Biographia Scoticana (Scots Worthies)
by John Howie
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Transcriber's note:

In the original text, Scottish names, such as M'Clelland or M'Kail, sometimes use a regular apostrophe and sometimes a reversed apostrophe. In this transcription, the ASCII apostrophe character (') has been used throughout.

Greek has been transliterated in this version of the e-text, and is surrounded by braces, {like this}.

A caret character (^) is used to indicate a superscript in "Rob^t." and "ALEX^R."

Page numbers in the Contents, Errata, and these notes, refer to the page numbers in the original text. The original page numbers have an error: the page following 336 is numbered 347.

Missing quotation marks and other minor punctuation errors and inconsistencies such as differing hyphenations of words have been silently corrected.

Missing or poorly printed letters in words have been silently supplied.

Illegible text that could not be supplied from other sources is marked {illegible}.

Where a word differs from modern spelling, but is consistent within the text, e.g. atchievement, the original spelling is retained. Other typographical errors have been corrected, particularly where there is inconsistency within the text. A detailed list of these changes (including those described in the Errata) can be found at the end of the text.


Biographia Scoticana The Preface The Introduction The Lives and Characters of the Scots Worthies Contents Errata Footnotes to Biographia Scoticana

The Judgment and Justice of God Exemplified, &c. Footnotes to The Judgment and Justice of God Exemplified The Subscribers

Transcriber's Notes

Biographia Scoticana:



Noblemen, Gentlemen, Ministers, and others: From Mr. Patrick Hamilton, who was born about the year of our Lord 1503, and suffered martyrdom at St. Andrews, Feb. 1527, to Mr. James Renwick, who was executed in the Grass-market of Edinburgh Feb. 17, 1688.

TOGETHER WITH A succinct Account of the Lives of other seven eminent Divines, and Sir Robert Hamilton of Preston, who died about, or shortly after the Revolution.

AS ALSO, An Appendix, containing a short historical Hint of the wicked Lives and miserable Deaths of some of the most remarkable apostates and bloody persecutors in Scotland from the Reformation to the Revolution.

Collected from historical Records, Biographical Accounts, and other authenticated Writings:—The whole including a Period of near Two Hundred Years.


The SECOND EDITION, corrected and enlarged.

The Righteous shall be had in everlasting Remembrance, Psal. cxii. 6.

And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her, Psal. lxxxvii. 5

GLASGOW: Printed by JOHN BRYCE, and Sold at his Shop, opposite Gibson's-Wynd, Salt-market.


Entered in Stationers-Hall, according to Act of Parliament.



The design of the following work was to collect from the best authorities, a summary account of the lives characters and contendings of a certain number of our more RENOWNED SCOTS WORTHIES, who for their faithful services, ardent zeal, constancy in sufferings, and other Christian graces and virtues, deserve a most honourable memorial in the church of Christ;—and for which their names both have and will be savoury to all the true lovers of our Zion, while reformation-principles are regarded in Scotland.

But then perhaps at first view, some may be surprized to find one so obscure appear in a work of this nature, especially when there are so many fit hands for such an employment. But if the respect I have for the memories of these worthies; the familiar acquaintance and sweet fellowship that once subsisted betwixt some of my ancestors and some of them; but, above all, the love and regard which I have for the same cause which they owned and maintained, be not sufficient to apologize for me in this; then I must crave thy patience to hear me in a few particulars; and that both anent the reasons for this publication, and its utility: Which I hope will plead my excuse for this undertaking.

And First, Having for some time had a desire to see something of this kind published, but finding nothing thereof, except a few broken accounts interspersed throughout different publications yet in print, at last I took up a resolution to publish a second edition of the life of one of these worthies already published at large[1].—Yet, upon farther reflection, considering it would be better to collect into one volume, the most material relations (of as many of our Scots worthies as could be obtained) from such of the historical records, biographical accounts, and other authenticated manuscripts, as I could have access unto, with the substance of these lives already in print, which, being put altogether, I thought would not only prove more useful in giving the reader the pleasure of viewing that all at once, which before was scattered up and down in so many corners, but also at the same time it might be free of the inconveniences that little pamphlets often fall under. And yet at the same time I am aware that some may expect to find a more full account of these worthies, both as to their number and the matters of fact in the time specified, than what is here to be met with—But in this publication, it is not pretended to give an account of all our Scots worthies, or their transactions: For that were a task now altogether impracticable, and that upon several accounts. For,

