« PreviousContinue »
was so strict that several other ministers were taken [but the soldiers), were not permitted to come near the house where he was. But the following is yet more remarkable.
One day while he was preaching privately in one Mr Callender's house, they came and beset the house ; the people within put him and a friend with him out at a window, closing the window up with books, and they two stood at the outside of the window all the while of the search, which was so strict that they searched the very ceiling of the house, till one of them fell through to the lower loft. Had the searchers removed but one of the books, they had infallibly apprehended him, but the Lord so ordered it, that they did it not, for when one of the soldiers was about to take up one of them, a maid cried to the commander, that he was going to take her master's books, so he was ordered to let them alone; thus narrowly he escaped this danger.
Another not imparallel was, that, one day, hotly pursued upon the street, being obliged to flee into the first house he could come at, which happened to be a soldier's house, yet the soldier's wife was so far from discovering him, that she kept him safe till the search was over.
A little before the fight at Bothwell he was pursued from his own chamber out of the town, being forced to go through several thorn hedges, and no sooner is he out, but he sees a troop of dragoons in rank, right opposite to him ; back he could not go, soldiers being everywhere posted to catch him ; wherefore he went forward near by the troop, who looked to him, and he to them, till he was gone by them, but coming to the place of the water where he intended to go over, he saw another troop standing upon the opposite bank of the water, who called to him; he made them no answer ; but, going a mile further up the water, escaped to Langside, and preached there next Sabbath, without interruption.
At another time, being in a house, beset with soldiers, he escaped through the throng of them, they taking him to have been the goodman [i.e., the head) of the house. So much anent his remarkable deliveries.
After Bothwell he fell into deep exercise anent his call to the ministry, but by God's grace he happily emerged out of that, and had also much light anent the duty of the day, being a faithful contender against the enemies' usurped power in granting, and ministers' and professors' lukewarmness and sinful compliance in accepting, indulgences and indemnities, oaths and bonds, and other corruptions and abominations of the time, till at length he suffered for his testimony.
Among other parts of his contendings against the enemies of truth and godliness, that which exasperated the enemies most, was the Torwood Excommunication, wherein he, moved with zeal against the indignities done to the Son of God, by overturning His work and destroying His people, delivered up to Satan some of the most scandalous and principal promoters and abettors of this conspiracy against Christ, as formally as he could in his circumstances; who, having earnestly sought the concurrence of his brethren, could not obtain it, and therefore was left to do the work his alone, or leave it undone, which he could by no means think of; considering that all other sorts of weapons had been used against them, save that of ecclesiastic censure, and the neglect of it might bring upon this Church that severe reproof given to Pergamos, Rev. ii. 14, 15, for having in her communion the Nicolaitans, and them that held the doctrine of Balaam ; and that sore animadversion made upon the Church of Thyatira, for suffering that woman Jezebel ; and lest the Lord might come and fight against His Church with the sword of His mouth, on account that such were not expressly cast out of her communion.
Wherefore in September 1680, after sermon upon Ezek. xxi. 25-27, “And thou profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come;" having made a short and pertinent discourse on the nature, subject, causes, and ends of excommunication, and declared his motives, leading him to it, not to be any private spirit or passion, but conscience of duty and zeal to God, he pronounced the sentence as follows:
“We have spoken of excommunication, of the causes, subject, and ends thereof. We shall now proceed to the action; being constrained by the conscience of our duty, and zeal for God, to excommunicate some of these, who have been the committers of so great crimes, and authors of the great mischiefs of Britain and Ireland, but especially these of Scotland ; and in doing of this, we shall keep the names by which they are ordinarily called, that they may be the better known.
“I being a minister of Jesus Christ, and having authority and power from Him, do in His name, and by His spirit, excommunicate Charles the Second, King, etc., and that upon the account of these wickednesses :
“1. For his high mocking of God, in that after he had acknowledged his own sins, his father's sins, his mother's idolatry, and had solemnly engaged against them, in a declaration at Dunfermline, the
16th day of August 1650, he hath, notwithstanding of all this, gone on more avowedly in these sins than all that went before him.
“2. For his great perjury, after he had twice at least solemnly subscribed that Covenant, he did so presumptuously renounce, disown, and command it to be burned by the hand of the hangman.
“ 3. Because he hath rescinded all laws for establishing of that religion and reformation engaged to in that Covenant, and enacted laws for establishing its contrary; and is still working for the introducing of Popery into these lands.
4. For commanding of armies to destroy the Lord's people, who were standing in their own just defence, and for their privileges and rights, against tyrannies, oppressions, and injuries of men; and for the blood he hath shed, in fields, on scaffolds, and in seas, of the people of God, upon account of religion and righteousness (they being most willing in all other things, to render him obedience, if he had reigned and ruled them according to his Covenant and oath, more than all the kings that have been before him in Scotland).
“5. That he hath been still an enemy to, a persecutor of, the true Protestants, a favourer and helper of the Papists, both at home and abroad, and hath hindered to the utmost of his power, the due execution of just laws against them.
