« ForrigeFortsæt »
snare me), that I suffered myself through the power of temptations, and the too much fear anent the straits that my numerous family might be brought into, to be carried unto so great a length of compliance in England with the late usurpers,* which did much grieve the hearts of the godly, and made these that sought God ashamed and confounded for my sake, and did give no small occasion to the adversary to reproach and blaspheme, and did withal not a little obscure and darken the beauty of several former actings about his blessed and glorious work of reformation, happily begun, and far advanced in these lands, wherein be was graciously pleased to employ, and by employing to honour me to be an instrument (though the least and unworthiest of many) whereof I am not ashamed this day, but account it my glory, however that work be now cried down, opposed, laid in the dust, and trode upon. And my turning aside to comply with these men, was the more aggravated in my person, that I had so frequently and seriously made profession of my averseness from, and abhorrence of that way, and had shown much dissatisfaction with these that had not gone so great a length; for which, as I seek God's mercy in Christ Jesus, so I desire that all the Lord's people, from my example, may be more stirred up to watch and pray, that they enter not into temptation.
“ 21, I do not deny on the other hand, but must testify in the second place, to the glory of his free grace, that the Lord my God bath often showed and engraven upon my conscience, the testimony of his reconciling and reconciled mercy through the merits of Jesus Christ pardoning all my iniquities, and assuring me that he would deliver me aleo by the graces of bis Holy Spirit, from the speat,t tyranny, and dominion thereof; and bath often drawn out my spirit, to the exercise of repentance and faith, and often engraven upon my heart in legible characters, his merciful pardon, and gracious begun cure thereof, to be perfected thereafter, to the glory of his name, the salvation of my soul, and edification of his church.
• This, as stated in the previous notice, formed the chief ground of the indictment on which he was condemned. And yet there was much to be said in palliation, or even excuse of bis conduct. First of all, he strongly objected to being sent on the commission, in the discharge of which at London he was unhappily gained over, and this just because he was afraid the temptations which he knew would be held out to him would prove too strong. Then, it evidently was from no indifference or want of loyalty to the exiled monarch, that he was led to acknowledge the protector's government, because, for upwards of five years, he had struggled with all his might for the king's interest, and both spoke and wrote against Scotchmen taking offices from Cromwell. Besides, it must not be forgotten that all his exertions seemed to have had little effect, aps that resistance or opposition to the reigning influence had become vain, from its being generally and almost universally acceded to. And last of all, wbat probably weighed most with this good man in the step which he thus deeply deplores, was his private and domestic circumstances : bis family was largeconsiderable sums were owing, which he bail advanced on the public service, and a good many bygone years' salaries; and it is not wonderful that these considerations, added to the importunity which no doubt would be employed, should bave prevailed op hiin to accept an office, lucrative in itself, and per. fectly adapted to his profession and character.
+ i. e. the overlowing.
“ 3d, I am pressed in conscience to leave here at my death, my true and honest testimony in the sight of God and man, to and for • the national covenant; the solemn league and covenant; the solemn acknowledgment of our sins,' and ' engagement to our duties ;' to all the grounds and causes of fasts' and humiliations, and of the · Lord's displeasure' and contending with the land ; and to the several • testimonies' given to his interests, by general assemblies, commissions of the kirk, presbyteries, and by other honest and faithful ministers and professors.
“ 4th, I am also pressed to encourage his doing, suffering, witnessing people, and sympathizing ones with these that suffer, that they would continue in the duties of witnessing, mourning, praying, and sympathizing with these that suffer, and humbly to assure them in the name of the Lord our God, the God of bis own word and work, of his own cause, covenant, and people, that he will be seen, found, and felt, (in his own gracious way and time, by his own means and instruments, for his own glory and honour) to return to his own truths, and interests, and servants, and revive his name, his covenant, bis word, bis work, his sanctuary, and his saints in these nations, even in the three covenanted nations, which were by so solemo bonds, covenants, subscriptions, and oaths, given away and devoted unto himself.
“ 5th, I exhort all these that have been, or are enemies or unfriends to the Lord's name, covenants, or cause, word, work, or people, in Britain and Ireland, to repent and amend, before these sad judgments, that are posting fast, come upon them, for their sinning so highly against the Lord, because of any temptation of the time, on the right or left hand, by baits or straits whatsoever, and that after so many professions and engagements to the contrary.