1st, There have been many of different ranks and degrees of men famous in the church of Scotland, of whom little more is mentioned in history than their names, places of abode, and age wherein they existed, and scarcely that. Again, there are many others, of whom the most that can be said is only a few faint hints, which of necessity must render their lives (if they may properly be so called) very imperfect, from what they might and would have been, had they been collected and wrote near a century ago, when their actions and memories were more fresh and recent; several persons being then alive, who were well acquainted with their lives and proceedings, whereby they might have been confirmed by many uncontestible evidences that cannot now possibly be brought in; yea, and more so, seeing there is a chasm in our history during the time of the Usurper, not to mention how many of our national records were about that time altogether lost.[2]

2dly, There are several others, both in the reforming and suffering periods, of whom somewhat now is recorded, and yet not sufficient to form a narrative of, so that, excepting by short relations or marginal notes, they cannot otherwise be supplied.—For it is with regret that the publishers have it to declare, that, upon application unto several places for farther information concerning some of these worthy men, they could find little or nothing in the most part of their registers (excepting a few things by way of oral tradition) being through course of time either designedly, or through negligence lost.

3dly, Some few of these lives already in print being somewhat prolix, it seemed proper to abridge them; which is done in a manner as comprehensive as possible, so that nothing material is omitted, which it is hoped will be thought to be no way injurious to the memory of these worthy men.

Secondly, As to the utility of this subject, biography in general, (as a historian has observed[3]), must be one of the most entertaining parts of history; and how much more the lives and transactions of our noble SCOTS WORTHIES, wherein is contained not only a short compend of the testimony and wrestlings of the church of Scotland for near the space of 200 years, yea from the earliest period of Christianity in Scotland (the introduction included) but also a great variety of other things, both instructing and entertaining, which at once must both edify and refresh the serious and understanding reader.—For,

1st, In these lives we have a short view of the actions, atchievements, and some of the failings of our ancestors set forth before us, as examples for our caution and imitation; wherein by the experience, and at the expence of former ages, by a train of prudent reflections, we may learn important lessons for our conduct in life, both in faith and manners, for the furnishing ourselves with the like Christian armour of zeal, faithfulness, holiness, stedfastness, meekness, patience, humility, and other graces.

2dly, In them we behold what the wisest of men could not think on without astonishment, that God does in very deed dwell with men upon earth, (men a little too low for heaven, and much too high for earth); nay more, dealeth "so familiarly with them, as to make them previously acquainted with his secret designs, both of judgment and mercy, displaying his divine power, and the efficacy of his grace thro' their infirmities, subduing the most hardened sinners to himself, while he as it were reigns himself to their prayers, and makes them the subject of his divine care and superintendency."

3dly, Here we have as it were a mirror exemplifying and setting forth all the virtues and duties of a religious and a domestic life.—Here is the example of a virtuous nobleman, an active statesman, a religious gentleman, a faithful and painful minister in the exercise of his office, instant in season and out of season, a wise and diligent magistrate, one fearing God and hating covetousness, a courageous soldier, a good christian, a loving husband, an indulgent parent, a faithful friend in every exigence; and in a word, almost every character worthy of our imitation. And,

