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to be truth; he pitied me. He said to the Chancellor, Certainly I forgot to write.
"I was before the Justiciary Court, where my confession was read, and after I read it again, and told them I thought it my honour to subscribe to it . I assented to all that was recorded by the clerk; I owned it, and counted it my honour so to do. The Justice-Clerk Hatton's son being there, said he pitied me, I being a gentleman; he knew my friends. I said, were I an Earl's son I would esteem it my honour. I desired them to canvass [i.e., consider] well what they did, for they would be panneled before God for it. He said I might prepare for another world. I said, I hoped the Lord would prepare me.
"Now, dear Billie, I have given you an account of the truth, as I confusedly remember; but I entreat you, take all the praise you give me, and put it upon my Lord, for I am but a poor, simple, sinful worm. It is from Him I had this courage.
"Wigtown and the Justice-Clerk desired me to show them that house, saying, that I was free enough in all except that; and if I were obstinate, I might belike get the Boots. I said, let them do with me what they pleased; in what concerned myself I was free; but to do hurt to others I would not, to bring them under their wrath. I would not mar my peace with God so far.
"The General said, He would parole [i.e., engage] to me, that the indwellers of the house should be advertised. I said, I would not have his parole.
"The Chancellor, boasted [i.e., threatened] me for denying his parole. I said to the Chancellor, I was a gentleman that had blood relation to his relations, the Earl of Mar's mother and I being sisterbairns [i.e., cousins]. He said, He was sorry I was so related. I said, The cause I was there owning honoured me; and I would it befel my friends. So this I hope; you will not critically reflect on my confused writing, since I am in haste; ye know, it may be, I may be cited before these bloody men this forenoon. I will not order for my funeral, till I know my sentence. I may possibly not be allowed a burial. My Lord comforts me, and I leave all on Him to bear me through this storm, through the valley and shadow of death.
"Dear Billie, bid all ye see of our serious friends help me with their prayers, that I may be helped of the Lord to be faithful unto the death, and that He will give me the faith of assurance, that I shall enjoy my Lord's love through all eternity. The want of this clouds me much, I am so unworthy a wretch. I am,
"Dear Billie, your unworthy friend, and loving Brother,
"From my Lord Jesus, His house, which He has made a sweet palace, wherein He shows me His wonderful free love; the close prison above the Iron House, in the high Tolbooth of Edinburgh, November 1680.
"P.S.—I told the Chancellor the cause was just, whereby the king and others were excommunicate [at the Torwood]; though I was not there, yet I adhered to it .
LETTER from Mr James Skene: "To all professors in the shire of Aberdeen; especially Mr William Alexander, Mr William Mitchell, and Mr John Watson, my dear acquaintances. Being the last Testimony for the interest of Christ from James Skene, now in close prison for Christ's interest, in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh."
"Dear Friends,—The Lord having dealt so graciously with me in wonderful free love, as to bring me to the love of Himself, His truth, and despised interest, as that He engaged me in a particular covenant with Himself, which, by His honouring me to make me a prisoner to evil men, for His despised interest, He has evidently confirmed to me, that He accepted of my bargain with Himself, when most unworthy and wretched; though many times by reason of a prevailing body of sin and death, I provoked Him to cast [i.e., break] the bargain; yet still by new obligations, He engaged me to renew it.
"My mercy has been great, that Providence ordered sometime my coming South, where most suffering has been for our Lord, and for that reason most light has been given to professors here, that they might see what was clear duty in these trying, tempting, and backsliding times. And whenever the Lord helped me to see our covenant obligations, which are the glory of Scotland, I was serious and zealous, ye know, to impart to all of you, whom I was acquaint with. The Lord always making my love to Him to abound, I thought no travail ill wared [i.e., laid out], or any hazard too great on any occasion, whereby I might propagate His despised interest among you.
"You know how much I have contended with you for paying of that cursed cess, ordered by the Convention of Estates for bearing down the Gospel; as I was honoured to witness against it at a committee on Saturday last, at night. You are not aware how you bring the blood of saints on your heads by this obedience to the stated enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ . Your opposing of that which was and is the judgment of the most tender professors (in withdrawing from indulged ministers, and from these ministers that favoured them, and so did not, nor would not declare against the Indulgence as a sin that most heinously and rebelliously dishonours our blessed Lord as head of the Church, and sets up a tyrannous usurper in His place), was a particular I much contended [i.e., insisted on] with many of you, on my hearing you pleading for a sinful union with those who have conspired to dethrone our blessed Lord. Some of you opposed that which was an honourable testimony for our Lord at Rutherglen, and that declaration at Sanquhar, and the testimony or covenant that was taken at the Queensferry; calling these rash and inconsiderate! whom the Lord called out to be valiant contenders for His truth and interest (which is now contemned by a wicked apostate generation), and to seal all of them with blood.
