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LETTER to his Christian Friends, written in the time of his reprieval.
"My Dear Friends In Christ,—I see then what hath been the language of my reprieve; it hath been, that I might be further tempted and tried ; and I praise the Lord He hath assisted me to give further proof of steadfastness. I have been often assaulted by some Popish priests; but the last time that they came, I told them that I would debate no more with such as they were, and that I have lived and would die a Presbyterian Protestant, and testified against the idolatries, heresies, superstitions, and errors of their antichristian way.
"But yesterday, I was cast into a deep exercise, and made to dwell under the impression of the dreadfulness of everything that might grieve the Spirit of God. I found sin to be more bitter than death, and one hour's hiding of God's face more insupportable. And then at night I was called before a party of the Council, and the Chancellor produced the Informatory Vindication, and asked if I knew it. I answered, 'I did know it,' And being interrogated, I confessed that I had a great hand writing of it. They pressed me to tell my assistants. I told them they were those they were persecuting; but would satisfy them no further. They also urged me, upon pain of torture, to tell where were our societies, who kept our general correspondences, and where they were kept. I answered, though they should torture me, which was contrary to all law after sentence of death, I would give them no further notice than the book gave. I was, moreover, threatened to tell of my haunts and quarters, but I refused to make known any such thing to them; so I was returned to prison again. Such an exercise as I had was very needful for such a trial; and I would rather have endured what they could do unto me than have dishonoured Christ, offended you, and brought you into trouble.
"But I hope, within less than three days, to be without the reach of all tentation. Now I have no more to say. Farewell again in our blessed Lord Jesus. "JAMES RENWICK.
"February 15, 1688."
SHORT ACCOUNT of his LAST WORDS upon the Scaffold.
Before he went out of the Tolbooth, he was at dinner with his mother, sisters, and some Christian friends, when the drum beat the first warning to his execution; which so soon as he heard, he leapt up in a ravishment of heavenly joy, saying, "Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb is come;" and I can say, in some measure, "The bride, the Lamb's wife, hath made herself ready." And, till dinner was over, he enlarged upon the parallel of a marriage, and invited all of them to come to the wedding, meaning his execution. When he was come to the scaffold, the drums being beat all the while, none of the distant spectators could hear anything that he said; only some very few, that were clese by him, did hear it; whereof one has collected the following account. He delivered himself to this effect:
"Spectators, or (if there be any of you) auditors,—I must tell you I am come here this day to lay down my life for adhering to the truths of Christ, for which I am neither afraid nor ashamed to suffer; nay, I bless the Lord that ever He counted me worthy, or enabled me to suffer anything for Him; and I desire to praise His grace that He hath not only kept me free from the gross pollutions of the time, but also from many ordinary pollutions of children; and such as I have been stained with, He hath washen me from them in His own blood. I am this day to lay down my life for these three things:
"1. For disowning the usurpations and tyranny of James Duke of York.
"2. For preaching that it was unlawful to pay the cess expressly exacted for bearing down the Gospel.
"3. For preaching that it was lawful for people to carry arms for defending themselves in their meetings for receiving the persecuted Gospel ordinances.
"I think a testimony for these is worth many lives, and if I had ten hundred [Wodrow's Mauuscripthas "ten thousand."—Ed.] I would think it little enough to lay them all down for the same.
"Dear friends, spectators, and (if any of you be) auditors,—I must tell you that I die a Presbyterian Protestant.
"I own the Word of God as the rule of Faith and manners; I own the Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Sum of Saving Knowledge, Directory for Worship, etc.; Covenants, National and Solemn League; Acts of General Assemblies,—and all the faithful contendings that have been for the work of reformation.
"I leave my testimony approving the preaching of the Gospel in the fields, and the defending the same by arms.
"I adjoin my testimony to all that hath been sealed by blood, shed either on scaffolds, fields, or seas, for the cause of Christ .
"I leave my testimony against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, etc.; against all profanity, and everything contrary to sound doctrine; particularly against all usurpations made upon Christ's right, who is the PRINCE OF THE KINGS OF THE EARTH, who alone must bear the glory of ruling His own kingdom, the Church; and, in particular, against the absolute power usurped by this usurper, that belongs to no mortal, but is the incommunicable prerogative of JEHOVAH, and against this toleration flowing from that absolute power."
Upon this, he was bid have done. He answered, "I have near done." Then he said:
"Ye that are the people of God, do not weary in maintaining the testimony of the day, in your stations and places; and whatever ye do, make sure an interest in Christ, for there is a storm coming that shall try your foundation. Scotland must be rid of Scotland before the delivery come. And you that are strangers to God, break off your sins by repentance, else I will be a witness against you in the day of the Lord."
Here they caused him desist. Upon the scaffold he sung a part of the 103d Psalm, from the beginning, and read the 19th chapter of the Revelation.
[In prayer he said, " Lord, I die in the faith that Thou wilt not leave Scotland, but that Thou wilt make the blood of Thy witnesses the seed of Thy Church, and return again, and be glorious in our land. And now, Lord, I am ready—' the bride, the Lamb's wife, hath made herself ready.'"
The napkin then being tied about his face, he said to his friend attending him—" Farewell. Be diligent in duty. Make your peace with God, through Christ. There is a great trial coming. As to the remnant I leave, I have committed them to God. Tell them from me not to weary, nor be discouraged in maintaining the testimony. Let them not quit nor forego one of these despised truths. Keep your ground, and the Lord will provide you teachers and ministers, and when He comes, He will make these despised truths glorious upon the earth.
Then he was turned over the ladder, with these words in his mouth: "Lord, into Thy hands I commit my spirit, for Thou hast redeemed me, Lord God of truth."—From Alex. Shields' "Life of Renwick."—Ed.]
And having thus finished his course, served his generation, and witnessed a good confession for his Lord and Master, before many witnesses, by the will of God, he yielded up his spirit into the hands of God who gave it .
He was the last that sealed the testimony of this suffering period in a public way upon a scaffold.