Lastly, In them we have the various changes of soul exercise, experiences, savoury expressions and last words of those, once living, now glorified witnesses of Christ. And "as the last speeches of men are remarkable, how remarkable then must the last words and dying expressions of these NOBLE WITNESSES and MARTYRS of Christ be?" For the nearer the dying saint is to heaven, and the more of the presence of Christ that he has in his last moments, when death looks him in the face[4], the more interesting will his conversation be to survivors, and particularly acceptable to real Christians, because all that he says is supported by his example, which commonly has considerable influence upon the human mind.—It is true, there is an innate and latent evil in man's nature, that makes him more prone and obsequious to follow bad than good examples; yet sometimes, (yea often) there is a kind of compulsive energy arising from the good examples of such as are eminent either in place or godliness, leading forth others to imitate them in the like graces and virtues. We find the children of Israel followed the Lord all the days of Joshua, and the elders that out-lived him; and Christ's harbinger, John Baptist, gained as much by his practice and example as by his doctrine: His apparel, his diet, his conversation, and all, did preach forth his holiness. Nazianzen saith of him, "That he cried louder by the holiness of his life, than by the sincerity of his doctrine." And were it not so, the apostle would not have exhorted the Philippians unto this, saying, Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk, so as ye have us for an ensample, &c. chap. iii. 17.—And so says the apostle James, Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an ensample, &c. chap. v. 10. And no question, that next to the down-pouring of the Spirit from on high, the rapid and admirable success of the gospel, both in the primitive times, and in the beginning of our reformations (from popery and prelacy) in a great measure must have been owing to the simplicity, holy and exemplary lives of the preachers and professors thereof. A learned expositor observes, "That ministers are likely to preach most to the purpose, when they can press their hearers to follow their example[5]." For it is very observable that without this, the church of Christ is so far from gaining ground, that it loses what it hath already gained in the world; of which the church of Scotland is a most glaring document; yea truth itself suffers by this means, and can gain no credit from their mouths; and how despicable must that man's character be, whose authority is lost, and his example goes for nothing. So that upon the whole, I flatter myself that no small advantage (thro' the divine blessing) might accrue to the public from this subject in general, and from the lives of our Scots worthies in particular, providing these or the like cautions following were observed: And that is, 1. We are not to sit down or rest ourselves upon the person, principle or practice of any man, yea the best saint we have ever read or heard of, but only to seek these gifts and graces that most eminently shone forth in them.—Praeceptis, non exemplis, standum, i.e. "we must not stand by examples but precepts:" For it is the peculiar honour and dignity of Jesus Christ only to be imitated by all men absolutely, and for any person or persons to idolize any man or men, in making them a pattern in every circumstance or particular, were nothing else than to pin an implicit faith upon other mens sleeves. The apostle to the Corinthians (in the forecited text) gives a very good caveat against this, when he says, Be ye followers (or as the Dutch annotators translate, Be ye imitators) of me, as I am of Christ.—And, 2. Neither are we on the other hand to dwell too much upon the faults, or failings that have sometime been discovered in some of God's own dear children; but at the same time to consider with ourselves, that although they were eminent men of God, yet at the same time were they the sons of Adam also: For it is possible yea many times has been the case for good men not only to make foul falls themselves but also when striking against the errors and enormities of others to over-reach the mark, and go beyond the bounds of truth in some degree themselves; perfection being no inherent plant in this life, so says the apostle, They are earthen vessels, men of like passions with you, &c. 2 Cor. iv. 7. Acts xiv. 15.

Thirdly, As to the motives leading us to this publication. Can it be supposed that there was ever an age, since reformation commenced in Scotland, that stood in more need of useful holy and exemplary lives being set before them; and that both in respect to the actions and memories of these worthies, and with regard to our present circumstances. For in respect to the memories and transactions of these worthies, it is now a long time since bishops Spotiswood, Guthry and Burnet (not to mention some English historians) in their writings, clothed the actions and proceedings of those our ancestors (both in this reforming and suffering period) in a most grotesque and frantic dress, whereby their names and noble attainments have been loaded with reproach, sarcasms and scurrility; but as if this had not been enough, to expose them in rendering them, and their most faithful contendings, odious, some modern writers, under the character of monthly reviewers, have set their engines again at work, to misrepresent some of them, and set them in such a dishonourable light, by giving them a character that even the above-mentioned historians, yea their most avowed enemies, of their own day, would scarcely have subscribed[6]: to such a length is poor degenerate Scotland arrived.—And is it not high time to follow the wise man's advice, Open thy mouth for the dumb, in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction? Prov. xxxi. 8.

Again, with regard to our present circumstances, there needs little more to prove the necessity of this collection at present, than to shew how many degrees we have descended from the worthy deeds or merit of our Renowned forefathers, by running a parallel betwixt their contendings and attainments, and our present national defections and backsliding, courses, in these few particulars following.

