms of a cautionary bond given for their living peaceably: yet excluding all these ministers who were suspected to have been at the late rebellion, and all these who shall afterward be admitted by non-conform ministers: and certifying, that if ever they shall be at any field conventicle, the said indemnity shall not be useful to such transgressors any manner of way: and requiring security, that none under the colour of this favour
continue to preach rebellion. Though there seems to be enough in the proclamation itself to have scared them from this scandalous snare, yet a meeting of ministers at Edinburgh made up of indulged, avowed applauders of the indulgence, or underhand approvers and favourers of the same, and some of them old public resolutioners, assuming to themselves the name of a general assembly, yea of the representatives of the church of Scotland, voted for the acceptance of it. And so formally transacted and bargained upon base, dishonest, and dishonourable terms with the usurper, by consenting and compacting with the people to give that bond, wherein the people upon an humble petition to the council, 'obtaining their indulged minister to bind and oblige--that the said--shall live peaceably. And in order thereto to present him, before his majesty's privy council, when they shall be called so to do; and in case of failzie in not presenting him, to be liable to the sum of 6000 merks.' Whereby they condemned themselves of former unpeaceableness, and engaged to a sinful peace with the enemies of God, and became bound and fettered under these bonds to a forbearance of a testimony, and made answerable to their courts, and the people were bound to present them for their duty. The sinfulness, scandalousness, and inconveniences of which transactions, are abundantly demonstrated by a treatise thereupon, intitled, the banders disbanded. Nevertheless many embraced this new bastard indulgence, that


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