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Title: Biographia Scoticana (Scots Worthies)

A Brief Historical Account of the Lives, Characters, and Memorable Transactions of the Most Eminent Scots Worthies

Author: John Howie

Release Date: March 7, 2009 [eBook #28272]

Language: English

***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BIOGRAPHIA SCOTICANA (SCOTS WORTHIES)***

 

E-text prepared by Nigel Blower, Jordan,
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Transcriber's Notes

In the original text, Scottish names, such as M'Clelland or M'Kail, sometimes use a regular apostrophe and sometimes a reversed apostrophe. In this transcription, the ASCII apostrophe character (') has been used throughout.

Missing quotation marks and other minor punctuation errors and inconsistencies such as differing hyphenations of words have been silently corrected.

Missing or poorly printed letters in words have been silently supplied.

Illegible text that could not be supplied from other sources is marked {illegible}.

There is an error in page numbering: the page following 336 is numbered 347.

Where a word differs from modern spelling, but is consistent within the text, e.g. atchievement, the original spelling is retained. Other typographical errors have been corrected, particularly where there is inconsistency within the text. A detailed list of these changes (including those described in the Errata) can be found at the end of the text.

 

 


 

i

Biographia Scoticana:

OR, A

BRIEF HISTORICAL ACCOUNT

OF THE

LIVES, CHARACTERS, and MEMORABLE
TRANSACTIONS of the most eminent

SCOTS WORTHIES,

Noblemen, Gentlemen, Ministers, and others: From Mr. Patrick Hamilton, who was born about the year of our Lord 1503, and suffered martyrdom at St. Andrews, Feb. 1527, to Mr. James Renwick, who was executed in the Grass-market of Edinburgh Feb. 17, 1688.

TOGETHER WITH

A succinct Account of the Lives of other seven eminent Divines, and Sir Robert Hamilton of Preston, who died about, or shortly after the Revolution.

AS ALSO,

An Appendix, containing a short historical Hint of the wicked Lives and miserable Deaths of some of the most remarkable apostates and bloody persecutors in Scotland from the Reformation to the Revolution.

Collected from historical Records, Biographical Accounts, and other authenticated Writings:—The whole including a Period of near Two Hundred Years.

By JOHN HOWIE.


The Second Edition, corrected and enlarged.


The Righteous shall be had in everlasting Remembrance, Psal. cxii. 6.

And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her, Psal. lxxxvii. 5


GLASGOW:

Printed by JOHN BRYCE, and Sold at his Shop, opposite Gibson's-Wynd, Salt-market.


M, DCC, LXXXI


ii

Entered in Stationers-Hall, according to Act of Parliament.


iii

THE PREFACE

To the Impartial Reader.

The design of the following work was to collect from the best authorities, a summary account of the lives characters and contendings of a certain number of our more renowned Scots Worthies, who for their faithful services, ardent zeal, constancy in sufferings, and other Christian graces and virtues, deserve a most honourable memorial in the church of Christ;—and for which their names both have and will be savoury to all the true lovers of our Zion, while reformation-principles are regarded in Scotland.

But then perhaps at first view, some may be surprized to find one so obscure appear in a work of this nature, especially when there are so many fit hands for such an employment. But if the respect I have for the memories of these worthies; the familiar acquaintance and sweet fellowship that once subsisted betwixt some of my ancestors and some of them; but, above all, the love and regard which I have for the same cause which they owned and maintained, be not sufficient to apologize for me in this; then I must crave thy patience to hear me in a few particulars; and that both anent the reasons for this publication, and its utility: Which I hope will plead my excuse for this undertaking.

And First, Having for some time had a desire to see something of this kind published, but finding nothing thereof, except a few broken accounts interspersed throughout different publications yet in print, at last I took up a resolution to publish a second edition of the life of one of these worthies already published at large[1].—Yet, upon farther reflection, considering it would be better to collect into one volume, the most material relations (of as many of our Scots worthies as could be obtained) from such of theiv historical records, biographical accounts, and other authenticated manuscripts, as I could have access unto, with the substance of these lives already in print, which, being put altogether, I thought would not only prove more useful in giving the reader the pleasure of viewing that all at once, which before was scattered up and down in so many corners, but also at the same time it might be free of the inconveniences that little pamphlets often fall under. And yet at the same time I am aware that some may expect to find a more full account of these worthies, both as to their number and the matters of fact in the time specified, than what is here to be met with—But in this publication, it is not pretended to give an account of all our Scots worthies, or their transactions: For that were a task now altogether impracticable, and that upon several accounts. For,

1st, There have been many of different ranks and degrees of men famous in the church of Scotland, of whom little more is mentioned in history than their names, places of abode, and age wherein they existed, and scarcely that. Again, there are many others, of whom the most that can be said is only a few faint hints, which of necessity must render their lives (if they may properly be so called) very imperfect, from what they might and would have been, had they been collected and wrote near a century ago, when their actions and memories were more fresh and recent; several persons being then alive, who were well acquainted with their lives and proceedings, whereby they might have been confirmed by many uncontestible evidences that cannot now possibly be brought in; yea, and more so, seeing there is a chasm in our history during the time of the Usurper, not to mention how many of our national records were about that time altogether lost.[2]

2dly, There are several others, both in the reforming and suffering periods, of whom somewhat now is recorded, and yet not sufficient to form a narrative of, so that, excepting by short relations or marginal notes, they cannot otherwise be supplied.—For it is with regret that the publishersv have it to declare, that, upon application unto several places for farther information concerning some of these worthy men, they could find little or nothing in the most part of their registers (excepting a few things by way of oral tradition) being through course of time either designedly, or through negligence lost.

3dly, Some few of these lives already in print being somewhat prolix, it seemed proper to abridge them; which is done in a manner as comprehensive as possible, so that nothing material is omitted, which it is hoped will be thought to be no way injurious to the memory of these worthy men.

Secondly, As to the utility of this subject, biography in general, (as a historian has observed[3]), must be one of the most entertaining parts of history; and how much more the lives and transactions of our noble SCOTS WORTHIES, wherein is contained not only a short compend of the testimony and wrestlings of the church of Scotland for near the space of 200 years, yea from the earliest period of Christianity in Scotland (the introduction included) but also a great variety of other things, both instructing and entertaining, which at once must both edify and refresh the serious and understanding reader.—For,

1st, In these lives we have a short view of the actions, atchievements, and some of the failings of our ancestors set forth before us, as examples for our caution and imitation; wherein by the experience, and at the expence of former ages, by a train of prudent reflections, we may learn important lessons for our conduct in life, both in faith and manners, for the furnishing ourselves with the like Christian armour of zeal, faithfulness, holiness, stedfastness, meekness, patience, humility, and other graces.

2dly, In them we behold what the wisest of men could not think on without astonishment, that God does in very deed dwell with men upon earth, (men a little too low for heaven, and much too high for earth); nay more, dealeth "so familiarly with them, as to make them previously acquainted with his secret designs, both of judgment and mercy, displaying his divine power, and the efficacy of his grace thro' their infirmities, subduing the most hardened sinners to himself, while he as it were reigns himselfvi to their prayers, and makes them the subject of his divine care and superintendency."

3dly, Here we have as it were a mirror exemplifying and setting forth all the virtues and duties of a religious and a domestic life.—Here is the example of a virtuous nobleman, an active statesman, a religious gentleman, a faithful and painful minister in the exercise of his office, instant in season and out of season, a wise and diligent magistrate, one fearing God and hating covetousness, a courageous soldier, a good christian, a loving husband, an indulgent parent, a faithful friend in every exigence; and in a word, almost every character worthy of our imitation. And,

Lastly, In them we have the various changes of soul exercise, experiences, savoury expressions and last words of those, once living, now glorified witnesses of Christ. And "as the last speeches of men are remarkable, how remarkable then must the last words and dying expressions of these NOBLE WITNESSES and MARTYRS of Christ be?" For the nearer the dying saint is to heaven, and the more of the presence of Christ that he has in his last moments, when death looks him in the face[4], the more interesting will his conversation be to survivors, and particularly acceptable to real Christians, because all that he says is supported by his example, which commonly has considerable influence upon the human mind.—It is true, there is an innate and latent evil in man's nature, that makes him more prone and obsequious to follow bad than good examples; yet sometimes, (yea often) there is a kind of compulsive energy arising from the good examples of such as are eminent either in place or godliness, leading forth others to imitate them in the like graces and virtues. We find the children of Israel followed the Lord all the days of Joshua, and the elders that out-lived him; and Christ's harbinger, John Baptist, gained as much by his practice and example as by his doctrine: His apparel, his diet, his conversation, and all, did preach forth his holiness. Nazianzen saith of him, "That he cried louder by the holiness of his life, than by the sincerity of his doctrine."vii And were it not so, the apostle would not have exhorted the Philippians unto this, saying, Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk, so as ye have us for an ensample, &c. chap. iii. 17.—And so says the apostle James, Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an ensample, &c. chap. v. 10. And no question, that next to the down-pouring of the Spirit from on high, the rapid and admirable success of the gospel, both in the primitive times, and in the beginning of our reformations (from popery and prelacy) in a great measure must have been owing to the simplicity, holy and exemplary lives of the preachers and professors thereof. A learned expositor observes, "That ministers are likely to preach most to the purpose, when they can press their hearers to follow their example[5]." For it is very observable that without this, the church of Christ is so far from gaining ground, that it loses what it hath already gained in the world; of which the church of Scotland is a most glaring document; yea truth itself suffers by this means, and can gain no credit from their mouths; and how despicable must that man's character be, whose authority is lost, and his example goes for nothing. So that upon the whole, I flatter myself that no small advantage (thro' the divine blessing) might accrue to the public from this subject in general, and from the lives of our Scots worthies in particular, providing these or the like cautions following were observed: And that is, 1. We are not to sit down or rest ourselves upon the person, principle or practice of any man, yea the best saint we have ever read or heard of, but only to seek these gifts and graces that most eminently shone forth in them.—Præceptis, non exemplis, standum, i.e. "we must not stand by examples but precepts:" For it is the peculiar honour and dignity of Jesus Christ only to be imitated by all men absolutely, and for any person or persons to idolize any man or men, in making them a pattern in every circumstance or particular, were nothing else than to pin an implicit faith upon other mens sleeves. The apostle to the Corinthians (in the forecited text) gives a very good caveat against this, when he says, Be ye followers (or as the Dutch annotators translate, Be ye imitators) of me, as I am of Christ.—And, 2. Neither are we on the other hand to dwell too much upon the faults, or failings that have sometime been discovered in some of God's own dear children; but at the same time to consider with ourselves, that althoughviii they were eminent men of God, yet at the same time were they the sons of Adam also: For it is possible yea many times has been the case for good men not only to make foul falls themselves but also when striking against the errors and enormities of others to over-reach the mark, and go beyond the bounds of truth in some degree themselves; perfection being no inherent plant in this life, so says the apostle, They are earthen vessels, men of like passions with you, &c. 2 Cor. iv. 7. Acts xiv. 15.

Thirdly, As to the motives leading us to this publication. Can it be supposed that there was ever an age, since reformation commenced in Scotland, that stood in more need of useful holy and exemplary lives being set before them; and that both in respect to the actions and memories of these worthies, and with regard to our present circumstances. For in respect to the memories and transactions of these worthies, it is now a long time since bishops Spotiswood, Guthry and Burnet (not to mention some English historians) in their writings, clothed the actions and proceedings of those our ancestors (both in this reforming and suffering period) in a most grotesque and frantic dress, whereby their names and noble attainments have been loaded with reproach, sarcasms and scurrility; but as if this had not been enough, to expose them in rendering them, and their most faithful contendings, odious, some modern writers, under the character of monthly reviewers, have set their engines again at work, to misrepresent some of them, and set them in such a dishonourable light, by giving them a character that even the above-mentioned historians, yea their most avowed enemies, of their own day, would scarcely have subscribed[6]: to such a length is poor degenerate Scotland arrived.—And is it not high time to follow the wise man's advice, Open thy mouth for the dumb, in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction? Prov. xxxi. 8.

Again, with regard to our present circumstances, there needs little more to prove the necessity of this collection at present, than to shew how many degrees we have descended from the worthy deeds or merit of our Renowned forefathers, by running a parallel betwixt their contendings and attainments, and our present national defections and backsliding, courses, in these few particulars following.

ix Our venerable reformers were not only highly instrumental in the Lord's hand in bringing a people out of the abyss of gross Popish darkness (under which they had for a long time continued), but also brought themselves under most solemn and sacred vows and engagements to the Most High, and whenever they were to set about any further piece of reformation in their advancing state, they always set about the renovation of these covenants.—They strenuously asserted the divine right of presbytery, the headship of Christ, and intrinsic rights of his church in the reign of James VI. and suffered much on that account—lifted arms once and again in the reign of Charles I.; and never ceased until they got an uniformity in doctrine, worship, discipline, and church-government, brought out and established betwixt the three kingdoms for that purpose[7], whereby both church and state were enabled to exert themselves in rooting out every error and heresy whatever, until they obtained a complete settlement according to the word of God, and our covenants established thereon; which covenants were then by several excellent acts both civil and ecclesiastic[8] made the Magna Charta of these nations, with respect to every civil and religious privilege; none being admitted unto any office or employment in church or state, without scriptural and covenant qualifications.—And then was that part of the antient prophecy further fulfilled, In the wilderness shall waters break forth, and streams in the desart,—and the isles shall wait for his law. Christ then reigned gloriously in Scotland. His church appeared beautiful as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem:—For from the outmost parts were heard songs, even glory to the righteous.

And although Charles II. and a set of wicked counsellors overturned the whole fabric of that once-glorious structure of reformation, openly divested the Son of God of his headship in and over his own church, as far as human laws could do, burned these solemn covenants by the hands of the hangman (the owning of which was by act of parliament[9] made high treason afterward).—Yet even then the seed of the church produced a remnant who kept the wordx of Christ's patience stood in defence of the whole of his persecuted truths, in face of all opposition, and that to the effusion of the last drop of their blood: "These two prime truths, Christ's headship and our covenants, being in the mouths of all our late martyrs, when they mounted their bloody theatres;" and in the comfort of suffering on such clear grounds, and for such valuable truths, they went triumphing off the stage of time to eternity.

But alas! how have we their degenerate and renegade posterity followed their example or traced their steps, yea we have rather served ourselves heirs to them who persecuted and killed them, by our long accession to their perjury and apostacy in a general and avowed denial of our most solemn vows and oaths of allegiance to Jesus Christ. To mention nothing more of the total extermination of our ancient and laudable constitution, during the two tyrants reigns, with the many grave stones cast thereon by the acts rescissory, &c. (which acts seem by no act in particular yet to be repealed) and claim of right at the revolution, whereby we have in a national way and capacity (whatever be the pretences) declared ourselves to be on another footing than the footing of the once-famous covenanted church of Scotland. How many are the defections and encroachments annually and daily made upon our most valuable rights and privileges! For since the revolution, the duty of national covenanting has not only been slighted and neglected, yea ridiculed by some, but even some leading church-men, in their writings[10], have had the effrontery to impugn (though in a very sly way) the very obligation of these covenants, asserting that there is little or no warrant for national covenanting under the new Testament dispensation: And what awful attacks since that time have been made upon the crown-rights of our Redeemer (notwithstanding some saint acts then made to the contrary) as witness the civil magistrate's still retaining his old usurped power, in calling and dissolving the supreme judicatories of the church, yea, sometimes to an indefinite time.—Likewise appointing diets of fasting and thanksgiving to be observed, under fines and other civil pains annexed; imposing oaths, acts and statutes upon church-men, under pain of ecclesiastic censure, or otherxi Erastian penalties. And instead of our covenants, an unhallowed union is gone into with England, whereby our rights and liberties are infringed not a little, bow down thy body as the ground that we may pass over.—Lordly patronage[11], which was cast out of the church in her purest times, is now restored and practised to an extremity.—A toleration bill[12] is granted, whereby all and almost every error, heresy and delusion appears now rampant and triumphant, prelacy is now become fashionable and epidemical, and of popery we are in as much danger as ever[13]; Socinian and deistical tenets are only in vogue with the wits of the age, foli rationi cedo, the old Porphyrian maxim having so far gained the ascendant at present, that reason (at least pretenders to it, who must needs hear with their eyes, and see with their ears, and understand with their elbows till the order of nature be inverted) threaten not a little to banish revealed religion and its most important doctrines out of the professing world.—A latitudinarian scheme prevails among the majority, the greater part, with the Athenians,xii spending their time only to hear and see something new, gadding about to change their ways, going in the ways of Egypt and Assyria, to drink the waters of Shichor and the river, unstable souls, like so many light combustibles wrapt up by the eddies of a whirlwind, tossed hither and thither till utterly dissipated.—The doctrine of original sin[14] is by several denied, others are pulling down the very hedges of church government, refusing all church-standards, "covenants, creeds and confessions, whether of our own or of other churches, yea and national churches also, as being all of them carnal, human or antichristian inventions," contrary to many texts of scripture, particularly 2 Tim. i. 13. Hold fast the form of sound words: and the old Pelagian and Arminian errors appear again upon the stage, the merit of the creature, free will and good works[15] being taught fromxiii press and pulpit almost every where, to the utter discarding of free grace, Christ's imputed righteousness, and the power of true godliness.—All which pernicious errors were expunged and cast over the hedge by our reforming forefathers:xiv And is it not highly requisite, that their faithful contendings, orthodox and exemplary lives, should be copied out before us, when walking so repugnant to acknowledging the God of our fathers, and walking before him with a perfect heart.

xv Again, if we shall run a comparison betwixt the practice of those who are the subject-matter of this collection, and our present prevailing temper and disposition, we will find how far they correspond with one another. How courageous and zealous were they for the cause and honour of Christ! How cold and lukewarm are we, of whatever sect or denomination! How willing were they to part with all for him! And what honour did many of them count it, to suffer for his name! How unwilling are we to part with any thing for him, much less to suffer such hardships for his sake! Of that we are ashamed, which they counted their ornament; accounting that our glory which they looked on as a disgrace! How easy was it for them to choose the greatest suffering rather than the least sin! How hard is it for us to refuse the greatest sin before the least suffering! Howxvi active were they for the glory of God and the good of souls, and diligent to have their own evidences clear for heaven! But how little concern have we for the cause of Christ, his work and interest, and how dark are the most part with respect to their spiritual state and duty! They were sympathizing christians; but, alas! how little fellow-feeling is to be found among us: it is rather Stand by, for I am holier than thou. Oh! that their christian virtues, constant fidelity, unfeigned love and unbiassed loyalty to Zion's King and Lord, could awaken us from our neutrality and supine security, wherein instead of imitating the goodness and virtuous dispositions of these our ancestors, we have by our defections and vicious courses invited neglect and contempt on ourselves, being (as a philosopher once observed of passionate people) like men standing on their heads who see all things the wrong way; giving up with the greater part of these our most valuable rights and liberties, all which were most esteemed by our RENOWNED PROGENITORS.—The treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.

And if we shall add unto all these, in our progressive and increasing apostacy, our other heinous land-crying sins and enormities, which prevail and increase among all ranks and denominations of men (few mourning over the low state of our Zion, and the daily decay of the interest of Christ and religion). Then we not only may say as the poet once said of the men of Athens, Thebes and Oedipus, "That we live only in fable, and nothing remains of ancient Scotland but the name;" but also take up this bitter complaint and lamentation.

"Ah Scotland, Scotland! How is the gold become dim, how is the most fine gold changed! Ah! Where is the God of Elijah, and where is his glory! Where is that Scottish zeal that once flamed in the breasts of thy nobility, barons, ministers and commoners of all sorts! Ah, where is that true courage and heroic resolution for religion and the liberties of the nation that did once animate all ranks in the land! Alas, alas! True Scots blood now runs cool in our veins! The cloud is now gone up in a great measure from off our assemblies; because we have deserted and relinquished the Lord's most noble cause and testimony, by a plain, palpable and perpetual course of backsliding."—The crown is fallen from our head, wo unto us, for we have sinned.

xvii For surely we may say of these our times (and with as much propriety) what some of these worthies said of theirs, Quam graviter ingemescerent illi fortes viri qui ecclesiæ Scoticanæ pro libertate in acte decertarunt, si nostram nunc ignaviam (ne quid gravius dicam) conspicerent, said Mr. Davidson in a letter to the general Assembly 1601, i. e. "How grievously would they bewail our stupenduous slothfulness, could they but behold it, who of old thought no expence of blood and treasure too much for the defence of the church of Scotland's liberties."—Or to use the words of another[16] in the persecuting period, "Were it possible that our reformers (and we may add our late martyrs) who are entered in among the glorious choristers in the kingdom of heaven, (singing their melodious songs on harps about the throne of the Lamb) might have a furlough for a short time, to take a view of their apostatizing children, what may we judge would be their conceptions of these courses of defection, so far repugnant to the platform laid down in that glorious work of reformation." For if innocent Hamilton, godly and patient Wishart, apostolic Knox, eloquent Rollock, worthy Davidson, the courageous Melvils, prophetic Welch, majestic Bruce, great Henderson, renowned Gillespie, learned Binning, pious Gray, laborious Durham, heavenly-minded Rutherford, the faithful Guthries, diligent Blair, heart-melting Livingston, religious Welwood, orthodox and practical Brown, zealous and stedfast Cameron, honest-hearted Cargil, sympathizing M'Ward, persevering Blackadder, the evangelical Traills, constant and pious Renwick, &c. "were filed off from the assembly of the first-born, sent as commissioners to haste down from the mount of God, to behold how quickly their offspring are gone out of the way, piping and dancing after a golden calf: Ah! with what vehemency would their spirits be affected, to see their laborious structure almost razed to the foundation, by those to whom they committed the custody of the word of their great Lord's patience; they in the mean time sheltering themselves under the shadow of a rotten lump of fig-tree leaf distinctions, which will not sconce against the wrath of an angry God in the cool of the day, &c."

And Finally, What can have a more gloomy aspect in the midst of these evils, (with many more that might be noticed) when our pleasant things are laid waste, than to seexviii such a scene of strife and division carried on, and maintained among Christ's professing witnesses in these lands, whereby true love and sympathy is eradicated, the very vitals of religion pulled out, and the ways of God and godliness lampooned and ridiculed, giving Jacob to the curse, and Israel to the reproaches.—And it is most lamentable, that while malignants (now as well as formerly) from without are cutting down the carved work of the sanctuary, Christ's professed friends and followers from within are busied in contention and animosities among themselves, by which means the enemy still advances and gains ground, similar to the case (exteriorly) of that once famous and flourishing city and temple of Jerusalem, when it was by Titus Vespasian utterly demolished[17].—All which seem to prelude or indicate, that the Lord is about to inflict these long-threatened, impending but protracted judgments[18] upon such a sinning land, church and people. And as many of these worthies have assured us, that judgments are abiding this church and nation; so our present condition and circumstances seem to say, that we are the generation ripening for them apace.—How much need have we then of the Christian armour that made them proof against Satan, his emissaries, and every trial and tribulation they were subjected unto? Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day.

But by this time somewhat might have been said concerning the testimony of the church of Scotland, as it was carried on and handed down by these witnesses of Christ to posterity, in its different parts and periods—But as this has been somewhat (I may say needlessly) controverted in these our times, it were too large a subject (for the narrow limits of a preface) to enter upon at present, any further than to observe, that,

xix (1.) The testimony of the church of Scotland is not only a free, full and faithful testimony, (yea more extensive than the testimony of any one particular church since Christianity commenced in the world) but also a sure and costly testimony, confirmed and sealed with blood; "and that of the best of our nobles, ministers, gentry, burgesses and commons of all sorts;"—who loved not their lives unto the death, but overcame by the word of their testimony.—Bind up the testimony, seal the law.

(2.) Altho' there is no truth whatsoever, when once controverted, but it becomes the word of Christ's patience, and so ought to be the word of our testimony, Rev. v. 10. xii. 11.; truth and duty being always the same in all ages and periods of time, so that what injures one truth, in some sense, injures and affects all; For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all, Jam. ii. 10. Yet at the same time it is pretty evident, that the church of Christ in this world is a passing church, still circulating through ages and periods of time, so that she seldom or never turns back under the same point, there being scarcely a century of years elapsed without an alteration of circumstances; yea and more, I suppose that there is no certain book that has or can be written, that will suit the case of one particular church at all times, and in all circumstances: This pre-eminency the holy scriptures only can claim as a complete rule for faith and manners, principle and practice, in all places, ages and times.

(3.) These things premised, let it be observed, That the primitive witnesses had the divinity of the Son of God, and an open confession of him, for their testimony; our reformers from Popery had Antichrist to struggle with, in asserting the doctrines of the gospel, and the right way of salvation in and through Jesus Christ: again, in the reigns of James VI. and Charles I. Christ's REGALIA[19], and the divine right of presbytery became the subject-matter of their testimony. Then in the beginning of the reign of Charles II. (until he got the whole of our ancient and laudable constitution effaced and overturned) our WORTHIES onlyxx saw it their duty to hold and contend for what they had already attained unto.—But then in the end of this and subsequent tyrant's reign, they found it their duty (a duty which they had too long neglected) to advance one step higher, by casting off their authority altogether, and that as well on account of their manifest usurpation of Christ's crown and dignity, as on account of their treachery, bloodshed and tyranny. And yet as all these faithful witnesses of Christ did harmoniously agree in promoting the kingdom and interest of the Messiah, in all his threefold offices, they stood in defence of religion and liberty (and that not only in opposition to the more gross errors of Popery, but even to the more refined errors of English hierarchy) we must take their testimony to be materially all and the same testimony, only under different circumstances, which may be summed up thus; "The primitive martyrs sealed the prophetic office of Christ in opposition to Pagan idolatry.—The reforming martyrs sealed his priestly office with their blood, in opposition to Popish idolatry.—But last of all, our late martyrs have sealed his kingly office with their best blood, in despite of supremacy and bold Erastianism. They indeed have cemented it upon his royal head, so that to the world's end it shall never drop off again."

But, candid reader, to detain thee no longer upon these or the like considerations,—I have put the following sheets into thy hands, wherein if thou findest any thing amiss, either as to matter or method, let it be ascribed unto any thing else, rather then want of honesty or integrity of intention; considering, that all mankind are liable to err, and that there is more difficulty in digesting such a great mass of materials into such a small composition, than in writing many volumes. Indeed there is but little probability, that a thing of this nature can altogether escape or evade the critical eye of some carping Momus[20], particularly such asxxi are either altogether ignorant of reformation principles, or, of what the Lord hath done for covenanted Scotland; and those who can bear with nothing but what comes from those men who are of an uniform stature or persuasion with themselves: and yet were it possible to anticipate anything arising here by way of objection, these few things following might be observed.

Here some may object, That many things more useful for the present generation might have been published, than the deeds and public actings of those men, who have stood so long condemned by the laws of the nation, being exploded by some, and accounted such a reproach, as unfit to be any longer on record.—In answer to this, I shall only notice, (1.) That there have been some hundreds of volumes published of things fabulous, fictitious and romantic, fit for little else than to amuse the credulous reader; while this subject has been in a great measure neglected. (2.) We find it to have been the constant practice of the Lord's people in all ages, to hand down and keep on record what the Lord had done by and for their forefathers in former times. We find the royal psalmist, in name of the church, oftener than once at this work, Psal. xliv. and lxxviii. We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us, what works thou didst in their days, in the times of old: We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, &c. (3.) It has been the practice of almost all nations (yea and our own also) to publish the warlike exploits and martial atchievements of their most illustrious heroes, who distinguished themselves in defence of their native country, for a little worldly honour, or a little temporary subsistence; and shall we be behind in publishing the lives, characters, and most memorable actions ofxxii these noble CHAMPIONS of Christ, who not only stood in defence of religion and liberty, but also fought the battles of the Lord against his and their avowed enemies, till in imitation of their princely Master, their garments were all stained with blood, for which their names shall be had in everlasting remembrance. (4.) As to the last part of the objection, it must be granted, that in foro homines, their actions and attainments cannot now be pled upon, but in foro Dei, that which was lawful from the beginning cannot afterwards be made sinful[21] or void; and the longer they have been buried under the ashes of neglect and apostacy, the more need have they to be raised up and revived. It is usual for men to keep that well which was left them by their fathers, and for us either to oppose or industriously conceal any part of these their contendings, were not only an addition to the contempt already thrown upon the memories of these RENOWNED SIRES, but also an injury done to posterity.—"Your honourable ancestors, with the hazard of their lives, brought Christ into our lands, and it shall be cruelty to posterity if ye lose him to them," said one of these worthies to a Scots nobleman[22].

Again, some sceptical nullifidian or other may be ready to object farther, "That many things related in this collection smell too much of enthusiasm; and that several other things narrated therein, are beyond all credit." But these we must suppose to be either quite ignorant of what the Lord did for our forefathers in former times, or else in a great measure destitute of the like gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, by which they were actuated and animated. For,

(1.) These worthies did and suffered much for Christ and his cause, in their day and generation, and therefore in a peculiar and singular manner were honoured and beloved of him; and although there are some things here narrated, of a pretty extraordinary nature, yet as they imply nothing contrary to reason, they do not forfeit a title to any man's belief, since they are otherwise well attested, nay obviously referred to a cause, whose ways and thoughts surmount the ways and thoughts of men, as far as the heavens are abovexxiii our heads.—The sacred history affords us store of instances and examples of a more transcendent nature than any thing here related; the truth of which we are at as little liberty to question, as the divinity of the book in which they are related.

(2.) As to the soul-exercise and pious devotion of these men herein related, they are so far supported by the authority of scripture, that there is mentioned by them (as a ground of their hope) some text or passage thereof, carried in upon their minds, suited and adapted to their cases and circumstances; by which faith they were enabled to lay claim to some particular promise, as a lamp unto their feet, a light unto their path, and this neither hypocrite nor enthusiast can do: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. iii. 11.

But then, it may be alleged by those who have a high esteem for this subject, That nothing is here given as a commendation suitable or adequate to the merit of these Worthies, considering their zeal, diligence and activity in the discharge of their duty, in that office or station which they filled. This indeed comes nearest the truth; for it is very common for biographers to pass eulogiums of a very high strain in praise of those whom they affect. But in these panegyrical orations, they oftimes rather exceed than excel.—It was an ancient (but true) saying of the Jews, "That great men (and we may say good men) commonly find stones for their own monuments;" and laudable actions always support themselves: And a thing (as an author[23] observes on the like subject) "if right, it will defend itself; if wrong, none can defend it: Truth needs not, falsehood deserves not a supporter."

Indeed it must be regretted, that this collection is not drawn out with more advantage to the cause of Christ, and the interest of religion in commending the mighty acts of the Lord done for and by these worthy servants or his, in a way suitable to the merit and dignity of such a subject. But in this case it is the greater pity, "That those who have a goodwill to such a piece of service cannot do it, while those who should and can do it will not do it."—But in this I shall make no other apology, than what our Saviourxxiv (in another case) said to the woman, She hath done what she could.

All that I shall observe anent the form or method used in the following lives, is, that they are all, except one, ranged in order, according to the time of their exit, and not according to their birth; and that in general, the historical account of their birth, parentage, and memorable transactions is first inserted; and with as few repetitions as possible: Yea, sometimes to save a repetition, a fact is related of one Worthy in the life of another, which is not in his own life. Then follows their characteristic part, which oftimes is just one's testimony successively of another; and last of all, their works[24].—That which is given in their own words, mostly stands in commas.

I know it is usual, when relating matters of fact, to make remarks or reflections, yet as this oftimes brings authors under suspicion of party zeal or partiality, they are designedly waved in the body of the book.—Any thing of this kind is placed among other things in the marginal notes, where the reader is at a little more freedom to chuse or refuse as he pleases, only with this proviso, That truth be always regarded.

The last thing to be observed is, That as the credit due to this collection depends so much upon the authors from whom it was extracted, their names should have been inserted. However, the reader will find the most part of them mentioned in the notes; so that if any doubt of the veracity of any thing here related, they may have recourse to the original authors, some of whom, though enemies to reformation principles, nevertheless serve to illustrate the facts narrated in these memoirs, as nothing serves more to confirmation of either truth or historical facts, than the testimony of its opposers.

But to conclude; May the Lord arise and plead his own cause in putting a final stop to all manner of prevailing wickedness; and hasten that day when the glorious light of the gospel may shine forth in purity, and with such power and success as in former times, with an enlargementxxv of the Mediator's kingdom,—That his large and great dominion may be extended from the river to the ends of the earth, when all these heats, animosities and breaking divisions, that now prevail and increase among Christ's professed friends and followers, may be healed; that being cemented and knitted to one another, they may join heart and hand together in the matters of the Lord, and the concerns of his glory; when Ephraim shall no more envy Judah, and Judah shall no more vex Ephraim, but both shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines, Isa. xi. 13.; with a further accomplishment of these with other gracious promises,—And thine officers shall be peace, and thine exactors righteousness, &c.; and they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again the captivity of Zion.—And that when we are endeavouring to perpetuate the memory of these worthies, or commemorate what the Lord did for and by our forefathers, in the days of old, we may be so auspicious as to have somewhat to declare of his goodness and wonderful works done for us in our day and generation also.

And if the following sheets shall in the least through divine grace, under the management of an over-ruling providence (which claims the care of directing every mean to its proper end) prove useful to the reclaiming of neutrals from backsliding courses, to the confirming of halters, and the encouraging of others to the like fortitude and vigorous zeal, to contend for our most valuable privileges (whether of a civil or a religious nature), then I shall think all my pains recompensed, and the end gained. For that many may be found standing in the way, to see and ask for the good old paths, and walk therein, cleaving to the law and to the testimony, would be the joy, and is the earnest desire of one, impartial reader, who remains thy friend and well-wisher in the truth,

John Howie.

Lochgoin,
July 21, 1775.

N. B. If any person or persons have or shall object to this or the former edition, that in transcribing these lives (particularly those who were formerly in print) I have curtailed them in favours of my own particular sentiment; I must here let them know, that it is entirely false; for I never omitted any thing to my knowledge, that I thought wouldxxvi be for the benefit of the public, where I had room to insert it: For I could heartily wish, that these lives were in whole re-printed; in the mean time, I cannot help thinking, that such reflections are or would be but a very slender or ungenteel requital for my past pains and labour.


Advertisement to the Public, concerning this Edition.

That, after what I formerly observed on the subject in the foregoing pages, it were needless to add any thing farther here, than to notice to the Reader, that besides a number of small corrections, there are four lives added, and upwards of fifty other additions or short improvements;—only as Mr. Vetch's life and practice, especially since the Revolution, was not so consonant to the rest as could have been wished, it was desired by some friends to be deleted; but others alledging that he was a sufferer, and that his life being once providentially cast into this number, it might be accounted an injury, if not to the book, yet to the purchasers of this edition, therefore I have abridged it as concisely as possible, and placed it in its own proper place, in the end; which is no more nor no less freedom used with his memory, than what has been done with others as deserving, might I say, as faithful as he: besides his life in full still stands entire in the first edition, which may be either consulted or printed again at pleasure.

I am further to acquaint the reader, that I have been sometimes solicited by acquaintance to write another volume of the wicked lives and characters of some of the late wicked persecutors; but not finding proper materials for all that should have had a place in this catalogue, I have presumed to add, by way of appendix unto this edition, a short sketch or historical account of the wicked lives and miserable deaths of some of the most notable apostate church-men and violent persecutors, from the Reformation to the Revolution, which it is hoped will be no ways unapt unto the subject, and, through a divine blessing, may not want its own proper use;xxvii for while we are made to behold the Lord's admirable goodness and mercy, yea miracles of mercy, extended towards his church and people, we, at the same time, have a view of his displeasure and the severity of his judgments inflicted upon his and their enemies, according to his own promise, I will punish them that afflict thee, and even in this life; which must be an eminent accomplishment, display and illustration of divine revelation, in opposition to all deistical scribblers.—The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way; but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness, &c. But to insist no further, I remain as above,

JOHN HOWIE.

Lochgoin,
June, 1781.


xxviii

THE INTRODUCTION.

Christianity seems to have made its appearance in Scotland in a very early period, being, according to some writers, propagated in this kingdom by the Apostles themselves; some saying that Simon Zelotes, others that Paul was some time in this part of the world; but as this opinion is not supported by proper vouchers, it merits only the regard due to conjecture, not the attention which an undoubted narrative calls for.

Another, and more probable account, is, that during the persecution raised by Domitian, (who was the twelfth and last Cæsar, about A. D. 96.) some of the disciples of the apostle John fled into our Island, and there taught the religion of Jesus. It does not seem that Christianity made any very rapid progress for a considerable time. The first account of the success of the gospel that can be depended on, is that about A. D. 203. King Donald I. with his Queen, and several courtiers were baptized, and continued afterwards to promote the interest of Christianity, in opposition to Pagan idolatry. But the invasion of the Emperor Severus soon disturbed this king's measures, so that for the space of more than seventy years after, religion was on the decline, and the idolatry of the Druids prevailed; they were an order of Heathen priests, who performed their rites in groves of oak trees; this was a species of Paganism of great antiquity, being that kind of idolatry to which the Jews were often revolting, of which mention is made inxxix the lives of Ahab, Manasseh, &c. in the books of the kings. These Druids likewise possessed a considerable share of civil power, being the ordinary arbitrators in almost all controversies, and highly esteemed by the people; this made it a very difficult task to establish a religion so opposite to, and subversive of that institution: but the difficulties which Christianity has in every age and country had to encounter, have served its interest, and illustrated the power and grace of its divine Author. These Druids were expelled by king Cratilinth, about the year 277, who took special care to obliterate every memorial of them; and from this period we may date the true æra of Christianity in Scotland, because from this time forward, until the persecution under the emperor Dioclesian, in the beginning of the fourth century, there was a gradual increase of the true knowledge of God and religion, that persecution became so hot in the south parts of Britain, as to drive many, both preachers and professors, into Scotland, where they were kindly received, and had the Isle of Man (then in possession of the Scots) given them for their residence, and a sufficient maintenance assigned them. King Cratilinth built a church for them, which was called the church of our Saviour, in the Greek, σωτηρ, and is now by corruption Sodor, in Icolumbkil, one of the western isles. They were not employed, like the Druidical priests, in whose place they had come, in settling the worldly affairs of men, but gave themselves wholly to divine services, in instructing the ignorant, comforting the weak, administering the sacraments, and training up disciples to the same services.

Whether these Refugees were the ancient Culdees or a different set of men, is not easily determined, nor would be very material, though it could. The Culdees (from cultores Dei, worshippers of God) flourished at this time, they were called μονα'χοι, or Monks, from the retired religious lives which theyxxx led; the cells into which they had retired, were, after their deaths, mostly converted into churches, and to this day retain their names, as Cell or Kill or church of Marnock; Kil-Patrick, Kil-Malcolm, &c. The Culdees chose superintendents from among themselves, whose office obliged them to travel the country, in order to see that every one discharged his duty properly: but they were utter strangers to the lordly power of the modern Prelate, having no proper diocese, and only a temporary superintendency, with which they were vested by their brethren, and to whom they were accountable. It was an institution, in the spirit of it, the same with the privy censures of ministers among Presbyterians.

During the reigns of Cratilinth, and Fincormac his successor, the Culdees were in a flourishing state: but after the death of the latter, both the church and state of Scotland went into disorder. Maximus the Roman Præfect, stirred up the Picts to aid him against the Scots, who were totally defeated, their King Ewing, with most part of the nobility, being slain. This overthrow was immediately succeeded by an edict commanding all the Scots, without exception, to depart the kingdom against a certain day, under pain of death. This drove them entirely into Ireland and the western isles of Denmark and Norway, excepting a few ecclesiastics, who wandered about from place to place. This bloody battle was fought about the year 380, at the water of Dunne in Carrick.

After an exile of 44, or according to Buchanan, 27 years which the Scots endured, the Picts became sensible of their mistake, in assisting the Romans against them, and accordingly strengthened the hands of the few who remained, and invited the fugitives back into their own land. These were joined by some foreigners, and returned with Fergus II. (then in Denmark) upon their head, their enterprise was the more successful, that at this time many of the Romanxxxi forces were called home. Their king was crowned with the usual rites in his own country, and the news of his success drew great numbers to him, in so much that he recovered all the country out of which the Scots had been expelled: most of the foreign forces returned home, except the Irish, who possessed the country of Galloway for their reward. This successful undertaking happened about the year 404, or as others would have it, 420.

The Culdees were now recalled out of all their lurking places, restored to their livings, and had their churches repaired; at this time they possessed the peoples esteem to a higher degree than ever: but this tranquility was again interrupted by a more formidable enemy than before. The Pelagian heresy had now gained considerable ground in Britain, it is so called from Pelagius a Monk at Rome; its chief articles are, 1. That original sin is not inherent. 2. That faith is a thing natural. 3. That good works done by our own strength, of our own free-will, are agreeable to the law of God, and worthy of heaven.—Whether all, or only part of these errors then infected the Scottish church, is uncertain; but Celestine, then bishop of Rome, embraced this opportunity to send Palladius among them, who, joining with the orthodox of south Britain, restored peace to that part of the church, by suppressing the heresy. Eugenius the second, being desirous that this church should likewise be purged of the impure leaven, invited Palladius hither, who obtaining liberty from Celestine, and being enjoined to introduce the hierarchy as opportunity should offer, came into Scotland, and succeeded so effectually in his commission, as both to confute Pelagianism and new-model the government of the church.

The church of Scotland knew no officers vested with pre-eminence above their brethren, nor had any thing to do with the Roman pontiff, until the yearxxxii 450. Bede says, that "Palladius was sent unto the Scots who believed in Christ, as their first bishop.[25]" Boetius likewise says, "that Palladius was the first of all who did bear holy magistracy among the Scots, being made bishop by the Great Pope." Fordun in his chronicle, tells us, that "before the coming of Palladius, the Scots had for teachers of the faith, and ministers of the sacraments, Presbyters only, or Monks, following the customs of the primitive church[26]."

But we are not even to fix the æra of diocesan Bishops so early as this, for there were no such office-bearers in the church of Scotland, until the reign of Malcolm II. in the eleventh century. During the first 1000 years after Christ, there were no divided dioceses, nor superiorities over others, but they governed in the church in common with Presbyters; so that they were no more than nominally bishops, possessing little or nothing of that lordly dignity, which they now, and for a long time past have enjoyed. Spotiswood (history page 29.) himself testifies, that the Scottish bishops before the eleventh century, exercised their functions indifferently in every place to which they came. Palladius may be said to have rather laid the foundation of the after degeneracy of the church of Scotland, than to have built that superstructure of corruption and idolatry which afterwards prevailed, because she continued for near two hundred years in a state comparatively pure and unspotted, when we cast our eyes on the following times.

About the end of the sixth and beginning of the seventh century, a number of pious and wise men flourished in the country, among whom was Kentigern, commonly called Mungo, some of these persons were employed by Oswald a Northumbrian king,xxxiii to instruct his people; they are represented by Bede, as eminent for their love to God and knowledge of the holy scriptures: the light of the gospel by their means broke into other parts of the Saxon dominions, which long maintained an opposition to the growing usurpation of the church of Rome, which after the middle of this century was strenuously supported by Austin's disciples.

Beside these men, the church of Scotland at this time sent many other worthy and successful missionaries into foreign parts, particularly France, and Germany. Thus was Scotland early privileged, and thus were her privileges improven: But soon the gold became dim, and the most fine gold was changed.

Popery came now by degrees to show her horrid head; the assiduity of Austin and his disciples in England, was attended with melancholy consequences to Scotland, by fomenting divisions, corrupting her princes with Romish principles, and inattention to the lives of her clergy, the Papal power soon came to be universally acknowledged. In the seventh century a hot contest arose betwixt Austin and his disciples on the one part, and the Scots and northern Saxons on the other, about the time of keeping Easter, immersing three times in baptism, shaving of priests, &c. which these last would not receive, nor submit to the authority that imposed them; each refused ministerial communion with the other party, until an arbitral decision was given by Oswy king of the Northumbrians, at Whitby in Yorkshire, in favours of the Romanists, when the opinions of the Scots were exploded, and the modish fooleries of Papal Hierarchy were established. This decision, however, was far from putting an end to the confusion which this dissention had occasioned; the Romanists urged their rites with rigour, the others rather chose to yield their places than conform: their discouragements daily increased, as the clerical power was augmented, In thexxxiv year 886, they obtained the act exempting them from taxes, and all civil prosecutions before temporal judges, and ordaining that all matters concerning them should be tried by their bishops, who were at this time vested with those powers, which are now in the hands of commissaries, respecting matrimonial causes, testaments, &c. They were likewise by the same statute impowered to make canons, try heretics, &c. and all future kings were ordained to take an oath at their coronation, for maintaining these privileges to the church. The convention of estates which passed this act was held at Forfar, in the reign of that too indulgent prince, Gregory.

Malcolm III. Alexander, David, &c. successively supported this dignity by erecting particular bishopricks, abbeys, and monasteries; the same superstitious zeal seized the nobility of both sexes, some giving a third, others more, and others their whole estates, for the support of pontifical pride and spiritual tyranny, which soon became insupportable, and opened the eyes of the nation, so that they discovered their mistake in raising the clerical authority to such a height. Accordingly, we find the nobles complaining of it to Alexander III. who reigned after the middle of the thirteenth century, but he was so far from being able to afford them redress, that when they were excommunicated by the church on account of this complaint, to prevent greater evils, he was obliged to cause the nobility satisfy both the avarice and arrogance of the clergy, who had now resolved upon and begun a journey to Rome, with a view to raise as great commotions in Scotland, as Thomas Becket had lately made in England.

The Pope's power was now generally acknowledged over Christendom, particularly in our nation, for which, in return, the church of Scotland was declared free from all foreign spiritual jurisdiction, that of the "Apostolic fee only excepted." This bull wasxxxv occasioned by an attempt of one Roger bishop of York, in the year 1159, to raise himself to the dignity of Metropolitan of Scotland, and who found means to be Legate of this kingdom, but lost that office upon the remonstrance of the Scottish clergy: which likewise procured the above bull in their favours, with many other favours of a like nature at this time conferred upon them, by all which they were exempted from any other jurisdiction than that of Rome, in so much that we find pope Boniface VIII. commanding Edward of England to cease hostilities against the Scots, alledging that "the sovereignty of Scotland belonged to the church;" which claim seems to have been founded in the papal appointment for the unction of the Scots kings, which was first used on king Edgar, A. D. 1098. and at that time regarded by the people as a new mark of royalty, but which, as it was the appointment of the Pope, was really the mark of the beast.

There were now in Scotland all orders of Monks and Friars, Templars, or Red Monks, Trinity Monks of Aberdeen, Cisternian Monks, Carmelite, Black and Grey Friars, Carthusians, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jacobites, Benedictines, &c. which shows to what a height Antichrist had raised his head in our land, and how readily all his oppressive measures were complied with by all ranks.

But the reader must not think that during the period we have now reviewed, there were none to oppose this torrent of superstition and idolatry; for from the first appearance of the Romish Antichrist in this kingdom, God wanted not witnesses for the truth, who boldly stood forth for the defence of the blessed and pure gospel of Christ: Mention is first made of Clemens and Samson, two famous Culdees, who in the seventh century supported the authority of Christ as the only king and head of his church, against the usurped power of Rome, and who rejected the superstitiousxxxvi rites of Antichrist, as contrary to the simplicity of gospel institutions. The succeeding age was no less remarkable for learned and pious men, to whom Scotland gave birth, and whole praise was in the churches abroad; particularly Joannes Scotus, who wrote a book upon the Eucharist, condemned by Leo IX. in the year 1030, long after his death. In the ninth century, a convention of estates was held at Scoon for the reformation of the clergy, their lives and conversations being at that time a reproach to common decency and good manners; not to say, piety and religion. The remedies provided at this convention, discover the nature of the disease. It was ordained, that church-men should reside upon their charge; that they should not intermeddle with secular affairs, but instruct the people, and be good examples in their conversations; that they should not keep hawks, hounds, nor horses for their pleasure, &c. And if they failed in the observance of these injunctions, they were to be fined for the first, and deposed for the second transgression. These laws were made under King Constantine II. but his successor Gregory rendered them abortive by his indulgence. The age following this, is not remarkable for witnesses to the truth, but historians are agreed, that there were still some of the Culdees who lived and ministred apart from the Romanists and taught the people that Christ was the only propitiation for sin, and that his blood could only wash them from the guilt of it, in opposition to the indulgences and pardons of the Pope. Mr. Alexander Shields says, that the Culdees transmitted their testimony to the Lollards[27] and Pope John XXII. in his bull for anointing King Robert Bruce, complains that there were many heretics in Scotland; so that we may safely affirm there never was any very great period of time without witnesses for the truth and against the gross corruptions of the church of Rome. Some of our kings themselves opposed the Pope's supremacy, and prohibited hisxxxvii Legates from entering their dominions; the most remarkable instance of this kind is that of Robert Bruce. After his having defeated the English at Bannock-burn, they became suppliants to the Pope for his mediation, who accordingly sent a Legate into Scotland, proposing a cessation of arms, till the Pope should hear and decide the quarrel betwixt the two crowns, that he might be informed of the right which Edward had to the crown of Scotland; to this king Robert replied, "that the Pope could not be ignorant of that business, because it had been often explained to his predecessors, in the hearing of many cardinals then alive, who could tell him if they pleased, what insolent answers pope Boniface received from the English, while they were desired to desist from oppressing the Scots: And now (said he) when it hath pleased God to give us the better by some victories, by which we have not only recovered our own, but can make them live as good neighboors, they have recourse to such treaties, seeking to gain time in order to fall upon us again with greater force: But in this his holiness must excuse me, for I will not be so unwise as to let the advantage I have slip out of my hand." The Legate regarding this answer as contemptuous, interdicted the kingdom and departed; but K. Robert paying little regard to such proceedings, followed hard after the Legate, and entering England, wasted all the adjacent countries with fire and sword.

In the beginning of the fifteenth century, the reformation from Popery began to dawn in Scotland; at this time there was pope against pope, nay sometimes three of them at once, all excommunicating one another; which schism lasted for about thirty years, and by an over-ruling providence contributed much to the downfal of Antichrist, and to the revival of real religion and learning in Scotland, and many parts in Europe; for many embracing the opportunityxxxviii now afforded to them, began to speak openly against the heresy, tyranny, and immorality of the clergy. Among those who preached publicly against these evils were John Huss, and Jerome of Prague in Bohemia, John Wickliff in England, and John Resby, an Englishman and scholar of Wickliff's in Scotland, who came hither about the year 1407, and was called in question for some doctrines which he taught against the Pope's supremacy; he was condemned to the fire, which he endured with great constancy. About ten years after, one Paul Craw a Bohemian and follower of Huss, was accused of heresy before such as were then called Doctors of theology. The articles of charge were, that he followed Huss and Wickliff in the opinion of the sacrament of the supper, who denied that the substance of bread and wine were changed by virtue of any words, or that auricular confession to priests, or praying to saints departed were lawful. He was committed to the secular judge, who condemned him to the fire at St. Andrews, where he suffered, being gagged when led to the stake, that he might not have the opportunity of making his confession.——Both the above-mentioned martyrs suffered under Henry Wardlaw bishop of St. Andrews, who founded that university, 1412; which might have done him honour, had he not imbrued his hands in innocent blood.

These returnings of the gospel light were not confined to St. Andrews, but Kyle, Carrick, Cunningham, and other places in the west of Scotland were also thus favoured about the same time; for we find that Robert Blackatter, the first arch-bishop of Glasgow, anno 1494, caused summon before King James IV, and his great council at Glasgow, George Campbel of Ceffnock, Adam Reid of Barskimming, and a great many others, mostly persons of distinction, opprobriously called the Lollards of Kyle, from one Lollard an eminent preacher among the antient Waldenses, for maintaining that images ought not to bexxxix worshipped; that the relicts of saints should not be adored, &c. But they answered their accusers with such constancy and boldness, that it was judged most prudent to dismiss them with an admonition, to content themselves with the faith of the church, and to beware of new doctrines.

Thus have we brought this summary of church-affairs in Scotland, down to the time of Mr. Patrick Hamilton, whose life stands upon the head of this collection: for he was the next sufferer on account of opposition to Romish tyranny and superstition in our country.


xl The following BOOKS to be had at the Shop of JOHN BRYCE, Printer and Bookseller, opposite Gibson's-Wynd, Salt-market.

BOOKS in OCTAVO.

Mr. RALPH ERSKINE's Works, in 10 large vols
Trail's sermons, 3 vols
Pike and Hayward's cases of conscience, with the spiritual companion
Dickenson's religious letters
Neil's 23 sermons on important subjects
Durham's exposition of the ten commands
Owen on the CXXX Psalm
Sibb's soul's conflict, together with the bruised reed and smoaking flax
Dickson's truth's victory over error
Durham's unsearchable riches of Christ, in fourteen communion sermons
Adamson's loss and recovery of elect sinners
Rawlin's sermons on justification
Durham's 72 sermons on the LIII of Isaiah
Watt's Logick
Marshal on sanctification
Erskine's scripture songs
Shield's faithful contendings
Welwood's glimpse of glory
Blackwell's sacred scheme
Ridgley's body of divinity, in Folio

The following Articles to be had Stitched,

ACT, Declaration and Testimony
The Doctrine of Grace
The full state of the marrow controversy
The holy life of Mr John Janeway
The life of Mr John Livinston
Borland's history of Darien
Form of process used in kirk courts
Mr Graham's four discourses on covenanting

Where also may be had, Bibles gilt and plain, New Testaments, psalm books, confessions of faith, Catechisms large and small, Proverbs, Syllabing Catechisms, Brown's Catechism, Henry's catechism, Muckarsie's catechism, Oliphant's catechism, Proof catechism, Mother's catechism, Watt's catechism, Watt's songs for children, Paper and Pens, Letter cases and Pocket books &c. &c.


41

THE
LIVES and CHARACTERS
of the
SCOTS WORTHIES.


The Life of Mr. Patrick Hamilton.

He was born about the year of our Lord 1503, and he was nephew to the earl of Arran by his father, and to the duke of Albany by his mother; he was also related to king James. V. of Scotland. He was early educated with a design for future high preferment, and had the abbey of Ferm given him, for the purpose of prosecuting his studies; which he did with great assiduity.

In order to complete this laudable design, he resolved to travel into Germany. The fame of the university of Wittemberg was then very great, and drew many to it from distant places, among which our Hamilton was one. He was the first who introduced public disputations upon faith and works, and such theological questions, into the university of Marpurg, in which he was assisted by Francis Lambert; by whose conversation he profited not a little.—Here he became acquainted with these eminent reformers, Martin Luther and Philip Melancthon, besides other learned men of their society. By these distinguished masters he was instructed in the knowledge of the true religion, which he had little opportunity to become acquainted with in his own country, because the small remains of it which were in Scotland at this time, were under the yoke of oppression which we have already shown in the close of the introduction.—He made an amazing proficiency in this most important study, and became soon as zealous in the profession of the true faith, as he had been diligent to attain the knowledge of it.—This42 drew the eyes of many upon him, and while they were waiting with impatience to see what part he would act, he came to this resolution, to return into his own country, and there in the face of all dangers to communicate the light which he had received.

Accordingly, being as yet a youth, and not much past twenty-three years of age, he began, sowing the seed of God's word where-ever he came, exposing the corruptions of the Romish church, and pointing out the errors which had crept into the Christian religion as professed in Scotland.—He was favourably received and followed by many, unto whom he readily showed the way of God more perfectly. His reputation as a scholar and courteous demeanour, contributed not a little to his usefulness in this good work.

The city of St. Andrews was at this time the grand rendezvous of the Romish clergy, and may, with no impropriety, be called the metropolis of the kingdom of darkness. James Beaton was arch-bishop, Hugh Spence dean of divinity, John Waddel rector, James Simson official, Thomas Ramsay canon and dean of the abbey, with the several superiors of the different orders of monks and friars.—It could not be expected, that Mr Hamilton's conduct would be long concealed from such a body as this. Their resentment against him soon rose to the utmost heights of persecuting rage; particularly the arch-bishop, who was chancellor of the kingdom, and otherwise very powerful, became his inveterate enemy. But being not less politic than cruel, the arch-bishop concealed his wicked design against him, until he had drawn him into the ambush prepared for him, which he effected by prevailing on him to attend a conference at St. Andrews.—Being come thither, Alexander Campbel prior of the black friars, who had been appointed to exert his faculties in reclaiming him, had several private interviews with him, in which he seemed to acknowledge the force of Mr. Hamilton's objections against the prevailing conduct of the clergy and errors of the Romish church. Such persuasions as Campbel used to bring him back to popery, had rather the tendency to confirm him in the truth. The arch-bishop and inferior clergy appeared to make concessions to him, allowing that many things stood in need of reformation, which they could wish had been brought about. Whether they were sincere in these acknowledgments, or only intended to conceal their bloody designs, and render the innocent and unsuspecting victim of their rage more secure, is a question to which this answer may be returned, That had they been sincere, the consciousness that Mr. Hamilton spoke43 truth, would perhaps have warded off the blow, for, at least some longer time, or divided their councils and measures against him. That neither of these was the case will now appear.—He was apprehended under night, and committed prisoner to the castle: at the same time, the young king was, at the earnest solicitation of the clergy, prevailed upon to undertake a pilgrimage to St. Dothess in Ross-shire, that he might be out of the way of any applications made to him for the life of Mr. Hamilton, which there was reason to believe would be granted. This measure affords full proof, that notwithstanding the friendly conferences which they kept up with him for some time, they had resolved on his ruin from the beginning: but such instances of Popish dissembling were not new even in Mr. Hamilton's time.

The next day after his imprisonment, he was brought before the arch-bishop and his convention, and there charged with maintaining and propagating sundry heretical opinions; and though articles of the utmost importance had been debated betwixt him and them, they restricted their charge to such trifles as pilgrimage, purgatory, praying to saints, and for the dead; perhaps because these were the grand pillars upon which Antichrist built his empire, being the most lucrative doctrines ever invented by men. We must, however, take notice that Spotswood afterwards arch-bishop of that see, assigns the following grounds for his suffering, 1. That the corruption of sin remains in children after their baptism. 2. That no man by the power of his free-will can do any good. 3. That no man is without sin so long as he liveth. 4. That every true Christian may know himself to be in a state of grace. 5. That a man is not justified by works but by faith only. 6. That good works make not a man good, but that a good man doth good works, and that an ill man doth ill works, yet the same ill works, truly repented of, make not an ill man. 7. That faith, hope and charity are so linked together, that he who hath one of them hath all, and he that lacketh one lacketh all. 8. That God is the cause of sin, in this sense, that he withdraweth his grace from man; and grace withdrawn, he cannot but sin. These articles with the following make up the whole charge, (1.) That auricular confession is not necessary to salvation. (2.) That actual penance cannot purchase the remission of sin. (3.) That there is no purgatory, and that the holy patriarchs were in heaven before Christ's passion. (4.) That the pope is Antichrist, and that every priest hath as much power as he.——For these articles, and because he refused to abjure them, he was condemned as an obstinate heretic, and44 delivered to the secular power by the arch-bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow, three bishops, and fourteen underlings, who all set their hands to the sentence, which, that it might have the greater authority, was likewise subscribed by every person of note in the university, among whom the earl of Cassils was one, then not exceeding thirteen years of age. The sentence follows as given by Mr. Fox, in his acts and monuments, vol. II. p. 1108.

"CHRISTI nomine invocato: We James, by the mercy of God, arch-bishop of St. Andrews, primate of Scotland, with the counsel, decree and authority of the most reverend fathers in God, and lords, abbots, doctors of theology, professors of the holy scripture and masters of the university, assisting us for the time, sitting in judgment, within our metropolitan church of St. Andrews, in the cause of heretical pravity, against Mr Patrick Hamilton, abbot or pensionary of Ferm, being summoned to appear before us, to answer to certain articles affirmed, taught and preached by him, and so appearing before us, and accused, the merits of the cause being ripely weighed, discussed, and understood by faithful inquisition made in Lent last passed: We have found the same Mr. Hamilton, many ways infamed with heresy, disputing, holding and maintaining divers heresies of Martin Luther and his followers, repugnant to our faith, and which is already condemned by general councils and most famous universities. And he being under the same infamy, we decerning before him to be summoned and accused upon the premises, he of evil mind, (as may be presumed) passed to other parts, forth of the realm, suspected and noted of heresy. And being lately returned, not being admitted, but of his own head, without licence or privilege, hath presumed to preach wicked heresy.

"We have found also, that he hath affirmed, published and taught divers opinions of Luther, and wicked heresies after that he was summoned to appear before us and our council: That man hath no free-will: That man is in sin so long as he liveth: That children, incontinent after their baptism, are sinners: All Christians that be worthy to be called Christians, do know that they are in grace: No man is justified by works, but by faith only: Good works make not a good man, but a good man doth make good works: That faith, hope and charity are so knit, that he that hath the one hath the rest, and he that wanteth the one of them wanteth the rest, &c. with divers other heresies and detestable opinions; and hath persisted so obstinate in the same,45 that by no counsel nor persuasion, he may be drawn therefrom, to the way of our right faith.

"All these premises being considered, we having God and the integrity of our faith before our eyes, and following the counsel and advice of the professors of the holy scripture, men of law and others assisting us for the time, do pronounce, determine and declare the said Mr. Patrick Hamilton, for his affirming, confessing, and maintaining of the foresaid heresies, and his pertinacity (they being condemned already by the church, general councils, and most famous universities) to be an heretic, and to have an evil opinion of the faith, and therefore to be condemned and punished, like as we condemn, and define him to be punished, by this our sentence definitive, depriving and sentencing him, to be deprived of all dignities, honours, orders, offices, and benefices of the church; and therefore do judge and pronounce him to be delivered over to the secular power, to be punished, and his goods to be confiscated.

"This our sentence definitive, was given and read at our metropolitan church of St. Andrews, the last day of the month of February, anno 1527. being present, the most reverend fathers in Christ and lords, Gawand bishop of Glasgow, George bishop of Dunkelden, John bishop of Brecham, William bishop of Dunblane, Patrick, prior of St. Andrews, David abbot of Aberbrothock, George abbot of Dunfermline, Alexander abbot of Cambuskeneth, Henry abbot of Lendors, John prior of Pitterweeme, the dean and subdean of Glasgow, Mr. Hugh Spence, Thomas Ramsay, Allan Meldrum, &c. In the presence of the clergy and the people."

The same day that this doom was pronounced, he was also condemned by the secular power; and in the afternoon of that same day, (for they were afraid of an application to the king on his behalf) he was hurried to the stake, the fire being prepared, immediately after dinner, before the old college.—Being come to the place of martyrdom, he put off his clothes and gave them to a servant who had been with him of a long time, saying, "This stuff will not help me in the fire, yet will do thee some good; I have no more to leave thee, but the ensample of my death, which, I pray thee, keep in mind; for albeit the same be bitter and painful in man's judgment, yet it is the entrance to everlasting life, which none can inherit who deny Christ before this wicked generation." Having so said, he commended his soul into the hands of God, with his eyes fixed towards heaven, and being bound to46 the stake in the midst of some coals, timber, and other combustibles, a train of powder was made, with a design to kindle the fire, but did not succeed, the explosion only scorching one of his hands and face. In this situation he remained until more powder was brought from the castle, during which time his comfortable and godly speeches were often interrupted, particularly by friar Campbel calling upon him "to recant, pray to our lady and say, Salve regina." Upon being repeatedly disturbed in this manner by Campbel, Mr. Hamilton said, "Thou wicked man, thou knowest that I am not an heretic, and that it is the truth of God, for which I now suffer; so much didst thou confess unto me in private, and thereupon I appeal thee to answer before the judgment-seat of Christ:" By this time the fire was kindled, and the noble martyr yielded his soul to God, crying out, "How long, O Lord, shall darkness overwhelm this realm? How long will thou suffer this tyranny of men?" And then ended his speech with Stephen, saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Friar Campbel became soon after distracted, and died within a year after Mr. Hamilton's martyrdom, under the most awful apprehensions of the Lord's indignation against him.—The Popish clergy abroad congratulated their friends in Scotland, upon their zeal for the Romish faith discovered in the above tragedy—But it rather served the cause of reformation than retarded it, especially when the people began to compare deliberately the behaviour of Mr. Hamilton and friar Campbel together, they were induced to inquire more narrowly into the truth than before. The reader will find a very particular account of the doctrines maintained by Mr. Hamilton in Knox's history of the reformation of Scotland nigh the beginning.


The Life of Mr. George Wishart.

This gentleman was a brother of the laird of Pittarro in Mearns, and was educated at the university of Cambridge, where his diligence and progress in useful learning, soon made him be respected. From an ardent desire to promote the truth in his own country, he returned to it in the summer of 1544, and began teaching a school in the town of Montrose, which he kept for some time with great applause. He is particularly celebrated for his uncommon eloquence, and agreeable manner of communication. The47 sequel of this narrative will inform the reader, That he possessed the spirit of prophecy to an extraordinary degree, and was at the same time humble, modest, charitable and patient, even to admiration. One of his own scholars gives the following picture of him, "That he was a man of a tall stature, black-hair'd, long-bearded, of a graceful personage, eloquent, courteous, ready to teach and desirous to learn; that he ordinarily wore a French cap, a frieze gown, plain black hose, and white bands and hand cuffs; that he frequently gave away different parts of his apparel to the poor; in his diet he was very moderate, eating only twice a day, and fasting every fourth day; his lodging, bedding, and such other circumstances, were correspondent to the things already mentioned." But as these particulars are rather curious than instructive, we shall say no more of them.

After he left Montrose, he came to Dundee, where he acquired still greater fame, in public lectures on the epistle to the Romans; insomuch that the Romish clergy began to think seriously on the consequences which they saw would inevitably ensue, if he was suffered to go on, pulling down that fabric of superstition and idolatry, which they with so much pains had reared; they were particularly disgusted at the reception which he met with in Dundee, and immediately set about projecting his ruin.

From the time that Mr. Patrick Hamilton suffered, until this period, papal tyranny reigned by fire and faggot without controul. In the year 1539, cardinal David Beaton succeeded his uncle in the see of St. Andrews, and carefully trod the path his uncle had marked out; to show his own greatness, and to recommend himself to his superior of Rome, he accused Sir John Borthwick of heresy, whose goods were confiscated, and himself burnt in effigy (for being forewarned of his danger, he had escaped out of the country). After this he suborned a priest to forge a will of K. James V. who died about this time, declaring himself, with the earls of Huntly, Argyle and Murray to be regents of the kingdom: The cheat being discovered, the earl of Arran was elected governor, and the cardinal was committed prisoner to the castle of Dalkeith; he soon found means to escape from his confinement, and prevailed with the regent to break all his promises to the party who had elected him into that office, and to join with him in imbruing his hands in the blood of the saints. Accordingly, several professors of the town of Perth were arraigned, condemned,48 hanged and drowned; others were sent into banishment, and some were strangled in private. We have departed thus far from the course of our narrative, to shew the reader, that the vacancies betwixt the respective lives in this collection, were as much remarkable for persecution, as the particular instances which are set before him in the lives themselves.

It was this cardinal who, incensed at Mr. Wishart's success in Dundee, prevailed with one Robert Mill (formerly a professor of the truth, and who had been a sufferer on that account, but who was now a man of considerable influence in that town,) to give Mr Wishart a charge in the queen and governor's names, to trouble them no more with his preaching in that place. This commission was executed by Mill one day, in public, just as Mr Wishart had ended his sermon. Upon hearing it, he kept silence for a little with his eyes turned towards heaven, and then casting them on the speaker with a sorrowful countenance, he said, "God is my witness, that I never minded your trouble, but your comfort; yea, your trouble is more grievous unto me than it is unto yourselves; but sure I am, to reject the word of God, and drive away his messengers, is not the way to save you from trouble, but to bring you into it: When I am gone, God will send you messengers, who will not be afraid either for burning or banishment. I have, at the hazard of my life, remained among you, preaching the word of salvation; and now, since you yourselves refuse me, I must leave my innocence to be declared by God. If it be long well with you, I am not led by the Spirit of truth; and if unexpected trouble come upon you, remember this is the cause, and turn to God by repentance, for he is merciful." These words being pronounced, he came down from the pulpit or preaching place. The earl of Marshal and some other noblemen who were present at the sermon, entreated him earnestly to go to the north with them, but he excused himself, and took journey for the west country, where he was gladly received by many.

Being come to the town of Air, he began to preach the gospel with great freedom and faithfulness. But Dunbar, the then arch-bishop of Glasgow, being informed of the great concourse of people who crouded to his sermons, at the instigation of cardinal Beaton, went to Air with the resolution to apprehend him; the bishop first took possession of the church, to prevent him from preaching in it. The news of this brought Alexander earl of Glencairn,49 and some gentlemen of the neighbourhood, immediately to the town; they offered to put Mr. Wishart in the church, but he would not consent, saying, "The bishop's sermon would not do much hurt, and that, if they pleased, he would go to the market-cross:" which he did, and preached with such success, that several of his hearers, formerly enemies to the truth, were converted on that occasion. During the time Mr. Wishart was thus employed, the bishop was haranguing some of his underlings and parasites in the church; having no sermon to give them, he promised to be better provided against a future occasion, and speedily left the town.

Mr. Wishart continued with the gentlemen of Kyle after the arch-bishop's departure, and being desired to preach next Lord's day at the church of Mauchlin, he went thither with that design; but the sheriff of Air had, in the night-time, put a garrison of soldiers in the church to keep him out. Hugh Campbel of Kinzeancleugh with others of the parish were exceedingly offended at such impiety, and would have entered the church by force; but Mr. Wishart would not suffer it, saying, "Brethren, it is the word of peace which I preach unto you, the blood of no man shall be shed for it this day; Jesus Christ is as mighty in the fields as in the church, and he himself, while he lived in the flesh, preached oftener in the desart, and upon the sea-side, than in the temple of Jerusalem." Upon this the people were appeased, and went with him to the edge of a muir on the south-west side of Mauchlin, where having placed himself upon a ditch-dyke, he preached to a great multitude who resorted to him; he continued speaking for more than three hours, God working wondrously by him, insomuch that Laurence Rankin the laird of Sheld, a very profane person, was converted by his means; the tears ran from his eyes, to the astonishment of all present, and the whole of his after-life witnessed that his profession was without hypocrisy. While in this country, Mr. Wishart often preached with most remarkable success, at the church of Galston and other places. At this time and in this part of the country, it might be truly said, That the harvest was GREAT, but the labourers were FEW.

After he had been about a month thus employed in Kyle, he was informed, That the plague had broke out in Dundee the fourth day after he had left it, and that it still continued to rage in such a manner that great numbers were swept off every day; this affected him so much, that50 he resolved to return again unto them: Accordingly he took leave of his friends in the west, who were filled with sorrow at his departure. The next day after his arrival at Dundee, he caused intimation to be made that he would preach; and for that purpose chose his station upon the head of the east-gate, the infected persons standing without, and those that were whole within: his text was Psalm cvii. 20. He sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. By this discourse he so comforted the people, that they thought themselves happy in having such a preacher, and intreated him to remain with them while the plague continued; which he complied with, preaching often and taking care that the poor should not want necessaries more than the rich; in doing which he exposed himself to the infection, even where it was most malignant, without reserve.

During all this his sworn adversary the cardinal had his eye close upon him, and bribed a priest called Sir John Wighton, to assassinate him; he was to make the attempt as Mr. Wishart came down from the preaching place, with the expectation of escaping among the crowd after the deed was done. To effect this, he posted himself at the foot of the steps with his gown loose, and a dagger under it in his hand. Upon Mr. Wishart's approach, he looked sternly upon the priest, asking him, What he intended to do? and instantly clapped his hand upon the hand of the priest that held the dagger, and took it from him. Upon which he openly confessing his design, a tumult immediately ensued, and the sick without the gate rushed in, crying, To have the assassin delivered to them; then Mr. Wishart interposed and defended him from their violence, telling them, He had done him no harm, and that such as injured the one injured the other likewise; so the priest escaped without any harm.

The plague was now considerably abated, and he determined to pay a visit to the town of Montrose, intending to go from thence to Edinburgh, to meet the gentlemen of the west. While he was at Montrose, he administred the sacrament of our Lord's supper in both kinds of the elements, and preached with success. Here he received a letter directed to him from his intimate friend the laird of Kinnier, acquainting him, That he had taken a sudden sickness, and requesting him to come to him with all diligence. Upon this, he immediately set out on his journey, attended by some honest friends of Montrose, who out of affection would accompany him part of the way. They51 had not travelled above a quarter of a mile, when all of a sudden he stopped, saying to the company, "I am forbidden by God to go this journey. Will some of you be pleased to ride to yonder place (pointing with his finger to a little hill), and see what you find, for I apprehend there is a plot against my life:" whereupon he returned, to the town, and they who went forward to the place, found about sixty horsemen ready to intercept him: By this the whole plot came to light: they found that the letter had been forged; and, upon their telling Mr. Wishart what they had seen, he replied, "I know that I shall end my life by the hands of that wicked man, (meaning the cardinal) but it will not be after this manner."

The time which he had appointed for meeting the west-country gentlemen at Edinburgh, drawing near, he undertook that journey, much against the inclination and advice of the laird of Dun; the first night after leaving Montrose, he lodged at Innergowrie, about two miles from Dundee, with one James Watson a faithful friend, where, being laid in bed, he was observed to rise a little after midnight, and to go out into an adjacent garden, that he might give vent to his sighs and groans without being observed; but being followed by two men, William Spaldin and John Watson, at a distance, in order that they might observe his motions, they saw him prostrate himself upon the ground, weeping and making supplication for near an hour, and then return to his rest. As they lay in the same apartment with him, they took care to return before him, and upon his coming into the room they asked him, (as if ignorant of all that had past) where he had been? But he made no answer, and they ceased their interrogations. In the morning they asked him again, Why he rose in the night, and what was the cause of such sorrow? (for they told him all that they had seen him do) he answered with a dejected countenance, "I wish you had been in your beds, which had been more for your ease, for I was scarce well occupied." But they praying him to satisfy their minds further, and to communicate some comfort unto them, he said, "I will tell you, that I assuredly know my travail is nigh an end, therefore pray to God for me, that I may not shrink when the battle waxeth most hot."—Hearing these words, they burst out into tears, saying, That was but small comfort to them. To this he replied, "God will send you comfort after me; this realm shall be illuminated with the light of Christ's gospel, as clearly as any realm ever was since the days of the apostles; the52 house of God shall be built in it; yea, it shall not lack (whatsoever the enemies shall devise to the contrary) the very cope stone; neither shall this be long in doing, for there shall not many suffer after me. The glory of God shall appear, and truth shall once triumph in despite of the devil, but, alas, if the people become unthankful, the plagues and punishments which shall follow will be fearful and terrible." After this prediction, which was accomplished in such a remarkable a manner afterwards, he proceeded on his journey, and arrived at Leith about the 10th of December, where being disappointed of a meeting with the west-country gentlemen, he kept himself retired for some days, and then became very uneasy and discouraged, and being asked the reason, he replied, "I have laboured to bring people out of darkness, but now I lurk as a man ashamed to shew himself before men:" by this they understood that he desired to preach, and told him that they would gladly hear him; but the danger into which he would throw himself thereby, prevented them from advising him to it, he answered, "If you and others will hear me next Sabbath, I will preach in Leith, let God provide for me as best pleaseth him;" which he did upon the parable of the sower, Matth. xiii. After sermon, his friends advised him to leave Leith, because the regent and cardinal were soon to be in Edinburgh, and that his situation would be dangerous on that account; he complied with this advice, and resided with the lairds of Brunston, Longniddry and Ormiston, by turns; the following sabbath he preached at Inneresk both fore and after noon, to a crowded audience, among whom was Sir George Douglas, who after the sermon publicly said, "I know that the governor and cardinal shall hear that I have been at this preaching, (for they were now come to Edinburgh) say unto them, that I will avow it, and will not only maintain the doctrine which I have heard, but also the person of the teacher to the uttermost of my power;" which open and candid declaration was very grateful to the whole congregation. During the time of this sermon, Mr. Wishart perceived two grey friars standing in the entry of the church, and whispering to every person that entered the door; he called out to the people to make room for them, because, said he, "perhaps they come to learn;" and then addressed them, "requesting them to come forward, and hear the word of truth;" but they still continued to trouble the people, upon which he reproved them in the following manner: "O ye servants of Satan, and deceivers of53 souls of men, will ye neither hear God's truth, nor suffer others to hear it? depart and take this for your portion, God shall shortly confound and disclose your hypocrisy within this realm; ye shall be abominable unto men, and your places and habitations shall be desolate."

The two sabbaths following he preached at Tranent, and in all his sermons after leaving Montrose, he more or less hinted that his ministry was near an end. The next place he preached at was Haddington, where his congregation was at first very throng, but the following day very few attended him, which was thought to be owing to the influence of the earl of Bothwel, who, at the instigation of the cardinal, had inhibited the people from attending him, for his authority was very considerable in that part of the country. At this time he received a letter from the gentlemen of the west, declaring, That they could not keep the diet appointed at Edinburgh; this, with the reflection that so few attended his ministrations at Haddington, grieved him exceedingly. He called upon Mr. Knox, who then attended him, and told him, That he was weary of the world, since he perceived that men were become weary of God.—Notwithstanding the anxiety and discouragement which he laboured under, he went immediately to the pulpit, and sharply rebuking the people of that town for their neglect of the gospel, he told them, "That sore and fearful should be the plagues that should ensue; that fire and sword should waste them; that strangers should possess their houses, and chase them from their habitations." This prediction was soon after verified, when the English took and possessed that town, while the French and Scots besieged it in the year 1548. This was the last sermon which he preached, in which, as had for some time been usual with him, he spoke of his death as near at hand; and after it was over, he bade his acquaintance farewel, as if it had been for ever. He went to Ormiston, accompanied by the lairds of Brunston and Ormiston, and Sir John Sandilands, the younger of Calder. Mr. Knox was also desirous to have gone with him, but Mr. Wishart desired him to return, saying, "One is enough for a sacrifice at this time."

Being come to Ormiston, he entered into some spiritual conversation in the family, particularly concerning the happy state of God's children, appointed the 51st psalm, according to an old version then in use, to be sung, and then recommended the company to God; he went to bed some time sooner than ordinary; about midnight the earl of Bothwel beset54 the house, so as none could escape, and then called upon the laird, declaring the design to him, and intreating him not to hold out, for it would be to no purpose, because the cardinal and governor were coming with all their train; but if he would deliver Mr. Wishart up, Bothwel promised upon his honour that no evil should befal him. Being inveigled with this, and consulting with Mr. Wishart who requested that the gates should be opened, saying, "God's will be done," the laird complied. The earl of Bothwel entered, with some gentlemen, who solemnly protested, That Mr. Wishart should receive no harm, but that he, viz. Bothwel, would either carry him to his own house, or return him again to Ormiston in safety: Upon this promise hands were stricken, and Mr. Wishart went along with him to Elphiston where the cardinal was, after which he was first carried to Edinburgh, then to the earl of Bothwel's house (perhaps upon pretence of fulfilling the engagement which Bothwel had come under to him) after which he was re-conducted to Edinburgh, where the cardinal had now assembled a convocation of prelates for reforming some abuses, but without effect. Buchanan says, that he was apprehended by a party of horse detached by the cardinal for that purpose; that at first the laird of Ormiston refused to deliver him up, upon which the cardinal and regent both posted thither, but could not prevail until the earl of Bothwel was sent for, who succeeded by flattery and fair promises, not one of which were fulfilled.

Mr. Wishart remained at Edinburgh only a few days, until the blood-thirsty cardinal prevailed with the governor to deliver up this faithful servant of Jesus Christ unto his tyranny, and was accordingly sent to St. Andrews; and being advised to it by the arch-bishop of Glasgow, he would have got a civil judge appointed to try him, if David Hamilton of Preston, a kinsman to the regent, had not remonstrated against it, and represented the danger of attacking the servants of God, who had no other crime laid to their charge, but that of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. This speech, which Buchanan gives at large, affected the governor in such a manner, that he absolutely refused the cardinal's request, upon which he replied in anger, "That he had only sent to him out of mere civility, without any need for it, for that he with his clergy had power sufficient to bring Mr. Wishart to condign punishment."—Thus was this servant of God left in the hands of that proud and merciless tyrant, the religious part of the nation loudly complaining of the governor's weakness.

55 Mr. Wishart being now in St. Andrews, the cardinal without delay caused summon the bishops and superior clergy to meet at that place on the 27th of February 1546, to deliberate upon a question about which he was already resolved. The next day after this convocation, Mr. Wishart received a summons in prison, by the dean of the town, to answer to-morrow, for his heretical doctrine, before the judges. The next day, the cardinal went to the place of judgment, in the abbey church, with a train of armed men marching in warlike order; immediately Mr. Wishart was sent for from the sea-tower, which was his prison, and being about to enter the door of the church, a poor man asked alms of him, to whom he threw his purse. When he came before the cardinal, John Wirnam the sub-prior went up into the pulpit by appointment, and made a discourse upon the nature of heresy from Matth. xiii. which he did with great caution, and yet in such a way as applied more justly to the accusers, for he was a secret favourer of the truth. After him came up one John Lander, a most virulent enemy of religion, who acted the part of Mr. Wishart's accuser, he pulled out a long roll of maledictory charges against Mr. Wishart, and dealt out the Romish thunder so liberally as terrified the ignorant by-standers, but did not in the least discompose this meek servant of Christ; he was accused of disobedience to the governor's authority, for teaching that man had no free-will, and for contemning fasting, (all which he absolutely refused) and for denying that there are seven sacraments; that auricular confession, extreme unction, and the sacrament of the altar, so called, are sacraments; that we should pray to saints; and for saying, That it was necessary for every man to know and understand his baptism; that the pope hath no more power than another man; that it is as lawful to eat flesh upon Friday as upon Sunday; that there is no purgatory, and that it is vain to build costly churches to the honour of God, and for condemning conjuration, the vows of single life, the cursings of the holy church, &c. While Lauder was reading these accusations, he had put himself into a most violent sweat, frothing at the mouth and calling Mr. Wishart a runagate traitor, and demanded an answer, which he made in a short and modest oration: At which they cried out with one content against him in a most tumultuous manner; by which he saw, they were resolved to proceed against him to the utmost extremity, he therefore appealed to a more equitable and impartial judge. Upon which Lauder (repeating the several titles of the cardinal) asked him, "If56 my lord cardinal was not an equitable judge?" Mr. Wishart replied, "I do not refuse him, but I desire the word of God to be my judge, the temporal estates, with some of your lordships, because I am my lord governor's prisoner." After some scornful language thrown out both against him and the governor, they proceeded to read the articles against him a second time, and hear his answers, which he made with great solidity of judgment: After which they condemned him to be burnt as an heretic, paying no regard to his defences, nor to the emotions of their own consciences, but thought that by killing him they should do God good service. Upon this resolution, (for their final sentence was not yet pronounced) Mr. Wishart kneeled down and prayed in the following manner.

"O immortal God, how long wilt thou suffer the rage of the ungodly, how long shall they exercise their fury upon thy servants, who further thy word in this world, seeing they desire to choke and destroy thy true doctrine and verity, by which thou hast shewed thyself unto the world, which was drowned in blindness and ignorance of thy name? O Lord, we know surely that thy true servants must suffer for thy name's sake, both persecution, affliction and troubles in this present life, which is but a shadow, as thy prophets and apostles have shewed us, but yet we desire thee, merciful Father, that thou wouldst preserve, defend and help thy congregation, which thou hast chosen from before the foundation of the world, and give them thy grace to hear thy word, and to be thy true servants in this present life."

After this, the common people were removed until their definitive sentence should be pronounced, which being so similar to Mr. Hamilton's, need not be here inserted. This being done, he was re-committed to the castle for that night; in his way thither, two friars came to him requesting him to make his confession to them, which he refused, but desired them to bring Mr. Wirnam who had preached that day, to him; who being come, after some discourse with Mr. Wishart, he asked him, If he would receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper? Mr. Wishart answered, "Most willingly, if I may have it administered according to Christ's institution, under both kinds, of bread and wine." Hereupon the sub-prior went to the bishops, and asked, If they would permit the sacrament to be given to the prisoner? But the cardinal, in all their names, answered, That it was not reasonable to give any spiritual benefit to an obstinate heretic condemned by the church.

57 All this night Mr. Wishart spent in prayer, and next morning the captain of the castle gave him notice that they had denied him the sacrament, and at the same time invited him to breakfast with him, which Mr. Wishart accepted, saying, "I will do that very willingly, and so much the rather, because I perceive you to be a good Christian, and a man fearing God." All things being ready, and the family assembled to breakfast, Mr. Wishart turning himself to the captain, said, "I beseech you, in the name of God, and for the love ye bear to our Saviour Jesus Christ, to be silent a little while, till I have made a short exhortation, and blessed this bread which we are to eat, so that I may bid you farewel." The table being covered and bread let upon it, he spake about the space of half an hour, of the institution of the supper, and of our Saviour's death and passion, exhorting those who were present to mutual love and holiness of life. Then, giving thanks, he brake the bread, distributing a part to those about him, who were disposed to communicate, intreating them to remember that Christ died for them, and to feed on it spiritually; then taking the cup, he bade them remember that Christ's blood was shed for them; And having tasted it himself, he delivered it unto them, and then concluding with thanksgiving and prayer, he told them, "That he would neither eat nor drink more in this life," and retired to his chamber.

Soon after, by the appointment of the cardinal, two executioners came to him, and arraying him in a black linen coat, they fastened some bags of gun-powder about him, put a rope about his neck, a chain about his waist, and bound his hands behind his back, and in this dress they led him one to the stake, near the cardinal's palace; opposite to the stake they had placed the great guns of the castle, lest any should attempt to rescue him. The fore tower, which was immediately opposite to the fire, was hung with tapestry, and rich cushions were laid in the windows, for the ease of the cardinal and prelates, while they beheld the sad spectacle. As he was going to the stake, it is said, that two beggars asked alms of him, and that he replied, "I want my hands wherewith I used to give you alms, but the merciful Lord vouchsafe to give you all necessaries, both for soul and body." After this the friars came about him, urging him to pray to our Lady, &c. to whom he answered, "Cease, tempt me not, I intreat you."

Having mounted a scaffold prepared on purpose, he turned towards the people and declared that "he felt much58 joy within himself in offering up his life for the name of Christ, and told them that they ought not to be offended with the good word of God, because of the afflictions I have endured, or the torments which ye now see prepared for me; but I intreat you, that you love the word of God for your salvation, and suffer patiently and with a comfortable heart for the word's sake, which is your everlasting comfort; but for the true gospel which was given me by the grace of God, I suffer this day with a glad heart. Behold, and consider my visage, ye shall not see me change my colour; I fear not this fire, and I pray that you may not fear them that slay the body, but have no power to slay the soul. Some have said that I taught that the soul shall sleep till the last day, but I know surely, and my faith is such, that my soul shall sup with my Saviour this night." Then he prayed for his accusers, that they might be forgiven, if, through ignorance or evil design, they had forged lies upon him. After this the executioner asked his forgiveness, to whom he replied, "Come hither to me;" and when he came, he kissed his cheek, and said, "Lo, here is a token that I forgive thee, do thine office." Being raised up from his knees, he was bound to the stake, crying with a loud voice O Saviour of the world, have mercy upon me; Father of heaven, I commend my spirit into thy holy hands: whereupon the executioner kindled the fire, and the powder that was fastened to his body blew up. The captain of the castle perceiving that he was still alive, drew near, and bid him be of good courage, whereupon Mr. Wishart said, "This flame hath scorched my body, yet it hath not daunted my spirit; but he who, from yonder place beholdeth us with such pride, shall within a few days lie in the same as ignominiously as he is now seen proudly to rest himself." But as he was thus speaking, the executioner drew the cord that was about his neck so strait that he spoke no more; and thus, like another Elijah, he took his flight by a fiery chariot into heaven, and obtained the martyr's crown on the 1st of March, 1546.

Thus lived, and thus died this faithful witness of Jesus Christ; he was early marked out as a sacrifice to papal tyranny, being delated to the bishop of Brichen for an heretic, because he taught the Greek new Testament to his scholars, while he kept school at Montrose; he was summoned by him, to appear before him, but escaped into England, and at the university of Cambridge completed his education, and was himself an instructor of others; During the59 whole time he was in his own country, he was hunted as a partridge in the mountains, until the cardinal got him brought to the stake. Through the whole of his sufferings, his meekness and patience were very remarkable, as was that uncommon measure of the spirit of prophecy which he possessed; witness the circumstances relative to Dundee, Haddington, the reformation from popery, and the cardinal's death, all of which were foretold by him, and soon after accomplished.

The popish clergy rejoiced at his death, and extolled the cardinal's courage, for proceeding in it against the governor's order; but the people very justly looked upon him as both a prophet and a martyr. It was also did, that abstracting from the grounds of his suffering, his death was no less than murder, in regard no writ was obtained for it, and the clergy could not burn any without a warrant from the secular power. This stirred up Norman, and John Lefties of the family of Rothes, William Kircaldie of Grange, James Melvil of the family of Carnbee, Peter Carmichael and others, to avenge Mr. Wishart's death. Accordingly upon the 28th of May, 1546, (not three months after Mr. Wishart suffered) they surprized the castle early in the morning, and either secured or turned out the persons who were lodged in it; came to the cardinal's door, who was by this time alarmed, and had secured it, but upon their threatening to force open the door, he opened it, (relying partly upon the sanctity of his office, and partly on his acquaintance with some of them) crying, "I am a priest, I am a priest;" but this had no effect upon them, for James Melvil having exhorted him in a solemn manner to repentance, and having apprized him, that he was now to avenge Mr. Wishart's death, he stabbed him twice or thrice; which ended his wretched days. These persons, with some others who came in to them, held the castle out for near two years, being assisted by England; they had the governor's eldest son with them, for he had been put under the cardinal's care, and was in the castle at the time they surprized it. The castle was at last besieged by the French, and surrendered upon having the lives of all that were in it secured.

Betwixt this and the time of Mr. Walter Mill's sufferings, whose life follows, one Adam Wallace, alias Fean, a simple but very zealous man, was taken at Winton, and was brought to his trial in the Blackfriars church in Edinburgh, where he was charged with articles of heresy, similar to those with which others before him had been charged.60 He was condemned and burnt in the castle-hill, suffering with great patience and resolution.

There were others condemned before that time, among whom were Robert Forrester gentleman, Sir Duncan Simson priest, Friar Killore, Friar Beveridge, and dean Thomas Forrest a canon, regular and vicar of Dollar, who were all burnt at one stake upon the castle-hill of Edinburgh, February 1538.