“ 6th, I dare not conceal from you, that are friendly to all the Lord's interests, that the Lord (to the commendation of his grace, be it humbly spoken) hath several times, in the exercise of my repentance and faith during my trouble, and after groans and tears upon these three notable chapters, to wit, the 9th of Ezra, the 9th of Nehemiah, and the 9th of Daniel, with other such suitable scriptures, and in the very nick of fervent and bumble supplication to him, for the reviving again of bis name, cause, covenant, word, and work of reformation, in these covenanted nations, and particularly in poor Scotland, which first solemnly engaged to him, to the good example and encouragement of his people, in the other two nations, to do the same also, that the Lord, I say, hath several times given to me good ground of hope and lively expectations of his merciful, gracious, powerful, and wonderful renewing and reviving again of his forementioned great interests in these covenanted nations : and that in such a way, by such means and instruments, with such antecedents, concurrents, consequents, and effects, as shall wonderfully rejoice his mourning friends, and astonish his contradicting and counteracting enemies.
7th, I do earnestly recommend my poor wife and children, and their posterity, to the choicest blessings of God, and to the prayers and favour of all the Lord's children and servants, in their earnest dealing with God and men in their bebalf, that they may not be ruined for my cause, but for the Lord my God's sake, they may be favoured, assisted, supplied, and comforted, and also may be fitted by the Lord for his fellowship and service; whom God himself hath moved me often, in their own presence, and with their own consent, to dedicate, devote, and resign alike, and as well
, as I devote and resign my own soul and body to himn for time and eternity.*
“ 8th, I beg the Lord to open the eyes of all the instruments of my trouble, that are not deadly irreconcilable enemies to himself and his people, that they may see the wrong done by them to his interests and people, and to me and mine, and may repent thereof and return to the Lord; and may more cordially own and adhere to all his interests in time coming: the good Lord give unto them repentance, remission, and amendment; and that is the worst wish I do wish them, and the best wish I can wish them.
“ 9th, I do earnestly beg the fervent prayers of all his praying people, servants, and instruments, whether absent or present, wherever they be, in behalf of his name, cause, and covenant-work, and people; and in behalf of my wife, children, and their posterity: and that the Lord would glorify himself, edify his church, encourage bis saints, further his work, accomplish his good word, by all his doings and dealings, in substance and circumstance toward all his own.
“ 10th, Whereas I have heard, that some of my unfriends have blandered and defamed my name, as if I had been accessary to his late majesty's death, and to the making of the change of government thereupon; the great God of heaven be witness and judge between me and my accusers in this; for I am free (as I shall now answer before his tribunal) from any accession, by counsel or contrivance, or any other way, to his late majesty's death, or to their making that change of government: and I pray the Lord to preserve our present king his majesty, and to pour out his best blessings upon his royal posterity, and to give unto them good and faithful counsellors, holy and wise counsels, and prosperous successes, to God's glory, and to the good and interest of his people, and to their own honour and happiness.
“ Ilth, I do here now submit and commit my soul and body, wife and children, and children's children from generation to generation for ever, with all others bis friends and followers, all bis doing and suffering, witnessing and sympathizing ones, in the present and subsequent generations, unto the Lord's choice mercies, graces, favours, services, employments, empowerments, enjoyments, improvements, and inheritments, on earth, and in heaven, in time, and eternity. All
• It has already been observed, that lord Warriston's family was numerous ; and, no doubt, the thought of leaving them unprotected and forlorn in the midst of an unpitying world, must have excited within him the most pungent sorrow. It was consolatory to him, however, that he was able in this and a following passage, to commit them, in the exercise of faith and hope, to the Father of mercies. And it may be consolatory to others about to leave the world, though not by a death similar to bis, to know that in this, as in a thousand other ipstances, the trust reposed in God was not disappointed. “ His numerous family,” says Wodrow, “ he left upon the Lord's providence cheerfully, who provided as well for most of them as they could have expected, though he had continued in his outward prosperity.”
which suits, with all others, which he hath at any time by his Spirit moved and assisted me to make and put up, according to his will, I leave before, and upon the Father's merciful bowels, and the Son's mediating merits, and the Holy Spirit's compassionate groans, for now and evermore.
VI. JAMES WOOD.
[Mr. Wood is spoken of as having been one of the brightest lights of
the period in wbich he lived, and as a person most eminent for his piety and learning. Of bis early history we have no account. But, at the restoration, he beld the office of principal in the old college of St. Andrews, and was a minister of that city.
