Cry from the dead, or, The ghost of Mr James Guthrie appearing

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Cry from the dead, or, The ghost of Mr James Guthrie appearing  (1807) 
by James Guthrie (1612-1661)


Cry from the Dead;




Famous Mr. James Guthrie


Being the laſt Sermon he preached in the
Pulpit of Stirling, before his Martyrdom
at Edinburgh, June 1ſt 1661.






Printed by J. & M. Robertson, [No. 18.] Saltmarket, 1807.





On the Sabbath-day in the forenoon, being the 19th. of Auguſt, 1660. Upon the 22d. verſe of the xiv. chap. of Matthew. He did alſo read the 23d. and 24th. verſes of the ſame chapter: but had not occaſion to preach any more; he being impriſoned the Thurſday thereafter.

Text. *Matth. xiv. 22, 23, 24.

'And ſtraightway Jeſus conſtrained his diſciples to get into a ſhip, and to go before him unto the other ſide, while he ſent the multitudes away. And when he had ſent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray; and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ſhip was now in the midſt of the ſea, toſſed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

IT is of purpoſe, and by choice, in reference to the condition and trial of theſe times, we have reſolved, through the Lord's aſſistance, to ſpeak ſomewhat of this piece of trial, and of the ſtorm wherewith the diſciples of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt were exerciſed at ſea, and the rather we have choſen to ſpeak ſomewhat of theſe words, becauſe they were the choice of a very precious

*Mark vi. 46. John vi. 16.

precious and worthy man, to ſpeak of in a day of trial, I mean, of that eminent ſervant of God, John Knox, whom the Lord did help to be a moſt eminent inſtrument of the work of reformation in the church; we ſhall not much ſtand on any particular unfolding of the branches of the text, but take them as they ly in order. The thing we deſire you firſt to look to, is how the ſtory that is recorded in theſe verſes, is knit with theſe that go before, for we will find them knit together by many of the evangeliſts, viz. the ſtory of the glorious miracles wrought by Jeſus Chriſt the Lord, in feeding ſo many thouſands of people with a few loaves, and a few little fiſhes; after this, that ſad trial which the diſciples met with at ſea: they are knit by the evangeliſts Matthew, Mark and John, after that the Lord Jeſus Chriſt had preached to the people and his diſciples, and had fed many thouſands with a few loaves, and a few fiſhes, and had manifeſted much of his power and glory, (he conſtrains his diſciples to get into a ſhip, and to go before him unto the other ſide, while he ſent the multitude away, he ſends his diſciples to the ſea, and the multitude away, that they ſhould not for a ſeaſon hear any more of his doctrine, nor ſee any more of his miracles.

That we may lay a foundation for ſomewhat for your edification. Firſt, It may be enquired, why it is, that he ſends away both his diſciples and the multitude at that time, and would have an interruption of his doctrine and miracles, when he ſends his diſciples to the ſea, and the multitude to their own home? If we look into the other evangeliſts, we will find the cauſes there enough, Mark vi. 52. the cauſe is given there, why he thus exerciſed his diſciples; For they conſidered not the miracle of the loaves, for their hearts were hardened, Albeit, the Lord Jeſus Chriſt had revealed much of his power and glory in the miracle of the loaves; yet his disciples did not duly conſider thereof: therefore he would needs exerciſe them with a ſtorm, and a tempeſt at ſea, that they might both be taught in the knowledge of their own weakneſs, and alſo might be better ſchooled in the faith of his power and glory. The reaſon why he ſent the multitude away, is ſet down in the goſpel written by John chap. vi. 26. When the multitude comes again, Verily, verily, I ſay unto you, ye ſeek me, not becauſe you ſaw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Compare it with that in the 15th verſe. When Jesus Chriſt therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himſelf alone.

He knew, that for all that they had ſeen and heard of his word and miracles, they were of a very carnal diſpoſition. and ſeeking to eſtabliſh to themſelves carnal proſperity and peace: therefore he ſent them away for a time.

From the connection of theſe two hiſtories, and from the ſcope of the whole, we offer you one point of doctrine; that the Lord Jeſus Chriſt is oft times, and ordinarily pleaſed after ſpecial manifeſtations of his power and glory in his church, and amongſt his people to exerciſe them with ſpecial pieces of trial, and troubles, and ſtorms. After his doing of great work for their comfort, he is ordinarily pleaſed, to raiſe great and dreadful ſtorms and tempeſts, for their exerciſe and trial. So here when he hath, in a moſt comfortable and kindly way, banqueted them, and revealed much of his power and love in ſo doing, he ſends them a ſtorm and tempeſt, on the back of it, and will have an interruption of his doctrine and miracles for a time, wherein they are all like to be drowned.

1ſt Inſtance. There are many inſtances in the word, of the Lord’s dealing thus; look in the books of Moſes, what follows on the back of that glorious deliverance, that the Lord gave to the people of Iſrael out of Egypt: they are exerciſed forty years in the wilderneſs, in which they had many a ſad day, ere they entered the land of Canaan.