“6. For his relaxing of the kingdom, by his frequent grant of remissions and pardons for murderers (which is in the power of no king to do, being expressly contrary to the law of God), which was the ready way to embolden men in committing of murders, to the defiling of the land with blood.
“ Lastly, To pass by all other things, his great and dreadful uncleanness of adultery and incest, his drunkenness, his dissembling with God and man; and performing his promises where his engagements were sinful.
“Next, by the same authority, and in the same name, I excommunicate, cast out of the true Church, and deliver up to Satan, James Duke of York. And that for his idolatry (for I shall not speak of any other sins, but what have been perpetrated by him in Scotland), and for setting up idolatry in Scotland, to defile the Lord's land, and his enticing and encouraging others to do so.
“Next, In the same name, and by the same authority, I excommunicate, and cast out of the true Church, and deliver up to Satan, James Duke of Monmouth, for coming into Scotland, upon his father's unjust command, and leading armies against the Lord's
people, who were constrained to rise, being killed in and for the right worshipping of the true God : and for his refusing that morning at Bothwell Bridge a cessation of arms, for hearing and redressing their injuries, wrongs, and oppressions.
“Next, I do by virtue of the same authority, and in the same name, excommunicate, cast out of the true Church, and deliver up to Satan, John Duke of Lauderdale, for his dreadful blasphemy, especially that word to the prelate of St Andrews :“Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool :" his atheistical drolling on the Scriptures of God, scoffing at religion, and religious persons : his apostacy from the Covenant and work of reformation ; and his persecuting thereof, after he had been a professor, pleader and presser thereof: for his perjury in the business of Mr James Mitchell, who, being in Council, gave public faith, that he should be indem. nified, and that to life and limb, if he should confess his attempt on the prelate, and notwithstanding of this, before the Justiciary Court, did give oath that there was no such act in Council : for his adulteries and uncleanness : for his counselling and assisting the king, in all his tyrannies, overturning and plotting against the true religion : for his gaming on the Lord's day; and lastly, for his usual and ordinary cursing
“Next, I do, by virtue of the same authority, and in the same name, cast out of the true Church, and deliver up to Satan, John Duke of Rothes, for his perjury, in the matter of Mr James Mitchell ; and for his adulteries and uncleanness; for allotting the Lord's day for his drunkenness : for his professing and avowing his readiness and willingness to set up Popery in this land at the king's command; and for the heathenish, barbarous, and unheard of cruelty (whereof he was the chief author, contriver, and commander, notwithstanding that he had otherwise engaged lately) to that worthy gentleman David Hackston of Rathillet; and lastly, for his ordinary cursing, swearing, and drunkenness.
Next, I do, by virtue of the same authority, and in the same name, excommunicate, cast out of the true Church, and deliver up to Satan, Sir George Mackenzie, the king's advocate ; for his apostacy, in turning into a profligateness of conversation, after he had begun a profession of holiness : for his constant pleading against, and persecuting to death, the people of God, and alleging and laying to their charge, things, which in his conscience he knew to be against the Word of God, truth, reason, and the ancient laws of this kingdom :
and his pleading for sorcerers, murderers, and other criminals, that before God, and by the laws of the land, ought to die ; for his ungodly, erroneous, phantastic and blasphemous tenets, printed to the world in his pamphlets and pasquils.
“And lastly, I do, by virtue of the same authority, and in the same name, excommunicate, cast out of the true Church, and deliver up to Satan, Thomas Dalziel of Binns, etc.; for his leading armies, and commanding the killing, robbing, pillaging, and oppressing of the Lord's people, and free subjects of this kingdom ; and for executing of lawless tyrannies and lustful laws; for his commanding to shoot at a post one Finlay at Newmilns, without any form of law, civil or military, he not being guilty of anything that they themselves counted a crime: for his lewd and impious life, led in adultery and uncleanness from his youth, with a contempt of marriage, which is the ordinance of God; for all his other atheistical and irreligious conversation ; and lastly, for his unjust usurping and retaining of the estate of that worthy gentleman William Mure of Caldwell, and his other injurious deeds in the exercise of his power.
“I think, none that acknowledge the Word, can judge their sentences to be unjust ; yet some, it may be, to flatter the powers, will call them unorderly and unformal, there not being warning given, nor probation led. But for answer, there has been warning given, if not of all these things, at least of a great part of them : and for probation, there needs none, the deeds being notour and public, and the most of them, such as they themselves do avow and boast of. And as the causes are just, so, being done by a minister of the Gospel, and in such a way as the present persecution would admit of, the sentence is just; and there are no kings nor ministers on earth, who, without repentance of the persons, can reverse these sentences upon any (such) account: God, who is the Author of that ordinance, is the more engaged to the ratifying of them; and all that acknowledge the Scriptures, ought to acknowledge them. Yet some, perchance, will think, that though they be not unjust, yet that they are foolishly rigorous. We shall answer nothing to this but that Word, which we may speak with much more reason than they did who used it, ‘Should he deal with our sister as with an harlot?' Should they deal with our God as with an idol? Should they deal with His people as murderers and malefactors, and we not draw out His sword against them?"