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"7. And against locality and fines' paying, seeing that it contributes to the strengthening of the adversaries' hands. As for the locality, we may easily see it to be sinful, since they (the enemies) have imposed it for the maintenance of a party raised and kept up for no other use (as their daily practice declares) but to harass, rob, and spoil the poor people of God, for their close (Oh ! that it were closer) adhering to their sworn principles, and to kill them for not denying of these principles. And as for the paying of fines, it would be considered that these fines are imposed upon people for their duty; and fines imposed by right and justice ought always to be for transgression; neither can a fine be imposed by right, but for a transgression; so that by paying of these fines so imposed, we must be said either to yield active obedience to an unjust course, which we ought always to oppose, or we may be said to make ourselves transgressors, and these duties (in which we ought to venture life and fortune) to be transgressions. I say, one of these will consequently follow, if not both. But alas! those things that are grievously sinful many ways, are become so habitual, that they are never noticed nor thought anything of, nor will be, till God come in His power and great glory to disclose the secrets of all hearts.
"8. I leave my testimony against the people, their hearing of curates, basely leaving the way of truth, and following a course dishonouring to God, and destructive to themselves. Also against the joining with the indulged and unfaithful ministers, vindicating themselves thus, ' That it is good to hear the word,' not considering that these ministers have so far gone out of the way of God, in their accepting of' that Indulgence, as that they ought to be testified against, and when they go on obstinately in that crooked way, ought to be withdrawn from. It may be, some will say, that this is ignorantly reasoned; but I fear, if they would search things narrowly by the Spirit of God, they would find that God is not countenancing them in it. And also, that they ought to have given far other sort of testimony against that course, than to have joined and gone along with it, as far as their station would have required; but now the obstinacy of this generation is so great (and we have many sad evidences of this) that I fear there will nothing convince them but the judgments of God, which has made me the less careful to write anything (although I could) that might, being from the hand of a dying man, be any way convincing to them, but as it becomes one laying down his life for his royal and princely Master Jesus Christ. I leave my testimony against joining with them; yea, against that which they call simple hearing, and this I have done to exoner [i.e., free] my conscience in the sight of a holy and jealous God, and do declare, that if mercy in Christ prevent not (which will not be found but in mercy's gate, which is believing and repentance) they shall smart under the heavy wrath of God for their complying with such crooked and God-provoking courses. And I, as a man laying down my life for the interest of my sweet Lord, do warn all and every one of them, who have joined with these evil courses, to flee from the wrath to come, which will be on this generation inevitably; yea, I obtest you to flee from it, as ye tender the glory of God and the good of your own souls. Oh! flee from it by speedy repentance, and lay hold upon the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ for that effect, and study to have your names scraped out of the black catalogue of these soul-destroying despisers of that precious blood and righteousness, purchased for that end to take away the sins of all that will come, and by faith lay hold upon it, and to reconcile them to a provoked God. God's wrath is burning against the children of disobedience, and He has said, 'That such as turn aside to crooked ways, He will lead them forth with the workers of iniquity.' And in another place he says, ' If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.'
"9. I leave my testimony against the taking of that cursed Test, and the takers thereof, and I declare it to be a horrid wickedness, a God-disowning and a God-daring course.
"10. Against compearing before their courts; and I declare it to be a thing inconsistent with a faithful testimony for truth at this time, it being: First, An owning of that authority, founded upon that usurped Supremacy over the prerogative royal of our Lord, which thing ought to be so far testified against, as not to own or answer to any court fenced [i.e., opened) in the name of Charles Stuart, because he hath quite forefaulted [i.e., forfeited] his right to rule as king. Second, It is a clear condemning of such as have suffered the loss of means upon that account, and those who have laid down their lives against the owning of that authority ; and let none think me foolish in adjoining my testimony to the testimonies of these, nor in my disowning of that authority.
"n. Against the lifting of militia, and the paying of militiamoney.
"12. I testify against the proceedings of that abominable wretch, John Gib, and these testimonies writ by him in the name of others, as being a thing prejudicial to the interests of our Lord.
"And, now, as to the articles of my indictment, they are all of them such things as cannot be made criminal.
"As to the first, viz., making my escape out of the Tolbooth, I was doing it most innocently, doing hurt to no person, neither did I ever hear that it was criminal.
"As to the second, viz., that I had confessed that I was at Bothwell Bridge, I see not how that can be made criminal, if I got but the lash of their own law (if it be not abuse of language to call it law), and no further; for all that were on-lookers that day, could not be said to be in the action.
"As to the third, viz., My conversing with Gavin Witherspoon* since Bothwell; whom they call a notorious rebel, but cannot prove him so; neither can they show me that law founded on the Word of God, that makes conversing with him criminal. And since they cannot upon sufficient grounds call him a rebel, what they say and do without ground, I do not see myself obliged to answer it ; for that rebellion which the law strikes against, is that which can be proven rebellion against powers acting for God, and so, consequently, rebellion against God; and sure I am, while a man followeth his duty (for it is merely for following his duty that they call him a rebel), he can never be said to be in rebellion against God.