Our venerable reformers were not only highly instrumental in the Lord's hand in bringing a people out of the abyss of gross Popish darkness (under which they had for a long time continued), but also brought themselves under most solemn and sacred vows and engagements to the Most High, and whenever they were to set about any further piece of reformation in their advancing state, they always set about the renovation of these covenants.—They strenuously asserted the divine right of presbytery, the headship of Christ, and intrinsic rights of his church in the reign of James VI. and suffered much on that account—lifted arms once and again in the reign of Charles I.; and never ceased until they got an uniformity in doctrine, worship, discipline, and church-government, brought out and established betwixt the three kingdoms for that purpose[7], whereby both church and state were enabled to exert themselves in rooting out every error and heresy whatever, until they obtained a complete settlement according to the word of God, and our covenants established thereon; which covenants were then by several excellent acts both civil and ecclesiastic[8] made the MAGNA CHARTA of these nations, with respect to every civil and religious privilege; none being admitted unto any office or employment in church or state, without scriptural and covenant qualifications.—And then was that part of the antient prophecy further fulfilled, In the wilderness shall waters break forth, and streams in the desart,—and the isles shall wait for his law. Christ then reigned gloriously in Scotland. His church appeared beautiful as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem:—For from the outmost parts were heard songs, even glory to the righteous.

And although Charles II. and a set of wicked counsellors overturned the whole fabric of that once-glorious structure of reformation, openly divested the Son of God of his headship in and over his own church, as far as human laws could do, burned these solemn covenants by the hands of the hangman (the owning of which was by act of parliament[9] made high treason afterward).—Yet even then the seed of the church produced a remnant who kept the word of Christ's patience stood in defence of the whole of his persecuted truths, in face of all opposition, and that to the effusion of the last drop of their blood: "These two prime truths, Christ's headship and our covenants, being in the mouths of all our late martyrs, when they mounted their bloody theatres;" and in the comfort of suffering on such clear grounds, and for such valuable truths, they went triumphing off the stage of time to eternity.

But alas! how have we their degenerate and renegade posterity followed their example or traced their steps, yea we have rather served ourselves heirs to them who persecuted and killed them, by our long accession to their perjury and apostacy in a general and avowed denial of our most solemn vows and oaths of allegiance to Jesus Christ. To mention nothing more of the total extermination of our ancient and laudable constitution, during the two tyrants reigns, with the many grave stones cast thereon by the acts rescissory, &c. (which acts seem by no act in particular yet to be repealed) and claim of right at the revolution, whereby we have in a national way and capacity (whatever be the pretences) declared ourselves to be on another footing than the footing of the once-famous covenanted church of Scotland. How many are the defections and encroachments annually and daily made upon our most valuable rights and privileges! For since the revolution, the duty of national covenanting has not only been slighted and neglected, yea ridiculed by some, but even some leading church-men, in their writings[10], have had the effrontery to impugn (though in a very sly way) the very obligation of these covenants, asserting that there is little or no warrant for national covenanting under the new Testament dispensation: And what awful attacks since that time have been made upon the crown-rights of our Redeemer (notwithstanding some saint acts then made to the contrary) as witness the civil magistrate's still retaining his old usurped power, in calling and dissolving the supreme judicatories of the church, yea, sometimes to an indefinite time.—Likewise appointing diets of fasting and thanksgiving to be observed, under fines and other civil pains annexed; imposing oaths, acts and statutes upon church-men, under pain of ecclesiastic censure, or other Erastian penalties. And instead of our covenants, an unhallowed union is gone into with England, whereby our rights and liberties are infringed not a little, bow down thy body as the ground that we may pass over.—Lordly patronage[11], which was cast out of the church in her purest times, is now restored and practised to an extremity.—A toleration bill[12] is granted, whereby all and almost every error, heresy and delusion appears now rampant and triumphant, prelacy is now become fashionable and epidemical, and of popery we are in as much danger as ever[13]; Socinian and deistical tenets are only in vogue with the wits of the age, foli rationi cedo, the old Porphyrian maxim having so far gained the ascendant at present, that reason (at least pretenders to it, who must needs hear with their eyes, and see with their ears, and understand with their elbows till the order of nature be inverted) threaten not a little to banish revealed religion and its most important doctrines out of the professing world.—A latitudinarian scheme prevails among the majority, the greater part, with the Athenians, spending their time only to hear and see something new, gadding about to change their ways, going in the ways of Egypt and Assyria, to drink the waters of Shichor and the river, unstable souls, like so many light combustibles wrapt up by the eddies of a whirlwind, tossed hither and thither till utterly dissipated.—The doctrine of original sin[14] is by several denied, others are pulling down the very hedges of church government, refusing all church-standards, "covenants, creeds and confessions, whether of our own or of other churches, yea and national churches also, as being all of them carnal, human or antichristian inventions," contrary to many texts of scripture, particularly 2 Tim. i. 13. Hold fast the form of sound words: and the old Pelagian and Arminian errors appear again upon the stage, the merit of the creature, free will and good works[15] being taught from press and pulpit almost every where, to the utter discarding of free grace, Christ's imputed righteousness, and the power of true godliness.—All which pernicious errors were expunged and cast over the hedge by our reforming forefathers: And is it not highly requisite, that their faithful contendings, orthodox and exemplary lives, should be copied out before us, when walking so repugnant to acknowledging the God of our fathers, and walking before him with a perfect heart.

