« AnteriorContinuar »
it would be but superfluous to repeat them word for word as they stand. Only some few expressions shall be here inserted out of them, to show how cheerfully they underwent their sufferings.
To which purpose these words of John Richmond's are very remarkable, 'Scar not at [i.e., be not afraid of] the cross of Christ; for, oh, if ye knew what I have met with since I came to prison! what love! what matchless love from my sweet and lovely Lord! ye would long to be with Him, and would count it naught to go through a sea of blood for Him.'
To the same effect see with what heavenly delight and complacency that stripling, Archibald Stewart, a youth of nineteen years, accosts a violent death, while he saith, ' Now this is the sweetest and joyfullest day that ever I had since I was born. My soul blesseth the Lord that ever He made choice of me to suffer for His noble cause and interest; that ever He set His love upon the like of me, to give a faithful testimony for His controverted truths, who was born an heir of hell and wrath; but now He hath redeemed my soul through His precious blood and suffering from the power of sin and Satan, and hath made me overcome by the blood of the immaculate Lamb of God.' And thereafter, 'I die not by constraint: I am more willing to die for my lovely Lord Christ and His truths, than ever I was to live. And my soul blesseth the Lord, that ever He did accept of a testimony from the like of me. Scar not at [i.e., be not afraid of] the way of Christ because of sufferings. If ye knew what of His love I have got since I was honoured with imprisonment for Him, and what sweet ingredients He hath put into my cup, ye would not be afraid of suffering. He hath paved the cross all over with love, and hath made all sweet and comfortable to me, and hath made all my troubles flee away like the morning shadows. Oh! I cannot express His matchless love to me, neither can I make mention of His goodness! Oh! it is but little I can speak to the commendation of my lovely Lord and His cross."
At the same rate James Winning, having bewailed his being so long a hearer of curates, subjoins with a sweet and ravishing turn: "I bless the Lord, because of His goodness to me, who, notwithstanding of all my compliance with enemies, hath not left me in that woeful case, but hath brought me hither to witness for His opposed, burdened, and ruined cause and glory. Oh! I desire to bless Him for it, and call in all the creation to help me. Oh! the wonderful power, riches, and goodness of the Lord! Glory to His rich and excellent name, who hath discovered to me the need of a Redeemer, who will wash me from my sins, and make me pure and spotless before His throne in heaven."
James Johnston, among other heavenly expressions, hath these concerning his lot of suffering, "For this I bless the Lord, for I could never have ventured upon the cross, especially upon death itself, unless that He had helped me to it."
They died all with a forgiving spirit, imitating their Lord and Master, and His holy apostles, in praying for forgiveness to their persecutors, though withal assuring them that their blood would be required at their hands, if they did not repent for what they had done against the image of God in them.
"Now I am brought here this day, to lay down my life for the testimony of Jesus Christ, and the hope of _-„_ Israel, which hope I am not ashamed of, and for owning that Christ is King, and Head of His own Church, for which I do this day willingly lay down my life, and not by constraint; for if I would have acknowledged a mortal man to be supreme, I might have redeemed my life—via, Charles Stuart, to be supreme over all causes, civil and ecclesiastical, which belongs to no mortal man upon earth, but to our blessed Lord and Saviour, who is given of the Father to be Head and King of His own Church, which I prove by His own word: "And He is the Head of the body, the Church" (Col. i. 18). "And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church" (Eph. i. 22). And also the second Psalm. Now, I say, it is for the hope of Israel, and as a witness of Jesus Christ; of whom I am not ashamed, but desire with heart and soul to praise Him, and my soul shall praise Him throughout the ages of eternity, and I desire to invite all the creation to praise Him: for He has taken me as a brand plucked out of the fire, who was an heir of hell and wrath, and I also confirmed that heirship to myself, by my actual transgressions; but now my sweet and lovely Lord and Redeemer, through His blood and sufferings, has redeemed me from the devil, the world, and the flesh, and has sealed to me by His Spirit, bearing witness with my spirit, and confirming me by His precious Word, which Word is truth, and the true Word of God, that He has redeemed me, and I shall be clothed with His righteousness, which is spotless and clean, and will make my soul as clean as if I had never sinned.
"Now I shall give you a short hint, as the Lord shall assist me, of my principles, what I am to adhere to; and also, what I am clear to disown and testify agamst, as a dying witness of Christ:
"1. I sweetly set to my seal to the Covenant of Free Grace, made betwixt the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world, for the redemption of poor, lost mankind; I say, of those who are elected, called and chosen, sanctified and justified, for which my soul blesses the Lord, that ever I heard tell of the same, and of a Redeemer.
