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ings, is as sad a token of God's leaving the land, as any that I see; and therefore, I not only exhort you to this duty; but as a dying man, I charge you, as you will answer at the great day, to set about that duty with fear, love, and zeal to God, having His glory before your eyes. And let love to Christ be the principle and motive to draw you to this, and all other duties. Let none be stumbled at the way of Christ, for what we are suffering—if I durst call it suffering; for all the steps of the way are easy to me, through faith in a slain Mediator. For it is those that keep the word of His patience, that He will keep in the hour of temptation. Oh! labour to keep up these lovely field-meetings, wherewith my soul has been refreshed. And let'it be your work to keep patience; whatever sufferings ye meet with from enemies, or reproaches from pretended friends, who I fear, will be found secret and heart-enemies to God. This I leave to you as my last advice.
"And now I bless God for all that He hath done for my soul, and for this way that He hath taken with me, in carrying me to the land of praise, where I shall sing that sweet song throughout the ages of eternity, which shall never have an end. Oh! long to be with Him; for if ye knew what I have got of His love and presence, ye would whiles [i.e., sometimes] be giving a look to time, and bidding it be gone. Now, even let it be gone, that I may enjoy my Best Beloved!
"Now I take my farewell of all friends and relations, and all earthly comforts and all created glory; and welcome, sweet Lord Jesus; into thy hands I commit my spirit. "Sic Subscribitur,
|PON the scaffold he sung the second Psalm, and read the third of Malachi. But they would not suffer him to pray publicly ; for when he began to speak, saying: "Oh ! Lord, what wilt thou do with this generation? What wilt thou do with bloody Charles Stuart?" incontinent [i.e., immediately] the drums were beaten and his mouth stopped, that he got no more said.
OHN POTTER was at Airsmoss, but not in arms. All that they had to lay to his charge was, that he had been a hearer of Donald Cargill, and that he owned the Sanquhar Declaration. It was he that related to Patrick Walker the last words of Richard Cameron: "When they saw the enemy so near, and no escaping, they gathered close about him, when he prayed a short word, and had these expressions three times: 'Lord, spare the green and take the ripe.' When ended, he said to his brother: 'Michael, come let us fight it out to the last; for this is the day that I have longed for, and the death that I have prayed for, to die fighting against our Lord's avowed enemies; and 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 cast wide open to receive them.'" He suffered at the same time with James Skene and Archibald Stewart.
The Declaration stigmatising the Covenants, testified against by John Potter, was ordained by the fifth Act of the second session of the first Parliament of Charles II., 1662. All persons in public trust were required to sign it. It was the cause of much of the suffering of the following twenty-six years. The Covenants had been solemnly sworn, and it really made perjury a necessary qualification in all admitted to office in Church and State. It was the first of a long course of ensnaring declarations, bonds, or oaths. Indeed, scarcely a year of the persecuting times passed by without some new form of oath. The Declaration, after a short introduction, was—" I do
sincerely affirm and declare particularly that these oaths,
whereof the one was commonly called the ' National Covenant,' as it was sworn and explained in the year 1638, and thereafter; and the other, entitled ' A Solemn League and Covenant,' were, and are in themselves, unlawful oaths."—Ed.]
• HE TESTIMONY of John Potter, a Farmer, who lived in the parish of Uphall in West Lothian, and suffered at the Cross of Edinburgh, December 1, 1680.
"All you spectators and auditors, I desire your attention to a few words, and I shall be brief. And before I begin, I must tell you, you must not expect such a testimony from me as ye have had from some of them that went before me, I not being a learned man, as some of them have been. However, I desire to look to God; who not only can give me what to speak, but can also bless what I speak, so as it may be for His glory, and the good of them that love Him, and wait for His coming; which is the desire of my soul. Now, I being to step out of time into eternity, I hope you will not think that I shall say anything now but what my conscience binds me to say.
"In the first place, I must tell you for what I am come here this day, to lay down my life; it is for owning and adhering to my sworn principles. I am a Presbyterian, and herein I do rejoice that I am to suffer for His cause only; for adhering to the Word of God; our Confession of Faith ; Larger and Shorter Catechisms; our Covenants, National and Solemn League, together with our solemn Acknowledgment of Sins and Engagement to Duties; wherein all Scotland were once engaged, and thought it their duty and honour to be so. And this is the reason for which I am sentenced to death by men; but God, to whom vengeance doth belong, will avenge Himself for all the wrongs done to His glory, cause, interest, and people. I was born under the pure light of the Gospel, and was taught to own Christ as king in Zion only, and head of His own Church; and this I own to be my duty.