The Life of Mr. Walter Mill.

He was born about the year 1476, was educated in the Popish religion, and made priest of Lunan in the shire of Angus, where he remained until he was accused by the bishop of St. Andrews of having left off saying mass, which he had done long before this time, being condemned by the cardinal on that account, in the year 1538; but he escaped the flames for this time, by flying into Germany, where he married a wife, and was more perfectly instructed in the true religion; after which he returned home, but kept himself as retired as possible; during which time he went about reproving vice and instructing people in the grounds of religion, which coming at length to the ears of the ecclesiastics, in 1558, he was, by order of the bishops, apprehended in Dysart in the shire of Fife, by two priests, and imprisoned in the castle of St. Andrews, where the Papists, both by threatening and flattery, laboured with him to recant, offering him a place in the abbey of Dunfermline all the days of his life, if he would deny what he had already taught. But continuing constant in his opinions, he was brought to a trial before the bishops of St. Andrews, Murray, Brechin, Caithness, &c. who were assembled in the cathedral of St. Andrews. When he came to make his defence, he was so old, feeble and lame, that it was feared none would hear him; but as soon as he began to speak, he surprized them all, his voice made the church to ring, and his quickness and courage amazed his very enemies.

At first he kneeled and prayed for some time, after which one Sir Andrew Oliphant a priest, called to him to arise, and answer to the articles of charge, saying, "You keep my lord of St. Andrews too long here;" nevertheless61 he continued some time in prayer, and when he arose, said, "I ought to obey God more than man. I serve a mightier Lord than your lord is, and whereas you call me Sir Walter, they call me Walter; I have been too long one of the pope's knights: Now say what you have to say."

Oliphant began his Interrogations as follows:

Olip. Thou sayest there are not seven sacraments?

Mill. Give me the Lord's Supper and Baptism, and take you all the rest.

Oliph. What think you of a priest's marriage?

Mill. I think it a blessed bond ordained by God, and approved of by Christ, and free to all sorts of men; but ye abhor it, and in the meanwhile take other men's wives and daughters: Ye vow chastity, and keep it not.

Oliph. How sayest thou that the mass is idolatry?

Mill. A lord or king calleth many to dinner, they come and sit down, but the lord himself turneth his back, and eateth up all; and so do you.

Olip. Thou deniest the sacrament of the altar to be the real body of Christ in flesh and blood?

Mill. The scriptures are to be understood spiritually and not carnally, and so your mass is wrong, for Christ was once offered on the cross for sin, and will never be offered again, for then he put an end to all sacrifice.

Oliph. Thou deniest the office of a bishop?

Mill. I affirm that those you call bishops do no bishop's work, but live after sensual pleasure, taking no care of Christ's flock, nor regarding his word.

Oliph. Thou speakest against pilgrimage, and sayest, It is a pilgrimage to whoredom?

Mill. I say pilgrimage is not commanded in scripture, and that there is no greater whoredom in any place, except in brothel-houses.

Oliph. You preach privately in houses, and sometimes in the field?

Mill. Yea, and on the sea also when sailing in a ship.

Then said Oliphant, "If you will not recant, I will pronounce sentence against you."

To this he replied, "I know I must die once, and therefore as Christ said to Judas, What thou dost, do quickly: you shall know that I will not recant the truth, for I am corn and not chaff: I will neither be blown away by the wind, nor burst with the flail, but will abide both."

62 Then Oliphant, as the mouth of the court, was ordered to pronounce sentence against him, ordaining him to be delivered to the temporal judge, and burnt as an heretic. But they could not procure one as a temporal judge to condemn him. One Learmond, then provost of the town, and bailie of the bishop's regality, refused it, and went out of town; the people of the place were so moved at his constancy, and offended at the wrong done to him, that they refused to supply ropes to bind him, and other materials for his execution, whereby his death was retarded for one day. At last one Somerville, a domestic of the bishop, undertook to act the part of temporal judge, and the ropes of the bishop's pavilion were taken to serve the purpose.

All things being thus prepared, he was led forth by Somerville with a guard of armed men to his execution; being come to the place, some cried out to him to recant, to whom he answered, "I marvel at your rage, ye hypocrites, who do so cruelly pursue the servants of God; as for me, I am now eighty-two years old, and cannot live long by course of nature; but an hundred shall rise out of my ashes, who shall scatter you, ye hypocrites and persecutors of God's people; and such of you as now think yourselves the best, shall not die such an honest death as I now do; I trust in God, I shall be the last who shall suffer death, in this fashion, for this cause in this land." Thus his constancy increased as his end drew near. Being ordered by Oliphant to go up to the stake, he refused, and said, "No, I will not go, except thou put me up with thy hand, for by the law of God I am forbidden to put hands to myself, but if thou wilt put to thy hand, and take part of my death, thou shalt see me go up gladly." Then Oliphant putting him foreward, he went up with a cheerful countenance, saying, Introibo ad altare Dei, and desired that he might be permitted to speak to the people; he was answered by Oliphant, "That he had spoken too much already, and the bishops were exceedingly displeased with what he had said." But some youths took his part, and bid him say on what he pleased; he first bowed his knees and prayed, then arose and standing upon the coals addressed the people to this effect, "Dear friends, the cause why I suffer this day, is not for any crime laid to my charge, though I acknowledge myself a miserable sinner before God, but only for the defence of the truths of Jesus Christ63 set forth in the old and new Testament; I praise God that he hath called me among the rest of his servants, to seal up his truth with my life; as I have received it of him, so I again willingly offer it up for his glory, therefore, as ye would escape eternal death, be no longer seduced with the lies of bishops, abbots, friars, monks, and the rest of that sect of Antichrist, but depend only upon Jesus Christ and his mercy, that so ye may be delivered from condemnation."—During this speech, loud murmurs and lamentations were heard among the multitude, some admiring the patience, boldness and constancy of this martyr, others complaining of the hard measures and cruelty of his persecutors. After having spoken as above, he prayed a little while, and then was drawn up and bound to the stake, and the fire being kindled, he cried, "Lord, have mercy on me; Pray, pray, good people, while there is time." And so cheerfully yielded up his soul into the hands of his God on the twenty-eighth of April, anno 1558, being then about the eighty-second year of his age.

The fortitude and constancy of this martyr affected the people so much, that they heaped up a great pile of stones on the place where he had been burned, that the memory of his death might be preserved, but the priests gave orders to have it taken down and carried away, denouncing a curse on any who should lay stones there again; but that anathema was so little regarded, that what was thrown down in the day-time was raised again in the night, until at last the papists carried away the stones to build houses in or about the town, which they did in the night, with all possible secresy.

The death of this martyr brought about the downfal of popery in Scotland, for the people in general were so much inflamed, that resolving openly to profess the truth, they bound themselves by promises, and subscriptions of oaths, That before they would be thus abused any longer they would take arms, and resist the papal tyranny, which they at last did.


64

The Life of James Stuart, Earl of Moray.

He was a natural son of K. James V. and brother by the father's side to Mary queen of Scots; in his infancy he was put under the celebrated George Buchanan, who instilled such principles into his mind in early life, as by the divine blessing made him an honour to the Scottish nation.

The reader cannot expect a very minute detail of all the heroic and patriotic deeds of this worthy nobleman, considering the station which he filled, and his activity in the discharge of the duties belonging to it.

He was the principal agent in promoting the work of reformation from popery. On the first dawning of it in the year 1555, he attended the preaching of Mr. John Knox at Calder, where he often wished that his doctrine had been more public, which was an open profession of his love and zeal for the true religion.

He went over to France with some other Scottish noblemen at the time of his sister's marriage with the dauphine, where his companions were supposed to have been poisoned, for they died in France: He escaped by the interposition of a kind providence, but retained a weak and disordered stomach all his life; this did not however unfit him for these services which he did to religion and his country after this.

In the year 1556, he and Argyle wrote to Mr. Knox at Geneva, to return to Scotland, in order to further the reformation. Upon which, after having been detained some time at Diep, Mr Knox returned in the year 1559, and went to St. Johnstoun, where the reforming congregation resorted to him; which coming to the ears of the queen-regent, she sent the earl of Argyle and Lord James (for that was the earl of Moray's title at this time) to know the intent of so great an assembly. Mr. Knox returned this answer, That "her enterprize would not prosper in the end, seeing that she intended to fight against God, &c." Upon receiving this reply, she summoned them to depart from the town of St. Johnstoun; but afterwards hearing of the daily increase of their numbers, she gave them leave to depart peaceably, with many fair promises, that they should meet with no further danger. On which they obeyed and left the town, but they had no sooner done so, than she with her French guards entered it in a most outrageous manner,65 telling the inhabitants, That no faith should be kept with heretics.—This flagrant breach of promise provoked Lord James to that degree, that he left the queen, and joined the lords of the congregation (for so they were afterwards called). As soon as the queen got intelligence of this, she sent a threatening letter to him and Argyle (for they stuck together on almost all occasions) commanding them to return, but to no purpose; for they went to Fife, and there began to throw down and remove the monuments of idolatry: Here they continued for some time; but being informed that the queen intended to go to Stirling, they went off from Perth late in the night, and entered Stirling with their associates where they immediately demolished the monasteries, and purged the churches of idolatry. Such was the zeal of these worthy noblemen for the interest of the reformed religion in Scotland.

From Stirling they marched for Edinburgh, purging all the superstitious relicts of idolatry out of Linlithgow in their way.—These summary proceedings alarmed the queen regent, insomuch that her zeal for the Romish idolatry, gave way to her fears about her civil authority. To make the conduct of these reformers the more odious to the unthinking part of the nation, she gave out that they were in open rebellion against her, and that they made a pretence of religion, but that the real design was to set lord James on the throne (there being now no male-heir to the crown), These insinuations she found means to transmit to lord James himself, in a letter said to be forged in the names of Francis and Mary the king and queen of France, wherein he was further upbraided with ingratitude on account of the favours they pretended that they had shown him, and threatened to lay down his arms and return to his allegiance. To this letter, (notwithstanding there were strong reasons to suspect it was forged) he nevertheless returned a resolute answer, declaring that he was not conscious to himself, either in word or deed, of any offence either against the regent or laws; but in regard the nobility had undertaken the reformation of religion, which was delayed, and seeing they aimed at nothing but the glory of God, he was willing to bear the reproach which the enemies of religion would load him with, neither was it just for him to desert that cause which had Christ himself for its head and defender, whom, unless they would voluntarily deny, they could not give up that enterprise in which they were imbarked.

66 While these things were transacting, the lords of the congregation being then in and about Edinburgh, there were to the number of 3000 French landed at Leith at different times, to support the queen regent, between whom and the lords of the congregation there were several skirmishes, with little success on either side; yet the lords retired to Stirling, leaving the French for a time masters of the field, but not without apprehensions of danger from the arrival of an English fleet, which was then expected. In the mean time, they went over to Fife, spreading devastation every where around them without resistance: Whereupon the queen regent thus expressed herself, "Where is John Knox's God now, my God is stronger, even now in Fife." This impious boast lasted not long, for Argyle and lord James went to the town of Dysart immediately to stop their career along the coast. The French were 4000 strong, besides the Scots who adhered to them; the army of the congregation were not above 600 men, yet they behaved with such courage and resolution, as for twenty days successively they faced this army, and for each man they lost in every skirmish, the French lost four. As an evidence of the uncommon attention which these two noblemen bestowed on this business, they never put off their cloaths during the whole time, and slept but little.

In the month of June the queen regent died, and a little after her Francis king of France died likewise, by which Scotland was delivered from this foreign army.—About this time lord James went over to France, to visit his sister Mary; after settling matters in Scotland as well as he could, he was attended by a splendid retinue, but appears to have met with a cold reception: After several conversations with Queen Mary, she told him, That she intended to return home. During his stay at Paris, he met with many insults on account of his known attachment to the reformed religion: A box containing some valuable things was stole from him; several persons were likewise hired to assassinate him in the street: he was apprized of his danger by an old friend of his own, but not before he was almost involved in it, being instantly surrounded by a rabble, calling out Hugenot, hugenot, and throwing stones; he made his way through them on horseback. Soon after this he left Paris, and returned home in May 1561, with a commission from the queen, appointing him regent until her return, which was in August following, when, as Knox expresses it, "Dolour and darkness came along with her," for tho' justice and equity were yet administered,67 and crimes were punished, because the administration of civil affairs was yet in the hands of lord James, who for his management of public concerns was beloved by all, yet upon the queen's arrival, French levity and dissipation soon corrupted the court to a very high degree.

About this time a banditti called the moss-troopers broke in upon the borders of Scotland, committing very alarming depredations, by robbing and murdering all that came in their way. The queen sent lord James with a small force to oppose them, not with the intention that he might have the opportunity of acquiring military reputation, but to expose him to danger, that, if possible, she might get rid of him, for his popularity made her very uneasy, and his fidelity and boldness in reproving her faults, and withstanding her tyrannical measures, made him still more the object of her hatred and disgust. But, contrary to the expectations of many, God so prospered him in this expedition, that in a short time he brought twenty-eight ring-leaders of this band to public execution, and obliged the rest to give hostages for their better behaviour in time-coming. Thus he returned crowned with laurels, and was immediately created earl of Marr, and in the February following he was made earl of Moray, with the universal approbation of all good men. Some thought this act of the queen was intended by her to conciliate his affections, and make him of her party. About this time he married a daughter of the earl of Marshal, according to Knox, (Buchanan says, the earl of March); the marriage was made publicly in the church of Edinburgh; after the ceremony was over, the preacher (probably Mr. Knox) said to him, "Sir, the church of God hath received comfort by you, and by your labours unto this day; if you prove more saint therein afterward, it will be said that your wife hath changed your nature, &c."

It may be observed, that hitherto the nobility appeared very much united in their measures for promoting the interest of religion; this was soon at an end, for the noblemen at court broke out into factions: Among whom the earl of Bothwel, envying the prosperity of Moray, stirred up some feuds between him and the Hamiltons, which increased to that height, that they laid a plot for his life, which Bothwel took in hand to execute, while he was with the queen his sister at Falkland; but the earl of Arran detesting such an action, sent a letter privately to the earl of Moray discovering the whole conspiracy, by which he escaped that danger: Bothwel fled from justice into France,68 but his emissaries were not less active in his absence than they had been while he headed them in person, for another design was formed against his life, by one Gordon, while he was with the queen at Dumbarton. But this proved ineffectual also.

Soon after, the queen received letters from the pope and her uncles the Guises of France, requesting her to put the earl of Moray out of the way, because, they found by experience, that their interest in Scotland could not prosper while he was alive; upon this the faction against him became more insolent and appeared in arms: they were at first suppressed, but soon assembled again, to the number of eight hundred men: This body he was obliged to fight, with little more strength, in which he could confide, than an hundred horse; notwithstanding this disparity, by the divine blessing, he obtained a complete victory, killing of them a hundred and twenty, and taking a hundred prisoners, among whom were Huntly himself and his two sons; it is said he did not lose a single man. He returned to Aberdeen with the prisoners, late in the night, where he had appointed a minister of the gospel to meet him, with whom he returned thanks to God for such a deliverance, exceeding the expectations of all men.

The earl of Bothwel was soon after this recalled by the queen from France; upon his arrival, Moray accused him for his former treasonable practices, and commenced a process at law against him. Bothwel knew he could not stand an open scrutiny, but relied upon the queen's favour, which he knew he possessed in a very high degree, and which increased so much the more as her enmity to Moray on account of his popularity was augmented. This led her to join more warmly in the conspiracy with Bothwel against his life; a new plot was the result of their joint deliberations, which was to be executed in the following manner; Moray was to be sent for, with only a few attendants, to speak with the queen at Perth, where Lord Darnly (then in suit to her for marriage) was; they knew that Moray would speak his mind freely, upon which they were to quarrel with him, in the heat of which David Rizzio was to strike the first blow, and all the rest were to follow: But of this design also he got previous intelligence by a friend at the court, nevertheless he resolved to go, until advised by one Patrick Ruthven; he turned aside to his mother's house, and there staid till this storm was over also.

69 The earl of Moray foreseeing what would be the consequence of the queen's marriage with Lord Darnly[28], set himself to oppose it, but finding little attention paid to any thing he said on that subject in the convention of estates, he chose rather to absent himself for some time, and accordingly retired to the border, where he staid until the queen's marriage with Darnly was over.

The remarkable tragical events which succeeded, disgusted Moray more and more at the court; with these the public are well acquainted: The murder of Darnly, and Mary's after-marriage with the assassin of her husband, has occasioned too much speculation of late years, not to be known to every one in the least acquainted with the Scottish history. Moray now found it impossible to live at a court where his implacable enemy was so highly honoured; Bothwel insulted him openly; whereupon he asked leave of the queen to travel abroad, and she, being willing to get rid of him at all events, granted his desire, upon his promise not to make any stay in England. He went over to France, where he remained until he heard that the queen was in custody in Lochlevin, and that Bothwel had fled to Denmark; and then returned home. Upon his arrival he was made regent, by the joint consent of the queen and nobles, anno 1567, during the young king's minority.

He entered on the exercise of his office as regent, in the spring following, and resolved with himself to make a tour through the whole kingdom to settle the courts of justice, to repair what was wrong, &c. But his adversaries the Hamiltons, perceiving, that by the prudence and diligence of this worthy nobleman, the interest of religion would be revived, than which nothing could be more disagreeable to them, who were dissipated and licentious in an extreme degree, they could not endure to be regulated by law, and never ceased crying out against his administration. They fixed up libels in different places, full of dark insinuations, by which it was understood that his destruction70 was meditating[29]. Some astrologers told him that he would not live beyond such a day; by which it appeared they were not ignorant of the designs formed against him. All this had no effect upon his resolution; his common reply was, That "he knew well enough he must die one time or other, and that he could not part with his life more nobly, than by procuring the public tranquillity of his native country." He caused summon a convention of estates to meet at Glasgow for the redress of some grievances, which that part of the country particularly laboured under.

But while he was thus engaged, he received intelligence that the queen had escaped from Lochlevin castle, and was come to Hamiltoun, where those of her faction were assembling with the utmost haste, whereupon a hot dispute arose in council, whether the regent, and his attendants should repair to the young king at Stirling, or stay and observe the motions of the queen and her party; but in the very time of these deliberations, a hundred chosen men arrived in town from Lothian, and many more from the adjacent country were approaching: This made them resolve to stay where they were, and refresh themselves for one day, after which they determined to march out and face the enemy. But the queen's army, being 6500 strong, resolved to make their way by Glasgow to lodge the queen in Dumbarton castle, and afterwards either to fight the regent, or protract the war at pleasure.

The regent being let into this design of the enemy, drew his army out the town, to observe which way they intended to pass; he had not above 4000 men; they discovered the queen's army passing along the south-side of the river Clyde. Moray commanded the foot to pass the bridge, and the horse to ford the river, and marched out71 to a small village, called Langside, upon the river Cart. They took possession of a rising ground before the enemy could well discover their intention, and drew up in the order of battle. The earls of Morton, Semple, Hume and Patrick Lindsay on the right, and the earls of Marr, Glencairn, Monteith with the citizens of Glasgow, were on the left, and the musqueteers were placed in the valley below. The queen's army approaching, a very brisk but short engagement ensued; the earl of Argyle, who was commander in chief of the queen's troops, falling from his horse, they gave way, so that the regent obtained a complete victory; but, by his clement conduct, there was very little blood spilt in the pursuit. The queen, who all the while remained with some horse at about the distance of a mile from the place of action, seeing the rout, escaped and fled for England, and the regent returned to Glasgow, where they returned thanks to God for their deliverance from popery and papists, who threatened to overturn the work of God among them. This battle was fought upon the 13th of May, 1568.

After this the regent summoned a parliament to meet at Edinburgh; which the queen's party laboured to hinder, with all their power. In the mean time, letters were received from the queen of England, requiring them to put off the meeting of parliament until she was made acquainted with the whole matter, for she said, She could not bear with the affront which her kinswoman said she had received from her subjects.—The parliament however assembled, and after much reasoning it was resolved to send commissioners to England to vindicate their conduct; but none consenting to undertake this business, the regent resolved upon going himself, and accordingly chose three gentlemen, two ministers, two lawyers, and Mr. George Buchanan to accompany him; and with a guard of 100 horse they set out, and arrived at York, the appointed place of conference, on the 4th of October. After several meetings with the English commissioners to little purpose, the queen called the regent up to London, that she might be better satisfied by personal conversation with him, about the state of these affairs. But the same difficulties stood in his way here as at York; he refused to enter upon the accusation of his sister the queen of Scots, unless Elizabeth would engage to protect the king's party, provided the queen was found guilty.

But, while matters were thus remaining in suspence at London, Mary had stirred up a new commotion in Scotland72 by means of one James Balfour, so that the regent found himself exceedingly embarrassed, and therefore resolved to bring the matter to a conclusion as soon as possible. After several interviews with the queen and council, in which the regent and his party supported the ancient rights of their country, and wiped off the aspersions many had thrown on themselves, which Buchanan narrates at large, book XIX, A decision was given in their favours, and the regent returned home loaded with honours by Elizabeth, and attended by the most illustrious of the English court, escorted by a strong guard to Berwick, and arrived at Edinburgh on the 2d of February, where he was received with acclamations of joy, particularly by the friends of the true religion.

During his administration, many salutary laws in favour of civil and religious liberty, were made, which rendered him more and more the object of popish malice. At last they resolved at all events to take his life; the many unsuccessful attempts formerly made, only served to render them more bold and daring. Though the queen was now at a distance, yet the found means to encourage her party, and perhaps the hope of delivering her at length, gave strength to their resolution. One James Hamilton of Bothwel-haugh, nephew to the arch-bishop of St. Andrews, incited by his uncle and others, undertakes to make away with the regent, when a convenient opportunity offered itself: He first lay in wait for him at Glasgow, and then at Stirling, but both failed him; after which, he thought Linlithgow the most proper place for perpetrating that execrable deed; his uncle had a house near the regent's, in which he concealed himself, that he might be in readiness for the assassination. Of this design the regent got intelligence likewise, but paid not that regard to the danger he was exposed to, which he should; and would go no other way than that in which it was suspected the ambush was laid; he trusted to the fleetness of his horse in riding swiftly by the suspected place; but the great concourse of people who crouded together to see him, stopped up the way. Accordingly, he was shot from a wooden balcony, the bullet entering a little below the navel, came out at the reins, and killed the horse of George Douglas behind him: The assassin escaped by a back-door. The regent told his attendants that he was wounded, and returned to his lodgings; it was at first thought the wound was not mortal, but his pain increasing, he began to think of death. Some about him told him, That this was the73 fruit of his lenity, in sparing so many notorious offenders, and among the rest his own murderer; but he replied, "Your importunity shall not make me repent my clemency." Having settled his private affairs, he committed the care of the young king to the nobles there present, and without speaking a reproachful word of any, he departed this life on the 24d of January, 1570. according to Buchanan, 1571. but according to Spotiswood, 1569.

Thus fell the earl of Moray (whom historians ordinarily call, The good regent) after he had escaped so many dangers: He was certainly a worthy governor. Both Buchanan and Spotswood give him the following character: "His death was lamented by all good men, who loved him as the public father of his country, even his enemies confessed his merit when dead; they admired his valour in war, his ready disposition for peace, his activity in business, in which he was commonly very successful; the divine favour seemed to shine on all his actions; he was very merciful to offenders, and equitable in all his decisions. When the field did not call for his presence, he was busied in the administration of justice; by which means the poor were not oppressed, and the terms of law-suits were shortened.—His house was like a holy temple; after meals he caused a chapter of the bible to be read, and asked the opinions of such learned men as were present upon it, not out of a vain curiosity, but from a desire to learn, and reduce to practice what it contained[30]." In a word, he was both in his public and private life, a pattern worthy of imitation, and happy would it be for us, that our nobles were more disposed to walk in the paths which he trode;—for, "Above all his virtues, which were not a few, he shined in piety towards God, ordering himself and his family in such a sort as did more resemble a church than a court; for therein, besides the exercise of devotion, which he never omitted, there was no wickedness to be seen, nay not an unseemly or wanton word to be heard. A man truly good, and worthy to be ranked amongst the best governors, that this kingdom hath enjoyed, and therefore to this day honoured with the title of The good Regent[31]."


74

The Life of Mr. John Knox.

Mr. Knox was born in Gifford near Haddington in East Lothian, in the year 1505. His father was related to the antient house of Ranferlie. When he left the grammar school, he was sent to the university of St. Andrews, to study under Mr. John Mair, (a man of considerable learning at that time), and had the degree of master of arts conferred upon him, while very young. He excelled in philosophy and polemical divinity, and was admitted into church orders before the usual time appointed by the canons. Then laying aside all unnecessary branches of learning, he betook himself to the reading of the antients, particularly Angustine's and Jerome's works, with whom he was exceedingly pleased. He profited considerably by the preaching of Thomas Guilliam, a black friar, of sound judgment and doctrine; his discourses led him to study the holy scriptures more closely, by which his spiritual knowledge was increased, and such a zeal for the interest of religion begotten in him, as he became the chief instrument in accomplishing the primitive reformation.

He was a disciple of Mr. George Wishart (as the reader has already seen in the account of his life), which procured him the hatred of the Popish clergy, who could not endure that light which, discovered their idolatrous darkness.

After the death of cardinal Beaton, he retired into the castle of St. Andrews, where he was confined for some time, but the castle being obliged to surrender to the French, he became their prisoner, and was sent aboard the gallies, from whence he made his escape about the year 1550, and went to England, where he preached for several years in Berwick, Newcastle and London, with great applause; his fame at last reached the years of king Edward VI. who offered him a bishopric, which he rejected, as contrary to his principles.

During his stay in England, he was called before the council, and required to answer the following questions:

1. Why he refused the benefice provided for him at London?

2. Whether he thought that no Christian might serve in the ecclesiastical ministration, according to the laws and rites of the realm of England?

3. If kneeling at the Lord's table was not indifferent?

75 To the first he said, That his conscience witnessed to him that he might profit more in some other place than in London. To the second, That many things needed reformation in the ministry of England, without which no minister did or could discharge his duty before God; for no minister in England had authority to separate the leprous from the whole, which was a chief part of his office, and that he refused no office which might in the least promote God's glory and the preaching of Christ's gospel. And to the third he replied, That Christ's action was most perfect, that it was most safe to follow his example, and that kneeling was a human invention. The answer which he gave to this question, occasioned a considerable deal of altercation betwixt the council and him. There were present the bishops of Canterbury and Ely, the lord treasurer, the earls of Northampton, Shrewsbury, &c. the lord chamberlain and the secretaries: After long reasoning with him, he was desired to take the matter into farther consideration, and so was dismissed.

After the death of king Edward, he retired to Geneva, but soon left that place and went to Francfort, upon the solicitation of the English congregation there; their letter to him was dated September 24th, 1554. While he was in this city, he wrote his admonition to England, and was soon involved in troubles, because he opposed the English liturgy, and refused to communicate after the manner it enjoined. Messrs Isaac and Parry, supported by the English doctors, not only got him discharged to preach, but accused him before the magistrates of high treason against the emperor's son Philip and the queen of England, and to prove the charge, they had recourse to the above-mentioned admonition, in which they alledged he had called the one little inferior to Nero, and the other more cruel than Jezebel. But the magistrates perceiving the design of his accusers, and fearing lest he should some way or other fall into their hands, gave him secret information of his danger, and requested him to leave the city, for they could not save him if he should be demanded by the queen of England in the emperor's name; and having taken the hint, he returned to Geneva.

Here he wrote an admonition to London, Newcastle and Berwick; a letter to Mary dowager of Scotland; an appeal to the nobility, and an admonition to the commons of his own country; and his first blast of the trumpet, &c. He intended to have blown this trumpet three times, if queen Mary's death had not prevented him; understanding76 that an answer was to be given to his first blast, he deferred the publication of the second, till he saw what answer was necessary for the vindication of the first.

While he was at Geneva, he contracted a close intimacy with Mr. John Calvin, with whom he consulted on every emergency. In the end of harvest 1654, he returned home upon the solicitation of some of the Scots nobility, and began privately to instruct such as resorted to him in the true religion, among whom were the laird of Dun, David Forrest and Elizabeth Adamson, spouse to James Baron burgess of Edinburgh; The idolatry of the mass particularly occupied his attention, as he saw some remarkable for zeal and godliness drawn aside by it; both in public and private he exposed its impiety and danger; his labours succeeded so far, as to draw off some and alarm many others: In a conversation upon this subject at the laird of Dun's house in presence of David Forrest, Mr. Robert Lockhart, John Willock and William Maitland junr. of Lethington, he gave such satisfactory answers to all the objections which were started by the company, that Maitland ended the conversation, saying, "I see very well that all our shifts will serve nothing before God, seeing they stand us in so small stead before men." From this time forward the mass was very little respected.

Mr. Knox continued a month at the laird of Dun's, preaching every day; the principal gentlemen of that country resorted to his ministry. From thence he went to Calder, where the earl of Argyle (then lord Lorn) and lord James (afterwards earl of Moray) heard his doctrine, and highly approved of it—During the winter he taught in Edinburgh, and in the beginning of the spring went to Kyle, where he preached in different places; The earl of Glencairn sent for him to Finlaston, where, after sermon, he administered the Lord's supper, and then returned to Calder.

The people being thus instructed, began to refuse all superstition and idolatry, and set themselves to the utmost of their power to support the true preaching of the gospel. This alarmed the inferior popish clergy so much, that they came from all quarters complaining to the bishops; whereupon Mr. Knox was summoned to appear in the black friars church of Edinburgh on the 15th of May following: which appointment he resolved to observe, and accordingly came to Edinburgh in company with the laird of Dun, and several other gentlemen, but the diet did not hold, because the bishops were afraid to proceed further against him, so77 that, on the same day that he should have appeared before them, he preached to a greater audience in Edinburgh than ever he had done before. The earl of Marshal being desired by Lord Glencairn to hear Mr. Knox preach, complied, and was so delighted with his doctrine, that he immediately proposed that something should be done to draw the queen regent to hear him likewise; he made this proposal in a letter, which was delivered into her own hand by Glencairn. When she had read it, she gave it to Beaton[32], arch-bishop of Glasgow, saying in ridicule, "Please you, my lord, to read a pasquille."

About this time (1555) he received a letter from the English congregation at Geneva (who were not in communion with the congregation of that name at Francfort), in which they beseech him, in the name of God, that as he was their chosen pastor, he would speedily come to them: In obedience to this call, he sent his wife and mother-in-law before him to Dieppe, but by the importunity of some gentlemen he was prevailed on to stay some time behind them in Scotland, which he spent in going about exhorting the several congregations in which he had preached, to be fervent in prayer, frequent in reading the scriptures, and in mutual conferences till God should give them greater liberty. The earl of Argyle was solicited to press Mr. Knox's stay in this country, but he could not succeed. Mr. Knox told them, That, if they continued earnest in the profession of the faith, God would bless these small beginnings, but that he must for once go and visit that little flock which the wickedness of men had compelled him to leave; and being thus resolved, he went immediately to Geneva. As soon as he was gone, the bishops caused summon him to their tribunal, and for non-compearance they burnt him in effigy on the cross of Edinburgh; from which unjust sentence, when he heard of it, he appealed to the nobility and commons of Scotland.

Upon the receipt of a letter dated March 10, 1556, subscribed by the earls of Glencairn, Erskine, Argyle, and78 Moray, Mr. Knox resolved to return again into Scotland. Committing the care of his flock at Geneva to Mr. John Calvin, and coming to Dieppe, he wrote from thence to Mrs. Anna Locke, a declaration of his opinion of the English service-book, expressing himself thus, "Our captain Christ Jesus and Satan his adversary are now at open defiance, their banners are displayed, and the trumpet is blown on both sides for assembling their armies: our master calleth upon his own, and that with vehemency, that they may depart from Babylon, yea he threateneth death and damnation to such as either in their forehead or right-hand have the mark of the beast, and a portion of this mark are all these dregs of papistry, which are left in your great book of England (viz. crossing in baptism, kneeling at the Lord's table, mumbling or singing of the litany, &c. &c.) any one jot of which diabolical inventions will I never counsel any man to use, &c."

He was detained in this place much longer than expectation, which obliged the Scots nobility to renew their solicitations; which he complied with, and arrived in Scotland on the second of May 1559, being then 54 years old.—He preached first at Dundee and afterwards at St. Johnstoun, with great success. About this time the queen put some preachers to the horn, prohibiting all upon pain of rebellion to comfort, relieve, or assist them; which enraged the multitude to that degree, that they would be restrained, neither by the preachers nor magistrates, from pulling down the images and other monuments of idolatry in St. Johnstoun: which being told to the queen, it so enraged her, that she vowed to destroy man, woman and child, in that town, and burn it to the ground. To execute this threat, she caused her French army to march towards the place, but being informed that multitudes from the neighbouring country were assembling in the town for the defence of its inhabitants, her impetuosity was checked, and she resolved to use stratagem where force could not avail her; accordingly she sent the earls of Argyle and Moray, to learn what was their design in such commotions, Mr. Knox, in name of the rest, made answer, "That the present troubles ought to move the hearts of all the true servants of God, and lovers of their country, to consider what the end of such tyrannical measures would be, by which the emissaries of Satan sought the destruction of all the friends of religion in the country. Therefore I most humbly require of you, my lords, to tell the queen, in my name, that we, whom she, in her blind79 rage doth thus persecute, are the servants of God, faithful and obedient subjects of this realm, and that the religion which she would maintain by fire and sword, is not the true religion of Jesus Christ, but expresly contrary to the same; a superstitious device of men, which I offer myself to prove, against all who, in Scotland, maintain the contrary, freedom of debate being allowed, and the word of God being the judge. Tell her from me, that her enterprize shall not succeed in the end, for she fights not against man only, but against the eternal God, &c." Argyle and Moray promised to deliver this message, and Mr. Knox preached a sermon, exhorting them to constancy, adding, "I am persuaded that this promise" (meaning the promise she had made to do them no harm if they would leave the town peaceably) "shall be no longer kept than the queen and her Frenchmen can get the upper hand;" which accordingly happened when she took possession of the town, and put a garrison of French in it. This breach of promise disgusted the earls of Argyle and Moray to that degree, that they forsook her and joined the congregation. Having assembled with the laird of Dun and others, they sent for Mr. Knox, who, in his way to them preached in Crail in Anstruther, intending to preach next day at St. Andrews.

This design coming to the ears of the bishop, he raised 100 spear-men, and sent this message to the lords, "That if John Knox offered to preach there, he should have a warm military reception;" They, in their turn, forewarned Mr. Knox of his danger, and dissuaded him from going; he made answer, "God is my witness, that I never preached Jesus Christ in contempt of any man, neither am I concerned about going thither: tho' I would not willingly injure the worldly interest of any creature, I cannot, in conscience, delay preaching to-morrow, if I am not detained by violence; as for fear of danger to my person, let no man be solicitous about that, for my life is in the hand of him whose glory I seek, and therefore I fear not their threats, so as to cease from doing my duty, when of his mercy God offereth the occasion. I desire the hand and weapon of no man to defend me, only I crave audience, which if denied to me here, at this time, I must seek further where I may have it." The lords were satisfied that he should fulfil his intention, which he did, with such boldness and success (without any interruption), that the magistrates and people of the town immediately80 after sermon agreed to remove all monuments of idolatry; which they did, with great expedition.

After this, several skirmishes ensued between the queen and lords of the congregation. But at last, the queen sickened and died, and a general peace, which lasted for some time, was procured, during which, the commissioners of the Scots nobility (anno 1560), were employed in settling minsters in different places. Mr. Knox was appointed to Edinburgh, where he continued until the day of his death.

The same year the Scots confession was compiled and agreed upon; and that the church might be established upon a good foundation, a commission and charge was given to Mr. Knox and five others, to draw up a form of government and discipline of the church. When they had finished it, they presented it to the nobility, by whom it was afterwards ratified and approved of.

But this progress which was daily making in the reformation, soon met with a severe check by the arrival of queen Mary from France in August 1561.; with her came popery and all manner of profanity; the mass was again publicly set up, at which the religious part of the nation were highly offended, and none more than Mr. Knox, who ceased not to expose the evil and danger of it on every occasion: On which account the queen and court were much exasperated. They called him before them, and charged him as guilty of high treason. The queen being present, produced a letter, wrote by him, wherein it was alledged that he had convocated her majesty's lieges against law; whereupon a long reasoning ensued between him and secretary Lethington upon the contents of said letter; in which Mr. Knox gave such solid and bold answers, in defence of himself and doctrine, that at last he was acquitted by the lords of the council, to the no small displeasure of the queen and those of the popish party.

Mr. Knox, in a conference with the queen about this time, said, "If princes exceed their bounds, they may be resisted even by power, for there is no greater honour and obedience to be paid to princes than God hath commanded to be given to father and mother. If children join together against their father stricken with a frenzy, and seeking to slay his own children, apprehend him, take his sword or other weapons from him, bind his hands, and put him in prison till his frenzy overpass, do they any wrong, or will God be offended with them for hindering their father from committing horrible murder?—Even81 so, madam, if princes will murder the children of God their subjects, their blind zeal is but a mad frenzy. To take the sword from them, to bind them, and to cast them into prison till they be brought to a sober mind, is not disobedience, but just obedience, because it agreeeth with the word of God." The queen hearing this, stood for some time as one amazed, and changed countenance. No appearance was, at this time, of her imprisonment[33].

After the queen's marriage with Henry earl of Darnly, a proclamation was made in 1565, signifying, That forasmuch as certain rebels who, under the colour of religion, (meaning those who opposed the measures of the court) intended nothing but the subversion of the commonwealth, therefore they charged all manner of men, under pain of life, lands, and goods, to resort and meet their majesties at Linlithgow on the 24th of August. Upon Sabbath the 19th, the king came to the high church of Edinburgh, where Mr. Knox preached from these words, O Lord our Lord, other lords, beside thee, have had the dominion over us, &c. In his sermon he took occasion to speak of wicked princes, who, for the sins of a people, were sent as scourges upon them, and also said, "That God set in that room boys and women; and that God justly punished Ahab and his posterity, because he would not take order with the harlot Jezebel." These things enraged the king to a very high degree. Mr. Knox was immediately ordered before the council, who went thither attended by some of the most respectable citizens; when called in, the secretary signified that the king was much offended with some words in his sermons, (as above-mentioned), and ordered him to abstain from preaching for fifteen or twenty days; to which Mr. Knox answered, That he had spoken nothing but according to his text, and if the church would command him either to speak or refrain from speaking, he would obey so far as the word of God would permit him. Nevertheless, for this and another sermon which he preached before the lords, in which he shewed the bad consequences that would follow upon the queen's being married to a papist, he must be, by the queen's order, prohibited from preaching for a considerable time.

It cannot be expected, that we should enumerate all the indefatigable labours, and pertinent speeches which, on sundry occasions, he made to the queen, nor the opposition which he met with in promoting the work of reformation;82 these will be found at large in the histories of these times.

The popish faction now found, that it would be impossible to get their idolatry re-established, while the reformation was making such progress, and while Mr. Knox and his associates had such credit with the people.—They therefore set other engines to work, than these they had hitherto used; they spared no pains to blast his reputation by malicious calumnies, and even by making attempts upon his life; for, one night as he was sitting at the head of a table in his own house, with his back to the window, (as was his custom), he was fired at from the other side of the street, on purpose to kill him; the shot entered at the window, but he being near to the other side of the table, the assassin missed his mark; the bullet struck the candlestick before him, and made a hole in the foot of it: Thus was he that was with him, stronger than they that were against him.

Mr. Knox was an eminent wrestler with God in prayer, and like a prince prevailed; the queen regent herself gave him this testimony, when, upon a particular occasion, she said, She was more afraid of his prayers than of an army of ten thousand men. He was likewise warm and pathetic in his preaching, in which such prophetical expressions as dropt from him, had the most remarkable accomplishment; as an instance of this, when he was confined in the castle of St. Andrews, he foretold both the manner of their surrender, and their deliverance from the French gallies; and when the lords of the congregation were twice discomfited by the French army, he assured them, in the mean time, that the Lord would prosper the work of reformation. Again, when queen Mary refused to come and hear sermon, he bid them tell her, That she would yet be obliged to hear the word of God whether she would or not; which came to pass at her arraignment in England. At another time he thus addressed himself to her husband Henry, lord Darnly, while in the king's seat in the high church of Edinburgh, "Have you for the pleasure of that dainty dame cast the psalm book in the fire; the Lord shall strike both head and tail;" both king and queen died violent deaths. He likewise said, when the castle of Edinburgh held out for the queen against the regent, that "the castle should spue out the captain (meaning the laird of Grange) with shame, and that he should not come out at the gate, but over the wall, and that the tower called Davies tower should run like a sand-glass;" which was fulfilled in a83 few years after, the same captain being obliged to come over the wall on a ladder, with a staff in his hand, and the said forework of the castle running down like a sand brae.

On the 24th of January 1570, Mr. Knox being in the pulpit, a paper was put into his hands among others, containing the names of the sick people to be prayed for; the paper contained these words, "Take up the man whom you accounted another God," (this alluded to the earl of Moray who was slain the day before). Having read it he put it in his pocket, without shewing the least discomposure. After sermon, he lamented the loss which both church and state had met with in the death of that worthy nobleman, (meaning the regent) shewing, that God takes away good and wise rulers from a people in his wrath, and, at last, said, "There is one in the company who maketh that horrible murder, at which all good men have occasion to be sorrowful, the subject of his mirth; I tell him, he shall die in a strange land, where he shall not have a friend near him to hold up his head," One Mr. Thomas Maitland being the author of that insulting speech, and hearing what Mr. Knox said, confessed the whole to his sister the lady Trabrown, but said, That John Knox was raving to speak of he knew not whom; she replied with tears, That none of Mr. Knox's threatenings fell to the ground. This gentleman afterwards went abroad, and died in Italy, on his way to Rome, having no man to assist him.

Mr. Knox's popularity was now so well established, that the malignant party, finding it impossible to alienate the hearts of the people from him, began now openly to work his destruction, fortifying the town and castle with their garrisons; they vented their malice against him by many furious threatenings. Upon which he was urged by his friends to leave Edinburgh for his own safety, which at last he did in May 1571, and went to St. Andrews, where the earl of Morton (who was then regent), urged him to inaugurate the arch-bishop of that see. This he declined, with solemn protestations against it, and denounced an anathema on the giver and receiver. Though he was then very weak in body, he would not refrain from preaching, and was obliged to be supported by his servant Richard Bannantyne, in going to church; and, when in the pulpit, he behoved to rest sometime before he could proceed to preach, but before he ended his sermon, he became so vigorous and active, that he was like to have broken the pulpit to pieces.

84 Here he continued till the end of August 1572, when the civil broils were a little abated, upon which receiving a letter from Edinburgh, he returned to his flock. He was now much oppressed with the infirmities of old age, and the extraordinary fatigues he had undergone; the death of the good regent, the earl of Moray, had made deep impressions on him, but when he heard of the massacre of Paris[34], and the murder of the good admiral Coligni, these melancholy news almost deprived him of his life. Upon finding his dissolution approaching, he prevailed with the council and kirk-session of Edinburgh, to concur with him in admitting one Mr. James Lawson as his successor, who was at that time professor of philosophy in the college of Aberdeen; he wrote a letter to Mr. Lawson, intreating him to accept of this charge, adding this postscript, Accelera, mi frater, alioqui sero venies, i. e. Make haste, my brother, otherwise you will come too late, meaning, that if he came not speedily, he would find him dead: which words had this effect on Mr. Lawson, that he set out immediately, making all possible haste to Edinburgh, where, after he had preached twice to the full satisfaction of the people, the ninth of November was appointed for his admission unto that congregation. Mr. Knox (though then still weaker) preached upon that occasion with much power, and with the greatest comfort to the hearers. In the close of his sermon, he called God to witness, that he had walked in a good conscience among them, not seeking to please men, nor serving his own nor other men's inclinations, but in all sincerity and truth preaching the gospel of Christ. Then praising God, who had given them one in his room, he exhorted them to stand fast in the faith they had received, and having prayed fervently for the divine blessing upon them, and the increase of the Spirit upon their new pastor, he gave them his last farewel, with which the congregation were much affected.

Being carried home, that same day he was confined to his bed, and, on the thirteenth of the month, was so enfeebled85 that he was obliged to lay aside his ordinary reading of the scripture. The next day he would rise out of bed, being asked, what he intended by getting out of bed? he replied, he would go to church, thinking that had been the Lord's day; he told them, he had been all the night meditating upon the resurrection of Christ, which he should have preached on in order after the death of Christ, which he had finished the sabbath before. He had often desired of God, that he would end his days in teaching, and meditating upon that doctrine; which desire seems to have been granted to him. Upon monday the 17th, the elders and deacons being come to him, he said, "The time is approaching, for which I have long thirsted, wherein I shall be relieved and be free from all cares, and be with my Saviour for ever; and now, God is my witness, whom I have served with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that I have taught nothing but the true and solid doctrines of the gospel, and that the end which I purposed in all my doctrine, was to instruct the ignorant, to confirm the weak, to comfort the consciences of those that were humbled under the sense of their sins, and to denounce the threatenings of God's word against such as were rebellious. I am not ignorant, that many have blamed me, and yet do blame my too great rigour and severity, but God knoweth, that, in my heart, I never hated the persons of those against whom I thundered God's judgments; I did only hate their sins, and laboured, according to my power, to gain them to Christ; that I did forbear none of whatsoever condition, I did it out of the fear of my God, who placed me in this function of the ministry, and I know will bring me to an account." Then he exhorted them to constancy, and intreated them never to join with the wicked, but rather to choose with David to flee to the mountains, than to remain with such company. After this exhortation to the elders and deacons, he charged Mr. David Lindsay and Mr. James Lawson to take heed to feed the flock over which the Holy Ghost had made them overseers: To Mr. Lawson in particular, he said, "Fight the good fight, do the work of the Lord with courage and with a willing mind; and God from above bless you and the church whereof you have the charge, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail." Then by prayer he recommended the whole company present to the grace of God, and afterwards desired his wife, or Richard Bannantyne to read the 17th chapter of John, a chapter of the Ephesians, and the 33d86 chapter of Isaiah daily, after he was unable to read himself: Sometimes he desired part of Mr. Calvin's sermons in French to be read to him. One time when reading these sermons, they supposed him to be sleeping, and asked him, If he heard what was read? he replied, "I hear, I praise God, and understand far better."

One day after this, Mr. David Lindsay coming to see him, he said unto him "Well, brother, I thank God I have desired all this day to have had you, that I might send you to that man in the castle, the laird of Grange, whom you know I have loved dearly. Go, I pray you, and tell him from me, in the name of God, that unless he leave that evil course wherein he has entered, neither shall that rock (meaning the castle of Edinburgh, which he then kept out against the king) afford him any help, nor the carnal wisdom of that man, whom he counteth half a god (meaning young Lethington), but he shall be pulled out of that nest, and brought down over the wall with shame, and his carcase shall be hung before the sun, so God hath assured me." When Mr. David delivered this message, the captain seemed to be much moved, but after a little conference with Lethington, he returned to Mr. Lindsay, and dismissed him with a disdainful countenance and answer. When he reported this to Mr. Knox, he said, "Well, I have been earnest with my God anent that man, I am sorry that it should so befal his body, yet God assureth me, there is mercy for his soul. But for the other (meaning Lethington), I have no warrant to say that it shall be well with him." The truth of this seemed to appear in a short time thereafter; for it was thought that Lethington poisoned himself to escape public punishment; he lay unburied in the steeple of Leith until his body was quite corrupted; but Sir William Kirkaldie of Grange was, on the third of August next, executed at the cross of Edinburgh; he caused Mr. Lindsay to repeat Mr. Knox's words concerning him a little before his execution, and was much comforted by them; he said to Mr. Lindsay, (who accompanied him to the scaffold) "I hope, when men shall think I am gone, I shall give a token of the assurance of God's mercy to my soul, according to the speech of that man of God." Accordingly, when he was cast over the ladder, with his face towards the east, when all present thought he was dead, he lifted up his hands, which were bound, and let them fall softly down again, as if praising God for his great mercy towards him.87 See Spotswood's history, page 266, 272. and Calderwood's history, page 62, 63.

Another of Mr. Knox's visitors desired him to praise God for the good he had done. He answered, "Flesh of itself is too proud, and needs nothing to puff it up," and protested that he only laid claim to the free mercy of God in Christ among others. To the earl of Morton (who was then about to receive the regency, the earl of Moray being dead) he was heard to say, "My lord, God hath given you many blessings; he hath given you high honour, birth, great riches, many good friends, and is now to prefer you to the government of the realm: In his name, I charge you, that you will use these blessings better in time to come, than you have done in time past: in all your actions seek first the glory of God, the furtherance of his gospel, the maintenance of his church and ministry, and then be careful of the king, to procure his good and the welfare of the kingdom. If you act thus, God will be with you; if otherwise, he shall deprive you of all these benefits, and your end shall be shameful and ignominious." This threatening, Morton, to his melancholy experience, confessed was literally accomplished. At his execution in June 1581, he called to mind Mr. Knox's words, and acknowledged, that in what he had said to him he had been a true prophet.

Upon the Lord's day, November 23, after he had lain for some time very quiet, he said, "If any man be present, let him come and see the work of God;" for he thought (as was supposed) then to have expired. His servant having been sent for Mr. Johnston writer, he burst forth into these words, "I have been in meditation these two last nights upon the troubled kirk of God, despised in the world, but precious in his fight. I have called to God for her, and commended her to Christ her head: I have been fighting against Satan, who is ever ready for the assault; I have fought against spiritual wickednesses and have prevailed; I have been as it were in heaven, and have tasted of its joys." After sermon, several persons came to visit him; one asked him (upon perceiving his breathing shortened), If he had any pain? He answered, "I have no more pain than he that is now in heaven, and am content, if it please God, to lie here seven years." Many times, when he was lying as if asleep, he was in meditation, and was heard to say, "Lord, grant true pastors to thy church, that purity of doctrine may be retained. Restore peace again to this commonwealth,88 with godly rulers and magistrates. O serve the Lord in fear, and death shall not be troublesome to you. Blessed is the death of those that have part in the death of Jesus. Come, Lord Jesus, sweet Jesus, into thy hand I commend my spirit."

That night, Dr. Preston being come to him, and was told by some of his constant attendants that he was often very uneasy in his sleep, the doctor asked him after he awoke, how he did, and what made him mourn so heavily in his sleep, he answered, "In my life-time, I have been often assaulted by Satan, and many times he hath cast my sins in my teeth, to bring me to despair; yet God gave me strength to overcome his temptations: and now that subtile serpent, who never ceaseth to tempt, hath taken another course, and seeks to persuade me, that all my labours in the ministry, and the fidelity I have showed in that service have merited heaven and immortality. But blessed be God, that he hath brought to my mind that scripture, What hast thou that thou hast not received, and not I, but the grace of God which is in me, with which he hath gone away ashamed, and shall no more return, and now I am sure my battle is at an end, and that I shall shortly, without pain of body or trouble of spirit, change this mortal and miserable life, for that happy and immortal life that shall never have an end."

Having, some time before, given orders for making his coffin, he rose out of bed, Nov. 24. about ten o'clock, and put on his hose and doublet, and sat up about the space of half an hour, and then returned to bed again. Being asked by Kingincleugh, if he had any pain, he answered, "No pain, but such as, I trust, will soon put an end to this battle, yea, I do not esteem that pain to me, which is the beginning of eternal joy." In the afternoon he caused his wife to read the 15th chapter of 1 Cor. When it was ended, he said, "Is not that a comfortable chapter?" A little after, "I commend my soul, spirit and body into thy hands, O Lord." About five o'clock at night, he said to his wife, "Go, read where I cast my first anchor;" this was the 17th chapter of John, which she read, together with part of Calvin's sermons on the Ephesians. They then went to prayer, after which Dr. Preston asked him, If he heard the prayer? he answered, "Would to God that you and all men had heard it as I have done; I praise God for that heavenly sound;" adding, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." His servant, Richard Bannantyne, hearing him give a long sigh, said, "Now, Sir, the time89 you have long called to God for, doth instantly come, and, seeing all natural power fails, give us some sign, that you live upon the comfortable promises which you have so often shewed to us." At this speech he lifted up one of his hands, and immediately after, without any struggle, as one falling asleep, he departed this life about eleven o'clock at night, finishing his Christian warfare, he entered into the joy of his Lord, to receive a crown of righteousness prepared for him (and such as him), from before the foundation of the world.

He was buried in the church-yard of St. Giles (now that square called the parliament closs), upon Wednesday the 26th of November. His funeral was attended by the earl of Morton regent, other lords, and a great multitude of people of all ranks. When he was laid in the grave, the earl of Morton said, "There lies a man, who, in his life, never feared the face of man: who hath been often threatened with dag and dagger, but hath ended his days in peace and honour."

He was low in stature and of a weakly constitution, which made Mr. Thomas Smeaton, one of his contemporaries, say, "I know not if ever God placed a more godly and great spirit in a body so little and frail. I am certain, that there can scarcely be found another, in whom more gifts of the Holy Ghost for the comfort of the church of Scotland, did shine. No one spared himself less, no one more diligent in the charge committed to him, and yet no one was more the object of the hatred of wicked men, and more vexed with the reproach of evil speakers; but this was so far from abating, that it rather strengthened his courage and resolution in the ways of God." Beza calls him the great apostle of the Scots. His faithfulness in reproving sin, in a manner that shewed he was not to be awed by the fear of man, made up the most remarkable part of his character, and the success wherewith the Lord blessed his labours, was very singular, and is enough to stop the mouth of every enemy against him.

His works are, an admonition to England; an application to the Scots nobility, &c.; a letter to Mary the queen-regent, a history of the reformation; a treatise on predestination, the first and second blast of the trumpet; a sermon preached August 1565, on account of which he was for some time prohibited from preaching. He left also sundry manuscripts, sermons, tracts, &c. which have never been printed.


90

The Life of Mr. George Buchanan.

George Buchanan was born in Lennoxshire (commonly called the sheriffdom of Dumbarton), in Scotland, in a country town, situated near the river or water of Blane[35], in the year of our Lord 1506, about the beginning of February, of a family rather ancient than rich. His father died of the stone, in the flower of his age, whilst his grandfather was yet alive, by whose extravagance, the family, which was below before, was now almost reduced to the extremity of want. Yet such was the frugal care of his mother Agnes Herriot, that she brought up five sons and three daughters to men's and women's estate. Of the five sons, George was one. His uncle, James Herriot, perceiving his promising ingenuity in their own country schools, took him from thence, and sent him to Paris. There he applied himself to his studies, and especially to poetry; having partly a natural genius that way, and partly out of necessity, (because it was the only method of study propounded to him in his youth). Before he had been there two years, his uncle died, and he himself fell dangerously sick; and being in extreme want, was forced to go home to his friends. After his return to Scotland, he spent almost a year in taking care of his health; then he went into the army, with some French auxiliaries, newly arrived in Scotland, to learn the military art: But that expedition proving fruitless, and those forces being reduced by the deep snow of a very severe winter, he relapsed into such an illness as confined him all that season to his bed. Early in the spring he was sent to St. Andrews, to hear the lectures of John Major, who, though very old, read logic, or rather sophistry, in that university. The summer after, he accompanied him into France; and there he fell into the troubles of the Lutheran sect, which then began to increase. He struggled with the difficulties of fortune almost two years, and at last was admitted into the Barbaran college, where he was grammar professor almost three years. During that time, Gilbert Kennedy, earl of Cassils, one of the young Scottish nobles, being in that country, was91 much taken with his ingenuity and acquaintance; so that he entertained him for five years, and brought him back with him into Scotland.

Afterwards, having a mind to return to Paris to his old studies, he was detained by the king, and made tutor to James his natural son. In the mean time, an elegy made by him, at leisure times, came into the hands of the Franciscans; wherein he writes, that he was solicited in a dream by St. Francis, to enter into his order. In this poem there were one or two passages that reflected on them very severely; which those ghostly fathers, notwithstanding their profession of meekness and humility, took more heinously, than men (having obtained such a vogue for piety among the vulgar) ought to have done, upon so small an occasion of offence. But finding no just grounds for their unbounded fury, they attacked him upon the score of religion; which was their common way of terrifying those they did not wish well to. Thus, whilst they indulged their impotent malice, they made him, who was not well affected to them before, a greater enemy to their licentiousness, and rendered him more inclinable to the Lutheran cause. In the mean time, the king, with Magdalen his wife, came from France, not without the resentment of the priesthood; who were afraid that the royal lady, having been bred up under her aunt the queen of Navarre, should attempt some innovation in religion. But this fear soon vanished upon her death, which followed shortly after.

Next, there arose jealousies at court about some of the nobility, who were thought to have conspired against the king; and, in that matter, the king being persuaded the Franciscans dealt insincerely, he commanded Buchanan, who was then at court, (though he was ignorant of the disgusts betwixt him and that order), to write a satyr upon them. He was loath to offend either of them, and therefore, though he made a poem, yet it was but short, and such as might admit of a doubtful interpretation, wherein he satisfied neither party; not the king, who would have had a sharp and stinging invective; nor the fathers neither, who looked on it as a capital offence, to have any thing said of them but what was honourable. So that receiving a second command to write more pungently against them, he began that miscellany, which now bears the title of The Franciscan, and gave it to the king. But shortly after, being made acquainted by his friends at court, that cardinal Beaton sought his life, and had offered the king a sum92 of money as a price for his head, he escaped out of prison, and fled for England[36]. But there also things were at such an uncertainty, that the very same day, and almost with one and the same fire, the men of both factions (protestants and papists) were burnt; Henry VIII. in his old age, being more intent on his own security, than the purity or reformation of religion. This uncertainty of affairs in England, seconded by his ancient acquaintance with the French, and the courtesy natural to them, drew him again into that kingdom.

As soon as he came to Paris, he found cardinal Beaton, his utter enemy, ambassador there; so that, to withdraw himself from his fury, at the invitation of Andrew Govean, he went to Bourdeaux.——There he taught three years in the schools, which were erected at the public cost. In that time he composed four tragedies, which were afterwards occasionally published. But that which he wrote first, called The Baptist, was printed last, and next the Medea of Euripides. He wrote them in compliance with the custom of the school, which was to have a play written once a-year, that the acting of them might wean the French youth from allegories, to which they had taken a false taste, and bring them back, as much as possible, to a just imitation of the ancients. This affair succeeding even almost beyond his hopes, he took more pains in compiling the other two tragedies, called Jephtha and Alcestes, because he thought they would fall under a severer scrutiny of the learned. And yet, during this time, he was not wholly free from trouble, being harassed with the menaces of the cardinal on the one side, and of the Franciscans on the other: For the cardinal had wrote letters to the arch-bishop of Bourdeaux, to apprehend him; but, providentially, those letters fell into the hands of Buchanan's best friends. However, the death of the king of Scots, and the plague, which then raged over all Aquitain, dispelled that fear.

In the interim, an express came to Govean from the king of Portugal, commanding him to return, and bring with him some men, learned both in the Greek and Latin93 tongues, that they might read the liberal arts, and especially the principles of the Aristotelian philosophy, in those schools which he was then building with a great deal of care and expence. Buchanan, being addressed to, readily contented to go for one. For, whereas he saw that all Europe besides, was either actually in foreign or domestic wars, or just upon the point of being so, that one corner of the world was, in his opinion, likeliest to be free from tumults and combustions; and besides his companions in that journey were such, that they seemed rather his acquaintances and familiar friends, than strangers or aliens to him: for many of them had been his intimates for several years, and are well known to the world by their learned works, as Micholaus Gruchius, Gulielmus Garentæus, Jacobus Tevius, and Elias Vinetus. This was the reason that he did not only make one of their society, but also persuaded a brother of his, called Patrick, to do the same. And truly the matter succeeded excellently well at first, till, in the midst of the enterprize, Andrew Govean was taken away by a sudden death, which proved mighty prejudicial to his companions: For, after his decease, all their enemies endeavoured first to ensnare them by treachery, and soon after ran violently upon them as it were with open mouth; and their agents and instruments being great enemies to the accused, they laid hold of three of them, and haled them to prison; whence, after a long and lothsome confinement, they were called out to give in their answers, and, after many bitter taunts, were remanded to prison again; and yet no accuser did appear in court against them. As for Buchanan, they insulted most bitterly over him, as being a stranger, and knowing also, that he had very few friends in that country, who would either rejoice in his prosperity, sympathize with his grief, or revenge the wrongs offered to him. The crime laid to his charge, was the poem he wrote against the Franciscans; which he himself, before he went from France, took care to get excused to the king of Portugal; neither did his accusers perfectly know what it was, for he had given but one copy of it to the king of Scots, by whose command he wrote it. They farther objected "his eating of flesh in Lent;" though there is not a man in all Spain but uses the same liberty. Besides, he had given some sly side blows to the monks, which, however, nobody but a monk himself could well except against.

Moreover, they took it heinously ill, that, in a certain familiar discourse with some young Portuguese gentlemen, upon mention made of the Eucharist, he should affirm,94 that, in his judgment, Austin was more inclinable to the party condemned by the church of Rome. Two other witnesses (as some years after it came to his knowledge), viz. John Tolpin, a Norman, and John Ferrerius of Sub alpine Liguria, had witnessed against him, that they had heard from divers creditable persons, "That Buchanan was not orthodox as to the Roman faith and religion."

But to return to the matter; after the inquisitors had wearied both themselves and him for almost half a year, at last, that they might not seem to have causelesly vexed a man of some name and note in the world, they shut him up in a monastery for some months, there to be more exactly disciplined and instructed by the monks, who (to give them their due), though very ignorant in all matters of religion, were men otherwise neither bad in their morals, nor rude in their behaviour.

This was the time he took to form the principal part of David's psalms into Latin verse. At last he was set at liberty; and sueing for a pass, and accommodations from the crown, to return into France, the king desired him to stay where he was, and allotted him a little sum for daily necessaries and pocket expences, till some better provision might be made for his subsistence. But he, tired out with delay, as being put off to no certain time, nor on any sure grounds of hope; and having got the opportunity of a passage in a ship then riding in the bay of Lisbon, was carried over into England. He made no long stay in that country, though fair offers were made him there; for he saw that all things were in a hurry and combustion, under a very young king; the nobles at variance one with another, and the minds of the commons yet in a ferment, upon the account of their civil combustions. Whereupon he returned into France, about the time that the siege of Metz was raised. There he was in a manner compelled by his friends to write a poem concerning that siege; which he did, though somewhat unwillingly, because he was loth to interfere with several of his acquaintances, and especially with Mellinus Sangelasius, who had composed a learned and elegant poem on that subject. From thence he was called over into Italy, by Charles de Cosse of Brescia, who then managed matters with very good success in the Gallic and Ligustic countries about the Po. He lived with him and his son Timoleon, sometimes in Italy, and sometimes in France, the space of five years, till the year 1560; the greatest part of which time he spent in the study of the holy scriptures, that so he might be able to make a more exact95 judgment of the controversies in religion, which employed the thoughts, and took up all the time of most of the men of these days. It is true, these disputes were silenced a little in Scotland, when that kingdom was freed from the tyranny of the Guises of France; so he returned thither, and became a member of the church of Scotland, 1560[37].

Some of his writings, in former times, being, as it were, redeemed from shipwreck, were by him collected and published: the rest, which were scattered up and down in the hands of his friends, he committed to the disposal of providence[38]. After his return, he professed philosophy in St. Andrews, and in the year 1565, he was appointed tutor to James VI. king of Scotland; and in 1568, went with the regent to the court of England, at which time and place he did no small honour to his country.

Sir James Melvil, in his memoirs, page 234, gives him the following character.—"He was a Stoic philosopher, who looked not far before him; too easy in his old age; somewhat revengeful against those who had offended him:" But notwithstanding, "a man of notable endowments, great learning, and an excellent Latin poet; he was much honoured in foreign countries; pleasant in conversation, into which he happily introduced short moral maxims, which his invention readily supplied him with upon any emergency. He was buried at Edinburgh in the common place, though worthy to have been laid in marble, as in his life pompous monuments he used to contemn and despise."


96

The Life of Mr. Robert Rollock.

Mr. Rollock was descended from the antient family of the Livingstons. He was born about the year 1555. His father, David Rollock, sent him to Stirling to be educated for the university under Thomas Buchanan, where his genius, modesty and sweetness of temper soon procured to him the particular friendship of his master, which subsisted ever after. From this school, he went to the university of St Andrews, where he prosecuted his studies for four years; at the end of which, his progress had been so great, that he was chosen professor of philosophy, the duties of which office he discharged with applause for other four years, until, about the year 1583, he was invited, by the magistrates of Edinburgh, to a profession in their university, which was, not long before this time, founded by K. James VI. He complied with their invitation, at the earnest desire of Mr James Lawson, who succeeded Mr Knox. His reputation, as a teacher, soon drew a number of students to that college, which was soon afterwards much enlarged, by being so conveniently situated in the capital of the kingdom. At first he had the principal weight of academical business laid upon him, but in process of time, other professors were chosen from among the scholars which he educated. After which, his chief employment was to exercise the office of principal, by superintending the several classes, to observe the proficiency of the scholars, to compose such differences as would arise among them, and to keep every one to his duty. Thus was the principality of that college, in his time, a useful institution, and not what it is now, little better than a mere sine-cure.—Every morning, he called the students together, when he prayed among them, and one day in the week, he explained some passage of scripture to them, in the close of which, he was frequently very warm in his exhortations, which wrought more reformation upon the students, than all the laws which were made, or discipline which was exercised besides. After the lecture was over, it was his custom to reprove such as had been guilty of any misdemeanour through the week. How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! He was likewise very attentive to such as were advanced in their studies, and intended the ministry. His care was productive97 of much good to the church. He was as diligent in his own studies, as he was careful to promote those of others.—Notwithstanding all this business in the university, he preached every Lord's day in the church, with such fervency and demonstration of the Spirit, that he became the instrument of converting many to God. About this time he also wrote several commentaries on different passages of scripture. His exposition of the epistles to the Romans and Ephesians, coming into the hands of the learned Beza, he wrote to a friend of his, telling him, That he had an incomparable treasure, which for its judiciousness, brevity and elegance of style had few equals.

He was chosen moderator to the assembly held at Dundee, anno 1567, wherein matters went not altogether in favours of Presbytery; but this cannot be imputed to him, although Calderwood in his history, page 403. calls him "a man simple in matters of the church," He was one of those commissioned by the assembly to wait on his majesty about seating the churches of Edinburgh, but in the mean time he sickened, and was confined to his house. Afterwards, at the entreaty of his friends, he went to the country for the benefit of the air; at first he seemed as if growing better, but his distemper soon returned upon him with greater violence than before: This confined him to his bed. He committed his wife (for he had no children) to the care of his friends. He desired two noblemen, who came to visit him, to go to the king, and intreat him in his name to take care of religion and preserve it to the end, and that he would esteem and comfort the pastors of the church; for the ministry of Christ, though low and base in the eyes of men, yet it should at length shine with great glory. When the ministers of Edinburgh came to him, he spoke of the sincerity of his intentions in every thing done by him, in discharge of the duties belonging to the office with which he had been vested. As night drew on, his distemper increased, and together therewith his religious fervor was likewise augmented. When the physicians were preparing some medicines, he said, "Thou, Lord, wilt heal me;" and then began, praying for the pardon of his sins through Christ, and professed that he counted all things but dung for the cross of Christ. He prayed farther, that he might have the presence of God in his departure, saying, "Hitherto have I seen thee darkly, through the glass of thy word: O Lord, grant that I may have the eternal enjoyment of thy countenance, which I have so much desired and longed for;" and then spoke of the resurrection98 and eternal life, after which he blessed and exhorted every one present according as their respective circumstances required.

The day following, when the magistrates of Edinburgh came to see him, he exhorted them to take care of the university, and nominated a successor to himself. He recommended his wife to them, declaring, that he had not laid up one halfpenny of his stipend, and therefore hoped they would provide for her; to which request they assented, and promised to see her comfortably supplied. After this he said, "I bless God, that I have all my senses entire, but my heart is in heaven, and, Lord Jesus, why shouldst not thou have it? it has been my care, all my life, to dedicate it to thee; I pray thee, take it, that I may live with thee for ever." Then, after a little sleep, he awaked, crying, "Come, Lord Jesus, put an end to this miserable life; haste, Lord, and tarry not; Christ hath redeemed me, not unto a frail and momentary life, but unto eternal life. Come, Lord Jesus, and give that life for which thou hast redeemed me." Some of the people present, bewailing their condition when he should be taken away, he said unto them, "I have gone through all the degrees of this life, and am come to my end, why should I go back again? help me, O Lord, that I may go thro' this last degree with thy assistance, &c." And when some told him, that the next day was the Sabbath, he said, "O Lord, shall I begin my eternal Sabbath from thy Sabbath here." Next morning, feeling his death approaching, he sent for Mr. Balcanquhal, who, in prayer with him, desired the Lord, if he pleased, to spare his life, for the good of the church, he said, "I am weary of this life; all my desire is, that I may enjoy the celestial life, that is hid with Christ in God," And, a little after, "Haste, Lord, and do not tarry, I am weary both of nights and days. Come, Lord Jesus, that I may come to thee. Break these eye-strings and give me others. I desire to be dissolved, and to be with thee. O Lord Jesus, thrust thy hand into my body and take my soul to thyself. O my sweet Lord, let this soul of mine free, that it may enjoy her husband." And when one of the by-standers said, Sir, let nothing trouble you, for now your Lord makes haste, he said, "O welcome message, would to God, my funeral might be to-morrow." And thus he continued in heavenly meditation and prayer, till he resigned up his spirit to God, anno 1598, in the 54d year of his age.

99 His works are, a commentary on some select psalms, on the prophecy of Daniel, and the gospel of John, with its harmony. He wrote also on the epistle to the Ephesians, Colossians, Thessalonians, and Galatians; an analysis of the epistles to the Romans and the Hebrews, with respect to effectual calling.


The Life of Mr. John Craig.

Mr. John Craig, was a man of considerable learning and singular abilities; he travelled abroad in his youth, and was frequently delivered out of very great dangers, by the kind interposition of a gracious providence; an instance of which we have while he was in Italy: Being obliged to fly out of that country, on account of his regard for the reformation, in order to avoid being apprehended, he was obliged to lurk in obscure places in the day-time, and travel over night; by this means any little money he had was soon exhausted, and being in the extremity of want, a dog brought a purse to him with some gold in it, by which he was supported until he escaped the danger of being taken.

After his return home, he was settled minister at Edinburgh, where he continued many years, and met with many trials of his fortitude and fidelity. In the year 1567, the earl of Bothwel, having obtained a divorce from his lawful wife, as preparatory to his marriage with queen Mary she sent a letter to Mr. Craig, commanding him to publish the banns of matrimony betwixt her and Bothwel. But the next sabbath, having declared at length that he had received such a command, he added, that he could not in conscience obey it, the marriage being altogether unlawful, and that he would declare to the parties if present. He was immediately sent for by Bothwel, unto whom he declared his reasons with great boldness, and the very next Lord's day, he told the people what he had said before the council, and took heaven and earth to witness, that he detested that scandalous marriage, and that he had discharged his duty to the lords, &c. Upon this, he was again called before the council, and reproved by them as having exceeded the bounds of his calling, he boldly answered, that "the bounds of his commission was the word of God, right reason, and good laws, against which he100 had said nothing;" and by all these offered to prove the said marriage scandalous, at which he was stopt, and set out of the council.

Thus Mr. Craig continued, not only a firm friend to the reformation, but a bold opposer of every incroachment made upon the crown and dignity of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the year 1584, when an act of parliament was made that all ministers, masters of colleges, &c. should within forty-eight hours, compear and subscribe the act of parliament, concerning the king's power over all estates spiritual and temporal, and submit themselves to the bishops, &c. Upon which, Mr. Craig, John Brand and some others were called before the council, and interrogate, how he could be so bold as to controvert the late act of parliament? Mr. Craig answered, That they would find fault with any thing repugnant to God's word; at which, the earl of Arran started up on his feet, and said, They were too pert; that he would shave their head, pair their nails, and cut their toes, and make them an example unto all who should disobey the king's command and his council's orders, and forthwith charged them to appear before the king at Falkland, on the 4th of September following.

Upon their appearance at Falkland, they were again accused of transgressing the foresaid act of parliament, and disobeying the bishop's injunctions, when there arose some hot speeches betwixt Mr. Craig and the bishop of St. Andrews, at which the earl of Arran spake again most outrageously against Mr. Craig, who coolly replied, That there had been as great men set up higher, that had been brought low. Arran returned, "I shall make thee of a false friar a true prophet;" and sitting down on his knee, he said, "Now am I humbled." "Nay," said Mr. Craig, "Mock the servants of God as thou wilt, God will not be mocked, but shall make thee find it in earnest, when thou shalt be cast down from the high horse of thy pride, and humbled." This came to pass a few years after, when he was thrown off his horse with a spear, by James Douglas of Parkhead, killed, and his corpse exposed to dogs and swine, before it was buried.

Mr. Craig was forthwith discharged to preach any more in Edinburgh, and the bishop of St. Andrews was appointed to preach in his place; but as soon as he entered the great church of Edinburgh, the whole congregation (except a few court-parasites) went out.—It was not long before Mr. Craig was restored to his place and office.

101 In the year 1591, when the earl of Bothwel and his accomplices, on the 27th of December, came to the king and chancellor's chamber-doors with fire, and to the queen's with a hammer, in the palace of Holyrood-house, with a design to seize the king and the chancellor. Mr. Craig upon the 29th, preaching before the king upon the two brazen mountains in Zechariah, said, "As the king had lightly regarded the many bloody shirts presented to him by his subjects craving justice, so God, in his providence, had made a noise of crying and fore-hammers to come to his own doors." The king would have the people to stay after sermon, that he might purge himself, and said "If he had thought his hired servant (meaning Mr. Craig who was his own minister) would have dealt in that manner with him, he should not have suffered him so long in his house." Mr. Craig, (by reason of the throng) not hearing what he said, went away.

In the year 1595, Mr. Craig being quite worn out by his labours and the infirmities of age, the king's commissioner presented some articles to the general assembly, wherein, amongst other things, he craved, That, in respect Mr. Craig is awaiting what hour God shall please to call him, and is unable to serve any longer, and His Majesty designing to place John Duncanson with the prince, therefore his highness desired an ordinance to be made, granting any two ministers he shall choose; which was accordingly done, and Mr. Craig died a short time after this.

Mr. Craig will appear, from these short memoirs, to have been a man of uncommon resolution and activity. He was employed in the most part of the affairs of the church during the reign of queen Mary and in the beginning of that of her son. He compiled the national covenant, and a catechism, commonly called Craig's catechism, which was first printed by order of the assembly, in the year 1591.


The Life of Mr. David Black.

Mr. Black was for some time colleague to the worthy Mr. Andrew Melvil minister at St. Andrews. He was remarkable for zeal and fidelity in the discharge of his duty as a minister, applying his doctrine closely against the corruptions of that age, prevailing either among the highest or lowest of the people; in consequence of which,102 he was, in the year 1596, cited before the council for some expressions uttered in a sermon, alledged to strike against the queen and council. But his brethren in the ministry thinking, that, by this method of procedure with him, the spiritual government of the house of God was intended to be subverted, they resolved that Mr. Black should decline answering the king and council, and, that in the mean time, the brethren should be preparing themselves to prove from the holy scriptures, That the judgment of all doctrine in the first instance, belonged to the pastors of the church.

Accordingly Mr. Black, on the 18th of Nov 1596. gave in a declinature to the council to this effect, That he was able to defend all that he had said, yet, seeing his answering before them to that accusation, might be prejudicial to the liberties of the church, and would be taken for an acknowledgment of his majesty's jurisdiction in matters merely spiritual, he was constrained to decline that judicatory. 1. Because the Lord Jesus Christ had given him his word for a rule, and that therefore he could not fall under the civil law, but in so far as, after trial, he should be found to have passed from his instructions, which trial only belonged to the prophets, &c. 2. The liberties of the church and discipline presently exercised, were confirmed by divers acts of parliament, approved of by the confession of faith, and the office-bearers of the church, were now in the peaceable possession thereof; that the question of his preaching ought first, according to the grounds and practice foresaid, to be judged by the ecclesiastical senate, as the competent judges thereof at the first instance. This declinature, with a letter sent by the different presbyteries, were, in a short time, subscribed by between three and four hundred ministers, all assenting to and approving of it.

The commissioners of the general assembly then sitting at Edinburgh, knowing that the king was displeased at this proceeding, sent some of their number to speak with his majesty, unto whom he answered, That if Mr. Black would pass from his declinature he would pass from the summons; but this they would not consent to do. Upon which, the king caused summon Mr. Black again on the 27th of November, to the council to be held on the 30th. This summons was given with sound of trumpet and open proclamation at the cross of Edinburgh; and the same day, the commissioners of the assembly were ordered to depart thence in twenty-four hours, under pain of rebellion.

Before the day of Mr. Black's second appearance before the council, he prepared a still more explicit declinature,103 especially as it respected the king's supremacy, declaring, That there are two jurisdictions in the realm, the one spiritual and the other civil; the one respecting the conscience and the other concerning external things; the one persuading by the spiritual word, the other compelling by the temporal sword; the one spiritually procuring the edification of the church, the other by justice procuring the peace and quiet of the commonwealth, which being grounded in the light of nature, proceeds from God as he is Creator, and is so termed by the apostle, 1 Pet. ii. but varying according to the constitution of men; the other above nature grounded upon the grace of redemption, proceeding immediately from the grace of Christ, only king and only head of his church, Eph. 1. Col. ii. Therefore in so far as he was one of the spiritual office-bearers, and had discharged his spiritual calling in some measure of grace and sincerity, he should not, and could not lawfully be judged for preaching and applying the word of God by any civil power, he being an ambassador and messenger of the Lord Jesus, having his commission from the king of kings, and all his commission is set down and limited in the word of God, that cannot be extended or abridged by any mortal, king or emperor, they being sheep, not pastors, and to be judged by the word of God, and not the judges thereof.

A decree of council was passed against him, upon which his brethren of the commission directed their doctrine against the council. The king sent a message to the commissioners, signifying, That he would rest satisfied with Mr. Black's simple declaration of the truth; but Mr. Bruce and the rest replied, That if the affair concerned Mr. Black alone, they should be content, but the liberty of Christ's kingdom had received such a wound by the proclamation of last Saturday, that if Mr. Black's life and a dozen of others besides, had been taken, it had not grieved the hearts of the godly so much, and that either these things behoved to be retracted, or they would oppose so long as they had breath. But, after a long process, no mitigation of the council's severity could be obtained, for Mr. Black was charged by a macer to enter his person in ward, on the north of the Tay, there to remain on his own expence during his majesty's pleasure; and, though he was, next year, restored back to his place at St. Andrews, yet he was not suffered to continue, for, about the month July that same year, the king and council again proceeded against him, and he was removed to Angus, where he continued until the day of his death. He had always been a severe104 check on the negligent and unfaithful part of the clergy, but now they had found means to get free of him.

After his removal to Angus he continued the exercise of his ministry, preaching daily unto such as resorted to him, with much success, and an intimate communion with God, until a few days before his death.

In his last sickness, the Christian temper of his mind was so much improven by large measures of the Spirit, that his conversation had a remarkable effect in humbling the hearts and comforting the souls of those who attended him, engaging them to take the easy yoke of Christ upon them. He found in his own soul also, such a sensible taste of eternal joy, that he was seized with a fervent desire to depart and to be with the Lord, longing to have the earthly house of this his tabernacle put off, that he might be admitted into the mansions of everlasting rest. In the midst of these earnest breathings after God, the Lord was wonderfully pleased to condescend to the importunity of his servant, to let him know that the time of his departure was near. Upon which, he took a solemn farewel of his family and flock with a discourse, as Mr. Melvil says[39], that seemed to be spoken out of heaven, concerning the misery and grief of this life, and the inconceivable glory which is above.

The night following, after supper, having read and prayed in his family with unusual continuance, strong crying and heavy groans, he went a little while to bed, and the next day, having called his people to the celebration of the Lord's supper, he went to church, and having brought the communion-service near a close, he felt the approaches of death, and all discovered a sudden change in his countenance, so that some ran to support him; but pressing to be at his knees, with his hands and eyes lifted up to heaven in the very act of devotion and adoration, as in a transport of joy, he was taken away, with scarce any pain at all. Thus this holy man, who had so faithfully maintained the interest of Christ upon earth, breathed forth his soul in this extraordinary manner, that it seemed rather like a translation than a real death. See more of him in Calderwood's history, page 335. De Foe's memoirs, page 138. Hind let loose, page 48, old edit.

105


The Life of Mr. John Davidson.

He was minister at Salt-Preston (now known by the name of Preston-pans), and began very early to discover uncommon piety and faithfulness in the discharge of his duty. He was involved in the sufferings brought upon several ministers on account of the raid of Ruthven[40], and the enterprise at Stirling[41] anno 1584, on which account he fled for England, and remained there some considerable time.

Being returned to Scotland, in the year 1596, when the ministers and other commissioners of the general assembly were met at Edinburgh for prayer, in order to a general and personal reconciliation (they were about four hundred ministers, besides elders and private Christians), Mr. Davidson was chosen to preside amongst them. He caused the106 33d and 34th chapters of Ezekiel to be read, and discoursed upon them in a very affecting manner, shewing what was the end of their meeting, in confessing sin and resolving to forsake it, and that they should turn to the Lord, and enter into a new league and covenant with him, that so, by repentance, they might be the more meet to stir up others to the same duty. In this he was so assisted by the Spirit working upon their hearts, that, within an hour after they had conveened, they began to look with another countenance than at first, and while he was exhorting them to these duties, the whole meeting were in tears, every one provoking another by his example, whereby that place might have justly been called Bochim.

After prayer, he treated one Luke xii. 22. wherein the same assistance was given him. Before they dismissed, they solemnly entered into a new league and covenant, holding up their hands, with such signs of sincerity as moved all present. That afternoon, the assembly enacted the renewal of the covenant by particular synods.

In the general assembly held at Dundee 1598. (where the king was present), it was proposed, Whether ministers should vote in parliament in the name of the church. Mr Davidson intreated them not to be rash in concluding so weighty a matter; he said, "Brethren, ye see not how readily the bishops begin to creep up." Being desired to give his vote, he refused, and protested in his own name and in the name of those who should adhere to him; and required that his protest should be inserted in the books of assembly. Here the king interposed, and said, "That shall not be granted, see if you have voted and reasoned before:" "never Sir," said Mr. Davidson, "but without prejudice to any protestation made or to be made." And then presented his protestation in writing, which was handed from one to another, till it was laid down before the clerk. The king, taking it up and reading it, shewed it to the moderator and others about, and at last put it in his pocket, (see this protest and a letter sent by him to the assembly 1601, in Calderwood, pages 420 and 450.) This protest and letter was the occasion of farther trouble to him. For in the month of May following, he was charged to compear before the council on the 26th, and answer for the same, and was by the king committed prisoner to the castle of Edinburgh; but, on account of bodily infirmity, this place of confinement was changed to his own dwelling house; after which he obtained liberty to exercise his office in his own parish. When the king was going for England107 anno 1603, as he was passing through Preston-pans, the laird of Ormiston intreated him to relieve Mr Davidson from his confinement to the bounds of his own parish, but this could not be obtained.——He likewise, in some instances, shewed that he was possessed in a considerable measure of the spirit of prophecy.—He was, while in Preston, very anxious about the building of a church in that parish, and had, by his own private interest, contributed liberally to it; Lord Newbattle, having considerable interest in that parish, likewise promised his assistance, but afterwards receded from his engagements; upon which Mr. Davidson told him, That these walls that were there begun should stand as a witness against him, and that, ere long, God should root him out of that parish, so that he should not have one bit of land in the same; which was afterwards accomplished. At another time being moderator at the synod of Lothian, Mr John Spotswood minister at Calder, and Mr James Law minister at Kirkliston were brought before them for playing at the foot-ball on the sabbath. Mr Davidson urged that they might be deposed, but the synod, because of the fewness of the ministers present, &c. agreed that they should be rebuked, which, having accordingly done, he turned to his brethren and said, "Now let me tell you what reward you shall have for your lenity, these two men shall trample on your necks, and on the necks of the ministers of Scotland." How true this proved was afterwards too well known, when Spotswood was made arch-bishop of St Andrews, and Law of Glasgow. Being at dinner one time with Mr Bruce, who was then in great favour with the king, he told him, he should soon be in as great discredit; which was likewise accomplished. At another time, when dining in the house of one of the magistrates of Edinburgh with Mr Bruce, in giving thanks, he brake forth in these words, "Lord, this good man hath respect, for thy sake, to thy servants, but he little knoweth, that in a short time, he shall carry us both to prison;" which afterwards came to pass, although, at the time, it grieved the baillie exceedingly. Mr Fleming, in his fulfilling of the scriptures, relates another remarkable instance of this kind—A gentleman nearly related to a great family in that parish, but a most violent hater of true piety, did, on that account, beat a poor man who lived there, although he had no manner of provocation. Among other strokes which he gave him, he gave him one on the back, saying, "Take that for Mr Davidson's sake." This mal-treatment obliged the poor108 man, to take to his bed; he complained most of the blow which he had received on his back. In the close of his sermon on the sabbath following, Mr. Davidson, speaking of the oppression of the godly, and the enmity which the wicked had to such, and, in a particular manner, mentioned this last instance, saying, "It was a sad time, when a profane man would thus openly adventure to vent his rage against such as were seekers of God in the place, whilst he could have no cause but the appearance of his image," and then said, with great boldness, "He, who hath done this, were he the laird or the laird's brother, ere a few days pass, God shall give him a stroke, that all the monarchs on earth dare not challenge." Which accordingly came to pass in the close of that very same week, for this gentleman, while standing before his own door, was struck dead with lightening, and had all his bones crushed to pieces.

A little before his death, he happened occasionally to meet with Mr Kerr, a young gentleman lately come from France, and dressed in the court fashion. Mr Davidson charged him to lay aside his scarlet cloke and gilt rapier, for, said he, "You are the man who shall succeed me in the ministry of this place;" which surprized the youth exceedingly, but was exactly accomplished, for he became an eminent and faithful minister at that place.

Such as would see more of Mr Davidson's faithful labours in the work of the ministry may consult the apologetical relation, § 2. p. 30. and Calderwood, p. 310,—373.


The Life of Mr. William Row.

He was a son of Mr. John Row minister at Perth, who gave him a very liberal education under his own eye. He was settled minister at Strathmiglo, in the shire of Fyfe, about the year 1600, and continued there for several years.

He was one of those ministers who refused to give public thanks for the king's deliverance from his danger in Gowrie's conspiracy, until the truth of that conspiracy was made to appear. This refusal brought upon him the king's displeasure; he was summoned to appear before the king and council at Stirling, soon after. On the day appointed for his compearance, two noblemen were sent, the one before the other, to meet him on the road, and, under the pretence109 of friendship, to inform him, that the council had a design upon his life, that he might be prevailed on to decline going up to the council; the first met him nigh his own house, the second a few miles from Stirling, but Mr. Row told them, that he would not, by disobedience to the summons, make himself justly liable to the pains of law, and proceeded to Stirling, to the amazement of the king and his court. When challenged for disbelieving the truth of that conspiracy, he told them, That one reason of his hesitation was, That one Henderson, who was said to have confessed that Gowrie hired him to kill the king, and to have been found armed in his majesty's chamber for that purpose, was, not only suffered to live, but rewarded; whereas, said he, "if I had seen the king's life in hazard, and not ventured my life to rescue him, I think, I deserved not to live."

The two following anecdotes will show what an uncommon degree of courage and resolution he possessed.

Being at Edinburgh, before the assembly there, at which the king wanted to bring in some innovation, and meeting with Mr. James Melvil, who was sent for by the king, he accompanied him to Holyrood-house. While Mr. Melvil was with the king, Mr. Row stood behind a screen, and not getting an opportunity to go out with his brother undiscovered, he overheard the king say to some of his courtiers, "This is a good simple man, I have stroked cream on his mouth, and he will procure me a good number of voters, I warrant you." This said, Mr. Row got off, and overtaking Mr. Melvil, asked him, what had passed? Mr. Melvil told him all, and said, The king is well disposed to the church, and intend to do her good by all his schemes. Mr. Row replied, The king looks upon you as a fool and a knave, and wants to use you us a coy duck to draw in others, and told him what he had overheard. Mr. Melvil suspecting the truth of this report, Mr. Row offered to go with him, and avouch it to the king's face; accordingly, they went back to the palace, when Mr. Melvil seeing Mr. Row as forward to go in as he was, believed his report and stopped him: And next day, when the assembly proceeded to voting, Mr. Melvil having voted against what the king proponed, his majesty would not believe that such was his vote, till he, being asked again, did repeat it.

Again, he being to open the synod of Perth, anno 1607, to which King James sent Lord Scoon captain of his guards, to force them to accept a constant moderator, Scoon sent notice to Mr. Row, That if, in his preaching, he uttered110 ought against constant moderators, he should cause ten or twelve of his guards discharge their culverins at his nose; and when he attended the sermon which preceded that synod, he stood up in a menacing posture to outbrave the preacher. But Mr. Row no way dismayed, knowing what vices Scoon was chargeable with, particularly that he was a great belly-god, drew his picture so like the life, and condemned what was culpable in it with so much severity, that Scoon thought fit to sit down, and even to cover his face. After which Mr. Row proceeded to prove that no constant moderator ought to be suffered in the church, but knowing that Scoon understood neither Latin nor Greek, he wisely avoided naming the constant moderator in English, but always gave the Greek or Latin name for it. Sermon being ended, Scoon said to some of the nobles attending him, You see I have scared the preacher from meddling with the constant moderator, but I wonder who he spoke so much against by the name of præstes ad vitam. They told him, That it was in Greek and Latin the constant moderator; which so incensed him, that when Mr. Row proceeded to constitute the synod in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Scoon said, The devil a Jesus is here, and when Mr. Row called over the roll to choose their moderator after the ancient form, Scoon would have pulled it from him; but he, being a strong man, held off Scoon with the one hand, and holding the synod-roll in the other, called out the names of the members.

After this, Mr. Row was put to the horn, and on the 11th of June following, he and Mr. Henry Livingstone the moderator were summoned before the council, to answer for their proceedings at the synod above-mentioned. Mr. Livingston compeared, and with great difficulty obtained the favour to be warded in his own parish; but Mr. Row being advised not to compear unless the council would relax him from the horning, and make him free of the Scoon-comptrollers, who had letters of caption to apprehend him, and to commit him to Blackness. This was refused, and a search made for him, which obliged him to abscond and lurk among his friends for a considerable time.

