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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

But to pursue the ends of their covenants


it last was left, and to carry

on the testimony against all the oppositions of that day, from open enemies and backsliding professors: an undertaking more desperate-like than that _Unus Athanasius contra totam orbem_, and like that of a child threshing down a mountain. Which yet against all the outrageous rage of ravening enemies, ranging, ravaging, hunting, chasing, pursuing after him, through all the towns, villages, cottages, woods, moors, mosses, and mountains of the country; and against all the scourge of tongues, contradictions, condemnations, obliquies, reproaches, and cruel mockings of incensed professors, and generally of all the inhabitants of the land; he was helped to prosecute, by many weary wanderings, travels, and traversings thro' the deserts, night and day, preaching, conferring, and catechising, mostly in the cold winter-nights in the open fields: until, by the blessing of God upon his labours, not only was the faithful witnessing remnant that joined in the testimony, further cleared, confirmed, and encouraged, and their number much increased by the coming in and joining of many others to the fellowship of their settled societies; but also many others, in other places of the country were induced to the contracting themselves in the like, to the settling such fellowships in most of the southern shires. But then the fury of persecutors began to flame more flagrantly than ever; not only in sending out cruel soldiers, foot, horse and dragoons, habitually fleshed in, and filled with the blood of
the saints, to hunt, hound, chase, and pursue after them, and seek them out of all their dens and hiding-holes, in the wildest glens, fens, and remotest recesses in the wilderness; but emitting edicts allowing them to kill, slay, hang, drown, and destroy such as they could apprehend of them _pro libitu_; and commanding the country to assist them, in raising the hue and cry after them, and not to refer, harbour, supply, or correspond any manner of way with them, under the hazard and pain of being liable to the same punishment. Whereby the country was harassed and spoiled in searching after them, and many villains were stirred up to give informations and intelligence of these wanderers wherever they saw them, or learned where they were. Hence followed such a slaughter and seizure of them, that common people usually date their common occurrences since, from that beginning of killing time, as they call it. For which cause, to preserve themselves from, and put a stop to that deluge of blood, and demur and deter the insolency of intelligencers and informers, they were necessitate to publish the Apologetical Relation, and affix it upon several market-crosses and parish-doors, November 8, 1684. Wherein they 'declare their firm resolution, of constant adherence to their covenants and engagements, and to the declarations disowning the authority of Charles Stewart. And to testify to the world, that they purpose not to injure or offend any whomsoever, but to pursue the ends of their covenants, in standing to the defence of the work of reformation, and of their own lives; yet, if any shall stretch forth their hand against them, by shedding their blood actually, either by authoritative commanding or obeying such commands, to search for them, and deliver them up to the spilling of their blood, to inform against them, to raise the hue and cry after them, and delate them before their courts. All these shall


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