Copy of a letter written by David M'Roberts to his wife two days before his execution
Copy of a Letter
Two Days before his Execution;
FOR THE BEHOOF OF HIS
Widow and Children.
The REVEREND J. D.
C. M'Lachlan, Printer, Dumfries
[Price One Penny.]
THAT every Word of the following Letter ⟨was⟩
written by David M'Roberts, (except the ⟨Words⟩
printed in Italics) is attested by
Dumfries, November 5. 1798.
My dear Wife and Children,
THIS is the last Letter that you will have from me. And, O my dear, be advised by the last Sentiments of your dying Husband. Be thankful for God's great mercy, through Jesus Christ, thatI am enabled to write you—that I am not confined to a sick bed, and that I, by his tender love in his Son, am enabled to rejoice in hope of a glorious immortality, by his free grace bestowed on me, who am very undeserving of the least of his mercy. But I rejoice in hope, that when my sun goes down here, that I shall meet the blessed Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings. It is no matter how the lamp of this life goes out, if it be lighted again by the immortal beams of Christ’s righteousness.—It is better that my spirit be carried from the scaffold by Angels, than from a bed of down, to be dragged to where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
There is a heaven of bliss to be obtained by the free grace of God to all penitent and humble sinners that will go to him by Christ, and put their trust in his merits. There is no other way under heaven whereby we, or any of the sons and daughters of fallen Adam our first representative, can be saved but by the blood and untainted righteousness of Christ Jesus, who gave himself up a willing sacrifice on Mount Calvary, for to save poor sinful mankind and satisfy the Divine Justice of ⟨God⟩ his Father (illegible text) his merits, by ⟨free⟩ grace, I rejoice.
My dear, in the first place, ⟨consider⟩ what you are, and for what it pleased god to call you into being. Was it not to glorify him in the world, and enjoy him in the world to come?—He is the god that you and every one that cometh into his world, must appear before, sooner or later; and I must appear before him on Wednesday afternoon! And, oh! Dear, remember, that you have not any covenant with death; and it may be, you may soon follow your ⟨husband⟩. You do not know, but the next ⟨summons⟩ death delivers, may be to you. Oh! then, look into your own heart, ⟨and⟩ see if you be ready for the change ⟨that⟩ will happen to you sooner or later: ⟨and⟩ look to the law of god, and you will see that indignation and anguish, tribulation and wrath, are revealed from heaven, against every one that sinneth: and you may see, that the justice of god is infinite as well as his holiness; yet it has pleased Him to give his only Son up to die for lost and undone sinners of mankind.——If you court the lusts of sinful heart, and yield to the delusion of Satan, and your own corrupt nature—I say, if you do neglect such great salvation, you must perish eternally.—Oh! dear, the natural man or woman is ready to think they cannot fall in with Christ, without something of their own: It is true, they cannot without divine grace. Remember the advice of your dying and loving husband. The ⟨best⟩ duty that ever you did or can do, is ⟨but⟩ your duty, and never can make ⟨amends⟩ for your sins; so, if ever you be saved you must depend on the blood ⟨and⟩ righteousness of Christ for all. Oh! ⟨my⟩ dear, fly front any doctrine that ⟨would⟩ recommend you on works to attain ⟨salvation⟩. Christ is inviting you ⟨without⟩ money and without price. The door ⟨of⟩ mercy is yet open; but be assured ⟨that⟩ there is no mercy after death for ⟨those⟩ that die unconverted. I have no doubt ⟨but⟩ Satan, the world, and the ⟨treacherous⟩ heart, will have many excuses; but ⟨go⟩ on in the free grace of god, through Jesus Christ; and O be sincere at ⟨the⟩ throne of grace, and you will obtain it. Let nothing stop your seeking first the kingdom of god, and all other things will be added unto you. Pray earnestly to god for a saving interest in the blood of the new covenant, of which Christ is the Mediator.
