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VII. ROBERT BLAIR.
Mr Blair was born at Irvine, in 1593. He was educated at Glasgov, and, having completed his studies, was appointed a regent in that university. In 1616, he was licensed to preach, and thoug! he had several charges offered to him in Scotland, accepted a call to become minister of Bangor, in Ireland. In that country bis labours were remarkably blessed. But being at length ejected from his living by the bishop of Down, he returned about the year 1638, and was admitted minister of Ayr, and next year was transported to St. Andrews. He now took a prominent share in the public acts of the church; and in 1646, was sent as a commissioner from the Assembly to the king at Newcastle, along with Mr. Henderson and others, and, on the death of that Worthy, became king's chaplain in his stead. In 1648, too, be, with two others, was sent to treat with Cromwell anent uniformity of religion in the three kinguoms; and after the restoration, in 1660, he suffered the award then so frequently bestowed on merit such as his, by being harassed with repeated citations and imprisonments, and afterwards turned
out of his charge.] Being worn out with age, and his spirits sunk by sorrow and grief for the desolations of the Lord's sanctuary in Scotland, Mr. Blair, upon the 10th of August, 1666, took his last sickness; and ever extolling the good and glorious Master whom he had served, contemplated with serious composure his approaching end. His sickness increasing, he was visited by many frienn's and acquaintances, whom he strengthened and comforted by his many gracious and edifying words.
At one time, when they told him of some severe acts of council lately made, upon Sharp's instigation, he prayed that the Lord would open his eyes, and give him repentance. And at another time, to Mrs. Rutherford, he said, “I would not exchange conditions with that man, (though for himself he was now on the bed of languishing, and the other possessed of great riches and revenues) even if all betwixt us were red gold, and given me to the bargain.” When some ministers asked him, if he had any hopes of deliverance to the people of God ? he said he would not take upon him to determine the times and seasons which the Lord keeps in his own hand, but that it was to him a token for good, that the Lord was casting the prelates out of the affections of all ranks and degrees of people, and even some who were most active in setting them up, were now beginning to loathe them for the pride, falsehood, and covetousness they displayed.
To his wife and children he spake gravelay and affectionately; and, after baving solemnly blessed them, he admonished them severally as he judged expedient. His son David said to him, “ The best and worst of men have their thoughts and afterthoughts, now, Sir, God having given you time for afterthoughts on your way, we would hear what they are now."—He answered, “ I have again and again thought upon my former ways, and communed with my beart; and as for my public
actings and carriage, in reference to the Lord's work, if I were to begin again, I would just do as I have done.” He often repeated the 16th, the 23d, and once the 71st Psalm, which he used to cak bis
About two days before his death, his speech began to fail, and he could not be heard or understood : some things, bowever, were not altogether lost; for speaking of some eminent saints then alive, be prayed earnestly that the Lord would bless them, and as an evidence of his love to them, he desired Mr. George Hutcheson, then present, to carry his Christian remembrances to them. When Mr. Hutcheson went from his bed side, he said to his wife, and others who waited on him, that he rejoiced in suffering as a persecuted minister. “Is it not persecution," added be, “ to thrust me from the work of the ministry, which was my delight, and hinder me from doing good to my people and flock, which was my joy and crown of rejoicing, and to chase mo from place to place, till I am wasted with heaviness and sorrow for the injuries done to the Lord's prerogative, interest, and cause?” What be afterwards said was either forgotten or not understood, and, at length, about four o'clock in the morning, August 27th, 1666, he was gathered to his fathers, by a blessed and happy death, the certain re sult of a holy life.*
VIII. THOMAS PATERSON, AND OTHERS.
[Upon the defeat of the covenanters at Pentland, 28ih November,
1666, about 80 prisoners in all were brought to Edinburgh. Of these, the greater number were lodged in Haddock's Hold, a place which, as Wodrow remarks, has since then been turned to a better purpose, being now used as a church. Such, bowever, as were most distinguished by their station or office, it was thought proper to secure in the tolbooth-prison. And of this number, it seemi Mr. Paterson was one. He was a merchant in Glasgow, and had probably joined the insurgents in their progress from Ayr to Lanark. It seems he was confined in a chamber with some of the ten who were shortly after condemned and executed, and that he must have shared their fate, bad he not died of his wounds before the trial. That his death preceded the trial, appears from his name not being in the process. The following testimony, there fore, to which he assented, must have been agreed upon by his companionst in trouble, previous to December 4th, the day on which they were condemned.] • Scots Worthies-Life of Blair.