He was subjected to several other hardships during the remainder of his life, but still maintained that steady faithfulness and courage in the discharge of his duty, which is exemplified in the above instances, until the day of his death, of which we have no certain account.

111


The Life of Mr. Andrew Melvil.

Mr. Melvil, after finishing his classical studies, went abroad, and taught, for some time, both at Poictiers in France, and at Geneva. He returned to Scotland in July 1574, after having been absent from his native country near ten years. Upon his return, the learned Beza, in a letter to the general assembly of the church of Scotland, said, "That the greatest token of affection the kirk of Geneva could show to Scotland, was, that they had suffered themselves to be spoiled of Mr. Andrew Melvil."

Soon after his return, the general assembly appointed him to be the principal of the college of Glasgow, where he continued for some years. In the year 1576, the earl of Morton being then regent, and thinking to bring Mr. Melvil into his party, who were endeavouring to introduce episcopacy, he offered him the parsonage of Govan, a benefice of twenty-four chalders of grain, yearly, beside what he enjoyed as principal, providing he would not insist against the establishment of bishops, but Mr. Melvil rejected his offer with scorn.

He was afterwards transported to St. Andrews, where he served in the same station he had done at Glasgow, and was likewise a minister of that city. Here he taught the divinity class, and as a minister continued to witness against the incroachments then making upon the rights of the church of Christ.

When the general assembly sat down at Edinburgh, anno 1582, Mr. Melvil inveighed against the absolute authority, which was making its way into the church, whereby he said, they intended to pull the crown from Christ's head, and wrest the sceptre out of his hand, and when several articles, of the same tenor with his speech, were presented by the commission of the assembly, to the king and council, craving redress, the earl of Arran cried out, "Is there any here that dare subscribe these articles." Mr. Melvil went forward and said, "We dare, and will render our lives in the cause," and then took up the pen and subscribed. We do not find that any disagreeable consequences ensued at this time.

112 But in the beginning of February 1584, he was summoned to appear before the secret council on the 11th of that month, to answer for some things said by him in a sermon on a fast day from Dan. iv. At his first compearance, he made a verbal defence, but being again called, he gave in a declaration with a declinature, importing that he had said nothing either in that or any other sermon tending to dishonour the king, but had regularly prayed for the preservation and prosperity of his majesty; that, as by acts of parliament and laws of the church, he should be tried for his doctrine by the church, he therefore protested for, and craved a trial by them, and particularly in the place (St Andrews) where the offence was alledged to have been committed; that as there were special laws in favour of St. Andrews to the above import, he particularly claimed the privilege of them; he farther protested that what he had said was warranted by the word of God; that he appealed to the congregation who heard the sermon; that he craved to know his accusers; that if the calumny was found to be false, the informers might be punished; that the rank and character of the informer might be considered, &c. &c.: After which he gave an account of the sermon in question, alledging that his meaning had been misunderstood, and his words perverted.

When he had closed his defence, the king and the earl of Arran, who was then chancellor, raged exceedingly against him. Mr. Melvil remained undisquieted, and replied, that they were too bold in a constitute Christian kirk to pass by the pastors, &c. and to take upon them to judge the doctrine, and controul the messengers of a greater than any present; "that you may see your rashness in taking upon you that which you neither ought nor can do, (taking out a small Hebrew Bible and laying it down before them,) there are," said he, "my instructions and warrant,—see if any of you can controul me, that I have passed my injunctions." The chancellor, opening the book, put it into the king's hand, saying, "Sire, he scorneth your majesty and the council." "Nay," said Mr. Melvil, "I scorn not, but I am in good earnest." He was, in the time of this debate, frequently removed and instantly recalled, that he might not have time to consult with his friends. They proceeded against him, and admitted his avowed enemies to prove the accusation. Though the whole train of evidence, which was led, proved little or nothing against him, yet they resolved to involve him in troubles, because he had declined their authority, as incompetent judges of doctrine, and therefore remitted him to ward in the castle of113 Edinburgh, during the king's will. Being informed, that, if he entered into ward, he would not be released, unless it should be to bring him to the scaffold, that the decree of the council was altered, and Blackness was appointed for his prison, which was kept by some dependants on the earl of Arran, he resolved to get out of the country. A macer gave him a charge, to enter Blackness in 24 hours: and, in the mean while, some of Arran's horsemen were attending at the west-port to convoy him thither: But, by the time he should have entered Blackness, he had reached Berwick. Messrs. Lawson and Balcanquhal gave him the good character he deserved, and prayed earnestly for him in public, in Edinburgh, which both moved the people and galled the court exceedingly.

After the storm had abated, he returned to St. Andrews in 1586, when the synod of Fife had excommunicated P. Adamson, pretended bishop of St. Andrews, on account of some immoralities. He (Adamson) having drawn up the form of an excommunication against Messrs. Andrew and James Melvils, and sent out a boy, with some of his own creatures, to the kirk to read it, but the people paying no regard to it, the bishop (though both suspended and excommunicated) would himself go to the pulpit to preach, whereupon some gentlemen &c. in town conveened in the new college to hear Mr. Melvil. But the bishop being informed that they were assembled on purpose to put him out of the pulpit and hang him, for fear of which, he called his friends together, and betook himself to the steeple; but at the entreaty of the magistrates and others he retired home.

This difference with the bishop brought the Melvils again before the king and council, who (pretending that there was no other method to end that quarrel,) ordained Mr. Andrew to be confined to the Mearns, Angus, &c. under pretext that he would be useful in that country in reclaiming papists. And, because of his sickly condition, Mr. James was sent back to the new college; and, the university sending the dean of faculty, and the masters, with a supplication to the king in Mr. Andrew's behalf, he was suffered to return, but was not restored to his place and office until the month of August following.

The next winter, he laboured to give the students in divinity, under his care, a thorough knowledge of the discipline and government of the church, which was attended with considerable success; the specious arguments of episcopacy evanished, and the serious part both of the town114 and university repaired to the college to hear him, and Mr. Robert Bruce, who began preaching about this time.

After this he was chosen moderator in some subsequent assemblies of the church, in which several acts were made in favours of religion, as maintained in that period.

When the king brought home his queen from Denmark anno 1590, Mr. Melvil made an excellent oration, upon the occasion in Latin, which so pleased the king, that he publicly declared, he had therein both honoured him and his country, and that he should never be forgot; yet such was the instability of this prince, that, in a little after this, because Mr. Melvil opposed himself unto his arbitrary measures, in grasping after an absolute authority over the church[42], he conceived a daily hatred against him ever after, as will appear from the sequel.

When Mr. Melvil went, with some other ministers, to the convention of estates at Falkland anno 1596, (wherein they intended to bring home the excommunicated lords who were then in exile), and though he had a commission from last assembly, to watch against every imminent danger that might threaten the church, yet, whenever he appeared upon the head of the ministers, the king asked him, Who sent for him there? To which he resolutely answered, "Sire, I have a call to come here from Christ and his church, who have a special concern in what you are doing here, and in direct opposition to whom, ye are all here assembled; but be ye assured, that no counsel taken against him shall prosper, and I charge you, Sire, in his name, that you, nor your estates here conveened, favour not God's enemies whom he hateth." After he had said this, turning himself to the rest of the members, he told them, that they were assembled with a traiterous design against Christ, his church, and their native country. In the midst of this speech, he was commanded by the king to withdraw.

The commission of the general assembly was now sitting, and understanding how matters were going on at the convention, they sent some of their members, among whom Mr.115 Melvil was one, to expostulate with the king. When they came, he received them in his closet. Mr. James Melvil being first in the commission, told the king his errand, upon which he appeared angry, and charged them with sedition, &c. Mr. James being a man of cool passion and genteel behaviour, began to answer the king with great reverence and respect; but Mr. Andrew, interrupting him, said, "This is not a time to flatter, but to speak plainly, for our commission is from the living God, to whom the king is subject;" and then approaching the king, said, "Sire, we will always humbly reverence your majesty in public, but having opportunity of being with your majesty in private, we must discharge our duty or else be enemies to Christ: and now, Sire, I must tell you, that there are two kingdoms, the kingdom of Christ, which is the church, whose subject K. James VI. is, and of whose kingdom he is not a head, nor a lord, but a member, and they, whom Christ hath called, and commanded to watch over his church, and govern his spiritual kingdom, have sufficient authority and power from him so to do, which no Christian king nor prince should controul or discharge, but assist and support, otherwise they are not faithful subjects to Christ; and, Sire, when you was in your swaddling clothes, Christ reigned freely in this land; in spight of all his enemies, his officers and ministers were conveened for ruling his church, which was ever for your welfare, &c. Will you now challenge Christ's servants, your best and most faithful subjects, for conveening together, and for the care they have of their duty to Christ and you, &c. the wisdom of your council is, that you may be served with all sorts of men, that you may come to your purpose, and because the ministers and protestants of Scotland are strong, they must be weakened and brought low, by stirring up a party against them, but, Sire, this is not the wisdom of God, and his curse must light upon it, whereas, in cleaving to God, his servants shall be your true friends, and he shall compel the rest to serve you." There is little difficulty to conjecture how this discourse was relished by the king; however, he kept his temper, and promised fair things to them for the present, but it was the word of him whose standard maxim was, Qui nescit dissimulare, nescit regnare, "He who knows not how to dissemble, knows not how to reign:" In this sentiment, unworthy of the meanest among men, he gloried, and made it his constant rule of conduct; for in the assembly at Dundee anno 1598,116 Mr. Melvil being there, he discharged him from the assembly, and would not suffer business to go on till he was removed.

There are other instances of the magnanimity of this faithful witness of Christ, which are worthy of notice. In the year 1606, when he and seven of his brethren, who stood most in the way of having prelacy advanced in Scotland, were called up to England, under pretence of having a hearing granted them by the king, &c. with respect to religion, but rather to be kept out of the way, as the event afterwards proved, until episcopacy should be better established in this kingdom. Soon after their arrival they were examined by the king and council at Hampton-court on the 20th of September, concerning the lawfulness of the late assembly at Aberdeen. The king, in particular, asked Mr. Melvil, whether a few clergy, meeting without moderator or clerk, could make an assembly? He replied, there was no number limited by law; that fewness of number could be no argument against the legality of the court, especially when the promise was, in God's word, given to two or three conveened in the name of Christ; that the meeting was an ordinary established by his majesty's laws. The rest of the ministers delivered themselves to the same purpose; after which Mr. Melvil, with his usual freedom of speech, supported the conduct of his brethren at Aberdeen; recounted the wrongs done them at Linlithgow, whereof he was a witness himself; he blamed the king's advocate, Sir Thomas Hamilton, who was then present, for favouring popery, and mal-treating the ministers, so that the accuser of the brethren could not have done more against the saints of God than had been done; the prelatists were encouraged, though some of them were promoting the interest of Popery with all their might, and the faithful servants of Christ were shut up in prison; and addressing the advocate, personally, he added, "Still you think all this is enough, but continue to persecute the brethren with the same spirit you did in Scotland." After some conversation betwixt the king and arch-bishop of Canterbury, they were dismissed with the applause of many present, for their bold and steady defence of the cause of God and truth, for they had been much misrepresented to the English. They had scarce retired from before the king, until they received a charge not to return to Scotland, nor come near the king's, queen's or princes court, without special licence and being called for. A few days after, they were again called to court, and examined before a select117 number of the Scots nobility, where, after Mr. James Melvil's examination[43], Mr. Andrew being called, told them plainly, "That they knew not what they were doing; they had degenerated from the ancient nobility of Scotland, who were wont to hazard their lives and lands for the freedom of their country, and the gospel which they were betraying and overturning:" But night drawing on, they were dismissed.

Another instance of his resolution is, that, when called before the council for having made a Latin epigram[44], upon seeing the king and queen making an offering at the altar (whereon were two books, two basons, and two candlesticks with two unlighted candles, it being a day kept in honour of St. Michael); when he compeared, he avowed the verses, and said, "He was much moved with indignation at such vanity and superstition in a Christian church, under a Christian king, born and brought up under the pure light of the gospel, and especially before idolators, to confirm them in idolatry, and grieve the hears of true professors," The bishop of Canterbury began to speak, but Mr. Melvil charged him with a breach of the Lord's day, with imprisoning, silencing and bearing down of faithful ministers, and with upholding antichristian hierarchy and popish ceremonies; and, shaking the white sleeve of his rochet, he called them Romish, rags, and told him, That he was an avowed enemy to all the reformed churches in Europe, and therefore he (Mr. Melvil) would profess himself an enemy to him in all such proceedings, to the effusion of the last drop of his blood; and said, he was grieved to the heart to see such a man have the king's ear, and sit so high in that honourable council. He also charged bishop Barlow with having said, after the conference at Hampton-court, That the king had said, he was in the church of Scotland, but not of it; and wondered that he was suffered to go unpunished, for making the king of no religion. He refuted his sermon which had been preached before; and was at last removed, and order118 was given to Dr. Overwall dean of St. Pauls to receive him to his house, there to remain, with injunctions not to let any have access to him, till his majesty's pleasure was signified. Next year he was ordered from the dean's house to the bishop of Winchester's, where, not being so strictly guarded, he sometimes kept company with his brethren, but was at last committed to the tower of London, where he remained for the space of four years.

While he was in the tower, a gentleman of his acquaintance got access to him, and found him very pensive and melancholy concerning the prevailing defections amongst many of the ministers of Scotland, and, having lately got account of their proceedings at the general assembly held at Glasgow, anno 1610, where the earl of Dunbar had an active hand in corrupting many with money; the gentleman, desiring to know what word he had to send to his native country, got no answer at first, but, upon a second enquiry, he said, "I have no word to send, but am heavily grieved, that the glorious government of the church of Scotland should be so defaced, and a popish tyrannical one set up; and thou, Manderston, (for out of that family Dunbar had sprung), hadst thou no other thing to do, but to carry such commissions down to Scotland, whereby the poor church is wrecked, the Lord shall be avenged on thee; thou shalt never have that grace to set thy foot in that kingdom again." These last words impressed the gentleman to that degree, that he desired some who attended the court, to get some business, which was managing through Dunbar's interest, expeded without any delay, being persuaded that the word of that servant of Christ should not fall to the ground, which was the case, for that earl died at Whitehall a short time after, while he was building an elegant house at Berwick, and making grand preparations for his daughter's marriage with Lord Walden.

In 1611, after four years confinement, Mr. Melvil was, by the interest of the duke of Bolloigne, released, on condition that he would go with him to the university of Sedan, where he continued, enjoying that calm repose denied him in his own country, but maintaining his usual constancy and faithfulness in the service of Christ, which he had done through the whole of his life.

The reader will readily observe, that a high degree of fortitude and boldness appeared in all his actions; where the honour of his Lord and Master was concerned, the fear of man made no part of his character. He is by Spotswood119 styled the principal agent or apostle of the presbyterians in Scotland[45]. He did indeed assert the rights of presbytery to the utmost of his power against diocesan episcopacy; he possessed great presence of mind, and was superior to all the arts of flattery, that were sometimes tried with him; he was once blamed, as being too fiery in his temper, he replied, "If you see my fire go downward, set your foot upon it, but if it goes upward, let it go to its own place." He died at Sedan in France, in a few years after.


The Life of Mr. Patrick Simpson.

Mr. Simpson, after having finished his academical course, spent some considerable time in retirement, which he employed in reading the Greek and Latin classics, the antient Christian fathers, and the history of the primitive church. Being blamed by one of his friends for wasting so much time in the study of pagan writers, he replied, That he intended to adorn the house of God with these Egyptian jewels.

He was first ordained minister at Cramond, but was afterwards transported to Stirling, where he continued until his death. He was a faithful contender against the lordly encroachments of prelacy. In the year 1584, when there was an express charge given by the king to the ministers, either to acknowledge Mr. Patrick Adamson as arch-bishop of St. Andrews, or else to lose their benefices, Mr. Simpson opposed that order with all his power, although Mr. Adamson was his uncle by the mother's side; and when some of his brethren seemed willing to acquiesce in the king's mandate, and subscribe their submission to Adamson, so far as it was agreeable to the word of God, he rebuked them sharply, saying, It would be no salvo to their consciences, seeing it was altogether absurd to subscribe an agreement with any human invention, when it was condemned by the word of God. A bishopric was offered him, and an yearly pension besides from the king, in order to bring him into120 his designs, but he positively refused all, saying, That he regarded that preferment and profit as a bribe to enslave his conscience, which was dearer to him than any thing whatever; he did not stop with this, but having occasion anno 1593, to preach before the king, he publicly exhorted him to beware that he drew not the wrath of God upon himself in patronizing a manifest breach of divine laws: Immediately after sermon, the king stood up and charged him not to intermeddle in these matters.

When the assembly which was held at Aberdeen anno 1684, was condemned by the state, and in a very solemn manner denounced the judgment of God against all such as had been concerned in distressing, and imprisoning the ministers of Linlithgow, who maintained the lawfulness and justified the conduct of that assembly, and the protestation given in to the parliament in 1606, which did many things to the further establishment of prelacy. This protestation[46] was wrote by him, and delivered out of his own hands to the earl of Dunbar.

121 He was not more distinguished for zeal in the cause of Christ, than for piety and an exemplary life, which had a happy effect upon the people with whom he stood connected. He was in a very eminent degree blessed with the spirit122 and return of prayer; the following fact attested by old Mr. Row of Carnock, shews how much of the divine countenance he had in his duty:—His wife, Martha Baron, a woman of singular piety, fell sick, and, under her indisposition,123 was strongly assaulted by the common enemy of salvation; suggesting to her, that she should be delivered up to him, which soon brought her into a very distracted condition, and continued, for some time, increasing; she broke forth into very dreadful expressions:—She was in one of these fits of despair, one Sabbath morning, when Mr. Simpson was going to preach; he was exceedingly troubled at her condition, and went to prayer, which she124 took no notice of. After he had done, he turned to the company present, and said, That they who had been witnesses to that sad hour, should yet see a gracious work of God on her, and that the devil's malice against that poor woman, should have a shameful foil. Her distraction continued for some days after. On a Tuesday morning, about day-break, he went into his garden as private as possible, and one Helen Gardiner, wife to one of the baillies of the town, a godly woman, who had sate up that night with Mrs. Simpson, being concerned at the melancholy condition he was in, climbed over the garden wall, to observe him in this retirement, but, coming near the place where he was, she was terrified with a noise which she heard, as of the rushing of multitudes of people together, with a most melodious sound intermixed; she fell on her knees and prayed that the Lord would pardon her rashness, which her regard for his servant had caused. Afterwards, she went125 forward, and found him lying on the ground; she intreated him to tell her what had happened unto him, and, after many promises of secrecy, and an obligation, that she should not reveal it in his life-time, but, if she survived him, she should be at liberty, he then said, "O! what am I! being but dust and ashes! that holy ministring spirits should be sent with a message to me!" And then told her, That he had had a vision of angels, who gave him an audible answer from the Lord, respecting his wife's condition; and then, returning to the house, he said to the people who attended his wife, "Be of good comfort, for I am sure that ere ten hours of the day, that brand shall be plucked out of the fire." After which he went to prayer, at his wife's bed-side;—she continued for some time quiet, but, upon his mentioning Jacob wrestling with God, she sat up in the bed, drew the curtain aside, and said, "Thou art this day a Jacob, who hast wrestled and hast prevailed, and now God hath made good his word, which he spoke this morning to you, for I am pluckt out of the hands of Satan, and he shall have no power over me." This interruption made him silent for a little, but afterwards, with great melting of heart, he proceeded in prayer, and magnified the riches of grace towards him. From that hour she continued to utter nothing but the language of joy and comfort, until her death, which was on the Friday following, August 13th, 1601.

Mr. Simpson lived for several years after this, fervent and faithful in the work of the ministry. In the year 1608 when the bishops and some commissioners of the general assembly conveened in the palace of Falkland, the ministers assembled in the kirk of the town, and chose him for their moderator; After which they spent some time in prayer, and tasted some of the comfort of their former meetings. They then agreed upon some articles for concord and peace to be given into the bishops, &c.——This Mr. Simpson and some others did in the name of the rest, but the bishops shifted them off to the next assembly, and in the mean time, took all possible precautions to strengthen their own party, which they effected.

In 1610, the noblemen and bishops came to Stirling, after dissolving the assembly. In preaching before them, he openly charged the bishops with perjury and gross defection. They hesitated for some time, whether they should delate him, or compound the matter:—But, after deliberation, they dropt the affair altogether for the present.——There is no reason to doubt but he would have been subjected126 to the same sufferings with many others of his brethren, had he lived, but before the cope-stone was laid on prelacy in Scotland, he had entered into the joy of his Lord.——For, in the month of March 1618, which was about four months before the Perth assembly, when the five articles were agreed upon[47], he said that this month should put an end to all his troubles, and he accordingly died about the end of it, blessing the Lord, that he had not been perverted by the sinful courses of these times; and said, As the Lord had said to Elijah in the wilderness, so, in some respects he had dealt with him all the days of his life.

He wrote a history of the church, for the space of about ten centuries. There are some other little tracts, besides a history of the councils of the church, which are nearly out of print altogether. Upon some of his books he had written, "Remember, O my soul, and never forget the 9th of August, what consolation the Lord gave thee, and how he performed what he spake according to Zech. iii. 2, Is not this a brand pluckt out of the fire?" &c.


The Life of Mr. Andrew Duncan.

Mr. Duncan was settled minister at Crail, in the shire of Fyfe, and was afterwards summoned before the high commission court at St. Andrews, in the year 1619. on account of his faithfulness in opposing the five articles of Perth. At the first time of his compearance, he declined their authority; and at the second, he adhered to his former declinature, upon which the high commission court passed the sentence of deposition against him, and ordained him to enter himself in ward at Dundee. After the sentence was pronounced, he gave in a protestation, which was as follows, "Now, seeing I have done nothing of this business, whereof I have been accused by you, but have been serving Jesus Christ my master in rebuking vice, in simplicity and righteousness of heart. I protest (seeing ye have done me wrong) for a remedy at God's hand, the righteous Judge, and summon you before his dreadful judgment-seat, to be censured and punished for such unrighteous dealings, at such a time as his majesty127 shall think expedient, and, in the mean time decline this your judgment simpliciter now as before, and appeal to the ordinary assembly of the church, for reasons before produced in write. Pity yourselves for the Lord's sake; lose not your own dear souls, I beseech you for Esau's pottage: Remember Balaam, who was cast away by the deceit of the wages of unrighteousness; forget not how miserable Judas was, who lost himself for a trifle of money, that never did him good. Better be pined to death by hunger, than for a little pittance of the earth, to perish for ever, and never be recovered, so long as the days of heaven shall last, and the years of eternity shall endure. Why should ye distress your own brethren, sons and servants of the Lord Jesus; this is not the doing of the shepherds of the flock of Christ: if ye will not regard your souls nor consciences, look I beseech you, to your fame, why will ye be miserable both in this life and in the life to come."

When the bishop of St. Andrews had read some few lines of this admonition, he cast it from him, the bishop of Dumblane took it up, and reading it, said he, calls them Esau's, Balaams and Judases "Not so, said Mr. Duncan, read again, beware that ye be not like them." In the space of a month after, he was deposed for non-conformity.

In the month of July 1621, he presented a large supplication, in name of himself, and some of his faithful brethren, who had been excluded the general assembly, to Sir George Hay clerk register, on which account he was in a few days after, apprehended by the captain of the guards, and brought before the council, who accused him for breaking ward, after he was suspended and confined to Dundee, because he had preached the week before at Crail. Mr. Duncan denied that he had been put to the horn; and as for breaking ward, he said, That, for the sake of obedience, he staid at Dundee, separated from a wife and six children for a half a year, and the winter approaching forced him to go home. In the end, he requested them not to imprison him on his own charges, but the sentence had been resolved on before he compeared. He was conveyed to Dumbarton castle next day (some say to Blackness castle); here he remained until the month of October thereafter, when he was again brought before the council, and by them was confined to Kilrinnie, upon his own charges; This was a parish neighbouring to his own.

128 Upon another occasion, of the same nature with this just now narrated, this worthy man was banished out of the kingdom, and went to settle at Berwick, but having several children, and his wife big with another, they were reduced to great hardships, being obliged to part with their servant, they had scarcely subsistence sufficient for themselves. One night in particular, the children asking for bread, and there being none to give them, they cried very sore; the mother was likewise much depressed in spirit, for Mr. Duncan had resource sometimes to prayer, and in the intervals endeavoured to cherish his wife's hope, and please the children, and at last got them to bed, but she continued to mourn heavily. He exhorted her to wait patiently upon God, who was now trying them, but would undoubtedly provide for them, and added, that if the Lord should rain down bread from heaven, they should not want. This confidence was the more remarkable, because they had neither friend nor acquaintance in that place to whom they could make their case known. And yet before morning, a man brought them a sackful of provision, and went off without telling them from whence it came, though entreated to do it. When Mr. Duncan opened the sack, he found in it a bag with twenty pounds Scots, two loaves of bread, a bag of flour, another of barley and such-like provisions; and having brought the whole to his wife, he said, "See what a good master I serve." After this she hired a servant again, but was soon reduced to a new extremity; the pains of child-bearing came upon her, before she could make any provision for her delivery, but providence interposed on their behalf at this time also: While she travailed in the night-season, and the good man knew not where to apply for a midwife, a gentlewoman came early in the morning riding to the door, and having sent her servant back with the horse, with orders when to return. She went in, and asked the maid of the house, How her mistress was, and desired access to her, which she obtained; she first ordered a good fire to be made, and ordered Mrs. Duncan to rise, and without any other assistance than the house afforded, she delivered her, and afterwards accommodated Mrs. Duncan and the child with abundance of very fine linen, which she had brought along with her. She gave her likewise a box, containing some necessary cordials and five pieces of gold, bidding them both be of good comfort, for they should not want. After which, she went away on the horse, which was by this time returned129 for her, but would not tell her name, nor from whence she came.

Thus did God take his own servant under his immediate care and providence, when men had wrongfully excluded him from enjoying his worldly comforts. He continued zealous and stedfast in the such, and, to the end of his life, his conduct was uniform with the circumstances of this narrative.


The Life of Mr. John Scrimzeor.

He was settled minister at Kinghorn, in the shire of Fyfe, and went as chaplain with King James in the year 1590, to Denmark, when he brought home his queen. He was afterwards concerned in several important affairs of the church, until that fatal year 1618, when the five articles of Perth were agreed on in an assembly held at that place. He attended at this assembly, and gave in some proposals[48], upon being (along with others of his faithful brethren) excluded from having a vote by the prevailing party of that assembly.

In 1620, he was with some others, summoned before the high commission-court, for not preaching upon holy days, and not administring the communion conform to the agreement at Perth, with certification if this was proven, that he should be deprived of exercising the functions of a minister in all time coming. But there being none present on the day appointed, except the bishops of St. Andrews, Glasgow and the isles, and Mr. Walter Whiteford, they were dismissed at that time; but were warned to compear again on the first of March. The bishops caused the clerk to exact their consent to deprivation, in case they did not compear against that day. Nevertheless, they all protested with one voice, That they would never willingly renounce their ministry, and such was the resolution and courage of Mr. Scrimzeor, that notwithstanding all the threatening of the bishops, he celebrated the communion conform to the antient practice of the church, a few days thereafter.

On the day appointed for their next compearance, the bishops of St. Andrews, Dunkeld, Galloway, the isles, Dumblain, Mr. Hewison commissary of Edinburgh, and130 Dr. Blair, being assembled in the bishop of St. Andrews lodging in Edinburgh, Mr. John Scrimzeor was again called upon to answer, and the bishop of St. Andrews alleged against him, that he had promised either to conform or quit his ministry, as the act at his last compearance on January 26th reported; he replied, "I am fore straitned, I never saw reason to conform; and as for my ministry, it was not mine and so I could not quit it." After long reasoning betwixt him and the bishops, concerning church policy and the keeping of holy days, he was removed for a little. Being called in again, the bishop of St. Andrews told him, "You are deprived of all function within the kirk, and ordained within six days to enter in ward at Dundee." "It is a very summary and peremptory sentence," said Mr. Scrimzeor, "ye might have been advised better, and first have heard what I would have said." "You shall be heard," said the bishop. This brought on some further reasoning, in the course of which Mr. Scrimzeor gave a faithful testimony against the king's supremacy over the church, and among other things said, "I have had opportunity to reason with the king himself on this subject, and have told him that Christ was the sovereign, and only director of his house; and that his majesty was subject to him. I have had occasion to tell other mens matters to the king, and could have truly claimed this great preferment." "I tell you Mr. John," said the bishop of St. Andrews, "that the king is pope, and shall be so now;" He replied, "That is an evil style you give him:" And then gave in his reasons in write, which they read at leisure. Afterwards the bishop of St. Andrews said to him, "Take up your reasons again, if you will not conform, I cannot help it; the king must be obeyed, the lords have given sentence and will stand to it." "Ye cannot deprive me of my ministry," said Mr. Scrimzeor, "I received it not from you; I received it from the whole synod of Fyfe, and, for any thing ye do, I will never think myself deposed." The bishop of St. Andrews replied, "You are deprived only of the present exercise of it."—Then he presented the following protestation, "I protest before the Lord Jesus, that I get manifest wrong; my reasons and allegations are not considered and answered. I attest you to answer at his glorious appearance, for this and such dealings, and protest that my cause should have been heard as I pled, and still plead and challenge. I likewise appeal to the Lord Jesus, his eternal word, to the king my dread sovereign, his law,131 to the constitution of this kirk and kingdom, to the councils and assemblies of both, and protest that I stand minister of the evangel, and only by violence I am thrust from the same." "You must obey the sentence," said the bishop of St. Andrews; he answered, "That Dundee was far off, and he was not able for far journeys, as physicians can witness." And he added, "Little know ye what is in my purse." "Then where will you choose the place of your confinement," said the bishop: He answered, "At a little room of my own called Bowhill, in the parish of Auchterderran." Then said the bishop, "Write, At Bowhill, during the king's pleasure." Thus this worthy servant of Christ lived the rest of his days in Auchterderran. In his old age he was grievously afflicted with the stone. He said to a godly minister, who went to see him a little before his death, "I have been a rude stunkard all my life, and now by this pain the Lord is humbling me to make me as a lamb, before he take me to himself."

He was a man somewhat rude-like in his clothing, and in some of his expressions and behaviour; and yet was a very loving tender hearted man; of a deep natural judgment; and very learned, especially in Hebrew. He often wished that most part of books were burnt, except the bible, and some short notes thereon. He had a peculiar talent for comforting the dejected. He used a very familiar but pressing manner of preaching. He was also an eminent wrestler with God, and had more than ordinary power and familiarity with him, as appears from the following instances.

When he was minister at Kinghorn, there was a certain godly woman under his charge, who fell sick of a very lingering disease, and was all the while assaulted with strong temptations, leading her to think that she was a cast-away, notwithstanding that her whole conversation had put the reality of grace in her beyond a doubt. He often visited her while in this deep exercise, but her trouble and terrors still remained; as her dissolution drew on, her spiritual trouble increased. He went with two of his elders to her, and began first, in their presence, to comfort her and pray with her, but she still grew worse: He ordered his elders to pray, and afterwards prayed himself, but no relief came. Then sitting pensive for a little space, he thus broke silence, "What is this! Our laying grounds of comfort before her will not do; prayer will not do: We must try another remedy. Sure I am, this is a daughter of Abraham; sure I am, she hath sent for me, and therefore, in the name of God, the Father of our Lord Jesus,132 who sent him to redeem sinners; in the name of Jesus Christ, who obeyed the Father, and came to save us; and in the name of the Holy and blessed Spirit, our Quickner and Sanctifier—I, the elder, command thee, a daughter of Abraham, to be loosed from these bonds." And immediately peace and joy ensued.

Mr. Scrimzeor had several friends and children taken away by death, and his only daughter who, at that time survived (and whom he dearly loved), being seized with the king's evil, by which she was reduced to the very point of death, so that he was called up to see her die; and finding her in this condition, he went out to the fields (as he himself told) in the night-time, in great grief and anxiety, and began to expostulate with the Lord, with such expressions as, for all the world, he durst not again utter. In a fit of displeasure he said, "Thou, O Lord, knowest that I have been serving thee in the uprightness of my heart, according to my power and measure, nor have I stood in awe to declare thy mind even unto the greatest in the time, and thou seest that I take pleasure in this child. O that I could obtain such a thing at thy hand, as to spare her." And being in great agony of spirit, at last it was said to him from the Lord, "I have heard thee at this time, but use not the like boldness in time coming, for such particulars." When he came home the child was recovered, and, sitting up in the bed, took some meat, and when he looked at her arm it was perfectly whole.


The Life of Mr. John Welch.

Mr. John Welch was born a gentleman, his father being laird of Colieston (an estate rather competent than large, in the shire of Nithsdale), about the year 1570, the dawning of our reformation being then but dark. He was a rich example of grace and mercy, but the night went before the day, being a most hopeless extravagant boy: It was not enough to him, frequently when he was a young stripling to run away from the school, and play the truant; but, after he had past his grammar, and was come to be a youth, he left the school, and his father's house, and went and joined himself to the thieves on the English border, who lived by robbing the two nations, and amongst them he stayed till he spent a suit of clothes. Then133 when he was clothed only with rags, the prodigal's misery brought him to the prodigal's resolution, so he resolved to return to his father's house, but durst not adventure, till he should enterpose a reconciler. In his return homeward, he took Dumfries in his way, where he had an aunt, one Agnes Forsyth, and with her he spent some days, earnestly intreating her to reconcile him to his father. While he lurked in her house, his father came providentially to the house to visit his cousin Mrs. Forsyth; and after they had talked a while, she asked him, Whether ever he had heard any news of his son John; to her he replied with great grief, O cruel woman, how can you name him to me? The first news I expect to hear of him, is, That he is hanged for a thief. She answered, Many a profligate boy had become a virtuous man, and comforted him. He insisted upon his sad complaint, but asked, Whether she knew his lost son was yet alive. She answered, Yes, he was, and she hoped he should prove a better man than he was a boy, and with that she called upon him to come to his father. He came weeping, and kneeled, beseeching his father, for Christ's sake, to pardon his misbehaviour, and deeply engaged to be a new man. His father reproached him and threatened him. Yet at length, by his tears, and Mrs. Forsyth's importunities, he was persuaded to a reconciliation. The boy entreated his father to send him to the college, and there to try his behaviour, and if ever thereafter he should break, he said, He should be content his father should disclaim him for ever: So his father carried him home, and put him to the college, and there he became a diligent student, of great expectation, and shewed himself a sincere convert; and so he proceeded to the ministry. His first settlement was at Selkirk, while he was yet very young, and the country rude. While he was there, his ministry was rather admired by some, than received by many; for he was always attended by the prophet's shadow, the hatred of the wicked; yea, even the ministers of that country, were more ready to pick a quarrel with his person, than to follow his doctrine, as may appear to this day in their synodal records, where we find he had many to censure him, and only some to defend him; yet it was thought his ministry in that place was not without fruit, though he stayed but short time there. Being a young man unmarried, he boarded himself in the house of one Mitchelhill, and took a young boy of his to be his bedfellow, who to his dying day retained both a respect to Mr. Welch and his ministry, from the impressions Mr. Welch's134 behaviour made upon his apprehension, though but a child. His custom was when he went to bed at night, to lay a Scots plaid above his bed-clothes, and when he went to his night-prayers, to sit up and cover himself negligently therewith, and so to continue. For from the beginning of his ministry to his death, he reckoned the day ill spent if he stayed not seven or eight hours in prayer; and this the boy did not forget even to old age.

An old man of the name of Ewart in Selkirk, who remembered Mr. Welch's being in that place said, He was a type of Christ; an expression more significant than proper, for his meaning was, That he was an example that imitated Christ, as indeed in many things he did: He also said, That his custom was to preach publicly once every day, and to spend his whole time in spiritual exercises, that some in that place waited well upon his ministry with great tenderness, but that he was constrained to leave that place, because of the malice of the wicked.

The special cause of his departure was, a prophane gentleman in the country (one Scot of Headschaw, whose family is now extinct), because Mr. Welch had either reproved him, or merely from hatred, Mr. Welch was most unworthily abused by the unhappy man, and among the rest of the injuries he did him, this was one:—Mr. Welch kept always two good horses for his own use, and the wicked gentleman, when he could do no more, either with his own hand, or by his servants, cut off the rumps of the two innocent beasts, upon which they both died. Such base usage as this persuaded him to listen to a call to the ministry at Kirkcudbright, which was his next post.

But when he was to leave Selkirk, he could not find a man in all the town to transport his furniture, except only Ewart, who was at that time a poor young man, but master of two horses, with which he transported Mr. Welch's goods, and so left him; but as he took his leave, Mr. Welch gave him his blessing, and a piece of gold for a token, exhorting him to fear God, and promised he should never want, which promise, providence made good through the whole course of the man's life, as was observed by all his neighbours.

At Kirkcudbright he stayed not long; but there he reaped a harvest of converts, which subsisted long after his departure, and were a part of Mr. Samuel Rutherford's flock, though not his parish, while he was minister at Anwoth. Yet when his call to Ayr came to him, the people of the135 parish of Kirkcudbright never offered to detain him, so his transportation to Ayr was the more easy.

While he was at Kirkcudbright, he met with a young man in scarlet and silver lace (the gentleman's name was Mr. Robert Glendining) new come home from his travels, he much surprised the young man by telling him, he behoved to change his garb, and way of life, and betake himself to the study of the scriptures, which at that time was not his business, for he should be his successor in the ministry at Kirkcudbright, which accordingly came to pass sometime thereafter.

Mr. Welch was transported to Ayr in the year 1590, and there he continued till he was banished, there he had a very hard beginning, but a very sweet end; for when he came first to the town, the country was so wicked and the hatred of godliness so great, that there could not one in all the town be found, who would let him a house to dwell in, so he was constrained to accommodate himself the best he might, in a part of a gentleman's house for a time; the gentleman's name was John Stuart merchant, and sometime provost of Ayr, an eminent Christian, and great assistant of Mr. Welch.

And when he had first taken up his residence in that town, the place was so divided into factions, and filled with bloody conflicts, a man could hardly walk the streets with safety; wherefore Mr. Welch made it his first undertaking to remove the bloody quarrelings, but he found it a very difficult work; yet such was his earnestness to pursue his design, that many times he would rush betwixt two parties of men fighting, even in the midst of blood and wounds. He used to cover his head with a head-piece before he went to separate these bloody enemies, but would never use a sword, that they might see he came for peace and not for war, and so, by little and little, he made the town a peaceable habitation.

His manner was, after he had ended a skirmish amongst his neighbours, and reconciled these bitter enemies, to cause cover a table upon the street, and there brought the enemies together, and beginning with prayer he persuaded them to profess themselves friends, then to eat and drink together, then last of all he ended the work with singing a psalm: For after the rude people began to observe his example, and listen to his heavenly doctrine, he came quickly to that respect amongst them, that he became not only a necessary counsellor, without whose council they would do nothing, but an example to imitate.

136 He gave himself wholly to ministerial exercises, he preached once every day, he prayed the third part of his time, was unwearied in his studies, and for a proof of this, it was found among his papers, that he had abridged Suarez's metaphysics when they came first to his hand, even when he was well stricken in years. By all which it appears, that he has not only been a man of great diligence, but also of a strong and robust natural constitution, otherwise he had never endured the fatigue.

Sometimes, before he went to sermon, he would send for his elders and tell them, he was afraid to go to pulpit; because he found himself sore deserted: and thereafter desire one or more of them to pray, and then he would venture to pulpit. But, it was observed, this humbling exercise used ordinarily to be followed with a flame of extraordinary assistance: So near neighbours are many times contrary dispositions and frames. He would many times retire to the church of Ayr, which was at some distance from the town, and there spend the whole night in prayer; for he used to allow his affections full expression, and prayed not only with audible, but sometimes a loud voice.

There was in Ayr before he came to it, an aged man, a minister of the town, called Porterfield, the man was judged no bad man, for his personal inclinations, but so easy a disposition, that he used many times to go too great a length with his neighbours in many dangerous practices; and amongst the rest, he used to go to the bow-butts and archery, on the sabbath afternoon, to Mr. Welch's great dissatisfaction. But the way he used to reclaim him was not bitter severity, but this gentle policy; Mr. Welch together with John Stuart, and Hugh Kennedy, his two intimate friends, used to spend the sabbath afternoon in religious conference and prayer, and to this exercise they invited Mr. Porterfield, which he could not refuse, by which means he was not only diverted from his former sinful practice, but likewise brought to a more watchful and edifying behaviour in his course of life.

While Mr. Welch was at Ayr, the Lord's day was greatly profaned at a gentleman's house about eight miles distance from Ayr, by reason of great confluence of people playing at the foot-ball, and other pastime. After writing several times to him to suppress the profanation of the Lord's day at his house, (which he slighted, not loving to be called a puritan) Mr. Welch came one day to his gate and calling him out to tell him, that he had a message from God to shew him, that because he had slighted the advice137 given him from the Lord, and would not restrain the profanation of the Lord's day committed in his bounds; therefore the Lord would cast him out of his house, and none of his posterity should enjoy it: which accordingly came to pass; for although he was in a good external situation at this time; yet henceforth all things went against him until he was obliged to sell his estate; and when giving the purchaser possession thereof, he told his wife and children that he had found Mr. Welch a true prophet[49].

He married Elizabeth Knox, daughter to the famous Mr. John Knox minister at Edinburgh, and she lived with him from his youth till his death. By her he had three sons[50].

138 As the duty wherein Mr. Welch abounded and excelled most in his prayer, so his greatest attainments fell that way. He used to say, He wondered how a Christian could ly in bed all night, and not rise to pray, and many times he rose, and many times he watched. One night he rose from his wife, and went into the next room, where he staid so long at secret prayer, that his wife, fearing he might catch cold, was constrained to rise and follow him, and, as she hearkened, she heard him speak as by interrupted sentences, Lord, wilt thou not grant me Scotland, and after a pause, Enough, Lord, enough; and so she returned to her bed, and he following her, not knowing she had heard him, but when he was by her, she asked him, What he meant by saying, Enough, Lord, enough? he shewed himself dissatisfied with her curiosity, but told her, He had been wrestling with the Lord for Scotland, and found there was a sad time at hand, but that the Lord would be gracious to a remnant. This was about the time when bishops first overspread the land, and corrupted the church. This is more wonderful still, An honest minister, who was a parishioner of Mr. Welch many a day, said, "That one night as he watched in his garden very late, and some friends waiting upon him in his house, and wearying because of his long stay, one of them chanced to open a window toward the place where he walked, and saw clearly a strange light surround him, and heard him speak strange words about his spiritual joy." But though Mr. Welch had upon the account of his holiness, abilities and success, acquired among his subdued people, a very great respect, yet was he never in such admiration, as after the great plague which raged in Scotland in his time.

And one cause was this: The magistrates of Ayr, forasmuch as this town alone was free, and the country about infected, thought fit to guard the ports with centinels and watchmen; and one day two travelling merchants, each with a pack of cloth upon a horse, came to the town desiring entrance that they might sell their goods, producing a pass from the magistrates of the town from whence they came, which was at that time sound and free; yet notwithstanding all this, the centinels stopt them till the magistrates were called, and when they came they would do139 nothing without their minister's advice; so Mr. Welch was called, and his opinion asked: He demurred, and putting off his hat, with his eyes towards heaven for a pretty space, though he uttered no audible words, yet continued in a praying posture; and after a little space told the magistrates, They would do well to discharge these travellers their town, affirming, with great asseveration, the plague was in these packs, so the magistrates commanded them to be gone, and they went to Cumnock, a town about twenty miles distant, and there sold their goods, which kindled such an infection in that place, that the living were hardly able to bury their dead. This made the people begin to think of Mr. Welch as an oracle: Yet, as he walked with God, and kept close with him, so he forgot not man, for he used frequently to dine abroad with such of his friends as he thought were persons with whom he might maintain the communion of the saints; and once in the year, he used always to invite all his familiar acquaintances in the town, to a treat in his house, where there was a banquet of holiness and sobriety.

He continued the course of his ministry in Ayr, till king James's purpose of destroying the church of Scotland, by establishing bishops was ripe, and then it became his duty to edify the church by his sufferings, as formerly he had done by his doctrine.

The reason why king James was so violent for bishops, was neither their divine institution, which he denied they had, nor yet the profit the church should reap by them, for he knew well both the men and their communications, but merely because he believed they were useful instruments to turn a limited monarchy into absolute dominion, and subjects into slaves; the design in the world he minded most.

Always in the pursuit of his design, he followed this method; in the first place, he resolved to destroy general assemblies, knowing well that so long as assemblies might convene in freedom, bishops could never get their designed authority in Scotland; and the dissolution of assemblies he brought about in this manner.

The general assembly at Holyrood-house, anno 1602, with the king's consent, indict their next meeting to be kept at Aberdeen, the last tuesday of July anno 1604, and before that day came, the king by his commissioner the laird of Laureston, and Mr. Patrick Galloway moderator of the last general assembly, in a letter directed to the several presbyteries, prorogued the meeting till the first tuesday140 of July 1605, at the same place; last of all, in June 1605, the expected meeting to have been kept in July following, is by a new letter from the king's commissioner, and the commissioners of the general assembly, absolutely discharged and prohibited, but without naming any day or place, for any other assembly; and so the series of our assemblies expired, never to revive again in due form, till the covenant was renewed anno 1638. However, many of the godly ministers of Scotland, knowing well, if once the hedge of the government was broken, the corruption of the doctrine would soon follow, resolved not to quit their assemblies so. And therefore a number of them convened at Aberdeen, upon the first tuesday of July 1605, being the last day that was distinctly appointed by authority; and when they had met, did no more but constitute themselves and dissolve. Amongst those was Mr. Welch, who, though he had not been present upon that precise day, yet because he came to the place, and approved what his brethren had done, he was accused as guilty of the treasonable fact committed by them. So dangerous a point was the name of a general assembly in king James's jealous judgment.

Within a month after this meeting, many of these godly men were incarcerate, some in one prison, some in another. Mr. Welch was sent first to Edinburgh tolbooth, and then to Blackness; and so from prison to prison, till he was banished to France, never to see Scotland again.

And now the scene of his life begins to alter; but, before his sufferings, he had this strange warning.

After the meeting at Aberdeen was over, he retired immediately to Ayr; and one night he rose from his wife, and went into his garden, as his custom was, but stayed longer than ordinary, which troubled his wife, who, when he returned, expostulated with him very hard for his staying so long to wrong his health; he bid her be quiet, for it should be well with them. But he knew well, he should never preach more at Ayr; and accordingly, before the next sabbath, he was carried prisoner to Blackness castle. After that, he, with many others, who had met at Aberdeen, were brought before the council of Scotland at Edinburgh, to answer for their rebellion and contempt, in holding a general assembly, not authorized by the king. And because they declined the secret council, as judges competent in causes purely spiritual, such as the nature and constitution of a general assembly is, they were first remitted to the prison at Blackness, and other places, and thereafter, six of the most considerable of them, were brought141 under night from Blackness to Linlithgow before the criminal judges, to answer an accusation of high treason at the instance of Sir Thomas Hamilton the king's advocate, for declining, as he alleged, the king's lawful authority, in refusing to admit the council judges competent in the cause of the nature of church judicatories; and, after their accusation and answer was read, by the verdict of a jury of very considerable gentlemen, they were condemned as guilty of high treason, the punishment deferred till the king's pleasure should be known; and thereafter their punishment was made banishment, that the cruel sentence might somewhat seem to soften their severe punishment, as the king had contrived it.

While he was in Blackness, he wrote his famous letter to Lilias Graham countess of Wigton; in which he utters, in the strongest terms, his consolation in suffering; his desire to be dissolved, that he might be with the Lord; the judgments he foresaw coming upon Scotland, &c. He also seems most positively to shew the true cause of their sufferings, and state of the testimony in these words:

"Who am I, that he should first have called me, and then constituted me a minister of the glad tidings of the gospel of salvation these years already, and now last of all to be a sufferer for his cause and kingdom. Now, let it be so, that I have fought my fight, and run my race, and now from henceforth is laid up for me that crown of righteousness, which the Lord that righteous God will give, and not to me only, but to all that love his appearance, and choose to witness this, that Jesus Christ is the king of saints, and that his church is a most free kingdom, yea as free as any kingdom under heaven, not only to convocate, hold, and keep her meetings, and conventions and assemblies; but also to judge of all her affairs, in all her meetings and conventions amongst her members and subjects. These two points, 1. That Christ is the head of his church. 2. That she is free in her government, from all other jurisdiction except Christ's: These two points, I say, are the special cause of our imprisonment; being now convict as traitors for the maintaining thereof. We have been ever waiting with joyfulness to give the last testimony of our blood in confirmation thereof, if it should please our God to be so favourable as to honour us with that dignity; yea, I do affirm, that these two points above-written, and all other things which belong to Christ's crown, sceptre and kingdom,142 are not subject, nor cannot be, to any other authority, but to his own altogether. So that I would be most glad to be offered up as a sacrifice for so glorious a truth: It would be to me the most glorious day, and the gladdest hour I ever saw in this life; but I am in his hand to do with me whatsoever shall please his Majesty.

"I am also bound and sworn, by a special covenant, to maintain the doctrine and discipline thereof, according to my vocation and power all the days of my life, under all the pains contained in the book of God, and danger of body and soul, in the day of God's fearful judgment; and therefore, though I should perish in the cause, yet will I speak for it, and to my power defend it, according to my vocation."

He wrote about the same time to Sir William Livingston of Kilsyth: There are some prophetical expressions in this letter that merit notice.

"As for that instrument Spotswood, we are sure the the Lord will never bless that man, but a malediction lies upon him, and shall accompany all his doings; and it may be, Sir, your eyes shall see as great confusion covering him, ere he go to his grave, as ever did his predecessors. Now surely, Sir, I am far from bitterness, but here I denounce the wrath of an everlasting God against him, which assuredly shall fall, except it be prevented. Sir, Dagon shall not stand before the ark of the Lord, and these names of blasphemy that he wears of arch and lord bishop, will have a fearful end. Not one book is to be given to Haman, suppose he were as great a courtier as ever he was; suppose the decree was given out, and sealed with the king's ring, deliverance will come to us elsewhere, and not by him, who has been so sore an instrument, not against our persons, that were nothing, (for I protest to you, Sir, in the sight of God, I forgive him all the evil he has done, or can do, to me) but unto Christ's poor kirk, in stamping under foot so glorious a kingdom and beauty as was once in this land; he has helped to cut Sampson's hair, and to expose him to mocking, but the Lord will not be mocked: He shall be cast away as a stone out of a sling, his name shall rot, and a malediction shall fall upon his posterity after he is gone. Let this, Sir, be a monument of it, that it was told before, that when it shall come to pass, it may be seen there was warning given him: And therefore, Sir, seeing I have not the access myself, if it would please143 God to move you, I wish you would deliver this hand-message to him, not as from me, but from the Lord."

The man of whom he complains, and threatens so sore, was bishop Spotswood, at that time designed arch-bishop of Glasgow; and this prophecy was punctually accomplished, though after the space of forty years: For, first the bishop himself died in a strange land, and, as many say, in misery; next his son Robert Spotswood, sometime president of the session, was beheaded by the parliament of Scotland, at the market-cross of St. Andrews, in the winter after the battle of Philiphaugh, to which many thousands witnessed, and as soon as ever he came upon the scaffold, Mr. Blair, the minister of the town, told him, That now Mr. Welch's prophecy was fulfilled upon him; to which he replied in anger, That Mr. Welch and he were both false prophets.

But before he left Scotland, some remarkable passages in his behaviour are to be remembered. And first, when the dispute about church-government began to warm, as he was walking upon the street of Edinburgh, betwixt two honest citizens he told them, They had in their town two great ministers, who were no great friends to Christ's cause presently in controversy, but it should be seen, the world should never hear of their repentance. The two men were Mr. Patrick Galloway and Mr. John Hall; and accordingly it came to pass, for Mr. Patrick Galloway died easing himself upon a stool; and Mr. John Hall, being at that time in Leith, and his servant woman having left him alone in his house while she went to the market, he was found dead at her return.

He was sometime prisoner in Edinburgh castle before he went into exile, where one night sitting at supper with the Lord Ochiltry, who was uncle to Mr. Welch's wife, as his manner was, he entertained the company with godly and edifying discourse, which was well received by all the company, except a debauched popish young gentleman, who sometimes laughed, and sometimes mocked and made wry faces; whereupon Mr. Welch brake out into a sad abrupt charge upon all the company to be silent, and observe the work of the Lord upon that profane mocker, which they should presently behold; upon which the profane wretch sunk down and died beneath the table, to great astonishment of all the company.

Another wonderful story they tell of him at the same time:—The Lord Ochiltry the captain, being both son to the good Lord Ochiltry, and Mr. Welch's uncle in law,144 was indeed very civil to Mr. Welch, but being for a long time, through the multitude of affairs, kept from visiting Mr. Welch in his chamber, as he was one day walking in the court, and espying Mr. Welch at his chamber window, asked him kindly how he did, and if in any thing he could serve him? Mr. Welch answered him, He would earnestly intreat his lordship, being at that time to go to court, to petition king James in his name, that he might have liberty to preach the gospel; which my lord promised to do. Mr. Welch answered, My lord, both because you are my kinsman, and for other reasons, I would earnestly intreat and bidest you not to promise, except you faithfully perform. His lordship answered. He would faithfully perform his promise; and so went for London. But though at his first arrival, he was really purposed to present the petition to the king, when he found the king in such a rage against the godly ministers, that he durst not, at that time, present it; so he thought fit to delay it, and thereafter entirely forgot it.

The first time that Mr. Welch saw his face after his return from court, he asked him what he had done with his petition. His lordship answered, He had presented it to the king, but that the king was in so great a rage against the ministers at that time, he believed it had been forgotten, for he had got no answer. Nay, said Mr. Welch to him, My lord, you should not lie to God, and to me; for I know you never delivered it, though I warned you to take heed not to undertake it, except you would perform it; but because you have dealt so unfaithfully, remember God shall take from you both estate and honours, and give them to your neighbour in your own time: which accordingly came to pass, for both his estate and honours were in his own time translated to James Stuart, son of captain James, who was indeed a cadet, but not the lineal heir of the family.

While he was detained prisoner in Edinburgh castle, his wife used for the most part to stay in his company, but upon a time fell into a longing to see her family in Ayr, to which with some difficulty he yielded; but when she was to take her journey, he strictly charged her not to take the ordinary way to her own house, when she came to Ayr, nor to pass by the bridge through the town, but to pass the river above the bridge, and so get the way to his own house, and not to come into the town, for, said he, before you come thither, you shall find the plague broken out in Ayr, which accordingly came to pass.

145 The plague was at that time very terrible, and he being necessarily separate from his people, it was to him the more grievous; but when the people of Ayr came to him to bemoan themselves, his answer was, that Hugh Kennedy, a godly gentleman in their town, should pray for them, and God should hear him. This counsel they accepted, and the gentleman conveening a number of the honest citizens, prayed earnestly for the town, as he was a mighty wrestler with God, and accordingly after that the plague decreased.

Now the time is come when he must leave Scotland, and never to see it again. So upon the 7th of November 1606, in the morning he with his neighbours took ship at Leith, and though it was but two o'clock in the morning, many were waiting on with their afflicted families, to bid them farewel[51]. After prayer, they sung the 23d psalm, and so to the great grief of the spectators, set sail for the south of France, and landed in the river of Bourdeaux. Within fourteen weeks after his arrival, such was the Lord's blessing upon his diligence, he was able to preach in French, and accordingly was speedily called to the ministry, first in one village, then in another; one of them was Nerac, and thereafter was settled in St. Jean d' Angely, a considerable walled town, and there he continued the rest of the time he sojourned in France, which was about sixteen years. When he began to preach, it was observed by some of his hearers, that while he continued in the doctrinal part of his sermon, he spoke very correct French, but when he came to his application, and when his affections kindled, his fervor made him sometimes neglect the accuracy of the French construction: But there were godly young men who admonished him of this, which he took in very good part, so for preventing mistakes of that kind, he desired the young gentlemen, when they perceived him beginning to decline, to give him a sign, viz. that they were to stand up; and thereafter he was more exact in his expression through his whole sermon: So desirous was he, not only to deliver good matter, but to recommend it in neat expression.

146 There were many times persons of great quality in his auditory, before whom he was just as bold as ever he had been in a Scots village; which moved Mr. Boyd of Trochrig once to ask him (after he had preached before the university with Saumur with such boldness and authority as if he had been before the meanest congregation), How he could be so confident among strangers, and persons of such quality? To which he answered, That he was so filled with the dread of God, he had no apprehensions from man at all; and this answer, said Mr. Boyd, did not remove my admiration, but rather increase it.

There was in his house, amongst many others who boarded with him for good education, a young gentleman of great quality, and suitable expectations, and this was the heir of Lord Ochiltry, captain of the Castle of Edinburgh. This young nobleman, after he had gained very much upon Mr. Welch's affections, fell ill of a grievous sickness, and after he had been long wasted with it, closed his eyes, and expired, to the apprehension of all spectators, and was therefore taken out of his bed, and laid on a pallet on the floor, that his body might be the more conveniently dressed. This was to Mr. Welch a very great grief, and therefore he stayed with the dead body full three hours, lamenting over him with great tenderness. After twelve hours, the friends brought in a coffin, whereinto they desired the corpse to be put, as the custom is; but Mr. Welch desired, that for the satisfaction of his affections, they would forbear it for a time, which they granted, and returned not till twenty-four hours after his death were expired; then they desired, with great importunity, that the corpse might be coffined, and speedily buried, the weather being extremely hot; yet he persisted in his request, earnestly begging them to excuse him once more; so they left the corpse upon the pallet for full thirty-six hours; but even after all that, though he was urged, not only with great earnestness, but displeasure, they were constrained to forbear for twelve hours more. After forty-eight hours were past, Mr. Welch still held out against them, and then his friends perceiving that he believed the young man was not really dead, but under some apoplectic fit, proposed to him, for his satisfaction, that trial should be made upon his body by doctors and chirurgeons, if possibly any spark of life might be found in him, and with this he was content.—So the physicians are let to work, who pinched him with pincers in the fleshy parts of his body, and twisted a bow-string about his head with great force, but no sign of life appearing147 in him, the physicians pronounced him stark dead, and then there was no more delay to be made; yet Mr. Welch begged of them once more, that they would but step into the next room for an hour or two, and leave him with the dead youth; and this they granted. Then Mr. Welch fell down before the pallet, and cried to the Lord with all his might, and sometimes looked upon the dead body, continuing in wrestling with the Lord, till at length the dead youth opened his eyes, and cried out to Mr. Welch, whom he distinctly knew, O Sir, I am all whole, but my head and legs; and these were the places they had sore hurt with their pinching.

When Mr. Welch perceived this, he called upon his friends, and shewed them the dead young man restored to life again, to their great astonishment. And this young nobleman, though he lost the estate of Ochiltry, lived to acquire a great estate in Ireland, and was Lord Castle-Stuart, and a man of such excellent parts, that he was courted by the earl of Stafford to be a councellor in Ireland; which he refused to be, until the godly silenced Scottish ministers, who suffered under the bishops in the north of Ireland, were restored to the exercise of their ministry, and then he engaged, and continued to for all his life, not only in honour and power, but in the profession and practice of godliness, to the great comfort of the country where be lived. This story the nobleman himself communicated to his friends in Ireland.

While Mr. Welch was minister in one of these French villages, upon an evening a certain popish friar travelling through the country, because he could not find lodging in the whole village, addressed himself to Mr. Welch's house for one night. The servants acquainted their master, and he was content to receive this guest. The family had supped before he came, and so the servants convoyed the friar to his chamber, and after they had made his supper, they left him to his rest. There was but a timber partition betwixt him and Mr. Welch, and after the friar had slept his first sleep, he was surprized with the hearing of a silent, but constant whispering noise, at which he wondered very much, and was not a little troubled.

The next morning he walked in the fields, where he chanced to meet with a country man, who saluting him because of his habit, asked him, Where he had lodged that night? The friar answered, He had lodged with the hugenot minister. Then the country man asked him, what entertainment he had? The friar answered, Very bad: for,148 said he, I always held, that devils haunted these ministers houses, and I am persuaded there was one with me this night, for I heard a continual whisper all the night over, which I believe was no other thing, than the minister and the devil conversing together. The country man told him, he was much mistaken, and that it was nothing else than the minister at his night prayer. O, said the friar, does the minister pray any? Yes, more than any man in France, answered the country man, and if you please to stay another night with him you may be satisfied. The friar got home to Mr. Welch's house, and pretending indisposition, intreated another night's lodging, which was granted him.

Before dinner, Mr. Welch came from his chamber, and made his family exercise, according to his custom. And first he sung a psalm, then read a portion of scripture, and discoursed upon it, thereafter he prayed with great fervor, to all which the friar was an astonished witness. After exercise they went to dinner, where the friar was very civilly entertained, Mr. Welch forbearing all question and dispute with him for the time; when the evening came, Mr. Welch made exercise as he had done in the morning, which occasioned more wonder to the friar, and after supper they Went to bed; but the friar longed much to know what the night whisper was, and therein he was soon satisfied, for after Mr. Welch's first sleep, the noise began; then the friar resolved to be certain what it was, and to that end he crept silently to Mr. Welch's chamber-door, and there he heard not only the sound, but the words distinctly, and communications betwixt man and God, such as he thought, had not been in this world. The next morning, as soon as Mr. Welch was ready, the friar went to him, and told him, that he had lived in ignorance the whole of his life, but now he was resolved to adventure his soul with Mr. Welch, and thereupon declared himself protestant: Mr. Welch welcomed and encouraged him, and he continued a protestant to his death.

When Lewis XIII. king of France made war upon the protestants there, because of their religion, the city of St. Jean d' Angely was besieged by him with his whole army, and brought into extreme danger. Mr Welch was minister of the town, and mightily encouraged the citizens to hold out, assuring them, God would deliver them. In the time of the siege, a cannon ball pierced the bed where he was lying, upon which he got up, but would not leave the room, till he had, by solemn prayer, acknowledged his deliverance. During this siege, the townsmen made stout149 defence, till one of the king's gunners planted a great gun so conveniently upon a rising ground, that therewith he could command the whole wall upon which the townsmen made their greatest defence. Upon this, they were constrained to forsake the whole wall in great terror, and tho' they had several guns planted upon the wall, no man durst undertake to manage them. This being told to Mr. Welch, he notwithstanding encouraged them still to hold out, and running to the wall, found the cannonier, who was a Burgundian, near the wall, him he entreated to mount the wall, promising to assist him in person. The cannonier told Mr. Welch, that they behoved to dismount the gun upon the rising ground, else they were surely lost; Mr. Welch desired him to aim well, and he would serve him, and God would help him; the gunner fell to work, and Mr. Welch ran to fetch powder for a charge, but, as he was returning, the king's gunner fired his piece, which carried the laddle with the powder out of his hands: This did not discourage him, for having left the laddle, he filled his hat with powder, wherewith the gunner dismounted the king's gun at the first shot, and the citizens returned to their post of defence.

This discouraged the king so much, that he sent to the citizens to offer them fair conditions, viz. That they should enjoy the liberty of their religion, their civil privileges, and their walls should not be demolished; the king only desired that he might enter the city in a friendly manner with his servants. This the city thought fit to grant, and the king with a few more entered the city for a short time. While the king was in the city, Mr. Welch preached as usual, which offended the French court, for while he was at sermon the king sent the duke de Espernon to fetch him out of the pulpit into his presence. The duke went with his guard, and when he entered the church where Mr. Welch was preaching, Mr. Welch commanded to make way, and to place a seat that the duke might hear the word of the Lord. The duke instead of interrupting him, sat down, and gravely heard the sermon to an end, and then told Mr. Welch he behoved to go with him to the king, which he willingly did. When the duke came to the king, the king asked him why he brought not the minister with him; and why he did not interrupt him? The duke answered, Never man spake like this man, but he had brought him along with him. Whereupon Mr. Welch is called, and when he had entered the king's room, he kneeled and silently prayed for wisdom and assistance. Thereafter the150 king challenged him, how he durst preach in that place, since it was against the laws of France, that any man should preach within the verge of his court? Mr. Welch answered, Sir, if you did right, you would come and hear me preach, and make all France hear me likewise. For, said he, I preach you must be saved by the death and merits of Jesus Christ, and not your own; and I preach, that as you are king of France, you are under the authority of no man on earth: Those men, he said, whom you hear, subject you to the Pope of Rome, which I will never do. The king replied, Well, well, you shall be my minister; and, as some say, called him father, which is an honour bestowed upon few of the greatest prelates in France: However, he was favourably dismissed at that time, and the king also left the city in peace.

But within a short time thereafter the war was renewed, and then Mr. Welch told the inhabitants of the city, That now their cup was full, and they should no more escape; which accordingly came to pass, for the king took the town, and commanded Vitry the captain of his guard to enter and preserve his minister from all danger; then horses and waggons were provided for Mr. Welch, to transport him and his family for Rochelle, whither he went, and there sojourned for a time.

After his flock in France was scattered, he obtained liberty to return to England, and his friends intreated that he might have permission to come to Scotland, because the physicians declared there was no other method to preserve his life, but by the freedom he might have in his native air. But to this king James would never yield, protesting he would be unable to establish his beloved bishops in Scotland, if Mr. Welch was permitted to return thither; so he languished at London a considerable time; his disease was considered by some to have a tendency to a sort of leprosy, physicians said he had been poisoned; a languor he had together with a great weakness in his knees, caused by his continual kneeling at prayer, by which it came to pass, that though he was able to move his knees, and to walk, yet he was wholly insensible in them, and the flesh became hard like a sort of horn. But when in the time of his weakness, he was desired to remit somewhat of his excessive painfulness, his answer was, He had his life of God, and therefore it should be spent for him.

His friends importuned king James very much, that if be might not return to Scotland, at least he might have liberty to preach in London, which he would not grant,151 till he heard all the hopes of life were past, and then he allowed him liberty to preach, not fearing his activity.

Then as soon as ever he heard he might preach, he greedily embraced this liberty, and having access to a lecturer's pulpit, he went and preached both long and fervently: which was his last performance: For after he had ended his sermon, he returned to his chamber, and within two hours, quietly and without pain, he resigned his spirit into his Maker's hands, and was buried near Mr. Deering, the famous English divine, after he had lived little more than fifty two years.

During his sickness, he was so filled and overcome with the sensible enjoyment of God, that he was overheard to utter these words, "O Lord, hold thy hand, it is enough, thy servant is a clay vessel, and can hold no more."——

If his diligence was great, so it may be doubted whether his sowing in painfulness, or his harvest in success was greatest; for if either his spiritual experiences in seeking the Lord, or his fruitfulness in converting souls be considered, they will be found unparallelled in Scotland; And many years after Mr. Welch's death, Mr. David Dickson, at that time a flourishing minister at Irvine, was frequently heard to say, when people talked to him of the success of his ministry, That the grape-gleanings in Ayr, in Mr. Welch's time, were far above the vintage of Irvine in his own. Mr. Welch in his preaching was spiritual and searching, his utterance tender and moving, he did not much insist upon scholastic purposes and made no shew of his learning. One of his hearers, who was afterward minister at Moor-kirk in Kyle, used to say, That no man could hear him and forbear weeping, his conveyance was so affecting.

There is a large volume of his sermons now in Scotland, only a few of them have come to the press, nor did he ever appear in print, except in his dispute with Abbot Brown, wherein he makes it appear, his learning was not behind other virtues; and in another called Dr. Welch's Armagaddon, supposed to have been printed in France, wherein he gives his meditation upon the enemies of the church, and their destruction; but the piece itself rarely to be found.

152


The Life of Mr. Robert Boyd.

He was first settled minister at Vertal in France, but was afterwards by the interest of Sieur du Plessis translated to be professor of divinity at Saumur, and some time after was invited home by king James and settled principal of the college of Glasgow and minister of Govan, at which place he ordinarily wrote his sermons in full, and yet when he came to the pulpit he appeared with great life and power of affection. While he was in France the popish controversy employed his thoughts, but the church of Scotland engrossed almost his whole attention after his return home, and he became a zealous friend and supporter of the more faithful part of the ministry, against the usurpation of the bishops and their ceremonies.

But the prelatists knowing that the eminency of his place, his piety and learning would influence many to take part with that way, they therefore laboured with great assiduity, both by intreaties, threatenings and the persuasions of some of his friends, in so much that he gave in a paper to Law arch-bishop of Glasgow, in which he seemed in some sort to acknowledge the pre-eminence of bishops, but he got no rest the next night after this, being sore troubled for what he had done, he went back and sought his paper again with tears, but the bishop pretended that he had already sent it up to the king, so that he could not obtain it.

Mr. Boyd, finding that from this time forward he could enjoy no peace in this place, he demitted both, and was chosen principal of the college of Edinburgh, and one of the ministers of that city; Dr. Cameron came into his places at Glasgow in October 1622. Some of the other ministers of Edinburgh, particularly one Ramsay, envied him on account of his high reputation both as a preacher, and as a teacher (the well-affected part of the people both in town and country crowding to his church), and gave the king information against him as a non-conformist: the king sent a letter December the 13th to the magistrates of the town, rebuking them for admitting him, and commanding him to be removed: The magistrates were not obedient to the command, and by a courtier intreated he might be continued, but the king would not grant their request. Accordingly on the last of January 1623, he renewed the153 order to remove him, and he was in a little time after that turned out of his place and office.

Some short time after this, bishop Law was again prevailed on to admit Mr. Boyd to be minister of Paisley, for although no man was more opposite to the Perth articles than Mr. Boyd, as he had refused conformity to them both at Glasgow and Edinburgh, yet his learning and prudence recommended him to the bishop's esteem. Here he remained in security and peace until the earl of Abercorn's brother (a zealous papist) dispossessed him on a Sabbath afternoon while he was preaching, and threw all his books out of the house where he had his residence. Upon complaining to the privy-council the offender was imprisoned, and the court and bailies of Paisley having undertaken to repossess Mr. Boyd again, and the gentleman professing his sorrow for what he had done, Mr. Boyd interceeding with them for him, the council passed the matter over.

But no sooner went he to take possession, than he found the church doors secured, so that no access could be had, and though the magistrates would have broke them open, yet the mob (urged on as was supposed by the earl's mother) pressed so hard upon the good man, not only by opprobrious speeches, but also threw stones at him as if he had been a malefactor, that he was forced to fly to Glasgow, and afterwards, seeing no prospect of a peaceable settlement at Paisley, he returned to his own house at Trochrig in Carrick, where he (probably) continued to his death, which was some years after.

He was a man of great learning for that time, as his commentary on the Ephesians testifies. He would sometimes say, If he had his choice of languages wherein to deliver his sentiments it would be in Greek. He was of an austere countenance and carriage, and yet very tender-hearted. He had but a mean opinion of himself, but a high esteem of others in whom he perceived any signs of grace and ingenuity. In the time of that convincing and converting work of the Lord (commonly called Stuarton sickness) he came from his own house in Carrick, and met with many of the people; and having conversed with them, he heartily blessed the Lord for the grace that was given unto them.

154


The Life of Mr. Robert Bruce.

Mr. Robert Bruce was born about the year 1554. He was second son to the laird of Airth (of whom he had the estate of Kinnaird), who being at that time a baron, of the best quality in the kingdom, educated Mr. Robert with intention of being one of the lords of session, and for his better accomplishment, sent him to France to study the civil law. After his return home, his father injoined him to wait upon some affairs of his that were then before the court of session, as he had got a patent insured for his being one of these lords. But God's thoughts being not as mens thoughts, and having other designs with him, he began then to work mightily upon his conscience, that he could get no rest till he was suffered to attend Mr. Andrew Melvil at St. Andrews to study divinity under him; but to this his mother was averse, for she would not condescend until he first gave up some lands and casualities wherein he was infest: This he most willingly did, and shaking off all impediments he fully resolved upon an employment more fitted to the serious turn of his mind.

He went to St. Andrews sometime before Mr. Andrew Melvil left the country, and continued there until his return. Here he wanted not some sharp conflicts on this head, insomuch that upon a certain time, walking in the fields with that holy and religious man Mr. James Melvil, he said to him, "Before I throw myself again into such torment of conscience which I have had in resisting the call to the ministry, I would rather choose to walk through a fire of brimstone, even tho' it were half a mile in length." After he was accomplished for the ministry, Mr. Andrew Melvil perceiving how the Lord wrought with him, brought him over to the general assembly in 1587, and moved the church of Edinburgh to call him to a charge there.

And although he was moved by some brethren to accept the charge of the ministry in place of Mr. James Lawson, yet he could not be prevailed upon to take the charge simpliciter (although he was willing to bestow his labour thereon for a time), until by the joint advice of the ministry of the city, and this stratagem, he was as it were trapped into it: thus, on a time, when the sacrament was to be dispensed at Edinburgh, one of the ministers desired Mr. Bruce,155 who was to preach in the afternoon, to sit by him, and after he had served two or three tables, he went out of the church, as if he had been to return in a little, but instead of that he sent notice to Mr. Bruce, that unless he served the rest of the tables the work behoved to stop; Mr. Bruce not knowing but the minister had been seized on a sudden with some kind of sickness, and, the eyes of all the people being fixed on him, many intreating him to supply the minister's place, he proceeded to the administration of the remainder, and that with such assistance to himself and emotion amongst the people, that the like had never before been seen in that place.

When he was afterward urged by the rest of his brethren to receive, in the ordinary way, the imposition of hands, he refused it, because he wanted not the material part of ordination, viz. the call of the people and the approbation of the ministry, and besides he had already celebrated the sacrament of the supper, which was not, by a new ordination to be made void.——So having made trial of the work, and found the blessing of God upon his labours, he accepted the charge, and was from that time forth principal actor in the affairs of the church, and a constant and strenuous maintainer of the established doctrine and discipline thereof.

While he was minister at Edinburgh he shined as a great light through all these parts of the land, the power and efficacious energy of the Spirit accompanying the word preached by him in a most sensible manner, so that he was a terror to evil doers, the authority of God appearing with him, in so much that he forced fear and respect even from the greatest in the land. Even king James himself and his court had such high thoughts of him, that when he went to bring home his queen anno 1590, at his departure, he expressly desired Mr. Bruce to acquaint himself with the affairs of the country and the proceedings of the council, professing that he reposed more in him than the rest of his brethren, or even all his nobles; and indeed in this his hopes were not disappointed, for the country was more quiet during his absence than either before or afterward: In gratitude for which Mr. Bruce received a congratulatory letter dated February 19th, 1590, wherein the king acknowledgeth, "He would be obligated to him all his life for the pains he had taken in his absence to keep his subjects in good order." Yea, it is well known that the king had that esteem for Mr. Bruce, that, upon a certain time before many witnesses, he gave him this testimony,156 That he judged him worthy of the half of his kingdom; but he proved in this, as in others of his fair promises, no slave to his word, for not many year's after he obliged this good man, for his faithfulness, to depart and leave the kingdom.

Mr. Bruce being a man of public spirit and heroic mind, was always on that account pitched upon to deal in matters of high moment, and amongst other things, upon the 19th of November 1596, he, Messrs. Andrew Melvil and John Davidson, were directed by the counsel of the brethren, to deal with the queen concerning her religion, and, for want of religious exercises and virtuous occupation amongst her maids to move her to hear now and then the instructions of godly and discreet men; they went to her, but were refused admittance until another time.

About the same time he was sent to the king then sitting with the lords in session, to present some articles for redress of the wrongs then done to the church; but, in the mean time, a bustle falling out at Edinburgh by the mob, he removed to Linlithgow. Upon the Sabbath following, Mr. Bruce preaching upon the 51st psalm said, "The removal of your ministers is at hand, our lives shall be bitterly fought after, but ye shall see with your eyes, that God shall guard us, and be our buckler and defence &c." and the day following, this was in part accomplished, for the king sent a charge from Linlithgow to Mr. Bruce and the rest of the ministers of Edinburgh, to enter in ward at the castle there within six hours after the proclamation, under pain of horning. The rest of the ministers, knowing the king's anger was kindled against them, thought proper to withdraw, but Mr. Bruce knowing his own innocency, stayed, and gave in an apology for himself and the rest of his faithful brethren. In April 13th 1599, the king returned to Edinburgh, and was entertained in the house of Mr. Bruce, although he himself was not yet released.

But all this was nothing more than the drops before the shower, or as the gathering of waters before an inundation breaks forth, for the king, having for some time laboured to get prelacy established in Scotland, and because Mr. Bruce would not comply with his measures, and refused to give praise to God in public for the kings deliverance from the pretended conspiracy in the year 1600, until he was better ascertained of the fact, he not only discharged him from preaching in Edinburgh, but also obliged him to leave the kingdom. When he embarked at the queen's ferry on the157 3d of November the same year, there appeared such a great light as served him and the company to sail, although it was near midnight. He arrived at Dieppe on the eight of November.

And although, by the king's permission, he returned home the year following, yet because he would not, (1.) Acknowledge Gowrie's conspiracy; (2.) Purge the king in such places as he should appoint; and (3.) Crave pardon of the king for his long distrust and disobedience, &c. he could not be admitted to his place and office again, but was commanded by the king to keep ward in his own house of Kinnaird. After the king's departure to England, he had some respite for about a year or more, but in the year 1605, he was summoned to compear at Edinburgh on the 29th of February, before the commission of the general assembly, to hear and see himself removed from his function at Edinburgh; they had before, in his absence, decerned his place vacant, but now they intimated the sentence, and Livingston had a commission from the king to see it put in execution; he appealed; they prohibited him to preach; but he obeyed not. In July thereafter, he was advertized by chancellor Seaton, of the king's express order, discharging him to preach any more, and said, He would not use his authority in this, but only request him to desist for nine or ten days; to which he consented, thinking it but of small moment for so short a time. But he quickly knew, how deep the smallest deviation from his Master's cause and interest might go; for that night (as he himself afterward declared) his body was cast into a fever, with such terror of conscience, that be promised and fully resolved to obey their commands no more.

Upon the 18th of August following, he was charged to enter in ward at Inverness, within the space of ten days, under pain of horning, which he obeyed upon the 17th following. And in this place he remained for the space of four years, teaching every Wednesday and Sabbath forenoon, and was exercised in reading public prayers every other night, in which his labours were blessed, for this dark country was wonderfully illuminated, and many brought to Christ by means of his ministry, and a seed sown in these remote places, which remained for many years afterwards.

When he returned from Inverness to his own house, and though his son had obtained a licence for him, yet here he could find nothing but grief and vexation, especially from the ministers of the presbyteries of Stirling and Linlithgow,158 and all for curbing the vices some of them were subject to.—At last he obtained liberty of the council to transport his family to another house he had at Monkland, but, because of the bishop of Glasgow, he was forced to retire back again to Kinnaird. Thus this good man was tossed about, and obliged to go from place to place.

In this manner he continued, until he was by the king's order summoned before the council in September the 19th, 1621, to answer for transgressing the law of his confinement, &c. When he compeared, he pleaded the favour granted him by his majesty when in Denmark, and withal purged himself of the accusation laid against him, and yet notwithstanding of all these (said he), the king hath exhausted both my estate and person, and has left me nothing but my life, and that apparently he is seeking; I am prepared to suffer any punishment, only I am careful not to suffer as a malefactor or evil doer.——A warrant was delivered to him to enter in ward in the castle of Edinburgh, where he continued till the first January; the bishops absented from the council that day, however they were his delators. He was again brought before the council, where the king's will was intimate to him, viz. That he should return to his own house until the 21st of April, and then transport himself again to Inverness, and remain within four miles thereof during the king's pleasure.

Here he remained, for the most part, until September 1624, when he obtained licence again to return from his confinement to settle some of his domestic affairs; the condition of his licence was so strait, that he purposed with himself to return back to Inverness, but in the mean time the king died, and so he was not urged to go back to his confinement; and although king Charles I. did again renew this charge against him some years after this, yet he continued mostly in his own house, preaching and teaching wherever he had occasion.

About this time the parish of Larber, having neither church nor stipend, Mr. Bruce repaired the church and discharged all the parts of the ministry there, and many besides the parish attended upon his ministry at that place with great success; and it would appear, that about this time Mr. Henderson then minister at Leuchars, (afterward the famous Henderson) was at first converted by his ministry.

At this place it was his custom after the first sermon to retire by himself some time for private prayer, and on a time some noblemen who had far to ride, sent the beadle159 to learn if there was any appearance of his coming in;—the man returned, saying, I think he shall not come out this day, for I overheard him say to another, "I protest, I will not go unless thou goest with me." However, in a little time he came, accompanied by no man, but in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ; for his very speech was with much evidence and demonstration of the Spirit. It was easy for his hearers to perceive that he had been in the mount with God, and that indeed he had brought that God whom had met in private, unto his mother's house, and unto the chambers of her that conceived him.

Mr. Bruce was also a man who had somewhat of the spirit of discerning future events, and did prophetically speak of several things that afterward came to pass, yea, and divers persons distracted (says an author[52]) and those who were past recovery with the epileptical disease, or falling sickness, were brought to Mr. Bruce, and were, after prayer by him in their behalf, fully restored from that malady. This may seem strange (but true), for he was such a wrestler with God, and had more than ordinary familiarity with him.

Some time before his death, being then at Edinburgh, where through weakness he often kept his chamber, whither a meeting of godly ministers, anent some matter of church-concernment, (hearing he was in town), came and gave him an account of the prelates actings. After this, Mr. Bruce prayed, in which he repeated over again to the Lord the very substance of their discourse (which was a very sad representation of the case of the church), all which time there was an extraordinary motion in all present, and such a sensible down-pouring of the Spirit, that they could hardly contain themselves. Mr. Weemes of Lathockar being occasionally present, at departing said, O how strange a man is this, for he knocketh down the Spirit of God upon us all; this he said, because Mr. Bruce, in the time of that prayer, divers times knocked with his fingers upon the table.

About this time he related a strange dream; how he had seen a long broad book with black boards, flying in the air, with many black fowls like Crows flying about it; and as it touched any of them, they fell down dead; upon which he heard an audible voice speak to him, saying, Hæc est ira160 Dei contra pastores ecclesiæ Scoticanæ; upon which he fell a-weeping and praying that he might be kept faithful, and not be one of these who were thus struck down by a torch of his wrath, through deserting the truth. He said, when he awakened, he found his pillow all wet and drenched with tears.—The accomplishment of this dream, I need not describe: all acquainted with our church-history, know, that soon after that, prelacy was introduced into Scotland. Bishops set up, and with them ushered in Popish and Arminian tenets, with all manner of corruptions and profanity, which continued in Scotland a number of years.

One time, says Mr. Livingston, I went to Edinburgh to see him, in the company of the tutor of Bonington. When we called on him at eight o'clock in the morning, he told us, He was not for any company, and when we urged him to tell us the cause, he answered, That when he went to bed he had a good measure of the Lord's presence, and that he had wrestled with him about an hour or two before we came in, and had not yet got access; and so we left him. At another time I went to his house, but saw him not till very late; when he came out of his closet, his face was foul with weeping, and he told me, That, that day, he had been thinking on what torture and hardships Dr. Leighton our country-man had been put to at London[53]; and added, If I had been faithful, I might have had the pillory, and some of my blood shed for Christ as well as he; but he hath got the crown from us all. I heard him once say, faith be, I would desire no more at my first appeal from king James, but one hour's converse with him: I know he hath a conscience; I made him once weep bitterly at Holyrood-house. About the year——, I heard him say, I wonder how I am kept so long here; I have lived161 two years already in violence; meaning that he was then much beyond seventy years of age[54].

When the time of his death drew near (which was in the month of August 1631), through age and infirmity he was mostly confined to his chamber, where he was frequently visited by his friends and acquaintances; and being on a certain time asked by one of them, How matters stood betwixt God and his soul? He made this return, "When I was young, I was diligent, and lived by faith on the Son of God; but now I am old, and am not able to do so much, yet he condescends to feed me with lumps of sense." And that morning before he was removed, his sickness being mostly a weakness through age, he came to breakfast and having as usual eaten an egg, he said to his daughters "I think I am yet hungry, ye may bring me another egg." But instantly thereafter, falling into deep meditation, and after having mused a little he said, "Hold, daughter, my Master calls me." With these words his sight failed him; and called for his family bible, but finding his sight had failed him, he said, "Cast up to me the eight chapter of the epistle to the Romans, and set my fingers on these words, I am persuaded that neither death nor life, &c. shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus my Lord. Now, said he, is my finger upon them?" and being told it was, he said, "Now God be with you my children; I have breakfasted with you, and shall sup with my Lord Jesus Christ this night." And so like Abraham of old, he gave up the ghost in a good age[55], and was gathered to his people.

In this manner did this occidental star set in our horizon. There was none, in his time, who did speak with such evidence of the power of the Spirit; and no man had more seals of his ministry, yea many of his hearers thought, that no man since the apostles days ever spoke with such power. And although he was no Boanerges (as being of a slow but grave delivery), yet he spoke with such authority and weight as became the oracles of the living God: so that some of the most stout-hearted of his hearers were162 ordinarily made to tremble, and by having this door which had formerly been shut against Jesus Christ, as by an irresistable power broke open and the secrets of their hearts made manifest, they often times went away under deep convictions. He had a very majestic countenance, in prayer he was short, especially when in public, but every word or sentence he spoke was as a bolt shot from heaven; he spent much of his time in private prayer. He had a very notable faculty in searching the scriptures, and explaining the most obscure mysteries therein, and was a man who had much inward exercise of conscience anent his own personal case, and was oftentimes assaulted anent that grand fundamental truth, The being of a God, insomuch that it was almost customary to him to say when he first spoke in the pulpit, "I think it a great matter to believe there is a God," and by this he was the more fitted to deal with others under the like temptations.[56]

Mr. Bruce was also an eloquent and substantial writer, as the forementioned apology, and his excellent letters to M. Espignol, the duke of Parma, Col. Semple, &c. doth copiously evidence, Argal's sleep, &c. He was also deeply affected with the public cause and interest of Jesus Christ, and much depressed in spirit when he beheld the naughtiness and profanity of many ministers then in the church, and the unsuitable carriage and deportment of others to so great a calling, which made him express himself with much fear, that the ministry in Scotland would prove the greatest persecutors it had, which so lately came to pass.


The Life of Mr. Josias Welch.

Mr. Josias Welch was a younger son to the famous Mr. John Welch sometime minister of the gospel at Ayr, and Elizabeth Knox daughter to the great Mr. John Knox, who was minister at Edinburgh, from whom he received a most liberal and religious education. But what enhanced his reputation more, was, that he was, heir to his father's graces and virtues. And although he had received all the branches of useful learning in order163 for the ministry, yet, prelacy being then prevalent in Scotland, he was detained for some time from that function, seeing he was not clear in his own mind to enter into that office by the door of episcopacy. But some time after, it so fell out, that meeting with worthy Mr. Blair, (who was then settled a minister at Bangor in Ireland) he finding how zealous a spirit Mr. Welch was of, exhorted and solicited him much to hasten over there, where he would find work enough, and he hoped success likewise, which accordingly came to pass, for upon his going thither he was highly honoured and provided of the Lord to bring the covenant of grace to the people at the six-mile water, (on whom Mr. Glendining formerly minister there had wrought some legal convictions) and having preached sometime at Oldstone, he was settled at Temple-Patrick, where he with great vigilance and diligence exercised his office, which by the blessing of God upon his labours, gained him many seals of his ministry.

But the devil envying the success of the gospel in that quarter, stirred up the prelatical clergy, whereupon the bishop of Down, in May 1632, caused cite him, Messrs. Blair, Livingston and Dumbar before him, and urged them to conform and give their subscription to that effect, but they answered with great boldness, That there was no law nor canon in that kingdom requiring this; yet notwithstanding they were all four deposed by him from the office of the holy ministry.

After this, Mr. Welch continued for some time preaching in his own house, where he had a large auditory, and such was his desire to gain souls to Christ, that he commonly stood in a door looking towards a garden, that so he might be heard without as well as within, by means of which, being of a weakly constitution, he contracted such a cold as occasioned his death in a short time thereafter.

He continued in this way, until May 1634, when by the intercession of Lord Castle-Stuart with the king in their behalf, the foresaid ministers received a grant from the bishop of six months liberty, which freedom none more willingly embraced than Mr. Welch, but he had preached only a few weeks in his own pulpit before he sickened, and the Sabbath afternoon before his death, which was on the Monday following. "I heard of his sickness," saith Mr. Livingston, "and came to him about eleven o'clock at night, and Mr. Blair came about two hours thereafter. He had many gracious discourses, as also some wrestling and exercise of mind. One time cried out, Oh for hypocrisy;164 on which Mr. Blair said, See how Satan is nibbling at his heels before he enter into glory. A very little before he died, being at prayer by his bed-side, and the word victory coming out of my mouth, he took hold of my hand and desiring me to forbear a little, and clapping his hands, cried out, Victory, victory, victory for ever more, then he desired me to go on, and in a little expired—on the 23d of June 1634."

Thus died the pious and faithful Mr. Josias Welch, in the flower of his youth, leaving only one son behind him, viz. Mr. John Welch, who was afterward minister at Irongray in Galloway.


The Life of John Gordon Viscount Kenmuir.

John Gordon of Lochinvar (afterwards viscount Kenmuir) was born about the year 1599. He received a reasonable measure of education, and yet, through the circumstance of his birth, the corruption of the age, but above all the depravity of nature, and want of restraining grace in his younger years, he became somewhat irreligious and profane, which, when he arrived at manhood, broke out into more gross acts of wickedness, and yet all the while the Lord never left him altogether without a check or witness in his conscience, yet sometimes when at ordinances, particularly sacramental occasions, he would be filled with some sense of sin, which being borne powerfully in upon his soul, he was scarce able to hold out against it. But for a long time he was a stranger to true and saving conversion. The most part of his life after he advanced in years, he spent like the rich man in the gospel, casting down barns and building greater ones, for at his houses of Rusco and Kenmuir he was much employed in building, parking, planting, and seeking worldly honours.

About the year 1628, he was married to that virtuous and religious lady, Jean Campbel sister to the worthy marquis of Argyle, by whom he had some children, two at least, one of whom it appears died about the beginning of the year 1635, for we find Mr. Rutherford in one of his letters, about that time, comforting this noble lady upon such a mournful occasion.

165 In the year 1633, Charles I. to honour his coronation, in the place of his birth and first parliament, dignified many of the Scots nobility and gentry with higher titles, and places of office and honour, among whom was Sir John Gordon, who upon the eighth of May was created Viscount Kenmuir and Lord Gordon of Lochinvar[57].

