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the Gospel, holden out to poor sinners freely, and to poor me; and He hath engaged my heart to fall in love with Him, and to follow the blessed persecuted Gospel, through good report, and ill report, upon all hazards whatsoever, through His strength.
"Oh! bless Him, all that is within me, that ever He made me to act faith on His great and precious promises, and also to trust the faithful outmaking of them to His own in particular straits ; and also to the Church in general, in His due season, against all oppositions that can come from a tempting devil, and wicked, conspiring, and desperate heart, and the wicked, flattering, deceiving and bewitching world. Oh ! but these be three strong, arch, cunning, and subtile enemies. I fear, if this question were asked at professors in the land, if they knew these? they would answer, they knew them very well; though I fear the contrary; and it appears much in our day and generation. Woe is us! where is this married land gone to, judge ye?
"I bless Him that He has made me His prisoner, though I be unworthy; He has stooped low, and with His delicates has come to me in my irons and cords, in that chamber in Glasgow, with His own wine, apples, and flagons. Oh! if ye knew what a life we have here! if ye knew the want of Him, ye would have longed for Him, and would not have thought a prison, cords, stocks, irons, hard to bear for His comely presence, and refreshing of our souls. Oh! glory to His blessed and everlasting name, whose loving kindness lasts for aye. Oh! friends, give all the praise to precious and lovely Christ. Oh! friends, wrestle and hold on, use importunity with Him, for your bleeding mother-church, for it is not time to be slack. Oh! pray for us, that we may get more and more of His support, that we may be strong in our almighty God, who has done great things for His Church, and is beginning to do great things for us in our prison.
"Oh! praise Him, all ye people; but it may be nearer to the breaking of the day of our King Royal, than ye are aware. God has long been silent, and conscience [has been] dumb amongst people. Oh! be ye aware that ye have not these two, when He arises to make war for all the wrongs He has sustained. We beseech you in His own name, try whose ye are, what ye are, and in whose list ye are. Know ye not, that true faith is the substance of things not seen, but hoped for, in Him, and will be made forthcoming to the sensible feeling of His own elect . "JOHN WHARRY."
LETTER written by James Smith, who suffered for the truth at the Market-cross of Glasgow, June n, 1683, to his Father and Mother.
"Dear Father And Mother,—I beseech you to forgive me all the offences I have done to you, for ye know it is natural to children to offend and grieve their parents. Now, this I seek in His name, and for His sake, and I heartily forgive any provocations that my father has given me, as I am of myself, and desire the Lord may take a dealing with your heart, oh my father! Now, my dear father, seek the Lord that your soul may live; and make religion your main work, and let it not be a bye-business to you, but strive and wrestle to get time spent rightly in the fear of the Lord, minding always, and at all times, that the eye of a holy and just God is upon you ; and be serious with God, and deal in earnest with Him, that He would help you to self-denial, to be denied to all things beneath the clouds; and study to win [i.e., get] at mortification; and let your affections follow nothing further than ye can be mortified to it; and be submissive to His holy will. Now, the Lord Himself persuade you to fall in love with lovely Christ. And I desire the Lord may give you unfeigned repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and strength to stand out and resist these ensnaring courses; viz., locality paying, and the compearing at courts, and hearing of curates, and the like.
"Dear father, mother, brethren, and sisters, quit with me, and give me up to the Lord, who gave me to you. Give me up freely without hankering and repining, for He loveth a cheerful giver. I dare not say but He has been kind to me. Oh! matchless love! Oh praise, praise Him, that ever He honoured the like of me with cords on my arms and stocks on my legs; irons have been sweet and easy to me, and no trouble. Now, hold up my case to the Lord, and doubt not of His faithfulness and all-sufficiency, for He is both able and willing, and He has said, 'In all your afflictions I am afflicted;' and He carries His and their cross both, and He sends none a warfare on their own charges. 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if 1t die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal' (John xii. 24, 25). And I can say, from good grounds, I am well helped of my lovely Master in all that I have been trysted [i.e., visited] with. I desire with all my heart and soul to bless and praise the holy name of my God for His love, and that ever He looked on the like of me, a poor sinful thing. Oh! praise Him, and rejoice with me, that it is so well with me. Now the manner of my taking was not surprising to me; I was not feared [i.e., afraid], for I dare not question, but it was both the place, and also the time was come; glory to His name in so ordering of it.