2d Inſt. The like we may ſee in the church of Iſrael, I Sam. vii. The.Lord gave a great deliverance from the Philiſtines by the miniſtry of his ſervant Samuel , and a glorious bleſſed work of reformation there was, but all that was again deſtroyed by the hand of Saul, and perſecution raiſed again the church of God.

3d Inſt. A third inſtance ye will find, if ye will read the hiſtory of the reign of Hezekiah and Manaſſeh kings of Judah, as it is recorded in the ſecond book of Chronicles; there was a great reformation in the days of Hezekiah, a covenant ſworn by the king, princes, prieſts, and the whole body of the land ; all corruption cast out, the pure worship and ordinances of God set up, but there was a dreadful trial by the hand of Sennacherib; fearcely was Hezekiah well in his grave, till Manasseh ſucceeds in his room, and brings in corruption and perſecution, both at once.

4th Inſt. A fourth inſtance was in the days of Joſiah, how much of the power, and glory of the Lord is manifeſted; but how ſad a trial comes on the back of it, that the church ſeems to be wholly defaced by the king of Babylon.

5th Inſt. A fifth inſtance we will find, after the return of Iſrael out of Babylon ; in the iv. of Ezra, the fonndation of the Lord’s house is laid; but in a little while the work interrupted, till the ſecond year of Darius the king, by the deriſion and enmity of wicked men.

6th Inſt. A like inſtance you ſhall alſo find in the New Teſtament; look what a length our bleſſed Lord brought the work of the goſpel, but what follows in the xvi. of John, 31ſt. and 32d. verſes, Do ye now believe? Behold the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye ſhall be ſcattered, every man to his own, and ſhall leave me alone. And he is crucified, and laid in his grave, and a ſtone laid on the grave’s mouth, and little appearance that ever there ſhould have been more mention of him, in the land of the living.

7th Inſt. Then look another inſtance, in the days of the apoſtles, in the i, ii, iii, iv, and v. chapters of the Acts, what a bleſſed reformation there was; but in the cloſe of the vi. chapter, and in the beginning of the viith, ye ſee what a ſad interruption and ſcattering there there is in the church, and a great perſecution raiſed againſt it.

8th Inſt. And as there are many inſtances in the word, ſo there are many inſtances in the ſtory of the church, many great things were done by the apoſtles and a glorious reformation there was in the bringing in of the Gentiles; but how dreadful a perſecution is raiſed through all the world.

9th Inſt. And there is a notable inſtance, when the Lord began to reform the church from the darkneſs of Popery, by that worthy inſtrument Luther: but ſhortly after, did not Charles the fifth raiſe a cruel war, againſt all the princes of Germany, and raiſe cruel edicts against all that clave to the church.

10th Inſt. And alſo, in the days of king Edward the ſixth, that good prince, what a glorious work was in England; but a few years after that godly prince died, queen Mary ſucceeds, brings in Popery, and raiſes a bitter perſecution againſt the ſaints of God.

11th Inſt. And ye cannot be ſo great ſtrangers to your own condition at home; how ſad an interruption the work of reformation met with, from the Prelates not long ago.

So that there is nothing more ordinary in the church, than after the Lord has communicate himself in a ſpecial way in his power and glory, than to exerciſe them with ſad ſtorms and tempeſts on the back of it.

Concerning this diſpensation, we would, Firſt, enquire a little into the grounds and reaſons of it, why the Lord ſees it fit to do ſo? Next, into the kinds of it, or in what ſeveral ways it is, that he ſees it fit to do ſo?

For the reaſons, grounds, and cauſes of it, we shall not speak of many, though many might be ſpoken of; but ſhortly touch some of the moſt common and obvious.

1ſt Reaſon. Firſt, The Lord makes ſuch a changing of his dealing with his church, for the chaſtiſing of their ſin, and correcting of their iniquity. A people to whom he manifests himſelf in his power and glory, glory, and mercy and truth, do not always behave themſelves as they ought to do, but even while he is dealing kindly with them, they do many ways provoke him to wrath. Therefore God, for correcting their ſin, and chaſtiſing their iniquity, brings troubles and ſtorms upon them. In the xcix. Pſalm, the Lord is brought to take vengeance on the inventions of his people in the wilderneſs; that ye may underſtand this the better, look the lxxviii. Pſalm, which is a clear commentary to this, where his rod wherewith he puniſhed that people in the wilderneſs, and delayed their entrance into Canaan, and their ſin both are ſet down: their unſtedfaſtneſs in the Lord’s covenant. Ye may look ſome of the proofs of theſe ſins.

1ſt Sin. Firſt, In the 10th. and 11th. verſes of Pſalm lxxviii. They kept not the covenant of God, and refuſed to walk in his law; and forgot his works, and wonders that he had ſhewed them. They were unſtedfaſt in the Lord’s covenant. In the xix. and xx. chapters of Exodus, they entered into a moſt ſolemn covenant with God, that all of them undertook to ſtand to, and to prove faithful therein; but they kept not his covenant, but dealt deceitfully in it, therefore he brought ſuch ſtorms on them in the wilderneſs, and ſo long ſuſpended their entrance into the promiſed land.

