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the testimony of our conscience, that we suffer not as evil-doers, but for righteousness, for the word of God, and testimony of Jes's Christ ; and particularly, for our renewing the covenant, and, in pursuance thereof, for preserving and defending of ourselves by arms, again. i the usurpation and insupportable tyranny of the prelates ; and agai wt the most unchristian and inbuman oppression and persecution, that ever was enjoined and practised by just rulers, upon free, innocent, and peaceable subjects !
“ The covenant and cause being so just in themse.ves, and the duties of self-preservation and mutual defence in maintenance thereof, being to judicious and unbiassed men so clear, we need to say the less for vindication of our practice : only, the laws establisbing prelacy, and the acts, orders, and proclamations made for compliance therewith, being executed against us by military force and violence; and we, with others, for our simple forbearance, being fined, confined, imprisoned, exiled, scourged, stigmatized, beaten, bound as beasts, and driven unto the mountains for our lives; and thereby hundreds of families being beggared, several parishes, and some whole country-sides exceedingly impoverished ; and all this, either arbitrarily, and without any law, or respect had to guilt or innocency; or unjustly, contrary to all conscience, justice, and reason, though under the pretence of iniquitous laws, and without regard bad to the penalty specified in the law : and all remonstrating of grievances (were they never so just and many) and petitions for redress, being restrained by laws condemning all former remonstrances and petitions in the like cases ; there was no other remedy left to us, but that last of necessary self-preservation and defence. And this being one of the greatest principles of nature, warranted by the law of God, scriptural instances, and the consent and practices of all reformed churches and Christian states abroad, and of our own famous predecessors at home, it cannot in reason or justice be reputed a crime, or condemned as rebellion by any human authority.
“ Though we be not the first that have suffered for the cause of God within the land, yet we are among the first that have been legally condemned and put to death expressly for taking the covenant: and we are so far from being ashamed thereof, that we account it our honour to be reckoned worthy to suffer for such a cause; and cannot but bless the Lord, that we have such a cloud of witnesses, in this and other reformed churches, going before us in the same duty for substance, and in suffering therefore.
“ We cannot but regret (if we could, with tears of blood,) the national and authorized backsliding of the land, by perjury and breach of covenant; the overturning of the work of reformation; the great desolation of the house of the Lord, by smiting of the shepherds, and scattering of the flocks ; the intrusion of so many mercenary birelings into the ministry, who, because of apostasy, perjury, ignorance, and profaneness, can neither be acknowledged as God's mouth to the people, in preaching, nor employed as their mouth to him, in prayer; the abounding of popery, superstition, and profaneness, by unheard of oaths, blasphemies, uncleannesses, and drinking, even in some whose office and place requireth them to be more exemplary; and the shedding the blood of the saints by the rage of persecution : and therefore we cannot but disown all these abominable laws, courses, and practices, and declare our abhorrency of the same, and dissent therefrom ; protesting before angels and men, that we be not interpreted as consenters thereto; and beseeching the hearer of prayer, that we be not involved in the guilt thereof, nor partake of the plagues which follow there. upon.
“ As this land was happy above all nations, for the purity and plenty of the gospel, and for a form of church government more conform to the pattern in the scriptures, than in others of the reformed churches ; 80 we acknowledge his great goodness to us in special, that gave us our lines in such pleasant places ; for we have full persuasion of the truth of the reformed religion in the church of Scotland, and have felt so much of the power and sweetness thereof, that we do here declare our firm belief and persuasion of, and adherence to the same, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, according to the National Covenant, the Solemn League and Covenant, the Confession of Faith, Catechismis, Directory of Worship, and Propositions for Government; accounting it our honour and happiness to have been born in it, to have lived in communion with it, and now to die, through grace, members, witnesses, and assertors thereof.