"No more at present, but have my love remembered to you, and I desire you all to take up yourselves with your duty. Now I quit you all to Him who is able to save to the utmost. Be much taken up in the Church's condition, and be not at ease in the time of Zion's trouble. My brethren, my advice to you is, to join yourselves in a society or fellowship meeting in the strength of the Lord. Now, my lovely Lord, give Thy blessing to all Thine, and pardon the sins of all the elect. "Sic subscribitur,
[HESE two zealous martyrs were precluded from having any formal testimony by the rage and cruelty of the persecutors, who, having suborned witnesses against them to depone that they saw them kill a soldier at Inchbelly Bridge in relieving a prisoner there, did presently take them forth to the Cross of Glasgow, and with the greatest of inhuman rage, hanging them on a gibbet till they were half dead, caused cut them down, and laying them in that condition upon a cart, carried them to the said Inchbelly Bridge, to be there hung up in chains. And it is worth the recording to the praise of His grace for whose royal dignities they witnessed, that they endured all these hardships inflicted upon them with a great deal of Christian magnanimity and alacrity, even to the conviction of enemies.
John Nisbet, the Younger.
JOHN NISBET, called the younger, to distinguish him from John Nisbet of Hardhill, belonged to the parish of Loudon. On March 22, 1683, the Council granted a Justiciary power to Major White, stationed at Kilmarnock, upon his apprehending J ohn Nisbet, to prosecute him criminally on the spot, on the charge of being at the battle of Bothwell Bridge. He was accordingly tried at Kilmarnock. The only account extant of his trial is contained in his own statement of the interrogations proposed to him. He was sentenced to be hanged at Kilmarnock, on April 4, according to Wodrow; but according to the compilers of the " Cloud," April 14, 1683.
His testimony is not given in the original edition of the " Cloud." At the close of the Interrogations, the compilers state: "This martyr's testimony, though otherwise very sensible and solid, is omitted, in regard that not only the matter, but even the very words of it are generally the same with the testimony of James Robertson." It occurs, however, in the fourth edition, 1741, from which we have taken it.
Wodrow gives an account of his last moments. He says, "I have before me a large account of his carriage at his execution that day, and his last words on the ladder, taken from his mouth in short hand. He had a grave courage and staidness when he came to the place of execution After he had prayed, he sang the 16th Psalm, from the 5th verse to the close, with a great deal of affection and joy; and then read the 8th chapter to the Romans, and prayed again.
"When he had delivered his Bible to his uncle, he made himself ready for the executioner, not expecting to get leave to say anything to the spectators; but essaying to speak, he continued a good while without interruption, in an extemporary discourse, pressing them to godliness, and recommending religion to them from his own feeling and experience. He notices, that this is the first execution of this kind at that place, and is of opinion, it is not like to be the last. He tells them death is before them all, and if it were staring them in the face as nearly as it was him at present, he doubts not there would be many awakened consciences among them; but as for himself, though death be naturally terrible, and a violent death yet more terrible, the sting of it is taken away, and he can say, he reckons every step of the ladder a step nearer heaven.
"When going on to give some account of the cause of his sufferings, and his indictment, a confusion was raised by the soldiers, and he broke off, and drew the napkin over his face, and was turned off when commending his soul into His Father's hands."
The spot where the gallows stood, on which he was hanged, is still marked by J. N., formed with small white stones, at the south corner of the cross of Kilmarnock. His remains lie in the Low Church burying-ground. Over them is a stone to his memory. The inscription is in the Appendix.
Anthony Shaw, referred to by John Nisbet in his Testimony, was minister of Belfast in 1646. He came to Colmonell in 1650, and along with so many other ministers was deprived of his charge in 1662. In 1683 he was in prison, but how long he had been, is not recorded. He was liberated, August 9, on finding caution to appear when called. He seems to have been the indulged minister at Newmilns, where it is likely John Nisbet met him. He was soon again in trouble. While assisting at a communion with the indulged minister of his old parish of Colmonell, he was led, owing to the great crowd in attendance, to preach in the open air instead of the inside of the church. For this so-called grave offence, he was summoned before the Council, January 10, 1684, and ordained to find caution not to preach, or remove from the kingdom. He refused to find caution, and was ordered again to prison. On January 22, the Council liberated him, "being old and infirm," on the condition that he keep no conventicle, under the penalty of 5000 merks. — Ed.]