Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/98

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468 REV - JOHN LIVINGSTON.

The parties, having proceeded to Edinburgh, were married in the West Church there, June 23, 1635, under circumstances of proper solemnity, not- withstanding that archbishop S pott is wood, chancellor of Scotland, was under- stood to have issued orders for the apprehension of Mr Livingston some days before. The wedding was attended by the earl of Wigton and his son lord Fleming, and a number of other pious friends. Having returned to Ireland, he was, in the ensuing November, once more deposed, and even, it appears, excommunicated. He continued, nevertheless, to hold forth at private meetings in his own house, where Blair, also again deposed, took up his abode. At length, in renewed despair, he once more embarked, along with his wife, for the American colonies; but, strange to say, after having sailed to a point nearer to the banks of Newfoundland than to any part of Europe, he was again driven back ; after which, conceiving it " to be the Lord's will that he should not go to New England, he made no further at- tempt.

For about two years, Mr Livingston preached occasionally, but always in a somewhat furtive manner, both in Ireland and Scotland. He was in the latter country in 1637, when at length the bishops brought matters to such a crisis, as terminated their supremacy in Scotland, and enabled such divines as Mr Living, ston to open their mouths without fear. Mr Livingston was present at Lanark when the covenant was received by the congregation of that place ; and he says, that, excepting at the Kirk of Shotts, he never saw such motions from the Spirit of God ; " a thousand persons, all at once, lifting up their hands, and the tears falling down from their eyes. Being commissioned to proceed to London, to confer with the friends of the cause, in reference to this grand national move* ment, he disguised himself in a grey coat and a grey montero cap, for the purpose of avoiding the notice of the English authorities. An accident which befell him on the way, confined him, after his arrival in the metropolis, to his chamber; but he was there visited by many friends of liberty in church and state, including several of the English nobility. He had not been long in London, when the marquis of Hamilton informed him, through a mutual friend, that the king was aware of his coming, and threatened " to put a pair of fetters about his feet" He was, therefore, obliged to retire precipitately to his own country.

In July 1638, Mr Livingston was enabled, under the new system of things, to enter upon the ministry of the parish of Stranraer, in Wigtonshire ; a place with which he had long been familiar, in consequence of his frequently passing that way to and from Ireland. Here his zeal and eloquence appear to have been deeply appreciated, insomuch that the people flocked even to hear his private family devotions, filling his house to such a degree, that he had at length to perform these exercises in the church. It is a still more striking proof of his gifts, that multitudes of his Irish friends used to come over twice a-year to be present at his ministrations of the communion. On one occasion, he had no fewer than five hundred of these far-travelled strangers ; on another, he had twenty-eight of their children to baptize ! Such was then the keen appreciation of " free preaching, and the difficulty of obtaining it under the restrictions of the episcopal system, that some of these people were induced to remove to Stranraer, simply that they might be of the congregation of Mr Livingston. It is confessed, indeed, by the subject of our memoir, that the obstructions which the Irish presbyterians encountered at that time, in hearing the gospel preached after their own way, tended materially to excite and keep alive religious impressions in their hearts. " The perpetual fear," he says, " that the bishops would put away their ministers, made them, with