Accordingly the viscount came to the parliament which sat down at Edinburgh June 16th 1633, and was present the first day, but stayed only a few days thereafter, for being afraid to displease the king, from whom he had both received some, and expected more honours, and not having the courage to glorify God by his presence, when his cause was at stake, deserted the parliament under pretence of indisposition of body, and returned home to his house at Kenmuir in Galloway, and there slept securely for about a year without check of conscience, till August 1634, that his affairs occasioned his return to Edinburgh, where he remained some days, not knowing that with the ending of his affairs he was to end his life. He returned home with some alteration of bodily health, and from that day his sickness increased until September 12th ensuing, which was the day of his death.

But the Lord had other thoughts than that this nobleman should die without some sense of his sin, or yet go out of this world unobserved.—And therefore it pleased him with his bodily affliction to shake his soul with fears, making him sensible of the power of eternal wrath, for his own good, and for an example to others in after-ages never to wrong their own consciences, or to be wanting to the cause or interest of God, when he gives them an opportunity to that purpose.

Upon the Sabbath August 31st, being much weakened, he was visited by a religious and learned minister who then lived in Galloway not far from the house of Kenmuir, his lordship much rejoiced at his coming, observing the all-ruling providence in sending him such a man (who had been abroad from Galloway some time) sooner home than he expected. After supper his lordship drew on a conference with the minister, shewing he was much taken up with the fears of death, and extremity of pain. "I never dreamed, said he, that death had such a terrible, austere and166 gloomy countenance. I dare not die, howbeit I know I must die. What shall I do, for I dare not venture in gripes with death, because I find my sins grievous and so many that I fear my account is out of order, and not so as becomes a dying man."

The minister for some time discoursed to him anent this weakness of nature, which was in all men, believers not excepted, which made them afraid of death, but he hoped Christ would be his second in the combat, willing him to rely upon the strength of Christ; but withal said, "My lord, I fear more the ground of your fear of death, which is (as you say) the consciousness of your sins, for there can be no plea betwixt you and your Lord if your sins be not taken away in Christ, and therefore make that sure, and fear not." My lord answered, "I have been too late in coming to God, and have deferred the time of making my account, so long that I fear I have but the foolish virgins part of it, who came and knocked at the door of the bridegroom so late, and never got in."

The minister having resumed somewhat both of his own and his father's sins, particularly their cares for this world and worldly honours, and thinking his lordship designed to extenuate his fault in this, he drew several weighty propositions in way of conference about the fears of death and his eternal all, which depended upon his being in or out of Christ, and obtested him in these words,—"Therefore I intreat you, my lord, by the mercies of God, by your appearing before Christ your Judge, and by the salvation of your soul, that you would look ere you leap, and venture not into eternity without a certificate under Jesus Christ's hand, because it is said of the hypocrite, Job xx. 11. He lieth down in the grave, and his bones are full of the sins of his youth."

My lord replied, "When I begin to look upon my life, I think all is wrong in it, and the lateness of my reckoning affrighteth me, therefore stay with me, and shew me the marks of a child of God, for you must be my second in this combat and wait upon me." His lady answered, "You must have Jesus Christ to be your second," to which he heartily said "Amen—but, continued he, how shall I know that I am in the state of grace, for while I be resolved my fears will still overburthen me." The minister said, "My lord, scarcely or never doth a cast-a-way anxiously and carefully ask the question, Whether he be a child of God or not?" But my lord excepted against that saying, "I do not think there is any reprobate in167 hell, but he would with all his heart have the kingdom of heaven." The minister having explained the different desires in reprobates, his lordship said, "You never saw any tokens of true grace in me, and that is my great and only fear."

The minister said, "I was indeed sorry to see you so fearfully carried away with temptation, and you know, I gave you faithful warning that it would come to this. I wish your soul was deeply humbled for sin; but to your demand, I thought you ever had a love for the saints, even to the poorest, who carried Christ's image, altho' they could never serve nor profit you in any way, 1 John iii. 14. By this we know we are translated from death unto life, &c." And at last with this mark after some objections he seemed convinced. The minister asked him, "My lord, dare you now quit your part in Christ, and subscribe an absolute resignation of him?" My lord said, "O Sir, that is too hard, I hope he and I have more to do together, and I will be advised ere I do that," and then asked, "What mark is it to have judgment to discern a minister called and sent of God from an hirling?" The minister allowed it to be a good mark, and cited John x. 4. My sheep know my voice.

At the second conference the minister urged deep humiliation. He acknowledged the necessity thereof, but said, "Oh! if I could get him! But sin causeth me to be jealous of his love, to such a man as I have been." The minister advised him "to be jealous of himself, but not of Jesus Christ, there being no meeting betwixt them without a sense of sin," Isa. lxi. 2, 3. Whereupon my lord said with a deep sigh accompanied with tears, "God send me that," and thereafter reckoned out a certain number of his sins, which were as serpents or crocodiles before his eyes. The minister told him, "that death and him were yet strangers, and hoped he would tell another tale ere all the play be ended, and you shall think death a sweet messenger to carry you to your Father's house." He said with tears, "God make it so," and desired him to pray.

At the third conference he said, "Death bindeth me strait. O how sweet a thing it is to seek God in health, and in time of prosperity to make our accounts, for now I am so distempered that I cannot get my heart framed to think on my account, and the life to come." The minister told him, "He behoved to fight against sickness and pain, as well as sin and death, seeing it is a temptation."——He answered, "I have taken the play long.168 God hath given me thirty-five years to repent, but alas! I have mispent it:" and with that he covered his face and wept. The minister assured him, that although his day was far spent, yet he behoved in the afternoon, yea when near evening, to run fast, and not to lie in the field, and miss his lodging, upon which he, with uplifted eyes, said, "Lord, how can I run? Lord, draw me, and I shall run," Cant. i. 4. The minister hearing this, desired him to pray, but he answered nothing; yet within an hour he prayed before him and his own lady very devoutly, and bemoaned his own weakness both inward and outward, saying, "I dare not knock at thy door, I ly at it scrambling as I may, till thou come out and take me in; I dare not speak; I look up to thee, and look for one kiss of Christ's fair face. O when wilt thou come!"

At the fourth conference he charged the minister to go to a secret place and pray for him, and do it not for the fashion; I know, said he, prayer will pull Christ out of heaven. The minister said, "What shall we seek, give us a commission." He answered, "I charge you to tell my beloved, that I am sick of love." The minister desired if they should seek life or recovery, he said, "Yea, if it be God's good pleasure, for I find my fear of death now less, and I think God is now loosing the root of the deep-grown tree of my soul so firmly fastened to this life." The minister told him, If it were so, he behoved to covenant with God in dedicating himself and all he had to God and his service, to which he heartily consented, and after the minister had recited several scriptures for that purpose, such as Psal. lxxviii. 36. &c. He took the Bible, and said, Mark other scriptures for me, and he marked 2 Cor. v. Rev. xxi. and xxii. Psal. xxxviii. John xv. These places he turned over, and cried often for one love blink, "O Son of God, for one sight of thy face."

When the minister told him his prayers were heard, he took hold of his hand and drew him to him, and said with a sigh, Good news indeed, and desired him and others to tell him what access they had got to God in Christ for his soul,—They told him they had got access, at which he rejoiced, and said, "Then will I believe and wait on, I cannot think but my beloved is coming leaping over the hills."

When friends or others came to visit him, whom he knew feared God, he would cause them go and pray for him, and sent some of them expresly to the wood of Kenmuir on that errand. After some cool of a fever (as was169 thought), he caused one of his attendants call for the minister, to whom he said smiling, "Rejoice now, for he is come. O! if I had a tongue to tell the world what Jesus Christ hath done for my soul."

And yet after all this, conceiving hopes of recovery, he became more careless, remiss, and dead, for some days, and seldom called for the minister (though, he would not suffer him to go home to his flock), which his lady and others perceiving went to the physician, and asked his judgment anent him.——He plainly told them, There was nothing but death for him if his flux returned, as it did. This made the minister go to him and give him faithful warning of his approaching danger, telling him, his glass was shorter than he was aware of, and that Satan would be glad to steal his soul out of the world sleeping; this being seconded by the physician, he took the minister by the hand, thanked him for his faithful and plain dealing, and acknowledged the folly of his deceiving heart in looking over his affection to this life when he was so fairly once on his journey toward heaven; then ordered them all to leave the chamber except the minister, and causing him to shut the door, he conferred with him anent the state of his soul.

After prayer the minister told him, He feared that his former joy had not been well grounded, neither his humiliation deep enough, and therefore desired him to dig deeper, representing his offence both against the first and second table of the law, &c. whereupon his lordship reckoned out a number of great sins, and, amongst the rest, freely confessed his sin in deserting the last parliament, saying, "God knoweth I did it with fearful wrestling of conscience, my light paying me home within, when I seemed to be glad and joyful before men, &c." The minister being struck with astonishment at this reckoning after such fair appearance of sound marks of grace in his soul, stood up and read the first eight verses in the 6th of the epistle to the Hebrews and discoursed thereon, then cited Rev. xxi. But the fearful and unbeliever, &c. and told him he had not one word of mercy from the Lord to him, and so turned his back, at which he cried out with tears (that they heard him at some distance) saying, "God armed is coming against me to beat out my brains; I would die; I dare not die; I would live; I dare not live; O what a burthen is the hand of an angry God! Oh! what shall I do! Is there no hope of mercy?" In this agony he lay for some time. Some said, The minister would kill him,—Others, He would make him despair. But he bore with170 them, and went to a secret place, where he sought words from God to speak to this patient.

After this another minister came to visit him, to whom he said, "He hath slain me," and before the minister could answer for himself said, "Not he, but the Spirit of God in him." The minister said, Not I, but the law hath slain you, and withal told him of the process the Lord had against the house of Kenmuir. The other minister read the history of Manasseh, and of his wicked life, and how the Lord was intreated of by him. But the former minister[58] went still upon wrath, telling him, He knew he was extremely pained both in body and mind, but what would he think of the lake of fire and brimstone, of everlasting burning and of utter darkness with the devil and his angels. My lord answered, "Woe is me, if I should suffer my thoughts to dwell upon it any time, it were enough to cause me go out of my senses, but I pray you, what shall I do?" The minister told him he was still in the same situation, only the sentence was not given out, and therefore desired him to mourn for offending God. And farther said, What, my lord, if Christ had given out the sentence of condemnation against you, and come to your bed-side and told you of it, would you not still love him, trust in him, and hang upon him? He answered, "God knoweth I durst not challenge him, howbeit he should slay me, I will still love him; yea though the Lord should slay me, yet will I trust in him, I will ly down at God's feet, let him trample upon me, I will die, if I die, at Christ's feet." The minister, finding him claiming kindness to Christ, and hearing him often cry, O Son of God, where art thou, when wilt thou come to me! Oh! for a love-look! said, Is it possible, my lord, that you can love and long for Christ, and he not love and long for you? Can love and kindness stand only on your side? Is your poor love more than infinite love, seeing he hath said Isa. xlix. 15. Can a woman forget, &c.? My lord, be persuaded yourself, you are graven upon the palms of God's hands. Upon this, he, with a hearty smile, looked about to a gentleman (one of his attendants) and said, I am written, man, upon the palms of Christ's hands, he will not forget me, is not this brave talking.

171 Afterwards the minister, finding him weaker, said, My lord, the marriage day is drawing near; make ready; set aside all care of your estate and the world, and give yourself to meditation and prayer and spiritual conference. After that he was observed to be still upon that exercise, and when none were near him, he was found praying; yea, when to appearance sleeping, he was overheard to be engaged in that duty. After some sleep, he called for one of his kinsmen with whom he was not reconciled, and also for a minister who had before offended him, that they might be friends again, which was done quickly. To the preacher he said, "I have ground of offence against you, as a natural man, and now I do to you that which all men breathing could not have moved me to do; but now because the Holy Spirit commands me, I must obey, and therefore freely forgive you as I would wish you to forgive me. You are in an eminent station, walk before God and be faithful to your calling; take heed to your steps; walk in the right road; hold your eye right; for all the world decline not from holiness; and take example by me." To his cousin he said, "Serve the Lord, and follow not the footsteps of your father-in-law" (for he had married the bishop of Galloway's daughter); "learn to know that you have a soul, for I say unto you the thousandth part of the world know not that they have a soul: The world liveth without any sense of God."

He desired the minister to sleep in a bed made upon the ground in the chamber by him, and urged him to take a sleep, saying, "You and I have a far journey to go; make ready for it." Four nights before his death, he would drink a cup of wine to the minister, who said, "Receive it, my lord, in hope you shall drink of the pure river of the water of life, proceeding from the throne of God and from the Lamb." And when the cup was in his hand, with a smiling countenance he said "I think I have good cause to drink with a good will to you." After some heaviness the minister said, "My lord, I have good news to tell you.——Be not afraid of death and judgment, because the process that your Judge had against you is cancelled and rent in pieces, and Christ hath trampled it under his feet."——My lord answered with a smile, "Oh! that is a lucky tale, I will then believe and rejoice, for sure I am, that Christ and I once met, and will he not come again." The minister said, "You have gotten the first fruit of the Spirit, the earnest thereof, and Christ will not lose his earnest, therefore the bargain172 betwixt him and you holdeth." Then he asked, What is Christ like, that I may know him? The minister answered, He is like love, and altogether lovely, Cantic. v. &c.

The minister said, "My lord, if you had the man Christ in your arms, would your heart, your breast and sides be pained with a stitch?" He answered, "God knoweth I would forget my pain, and thrust him to my heart, yea if I had my heart in the palm of my hand I would give it to him, and think it a gift too unworthy of him." He complained of Jesus Christ in coming and going—"I find, said he, my soul drowned in heaviness; when the Lord cometh he stayeth not long." The minister said, "Wooers dwell not together, but married folk take up house and sunder not, Jesus Christ is now wooing and therefore he feedeth his own with hunger; which is as growing meat as the sense of his presence." He said often, "Son of God, when wilt thou come; God is not a man that he should chance, or as the son of man that he should repent. Them that come to Christ he casteth not away, but raiseth them up at the last day." He was heard to say in his sleep, "My beloved is mine, and I am his." Being asked if he had been sleeping? he said, he had, but he remembered he had been giving a claim to Christ &c. He asked, "When will my heart be loosed and my tongue untied, that I may express the sweetness of the love of God to my own soul;" and before the minister answered any thing, he answered himself, "Even when the wind bloweth."

At another time, being asked his judgment anent the ceremonies then used in the church; he answered, "I think and am persuaded in my conscience they are superstitious, idolatrous and antichristian, and come from hell. I repute it a mercy that my eyes shall not see the desolation that shall come upon this poor church. It is plain popery that is coming among you. God help you, God forgive the nobility, for they are either very cold in defending the true religion, or ready to welcome popery, whereas they should resist; and woe be to a dead time-serving and profane ministry."

He called his lady, and a gentleman come from the east country to visit him, and caused shut the door; then from his bed directed his speech to the gentleman thus, "I ever found you faithful and kind to me in my life, therefore I must now give you a charge which you shall deliver to all noblemen you are acquainted with; go through173 them and show them from me that I have found the weight of the wrath of God for not giving testimony for the Lord my God, when I had occasion once in my life at the last parliament, for which fault how fierce have I found the wrath of the Lord! My soul hath raged and roared; I have been grieved at the remembrance of it. Tell them that they will be as I am now, encourage my friends that stood for the Lord; tell them that failed, if they would wish to have mercy when they are as I am, now, they must repent and crave mercy of the Lord. For all the earth I would not do as I have done."

To a gentleman one of his kinsmen, he said, "I love you soul and body, you are a blessed man if you improve the blessed means of the word preached beside you. I would not have you drown yourself so much with the concerns of this world (as I did). My grief is, that I had not the occasion of good means as you have, and if you yourself make not a right use of them, one day they shall be a witness against you, &c."

To Lord Herries his brother-in-law he said, "Mock not at my council, my lord. In case you follow the course you are in, you shall never see the face of Jesus Christ, you are deceived with the merchandise of the whore that makes the world drunk out of the cup of her fornication; your soul is built upon a sandy foundation. When you come to my state, you will find no comfort in your religion. You know not what wrestling I have had before I came to this state of comfort. The kingdom of heaven is not gotten with a skip or leap, but with much, seeking and thrusting, &c."

To his own sister he said, "Who knows, sister, but the words of a dying brother may prevail with a loving sister. Alas; you incline to a rotten religion; cast away these rotten rags, they will not avail you when you are brought to this case, as I am. The half of the world are ignorant, and go to hell, and know not that they have a soul. Read the Scriptures, they are plain easy language to all who desire wisdom from God, and to be led to heaven."

To a gentleman, his neighbour, he said, "Your soul is in a dangerous case, but you see it not. Leave these sinful courses. There are small means of instruction to be had seeing the most part of the ministry are profane and ignorant. Search God's word for the good old way, and search and find out all your own ways."

174 To a gentleman his cousin he said, "You are a young man, and know not well what you are doing. Seek God's direction for wisdom in your affairs, and you shall prosper; and learn to know that you have need of God to be your friend."

To another cousin he said, "David, you are an aged man, and you know not well what an account you have to make. I know you better than you believe, for you worship God according to men's devices; you believe lies of God; your soul is in a dreadful case; and till you know the truth you shall never see your own way aright."

To a young man his neighbour, "Because you are but young, beware of temptation and snares; above all, be careful to keep yourself in the use of means; resort to good company, and howbeit you be named a puritan and mocked, care not for that, but rejoice, and be glad that they would admit you to their society, for I must tell you, when I am at this point in which you see me, I get no comfort to my soul from any other second means under heaven, but from these who are nicknamed puritans; they are the men that can give a word of comfort to a wearied soul in due season, and that I have found by experience."

To one of his natural sisters, "My dove, thou art young, and alas ignorant of God. I know thy breeding and upbringing well enough, seek the Spirit of regeneration. Oh! if thou knew it, and felt the power of the Spirit as I do now. Think not all is gone because your brother is dead. Trust in God, and beware of the follies of youth. Give yourself to reading and praying, and be careful in hearing God's word, and take heed whom you hear, and how you hear, and God be with you."

To a minister he said, "Mr. James, it is not holiness enough to be a minister, for you ministers have your own faults, and those more heinous than others. I pray you, be more painful in your calling, and take good heed of the flock of God, know that every soul that perisheth by your negligence, shall be counted to your soul, murdered before God. Take heed in these dangerous days how you lead the people of God, and take heed to your ministry."

To Mr. George Gillespie, then his chaplain, "You have carried yourself discreetly to me, so that I cannot blame you. I hope you shall prove an honest man; if I have been at any time harsh to you, forgive me. I would I had taken better heed to many of your words, I might175 have gotten good by the means God gave me, but I made no use of them, &c. I am grieved for my ingratitude against my loving Lord, and that I should have sinned against him who came down from heaven to the earth for my cause, to die for my sins; the sense of this love borne in upon my heart hath a reflex, making me love my Saviour, and grip to him again."

To another kinsman he said, "Learn to use your time Well. Oh alas! the ministry in this country are dead, God help you, ye are not led right, ye had need to be busy among yourselves. Men are as careless in the practice of godliness as it were but words, fashions, signs and shews, but all these will not do the turn. Oh! but I find it hard now to trust in and take the kingdom of heaven by force."

To two neighbouring gentlemen he said, "It is not rising soon in the morning, and running to the park or stone-dyke, that will bring peace to the conscience, when it comes to this part of the play. You know how I have been beguiled with this world, I would counsel you to seek that one thing necessary, even the salvation of your souls, &c."

To a cousin, bailie of Ayr, he said, "Robert, I know you have light and understanding, and though you need not be instructed by me, yet you need be incited. Care not over-much for the world, but make use of good means which you have in your country, for here is a pack of dumb dogs that cannot bark, they tell over a clash of terror, and clatter of comfort without any sense or life."

To a cousin and another gentleman who was along with him he said, "Ye are young men and have far to go, and it may be some of you have not far to go, and tho' your journey be short, howsoever it is dangerous. Now are you happy, because you have time to lay your accounts with Jesus Christ. I intreat you to give your youth to Christ, for it is the best and most acceptable gift you can give him. Give not your youth to the devil and your lusts, and then reserve nothing to Jesus Christ but your rotten bones, it is to be feared that then he will not accept you. Learn therefore to watch and take example by me."

He called Mr. Lamb, who was then bishop of Galloway, and commanding all others to leave the room, he had a long conference with him, exhorting him earnestly not to molest or remove the Lord's servants, or enthrall their176 consciences to receive the five articles of Perth, or do any thing against their consciences, as he would wish to have mercy from God.——The bishop answered, "My lord, our ceremonies are, of their own nature, but things indifferent, and we impose them for decency and order in God's kirk. They need not stand so scrupulously on them as matter of conscience in God's worship."——My lord replied, "I will not dispute with you, but one thing I know and can tell you from dear experience, that these things indeed are matters of conscience, and not indifferent, and so I have found them. For since I lay on this bed, the sin that lay heaviest on my soul, was withdrawing myself from the parliament, and not giving my voice for the truth against these things which they call indifferent, and in so doing I have denied the Lord my God." When the bishop began to commend him for his well-led life, putting him in hopes of health, and praised him for his civil carriage and behaviour, saying, He was no oppressor, and without any known vice;—he answered, "No matter, a man may be a good civil neighbour, and yet go to hell."——The bishop answered, "My lord, I confess we have all our faults," and thereafter he insisted so long, that my lord thought him impertinent; this made him interrupt the bishop, saying, "What should I more, I have got a grip of Jesus Christ, and Christ of me, &c." On the morrow the bishop came to visit him, and upon asking how he did, he answered, I thank God, as well as a saved man hastening to heaven can.

After he had given the clerk of Kirkudbright some suitable advice anent his Christian walk and particular calling, he caused him swear in the most solemn terms, that he should never consent to, but oppose the election of a corrupt minister and magistrate.—And to his coachman he said, You will go to any one who will give you the most hire, but do not so, go where you can get the best company; though you get less wages, yet you will get the more grace. Then he made him hold up his hand, and promise before God so to do.—And to two young serving-men, who came to him weeping to get his last blessing, he said, Content not yourselves with a superficial view of religion, blessing yourselves in the morning only for a fashion, yea though you would pray both morning and evening, yet that will not avail you, except likewise ye make your account every day. Oh! ye will find few to direct or counsel you; but I will tell you what to do, first pray to the Lord fervently to enlighten the eyes of your mind, then seek grace to177 rule your affections; you will find the good of this when you come to my situation. Then he took both their oaths to do so.

He gave many powerful exhortations to several persons, and caused each man to hold up his hand and swear in his presence that by God's grace they should forbear their former sins and follow his counsel, &c.

When giving a divine counsel to a friend, he rested in the midst of it, and looked up to heaven, and prayed for a loosened heart and tongue, to express the goodness of God to men, and thereafter went on in his counsel (not unlike Jacob, Gen. xlix. 18. who in the midst of a prophetical testament, rested a little and said, I have waited for thy salvation.)

He gave his lady divers times openly an honourable and ample testimony of holiness, goodness and respective kindness to him, and earnestly craved her forgiveness wherein he had offended her, and desired her to make the Lord her comforter, and said, He was but gone before, and it was but fifteen or sixteen years up or down[59].

He spoke to all the boys of the house, the butler, cook, &c. omitting none, saying, Learn to serve and fear the Lord, and use carefully the means of your salvation. I know what is ordinarily your religion, ye go to kirk, and when ye hear the devil or hell named in the preaching, ye sigh and make a noise, and it is forgot by you before you come home, and then ye are holy enough. But I can tell you, the kingdom of heaven is not got so easily. Use the means yourself, and win to some sense of God, and pray as you can, morning and evening. If you be ignorant of the way to salvation, God forgive you, for I have discharged myself in that point towards you, and appointed a man to teach you, your blood be upon yourselves. He took an oath of his servants, that they should follow his advice, and said to them severally, If I have been tough to or offended you, I pray you for God's sake to forgive me; and amongst others one to whom he had been rough said, Your lordship never did me wrong, I will never get such a master again. Yet he urged the boy to say, My lord, I forgive you; howbeit the boy was hardly brought to utter these words. He said to all the beholders about him, Sirs, behold, how low the Lord hath brought me.

178 To a gentleman burthened in his estate he said, "Sir, I counsel you to cast your burthen upon the Lord your God."——A religious gentleman of his own name coming to visit him four days before his death, when he beheld him he said, Robert, come to me and leave me not till I die. Being much comforted with his speeches, he said, Robert, you are a friend to me both in soul and body.—The gentleman asked him, What comfort he had in his love towards the saints?—He answered, I rejoice at it.—Then he asked him, What comfort he had in bringing the minister who attended him from Galloway? He answered, God knoweth that I rejoice, that ever he put it in my heart so to do, and now because I aimed at God's glory in it, the Lord hath made me find comfort to my soul in the end; the ministers of Galloway murdered my father's soul, and if this man had not come they had murdered mine also.

Before his sister lady Herries, who was a papist, he testified his willingness to leave the world, That papists may see, said he, that those who die in this religion, both see and know whither they go, for the hope of our father's house. When letters were brought him from friends, he caused deliver them to his lady, saying, "I have nothing to do with them. I had rather hear of news from heaven concerning my eternal salvation." It was observed that when any came to him anent any worldly business, before they were out of doors he was returned to his spiritual exercises, and was exceeding short in dispatching all needful writes. He recommended the poor's case to his friends. Upon coming out of a fainting fit, into which his weakness had thrown him, he said with a smiling countenance to all about him, "I would not exchange my life with you all: I feel the smell of the place where I am going."

Upon Friday morning, the day of his departure from this life, he said, "This night must I sup with Jesus Christ in paradise." The minister read to him 2 Cor. v. Rev. xxii. and some observations on such places as concerned his state. After prayer, he said, "I conceive good hopes that God looketh upon me when he granteth such liberty to pray for me. Is it possible that Jesus Christ can lose his grip of me? neither can my soul get itself plucked from Jesus Christ." He earnestly desired a sense of God's presence; and the minister said, What, my lord, if that be suspended, till you come to your own home, and be before the throne clothed in white, and get your harp in your hand, to sing salvation to the Lamb, and to him that sitteth on the throne, for that is heaven; and who179 dare promise it to you upon earth? There is a piece of nature in desiring a sense of God's love, it being an apple that the Lord's children delight to play with. But, my Lord, if you would have it only as a pledge of your salvation, we shall seek it from the Lord for you, and you may lawfully pray for it.—Earnest prayers were made for him, and he testified that he was filled with the sense of the Lord's love. Being asked, What he thought of the world? he answered, "It is more bitter than gall or wormwood." And being demanded, if he now feared death, he answered, I have tasted death, now it is more welcome, the messenger of Jesus Christ, &c.

The minister said, There is a process betwixt the Lord and your father's house, but your name is taken out of it. How dear was heaven bought for you by Jesus Christ? he frequently said, "I know there is wrath against it, but I shall get my soul for a prey."——Oftimes he said, "It is a sweet word God saith, As I live, I delight not in the death of a sinner. I will not let go the hold I have got of Jesus Christ; though he should slay me, yet will I trust in him."

In deep meditation on his change, he put this question, What will Christ be like when he cometh? It was answered, Altogether lovely. Before he died, he was heard praying very fervently, and said to the doctor, "I thought to have been dissolved ere now."—The minister said, Weary not of the Lord's yoke, Jesus Christ is posting fast to be at you, he is within a few miles.—He answered, This is my infirmity. I will wait on, he is worth the onwaiting, though he be long in coming, yet I dare say he is coming, leaping over the mountains and skipping over the hills.——The minister said, Some have gotten their fill of Christ in this life, howbeit he is often under a mask to his own. Even his best saints, Job, David, Jeremiah, &c. were under desertions.—My lord said, But what are these examples to me? I am not in holiness near to them. The minister said, It is true you cannot take so wide steps as they did, but you are in the same way with them. A young child followeth his father at the back, though he cannot take such wide steps as he.—My lord, your hunger overcometh your faith, only but believe his word;—you are longing for Christ, only believe he is faithful, and will come quickly. To which he answered, "I think it is time—Lord Jesus, come."

Then the minister said, My lord, our nature is anxious for our own deliverance, whereas God seeketh first to be180 glorified in our faith, patience and hope. He answered, Good reason to be first served. Lord, give me to wait on; only, Lord, turn me not to dross.

Another said, Cast back your eyes, my lord, on what you have received, and be thankful.—At the hearing of which he brake forth in praising of God, and finding himself now weak, and his speech failing more than an hour before his death, he desired the minister to pray. After prayer, the minister cried in his ear, "My lord, may you now sunder with Christ?" To which he answered nothing, nor was it expected that he would speak any more.—Yet in a little the minister asked, Have you any sense of the Lord's love?—He answered, I have. The minister said, Do you now enjoy?—He answered, I do enjoy. Thereafter he asked him, Will ye not sunder with Christ?——He answered, By no means:—This was his last word, not being able to speak any more. The minister asked if he should pray, and he turned his eyes towards him. In the time of the last prayer he was observed joyfully smiling and looking upward. He departed this life about sun setting, September 12, 1634. aged 35 years. It was observed, that he died at the same instant that the minister concluded his prayer.

Mr. Rutherford in one of his letters to the viscountess of Kenmuir a little after the death of her husband, to comfort her, among other things lets fall this expression, "In this late visitation that hath befallen your ladyship, ye have seen God's love and care in such a measure, that I thought our Lord brake the sharp point of the cross, and made us and your ladyship see Christ take possession and infestment upon earth, of him who is now reigning and triumphing with the hundred and forty and four thousand who stand with the Lamb on mount Zion, &c."


Some may object, what did this nobleman for the cause of Christ, or Scotland's covenanted work of reformation, that he should be inserted among the Scottish worthies? To this it may be answered, What did the most eminent saint that ever was in Scotland, or any where else, until they were enabled by the grace of God. So it was with reference to him; for no sooner was he made partaker of this, than he gave a most ample and faithful testimony for his truths and interest; and although the Lord did not see it proper that he should serve him after this manner, in his day and generation, yet he no doubt accepted of the will for the deed, and why should we not inroll his name among these worthies on earth, seeing he hath written his name among the living in Jerusalem.

181


The Life of Mr. Robert Cunningham.

After Mr. Robert Cunningham had received a good education, he became chaplain to the duke of Buccleugh's regiment in Holland, and was afterward settled minister at Holywood in Ireland, sometime before Mr. Blair was settled at Bangor, and with whom Mr. Blair, after his settlement in that place, contracted such an acquaintance as was comfortable to them both.

He applied himself close unto the work of the ministry, which no doubt to him was the most desireable of all employments, being in the pulpit in his own element, like a fish in the water, or bird in the air, always judging that therein a Christian might enjoy much fellowship with Christ and have an opportunity of doing him the best of services, considering what Christ said to Peter, John xxi. 15. &c. Lovest thou me more than these——feed my lambs——feed my sheep.

Here he continued to exercise his office as a faithful pastor over the flock to whom he was appointed overseer, until the time that several of his faithful brethren were deposed and ejected by the bishops, at which time the bishop of Down threatening Mr. Blair with a prosecution against him, Mr. Cunningham and some others; to whom Mr. Blair said, "Ye may do with me and some others as you please, but if ever ye meddle with Mr. Cunningham your cup will be full," and indeed he was longer spared than any of the rest, which was a great benefit to their flocks, for when they were deposed, he preached every week in one or other of their kirks. So with great pains both at home and abroad he wore out his body which before was not very strong.

When Mr. Blair and Mr. Livingston were summoned before the bishop to be deposed, they went the night before their appearance, to take their leave of Mr. Cunningham, but the next day as they were going to the church of Parphilips, he came up to them, whereat being surprised they asked, Why he came thither? To which he answered, "All night I have been troubled with that place, at my first answer no man stood with me, therefore I am come to stand by you." But being the eye-sore of the devil and the prelatical clergy in that part of the country, he could182 not be suffered long to exercise his ministry, and in August 1636, he, with other of his faithful brethren, was thrust out and deposed. He continued mostly after this with the rest of his suffering brethren, until after the defeat of their enterprise to New-England, that they were obliged to leave Ireland and come over to Scotland, and not long after he took his last sickness in Irvine, whereof he soon after died.

During his sickness, besides many other gracious expressions, he said, "I see Christ standing over death's head, saying, Deal warily with my servant, loose thou this pin, then that pin, for his tabernacle must be set up again."

The day before his death, the members of the presbytery of Irvine made him a visit, whom he exhorted to be faithful to Christ and his cause, and to oppose the service-book (then pressed upon the church). "The bishop," said he, "hath taken my ministry from me, and I may say, my life also, for my ministry is dearer to me than my life." A little before his departure, his wife sitting by his bed-side with his hand in hers, he did by prayer recommend the whole church of Ireland, the parish of Holywood, his suffering brethren in the ministry, and his children to God, and withal added, "Lord, I recommend this gentlewoman to thee, who is no more my wife:"—and with that he softly loosed his hand from hers, and thrust it a little from him, at which she and several of the company fell a-weeping, he endeavoured to comfort them with several gracious expressions, and with the Lord's servant of old, mentioned, Acts xiii. 36. Having served his own generation by the will of God, he fell on sleep, March 27. 1637.

Mr. Cunningham was a man mostly under deep exercises of mind, and although in public preaching he was to his own sense sometimes not so assisted as ordinarily, yet even then the matter he treated of was edifying and refreshful, being still carried through with a full gale, using more piercing expressions than many others. For meekness he was Moses-like, and in patience another Job,—"to my discerning (says one of our Scots worthies[60]) he was the man, who most resembled the meekness of Jesus Christ in all his carriage, that ever I saw, and was so far reverenced of all, even by the wicked, that he was often troubled with that scripture, Wo to you when all men speak well of you."

183


The Life of Mr. James Mitchel.

He was son to James Mitchel of Dykes in the parish of Ardrossan, and was born about the year 1621. His father, being factor to the earl of Eglinton and a very religious man himself, gave his son a most liberal and religious education.——For, being sent to the university of St. Andrews, when very young, he profited to such a degree, that by the time that he was eighteen years of age he was made master of arts.

After this he returned home to his father's house, where he studied for near two years and a half, the Lord in a good measure blessing his pains and endeavours therein. Mr. Robert Bailie, then minister at Kilwinning, shewed him no small kindness, both by the loan of his books, by his counsel, and by superintending his studies.

Thereafter he was called by the lady Houston to attend her eldest son at the college, in which employment he continued other two years and a half, in the which time the Lord blessed his studies there exceedingly, and the great pains taken upon him by Mr. David Dickson (then professor of the university of Glasgow), Mr. Bailie and others, had such a blessing from heaven that he passed both his private and public trials in order for the ministry to their great contentment.

After he was licensed, he came west and preached in Kilwinning and Stevenson, to the satisfaction of all who heard him, so that they blessed God in his behalf, and were very hopeful of his great abilities.

But before Martinmas 1643, he went back to Glasgow, where he both attended his studies and his pupil. He preached some few times in Glasgow, wherewith all those who loved Christ, and his cause and gospel were exceeding well pleased. At this time, Mr. Dickson, Mr. Bailie, and Mr. Robert Ramsay having great hopes of his gifts in preaching told his father, that he had great reason to bless God for the gifts and graces bestowed upon him above all their expectation, for besides these, the Lord had taken him truly by the heart, and wrought graciously with his soul. He had given himself much up to fasting and prayer, and the study of the word of God and reading thereof was now become his delight.

184 But the Lord having other thoughts concerning him, in a short time all their great expectations of him in the ministry were frustrated. For by his extreme abstinence, drinking of water, and indefatigable pains, he contracted that sickness, of which he died soon after. His body began to languish, his stomach to refuse all meat, and his constitution to alter. Mr. Dickson laid his condition much to heart (Mr. Bailie being at London) and kept him fifteen days with him; thereafter he went to Houston, and stayed as long there, where the lady and her daughter shewed more love and kindness than can be expressed, and that not only for the care he had of her son, but also for the rare gifts and graces God had bestowed on him. His father having sent for them he returned home.——The first night on his journey, he was with Ralston, and the laird of Ducathall, being there occasionally, attended him all the rest of the way homeward; for not being able to ride two miles together, he behoved to go into a house to rest himself for an hour, such was his weakly condition.

After his arrival at home, he put on his clothes every day for fifteen days, and after that lay bedfast for ten weeks until the day of his death, during which time the Lord was very merciful and gracious to him, both in an external and internal way.——For his body by degrees daily languished till he became like a skeleton, and yet his face remained ever pleasant, beautiful and well-coloured, even to his last.

The last five or six weeks he lived, there were always three or four waiting on him and sometimes more, yet they never had occasion to weary of him, but were rather refreshed with every day's continuance, by the many wise, sweet and gracious discourses which proceeded out of his mouth.

In the time of his sickness the Lord was graciously pleased to guard his mind and heart from the malice of Satan, so that his peace and confidence in God was not much disturbed, or if the Lord was pleased to suffer any little assault, it soon evanished. His feeling and sense was not frequent nor great, but his faith and confidence in God through Jesus Christ was ever strong, which he told his father divers times was more sure and solid than the other. He said, that the Lord before his sickness, had made fast work with him about the matters of his soul, and that before that, he had been under sore exercises of mind, by the sense of his own guiltiness for a long time, before ever he had solid peace and clear confidence, and often said, "Unworthy I185 and naughty I, am freely beloved of the Lord, and the Lord knows, my soul dearly loves him back again." And that the Lord knew his weakness to encounter with a temptation, and so out of tender compassion thus pitied him.

He was also possest of all manner of patience and submission under all this sore trouble, and never was heard to murmur in the least, but often thought his Master's time well worth the waiting on, and was frequently much refreshed with the seeing and hearing of honest and gracious neighbours, who came to visit him, so that he had little reason with Heman to complain, Psal. lxxxviii. 8. Lovers and friends hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance unto darkness.

Among other of his gracious discoveries, he declaimed much against unprudent speaking, wishing it might be amended, especially in young scholars and young ministers, as being but the froth and vanity of the foolish mind. Among other things he lamented the pride of many young preachers and students, by usurping priority of place, &c. which became them not, and exclaimed frequently against himself for his own practice, yet he said he was in the strength of God brought to mortify the same. He frequently exhorted his parents to carry themselves to one another as the word of God required, and above all things to fear God and delight in his word, and often said, That he dearly loved the book of God, and sought them to be earnest in prayer, showing that it was an unknown thing, and a thing of another world, and that the influence of prayer behoved to come out of heaven, therefore the Spirit of supplication must be wrestled for, or else all prayer would be but lifeless and natural, and said, That being once with the Lady Houston and some country gentlemen at Bagles, the Spirit of prayer and supplication was poured upon him, in such a powerful and lively manner, two several days before they went to dinner that all present were much affected, and shed tears in abundance, and yet at night he found himself so emptied and dead that he durst not adventure to pray any at all these two nights, but went to bed, and was much vexed and cast down, none knowing the reason. By this he was from that time convinced that the dispensation and influence of spiritual and lively prayer came only from heaven, and from no natural abilities that were in man.

The laird of Cunningham coming to visit him (as he did frequently), he enumerated all the remarkable passages of186 God's goodness and providence to him (especially since he contracted sickness), as in shewing infinite mercies to his soul, tender compassion towards his body and natural spirits, patience and submission to his will without grudging, calmness of spirit without passion, solid and constant peace within and without, &c.:—This is far beyond the Lord's manner of dealing with many of his dear saints, &c. "Now Sir, think ye not but I stand greatly indebted to the goodness and kindness of God, that deals thus graciously and warmly with me every way;" and then he burst out in praise to God in a sweet and lively manner.

At another time, the laird being present, May 26, looking out of his bed to the sun shining brightly on the opposite side of the house, he said, "O what a splendor and glory will all the elect and redeemed saints have one day, and O! how much more will the glory of the Creator be, who shall communicate that glory to all his own, but the shallow thoughts of silly men are not able to conceive the excellency thereof, &c."

Again, Mr. Macqueen being present, his father inquired at him, Wherein our communion with God stood? He said, In reconciliation and peace with him, which is the first effect of our justification, then there was access and love to God, patience and submission to his will, &c. then the Lord's manifestation of himself to us, as Christ says, John xiv. 21. See the 20th verse which he instanced.

He said one morning to Hugh Macgaven and his father, "I am not afraid of death, for I rest on infinite mercy, procured by the blood of the Lamb." Then he spake as to himself, "Fear not, little flock, it is the Father's will to give you the kingdom. Then he said, What are these who are of this little flock? Even sinners. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance;" but what kind of sinners? Only those who are sensible of sin and wrath, and see themselves to be lost, therefore, says Christ, "I came to seek and to save them who are lost." There are two words here, seeking and saving; and who are these? Even those who are lost bankrupts, who have nothing to pay. These are they whom Christ seeks, and who are of his flock.

To John Kyle another morning he said twice over, "My soul longeth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning." And at another time, perceiving his father weeping, he said, "I cannot blame you to mourn, for I know you have thought that I might (with God's blessing) have proved a comfortable child to you, but187 comfort yourself in this, that ere it be long I will be at a blessed rest, and in a far better state than I can be in this life, free from sin and every kind of misery, and within a short time ye will follow after me. And in the mean time encourage yourself in the Lord, and let not your mourning be like those who have no hope. The Lord by degrees will assuage your grief, for so he has appointed, else we would be swallowed up and come to nought, &c. for I could never have been removed out of this life in a more seasonable time than now, having both the favour of God and man (being hopeful that my name shall not be unsavoury when I am gone) for none knoweth what affronts, grief and calamities I might fall into, had I lived much longer in this life.——And for crosses and trouble, how might my life have been made bitter to me, for when I think what opposition I might have ere I was an actual minister, by divisions of the people, the patron and the presbytery, it could not but overwhelm me, and then being entered, what a fighting life, with a stubborn people, might be my lot I know not, and then what discontentment I might have in a wife, (which is the lot of many an honest man,) is uncertain, then cares, fears, straits of the world, reproaches of men, personal desires and the devil and an evil world to fight with, these and many more cannot but keep a man in a struggling state in this life. And now lest this should seem a mere speculation, I could instance these things in the persons of many worthy men, I pass all, and only point out one whose gifts and graces are well known to you, viz. Mr. David Dickson, who I am sure, God has made the instrument of the conversion of many souls, and of much good to the country, and yet this gracious person has been tossed to and fro.—And you know that the Lord made him a gracious instrument in this late reformation, and yet he has in a great measure been slighted by the state and the kirk also. What reason have I then to bless God, that in mercy is timeously removing me from all trouble, and will make me as welcome to heaven as if I had preached forty years, for he knows it was my intention (by his grace) to have honoured him in my ministry, and seeing he has accepted the will for the deed, what reason have I to complain, for now I am willing and ready to be dissolved and to be with Christ, which is best of all, wherefore dear father, comfort yourself with this."

188 One time in conference concerning the sin in the godly, his father said to him, "I am sure you are not now troubled with corruption, being so near death. He answered, Ye are altogether deceived, for so long as my foot remaineth on this earth, though the other were translated above the clouds, my mind would not be free of sinful motions." Whereupon he regretted that he could not get his mind and his affections so lifted up, to dwell or meditate on God, his word, or that endless life, as he could have wished, and that he could not find that spirituality by entertaining such thoughts of God's greatness and goodness as became him, and was often much perplexed with vain thoughts, but he was confident that the Lord in his rich mercy would pity and pass by this his weakness and infirmity, &c.

Some time before his death, he fell into several fainting fits, and about ten or twelve days before his dissolution, he fell into one, and was speechless near an hour, so that none present had any hopes that he would again recover; but in the mean time, he was wrapt up in divine contemplation. At last he began to recover, and his heart being enlarged, he opened his mouth with such lively exhortations as affected all present, and directing his speech to his father, he said, "Be glad, Sir, to see your son, yea, I say, your second son, made a crowned king." And to his mother he said, "Be of good courage, and mourn not for want of me, for ye will find me in the all-sufficiency of God." Then he said, "O death, I give thee a defiance through Jesus Christ," and then again he said to on-lookers, "Sirs, this will be a blythe and joyful goodnight." In the mean time Mr. Bell came in, to whom he said, "Sir, you are welcome to be witness to see me fight out my last fight." After which he fell quiet, and got some rest. Within two days, Mr. Bell being come to visit him, he said, "O Sir, but I was glad the last night when you was here, when I thought to be dissolved, that I might have met with my Master, and have enjoyed his presence for ever, but I was much grieved when I perceived a little reverting, and that I was likely to live longer, &c."

To Mr. Gabriel Cunningham, when conferring about death and the manner of dissolution, he said, "O! how sweet a thing it were, for a man to sleep till death in the arms of Christ."——He had many other lively and comfortable speeches which were not remembered, the day never passing, in the time of his sickness, but the onwaiters were refreshed by him.

189 The night before his departure, he was sensible of great pain, whereupon he said, "I see it is true, that we must enter into heaven through trouble, but the Lord will help us through it."—Then he said, "I have great pain, but mixed with great mercy and strong confidence." He called to mind that saying of Mr. John Knox on his death-bed, "I do not esteem that pain, which will be to me an end of all trouble, and the beginning of eternal felicity."

His last words were these, "Lord, open the gates that I may enter in," and a little after his father asked, What he was doing? Whereupon he lifted up his hands, and caused all his fingers shiver and twinkle, and in presence of many honest neighbours he yielded up his spirit and went to his rest a little after sun-rising, upon the 11th of June, 1643, being 23 years of age.

Thus, in the bloom of youth, he ended his Christian warfare, and entered into the heavenly inheritance, a young man, but a ripe Christian. There were three special gifts vouchsafed to him by the Lord, a notable invention, a great memory, with a ready expression.

Among other fruits of his meditation and pains, he drew up a model of and frame of preaching, which he intituled, The method of preaching. Many other manuscripts he left behind him, (as evidences of his indefatigable labour) which if yet preserved in safe custody, might be of no small benefit to the public, as it appears that they have not hitherto been published.


The Life of Mr. Alexander Henderson.

When Mr. Alexander Henderson had passed his degrees at the university with great applause, he was by the bishop of St. Andrews, about the year 1620, preferred to be minister of Leuchars, in the shire of Fyfe. But being brought in there against the consent of that parish unto such a degree, that on the day of his ordination, the church-doors were shut so fast by the people, that they were obliged to break in by a window.

And being very prelatical in his judgment at this time, until a little after, that upon the report of a communion to be in the neighbourhood, where Mr. Bruce was to be an helper, he went thither secretly, and placed himself in a dark corner of the church, where he might not be readily190 seen or known. When Mr. Bruce was come to the pulpit, he did for some time keep silence (as his usual manner was) which did astonish Mr. Henderson, but it astonished him much more, when he heard him begin with these words, He that entereth not in by the door, but climbeth some other way, the same is a thief and a robber—which words, by the blessing of God, and the effectual working of the Holy Spirit, took such hold on him at that very instant, and made such impressions on his heart afterward, as proved the very first mean of his conversion unto Christ.

After this he became not only a most faithful and diligent minister of the gospel, but also a staunch presbyterian, and had a very active hand in carrying on the covenanted work of reformation, from the year 1638, to the day of his death, and was among the very first who got a charge of horning from the bishop of St. Andrews, for refusing to buy and use the service-book, and book of canons then imposed by the king upon the church; which occasioned him and some others to give in several petitions and complaints to the council, both craving some mitigation therein, and shewing the sinfulness thereof, for which and some other considerations and overtures for relief, (mostly compiled by Mr. Henderson) they were by order of proclamation charged, within twenty-four hours, to leave the town of Edinburgh under the pain of rebellion.

Again in the year 1638, when the national confession or covenant was agreed upon and sworn unto by almost all ranks in the land, the marquis of Hamilton being sent by the king to suppress the covenanters, who having held several conferences with him to little or no purpose, at last, he told them that the book of canons and liturgy should be discharged, on condition they should yield up their covenants, which proposition did not only displease them, but also made them more vigilant to support and vindicate that solemn deed. Whereupon Mr. Henderson was again set to work, and in a short time savoured the public with sufficient grounds and reasons why they could not recede from any part of that covenant.

Some time after this, the table (so called) which was erected at Edinburgh for carrying on the reformation, being sorry that the town and shire of Aberdeen, (excited by the persuasion of their doctors) stood out and opposed the covenant and work of reformation, sent some earls with Messrs. Henderson, Dickson and Cant, to deal with them once more, and to see if they could reclaim that town and country.——But upon their arrival there, they could have191 no access to preach in any church; whereupon the three ministers resolved to preach in the earl of Marshal's close and hall as the weather favoured them. Accordingly they preached by turns, Mr. Dickson preached in the morning to a very numerous multitude, at noon Mr. Cant preached, and Mr. Henderson preached at night to no less an auditory than in the morning; and all of them pressed and produced arguments for subscribing the covenant; which had such effect upon the people, that, after public worship was over, about 500 persons subscribed the covenant, at one table there, of whom severals were people of the best quality in that place.[61]

And here one thing was very observable, that while Mr. Henderson preached, the crowd being very great, there were several mockers, and among the rest, one John Logie a student threw clods at the commissioners, but it was remarked, that within a few days after, he killed one Nicol Torrie, a young boy, because the boy's father had beat him for stealing his pease, and though at that time he escaped justice, yet he was again taken and executed in the year 1644. Such was the consequence of disturbing the worship of God, and mocking at the ambassadors of Jesus Christ.

In the same year, at that famous general assembly convened at Glasgow (where many of the nobility were present) Mr. Henderson, without one contrary vote, was chosen moderator, when he did by solemn prayer, constitute that assembly de novo in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; for "among that man's other qualifications (saith Mr. Bailey) he had a faculty of grave, good and fervent prayer, which he exercised without fainting unto the end of that assembly[62]."

It was in the 20th session of this assembly, that Mr. Henderson the moderator, after a most pious and learned sermon (to a very great auditory) from Psal. cx. 1. The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, &c. did in a most grave and solemn manner, excommunicate and depose the bishops, according to the form published among the printed acts of that assembly. In the 21st session, a supplication was given in for liberty to transport him from Leuchars to Edinburgh, but this he was unwilling to do, having been near eighteen years minister there.—He pled that he was now too old a plant to take root in another soil, &c. yet, after much contest betwixt the two parties for some day,192 Edinburgh carried it by 75 votes, very much against his own inclination. However he submitted, on condition that when old age should overtake him, he should be again removed to a country charge. At the conclusion of this assembly he said, "We have now cast down the walls of Jericho (meaning prelacy) let him that buildeth them beware of the curse of Hiel the Bethelite, &c."

In the year 1639. he was one of those commissioned for the church, to treat upon the articles of pacification[63] with the king and his commissioners at Birks near Berwick, where he behaved with great prudence and candor. And when the general assembly, the same year, sat down at Edinburgh, August 12, Mr. Henderson (having been the former moderator) preached to them from Acts v. 33 when they heard that, they were cut to the heart, &c. did towards the close of his discourse, address John earl of Traquair, his majesty's commissioner, in these words,—"We beseech your grace to see that Cæsar have his own, but let him not have what is due to God, by whom kings reign. God hath exalted your grace unto many high places, within these few years, and is still doing so. Be thankful and labour to exalt Christ's throne.——Some are exalted like Haman, some like Mordecai, &c. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they gave all the silver and gold they had carried thence for the building of the tabernacle: in like manner, your grace must employ all your parts and endowments for the building up the church of God in this land, &c."

And to the members chosen, he said, "Right honourable, worshipful, and reverend, go on in your zeal and constancy: true zeal doth not cool, but the longer it burns, the more fervent it will grow: if it shall please God that by your means the light of the gospel shall be continued, and that you have the honour of being instrumental of a blessed reformation, it shall be useful and comfortable to yourselves and your posterity. But let your zeal be always tempered with moderation; for zeal is a good servant but a bad master; like a ship that hath a full sail but no rudder. We had much need of Christian prudence, for we know what advantage some have attempted to take of us this way. For this reason let it be seen to the world, that presbytery, the government we contend for in the church, can consist very well with monarchy193 in the state; and thereby we shall gain the favour of our king, and God shall get the glory." After this discourse and the calling of the commissions, Traquair desired that Mr. Henderson might be continued moderator. Whether this was to corroborate his master's design, or from a regard to Mr. Henderson's abilities (as he himself professed) is not certain, but the assembly opposed this as favouring too much of the constant moderator, the first step taken of late to introduce prelacy; and no man opposed Traquair's motion more than Mr. Henderson himself, and by that means it was over-ruled.

Mr. Henderson was one of those ministers who went with the Scots army to England in the year 1640, every regiment having one of the most able ministers in the bounds where they were raised as chaplain, and when the treaty was set on foot which began at Rippon, and ended at London, he was also one nominated as commissioner for the church, the duties of which he discharged with great prudence and advantage, and the very next year, he was, by the commission of the general assembly, authorized to go with lord Loudon, Warriston and Barclay, to the king, to importune him to call his English parliament, as the only and best expedient to obtain an honourable and lasting peace; but his embassy had not the desired effect.

After his return, he was chosen moderator to the general assembly anno 1643, and when the English commissioners, viz. Sir William Armyn, Sir Harry Vane the younger, Mr. Hatcher and Mr. Darly from the parliament, and two ministers, Mr. Stephen Marshal a presbyterian, and Philip Nye an independent, from the general assembly of divines at Edinburgh, where the general assembly of the church of Scotland was then fitting, craving their aid and counsel upon such an emergent occasion, he was among the first of those nominated as commissioners to go up to the parliament and assembly of England. And so in a little after, Mr. Henderson and Mr. Gillespie, with Mr. Hatcher and Mr. Nye, set out for London to get the solemn league ratified there (the rest of the commissioners staying behind until it should be returned). Upon their arrival at London, and having received a warrant from the parliament to sit in the next assembly (which warrant was presented by Mr. Henderson), the assembly sent out three of their number to introduce them; at their entry Dr. Twisse the prolocutor welcomed them unto the assembly, and complimented them for the hazard they had undergone on their account both by sea and land, in such a rigorous season (it194 being then November); after which they were led to a place the most convenient in the house, which they kept ever after[64].

Again in the year 1646, being sent down from London to attend the king, then with the Scots army at Newcastle, at which time the general Assembly appointed also Messrs. Robert Blair, James Guthrie, Robert Douglas, and Andrew Cant, to wait on his majesty; here Mr. Henderson officiated for some time as his chaplain; and although he and Mr. Blair, of all the presbyterians were the best beloved of the king, yet they could by no means prevail upon him to grant the first demand of his subjects, yea, he obstinately refused, though they besought him on their knees.

In the interval of these affairs, a series of letters was continued betwixt the king, assisted by Sir Robert Murray on the one hand, and Mr. Henderson on the other; the one in defence of Episcopacy, and the other of Presbytery, which were exchanged from the 10th of May to the midst of July as each person was in readiness.

But during this controversy, Mr. Henderson's constitution much worn out with much fatigue and travel, he was obliged to break off an answer to the king's last paper, and to return to Edinburgh, where, in a little time after his arrival, he laid down his earthly tabernacle in exchange for an heavenly crown, about the middle of August 1646.

Some of the abettors of prelacy, sensible of his great abilities, were earnestly desirous to bring him over to their side at his death[65], and for that purpose palmed upon the world most groundless stories of his changing his principles at his last hours; yea, the anonymous author of the civil wars of Great Britain goes farther, when he says, page 200. "Mr. Henderson had the honour to be converted by his majesty's discourse at Newcastle, and died reconciled to the church of England." But from these false calumnies195 he hath been sufficiently vindicated a long time ago, by a declaration of the 9th act of the general assembly in 1648. See also Mr. Logan's letter in vindication of Mr. Henderson, from these aspersions cast on him by Messrs. Sage and Ruddiman.

Some time after his death a monument was erected on his grave in the Gray-friar's church-yard of Edinburgh, in form of a quadrangular urn, inscribed on three sides; and because there was some mention thereon of the solemn league and covenant (or rather because Mr. Henderson had done much for and in behalf of the covenant), commissioner Middleton, some time in the month of June or July 1662, stooped so low as to procure an order of parliament, to raze and demolish said monument, which was all the length their malice could go against a man who had been near sixteen years in his grave. Hard enough, if he had died in the prelatical persuasion, from those who pretended to be the prime promoters of the same[66].

Mr. Henderson was a man who spared no pains in carrying on the work of reformation in that period.——For whether he was called forth to church-judicatories, to the pulpit, or any other business, no trouble or danger could make him decline the work. One of his colleagues and intimate acquaintances give him no mean testimony, when he says, "May I be permitted to conclude with my earnest wish, that that glorious soul of worthy memory, who is now crowned with the reward of all his labours for God and us, may be fragrant among us as long as free and pure assemblies remain in this land, which, I hope, shall be to the coming of our Lord. You know he spent his strength, wore out his days, and that he did breathe out his life in the service of God, and of this church; this binds it on us and posterity, to account him the fairest196 ornament after Mr. John Knox of incomparable memory, that ever the church of Scotland did enjoy[67]."

Beside the forenamed papers, with another intitled the remonstrance of the nobility, &c. a tract on church government, and an instruction for defensive arms, &c. the general assembly appointed him, Mr. Calderwood and Mr. Dickson, to prepare a directory for the worship of God, which not only had the desired effect, but at length brought about uniformity in all our churches. There are also some few of his sermons in print, some of which were preached before the parliament.


The Life of Mr. George Gillespie.

Mr. George Gillespie was son to Mr. John Gillespie, sometime minister of the gospel at Kirkaldy. After Mr. George had been some time at the university (where he surpassed the most part of his fellow-students) he was licensed to preach some time before the year 1638, but could have no entry into any parish because the bishops had then the ascendant in the affairs of the church. This obliged him to remain for some time chaplain[68], in the family of the earl of Cassils.——And here it was, that he wrote that elaborate piece (though he was scarce twenty-five years of age) intitled, a dispute against the English popish ceremonies, &c. which book was, in the year 1637, discharged, by order of proclamation, to be used, as being of too corrosive a quality to be digested by the bishops weak stomachs.

After this he was ordained minister of Weemes, by Mr. Robert Douglas, April 26, 1638, being the first who was admitted by a presbytery in that period, without an acknowledgment of the bishops.——And now Mr. Gillespie began in a more public way to exert himself in defence of the presbyterian interest, when at the 11th session of that venerable assembly held at Glasgow 1638, he preached a very learned and judicious sermon from these words, The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, &c. in which sermon, the earl of Argyle thought that he touched the royal prerogative197 too near, and did very gravely admonish the assembly concerning the same, which they all took in good part, as appeared from a discourse then made by the moderator for the support of that admonition.

At the general assembly held at Edinburgh 1641, Mr. Gillespie had a call tabled from the town of Aberdeen, but the lord commissioner and himself here pled his cause so well, that he was for sometime continued at Weemes——Yet he got not staying there long, for the general assembly in the following year ordered him to be transported to the city of Edinburgh, where it appears he continued until the day of his death, which was about six years after.

Mr. George Gillespie was one of those four ministers who were sent as commissioners from the church of Scotland to the Westminster assembly in the year 1643, where he displayed himself to be one of great parts and learning, debating with such perspicuity, strength of argument, and calmness of spirit, that few could equal, yea none excel him, in that assembly.——As for instance, One time when both the parliament and the assembly were met together, and a long studied discourse being made in favours of Erastianism to which none seemed ready to make an answer, and Mr. Gillespie being urged thereunto by his brethren the Scots commissioners, repeated the subject-matter of the whole discourse, and refuted it, to the admiration of all present,—and that which surprised them most was, that though it was usual for the members to take down notes of what was spoken in the assembly for the help of their memory, and that Mr. Gillespie seemed to be that way employed during the time of that speech unto which he made answer, yet those who sat next him declared, that having looked into his note-book, they found nothing of that speech written, but here and there, "Lord, defend thine light,——Lord, give assistance,——Lord, defend thine own cause, &c."

And although the practice of our church gave all our Scots commissioners great advantages (the English divines having so great a difference) that they had the first forming of all these pieces[69] which were afterward compiled and approved of by that assembly, yet no one was more198 useful at supporting them therein than Mr. Gillespie the youngest of them.——"None (says one of his colleagues who was there present) in all the assembly, did reason more, nor more pertinently, than Mr. Gillespie,—he is an excellent youth, my heart blesses God in his behalf." Again, when Acts xvii. 28. was brought for the proof of the power of ordination, and keen disputing arose upon it, "The very learned and accurate Gillespie, a singular ornament to our church, than whom not one in the assembly spoke to better purpose, nor with better acceptance of all the hearers, shewed that the Greek word of purpose, by the Episcopals, translated ordination, was truly choosing, importing the people's suffrage in electing their own office-bearers." And elsewhere says, "We get good help in our assembly debates of lord Warriston (an occasional commissioner), but of none more than that noble youth Mr. Gillespie. I admire his gifts, and bless God, as for all my colleagues, so for him in particular, as equal in these to the first in the assembly[70]."

After his return from the Westminster assembly, he was employed mostly in the public affairs of the church, until the year 1648, when he was chosen moderator to the general assembly, in which assembly several famous acts were made in favour of the covenanted work of reformation, particularly that against the unlawful engagement then made against England by the duke of Hamilton, and those of the malignant faction. In this assembly, he was one of these nominated to prosecute the treaty of uniformity in religion with England, but in a short time after this, the sickness seized him, whereof he died about the 17th of December following.

Says Mr. Rutherford to him in a letter when on his death bed; "Be not heavy, the life of faith is now called for; doing was never reckoned on your accounts (though Christ in and by you hath done more then by twenty, yea, an hundred grey haired and godly pastors.) Look to that word, Gal. ii. 20. Nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, &c."

In his life-time he was always firmly attached to the work of reformation, and continued so to the end of his life.—For about two months before his decease, he sent a paper to the commission of the general assembly, wherein he gave faithful warning against every sin and backsliding that he then perceived to be on the growing hand both in church and state, and last of all, he emitted the following faithful199 testimony against association and compliance with the enemies of truth and true godliness, in these words.

"Seeing now in all appearance, the time of my dissolution draweth near, although I have, in my latter will, declared my mind of public affairs, yet I have thought good to add this further testimony, that I esteem the malignant party in these kingdoms to be the seed of the Serpent, enemies to piety and presbyterial government (pretend what they will to the contrary), a generation who have not set God before them. With the malignant are to be joined the profane and scandalous, from all which, as from heresy and error, the Lord, I trust, is about to purge his church. I have often comforted myself (and still do) with the hopes of the Lord's purging this polluted land. Surely the Lord hath begun and will carry on that great work of mercy, and will purge out the rebels. I know there will be always a mixture of hypocrites, but that cannot excuse the conniving at gross and scandalous sinners, &c. I recommend to them that fear God, seriously to consider, that the holy scriptures do plainly hold forth, 1. That the helping of the enemies of God, joining or mingling with wicked men is a sin highly displeasing. 2. That this sin hath ordinarily insnared God's people into divers other sins. 3. That it hath been punished of God with grievous judgments. And, 4. That utter destruction is to be feared, when a people, after great mercies and judgments, relapse into this sin, Ezra ix. 13, 14.

"Upon these and the like grounds, for my own exoneration, that so necessary a truth want not the testimony of a dying witness of Christ, altho' the unworthiest of many thousands, and that light may be held forth, and warning given, I cannot be silent at this time, but speak by my pen when I cannot by my tongue, yea now also by the pen of another when I cannot by my own, seriously, and in the name of Jesus Christ, exhorting and obtesting all that fear God, and make conscience of their ways, to be very tender and circumspect, to watch and pray, that he be not ensnared in that great and dangerous sin of compliance with malignant or profane enemies of the truth, &c. which if men will do, and trust God in his own way, they shall not only not repent it, but to the greater joy and peace of God's people, they shall see his work go on and prosper gloriously. In witness of the premises, I have subscribed the same. At Kircaldy December 5th, 1648, before these witnesses, &c." And200 in about two days after, he gave up the ghost, death shutting his eyes, that he might then see God, and be for ever with him.

Thus died Mr. George Gillespie, very little past the prime of life. A pregnant divine, a man of much boldness, and great freedom of expression, He signalized himself on every occasion where he was called forth to exercise any part of his ministerial function. No man's death, at that time, was more lamented than his, and such was the sense the public had of his merit, that the committee of estates, by an act dated December 20th, 1648, did, "as an acknowledgment for his faithfulness in all the public employments entrusted to him by this church, both at home and abroad, his faithful labours and indefatigable diligence in all the exercises of his ministerial calling, for his master's service, and his learned writings published to the world, in which rare and profitable employments, both for church and state, he truly spent himself, and closed his days,—ordain, That the sum of one thousand pounds sterling be given to his widow and children, &c." And though the parliament did, by their act dated June 8th, 1650, unanimously ratify the above act, and recommended to their committee, to make the same effectual; yet, the Usurper presently over-running the country, this good design was frustrated, as his grandson the Rev. Mr. George Gillespie minister at Strathmiglo did afterwards declare[71].

Besides the English popish ceremonies already mentioned, he wrote also Aaron's rod blossoming, &c. and his miscellany questions first printed 1649, all which with the forecited testimony and some other papers, shew that he was a man of most profound parts, learning and abilities.


The Life of Mr. John M'Clelland.

Mr. John M'Clelland having gone through several branches of useful learning, kept a school for some time at Newton in Ireland, where he became instrumental in training up several hopeful young men for the university. Afterwards he was tried and approven of by the honest ministers in the county of Down, and being licensed, he preached in their churches, until (among others)201 for faithfulness, he was deposed and excommunicated by the bishops.

He was also engaged with the rest of his faithful brethren in their intended voyage to New England in the year 1636, but that enterprise proving abortive (by reason of a storm which forced them to return back to Ireland), he preached for some time through the counties of Down, Tyron and Dunnegal in private meetings, till being pursued by the bishop's official, he was obliged to come over in disguise to Scotland, where about the year 1638, he was admitted minister at Kirkcudbright, in which place he continued until the day of his death.

It would appear that he was married to one of Mr. Livingston's wife's sisters, and the strictest friendship subsisted betwixt these two worthy men, both while in Ireland, and after their return to Scotland. While he was minister at Kirkcudbright, he discovered more than ordinary diligence, not only in testifying against the corruptions of the time, but also for his own singular walk and conversation, being one who was set for the advancement of all the practical parts of religion, and that as well in private duties as in public.——For instance, When Mr. Henry Guthrie then minister at Stirling (but afterwards bishop of Dunkeld), thought to have brought in a complaint to the general assembly 1639, against private society meetings (which were then become numerous through the land), yet some of the leading members, knowing that Mr. Guthrie did it partly out of resentment against the laird of Leckie (who was a great practiser and defender of these meetings), thought proper, rather than it should come to the assembly, to yield that Mr. Guthrie should preach up the duty of religious exercise in families, and that Messrs. M'Clelland, Blair and Livingston should preach against night-meetings (for they were so called then because mostly kept in the night) and other abuses, but these brethren endeavoured by conference to gain such as had offended by excess in this matter, but by no means could be prevailed with to preach against them, which so offended Mr. Guthrie, that he gave in a charge or complaint to the general assembly 1640, wherein he alledged these three ministers were the only encouragers of these meetings, Mr. M'Clelland roundly took him up, and craved that a committee might be appointed to try these disorders, and to censure the offenders, whether those complained of or the complainers, which so nettled Mr. Guthrie, the earl of Seaforth and others of their fraternity, that nothing was heard202 in the assembly for sometime for confusion and noise stirred up by them.

Mr. M'Clelland was also one who was endued with the Spirit of discerning what should afterwards come to pass, as is evident from some of his prophetical expressions, particularly that letter which he wrote to John Lord of Kirkcudbright dated February 20th, 1649, a little before his death, an abstract of which may not be improper, and is as follows,

"My noble Lord,

"I have received yours, and do acknowledge my obligation to your lordship is redoubled. I long much to hear what decision followed on that debate concerning patronages[72]. Upon the most exact trial they will be found a great plague to the kirk, an obstruction to the propagation of religion. I have reason to hope that such a wise and well-constitute parliament will be lothe to lay203 such a yoke upon the churches, of so little advantage to any man, and so prejudicial to the work of God as hath been many times represented. Certainly the removing it were the stopping the way of simony, except we will apprehend that whole presbyteries will be bribed for patronage. I can say no more but what Christ said to the Pharisees. It was not so from the beginning, the primitive church knew nothing of it.

"But as for their pernicious disposition to a rupture among sectaries, I can say nothing to them, only this, I conclude their judgment sleeps not: Shall they escape, shall they break the covenant, and be delivered? &c. Ezek. xvii. 16, &c. which I dare apply to England, I hope, without wresting of scripture, And therefore thus saith the Lord God, as I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense on his own head, &c. This covenant was made with Nebuchadnezzar, the matter was civil, but the tie was religious, wherefore the Lord owns it as his covenant, because God's name was invoked and interponed in it, and he calls England to witness. England's covenant was not made with Scotland only, but with the high and mighty God, principally for the reformation of his house, and it was received in the most solemn manner that I have heard, so that they may call it God's covenant both formally and materially; and the Lord did second the making of it with more than ordinary success to that nation. Now it is manifestly despised and broken in the sight of all nations, therefore it remains that the Lord avenge the quarrel of his covenant[73].——England204 hath had to do with the Scots, French, Danes, Picts, Normans and Romans, but they never had such a party to deal with as the Lord of armies, pleading for the violation of his covenant, &c. Englishmen shall be made spectacles to all nations for a broken covenant, when the living God swears, As I live, even the covenant that he hath despised, and the oath that he hath broken will I recompense upon his own head. There is no place left for doubting. Hath the Lord said it, hath the Lord sworn it? and will he not do it? His assertion is a ground for faith, his oath a ground of full assurance of faith, if all England were as one man united in judgment and affection, and if it had a wall round about it reaching to the sun, and if it had as many armies as it has men, and every soldier had the strength of Goliah, and if their navies could cover the ocean, and if there were none to peep out or move the tongue against them, yet I dare not doubt of their destruction, when the Lord hath sworn by his life, that he will avenge the breach of covenant. When, and by whom, and in what manner, he will do it, I do profess ignorance, and leave it to his glorious majesty, his own latitude, and will commit it him, &c.

"My lord, I live and will die, and if I be called home before that time, I am in the assured hopes of the ruin of all God's enemies in the land, so I commit your lordship and your lady to the grace of God.

John M'Clelland."

A very little after he wrote this letter, in one of his sermons he exprest himself much to the same purpose, thus, "The judgments of England shall be so great, that a man shall ride fifty miles through the best plenished parts of England, before they hear a cock crow, a dog bark, or see a man's face." Also he further asserted, "That if he had the best land of all England, he would make sale of it for two shillings the acre, and think he had come to a good market[74]." And although this may not have had its full accomplishment as yet, yet there is ground to believe that it will be fulfilled, for the Lord will not alter the word that is gone out of his mouth.

Mr. M'Clelland continued near twelve years at Kirkcudbright. About the year 1650, he was called home to his205 Father's house, to the full fruition of that which he had before seen in vision.

He was a man most strict and zealous in his life, and knew not what it was to be afraid of any man in the cause of God, being one who was most nearly acquainted with him, and knew much of his Master's will. Surely the Lord doth nothing but what he revealeth to his servants the prophets.

A little before his death he made the following epitaph on himself.

Come, stingless death, have o'er, lo! here's my pass,
In blood character'd, by his hand who was
And is and shall be. Jordan cut thy stream,
Make channels dry. I bear my Father's name
Stampt on my brow. I'm ravish'd with my crown.
I shine so bright, down with all glory, down,
That world can give. I see the peerless port,
The golden street, the blessed soul's resort,
The tree of life, floods gushing from the throne
Call me to joys. Begone, short woes, begone,
I lived to die, but now I die to live,
I do enjoy more than I did believe.
The promise me unto possession sends,
Faith in fruition, hope, in having, ends.

The Life of Mr. David Calderwood.

Mr. David Calderwood, having spent some time at the grammar-school, went to the university to study theology, in order for the ministry, where after a short space, being found fit for that office, he was made minister at Crelling near Jedburgh, where, for some considerable time, he preached the word of God with great wisdom, zeal and diligence, and as a faithful wise harvest man, brought in many sheaves into God's granary. But it being then a time, when prelacy was upon the advance in the church, and faithful ministers every where thrust out and suppressed, he, among the rest, gave in his declinature in the year 1608, and thereupon took instruments in the hands of James Johnston notary public, in presence of some of the magistrates and council of the town, whereupon, information being sent to the king by the bishops, a direction was sent down from him to the council, to punish206 him (and another minister who declined) exemplarily, but by the earnest dealing of the earl of Lothian with the chancellor in favours of Mr. Calderwood, their punishment resolved only in a confinement within their own parish, &c.

Here he continued until June 1617, that he was summoned to appear before the high commission court at St. Andrews, upon the 8th of July following. Being called upon (the king being present) and his libel read and answered, the king among other things said, "What moved you to protest?"——"An article concluded among the lords of the articles," Mr. David answered. "But what fault was there in it," said the king.——"It cutteth off our general assemblies," answered Mr. Calderwood. The king, having the protestation[75] in his hand, challenged him for some words of the last clause thereof.——He answered, "Whatsoever was the phrase of speech, they meant no other thing but to protest, that they would give passive obedience to his majesty, but could not give active obedience unto any unlawful thing which should flow from that article." "Active and passive obedience!" said the king.—"That is, we will rather suffer than practise," said Mr. David. "I will tell thee, said the king, what is obedience man,——What the centurion said to his servant, To this man, Go, and he goeth, and to that man, Come, and he cometh, that is obedience."——He answered, "To suffer, Sir, is also obedience, howbeit not of the same kind, and that obedience was not absolute but limited with exception, of a countermand from a superior power." "I am informed, said the king, ye are a refractor, the bishop of Glasgow your ordinary, and bishop of Caithness the moderator and your presbytery, testify ye have kept no order, ye have repaired to neither presbytery nor synod, and are no way conform." He answered, "I have been confined these eight or nine years, so my conformity or non-conformity in that point could not well be known." "Gude faith, thou art a very knave," said the king, "see these same false puritans, they are ever playing with equivocations."—The king asked, If he was relaxed if he would obey or not?—He answered, "I am wronged, in that I am forced to answer such questions, which are besides the libel, &c." after which he was removed.

When called in again, it was intimated to him, that if207 he did not repair to synods and presbyteries between this and October, conform in the time, and promise obedience in all time coming, the bishop of Glasgow was to deprive him. Then Mr. David begged leave to speak to the bishops, which being granted, he reasoned thus, "Neither can ye suspend or deprive me, in this court of high commission, for ye have no power in this court, but by commission from his majesty; his majesty cannot communicate that power to you, which he claims not to himself." At which the king wagged his head, and said to him, "Are there not bishops and fathers in the church, &c. persons clothed with power and authority to suspend and depose."—"Not in this court," answered Mr. Calderwood. At which word there arose a confused noise, so that he was obliged to extend his voice, that he might be heard. In the end the king asked him, If he would obey the sentence?—To which he answered, Your sentence is not the sentence of the kirk, but a sentence null in itself, and therefore I cannot obey it. At which some reviling called him proud knave. Others were not ashamed to shake his shoulders in a most insolent manner, till at last he was removed a second time.

Being again called in, the sentence of deprivation was pronounced, and he ordained to be committed to close ward in the tolbooth of St. Andrews, till afterward that farther orders were taken for his banishment, after which he was upbraided by the bishop, who said, That he deserved to be used as Ogilvy the Jesuit who was hanged. When he would have answered, the bishops would not allow him, and the king, in a rage, cried, Away with him:—And lord Scoone taking him by the arm, led him out, where they staid some time waiting for the bailiffs of the town. In the mean time Mr Calderwood said to Scoone, "My lord, this is not the first like turn that hath fallen into your hands."——"I must serve the king," said Scoone. And to some ministers then standing by he said, "Brethren, ye have Christ's cause in hand at this meeting, be not terrified with this spectacle, prove faithful servants to your master." Scoone took him to his house till the keys of the tolbooth were had. By the way one demanded, "Whither with the man, my lord?"——"First to the tolbooth, and then to the gallows," said Scoone.

He was committed close prisoner, and the same afternoon a charge was given to transport him to the jail of Edinburgh. After the charge, he was delivered to two of the guard to be transported thither, although severals offered208 to bail him, that he might not go out of the country. But no order of council could be had for that end, for the king had a design to keep him in close ward till a ship was ready to convey him first to London and then to Virginia, but providence had ordered otherwise, for upon several petitions in his behalf he was liberate out of prison, upon lord Cranston's being bail that he should depart out of the country.

After this Mr. Calderwood went with lord Cranston to the king at Carlisle, where the said lord presented a petition to him, that Mr. David might only be confined to his parish, but the king inveighed against him so much, that at last he repulsed Cranston with his elbow. He insisted again for a prorogation of time for his departure till the last of April, because of the winter season, that he might have leisure to get up his years stipend.—The king answered, Howbeit he begged it were no matter, he would know himself better the next time, and for the season of the year, if he drowned in the seas, he might thank God that he had escaped a worse death. Yet Cranston being so importunate for the prorogation, the king answered, I will advise with my bishops. Thus the time was delayed until the year 1619, that he wrote a book called Perth Assembly, which was condemned by the council in the month of December that same year,—but as he himself says[76], Neither the book nor the author could be found, for in the month of August preceding, he had embarked for Holland.

During his abode there, one Patrick Scot a landed gentleman near Falkland, having wasted his patrimony, had no other means to recover his state, but by some unlawful shift at court, and for that end in the year 1624, he set forth a recantation under the name of a banished minister, viz. Mr. David Calderwood, who, because of his long sickness before, was supposed by many to have been dead. The king (as he had alledged to some of his friends) furnished him with the matter, and he set it down in form. This project failing, he went over to Holland, and sought Mr. Calderwood in several towns, particularly in Amsterdam, in the month of November, in order to dispatch him, as afterward appeared. After he had stayed twenty days in Amsterdam, making all the search he could, he was informed that Mr. Calderwood had returned home privately to his native country, which frustrated his intention.——After the death of king James he put out a pamphlet full209 of this, intitled vox vera, and yet notwithstanding of all his wicked and unlawful pursuits, he died soon after, so poor, that he had not wherewith to defray the charges of his funeral.

Mr. Calderwood, being now returned home after the death of king James, remained as private as possible, and was mostly at Edinburgh (where he strengthened the hands of non-conformists, being also a great opposer of sectarianism) until after the year 1638, that he was admitted minister at Pancaitland in East Lothian.

He contributed very much to the covenanted work carried in that period; for first he had an active hand in drawing up several excellent papers, where were contained the records of church-policy betwixt the year 1576 and 1596, which were presented and read by Mr. Johnston the clerk at the general assembly at Glasgow anno 1638, as also by recommendation of the general assembly 1646, he was ordered to consider the order of the visitation of kirks, and trials of presbyteries, and to make report thereof unto the next general assembly; and likewise at the general assembly 1648, a further recommendation was given him to draw a draught of the form of visitation of particular congregations, against the next assembly; and was also one of those appointed with Mr. David Dickson, to draw up the form of the directory for the public worship of God, by the general assembly 1643[77].

After he had both spent and been spent, with the apostle, for the cause and interest of Jesus Christ, when the English army lay at Lothian anno 1651, he went to Jedburgh, where he sickened and died in a good old age. He was another valiant champion for the truth, who, in pleading for the crown and interest of Jesus Christ, knew not what it was to be daunted by the face and frowns of the highest and most incensed adversaries.

Before he went to Holland, he wrote the book intitled, Perth Assembly. While in Holland he wrote that learned book called, Altare Damascenum with some other pieces in English, which contributed somewhat to keep many straight in that declining period. After his return he wrote the history of our church as far down as the year 1625, of210 which the printed copy that we have is only a short abstract of that large written history, which both as to the stile and the manner wherein it is executed, is far preferable to the printed copy; and whoever compares the two or the last with his Altare Damascenum, both of which are yet in the hands of some, will readily grant the truth of this assertion; and yet all this derogates nothing from the truth of the facts reported in the printed copy, and therefore no offence need be taken at the information, that there is a more full and better copy than is yet extant. See the note on the 78th page of Mr. Livingston's life and memorable characteristics, &c.


The Life of Mr. Hugh Binning.

He was son to John Binning of Dalvennan, and Margaret M'Kell daughter of Mr. Matthew M'Kell minister at Bothwel, and sister to Mr. Hugh M'Kell one of the ministers of Edinburgh, His father's worldly circumstances were so good (being possest of no inconsiderable estate in the shire of Ayr), that he was enabled to give his son Hugh a very liberal education, the good effects of which appeared very early upon him;—for the greatness of his spirit and capacity of judgment, gave his parents good grounds to conceive the pleasing hopes of his being a promising child.

When he was at the grammar-school, he made so great proficiency in the knowledge of the Latin tongue, and the Roman authors, that he out-stripped his fellow-scholars, even such as were by some years older than himself. When they went to their diversions he declined their society, and choosed to employ himself either in secret duty with God, or conference with religious people, thinking time was too precious to be lavished away in these things. He began to have sweet familiarity with God, and to live in near communion with him, before others began seriously to lay to heart their lost and undone state and condition by nature, &c. so that before he arrived at the 13th or 14th year of his age, he had even attained to such experience in the way of God, that the most judicious and exercised Christians in the place confessed they were much edified, strengthened and comforted by him, nay that he provoked them to diligence211 in the duties of religion, being abundantly sensible that they were much out-run by such a youth.

Before he was fourteen years of age, he entered upon the study of philosophy in the university of Glasgow, wherein he made a very considerable progress, by which means he came to be taken notice of in the college by the professors and students, and at the same time he advanced remarkably in religion also. The abstruse depths of philosophy, which are the torture of a slow genius and a weak capacity, he dived into without any pain or trouble, so that by his ready apprehension of things, he was able to do more in one hour than others could do in many days by hard study and close application; and yet he was ever humble, and never exalted with self-conceit, the common foible of young men.

As soon as his course of philosophy was finished, he commenced master of arts with great applause. He began the study of divinity with a view to serve God in the holy ministry, at which time there happened to be a vacancy in the college of Glasgow, by the resignation of Mr. James Dalrymple[78] of Stair, who had some time been his master. And though Mr. Binning was but lately his scholar, yet he was determined, after much intreaty, to stand as a candidate for that post.

According to the usual laudable custom, the masters of the college emitted a program, and sent it to all the universities of the kingdom, inviting such as had a mind for a profession of philosophy, to sift themselves before them, and offer themselves to compete for that preferment, giving assurance that without partiality the place should be conferred upon him who should be found dignior et doctior.

The ministers of the city of Glasgow, considering how much it was the interest of the church that well-qualified persons be put into the profession of philosophy, &c. and knowing that Mr. Binning was eminently pious, and of a bright genius, as well as solid judgment, let upon him to sift himself among the other competitors; but they had212 difficulty to overcome his modesty. They at last prevailed upon him to declare his willingness to undertake the dispute before the masters. Among others, there were other two candidates, one of whom had the advantage of great interest with Dr. Strang principal of the college at that time, and the other a scholar of great abilities, yet Mr. Binning so managed the dispute, and acquitted himself in all parts of his trial, that to the conviction of the judges, he darkened his rivals. But the doctor and some of the faculty who joined him, though they could not pretend the person they inclined to prefer, had an equality, much less a superiority in the dispute, yet they argued, cæteris paribus, that this person they intended was a citizen's son, of a competency of learning, and a person of more years, and by that means had greater experience than what Mr. Binning, who was in a manner but of yesterday, could be supposed to have.——But to this it was replied, That Mr. Binning was such a pregnant scholar, so wise and sedate, as to be above all the follies and vanities of youth, and what was wanting in years was made up sufficiently by his more than ordinary and singular endowments. Whereupon a member of the faculty, perceiving the struggle to be great, (as indeed there were plausible reasons on both sides), proposed a dispute between the two candidates ex tempore, upon any subject they should be pleased to prescribe. This being considered, soon put a period to the division amongst them, and those who had opposed him not being willing to engage their friend with such an able antagonist a second time, Mr. Binning was elected.

Mr. Binning was not quite 19 years of age when he commenced regent and professor of philosophy, and, though he had not time to prepare a system of any part of his profession, as he had instantly to begin his class, yet such was the quickness and fertility of his invention, the tenaciousness of his memory and the solidity of his judgment, that his dictates to his scholars had a depth of learning and perspicuity of expression, and was among the first in Scotland, that began to reform philosophy from the barbarous terms and unintelligible jargon of the school-men.

He continued in this profession three years, and discharged his trust so as to gain the general applause of the university for academical exercises:—And this was the more remarkable, that having turned his thoughts towards the ministry, he carried on his theological studies at the same time, and made great improvements therein, for his memory was so retentive, that he scarcely forgot any thing213 had heard or read. It was easy and ordinary for him to inscribe any sermon, after he returned to his chamber, at such a length, that the intelligent and judicious reader, who had heard it preached, would not find one sentence wanting.

During this period, he gave full proof of his progress and knowledge in divinity, by a composition from 2 Cor. v. 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us, &c. Which performance he sent to a gentlewoman who had been some time at Edinburgh, for her private edification, who having perused the same, judged it to have been a sermon of some eminent minister in the west of Scotland, and put it into the hands of the then provost of Edinburgh, who judged of it in the same manner. But when she returned to Glasgow, she found her mistake by Mr. Binning's asking it at her:——This was the first discovery he had given of his dexterity and abilities in explaining the scripture.

At the expiration of three years as a professor of philosophy, the parish of Govan, which lies adjacent to the city of Glasgow, happened to be vacant, and before this whoever was principal of the college of Glasgow was also minister there; but this being attended with inconveniencies, an alteration was made, and the presbytery having a view to supply that vacancy with Mr. Binning, they took him upon trials, in order to be licensed a preacher;—and preaching there to the great satisfaction of that people, he was some time after called to be minister of that parish, which call the presbytery approved of, and entered him upon trials for ordination about the 22d year of his age, and went through them to the unanimous approbation of the presbytery, giving their testimony of his fitness to be one of the ministers of the city upon the first vacancy,——having a view at the same time to bring him back to the university, whenever the profession of divinity should be vacant.

He was, considering his age, a prodigy of learning. For before he had arrived at the 26th year of his life, he had such a large stock of useful knowledge, as to be philologus, philosophus et theologus eximius, and might well have been an ornament to the most famous and flourishing university in Europe. This was the more surprising, considering his weakness and infirmity of body, as not being able to read much at a time, or to undergo the fatigue of continual study, in so much that his knowledge seemed rather to have been born with him, than to have been acquired by hard and laborious study.

214 Though he was bookish, and much intent upon the fulfilling his ministry, yet he turned his thoughts to marriage, and did espouse a virtuous and excellent person Mrs. Barbara Simpson, daughter to Mr. James Simpson a minister in Ireland. Upon the day he was to be married, he went accompanied with his friend (and some others, among whom were several worthy ministers) unto an adjacent country congregation, upon the day of their weekly sermon. The minister of the parish delayed sermon till they would come, hoping to put the work upon one of the ministers whom he expected to be there, but all declining it, he tried next to prevail on the bridegroom, with whom he succeeded, though the invitation was not expected. It was no difficult task to him to preach upon a short warning; he stepped aside a little to pre-meditate and implore his Master's presence and assistance (for he was ever afraid to be alone in this work), and entered the pulpit immediately, and preached upon 1 Pet. i. 15. But as he that hath called you is holy, &c. At which time he was so remarkably helped, that all acknowledged that God was with him of a truth, &c.

When the unhappy differences betwixt the resolutioners and protesters fell out, among whom Mr. Binning was of the last denomination, this distinction proved to be of fatal consequence. He saw some of the evils of it in his own time, and being of a catholic and healing spirit, with a view to the cementing of differences, he wrote an excellent treatise of Christian love, which contains very strong and pathetic passages most apposite to this subject. He was no fomenter of factions, but studious of the public tranquillity. He was a man of moderate principles and temperate passions, never imposing or overbearing upon others but willingly hearkened to advice, and always yielded to reason.

The prevailing of the English sectarians under Oliver Cromwel[79] to the overthrow of the presbyterian interest in England, and the various attempts which they made in Scotland on the constitution and discipline of this church215 was one of the greatest difficulties, which the ministers had then to struggle with. Upon this he hath many excellent reflections in his sermons, particularly in that sermon from Deut. xxxii. 4, 5. See his works, page 502, 557, &c.

After he had laboured four years in the ministry, serving God with his spirit in the gospel of his Son, he died in the year 1653, of a consumption, when he was scarce come to the prime and vigour of his life, being only in the 26th year of his age, leaving behind him a sweet favour and an epistle of commendation upon the hearts of those who were his hearers.

He was a person of singular piety, of a humble, meek, and peaceable temper, a judicious and lively preacher, nay so extraordinary a person, that he was justly accounted a prodigy of human learning and knowledge of divinity. From his childhood he knew the scriptures, and from a boy had been much under deep and spiritual exercise, until the time (or a little before) that he entered upon the office of the ministry, when he came to a great calm and tranquillity of mind, being mercifully relieved from all these doubtings, which for a long time he had been exercised with, and though he studied in his discourses to condescend to the capacity of the meaner sort of hearers, yet it must be owned that his gift of preaching was not so much accommodated to a country congregation, as it was to the judicious and learned. Mr. Binning's method was peculiar to himself, much after the haranguing way; he was no stranger to the rules of art, and knew well how to make his matter subservient to the subject he handled. His diction and language was easy and fluent, void of all affectation and bombast, and has a kind of undesigned negligent elegance which arrests the reader's attention. Considering the time he lived in, it might be said, that he carried the orator's prize from his contemporaries in Scotland, and was not at that time inferior to the best pulpit orator in England. While he lived he was highly esteemed, having been a successful instrument of saving himself, and them that heard him, of turning sinners unto righteousness and of perfecting the saints. He died much lamented by all good people who had the opportunity of knowing him. That great divine Mr. James Durham gave him this verdict, "That there was no speaking after Mr. Binning;" and truly he had the tongue of the learned, and knew how to speak a word in season.

Besides his works which are bound up in one quarto volume, and that wrote upon occasion of the public resolutioners,216 which has been already mentioned, some other little pieces of his have been published since. There is also a book in quarto said to be his, intitled, An useful case of conscience learnedly and acutely discussed and resolved, concerning association and confederacies with idolators, heretics, malignants, &c. first printed anno 1693, which was like to have had some influence at that time upon king William's soldiers while in Flanders, which made him suppress it. And raise a persecution against Mr. James Kid for publishing the same at Utrecht in the Netherlands.


The Life of Mr. Andrew Gray.