"As to the fourth article, that I refused to call Bothwell Bridge rebellion, I would see the law that makes a man's silence, when interrogated, criminal. And also, as to the thing itself, who knows not that it was mere defence? and who can make it out to be rebellion against powers acting for God? For as is before said, this and no other is the rebellion that the law of God and the law of our nation strike against.
"And the fifth, viz., that I said the owning of the Covenants was lawful. Who knows not that these Covenants were once approven of as lawful, and solemnly sworn by the whole nation, and the Confession of Faith taken, and sworn unto as fundamentals of our religion? And I deny (although by an Act of a pretended Parliament
"This was a very eminent and zealous sufferer, who being forfaulted of his land and possession for adherence to the truth, suffered many hardships of persecution, but was brought through without compliance, being steadfast in the way of the Lord till his death, which was about two years since. — Note by compilers of "Cloud," in 1714.
they may pretend to rescind the same) that it was in their power to rescind or overturn such a constitution, until they had made the unsoundness of it appear, and made it appear wherein another was better, and till they had been in case to set up a better in the room thereof. So that their so doing was not a walking according to the will of God, but a walking according to the counsel of their own wills, contrary to the will of God, for the satisfaction of their own base lusts, and no ways showing themselves to be studying either the glory of God or the good of His people, so that these Covenants remain binding to this day, and I hope shall be when they are gone, who so wickedly set themselves against them.
"As to the sixth article, that I would not answer if it was lawful, yea or not, to obey Charles Stuart? It is only silence, which no reason nor law can make criminal. And as to my disowning his authority (as they say) they had only my silence also, which can never in law take away a man's life. As to my not asserting that the death of the late king was murder, I find that they would have every one saying and attesting what they say, and assert whether they know it to be so or not. I leave my testimony, as a dying man, against all such implicit walking, and especially I testify against any laying hold implicitly upon the bare assertions or dictates of the enemies of God. And as to the Prelate's death, I declare as a dying man, that I think none can certainly judge that action, if it was a murder or not murder. And who sees not what these enemies to God and His Son Jesus Christ are driving at, when they would compel men to assert things only for their pleasures, that no human understanding can judge of, themselves who were the actors only excepted? And now it is notour to all persons of any capacity, and who will but use the light of nature, that there is no manner of just sentence passed against, or put in execution upon us; but that we are murdered only for the satisfaction of men, who are worse than heathens.
"And now this my testimony I seal with my blood, dying in the faith of the Protestant religion, adhering to the Presbyterian government of the Church of Scotland, and witnessing against everything that tends to the hurt thereof; exhorting every one who desires to be found of God in love, to settle and fix here. And let none fear to venture upon the cross of Christ, for I can say from experience (glory be to Him for it) that he has borne the cross and me both, or otherwise I could never have undergone it with so small difficulty. And the great reason of many, their fainting under the cross, is their laying so little weight on Jesus Christ, and so much upon themselves, and upon any bit of attainment they think themselves to have. Oh let every one study that holy art of independency upon all things besides Him, and depend only upon Himself.
"And now I bid farewell to the poor remnant of the Church of Scotland, and I leave them to God, and in His good hand. I bid farewell to friends and acquaintances. I bid farewell to my mother, and commit her to God, who only can provide for her things necessary both for soul and body. I bid farewell to my two sisters, and commit them to God, who can be instead of all things to them, and can soon make up the want of a brother to them, which want I think may be easily borne as the time now goes. Farewell praying and believing, reading and meditating. I bid farewell to all temporal things, mercies and crosses. Welcome gallows for the interest of my sweet Lord. Welcome heaven and everlasting glory. Welcome spirits of just men made perfect. Welcome angels. Welcome Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, into whose hands I commit my spirit.
|ITH this martyr suffered other four, viz., John Richmond, Archibald Stewart, who lived in the parish of Lesmahagow, James Winning, tailor, in Glasgow, James Johnston, in North Cadder, all very zealous and judicious Christians. The heads of their indictments are all the same with these of this martyr, and their answers before their examinators have been very much to the same effect, all of them freely and fully owning the Covenant, and avouching it before their persecutors, and likewise the lawfulness of defensive arms, for maintaining the faithfully preached Gospel, and absolutely denying the king's ecclesiastic supremacy. Declining all of them to answer to the impertinent questions concerning the Bishop's death, and that of King Charles I., in regard they knew not the circumstances of these facts, nor could make a judgment upon them, and found themselves obliged in no law, divine or human, to give their opinion about them; and yet, upon this their prudent silence, was their sentence founded and executed with great rage, having scarce forty-eight hours allowed them before their execution.
As for the heads of truth, to which they leave their testimony, and of defection and corruption, against which they leave it, they are so near the same with these contained in the foregoing speech, that