“ And further, as Christians, and as members of the same church and commonwealth, in the fear and zeal of our God, in love to our brethren, in desire of the preservation of church and kingdom, and for our own exoneration, now when we take our leave of the world, we do seriously, and in the bowels of Christ, supplicate, warn, exhort, and obtest you, all the inhabitants of the kingdom, from the kivg to the meanest of the subjects, according to your old principles, professions, promises, declarations, oaths, and covenants, faithfully to own, maintain, preserve, and defend the said religion ; and after the example of our noble and renowned ancestors, to quit yourselves like men and Christians, in endeavouring by all just means, according to your places and powers, to shake off this heavy yoke of prelacy, wbich neither we nor our fathers were able to bear,' and which is destructive to all our true interests, religious and civil; as ye would not involve yourselves in the guilt and plagues of perjury and breach of covenant; and as you tender the good of your own names, persons, estates, families, and liberties, as well as of your immortal souls ; and as ye would partake of the good of God's chosen, and of our joys, when yo come so near eternity as we are.
“ We shall say no more, but as we were not afraid to take our lives in our hands, so we are not afraid to lay them down in this cause ;
and as we are not ashamed of Christ because of his cross, so we would not have you offended in Christ, nor discouraged because of us : for we bear you record, that we would not exchange lots with our adversaries : nor redeem our lives, liberties, and fortunes, at the price of perjury and breach of covenant.
“ And further, we are assured, though this be the day of Jacoli's trouble, that yet the Lord when he hath accomplished the trial of his own, and filled up the cup of his adversaries, will awake for judgmith, plead his own cause, avenge the quarrel of his covenant, make inquiry for blood, vindicate his people, break the arm of the wicked, and establish the just; for to him belongeth judgment and vengeance : and though our eyes shall not see it, yet we believe that the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing under his wings;' and that be will revive his work, repair the breaches, build the old wastes, and raise up the desolations; yea, the Lord will judge his people, and repeat himself for his servants, when their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left: And therefore, rejoice, 0 ye nations, with his people : for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to bis adversaries, and he will be merciful to his land and people. So let thy enemies perish, O Lord; but let them that love him, be as the sun when he goetb forth in his might!'”
X. ANDREW ARNOT.
[Captain Arnot, as he is usually styled, from the rank which, it ap
pears, he had previously borne in the army, was a gentleman of some property and influence. He was brother to the laird of Lochridge, an estate lying in the district of Cunningham. He joined the covenanters at Ayr, took the command of a troop, and proceeded with them to Lanark; and from thence, till they arrived at Rullion Green, where he was taken with his sword in hand. Whether he delivered the following speech on the scaffold, we have not ascertained. As containing his separate testimony, to the cause in which he suffered, it may be regarded, only as an addition and enforcement to the foregoing, which, with his nine companions in saf
fering, he had already subscribed.] “ Dear friends and spectators, I am brought by the good providence of God to this place of execution (which is no dishonour) for points of treason, as is alleged; but God knoweth (who knoweth the secrets of hearts) whether in rebellion or not, I came forth; he is my witness, and will be my judge. And whoever they be that any way wave been instrumental or incensed against me, to procure this sentence against me, God forgive them, and I forgive them. I am not now purposed to dispute the matter of my being in company with these worthy Christians who are now defeat and broken, their blood shed, and they despitefully mocked by many: I acknowledge and c'eclare, that I was with them. As to the cause of my being with them, whether in rebellion or not, God knoweth, and all Israel ebull know. And for me, I say the cause is the Lord's, who made the heaven and the earth, though now it be hated. And, I desire to bear witness, with the rest of the worthy witnesses who are gone before, and are now staged to that glorious work of reformation in Britain and Ireland, and to gospel ordinances in their purity, as they have been taught and administered these thirty years by-past. And I adhere to the presbyterial way of doctrinal worship, discipline, and gove ernment, hy general assemblies, synods, presbyteries, and sessions, eccording to the pattern of the holy scriptures, (Jesus Christ himself being the head corner stone) the Confession of Faith, Catechisms Shorter and Larger, Directory for Public Worship, National Covenant, Solemn League and Covenant, and every paper tending to the good of the true religion. And this I think fit to testify and declare under iny
hand (not knowing if I shall have any liberty to speak) and intend, God willing, to seal with my blood shortly. I confess, that anexpectedly I am come to this place, (though sometimes I have had some small thoughts of it) and I do account myself bighly honoured to be reckoned amongst the witnesses of Jesus Christ, to suffer for his name, truth, and cause; and this day I esteem it my glory, garland, crown, and royal dignity, to fill up a part of his sufferings.