"2. I leave my testimony to the Sacred Word of God—viz., The Old and New Testaments, that they are the true Word of God, and that there is life everlasting to be had in perusing thereof, with the whole desire of the soul, through a Redeemer; and without perusing and sincerely endeavouring to make it your rule of life and manners, there is no life; for our blessed Lord says, He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it.
"3. I leave my testimony to the work of Reformation, in all the several steps thereof, as it was reformed from Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, and all other errors, not agreeable to the Word of God.
"4. I leave my testimony to the Confession of Faith, the Sum of Saving Knowledge, Directory for Worship, the Catechisms Larger and Shorter.
"5. I leave my testimony to the Covenants, National and Solemn League and Covenant, that these lands were engaged in to the Lord; which Scotland may bless the Lord for, that He brought them in Covenant with Himself. I say to you that desire to own the same, (I mean the poor wrestling remnant,) make it your ground to plead with the Lord, that He may come back to these lands again. And also, I leave my testimony to the Acknowledgment of Sins and Engagement to Duties, and the Causes of God's Wrath.
"6. I leave my testimony to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, faithfully preached by the faithful ambassadors called and commissioned from Himself, in all faithfulness and boldness, in showing Jacob his transgressions, and Israel his sin, both before Bothwell and since; but few found faithful since. It may be said of the most part from that time forth, many went backward and walked no more with Him; their names may be written in very little bounds, that were found faithful; only these two I desire to record, Mr Donald Cargill and Mr Richard Cameron, which I desire to set to my seal, to the faithfulness of these two men's doctrine, and all their procedure in the work they were called in, and my soul blesses the Lord that ever I heard them preach.
"7. I leave my testimony to all appearances in arms for the defence of the Gospel, both before Bothwell and since; and also my testimony to the carrying of arms for self-defence, and the defence of my brethren.
"8. I leave my testimony to the Excommunication at the Torwood, drawn out by Mr Donald Cargill.
"9. I leave my testimony to the testimony given at Rutherglen, upon the 29th day of May, the year 1679.
"10. I leave my testimony to the declaration given at Sanquhar, upon June 22, 1680.
"11. I leave my testimony to the testimony given at Lanark, the 12th of January 1682, by a party who was stirred up by the Lord to witness faithfully for Him against the bloody acts and laws of men, and especially the dreadful snare, the land-destroying, the soul-ruining thing called the Test.
"12. I leave my testimony against that declaration drawn at Hamilton, by a party of men, who loved the praise of men, and the interest of men, more than the interest of our Lord and King, who will not give His glory and honour to any mortal man upon earth, because it took in the tyrant's interest, and was carried on by them over the belly of a poor faithful remnant that was amongst them; but if God be God, serve Him; and if Baal be God, serve him.
"13. I leave my testimony to the eight articles called the New Covenant, drawn by Mr Donald Cargill, and which was taken off worthy Henry Hall at the Queensferry.
"14. I leave my testimony to the fellowship and meetings of the Lord's people, for reading and singing of Psalms, and praying to the Lord, and wrestling for the poor Church, and other duties incumbent to them in their place and station, and to all their proceedings for the keeping up the remembrance of Israel. Go on, and slack not your hands, seeing it is so warranlably by your Master's royal word, viz., Mal. iii., and many more. For my soul blesses the Lord that ever He counted me worthy to be in among the fellowship meeting of His people. I say, slack not your hands, for the Lord has accepted of your endeavours in keeping up the remembrance of Israel, making way to get poor young infants brought within His visible Church, which the Lord made me a sharer of, and an offering of Himself to poor treacherous Scotland, if they will embrace Him.
"15. I heartily, with all my heart and soul, leave my testimony to all the faithful testimonies of the Cloud of Witnesses, that has been martyred for Christ and His truths.
"Now, I desire, before I quit the list of these that I have owned, here through grace to lay down my life, and the list of them is of more value than many lives.
"Now, I shall give a short hint, as the Lord shall assist, what I disown, that is done of men, against the Majesty of heaven.
"1. I leave my testimony against Popery and Prelacy, and Erastian Supremacy, and all that hierarchy.
"2. I leave my testimony against Quakerism, Independency, Anabaptism, and all other erroneous sects, that are contrary to the Word of God.
"3. I leave my testimony against that tyrant upon the throne of Britain, and his present authority, for his breach of the Covenants; the Covenants being the coronation oath, that he got the crown upon; and for his overturning the whole work of God in the land, by taking upon him to be supreme over Christ's Church, and to rule the law, and not the law to rule him, and for burning these Covenants, and for putting the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ out of the land, and for killing, plundering, of the Lord's people in the fields, on scaffolds, drowning in the sea, banishing, plundering, oppressing, both in body and conscience.
"4. I leave my testimony against all the upholders of that tyrant,