« PreviousContinue »
tracy; such perjured, bloody, dissolute, and flagitious men, as to make a wolf the keeper and feeder of the flock. But every step of their dealing with God, with the land, and with yourself and brethren, is a confirmation of your judgment anent them, and sufficient ground of your detestation and rejection of them; and it is the sin of the land, and of every person in it, that they have not gone along with you, and these few in that action. But since they have not done that, they shall not now meet with the like honour, if ever they meet with it, till vengeance be poured out upon them; and they and their king shall either be keeped together in wrath or divided in wrath, that they may be one another's destruction.
“But go on, valiant champion; you die not as a fool, though the apostate, unfaithful, and lukewarm ministers and professors of this generation think and say so. They shall live traitors, and most part of them die fools. I say, traitors; as some men live upon the reward of treachery, for their quiet and liberty; if it may be called a liberty, as it is redeemed with the betraying of the interest of Christ, and the blood of His people. But He Himself bath sealed your sufferings, and their thus saying condemns God, and His sealing condemns them. But neither regard their voices, nor fear; for God will neither seal to folly nor iniquity. He then not only having sealed your sufferings, but your remission, go on to finish and perfect your testimony, not only against them, but against all that subject [i.e., yield] to them, side with them, or are silent at them.
“And as for these men that will be our rulers, though they have nothing of worth or virtue in them ; I am persuaded of this, that none can appear before them and acknowledge them as they have now invested themselves; standing on a foundation of perjury, which is an act recissory of their admission to the government, with Christ's crown on their head, and a sceptre of iniquity and a sword of persecution in their hand; but must deny Christ. And in effect, the whole land generally hath denied Christ and desired a murderer; and as for that unsavoury salt that lately appeared, acknowledged them, and was ashamed of this testimony, and in so doing gave the first vote to your condemnation, and proclaimed a lawfulness to the rest of assizers and murderers to follow in their condemnations, God shall require this, with his other doings, at his hands; and I am somewhat afraid, if he be not suddenly made the subject of serious repentance, that he shall be made the subject of great vengeance.” [The reference here is to the Rev. John Carstairs, minister of the Inner High Church,
Glasgow, from 1650 to 1662. In 1662 he declined to take the oath of allegiance without giving an explanation of the sense in which he thought it might be taken, and was imprisoned for several weeks until his health gave way. After the battle of Pentland, he went over to Holland, and preached in Rotterdam with great acceptance. In 1672 he returned to Scotland, when he was almost immediately summoned before the Council, but was set free on finding security for 2000 merks, i.e., £120. When Skene was apprehended, some papers were found on him that brought Carstairs into trouble. He was summoned before the Council, says Wodrow, where “he owned the king's authority and that of his courts.
With a great deal of seriousness he disclaimed the follies and principles Mr Skene and some others now advanced, and said he could not express his abominating their extremities with vehemency enough." Carstairs seemed to have lived in retirement. He edited several of the posthumous works of his former colleague, James Durham, and the onevolumed edition of Calderwood's History. His son was the wellknown counsellor of William III., Principal Carstairs.-ED.]
“But forgive and forget all these private injuries, and labour to go to eternity and death with a heart destitute of private revenges, and filled with zeal to God's glory; and assign to Him the quarrel against His enemies, to be followed out by Himself in His own way against the indignities done to Him, and against the mocking perfidiousness, impieties, and lukewarmness of this generation.
“ And for yourself, whatever there has been either of sin or duty, remember the one and forget the other, and betake yourself wholly to the mercy of God and the merit of Christ. Ye know in whom ye have believed, and the acceptableness of your believing, and the more fully you henceforth believe, the greater shall be His glory, and the greater your peace and safety.
“ Farewell, dearest friend, never to see one another any more till at the right hand of Christ. Fear not; and the God of mercies grant a full gale and a fair entry into His kingdom, which may carry sweetly and swiftly over the bar, that you find not the rub of death. Grace, mercy, and peace be with you.
“Yours in Christ,
“ D. C.”
LETTER to some Friends before Mr Donald Cargill went Abroad.