“ And now, I take my leave of you all, my dear and worthy friends and acquaintances. The blessings of the eternal God be multiplied upon you and your seed, and upon all the suffering friends of Christ, this day ; upon my dear and loving wife, who hath been a faithful sympathizer with me, and upon my dear children. The work of God is now put under, but it shall carry the day : blessed is he that believeth and seeth not, for there shall be a performance. Now, the eternal God, who brought again the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, the great Shepherd of the sheep, strengthen and stablish you, and all the Lord's people. So pray ye, and so prayeth your friend,
XI. JOHN SHIELDS.
[This was another of the ten persons who suffered on the
7th December, 1666. He is described in Wodrow, as resident in Titwood, and as a tenant of Sir George Maxwell of Nether Pollock. It appears that he had joined the insurgents in Ayrshire, and, that, with John Ross and others, he was employed to watch the movements of the king's forces in the neighbourhood of Kilmarnock. From thence he accompanied them till their overthrow at Pentland, where he was made prisoner. The following is his separate testimony to thu
cause in which he died.] “ I am a man unlearned, and not accustomed to speak in public; yet being now called to witness and suffer for the Lord in public, I cannot be altogether silent of that which religion and reason bath taught me avent the cause of my suffering.
• Naphtali, pp. 314-316.
« 1 bless the Lord, I suffer not as an evil-doer, especially not for any rebellion against his majesty's lawful authority; I attest him who is the searcher of hearts, that was never my intention in the least, and it is as little the nature and intention of what I have done ; but for the renewing of the covenant with the Lord, and following the ends thereof, as to the suppressing of abjured prelates, and intruders upon the Lord's flock, and the restoring of the government of the house of God by presbyters, as he himself bath appointed in his word, with a faithful, godly, called, and sent ministry; and together with pure ordinances, the power of godliness. For this I am condemned, and to suffer this day. This I acknowledged freely before our judges; this I still acknowledge, and am persuaded that herein I witness a faithful confession. This cause and covenant I commend to all the Lord's people. It is not free for you to forsake it; you are inviolably engaged in it; it is not safe to desert it, because of the curse of the perjurer and false swearer. There is unspeakable blessedness in the pursuance of it, whereof I can bear witness to the Lord by my rich experience, since we began to do and suffer at this time for him : whereupon I cheerfully lay down my life for this his cause ; he it is who justifieth it, what man or authority under heaven can condemn it ? Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail against thee! Plead and judge this cause which is thine own, for thine own name's sake!"
[The short testimony that follows has come down to us without a
name. It professes to be by another of the tent persons who were executed on the 7th December, 1666, and is said to have been left subscribed in the hands of a friend. Who the individual war, cannot now be ascertained, but from its having appeared in · Naphtali, wbich was first published about 1667, there seems to be no good
ground for doubting its genuineness.] “ I designed no rebellion against lawful authority, but the suppressing of prelacy and of profanity; and advancing of holiness in God's world: in a word, I adhere to all the articles of the good covenant, and did intend the restoring of our good and soul-refreshing ministers, and the casting out of the dumb greedy dogs that cannot bark.
In this cause I was a free volunteer, pressed by none, thinking it my duty to appear for belping the Lord against the mighty. This I testify under my band, from the tolbooth of Edinburgh, the 6th of December, 1666.f
* Naphtali, pp. 316, 317.
† Naphtali, p. 317 † We shall here sulijoin a few slender particulars, with regard to the severa individuals of this number that remain, besides M.Culloch, Arnot, and Shields, of whom we have already given some account.
John and Robert Gordon were brothers, of the respectable family of Knockbreck in Galloway. This family had suffered much from the oppresslons previously exercised in that district of country. Besides being bar