2d Sin. A ſecond ſin is, in the 18th. verſe, they ſinned yet more and tempted him in their hearts, by aſking meat for their luſts. They are not ſatisfied with the things that God has allowed them, but luſted after ſtrange things, and became luſtful in their appetites: therefore God is wroth, and thus exerciſeth them in the wilderneſs.

3d Sin. A third ſin is, in the 22d. verſe, their diſſidence and unbelief; they believed not God, and truſted not in his ſalvation; they put tempting queſtions, concerning his power and goodneſs in the 19th. verſe, Can God furniſh a table in the wilderneſs? Therefore he thus exerciſed them with ſtorms.

4th Sin. A fourth ſin is, they deſpised and under-valued valued the precious manna, which God ſent down from heaven, for feeding of them, Numb. xxi. 5. Our ſouls loathed this light bread.

5th Sin. A fifth ſin is, their murmuring, grudging, and repining againſt God.

6th Sin. A ſixth ſin is, their complaint of coming out of Egypt; their rebellion and ſpeaking of a captain to return back again.

7th Sin. The last ſin is, their corrupting the worſhip of God, and making a golden calf. And becauſe of theſe ſins, the Lord is angry and correcteth and chaſtiſeth them forty years long in the wildernesſ.

2d Reaſon. A ſecond reaſon is, the Lord’s bringing ſad ſtorms on the back of glorious manifeſtations of himſelf in his word and works, is, for purging of his people. As he will correct them, and have them to know the bitternesſ of their ſin, ſo he will have them to be purged of it. There is a ſad trial in the xi. of Daniel, and this is given as the reaſon of it; to purge, to try, and to make white, in the 35th verſe, And ſome of them of underſtanding ſhall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: becauſe it is yet for a time appointed. There is in the church and people of God, much droſs, therefore he ſees it neceſſary, they be put to the fire, for purging away their droſs.

3d Reaſon. A third reaſon wherefore the Lord brings ſad ſtorms, on the back of glorious manifeſtations of himſelf, is for diſcovering and bringing forth the hypocrites, and ſuch as are unfound, Daniel xi. 34. Many cleave to the Lord’s people by flattery; eſpecially, it is ſo, when the Lord is eminently appearing; and revealing himſelf gloriouſly in his word and works; many then undertake a profeſſion, in whoſe hearts there is no ſincerity and truth; many then cleave to the cauſe and work of God by flattery, which his ſoul cannot endure; therefore he brings a winnowing fan, and ſets them up before the wind, that he may know who is chaff, and who is corn, Pſalm cxxv. 4, 5. He doth good to thoſe that are upright in heart; but, as for ſuch ſuch as turn aſide to crooked ways, the Lord ſhall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity. Therefore for discovery of ſuch, he ſends ſad ſtorms on the back of reformation.

Another reaſon of the Lord’s bringing ſad ſtorms and tempeſts on his people, on the back of glorious manifeſtations of himſelf, is, that he may prove and take a trial of the integrity, faith, and patience of his ſaints; and in trying them to purchaſe glory to himself, and a name to them. 1 Pet. i. 7. That the trial of your faith (being much more precious than of gold that periſheth, though it be tried with fire,) might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jeſus Chriſt.

There is alſo a reaſon concerning adverſaries, which we ſhall not now meddle with.

But we come to the ſecond point, How it is, or in what ſeveral ſorts of ways it is, that the Lord is pleaſed thus to diſpenſe, I mean, to ſend ſtorms and trials on his ſervants and people, immediately on the back of ſome glorious appearance, and notable works of kindness and mercy amongst them. There might be a great many ways named, how the Lord is pleaſed to do thus; we ſhall name only four generals.

1ſt Way, Firſt, He does it ſometimes by the interrupting of his work. Thus he did it in that place cited before, Ezra iv. After the foundation of the Lord’s houſe is laid, a company of malignant men, enemies to the poor people of God, and his work, who are exceeding ill ſatisfied that the work of God ſhould proſper, they come by all means to interrupt the work of God: and when they could not prevail by flattery, they go to the king of Perſia, and load the people of God with falſe aſperations, that they were about to rebel, &c. by which ſuggeſtions, they obtain letters from the king, commanding them to ceaſe building of the temple, and when the copy of the king’s letter was read, they made them to ceaſe by force and power, &c.

2d Way. A ſecond way is, by corruption, when ſuffers ſuffer; evil inſtruments, not only to make an interruption, but to make a corruption, ſo to ſpeak, and to mingle theſe with the purity of his ordinances and worſhip. God raiſes up ill instruments, to make the people lick up the vomit of theſe corruptions, which have been formerly caſt out. There had been a bleſſed reformation in the days of Hezekiah, and all corruption cast out, but all that corruption is brought in again in the days of Manaſſeh, and more and worſe than ever had been before.

3d Way. A third way is, by deſtruction, ſo to ſpeak; not only when the work of reformation is interrupted, and corrupted, but when it is deſtroyed and taken away. There is in the days of Zedekiah, a total deſtroying of the temple, and all the work.