“DEAR FRIENDS, I cannot but be grieved to go from my native land, and especially from that part of it for whom and with whom I desired only to live ; yet the dreadful apprehensions I have of what is coming
upon this land may help to make me submissive to this providence, though more bitter.
“You will have snares for a little, and then a deluge of judgments. I do not speak this to affright any, much less to rejoice over them, as if I were taken, and they left; or were studying by these thoughts to alleviate my own lot of banishment; though I am afraid that none shall bless themselves long upon the account that they are left behind; but my design is to have you making yourselves prepared for snares and judgments, that ye may have both the greatest readiness and the greatest shelters, for both shall be
“ Clear accompts, [i.e., accounts) and put off the old; for it is like, that what is to come will be both sudden and surprising, that it will not give you time for this. Beware of taking on new debt. I am afraid, that these things which many are looking on as favours are but come to bind men together in bundles for a fire.
“I am sure, if these things be embraced, there shall not be long time given for using of them; and this last of their favours and snares is sent to men, to show that they ar that which otherwise they will not confess themselves to be. Tell all, that the shelter and benefit of this shall neither be great nor long, but the snare of it shall be great and prejudicial.
“ And for myself, I think for the present He is calling me to another land; but how long shall be my abode, or what employment He has for me there, I know not, for I cannot think He is taking me there to live and lurk only.
LETTER to John MALCOLM and ARCHIBALD Alison, prisoners. [See Note prefixed to their testimonies in a later part of the volume.—ED.)
“DEAR FRIENDS,-Death in Christ, and for Christ, is never much to be bemoaned, and less at this time than any other, when these that survive have nothing
to live among but miseries, persecutions, snares, sorrows, and sinning; and where the only desirable sight, viz., Christ reigning in a free and flourishing Church, is wanting, and the greatly grieving and offensive object to devout souls, viz., devils and the worst of the wicked reigning and raging, is still before our eyes.
“And though we had greater things to leave and better times to live in, yet eternity does so far exceed and excel these things in their greatest perfection, that they who see and are sure (and we see, indeed, being made sure), will never let a tear fall, or a sigh go at the farewell, but would rather make a slip to get death nor [i.e., than) to shun it; if both were not equally detestable to them, upon the account of God's commandments, whom they neither dare nor are willing to offend, even to obtain Heaven itself. And there are none who are His, but they must see themselves infinitely advantaged in the exchange; and accordingly hasten, if sin, the flesh, and want of assurance did not withstand. And there is no doubt but these must be weak and poor spirits, that are bewitched or enchanted either with the fruition or hopes of the world; and as earth has nothing to hold a resolute and reconciled soul, so heaven wants nothing to draw it; and to some, to live here has been always wearisome, since their peace was made, Christ's sweetness known, and their own weakness and unusefulness experienced. But now it becomes hatefully loathsome; since devils and the worst of men are become the head, and dreadful, by their stupendous permissions, loosings, and lengthenings in their reigning; and friends are become uncomfortable ; because they will neither Christianly bear and bide, nor rightly go forward to effectuate their own delivery.
But for you there is nothing at this time (if you yourselves be sure with God, which I hope either you are or will be), which can make me bewail your death ; though the cause of it doth both in
crease my affection to you and indignation against these enemies. Yet for you, notwithstanding of the unjustness of the sentence, go not to eternity with indignation against them upon your own account, neither let the goodness of the cause ye suffer for found [i.e., be the foundation of your confidence in God and your hope of wellbeing ; for were the action never so good, and performed without the least failing (which is not incident to human infirmity), it could never be a cause of obtaining mercy, nor yet commend us to that grace from which we are to obtain it. There is nothing now which is yours, when you are pleading and petitioning for mercy, that must be remembered, but your sins, for in effect there is nothing else
" Let your sins, then, be on your heart, as your sorrow; which we must bewail before we be parted with them, as the captive her father; not because she was to leave him, but because she had been so long with him; and let these mercies of God and merits of Christ be before your eyes as your hopes, and your winning to these as the only rock upon which we can be saved. If there be anything seen or looked to in ourselves but sin, we cannot expect remission and salvation allenarly [i.e., solely) through free grace, in which expectation only it can be obtained ; neither can we earnestly