Mr. Andrew Gray (by the calculation of his age and the date of his entry into the ministry) seems to have been born about the year 1634, and being very early sent to school, where he learned so fast, that in a short time he was sent to the university, and here, by the vivacity of his parts and ready genius, he made such proficiency both in scholastic learning and divinity, that before he was twenty years of age he was found accomplished for entering into the holy office of the ministry.

From his very infancy he had studied to be acquainted with the scriptures, and, like another young Samson, the Spirit of God began very early to move him, there being such a delightful gravity in his young conversation, that what Gregory Nazianzen once said of the great Bazil, might be applied to him,—"That he held forth learning beyond his age, and fixedness of manners beyond his learning."

This earthly vessel being thus filled with heavenly treasure, he was quickly licensed to preach, and got a call to be minister of the outer kirk of the high church of Glasgow, though he was scarce twenty years of age complete (far below the age appointed by the constitution of this church unless in cases extraordinary).

No sooner was this young servant of Christ entered into his Master's vineyard, than the people from all quarters flocked to attend his sermons, it being their constant emulation who should be most under the refreshing drops of his ministry, in so much that as he and his learned colleague Mr. Durham were one time walking together, Mr. Durham, observing the multitude thronging into that217 church where Mr. Gray was to preach, and only a very few going into the church in which he was to preach, said to him, "Brother, I perceive you are to have a throng church to-day."—To which he answered, "Truly, brother, they are fools to leave you and come to me."——Mr. Durham replied, "Not so dear brother, for none can receive such honour and success in his ministry, except it be given him from heaven, I rejoice that Christ is preached and that his kingdom and interest is getting ground, for I am content to be any thing or nothing that Christ may be all and all."

And indeed Mr. Gray had a notable and singular gift in preaching, being one experienced in the most mysterious points of a Christian practice and profession; and in handling of all his subjects, free of youthful vanity, or affectation of human literature, though he had a most scholastic genius and more than ordinary abilities; that he did outstrip many that entered into the Lord's vineyard before him, his experience being every way warm and rapturous, and well adapted to affect the hearts of his hearers, yea he had such a faculty, and was so helped to press home God's threatenings upon the consciences of his hearers, that his contemporary the foresaid Mr. Durham observed, That many times he caused the very hairs of their head to stand up.

Among his other excellencies in preaching (which were many) this was none of the least, that he could so order his subject as to make it relish every palate. He could so dress a plain discourse as to delight a learned audience, and at the same time preach with a learned plainness, having so learned to conceal his art. He had such a clear notion of high mysteries, as to make them stoop to the meanest capacity. He had so learned Christ, and being a man of a most zealous temper, the great bent of his spirit and that which he did spend himself anent, was to make people know their dangerous state by nature, and to persuade them to believe and lay hold of the great salvation.

All which singularities seem to have been his peculiar mercy from the Lord, to make him a burning and shining light in the western climate, for about the space of two years[80] only, the Spirit of the Lord as it were stirring up218 a lamp unto a sudden blaze, that was not to continue long in his church. On which a late prefacer of some of his sermons has very pertinently observed,——"Yea, how awakening, convincing and reproving may the example of this very young minister be to many ministers of the gospel, who have been many years in the vineyard, but fall far short of his labours and progress! God thinks fit now and then to raise up a child to reprove the sloth and negligence of many thousands of advanced years, and shews that he can perfect his own praise out of the mouth of babes, &c."

His sermons are now in print, and well known in the world. His works do praise him in the gates, and though they are free from the metaphysical speculations of the schools, yet it must be granted that the excellencies of the ancient fathers and school-men do all concenter in them: For his doctrine carries light, his reproofs are weighty, and his exhortations powerful, and though they are not in such an accurate or grammatical style as some may expect, yet that may be easily accounted for, if we consider, (1.) The great alteration and embellishment in the style of the English language since his time. And (2.) There can be no ground to doubt but they must be far inferior unto what they were when delivered by the author, who neither corrected, nor, as appears, intended that they should ever be published, and yet all this is sufficiently made up otherwise, for what is wanting in symmetry of parts or equality of style, in the pleasure of variety, like the grateful odours of various flowers, or the pleasant harmony of different sounds, for so is truth in its own native dress.

It hath been often said that Mr. Gray many times longed for the 22d year of his age, wherein he expected to rest from his labours by a perpetual jubilee, to enjoy his blessed Lord and Master. However it is certain that in his sermons we often find him longing for his majority, that he might enter into the possession of his heavenly Father's inheritance prepared for him before the foundations of the world were laid.

He escaped death very narrowly, when going to Dundee in company with Mr. Robert Fleming (some time minister at Cambuslang) which remarkable sea-deliverance was matter of his thankfulness to God all his life after.

There is one thing that may be desiderated by the inquisitious, i. e. what Mr. Gray's sentiments were concerning the public resolutions, seeing he entered the ministry about the third year after these resolutions took place.——Whatever219 his contentions in public were, it is creditably reported, that he debated in private against these defections with his learned colleague Mr. Durham, who afterwards on his death-bed asked, What he thought of these things?—He answered, That he was of the same mind with what he had formerly heard—and did much regret that he had been so sparing in public against these woeful resolutions, speaking so pathetically of their sinfulness and the calamities they would procure, that Mr. Durham, contrary to his former practice, durst never after speak in defence of them.

But the time now approaching that the Lord was about to accomplish the desire of his servant, he fell sick, and was cast into a high fever for several days. He was much tossed with sore trouble, without any intermission, and all the time continued in a most sedate frame of mind.

It is a loss that his last dying words were neither wrote nor remembered, only we may guess what his spiritual exercises were, from that short but excellent letter sent from him, a little before his death, to lord Warriston, bearing date Feb. 7, 1656, wherein he shows that he not only had a most clear discovery of the toleration then granted by Cromwel, and the evils that would come upon these lands for all these things, but also was most sensible of his own case and condition, as appears from the conclusion of that letter, where he accosts his lordship thus, "Now, not to trouble your lordship, whom I highly reverence, and my soul was knit to you in the Lord, but that you will bespeak my case to the great Master of requests, and lay my broken state before him who hath pled the desperate case of many according to the sweet word in Lam. iii. 5, 6. Thou hast heard my voice, hide not thine ear, &c. This is all at this time from one in a very weak condition, in a great fever, who, for much of seven nights, hath sleeped little at all, with many other sad particulars and circumstances."

Thus in a short time, according to his desire, it was granted to him, by death, to pass unto the author of life, his soul taking its flight into the arms of his blessed Saviour, whom he had served faithfully in his day and generation (being about twenty-two years old). He shone too conspicuous to continue long, and burned so intensely, he behoved soon to be extinguished, but now shines in the kingdom of his Father, in a more conspicuous refulgent manner, even as the brightness of the firmament and the stars for ever and ever.

220 He was in his day a most singular and pious youth, and though he died young, yet was old in grace, having lived long, and done much for God in a little time, being one, both in public and private life, who possessed in a high degree, every domestic and social virtue that could adorn the character of a most powerful and pathetic preacher, a loving husband[81], an affable friend, ever cheerful and agreeable in conversation, always ready to exert himself for the relief of all who asked or stood in need of his assistance, which uncommon talents not only endeared him to his brethren the clergy, but also to many others from the one extremity of the lands to the other (that heard or knew any thing of him) who considered and highly esteemed him as one of the most able advocates for the propagation and advancement of Christ's kingdom.

His well-known sermons are printed in several small pieces. Those called his works are bound in one volume octavo. To the eleven sermons printed sometime ago, are lately published a large collection to the number of fifty-one, intitled his select sermons, whereof only three, for connection sake, and his letter to lord Warriston are inserted, which were before published in his works. So that by this time most (if not all) of the sermons are now in print that ever were preached by him.


The Life of Mr. James Durham.

Mr. James Durham was born about the year 1622, and lineally descended from the ancient and honourable family of Grange Durham, in the parish of Monuseith in the shire of Angus. He was the eldest son of John Durham of Easter Powrie, Esq; now called Wedderburn after the gentleman's name who is the present professor thereof.

Having gone through all the parts of useful learning with success and applause, he left the university before he was graduate, and for sometime lived as a private gentleman at his own dwelling house in the country, without any thought then of farther prosecuting his studies especially for the ministry, and though he was always blameless221 and moral in his life, both in the university and when he left it, yet he was much a stranger to religion in the serious exercise and power of it, and, through prejudice of education, did not stand well affected to the presbyterial government. He first married a daughter of the laird of Duntervie: his wife and her mother were both very pious women.

His conversion to the Lord was very remarkable. For going with his lady to visit her mother in the parish of Abercorn, some miles west from Edinburgh,—it happened, that at this time the sacrament was to be administered in that parish upon Saturday,—his mother-in-law earnestly pressed them to go with them to church and hear sermon; at first he shewed much unwillingness, but partly by their persuasion, and partly by his complaisant disposition, he went along with them. The minister that preached that day was extremely affectionate and serious in his delivery, and though the sermon was a plain familiar discourse, yet his seriousness fixed Mr. Durham's attention very closely, and he was much affected therewith. But the change was reserved till the morrow. When he came home, he said to his mother-in-law, The minister hath preached very seriously this day, I shall not need to be pressed to go to church to-morrow. Accordingly on Sabbath morning, rising early, he went to church, where Mr. Melvil preached from 2 Pet. ii. 7. To you that believe he is precious, &c. where he so sweetly and seriously opened up the preciousness of Christ, and the Spirit of God wrought so effectually upon his spirit, that in hearing of this sermon, he first closed with Christ, and then went to the Lord's table, and took the seal of God's covenant. After this he ordinarily called Mr. Melvil father when he spoke of him.

Afterward he made serious religion his business both in secret and in his family, and in all places and companies where he came, and did cordially embrace the interest of Christ and his church as then established, and gave himself much up to reading; for which reason, that he might be free of all disturbance, &c. he caused build a study for himself; in which little chamber, he gave himself to prayer, reading and meditation, and was so close a student there, that he often forgot to eat his bread, being sometimes so intent upon his studies, that servants who were sent to call him down, often returned without answer, yea, his lady frequently called on him with tears, before he would come:—Such sweet communion he had with the Lord sometimes in that place.

222 He made great proficiency in his studies, and not only became an experimental Christian, but also a very learned man. One evidence of which he gave in a short dispute with one of the then ministers of Dundee, while he was in that town: He met (in a house where he was occasionally) with the parson of the parish (for so the ministers were then called), who knew not Mr. Durham. After some discourse he fell upon the Popish controversy with him, and so put him to silence, that he could not answer a word but went sneakingly out of the room from Mr. Durham to the provost, craving his assistance to apprehend Mr. Durham as a Jesuit, assuring the provost, that if ever there was a jesuit in Rome he was one, and that if he were suffered to remain in the town or country, he might pervert many from the faith.——Upon which the provost, going along with him to the house where the pretended jesuit was, and entering the room, he immediately knew Mr. Durham, and saluted him as laird of Easter Powrie, craving his pardon for their mistake, and turning to the parson, asked where the person was he called the jesuit?—Mr. Durham smiled, and the parson ashamed, asked pardon of them both, and was rebuked by the provost, who said, Fy, fy! that any country gentleman should be able to put our parson thus to silence.

His call and coming forth to the ministry was somewhat remarkable, for in the time when the civil wars broke forth, several gentlemen being in arms for the cause of religion, among whom he was chosen and called to be a captain, in which station he behaved himself like another Cornelius, being a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, and prayed to God always with his company, &c. When the Scots army were about to engage with the English, he judged meet to call his company to prayer before the engagement, and as he began to pray, Mr. David Dickson, then professor of divinity at Glasgow coming past the army, seeing the soldiers addressing themselves to prayer, and hearing the voice of one praying, drew near, alighted from his horse, and joined with them; and was so much taken with Mr. Durham's prayer, that he called for the captain, and having conversed with him a little, he solemnly charged him, that as soon as this piece of service was over, he should devote himself to serve God in the holy ministry, for to that he judged the Lord called him. But though, as yet, Mr. Durham had no clearness to hearken to Mr. Dickson's advice, yet two remarkable providences falling out just upon the back of this solemn charge,223 served very much to clear his way to comply with Mr. Dickson's desire:—The first was, In the engagement his horse was shot under him, and he was mercifully preserved: the second was, In the heat of the battle, an English soldier was on the point of striking him down with his sword, but apprehending him to be a minister by his grave carriage, black cloth and band (as was then in fashion with gentlemen), he asked him if he was a priest? To which Mr. Durham replied, I am one of God's priests;—and he spared his life. Mr. Durham, upon reflecting how wonderfully the Lord had spared him, and preserved his life, and that his saying he was a priest had been the mean thereof, resolved therefore, as a testimony of his grateful and thankful sense of the Lord's goodness to him, henceforth to devote himself to the service of God in the holy ministry, if the Lord should see meet to qualify him for the same.

Accordingly, in pursuance of this resolution, he quickly went to Glasgow, and studied divinity under Mr. David Dickson then professor there, and made such proficiency therein, that in a short time (being called thereto) he humbly offered himself to trials anno 1646, and so was licensed by the presbytery of Irvine to preach the gospel, and next year, upon Mr. Dickson's recommendation, the session of Glasgow appointed Mr. Ramsay one of their ministers, to intreat Mr. Durham so come and preach in Glasgow. Accordingly he came and preached two sabbath days and one week day. The session being fully satisfied with his doctrine and the gifts bestowed on him by the Lord for serving him in the holy ministry, did unanimously call him to the ministry of the Black-friar church then vacant, in consequence of which he was ordained minister there in November 1647.

He applied himself to the work of the ministry with great diligence, so that his profiting did quickly appear to all; but considering that no man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, he obtained leave of his people to return to his own country for a little time to settle his worldly affairs there; yet he was not idle here, but preached every sabbath. He first preached at Dundee, before a great multitude, from Rom. i. 16. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and shewed that it was no disparagement for the greatest to be a gospel-minister; and a second time he preached at Ferling (in his own country) upon 2 Cor. v. 18. He hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, &c.; and a third time at Monuseith, at the desire of the minister there, he preached from 2 Cor. v. 20.224 We then are ambassadors for Christ, &c. In both places he indeed acted like an ambassador for Christ, and managed the gospel-treaty of peace to good purpose. The next sabbath he designed to have preached at Murrose, but receiving an express to return to Glasgow in haste, his wife being dangerously sick, he came away, leaving his affairs to the care of his friends, and returned to Glasgow, where, in a few days, his wife, who had been the desire of his eyes, died. His Christian submission under this afflicting dispensation was most remarkable. After a short silence, he said to some about him, "Now, who could persuade me that this dispensation of God's providence was good for me, if the Lord had not said it was so," He was afterward married to Margaret Muir relict of Mr. Zechariah Boyd, minister of the Barony of Glasgow.

In the year 1650, Mr. Dickson professor of divinity in the college of Glasgow, being called to be professor of divinity in the university of Edinburgh, the commissioners of the general assembly authorized for visiting the university of Glasgow, unanimously designed and called Mr. Durham to succeed Mr. Dickson as professor there. But before he was admitted to that charge, the general assembly of this church, being persuaded of his eminent piety and stedfastness, prudence and moderation, &c. did, after mature deliberation, that same year, pitch upon him, though then but about twenty-eight years of age, as among the ablest and best accomplished ministers then in the church, to attend the king's family as chaplain. In which station, tho' the times were most difficult, as abounding with snares and temptations, he did so wisely and faithfully acquit himself, that there was a conviction left upon the consciences of all who observed him. Yea, during his stay at court, and, whenever he went about the duty of his place, they did all carry gravely, and did forbear all lightness and profanity, none allowing themselves to do any thing offensive before him. So that while he served the Lord in the holy ministry, and particularly in that post and character of the king's chaplain, his ambition was to have God's favour, rather than the favour of great men, and studied more to profit and edify their souls, than to tickle their fancy, as some court-parasites in their sermons do: One instance whereof was, that being called to preach before the parliament, where many rulers were present, he preached from John iii. 10. Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things? when he mostly insisted that it was a most unaccountable thing for rulers and nobles in Israel, &c. to be225 ignorant of the great and necessary things of regeneration, and being born again of the Spirit; and did most seriously press all, from the king to the beggar, to seek and know experimentally these things. A good pattern for all ministers who are called to preach on the like occasion. He continued with the king till he went to England, and then returned.

Towards the end of January 1651, the common session of Glasgow, appointed Mr. Patrick Gillespie to write a letter to Mr. Durham, concerning Mr. Robert Ramsay's being professor of divinity in place of the said Mr. James Durham, in the university of Glasgow. In consequence of which, Mr. Durham came to Glasgow, for he is mentioned present in the session in the beginning of April next. At the same time, Cromwel and his army were in Glasgow, and on the Lord's day Cromwel heard Mr. Durham preach, when he testified against his invasion to his face. Next day he sent for Mr Durham, and told him, He always thought he had been a wiser man, than to meddle with matters of public concern in his sermons.—To which he answered, It was not his practice, but that he judged it both wisdom and prudence to speak his mind on that head seeing he had the opportunity to do it in his presence.——Cromwell dismissed him very civilly, but desired him to forbear insisting on that subject in public; and at the same time sundry ministers both in town and country met with Cromwel and his officers, and represented in strong terms the injustice of his invasion.

It would appear that Mr. Durham, some time after this, had withdrawn from Glasgow, and therefore a letter was, in August next, ordered to be sent to him to come and visit them and preach; and in September next, there being a vacancy in the inner kirk by the death of Mr. Ramsay, the common session gave an unanimous call (with which the town-council agreed) to Mr Durham to be minister there. And some time after this he was received minister in the inner kirk, Mr. John Carstairs his brother-in-law being his colleague in that church.

In the whole of his ministry he was a burning and shining light, and particularly he shined in humility and self-denial. An instance of which was, Upon a day when Mr. Andrew Gray and he were to preach, being walking together, Mr. Durham observing multitudes thronging to Mr. Gray's church, and only a few into his, said to Mr. Gray, "Brother, you are like to have a throng church to-day." To which Mr. Gray answered, "Truly, brother, they are226 fools to leave you and come to me."—"Not so, dear brother, replied Mr. Durham, for a minister can receive no such honour and success in his ministry, except it be given him from heaven. I rejoice that Christ is preached, though my esteem in people's hearts should decrease and be diminished; for I am content to be any thing so that Christ be all in all."

He was also a person of the utmost gravity, and scarce smiled at any thing. Once when Mr. William Guthrie being exceeding merry, made Mr. Durham smile with his pleasant, facetious and harmless conversation, at which Mr. Durham was at first a little disgusted, but it being the laudable custom of that family to pray after dinner, which Mr. Guthrie did, upon being desired, with the greatest measure of seriousness and fervency, to the astonishment of all present: when they arose from prayer, Mr. Durham embraced him and said, "O William, you are a happy man, if I had been so merry as you have been, I could not have been in such a serious frame for prayer for the space of forty-eight hours."

As Mr. Durham was devout in all parts of his ministerial work, so more eminently at communion occasions. Then he endeavoured through grace to rouse and work up himself to such a divineness of frame, as very much suited the spiritual state and majesty of that ordinance. Yea, at some of these solemn and sweet occasions, he spoke some way as a man that had been in heaven commending Jesus Christ, making a glorious display of free grace, &c. and brought the offers thereof so low that they were made to think the rope or cord of the salvation offered, was let down to sinners, that those of the lowest stature might catch hold of it. He gave himself much up to meditation, and usually said little to persons that came to propose their cases to him, but heard them patiently, and was sure to handle their case in his sermons.

His healing disposition and great moderation of spirit remarkably appeared when this church was grievously divided betwixt the resolutioners and protestors; and as he would never give his judgment upon either side, so he used to say, That division was worse by far than either of the sides. He was equally respected by both parties, for at a meeting of the synod in Glasgow, when those of the different sides met separately, each of them made choice of Mr. Durham for their moderator, but he refused to join either of them, till they would both unite together, which they accordingly did. At this meeting he gave in some overtures227 for peace, the substance of which was, that they should eschew all public awakening or lengthening out the debate either by preaching or spreading of papers on either side, and that they should forbear practising, executing or pressing of acts made in the last assembly at St. Andrews and Dundee, and also pressing or spreading appeals, declinatures, &c. against the same, and that no church-officer should be excepted at on account of these things, they being found otherwise qualified, &c.[82]

So weighty was the ministerial charge upon his spirit, that if he were to live ten years longer, he would choose to live nine years in study, for preaching the tenth; and it was thought his close study and thoughtfulness cast him into that decay whereof he died. In the time of his sickness, the better part being afraid that the magistrates and some of the ministry who were for the public resolutions, would put in one of that stamp after his death, moved Mr. Carstairs his colleague, in a visit to desire him to name his successor, which after some demur, injoining secrecy till it was nearer his death, he at last named Mr. David Vetch then minister of Govan; but afterwards when dying, to the magistrates, ministers and some of the people, he named other three to take any of them they pleased.—This alteration made Mr. Carstairs inquire the reason after the rest were gone, to whom Mr. Durham replied, O Brother, Mr. Vetch is too ripe for heaven to be transported to any church on earth; he will be there almost as soon as I.—Which proved so; for Mr. Durham died the Friday after, and next Sabbath Mr. Vetch preached, and (though knowing nothing of this) told the people in the afternoon it would be his last sermon to them, and the same night taking bed, he died next Friday morning about three o'clock; the time that Mr. Durham died, as Dr. Rattray, who was witness to both, did declare.—When on his death-bed, he was under considerable darkness about his state, and said to Mr. John Carstair's brother, "For all that I have preached or written, there is but one scripture I can remember or dare gripe unto; tell me if dare lay the weight of my salvation upon it, Whosoever cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out."—Mr. Carstairs answered, "You may depend on it, though you had a thousand salvations at hazard." When he was drawing towards his departure in a great conflict and agony, finding some difficulty in his passage, yet he sensibly, through the228 strength of God's grace, triumphantly overcame; he cried out in a rapture of holy joy some little time before he committed his soul to God, "Is not the Lord good! Is he not infinitely good! See how he smiles! I do say it, and I do proclaim it." He died on Friday the 25th of June 1658, in the thirty-sixth year of his age.

Thus died the eminently pious, learned and judicious Mr. James Durham, whose labours did always aim at the advancement of practical religion, and whose praise in the gospel is throughout all the churches both at home and abroad. He was a burning and a shining light, a star of the first magnitude, and of whom it may be said (without derogating from the merit of any), that he attained unto the first three and had a name among the mighty. He was also one of great integrity and authority in the country where he lived, insomuch, that when any difference fell out, he was always chosen by both parties as their great referee or judge, unto whose sentence all parties submitted. Such was the quality of his calm and healing spirit.

His colleague Mr. John Carstairs, in his funeral sermon from Isa. lvii. 1, 2. The righteous man perisheth, and no one layeth it to heart, &c. gives him this character,—"Know ye not that there is a prince among pastors fallen to-day! a faithful and wise steward, that knew well how to give God's children their food in due season, a gentle and kind nurse, a faithful admonisher, reprover, &c. a skilful counsellor in all straits and difficulties; in dark matters he was eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, a burning and shining light in the dark world, an interpreter of the word among a thousand, to him men gave ear, and after his words no man spake again."

His learned and pious works, (wherein all the excellencies of the primitive and ancient fathers seem to concenter) are a commentary on the Revelation; seventy-two sermons on the fifty-third chapter of the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah; an exposition of the ten commandments; an exposition of the Song of Solomon; his sermons on death; on the unsearchable riches of Christ; his communion sermons, sermons on godliness and self-denial; a sermon on a good conscience. There are also a great many of his sermons in manuscript (never yet published), viz. three sermons upon resisting the Holy Ghost from Acts vii 51.; eight on quenching the Spirit; five upon giving the Spirit; thirteen upon trusting and delighting in God; two against immoderate anxiety; eight upon the one thing needful; with a discourse upon prayer, and several other sermons and discourses229 from Eph. v. 15. 1 Cor. xi. 24. Luke i. 6. Gal. v. 16, Psal. cxix. 67. 1 Thess. v. 19. 1 Pet. iii. 14. Matth. viii. 7. There is also a treatise on scandal, and an exposition by way of lecture upon Job said to be his, but whether these, either as to style or strain, co-here with the other works of the laborious Mr. Durham, must be left to the impartial and unbiased reader.


The Life of Mr. Samuel Rutherford.

Mr. Samuel Rutherford a gentleman by extraction, having spent sometime at the grammar-school, went to the university of Edinburgh, where he was so much admired for his pregnancy of parts, and deservedly looked upon as one from whom some great things might be expected, that in a short time (though then but very young) he was made professor of philosophy in that university.

Sometime after this he was called to be minister at Anwoth, in the shire of Galloway, unto which charge he entered by means of the then viscount of Kenmuir, without any acknowledgment or engagement to the bishops. There he laboured with great diligence and success, both night and day, rising usually by three o'clock in the morning, spending the whole time in reading, praying, writing, catechising, visiting, and other duties belonging to the ministerial profession and employment.

Here he wrote his exercitationes de gratia, &c. for which he was summoned (as early as June 1630) before the high commission court, but the weather was so tempestuous as to obstruct the passage of the arch-bishop of St. Andrews hither, and Mr. Colvil one of the judges having befriended him, the diet was deserted. About the same time his first wife died after a sore sickness of thirteen months, and he himself being so ill of a tertian fever for thirteen weeks, that then he could not preach on the Sabbath day, without great difficulty.

Again in April 1634, he was threatened with another prosecution at the instance of the bishop of Galloway, before the high commission court, and neither were these threatenings all the reasons Mr. Rutherford had to lay his account with suffering, and as the Lord would not hide from his faithful servant Abraham the things he was about to230 do, neither would he conceal from this son of Abraham what his purposes were concerning him; for in a letter to the provost's wife of Kirkcudbright, dated April 20, 1633, he says, "That upon the 17th and 18th of August he got a full answer of his Lord to be a graced minister, and a chosen arrow hid in his quiver[83]." Accordingly the thing he looked for came upon him, for he was again summoned before the high commission court for his non-conformity, his preaching against the five articles of Perth, and the forementioned book of exercitationes apologetica pro divina gratia, which book they alledged did reflect upon the church of Scotland, but the truth was, says a late historian[84], The argument of that book did cut the sinews of Arminianism, and galled the Episcopal clergy to the very quick, and so bishop Sydresert could endure him no longer. When he came before the commission court he altogether declined them as a lawful judicatory, and would not give the chancellor (being a clergyman) and the bishops their titles by lording of them, yet some had the courage to befriend him, particularly, the lord Lorn (afterwards the famous marquis of Argyle), who did as much for him as was within his power to do; but the bishop of Galloway, threatening that if he got not his will of him, he would write to the king; it was carried against him, and upon the 27th of July 1636, he was discharged to exercise any part of his ministry within the kingdom of Scotland, under pain of rebellion, and ordered within six months to confine himself within the city of Aberdeen, &c. during the king's pleasure, which sentence he obeyed, and forthwith went toward the place of his confinement.

From Aberdeen he wrote many of his famous letters, from which it is evident that the consolation of the Holy Spirit did greatly abound with him in his sufferings, yea, in one of these letters, he expresses it in the strongest terms, when he says, "I never knew before, that his love was in such a measure. If he leave me, he leaves me in pain, and sick of love, and yet my sickness is my life and health. I have a fire within me, I defy all the devils in hell and all the prelates in Scotland to cast water on it." Here he remained upwards of a year and a half, by which time he made the doctors of Aberdeen know that the puritans (as they called them) were clergymen as well as they. But upon notice that the privy council had received in a declinature against the high commission court in the year231 1638, he adventured to return back again to his flock at Anwoth, where he again took great pains, both in public and private, amongst that people, who from all quarters resorted to his ministry, so that the whole country side might account themselves as his particular flock, and it being then in the dawning of the reformation, found no small benefit by the gospel, that part of the ancient prophecy being farther accomplished, for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert, Isa. xxxv. 6.

He was before that venerable assembly held at Glasgow in 1638, and gave an account of all these his former proceedings with respect to his confinement, and the causes thereof. By them he was appointed to be professor of divinity at St. Andrews, and colleague in the ministry with the worthy Mr. Blair, who was translated hither about the same time. And here God did again so second this his eminent and faithful servant, that by his indefatigable pains both in teaching in the schools and preaching in the congregation, St. Andrews the seat of the arch-bishop (and by that means the nursery of all superstition, error and profaneness) soon became forthwith a Lebanon out of which were taken cedars, for building the house of the Lord, almost through the whole land, many of whom he guided to heaven before himself (who received the spiritual life by his ministry), and many others did walk in that light after him.

And as he was mighty in the public parts of religion, so he was a great practiser and encourager of the private duties thereof. Thus in the year 1640, when a charge was foisted in before the general assembly at the instance of Mr. Henry Guthrie minister at Stirling (afterward bishop of Dunkeld), against private society meetings (which were then abounding in the land), on which ensued much reasoning, the one side yielding that a paper before drawn up by Mr. Henderson should be agreed unto concerning the order to be kept in these meetings, &c. but Guthrie and his adherents opposing this, Mr. Rutherford, who was never much disposed to speak in judicatories, threw in this syllogism, "What the scriptures do warrant no assembly may discharge; but private meetings for religious exercises the scriptures do warrant, Mal. v. 16. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, &c. James v. 16. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, &c. These things could not be done in public meetings, &c." And although the earl of Seaforth there present, and those of Guthrie's faction upbraided this good man for232 this, yet it had influence upon the majority of the members, so that all the opposite party got done, was an act anent the ordering of family-worship.

He was also one of the Scots commissioners appointed anno 1643, to the Westminster assembly, and was very much beloved there for his unparalleled faithfulness and zeal in going about his Master's business. It was during this time that he published lex rex, and several other learned pieces against the Erastians, Anabaptists, Independents, and other sectaries that began to prevail and increase at that time, and none ever had the courage to take up the gauntlet of defiance thrown down by this champion[85].

When the principal business of this assembly was pretty well settled, Mr. Rutherford, on October 24, 1647, moved that it might be recorded in the scribe's book, that the assembly had enjoyed the assistance of the commissioners of the church of Scotland, all the time they had been debating and perfecting these four things mentioned in the solemn league, viz. Their composing a directory for worship, an uniform confession of faith, a form of church-government and discipline, and the public catechism, which was done in about a week after he and the rest returned home.

Upon the death of the learned Dematius anno 1651, the magistrates of Utrecht in Holland, being abundantly satisfied as to the learning, piety, and true zeal of the great Mr. Rutherford, invited him to the divinity chair there, but he could not be persuaded. His reasons elsewhere (when dissuading another gentleman from going abroad) seem to be expressed in these words:—"Let me intreat you to be far from the thoughts of leaving this land. I see it and find it, that the Lord hath covered the whole land with a cloud in his anger, but though I have been tempted to the like, I had rather be in Scotland beside angry Jesus Christ (knowing he mindeth no evil to us), than in any Eden or garden on the earth[86]." From which it is evident that he chose rather to suffer affliction in his own native country, than to leave his charge and flock in time of danger. He continued with them till the day of his death in the free and faithful discharge of his duty.

233 When the unhappy difference fell out between those called the protesters and the public resolutioners, anno 1650, and 1651, he espoused the protestors quarrel, and gave faithful warning against these public resolutions, and likewise during the time of Cromwel's usurpation he contended against all the prevailing sectaries that then ushered in with the sectaries by virtue of his toleration[87]. And such was his unwearied assiduity and diligence, that he seemed to pray constantly, to preach constantly, to catechise constantly, and to visit the sick exhorting them from house to house, to teach as much in the schools, and spend as much time with the students and young men in fitting them for the ministry, as if he had been sequestrate from all the world besides, and yet withal to write as much as if he had been constantly shut up in his study.

But no sooner did the restoration of Charles II. take place, than the face of affairs began to change, and after his forementioned book lex rex was burnt at the cross of Edinburgh, and at the gates of the new college of St. Andrews, where he was professor of divinity, the parliament in 1661, were to have an indictment laid before them against him, and such was their humanity (when every body knew he was a-dying) that they caused summon him to appear before them at Edinburgh, to answer to a charge of high treason[88]: But he had a higher tribunal to appear before, where his judge was his friend, and was dead before that time came, being taken away from the evil to come.

When on his death-bed, he lamented much that he was with-held from bearing witness to the work of reformation234 since the year 1638, and upon the 28th of February he gave a large and faithful testimony[89] against the sinful courses of that time, which testimony he subscribed twelve days before his death, being full of joy and peace in believing.

During the time of his last sickness, he uttered many savoury speeches and often broke out in a kind of sacred rapture, exalting and commending the Lord Jesus, especially when his end drew near. He often called his blessed Master his kingly King. Some days before his death he said, "I shall shine, I shall see him as he is, I shall see him reign and all his fair company with him, and I shall have my large share. Mine eyes shall see my Redeemer, these very eyes of mine, and none other for me. This may seem a wide word, but it is no fancy or delusion.—It is true.—Let my Lord's name be exalted, and, if he will, let my name be grinded to pieces, that he may be all in all. If he should slay me ten thousand times, I will trust."—He often repeated Jer. xv. 16. Thy words were found and I did eat them, &c.

When exhorting one to diligence, he said, "It is no easy thing to be a Christian. For me I have got the victory, and Christ is holding out both his arms to embrace me." At another time to some friends present he said, "At the beginning of my sufferings I had mine own fears like other sinful men, lest I should faint and not be carried creditably through, and I laid this before the Lord, and as sure as ever he spoke to me in his word, as sure as his Spirit witnesseth to my heart, he hath accepted my sufferings. He said to me, Fear not, the outgate shall not be simply matter of prayer, but matter of praise. I said to the Lord, If he should slay me five thousand times five thousand I would trust in him, and I speak it with much trembling, fearing I should not make my part good, but as really as ever he spoke to me by his Spirit, he witnessed to my heart that his grace should be sufficient." The Thursday night before his death, being much grieved with the state of the public, he had this expression, "Horror hath taken hold on me." And afterwards, falling on his own condition, he said, "I renounce all that ever he made me will and do, as defiled and imperfect, as coming from me; I betake myself to Christ for sanctification as well as justification:"—Repeating these words, "He is made of God to me wisdom, righteousness, &c."—adding, "I close with it, let him be so, he is my all in all."

235 March 17th, three gentlewomen came to see him, and after exhorting them to read the word, and be much in prayer, and much in communion with God, he said, "My honourable Master and lovely Lord, my great royal King hath not a match in heaven nor in earth. I have my own guilt even like other sinful men, but he hath pardoned, loved, washed, and given me joy unspeakable and full of glory. I repent not that ever I owned his cause. These whom ye call protestors, are the witnesses of Jesus Christ. I hope never to depart from that cause nor side with those that have burnt the causes of God's wrath. They have broken their covenant oftener than once or twice, but I believe the Lord will build Zion, and repair the waste places of Jacob. Oh! to obtain mercy to wrestle with God for their salvation. As for this presbytery, it hath stood in opposition to me these years past. I have my record in heaven I had no particular end in view, but was seeking the honour of God, the thriving of the gospel in this place, and the good of the new college, that society which I have left upon the Lord. What personal wrongs they have done me, and what grief they have occasioned to me, I heartily forgive them, and desire mercy to wrestle with God for mercy to them, and for the salvation of them all."

The same day Messrs. James M'Gil, John Wardlaw, William Vilant, and Alexander Wedderburne, all members of the same presbytery with him, coming to visit him, he made them welcome, and said, "My Lord and Master is the chief of ten thousand, none is comparable to him in heaven or earth. Dear brethren, do all for him, pray for Christ, preach for Christ, feed the flock committed to your charge for Christ, do all for Christ, beware of men-pleasing, there is too much of it amongst us. The new college hath broke my heart, I can say nothing of it, I have left it upon the Lord of the house, and it hath been and still is my desire that he may dwell in this society, and that the youth may he fed with sound knowledge."—After this he said, "Dear brethren, it may seem presumptuous in me a particular man, to send a commission to a presbytery;—and Mr. M'Gill replying, It was no presumption, he continued,—Dear brethren, take a commission from me a dying man, to them to appear for God and his cause, and adhere to the doctrine of the covenant, and have a care of the flock committed to their charge, let them feed the flock out of love, preach for God, visit and catechise for God, and do all for236 God, beware of men-pleasing, the chief shepherd will appear shortly, &c. I have been a sinful man, and have had mine own failings, but my Lord hath pardoned and accepted my labours. I adhere to the cause and covenant, and resolve never to depart from the protestation[90] against the controverted assemblies. I am the man I was. I am still for keeping the government of the kirk of Scotland intire, and would not for a thousand worlds have had the least hand in the burning of the causes of God's wrath. Oh! for grace to wrestle with God for their salvation."

Mr. Vilant having prayed at his desire, as they took their leave he renewed their charge to them to feed the flock out of love. The next morning, as he recovered out of a fainting, in which they who looked on expected his dissolution, he said, "I feel, I feel, I believe, I joy and rejoice, I feed on manna." Mr. Blair (whose praise is in the churches) being present, he took a little wine in a spoon to refresh himself, being then very weak, he said to him, "Ye feed on dainties in heaven, and think nothing of our cordials on earth."—He answered, "They are all but dung, but they are Christ's creatures, and out of obedience to his command I take them.——Mine eyes shall see my Redeemer, I know he shall stand the last day upon the earth, and I shall be caught up in the clouds to meet him in the air, and I shall be ever with him, and what would you have more, there is an end."—And stretching out his hands he said again, "There is an end."——And a little after he said, "I have been a single man, but I stand at the best pass that ever a man did, Christ is mine and I am his."—And spoke much of the white stone and new name. Mr. Blair (who loved with all his heart to hear Christ commended) said to him again—"What think ye now of Christ?—To which he answered, I shall live and adore him. Glory! glory to my Creator and my Redeemer for ever! Glory shines in Emmanuel's land." In the afternoon of that day he said, "Oh! that all my brethren in the public may know what a Master I have served, and what peace I have this day, I shall sleep in Christ, and when I awake I shall be satisfied with his likeness. This night shall close the door and put my anchor within the vail, and I shall go away in a237 sleep by five of the clock in the morning" (which exactly fell out). Though he was very weak, he had often this expression, "Oh! for arms to embrace him! Oh! for a well tuned harp!" He exhorted Dr. Colvil (a man who complied with prelacy afterward) to adhere to the government of the church of Scotland, and to the doctrine of the covenant, and to have a care to feed the youth with sound knowledge.——And the doctor being the professor of the new college, he told him, That he heartily forgave him all the wrongs he had done him. He spake likewise to Mr. Honeyman (afterward bishop Honeyman) who came to see him, saying, "Tell the presbytery to answer for God and his cause and covenant, saying, The case is desperate, let them be in their duty."——Then directing his speech to Mr. Colvil and Mr. Honeyman, he said, "Stick to it. You may think it an easy thing in me a dying man, that I am now going out of the reach of all that men can do, but he before whom I stand knows I dare advise no colleague or brother to do what I would not cordially do myself upon all hazard, and as for the causes of God's wrath that men have now condemned, tell Mr. James Wood from me, that I had rather lay down my head on a scaffold, and have it chopped off many times (were it possible), before I had passed from them." And then to Mr. Honeyman he said, "Tell Mr. Wood, I heartily forgive him all the wrongs he has done me, and desire him from me to declare himself the man that he is still for the government of the church of Scotland."

Afterwards when some spoke to him of his former painfulness and faithfulness in the ministry, he said, "I disclaim all that, the port that I would be at, is redemption and forgiveness through his blood, thou shalt shew me the path of life, in thy sight is fulness of joy, there is nothing now betwixt me and the resurrection but to-day thou shalt be with me in paradise." Mr. Blair saying, Shall I praise the Lord for all the mercies he has done and is to do for you? He answered, "Oh! for a well tuned harp." To his child[91] he said, "I have again left you upon the Lord, it may be, you will tell this to others, that the lines are fallen to me in pleasant places, I have got a goodly heritage. I bless the Lord that he gave me counsel."

Thus by five o'clock in the morning (as he himself foretold) it was said unto him, Come up hither, and he gave238 up the ghost, and the renowned eagle took its flight unto the mountains of spices.

In the foresaid manner died the famous Mr. Rutherford who may justly be accounted among the sufferers of that time, for surely he was a martyr both in his own design and resolution, and by the design and determination of men. Few men ever ran so long a race without cessation, so constantly, so unweariedly, and so unblameably. Two things (rarely to be found in one man) were eminent in him, viz. a quick invention and sound judgment, and these accompanied with a homely but clear expression, and graceful elocution; so that such as knew him best were in a strait whether to admire him most for his penetrating wit and sublime genius in the schools, and peculiar exactness in disputes and matters of controversy, or his familiar condescension in the pulpit, where he was one of the most moving and affectionate preachers in his time, or perhaps in any age of the church.——To sum up all in a word, He seems to be one of the most resplendent lights that ever arose in this horizon.

In all his writings he breathes the true spirit of religion, but in his every-way admirable letters he seems to have out-done himself, as well as every body else, which, although jested on by the profane wits of this age because of some homely and familiar expressions in them, it must be owned by all who have any relish for true piety, that they contain such sublime flights of devotion that they must at once ravish and edify every sober, serious, and understanding reader.

Among the posthumous works of the laborious Mr. Rutherford are his letters; the trial and triumph of faith; Christ's dying and drawing of sinners, &c.; and a discourse on prayer; all in octavo. A discourse on the covenant; on liberty of conscience; a survey of spiritual antichrist; a survey of antinomianism; antichrist stormed; and several other controverted pieces, such as lex rex, the due right of church-government; the divine right of church-government; and a peaceable plea for presbytery; are for the most part in quarto, as also his summary of church discipline, and a treatise on the divine influence of the Spirit. There are also a variety of his sermons in print, some of which were preached before both houses of parliament annis 1644, and 1645. He wrote also upon providence, but this being in Latin, is only in the hands of a few; as are also the greater part of his other works, being so seldom republished. There is also a volume of sermons, sacramental discourses, &c. which I have been desired to publish.

239 An Epitaph on his Grave-stone.

What tongue! What pen, or skill of men
Can famous Rutherford commend!
His learning justly rais'd his fame,
True goodness did adorn his name.
He did converse with things above,
Acquainted with Emmanuel's love.
Most orthodox he was and sound,
And many errors did confound.
For Zion's King, and Zion's cause,
And Scotland's covenanted laws,
Most constantly he did contend,
Until his time was at an end.
At last he wan to full fruition
Of that which he had seen in vision.

October 9th, 1735. W. W.


The Life of the honourable Archibald Campbel Marquis of Argyle.

Archibald Campbel having, after a good classical education, applied himself to the study of the holy scriptures, became well acquainted with the most interesting points of religion, which he retained and cultivated amidst his most laborious and highest employments both in church and state ever after.

From his earlier years he stood well affected to the presbyterian interest, and being still a favourer of the puritans (the presbyterians then so called) when Mr. Rutherford was, for his non-conformity, brought before the high commission court anno 1638, he interposed to his utmost in his behalf; concerning which Mr. Rutherford in his letters says,[92] "My Lord hath brought me a friend from the highlands of Argyle, my lord Lorn, who hath done as much as was within the compass of his power. God give me favour in his eyes." And elsewhere to the lady Kenmuir, "And write thanks to your brother, my lord of Lorn, for what he has done for me, a poor unknown stranger to him. I shall pray for him and his house240 while I live. It is his honour to open his mouth in the streets for his wronged and oppressed Master Christ Jesus." Nor was this all: for about the same time, he so laboured and prevailed with the bishop of Galloway, that worthy Earlston was relaxed from the sentence of banishment unto which he was assigned for the same noble cause.

And no sooner did our reformation (commonly called the second reformation) begin to dawn anno 1637, than he espoused the same cause himself; for we find next year, that the earl of Argyle (his father dying about that time), though a private counsellor, diligently attending all the sessions of that famous general assembly held then at Glasgow, in order to hear their debates and determinations concerning diocesan episcopacy, and the five articles of Perth, wherein he declared his full satisfaction with their decisions. And here it was that this noble peer began to distinguish himself by a concern for the Redeemer's glory, in which he continued, and was kept faithful therein, until he got the crown of martyrdom at last.

At this meeting, amongst many other things, his lordship proposed an explication of the confession and covenant, in which he wished them to proceed with great deliberation, lest (said he) they should bring any under suspicion of perjury, who had sworn it in the sense he had done, which motion was taken in good part by the members, and entered upon in the 8th session of that assembly. Mr. Henderson the moderator, at the conclusion of this assembly, judging that, after all, the countenance give to their meetings by this noble peer deserved a particular acknowledgment, wished his lordship had joined with them sooner, but he hoped God had reserved him for the best times, and would honour him here and hereafter. Whereupon his lordship rose, and delivered an excellent speech ex tempore, before the assembly, in which amongst other things he said, "And whereas you wished I had joined you sooner; truly it was not for want of affection for the good of religion, and my own country which detained me, but a desire and hope that by staying with the court I might have been able to bring a redress of grievances, and when I saw that I could no longer stay without proving unfaithful to my God and my country, I thought good to do as I have done, &c.——I remember I told some of you that pride and avarice are two evils that have wrought much woe to the church of Christ, and as they are grievous faults in any man, they are especially so in church-men, &c.—I hope every man241 here, shall walk by the square and rule which is now set before him, observing duty, 1. To superiors. 2. To equals; and 3. To inferiors.—Touching our duty to superiors, there needs nothing be added to what has been wisely said by the moderator. Next, concerning equals, there is a case much spoken of in the church, i. e. the power of ruling elders, some ministers apprehending it to be a curbing of their power; truly it may be some elders are not so wise as there is need for.—But as unity ought to be the endeavour of us all, let neighbouring parishes and presbyteries meet together for settling the same, &c. And thirdly, for inferiors, I hope ministers will discharge their duty to their flocks, and that people will have a due regard to those that are set over them to watch for their souls, and not to think, that because they want bishops, they may live as they will, &c."[93]

After this, when the Scots covenanters were obliged to take arms in their own defence, anno 1639, and having marched towards the borders of England, under the command of general Leslie, this noble lord being set to guard the western coast, contributed very much by his diligence and prudence to preserve peace in these parts, and that not only in conveening the gentlemen in these quarters, and taking security of them for that purpose, but also raised four hundred men in the shire of Argyle, which he took in hand to maintain at his own charges. Which number he afterward increased to nine hundred able men, one half whereof he set on Kintyre to wait on the marquis of Antrim's design, and the rest on the head of Lorn to attend the motions of those of Lochaber, and the western isles. From thence he himself went over to Arran with some cannon, and took the castle of Brodick, belonging to Hamilton; which surrendered without resistance.

He was again, in the absence of the covenanters army, anno 1640, appointed to the same business, which he managed with no less success, for he apprehended no less than eight or nine of the ring-leaders of the malignant faction, and made them give bonds for their better behaviour in time coming. Which industrious and faithful conduct in this great man stirred up the malice of his and truth's adversaries, that they fought on all occasions to vent their mischief against him afterward.

For, at the very next sitting down of the Scots parliament, the earl of Montrose discovered a most mischievous242 attempt to wound his reputation, and to set the king at perpetual variance with his lordship; and among other offensive speeches uttered by Montrose, one was, That when the earl of Athol and the other eight gentlemen taken up by him last year (for carrying arms against their country), were in his lordship's tent at the ford of Lyons, he (viz., Argyle) should have said publicly, "That they (meaning the parliament) had consulted both lawyers and divers others, anent the deposing of the king, and had got resolution that it might be done in three cases, viz. 1. Desertion. 2. Invasion; and 3. Vendition. And that they once thought to have done it at the last sitting of parliament, but would do it at the next sitting thereof." Montrose condescended on Mr. James Stuart commissary of Dunkeld, one of the foresaid eight taken by Argyle, as his informer; and some of his lordship's friends, having brought the said commissary to Edinburgh, he was so fool-hardy as to subscribe the acknowledgment of the above report to Montrose. The earl of Argyle denied the truth of this in the strongest terms, and resolved to prosecute Mr. Stuart before the court of justiciary where his lordship insisted for an impartial trial, which was granted, and according to his desire four lords of the session were added hac vice to the court of justiciary. Stuart was accused upon the laws of leasing, particularly of a principal statesman, to evite the eminent danger of which he wrote to Argyle, wherein he cleared him of the charge as laid against him, and acknowledged that he himself forged them, out of malice against his lordship, &c. But though Argyle's innocency was thus cleared, it was thought necessary to let the trial go on, and the fact being proven he was condemned to die. Argyle would willingly have seen the royal clemency extended to the unfortunate wretch; but others thought the crime tended to mar the design of the late treaty, and judged it needful as a terror to others, to make an example. At his execution, he discovered a great deal of remorse for what he had done, and although this worthy nobleman was vindicated in this, yet we find that after the restoration it was made one of the principal handles against this noble martyr.

During these transactions, the king disagreeing with his English parliament, made another tour to Scotland, and attended the Scots parliament there; in which parliament, (that he might more effectually gain the Scots over to his interest) he not only granted a ratification of all their former proceedings, both in their own defence, and with respect243 to religion, but also dignified several of the Scots nobility: and being sensible of the many great and good services done by this noble earl, he was placed at the head of the treasury, and the day before the rising of the parliament all the commissions granted to, and services and employments performed by Archibald, earl of Argyle, in the service of his country were approved of; and an act of parliament made thereon was read and voted, the king giving him this testimony in public, That he dealt over honestly with him, though he was still stiff as to the point in controversy. And on the same day, Nov, 15th, 1641, the king delivered a patent to the lion king at arms, and he to the clerk register, who read it publicly, whereby his majesty created Archibald earl of Argyle, &c. marquis of Argyle, earl of Kintyre, lord Lorn, &c. which being read, and given back to the king, his majesty delivered the same with his own hand to the marquis, who rose and made a very handsome speech in gratitude to his majesty, shewing that he neither expected nor deserved such honour or preferment.

During the sitting of the foresaid parliament, another incident occurred, wherein a plot was laid to destroy this nobleman, in the following manner: Some of the nobility, envying the power, preferment and influence that he and the marquis of Hamilton had with the king, laid a close design for their lives. The earl of Crawford, colonel Cochran, and lieut. Alexander Stuart, were to have been the actors (in which it was insinuated, that his majesty, lord Almond, &c. were privy to the design), which was, that Hamilton and Argyle should be called for in the dead of the night to speak with the king; in the way they were to have been arrested as traitors, and delivered to earl Crawford, who was to wait for them with a considerable body of armed men. If any resistance was made, he was to stab them immediately, if not, carry them prisoners to a ship of war in the road of Leith, where they were to be confined until they should be tried for treason.—But this breaking out before it was fully ripe, the two noblemen the night before went off to a place of more strength, twelve miles distant, and so escaped this danger, as a bird out of the hands of the fowler. Yet such was their lenity and clemency, that upon a petition from them, the foresaid persons were set at liberty.

After this, the earl (now marquis) of Argyle had a most active hand in carrying on the work of reformation, and uniformity in religion anno 1643. And while he was busied244 among the covenanters anno 1644, Montrose and some others associated themselves to raise forces for the king, intending to draw the Scots army forth of England.—To effect which, the earl of Antrim undertook to send over ten thousand Irish, under the command of one Alaster M'Donald, a Scotsman, to the north of Scotland. A considerable body was accordingly sent, who committed many outrages in Argyle's country.—To suppress this insurrection, the committee of estates April 10, gave orders to the marquis to raise three regiments; which he accordingly did, and with them marched northward, took several of their principal chieftains, and dispersed the rest for some time. But Montrose being still on the field, wherein he gained several victories during this and the following year, and in the mean time plundered and murdered the greater part of Argyle-shire, and other places belonging to the covenanters, without mercy, and although he was at last defeated and totally routed by general Lesly at Philiphaugh, yet such was the cruelty of those cut-throats, that the foresaid M'Donald and his Irish band returned to Argyle-shire (in the beginning of the year 1646) and burnt and plundered the dwellings of the well-affected, in such a terrible manner, that about twelve hundred men assembled in a body under Acknalase, who brought them down to Monteith, to live upon the disaffected in that country, but the Athol men falling upon them at Calender (and being but poorly armed) several of them were killed, and the rest fled towards Stirling, where their master the noble marquis met them, and commiserating their deplorable condition, carried them through to Lennox, to live upon the lands of the lord Napier and others of the disaffected, until they were better provided for. And in the mean time went over himself to Ireland, and brought over the remains of the Scots forces, and with those landed in Argyle-shire, upon which M'Donald betook himself to the isles, and from thence returned back to Ireland; whereby peace was restored in those parts.[94]

Again anno 1648, when the state fell into two factions, that of the malignants was herded by the duke of Hamilton; and the other (the covenanters) by the marquis of Argyle, from which it is easy to conclude, that from the year 1643, (when he had such an active hand in calling the convention of estates, and entering into the solemn league and covenant) to 1648, he was the principal agent amongst245 the covenanters, and never failed on all occasions to appear in defence of the civil and religious liberties of his native country.

And for what was enacted anno 1649, it is well known what appearances he made, and what interest he had in the parliament, and to the utmost of his power did employ the same for bringing home Charles II. and possessing him of his crown and the exercise of his royal authority, and in this he succeeded to good purpose, as long as the king followed his counsel and advice. But afterwards taking in the malignant faction into places of power and trust, all went to shipwreck together, which was no small matter of grief to this worthy and religious nobleman.

And as the king was well received then by the marquis of Argyle, so he pretended a great deal of regard and kindness for him about that time; as appears from a letter or declaration given under his own hand at St. Johnston Sept. 24, 1650, in which he says, "Having taken to my consideration the faithful endeavours of the marquis of Argyle, for restoring me to my just rights, &c.——I am desirous to let the world see how sensible I am of his real respect to me, by some particular favour to him.——And particularly I do promise that I shall make him duke of Argyle, a knight of the garter, and one of the gentlemen of my bed-chamber, and this to be performed when he shall think fit. I do further promise to hearken to his counsel, whenever it shall please God to restore me to my just rights in England, I shall see him paid the 40,000 pounds sterling which are due to him. All which I do promise to make good upon the word of a king.

C. R."


But how all these fair promises were performed will come afterwards to be observed. For this godly nobleman taking upon him to reprove the king for some of his immoralities[95], which faithful admonition, however well it appeared to be taken off the marquis's hand for the present, yet it appeared afterwards that this godly freedom was never forgot, until it was again repaid him with the highest resentment (such was the way to hearken to his counsel); for if debauchery and dissimulation had ever been accounted among the liberal sciences, then this prince was altogether a master in that faculty[96].

246 In the mean time January 1. 1651, the king was crowned at Scone, where after an excellent sermon by Mr. Robert Douglas from 2 Kings ii. 17, the king took the coronation oath, then sitting down in the chair of state (after some other ceremonies were performed), the marquis of Argyle taking the crown in his hands, (Mr. Douglas prayed) he set it on the king's head; and so ascending the stage, attended by the officers of the crown, he was installed unto the royal throne by Archibald marquis of Argyle, saying, "Stand, &c. fast from henceforth the place whereof you are the lawful and righteous heir, by a long and lineal succession of your fathers, which is now delivered to you by the authority of God Almighty.[97]" Then the solemnity was concluded by a pertinent exhortation, both to king and people, wherein they were certified, that if they should conspire together against the kingdom of Jesus Christ, both supporters and supported should fall together.

But the king's forces having been before that defeated by Cromwel at Dunbar, and being no longer able to make head against the English, he went for England, and here by his particular allowance the marquis of Argyle (after kissing his hand) was left at Stirling. But the king's army being totally routed on the third of September at Worcester, and from thence driven from all his dominions; in the mean time the English over-run the whole country, so that the representatives of the nation were either obliged to take the tender, or else suffer great hardships, which tender the marquis had refused at Dunbarton, whereupon they resolved to invade the highlands and the shire of Argyle, being inclosed on all hands with regiments of foot and horse. Major Dean coming to the marquis's house at Inverary where he was lying sick, presented a paper, which he behoved to subscribe against to-morrow, or else be carried off prisoner, which (though sore against his will) for his own and his vassals and tenants safety he was obliged to subscribe with some alterations, which capitulation was made a mighty handle against him afterwards. And although he had some influence upon the usurper, and was present at several meetings wherein he procured an equal hearing to the protestors at London, while he was there anno 1657, yet he was rather a prisoner on demand than a free agent, and so continued until the restoration.

Soon after the king's return, this noble marquis being very much solicited to repair to court, and no doubt he247 himself inclined to wait on a prince on whose head he had set the crown, and though some of his best friends used several arguments to divert him from his purpose till matters were better settled, yet from the testimony of a good conscience, knowing that he was able to vindicate himself from all aspersions, if he was but once admitted to the king's presence. He set out for London, where he arrived on the 8th of July, and went directly to Whitehall to salute his majesty, but whenever the king heard he was come thither (notwithstanding his former fair promises) he ordered Sir William Fleming to apprehend him, and carry him to the tower, where he continued till toward the beginning of December, that he was sent down in a man of war, to abide his trial before the parliament in Scotland. On the 20th they landed at Leith, and next day he was taken up (the streets of Edinburgh covered) betwixt two of the town-baillies to the castle, where he continued until his trial came on.

On Feb. 13, 1661, his lordship was brought down from the castle in a coach, with three of the magistrates of Edinburgh, attended by the town-guard, and presented before the bar of the house, where the king's advocate Sir John Fletcher accused him in common form of high treason, and producing an indictment, craved that it might be read. The marquis himself begged liberty to speak before that was done, but the house refused his reasonable desire, and ordered it to be read, and though he intreated them to hear a petition he had to present, yet that was too great a favour to be granted. The indictment, which was more months in forming than he had days allowed at first to bring his defence, consisted of fourteen articles, the principal of which were, his entering into the solemn league and covenant with England; and his complying with Oliver Cromwel, &c.; all the rest being a heap of slanders, and perversion of matters of fact, gathered up against this good and great man, all which he abundantly takes off in his information and answers[98].

After his indictment was read, he had leave to speak and discoursed for sometime to good purpose. Among other things he said with Paul in another case, "The things laid against him cannot be proven;"—but this he confessed, that in the way allowed by solemn oath and covenant, he served God, his king, and his country; and though he248 he owned he wanted not failings common to all persons in public business in such a time, yet he blessed God that he was able to make the falsehood of every article of his charge appear, that he had done nothing with a wicked mind, but with many others had the misfortune to do many things, the unforeseen events of which had proved bad.

The parliament fixed on the 27th of February for bringing in his defence, which was too short a time for replying to so many articles. However, at his request it was put off till the 5th of March, when he appeared before the lord of the articles, who ordered him immediately to produce his defence, whereupon he delivered a very moving speech, and gave in a most affecting petition, remitting himself to the king's mercy, and beseeching the parliament to intercede for him, which are too long here to be inserted. March the 6th, he was brought before the parliament—It was reported from the articles, that he had offered a submission to his majesty, &c. but his submission was voted not satisfactory, and he commanded on the morrow to give in his defence to the lords of the articles. When he came before them, and told his defence was not ready, he was appointed to give them in on Monday April 9th, otherwise they would take the whole business before them, without any regard to what he should afterwards say, but it seems on the day appointed, his defence was given in, which contained fifteen sheets of small print, wherein the marquis's management was fully vindicated from all the falsehoods and calumnies in the indictment.

Upon the 16th of April he was again before the parliament, where after the process was read, he had a very handsome and moving speech, wherein at a considerable length[99], he removed several reproaches cast upon him, and touched at some things not in his papers, but whatever he or his lawyers could say, had little weight with the members of parliament. Some of them were already resolved what to do, the house had many messages to hasten his process to an end, but the misgiving of many of their designed probations against this good man embarrassed them mightily for some time, for it appears that there were upwards of thirty different libels all formed against him, and all came to nothing when they began to prove them, as other lies usually do; so that they were forced to betake themselves to the innocent but necessary compliance with249 the English, after every shire and burgh in Scotland had made their submission to their conquerors.

In the beginning of May witnesses were examined and depositions taken against him, after which he was upon the 25th brought before the bar of the house to receive his sentence from his judges, who were socii criminis (or accomplices, as he told the king's advocate). The house was very thin, all withdrawing except those who were resolved to follow the courses of the time. He put them in mind of the practice of Theodosius the emperor, who enacted that the sentence of death should not be executed till thirty days after it was passed, and added, I crave but ten that the king may be acquainted with it—but this was refused. Then the sentence was pronounced, "That he was found guilty of high treason, and adjudged to be executed to the death as a traitor, his head to be severed from his body at the cross of Edinburgh, upon Monday the 27th instant, and affixed on the same place where the marquis of Montrose's head formerly was, and his arms torn before the parliament at the cross." Upon this he offered to speak, but the trumpet sounding he stopped till they ended, and then said, "I had the honour to set the crown on the king's head, and now he hastens me to a better crown than his own." And directing himself to the commissioner and parliament, he said, "You have the indemnity of an earthly king among your hands, and have denied me a share in that, but you cannot hinder me from the indemnity of the King of kings, and shortly you must be before his tribunal. I pray he mete not out such measure to you as you have done to me, when you are called to an account for all your actings, and this amongst the rest."

After his sentence he was ordered to the common prison, where his excellent lady was waiting for him. Upon seeing her he said, "They have given me till Monday to be with you, my dear, therefore let us make for it." She embracing him wept bitterly and said, "The Lord will require it: The Lord will require it." Which drew tears from all in the room.——But being himself composed, he said, "Forbear, forbear. I pity them, they know not what they are doing. They may shut me in where they please, but they cannot shut God out from me. For my part I am as content to be here as in the castle, and as content in the castle as in the tower of London, and as content there as when at liberty, and I hope to be as content on the scaffold as any of them all, &c." He added,250 "He remembered a scripture cited by an honest minister to him while in the castle, which he intended to put in practice. When Ziklag was taken and burnt, the people spake of stoning David, but he encouraged himself in the Lord."

He spent all his short time till Monday with the greatest serenity and cheerfulness, and in the proper exercise of a dying Christian. To some ministers, who were permitted to attend him, he said, "That shortly they would envy him who was got before them,——and added, Remember that I tell you, my skill fails me, if you who are ministers will not either suffer much or sin much; for tho' you go along with these men in part, if you do not in all things, you are but where you were, and so must suffer, and if you go not at all with them you must but suffer."

During his life he was reckoned rather timorous than bold to any excess. In prison, he said he was naturally inclined to fear in his temper, but desired those about him as he could not but do, to observe that the Lord had heard his prayer, and removed all fear from him, &c. At his own desire his lady took her leave of him on the Sabbath night. Mr. Robert Douglas and Mr. George Hutcheson preached to him in the tolbooth on the Lord's day, and his dear and much valued friend Mr. David Dickson (I am told, says Mr. Wodrow) was his bedfellow the last night he was in time.

The marquis had a sweet time in the tolbooth as to his souls case, and it still increased nearer his end, as he had sleeped calmly and pleasantly his last night, so in the intervals of his necessary business, he had much spiritual conservation. On Monday morning though he was much engaged in settling his affairs in the midst of company, yet he was so overpowered with a sensible effusion of the Holy Spirit, that he broke out in a rapture and said, "I thought to have concealed the Lord's goodness, but it will not do. I am now ordering my affairs, and God is sealing my charter to a better inheritance, and just now saying to me, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee."

Some time before he went to the place of execution, he received an excellent letter from a certain minister, and wrote a most moving one to the king, and dined precisely at twelve o'clock along with his friends with great cheerfulness, and then retired a little. Upon his opening the door Mr. Hutcheson said, What cheer, my lord? He answered, "Good cheer, sir, the Lord hath again confirmed251 and said to me from heaven, Thy sins be forgiven thee." Upon this tears of joy flowed in abundance; he retired to the window and wept there; from that he came to the fire, and made as if he would stir it a little to conceal his concern, but all would not do, his tears ran down his face, and coming to Mr. Hutcheson he said, "I think his kindness overcomes me. But God is good to me, that he let not out too much of it here, for he knows I could not bear it[100]. Get me my cloke and let us go." But being told that the clock was kept back till one, till the bailies should come,——He answered, They are far in the wrong; and presently kneeled and prayed before all present, in a most sweet and heavenly manner. As he ended, the bailies sent up word for to come down; upon which he called for a glass of wine, and asked a blessing to it, standing, and continuing in the same frame, he said, "Now let us go, and God be with us."

After having taken his leave of such in the room, who were not to go with him to the scaffold, when going towards the door he said, "I could die like a Roman, but choose rather to die like a Christian. Come away, gentlemen, he that goes first goes cleanliest." When going down stairs, he called the reverend Mr. James Guthrie to him, and embracing him in a most endearing way, took his farewel of him; Mr. Guthrie at parting addressed the marquis thus, "My lord, God hath been with you, he is with you, and will be with you. And such is my respect for your lordship, that if I were not under sentence of death myself, I would cheerfully die for your lordship." So they parted, to meet again in a better place on the Friday following.

Then the marquis accompanied with several noblemen and gentlemen mounted in black, with his cloke and hat on, went down the street, and mounted on the scaffold with great serenity and gravity, like one going to his Father's house, and saluted all on it. Then Mr. Hutcheson252 prayed, after which his lordship delivered his speech, in which among other things he said, "I come not here to justify myself, but the Lord, who is holy in all his ways, righteous in all his works, holy and blessed is his name. Neither come I to condemn others. I bless the Lord, I pardon all men, and desire to be pardoned of the Lord myself. Let the will of the Lord be done, that is all I desire.——I was real and cordial in my desires to bring the king home, and in my endeavours for him when he was home, and had no correspondence with the adversaries army, nor any of them when his majesty was in Scotland, nor had I any hand in his late majesty's murder. I shall not speak much to these things for which I am condemned, lest I seem to condemn others.—It is well known it is only for compliance, which was the epidemical fault of the nation; I wish the Lord to pardon them. I say no more——but God hath laid engagements on Scotland. We are tied by covenants to religion and reformation, those who were then unborn are yet engaged, and it passeth the power of all the magistrates under heaven to absolve from the oath of God. These times are like to be either very sinning or suffering times, and let Christians make their choice, there is a sad dilemma in the business, sin or suffer, and surely he that will choose the better part will choose to suffer, others that will choose to sin will not escape suffering. They shall suffer, but perhaps not as I do (pointing to the maiden) but worse. Mine is but temporal, theirs shall be eternal. When I shall be singing, they shall be howling. Beware therefore of sin, whatever you are aware of, especially in such times.—And hence my condition is such now, as, when I am gone, will be seen not to be as many imagined. I wish, as the Lord hath pardoned me, so may he pardon them, for this and other things, and what they have done to me may never meet them in their accounts.——I have no more to say, but to beg the Lord that when I go away, he would bless every one that stayeth behind."

When he had delivered this his seasonable and pathetic speech, which with his last words is recorded at length in Naphtali[101]. Mr. Hamilton prayed, after which he prayed most sweetly himself, then he took his leave of all his friends on the scaffold. He first gave to the executioner a napkin with some money in it; to his sons in law Caithness253 and Ker his watch and some other things out of his pocket, he gave to Loudon his silver penner, to Lothian a double ducat, and then threw off his coat. When going to the maiden, Mr. Hutcheson said, My lord, now hold your grip sickker.——He answered, "You know Mr. Hutcheson, what I said to you in the chamber. I am not afraid to be surprised with fear." The laird of Shelmerlie took him by the hand, when near the maiden, and found him most composed. He kneeled down most cheerfully, and after he had prayed a little, he gave the signal (which was by lifting up his hand), and the instrument called the maiden struck off his head from his body, which was fixed on the west end of the tolbooth, as a monument of the parliaments injustice and the land's misery. His body was by his friends put in a coffin and conveyed with a good many attendants through Linlithgow and Falkirk to Glasgow, and from thence to Kilpatrick, where it was put in a boat, carried to Denune, and buried in Kilmunn church.

Thus died the noble marquis of Argyle, the proto-martyr to religion since the reformation from popery, the true portrait of whose character cannot be (a historian[102] says I dare not) drawn. His enemies themselves will allow him to have been a person of extraordinary piety, remarkable wisdom and prudence, great gravity and authority, and singular usefulness. He was the head of the covenanters in Scotland, and had been singularly active in the work of reformation there, and of any almost that had engaged in that work he stuck closest by it, when most of the nation quitted it very much, so that this attack upon him was a stroke at the root of all that had been done in Scotland from 1638, to the usurpation. But the tree of prelacy and arbitrary measures behoved to be soaked when planting, with the blood of this excellent patriot, staunch presbyterian, and vigorous assertor of Scotland's liberty, and as he was the great promoter thereof during his life, and stedfast in witnessing to it at his death, so it was to a great degree buried with him in Scotland, for many years. In a word, he had piety for a christian, sense for a counsellor, carriage for a martyr, and soul for a king. If ever any was, he might be said to be a born Scotsman.

254


The Life of Mr. James Guthrie.

Mr. James Guthrie son to the laird of Guthrie (a very honourable and ancient family) having gone through his course of classical learning at the grammar school and college, taught philosophy in the university of St. Andrews, where for several years he gave abundant proof that he was an able scholar. His temper was very steady and composed; he could reason upon the most subtle points with great solidity, and when every one else was warm his temper was never ruffled. At any time when indecent heats or wranglings happened to fall in when reasoning, it was his ordinary custom to say, "Enough of this, let us go to some other subject; we are warm, and can dispute no longer with advantage." Perhaps he had the greatest mixture of fervent zeal and sweet calmness in his temper, of any man in his time. But being educated in opposition to presbyterian principles he was highly prelatical in his judgment when he came first to St. Andrews, but by conversing with worthy Mr. Rutherford and others, and especially through his joining the weekly society's meetings there, for prayer and conference, he was effectually brought off from that way, and perhaps it was this that made the writer of the diurnal (who was no friend of his) say, "That if Mr. Guthrie had continued fixt to his first principles, he had been a star of the first magnitude in Scotland." Whenas he came to judge for himself, he happily departed from his first principles, and upon examination of that way wherein he was educated, he left it, and thereby became a star of the first magnitude indeed. It is said, that while he was regent in the college of St. Andrews, Mr. Sharp being then a promising young man there, he several times wrote this verse upon him,

If thou, Sharp, die the common death of men,
I'll burn my bill, and throw away my pen.

Having passed his trials, anno 1638, he was settled minister at Lauder, where he remained for several years. Anno 1646, he was appointed one of those ministers who were to attend the king, while at Newcastle, and likewise he was one of those nominated in the commission for the255 public affairs of the church, during the intervals betwixt the general assemblies. And in about three years after this, he was translated to Stirling, where he continued until the restoration, a most faithful watchman upon Zion's walls, who ceased not day and night to declare the whole counsel of God to his people, shewing Israel their iniquities, and the house of Jacob their sins.

After he came to Stirling, he again not only evidenced a singular care over that people he had the charge of, but also was a great assistant in the affairs of the church, being a most zealous enemy to all error and profanity. And when that unhappy difference fell out with the public resolutioners, he was a most staunch protestor, opposing these resolutions unto the utmost of his power, insomuch as after the presbytery of Stirling had wrote a letter to the commission of the general assembly, shewing their dislike and dissatisfaction with the resolutioners, after they had been concluded upon at Perth Dec. 14. 1650. Mr. Guthrie and his colleague Mr. Bennet went somewhat further, and openly preached against them, as a thing involving the land in conjunction with the malignant party, for which by a letter from the chancellor they were ordered to repair to Perth on Feb. 19th, 1651, to answer before the king[103] and256 the committee of estates for that letter and their doctrine: but upon the indisposition of one of them, they excused themselves by a letter, for their non-appearance that day, but promised to attend upon the end of the week. Accordingly on the 22d they appeared at Perth, where they gave in a protestation; signifying, that although they owned his majesty's civil authority, yet was Mr. Guthrie challenged by the king and his council for a doctrinal thesis which he had maintained and spoken to in a sermon,——whereof they were incompetent judges in matters purely ecclesiastical, such as is the examination and censuring of doctrines,—he did decline them on that account[104].

The matter being deferred for some days, till the king returned from Aberdeen, in the mean time the two ministers were confined to Perth and Dundee, whereupon they (Feb. 28.) presented another paper or protestation[105], which was much the same, though in stronger terms, and supported by many excellent arguments. After this the king and committee thought proper to dismiss them, and to proceed no farther in the affair at present, and yet Mr. Guthrie's declining the king's authority in matters ecclesiastical here, was made the principal article in his indictment some ten years after, to give way to a personal pique Middleton had against this good man, the occasion of which is as follows:

By improving an affront the king met with anno 1659, some malignants about him so prevailed to heighten his fears of the evil designs of those about him, that by a correspondence with the papists, malignants, and such as were disaffected to the covenants in the north, matters came in a little to such a pass, that a considerable number of noblemen, gentlemen, and others were to rise and form themselves into an army under Middleton's command, and the king was to cast himself into their arms, &c. Accordingly the king with a few in his retinue, as if he were going a-hunting, left his best friends, crossed the Tay, and came to Angus, where he was to have met with those people, but soon finding himself disappointed, he came back to the committee of estates, where indeed his greatest strength lay. In the meanwhile several who had been in the plot fearing punishment, got together under Middleton's command. General Leslie marched towards them, and257 the king wrote to them to lay down their arms. The committee sent an indemnity to such as should submit, and while the dates were thus dealing with them, the commission of the assembly were not wanting to shew their zeal against such as ventured to disturb the public peace, and it is said that Mr. Guthrie here proposed summary excommunication, as a censure Middleton deserved, and as what he thought to be a suitable testimony from the church at this juncture. This highest sentence was carried in the commission by a plurality of votes, and Mr. Guthrie was appointed the next sabbath to pronounce the sentence. In the mean time the committee of estates (not without some debates) had agreed upon an indemnity to Middleton.—There was an express sent to Stirling with an account how things stood, and a letter desiring Mr. Guthrie to forbear the intimation of the commission's sentence. But this letter coming to him just as he was going to the pulpit, he did not open it till the work was over, and though he had, it is a question if he would have delayed the commission's sentence upon a private missive to himself. However the sentence was inflicted, and although the commission of the church Jan. 3, 1651. (being their next meeting) did relax Middleton from that censure, (and laid it on a better man, col. Strachan[106]) yet it is believed Middleton never forgave or forgot what Mr. Guthrie did upon that day, as will afterward be made more fully to appear.

Mr. Guthrie about this time wrote several of the papers upon the protestors side, for which, and his faithfulness, he was one of those three who were deposed by the pretended assembly at St. Andrews 1657. Yea, such was the malice of these woeful resolutioners, that upon his refusal of one of that party, and accession to the call of Mr. Rule, to be his colleague at Stirling (upon the death of Mr. Bennet anno 1656) they proceeded to stone this seer in Israel with stones, his testimony while alive so tormented the men who dwell upon the earth.

And as Mr. Guthrie did faithfully testify against the resolutioners and the malignant party, so he did equally oppose himself to the sectaries and to Cromwell's usurpation; and although he went up to London anno 1657, when the marquis of Argyle procured an equal hearing betwixt the258 protestors and the resolutioners, yet he so boldly defended the king's right in public debate with Hugh Peters, Oliver's chaplain, and from the pulpit asserted the king's title in the face of the English officers, as was surprizing to all gainsayers. Yet for this and other hardships that he endured on this account, at this time, he was but sorrily rewarded, as by and by will come to be observed.

Very soon after the restoration, while Mr. Guthrie and some other of his faithful brethren (who assembled at Edinburgh) were drawing up a paper, Aug. 23d, in way of supplication to his majesty, they were all apprehended (except one who happily escaped) and imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh, and from thence Mr. Guthrie was taken to Stirling castle (the author of the apologetical relation says to Dundee), where he continued till a little before his trial, which was upon the 20th of February, 1661. When he came to his trial, the chancellor told him, He was called before them to answer to the charge of high treason, (a copy of which charge he had received some weeks before) and the lord advocate proposed, his indictment should be read; which the house went into: The heads of which were:

(1.) His contriving, consenting to, and exhibiting before the committee of estates, the paper called, The western remonstrance.

(2.) His contriving, writing and publishing that abominable pamphlet, called, the causes of the Lord's wrath.

(3.) His contriving, writing and subscribing the paper called the humble petition[107] of the twenty-third of August last.

(4.) His convocating of the king's lieges, &c.

(5.) His declaring his majesty, by his appeals and protestations presented by him at Perth, incapable to be judge over him. And,

(6.) Some treasonable expressions he was alledged to have uttered in a meeting in 1650 or 1651.

His indictment being read, he made an excellent speech before the parliament (wherein he both defended himself, and that noble cause for which he suffered), which being too nervous to abridge, and too prolix to insert in this place: The reader will find it elsewhere[108].

After he had delivered this speech, he was ordered to remove. He humbly craved, that some time might be given259 him to consult with his lawyers. This was granted; and he was allowed till the 29th to give in his defence.—It is affirmed, upon very good authority, that when he met with his lawyers to form his defence, he very much surprized them by his exactness in our Scots laws, and suggested several things to be added that had escaped his advocate, which made Sir John Nisbet express himself to this purpose, "If it had been in the reasoning part, or in consequences from scripture and divinity, I would have wondered the less if he had given us some help, but even in the matter of our own profession, our statutes and acts of parliament, he pointed out several things that had escaped us." And likewise the day before his first appearance in parliament, it is said he sent a copy of the forementioned speech to Sir John and the rest of his lawyers of the reasoning and law part, and they could mend nothing therein.

The advocate's considering his defence, and the giving of it in, took up some weeks, until April the 11th, when the process against him was read in the house, upon which he made a speech affecting and close to the purpose; in which he concludes thus:

"My Lord, in the last place, I humbly beg, that having brought so pregnant and clear evidence from the word of God, so much divine reason and human laws, and so much of the common practice of kirk and kingdom in my defence; and being already cast out of my ministry, out of my dwelling and maintenance; myself and my family put to live on the charity of others; having now suffered eight months imprisonment, your Lordships, would put no other burden upon me. I shall conclude with the words of the prophet Jeremiah, Behold, I am in your hands, saith he, do to me what seemeth good to you: I know, for certain, that the Lord hath commanded me to speak all these things, and that if you put me to death, you shall bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon the inhabitants of this city."

"My Lords, my conscience I cannot submit; but this old crazy body and mortal flesh I do submit, to do with it whatever ye will, whether by death, or banishment, or imprisonment, or any thing else; only I beseech you to ponder well what profit there is in my blood: it is not the extinguishing of me or many others, that will extinguish the covenant and work of reformation since the year 1638. My blood, bondage, or banishment will contribute more for the propagation of these things, than my260 life or liberty could do, though I should live many years, &c."

And though this speech had not that influence that might have been expected, yet it made such impression upon some of the members that they withdrew, declaring to one another, that they would have nothing to do with the blood of this righteous man. But his judges were determined to proceed, and accordingly his indictment was found relevant. Bp. Burnet[109] says, "The earl of Tweeddale was the only man that moved against putting him to death; he said, Banishment had hitherto been the severest censure laid upon preachers for their opinions,—yet he was condemned to die." The day of his execution was not named till the 28th of May, when the parliament ordered him and William Govan to be hanged at the cross of Edinburgh, on the first of June, and Mr. Guthrie's head to be fixed on the Nether-bow, his estate to be confiscated, and his arms torn; and the head of the other upon the west-port of Edinburgh.

And thus a sentence of death was passed upon Mr. Guthrie, for his accession to the causes of God's wrath, his writing the petition last year, and the protestation above-mentioned; matters done a good many years ago, and every way agreeable and conform to the word of God, the principles and practice of this and other churches and the laws of the kingdom. After he received his sentence, he accosted the parliament thus, "My lords, let never this sentence affect you more than it does me, and let never my blood be required of the king's family."

Thus it was resolved that this excellent man should fall a sacrifice to private and personal pique, as the marquis's was said to be to a more exalted revenge; and it is said, that the managers had no small debate what his sentence should be, for he was dealt with by some of them to retract what he had done and written, and join with the present measures, and he was even offered a bishopric. The other side were in no hazard in making the experiment, for they might be assured of his firmness in his principles. A bishopric was a very small temptation to him, and the commissioner improved his inflexibility to have his life taken away, to be a terror to others, that they might have the less opposition in establishing prelacy.

Betwixt Mr. Guthrie's sentence and his execution, he was in perfect composure and serenity of spirit, and wrote a261 great many excellent letters to his friends and acquaintances. In this interval, he uttered several prophetical expressions, which, together with the foresaid religious letters, could they now be recovered, might be of no small use in this apostate and backslidden age. June 1st, the day on which he was executed, upon some reports that he was to buy his life at the expence of retracting some of the things he had formerly said and done, he wrote and subscribed the following declaration.

"There are to declare that I do own the causes of God's wrath, the supplication at Edinburgh August last, and the accession I had to the remonstrances. And if any do think, or have reported that I was willing to recede from these, they have wronged me, as never having any ground from me to think, or to report so. This I attest under my hand at Edinburgh, about eleven o'clock forenoon, before these witnesses."

Mr. Arthur Forbes, Mr. John Guthrie,
Mr. Hugh Walker, Mr. James Cowie.

That same day he dined with his friends with great cheerfulness. After dinner he called for a little cheese, which he had been dissuaded from taking for some time, as not good for the gravel, which he was troubled with, and said, I am now beyond the hazard of the gravel.——When he had been secret for sometime, he came forth with the utmost fortitude and composure, and was carried down under a guard from the tolbooth to the scaffold, which was erected at the cross. Here he was so far from shewing any fear, that he rather expressed a contempt at death, and spake an hour upon the ladder with the composure of one delivering a sermon. His last speech is in Naphtali, where among other things becoming a martyr, he saith, "One thing I warn you all of, That God is very wroth with Scotland, and threatens to depart, and remove his candlestick. The causes of his wrath are many, and would to God it were not one great cause, that causes of wrath are despised. Consider the case that is recorded, Jer. xxxvi. and the consequences of it, and tremble and fear. I cannot but also say that there is a great addition of wrath by that deluge of profanity that overfloweth all the land, in so far that many have not only lost all use and exercise of religion, but even of morality. 2. By that horrible treachery and perjury that is in the matters of the covenant and cause of God. Be ye astonished, O ye heavens, at this! &c. 3. Horrible262 ingratitude. The Lord, after ten years oppression, hath broken the yoke of strangers, from oft our necks, but the fruits of our delivery, is to work wickedness and to strengthen our hands to do evil, by a most dreadful sacrificing to the creature. We have changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the image of a corruptible man, in whom many have placed almost all their salvation. God is also wroth with a generation of carnal corrupt time-serving ministers. I know and do bear testimony, that in the church of Scotland there is a true and faithful ministry, and I pray you to honour these; for their works sake. I do bear my witness to the national covenant of Scotland, and solemn league and covenant betwixt the three kingdoms. These sacred solemn public oaths of God, I believe can be loosed or dispensed with by no person or party or power upon earth, but are still binding upon these kingdoms, and will be so for ever hereafter, and are ratified and sealed by the conversion of many thousand souls, since our entering thereinto. I bear my testimony to the protestation against the controverted assemblies, and the public resolutions. I take God to record upon my soul, I would not exchange this scaffold with the palace or mitre of the greatest prelate in Britain. Blessed be God, who hath shewed mercy to me such a wretch, and has revealed his Son in me, and made me a minister of the everlasting gospel, and that he hath deigned, in the midst of much contradictions from Satan and the world, to seal my ministry upon the hearts of not a few of his people, and especially in the station wherein I was last, I mean the congregation and presbytery of Stirling. Jesus Christ is my light and my life, my righteousness, my strength and my salvation, and all my desire. Him! O him! I do with all the strength of my soul commend to you. Bless him, O my soul, from henceforth, even for ever!" He concluded with the words of old Simeon, Now let thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. He gave a copy of this his last speech and testimony, subscribed and sealed, to a friend to keep, which he was to deliver to his son, then a child, when he came to age. When on the scaffold he lifted the napkin off his face just before he was turned over and cried, The covenants, the covenants shall yet be Scotland's reviving.

A few weeks after he was executed, and his head placed on the Neitherbow-port, Middleton's coach coming down that way, several drops of blood fell from the head upon the coach, which all their art and diligence could not wipe263 off, and when physicians were called, and desired to inquire, If any natural cause could be given for this, but they could give none. This odd incident being noised abroad, and all means tried, at length the leather was removed, and a new cover put on: But this was much sooner done, than the wiping off the guilt of this great and good man's blood upon the shedders of it, and this poor nation[110].

Thus fell the faithful Mr. James Guthrie, who was properly the first who suffered unto death in that period, for asserting the kingly prerogative of Jesus Christ in opposition to Erastian supremacy. He was a man honoured of God to be zealous and singularly faithful in carrying on the work of reformation, and had carried himself straight under all changes and revolutions, and because he had been such, he must live no longer. He did much for the interest of the king in Scotland, which the king no doubt was sensible of: When he got notice of his death, he said with some warmth, "And what have you done with Mr. Patrick Gillespie." He was answered, that having so many friends in the house, his life could not be taken. Well, said the king, "If I had known you would have spared Mr. Gillespie, I would have spared Mr. Guthrie." And indeed he was not far out with it; for Mr. Guthrie was capable to have done him as much service. For he was one accomplished with almost every qualification natural or acquired, necessary to complete both a man and a Christian.

But it is a loss we are favoured with so few of the writings of this worthy. For beside those papers already mentioned, he wrote several others upon the protestors side, among which was also a paper wrote against the usurper Oliver Cromwel, for which he suffered some hardships during the time of that usurpation. His last sermon at Stirling preached from Matth xiv. 22. was published in 1738, intitled a cry from the dead, &c.; with his ten considerations anent the decay of religion, first published by himself in 1660; and an authentic paper wrote and subscribed by himself upon the occasion of his being stoned by the resolution party about 1656, for his accession to the call of Mr. Robert Rule to be his colleague, after the death of264 Mr. Bennet. He also wrote a treatise on ruling elders and deacons, about the time he entered into the ministry, which is now affixed to the last edition of his cousin Mr. William Guthrie's treatise of the trial of a saving interest in Christ.


The Life of John Campbel Earl of Loudon.

He was heir to Sir James Campbel of Lawer, and husband of Margaret Baroness of Loudon.

The first of his state-preferments was anno 1633. when king Charles I. came to Scotland, in order to have his coronation performed there[111]. At which time he dignified several of the Scots nobility with higher titles of honour; and among the rest this nobleman, who was created earl of Loudon May 12th, 1633.

It appears, that from his youth he had been well affected to the presbyterian interest, for no sooner did that reformation (commonly called the second reformation) begin to take air, which was about the year 1637, than he appeared a principal promoter thereof, and that not only in joining these petitioners, afterwards called the covenanters, but also when the general assembly sat down at Glasgow in Nov. 1638, he thought it his honour to attend the same in almost every session thereof, and was of great service both by his advice in difficult cases, and also by several excellent speeches that he delivered therein. As witness Upon the very entry, when the difference arose between the marquis of Hamilton the king's commissioner, and some of the rest, anent choosing a clerk to the assembly, the marquis refusing to be assisted by Traquair and Sir Lewis Stuart, urged several reasons for compliance with his majesty's pleasure, &c. and at last renewed his protest, where upon lord Loudon, in name of commissioners to the assembly, gave in reasons of a pretty high strain, why the lord commissioner and his assessors ought to have but one vote in the assembly, &c. Of these reasons Traquair craved a265 double, and promised to answer them, but it appears never found leisure for this employment.

About this time, he told the king's commissioner roundly, "They knew no other bonds betwixt a king and his subjects but religion and laws; and if these were broken, mens lives were not dear to them. They would not be so; such fears were past with them[112]."

The king and the bishops being galled to the heart to see that, by the assembly, presbytery was almost restored, and prelacy well nigh abolished, he immediately put himself at the head of an army in order to reduce them, &c. The Scots, hearing of the preparation, provided as well as they could. Both armies marched towards the border, but upon the approach of the Scots, the English were moved with great timidity, whereupon ensued a pacification.——Commissioners being appointed to treat on both sides, the Scots were permitted to make known their desires; the lord Loudon being one of the Scots commissioners, upon his knees said, "That their demand was only to enjoy their religion and liberties, according to the ecclesiastical and civil laws of the kingdom." The king replied, "That if that was all that was to be desired, the peace would soon be made." And after several particulars were agreed upon, the king promised, "That all ecclesiastical matters should be decided by an assembly, and civil matters by the parliament, which assembly should be kept once a-year. That on the 6th of August should be held a free general assembly when the king would be present, and pass an act of oblivion, &c." The articles of the pacification were subscribed June 18th, by the commissioners of both sides, in view of both armies at kirks near Berwick, anno 1639.

But this treaty was short-lived and ill observed, for the king irritated by the bishops, soon after burnt the pacification by the hands of the hangman, charging the Scots with a breach of the articles of the treaty, although the earl of Loudon gave him sufficient proofs to the contrary. Which freedom used by his lordship no way pleased the king; but he was suffered to return home, and the king kept his resentment unto another opportunity.

In the mean time, the general assembly sat down at Edinburgh, August 12th. Mr. Dickson was chosen moderator, and at this assembly, after several matters were discussed, Messrs. Henderson and Ramsay entered upon a266 demonstration, that episcopacy hath its beginning from men, and is of human institution, &c. But they had not proceeded far, till they were interrupted by Traquair, the king's commissioner, who declared he did not desire them to fall upon any scholastic dispute, but how far those in the reformation had found episcopacy contrary to the constitution of this church; whereupon the truly noble lord Loudon (being present) did most solidly explain the act of the general assembly, 1580, which condemned the office of bishops in the most express terms, prior to the subscription of the national covenant, and because of a difficulty raised from these words in that act, viz. (as it was then used) his lordship observed that in the assemblies 1560, 1575, 1576, 1577, and 1578, episcopacy came still under consideration, though not directly as to the office, yet as to the corruption, &c. and having enlarged upon the office of bishops as without a warrant from the word of God, he concludes—"As we have said, so that the connection between the assemblies of 1574, and of 1581, is quite clear; episcopacy is put out as wanting warrant from the word of God, and presbytery put in, as having that divine warrant; and was accordingly sworn unto."

The same day on which the assembly arose, the parliament sat down, but falling upon matters that did not correspond with the king's design, Traquair did all he could to stop them that they might have nothing done, whereupon they agreed to send up the earls of Dunfermline and Loudon to implore his majesty to allow the parliament to proceed, and to determine what was before them, &c. But ere these two lords had reached the court, orders were sent them discharging them in the king's name, from coming within a mile of him, on supposition they had no express warrant from the lord commissioner; and they were returned home.

