Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/99

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REV. JOHN LIVINGSTON. 469

great hunger, wait on the ordinances." The narrow views of that age prevent- ed the king or his ecclesiastical friends from seeing the tendency of their mea- sures ; but the result was exactly accordant to the more extended philosophy of our own times. We have now less persecution, and, naturally, a great deal more indifference.

It is a fact of too great importance to be overlooked, that Mr Livingston was a member of the general assembly, which met at Glasgow in November 1638, and decreed, so far as an unconstituted association of the clergy could do so, the abolition of episcopacy in Scotland. He accompanied the army in the campaign of 1640, as chaplain to the regiment of the earl of Cassillis, and was present at the battle of Newburn, of which he composed a narrative. In November, he returned to Stranraer, where, in one Sunday, notwithstanding the smallness and poverty of the town, he raised a contribution of no less than forty-five pounds sterling, for the use of the army. A large portion of this, it must be remarked, was given by one poor woman under very peculiar circumstances. She had laid aside, as a portion to her daughter, seven twenty-two shilling pieces and an eleven-pound piece : the Lord, she said, had lately taken her daughter, and, having resolved to give him her portion also, she now brought forward her little hoard, in aid of that cause which she seriously believed to be his. In these traits of humble and devoted piety, there is something truly affecting ; and even those who are themselves least disposed to such a train of mind, must feel that they are so.

Mr Livingston appears to have always retained a warm feeling towards the presbyterians of the north of Ireland. At the breaking out of the rebellion in 1641, when these poor people fled in a body from the fury of the catholics, multitudes came into Scotland, by the way of Stranraer. Of the money raised in Scotland to relieve the refugees, 1000 Scots was sent to Mr Livingston, who distributed it in small sums, rarely exceeding half-a-crown, to the most neces- sitous. He complains, in his memoirs, that out of all the afflicted multitudes who came in his way, he hardly observed one person " sufficiently sensible of the Lord's hand" in their late calamity, or of their own deserving of it, " so far nad the stroke seized their spirits as well as bodies. This is a remark highly characteristic of the age. One more valuable occurs afterwards. Being sent over to Ireland with the Scottish army, " he found," he says, " a great altera- tion in the country ; many of those who had been civil before, were become many ways exceeding loose ; yea, sundry who, as could be conceived, had true grace, were declined much in tenderness ; so, as it would seem, the sword opens a gap, and makes every body worse than before, an inward plague coming with the outward ; yet some few were in a very lively condition." If Mr Liv- ingston had not been accustomed to regard everything in a spiritual light, he would have argued upon both matters with a view simply to physical causes. He would have traced the savage conduct of the catholic Irish to the united operation of a false religion, and the inhumane .dominancy of a race of con- querors ; and the declining piety of the presbyterians to that mental stupor which an unwonted accumulation of privations, oppressions, and dangers, can hardly fail to produce. It is strange to a modern mind, to see men, in the first place, violating the most familiar and necessary laws respecting their duty to their neighbours, (as the English may be said to haye done in reference to the native Irish,) and then to hear the natural consequences of such proceedings, described as a manifestation of divine wrath towards a class of people who were totally unconnected with the cause.

Mr Livingston was minister of Stranraer for ten years, during which time he had not only brought his own flock into a state of high religious culture, but