4th Way. A fourth way is, by perſecution to theſe that cleave to the truth and work of God. Thus it was in the days of the apoſtles, Acts v. They fall on the miniſters of the Lord’s houſe, and ſlay ſome of them with the ſword, and put others in priſon; ſo that they could not preach the word in Jeruſalem. Some one, or all of theſe ways, the Lord ſets on foot ſuch diſpenſations.

1ſt Uſe. We would now ſpeak ſomewhat of the uſe we would make of it. And, firſt, It ſays this to us, that we of this church and nation would be looking for a ſtorm: the Lord hath been graciouſly pleaſed to make glorious diſcoveries of his power and mercy in his word and works amongſt us, now theſe many years, and even on that account, we would be looking for a ſtorm: And we ſhall give you theſe few reaſons wherefore we would look for it.

1ſt Reaſon. Becauſe, as I told you, it is ordinary with God in his diſpenſations to his people, to knit theſe two together, with great manifeſtations of his mercy, to bring troubles, tempeſts, and trials, as ye will find frequently in the word.

2d Reaſon. A ſecond reaſon wherefore we would look for a ſtorm, is, becauſe we are guilty of theſe ſins, that bring on ſtorms on the church, and people of God. We have told you what storms came on Iſrael in the wilderneſs, after their coming out of Egypt; and we have told you their sin that brought them on? unſtedfaſtneſs in the Lord’s covenant, murmuring againſt God tempting of God, diſſidence, and unbelief; deſpiſing and loathing of the precious manna, their rebelling againſt God, their corrupting of the worſhip, and ordinances of God, &c. See if we be not guilty of all theſe ſins: Have we not been unſtedfaſt in the covenant? Is not the obligation thereof in a great meaſure forgotten? and who has remembered to perform his vow unto the Lord, almoſt in any thing, either in the national, or ſolemn-league and covenant? are we not guilty of luſting, and not ſatisfied with the things that God has given us, but the heart is carried away with the luſt of the eyes, the luſt of the fleſh, and the pride of life? are we not guilty of repining againſt God? are we not guilty of deſpiſing and loathing the precious manna of the goſpel? are we not guilty of miſbelief and tempting of God! are we not guilty of corrupting of the ordinances of God, and ſpoiling many of his precious truths? and are their not many ſpeaking of making a captain to return again to Egypt, and to involve themſelves in the bondage of all theſe corruptions, which have been formerly caſt out, and engaged againſt in the covenant; and if for theſe things God brought ſtorms on them, how ſhall we avoid them.

3d Reaſon. A third thing that ſays there is a ſtorm coming, is, becauſe theſe amongſt whom he doth eminently manifeſt himſelf, he doth alſo eminently try them, that he may bring forth their faith and patience. We have had trials, but none of us have reſiſted unto blood, they have been but freſh water trials: the trials are not anſwerable to these eminent diſpenſations enjoyed. We have but run with the footmen, and have not yet contended with the horſe-men, we have not yet ſwimmed in the ſwellings of Jordan, Jer. xii, 5.

4th Reaſon. A fourth thing that ſays that there is a ſtorm a ſtorm coming, is, becauſe that there is among us a huge multitude of hollow-hearted men, joined in the covenant with treacherous hearts, the Lord hath brought forth many of these already, but it is like, there will be more viſible diſcoveries, that will make men diſown and diſavow the covenant of God.

5th Reaſon. Another thing that ſays ye would look for a ſtorm, is, becauſe that it is already begun; the wind of the Lord’s fan is beginning to blow; ſeverals who were eminent in the work of the Lord are impriſoned; ſeveral ambaſſadors of the Lord’s houſe caſt out; and doth not this ſay that there is a ſtorm coming.

6th Reaſon. Laſtly, This ſays, that ye would look for a ſtorm, because all the wicked, and theſe that have been enemies to the people of God are already lifting up the head; and that is ay the prognoſtic of a ſtorm.

Uſe 2. The ſecond uſe is, as we would look for a ſtorm, ſo we would not ſtumble at it when it comes, becauſe it is the work of our God, it is the ordinary path-road that the Lord uſes to take or give in his diſpenſations to his church and people, all of them we would beware of.

Stumbling 1. The firſt ſtumbling of the children of Iſrael that we read of, when ſtorms were like to riſe, they ſtumble ſo far as to ſpeak of quitting the work of the Lord, and not marching on further to take poſſeſſion of the promiſed land; and they ſpeak of making a captain to return back again to Egypt: we would fear that that ſhould be the ſtumbling of many in these times, that they ſhall take a reſolution to quit all the work of God, and the work of reformation, and be content to be carried back again to theſe corruptions from whence they were, by the mercy of God, delivered. That is a moſt dreadful ſtumbling; we warn you of it, and we beſeech you in the name of the Lord to take head to it.

Stumbling 2. A ſecond ſort of ſtumbling that we would beware of, is, the ſtumbling of Doeg the Edomite, 1 Sam. xxii. when a ſtorm was like to ariſe upon the church and people of God, he ſtumbles ſo far at theſe things as he falls to be an accuſer of thoſe that had been employed in the work of God, and walked in their integrity, to accuſe honest holy David; and from an accuſer came to be an open perſecutor of the people of God. We would take heed, that for currying favour to ourſelves, we be not accuſers of others, this is the way of many in theſe nations, they know no other way of currying favour to themſelves but by becoming accuſers of the ſaints of God: look to it, for in a while ye will turn open perſecutors: when none would fall on the prieſts of the Lord, Doeg the Edomite, ere he would loſe the favour he had gotten, fell on them.