In the mean time the parliament by the kings orders is prorogued to the 2d of June 1640, and matters continued so till Jan. 1641, that the committee of parliament having obtained leave to send up commissioners to represent their grievances, did again commission the two foresaid earls, to whom they added Sir William Douglas of Cavers, and Mr. Barclay provost of Irvine. On their arrival they were allowed to kiss the king's hand, and some time after were appointed to attend at the council chamber, but understanding they were not to have a hearing of the king himself, they craved a copy of Traquair's information to the council of England, which was denied. At last the king267 gave them audience himself upon the third of March, when the lord Loudon, after having addressed his majesty, shewed that his ancient and native kingdom is independent upon any other judicatory whatever, and craved his majesty's protection in defence of religion, liberty, and the cause of the church and kingdom, and then speaking concerning those who have or may misrepresent or traduce these his most loyal Scots subjects, he says, "If it please God, for our sins to make our condition so deplorable as they may get the shadow of your majesty's authority, (as we hope in God they will not) to palliate their ends, then as those who are sworn to defend our religion, our recourse must be only to the God of Jacob for our refuge, who is the Lord of lords, and king of kings, and by whom kings do reign and princes decree justice. And if, in speaking thus out of zeal to religion, and the duty we owe to our country, and that charge which is laid upon us, any thing hath escaped us, sith it is spoken from the sincerity of our hearts, we fall down at your majesty's feet, craving pardon for our freedom." Again having eloquently expatiated upon the desires of his subjects, and the laws of the kingdom, he speaks of the laws of God and power of the church, and says, "Next, we must distinguish betwixt the church and the state, betwixt the ecclesiastical and civil power; both which are materially one, yet formally they are contradistinct in power, in jurisdiction, in laws, in bodies, in ends, in offices and officers, and although the church and ecclesiastic assemblies thereof be formally different and distinct from the parliament and civil judicatories, yet there is so strict and necessary a conjunction betwixt the ecclesiastic and civil jurisdiction, betwixt religion and justice; as the one cannot firmly subsist and be preserved without the other, and therefore they must stand and fall, live and die together, &c." He enlarged further upon the privileges of both church and state, and then concluded with mentioning the sum of their desires, which——"is that your majesty (saith he) may be graciously pleased to command that the parliament may proceed freely to determine all these articles given in to them, and whatsoever exceptions, objections, or informations are made against any of the particular overtures, &c. we are most willing to receive the same in write, and are content in the same way, to return our answers and humble desires[113]."

268 March 11, the commissioners appeared, and brought their instructions, whereupon ensued some reasonings betwixt them and the king, in which time arch-bishop Laud, who sat on the king's right-hand, was observed to mock the Scots commissioners, causing the king put such questions to them as he pleased. At last Traquair gave in several queries and objections to them, unto which they gave most solid and sufficient answers in every particular.

But this farce being over, for it seems nothing else was here intended by the court than to intrap the commissioners, (and particularly this noble earl who had so strenuously asserted the laws and liberties of his native country). In the end, all the deputies, by the king's order, were taken into custody, and the earl of Loudon sent to the tower for a letter alledged to be wrote by him, and sent by the Scots to the French king, as to their sovereign, imploring his aid against their natural king, of the following tenor:

"SIRE,

"Your majesty being the refuge and sanctuary of afflicted princes and states, we have found it necessary to send this gentleman Mr. Colvil, to represent unto your majesty, the candor and ingenuity as well of our actions and proceedings, as of our inventions, which we desire to be ingraven and written in the whole world, with a beam of the sun, as well as to your majesty. We therefore beseech you, Sire, to give faith and credit to him, and to all that he shall say on our part, touching us and our affairs. Being much assured, Sire, of an assistance equal to your wonted clemency heretofore, and so often shewed to the nation, which will not yield the glory of any other whatsoever, to be eternally, Sire, your majesty's most humble, most obedient and most affectionate servants."

This letter, says a historian[114], was advised to and composed by Montrose, when the king was coming against Scotland with a potent army, transcribed by lord Loudon, and subscribed by them two and the lords Rothes, Marr, Montgomery and Forrester, and general Leslie; but the translation being found faulty by lord Maitland, &c. it was dropped altogether, which copy wanted both the date, which the worst of its enemies never pretended it had, and a direction, which the Scots confidently affirmed it never269 had; but falling into the king's hand (by means of Traquair), he intended to make a handle of it, to make lord Loudon the first sacrifice. This noble lord being examined before the council, did very honestly acknowledge the hand-writing and subscription to be his; but said, It was before the late pacification, when his majesty was marching in hostility against his native country; that in these circumstances it seemed necessary to have an intercessor to mitigate his wrath, and they could think of none so well qualified as the French king, being the nearest relation by affinity to their sovereign of any other crowned head in the world; but that being but shortly thought on before the arrival of the English on the border, was judged too late, and therefore was never either addressed by them, or sent to the French king.

Notwithstanding this evil was intended against this noble peer, and being remanded back to prison, was very near being dispatched, and that not only without the benefit of his peers, but without any legal trial or conviction. Burnet fairly acknowledges[115], that the king was advised to proceed capitally against him. But the English historians[116] go still farther, and plainly say, That the king about three o'clock in the afternoon, sent his own letter to William Balfour lieutenant of the tower, commanding him to see the lord Loudon's head struck off, within the tower, before nine the next morning, (a striking demonstration of the just and forgiving spirit for which by some king Charles is so much extolled). Upon this command, the lieutenant of the tower, that his lordship might prepare for death, gave him notice of it; which awful intimation, he (knowing the justice of his cause) received with astonishing composure and serenity of mind. The lieutenant went himself to the marquis of Hamilton, who he thought was bound in honour to interpose in this matter. The marquis and the lieutenant made their way to the king, who was then in bed. The warrant was scarce named, when the king, understanding their errand, stopped them, saying, By G—d it shall be executed. But the marquis laying before him the odiousness of the fact, by the violation of the safe conduct he had granted to that nobleman, and the putting him to death without conviction, or so much as a legal trial, with the dismal consequences that were like to attend an action of that nature, not only in respect of Scotland,270 which would certainly be lost, but likewise of his own personal safety from the nobility. Whereupon the king called for the warrant, tore it, and dismissed the marquis and the lieutenant somewhat abruptly.—After this, about the 28th of June, this noble lord (upon promise of concealing from his brethren in Scotland the hard treatment he had met with from the king, and of contributing his endeavours to dispose them to peace) was liberated from his confinement, and allowed to return home.

But things being now ripened for a new war, the king put himself at the head of another army, in order to suppress the Scots: On the other hand the Scots resolved not to be behind in their preparations, and entered England with a numerous army, mostly of veteran troops, many of whom had served in Germany under Gustavus Adolphus[117]. A party of the king's forces disputed the passage of the Tyne, but were defeated by them at Newburn; whereupon the Scots took Newcastle and Berwick, pushing their way as far as Durham. Here the noble earl of Loudon acted no mean part, for he not only gained upon the citizens of Edinburgh and other places, to contribute money and other necessaries, for the use and supply of the Scots army, but also commanded a brigade of horse, with whom, in the foresaid skirmish at Newburn, he had no small share of the victory. The king retired to York, and finding himself environed on all hands, appointed commissioners to treat with the Scots a second time. On the other side, the Scots nominated the earls of Dunfermline, Rothes, and Loudon, with some gentlemen, and Messrs. Henderson and Johnson, advocates for the church, as their commissioners for the treaty. Both commissioners upon Oct. 1, 1640, met at Rippon, where, after agreeing upon some articles for a cessation of arms for three months, the treaty was transferred to London. Unto which the Scots commissioners (upon a patent granted from the king for their safe conduct) consented and went thither. And because great hopes were entertained by friends in England, from their presence and influence at London, the committee at Newcastle appointed Mr. Robert Blair, for his dexterity in dealing with the Independents; Mr. Robert Bailey, for his eminence in managing the Arminian controversy; and Mr. George Gillespie for his nervous and pithy confutation of the English ceremonies, to accompany271 the three noblemen, as their chaplains: And Messrs. Smith and Borthwick followed soon after.

After this treaty, things went pretty smooth for some time in Scotland, but the king, not relishing the proceedings of the English parliament, made a tour next year to Scotland, where he attended the Scots parliament. When this parliament sat down (before the king's arrival), Traquair, Montrose, and several other incendiaries, having been cited before them for stirring up strife between the king and his subjects, for undoing the covenanters, of whom some appeared, and some appeared not. In the mean while, the noble earl of Loudon said so much in favours of some of them, discharging himself so effectually of all the orders laid on him last year by the king, that some, forgetting the obligation he came under to steer with an even hand, began to suspect him of changing sides, so that he was well nigh left out of the commission to England with the parliament's agreement to the treaty; which so much offended his lordship, that he supplicated the parliament to be examined by them of his past conduct and negotiations, if they found him faithful (so far was he emboldened, having the testimony of a good conscience), which grieved the members of the house very much. The house declared, indeed, that he had behaved himself faithfully and wisely in all his public employments, and that he not only deserved to have an act of approbation, but likewise to be rewarded by the estates, that their favours and his merit might be known to posterity, &c. They further considered, that the loss of such an eminent instrument could not be easily supplied. The English dealt not so freely with any of our commissioners, as with lord Loudon, nor did ever any of our commissioners use so much ingenuous freedom with his majesty as he did; and he behoved once more to return to London, with the treaty new-revised by the parliament, subscribed by the lord president and others.

After the return of the commissioners, the king being arrived in parliament, they began to dignify several of the Scots nobility with offices of state, and because a lord-treasurer was a-wanting it was moved that none did deserve that office so well as the earl of Loudon, who had done so much for his country. But the king, judging more wisely in this, thought it was more difficult to find a fit person for the chancery than for the treaty, was obliged to make the earl of Loudon chancellor, contrary, both to his own inclination (for he never was ambitious of preferment)272 and to the solicitation of his friends. But to make amends for the smallness of his fees, an annual pension of 100 pounds was added to this office.

Accordingly upon the 2d of Oct. 1642, this noble lord did solemnly, in the face of the parliament, on his bended knees, before the throne, first swear the oath of allegiance, then that of private counsellor, and lastly, when the great seal, (which for two years had been kept by the marquis of Hamilton) was with the mace delivered to him out of his majesty's hand, he did swear the oath de fideli administratione officii, and was by the lion king at arms, placed in the seat under his majesty's feet, on the right hand of the lord president of parliament; from thence he immediately arose, and prostrating himself before the king, said, "Preferment comes neither from the east nor from the west, but from God alone. I acknowledge, I have this from your majesty as from God's vicegerent upon earth, and the fountain of all earthly honour here, and I will endeavour to answer that expectation your majesty has of me, and to deserve the goodwill of this honourable house, in faithfully discharging what you both (without desert of mine) have put on me." And kissing his majesty's hand, he retired to his seat.

This was a notable turn of affairs from the womb of providence; for behold him, who last year, (for the cause of Christ and love of his country) in all submission receiving the message or sentence of death, is now, for his great wisdom and prudence, advanced by the same person and authority unto the helm of the highest affairs of the kingdom; which verifies what the wise man saith, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and before honour is humility, Prov. xv. 33.

As soon as this excellent nobleman was advanced unto this dignity and office, he not only began to exert his power for the utility and welfare of his own native country, but also, the next year, went up to London to importune his majesty to call his English parliament, as the most expedient way to bring about a firm, permanent or lasting peace betwixt the two kingdoms. And although he was not one of those commissioners nominated and sent up from the parliament and assembly of the church of Scotland, anno 1643, yet it is evident from a letter sent from them while at London, bearing the date of Jan. 6th, 1645, that he was amongst them there, using his utmost endeavours for bringing about that happy uniformity of religion, in doctrine, discipline, and church-government273 which took place, and was established in these nations at that time.

And next year, before the king surrendered himself to the Scots army to Newcastle, lord Loudon, being sent up as commissioner to the king, (after the lord Leven at the head of 100 officers in the army had presented a petition upon their knees, beseeching his majesty to give them satisfaction in point of religion, and to take the covenant, &c.) did, in plain terms, accost the king in this manner: "The difference between your majesty and your parliament is grown to such an height, that after many bloody battles, they have your majesty with all your garrisons and strong holds in their hands, &c. They are in a capacity now to do what they will in church and state; and some are so afraid, and others so unwilling to proceed to extremities, till they know your majesty's last resolution. Now, Sire, if your majesty shall refuse your assent to the propositions, you will lose all your friends in the house and in the city, and all England will join against you, as one man; they will depose you and set up another government; they will charge us to deliver your majesty to them, and remove our arms out of England, and upon your refusal, we will be obliged to settle religion and peace without you, which will ruin your majesty and your posterity. We own, the propositions are higher in some things than we approve of, but the only way to establish your majesty is to consent to them at present. Your majesty may recover, in a time of peace, all that you have lost in a time of tempest and trouble." Whether or not the king found him a true prophet in all this, must be left to the history of these times.

He was again employed in the like errand to the king, anno 1648, but with no better success, as appears from two excellent speeches to the Scots parliament at his return, concerning these proceedings[118]. And in the same year, in the month of June, he was with a handful of covenanters at a communion at Mauchline muir, where they were set upon by Calender and Middleton's forces, after they had given their promise to his lordship of the contrary.

Although this noble earl (through the influence of the earl of Lanerk) had given his consent at first to the king, who was setting on foot an army for his own rescue, yet he came to be among those who protested against the duke274 of Hamilton's unlawful engagement. To account some way for this,—He had before received a promise of a gift of the teinds, and a gift sometimes blindeth the eyes, and much more of a nobleman whose estate was at that time somewhat burdened; but by converting with some of the protesting side, and some ministers, who discovered to him his mistake (when his foot was well nigh slipt), he was so convinced that this was contrary to his trust, that he subscribed an admonition to more stedfastness for the commission of the church, in the high church of Edinburgh.

But at last Charles I, being executed, and his son Charles II. called home by the Scots, a new scene begins to appear anno 1650, for malignants being then again brought into places of power and trust, it behoved the lord chancellor (who never was a friend to malignants) to demit. He had now for near the space of ten years presided in parliament, and had been highly instrumental in the hand of the Lord, to establish in this nation, both in church and state, the purest reformation that ever was established in any particular nation, under the new Testament dispensation; but now he was turned out, and lord Burleigh substituted in his place.

In what manner he was mostly employed during the time of Cromwel's usurpation, there is no certain account, only it is probable, that notwithstanding the many struggles he had in asserting the king's interest, he mostly lived a private life, as most of the noblemen and gentlemen of the nation did at that time.

But no sooner was the king restored again unto his dominions, than these lands did again return back unto the old vomit of popery, prelacy and slavery; and it is inconceivable to express the grief of heart this godly nobleman sustained, when he beheld not only the carved work of the sanctuary cut down, by defacing that glorious structure of reformation, which he had such an eminent hand in erecting and building up, but also to find himself at the king's mercy, for his accession to the same. He knew, that next to the marquis of Argyle, he was the butt of the enemies malice, and he had frequently applied for his majesty's grace, but was as often refused; so that the violent courses now carrying on, and the plain invasions upon the liberties and religion of the nation made him weary of his life; and being then at Edinburgh, he often exhorted his excellent lady to pray fast, that he might never see the next session of parliament, else he might follow his dear friend the marquis of Argyle; and the Lord was pleased to grant275 his request: For he died in a most Christian manner at Edinburgh March 15th, 1662, and his corpse was carried home and interred beside his ancestors.

The most exaggerated praises that can be at present bestowed on this renowned patriot, the worthy earl of Loudon, must be far below his merit, who was possessed of such singular prudence, eloquence and learning, joined with remarkable courage. Which excellent endowments he invariably applied for the support of our ancient and admirable constitution, which he maintained upon all hazards and occasions; whereby he might be truly accounted the chief advocate both for the civil and religious liberties of the people. To sum up all in a few words: he was a most exquisite orator in the senate, a refined politician without what some would say it is impossible to be so, and an honour to his name, an ornament to this nation, and in every virtue in politic, social and domestic life, a pattern worthy of imitation. And although HIS OFFSPRING[119] have hitherto all along retained a sense of their civil liberties, yet it is to be lamented, that few or none of our noblemen at this day, will follow his example.


The Life of Mr. Robert Bailey.

Mr. Robert Bailey was born at Glasgow anno 1539. His father was a citizen there, being lineally descended from Bailey of Jerviston, a brother of the house of Carphin, and a branch of the ancient house of Lamington, all in the county of Lanerk; and by his mother's side, he was of the same stock with the Gibsons of Durie, who have made such a figure in the law. He received his education at Glasgow, and, at that university, plied his studies so hard, that, by his industry and uncommon genius, he attained to the knowledge of twelve or276 thirteen of the languages, and could write a Latin style that, in the opinion of the learned, might well become the Augustan age.

After his study of divinity, he took orders from arch-bishop Law, about the year 1622, and was soon after presented by the earl of Eglinton to the church of Kilwinning. When the reformation began anno 1637, he wanted not his own difficulties, from his education and tenderness of the king's authority, to see through some of the measures then taken. Yet after reasoning, reading and prayer, (as he himself exprest it) he came heartily into the covenanters interest about that time.

Being a man of distinct and solid judgment, he was often employed in the public business of the church. In 1638, he was chosen by his own presbytery, to be a member of that memorable assembly held at Glasgow, where he behaved himself with great wisdom and moderation.

He was also one of those who attended as chaplains to the army in 1639, and 1640, and was present during the whole treaty begun at Rippon and concluded at London.——What comfort he had in these things he describes in these words, "As for myself, I never found my mind in a better temper than it was all that time, from my outset until my head was again homeward. I was one who had taken leave of the world, and resolved to die in that service. I found the favour of God shining on me, and a sweet, meek and humble, yet strong and vehement spirit leading me along." The same year 1640, he was by the covenanting lords sent to London to draw up an accusation against arch-bishop Laud, for the innovations he had obtruded upon the church of Scotland.

He was translated from Kilwinning to be professor of divinity at Glasgow, when Mr. David Dickson was translated from thence to the divinity chair at Edinburgh. And he was one of those commissioners sent from the church of Scotland to the Westminster assembly anno 1645, where he remained almost the whole time of that assembly. And after they rose, as an acknowledgment of his good services, the parliament of England made him a handsome present of silver plate, with an inscription, signifying it to be a token of their great respect to him, which not long since was to be seen in the house of Carnbrue, being carefully preserved, and perhaps it remains there to this day.

By his first wife Lillias Fleming he had one son and four daughters, by his second wife, principal Strang's daughter277 he had one daughter who was married to Walkinshaw of Barrowfield.

About this time he was a great confident of the marquis of Argyle, the earls of Cassils, Eglinton, Lauderdale, and Loudon, lord Balmerino, and Sir Archibald Johnston lord Warriston, with others of the chief managers among the covenanters, whereby he obtained the most exact knowledge of the transactions of that time, which he has carefully collected in his letters; as he expresses himself, there was not any one from whom his correspondent could get a more full narrative under Cromwell's usurpation. He joined with that party called resolutioners, and composed several of the papers belonging to that side anno 1661. He was by Lauderdale's interest, made principal of the college of Glasgow, upon the removal of Mr. Patrick Gillespie, about which time it is commonly said, he had a bishopric offered him, but that he refused it, because, says the writer of the memorial[120], he did not choose to enter into a dispute with those, with whom he had formerly lived in friendship. But this was only a sly way of wounding an amiable character, for Mr. Bailey continued firmly attached to presbyterian government, and in opposition to prelacy to his very last; several instances could be brought to this purpose, but a few excerpts from some of his own letters, particularly one to Lauderdale a little before his death[121], may effectually wipe away that reproach. "Having the occasion of this bearer, I tell you my heart is broken with grief, and I find the burthen of the public weighty, and hastening me to my grave. What need you do that disservice to the king, which all of you cannot recompense, to grieve the hearts of all your godly friends in Scotland, with pulling down all our laws at once, which concerned our church since 1633? Was this good advice, or will it thrive? Is it wisdom to bring back upon us the Canterburian times, the same designs, the same practices? Will they not bring on the same effects, whatever fools dream?" And again, in the same letter downward, he says, "My lord, you are the nobleman in all the world I love best, and esteem most——I think I may say I write to you what I please. If you have gone with your heart to forsake your covenant; to countenance the re-introduction of bishops and books,278 and strengthen the king by your advice in those things, I think you a prime transgressor, and liable among the first to answer for that great sin, &c." And when the arch-bishop came to visit him, when on his death-bed, he would not so much as give him the appellation of lord: yea it appears, that the introduction of prelacy was a means of bringing on his death, as appears evident from his last public letter to his cousin Mr. Spang, dated May 12, 1662, some weeks before his death. After some account of the west country ministers, being called in to Edinburgh, he says, "The guise is now, the bishops will trouble no man, but the states will punish seditious ministers. This poor church is in the most hard taking that ever we have seen. This is my daily grief; this hath brought all my bodily trouble on me, and is like to do me more harm." And very quickly after that, in the month of July, he got to his rest and glorious reward, being aged 63 years.

Mr. Robert Bailey may very justly, for his profound and universal learning, exact and solid judgment, be accounted amongst the great men of his time. He was an honour to his country, and his works do praise him in the gates; among which are, his scripture-chronology, wrote in latin; his Canterburian self-conviction; his parallel or comparison of the liturgy with the mass-book; his dissuasive against the errors of the times; and a large manuscript collection of historical papers and letters, consisting of four volumes folio, beginning at the year 1637, and ending at the restoration, never hitherto published. To him is, by some, ascribed that book, intitled, Historia motuum in regno Scotiæ, annis 1634,——1640.; and if he was the author of that, then also of another anonymous paper called, a short relation of the state of the kirk of Scotland, from the reformation of religion to the month of October 1638. For, from the preface of the last mentioned book, it appears, that both were wrote by the same hand. He also wrote Laudensium, an anecdote against Arminianism; a reply to the modest enquirer, with other tracts and some sermons on public occasion.

N. B. In the life and now published letters of principal Bailie, we have a recent proof of human frailty.—Nay, more, that even great and good men will be biassed in judgment, and prejudiced in mind at others more faithful than themselves: for instance, these very noblemen and ministers to whom he gives the highest elogiums of praise, for being the prime instruments in God's hand for279 carrying on the work of reformation betwixt 1638, and 1649,—As soon as they took the remonstrators side, he not only represents some of them to be of such a character as I shall forbear to mention; but even gives us a very diminutive view of their most faithful contendings about that time; wherein the gallant Argyle,—courageous Loudon,—the able statesman Warriston,—faithful Guthrie,—godly Rutherford,—peaceable Livingston,—honest M'Ward, &c. cannot evite their share of reflections; which no doubt add nothing to the credit of the last ten years of his history; and all from a mistaken view of the controversy betwixt those protestors and his own party the resolutioners; taking all the divisions and calamities that befel church, state and army at that time to proceed from the protestors not concurring with them; whereas it is just the reverse; the taking in Charles II. that atheistical wretch, and his malignant faction into the bosom of the church, proved the Achan in the camp, that brought all these evils upon the church, state, and army, at and since that time.—These protestors could not submit their consciences to the arbitrary dictates of the public resolutioners: they could not agree to violate their almost newly sworn covenant, by approving of the admission of these wicked malignants into public places of power and trust;—in defence of which many of them faced the awful gibbet, banishment, imprisonment, and other excruciating hardships;—whereas several hundreds of the resolutioners, on the very first blast of temptation, involved themselves in fearful apostacy and perjury; some of them became violent persecutors of these their faithful brethren, and not a few of them absolute monsters of iniquity.—The dreadful effects of which have almost ruined both church and state in these lands; and perhaps this same malignant faction will utterly do it at last, if the Lord in mercy prevent not. For the above, see Bailie's letters, Vol. II. page 350,——448.


The Life of Mr. David Dickson.

Mr. Dickson was born about the year 1583. He the only son of Mr. John Dick or Dickson merchant in Glasgow, whose father was an old fenar and possessor of some lands in the barony of Fintry, and parish of280 St. Ninian's, called the kirk of the muir. His parents were religious, of a considerable substance, and were many years married before they had Mr. David, who was their only child; and as he was a Samuel asked of the Lord, so he was early devoted to him and the ministry; yet afterwards the vow was forgot, till providence by a rod, and sore sickness on their son, brought their sins to remembrance, and then he was sent to resume his studies at the university of Glasgow.

Soon after he had received the degree of master of arts, he was admitted professor of philosophy in that college, where he was very useful in training up the youth in solid learning; and with the learned principal Boyd of Trochridge, the worthy Mr. Blair, and other pious members of that society, his pains were singularly blessed in reviving decayed serious piety among the youth, in that declining and corrupted time, a little after the imposition of prelacy upon the church. Here by a recommendation of the general assembly not long after our reformation from popery, the regents were only to continue eight years in their profession; after which, such as were found qualified were licensed, and upon a call after trial were admitted to the holy ministry; by which constitution the church came to be filled with ministers well seen in all the branches of useful learning. Accordingly Mr. Dickson was in 1618, ordained minister to the town of Irvine, where he laboured for about twenty-three years.

That same year the corrupt assembly at Perth agreed to the five articles imposed upon the church by the king and the prelates. Mr. Dickson at first had no great scruple against episcopacy, as he had not studied those questions much, till the articles were imposed by this meeting, and then he closely examined them; and the more he looked into them, the more aversion he found to them; and when some time after, by a sore sickness, he was brought within views of death and eternity, he gave open testimony of the sinfulness of them.

But when this came to take air, Mr. James Law, arch-bishop of Glasgow, summoned him to appear before the high-commission court Jan. 29, 1622. Mr. Dickson, at his entrance to the ministry at Irvine, preached upon 2 Cor. v. 11. The first part, knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men; and when he perceived, at this juncture, a separation (at least for a time); the Sabbath before his compearance, he chose the next words of that text, but we are made manifest unto God: extraordinary power and singular281 movings of the affections accompanied that parting sermon.

Mr. Dickson appeared before the commission, where after the summons being read, and some other reasoning among the bishops, he gave in his declinature, upon which some of the bishops whispering in his ear (as if they had favoured him upon the good report they had heard of him and his ministry), said to him, Take it up, take it up.——He answered calmly, I laid it not down for that end, to take it up again. Spotswood, arch bishop of St. Andrews, asked if he would subscribe it. He professed himself ready. The clerk, at the bishop's desire, began to read it, but had scarce read three lines, till the bishop burst forth in railing speeches, full of gall and bitterness, and turning to Mr. David, he said, "These men will speak of humility and meekness, and talk of the Spirit of God, &c. but ye are led by the spirit of the devil; there is more pride in you, I dare say, than in all the bishops of Scotland. I hanged a jesuit in Glasgow for the like fault." Mr. David answered, "I am not a rebel; I stand here as the king's subject, &c. grant me the benefit of the law, and of a subject, and I crave no more." But the bishop seemed to take no notice of these words. Aberdeen asked him, Whether he would obey the king or not? He answered, "I will obey the king in all things in the Lord." I told you that, said Glasgow, I knew he would seek to his limitation. Aberdeen asked again, May not the king give his authority that we have, to as many sutors and taylors in Edinburgh, to sit and see whether ye be doing your duty or not? Mr. David said, My declinature answers to that. Then St. Andrews fell again to railing, The devil, said he, will devise, he has scripture enough; and then called him knave, swinger, a young lad, and said, He might have been teaching bairns in the school, thou knowest what Aristotle saith, said he, but thou hast no theology, because he perceived that Mr. Dickson gave him no titles, but once called him Sir, he gnashed his teeth, and said Sir, you might have called me lord; when I was in Glasgow long since, you called me so, but I cannot tell how, ye are become a puritan now. All this time he stood silent, and once lifted up his eyes to heaven, which St. Andrews called a proud look. So after some more reasoning betwixt him and the bishops, St. Andrews pronounced the sentence in these words, "We deprive you of your ministry at Irvine, and ordain you to enter in Turref in the north in twenty days." "The will of the Lord be done, said Mr. David,282 though ye cast me off, the Lord will take me up. Send me whither ye will, I hope my Master will go with me, and as he has been with me heretofore, he will be with me still, as with his own weak servant."

Mr. Dickson continued preaching till the twenty days were expired, and then began his journey. But the earl of Eglinton prevailed with the bishop of Glasgow, that he might come to Eglinton, and preach there. But the people, from all quarters, resorting to his sermons in Eglinton's hall and court-yard, he enjoyed that liberty but two months; for the bishop sent him another charge, and he went to the place of his confinement.

While in Turref, he was daily employed to preach, by Mr. Thomas Mitchel minister there. But he found far greater difficulty both in studying and preaching there, than formerly. Some time after, his friends prevailed with the bishop of Glasgow to repone him, upon condition he would take back his declinature, and for that purpose, wrote to Mr. Dickson to come to Glasgow. He came as desired, and though many wise and gracious persons urged him to yield, yet he could not be persuaded; yea, at last it was granted to him, That if he, or any friend he pleased, would go to the bishop's castle, and either lift the paper, or suffer his friend to take it off the hall-table, without seeing the bishop at all, he might return to Irvine——But he found that to be but a juggling in such a weighty matter, in point of public testimony, and resolved to meddle no farther in this matter, but to return to his confinement. Accordingly he began his journey, and was scarce a mile out of town, till his soul was filled with such joy and approbation from God, that he seldom had the like.

But some time after, by the continual intercession of the earl of Eglinton and the town of Irvine with the bishop, the earl got a licence to send for him, and a promise, that he should stay till the king challenged him. Thus he returned, without any condition on his part, to his flock, about the end of July 1623.

While at Irvine, Mr. Dickson's ministry was singularly countenanced of God, and multitudes were convinced and converted, and few who lived in his day, were more instrumental in this work than he, so that people, under exercise and soul-concern, came from every quarter about Irvine, and attended his sermons; and the most eminent christians, from all corners of the church, came and joined with him at the communion, which were then times of refreshing, from the presence of the Lord. Yea, not a283 few came from distant places, and settled at Irvine, that they might be under the drop of his ministry, yet he himself observed, that the vintage of Irvine was not equal to the gleanings of Ayr in Mr. Welch's time; where indeed the gospel had wonderful success in conviction, conversion and confirmation. Here he commonly had his week-days sermon upon Monday, which was the market-day then at Irvine. Upon the Sabbath evenings, many persons under soul-distress used to resort to his house after sermon, when usually he spent an hour or two in answering their cases, and directing and comforting those who were cast down.—In all which he had an extraordinary talent; indeed he had the tongue of the learned, and knew how to speak a word in season to the weary soul. In a large hall, which was in his own house, there would sometimes have been scores of serious Christians waiting for him after he came from church. These, with the people round the town, who came into the market, made the church as throng (if not thronger) on the Mondays, as on the Lord's day. By these week-day sermons, the famous Stuarton sickness (as it was called) was begun about the year 1630, and spread from house to house for many miles in the valley, where Stuarton water runs. Satan indeed endeavoured to bring a reproach upon such serious persons, as were at this time under the convincing work of the Spirit, by running some, seemingly under serious concern, to excess, both in time of sermon, and in families. But the Lord enabled Mr. Dickson, and other ministers who dealt with them, to act so prudent a part, that Satan's design was much disappointed, and solid serious practical religion flourished mightily in the west of Scotland about this time, under the hardships of prelacy.

About the years 1630 and 1631, some of our Scots ministers, Messrs. Livingston, Blair and others, were settled among the Scots in the north of Ireland, where they were remarkably owned of the Lord in their ministry and communions about the six-mile water, for reviving religion and the power and practice of it. But the Irish bishops, at the instigation of the Scots bishops, got them removed, for a season. After they were silenced, and had come over to Scotland, about the year 1637, Mr. Dickson employed Messrs. Blair, Livingston and Cunningham at his communion, for which he was called before the high commission; but, the prelates' power being on the decline, he soon got rid of that trouble.

284 Several other instances might be given concerning Mr. Dickson, both as to his usefulness in answering perplexing cases of conscience, and to students who had their eye to the ministry. While he was at Irvine, his prudent directions, cautions and encouragements given them were extremely useful and beneficial, as also some examples might be given of his usefulness to his very enemies; but there is little room here to insist on these things.

It was Mr. Dickson who brought over the presbytery of Irvine to supplicate the council in 1637, for a suspension of the service-book. At this time four supplications, from different quarters, met at the council-house-door, to their mutual surprize and encouragement; which were the small beginnings of that happy turn of affairs, that next year ensued: In which great revolution Mr. Dickson had no small share. He was sent to Aberdeen, with Messrs Henderson and Cant, by the covenanters, to persuade that town and country to join in renewing the covenant; this brought him to bear a great part in the debates with the learned doctors Forbes, Barrow, Sibbald, &c. at Aberdeen; which, being in print, needs no further notice at present.

And when the king was prevailed with to allow a free general assembly at Glasgow, Nov. 1638, Mr. Dickson and Mr. Bailey, from the presbytery, made no small figure there in all the important matters before that grave assembly. Here Mr. Dickson signalized himself in a most seasonable and prudent speech he had, when his majesty's commissioner threatened to leave the assembly; as also in the 11th session Dec. 5th, he had another most learned discourse against Arminianism[122].

By this time the Lord's eminent countenancing of Mr. Dickson's ministry at Irvine, not only spread abroad, but his eminent prudence, learning, and holy zeal came to be universally known, especially to ministers, from the part he bore in the assembly of Glasgow, so that he was almost unanimously chosen moderator to the next general assembly at Edinburgh in Aug. 1639, in the 10th session whereof the city of Glasgow presented a call to him; but partly because of his own aversion, and the vigorous appearance of the earl of Eglinton, and his loving people, and mostly for the remarkable usefulness of his ministry in that corner, the general assembly continued him still at Irvine.

285 Not long after this about 1641, he was transported to be professor in the university of Glasgow, where he did great service to the church, by training up young men for the holy ministry; and yet notwithstanding of his laborious work, he preached on the forenoon of every sabbath, in the high church there; where for some time he had the learned Mr. Patrick Gillespie for his colleague.

Anno 1643, the church laid a very great work upon him, together with Mr. Calderwood and Mr. Henderson to form a draught of a directory for a public worship, as appears by an act of the general assembly. When the pestilence was raging at Glasgow in 1647, the masters and students, upon Mr. Dickson's motion, removed to Irvine. There it was that the learned Mr. Durham passed his trials, and was earnestly recommended by the professor to the presbytery and magistrates of Glasgow. A very strict friendship subsisted between those two great lights of the church, and, among other effects of their religious conversation, we have the sum of saving knowledge, which hath been so often printed with our confession of faith and catechisms. This, after several conversations upon the subject, and manner of handling it, so that it might be useful to vulgar capacities, was, by Messrs. Dickson and Durham, dictated to a reverend minister about the year 1650, and though never judicially approven by this church, yet it deserves to be much more read and practised than what it at present is.

About this time he was transported from the profession of divinity at Glasgow, to the same work at Edinburgh. At which time he published his prelectiones in confessionem fidei (now published in English), which he dictated in latin to his scholars. There he continued his laborious care of students in divinity, the growing hopes of a church; and either at Glasgow or at Edinburgh, the most part of the presbyterian ministers, at least in the west, south and east parts of Scotland, from 1640, were under his inspection; and from the forementioned book, we may perceive his care to educate them in the form of sound words, and to ground them in the excellent standards of doctrine agreed to by the once famous church of Scotland; and happy had their successors been, had they preserved and handed down to posterity the scriptural doctrines pure and entire, as they were delivered by our first reformers, to Mr. Dickson and his contemporaries, and from him and them handed down without corruption to their successors.

All this time, viz. in 1650 and 1651, Mr. Dickson had a great share in the printed pamphlets upon the unhappy286 debates betwixt the resolutioners and the protestors, he was in his opinions for the public resolutioners: and most of the papers on that side were wrote by him, Mr. Bailey and Mr. Douglas; as those on the other side were wrote by Mr. James Guthrie, Mr. Patrick Gillespie, and a few others.

Mr. Dickson continued at Edinburgh, discharging his trust with great diligence and faithfulness, until the melancholy turn by the restoration of prelacy upon the return of Charles II.; when, for refusing the oath of supremacy, he was with many other worthies, turned out; so that his heart was broken with this heavy change on the beautiful face of that once famed reformed church.

He had married Margaret Robertson daughter to Archibald Robertson of Stone-hall, a younger brother of the house of Ernock, in the shire of Lanerk; by her he had three sons, John, clerk to the exchequer in Scotland; Alexander, professor of Hebrew in the college of Edinburgh; and Archibald, who lived with his family afterward in the parish of Irvine.

On December 1662, he fell extremely sick, at which time worthy Mr. Livingston, now suffering for the same cause, though he had then but forty-eight hours liberty to stay in Edinburgh, came to see him on his death-bed. They had been intimately acquainted near forty years, and now rejoiced as fellow-confessors together. When Mr. Livingston asked the professor, What were his thoughts of the present affairs, and how it was with himself? His answer was, "That he was sure Jesus Christ would not put up with the indignities done against his work and people:" and as for himself, said he, "I have taken all my good deeds and all my bad deeds, and have cast them together in a heap before the Lord, and have fled from both to Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace[123]."

Having been very low and weak for some days, he called all his family together, and spoke in particular to each of them, and having gone through them all, he pronounced the words of the apostolical blessing, 1 Cor. xiii. 13, 14, with much gravity and solemnity, and then put up his hand, and closed his own eyes; and, without any struggle or apparent pain, immediately expired in his son's arms, and with Jacob of old, was gathered to his people in a good old age, being now upwards of seventy-two years.

He was a man singularly endowed with an edifying gift of preaching; and his painful labours had been, in an eminent287 manner, blessed with success. His sermons were always full of solid and substantial matter, very scriptural, and in a very familiar style; not low, but extremely strong and affecting, being somewhat a-kin to the style of godly Mr. Rutherford; and it is said, That scarce any minister of that time came so near Mr. Dickson's style or method of preaching, as the reverend Mr. William Guthrie, minister at Finwick, who equalled, if not exceeded him.

His works are, a commentary on the epistle to the Hebrews in 8vo; on Matthew's gospel in 4to; on the psalms of David in 8vo; on the epistles, Latin and English, in 4to; and his prelectiones in confessionem fidei, or truth's victory over error, &c. in folio; his therapeutica sacra, or cases of conscience resolved, in Latin 4to, in English 8vo; a treatise of the promises 12mo printed at Dublin in 1630. And beside these he wrote a great part of the answers to the demands, and duplies to the replies of the doctors of Aberdeen in 4to; and some of the pamphlets in defence of the public resolutioners, as has been already observed; and some short poems on pious and serious subjects, such as, the Christian sacrifice, true Christian love, to be sung with the common tunes of the Psalms. There are also several other pieces of his, mostly in manuscript, such as his tyronis concionaturi, supposed to be dictated to his scholars at Glasgow; summarium libri Jesaiæ: his letters on the resolutioners; his first paper on the public resolutions; his replies to Mr. Gillespie and Mr. James Guthrie; his non-separation from the well-affected in the army; as also some sermons at Irvine upon 1 Tim. i. 5. and his precepts for a daily direction of a Christian, &c. by way of catechism, for his congregation at Irvine; with a compend of his sermons upon Jeremiah and the Lamentations, and the first nine chapters to the Romans.


The Life of Sir Archibald Johnston, Lord Warriston.

The first of his public appearances in the favours of that glorious work of reformation (commonly called the second reformation period) seems to have been about the beginning of 1638. When it came first to be known that Traquair was going up to the king, the deputies (afterward288 called the covenanters) were desirous that he would carry up an information, which the lord Balmerino and Mr. Johnston (the only advocates as yet trusted by the petitioners) had drawn up, and that he would present the same, with their supplication, to his majesty. But both these were rejected, and orders given by him to Traquair, to publish a proclamation at Edinburgh and Stirling, against the requisitions of the covenanters. Sixteen of the nobles, with many barons, gentlemen, burgesses, and ministers, did, after hearing said proclamation, cause Mr. Johnston read a protest against the same. And the same year, when the marquis of Hamilton caused publish another declaration, in name of the king, the covenanters, upon hearing it, gave in another protestation in the same place by Mr. Johnston; whereupon the earl of Cassils, in name of the nobility, Gibson of Durie, in name of the barons, Fletcher provost of Dundee, in name of the burgesses, Mr. Kerr minister at Preston, in name of the church, and Mr. Archibald Johnston, in name of all others, who adhered to the covenant, took instruments in the hands of three notaries, and, in all humility, offered a copy of the same to the herald at the cross of Edinburgh[124].

Upon the 9th of September, a declaration of the same nature being published, the noblemen, gentlemen, burgesses, &c. gave another protest, and Mr. Johnston header and advocate for the church, in name of all who adhered to the confession of faith, and covenant lately renewed within the kingdom, took instruments in the hands of three notaries there present, and offered a copy thereof to the herald at the cross of Edinburgh.

In the same year, when the famous general assembly sat down at Glasgow, in the month of November, Mr. Henderson, being chosen moderator, it was moved, That Mr. Johnston, who had hitherto served the tables at Edinburgh without reward, and yet with great diligence, skill and integrity, deserved the office of clerk above all others. After much reasoning, concerning him and some others (put on a leet for election), the rolls being called, on a vote for a clerk, it carried unanimously for Mr. Johnston, who then gave his oath for fidelity, diligence, and a conscientious use of the registers; and was admitted to all the rights, profits and privileges, which any in that office had formerly289 enjoyed; and instruments taken both of his admittance and acceptance.

Mr Johnston being thus installed, the moderator desired, that all who had any acts or books of former assemblies, would put them into his hands; whereupon Mr. Sandihills, (formerly clerk) exhibited two books, containing some acts from 1592, to that of Aberdeen in 1618, &c. and being interrogate concerning the rest, he solemnly averred, that he had received no more from the arch-bishop, and to his knowledge, he had no other belonging to the church.—Then a farther motion was made by the assembly for recovering the rest, wanting, that if any had them, they should give them up, whereupon Mr. Johnston gave an evidence how deserving he was of the trust reposed in him, by producing on the table five books (being now seven in all), which were sufficient to make up a register of the church, from the beginning of the reformation; which was very acceptable to the whole assembly.

In the 24th session of this assembly, a commission was given to Mr. Johnston to be their procurator, and Mr. Dalgliesh to be their agent; and in their last session of December 20, an act passed, allowing him the instruction of all treaties and papers that concerned the church, prohibiting all printers from publishing any thing of that kind, not licensed by him.

But the king and the Canterburian faction, being highly displeased with the proceedings of this assembly, advanced with an army toward the borders, which made the covenanters, seeing the danger they were exposed unto, raise another army, with which, under the command of general Leslie, they marched towards the king's army, now encamped on the south side of Tweed, about three miles above Berwick. Upon their approach, the English began to faint, whereupon the king and the English nobility desired a treaty, which was easily granted by the Scots, who appointed the earls of Rothes, Dunfermline and Loudon, the sheriff of Teviotdale, Mr. Henderson and Mr. Archibald Johnston advocate for the church, as their commissioners to treat with the English commissioners, to whom his majesty granted a safe conduct upon the 9th of June, 1639. The Scots, having made known their demands, condescended upon several particulars, which were answered by the other side. On the 17th and the day following, the articles of specification were subscribed to by both parties, in sight of both armies at Birks near Berwick.290 But this treaty was but short lived, and as ill kept; for the very next year, the king took arms again against the Scots, who immediately armed themselves a second time, and went for England, where they defeated a party of the English at Newburn, and pushed their way as far as Durham. The king, finding himself in this strait, the English supplicating him behind, and the Scots with a potent army before him, resolved on a second treaty, which was set on foot at Rippon, and concluded at London; and thither Mr. Henderson and Mr. Johnston were sent again, as the commissioners for the church; in which affairs they behaved with great prudence and candor. When the Scots parliament sat down this year, they, by an act, appointed a fee of 100 merks to Mr. Johnston, as advocate for the church, and 500 merks as clerk to the general assembly; so sensible were they of his many services done to this church and nation.

Next year, 1641, the king, having fallen out with his English parliament, came to Scotland, where he attended the Scots parliament. In this parliament several offices of state were filled up with persons fit for such employments. The earl of Argyle being put at the head of the treasury, and the earl of Loudon made chancellor; among others, Mr. Archibald Johnston stood fair for the register office; and the generality of the well-affected thought it the just reward of his labours; but the king, Lennox and Argyle, &c. being for Gibson of Durie, he carried the prize. Yet Mr. Johnston's disappointment was supplied by the king's conferring the order of knight-hood upon him, and granting him a commission to be one of the lords of session, with an annual pension of 200 pounds; and Orbiston was made justice clerk[125].

During this and the next year Mr. (now Sir) Archibald Johnston had several great employments committed to his trust. He was one of those nominated to conserve the articles of peace betwixt the two kingdoms until the meeting of parliament, &c. And then he was appointed one of these commissioners, who were sent up to London to negotiate with the English parliament, for sending over some relief from Scotland to Ireland (it being then on the back of the Irish rebellion). While at London, they waited on his majesty at Windsor, and offered their mediation betwixt him and his two houses of parliament; but for this291 he gave them little thanks, although he found his mistake afterwards.

When the general assembly sat down at Edinburgh, anno 1643, they, upon a motion from Sir Archibald Johnston their clerk, emitted a declaration for joining with the English parliament for a variety of reasons, of which these were the sum and substance. "(1.) They apprehend the war is for religion. (2.) The protestant faith is in danger. (3.) Gratitude for the assistance in the time of the former reformation required a suitable return. (4.) Because the churches of Scotland and England being embarked in one bottom, if the one be ruined, the other cannot subsist. (5.) The prospect of an uniformity between the two kingdoms in discipline and worship, will strengthen the protestant interest at home and abroad. (6.) The present parliament had been friendly to the Scots, and might be so again. (7.) Though the king had so lately established religion amongst them, according to their desire, yet they could not confide in his royal declaration, having so often found his actions and promises contradictory the one to the other, &c." These the estates took in good part, and suggested other reasons of their own, as they saw proper.

Toward the latter end of this assembly, upon the arrival of the commissioners from the parliament and assembly at Westminster, the Scots assembly, by an act of session 14, commissioned Messrs. Henderson, Douglas, Rutherford, Bailey and Gillespie ministers, John earl of Cassils, John lord Maitland, and Sir Archibald Johnston of Warriston, ruling elders, or any three of them, whereof two should be ministers, "to repair to the kingdom of England, and there to deliver the declaration sent to the parliament of England, and the letter sent to the assembly of divines, now sitting in that kingdom, and to propound, consult, treat and conclude with that assembly, or any commissioner deputed, or any committee or commissioner deputed by the house of parliament, in all matters which may further the union of this island, in one form of church-government, one confession of faith, one catechism, one directory for the worship of God, according to the instructions they have received from the assembly, or shall receive from time to time hereafter, from the commissioners of the assembly deputed for that effect."—This commission was again renewed by several acts of the subsequent assemblies, till the year 1648.—And it appears, that lord Warriston did not only use all diligence as a member292 of the Westminster assembly, for bringing about the uniformity of religion in worship, discipline and government, but also, for some time, he sat as a member of the English parliament, for concerting such methods as might bring about a firm and lasting peace betwixt the two kingdoms afterward; which is, and was reckoned a most noble piece of service both to church and state in those days; yet we shall find it accounted high treason in this worthy man afterward.

Lord Warriston had, for his upright and faithful dealing, in the many important matters committed to his charge, received many marks of favour and dignity, both from church and state; and to crown all the rest, the Scots parliament in 1646, made an act, appointing his commission to be lord advocate, with the conduct of the committee of London and Newcastle, and the general officers of the army: all which evidence, what a noble hand he had in carrying on that blessed work of reformation.

He had now been clerk to the general assembly since the year 1638, and when that unhappy difference fell out anno 1650, when the act of classes was repeated, whereby malignants were again taken into places of power and trust; which occasioned the rise of those called protestors and resolutioners anno 1650, lord Warriston was one of those who had a principal hand in managing affairs among those faithful anti-resolutioners; for he wrote a most solid letter to that meeting at St. Andrews, July 18, 1651, concerning which, the protestors, in their reasons, proving the said meeting to be no lawful, full or free general assembly, say, "Sir Archibald Johnston, clerk to the assembly a man undeniably faithful, singularly acquainted with the acts and proceedings of this kirk, and with the matters presently in controversy, and who hath been useful above many in all the tracts of the work of reformation, from the beginning, in all the steps thereof, both at home and abroad; having written his mind to the meeting (not being able to come himself) about the things that are to be agitated in the assembly, and held out much clear light from the scriptures, and from the acts of former assemblies, in these particulars. Albeit the letter was delivered publicly to the moderator, in the face of the assembly, and urged to be read by him who presented it, that then the moderator did break it up, and caused it to be read; and that many members did thereafter, upon293 several occasions, and at several diets, press the reading of it, but it could never be obtained, &c.[126]"

And further, those papers bearing the name of representations, propositions, protestations, &c. were by the said lord Warriston, Messrs. Cant, Rutherford, Livingston, &c. presented to the reverend ministers and elders met at Edinburgh, July 24, 1652, when the marquis of Argyle at London procured an equal hearing to the protestors; and Mr. Simpson, one of these three ministers deposed by the assembly 1651, being sent up by the protestors for that purpose; in the beginning of 1657, Messrs. James Guthrie and Patrick Gillespie, the other three who had been deposed by that assembly, together with lord Warriston, were sent up to assist Mr. Simpson[127].

Lord Warriston had now, for the space of five years or more, wrestled and acted with all his power, for the king's interest, and, being a man of great resolution, he both spoke and wrote as openly against Scotsmen submitting to take offices under the usurper; but being sent up to London in the foresaid year 1657, with some of the Scots nobility, upon some important affairs, and Cromwel being fully sensible how much it would be for his interest to gain such a man as Warriston was, over to his side, he prevailed upon him to re-enter to the office of clerk-register; which was much lamented by this worthy man afterwards, as well as his sitting and presiding in some meeting at London after Oliver's death.

A late historian has observed, That, at that meeting at Edinburgh, which sent him up to London upon business, he reasoned against it, and to the utmost of his power opposed his being sent up, acquainting them with what was his weak side, that, through the easiness of his temper, he might not be able to resist his importunity, craving that he might not be sent among snares; and yet after all he was peremptorily named[128].

To account some way for his conduct in this:——His family was numerous; and very considerable sums were owing him, which he had advanced for the public service, and a good many bygone years salaries; he was, through importunity, thus prevailed upon to side with the usurper, there being no other door open then for his relief. And yet after this his compliance, it was observed, he was generally294 more sad and melancholy than what he had formerly been, and it is said that his outward affairs did not prosper so well afterward.

The king being restored again to his dominions anno 1660, and the noble marquis of Argyle imprisoned July 14, orders came down to seize Sir James Stuart provost of Edinburgh, Sir Archibald Johnston of Warriston, and Sir John Chiesly of Carswel. The first and last were tried, but lord Warriston escaped for a time, and therefore was summoned, by sound of trumpet, to surrender himself, and a proclamation issued out for seizing him, promising an hundred pounds Scots to any who should do it, and discharging all from concealing or harbouring him under pain of treason. A most arbitrary step indeed! For here is not only a reward offered for apprehending this worthy gentleman, but declaring it treason for any to harbour him, and that without any cause assigned.

Upon the 10th of October following, he was, by order of the council, declared fugitive; and next year Feb. 1st, the indictment against lord Warriston, William Dundas, and John Hume, was read in the house, none of them being present. Warriston was forfeited, and his forfeiture publicly proclaimed, by the heralds, at the cross of Edinburgh. The principal articles of his indictment were, his pleading against Newton Gordon, when he had the king's express orders to plead for him; His assisting to the act of the west kirk, &c.; His drawing out, contriving or consenting to the paper called the western remonstrance, and the book called the causes of the Lord's wrath; his sitting in parliament as a peer in England, contrary to his oath, &c.; His accepting the office of clerk-register from the usurper;——and being president of the committee of safety, when Richard was laid aside, &c. But neither of all these were the proper causes of this good man's sufferings, but a personal prejudice or pique was at the bottom of all these bitter proceedings; for the godly freedom he took in reproving vice, was what could never be forgotten nor forgiven. The last-cited historian hints, that the earl of Bristol was interceeding for him, and says, "I have an account of this holy freedom in lord Warriston, used from a reverend minister, who was his chaplain at that time, and took freedom to advise my lord not to adventure on it; yet this excellent person, having the glory of God and the honour of religion more in his eyes than his own safety, went on in his designed reproof, and would not for a compliment, quit the peace he expected in his own295 conscience, be the event what it would, by disburthening himself; he got a great many fair words, and all was pretended to be taken well from my lord register; but, as he was told by his well-wishers, it was never forgot[129]." For, in compliance with Cromwel, he was not alone in the matter; the greater part of the nation being involved therein as well as he: And several of those who had been named trustees to the usurper, were all discharged from court, except Warriston, who was before come to Scotland, and ordered to appear before the parliament at the sitting down thereof.

This good man, after the sentence of forfeiture and death passed against him by the first parliament, being obliged to go abroad, to escape the fury of his enemies, even there did their crafty malice reach him; for while at Hamburg, being visited with sore sickness, it is certain that Dr. Bates, one of king Charles's physicians, intending to kill him (contrary to his faith and office), prescribed poison to him instead of physic, and then caused draw from him sixty ounces of blood, whereby (though the Lord wonderfully preserved his life) he was brought near the gates of death, and so far lost his memory, that he could not remember what he had said or done a quarter of an hour before, and continued so until the day of his martyrdom.

And yet all this did not satisfy his cruel and blood-thirsty enemies, while he was yet in life they sought him carefully; and at last, he having gone unadvisedly to France, one Alexander Murray, being dispatched in quest of him, apprehended him at Roan, while he was engaged in secret prayer, a duty wherein he much delighted. In Jan. 1663, he was brought over prisoner, and committed to the tower of London, where he continued till the beginning of June, when he was sent down to Edinburgh to be executed.

His carriage during his passage was truly christian. He landed at Leith on the 8th, and was committed to the tolbooth of Edinburgh; and from thence he was brought before the parliament on the 8th of July. His nephew, Bp. Burnet, says, He was so disordered both in body and mind, that it was a reproach to any government to proceed against him[130].

When at the bar of the house, he discovered such weakness of memory and judgment, that almost every person lamented him, except Sharp and the other bishops, who296 scandalously and basely triumphed over, and publicly derided him; although it is well known, says a very noted author, that lord Warriston was once in case, not only to "have been a member, but a president of any judicatory in Europe, and to have spoke for the cause and interest of Christ before kings, to the stopping of the mouths of gainsayers[131]."

Here it seemed, that many of the members of parliament inclined to spare his life; but when the question was put, Whether the time of his execution should be just now fixed, or delayed, Lauderdale interposed, upon calling the rolls, and delivered a most dreadful speech for his present execution. And sentence was pronounced, That he be hanged at the cross of Edinburgh, on the 22d of July, and his head placed on the Nether-bow, beside that of Mr Guthrie. He received his sentence with such meekness as filled all with admiration; for then he desired, That the best blessings might be on church and state, and on his majesty (whatever might befal himself), and that God would give him true and faithful counsellors[132].

During the whole time of his imprisonment, he was in a most spiritual and tender frame, to the conviction of his very enemies; and the nearer that his death approached, the composure of his mind became the more conspicuous. He rested agreeably the night before his execution, and in the morning was full of consolation, sweetly expressing his assurance of being clothed with a long white robe, and of getting a new song of the Lamb's praise in his mouth. Before noon he dined with cheerfulness, "hoping to sup in heaven, and to drink the next cup fresh and new in his Father's kingdom."

After he had spent some time in secret prayer, about two o'clock he was taken from prison, attended by several of his friends in mourning, though he himself was full of holy cheerfulness and courage, and in a perfect serenity of mind. When come to the scaffold, he said frequently to the people, "Your prayers, your prayers." When he was on the scaffold he said, "I intreat you, quiet yourselves a little, till this dying man deliver his last speech among you;" and desired they would not be offended at his making use of the paper to help his memory, so much impaired by long sickness and the malice of physicians.297 Then he read his speech first on the one side of the scaffold, and then on the other. In which speech, after a a short preamble, shewing that that which he intended to have spoken at his death, was not now in his power, being taken from him, yet hoped the Lord would preserve it to be his testimony; being now for some time in a most melancholy concumitance, through long and sore sickness, drawing of blood, &c. He, in the first place, confesseth his sins, pleads for forgiveness, bewails his compliance with the usurper, although, said he, he was not alone in that offence, but had the body of the nation going before him, and the example of all ranks to insnare him, &c. Then declares his adherence to the covenanted work of reformation, earnestly desiring the prayers of all the Lord's praying people, &c. and vindicates himself from having any accession to the late king's death, and to the making of the change of government; taking the great God of heaven to witness between him and his accusers. And at last concluded with these words, "I do here now submit, and commit my soul and body, wife and children, and children's children, from generation to generation for ever, with all others his friends and followers, all his doing and suffering witnesses, sympathizing ones in present and subsequent generations, unto the Lord's choice mercies, graces, favours, services, employment, enjoyments and inheritments on earth and in heaven, in time and all eternity; all which suits, with all others which he hath at any time, by his Spirit, moved and assisted me to put up, according to his will, I leave before and upon the Father's merciful bowels, the Son's mediating merits, and the Holy Spirit's compassionate groans, both now and for ever more Amen[133]."

After the reading of his speech, he prayed with great fervency and liberty, and, being in a rapture, he began thus, "Abba, Father! Accept this thy poor sinful servant, coming unto thee, through the merits of Jesus Christ, &c." Then taking leave of his friends, he prayed again with great fervency, being now near the end of that sweet work, he had so much, through the course of his time, been employed in. No ministers were allowed to be with him, but it was, by those present, observed that God sufficiently made up that want. He was helped up the ladder by some of his friends in deep mourning; and, as he ascended, he said, "Your prayers, your prayers.—Your298 prayers I desire in the name of the Lord."—Such was the esteem he had for that duty.

When got to the top of the ladder, he cried out with a loud voice, "I beseech you all who are the people of God, not to scare at suffering for the interest of Christ, or stumble at any thing of this kind, falling out in these days; but be encouraged to suffer for him, for I assure you in the name of the Lord, he will bear your charges." While the rope was putting about his neck, he repeated these words again, adding, The Lord hath graciously comforted me. When the executioner desired his forgiveness he said, The Lord forgive thee, poor man,—and withal gave him some money, bidding him do his office if he was ready; and crying out, O pray, pray! Praise, praise, praise,—he was turned over, and died almost without any struggle, with his hands lifted up unto heaven, whither his soul ascended, to enjoy the beatific presence of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

He was soon cut down, and his head struck off, and set up beside that of his dear friend Mr. Guthrie; and his body carried to Gray-friars church-yard. But his head soon after, by the interest and intercession of lieutenant-general Drummond (who was married to one of his daughters), was taken down and interred with his body.

Thus stood and thus fell the eminently pious and truly learned lord Warriston, whose talents as a speaker in the senate, as well as on the bench, are too well known to be here insisted upon; and for prayer, he was one among a thousand, and oftimes met with very remarkable returns; and though he was for some time borne down with weakness and distress, yet he never came in the least, to doubt of his eternal happiness, and used to say, "I dare never question my salvation, I have so often seen God's face in the house of prayer." And, as the last cited historian observes, "Although his memory and talents were for some time impaired, yet like the sun at his setting, after he had been a while under a cloud, shone most brightly and surprizingly, and so in some measure the more sweetly; for that morning he was under a wonderful effusion of the Spirit, as great perhaps as many have had since the primitive times."

He wrote a large diary, which yet remains in the hands of his relations, and in which is a valuable treasure both of christian experience, and matters of fact little known at present, which might be of great use and light to the history of that period, and wherein he records his sure299 hopes (after much wrestling in which he was mightily helped) that the church of Scotland would he manifestedly visited and freed from the evils she fell under after the restoration. And his numerous family, whom he so often left upon the Lord's providence, were, for the most part, as well provided for as could have been expected, though he had continued with them in his own outward prosperity. He that overcometh, shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life: but I will confess his name before my Father and his angels.


The Life of Mr. James Wood.

He was, some time after the year 1651, made provost or principal of the old college of St. Andrews, and one of the ministers there, and being one who in judgment fell in with the resolution party, it occasioned some difference betwixt him and Mr. Rutherford at that time professor of divinity in the new college there, and yet he had ever a great and high esteem for Mr. Wood, as appears from a message he sent him when on his death-bed, wherein he said, "Tell Mr. James Wood from me, I heartily forgive him all the wrongs he hath done, and desire him from me to declare himself the man he is still for the government of the church of Scotland." And truly he was not deceived in him; for Mr. Wood was true and faithful to the presbyterian government; nothing could prevail upon him to comply in the least degree with abjured prelacy. So far was he from that, that the apostacy and treachery of others (viz. Mr. Sharp), whom he had too much trusted, broke his upright spirit, particularly the aggravated defection and perfidy of him whom he termed Judas, Demas and Gehazi all in one, after he had found what part he had acted to the church of Scotland under trust[134].

300 Mr. Wood continued in the exercise of the foresaid offices, until 1663, when, by the instigation of bishop Sharp, he got a charge to appear before the council on the twenty-third of July, to answer to several things laid to his charge; and though Mr. Sharp was indebted to Mr. Wood for any reputation he had, and was under as great obligations to him as one man could be to another, for they had been more than ordinarily familiar, yet now the primate could not bear his continuing any longer there, and he caused cite him before the council.

When he compeared he was interrogate,—How he came to be provost of the college of St. Andrews?—When he began to answer, he was interrupted, in a very huffing manner, and commanded to give in his answer in a word, for the arch-bishop and others present could not endure his telling some truths he was entering upon. He told them, He was called by the faculty of that college, at the recommendation of the usurpers, as some here, added he (meaning bishop Sharp), very well know. Whereupon he was removed, and a little after called in again, and his sentence intimate unto him; which was, "That the lords of council, for the present, do declare the said place to be vacant, and ordain and command him to confine himself within the city of Edinburgh, and not to depart from thence until farther orders."—When his sentence was intimate to him, he told them, He was sorry they had condemned a person without hearing him, whom they could not charge with the breach of any law. In September following, bishop Sharp got the charge and privileges of that office; which shews that he had some reason for pushing Mr. Wood from that place.

Upon the 30th of the same month, Mr. Wood presented a petition to the council, shewing——That his father was extremely sick, that he had several necessary affairs at St. Andrews, and desired liberty to go there for that effect. Which petition being read, with a certificate of his father's infirmity, the council granted licence to the petitioner to go to St. Andrews, to visit his father, and perform his other necessary affairs; always returning when he should be called by the council.

Thus he continued, till toward the beginning of the year 1664, when he took sickness, whereof he died; and tho' he suffered not in his body, as several of his brethren did, yet the arch-bishop, it appears, was resolved to ruin his name and reputation after his death, if not sooner, in order to which the primate saw good, once or twice, to301 give him a visit, when on his death-bed in St. Andrews. He was now extremely low in his body, and spoke very little to Mr. Sharp, and nothing at all about the changes made in the state of public affairs; however the consequence of these visits was,——The primate spread a rumour, That Mr. Wood, being now under the views of death and eternity, professed himself very indifferent as to church-government, and declared himself as much for episcopacy as for presbytery: and in all companies Sharp talked, that Mr. Wood had declared to himself, Presbyterian government to be indifferent and alterable at the pleasure of the magistrate, and other falsehoods; yea, he had the impudence (says the historian[135]) to write up an account of this to court, even before Mr. Wood's death.—Which reports coming to the ears of this good man, they added grief unto his former sorrow, and he could have no rest till he vindicated himself from such a false calumny, by a solemn testimony, which he dictated himself, and subscribed upon the 2d of March before two witnesses and a public notary; which testimony, being burnt by order of the high commission in April following, deserves a place here.

"I James Wood, being very shortly, by appearance, to render up my spirit to the Lord, find myself obliged to leave a word behind me, for my vindication before the world.——It hath been said of me, That I have, in word at least, departed from my wonted zeal for the presbyterian government, expressing myself concerning it, as if it were a matter not to be accounted of, and that no man should trouble himself therefore in matter of practice—Surely any Christian that knows me in this kirk, will judge that this is a wrong done to me.—It is true, that I being under sickness, have said sometimes, in conference about my soul's state, that I was taken up about greater business, than any thing of that kind; and what wonder I said so, being under such wrestling anent my interest in Jesus Christ, which is a matter of far greater concernment than any external ordinance. But for my estimation of presbyterian government, the Lord knoweth, that since the day he convinced my heart, which was by a strong hand, that it is the ordinance of God, appointed by Jesus Christ, for governing and ordering his visible church, I never had the least302 change of thought concerning the necessity of it, nor of the necessity of the use of it.—And I declare before God and the world, that I still account so of it, and that, however there may be some more precious ordinances, that is so precious, that a true Christian is obliged to lay down his life for the profession thereof, if the Lord shall see meet to put him to the trial; and for myself, if I were to live, I would account it my glory to seal this word of my testimony with my blood. Of this declaration I take God, angels and men to be my witness, and have subscribed these presents at St. Andrews on the 2d of March 1664, about seven hours in the afternoon, before these witnesses, &c."

Mr. William Tullidaff,

Mr. John Carstairs,

John Pitcairn, writer.

JAMES WOOD.

After this he uttered many heavenly expressions, to several persons who came to see him, all setting forth the sweet experience of his soul, until, upon the 5th of March, he made a happy and glorious exit, exchanging this present life for a crown of righteousness.

Mr. Wood was among the brightest lights of that period. He had been colleague to Mr. Sharp, and, after the restoration, he lamented much, that he had been deceived by that unhappy man. He refuted the independents and asserted presbyterial government, as is evident from that work of his, wrote in opposition to Nicolas Lockier's little stone hewed out of the mountain, and his other books that are in print. It is also said, that before his death, he lamented his taking his part with the public resolutioners very much.

'I have been informed (says Wodrow) that he left some very valuable manuscripts behind him, particularly a complete refutation of the Arminian scheme of doctrine, ready for the press, which doubtless if published would be of no small use in this age, when Arminianism hath so far got the ascendant.'

303


The Life of Mr. William Guthrie.

Mr. William Guthrie was born at Pitfrothy anno 1620. He was eldest son of the laird of Pitfrothy in the shire of Angus; and by the mother's side, descended from the ancient house of easter Ogle, of which she was a daughter. God blessed his parents with a numerous offspring, for he had three sisters german and four brothers, who all, except one, dedicated themselves to the service of the gospel of God and his son; namely, Mr. Robert, who was licensed to preach, but was never ordained to the charge of any parish, his tender constitution and numerous infirmities rendered him unfit, and soon brought him to the end of his days; Mr. Alexander was a minister in the presbytery of Brichen, about the year 1645, where he continued a pious and useful labourer in the work of the gospel, till the introduction of prelacy, which unhappy change affected him in the tenderest manner, and was thought to have shortened his days; for he died anno 1661. And Mr. John, the youngest, was minister at Tarbolton in the shire of Ayr, in which place he continued till the restoration anno 1662, when the council met at Glasgow, (commonly called the drunken meeting) on the first of October. By this infamous act of Glasgow, above a third part of the ministers in Scotland were thrust from their charges, amounting to near 400. Mr. John Guthrie had his share of the hardships that many faithful ministers of Jesus Christ at that time were brought under. The next year, being 1663, the council, at the instigation of the bishop of Glasgow, summoned him and other nine to appear before them on the 23d of July, under the pain of rebellion; but he and other six did not appear. Anno 1666, he joined with that party, who, on the 26th of November, renewed the covenants at Lanerk; after a sermon preached by him, he tendered the covenants, which were read; to every article of which, with their hands lifted up to heaven, they engaged[136] with great solemnity and devotion. After their defeat at Pentland, he, no doubt, had his share of the violence and cruelty that then reigned, till anno 1668, he was removed to a better world.

304 Mr. William soon gave proofs of his capacity and genius, by very considerable progress made in the Latin and Greek languages. Then he was sent to the university of St. Andrews, where he studied philosophy under the memorable Mr. James Guthrie his cousin, who was afterwards minister at Stirling, "and who (says Mr. Trail) I saw die in, and for the Lord, at Edinburgh, June 1, 1661."

As the master and scholar were near relations, Mr. Guthrie was his peculiar care, and lodged, when at the college, in the same chamber with him, and therefore had the principles of learning infused into him with more accuracy than his class-fellows.

Having taken the degree of master of arts, he applied himself, for some years, to the study of divinity, under the direction of Mr. Samuel Rutherford. Mr. Trail says, "Then and there it pleased the Lord, who separated him from his mother's womb, to call him, by his grace, by the ministry of excellent Mr. Samuel Rutherford, and this young gentleman became one of the first fruits of his ministry at St. Andrews. His conversion was begun with great terror of God in his soul, and completed with that joy and peace in believing that accompanied him through his life. After this blessed change wrought upon him, he resolved to obey the call of God to serve him in the ministry of his gospel, which was given him by the Lord's calling him effectually to grace and glory. He did for this end so dispose of his outward estate, (to which he was born heir) as not to be intangled with the affairs of this life." He gave his estate to the only brother of the five who was not engaged in the sacred office, that thereby he might be perfectly disintangled from the affairs of this life, and entirely employed in these of the eternal world.

Soon after he was licensed to preach, he left St. Andrews, with high esteem and approbation from the professors of that university, which they gave proof of, by their ample recommendations. After this he became tutor to lord Mauchlin, eldest son to the earl of Loudon; in which situation he continued for some time, till he entered upon a parochial charge.

The parish of Kilmarnock, in the shire of Ayr, being large, and many of the people, belonging to the said parish, being no less than six or seven miles distant from their own kirk; for which and other reasons the heritors and others procured a disjunction, and called the new parish Fen wick or new Kilmarnock.

305 Mr. Guthrie was employed to preach at Galston, on a preparation-day before the celebration of the Lord's supper; and several members of the new-erected parish, were present at that occasion, who, being greatly edified by his sermons, conceived such a value for him, that they immediately resolved to make choice of him for their minister; and in consequence thereof gave him a very harmonious call, which he complied with. It is said, that he, along with the people, made choice of the place of ground for building the church upon, and preached within the walls of the house before it was completed; which bears the date of being built anno 1643; and he was ordained unto the sacred office Nov. 7, 1644.

He had many difficulties at first to struggle with; and many circumstances of his ministry were extremely discouraging: and yet, through the divine blessing, the gospel preached by him had surprising success; and became, in an eminent manner, the wisdom and power of God to the salvation of many perishing souls.

After Mr. Guthrie came to Fenwick, many of the people were so rude and barbarous, that they never attended upon divine worship; and knew not so much as the face of their pastor: To such, every thing that respected religion was disagreeable. Many refused to be visited, or catechised by him; they would not even admit him into their houses: To such he sometimes went in the evening, disguised in the character of a traveller, and sought lodging; which he could not even obtain without much intreaty; but having obtained it, he would engage in some general amusing conversation at first, and then ask them, How they liked their minister? When they told him, They did not go to church, he engaged them to go and take a trial; others he hired with money to go.—When the time of family worship came, he desired to know if they made any, and if not, what reasons they had for so doing.

There was one person, in particular, whom he would have to perform family worship, who told him That he could not pray; and he asked, What was the reason? He told him, That he never used to pray any, and so could not:—He would not take that for answer, but would have the man to make a trial in that duty before him; to which the man replied, "O Lord! thou knowest that this man would have me to pray; but, thou knowest, that I cannot pray."—After which Mr. Guthrie bid him stop, and said, He had done enough; and prayed himself, to their great surprise. When prayer was ended, the wife said to her306 husband, That surely this was a minister (for they did not know him): After this, he engaged them to come to the kirk on sabbath, and see what they thought of their minister. When they came there, they discovered, to their consternation, that it had been their minister himself who had allured them thither.—And this condescending manner of gaining them, procured a constant attendance on public ordinances; as was at length accompanied by the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ unto the praise of God.

There was also another person in his parish, who had a custom of going a-fowling on the Sabbath-day, and neglecting the church; in which practice he had continued for a considerable time. Mr. Guthrie asked him, What reason he had for so doing? He told him, That the sabbath-day was the most fortunate day in all the week for that exercise,—Mr. Guthrie asked, What he could make by that day's exercise? He replied, That he would make half a-crown of money that day.—Mr. Guthrie told him, If he would go to church on sabbath he would give him as much; and, by that means, got his promise. After sermon was over, Mr. Guthrie asked, If he would come back the next sabbath-day, and he would give him the same?—which he did; and from that time afterwards, never failed to keep the church, and also freed Mr. Guthrie of his promise.—He afterwards became a member of his session.

He would frequently use innocent recreations, such as fishing, fowling, and playing on the ice, which contributed much to preserve a vigorous state of health.—And, while in frequent conversation with the neighbouring gentry, as these occasions gave him opportunity, he would bear in upon them reproofs and instructions with an inoffensive familiarity; as Mr. Dunlop has observed of him, "But as he was animated by a flaming zeal for the glory of his blessed Master, and a tender compassion to the souls of men, and as it was the principal thing that made him desire life and health, that he might employ them in propagating the kingdom of God, and in turning transgressors from their ways; so the very hours of recreation were dedicated to this purpose; which was so indeared to him, that he knew how to make his diversions subservient to the nobler ends of his ministry. He made them the occasion of familiarizing his people to him, and introducing himself to their affections, and in the disguise of a sportsman he gained some to a religious life, whom he307 could have little influence upon in a ministers gown, of which there happened several memorable examples."

His person was stately and well-set; his features comely and handsome; he had a strong clear voice, joined to a good ear, which gave him a great pleasure in music, and he failed not to employ that talent for the noblest use, the praising of his Maker and Saviour, in which part of divine worship his soul and body acted with united and unwearied vigour.

He was happily married to one Agness Campbel, daughter to David Campbel of Sheldon in the shire of Ayr, a remote branch of the family of Loudon. August 1645, his family affairs were both easy and comfortable. His wife was a gentlewoman endued with all the qualities that could render her a blessing to her husband, joined to handsome and comely features, good sense and good breeding sweetened by a modest cheerfulness of temper, and, what was most comfortable to Mr. Guthrie, she was sincerely pious, so that they lived a little more than twenty years in the most complete friendship, and with a constant mutual satisfaction founded on the noblest principles; one faith, one hope, one baptism, and a sovereign love to Jesus Christ, which zealously inspired them both. By her he had six children; two of whom only out-lived himself; both of them daughters, who endeavoured to follow the example of their excellent parents; one of them was married to Miller of Glenlee, a gentleman in the shire of Ayr, and the other to Mr. Peter Warner anno 1681.; after the revolution, Mr. Warner was settled at Irvine. He had two children, William of Ardrie in Ayr-shire, and Margaret Warner, married to Mr. Wodrow minister at Eastwood, who wrote the history of the sufferings of the church of Scotland betwixt the years 1660 and 1688, inclusive.—But to return.

When Mr. Guthrie was but young and new married, he was appointed by the general assembly to attend the army. When he was preparing for his departure, a violent fit of the gravel (unto which he was often subject) reduced him to the greatest extremity of pain and danger; which made his religious spouse understand and improve the divine chastisement; she then saw how easily God could put an end to his life, which she was too apprehensive about, and brought herself to a resolution never to oppose her inclination to his entering upon any employment, whereby he might honour his Maker, though never so much hazard should attend it.

308 While he was with the army, upon the defeat of a party he was then with, he was preserved in a very extraordinary manner; which made him ever after retain a greater sense of the divine goodness; and after his return to his parish, was animated to a more vigorous diligence in the work of the ministry, and propagating the kingdom of the Son of God, both among his people and all round about him; his public preaching, especially at the administration of the Lord's Supper, and his private conversation conspiring together for these noble purposes.

After this, Mr. Guthrie had occasion again to be with the army, when the English sectaries prevailed under Oliver Cromwel. After the defeat at Dunbar Sept. 3d, 1650, when the army was at Stirling, that godly man Mr. Rutherford writes a letter to him; wherein, by way of caution, near the end, he says, "But let me obtest all the serious seekers of his face, his secret sealed ones, by the strongest consolations of the Spirit, by the gentleness of Jesus Christ, that Plant of renown, by your last accounts, and by your appearing before God, when the white throne shall be up, be not deceived with these fair words: though my spirit be astonished at the cunning distinctions, which are found out in the matters of the covenant, that help may be had against this man; yet my heart trembleth to entertain the least thought of joining with these deceivers[137]." Accordingly he joined the remonstrators, and was chosen moderator at that synod at Edinburgh after the public resolutioners went out and left them.

The author of his memoirs saith, "His pleasant and facetious conversation procured him an universal respect from the English officers, and made them fond of his company; while at the same time his courage and constancy did not fail him in the cause of his great Master, and was often useful to curb the extravagancies of the sectaries, and maintain order and regularity." One instance of which happened, at the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, at Glasgow, celebrated by Mr. Andrew Gray.——Several of the English officers had formed a design to put in execution the disorderly principle of a promiscuous admission to the Lord's table, by coming to it themselves without acquainting the minister, or being in a due manner found worthy of that privilege.——It being Mr. Guthrie's turn to309 serve at that table, he spoke to them, when they were leaving their pews in order to make the attempt, with such gravity, resolution and zeal, that they were quite confounded, and sat down without making any further disturbance.

About this time that set of heretics, called quakers, endeavoured to sow their tares in Fenwick parish, when Mr. Guthrie was some weeks absent, about his own private affairs in Angus.—But he returned before this infection had sunk deep; recovered some who were in hazard of being tainted by its fatal influence; and confounded the rest, that they despaired of any further attack upon his flock.—This wild set had made many proselytes to their demented delusions in Kilbryde, Glasgow, and other neighbouring parishes; yea, they prospered so well in Glasford parish, that there is yet a church-yard in that place, where they buried their own dead, with their heads to the east, contrary to the practice of all other christians.

After this, he had several calls for transportation to other parishes, of more importance than ever Fenwick was; which places were, Renfrew, Linlithgow, Stirling, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. But the air and recreation of a country life were useful to him, in maintaining a healthful constitution; and, above all, the love his flock had to him caused him put on an invincible obstinacy, against all designs of separation from them; a relation, when it is animated with this principle of the spiritual life, and founded on so noble a bottom, enters deepest into the soul; and a minister can scarce miss to have peculiar tenderness and warmth of divine affections to those whose father he is after the Spirit; and hath been honoured of God, in bringing them to the kingdom of his Son, and begetting them through the gospel; whose heavenly birth is now the highest pleasure and brightest triumph of his life, and will be one day his crown of glory and rejoicing. And doubtless, when Mr. Guthrie preferred Fenwick, a poor obscure parish, to the most considerable charges in the nation, it was a proof of his mortification to the world, and that he was moved by views superior to temporal interests.

About the year 1656, or 1657, some unknown person somehow got a copy of a few imperfect notes of some sermons that Mr. Guthrie had preached from the 55th chapter of the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah, with relation to personal covenanting; and, without the least intimation of the design made to him, printed them in a little pamphlet of 61 pages 12mo, under this title, A clear, attractive, warming beam of light, from Christ, the Sun of310 light, leading unto himself, &c.——printed at Aberdeen, 1657.——

This book was indeed anonymous; but Mr. Guthrie was reputed the author by the whole country, and was therefore obliged to take notice of it. He was equally displeased at the vanity of the title, and the defect of the work itself, which consisted of some broken notes of his sermons, confusedly huddled together, by an injudicious hand.——He saw that the only method to remedy this, was to review his own sermons; from which he soon composed that admirable treatise, The Christian's great interest; the only genuine work of Mr. Guthrie, which hath been blessed by God with wonderful success, in our own country; being published very seasonably a little before the introduction of prelacy in Scotland at the restoration.

The author of his memoirs saith, "He had a story from a reverend minister of the church, who had the sentiments of Dr. Owen from his own mouth, who said,——You have truly men of great spirits in Scotland; there is, for a gentleman, Mr. Bailey of Jerviswood, a person of the greatest abilities I almost ever met with; and, for a divine, (said he, taking out of his pocket a little gilt copy of Mr. Guthrie's treatise) that author I take to have been one of the greatest divines that ever wrote. It is my vade mecum, and I carry it and the Sedan new testament still about with me. I have wrote several folios, but there is more divinity in it than in them all.——It was translated into low dutch by the reverend and pious Mr. Kealman, and was highly esteemed in Holland, so that Mrs. Guthrie and one of her daughters met with uncommon civility and kindness, when their relation to its author was known. It was also translated into french, and high dutch; and we are informed, that it was also translated into one of the eastern languages, at the charge of that noble pattern of religion, learning and charity, the honourable Robert Boyle."

At the synod of Glasgow held April 1661, after long reasoning about proper measures for the security of religion, the matter was referred to a committee; Mr. Guthrie prescribed the draught of an address to the parliament, wherein a faithful testimony was given to the purity of our reformation, in worship, doctrine, discipline and government, in terms equally remarkable for their prudence and courage. Every body approved of it; and it was transmitted to the synod. But some, on the resolution side, judged it not convenient, and gave an opportunity to311 those, who designed to comply with prelacy, to procure a delay; and, at that time, got it crushed: Yet it affords a proof of the zealous honesty and firmness of Mr. Guthrie.

About this time, being the last time that he was with his cousin Mr. James Guthrie, he happened to be very melancholy, which made Mr. James say, "A penny for your thought, cousin."——Mr. William answered, "There is a poor man at the door, give him the penny;" which being done, he proceeded and said, "I'll tell you, cousin, what I am, not only thinking upon, but I am sure of, if I be not under a delusion.——The malignants will be your death, and this gravel will be mine; but you will have the advantage of me, for you will die honourably before many witnesses, with a rope about your neck; and I will die whining upon a pickle straw, and will endure more pain before I rise from your table, than all the pain you will have in your death."

He took a resolution to wait on his worthy friend Mr. James, at his death (his execution being on Saturday June 1.) notwithstanding the apparent hazard, at that time, in so doing; but his session prevailed on him (although with much difficulty) by their earnest intreaties, to lay aside his design at that time.

Through the interposition of the earl of Eglinton, and the chancellor Glencairn, whom he had obliged before the restoration, when he was imprisoned for his loyalty, now contributed what he could for his preservation; by which means (of the chancellor) he, above many, had near four years further respite with his people at Fenwick. In which time, his church, although a large country one, was overlaid and crowded every Sabbath-day, and very many, without doors, from distant parishes, such as Glasgow, Paisley, Hamilton, Lanerk, Kilbryde, Glasford, Strathaven, Newmills, Egelsham, and many other places, who hungred for the pure gospel preached, and got a meal by the word of his ministry. It was their usual practice to come to Fenwick on Saturday, and to spend the greatest part of the night in prayer to God, and conversation about the great concerns of their souls, to attend the public worship on the Sabbath, to dedicate the remainder of that holy day in religious exercises, and then to go home on Monday the length of ten, twelve or twenty miles without grudging in the least at the long way, want of sleep or other refreshments; neither did they find themselves the less prepared312 for any other business through the week[138].——These years were the most particular under the divine influences of the Holy Spirit, accompanying the ministry and ordinances dispensed by Mr. Guthrie in all his life, and will still be had in remembrance; a remarkable blessing accompanied ordinances to people who came with such a disposition of soul, great numbers were converted unto the truth, and many built up in their most holy faith.——In a word, He was honoured to be a man in the Lord's hand of turning many to a religious life; and who, after his being taken from them, could never, without exultation of soul and emotion of revived affection, think upon their spiritual father, and the power of that victorious grace, which, in those days, triumphed so gloriously; and for many years afterwards, were considered, above many other parishes in the kingdom, as a civilized and religious people; he having with a becoming boldness, fortified them in a zealous adherence to the purity of our reformation; warned them of the defection that was then made by the introduction of prelacy; and instructed them in the duty of such a difficult time, so that they never made any compliance with the prelatical schemes afterwards.

The extraordinary reputation and usefulness of his ministry were admired and followed by all the country around him, which provoked the jealous and angry prelates against him, and was one of the causes of his being at last attacked by them. Then the earl of Glencairn made a visit to the arch-bishop of Glasgow at his own house, and at parting asked as a favour in particular from him, That Mr. Guthrie might be overlooked, as knowing him to be an excellent man.——The bishop not only refused him, but did, with a disdainful haughty air, tell him, That shall not be done; it cannot be, he is a ringleader and keeper up of schism in my diocese,——and then left the chancellor very abruptly. Row, Allan, and some other presbyterian gentlemen, who were waiting on him, observing the chancellor discomposed when the bishop left him, presumed to ask him what the matter was; to which the earl answered, "we have set up these men, and they will tread us under their feet." In consequence of this resolution of bishop Burnet, Mr. Guthrie was, by a commission from him, suspended;313 and the bishop dealt with several of his creatures, the curates, to intimate the sentence against him, and many refused, for (saith Wodrow), "There was an awe upon their spirits, which feared them from meddling with this great man." Be as it will, at last he prevailed with the curate of Calder, and promised him five pounds sterling of reward. Mr. Guthrie, being warned of this design of the bishop against him, advised with his friends to make no resistance at his deposition from the church and manse, since his enemy wanted only this as a handle to persecute him criminally for his former zeal and faithfulness.

Accordingly, on Wednesday July 20, he, with his congregation, kept the day with fasting and prayer. He preached to them from Hos. xiii. 9. O Israel! thou hast destroyed thyself, &c. From that scripture, with great plainness and affection, he laid before them their own sins, and the sins of the land and age they lived in; and indeed the place was a Bochim——At the close of this day's work, he gave them intimation of sermon on the next Lord's day, very early; and accordingly his people, and many others, met him at the church of Fenwick, betwixt four and five in the morning, when he preached to them from the close of his last text, But in me is thine help.——And as he used on ordinary Sabbaths, he also now had two sermons, and a short interval betwixt them, and dismissed the people before nine in the morning. Upon this melancholy occasion he directed them unto the great Fountain of help, when the gospel and ministers were taken from them; and took his leave of them, commending them to God, who was able to build them up, and help them in time of need.

Upon the day appointed, the curate came to Fenwick, with a party of twelve soldiers, on the sabbath-day; and, by commission from the arch-bishop, discharged Mr. Guthrie to preach any more in Fenwick, declared the church vacant and suspended him from the exercise of his ministry.

The curate left the party without, and came into the manse; and declared, That the bishop and committee, after much lenity shewed to him for a long time, were constrained to pass the sentence of suspension against him, for not keeping of presbyteries and synods with the rest of his brethren, and his unpeaceableness in the church; of which sentence he was appointed to make public intimation unto him, for which purpose he read his commission under the hand of the arch-bishop of Glasgow.

314 Mr. Guthrie answered, "I judge it not convenient to say much in answer to what you have spoken; only, whereas you alledge there hath been much lenity used toward me—be it known to you, that I take the Lord for party in that, and thank him first——yea, I look upon it as a door which God opened to me, for the preaching of this gospel, which you nor any man else was able to shut, till it was given you of God; and as to that sentence, passed against me, I declare before these gentlemen (meaning the officers of the party) that I lay no weight upon it, as it comes from you, or those that sent you—though that I do respect the civil authority, who, by their law, laid the ground for this sentence passed against me.——I declare I would not surcease from the exercise of my ministry for all that sentence.——And as to the crimes I am charged with,—I did keep presbyteries and synods with the rest of my brethren; but I do not judge those who do now sit in these to be my brethren, who have made defection from the truth and cause of God; nor do I judge those to be free and lawful courts of Christ, that are now sitting; and as to my peaceableness—I know I am bidden follow peace with all men, but I know also I am bidden follow it with holiness; and since I could not obtain peace without prejudice to holiness, I thought myself obliged to let it go.——And as for your commission, Sir, to intimate this sentence,—I here declare, I think myself called by the Lord to the work of the ministry, and did forsake the nearest relation in the world, and gave up myself to the service of the gospel in this place, having received an unanimous call from this parish, and was licenced and ordained by the presbytery; and I bless the Lord, he hath given me some success and seals of my ministry, upon the souls and consciences of not a few, who are gone to heaven, and of some who are yet in the way to it.——And now, Sir, if you will take it upon you to interrupt my work among this people, I shall wish the Lord may forgive you the guilt of it; I cannot but leave all the bad consequences that may fall out upon it betwixt God and your own consciences, and here I do further declare, before these gentlemen, that I am suspended from my ministry for adhering to the covenants and word of God, from which you and others have apostatized."

Here the curate interrupting him, said, The Lord had a work before that covenant had a being, and that he judged them apostates that adhered to that covenant, and he wished315 that the Lord would not only forgive him (meaning Mr. Guthrie) but if it were lawful to pray for the dead (at which expression the soldiers laughed) that the Lord might forgive the sin of this church these hundred years by-past. It is true, answered Mr. Guthrie, the Lord had a work before that covenant had a being, but it is as true, that it hath been more glorious since that covenant; and it is a small thing for us to be judged of you, in adhering to this covenant, who have so deeply corrupted your ways; and seem to reflect on the whole work of reformation from popery these hundred years bygone, by intimating that the church had need of pardon for the same.——As for you, gentlemen (added he, to the soldiers), I wish the Lord may pardon your countenancing this man in his business. One of them scoffingly replied, I wish we never do a greater fault. Well, said Mr. Guthrie, a little sin may damn a man's soul.

After all this and more had passed, Mr. Guthrie called for a glass of ale, and, craving a blessing himself, drank to the commander of the soldiers. After they were by him civilly entertained, they left the house. At parting with the curate, Mr. Guthrie signified so much to him, that he apprehended some evident mark of the Lord's displeasure was abiding him, for what he was a-doing; and seriously warned him to prepare for some stroke coming upon him, and that very soon.

When the curate left the manse, he went to the church with the soldiers his guard (now his hearers) and preached to them not a quarter of an hour, and intimated to them from the pulpit the bishop's sentence against Mr. Guthrie. Nobody came to hear him but his party, and a few children, who created him some disturbance, till they were chased away by the soldiers[139]. Indeed his people were ready to have sacrificed their all, and resisted even unto blood, in his defence and the gospel, had they been permitted by him.

As for the curate, (says Mr. Wodrow) I am well assured he never preached any more after he left Fenwick; he reached Glasgow, but it is not certain if he reached Calder (though but four miles from Glasgow): However, in a few days he died, in great torment of an iliac passion, and his wife and children died all in a year or thereby, and none belonging to him were left.——His reward of five pounds was dear bought; it was the price of blood, the316 blood of souls. Neither he, nor his had any satisfaction in it. Such a dangerous thing it is to meddle with Christ's servants.

After this Mr. Guthrie continued in Fenwick until the year 1665. The brother, to whom his paternal estate was made over, dying in summer, Mr. Guthrie's presence at home was the more necessary, for ordering of his private affairs; which made him and his wife make a journey to Angus about the same time. He had not been long in that country until he was seized with a complication of distempers; the gravel, with which he had been formerly troubled; the gout; a violent heart-burning; and an ulcer in his kidneys: All which attacked him with great fury. And being thus tormented with violent pain, his friends were sometimes obliged to hold down his head and up his feet; and yet he would say, The Lord hath been kind to him, for all the ills he had done; and at the same time said, "Though I should die mad, yet I know I shall die in the Lord.—Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord at all times, but more especially when a flood of errors, snares and judgments are beginning, or coming on a nation, church or people."