Having given offence to the archbishop, with whom he had formerly been intimate, by some bold reflections upon his lately discovered treachery, he was, in July 1663, cited before the council, stript of bis office, on the ples that he had received it from the usurper, and ordered to confine himself to Edinburgh. Shortly after, however, his father's illness and other affairs requiring bis presence at St. Andrews, he obtained leave to go thither; and, previous to bis return, he took sick, and died there, early in the following year. During bis sickness, he was visited by Sharp, who spread the report that he now felt a total indifference with regard to presbyterian government. It was to contradict this misrepresentation that he emitted his Testimony, as is evident from the following very full detail of his last words. ]
1. His Last Words. Upon Monday vight, being the 29th of February, 1664, which was the first day of his keeping bed all day without rising, bis brother-inlaw, Mr. J. C.t came to visit bim ; to whom, with outstretched arms, embracing him, he said, “ Long looked for, long looked for." And beginning to speak a little of bis spiritual condition, he said, “ I have been under several shakings, but that word bath stayed me, · Him that cometh to me, I will in no ways cast out;' blessed be the mouth that spoke it, may I pot trust to it?”
On Tuesday, the 1st of March, he caused send for some persons concerned, and when they were come, be caused read over his Testament, † and, after he had desired his brother-in-law to pray, he subscribed it. And having been informed of some reports that were going through the country, anent what was spoken by him to Mr. Sharp, when he came to visit him, and bearing that some persons whom he respected were in town, he earnestly desired that they might be sent for in the evening. And when they were long in coming, Le inquirex] once and again if they were come, saying, “ I am pained till they come.” And though it was the time cê the evening that be used to take some refreshment, yet he put it by till he spake with them, so serious was he in what he was to say to them. When one of these, with another occasionally in company with him, came, being again sent for, though he was in great weakness of body, yet he did with much earnestness of mind, and more than ordinary extension of his voice, speak to them to this purpose, taking one of them by the hand, and saying, “ I am glad to see you, an bonest man. The bishop might have spared his visit, but sith be offered that civility, they could not keep him at the gate. I bear several reports bave gone of what passed at that visit, as, that when he was speaking his Jissatisfaction with the brethren that did not keep the meeting, that I should have assented, and said, “if I live, I will testify against them'--the falsest lie that ever was spoken." And being inquired whether be called church governinent a nicety, and, if he lived, he would abstract more from such niceties, he answered, “ Fie, fie, never such a thing I did indeed, that the bishop might not think tbat I was pursuing that controversy against them, say, I had a great business to think upon my salvation and peace with God at the stake ; but I did not say, nor think that presbyterian government was a nicety. I judge it to be a trath of God, an ordinance of Jesus Christ, a part of his visible kingdom, for which every Christian, as called to it, should suffer even unto death ; and I would exhort them to it, for it is but little that we have suffered yet, and, if I were to live, I would through the grace and might of the power of God, account it my glory to lay down my life in defence of that truth. There is no man in the world that hath and
Naphtali, pp. 300—306.
t Mr. John Carstairs. # This was his Latter-will, which, it appears, was written before his Teso timony.
stronger obligations on him, to stand to the maintenance of that government than I, wherein the Lord hath cleared me with a strong band. I bless the Lord that made me understand the nature of his covenant, and gave me light in the point of justification, and helped me in some measure to hold out light therein to others, and cleared me in the controversy with the independents, and this anent prelacy.” He said, " he had said before, and said so still, that if ever he should come to be against presbyterian government, he might fear to meet with God's everlasting wrath, and be made a spectacle to others.” He said further, with much grave confidence, “ God will give an outgate, (meaning of the prelates) though they will say, it is impossible, and how should it come; he can hiss for the bees, as beyond the river.” He
aid also, nothing of it being suggested by them to him, “ That he had a mind to leave a testimony behind him."
On Wednesday, the 2d of March, when in the forenoon it was told him that a co-presbyter of bis was coming up to see him, while he was coming up stairs, he said to his brother-in-law, “ That is a precious man, with little din.” And when he came near him, he spake a few words to him, and desired bim to pray. And when he was aboui to take his leave of him, he said, (nothing to that purpose having been binted at by the person nor any other) “ I take you witness before the Lord, that I did not, directly nor indirectly, speak any thing to the prejudice of presbyterian government; but to the contrary, I