Stumbling 3. A third ſort of ſtumbling that we would beware of, is, the ſtumbling of Shebna, treaſurer or ſcribe, Iſa. xxii. when Sennacherib, invaded Judah, though he pretended friendſhip, yet he in a ſecret way complied with Sennacherib, and ſo far as in him lay, ſupplanted good king Hezekiah, and the people of God; we would take heed of that.

Stumbling 4. Another sort of ſtumbling that we would beware of, is, that ſtumbling of Demas. 2 Tim. iv. 10. who when a ſtorm aroſe, he thought it meet to ſhift for himſelf, and embrace this preſent world, Demas has forſaken us, ſays Paul, having loved this preſent world, and is departed unto Theſſalonia. Look we pray you in this place, to that which is moſt like to be your temptation, viz. the luſt of the things of the world, if ye will prove ſtedfaſt in the cauſe that ye have owned, and therefore we would ſtudy to have our hearts looſed from theſe things that will make you ſtumble in a ſtormy day.

Stumbling 5. Another ſort of ſtumbling that we would beware of, is, the ſtumbling of Baruch, Jer. xlv. 3. when he and Jeremiah were like to be put to death, for the cause that they were engaged unto, he fainted and was afraid; Wo is me, ſays he, for the Lord has added grief to my ſorrow, I fainted in my ſighing ing, and I find no reſt. We would take heed that we faint not, neither be of a fearful heart, own the cauſe of God, and intereſt of Jesus Chriſt. Yea, that carnal fear carries Peter ſo far as to deny his Lord and Maſter.

Stumbling 6. We would beware of the ſtumbling of Judas, who, when he got the thing he would have been at, by the following of Jesus Chriſt, he reſolves to betray his Maſter. Look that diſappointments in following the cauſe of Christ, make you not turn treacherous unto it.

And laſtly. We would beware of the ſtumbling of the men of Judah, Jer. xliv. 17. Jeremiah would have had them ſtaying in the land of Judah, and they would not, but would go down to the land of Egypt. And they tell him, It was better with us when we burnt incenſe to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and ſaw no evil. We would take heed, that nothing make us call in queſtion the cauſe of God, that we have bee engaged in.

Uſe 3. A third uſe, if it be ſo that tempeſts and ſtorms are like to blow, then we would be careful to prepare for them.

A few things we would name, that we would look to, for preparing of us.

1. We would ſtudy to have our ſhip as light of all unneceſſary burdens, as we can ; I mean, all things of a preſent world, all things beſide God, and our precious ſouls; we would have as little weight of theſe things on our ſpirits as we may, for they will ſink our ſhip in a ſtorm.

2. We would be careful to make friendſhip with Jeſus Chriſt that bleſſed pilot, that we may get him in the ſhip with us, for we are not able to ſteer our ſhip in a ſtorm.

3. We would be careful to keep a low ſail, to have our ſpirits humble and low before the Lord, for the humble ſoul is moſt like to hold out, when the wind and ſtorm blow.

4. We would be careful to get the knowledge of the cauſe that we profeſs; for indeed a dark night is ill to ſail in, when the wind blows, and when there are quick-ſands before us.

And laſtly. We would be careful to have our ſhip well ballaſted with the faith and patience of the ſaints.

Uſe 4. We would conſider what grounds of conſolation we ſhall have for ſtrengthening our hearts, if we bide faſt by the cauſe of Jeſus Chriſt for the bideing out of a ſtorm, if ſo be, God be pleaſed to bring it on us.

We might name many, only at this time take theſe few. The firſt ground of encouragement, is, that you have a good cauſe, I mean the cauſe of God, and the intereſt of Jeſus Chriſt, ſpeak againſt it who will, forſake it who will, reproach it who will, doubtleſs good is the cauſe, the cauſe is worth the contending for, worth the ſuffering any thing that can come for it.

2. Another thing to be a ground of comfort to us, is we have a good cauſe, ſo we have a good Captain too, Jeſus Chriſt the Lord, who is the Captain and Prince of ſalvation, who was never put to the worſe, and who ſits at the right hand of the Father, and will reign there till he make all his enemies his footſtool.

3. Another thing to be a ground of conſolation to us, is, as we have a good cauſe; and a good Captain, ſo we have good company too, all in whoſe hearts the fear of the Lord is, in theſe three nations, yea, more we have all the ſaints that have lived ſince the beginning of the world; for all the cauſes they have owned and ſuffered for, is one and the ſame, though there be ſundry branches of it; we have alſo our own experiences, and many things more of that kind. O that we knew our privileges, for ſtrengthening our hearts to be ſincere and ſtedfast in his work. And ſo we loſe.






JUNE 1ſt 1661.