+ Who the particular individuals were, whose sentiments it expresses, we have no means of knowing. It is certain, however, that they were of the ten, who were honoured to be the first victims of prelatic revenge. It is not improbable, that perceiving Mr. Paterson's death approaching, they might have dravn up the paper, on some of the few days which elapsed between their apprehension and their trial. In the preface to it in “ Naphtali,” it is said, that he “ being in like manner indicted, but dying of his wounds before sentence, did communi. ca.ce the same to bis friends, with his assent thereunto."
“ Men and brethren,-Being condemued by our rulers as traitors, leet we should seem to many to suffer as evil-doers,
“ lst, In the first place, we bless and praise the Lord our God, who hath made us (the unworthiest of all men) worthy to be faithful to him, who is · King of kings and Lord of lords, and in simplicity and godly sincerity, singly to mind his glory; and who also maketh the
oss of Christ (though by men superscribed with treason) our sweet onsolation, and his own joy, our strength.
“ 2d, We declare, in the presence of the same God, before whom we are now ready to appear, that we did not intend to rebel against the king and bis just authority, whom as we acknowledge for our lawful sovereign; so we earnestly pray in his behalf, that God would open
eyes and convert his heart, that he may remember bis vows made unto God, relieve this oppressed kirk, and long reign and flourish in righteousness.
“ 3d, We declare, that perceiving the holy covenants of our God broken, the work of the Lord overturned, the gospel and kingdom of Jesus Christ despised and trampled upon, his pure ordinances corrupted, his faithful and our soul-refreshing ministers cast out, and the land filled with perjury and profanity, and like to be hurried back to that gulf of ignorance, superstition, and confusion, whence the Lord did so gloriously deliver us; and finding ourselves not only spoiled of our most precious blessings, and most dear enjoyments, but urged and compelled by cruel violence and barbarous persecution, to the wicked apostasy from our holy covenants, and to rebellion against our God; and all this done by no other hand than the wicked and perjured prelates; and for po otber ends (whatever they may pretend) than the satisfying of their own vile lusts, and establishing their só often abjured antichristian tyranny, over both souls and bodies of men.
" 4th, And lastly, finding former petitions condemned as seditious, and our private complaints, when but muttered, insolently rejected, we did in the fear and zeal of our God, and by the warrant of his holy word, according to the first and most innocent instinct of pure nature, and the practice of all people and persons in the like case ; and after the example of all the oppressed kirks of Jesus Christ, and of our noble ancestors, take the sword of necessary self-defence, from the rage and fury of these wicked and violent men, until we might make our heavy grievances known to his majesty, and obtain from his justice a satisfying remedy.
“ We will not now mention our particular sufferings, nor the sighs and groans of poor wasted Galloway, which though very heavy from the band of man, are all too light for Jesus Christ ;* nor are we willing to
* This is a very proper distinction, and one which nught ever to be kept in view, when judging of the sufferings to which man is subject in the present
These sufferings may be altogether unmerited from the persons who inflict them, and their infliction may be consequently altogether unjustifiable; but it ought ever to be remembered, that great as they may be, they cannot be un. deserved as coming from God. From him it is only suffering we can be said to werit. At the very best, we are unprofitable servants ; nay, we should rather say that all of us have sinned, and come short of his glory, and are therefore
reflect upon these grievous and bitter laws and edicts, by which they seem to be warranted : only we know, that God is righteous, whose laws and judgments are superior and above all the laws an:/ actions of
And to him who will judge righteously, we entirely commis our cause, which is none other than the reviving of the work of God and renewing of his covenant: which though it pleased the holy and wise God, not to favour with success in the field, and though by men it may be made our condemnation, yet it is our righteousness, innocency, and confidence in his sight. And all praise and thanks be unto our God, who not only kept us stedfast in bis covenant, and made us willing and ready to adventure our lives for his name, but hath also accepted and dignified our offer with this public appearance :* where, in his own glorious presence, before whom we shall instantly appear, and before our often sworn and once zealous and tender brethren in the same cause, and in midst of thee, O Edinburgh! once famous for the glory and zeal of God and of this covenant, we may give and seal this our testimony with our blood.