Again, if we shall run a comparison betwixt the practice of those who are the subject-matter of this collection, and our present prevailing temper and disposition, we will find how far they correspond with one another. How courageous and zealous were they for the cause and honour of Christ! How cold and lukewarm are we, of whatever sect or denomination! How willing were they to part with all for him! And what honour did many of them count it, to suffer for his name! How unwilling are we to part with any thing for him, much less to suffer such hardships for his sake! Of that we are ashamed, which they counted their ornament; accounting that our glory which they looked on as a disgrace! How easy was it for them to choose the greatest suffering rather than the least sin! How hard is it for us to refuse the greatest sin before the least suffering! How active were they for the glory of God and the good of souls, and diligent to have their own evidences clear for heaven! But how little concern have we for the cause of Christ, his work and interest, and how dark are the most part with respect to their spiritual state and duty! They were sympathizing christians; but, alas! how little fellow-feeling is to be found among us: it is rather Stand by, for I am holier than thou. Oh! that their christian virtues, constant fidelity, unfeigned love and unbiassed loyalty to Zion's King and Lord, could awaken us from our neutrality and supine security, wherein instead of imitating the goodness and virtuous dispositions of these our ancestors, we have by our defections and vicious courses invited neglect and contempt on ourselves, being (as a philosopher once observed of passionate people) like men standing on their heads who see all things the wrong way; giving up with the greater part of these our most valuable rights and liberties, all which were most esteemed by our RENOWNED PROGENITORS.—The treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously.

And if we shall add unto all these, in our progressive and increasing apostacy, our other heinous land-crying sins and enormities, which prevail and increase among all ranks and denominations of men (few mourning over the low state of our Zion, and the daily decay of the interest of Christ and religion). Then we not only may say as the poet once said of the men of Athens, Thebes and Oedipus, "That we live only in fable, and nothing remains of ancient Scotland but the name;" but also take up this bitter complaint and lamentation.

"Ah Scotland, Scotland! How is the gold become dim, how is the most fine gold changed! Ah! Where is the God of Elijah, and where is his glory! Where is that Scottish zeal that once flamed in the breasts of thy nobility, barons, ministers and commoners of all sorts! Ah, where is that true courage and heroic resolution for religion and the liberties of the nation that did once animate all ranks in the land! Alas, alas! True Scots blood now runs cool in our veins! The cloud is now gone up in a great measure from off our assemblies; because we have deserted and relinquished the Lord's most noble cause and testimony, by a plain, palpable and perpetual course of backsliding."—The crown is fallen from our head, wo unto us, for we have sinned.