"By all these the Lord has been calling His people to come out from among Babel's brood; its cursed brood, who by many subtile satanical ways, what by Prelacy, Quakerism, Arminianism, Latitudinarians, and Indulged ministers, and ministers and professors that love so their quiet that they will not declare against and decline that usurping traitor on the throne, Charles Stuart, and all the cursed crew of pretended magistrates in Scotland, having forfeited their right of government, as appears by their wicked and unparallelled apostacy from that Solemn League and Covenant; upon that foul pretext, that we are not in a probable capacity to extirpate them, or put them out of office. When, in our place and station, we give our witness against these usurpations, we so far contend for God, and witness for His trodden down and despised interest, and testify our unwillingness that our Lord should totally give up with this poor land.
"Oh! this hath been many times a sad heart to me; that ye have looked more to the credit of men than the glory of our great Lord God. I fear this testimony be unacceptable and hazardous to you to maintain because of that they call treason in it; but, ah! there is so much done to advance a mortal creature, a stated enemy to Christ, a furious, hasty, cruel murderer of God's saints, that there is fear of disowning God, and a palpable denying of Him before men, when you own these tyrannous oppressors. Your estates you cannot part with; your credit and pleasures, and your quiet in the world, you will not part with. You will rather imagine arguments to cheat yourselves in defending your practices, that are clear breaches of covenant, if your too great carnal love to the world did not blind you, and your unwillingness to quit your life for Christ; which soon will come to an end, however, with less comfort than you would certainly have, when you adventure all for our blessed Lord.
"As for you, Mr Alexander; I may say I have found you willing, on good information, to be for tender cleaving to your dear Master; and bad information making it a question if it was duty to dethrone the pretended king, which, Mr T. H. and Mr R. M. opposing, biassed you from that principal duty, by which we are singularly known to be true Covenanters. And leave these that are blind, and follow your dear Master, in the duties He calls His people to; and He will own them (and I am persuaded He has owned them) who have owned Him in this duty. You did quarrel at field-meetings, enemies order ing against them, and consenting that house-meetings be enjoyed; but here is your testimony ; when you keep the fields, you declare that our Lord's Church has liberty to keep her meetings and ordinances where she pleases, and ought not to be at the arbitrament of men.
"To Mr Mitchell I say; I have had a great esteem of you for a true lover of piety, and I doubt not, the Lord has sealed your ministry sometimes, and some witnesses of it I have known. But, O ! sir, what a fearful snare are you in, by complying with curates in hearing them, and taking both sacraments off their hands! Oh! if ye quit not all carnal love to the world, to credit, and (to) friends that will oppose. your coming off, the hazard is great; the Lord may rank you with them that have opposed the rising of His kingdom. However, I am sure, He will make you mourn for it, and I doubt [not], if ye shortly come not off from that accursed crew, that the Lord will send you a sorer trial than sufferers for Him meet with.
"To Mr Watson I write this as my last testimony. Oh ! how unfaithful is his ministry; he dare not, for fear of losing his ministry, declare against the heinous breach of Covenant by all the pretended magistrates in the land. I grant, your clearness as to other things was much one with my own. O! Sir, quit men as they quit Christ's way and interest; else you will never be clear in truths; as the Lord lets out light and increaseth it. And this is most dreadful, to be so ensnared to walk in darkness, and so be in opposition to our blessed Lord! Oh! let love to the Lord Jesus Christ assuredly overcome you; and then admiring of men, and cleaving to them who are out of Christ's way, will be no small matter, but a heinous sin. Oh! will you adventure your salvation on it, to cleave to them who are reproaching our Lord, His people, and interest, by mixing in with the cursed curates? That person ye cleave to draws on Him the guilt of all the saints' blood that is shed in maintaining His interest and covenant, whose judgment ye cannot decline, He being judge of all the world.
"Ye may say much, every one of you that know me. I was many times negligent of a tender walking, by seeking of settlement; and if that had been my lot, ye had not heard of this testimony. You know, every one of you, this testimony I gave you formerly; even when with you. I many times wished from my heart the Lord would not order a settlement to me among you. My heart was broken with your lukewarmness and indifferency. And this I testified to several of you, and I rather choosed, I said often, to be a sheep-keeper in the South, where I might be encouraged in godliness, than to live in pomp and ease at home with an ill conscience. And when I came away last, I was sorry at my purpose of leaving Scotland, when I heard all were agreeing to apostacy, in my judgment then, from our blessed covenanted God; and I was determined for Ireland then, being ill informed of every one of the kingdoms, there not being a people tenderly owning the Covenant in Ireland, but all some way owning the usurper Charles Stuart.
"But in poor Scotland, here in the South, I found a poor handful, and but one faithful minister, whom the Lord called out, viz., Mr Donald Cargill, to be His messenger to His people, and to give witness against the apostacy of ministers and professors; even those who were great lights in the land are now in obscurity, and avowedly reproaching our Lord's interest and people; whom yet the Lord will clothe with shame, and make their peace they boast of, and quiet sleep, to their great confounding.
"As for the call I have to suffer, I found it my only peace to quit thoughts of Ireland, that I might not be involved in their guilt of denying to have our Lord Jesus Christ to be King over them. Oh! that poor party I find only for maintaining His prerogative royal,