In the midst of all his heavy affliction he still adored the measures of divine providence, though at the same time he longed for his dissolution, and expressed the satisfaction and joy with which he would make the grave his dwelling-place, when God should think fit to give him rest there.——His compassionate Master did at last indulge the pious breathing of his soul; for, after eight or ten days illness, he was gathered to his fathers, in the house of his brother in-law, Mr. Lewis Skinnier of Brechin, upon Wednesday forenoon, October 10th, 1665, (in the 45th year of his age), and was buried in the church of Brechin, under Pitfrothy's desk.

During his sickness he was visited by the bishop of Brechin, and several episcopal ministers and relations, who all had a high value for him, notwithstanding he exprest his sorrow (with great freedom) for their compliance with the corrupted establishment in ecclesiastical affairs. He died in the full assurance of faith as to his own interest in God's covenant, and under the pleasing hopes that God would return in glory to the church of Scotland.

Mr. John Livingston, in his memorable characteristics, says, "Mr. William Guthrie, minister at Fenwick, was a man of a most ready wit, fruitful invention, and apposite comparisons, qualified both to awaken and pacify317 conscience, straight and zealous for the cause of Christ, and a great light in the west of Scotland."—And elsewhere says, "Mr. Guthrie, in his doctrine, was as full and free as any man in Scotland had ever been; which, together with the excellency of his preaching gift, did so recommend him to the affection of his people, that they turned the corn-field of his glebe into a little town, every one building a house for his family on it that they might live under the drop of his ministry."

Mr. Crawford, in a MSS. never published, says, "Mr. Guthrie was a burning and a shining light, kept in after many others, by the favour of the old earl of Eglinton, the chancellor's father-in-law.—He converted and confirmed many thousands of souls, and was esteemed the greatest preacher in Scotland."

And indeed, he was accounted as singular a person for confirming those that were under soul-exercise, as almost any in his age, or any age we have heard of.——Many have made reflections on him, because he left off his ministry, on account of the bishop's suspension; his reasons may be taken from what hath been already related. It is true indeed, the authority of the Stuarts was too much the idol of jealousy to many of our worthy Scots reformers; for we may well think (as a late author says, tho' no great enemy unto these civil powers) that it was a wonder the nation did not rise up as one man, to cut off those who had razed the whole of the presbyterian constitution; but the Lord, for holy and wise ends, saw meet to do otherwise, and cut off those in power by another arm, after they had all been brought to the furnace together; altho' they might well have all the while seen as Mr. Guthrie has observed, "That the civil power laid the foundation for the other."

So far as can be learned, Mr. Guthrie never preached in Fenwick again, after the intimation of the bishop's sentence to him; and it is well known, that he, with many of his people in Fenwick, upon a time, went to Stuarton, to hear a young presbyterian minister preach, and when coming home, they said to him, that they were not pleased with that man's preaching (he being of a slow delivery);—he said, They were all mistaken in the man, he had a great sermon; and, if they pleased, at a convenient place, he should let them hear a good part thereof.——And sitting all down on the ground in a good summer night, about sun-setting; when, he having rehearsed the sermon, they318 thought it a wonderful great one, because of his good delivery, and their amazing love to him: After which they arose, and set forward.

All allow that Mr. Guthrie was a man of strong natural parts (notwithstanding his being a hard student at first); his voice was, among the best sort, loud, and yet managed with a charming cadence and elevation; his oratory was singular, and by it he was wholly master of the passions of his hearers. He was an eminent chirurgion at the jointing of a broken soul, and at the stating of a doubtful conscience; so that afflicted persons in spirit came far and near, and received much satisfaction and comfort by him. Those who were very rude, when he came first to the parish, at his departure were very sorrowful, and, at the curate's intimation of the bishop's commission, would have made resistance, if he would have permitted them, not fearing the hazards or hardships they might have endured on that account afterwards.

Besides his valuable treatise already mentioned, there are also a few very faithful sermons, bearing his name, said to be preached at Fenwick from Matth. xiv. 44, &c. Hos. xiii. 9, &c. But because they are somewhat rude in expression, differing from the stile of his treatise, some have thought them spurious, or, at least, not as they were at first delivered by him. And as for that treatise on ruling elders, which is now affixed to the last edition of his treatise (called his works), it was wrote by his cousin, Mr. James Guthrie of Stirling. There are also some other discourses of his yet in manuscript, out of which I had the occasion to transcribe seventeen sermons published in the year 1779. There are yet a great variety of sermons and notes of sermons bearing his name yet in manuscript, some of which seems to be wrote with his own hand.


The Life of Mr. Robert Blair.

Mr. Blair was born at Irvine anno 1593. His father was John Blair of Windyedge, a younger brother of the ancient and honourable family of Blair of that ilk; his mother was Beatrix Muir of the ancient family of Rewallan. His father died when he was young, leaving his mother with six children (of whom Robert was the319 youngest). She continued near fifty years a widow, and lived till she was an hundred years old.

Mr. Robert entered into the college of Glasgow, about the year 1608, where he studied hard and made great progress; but lest he should have been puffed up with his proficiency (as he himself observes) the Lord was pleased to visit him with a tertian fever, for full four months, to the great detriment of his studies.

Nothing remarkable occurred till the 20th year of his age, when he gave himself sometimes to the exercise of archery and the like recreations; but lest his studies should have been hindered, he resolved to be busy at them every other night, and for that purpose could find no place so proper as a room whereinto none were permitted to go, by reason of an apparition that was said to frequent it, yea, wherein it is also said, that he himself had seen the devil, in the likeness of one of his fellow-students[140], whom he took to be really his companion, but when he, with a candle in his hand, chased him to the corner of the room, offering to pull him out, he found nothing; after which he was never more troubled, studying the one night without fear, and the other he slept very sweetly, believing in him, who was still his great Preserver and Protector for ever.

Having now finished his course of philosophy under the discipline of his own brother, Mr. William Blair (who was afterwards minister at Dumbarton). He engaged for some time to be an assistant to an aged schoolmaster at Glasgow, who had above 300 scholars under his instruction, the half of whom were committed to the charge of Mr. Blair. At this time he was called, by the ministry of the famous Mr. Boyd of Trochrigg (then principal of the college of Glasgow), in whose hand, the Lord, as he himself observes[141], did put the key of his heart, so that whenever he heard him in public or private he profited much, being as it were sent to him from God to speak the words of eternal life.

Two years after he was admitted in the room of his brother Mr. William, to be regent in the college of Glasgow, though not without the opposition of arch-bishop Law, who had promised that place to another.——But neither the principal nor regents giving place to his motion, Mr. Blair was admitted. After his admission, his elder colleagues, perceiving what great skill and insight he had in humanity, urged him to read the classical authors; whereupon320 he began and read Plautus, but the Lord, being displeased with that design, diverted him from this, by meeting with Augustine's confession, wherein he inveighs sharply against the education of youth in heathen writings.——Whereupon he betook himself to the reading of the holy scriptures and the ancient fathers, especially Augustine, who had another relish; and though he perceived that our reformed divines were more sound than several of the ancient, yet in his spare hours he resolved to peruse the ancient monuments, wherein he made a considerable progress.

In summer 1616, he entered on trials for the ministry, and it was laid upon him to preach in the college-kirk the first Sabbath after his licence; and some years after, being told by some of the hearers (who were better acquainted with religion, than he was then) that in his sermon the Lord did speak to their hearts, which not only surprized him, but also stirred him to follow after the Lord.

Upon an evening, the same year, having been engaged with some irreligious company, when he returned to his chamber to his wonted devotion, he was threatened to be deserted of God, had a restless night, and to-morrow resolved on a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, and towards the end of that day he found access to God with sweet peace, through Jesus Christ, and turned to beware of such company; but running into another extreme of rudeness and incivility to profane persons, he found it was very hard for short-sighted sinners to hold the right and the straight way.

While he was regent in the college, upon a report that some sinful oath was to be imposed upon the masters, he enquired at Mr. Gavin Forsyth, one of his fellow-regents, What he would do in this? He answered, By my faith I must live.——Mr. Blair said, "Sir, I will not swear by my faith, as you do, but, truly, I intend to live by my faith. You may choose your own way, but I will adventure on the Lord."——And so this man did continue (to whom the matter of an oath was a small thing) after he was gone, but it is to be noticed, that Mr. Forsyth was many years in such poverty as forced him to supplicate the general assembly for some relief, when Mr. Blair (who was chosen moderator) upon his appearing in such a desperate case, could not shun observing that former passage of his, and upon his address to him in private, with great tenderness, put him in mind, that he had been truly carried through by his faith, at which he formerly had scoffed.

321 Some time after he was a regent in the college, he was under deep exercises of soul, wherein he attained unto much comfort.—Amongst other things, that great oracle, the just shall live by faith, sounded loudly in his ears, which put him on a new search of the scriptures, in which he went on till Mr. Culverwal's treatise of faith came out; which being the same with what is since published by the Westminster assembly, he was thereby much satisfied and comforted.

"By this study of the nature of faith, and especially of the text before mentioned; (says he) I learned, 1st, That nominal Christians or common professors were much deluded in their way of believing; and that not only do Papists err who place faith in an implicit assent to the truth which they know not, and that it is better defined by ignorance than knowledge, (a way of believing very suitable to Antichrist's slaves, who are led by the nose they know not whither); but also secure Protestants, who, abusing the description of old given of faith, say that it implies an assured knowledge in the person who believes of the love of God in Christ to him in particular: this assurance is no doubt attainable, and many believers do comfortably enjoy the same, as our divines prove unanswerably against the Popish doctors who maintain the necessity of perpetual doubting, and miscall comfortable assurance the Protestant's presumption. But notwithstanding that comfortable assurance doth ordinarily accompany a high degree of faith, yet that assurance is not to be found in all the degrees of saving faith: so that by not adverting to that distinction many gracious souls and sound believers, who have received Jesus Christ and rested upon him, as he is offered to them in the word, have been much puzzled, as if they were not believers at all: on the other hand, many secure and impenitent sinners, who have not yet believed the Lord's holiness, nor abhorrence of sin, nor their own ruined state and condition, do from self-love imagine, without any warrant of the word, that they are beloved of God, and that the foresaid description of faith agrees well to them.

"2dly, I perceived, that many that make a right use of faith, in order to attain to the knowledge of their justification, make no direct use of it in order to sanctification, and that the living of the just by faith, reacheth further than I formerly conceived, and that the heart is purified by faith. If any say, Why did I not know, that precious faith, being a grace, is not only a part of our holiness,322 but does promote other parts of holiness, I answer, that I did indeed know this, and made use of faith as a motive to stir me up to holiness, according to the apostle's exhortation, Having therefore these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. But I had not before learned to make use of faith as a mean and instrument to draw holiness out of Christ, though, it may be, I had both heard and spoken that by way of a transient notion; but then I learned to purpose that they who receive forgiveness of sin, are sanctified through faith in Christ, as our glorious Saviour taught the apostle, Acts xxiv. 18.—Then I saw, that it was no wonder that my not making use of faith for sanctification, as has been said, occasioned an obstruction in the progress of holiness, and I perceived that making use of Christ for sanctification without direct employing of faith to extract the same out of him, was like one seeking water out of a deep well without a long cord to let down the bucket, and draw it up again.—Then was I like one that came to the storehouse, but got my provision reached unto me, as it were, through a window: I had come to the house of mercy, but had not found the right door; but by this discovery, I found a patent door, at which to go in, to receive provision and furniture from Christ Jesus. Thus the blessed Lord trained me up, step by step, suffering many difficulties to arise, that more light from himself might flow in.

"I hoped then to make better progress with less stumbling; but shortly after I met with another difficulty; and wondering what discovery would next clear the way, I found that the spirit of holiness whose immediate and proper work was to sanctify, had been slighted, and thereby grieved: for though the Holy Spirit had been teaching, and I had been speaking of him and to him frequently, and had been seeking the outpouring thereof, and urging others to seek the same; yet that discovery appeared unto me a new practical lesson: and so I laboured more to cherish and not quench the Holy Spirit, praying to be led unto all truth, according to the scripture, by that blessed guide; and that by that heavenly Comforter, I might be encouraged in all troubles, and sealed up thereby in strong assurance of my interest in God.

"About that time, the Lord set me to work to stir up the students under my discipline, earnestly to study piety, and to be diligent in secret seeking of the Lord: and my323 endeavours this way were graciously blessed to severals of them."

Dr. John Cameron, being brought from France, and settled principal of the college in Mr. Boyd's place, and being wholly set on to promote the cause of episcopacy, urged Mr. Blair to conform to Perth articles, but he utterly refused.——And, it being a thing usual in these days, for the regents to meet to dispute some thesis, for their better improvement, Mr. Blair had the advantage of his opponent (who was a French student), who maintained that election did proceed upon foreseen faith; but the doctor stated himself in the opposition to Mr. Blair, in a way which tended to Arminianism; and Mr. Blair being urged to a second dispute by the doctor himself, did so drive him to the mire of Arminianism, as did redound much to the doctor's ignominy afterward, and although he and Mr. Blair were afterward reconciled, yet he, being so nettled in that dispute, improved all occasions against him; and, for that purpose, when Mr. Blair was on a visit to some of his godly friends and acquaintances, he caused one Garner search his prelections on Aristotle's ethics and politics, and finding some things capable of wresting, he brought them to the doctor, who presented them to the arch-bishop of Glasgow; which coming to Mr. Blair's ears, he was so far from betraying his innocence, being assured the Lord would clear his integrity, that he prepared a written apology, and desired a public hearing before the ministers and magistrates of the city; which being granted, he managed the points so properly, that all present professed their entire satisfaction with him; yea, one of the ministers of the city (who had been influenced against him formerly) said in the face of that meeting, Would to God, king James had been present, and heard what answers that man hath given. Such a powerful antagonist rendered his life so uneasy, that he resolved to leave the college and go abroad; which resolution no sooner took air than the doctor and the arch-bishop (knowing his abilities) wrote letters to cause him stay; but he, finding that little trust was to be put in their fair promises, and being weary of teaching philosophy, demitted his charge, took his leave of the doctor, wishing him well (although he was the cause of his going away) and left the college, to the great grief of his fellow-regents and students, and the people of Glasgow.

Though he had several charges in Scotland presented him, and an invitation to go to France, yet, the next day after his leaving Glasgow, he had an invitation to go and324 be minister of Bangor in the county of Down in Ireland, which call he, for some time, rejected, until he was several times rebuked of the Lord, which made him bound in spirit to set his face towards a voyage to that country; and although he met with a contrary wind, and turned sea-sick, yet he had such recourse to God, that upon the very first sight of that land, he was made to exult for joy; and whilst he came near Bangor, he had a strong impression borne in upon him, that the dean thereof was sick; which impression he found to be true when he came thither, for Mr. Gibson, the incumbent, being sick, invited him to preach there (which he did for three sabbaths, to the good liking of the people of that parish); and, though he was formerly but a very naughty man, yet he told Mr. Blair, he was to succeed him in that place, and exhorted him, in the name of Christ, not to leave that good way wherein he had begun to walk, professing a great deal of sorrow that he had been a dean; he condemned episcopacy more strongly than ever Mr. Blair durst, and drawing his head toward his bosom, with both his arms he blessed him; which conduct being so unlike himself, and speaking in a strain so different from his usual, made a gentlewoman standing by say, An angel is speaking out of the dean's bed to Mr. Blair; thinking it could not be such a man. Within a few days he died, and Mr. Blair was settled minister there, whose ordination was on this manner—He went to bishop Knox, and told him his opinions, and withal said, That his sole ordination did contradict his principles.—But the bishop, being informed before-hand of his great parts and piety, answered him both wittily and submissively, saying, "Whatever you account of episcopacy, yet, I know, you account presbytery to have a divine warrant—Will ye not receive ordination from Mr. Cunningham and the adjacent brethren, and let me come in among them in no other relation than a presbyter;" for on no lower terms could he be answerable to law. This Mr. Blair could not refuse; he was accordingly ordained about the year 1623.

Being thus settled, his charge was very great, having above 1200 persons come to age, besides children, who stood greatly in need of instruction; and in this case, he preached twice a week, besides the Lord's day; on all which occasions, he found little difficulty either as to matter or method.

He became the chief instrument of that great work which appeared shortly thereafter at Six-mile water, and other325 parts in the counties of Down and Antrim, and that not only by his own ministry, wherein he was both diligent and faithful, but also in the great pains he took to stir up others unto the like duty.

While he was at Bangor, there was one Constable, in that parish, who went to Scotland with horses to sell, and at a fair sold them all to one, who pretended he had not that money at present, but gave him a bond till Martinmass.—The poor man, suspecting nothing, returned home; and one night, about that time, going homeward near Bangor, his merchant (who was supposed to be the devil) meets him; "Now, says he, you know my bargain, how I bought you at such a place, and now am come, as I promised, to pay the price." Bought me! said the poor man trembling, you bought but my horses. Nay, said the devil, I will let you know I bought yourself and farther said, He must either kill somebody, and the more excellent the person, the better it would be for him; and particularly charged him to kill Mr. Blair, else he would not free him. The man was so overcome with terror, thro' the violence of the temptation, that he determined the thing and went to Mr. Blair's house, with a dagger in his right hand, under his cloke, and though much confounded, was moving to get it out, but, on Mr. Blair's speaking to him, he fell a-trembling, and on inquiry declared the whole fact, and withal said, He had laboured to draw out the dagger but it would not come from the scabbard, though he knew not what hindered it; for when he essayed to draw it forth, again, it came out with ease. Mr. Blair blessed the Lord, and exhorted him to choose him for his refuge; after which, he departed[142].

But two weeks afterwards (being confined to his bed) he sent for Mr. Blair, and told him, That the night before as he was returning home, the devil appeared to him, and challenged him for opening to Mr. Blair what had passed betwixt them, claiming him as his, and putting the cap off his head and the band from his neck, said, That on hallow-evening he should have him soul and body, in spite of the minister and all others, and begged Mr. Blair, for Christ's sake, to be with him against that time. Mr. Blair instructed him, prayed with him, and promised to be with him against the appointed time; but, before that time, he had much hesitation in his own mind, whether to keep that appointment or not: Yet, at last, he took one of his326 elders with him, and went according to promise, and spent the whole night in prayer, explaining the doctrine of Christ's temptation, and praising with short intermissions, &c.—And in the morning they took courage, defying Satan and all his devices: the man seemed very penitent, and died in a little after.

It was during the first year of his ministry, that he resolved not to go through a whole book or chapter, but to make choice of some passages which held forth important heads of religion, and to close the course with one sermon of heaven's glory, and another of hell's torments; but when he came to meditate on these subjects, he was held a whole day in great perplexity, and could fix upon neither method nor matter till night, when, after sorrowing for his disorder, the Lord, in great pity, brought both matter and method unto his mind, which remained with him until he got the same delivered.

About this time he met with a most notable deliverance, for, staying in a high house at the end of the town until the manse was built, being late at his studies, the candle was done, and calling for another, as the landlady brought it from a room under which he lay, to her astonishment, a joist under his bed had taken fire, which, had he been in bed as usual, the consequence, in all probability, had been dreadful to the whole town, as well as to him, the wind being strong from that quarter; but, by the timeous alarm given, the danger was prevented; which made him give thanks to God for this great deliverance.

When he first celebrated the Lord's supper, his heart was much lifted up in speaking of the new covenant, which made him, under the view of a second administration of that ordinance, resolve to go back unto that inexhaustible fountain of consolation; and coming over to Scotland about that time[143], he received no small assistance from Mr. Dickson, who was then restored unto his flock at Irvine, and was studying and preaching on the same subject.

But it was not many years that he could have liberty in the exercise of his office, for in harvest 1631, he and Mr. Livingston, were, by Ecklim bishop of Down, suspended from their office, but, upon recourse to Dr. Usher, who sent a letter to the bishop, their sentence was relaxed, and they went on in their ministry, until May 1632, that they327 were by the said bishop, deposed from the office of the holy ministry.

After this, no redress could be had; whereupon Mr. Blair resolved on a journey to court to represent their petitions and grievances to the king; but, after his arrival at London, he could have no access for some time to his majesty, and so laboured under many difficulties with little hopes of redress, until one day, having gone to Greenwich park, where, being wearied with waiting on the court, and while at prayer, the Lord assured him that he would hunt the violent man to destroy him. And while thus in earnest with the Lord for a favourite return, he adventured to propose a sign, that if the Lord would make the reeds, growing hard by, which were so moved with the wind, as he was tossed in mind, to cease from shaking, he would take it as an assurance of the dispatch of his business; unto which the Lord condescended; for in a little time it became so calm, that not one of them moved; and in a short time he got a dispatch to his mind, wherein the king did not only sign his petition, but with his own hand wrote on the margin (directed to the depute) Indulge these men, for they are Scotchmen.

It was while in England, that he had from Ezekiel xxiv. 16. a strange discovery of his wife's death, and the very bed whereon she was lying, and particular acquaintances attending her; and although she was in good health at his return home, yet, in a little, all this exactly came to pass.

And yet, after his return, the king's letter being slighted by the depute, who was newly returned from England, he was forced to have recourse to arch-bishop Usher; which drew tears from his eyes, that he could not help them, and yet, by the interposition of lord Castle-Stuart with the king, they got six months liberty; but upon the luck of this in Nov. 1634, he was again conveened before the bishop, and the sentence of excommunication pronounced against him, by Ecklin bishop of Down.—After the sentence was pronounced, Mr. Blair rose up and publicly cited the bishop to appear before the tribunal of Jesus Christ, to answer for that wicked deed; whereupon he did appeal from the justice of God to his mercy; but Mr. Blair replied, Your appeal is like to be rejected, because you act against the light of your own conscience. In a few months after he fell sick, and the physician inquiring of his sickness, after some time's silence, he, with great difficulty, said, It is my conscience, man—To which the doctor replied,328 I have no cure for that;—and in a little after he died.

After his ejection, he preached often in his own house, and in others houses, until the beginning of the year 1635, that he began to think of marriage again with Catherine Montgomery, daughter to Hugh Montgomery, formerly of Busbie in Ayr-shire (then in Ireland) for which he came over to Scotland with his own and his wife's friends.—And upon his return to Ireland, they were married in the month of May following.

But matters still continuing the same, he engaged with the rest of the ejected ministers in their resolution in building a ship, called the Eagle-wings, of about 115 tons, on purpose to go to New-England. But about three or four hundred leagues from Ireland, meeting with a terrible hurricane, they were forced back unto the same harbour from whence they loosed, the Lord having work for them elsewhere, it was fit their purposes should be defeated. And having continued some four months after this in Ireland, until, upon information that he and Mr. Livingston were to be apprehended, they immediately went out of the way, and immediately took shipping, and landed in Scotland anno 1631.

All that summer after his arrival, he was as much employed in public and private exercises as ever before, mostly at Irvine and the country around, and partly at Edinburgh. But things being then in a confusion, because the service-book was then urged upon the ministers, his old inclination to go to France revived, and upon an invitation to be chaplain of col. Hepburn's regiment in the French service (newly inlisted in Scotland), with them he imbarked at Leith; but some of these recruits, who were mostly highlanders, being desperately wicked, upon his reproofs, threatening to stab him, he resolved to quit that voyage, and calling to the ship-master to set him on shore, without imparting his design, a boat was immediately ordered for his service; at which time he met with another deliverance, for his foot sliding, he was in danger of going to the bottom, but the Lord ordered, that he got hold of a rope, by which he hung till he was relieved.

Mr. Blair's return gave great satisfaction to his friends at Edinburgh, and, the reformation being then in the ascendant, in the spring of 1638, he got a call to be colleague to Mr. Annan at Ayr; and upon May 2, a meeting of presbytery, having preached from 2 Cor. iv. 5. he was, at329 the special desire of all the people there, admitted a minister.

He stayed not long here, for, having, before the general assembly held at Glasgow 1638, fully vindicated himself, both anent his affair with Dr. Cameron, while regent in the university, and his settlement in Ireland, he was, for his great parts and known abilities, by them ordered to be transported to St. Andrews; but the assembly's motives to this did prove his determent for some time, and the burgh of Ayr, where the Lord had begun to bless his labours, had the favour for another year. But the assembly held at Edinburgh 1630, being offended for his disobeying, ordered him peremptorily to transport himself thither.

Anno 1640, when the king had, by the advice of the clergy, caused burn the articles of the former treaty with the Scots, and again prepared to chastise them with a royal army, the Scots, resolving not always to play after-game, raised an army, invaded England, routed about 4000 English at Newburn, had Newcastle surrendered to them, and within two days, were masters of Durham; which produced a new treaty, more favourable to them than the former; and with this army was Mr. Blair, who went with lord Lindsay's regiment; and, when that treaty was on foot, the committee of estates and the army sent him up to assist the commissioners with his best advice.

Again after the rebellion in Ireland 1641, those who survived the storm, supplicated the general assembly 1642, for a supply of ministers, when severals went over, and among the first Mr. Blair. During his stay there, he generally preached once every day, and twice on Sabbath, and frequently in the field, the auditors being so large, and in some of these he administered the Lord's supper.

After his return, the condition of the church and state was various during the years 1643, and 1644; and particularly in Aug. 1643, the committee of the general assembly, whereof Mr. Blair was one, with John earl of Rutland, and other Scots commissioners from the parliament of England, and Messrs. Stephen Marshal and Philip Nye, ministers, agreed to a solemn league and covenant betwixt the two kingdoms of Scotland and England; and in the end of the same year, when the Scots assisted the English parliament, Mr. Blair was, by the commission of the general assembly, appointed minister to the earl of Crawford's regiment; with whom he stayed until the king was routed330 at Marston-muir July 1644, when he returned to his charge at St. Andrews.

The parliament and commission of the kirk sat at Perth in July 1645. The parliament was opened with a sermon by Mr. Blair; and, after he had, upon the forenoon of the 27th, a day of solemn humiliation preached again to the parliament, he rode out to the army, then encamped at Torgondermy, and preached to Crawford's and Maitland's regiments, to the first of whom he had been chaplain:—He told the brigade, That he was informed that many of them were turned dissolute and profane, and assured them, that though the Lord had covered their heads in the day of battle (few of them being killed at Marston-muir), they should not be able to stand before a less formidable foe, unless they repented. Though this freedom was taken in good part from one who wished them well, yet was too little laid to heart; and the most part of Crawford's regiment were cut off at Kilsyth in three weeks afterwards.

After the defeat at Kilsyth, severals were for treating with Montrose, but Mr. Blair opposed it, so that nothing was concluded until the Lord began to look upon the affliction of his people; for the committee of estates recalled general Leslie, with 4000 foot and 1000 dragoons, from England, to oppose whom Montrose marched southward; but was shamefully defeated at Philiphaugh Sept. 13, many of his forces being killed and taken prisoners, and he hardly escaped. On the 26, the parliament and commission of the general assembly sat down at St. Andrews (the plague being then in Edinburgh); here Mr. Blair preached before the parliament, and also prayed before the several sessions thereof; and when several prisoners, taken at Philiphaugh, were tried, three of them, viz. Sir Robert Spotiswood, Nathaniel Gordon, and Mr. Andrew Guthrie, were to be executed on the 17th of January thereafter, Mr. Blair visited them often, and was at much pains with them: He prevailed so far with Gordon, that he desired to be relaxed from the sentence of excommunication which he was under; and accordingly Mr. Blair did the same: The other two, who were bishops sons, died impenitent.—Mali corvi malum ovum.

Anno 1646, the general assembly, sitting at Edinburgh ordered Mr. Blair (who was then moderator), with Mr. Cant and Mr. Robert Douglas, to repair to the king at Newcastle, to concur with worthy Mr. Alexander Henderson and others, who were labouring to convince him331 great bloodshed in these kingdoms, and reconcile him to presbyterian church-government and the covenants. When these three ministers got a hearing, the room was immediately filled with several sorts of people to see their reception; Mr. Andrew Cant, bring eldest, began briskly to insinuate, with his wonted zeal and plainness, that the king favoured popery; Mr. Blair interrupted him, and modestly hinted, That it was not a fit time nor place for that.—The king, looking on him earnestly, said, "That honest man speaks wisely and discreetly; therefore I appoint you three to attend me to-morrow at ten o'clock in my bed-chamber." They attended, according to appointment, but got little satisfaction; only Mr. Blair asked his majesty, If there were not abominations in popery, &c. The king, lifting his hat, said, "I take God to witness that there are abominations in popery, which I so much abhor, that ere I consent to them, I would rather lose my life and crown." Yet after all this, Mr. Blair and Mr. Henderson (for these two he favoured most) having most earnestly desired him to satisfy the just desires of his subjects, he obstinately refused, though they besought it on their knees with tears. Renewed commissions for this end, were sent from Scotland, but to no good purpose, and Mr. Blair returned home to St. Andrews.

Mr. Henderson died at Edinburgh, Aug. 19, which the king no sooner heard, than he sent for Mr. Blair to supply his place, as chaplain in Scotland; which Mr. Blair, thro' fear of being insnared, was at first averse unto, but having consulted with Mr. David Dickson, and reflecting that Mr. Henderson had held his integrity fast unto the end, he applied himself to that employment with great diligence, every day praying before dinner and supper in the presence chamber; on the Lord's day lecturing once and preaching twice; besides preaching some week days in St. Nicholas's church; as also conversing much with the king, desiring him to condescend to the just desires of his parliament, and at other times debating concerning prelacy, liturgies and ceremonies.

One day after prayer, the king asked him, If it was warrantable in prayer to determine a controversy?—Mr. Blair, taking the hint, said, He thought he had determined no controversy in that prayer. Yes, said the king, you have determined the pope to be antichrist, which is a controversy among orthodox divines. To this Mr. Blair replied, To me this is no controversy, and I am sorry it should be accounted so by your majesty, sure it was none to your father.332 This silenced the king, for he was a great defender of his father's opinions; and his testimony, Mr. Blair knew well, was of more authority with him than the testimony of any divine. After a few months stay, Mr. Blair was permitted to visit his flock and family.

After the sitting of the Scots parliament, Mr. Blair made another visit to the king at Newcastle, where he urged him with all the arguments he was master of, to subscribe the covenants, and abolish Episcopacy in England, and he was confident all his honest Scotsmen would espouse his quarrel against his enemies in England, &c. To which the king answered, That he was bound by his great oath to defend Episcopacy, &c. in that church, and ere he wronged his conscience by violating his coronation-oath, he would lose his crown. Mr. Blair asked the form of that oath; he said, It was to maintain it to the utmost of his power.—Then, said Mr. Blair, you have not only defended it to the utmost of your power, but so long and so far, that now you have no power, &c. But by nothing could he prevail upon the king, and left him with a sorrowful heart, and returned to St. Andrews.

Again in the year 1648, when Cromwel came to Edinburgh, the commission of the kirk sent Mr. Blair and Messrs. David Dickson and James Guthrie to deal with him, for an uniformity in England. When they came, he entertained them with smooth speeches and solemn appeals to God as to the sincerity of his intentions. Mr. Blair being best acquaint with him, spoke for all the rest; and among other things, begged an answer to these three questions: (1.) What was his opinion of monarchical government? He answered, He was for monarchical government, &c. (2.) What was his opinion anent toleration? He answered confidently, That he was altogether against toleration. (3.) What was his opinion concerning the government of the church? O now, said Cromwel, Mr. Blair, you article me too severely; you must pardon me, that I give you not a present answer to this, &c. This he shifted, because he had before, in conversation with Mr. Blair, confessed he was for independency. When they came out, Mr. Dickson said, I am glad to hear this man speak no worse; whereunto Mr. Blair replied, If you knew him as well as I, you would not believe one word he says, for he is an egregious dissembler and a great liar.

When the differences fell out betwixt the protestors and resolutioners, Mr. Blair was at London, and afterward for the most part remained neuter in that affair; for which333 he was subjected to some hardships; yet he never omitted any proper place or occasion for the uniting and cementing these differences, none now in Scotland being more earnest in this than he and the learned and pious Mr. James Durham minister at Glasgow. These two, meeting at St. Andrews, had the influence to draw a meeting of the two sides to Edinburgh, where harmony was like to prevail; but the Lord's anger, being still drawn out for the prevailing sins of that time, all promising beginnings were blasted, and all hopes of agreement did vanish.

Thus affairs continued until the year 1660, that the kingdom, being quite sick of distractions, restored again Charles II.; the woeful consequences are otherwise too well known; And, on this last occasion, Mr. Blair again began to bestir himself to procure union betwixt the two foresaid parties, and for that end obtained a meeting; but his endeavours were frustrated, and no reconciliation could be made, till both sides were cast into the furnace of a sore and long persecution.

For in Sept. 1661, Mr. Sharp came to St. Andrews, and the presbytery, having had assurance of his deceitful carriage at court, and of the probability of his being made arch-bishop of St. Andrews, sent Mr. Blair, and another, to him, to discharge their duty, which they did so faithfully, that Sharp was never at ease till Mr. Blair was rooted out.

Mr. Blair taking occasion, in a sermon from 1 Pet. iii. 13 &c. to enlarge on suffering for righteousness sake, giving his testimony to the covenants and work of reformation, against the sinful and corrupt courses of the times, he was called over before the council Nov. 5. when the advocate and some noblemen were appointed to converse with Mr. Blair, where they posed him on the following points: (1.) Whether he had asserted presbyterial government to be jure divino? (2.) Whether he had asserted, that suffering for it was suffering for righteousness-sake? And, (3.) Whether in his prayers against Popery, he had joined Prelacy with it? Having answered all in the affirmative, professing his sorrow that they doubted his opinions in these points, he was first confined to his chamber in Edinburgh; and afterward, upon supplication, and the attestation of physicians on account of his health, he was permitted to retire to Inveresk about the 12th of January, 1662.

Mr. Blair continued here till Oct. following, enjoying much of God's presence amidst his outward trouble; but,334 being again commanded before the council, by the way, he took a sore fit of the gravel, and was for that time excused; and afterward, through the chancellor's favour, got liberty to go where he pleased, except St. Andrews, Edinburgh and the west country;—he went to Kirkaldy.

While at Kirkaldy, he lectured and prayed often to some Christian friends in his own family; and for his recreation taught his younger son the Greek language and logic. But the arch-bishop, envying the repose Mr. Blair and some others had in these circumstances, procured an act, that no outed minister should reside within 20 miles of an arch-bishop's see; and Mr. Blair removed from Kirkaldy to meikle Couston, in the parish of Aberdour, an obscure place, in Feb. 1666, where he continued till his death, which was shortly after.

For, upon the 10th of Aug. Mr. Blair, being now worn out with old age, and his spirits sunk with sorrow and grief for the desolations of the Lord's sanctuary in Scotland, took his last sickness, and entertained most serious thoughts of his near approaching end, ever extolling his glorious and good Master whom he had served. His sickness increasing, he was visited by many Christian friends and acquaintances, whom he strengthened by his many gracious and edifying words.

At one time, when they told him of some severe acts of council newly made upon arch-bishop Sharp's instigation, he prayed that the Lord would open his eyes, and give him repentance, &c. And to Mrs. Rutherford, at another time, he said, I would not exchange conditions with that man (though he was now on his bed of languishing, and the other possest of great riches and revenues) though all betwixt them were red gold, and given him to the bargain. When some ministers asked him, If he had any hopes of deliverance to the people of God, he said, He would not take upon him to determine the times and seasons the Lord keeps in his own hand, but that it was to him a token for good, that the Lord was casting the prelates out of the affections of all ranks and degrees of people, and even some who were most active in setting them up, were now beginning to lothe them for their pride, falsehood and covetousness.

To his wife and children he spake gravely and Christianly, and after he had solemnly blessed them, he severally admonished them as he judged expedient. His son David said, The best and worst of men have their thoughts and after thoughts; now, Sir, God having given you time for335 after-thoughts on your way, we would hear what they are now.—He answered, I have again and again thought upon my former ways, and communed with mine heart; and as for my public actings and carriage, in reference to the Lord's work, if I were to begin again, I would just do as I have done. He often repeated the 16th and 23d psalm, and once the 71st psalm, which he used to call his own psalm. About two days before his death, his speech began to fail, and he could not be well heard or understood; however some things were not lost; for, speaking of some eminent saints then alive, he prayed earnestly that the Lord would bless them; and, as an evidence of his love to them, he desired Mr. George Hutcheson (then present) to carry his Christian remembrance to them. When Mr Hutcheson went from his bed-side, he said to his wife and others who waited on him, That he rejoiced in suffering as a persecuted minister. Is it not persecution, added he, to thrust me from the work of the ministry, which was my delight, and hinder me from doing good to my people and flock, which was my joy and crown of rejoicing, and to chase me from place to place, till I am wasted with heaviness and sorrow for the injuries done to the Lord's prerogative, interest and cause. What he afterwards said was either forgot or not understood, till at length, about four o'clock in the morning, he was gathered to his fathers, by a blessed and happy death (the certain result of a holy life).

His body lies near the kirk-wall, in the burial place at Aberdour, and upon the church-wall above his grave, was erected a little monument, with this inscription,

Hic reconditæ iacent mortuæ
Exuviæ D. Roberti Blair, S. S.
Evangelii apud Andreapolin
Prædicatoris fidelissimi.   Obiit
Augusti 27, 1666.   Ætatis suæ 72.

Mr. Blair was a man of a fine constitution, both of body and mind, of a majestic but amiable countenance and carriage, thoroughly learned, and of a most public spirit for God. He was of unremitting diligence and labour, in all the private as well as public duties of his station. He did highly endear himself to the affection of his own people, and to the whole country wherein he lived, and their attachment to him was not a little strengthened by his conduct in the judicatories of the church, which indeed constituted the distinguishing part of his character.

336 When the general assembly resolved upon a new explication of the holy bible, and among others of the godly and learned in the ministry, Mr. Blair had the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes assigned to him for his part, but he neglected that task, till he was rendered useless for other purposes, and then set about and finished his commentary on the Proverbs in 1666. He composed also some small poetical pieces, as a poem in commendation of Jesus Christ, for the confutation of Popish errors; with some short epigrams on different subjects.


The Life of Mr. Hugh M'Kail.

Mr. M'Kail was born about the year 1640, and was educated at the university of Edinburgh, under the inspection of his uncle Mr. Hugh M'Kail (in whose family he resided). In the winter 1661, he offered himself to trials for the ministry, before the presbytery of Edinburgh, (being then about 20 years old) and being by them licensed he preached several times with great applause. He preached his last public sermon from Cant. i. 7. in the great church of Edinburgh, upon the Sabbath immediately preceding the 8th of Sept. 1662, the day fixed, by the then parliament, for the removal of the ministers of Edinburgh.

In this sermon, taking occasion to speak of the great and many persecutions to which the church of God has been and is obnoxious, amplifying the point from the persons and powers that have been instrumental therein, he said, That the church and people of God had been persecuted both by a Pharaoh on the throne, a Haman in the state, and a Judas in the church, &c.; which case, to the conviction of his adversaries, seemed so similar to the state and condition of the then rulers of church and state, that though he made no particular application, yet was he reputed guilty; whereupon, a few days after, a party of horse was sent to the place of his residence near Edinburgh, to apprehend him; but, upon little more than a moment's advertisement, he escaped out of bed into another chamber, where he was preserved from the search. After this, he was obliged to return home to his father's house, and, having lurked there a-while, he spent other four years before his death in several other places.

347 While he lived at his father's house, troubles arose in the west; and the news thereof having alarmed him, with the rest of that country, upon the 18th of November, for such motives and considerations as he himself afterwards more fully declares, he joined himself to those who rose in these parts, for the assisting of that poor afflicted party.—Being of a tender constitution, by the toil, fatigue, and continual marching in tempestuous weather, he was so disabled and weakened, that he could no longer endure; and upon the 27th of the said month, he was obliged to leave them near Cramond water; and, in his way to Libberton parish, passing through Braid's craigs, he was taken without any resistance, (having only a small ordinary sword) by some of the countrymen who were sent out to view the fields[144].—And here it is observable, that his former escape was no more miraculous than his present taking was fatal; for the least caution might have prevented him this inconveniency; but God who gave him the full experience of his turning all things to the good of them that love him, did thus, by his simplicity, prepare the way for his own glory, and his servant's joy and victory.

He was brought to Edinburgh, first to the town-council house, and there searched for letters; but none being found, he was committed prisoner to the tolbooth. Upon wednesday the 28, he was, by order of the secret council, brought before the earl of Dumfries, lord Sinclair, Sir Robert Murray of Priest-field, and others, in order to his examination; where, being interrogate, concerning his joining the west-land forces, he, conceiving himself not obliged by any law or reason, to be his own accuser, did decline the question. After some reasoning, he was desired to subscribe his name, but refused; which, when reported to the council, gave great offence, and brought him under some suspicion of a dissembler. On the 29, he was again called before them, where, for allaying the council's prejudice, he gave in a declaration under his own hand, testifying that he had been with the west land forces, &c. Though it was certainly known, that he had both formed and subscribed this acknowledgment the night before, yet they still persisted in their jealousy, suspecting him to have been privy to all the designs of that party, and dealt with him, with the greater importunity, to declare an account of the whole business, and upon Dec. 3, the boots (a most terrible instrument of torture) were laid on the council-house348 table before him, and he was certified, that if he would not confess, he should be tortured to-morrow; accordingly he was called before them, and being urged to confess, he solemnly declared, that he knew no more than what he had already confessed; whereupon they ordered the executioner to put his leg to the boot, and to proceed to the torture, to the number of ten or eleven strokes, with considerable intervals; yet all did not move him to express any impatience or bitterness.

This torture was the cause of his not being indicted with the first ten, who were arraigned and sentenced on Wednesday Dec. 5. to be hanged on the Friday following. Many thought, that his small accession to the rising, and what he had suffered by torture, should have procured him some favour, but it was otherwise determined; nor was his former sermon forgot, and the words Achab on the throne. On Monday the 10, he and other seven received their indictment of treason, and were summoned to appear before the justices on Wednesday Dec. 12; but his torture and close imprisonment (for so it was ordered) had cast him into a fever, whereby he was utterly unable to make his appearance; therefore, upon Tuesday the 11, he gave in to the lords of the council a supplication, declaring his weak and sickly condition, craving that they may surcease any legal procedure against him, in such a weak and extreme condition, and that they would discharge him of the foresaid appearance. Hereupon the council ordered two physicians and two chirurgeons to visit him, and to return their attestations, upon soul and conscience, betwixt and to-morrow at ten o'clock, to the justices.

Upon Dec. 8, his brother went from Edinburgh to Glasgow, with a letter from the lady-marquis of Douglas, and another from the duchess of Hamilton to the lord commissioner in his favour, but both proved ineffectual; his cousin Mr. Matthew M'Kail carried another letter from the lady-marquis of Douglas, to the arch-bishop of St. Andrews, for the same purpose, but with no better success.

On Dec. 18, he, being indifferently recovered, was with other three brought before the justices, where the general indictment was read, founded both on old and late acts of parliament, made against rising in arms, entering into leagues and covenants, and renewing the solemn league and covenant without and against the king's authority, &c. Mr. Hugh was particularly charged with joining the rebels at Ayr, Ochiltry, Lanerk and other places, on horseback, &c.; whereupon, being permitted to answer, he spoke in349 his own defence, both concerning the charge laid against him, and likewise of the ties and obligations that were upon this land to God; commending the institution, dignity, and blessing of presbyterial government; he said, The last words of the national covenant had always a great weight upon his spirit. Here he was interrupted by the king's advocate, who bade him forbear that discourse, and answer the question for the crime of rebellion.—Unto which he answered, The thing that moved him to declare as he had done, was that weighty and important saying of our Lord Jesus, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God, &c. After this confession, and the depositions of those examined anent him were read, with his replies to the same, the assize was inclosed; after which they gave their verdict una voce, and by the mouth of Sir William Murray their chancellor, reported him guilty, &c. The verdict being reported, doom was pronounced, declaring and adjudging him, and the rest, to be taken, on Saturday Dec. 20. to the market cross of Edinburgh, there to be hanged on a gibbet till dead, and his goods and lands to be escheated and forfeited for his Highness use. At the hearing of this sentence, he cheerfully said, The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away: blessed be the name of the Lord. He was then carried back to the tolbooth through the guards, the people making lamentation for him by the way. After he came to his chamber, he immediately addressed himself to God in prayer, with great enlargement of heart, in behalf of himself, and those who were condemned with him. Afterwards, to a friend he said, "O how good news! to be within four days journey to enjoy the sight of Jesus Christ;" and protested "he was not so cumbered how to die, as he had sometimes been to preach a sermon." To some women lamenting for him, he said, "That his condition, though he was but young, and in the budding of his hopes and labours in the ministry, was not to be mourned; for one drop of my blood, through the grace of God, may make more hearts contrite, than many years sermons might have done."

This afternoon he supplicated the council for liberty to his father to come to him; which being granted, his father came next night, to whom he discoursed a little concerning obedience to parents from the fifth commandment, and then, after prayer, his father said to him, "Hugh, I called thee a goodly olive tree, of fair fruit, and now a storm hath destroyed the tree and his fruit."——He answered,350 That his too good thought of him afflicted him. His father said, "He was persuaded God was visiting not his own sins, but his parents sins, so that he might say, Our fathers have sinned, and we have borne their iniquity."—He further said, "I have sinned, thou poor sheep, what hast thou done." Mr. Hugh answered, with many groans, "That, through coming short of the fifth commandment, he had come short of the promise, That his days should be prolonged in the land of the living, and that God's controversy with him was for over-valuing his children, especially himself."

Upon the 20 of December, through the importunity of friends, more than his own inclination, he gave in a petition to the council, craving their clemency after having declared his own innocence; but it proved altogether ineffectual. During his abode in prison, the Lord was very graciously present with him, both to sustain him against the fears of death, and by expelling the overcloudings of terror, that some times the best of men, through the frailty of flesh and blood, are subject unto. He was also wonderfully assisted in prayer and praise, to the admiration of all the hearers, especially on Thursday's night, when, being set at supper with his fellow-prisoners, his father and one or two more, he requested his fellow-prisoners, saying merrily, eat to the full, and cherish your bodies, that we may be a fat Christmass-pye to the prelates. After supper in thanksgiving, he broke forth into several expressions, both concerning himself and the church of God, and at last used that exclamation in the last of Daniel, What, Lord, shall be the end of these wonders!

The last night of his life he propounded and answered several questions for the strengthening of his fellow prisoners: How should he go from the tolbooth thro' a multitude of gazing people, and guards of soldiers to a scaffold and gibbet, and overcome the impressions of all this? He answered, By conceiving a deeper impression of a multitude of angels, who are on-lookers; according to that, We are a gazing-flock to the world, angels and men, for the angels, rejoicing at our good confession, are present to convoy and carry our souls, as the soul of Lazarus, to Abraham's bosom, not to receive them, for that is Jesus Christ's work alone, who will welcome them to heaven himself, with the songs of angels and blessed spirits; but the angels are ministring spirits, always ready to serve and strengthen all dying believers, &c. What is the way for us to conceive of heaven, who are hastening to it, seeing351 the word faith, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, &c.? To this he answered, That the scripture helps us two ways to conceive of heaven; (1.) By way of similitude, as in Rev. xxi, where heaven is held forth by the representation of a glorious city, there discoursed, &c. (2.) By holding forth the love of the saints to Jesus Christ, and teaching us to love him in sincerity, which is the very joy and exultation of heaven, Rev. v. 12. and no other thing than the soul breathing forth love to Jesus Christ, can rightly apprehend the joys of heaven.

The last words he spoke at supper were in the commendation of love above knowledge, "O but notions of knowledge without love are of small worth, evanishing in nothing, and very dangerous." After supper, his father having given thanks, he read the 16th psalm, and then said, "If there were any thing in the world sadly and unwillingly to be left, it were the reading of the scriptures. I said, I shall not see the Lord in the land of the living; but this needs not make us sad, for where we go, the Lamb is the book of scripture and the light of that city, and there is life, even the river of the water of life, and living springs, &c." Supper being ended, he called for a pen, saying, It was to write his testament; wherein he ordered some few books he had, to be re-delivered to several persons. He went to bed about eleven o'clock, and slept till five in the morning; then he arose, and called for his comrade John Wodrow, saying pleasantly, "Up, John, for you are too long in bed; you and I look not like men going to be hanged this day, seeing we lie so long." Then he spake to him in the words of Isaiah xlii. 24. and after some short discourse, John said to him, You and I will be chambered shortly beside Mr. Robertson.—He answered, "John, I fear you bar me out, because you was more free before the council than I was; but I shall be as free as any of you upon the scaffold. He said, He had got a clear ray of the majesty of the Lord after his awakening, but it was a little over-clouded thereafter." He prayed with great fervency, pleading his covenant-relation with him, and that they might be enabled that day to witness a good confession before many witnesses. Then his father coming to him, bade him farewel. His last word to him, after prayer, was, That his sufferings would do more hurt to the prelates, and be more edifying to God's people, than if he were to continue in the ministry twenty years. Then he desired his father to leave him, and go to his chamber, and pray earnestly to the Lord to be with him352 on the scaffold; for how to carry there is my care, even that I may be strengthened to endure to the end.

About two o'clock afternoon he was brought to the scaffold (with other five who suffered with him), where, to the conviction of all that formerly knew him, he had a fairer and more stayed countenance than ever they had before observed. Being come to the foot of the ladder, he directed his speech to the multitude northward, saying, "That as his years in the world had been but few, his words then should not be many;" and then spoke to the people the speech and testimony which he had before written and subscribed[145].

Having done speaking, he sung a part of the 31st psalm, and then prayed with such power and fervency, as caused many to weep bitterly. Then he gave his hat and cloke from him, and when he took hold of the ladder to go up, he said, with an audible voice, "I care no more to go up this ladder and over it, than if I were going home to my father's house." Hearing a noise among the people, he called down to his fellow-sufferers, saying, Friends and fellow-sufferers, be not afraid; every step of this ladder is a degree nearer heaven: and then, having seated himself thereon, he said, "I do partly believe that the noble counsellors and rulers of this land would have used some mitigation of this punishment, had they not been instigated by the prelates, so that our blood lies principally at the prelates door; but this is my comfort now, that I know that my Redeemer liveth, &c. And now I do willingly lay down my life for the truth and cause of God, the covenants and work of reformation, which were once counted the glory of this nation; and it is for endeavouring to defend this, and to extirpate that bitter root of prelacy, that I embrace this rope," (the executioner then putting the rope about his neck). Then hearing the people weep, he said, "Your work is not to weep, but to pray, that we may be honourably borne through, and blessed be the Lord that supports me now; as I have been beholden to the prayers, and kindness of many since my imprisonment and sentence, so I hope, ye will not be wanting to me now in the last step of my journey, that I may witness a good confession, and that ye may know what the ground of my encouragement in this work is, I shall read to you in the last chapter of the bible;" which having read, he said, "Here you see the glory that is to be353 revealed on me, a pure river of water of life, &c. and here you see my access to my glory and reward, Let him that is athirst come, &c. And here you see my welcome, the Spirit and the bride say, Come. Then he said, I have one word more to say to my friends (looking down to the scaffold), Where are ye? Ye need neither lament nor be ashamed of me in this condition, for I may make use of that expression of Christ, I go to our Father and my Father, to your God and my God, to your King and my King, to the blessed apostles and martyrs, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly of the first-born, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant; and I bid you all farewel, for God will be more comfortable to you than I could be, and he will be now more refreshing to me than you can be:—Farewel, farewel in the Lord." Then, the napkin being put on his face, he prayed a little, and put it up with his hand, and said, he had a word more to say concerning what comfort he had in his death, "I hope you perceive no alteration or discouragement in my countenance and carriage, and as it may be your wonder, so I profess it is a wonder to myself; and I will tell you the reason of it; beside the justice of my cause, this is my comfort, what was said of Lazarus when he died, That the angels did carry his soul to Abraham's bosom, so that as there is a great solemnity here, of a confluence of people, a scaffold, a gallows, a people looking out at windows; so there is a greater and more solemn preparation of angels to carry my soul to Christ's bosom; again this is my comfort, that it is to come to Christ's hand, and he will present it blameless and faultless to the Father, and then shall I be ever with the Lord. And now I leave off to speak any more to creatures, and begin my intercourse with God, which shall never be broken off:—Farewel father and mother, friends and relations; farewel the world and all delights; farewel meat and drink; farewel sun, moon and stars; welcome God and Father; welcome sweet Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant; welcome blessed Spirit of grace, and God of all consolation; welcome glory; welcome eternal life; and welcome death."

Then he desired the executioner not to turn him over until he himself should put over his shoulders, which, after praying a little in private he did, saying, "O Lord,354 into thy hands I commit my spirit, for thou hast redeemed my soul, O Lord God of truth." And thus in the 26th year of his age he died, as he lived, in the Lord.

His death was so much lamented by the on-lookers and spectators, that there was scarce a dry cheek seen in all the streets and windows about the cross of Edinburgh, at the time of his execution. A late historian gives him this character, that "he was a youth of 26 years of age, universally beloved, singularly pious, of very considerable learning; he had seen the world, and travelled[146] some years abroad, and was a very comely and graceful person. I am told, saith he, that he used to fast one day every week, and had frequently, before this, signified to his friends his impression of such a death as he now underwent. His share in the rising was known to be but small; and when he spoke of his comfort and joy in his death, heavy were the groans of those present."


The Life of Mr. John Nevay.

Mr. John Nevay was licensed and ordained a minister (in the time of Scotland's purest reformation) and settled at Newmills in the parish of Loudon; and was, besides his soundness in the faith, shining piety in conversation, and great diligence in attending all the parts of his ministerial function, particularly church-judicatories, one who was also very zealous in contending against several steps of defection, which were contrary to the work of reformation carried on in that period. Thus,

When the earl of Callender and major-general Middleton were cruelly harassing the covenanters, and well affected people in the west of Scotland, because they would not join in the duke of Hamilton's unlawful engagement in war against England, (which was a manifest breach of the solemn league and covenant), Mr. Nevay was one of those ministers and other well-affected people, who were assembled at the celebration of our Lord's supper at Machlin-muir, in the month of June 1648, where opposition355 (in their own defence) was made to the said Calender and Middleton's forces, who attacked them there upon the last day of that solemnity.[147]

Again, when that pretended assembly held at Edinburgh and St. Andrews anno 1651, did approve and ratify the public resolutions, in bringing in the justly excluded malignants into places of public power and trust, in judicatories and armies, he was one of those called remonstrators, who faithfully witnessed and protested against that sad course of covenant-breaking and land-defiling sin.

And, as a conclusion to all, when that head of malignants, Charles II. was again restored as king over these lands, in consequence of which the whole of our covenanted work of reformation (which for some time had flourished) now began to be defaced and overturned; and therefore it behoved the chief promoters thereof to be, in the first place, attacked; and Mr. Nevay, being the earl of Loudon's chaplain and very much valued by him, must be included among the rest; and was, upon the 18th of November 1662, by order of the council, cited, with some others, to repair to Edinburgh, and appear before the council on the 9th of Dec. next. He did not compear until the 23d, when he was examined, and upon refusal of the oath of allegiance, he was banished, and enacted himself in a bond as follows:

"I John Nevay, minister of the gospel at Newmills, bind and oblige myself to remove forth of the king's dominions, and not to return under pain of death; and that I shall remove before the first of February; and that I shall not remain within the diocese of Glasgow and Edinburgh in the mean time. Subscribed at Edinburgh, Dec. 23.

JOHN NEVAY."

And taking leave of his old parishioners (no doubt with a sorrowful heart), he prepared for his journey, and went over to Holland, among the rest of our banished ministers, where, for some years, he preached to such as would come and hear him; and yet all the while he retained the affection356 of a most dear and loving pastor to his old parishioners of Loudon, both by sending them many sermons and several affectionate letters, wherein he not only exhorted them to stedfastness in the midst of manifold temptations, but also shewed a longing desire to return to his own native land and parishioners again; as is evident from that excellent letter, wrote some time before his death, dated at Rotterdam Oct. 22. 1669, in which letter, among many other things, he has these expressions: "I can do no more but pray for you; and if I could do that well, I had done almost all that is required. I am not worthy of the esteem you have of me; I have not whereof to glory, but much whereof I am ashamed, and which may make me go mourning to my grave; but if you stand fast, I live; you are all my crown and joy in this earth (next to the joy of Jerusalem and her king), and I hope to have some of you my joy and crown in our Father's kingdom, besides those that are gone before us, and entered into the joy of the Lord. I have not been altogether ignorant of the changes and wars which have been amongst you, deep calling unto deep, nor how the Lord did sit on all your floods as king, and did give you many times some more ease than others, and you wanted not your share in the most honourable testimony that ever was given to the truth and kingdom of Christ in that land, since the days of Mr. Patrick Hamilton, Mr. George Wishart, and Mr. Walter Mill martyrs, &c."

That Mr. John Nevay was no mean divine in his day, either in parts or learning, is fully evident, both from an act of the general assembly anno 1647, wherein he was one of these four ministers who were appointed to revise and correct Rouse's paraphrase of David's psalms in metre, lately sent from England (of which he had the last thirty for his share); and also that elegant and handsome paraphrase of his upon the song of Solomon in Latin verse, both of which shew him to have been of a profound judgment and rare abilities.

There are 52 sermons (or rather notes of sermons) of his published, upon the nature, properties, blessings, &c. of the covenant of grace, in 8vo; 39 sermons on Christ's temptations in manuscript, (being all sent from Holland for the benefit of his old parishioners of Newmills), and might also have been published, if those upon the covenant had met with that reception they deserved.

357


The Life of Mr. John Livingston.

Mr. Livingston was born anno 1603. He was son to Mr. William Livingston, minister first at Monybroch or Kilsyth, and afterwards transported to Lanerk, he was nearly related to the house of Calender. Having first taught his son to read and write, he put him to the Latin school at Stirling, under Mr. Wallace a godly and learned man. He stayed here till summer 1617, when he returned home. In October following he was sent to the college of Glasgow, where he stayed four years, until he passed master of arts in 1621.

After this he stayed with his father until he began to preach, during which time he began to observe the Lord's great goodness that he was born of such parents, who taught him the principles of religion so soon as he was capable to understand any thing.—He says, in his own historical account of his life, That he does not remember the time or means particularly whereby the Lord at first wrought upon his heart, only when he was but very young, he would sometimes pray with some feeling, and read the word with some delight; but thereafter did often intermit such exercise, and then would have some challenges, and begin and intermit again, &c. He says, He had no inclination to the ministry, till a year or more after he had passed his course in the college, upon which he bent his desires to the knowledge and practice of medicine, and to go to France for that end: but when proposed to his Father, he refused to comply. About this time his father, having purchased some land in the parish of Monybroch, took the rights in his son's name, proposing that he should marry and live there; but this he refused, thinking it would divert him from his studies, and, in the midst of these straits, he resolved to set apart a day by himself before God, for more special direction; which he did near Cleghorn wood, where, after much confusion anent the state of his soul, at last he thought it was made out to him, that he behoved to preach Jesus Christ, which if he did not, he should have no assurance of salvation: upon which, laying aside all thoughts of other things, he betook himself to the study of divinity. He continued a year and a half in his father's house, where he studied and sometimes preached; during which358 time he wrote all his sermons before he preached them, until one day, being to preach after the communion of Quodgen, and having in readiness a sermon which he had preached at another place one day before, but perceiving severals there who had heard him preach that sermon formerly, he resolved to choose a new text, and wrote only some notes of the heads he was to deliver; yet, he says, he found, at that time, more assistance in enlarging upon these points, and more motion in his own heart than ever he had found before, which made him afterwards never write any more sermons, excepting only some notes for the help of his memory.

About April 1626, he was sent for by lord Kenmuir to Galloway, in reference to a call to the parish of Anwoth, but some hindrance coming in the way, this design was laid aside. In the harvest following, he hearkened to another call to Torphichen, but this proved also unsuccessful.

After this he went to the earl of Wigton's, where he stayed some time; the most part of this summer he travelled from place to place, according as he got invitations to preach, and especially at communions in Lanerk, Irvine, Newmills, Kinniel, &c. He was also sometimes invited to preach at the Shots; in that place, he says, he used to find more liberty in preaching than elsewhere; yea, the only day in all his life wherein he found most of the presence of God in preaching, he observes, was on a monday after a communion at the kirk of Shots, June 21, 1630. The night before he had been with some Christians, who spent the night in prayer and conference; on the morning there came such a misgiving of spirit upon him, in considering his own unworthiness and weakness, and the expectation of the people, that he was consulting to have stolen away somewhere, and declined that day's work; but thinking he could not so distrust God, he went to sermon, where he got remarkable assistance in speaking about one hour and a half from Ezekiel xxxvi. 25, 26. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean, from all your filthiness, &c. Here he was led out in such a melting strain, that, by the down-pouring of the Spirit from on high, a most discernible change was wrought upon about 500 of the hearers, who could either date their conversion or some remarkable confirmation from that day forward[148].359 Some little of that stamp, he says, remained on him the Thursday after, when he preached at Kilmarnock; but on the Monday following, preaching at Irvine, he was so deserted, that what he had meditated upon, wrote, and kept fully in memory, he could not get pronounced; which so discouraged him, that he was resolved not to preach for some time, at least in Irvine, but Mr. Dickson would not suffer him to go from thence, till he preached next sabbath, which he did with some freedom.

This summer, being in Irvine, he got letters from viscount Clanniboy to come to Ireland, in reference to a call to Killinchie; and, seeing no appearance of entering into the ministry in Scotland, he went thither, and got an unanimous call from that parish. Here he laboured with the utmost assiduity among that people, who were both rude and profane before that, and they became the most experienced Christians in that country. But he was not above a year here until the bishop of Down suspended him and Mr. Blair for non-conformity. They remained deposed until May 1632. when, by the intercession of lord Castle-Stuart, a warrant was granted them from the king to be restored.

After this he was married to the eldest daughter of Bartholomew Fleming merchant in Edinburgh, who was then in Ireland. In Nov. 1635, he was again deposed by the bishop of Down, and a little after, by his orders, excommunicated by one Mr. Melvil minister of Down. This winter, finding no appearance of liberty either to ministers or professors from the bondage of the prelates, he, with others of the deposed ministers, took a resolution to go to New-England; upon which they built a ship for that purpose, and when all things were ready, they, about the 9th of Sept. loosed from Lochfergus; but a violent storm arising, they were driven near the bank of Newfoundland, and were all in danger of being drowned, and, after prayer and consultation, they were obliged to return back to Lochfergus. After this he stayed in Ireland, until he heard that he and Mr. Blair were to be apprehended; and then they went out of the way, and came over to Scotland. When he came to Irvine, Mr. Dickson caused him preach, for which he was called in question afterwards. Leaving Irvine, he passed by Loudon and Lanerk to Edinburgh, where he continued some time.

About the beginning of March 1638, when the body of the land was about to renew the national covenant, he was sent post to London with several copies of the covenant,360 and letters to friends at court of both nations; when he came there, Mr. Borthwick delivered the letters for him; but he had been there but few days until he had word sent him from the marquis of Hamilton, that he had overheard the king say, He was come, but he should put a pair of fetters about his feet: whereupon, fearing he should be taken in the post-way, he bought a horse, and came home by St. Albans and the western way, and was present at Lanerk and other places, when the covenant was read and sworn unto; and, excepting at the kirk of Shots already noticed, he, as himself says, never saw such motions from the Spirit of God, all the people so generally and willingly concurring; yea, thousands of persons all at once lifting up their hands, and the tears falling from their eyes; so that, through the whole land, the people (a few papists and others who adhered to the prelates excepted) universally entered into the covenant of God, for the reformation of religion against prelates and their ceremonies.

After this anno 1638, he got a call both from Stranrawer in Galloway, and Straiton in Carrick, but he referred the matter to Messrs. Blair, Dickson, Cant, Henderson, Rutherford and his father, who, having heard both parties, advised him to Stranrawer; and he was received there by the presbytery upon the 5th of July 1638. Here he remained, in the faithful discharge of the ministry, until harvest 1648, that he was, by the sentence of the general assembly, transported to Ancrum in Teviotdale. When he came to Ancrum, he found the people very tractable, but very ignorant, and some of them very loose in their carriage; and it was a long time before any competent number of them were brought to such a condition, that he could adventure to celebrate the Lord's supper; but by his diligence, through the grace of God, some of them began to lay religion to heart.

Anno 1649, the parliament and church of Scotland had sent some commissioners to treat with the king at the Hague, in order to his admission; but they returned without satisfaction. Yet the parliament in summer 1650, sent other commissioners to prosecute the foresaid treaty at Breda; and the commission of the kirk chose Mr. Livingston and Mr. Wood, and after that added Mr. Hutcheson to them, with the lords Cassils and Brody as ruling elders, that in name of the church they should present and prosecute their desires. Mr. Livingston was very unwilling to go, and that for several reasons, the chief of which was, he still suspected the king to be not right at heart in respect361 of the true presbyterian religion, and notwithstanding, he saw that many in the kingdom were ready to receive the king home upon any terms; but he was prevailed on by Messrs. Dickson, James Guthrie, and Patrick Gillespie, to go. After much conference and reasoning with the king at Breda, they were not like to come to any conclusion; here he observed, that the king still continued the use of the service-book and his chaplains, and was many a night balling and dancing till near day. This, with many other things, made him conclude there would be no blessing on that treaty; the treaty, to his unspeakable grief, was at last concluded, and some time after the king set sail for Scotland; but Mr. Livingston refused to go aboard with them; so that when Brody and Mr. Hutcheson saw that they could not prevail with him to come aboard, they desired him before parting to come into the ship, to speak of some matters in hand, which he did, and in the mean while, the boat that should have waited his return, made straight for shore without him. After this the king agreed with the commissioners to swear and subscribe the covenant, and it was laid upon him to preach the next sabbath, and tender the covenants national and solemn league, and take his oath thereon; but he, judging that such a rash and precipitate swearing of the covenants would not be for the honour of the cause they were embarked in, did all he could to deter the king and commissioners from doing it until he came to Scotland; but when nothing would dissuade the king from his resolution, it was done; for the king performed every thing that could have been required of him; upon which Mr. Livingston observed, that it seems to have been the guilt not only of commissioners, but of the whole kingdom, yea of the church also, who knew the terms whereupon he was to be admitted to his government; and yet without any evidence of a real change upon his heart, and without forsaking former principles, counsels and company.

After they landed in Scotland, before he took his leave of the king at Dundee, he used some freedom with him. After speaking somewhat to him anent his carriage, he advised him, that as he saw the English army approaching in a most victorious manner, he would divert the stroke by a declaration, or some such way, wherein he needed not weaken his right to the crown of England, and not prosecute his title at present by fire and sword, until the storm blew over, and then perhaps they would be in a better case to be governed, &c. But he did not relish this motion362 well, saying he would not wish to sell his father's blood; which made Mr. Livingston conclude, that either he was not called to meddle in state matters, or else he should have little success. Another instance of this he gives us, anno 1654, when he and Mr. Patrick Gillespie and Mr. Minzies were called up by the protector to London, where he proposed to him, that he would take off the heavy fines, that were laid on severals in Scotland, which they were unable to pay; he seemed to like the motion, but when he proposed the overture to the council, they went not into the purpose.

While at London, preaching before the protector, he mentioned the king in prayer, whereat some were greatly incensed; but Cromwel knowing Mr. Livingston's influence in Scotland, said, "Let him alone; he is a good man; and what are we poor men in comparison of the kings of England?"

The general assembly appointed some ministers, and him among the rest, to wait upon the army and the committee of estates that resided with them; but the fear and apprehension of what ensued, kept him back from going, and he went home until he got the sad news of the defeat at Dumbar. After which Cromwel wrote to him from Edinburgh to come and speak to him; but he excused himself. That winter the unhappy difference fell out anent the public resolutions; his light carried him to join the protestors against the resolutioners; and the assembly that followed thereafter, he was present at their first meeting in the west at Kilmarnock, and several other meetings of the protesting brethren afterwards; but not being satisfied with keeping these meetings so often, and continuing them so long, which he imagined made the breach wider, he declined them for some time.

After this, he spent the rest of his time in the exercise of the ministry, both at Ancrum and other places, until summer 1660, that news was brought him that the king was called home, and then he clearly foresaw that the overturning of the whole work of reformation would ensue, and a trial to all who would adhere to the same. But anno 1662, when the parliament and council had, by proclamation, ordered all ministers, who had come in since 1649, and had not kept the holy day of the 29th of May, either to acknowledge the prelates or remove, he then more clearly foresaw a storm approaching. At the last communion which he had at Ancrum, in the month of October, he363 says, That after sermon on Monday, it pleased the Lord to open his mouth, in a reasonably large discourse anent the grounds and encouragements to suffer for the present controversy of the kingdom of Christ, in the appointing the government of his house; then he took his leave of that place, although he knew nothing of what was shortly to follow after.

After he had, with Elijah, eaten before a great journey, having communicated before he entered upon suffering, he heard in a little time, of the council's procedure against him and about twelve or sixteen others who were to be brought before them; he went presently to Edinburgh (before the summons could reach him) and lurked there some time, until he got certain information of the council's design, whether they were for their life, like as was done with Mr. Guthrie, or only for banishment, as was done with Mr. Mac Ward and Mr. Simpson; but, finding that they intended only the last, he accordingly resolved to appear with his brethren. He appeared Dec. 11, and was examined[149] before the council; the sum of which came to this, That they required him to subscribe or take the oath of allegiance, which he, upon several solid grounds and reasons, refused; and sentence was pronounced, that in forty-eight hours he should depart Edinburgh, and go to the north side of Tay, and within two months depart out of all the king's dominions. Accordingly he went from Edinburgh to Leith, and thereafter, upon a petition in regard of his infirmity, he obtained liberty to stay there until he should remove. He petitioned also for a few days to go home to see his wife and children, but was refused; as also for an extract of his sentence, but could not obtain it. Anno 1663, he went aboard, accompanied by several friends to the ship; they set sail, and in eight days came to Rotterdam, where he found the rest of the banished ministers there before him. Here he got frequent occasion of preaching to the Scots congregation at Rotterdam; and in Dec. following, his wife, with two of his children, came over to him, and the other five were left in Scotland.

Here, upon a retrograde view of his life, he (in the foresaid historical account) observes, that the Lord had given him a body not very strong, and yet not weak; for he could hardly remember himself wearied in reading and studying, although he had continued some seven or eight364 hours without rising, and also that there was but two recreations that he was in danger to be taken with; the first was hunting on horseback, but this he had very little occasion of, yet he found it very inticing; the other was, singing in concerts of music, wherein he had some skill, and in which he took great delight. He says further, That he was always short-sighted, and could not discern any person or thing afar off, but hitherto he had found no occasion for spectacles, and could read small print as long and with as little light almost as any other. And, as to his inclination, he was generally soft and amorous, averse to debates, rather given to laziness than rashness, and too easy to be wrought upon. And, although he could not say what Luther affirmed of himself concerning covetousness, yet he could say, that he had been less troubled with covetousness and cares than many other evils, and rather inclined to solitariness than company, and was much troubled with wandering of mind and idle thoughts; and for outward things, he was never rich (and although when in Killinchie he had not above four pounds sterling of stipends a-year) yet he was never in want.

He further observes, that he could not remember any particular time of conversion, or that he was much cast down or lifted up; only one night, in the dean of Kilmarnock, having been, most of the day before, in company with some people of Stuarton, who were under rare and sad exercise of mind; he lay down under some heaviness, that he never had such experience of; but, in the midst of his sleep, there came such a terror of the wrath of God upon him, that if it had but increased a little higher, or continued but a few minutes longer, he had been in a most dreadful condition, but it was instantly removed, and he thought it was said within his heart, See what a fool thou art to desire the thing thou couldst not endure.—In his preaching he was sometimes much deserted and cast down, and again at other times tolerably assisted. He himself declares, That he never preached a sermon, excepting two, that he would be earnest to see again in print; the first was at the kirk of Shots (as was already noticed), and the other at a communion Monday at Holywood in Ireland[150]; and both these times he had spent the night before in conference and prayer with some Christians, without any more than ordinary preparation.——For otherwise, says he, his gift was rather suited to common people than to learned365 judicious auditors. He had a tolerable insight in the Hebrew, Chaldee, and somewhat of the Syriac languages; Arabic he did essay, but he soon dropped it.

He had as much of the French, Italian, Dutch and Spanish as enabled him to make use of their books and bibles. It was thrice laid upon him by the general assembly to write the history of the church of Scotland since the reformation 1638: but this, for certain reasons, he had altogether omitted.

The greater part of his time in Holland he spent in reducing the original text unto a Latin translation of the bible; and for that purpose compared Pagnin's with the original text, and with the later translations, such as Munster, the Tigurine, Junius, Diodati, the English, but especially the Dutch, which he thought was the most accurate translation.

Whether by constant sitting at these studies, or for some other reasons, the infirmities of old age creeping on, he could not determine, but since the year 1664, there was such a continual pain contracted in his bladder, that he could not walk abroad, and a shaking of his hands, that he could scarcely write any; otherwise, he blessed the Lord that hitherto he had found no great defection either of body or mind.

Thus he continued at Rotterdam until Aug. 9th, 1672, when he died. Some of his last words were, "Carry my commendation to Jesus Christ, till I come there myself;" after a pause he added, "I die in the faith, that the truths of God, which he hath helped the church of Scotland to own, shall be owned by him as truths so long as sun and moon endure, and that independency, tho' there be good men and well-meaning professors of that way, will be found more to the prejudice of the work of God than many are aware of, for they evanish into vain opinions. I have had my own faults as well as other men, but he made me always abhor shews. I have, I know, given offence to many, through my slackness and negligence, but I forgive and desire to be forgiven." After a pause, for he was not able to speak much at a time, he said, "I would not have people to forecast the worst, but there is a dark cloud above the reformed churches which prognosticates a storm coming." His wife, fearing what shortly followed, desired him to take leave of his friends; "I dare not (replied he, with an affectionate tenderness), but it is like our parting will only be for a short-time." And then he slept in the Lord.

366 Although it is usual with the most of men when writing their own account (through modesty) to conceal their own parts, qualifications and other abilities, yet here these things cannot be hid; for it is pretty evident, that since our reformation commenced in Scotland, there has been none whose labours in the gospel have been more remarkably blessed with the down-pouring of the spirit in conversion-work, than great Mr. Livingston's were; yea, it is a question, if any one, since the primitive times, can produce so many convincing and confirming seals of their ministry; as witness the kirk of Shots, and Holywood in Ireland, at which two places, it is said that about 1500 souls were either confirmed or converted and brought to Christ.

His works, besides his letter from Leith 1663, to his parishioners at Ancrum, are, his memorable characteristics of divine providence, &c. and a manuscript of his own life, of which this is an abbreviate. He also (while in his Patmos of Holland) wrote a new Latin translation of the old Testament, which was revised and approven of by Vossius, Essenius, Nethneus, Leusden and other eminent lights of that time; before his death, it was put into the hands of the last to be printed.


The Life of Mr. John Semple.

Mr. John Semple was, for his exemplary walk and singular piety, had in such esteem and veneration, that all ranks of people stood in awe of him, and particularly the clergy, he being a great check upon the lazy and corrupt part of them, who oftentimes were much afraid of him.——One time, coming from Carsphairn to Sanquhar, being twelve miles of a rough way, on a Monday morning, after the sacrament, the ministers, being still in bed, got up in all haste, to prevent his reproof; but he, perceiving them putting on their cloaths, said, "What will become of the sheep, when the shepherds sleep so long; in my way hither, I saw some shepherds on the hills looking after their flocks."—Which, considering his age, and early journey so many miles, after he had preached the day before at home, had much influence on them, and made them somewhat ashamed.

367 He was one who very carefully attended church-judicatories, from which he was seldom absent, and that from a principle of conscience; so that almost no impediment could hinder him in his purposes; for one time going to the presbytery of Kirkudbright, twenty miles distant from Carsphairn, when about to ford the water of Dee, he was told by some that it was impassable, yet he persisted, saying, "I must go through, if the Lord will; I am going about his work."——He entered in, and the strength of the current carried him and his horse beneath the ford; he fell from the horse, and stood upright in the water, and taking off his hat, prayed a word; after which he and the horse got safely out, to the admiration of all the spectators there present.

He was also a man much given to secret prayer, and ordinarily prayed in the kirk before sacramental occasions, and oftentimes set apart Friday in wrestling with the Lord for his gracious presence on communion sabbaths; and was often favoured with merciful returns, to the great comfort of both ministers and people; and would appoint a week day thereafter for thanksgiving to God.

As he was one faithful and laborious in his Master's service, so he was also most courageous and bold, having no respect of persons, but did sharply reprove all sorts of wickedness in the highest as well as in the lowest, and yet he was so convincingly a man of God, that the most wicked (to whom he was a terror) had a kindness for him, and sometimes spoke very favourably of him, as one who wished their souls well; insomuch as one time, some persons of quality calling him a varlet, another person of quality (whom he had often reproved for his wickedness) being present, said, he was sure if he was a varlet he was one of God's varlets, &c. At another time, when a certain gentleman, from whose house he was going home, sent one of the rudest of his servants, well furnished, with a horse, broad sword and loaded pistols, to attack him in a desert place in the night time; and the servant was ordered to do all that he could to fright him.—Accordingly he surprized him with holding a pistol to his breast, bidding him render up his purse under pain of being shot; but, Mr. Semple, with much presence of mind (although he knew nothing of the pre-conceit), answered, It seems you are a wicked man, who will either take my life or my purse, if God gives you leave; as for my purse, it will not do you much service, though you had it; and for my life, I am willing to lay it down when and where God pleaseth; however368 if you will lay bye your weapons I will wrestle a fall with you for my life, which if you be a man, you cannot refuse, seeing I have no weapons to fight with you.——In short, after many threats (though all in vain), the servant discovered the whole plot, and asked him, If he was not at the first afraid?—Not in the least, answered he, for although you had killed me, as I knew not but you might, I was sure to get the sooner to heaven; and then they parted.

Mr. Semple was a man who knew much of his Master's mind, as evidently appears by his discovering of several future events:—for on a time when news came, that Cromwel and those with him were upon the trial of Charles I. some persons asked him, What he thought would become of the king? He went to his closet a little, and coming back he said to them, The king is gone, he will neither do us good nor ill any more; which of a truth came to pass. At another time, passing by the house of Kenmuir, as the masons were making some additions thereunto, he said, Lads, ye are busy, enlarging and repairing the house, but it will be burnt like a crow's nest in a misty morning, which accordingly came to pass, for it was burnt in a dark misty morning by the English.

Upon a certain time, when a neighbouring minister was distributing tokens before the sacrament, and when reaching a token to a certain woman, Mr. Semple (standing by) said, Hold your hand, she hath gotten too many tokens already; she is a witch;——which, though none suspected her then, she herself confessed to be true, and was deservedly put to death for the same. At another time, a minister in the shire of Galloway, sending one of his elders to Mr. Semple, with a letter, earnestly desiring his help at the sacrament, which was to be in three weeks after; he read the letter, and went to his closet, and coming back, he said to the elder, I am sorry you have come so far on a needless errand; go home and tell your minister, he hath had all the communions that ever he will have; for he is guilty of fornication, and God will bring it to light ere that time.—This likewise came to pass. He often said to a person of quality (my lord Kenmuir) that he was a rough wicked man, for which God would shake him over hell before he died; and yet God would give him his soul for a prey: which had its accomplishment at last, to the no small comfort and satisfaction of all his near and dear relations.

369 When some Scots regiments, in the year 1648, in their march through Carsphairn for Preston in England to the duke's engagement (as it was commonly called) and hearing that the sacrament was to be dispensed there next Lord's day, some of the soldiers put up their horses in the kirk, and went to the manse, and destroyed the communion elements in a most profane manner, Mr. Semple being then from home. The next day he complained to the commanding officer, in such a pathetical manner representing the horrible vileness of such an action, that the officer not only regretted the action, but also gave money for furnishing them again:—he moreover told them, He was sorry for the errand they were going upon, for it would not prosper, and the profanity of that army would ruin them. About or after this, he went up to a hill and prayed; and being interrogated by some acquaintances, What answer he got? He replied, That he had fought with neither small nor great, but with the duke himself, whom he never left until he was beheaded:—which was too sadly verified[151].

His painful endeavours were blest with no small success, especially at sacramental occasions, and this the devil envied very much; and particularly one time, among many, which he designed to administer the Lord's supper, before which he assured the people of a great communion, by a gracious and remarkable down-pouring of the Spirit, but that the devil would be envious about this good work, and that he was afraid he would be permitted to raise a storm or speat of rain, designing to drown some of them: but, said he, it shall not be in his power to drown any of you, no, not so much as a dog. Accordingly it came to pass on Monday, when he was dismissing the people, they saw a man all in black entering the water a little above them, at which they were amazed, as the water was very large. He lost his feet (as they apprehended) and came down on his back, waving his hand; the people ran and got ropes, and threw them in to him; and there were ten or twelve men upon the ropes, yet they were in danger of being all drawn into the water and drowned—Mr. Semple looking on, cried, Quit the rope, and let him go; I see who it is; it is the devil, he will burn but not drown, and by drowning of you would have God dishonoured, because he hath got some glory to his free grace in being King to many of your souls at this time, and the wicked world to370 reproach the work of God, &c. All search was made in that country to find if any man was lost, but none was heard of, which made them conclude it to be the devil.

Mr. Semple, being one of the faithful protestors, in the year 1657, was apprehended with the famous Mr. James Guthrie at Edinburgh in Aug. 1660, and after ten months imprisonment in the castle, was brought before the bloody council, who threatened him severely with death and banishment; but he answered with boldness, My God will not let you either kill or banish me, but I will go home and die in peace, and my dust will lie among the bodies of my people; accordingly he was dismissed, and went home, and entered his pulpit, saying, I parted with thee too easy but I shall hing by the wicks of thee now. It was some time after the restoration, that, while under his hidings, being one night in bed with another minister, the backside of the bed falling down to the ground, the enemy came and carried away the other minister, but got not him:—which was a most remarkable deliverance.

Lastly, He was so concerned for the salvation of his people, that when on his death-bed, he sent for them, and preached to them with such fervency, shewing them their miserable state by nature, and their need of a Saviour, expressing his sorrow to leave many of them as graceless as he got them, with so much vehemency as made many of them weep bitterly.

He died at Carsphairn (about the year 1677, being upwards of seventy years of age) in much assurance of heaven, often longing to be there, rejoicing in the God of his salvation; and that under great impressions of dreadful judgments to come on these covenanted sinning lands; and when scarce able to speak, he cried three times over, A popish sword for thee, O Scotland, England, and Ireland! &c.

371


The Life of Mr. James Mitchel.

Mr. James Mitchel[152] was educated at the university of Edinburgh, and was, with some other of his fellow-students, made master of arts anno 1656. Mr. Robert Leighton (afterwards bishop Leighton), being then principal of that college, before the degree was conferred upon them, tendered to them the national and solemn league and covenant; which covenants, upon mature deliberation, he took, finding nothing in them but a short compend of the moral law, binding to our duty towards God and towards man in their several stations, and taking the king's interest to be therein included, when others were taking the tender to Oliver Cromwel, he subscribed the oath of allegiance to the king; but how he was repaid for this, after the restoration, the following account will more fully discover.

Mr. Mitchel, having received a licence to preach the gospel, very soon after the restoration, was, with the rest of his faithful brethren, reduced to many hardships and difficulties. I find (says a historian) Mr. Trail minister at Edinburgh anno 1661, recommending him to some ministers in Galloway as a good youth, that had not much to subsist upon, and as fit for a school, or teaching gentlemen's children[153]. There being no door of access then to the ministry for him, or any such, when prelacy was on such an advance in Scotland.

But whether he employed himself in this manner, or if he preached on some occasions, where he could have the best opportunity, we have no certain account; only we find he joined with that faithful handful who rose in 1666, but was not at the engagement at Pentland[154], being sent in by captain Arnot to Edinburgh the day before, upon some necessary business, on such an emergent occasion.—However,372 he was excepted from the indemnity in the several lists for that purpose.

After Pentland affair, in the space of six weeks, Mr. Mitchel went abroad, in the trading way, to Flanders, and was for some time upon the borders of Germany, after which he, in the space of three quarters of a year, returned home (with some Dutchmen of Amsterdam), having a cargo of different sorts of goods, which took some time up before he got them all sold off.

Mr. Mitchel, being now excluded from all mercy or favour from the government, and having not yet laid down arms, and taking the arch-bishop of St. Andrews to be the main instigator of all the oppression and bloodshed of his faithful brethren, took up a resolution anno 1668, to dispatch him, and for that purpose, upon the 11th of July, he waited the bishop's coming down in the afternoon to his coach, at the head of black friar's wynd in Edinburgh, and with him was Honeyman bishop of Orkney.——When the arch-bishop had entered, and taken his seat in the coach, Mr. Mitchel stepped straight to the north side of the coach, and discharged a pistol (loaded with three balls) in at the door thereof; that moment Honeyman set his foot in the boot of the coach, and reaching up his hand to step in, received the shot designed for Sharp in the wrist of his hand, and the primate escaped. Upon this, Mr. Mitchel crossed the street with much composure, till he came to Niddry's wynd-head, where a man offered to stop him, to whom he presented a pistol, upon which he let him go; he stepped down the wynd, and up Steven Law's closs, went into a house, changed his cloaths, and came straight to the street, as being the place where, indeed, he would be least suspected. The cry arose, that a man was killed; upon which some replied, It was only a bishop, and all was very soon calmed. Upon Monday the 13, the council issued out a proclamation offering a reward of five thousand merks to any that would discover the actor, and pardon to accessories; but nothing more at that time ensued.

The managers, and those of the prelatical persuasion, made a mighty noise and handle of this against the presbyterians, whereas this deed was his only, without the knowledge or pre-concert of any, as he himself in a letter declares; yea, with a design to bespatter the Presbyterian church of Scotland, a most scurrilous pamphlet was published at London, not only reflecting on our excellent reformers from popery, publishing arrant lies anent Mr. Alexander373 Henderson, abusing Mr. David Dickson, and breaking jests upon the remonstrators and presbyterians (as they called them), but also, in a most malicious and groundless kind of rhapsody, slandering Mr. Mitchel.

After this Mr. Mitchel shifted the best way he could, until the beginning of the year 1674.; he was discovered by Sir William Sharp, the bishop's brother, and ere ever Mr. Mitchel was aware, he caused a certain number of his servants (armed for that purpose) lay hold on him, and apprehend and commit him to prison; and on the 10th of February was examined by the lord chancellor, lord register and lord Halton; he denied the assassination of the arch-bishop, but being taken apart by the chancellor, he confessed (that it was he who shot the bishop of Orkney while aiming at the arch-bishop), upon assurance of his life, given by the chancellor in these words, "Upon my great oath and reputation, if I be chancellor, I shall save your life." On the 12th he was examined before the council, and said nothing but what he had said before the committee. He was remitted to the justice-court to receive his indictment and sentence, which was, To have his right hand struck off at the cross of Edinburgh, and his goods forfeited; which last part was not to be executed, till his majesty had got notice; because, says lord Halton, in a letter to earl Kincardine, assurance of life was given him upon his confession.

However, he was, on the second of March, brought before the lords judiciary, and indicted for being concerned at Pentland, and for the attempt on the arch-bishop of St Andrews; but he pleaded not guilty, and insisted that the things alledged against him should be proved: The lords postponed the affair till the 25th; meanwhile, the council made an act March 12, specifying that Mr. James Mitchel confessed his firing the pistol at the arch-bishop of St. Andrews, upon assurance given him of life by one of the committee, who had a warrant from the lord commissioner and secret council to give the same, and therefore did freely confess, &c. In the said act it was declared, That, on account of his refusing to adhere to his confession, the promises made to him were void, and that the lords of justiciary and jury ought to proceed against him, without any regard to these. About the 25, he was brought before the justiciary; but as there was no proof against him, they with consent of the advocate protracted the affair, and he was again remanded to prison.

374 Thus he continued until Jan. 6th, 1676, that he was ordered to be examined before the council by torture, concerning his being in the rebellion (as they formed it) in the year 1666. Accordingly he was brought before them upon the 18th, about six o'clock at night;—Linlithgow, being preses, told him, He was brought before them to see whether he would adhere to his former confession.—He answered, "My lord, it is not unknown to your lordship, and others here present, that, by the council's order, I was remitted to the lords of justiciary, before whom I received an indictment at my lord advocate's instance, &c. to which indictment I answered at three several diets, and at the last diet, being deserted by my lord advocate, I humbly conceive, that, both by the law of the nation, and the practice of this court, I ought to have been set at liberty; yet notwithstanding, I was, contrary to law, equity and justice, returned to prison; And upon what account I am this night before you, I am ignorant." The preses told him, He was only called to see if he would own his former confession.—He replied, "He knew no crime he was guilty of, and therefore made no such confession as he alledged." Upon this, the treasurer depute said, The pannel was one of the most arrogant liars and rogues he had known.—Mr. Mitchel replied, "My lord, if there were fewer of these persons, you have been speaking of, in the nation, I should not be standing this night at the bar; but my lord advocate knoweth, that what is alledged against me is not my confession." The preses said, Sir, we will cause a sharper thing make you confess.—He answered, "My lord, I hope you are Christians and not pagans." Then he was returned to prison.

On the 22d, he was again called before them, to see if he would own his former confession, and a paper produced, alledged to be subscribed by him; but he would not acknowledge the same. The preses said, You see what is upon the table (meaning the boots), I will see if that will make you do it. Mr. Mitchel answered, "My lord, I confess, that, by torture, you may cause me to blaspheme God, as Saul did compel the saints; you may compel me to speak amiss of your lordships; to call myself a thief, a murderer, &c. and then pannel me on it: But if you shall here put me to it, I protest before God and your lordships, that nothing extorted from me by torture, shall be made use of against me in judgment, nor have any force in law against me, or any other person375. But to be plain with you, my lords, I am so much of a Christian, that whatever your lordships shall legally prove against me, if it be truth, I shall not deny it;—but, on the contrary, I am so much of a man, and a Scotsman, that I never held myself obliged, by the law of God, nature and nations, to be my own accuser." The treasurer-depute said, He had the devil's logic, and sophisticated like him: ask him whether that be his subscription. Mr. Mitchel replied, I acknowledge no such thing; and he was sent back to prison.