MEN and brethren, I fear many of you are come hither to gaze, rather than to be edified by the carriage and laſt words of a dying man; but if any have an ear to hear, as I hope ſome of thſis great confluence have, I deſire your audience in a few words. I am come hither to lay down this earthly tabernacle and mortal fleſh of mine, and I bleſs God, through his grace, I do it willingly, and not by conſtraint. I ſay, I ſuffer willingly; if I had been ſo minded, I might have made a diverſion, and not been a priſoner; but being conſcious to myſelf of nothing worthy of death, or of bonds, I would not ſtain my innocency with the ſuſpicion of guiltineſs, by withdrawing; neither have I wanted opportunities and advantages to eſcape ſince I was a priſoner, not by the fault of my keepers, God knoweth, but otherwiſe; but neither for this had I light or liberty, leſt I ſhould reflect upon the Lord’s name, and offend the generation of the righteous: and if ſome men have not been miſtaken, or dealt deceitfully in telling me ſo, I might have avoided avoided not only the ſeverity of the ſentence, but alſo had much ſavour and countenance, by complying with the courſes of the times. But I durſt not redeem my life with the loſs of my integrity; God knoweth, I durſt not; and that ſince I was a prisoner, he hath ſo holden me by the hand, that he never ſuffered me to bring it in debate in my inward thoughts, much leſs to propone or hearken to any overture of that kind. I did judge it better to ſuffer, than to ſin: and therefore, I am come hither to lay down my life this day, and I bleſs God, I die not as a fool; not that I have any thing therein to glory in myſelf: I acknowledge that I am a ſinner, yea, one of the greateſt and vileſt that have owned a profeſſion of religion, and one of the moſt unworthy that have preached the goſpel. My corruptions have been ſtrong and many, and have made me a ſinner in all things, yea, even in following my duty; and therefore, righteouſneſs have I none of my own, all is vile. But I do believe, that Jeſus Chriſt came into the world to ſave ſinners, whereof I am chief: through faith in his righteouſneſs and blood have I obtained mercy; and through him, and in him alone, have I the hope of a bleſſed conqueſt and victory over ſin and Satan, and hell and death, and that I ſhall attain unto the reſurrection of the juſt, and be made partaker of eternal life. I know in whom I have believed, and that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him againſt that day. I have preached ſalvation through his name, and as I have preached, ſo do I believe, and do commend the riches of his free grace and faith in his name unto you all, as the only way whereby ye can be ſaved.

And, as I bleſs the Lord, that I die not as a fool; ſo alſo, that I die not for evil-doing. Not a few of you may haply judge that I ſuffer as a thief, or as a murderer, or as an evil-doer, or as a buſy-body in other men’s masters. It was the lot of the Lord Jeſus Chriſt himſelf, and hath been of many of his precious ſervants, and people, to ſuffer by the world as evil-doers; and as my ſoul feareth not at it, but deſireth deſireth to rejoice in being brought into conformity with my bleſſed Head, and ſo bleſſed a company, in this thing; ſo I deſire and pray, that I may be to none of you to-day, upon this account, a ſtone of ſtumbling, or a rock of offence. Bleſſed is he that ſhall not be offended at Jeſus Chriſt, and his poor ſervants and members, becauſe of their being condemned as evil-doers by the world. God is my record, that in theſe things for which ſentence of death hath paſſed againſt me, I have a good conſcience. I bleſſ God, they are not matters of compliance with ſectaries or deſigns, or practices, againſt his majeſty’s perſon or government, or the perſon and government of his royal father; my heart, I bleſs God, is conſcious to no diſloyalty, nay, loyal I have been, and I commend it to you to be loyal, and obedient in the Lord. True piety is the foundation of true loyalty: a wicked man may be a flatterer, and a time-ſerver, but he will never be a loyal ſubject. But to return to my purpoſe the matters for which I am condemned, are matters belonging to my calling and function, as a miniſter of the goſpel, ſuch as the diſcovery and reproving of ſin, the preſſing and the holding faſt of the path of God in the covenant, and preſerving and carrying or the work of religion and reformation according thereto, and denying to acknowledge the civil magiſtrate as the proper competent immediate judge, in causes eccleſiaſtical: that in all theſe things, which God ſo ordering by his gracious providence, are the grounds of my indictment and death, I have a good conſcience as having walked therein according to the light and rule of God’s word, and as did become a miniſter of the goſpel.