Now, my dear Wife, I have set life and death both before you, and if you neglect it, it will be endless, endless, endless misery!—O then be earnest with god, whilst you are in the body; and get the children brought up in the fear of god. Do not let your eyes pity them, so as to with-hold correction when needful; and pray that god, for Christ sake, may bless your endeavours, ⟨that⟩ it may tend to his glory, and your ⟨and⟩ their good. O remember time is ⟨passing⟩ away, and eternity is approaching.——One hour spent in conversation ⟨with⟩ god, is better than all the ⟨perishing⟩ world. Mind your latter end, and ⟨you⟩ will reap the benefit of your labours. Never, never, never stop, till you ⟨have⟩ your peace made up with god, and ⟨a⟩ match with Christ, and you will find ⟨his⟩ yoke is easy, and his burden light.——May the Spirit that raised Jesus ⟨Christ⟩ from the dead, quicken you and ⟨my⟩ dear wee (little) boys, and ⟨sanctify⟩ you. This is the last word or ⟨writ⟩ ⟨from⟩ your loving husband.—This day☀ (illegible text)d a while the morrow, and then you ⟨are⟩ free to marry whom you will; but ⟨Oh!⟩ first match with Christ on his own ⟨terms⟩. I can hardly drop writing—may ⟨you⟩ be directed bv infinite wisdom, is ⟨the⟩ sincere prayer of yours while in the ⟨body⟩. Do not forget this advice, and ⟨we⟩ shall, I hope, meet in a better world: ⟨and⟩ O be much in prayer, and god ⟨will⟩ bring you through all ycur distress! ⟨Rest⟩ on him and he will sustain you. ⟨Do⟩ not forget your great salvation, and ⟨be⟩ ruined for ever and ever. I bow my ⟨knees⟩ to god that he may bless it to your soul.——Farewel world! ⟨Farewell⟩ wife and children! Farewel vanity, ⟨sin⟩ and sorrow!——Lord Jesus receive ⟨my⟩ spirit.
My dear wife and Children, I ⟨have⟩ laboured with my pen for your ⟨salvation⟩. I could die with the pen in ⟨my⟩ hand. But since I can do nothing, ⟨may⟩ the Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead direct your mind. Oh! ⟨Peggy⟩ dear, do not charge the holy and ⟨just⟩ god foolishly:—He has said, Leave (illegible text) fatherless children, and let thy ⟨widow⟩ trust in me. My dear, be earnest (illegible text) your crying to god. Put not your ⟨trust⟩ in an arm of flesh; but O pray ⟨night⟩ ⟨and⟩ day that god, for Christ’s sake, may ⟨pardon⟩ all your sins, and enable you to ⟨teach⟩ your and my dear wee (little) boys. ⟨You⟩ will not have me to give them any ⟨more⟩ advice; but I trust in the riches ⟨of⟩ god's free grace, through Christ, we ⟨shall⟩ meet in our heavenly Father’s ⟨house⟩, where there is pleasure for ⟨evermore⟩. O labour in patience and ⟨sincerity⟩ with god, till you, by a true and (illegible text)vely faith in the blessed Lord, overcome (illegible text) your enemies. When you are temptedv⟨by⟩ the tempter, the vain world, or your ⟨own⟩ lusts, think that god who sees all ⟨things⟩, sees you. You can never be ⟨out⟩ of his presence. Remember what ⟨his⟩ Son suffered for you. If you call earnestly for help, you will be ⟨assisted⟩ and with patient continuance in w(illegible text) doing; and praying for divine ⟨grace⟩ you will obtain it through the ⟨blood⟩ and righteousness of Christ Jesus.
O dear! if it please god to spare ⟨you⟩ and your children, O take care of ⟨them⟩ as well as you can; but do not let ⟨them⟩ overrule you. And may the blessing ⟨of⟩ god assist your weak endeavour—⟨may⟩ his strength be made perfect in ⟨your⟩ weakness.——My blessing I leave ⟨with⟩ you; and into his hands I commend ⟨you⟩through time and eternity.
O remember all that I have said; ⟨and⟩ may god for Christ’s sake bless it to ⟨you⟩ Throw not these lines away:—not that I mean to aggravate your condemnation by them, but to stir you up to your duty.—May god watch over you and the children for good, till the day of Christ’s coming. Amen.—Even so Lord Jesus come quickly. Farewel.—Adieu, adieu, adieu!
TO THE READER.
INASMUCH as it has been reported that the ⟨foregoing⟩ printed Letter (a former Impression of ⟨which⟩ has lately been circulated in Dumfries) was indited ⟨to⟩ me, and only copied by David M‘Roberts: I judge ⟨it⟩ my duty to declare—-that be had INDITED, ⟨WRITTEN⟩, and likewise shewn it, to the Reverend D Burnside, previous to my having had the least ⟨knowledge⟩ of its contents.
J. D. ⟨Minister.⟩
N. B. The Witdow returns her sincere thanks to ⟨the⟩ Ladies and Gentlemen of this Town, and its ⟨Environs⟩ for their liberality and kindness to her.
Dumfries, 27th November, 1798.
- He had mistaken the day of the month—see the date.