Upon the 24th, they assembled in their robes in the inner parliament house, and the boots and executioner were presented. Mr. Mitchel was again interrogated, as above, but still persisting, he was ordered to the torture. And he, knowing that, after the manner of the Spanish inquisition, the more he confessed, either concerning himself or others, the more severe the torture would be, to make him confess the more, delivered himself in this manner:—"My lord, I have been now these two full years in prison, and more than one of them in bolts and fetters, which hath been more intolerable to me than many deaths, if I had been capable thereof; and it is well known, that some in a shorter time have been tempted to make away with themselves; but respect and obedience to the express law and command of God hath made me to undergo all these hardships, and I hope this torture with patience also, viz. that for the preservation of my own life and the life of others, as far as lies in my power; and to keep innocent blood off your lordships persons and families, which, by shedding of mine, you would doubtless bring upon yourselves and posterity, and wrath from the Lord to the consuming thereof, till there should be no escaping; and now again I protest, &c. as above: When you please, call for the man appointed for the work." The executioner being called, he was tied in a two armed chair, and the boot brought; the executioner asked which of the legs he should take; the lords bade him take any of them; the executioner laying the left in the boot, Mr. Mitchel, lifting it out again, said, "Since the judges have not determined, take the best of the two, for I freely bestow it in the cause;" and so laid his right leg into the engine. After which the advocate asked leave to speak but one word, but notwithstanding, insisted at a great length; to which Mr. Mitchel answered, "The advocate's word or two hath multiplied to so many, that my memory cannot serve, in the condition wherein I am (the376 torture being begun) to resume them in particular; but I shall essay to answer the scope of his discourse; whereas he hath been speaking of the sovereignty of the magistrate, I shall go somewhat further than he hath done, and own that the magistrate whom God hath appointed, is God's depute; both the throne and the judgment are the Lord's, when he judgeth for God and according to his law; and a part of his office is to deliver the poor oppressed out of the hand of the oppressor, and shed no innocent blood, Jerem. xxii. 3, &c. And whereas the advocate hath been hinting at the sinfulness of lying on any account; it is answered, that not only lying is sinful, but also a pernicious speaking of the truth, is a horrid sin before the Lord, when it tendeth to the shedding of innocent blood; witness the case of Doeg, Psalm lii. compared with 2 Sam. xxii. 9. But what my lord advocate hath forged against me is false, so that I am standing upon my former ground, viz. the preservation of my own life, and the life of others, as far as lies in my power, the which I am expressly commanded by the Lord of hosts."

Then the clerk's servant, being called, interrogated him in the torture, in upwards of thirty questions, which were all in write, of which the following are of the most importance.

Are you that Mr. James Mitchel who was excepted out of the king's grace and favour?

A. I never committed any crime deserving to be excluded.

Q. Were you at Pentland?

A. No.

Q. Were you at Ayr, and did you join with the rebels there?

A. I never joined with any such.

Q. Where was you at the time of Pentland?

A. In Edinburgh.

Q. When did you know of their rising in arms?

A. When the rest of the city knew of it.

Q. Where did you meet with James Wallace?

A. I knew him not at that time.

Q. Did you go out of town with captain Arnot?

A. No.

The other questions were anent his going abroad, &c. He perceived that they intended to catch him in a contradiction, or to find any who would witness against him.—At the beginning of the torture he said, "My lords, not knowing that I shall escape this torture with my life,377 therefore, I beseech you to remember what Solomon saith, He who sheweth no mercy, shall have judgment without mercy, &c.—And now, my lords, I do freely, from my heart, forgive you, who are sitting judges upon the bench, and the men who are appointed to be about this horrible piece of work, and also those who are vitiating their eyes in beholding the same; and I intreat that God may never lay it to the charge of any of you, as I beg God may be pleased for Christ's sake to blot out my sins and iniquities, and never to lay them to my charge here nor hereafter."

All this being over, the executioner took down his leg from a chest whereon it was lying all the time in the boot, and set both on the ground; and thrusting in the shelves to drive the wedges, began his strokes; at every one of which, enquiring if he had any more to say, or would say any more; Mr. Mitchel answered no; and they continued to nine strokes upon the head of the wedges; at length he fainted, through the extremity of pain at which the executioner cried, Alas! my lords, he is gone! then they stopped the torture and went off; and in a little time, when recovered, he was carried, in the same chair, to the tolbooth.

It is indeed true that Mr. Mitchel made a confession, upon the promise of his life; but the managers, having revoked their promise, because he would not adhere to his confession before the justiciary, (being advised by some friends not to trust too much to that promise) and be his own accuser. "The reader must determine (says a very impartial historian[155]) how far he was to blame now, in not owning his confession judicially, as they had judicially revoked the condition upon which the confession was made, and to put a man to torture for finding out things, for which they had not the least proof, seems to be unprecedented and cruel, and to bring him to a farther trial appears to be unjust." For as another author has well observed, "That when a confession or promise is made upon a condition, and that condition is judicially rescinded, the obligation of the promise or confession is taken away, and both parties are statu quo, Josh. ii. 14, &c. That, in many cases it is lawful to conceal and obscure a necessary duty, and divert enemies from a pursuit of it for a time. 1 Sam. xvi. 1, 2. xx. 5, 6. Jer. xxxviii. 24, &c. That when an open enemy perverts378 and overturns the very nature and matter of a discourse or confession, by leaving out the most material truths, and putting in untruths and circumstances in their room, it no longer is the former discourse or confession, &c. That when a person is brought before a limited judicatory, &c. before whom nothing was ever confessed or proven, the person may justly stand to his defence, and put his enemies to bring in proof against him, &c."

After this Mr. Mitchel continued in prison till the beginning of next year, when he and Mr. Frazer of Brae were with a party of twelve horse and thirty foot, sent to the Bass, where he remained till about the 6th of Dec. when he was again brought to Edinburgh, in order for his trial and execution; which came on upon the 7th of Jan. 1678. On the third of the month Sir George Lockhart and Mr. John Ellis were appointed to plead for the pannel; but Sharp would have his life, and Lauderdale gave way to it. Sir Archibald Primrose, lately turned out of the register's place, took a copy of the council's act anent Mr. Mitchel, and sent it to this council; and a day or two before the trial, went to Lauderdale, who, together with lord Rothes, lord Halton and Sharp, was summoned: The prisoner's witness, Primrose, told Lauderdale, That he thought a promise of life had been given——The latter denied it——The former wished that that act of the council might be looked into——Lauderdale said, He would not give himself the trouble to look over the book of council.

When his trial came on, the great proof was, his confession, Feb. 16. 1674.; many and long were the reasons upon the points of the indictment. Sir George Lockhart[156] argued in behalf of the prisoner with great learning, to the admiration of the audience, That no extra-judicial confession could be allowed in court, and that his confession was extorted from him by hopes and promises of life. The debates were so tedious that the court adjourned to the 9th of January; the replies and duplies are too tedious to be inserted here: The reader will find them at large elsewhere.[157]

The witnesses being examined, lord Rothes (being shewn Mr. Mitchel's confession) swore that he was present, and saw him subscribe that paper, and heard him make that379 confession, but that he did not at all give any assurance to the prisoner for his life; nor did he remember that there was any warrant given by the council to his lordship for that effect, &c. Halton and Lauderdale swore much to the same purpose; but the arch-bishop swore, that he knew him, at the very first sight at the bar, to be the person who shot at him, &c. But that he either gave him assurance or a warrant to any to give it, was a false and malicious calumny. That his grace gave no promise to Nichol Somerville, other than that it was his interest to make a free confession. This Nichol Somerville, Mr. Mitchel's brother-in-law, offered, in court, to depone, That the arch-bishop promised to him to secure his life, if he would prevail with him to confess. The arch-bishop denied this, and called it a villainous lie. Several other depositions were taken; such as Sir William Paterson, Mr. John Vanse, and the bishop of Galloway, who all swore in Sharp's favour, it being dangerous for them, at this juncture, to do otherwise.

After the witnesses were examined, the advocate declared he had closed the probation; whereupon Mr Mitchel produced a copy of an act of council March 12th, 1674, praying that the register might be produced, or the clerk obliged to give extracts; but this they refused to do.——"Lockhart (says Burnet[158]) pleaded for this, but Lauderdale, who was only a witness, and had no right to speak, refused, and so it was neglected."

The assize was inclosed, and ordered to return their verdict to-morrow afternoon, which being done, the sentence was pronounced, "That the said Mr. James Mitchel should be taken to the grass-market of Edinburgh, upon Friday the 18th of Jan. instant, betwixt two and four o'clock, in the afternoon, and there to be hanged on a gibbet till he be dead, and all his moveables, goods and gear escheat, and in-brought to his majesty's use, &c." No sooner did the court break up, than the lords, being upstairs found the act recorded, and signed by lord Rothes the president of the council. 'This action' says the last-cited historian, 'and all concerned in it, were looked on by all the people with horror, and it was such a complication of treachery, perjury and cruelty, as the like had not perhaps been known.'

Two days after the sentence, orders came from court, for placing Mr. Mitchel's head and hands on some public380 place of the city; but the sentence being passed, no alteration could be made; and if Sharp had any hand in this, he missed his end and design. About the same time, his wife petitioned the council, that her husband might be reprieved for some time, that she might be in case to see and take her last farewel of him, especially as it was not above twelve days since she was delivered of a child, and presently affected with a fever; but no regard was paid to this: The sentence must be executed[159].

While he was in prison, he emitted a most faithful and large testimony[160]. In the first place, testifying against all profanity. Then he gives the cause of his suffering, in the words of Elijah, 1 Kings xix. 14. I have been very zealous for the Lord of hosts, &c. He adheres to the covenanted work of reformation and the covenant; approves of lex rex, the causes of God's wrath, apologetical relation, Naphtali, jus populi, &c. Afterwards he speaks of magistracy in these words, "I believe magistracy to be an ordinance and appointment of God, as well under the new Testament as it was under the old; and that whosoever resisteth the lawful magistrate in the exercise of his lawful power, resisteth the ordinance and appointment of God, Rom. xiii. 1. &c. 1 Pet. ii. 13. Deut. xvii. 15, &c. The lawful magistrate must he a man qualified according to God's appointment, and not according to the people's lust and pleasure, lest in the end he should prove to them a prince of Sodom and governor of Gomorrah, whom God, in his righteousness, should appoint for their judgment, and establish for their correction, &c." Then he comes to be most explicit in testifying against the givers and receivers of the indulgence, as an incroachment on Christ's crown and prerogative royal, &c.; protests before God, angels and men, against all acts made anywise derogative to the work of God and reformation; likewise protests against all banishments, imprisoning, finings and confinements that the people of God had been put to these years by-past; describing the woful state and condition of malignants, and all the enemies of Jesus Christ. And in the last place speaks very fervently anent his own sufferings, state and condition, which he begins to express in these words, "Now if the Lord, in his wise and over-ruling providence, bring me to the close of my pilgrimage, to the full enjoyment of my long-looked for and desired381 happiness, let him take his own way and time in bringing me to it. And in the mean time, O thou my soul I sing thou this song, Spring thou up, O well of thy happiness and salvation, of thy eternal hope and consolation; and whilst thou art burdened with this clogg of clay and tabernacle, dig thou deep in it by faith, hope and charity, and with all the instruments that God hath given thee; dig in it by precepts and promises; dig carefully, and dig continually; ay and until thou come to the source and head of the Fountain himself, from whence the water of life floweth: Dig until thou come to the assembly of the first-born, where this song is most suitably sung, to the praise and glory of the rich grace and mercy of the Fountain of life, &c." And a little farther, when speaking of his mortification to the world, and other sweet experiences, he says, "And although, O Lord, thou shouldst send me in the back track and tenor of my life, to seek my soul's comfort and encouragement from them, yet I have no cause to complain of hard dealing from thy hand, seeing it is thy ordinary way with some of thy people, Psalm xlii. 6. O God, my soul is cast down in me, from the land of Jordan and the hill Hermon, &c. Yea, though last, he brought me to the banquetting house, and made love his banner over me, among the cold highland hills beside Kippen Nov. 1673. He remembered his former loving kindness towards me; but withal he spoke in mine ear, that there was a tempestuous storm to meet me in the face, which I behoved to go through, in the strength of that provision, 1 Kings xix. 7." Then, after the reciting of several scriptures, as comforting to him in his sufferings, he comes at last to conclude with these words, "And seeing I have not preferred nor sought after mine own things, but thy honour and glory, the good liberty and safety of thy church and people; although it be now misconstructed by many, yet I hope that thou, Lord, wilt make thy light to break forth as the morning, and my righteousness as the noon-day and that shame and darkness shall cover all who are enemies to my righteous cause: For thou, O Lord, art the shield of my head, and sword of my excellency; and mine enemies shall be found liars, and shall be subdued. Amen, yea and Amen.

Sic subscribitur, James Mitchel."

Accordingly, upon the 18th of Jan. he was taken to the grass-market of Edinburgh, and the sentence put in execution.382 In the morning he delivered some copies of what he had to say, if permitted, at his death; but not having liberty to deliver this part of his vindicatory speech to the people, he threw it over the scaffold, the substance of which was as follows.

"Christian people,

"It being rumoured abroad, immediately after I received my sentence, that I would not have liberty to speak in this place, I have not troubled myself to prepare any formal discourse, on account of the pretended crime for which I am accused and sentenced; neither did I think it very necessary, the same of the process having gone so much abroad, what by a former indictment given me near four years ago, the diet of which was suffered to desert, in respect the late advocate could not find a just way to reach me with the extra-judicial confession they opponed to me; all knew he was zealous in it, yet my charity to him is such, that he would not suffer that unwarrantable zeal so far to blind him, as to overstretch the laws of the land beyond their due limits, in prejudice of the life of a native subject; next by an extreme inquiry of torture, and then by exiling me to the bass; and then, after all by giving me a new indictment at the instance of the new advocate, who, before, was one of mine, when I received the first indictment; to which new indictment and debate in the process, I refer you; and particularly to these two defences of an extra-judicial confession, and the promise of life given to me by the chancellor, upon his own and the public faith of the kingdom; upon the verity thereof I am content to die, and ready to lay down my life, and hope your charity to me a dying man will be such as not to mistrust me therein; especially since it is notoriously adminiculate by an act of secret council, and yet denied upon oath by the principal officers of state present in council at the making of said act, and whom the act bears to have been present: the duke of Lauderdale, being then his majesty's commissioner, was likewise present;——and which act of council was, by the lords of justiciary, most unjustly repelled, &c. Thus much for a short account of the affair for which I am unjustly brought to this place; but I acknowledge my private and particular sins have been such as have deserved a worse death to me; but I hope in the merits of Jesus Christ to be freed from the383 eternal punishment due to me for sin. I am confident that God doth not plead with me in this place, for my private and particular sins, but I am brought here that the work of God may be made manifest, and for the trial of faith, John ix. 3, 1 Pet. i. 7. That I might be a witness for his despised truths and interest in this land, where I am called to seal the same with my blood; and I wish heartily that this my poor life may put an end to the persecution of the true members of Christ in this place, so much actuated by these perfidious prelates, in opposition to whom, and testimony to the cause of Christ, I at this time lay down my life, and bless God that he hath thought me so much worthy as to do the same, for his glory and interest. Finally, Concerning a christian duty, in a singular and extraordinary case, and anent my particular judgment, concerning both church and state, it is evidently declared and manifested elsewhere. Farewell all earthly enjoyments, and welcome Father, Son and Holy Ghost, into whose hands I commit my spirit.

JAMES MITCHEL."

Here we have heard the end of the zealous and faithful Mr. James Mitchel, who, beyond all doubt, was a most pious man, notwithstanding all the foul aspersions that have been, or will be cast upon him (not only by malignant prelates, but even by the high fliers, or more corrupted part of the presbyterian persuasion) namely, on account of his firing at bishop Sharp; which, they think, is enough to explode, affront or bespatter all the faithful contendings of the true reformed and covenanted church of Scotland. But in this Mr. Mitchel stands in need of little or no vindication; for by this time the reader may perceive, that he looked upon himself as in a state of war, and that, as Sharp was doubtless one of the chief instigators of the tyranny, bloodshed and oppression in that dismal period, he therefore, no doubt, thought he had a right to take every opportunity of cutting him off, especially as all the ways of common justice were blocked up; yet all this opens no door for every private person, at their own hand, to execute justice on an open offender, where there is access to a lawful magistrate appointed for that end. Yea what he himself saith anent this affair, in a letter dated Feb. 1674. may be sufficient to stop the mouths of all that have or may oppose the same, a few words of which may be subjoined to this narrative; where, after he has resumed384 what passed betwixt him and the chancellor, he says, that as to his design against Sharp, "He looked up him to be the main instigator of all the oppression and bloodshed of his brethren, that followed thereupon, and of the continual pursuing of his life; and he being a soldier, not having laid down arms, but being still upon his own defence, and having no other end or quarrel at any man but what (according to his apprehension of him) may be understood by the many thousands of the faithful, besides the prosecution of the ends of the same covenant, which was and is in that point, the overthrow of prelates and prelacy, and he being a declared enemy to him on that account, and he to him in like manner; and as he was always to take his advantage, as it appeared, so he took of him any opportunity that offered——For," says he, "I, by his instigation, being excluded from all grace and favour, thought it my duty to pursue him at all occasions, &c." And a little farther he instances in Deut. xiii. 19. where the seducer or inticer to a false worship is to be put to death, and that by the hand of the witness, whereof he was one; takes notice of Phinehas, Elijah, &c.; and then observes, that the bishops would say, what they did was by law and authority, but what he did was contrary to both; but he answers, The king himself and all the estates of the land, &c. both were and are obliged by the oath of God upon them, to extirpate the perjured prelates and prelacy, and, in doing thereof, to have defended one another with their lives and fortunes, &c.


The Life of Mr. John Welwood.

Mr. John Welwood, born about the year 1649, was son to Mr. James Welwood, sometime minister at Tindergirth (and brother to Mr. Andrew Welwood and James Welwood doctor of medicine at London). After he had gone through the ordinary courses of learning he entered on the ministry, and afterwards preached in many places, but we do not hear that he was ever settled minister in any parish, it being then a time when all who intended any honesty or faithfulness in testifying against the sins and defections of the times, were thrust out of the church and prosecuted with the greatest extremity. It is said, that he385 preached some five or six sermons in the parish where his father was minister, which were blessed with more discernible effects of good amongst that people than all the diligent painfulness his father had exercised in the time he was minister of that parish.

And besides his singular piety and faithfulness in preaching, he was a most fervent presser to all the duties of the christian life, particularly to the setting up and keeping of fellowship and society meetings, for prayer and christian conference, which he often frequented himself. One time, among several others, at the new house in Livingston parish, after the night was far spent, he said, Let one pray, and be short that we may win to our apartments before it be light; it was the turn of one who exceeded many in gifts.——But before he ended it was day-light within the house. After prayer he said, James, James, your gifts have the start of your graces: And to the rest he said, Be advised, all of you, not to follow him in all times and in all things, otherwise there will be many ins and many outs in your tract and walk.

Anno 1677, there was an Erastian meeting of the actually indulged and non-indulged, procured by the indulged and their favourites, in order to get unity made and kept up (but rather in reality a conspiracy without any truth, unity or veracity among these backsliders and false prophets).—Mr. Welwood, worthy Mr. Cameron, and another minister were called before this meeting, in order to have them deposed, and their licence taken from them, for their faithfulness in preaching up separation from the actually indulged. But they declined their authority, as being no lawful judicatory of Jesus Christ, whilst thus made up of those who were actually indulged. Some of them went to Mr. Hog, who was then in town, though not at this meeting, for his advice anent them. To whom he said, His name is Welwood, but if ye take that unhappy course to depose them, he will perhaps turn out their Torwood at last.

Mr. Welwood was a man of a lean and tender body. He always slept, ate and drank but little, as being one still under a deep exercise, the state and case of his soul laying a great concern upon his spirit, about the defections and tyranny of that day, especially concerning the indulged, and so many pleading in their favour. But, being of a sickly constitution before, he turned more melancholy and tender. Much[161] about this time, he was informed against to the386 managers at Edinburgh, that having intruded upon the kirk of Tarboltoun, in the shire of Ayr; the council appointed Glencairn and lord Ross to see that he be turned out and apprehended; but there is nothing further can be learned anent this order.

One Sabbath when he was going to preach, and the tent set up for him, the laird on whose ground it was, caused lift it, and set it on another laird's ground. But when Mr. Welwood saw it, he said, in a short time that laird shall not have one furr of land. Some quarrelled him for saying so (this laird being then a great professor). He said, Let alone a little and he will turn out in his own colours. Shortly after this, he fell out in adultery, and became most miserable and contemptible, being, as was said, one of York's four pound papists.

In the beginning of the year 1679, he said to William Nicolson a Fife-shire man, Ye shall have a brave summer of the gospel this year, and for your further encouragement an old man or woman for very age may yet live to see the bishops down, and yet the church not delivered, but ere all be done we will get a few faithful ministers in Scotland to hear; but keep still amongst the faithful poor mourning remnant that is for God, for there is a cloud coming on the church of Scotland, the like of which was never heard; for the most part will turn to defection.——But I see, on the other side of it, the church's delivery, with ministers and christians, that you would be ashamed to open a mouth before them.

Among his last public days of preaching, he preached at Boulterhall in Fife, upon that text, Not many noble, &c. Here he wished that all the Lord's people, whom he had placed in stations of distinction, there and everywhere would express their thankfulness that the words not many were not not any, and that the whole of them were not excluded. In the end of that sermon he said, (pointing to St. Andrews) "If that unhappy prelate Sharp die the death of all men, God never spoke by me." The bishop had a servant, who, upon liberty from his master on Saturday's night, went to visit his brother, who was a servant to a gentleman near Boulterhall (the bishop ordering him to be home on Sabbath night). He went with the laird, and his brother that day. Mr. Welwood noticed him with the bishop's livery on, and when sermon was ended, he desired him to stand up, for he had somewhat to say to him. "I desire you, said he, before all these witnesses when thou goest home, to tell thy master, that his treachery, tyranny387 and wicked life are near an end, and his death shall be both sudden, surprising, and bloody; and as he hath thirsted after and shed the blood of the saints, he shall not go to his grave in peace, &c." The youth went home, and at supper the bishop asked him, If he had been at a conventicle? He said, He was. He asked, What his text was, and what he said? The man told him several things, and particularly the above message from Mr. Welwood. The bishop made sport of it. But his wife said, I advise you to take more notice of that, for I hear that these men's words are not vain words.

Shortly after this he went to Perth, and there lodged in the house of one John Barclay. His bodily weakness increasing, he was laid aside from serving his Master in public; and lingered under a consumptive distemper until the beginning of April 1679, when he died. During the time of his sickness, while he was able to speak, he laid himself out to do good to souls. None but such as were looked upon to be friends to the persecuted cause knew that he was in town; and his practice was, to call them in, one family after another, at different times; and discourse to them about their spiritual state. His conversation was both convincing, edifying and confirming. Many came to visit him, and among the rest one Aiton, younger of Inchdarny in Fife, (a pious youth about eighteen years of age) and giving Mr. Welwood an account of the great tyranny and wickedness of prelate Sharp, Mr. Welwood said, "You will shortly be quit of him, and he will get a sudden and sharp off-going, and ye will be the first that will take the good news of his death to heaven." Which literally came to pass the May following.

About the same time he said to another who came to visit him, "that many of the Lord's people should be in arms that summer for the defence of the gospel; but he was fully persuaded that they would work no deliverance; and that, after the fall of that party, the public standard of the gospel should fall for some time, so that there would not be a true faithful minister in Scotland, excepting two, unto whom they could resort, to hear or converse with, anent the state of the church; and they would also seal the testimony with their blood; and that after this there should be a dreadful defection and apostacy; but God would pour out his wrath upon the enemies of his church and people, wherein many of the Lord's people, who had made defection from his way should fall among the rest in this common calamity; but388 this stroke, he thought, would not be long, and upon the back thereof there would be the most glorious deliverance and reformation that ever was in Britain, wherein the church should never be troubled any more with prelacy."

When drawing near his end, in conversation with some friends, he used frequently to communicate his own exercise and experience, with the assurance he had obtained of his interest in Christ, he said, "I have no more doubt of my interest in Christ, than if I were in heaven already." And at another time he said, "Although I have been for some weeks without sensible comforting presence, yet I have not the least doubt of my interest in Christ. I have oftentimes endeavoured to pick a hole in my interest, but cannot get it done." That morning ere he died, when he observed the light of the day, he said, "Now eternal light, and no more night and darkness to me."—And that night he exchanged a weakly body, a wicked world, and a weary life, for an immortal crown of glory, in that heavenly inheritance which is prepared and reserved for such as him.

The night after his exit his corpse was removed from John Barclay's house into a private room, belonging to one Janet Hutton (till his friends might consult about his funeral) that so he might not be put to trouble for concealing him. It was quickly spread abroad that an intercommuned preacher was dead in town, upon which the magistrates ordered a messenger to go and arrest the corpse. They lay there that night, and the next day a considerable number of his friends in Fife, in good order, came to town in order to his burial, but the magistrates would not suffer him to be interred at Perth, but ordered the town militia to be raised, and imprisoned John Bryce, box-master or treasurer to the guildry, for returning to give out the militia's arms. However the magistrates gave his friends leave to carry his corpse out of town, and bury them without their precincts, where they pleased. But any of the town's people, who were observed to accompany the funeral were imprisoned. After they were gone out of town, his friends sent two men before them to Drone, four miles from Perth, to prepare a grave in that church-yard. The men went to Mr. Pitcairn, the minister there (one of the old resolutioners), and desired the keys of the church-yard that they might dig a grave for the corpse of Mr. Welwood, but he refused to give them. They went over the church-yard-dyke389 and digged a grave, and there the corpse was interred.

There appears to be only one of his sermons in print (said to be preached in Bogles-hole in Clydesdale), upon 1 Peter iv. 18. And if the righteous scarcely be saved, &c.—

There are also some of his religious letters, written to his godly friends and acquaintances, yet extant in manuscript. But we are not to expect to meet with any thing considerable of the writings of Mr. John Welwood[162], or the succeeding worthies; and no wonder, seeing that in such a broken state of the church, they were still upon their watch, haunted and hurried from place to place, without the least time or conveniency for writing; yea, and oftentimes what little fragments they had collected, fell into the hand of false friends and enemies, and were by them either destroyed or lost.


The Life of William Gordon of Earlstoun.

William Gordon of Earlstoun was born about the year——. He was son to that famous reformer Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun, and was lineally descended of that famous Alexander Gordon who entertained the followers of John Wickliffe, and who had a new testament of the vulgar tongue which they used to read in their meetings at the wood near Airds beside Earlstoun. William Gordon, having thus the advantage of a very religious education, began very early to follow Christ. As early as the year 1637, Mr. Rutherford in a letter admonishes him thus: "Sir, lay the foundation thus and ye shall not soon shrink nor be shaken: make tight work at the bottom, and your ship shall ride against all storms; if withal your anchor be fastened on good ground, I mean, within the vail, &c.[163]" And indeed by the blessing of God, he began very early to distinguish himself for piety and religion with a firm attachment to the presbyterian interest and a covenanted work of reformation; in which he continued stedfast and unmoveable until he lost his life in the honourable cause.

390 What hand he had in the public affairs during Cromwel's usurpation, I cannot so well say: we must suppose him upon the remonstrators' side. But the first public testimony he gave after the restoration of Charles II. recorded in history, was, about the year 1663, when some commissioners were appointed by the council to go south and inquire anent some opposition that was then made by the people to the settlement of curates at Kirkendbright and Irongray: and the said commissioners, knowing this worthy gentleman's firmness to the presbyterian principles, and being designed either to make him comply in settling an episcopal incumbent in the parish of Dalry in Galloway (where, by the once established laws, he had some right in presenting) or, if he refused to concur with the bishop, which they had all reason imaginable to suspect he would, to bring him to further trouble. Accordingly they wrote him a letter in the following tenor:—"Finding the church of Dalry to be one of those that the bishop hath presented, an actual minister Mr. George Henry fit and qualified for the charge, and that the gentleman is to come to your parish this Sabbath next to preach to that people, and that you are a person of special interest there,—we do require you to cause his edict to be served, and the congregation to conveen and countenance him so as to be encouraged to prosecute his ministry in that place."—Your loving friends and servants,

LINLITHGOW, GALLOWAY,
ANNANDALE, DRUMLANERK.

To this letter Earlstoun give them a very respectful return, shewing, upon solid reasons, why he could not comply with this their unjust demand, as the following excerpt from that letter evidences:—"I ever judged it safest to obey God, and stand at a distance from whatsoever doth not tend to God's glory and the edification of the souls of his scattered people, of which that congregation is a part. And besides, my Lords, it is known to many, that I pretend to lay claim to the light of patronage of that parish, and have already determined therein with the consent of the people to a truly worthy and qualified person, that he may be admitted to exercise his gifts amongst that people; and for me to countenance the bearer of your Lordship's letter, were to procure me most impiously and dishonourably to wrong the majesty of God and violently to take away the Christian liberty of his afflicted people and enervate my own right, &c."[164]

391 This was, without question, what the managers wanted, and so his trouble began: for, on the 30th of July following, "the lords of council order letters to be directed, to charge William Gordon of Earlstoun to compear before them—to answer for his seditious and factious carriage:" that was, his refusing to comply with prelacy, and hear the curates, and for his favouring and hearing the outed ministers. And further, Nov. 24th, same year, "The council being informed, that the laird of Earlstoun kept conventicles and private meetings in his house,—do order letters to be directed against him to compear before this council to answer for his contempt, under the pain of rebellion." But all this no-ways dashed the courage of this confessor of Christ in adhering to his persecuted and despised gospel; which made these malignant enemies yet pass a more severe and rigorous act against him; in which it was exhibited that he had been at several conventicles (as they were pleased to call the preachings of the gospel) where Mr. Gabriel Semple, a deposed minister, did preach in the Corsack wood and wood of Airds; and heard texts of scripture explained both in his mother's and in his own house by outed ministers; "—and being required to enact himself to abstain from all such meetings in time coming, and to live peaceably and orderly, conform to law," he refused to do the same: They did, therefore, order the said William Gordon of Earlstoun to be banished, and to depart forth of the kingdom within a month, and not to return under pain of death, and that he live peaceably during that time, under, the penalty of 10,000 l. or otherwise, to enter his person in prison.

Here it would appear, that he did not obey this sentence. And although we have little or no particular account of his sufferings, yet we are assured he endured a series of hardships.—In the year 1667, he was turned out of his house and all; and the said house made a garrison for Bannantine that wicked wretch and his party; after which, almost every year produced him new troubles, until the 22d or 23rd of January, 1679, that he emerged out of all his troubles, and arrived at the haven of rest, and obtained his glorious reward in the following manner392

Having some affairs to settle (perhaps on a view never to return) he could not join that suffering handful who were then in arms near Bothwel: he sent his son who was in the action. He himself hastening forward as soon as possible to their assistance, and not knowing of their disaster, was met near the place by a party of English dragoons who were in quest of the sufferers, and, like another valiant champion of Christ, he refused to surrender or comply with their demand, and so they killed him straight out upon the spot[165]; his son being out of the way, and his friends not obtaining that his body should be urned amongst the bones of his ancestors; he was interred in the church-yard of Glassford: and though a pillar or monument was erected over his grave, yet no inscription was got inscribed because of the severity of these times.

Thus fell a renowned Gordon, one whose character at present I am in no capacity to describe: only, I may venture to say, that he was a gentleman of good parts and endowments; a man devoted unto religion and godliness; and a prime supporter of the Presbyterian interest in that part of the country wherein he lived.—The Gordons have all along made no small figure in our Scottish history;—but here was a patriot, a good Christian, a confessor and (I may add) a martyr of Jesus Christ.


The Lives of Messrs. John Kid and John King.

Messrs. John Kid and John King suffered many hardships during the persecuting period, namely, from the year 1670, to the time of their martyrdom 1679.393 Mr. King was sometime chaplain to lord Cardross; and it appears, he was apprehended and imprisoned in the year 1674. but got out on a bond and surety for 5000 merks, to appear when called. Next year he was again, by a party of the persecutors, apprehended in the said lord Cardross's, but was immediately rescued from their hands by some country people, who had profited much by his ministry. After this, he was taken a third time by bloody Claverhouse near Hamilton, with about 17 others, and brought to Evandale, where they were all rescued by their suffering brethren at Drumclog. After which he and Mr. Kid were of great service, and preached often among the honest party of our sufferers, till their defeat at Bothwel, where Mr. Kid, among other prisoners, was taken and brought to Edinburgh. It would appear that Mr. King was apprehended also at the same time in or west from Glasgow[166]. For a party of English dragoons being there, and one of them on horseback called for some ale, and drank394 to the confusion of the covenants. Another of his comrades asking him at the stable-green port, where he was going, he answered, To carry King to hell. But this poor wretch had not gone far whistling and singing, till his carbine accidentally went off, and killed him on the spot. God shall shoot at them with an arrow, suddenly shall they be wounded, Psal. lxiv. 7.

Mr. King was taken to Edinburgh, where both he and Mr. Kid were before the council, July 9th. Mr. King confessed, when examined, That he was with those who rose at that time, &c. Mr. Kid confessed, he had preached in the fields, but never where there were men in arms, except in two places. They signed their confession, which was afterwards produced in evidence against them before the justiciary. On the 12th Mr. Kid was again examined before the council, and put to the torture. It seems he was more than once in the boots, where he behaved with much meekness and patience. Mr. King was examined on the 16th before the justiciary, and Mr. Kid on the day following. On the 22d, they received their indictments. Their trial came on upon the 28th. They were again before the justiciary, where, upon their former petition on the 24th, advocates were allowed to plead for them[167], but no exculpation was allowed them. When their indictments were read, the advocate produced their confessions before the council, as proof against them; and accordingly they were brought in guilty and condemned to be hanged at the market cross of Edinburgh on Thursday the 14th of Aug. and their heads and right arms to be cut off, and disposed of at the council's pleasure.

Accordingly, the same day the king's act of indemnity was published in the forenoon, and, to grace the solemnity, the two noble martyrs (who were denied a share therein) were in the afternoon brought forth to their execution. It was related by one there present, that, as they approached395 the place, walking together hand in hand, Mr. Kid, looking about to Mr. King with a cheerful countenance, said, "I have often heard and read of a kid sacrificed, but I seldom or never heard of a king made a sacrifice." Upon the scaffold they appeared with a great deal of courage and serenity of mind, (as was usual with the martyrs in these times), and died in much peace and joy; even a joy that none of their persecutors could intermeddle with. Their heads were cut off on another scaffold prepared for the purpose.

Thus ended these two worthy ministers and martyrs of Jesus Christ, after they had owned their allegiance to Zion's king and Lord, and given a faithful testimony against popery, prelacy, Erastianism, &c. and for the covenanted work of reformation in its different parts and periods. The reader will find their dying testimonies in Naphtali and the western martyrology, page 146. &c. A few of their sermons I had occasion lately to publish.


The Life of Mr. John Brown.

Mr. Brown was ordained minister at Wamphray in Annandale. There is no certain account how long he was minister there, only it was some time before the restoration of Charles II. as appears from his great faithfulness in opposing prelacy, which was then about to be intruded upon the church; insomuch that, for his fortitude and freedom with some of his neighbouring ministers for their compliance with the prelates, contrary to the promise they had given him, he was turned out of that place.

Upon the 6th of Nov. 1662, he was brought before the council. Whether by letters to converse with the managers, or by a citation, it is not certain. But the same day, the council's act against him runs thus:

"Mr. John Brown of Wamphray, being conveened before the council, for abusing and reproaching some ministers for keeping the diocesan synod with the arch-bishop of Glasgow, calling them perjured knaves and villains, did acknowledge that he called them false knaves for so doing, because they had promised the contrary to him. The council ordain him to be secured close prisoner in the tolbooth till further orders."

396 He remained in prison till Dec. 11, when, after Mr. Livingston and others had received their sentence, the council came to this conclusion anent him, "Upon a petition presented by Mr. John Brown minister of Wamphray now prisoner in Edinburgh, shewing, that he had been kept close prisoner these five weeks by-past, and seeing that, by want of free air and other necessaries for maintaining his crazy body, he is in hazard to lose his life, therefore, humbly desiring warrant to be put at liberty, upon caution to enter his person when he should be commanded, as the petition bears; which being at length he heard and considered, the lords of council ordain the king's supplicant to be put at liberty, forth of the tolbooth, his first obliging himself to remove and depart off the king's dominions, and not to return, without licence from his majesty and council, under pain of death."

Great were the hardships he underwent in prison, for (says a historian) he was denied even the necessaries of life; and though, because of the ill treatment he met with, he was brought almost to the gates of death, yet he could not have the benefit of the free air until he signed a bond obliging himself to a voluntary banishment, and that without any just cause.[168]

But, upon the 23d of the same month, on presenting a petition to the council to prorogue the time of his removal from the kingdom, in regard he was not able to provide himself with necessaries, and the weather so unseasonable that he could not have the opportunity of a ship, &c. as the petition bears; which being read and considered, "They grant him two months longer after the 11th of Dec. by-past; in the mean time he being peaceable, acting nothing in prejudice of the present government, &c."—And next year he went over to Holland (then the asylum of the banished) where he lived many years, but never, that we heard of, saw his own native country any more.

How he employed himself mostly in Holland we are at a loss to say; his many elaborate pieces, both practical, argumentative and historical, witness that he was not idle; which were either mostly wrote there, or published from thence; and particularly those concerning the indulgences-paying, &c. sent for the support and strengthening of his persecuted brethren in the church of Scotland, unto whom he and Mr. M'Ward contributed all in their power, that they might be kept straight (while labouring in the397 furnace of affliction) under a scene of sore oppression and bloody tyranny. But hither did the malice of their enemies yet pursue them. For the king, by the infliction of prelate Sharp, anno 1676, wrote to the states-general to remove them from their province. And although the states neither did nor could reasonably grant this demand, seeing they had got the full stress of laws in Scotland many years before, yet it appears that they were obliged to wander further from the land of their nativity.

Some time before his death, he was admitted minister of the Scots congregation at Rotterdam; where he, with great prudence and diligence, exercised that function; it being always his study and care to gain many souls to Christ. For as he was faithful in declaring the whole counsel of God to his people, in warning them against the evils of the time, so he was likewise a great textuary, close in handling any truth he discoursed upon, and in the application most home, warm and searching, shewing himself a most skilful casuist. His sermons were not so plain, but the learned might admire them; nor so learned, but the plain understood them. His fellow-soldier and companion[169] in tribulation gives him this testimony, "That the whole of his sermons, without the intermixture of any other matter, had a specialty of pure gospel tincture, breathing nothing but faith in Christ, and communion with him, &c."

The ordination of faithful Mr. Richard Cameron seems to have been the last of his public employments; and his last but excellent discourse (before his exile from this world, which appears to have been about the end of the year 1679) was from Jer. ii. 35. Behold I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned, &c. And having finished his course with joy, he died in the Lord. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.

No doubt Mr. Brown was a man famous in his day, both for learning, faithfulness, warm zeal and true piety. He was a notable writer, a choice and pathetical preacher; in controversy he was acute, masculine and strong, in history plain and comprehensive, in divinity substantial and divine; the first he discovers in his work printed in Latin against the Sodinians, and his treatise de causa Dei contra anti-sabbatanios, which the learned world know better than can be here described. There is also a large manuscript398 history intitled, Apologia pro ecclesia, &c. anno Domini 1660, consisting of 1600 pages in 4to, which he gave in to Charles Gordon, sometime minister at Dalmony, to be by him presented to the first free general assembly of the church of Scotland, and was by him exhibited to the general assembly anno 1692; of this history the apologetical relation seems to be an abridgment. His letters and other papers, particularly the history of the indulgence, written and sent home to his native country, manifest his great and fervent zeal for the cause of Christ. And his other practical pieces, such as that on justification, on the Romans, Quakerism the way to Paganism; the hope of glory; and Christ the way, the truth and the life; the first and second part of his life of faith, and Enoch's testament opened up, &c.; all which evidence his solid piety, and real acquaintance with God and godliness.


The Life of Henry Hall of Haugh-head.

Mr. Hall of Haugh-head (in the parish of Eckford in Teviotdale), having had a religious education, began very early to mind a life of holiness, in all manner of godly conversation. In his younger years he was a most zealous opposer of the public resolutions (that took place anno 1651) insomuch, that when the minister of that parish complied with that course, he refused to hear him, and often went to Ancrum to hear Mr. John Livingston. After the restoration of that wicked tyrant Charles II. being oppressed with the malicious persecutions of the curates and other malignants, for his non-conformity, he was obliged to depart his native country, and go over to the border of England anno 1665, where he was very much renowned for his singular zeal in propagating the gospel, by instructing the ignorant, and procuring ministers to preach now and then among that people, who before his coming were very rude and barbarous, but now many of them became famous for piety. Anno 1666, he was taken prisoner on his way coming to Pentland, to the assistance of his covenanted brethren, and imprisoned with some others in Cesford castle. But, by divine providence, he soon escaped thence, through the favour of his friend the earl of Roxburgh, (who was a blood-relation of his), unto whom the castle then pertained. He retired again to399 Northumberland, where, from this time until the year 1679, he lived, being very much beloved, of all that knew him, for his care and concern in propagating the gospel of Christ in that country, insomuch that his blameless and shining conversation drew love, reverence and esteem even from his very enemies. About the year 1678, the heat of the persecution in Scotland obliged many to wander about in Northumberland, as one colonel Struthers was violently pursuing all Scotsmen in those places. Haugh-head was in that scuffle near Crookham, a village upon the English border, where one of his nearest intimates, that gallant and religious gentleman Thomas Ker of Hayhop, fell. Upon which he was obliged to return again to Scotland, where he wandered up and down in the hottest time of the persecution, mostly with Mr. Donald Cargil and Mr. Richard Cameron. During which time, beside his many other Christian virtues, he signalized himself by a real zeal, in defence of the persecuted gospel in the fields. He was one of these four elders of the church of Scotland, who at the council of war at Shawhead-muir June 18. 1769, were chosen, with Messrs Cargil, Douglas, King and Barclay, to draw up the causes of the Lord's wrath against the land, which were to be the causes of a fast on the day following. He had, indeed, an active hand in the most part of the transactions among the covenanters at that time; as being one of the commanding officers in that army, from the skirmish at Drumclog, to their defeat at Bothwel-bridge.

After this, being forfeited, and diligently searched for and pursued after, to eschew the violent hands of these his indefatigable persecutors, he was forced to go over to Holland (the only refuge then of our Scots sufferers). But he had not stayed there long, until his zeal for the persecuted interest of Christ, and his tender sympathy for the afflicted remnant of his covenanted brethren, who were then wandering in Scotland, through the desolate caves and dens of the earth, drew him home again; choosing rather to undergo the utmost efforts of persecuting fury, than to live at ease in the time of Joseph's affliction, making Moses's generous choice, rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy what momentary pleasures the ease of the world could afford. Nor was he very much concerned with the riches of this world; for he stood not to give his ground[170] to hold field preachings on, when few or none400 else would do it; for he was still a true lover of the free and faithful preached gospel, and was always against the indulgence.

About a quarter of a year after his return from Holland, he was mostly with Mr. Cargil, lurking as privily as they could about Borrowstoness and other places on this and the other side the frith of Forth. At last they were taken notice of by these two bloody hounds, the curates of Borrowstoness and Carridden, who soon smelled out Mr. Cargil and his companion, and presently sent information to Middleton, governor of Blackness castle (who was a papist). After consultation, he immediately took the scent after them, ordering his soldiers to follow him at a distance, by twos and threes together, at convenient intervals, to avoid suspicion, while he and his man rode up after them at some distance, till they came to Queensferry; where perceiving the house where they alighted, he sent his servant off in haste for his men, putting up his horse in another house, and coming to the house to them as a stranger, pretended a great deal of kindness and civility to Mr. Cargil and him, desiring that they might have a glass of wine together.—When each had taken a glass, and were in some friendly conference, the governor, wearying that his men came not up, threw off the mask, and laid hands on them, saying, they were his prisoners, and commanded the people of the house, in the king's name to assist. But they all refused, except one Thomas George a waiter; by whose assistance he got the gate shut. In the mean while Haugh-head, being a bold and brisk man, struggled hard with the governor, until Cargil got off; and after the scuffle, as he was going off himself, having got clear of the governor, Thomas George struck him on the head, with a carbine, and wounded him mortally. However he got out; and, by this time the women of the town, who were assembled at the gate to the rescue of the prisoners, convoyed him out of town. He walked some time on foot, but unable to speak much, save only some little reflection upon a woman who interposed, hindering him to kill the governor, that so he might have made his escape more timeously. At last he fainted, and was carried to a country house near Echlin; and although chirurgeons were speedily brought, yet he never recovered the use of his speech any more. Dalziel, living near-by, was soon advertised, and came quickly with a party401 of the guards, and seized him; and although every one saw the gentleman just a-dying, yet such was his inhumanity, that he must carry him to Edinburgh. But he died, on their hands, on the way thither; and made an end of this his earthly pilgrimage to receive his heavenly crown. His corpse was carried to the Cannongate tolbooth, where they lay three days without burial; and then his friends conveened for that end, to do their last office to him; yet that could not be granted. At last they caused bury him clandestinely in the night; for such was the fury of these limbs of antichrist, that after they had slain the witnesses, they would not suffer them to be decently interred in the earth; which is another lasting evidence of the cruelty of those times.

Thus the worthy gentleman, after he had in an eminent manner, served his day and generation, fell a victim to prelatic fury. Upon him was found, when he was taken, a rude draught of an unsubscribed paper, afterwards called the Queensferry paper; which the reader will find, inserted at large, in Wodrow's history, vol. II. Appendix, No. 46; the substance of which is contained in Crookshank's history, and in the appendix to the cloud of witnesses.


The Life of Mr. Richard Cameron.

Mr. Richard Cameron was born in Falkland, in shire of Fyfe (his father being a merchant there). He was of the episcopal persuasion at first; for, after he had passed his course of learning, he was some time schoolmaster and precentor to the curate of Falkland. He sometimes attended the sermons of the indulged, as he had opportunity; but at last it pleased the Lord to incline him to go out to hear the persecuted gospel in the fields; which when the curates understood, they set upon him, partly by flattery and partly by threats, and at last by more direct persecution to make him forbear attending these meetings. But such was the wonderful working of the Lord by his powerful Spirit upon him, that having got a lively discovery of the sin and hazard of prelacy, he deserted the curates altogether, and no sooner was he enlightened anent the evil of prelacy, but he began402 more narrowly to search into the state of things, that he might know what was his proper and necessary duty. The Lord was pleased to discover to him the sinfulness of the indulgence, as flowing from the ecclesiastical supremacy usurped by the king; and, being zealously affected for the honour of Christ, wronged by that Erastian acknowledgment of the magistrate's usurped power over the church, he longed for an opportunity to give a testimony against it. This made him leave Falkland, and go to Sir Walter Scot of Harden, who attended the indulged meetings. Here he took the opportunity (notwithstanding of many strong temptations to the contrary) to witness in his station, against the indulgence. Particularly on Sabbath when called to attend the lady to church, he returned from the entry, refusing to go that day; and spent it in his chamber, where he met with much of the Lord's presence (as he himself afterwards testified) and got very evident discoveries of the nature of these temptations and suggestions of Satan, which were like to prevail with him before; and upon Monday, giving a reason unto the said Sir William and his lady why he went not to church with them, he took occasion to be plain and express in testifying against the indulgence, in the original rise, spring, and complex nature thereof. After which, finding his service would be no longer acceptable to them, he went to the south, where he met with the reverend Mr. John Welch. He stayed some time in his company, who, finding him a man every way qualified for the ministry, pressed him to accept a licence to preach; which he for sometime refused, chiefly upon the account that having such clear discoveries of the sinfulness of the indulgence, he could not but testify against it explicitly, so soon as he should have opportunity to preach the gospel in public, &c.——But the force of his objections being answered by Mr. Welch's serious solicitations, he was prevailed on to accept of a licence from the outed ministers, who were then preaching in the fields, and had not then complied with the indulgence. Accordingly he was licenced by Mr. Welch and Mr. Semple at Haugh-head in Teviotdale, at the house of Henry Hall. Here he told them, He would be a bone of contention among them; for if he preached against a national sin among them it should be against the indulgences, and for separation from the indulged.

After he was licenced, they sent him at first to preach in Annandale. He said, How could he go there.——He knew not what sort of people they were. But Mr. Welch403 said, Go your way, Richie, and set the fire of hell to their tail. He went, and, the first day, he preached upon that text, How shall I put thee among the children, &c. In the application he said, Put you amongst the children! the offspring of robbers and thieves. Many have heard of Annandale thieves. Some of them got a merciful cast that day, and told it afterwards, That it was the first field-meeting that ever they attended; and that they went out of curiosity, to see how a minister could preach in a tent, and people sit on the ground. After this, he preached several times with Mr. Welch, Mr. Semple and others, until 1679, that he and Mr. Welwood were called before that Erastian meeting at Edinburgh, in order to be deposed for their freedom and faithfulness in preaching against the sinful compliance of that time.

After this he preached at Maybole, where many thousands of people were assembled together, it being the first time that the[171]sacrament of the Lord's supper was then dispensed in the open fields. At this time he used yet more freedom in testifying against the sinfulness of the indulgences, for which he was also called before another meeting of the indulged at Dinugh in Galloway; and a little after that, he was again called before a presbytery of them, at Sundewal in Dunscore in Nithsdale: And this was the third time they had designed to take his licence from him. Here it was where Robert Gray a Northumberland man (who suffered afterwards in the Grass-market in 1682.), Robert Neilson and others protested against them for such a conduct. At this meeting they prevailed with him to give his promise, That for some short time he should forbear such an explicit way of preaching against the indulgence, and separation from them who were indulged:——Which promise lay heavy on him afterwards, as will appear in its own proper place.

After the giving of this promise, finding himself by virtue thereof bound up from declaring the whole counsel of God, he turned a little melancholy; and, to get the definite time of that unhappy promise exhausted, in the end of the year 1678, he went over to Holland (not knowing what work the Lord had for him there,); where he conversed with Mr. M'Ward and others of our banished worthies. In his private conversation and exercise in families, but especially in his public sermon in the Scots kirk of Rotterdam,404 he was most refreshing unto many souls, where he was most close upon conversion work from that text, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, &c.; and most satisfying and agreeable to Mr. M'Ward, Mr. Brown and others, who were sadly misinformed by the indulged, and those of their persuasion, that he could preach nothing but babble against the indulgence, cess-paying, &c. But here he touched upon none of these things, except in prayer, when lamenting over the deplorable case of Scotland by defection and tyranny.

About this time Mr. M'Ward said to him, "Richard, the public standard is now fallen in Scotland, and, if, I know any thing of the mind of the Lord, you are called to undergo your trials before us; and go home, and lift the fallen standard, and display it publicly before the world; but before ye put your hand to it, ye shall go to as many of the field-ministers (for so they were yet called) as ye can find, and give them your hearty invitation to go with you; and if they will not go, go alone, and the Lord will go with you."

Accordingly he was ordained by Mr. M'Ward, Mr. Brown and Roleman, a famous Dutch divine. When their hands were lift up from his head, Mr. M'Ward continued his on his head, and cried out, "Behold, all ye beholders, here is the head of a faithful minister and servant of Jesus Christ, who shall lose the same for his Master's interest, and shall be set up before sun and moon, in the view of the world."

In the beginning of the year 1680, he returned home to Scotland, where he spent some time in going from minister to minister, of those who formerly kept up the public standard of the gospel in the fields; but all in vain, for the persecution being then so hot after Bothwel, against all such who had not accepted the indulgence and indemnity, none of them would adventure upon that hazard, except Mr. Donald Cargil and Mr. Thomas Douglas who came together, and kept a public fast-day in Darmeid-muir, betwixt Clydesdale and Lothian; one of the chief causes of which was the reception of the duke of York (that sworn vassal of antichrist) unto Scotland, after he had been excluded from England and several other places. After several meetings among themselves, for forming a declaration and testimony, which they were about to publish to the world, at last they agreed upon one, which they published at the market-cross of Sanquhar, June 22d, 1680. from which place it is commonly called the Sanquhar declaration.405 After this they were obliged, for some time, to separate one from another, and go to different corners of the land: And that not only upon the account of the urgent call and necessity of the people, who were then in a most starving condition, with respect to the free and faithful preached gospel, but also on account of the indefatigable scrutiny of the enemy, who, for their better encouragement, had, by proclamation, 5000 merks offered for apprehending Mr. Cameron, 3000 for Mr. Cargil and Mr. Douglas, and 100 for each of the rest, who were concerned in the publication of the foresaid declaration.

After parting, Mr. Cameron went to Swine-know in New-Monkland, where he had a most confirming and comforting day upon that soul-refreshing text, Isa. xxxi. 2. And a man shall be a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, &c. In his preface that day, he said, He was fully assured that the Lord, in mercy unto this church and nation, would sweep the throne of Britain of that unhappy race of the name of Stuart, for their treachery, tyranny and lechery, but especially their usurping the royal prerogatives of Christ, and this he was as sure of as his hands were upon that cloth, yea and more sure, for he had that by sense, but the other by faith.

Mr. H. E.[172] who suffered much by imprisonment and otherways in this period, and though otherways a worthy good man, yet was so misled that having one time premeditated a sermon, wherein he intended to speak somewhat against Mr. Cameron and Mr. Cargil, (so far was he from taking part with them): But on the Saturday's night he heard an audible voice which said twice unto him, audi, he answered, audio, I hear: the voice spoke again, and said, "Beware of calling Cameron's words, vain." This stopt him from his intended purpose. This he told himself afterwards unto an old reverend minister, who afterwards related the matter as above said.

When he came to preach in and about Cumnock, he was much opposed by the lairds of Logan and Horseclugh, who represented him as a Jesuit, and a vile naughty person. But yet some of the Lord's people, who had retained their former faithfulness, gave him a call to preach in that parish. When he began, he exhorted the people to mind that they were in the sight and presence of a holy God, and that all of them were hastening to an endless406 estate of either well or woe. One Andrew Dalziel, a debauchee (a cocker or fowler), who was in the house, it being a stormy day, cried out, "Sir, we neither know you nor your God." Mr. Cameron, musing a little, said, "You, and all who do not know my God in mercy, shall know him in his judgments, which shall be sudden and surprizing in a few days upon you; and I, as a sent servant of Jesus Christ, whose commission I bear, and whose badge I wear upon my breast, give you warning, and leave you to the justice of God." Accordingly, in a few days after, the said Andrew, being in perfect health, took his breakfast plentifully, and before he rose fell a-vomiting, and vomited his heart's blood in the very vessel out of which he had taken his breakfast; and died in a most frightful manner. This admonishing passage, together with the power and presence of the Lord going along with the gospel dispensed by him, during the little time he was there, made the foresaid two lairds desire a conference with him, which he readily assented to. After which they were obliged to acknowledge, that they had been in the wrong to him, and desired his forgiveness. He said, From his heart he forgave them what wrongs they had done to him, but for what wrongs they had done to the interest of Christ, it was not his part, but he was persuaded that they would be remarkably punished for it. And to the laird of Logan he said, That he should be written childless; and Horseclugh, That he should suffer by burning. Both of which came afterwards to pass.

Upon the fourth of July following (being 18 days before his death), he preached at the Grass-water-side near Cumnock. In his preface that day, he said, "There are three or four things I have to tell you this day, which I must not omit, because I will be but a breakfast or four-hours to the enemy, some day or other shortly; and then my work and my time will be finished both. And the first is this, As for king Charles II. who is now upon the throne of Britain, after him there shall not be a crowned king of the name of Stuart in Scotland[173]. 2dly, There shall not be an old covenanter's head above ground that swore these covenants with uplifted hands, ere ye get a right reformation set up in Scotland. 3dly, A man shall ride a day's journey in the shires of Galloway, Ayr, and Clydesdale, and not see a reeking house nor hear a cock crow, ere ye get a right reformation, and several other shires shall be little better. And 4thly, The rod that the407 Lord will make instrumental in this, will be the French and other foreigners, together with a party in this land joining them: but ye that stand to the testimony in that day, be not discouraged at the fewness of your number, for when Christ comes to raise up his own work in Scotland, he will not want men enough to work for him, &c."

In the week following, he preached in the parish of Carluke, upon these words Isa. xl. 24. Shall the prey be taken from the mighty? &c. And the Sabbath following, at Hind-Bottom near Crawford-John, he preached on these words, You will not come to me that you may have life. In the time of which sermon he fell a-weeping, and the greater part of the multitude also, so that few dry cheeks were to be seen among them. After this, unto the death of his death, he mostly kept his chamber door shut until night; for the mistress of the house where he stayed, having been several times at the door, got no access. At last she forced it up, and found him very melancholy. She earnestly desired to know how it was with him. He said, That weary promise I gave to these ministers has lain heavy upon me, and for which my carcase shall dung the wilderness, and that ere it be long. Being now near his end, he had such a large earnest of the Spirit, which made him have such a longing desire for full possession of the heavenly inheritance, that he seldom prayed in a family, asked a blessing or gave thanks, but he requested patience to wait until the Lord's appointed time came.

His last-sabbath[174] he preached (with Mr. Cargil in Clydesdale) on Psal. xlvi. 10. Be still and know that I am God, &c. That day he said, He was sure that the Lord would lift up a standard against Antichrist, that would go to the gates of Rome and burn it with fire, and that blood should be their sign, and no quarter their word; and earnestly wished that it might begin in Scotland. At their parting, they concluded to meet the second Sabbath after this at Craigmead.—But he was killed on the Thursday thereafter. And the Sabbath following, Mr. Cargil preached in the parish of the Shots upon that text, Know ye not that there is a great man and prince fallen this day in Israel?

The last night of his life, he was in the house of William Mitchel in Meadow-head, at the water of Ayr, where about408 23 horse and 40 foot had continued with him that week. That morning a woman gave him water to wash his face and hands; and having washed and dried them with a towel, he looked to his hands, and laid them on his face, saying, This is their last washing, I have need to make them clean, for there are many to see them. At this the woman's mother wept. He said, Weep not for me, but for yourself and yours, and for the sins of a sinful land, for ye have many melancholy, sorrowful and weary days before you.

The people who remained with him were in some hesitation, whether they should abide together for their own defence, or disperse and shift for themselves. But that day, being the 22d of July, they were surprised by Bruce of Earls-hall; who, having got command of Airely's troop and Strahan's dragoons (upon notice given him by Sir John Cochran of Ochiltree[175]) came furiously upon them about four o'clock in the afternoon, when lying on the east end of Airs-moss. When they saw the enemy approaching, and no possibility of escaping, they all gathered round about him, while he prayed a short word; wherein he repeated this expression thrice over, Lord, spare the green and take the ripe. When ended, he said to his brother with great intrepidity, Come, let us fight it out to the last; for this is the day that I have longed for, and the day that I have prayed for, to die fighting against our Lord's avowed enemies: this is the day that we will get the crown.—And to the rest he said, Be encouraged all of you to fight it out valiantly, for all of you that shall fall this day, I see heaven's gates open to receive you.

But the enemy approaching, they immediately drew up eight horse with him on the right, the rest, with valiant Hackston, on the left, and the foot in the middle; where they all behaved with much bravery until overpowered by a superior number. At last Hackston was taken prisoner (as will afterwards be more fully narrated) and Mr. Cameron was killed on the spot, and his head and hands cut off by one Murray, and taken to Edinburgh. His father being in prison for the same cause, they carried them to him (to add409 grief unto his former sorrow), and inquired at him, if he knew them. He took his son's hands and head, which were very fair, being a man of a fair complexion with his own hair, and kissed them, and said, "I know, I know them; they are my son's, my own dear son's; it is the Lord, good is the will of the Lord, who cannot wrong me nor mine, but has made goodness and mercy to follow us all our days." After which, by order of the council, his head was fixed upon the Nether-bow port, and his hands beside it, with the fingers upward.

Thus this valiant soldier and minister of Jesus Christ came to his end, after he had been not only highly instrumental in turning many souls unto God, but also in lifting up a faithful standard for his royal Lord and Master, against all his enemies, and the defections and sinful compliances of that time. One of his and Christ's declared enemies, when he took out his head at Edinburgh, gave him this testimony, saying, "There the head and hands of a man who lived praying and preaching, and died praying and fighting." And wherever the faithful contendings of the once famous covenanted church of Scotland are honourably made mention of, this, to his honour, shall be recorded of him.

When he was slain, there was found upon him a short paper, or bond of mutual defence, which the reader will find inserted in Wodrow's history, and in the appendix to the cloud of witnesses. There are also some few of his letters now published with Mr. Renwick's collection of letters, but the only sermon of his that appeared in print formerly, is that preached at Carluke, intitled, Good news to Scotland, published anno 1733. He wrote also in defence of the Sanquhar declaration, but we can give no account of it ever being published. Some more of his sermons were lately published.

An Acrostic on his Name.
Most noble Cameron of renown,
A fame of thee shall ne'er go down;
Since truth with zeal thou didst pursue,
To Zion's king loyal and true.
Ev'n when the dragon spil'd his flood,
Resist thou didst unto the blood:
Ran swiftly in thy Christian race,
In faith and patience to that place
Christ did prepare to such as thee,
He knew would not his standard flee.410
A pattern of valour and zeal,
Rather to suffer than to fail;
Didst shew thyself with might and main,
Counting that dross others thought gain;
A faithful witness 'gainst all those,
Men of all sorts did truth oppose;
Even thou with Moses didst esteem
Reproaches for the God of heaven:
On him alone thou didst rely,
Not sparing for his cause to die.

The Life of David Hackston of Rathillet.

David Hackston of Rathillet, in the shire of Fife, is said in his younger years to have been without the least sense of any thing religious, until it pleased the Lord, in his infinite goodness, to incline him to go out and attend the gospel then preached in the fields, where he was caught in the gospel net, and became such a true convert, that after a most mature deliberation upon the controverted points of the principles of religion in that period, he at last embarked himself in that noble cause (for which he afterward suffered), with a full resolution to stand and fall with the despised persecuted people, cause and interest of Jesus Christ.

There is no account of any public appearance that this worthy gentleman made, amongst that party, until the 3d of May 1679, that we find him, with other eight gentlemen, who were in quest of one Carmichael, who, by means of the arch-bishop, had got commission to harrass and persecute all he could find (in the shire of Fife) for non-conformity; but not finding him, when they were ready to drop the search, they providentially met with their arch-enemy himself. Whenever they descried his coach, one of them said, It seems that the Lord hath delivered him into our hand; and proposed that they should choose one for their leader, whose orders the rest were to obey. Upon which they chose David Hackston for their commander; but he absolutely refused, upon account of a difference subsisting betwixt Sharp and him in a civil process, wherein he judged himself to have been wronged by the primate; which deed he thought would give the world ground to think, it was rather out of personal pique and revenge,411 which he professed he was free of. They then chose another, and came up with the coach; and having got the bishop out, and given him some wounds, he fell on the ground. They ordered him to pray, but, instead of that, seeing Rathillet at some distance, (having never alighted from his horse), he crept towards him on his hands and his feet, and said, Sir, I know you are a gentleman, you will protect me.—To which he answered, I shall never lay a hand on you. At last he was killed; after which every one judged of the action as their inclinations moved them. However, the deed was wholly charged upon him (and his brother-in-law, Balfour of Kinloch) although he had no active hand in this action.

About the latter end of the same month of May, that he might not be found wanting to the Lord's cause, interest and people, upon any emergent or occasion, he, with some friends from Fife, joined that suffering handful of the covenanters at Evandale, where, after he and Mr. Hamilton, &c. had drawn up that declaration (afterward called the Rutherglen declaration), he and Mr. Douglas went to the market cross of Rutherglen, and upon the anniversary day the 29 of May, where they extinguished the bonefire, and published the said testimony. They returned back to Evandale, where they were attacked by Claverhouse, upon the first of June near Drumclog. Here Mr. Hackston was appointed one of the commanding officers (under Mr. Hamilton who commanded in chief), where he behaved with much valour and gallantry during that skirmish.—After which he was a very useful instrument among that faithful remnant (as witness his repeated protests against the corrupt and Erastian party), and had an active hand in the most part of the public transactions among them, until that fatal day the 22d of June, where he and his troop of horse were the last upon the field of battle at Bothwel-bridge[176].

But, this worthy and religious gentleman, being now declared a rebel to the king (though no rebel to Zion's king), and a proclamation issued out, wherein was a reward offered of 10,000 merks to any who could inform of or apprehend him, or any of those concerned in the death of the arch-bishop of St. Andrews. Upon this and the proclamation after Bothwel, he was obliged to retire out of the way for about a year's space. In which time he did not neglect to attend the gospel in the fields, where-ever412 he could have it faithfully dispensed. But this pious gentleman, having run fast and done much in a little time, it could not be expected he should continue long, and upon the 22d of July 1680, having been with that little party a few days, who attended Mr. Richard Cameron at Airs-moss, they were surprized by Bruce of Earls-hall, Airly's troop and Strahan's dragoons.

Here, being commander in chief of that little band, and seeing the enemy approaching fast, he rode off to seek some strength of ground for their better advantage, and the rest followed; but seeing they could go no further, they turned back, and drew up quickly. Eight horse on the right, and fifteen on the left; and the foot who were but ill armed in the middle. He then asked, If they were all willing to fight? They all answered, They were. Both armies advanced, and a strong party of the enemies horse coming hard upon them, their horse fired, killed and wounded severals of them, both horse and foot; after which they advanced to the enemies very faces, when, after giving and receiving fire, valiant Hackston being in the front, finding the horse behind him broke, rode in among them, and out at a side, without any damage; but being assaulted by severals with whom he fought a long time, they following him and he them by turns, until he stuck in a bog, and the foremost of them, one Ramsay, one of his acquaintance, who followed him in, and they being on foot, fought with small swords, without much advantage on either side. But at length closing, he was struck down by three on horseback behind him; and falling after he had received three sore wounds on the head, they saved his life, which he submitted to. He was, with the rest of the prisoners, carried to the rear, where they gave them all a testimony[177] of brave resolute men. After this he was brought to Douglas, and from thence to Lanerk, where Dalziel threatened to roast him for not satisfying him with answers. After which he and other three prisoners were taken to Edinburgh, where, by order of the council, they413 were received by the magistrates at the water-gate, and he set on a horse's bare back, with his face backward, and the other three laid on a goad of iron, and carried up the street (and Mr. Cameron's head on a halbert before them) to the parliament closs, where he was taken down, and the rest loosed by the hand of the hangman.

He was immediately brought before the council, where his indictment was read by the chancellor, and he examined, which examination and answers thereunto being elsewhere[178] inserted at large, it may suffice here to observe, that being asked, if he thought the bishop's death murder? he told them, That he was not obliged to answer such questions; yet he would not call it so, but rather say, it was not murder. Being further asked, If he owned the king's authority, he replied, "That though he was not obliged to answer, yet as he was permitted to speak, he would say something to that; and 1st, That there could be no lawful authority but what was of God, and that no authority stated in a direct opposition to God could be of God, and that he knew of no authority nor justiciary this day in these nations, but what were in a direct opposition to God, and so could neither be of God nor lawful, and that their fruits were kything it, in that they were letting murderers, sorcerers, and such others at liberty from justice, and employing them in their service, and made it their whole work to oppress, kill and destroy the Lord's people." Bishop Paterson asked, "If ever Pilate and that judicature, who were direct enemies to Christ, were disowned by him as judges?" He said, "He would answer no perjured prelate in the nation." Paterson replied, "He could not be called perjured, since he never took that sacrilegious covenant." Mr. Hackston said, "That God would own that covenant, when none of them were to oppose it, &c." Notwithstanding these bold, free, and open answers, they threatened him with torture, but this he no-wise regarded.

Upon the 26th, he was again brought before the council, where he answered much to the same purpose as before. The chancellor said, He was a vicious man. He answered, That while he was so, he had been acceptable to him, but now when otherwise it was not so. He asked him, If he would yet own that cause with his blood, if at liberty?—He answered, That both their fathers had owned it with the hazard of their blood before him. Then he414 was called by all a murderer.—He answered, God should decide it betwixt them, to whom he referred it, who were most murderers in his sight, him or them. Bishop Paterson's brother, in conference, told him, That the whole council found that he was a man of great parts, and also of good birth. He said, That for his birth, he was related to the best of the kingdom, which he thought little of, and as for his parts, they were very small; yet he trusted so much to the goodness of that cause for which he was a prisoner, that if they would give God that justice, as to let his cause be disputed, he doubted not to plead it against all that speak against it.

Upon the 27, he was taken before the justiciary, where he declined the king's authority as an usurper of the prerogative of the Son of God, whereby he had involved the land in idolatry, perjury and other wickedness; and declined them as exercising under him the supreme power over the church, usurped from Jesus Christ, &c. and therefore durst not, with his own consent, sustain them as competent judges; but declined them as open and stated enemies to the living God, and competitors for his throne and power, belonging to him only.

On the 29, he was brought to his trial, where the council, in a most unprecedented manner, appointed the manner of his execution; for they well knew his judges would find him guilty. And upon Friday the 30th, being brought again before them, they asked, If he had any more to say.——He answered, What I have said I will seal. Then they told him, They had something to say to him; and commanded him to sit down and receive his sentence, which he did, but told them, They were all murderers; for all the power they had was derived from tyranny; and that these years bygone they had not only tyrannized over the church of God, but also grinded the faces of the poor, so that oppression, perjury and bloodshed were to be found in their skirts.

Upon this, he was carried from the bar on a hurdle drawn backwards, unto the place of execution at the cross of Edinburgh. None were suffered to be with him but two bailies, the executioner and his servants. He was permitted to pray to God Almighty but not to speak to the people. Being come upon the scaffold, his right hand was struck off, and a little after his left; which he endured with great firmness and constancy. The hangman being long in cutting off the right hand, he desired him to strike in the joint of the left, which being done, he was415 drawn up to the top of the gallows with a pully, and suffered to fall down a considerable way upon the lower scaffold three times with his whole weight, and then fixed at the top of the gallows. Then the executioner, with a large knife, cut open his breast, and pulled out his heart, before he was dead, for it moved when it fell on the scaffold. He then stuck his knife in it, and shewed it on all sides to the people, crying, Here is the heart of a traitor. At last, he threw it into a fire prepared for that purpose, and having quartered his body, his head was fixed on the Nether-bow; one of his quarters, with his hands at St. Andrews; another at Glasgow; a third at Leith; and the fourth at Bruntisland.——Thus fell this champion for the cause of Christ, a sacrifice unto prelatic fury, to gratify the lust and ambition of wicked and bloody men. Whether his courage, constancy or faithfulness had the pre-eminency it is hard to determine.—But his memory is still alive, and it is better to say no more of him, than either too much or too little.


The Life of Robert Ker of Kersland, Esq.

Robert Ker of Kersland being born and educated in a very religious family, began early to discover more than an ordinary zeal for religion. But the first public appearance that we find he made for the cause, and interest of religion, was in the year 1666, about Nov. 26, when he, Caldwell and some others of the Renfrew gentlemen, gathered themselves together, and marched eastward to join Col. Wallace and that little handful who renewed the covenant at Lanerk. But, having heard that General Dalziel was, by that time got betwixt them and their friends, they were obliged to dismiss. But this could not escape the knowledge of the managers: for the laird of Blackstoun one of their own number, upon a promise of pardon, informed against the rest, and so redeemed his own neck by accusing his neighbour.—But of this he had nothing to boast of afterwards[179].

Kersland was after this, obliged to retire out of the way; and the next year he was forfeited in his life and fortune, and his estate given to Lieut. General Drummond of Cromlie,416 and his lands in Beith to William Blair of that ilk, which estate they unjustly held until the Revolution[180].

After this, to elude the storm, he thought fit to retire and go over to Holland; and there chose to live with his family at Utrecht;—where he had the advantage of hearing the gospel and other excellent conversation. In that place he continued near three years. But his friends thinking it necessary, that he should come home to settle some of his affairs, if possible, his lady returned home in the end of 1669, and himself soon followed: but to his unspeakable grief, he found, when he came to Edinburgh, that she was in a fever: She lodged in a woman's house who was a favourer of the sufferers. And though he lodged in a more private place, and only used to come in the evenings to visit his sick lady; yet one Cannon of Mardrogate, who had not yet altogether cast off the mask, at least his treachery and apostacy was not then discovered, got notice of it—He soon gave information to the Chancellor, and orders were procured from Lauderdale then in town, to search that house on pretence that Mr. John Welch was keeping conventicles in the Lady Kersland's chamber. But the design was for Kersland himself, as the sequel will declare. Accordingly, a party came, and finding no conventicle, were just going to retire. But one Murray[181] having particular notice from Mardrogate, that when any company came to the room, Kersland in the evening used to retire behind a bed; and having a torch in his hand, provided for that end, said, he behoved to search the room: and so went straight behind the bed and brought him out, charging him to render his arms. Kersland told him he had none but the Bible, which he had then in his hand; and that was enough to condemn him in these times.—At parting with his lady, she shewed much calmness and composure, exhorting him to do nothing that might wound his conscience out of regard to her or her children, and repeated that text of scripture, No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

He was forthwith taken to the guard, and then to the Abbey; where a committee of the council, that same night, was gathered for his examination. When he was brought before them, they asked him concerning the lawfulness of the appearance at Pentland; which he, in plain terms, owned to be lawful, and what he thought duty.—Upon417 which he was immediately imprisoned. When going away, the Chancellor upbraided him with what passed betwixt him and his lady, which he suffered with much patience.

He was near three months prisoner in Edinburgh; and from thence sent to Dumbarton castle, where he continued near a year and a half. Then he was ordered for Aberdeen, where he was kept close prisoner without fire for three months space in the cold winter season.—From Aberdeen he was brought south to Stirling castle, where he continued some years; and then was, a second time, returned to Dumbarton, where he continued till October 1677. Then the council confined him to Irvine, and allowed him some time to transport himself and his family, then at Glasgow, into that place.

Coming to his family at Glasgow, he was visited by many friends and acquaintance: and the same night, convoying the Lady Caldwall and her daughter, he was taken by some of the guards, and kept in the guard house till next day; when the commanding officer would have dismissed him, but first he behoved to know the arch-bishop's pleasure, who immediately ordered him a close prisoner in the tolbooth. The arch-bishop took horse immediately for Edinburgh: Lady Kersland followed after, if possible, to prevent misinformation.—In the mean time, a fire breaking out in Glasgow, the tolbooth being in hazard, and the magistrates refusing to let out the prisoners, the well affected people of the town got long ladders and set the prisoners free, and Kersland amongst the rest, after he had been eight years prisoner. After the hurry was over, he inclined to have surrendered himself again prisoner; but hearing from his lady of the arch-bishop's design against him, he retired and absconded all that winter.[182] In418 the spring and summer following, he kept company with the persecuted ministers, and heard the gospel preached in the fields, and was at communions, particularly that at Maybole. About the beginning of harvest, 1678, he returned again to his old retiring place Utrecht, where he continued until the day of his death.

When near his departure, his dear acquaintance Sir Robert Hamilton being with him, and signifying to him that he might be spared as another Caleb to see the good land when the storm was over; to whom, amongst his last words, he said, "What is man before the Lord? yea, what is a nation? as the drop of a bucket, or the small dust in the balance: yea, less than nothing and vanity. But this much I can say in humility, that, through free grace, I have endeavoured to keep the post that God hath set me at. These fourteen years I have not desired to lift the one foot till the Lord shewed me where to set down the other." And so, in a few minutes, he finished his course with joy and fell asleep in Jesus, Nov. 14. 1680, leaving his wife and five children in a strange land.

It were superfluous to insist here upon the character of the thrice renowned Ker. It is evident to all, he was a man of a great mind, far above a servile and mercenary disposition.—He was, for a number of years, hurried from place to place, and guarded from prison to prison. He endured all this with undaunted courage.—He lost a good estate then for the cause of Christ: and, though he got not the martyrs crown, yet he beyond all doubt obtained the sufferers reward.

419


The Life of Mr. Donald Cargil.

Mr. Cargil seems to have been born sometime about the year 1610. He was eldest son to a most respected family in the parish of Rattray. After he had been sometime in the schools of Aberdeen, he went to St. Andrews, where having perfected his course of philosophy, his Father prest upon him much to study divinity, in order for the ministry; but he, through tenderness of spirit, constantly refused, telling his father, That the work of the ministry was too great a burden for his weak shoulders;—and requested to command to any other employment he pleased. But his father still continuing to urge him, he resolved to set apart a day of private fasting to seek the Lord's mind therein. And after much wrestling with the Lord by prayer, the third chapter of Ezekiel, and chiefly these words in the first verse (Son of man, eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel), made a strong impression upon his mind, to that he durst no longer refuse his father's desire, but dedicated himself wholly unto that office.

After this, he got a call to the Barony church of Glasgow. It was so ordered by divine providence that the very first text the presbytery ordered him to preach upon, was these words in the third of Ezekiel (already mentioned) by which he was more confirmed that he had God's call to that parish. This parish had been long vacant, by reason that two ministers of the resolution party, viz. Messrs Young and Blair, had still opposed the settlement of such godly men as had been called by the people. But in reference to Mr. Cargil's call, they were, in God's providence, much bound up from their wonted opposition. Here Mr. Cargil perceiving the lightness and unconcerned behaviour of the people under the word, was much discouraged thereat, so that he resolved to return home and not accept the call; which when he was urged by some godly ministers not to do, and his reasons asked, he answered, They are a rebellious people. The ministers solicited him to stay, but in vain. But when the horse was drawn, and he just going to begin his journey, being in the house of Mr. Durham, when he had saluted several of his christian friends that came to see him take horse, as he was taking farewel of a420 certain godly woman, she said to him, "Sir, you have promised to preach on Thursday, and have you appointed a meal to a poor starving people, and will ye go away and not give it? if you do, the curse of God will go with you." This so moved him, that he durst not go away as he intended; but sitting down desired her and others to pray for him. So he remained and was settled in that parish, where he continued to exercise his ministry with great success, to the unspeakable satisfaction both of his own parish, and all the godly that heard and knew him, until that by the unhappy restoration of Charles II. prelacy was again restored.

Upon the 26th of May following, the day consecrated in commemoration of the said restoration, he had occasion to preach in his own church (it being his ordinary week-day's preaching) when he saw an unusual throng of people come to hear him, thinking he had preached in compliance with that solemnity. Upon entering the pulpit, he said, "We are not come here to keep this day upon the account for which others keep it. We thought once to have blessed the day, wherein the king came home again, but now we think we shall have reason to curse it, and if any of you be come here in order to the solemnizing of this day we desire you to remove." And enlarging upon these words in the 9th of Hosea, Rejoice not, O Israel, &c. he said, This is the first step of our going a-whoring from God; and whoever of the Lord's people this day are rejoicing, their joy will be like the crackling of thorns under a pot, it will soon be turned to mourning; he (meaning the king) will be the wofullest sight that ever the poor church of Scotland saw; wo, wo, wo unto him, his name shall stink while the world stands, for treachery, tyranny and lechery.

This did extremely enrage the malignant party against him, so that being hotly pursued, he was obliged to abscond, remaining sometime in private houses, and sometime lying all night without, among broom near the city, yet never omitting any proper occasion of private preaching, catechizing and visiting of families and other ministerial duties. But at length when the churches were all vacated of presbyterians by an act of council anno 1662. Middleton sent a band of soldiers to apprehend him, who, coming to the church, found him not, he having providentially just stepped out of the one door, a minute before they came in at the other; whereupon they took the keys of the church-door with them and departed. In the mean421 while the council passed an act of confinement, banishing him unto the north side of the Tay, under penalty of being imprisoned and prosecuted as a seditious person: But this sentence he no way regarded.

During this time, partly by grief for the ruin of God's work in the land, and partly by the toils and inconveniences of his labours and accommodation, his voice became so broken, that he could not be heard by many together, which was a sore exercise to him, and discouragement to preach in the fields; but one day, Mr. Blackater coming to preach near Glasgow, he essayed to preach with him, and standing on a chair (as his custom was) he lectured on Isa. xliv. 3. I will pour water on him that is thirsty, &c. The people were much discouraged (knowing his voice to be sore broken) lest they should not have heard by reason of the great confluence. But it pleased the Lord to loose his tongue, and restore his voice to such a distinct clearness, that none could easily exceed him; and not only his voice, but his spirit was so enlarged, and such a door of utterance given him, that Mr. Blackater, succeeding him, said to the people, "Ye, that have such preaching, have no need to invite strangers to preach to you; make good use of your mercy." After this he continued to preach without the city, a great multitude attending and profiting by his ministry, being wonderfully preserved in the midst of danger, the enemy several times sending out to watch him, and catch something from his mouth whereof they might accuse him, &c.

In the month of October 1665, they made a public search for him in the city. But he, being informed, took horse, and rode out of town, and at a narrow pass of the way he met a good number of musketteers. As he passed them, turning to another way on the right hand, one of them asked him, Sir, What-o-clock is it? he answered, It is six. Another of them, knowing his voice, said, There is the man we are seeking. Upon hearing this, he put spurs to his horse, and so escaped.

For about three years he usually resided in the house of one Margaret Craig, a very godly woman, where he lectured morning and evening to such as came to hear him. And though they searched strictly for him here, yet providence so ordered it, that he was either casually or purposely absent; for the Lord was often so gracious to him, that he left him not without some notice of approaching hazard. Thus, one sabbath, as he was going to Woodside to preach, as he was about to mount the horse, having422 one foot in the stirrup, he turned about to his man, and said, I must not go yonder to-day.—And in a little, a party of the enemy came there in quest of him, but missing the mark they aimed at, they fell upon the people, by apprehending and imprisoning severals of them.

Another of his remarkable escapes was at a search made for him in the city, where they came to his chamber and found him not, being providentially in another house that night. But what is most remarkable, being one day preaching privately in the house of one Mr. Calender, they came and beset the house; the people put him and another into a window, closing the window up with books. The search was so strict, that they searched the very cieling of the house, until one of them fell through the lower loft. Had they removed but one of the books, they would certainly have found him. But the Lord so ordered that they did it not; for as one of the soldiers was about to take up one of them, the maid cried to the commander, That he was going to take her master's books, and he was ordered to let them be. Thus narrowly he escaped this danger.

Thus he continued until the 23d of November 1668. that the council, upon information of a breach of his confinement, cited him to appear before them on the 11th of January thereafter. But when he was apprehended and compeared before the council, and strictly examined (wherein he was most singularly strengthened to bear a faithful testimony to his Master's honour and his persecuted cause and truths), yet by the interposition of some persons of quality, his own friends, and his wife's relations, he was dismissed and presently returned to Glasgow, and there performed all the ministerial duties, as when in his own church, notwithstanding the diligence of persecutors in searching for him again.

Some time before Bothwel, notwithstanding all the searches that were made for him by the enemy, which were both strict and frequent, he preached publicly for eighteen Sabbath-days to multitudes, consisting of several thousands, within a little more than a quarter of a mile of the city of Glasgow; yea, so near it, that the psalms when singing were heard through several parts of it; and yet all this time uninterrupted.

At Bothwel being taken by the enemy, and struck down to the ground with a sword, seeing nothing but present death for him, having received several dangerous wounds in the head, one of the soldiers asked his name; he told him it was Donald Cargil, another asked him, if423 he was a minister? He answered, he was: whereupon they let him go. When his wounds were examined, he feared to ask if they were mortal, desiring, in submission to God, to live, judging that the Lord had yet further work for him to accomplish.

Some time after the fight at Bothwel, he was pursued from his own chamber out of town, and forced to go through several thorn hedges. But he was no sooner out, than he saw a troop of dragoons just opposite to him, back he could not go, soldiers being posted every where to catch him; upon which he went forward, near by the troop, who looked to him, and he to them, until he got past. But coming to the place of the water, at which he intended to go over, he saw another troop standing on the other side, who called to him, but he made them no answer. And going about a mile up the water he escaped, and preached at Langside next Sabbath without interruption. At another time, being in a house beset with soldiers, he went through the midst of them, they thinking it was the goodman of the house, and escaped.

After Bothwel,[183] he fell into a deep exercise anent his call to the ministry, but, by the grace and goodness of God, he soon emerged out of that, and also got much light anent the duty of the day, being a faithful contender against the enemy's usurped power, and against the sinful compliance of ministers, in accepting the indulgence, with indemnities, oaths, bonds, and all other corruptions.

There was a certain woman in Rutherglen, about two miles from Glasgow, who, by the instigation of some, both ministers and professors, was persuaded to advise her husband to go but once to hear the curate, to prevent the family being reduced; which she prevailed with him to do. But she going the next day after to milk her cows, two or three of them dropt down dead at her feet, and Satan, as she conceived, appeared unto her; which cast her under sad and sore exercises and desertion: so that she was brought to question her interest in Christ, and all that had formerly passed betwixt God and her soul, and was often tempted to destroy herself, and sundry times attempted it. Being before known to be an eminent Christian, she was visited by many Christians; but without success: still crying out, she was undone; she had denied Christ, and he had denied424 her. After a long time's continuance of this exercise, she cried for Mr. Cargil; who came to her, but found her distemper so strong, that for several visits he was obliged to leave her as he found her, to his no small grief. However, after setting some days apart on her behalf, he at last came again to her; but finding her no better, still rejecting all comfort, still crying out, That she had no interest in the mercy of God, or merits of Christ, but had sinned the unpardonable sin; he, looking in her face for a considerable time, took out his Bible, and naming her, said, "I have this day a commission from my Lord and Master, to renew the marriage contract betwixt you and him; and if ye will not consent, I am to require your subscription on this Bible, that you are willing to quit all right, interest in, or pretence unto him:" and then he offered her pen and ink for that purpose. She was silent for some time; but at last cried out, "O! salvation is come unto this house. I take him; I take him on his own terms, as he is offered unto me by his faithful ambassador." From that time her bonds were loosed.

One time, Mr. Cargil, Mr. Walter Smith, and some other Christian friends being met in a friend's house in Edinburgh, one of the company, having got notice, told him of the general bonding of the west country gentlemen for suppressing the field meetings, and for putting all out of their grounds who frequented them. After sitting silent for some time, he answered, with several heavy sighs and groans, The enemy have been long filling up their cup; and ministers and professors must have time to fill up theirs also; and it shall not be full till enemies and they be clasped in one another's arms; and then, as the Lord lives, he will bring the wheel of his wrath and justice over them altogether.

Some time after the beginning of the year 1680, he retired toward the frith of Forth, where he continued until that scuffle at Queensferry, where worthy Haugh-head was killed, and he sorely wounded. But escaping, a certain woman found him in a private place, on the south side of town, and tying up his wounds with her head-clothes, conducted him to the house of one Robert Puntens, in Carlowrie, where a surgeon dressed his wounds, and Mrs. Puntens gave him some warm milk, and he lay in their barn all night. From thence he went to the south, and next Sabbath preached at Cairn-hill, somewhere adjacent to Loudon, in his blood and wounds (for no danger could stop him from going about doing good). His text was in425 Heb. xi. 32. And shall I more say, for time would fail me to tell of Gideon, &c. At night some persons said to him, We think, Sir, preaching and praying go best with you when your danger and distress are greatest. He said, It had been so, and he hoped it would be so, that the more that enemies and others did thrust at him that he might fall, the more sensibly the Lord had helped him; and then (as it had been to himself) he repeated these words, The Lord is my strength and song, and has become my salvation, in the 118th psalm, which was the psalm he sung upon the scaffold.

After this, he and Mr. Richard Cameron met and preached together in Darmeid-muir, and other places, until that Mr. Cameron was slain at Airs-moss, and then he went north, where, in the month of September following, he had a most numerous meeting at the Torwood near Stirling, where he pronounced the sentence of excommunication against some of the most violent persecutors of that day, as formally as the present state of things could then permit. Some time before this, it is said, he was very remote and spoke very little in company; only to some he said, He had a tout to give with the trumpet that the Lord had put in his hand, that would sound in the ears of many in Britain, and other places in Europe also. It is said[184], that nobody knew what he was to do that morning, except Mr. Walt Smith, to whom he imparted the thoughts of his heart. When he began, some friends feared he would be shot. His landlord, in whose house he had been that night, cast his coat and ran for it. In the forenoon he lectured on Ezek. xxi. 25, &c. and preached on 1 Cor. v. 13. and then discoursed some time on the nature of excommunication, and then proceeded to the sentence; after which, in the afternoon, he preached from Lam. iii. 31, 32. For the Lord will not cast off for ever.

The next Lord's day he preached at Fallow-hill in the parish of Livingston. In the preface he said, "I know I am and will be condemned by many, for excommunicating those wicked men; but condemn me who will, I know I am approven of by God, and am persuaded that what I have done on earth is ratified in heaven; for, if ever I knew the mind of God, and was clear in my call to any piece of my generation-work, it was that. And I shall give you two signs, that ye may know I am in no delusion: (1) If some of these men do not find that sentence426 binding upon them, ere they go off the stage, and be obliged to confess it, &c. (2.) If these men die the ordinary death of men, then God hath not spoken by me[185]."

About the 22d of October following, a long and severe proclamation was issued out against him and his followers, wherein a reward of 5000 merks was offered for apprehending him, &c.—Next month governor Middleton, having been frustrated in his design upon Mr. Cargil at Queensferry, laid another plot for him, by consulting one James Henderson in Ferry, who, by forging and signing letters, in name of bailie Adam in Culross, and some other serious Christians in Fife, for Mr. Cargil to come over, and preach to them at the hill of Baith. Accordingly Henderson went to Edinburgh with the letters, and, after a most diligent search, found him in the west bow. Mr. Cargil being willing to answer the call, Henderson proposed to go before, and have a boat ready at the Ferry against they came; and, that he might know them, he desired to see Mr. Cargil's cloath, (Mr. Skeen and Mr. Boig being in the same room). In the mean time he had Middleton's soldiers lying at the Mutton-hole, about three miles from Edinburgh, &c. Mr. Skeen, Archibald Stuart, Mrs. Muir and Marion Hervey took the way before on foot, Mr. Cargil and Mr. Boig being to follow on horseback. Whenever they came to the place, the soldiers spied them; but Mrs. Muir escaped, and went and stopped Mr. Cargil and Mr. Boig, who fled back to Edinburgh.

After this remarkable escape, Mr. Cargil, seeing nothing but the violent flames of treachery and tyranny against him above all others, retired for about three months to England, where the Lord blessed his labours, to the conviction and edification of many. In the time of his absence that delusion of the Gibbites arose, from one John Gib sailor in Borrowstoness, who, with other three men and twenty-six women, vented and maintained the most strange delusions. Some time after, Mr. Cargil returned from England,427 and was at no small pains to reclaim them, but with little success. After his last conference with them[186] (at Darngavel in Cambusnethen parish) he come next sabbath, and preached at the Underbank wood, below Lanerk, and from thence to Loudon-hill, where he preached upon a fast day, being the 5th of May. Here he intended only to have preached once, and to have baptized some children. His text wa