I do alſo bleſs the Lord, that I do not die as one not deſired. I know, that by not a few, I neither have been, nor am deſired. It has been my lot to be a man of contention and ſorrow; but it is my comfort, that for my own things I have not contended but for the things of Jeſus Chriſt! for what relateth to his interest and work, and the well-being of his people. people. In order to the preſerving and promoting of theſe, I did proteſt againſt, and ſtood in oppoſition to theſe late aſſemblies at St. Andrews, Dundee, and Edinburgh, and the public reſolutions for bringing the malignant party into the judicatories, and armies of this kingdom, conceiving the ſame contrary to the word of God, and to our ſolemn covenant-engagements; and to be an in-let to the defections, and to the ruin, and deſtruction of the work of God. And it is now manifeſt to many conſciences, that I have not been therein miſtaken, nor was not fighting againſt a man of ſtraw. I was alſo deſirous, and did uſe ſome poor endeavours, to have the church of God purged of inſufficient, ſcandalous, and corrupt miniſters and elders; for theſe things, I have been miſtaken by ſome, and hated by others: but I bleſs the Lord, as I had the teſtimony of my own conſcience, ſo I was, and am therein approven in the conſciences of many of the Lord’s precious ſervants and people; and however ſo little I may die deſired by ſome, yet by theſe I know I do die deſired, and their approbation and prayers, and affection, is of more value with me, than the contradiction, or reproach, or hatred, of many others; the love of the one, I cannot recompence, and the miſtake, or hatred, or reproach of the other, I do with all my heart forgive ; and wherein I have offended any of them, I do beg their mercy and forgiveneſs. I do from my ſoul wiſh, that my death may be profitable unto both: that the one may be confirmed and eſtabliſhed in the ſtraight ways of the Lord ; and that the other, if the Lord ſo will, may be convinced, and ceaſe from theſe things that are not good, and do not edify but deſtroy.