"But I am here charged with rebellion; which I deny, because I was never of that opinion, that it was rebellion to hear the Gospel; for the word of God binds us to it as our duty; otherwise, why should God have told us, 'That we should go from sea to sea to seek the word of the Lord, and should not find it?' And the practice of our Lord and His apostles, in preaching of the Gospel to the people that heard them, is a sufficient ground to prove it to be duty to hear the Gospel, whether in fields or houses, when it cannot be had elsewhere; and if it be duty to hear the Gospel as it is, then certainly it is duty to defend the Gospel when preached in purity; according to the word of God, and according to the sixth article of the Solemn League and Covenant, wherein we are bound to assist and defend all that enter into covenant with us, and to the utmost of our power, with our lives in our hands; much more to defend the Gospel, which teaches us the fundamental principles of our holy Religion.
"And to take away that vile and malicious aspersion, which they cast upon us; charging us with an intention to have murdered the Duke of York and others with him; I declare I had never such a principle as to murder any man, neither did I ever hear of it till the Council told me ; which I knew to be a vile and hell-hatched aspersion cast upon the way and people of God; but they judge others by themselves, for that is their principle—to murder the people of God, as they also do.
"Next I was charged, whether or not I adhered to Sanquhar Declaration? I answered, I not only adhered to it, but also will lay down my life cheerfully and willingly, as I do this day, for adhering thereto; yea, if every hair of my head were a life, and every drop of my blood were a man, I would willingly lay them all down for Him and His cause.
"I come here to tell you—
"1. That I adhere to all the written will and word of God; and I adhere to the Confession of Faith, and our Catechisms, Larger and Shorter, and to our Covenants, National and Solemn League, and to the solemn Acknowledgment of Sins and Engagement to Duties, and to all the Covenants made betwixt God and us, wherein I stand engaged.
"2. I adhere to all the testimonies that have gone before me.
"3. I adhere to all that has been done for maintaining and defending the Gospel against a tyrannising and bloody enemy, when the actors thereof had the glory of God before their eyes as the chief motive that drove them thereto; whether at Pentland, Drumclog, Glasgow, Bothwell, Airsmoss, or any other place in Scotland, where there has been any rencounter of that kind.
"4. I adhere to that action of Excommunication at the Torwood; it being according to the word of God, and done by a faithful minister of the Gospel, and in as legal a way as the present dispensation and circumstance of time could permit; and also, the persons excommunicate being guilty of such crimes as justly do deserve that act to be passed against them.
"5. I adhere to the testimonies of all that have borne testimony against silent and unfaithful ministers; by their withdrawing from them, which is a declaring that they do not own them as faithful ambassadors of Jesus Christ, because of their unfaithfulness; and I hope none will condemn me for saying, that I have not had clearness to join with them, while they remain so unconcerned with the cause of Christ and the oppression of His people.
"6. I adhere to the way of salvation agreed upon betwixt the Father and the Son before the creation of the world, that through the Son we should be made perfect ; which I hope to obtain before this body of mine be cold, and in His perfection I shall be made perfect, and through His suffering I shall be conformed to Him who suffered without the gate, bearing His reproach. And I am well pleased with my lot this day. Oh ! my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name, for all that He hath done for my soul, and for His way of bringing me here this day, to lay down my life for Him. I am not afraid of grim death; I know that God has taken away the sting of death through the sufferings of His Son.
"In the next place, being here as a dying witness for Christ and His cause, I do therefore leave my testimony against all abominations done in the land against a holy God, and in contempt of His image; particularly:
"1. I testify against all that woeful and hell-hatched Act of Supremacy, wherein they acknowledge the king to be head of the Church, and thereby have invested a mortal creature with Christ's crown, sword, and sceptre.
"2. I bear witness and testify against the breaking of the National and Solemn League and Covenant, and making them to be burnt by the hand of the hangman at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, and elsewhere through Scotland, so contrary to their solemn engagement .
"3. I witness and bear my testimony against the reception of Prelacy, so contrary to the word of God, and our Covenants; for . then it was that the Covenanters in Scotland should have withstood both king and Council, and all that joined with them in that head, and should have testified against them with their swords in their hands until they had resisted unto blood, according to the sixth article of the Solemn League and Covenant. Oh! that all that are