“ We therefore, the unwortliiest of all the faithful, do, in the Spirit of God and glory, testify and seal with our blood and lives, that both the national covenant and solemn league and covenant, are in themselves boly, just, and true, and perpetually binding, containing no other thing than our indispensable obligation to all duties of religion and righteousness, according to the revealed will of God, which no authority nor power of man, is or ever shall be able to disannul: and that our blessed reformations, both from popery and prelacy, and all that was done or ensued, in the sincere and upright prosecution thereof, was and is the work of God, which though men fight against, yet shall they never be able to prevail. And as this is our faith, so it is our hope to all that wait for the salvation of God, that our God will surely appear for his own glory, and vindicate his cause and persecuted people, and render vengeance to his adversaries, even the vengeance of his holy temple and broken covenant. O be not then moved with our sufferings, which are but light and momentary, for they work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,' and for you also a strong confirmation, and abounding consolation against the like trial that possibly may befall you. O then save your. selves from this wicked and apostate generation, and · be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work and cause of the Lord waiting for the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, which in his
guilty before him. But this, it must be observed, is no excrise for those who, to gratify their own malignant passions, or compass their own selfish purposes, violate every feeling of humanity, trample on the rights of their fellow men, and are even forward to shed their blood :
• Of course, though this testimony was not spoken, and in so far as Pater. son was concerned, could not be spoken, it was written under the impression chat all who concurred in it would be called to make such a public appearance as is here referred to. It is needless to say a word here with regard to the principles it avows Of these principles it seems to contain an eloquent vindi. cation. But, at the present day, it is enough for this purpose to remark, that they are the very principles wbich ultimately triumphed in the glorious revolulion of 1688.
time he shall show, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach, whom no man bath seen, or can see, to whom be honour and power everlasting ! Amen."*
IX. JOHN M‘CULLOCH, AND OTHERS.
[John M'Culloch of Barholm was a gentleman of good parts and
great piety." He had already suffered much for his conscientious adherence to the presbyterian church, having shared extensively both in 1663 and 1665, in the fines and exactions which were levied from Galloway. He was now far advanced in life, and we may be sure it was no ordinary oppression that had induced him to embark in the late insurrection. It appears he had served in the army, and had attained the rank of major. In consequence of this circumstance, as well as from his family influence, it is probable he was regarded as the most distinguished of the prisoners taken at Pentland. He was therefore one of the ten who, immediately after the defeat, were condemned and executed. And hence be was the first to affix his name to the following testimony, (which, in addition to that previously agreed to by some of them) they subscribed in the prison, at Edinburgh, on the day of their death,
being 7th December, 1666.] “ Men and brethren,- This is a great and important work, both for us, who are now to render up our spirits to bim that gave them, and for you who are not a little concerned in the cause, and in our blood, by justifying or condemning our sentence; and therefore, as we speak to you as dying men, who dare not dissemble with God or man, nor flatter ourselves ; so ye should not be idle, curious, or unconcerned spectators.
“We are condemned by men, and esteemed by many as rebels against the king (whose authority we acknowledget) but this is our rejoicing,
• Naphtali, pp. 311-314.
+ It bas been common for the apologists of the House of Stuart, to hold up the covenanters who suffered under its dynasty, as characterized by the extremes of disloyalty and sedition. Nothing, however, can be farther from the truth.Whoever considers the tendency of their principles, must readily perceive that it must have been in an entirely opposite direction. But to pass over this, and to come to facts. The reader must perceive in the above, and in other succeeding instances, that those of them at least who had engaged in the Pentland insurrection, did so with far other feelings than rebellion against their king. Such was their uniform profession wben about to leave the world, and surely, in such cir. cumstances, it is but fair to acknowledge that, in such a profession, they were at least sincere. And what is more, they uniformly refer to the oppressions they had endured, as the sole cause of their rising; and release from these op: pressions, and from the iniquitous system under which they were sanctioned, as the only end which they had in view. Nor is there a man, who candidly considers these oppressions, as described in the above testimony, and as detailed in “ Naphtali,” the “ A pologetical Relation,” “ Wodrow's History," and other works relating to the period, that will not, if a spark of humanity remains in bis bosom, be ready to acknowledge that they coustituted a cause too adequate.