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toward the place where we stood, so that in such disturbing circumstances this is all of his scaffold speech that we could safely gather. He went up the ladder rejoicing and praising the Lord, which we all evidently saw.
"Thus he died 4th December 1685, the fifty-eighth year of his age, with the full assurance of his interest in the ever-blessed Lord Jesus Christ; as also of the Lord's returning to this poor land to raise up the fallen tabernacle of David therein in a more remarkable way and manner than ever, which sight he saw afar off by faith, and rejoiced thereat."
His testimony, as given in the following pages, contains a very large amount of passages from Scripture. These passages seem merely to have been cited by him, but were printed at full length, when published by his son James, who issued in 1718 "A true relation of the life and sufferings of John Nisbet, in Hardhill." It was reprinted in 1847, in the second volume of "Select Biographies," edited for the Wodrow Society, by the late Rev. W. K. Tweedie, D.D., Edinburgh. In substance it is given in the following pages. John Howie has given him a place among the Scots Worthies, and from tradition and manuscript sources, has told some facts not to be found elsewhere.- ED.]
N the 4th of December 1685, suffered John Nisbet, in Hardhill, in the parish of Loudon, whose testimony, though it be extant, could not be found by the publishers of these speeches; only that the memory of so eminent a martyr be not buried, take this short relation, which is all the account they could find concerning his sufferings. [In the fourth edition of 1741, John Nisbet's testimony is inserted with the following note: "The testimony of this martyr is now come to the hands of the publisher of this edition, and is inserted in its proper place, immediately after this account."-ED.]
About the year 1664, he, having received the sacrament of baptism to his child, from one of the outed ministers [John Blackader], came to be troubled by the enemies on that account, and the curate declared out of the pulpit his purpose to excommunicate him the next Lord's day, but was prevented by sudden death. When that handful of the Lord's people renewed the Covenants at Lanark, and
appeared in arms at Pentland Hills, he engaged in the covenant with them, and was sore wounded in the fight, insomuch that he was left for dead. But by God's goodness he recovered, and all alongst testified against the abominations of Prelacy, Supremacy, Arbitrary Government, and Indulgence, till the rising in arms at Bothwell, where he did good service, being not only a zealous Christian, but a courageous soldier. After this the enemies seized all his goods, expelled his wife and four small children from house and hold, and offered a large sum of money for himself; but the Lord preserved him, while He had work for him.
He was a close follower of the Gospel faithfully preached in the fields; was kept steadfast in the truth from extremes on right or left hand; and was assistant in publishing the declarations for truth, emitted during that time.
At length, in November 1685, being in a poor man's house in the parish of Fenwick, with other three, after he was sore wounded, he was taken by Lieutenant Nisbet, the other three being shot dead on the spot. The lieutenant having caused tie him, asked, 'What he thought of himself now?' He answered, 'I think as much of Christ and His cause, for which I suffer, as ever, but I judge myself at a loss, being in time, and my dear brethren in eternity, whom you have unjustly murdered.' The bloody wretch swore that he had reserved him for a further judgment. He answered, 'If the Lord stand by me, and help me to be faithful to the death, I care not what piece of suffering I be put to endure.'
He was carried first to Kilmarnock, from thence to Ayr next morning, and being brought back to Kilmarnock again, was thence transported to Edinburgh, where, being brought before the Council by the foresaid Lieutenant Nisbet, who demanded his money for him they interrogated him to this effect.
"Q. Were you at that conventicle? (naming time and place).
66 Q. How many men and arms were there?
"A. I went there to hear the Gospel preached, and not to take an account of what men and arms were there.
"Q. Which way went ye when the preaching was done?
"A. Which way we could best think of, to escape your cruelty. Q. Where keep ye your General Meetings, and what do you at
"While he was about to answer, one of the Councillors inter
rupted him, telling in his fashion what was done at such General Meetings, and that there was one of them kept at Edinburgh, and asked the prisoner if he was there? who answered, No.
"Then they said to him, We hope you are so much of a Christian, as to pray for the king. He answered, Prayer being a holy ordinance of God, we ought to pray for kings as well as others, but not when every profligate bids us.
"Q. Do you own the king as sole sovereign?
"A. He being Popish, and that from his youth, and I a Protestant of the Presbyterian covenanted persuasion, I neither can nor will own him, while he remains such.
Whereupon, incontinent [i.e., forthwith], without further process, they passed sentence upon him, which he received not only with. Christian submission, but with much thankfulness, blessing and praising his God, who had counted him worthy to suffer for His name. And during the time of his imprisonment he was wonderfully assisted and graciously supported of the Lord under his cross, having both assurance of the pardon of his sins, and his peace with God, and also a firm persuasion of the justness of the cause and work to which he adhered, and for which he was put to such sufferings. Besides the seven wounds which he received when he was apprehended, he had a merciless weight of irons upon him, during the whole time of his imprisonment.
In his testimony he invites and exhorts all to embrace the cross, encouraging them by his own sweet experience of God's presence under it, declares his adherence to all the truths contained in the Word of God, summed up in the Confession of Faith, sworn to in the Covenants, and sealed with the blood and faithful testimonies of former martyrs, and, among others then controverted, to the "Method of transmitting a Testimony," taken by the reverend Mr James Renwick, and the suffering remnant. He manifests his detestation of all the courses of defection, and witnesses against all the wrongs done to Jesus Christ, either in His cause or in His members; and particularly bears testimony against the Earl of Argyle's misstating the quarrel in his Declaration, and his too lax and promiscuous admitting of all sorts into his army. He concludes with a solemn farewell to the world, and recommendation of his soul into the hands of God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The above narrative was transmitted by one of his nearest relations, who had full knowledge of the whole matter.
HE LAST AND DYING TESTIMONY of JOHN NISBET in Hardhill, which he delivered to a friend in the Ironhouse, when he was taken out to the scaffold in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh, where he died, Friday, December 4th, 1685.
"I have always thought, that to live for Christ and die for Christ is a sufficient testimony for truth; yet now, when I am within a few hours of eternity, to prevent mistakes, to satisfy my dear friends and let them know how it is with me, and to let the world know what I die witnessing for, and testifying against, I judge it proper to leave a few lines behind me.
"As for myself, it hath pleased the Lord Jehovah, of His superabundant goodness and infinite mercy, powerfully to determine my heart to close with, and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is made offer of in the everlasting Gospel, for my king, priest and prophet. And that this conquest and captivating of me to His obedience (who was an heir of wrath and a mass of sin and sinful corruption), is the fruit of electing love, according as it is manifested in the covenant of free, free, free grace, will evidently appear from these Scriptures following, which He, by the power and concurrence of His holy Spirit, hath made effectual to the convincing, converting, strengthening, and enabling of me to be His, and to be for Him. through weal, and through woe, through good report, and through bad report; and they are so many sweet cordials to my soul, when stepping out of time into eternity.
"Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power' (Ps. cx. 3). For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God acccording to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth. For he saith to Moses [see Exod. xxxiii. 19], I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy' (Rom. ix. 11, 15, 16). God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth' (2 Thess. ii. 13). Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always
before Him; rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children; for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death' (Prov. viii. 30-36). For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us' (Rom. viii. 29, 30, 35, 37). In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory' (Eph. i. 13, 14). 'Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began' (2 Tim. i. 9). 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour' (Titus iii. 5, 6). God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord' (1 Cor. i. 9). Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God' (Rom. iii. 24, 25). Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works' (Rom. iv. 6). 'How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God' (Heb. ix. 14). To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;