One thing I would warn you all of, that God is wroth, yea, very wroth with Scotland, and threatneth to depart and remove his candleſtick. The cauſes of his wrath are many, and would to God it were not one great cauſe, that cauſes of wrath are deſpiſed and rejected of men. Conſider the cauſe that is recorded, Jer. xxxvi. and the conſequence of it, and tremble and fear fear. I cannot but alſo ſay, that there is a great addition and increaſe of wrath; 1. By that deluge of profanity that overfloweth all the land, and hath reins looſed unto it every where, in ſo far that many have loſt, not only all uſe and exercise of religion, but even of morality, and that common civility which is to be found amongſt the heathen. 2. By that horrible treachery and perjury that is in the matter of the covenant, and cauſe of God, and work of reformation: Be aſtoniſhed, O ye heavens, at this, and be ye horribly afraid, and be ye very deſolate, faith the Lord: for my people have committed two great evils, they have forſaken me, the fountain of living waters, and have hewed them out ciſterns, broken ciſterns, that can hold no waters ſhall he break the covenant and proſper? Shall the throne of iniquity which frameth miſchief by a law, have fellowſhip with God? I fear the Lord be about to; bring a ſword on theſe lands, which ſhall avenge the quarrel of his covenant. 3. Horrible ingratitude, the the Lord after ten years oppreſſion, and bondage, hath broken the yoke of ſtrangers from off our necks: but what do we render to him for this goodneſs? moſt of the fruit of our delivery is, to work wickedneſs,and to ſtrengthen ourſelves to do evil. 4. A most dreadful idolatry, and ſacrificing to the creature, we have changed the glory of the incorruptable God, into the image of corruptible man, in whom many have placed almoſt all their ſalvation and deſire, and have turned that which might have been bleſſing unto us, (being kept in a due line of ſubordination under God) into an idol of jealouſy, by preferring it before him. God is alſo wroth with a generation of carnal, corrupt, time-ſerving miniſters; I know, and bear teſtimony, that in the church of Scotland, there is a true and faithful miniſtry: bleſſed be God, we have yet many who ſtudy their duty, and deſire to be found faithful to their Lord and Maſter; and I pray you to honour, and reverence, and esteem much of theſe for their work's ſake; and I pray them to be encouraged in their Lord and Maſter, who is with them, to make them them as iron pillars and brazen walls, and as a ſtrong defenced city, in the faithful following of their duty; But, Oh! that there were not too many, who mind earthly things, and are enemies to the croſs of Jeſus Chriſt, who puſh with the ſide and ſhoulder, who ſtrengthen the hands of evil-doers, who make themſelves tranſgreſſors, by ſtudying to build again what they did formerly warrantably deſtroy; I mean prelacy, and the ceremonies and the ſervice book, a myſtery of iniquity that works amongſt us, whoſe ſteps lead unto the houſe of the great whore of Babylon, the mother of fornication; or whoſoever elſe he be that buildeth this Jericho again, let him take heed of the curſe of Hiel, the Bethelite, and of that flying roll threatened, Zech. v. And let all miniſters take heed that they watch, and be ſtedfaſt in the faith, and quit themſelves like men, and be ſtrong; and give faithful and ſeaſonable warning concerning ſin and duty. Many of the Lord’s people do ſadly complain of the fainting and ſilence of many watchmen, and it concerneth them to conſider what God calleth for at their hands in ſuch a day: ſilence now in a watchman, when he is ſo much called to ſpeak, and give his teſtimony, upon the peril of his life, is doubtleſs a great ſin. The Lord open the mouthſ of his ſervants, to ſpeak hiſ word with all boldneſs, that covenant-breaking may be diſcovered and reproved, and that the kingdom of Jeſus Chriſt may not be ſupplanted, nor the ſouls of his people be deſtroyed without a witneſs. I have but a few words more to add; all that are profane amongſt you, I exhort them to repentance, for the day of the Lord’s vengeance haſteneth, and is near; but there is yet a door of mercy open for you, if you will not deſpise the day of ſalvation. All that are maligners, and reproachers, and perſecuters of godlineſs, and of ſuch as live godly, take heed what ye do; it will be hard for you to kick againſt the pricks; you make yourſelves the butt of the Lord’s fury, and his flaming indignation, if you do not ceasſ from, and repent of all your hard ſpeeches, and ungodly deeds. All All that are neutral, and indifferent, and lukewarm profeſſors, be zealous and repent, leſt the Lord 'ſpue you out of his mouth.' You that lament after the Lord, and mourn for all the abominations that are done in this city, and in the land, and take pleaſure in the ſtones and duſt of Zion, caſt not away your confidence, but be comforted, and encouraged in the Lord; he will yet appear to your joy: God hath not caſt away his people, nor work, in Britain and Ireland, I hope it ſhall once more revive by the power of his Spirit, and take root downward, and bear fruit upward, and of this I am now confident. There is yet a holy feed and precious remnant, whom God will preſerve and bring forth; but how long or dark our night may be, I do not know, the Lord ſhorten it for the ſake of his choſen. In the mean while, be ye patient, and 'ſtedfaſt, unmoveable always abounding in the work of the Lord,' and in love one to another; beware of ſnares which are ſtrawed thick; cleave to the covenant and work of reformation; do not decline the croſs of Chriſt; 'chooſe rather to ſuffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleaſures of ſin for a ſeason,' and 'account the reproach of Chriſt greater riches, than all the treaſures of the world.' Let my death grieve none of you, it will be more profitable and advantageous both for me and for you, and for the church of God, and for Chriſt’s intereſt and honour, than my life could have been. I forgive all men the guilt of it, and I deſire you to do ſo alſo; 'Pray for them that perſecute you, and bleſs them that curſe you; bleſs, I ſay, and curſe not.' I die in the faith of the apoſtles, and primitive Chriſtians, and proteſtant reformed churches, particularly of the church of Scotland, whereof I am a member and miniſter. I do bear my witneſs and teſtimony to the doctrine, worſhip, diſcipline, and government of the church of Scotland, by kirk ſeſſions, preſbyteries, ſynods, and general aſſemblies; popery and prelacy, and all the trumpery of ſervice and ceremonies, that wait upon them, I do abhor. I do bear my witneſs unto the national covenant of Scotland, England and Ireland; theſe ſacred, ſolemn, public oaths of God, I believe cannot be looſed, nor diſpenſed with, by any perſon, or party or power upon earth; but are ſtill binding upon the kingdoms, and will be forever hereafter; and are ratified and ſealed by the converſion of many thouſand ſouls, ſince our entering thereunto. I bear my witneſs to the proteſtation againſt the contraverted aſſemblies, and the public reſolutions, to the teſtimonies given againſt the ſectaries, againſt the courſe of backsliding and defection that is now on foot in the land, and all the branches and parts thereof, under whatſoever party, perſon. And in the laſt place, I bear my witneſs the croſs of Jeſus Christ, and that I never had cauſe, have cauſe this day to repent, becauſe of any thing I've ſuffered, or can now ſuffer for his name: I take God to record upon my ſoul, I would not exchange this ſcaffold with the palace or mitre of the greateſt prelate in Britain, Bleſſed be God, who ſhewed mercy to ſuch a wretch, and hath revealed his Son in me, and hath made me a miniſter of the everlaſting gospel, and that he hath deigned, in the midſt of ſuch contradiction, from Satan and the world, to ſeal my miniſtry upon the hearts of not a few of his people and eſpecially in the ſtation wherein I was laſt, I mean the congregation and preſbytery of Stirling; and I hope the Lord will viſit that congregation and preſbytery once more, with faithful paſtors. God forgive the poor empty man, that did there intrude upon my labours, and hath made a prey of many poor ſouls, and expoſed others to reproach and oppreſſion, and a femine of the word of the Lord. God forgive the miſleaders of that part of the poor people, who tempted to reject their own paſtor, and to admit of intruders; and the Father of mercies pity that poor miſled people; and the Lord viſit the congregation preſbytery of Stirling once more with faithful paſtors, paſtors, and grant that the work and people of God, may be revived through all Britain, and over all the world. Jeſus Chriſt is my light, and my life, my righteouſneſs, my ſtrength, and my ſalvation, and my desire: him, O him, I do with all the ſtrength of my ſoul commend unto you: 'Bleſſed are they that are not offended in him: bleſſed are they that truſt in him. Bleſs him, O my ſoul, from henceforth even for ever. Rejoice, rejoice, all ye that love him be patient, and rejoice in tribulation: bleſſed are you, and bleſſed ſhall you be for ever and ever; ever laſting righteouſneſs and eternal ſalvation is yourſ: all is yours, and ye are Chriſt’s and Chriſt is God’s. Remember me, O Lord, with the favour thou beareſt to thy people; O viſit me with thy ſalvation, that I may ſee the good of thy choſen, that I may rejoice in the good of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance. Now, let thy ſervant depart peace, ſince mine eyes have seen thy ſalvation.'


Printed by J. & M. Robertson, [No. 18.] Saltmarket


This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.