For surely we may say of these our times (and with as much propriety) what some of these worthies said of theirs, Quam graviter ingemescerent illi fortes viri qui ecclesiae Scoticanae pro libertate in acte decertarunt, si nostram nunc ignaviam (ne quid gravius dicam) conspicerent, said Mr. Davidson in a letter to the general Assembly 1601, i. e. "How grievously would they bewail our stupenduous slothfulness, could they but behold it, who of old thought no expence of blood and treasure too much for the defence of the church of Scotland's liberties."—Or to use the words of another[16] in the persecuting period, "Were it possible that our reformers (and we may add our late martyrs) who are entered in among the glorious choristers in the kingdom of heaven, (singing their melodious songs on harps about the throne of the Lamb) might have a furlough for a short time, to take a view of their apostatizing children, what may we judge would be their conceptions of these courses of defection, so far repugnant to the platform laid down in that glorious work of reformation." For if innocent Hamilton, godly and patient Wishart, apostolic Knox, eloquent Rollock, worthy Davidson, the courageous Melvils, prophetic Welch, majestic Bruce, great Henderson, renowned Gillespie, learned Binning, pious Gray, laborious Durham, heavenly-minded Rutherford, the faithful Guthries, diligent Blair, heart-melting Livingston, religious Welwood, orthodox and practical Brown, zealous and stedfast Cameron, honest-hearted Cargil, sympathizing M'Ward, persevering Blackadder, the evangelical Traills, constant and pious Renwick, &c. "were filed off from the assembly of the first-born, sent as commissioners to haste down from the mount of God, to behold how quickly their offspring are gone out of the way, piping and dancing after a golden calf: Ah! with what vehemency would their spirits be affected, to see their laborious structure almost razed to the foundation, by those to whom they committed the custody of the word of their great Lord's patience; they in the mean time sheltering themselves under the shadow of a rotten lump of fig-tree leaf distinctions, which will not sconce against the wrath of an angry God in the cool of the day, &c."

And Finally, What can have a more gloomy aspect in the midst of these evils, (with many more that might be noticed) when our pleasant things are laid waste, than to see such a scene of strife and division carried on, and maintained among Christ's professing witnesses in these lands, whereby true love and sympathy is eradicated, the very vitals of religion pulled out, and the ways of God and godliness lampooned and ridiculed, giving Jacob to the curse, and Israel to the reproaches.—And it is most lamentable, that while malignants (now as well as formerly) from without are cutting down the carved work of the sanctuary, Christ's professed friends and followers from within are busied in contention and animosities among themselves, by which means the enemy still advances and gains ground, similar to the case (exteriorly) of that once famous and flourishing city and temple of Jerusalem, when it was by Titus Vespasian utterly demolished[17].—All which seem to prelude or indicate, that the Lord is about to inflict these long-threatened, impending but protracted judgments[18] upon such a sinning land, church and people. And as many of these worthies have assured us, that judgments are abiding this church and nation; so our present condition and circumstances seem to say, that we are the generation ripening for them apace.—How much need have we then of the Christian armour that made them proof against Satan, his emissaries, and every trial and tribulation they were subjected unto? Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day.

But by this time somewhat might have been said concerning the testimony of the church of Scotland, as it was carried on and handed down by these witnesses of Christ to posterity, in its different parts and periods—But as this has been somewhat (I may say needlessly) controverted in these our times, it were too large a subject (for the narrow limits of a preface) to enter upon at present, any further than to observe, that,

(1.) The testimony of the church of Scotland is not only a free, full and faithful testimony, (yea more extensive than the testimony of any one particular church since Christianity commenced in the world) but also a sure and costly testimony, confirmed and sealed with blood; "and that of the best of our nobles, ministers, gentry, burgesses and commons of all sorts;"—who loved not their lives unto the death, but overcame by the word of their testimony.—Bind up the testimony, seal the law.

(2.) Altho' there is no truth whatsoever, when once controverted, but it becomes the word of Christ's patience, and so ought to be the word of our testimony, Rev. v. 10. xii. 11.; truth and duty being always the same in all ages and periods of time, so that what injures one truth, in some sense, injures and affects all; For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all, Jam. ii. 10. Yet at the same time it is pretty evident, that the church of Christ in this world is a passing church, still circulating through ages and periods of time, so that she seldom or never turns back under the same point, there being scarcely a century of years elapsed without an alteration of circumstances; yea and more, I suppose that there is no certain book that has or can be written, that will suit the case of one particular church at all times, and in all circumstances: This pre-eminency the holy scriptures only can claim as a complete rule for faith and manners, principle and practice, in all places, ages and times.

(3.) These things premised, let it be observed, That the primitive witnesses had the divinity of the Son of God, and an open confession of him, for their testimony; our reformers from Popery had Antichrist to struggle with, in asserting the doctrines of the gospel, and the right way of salvation in and through Jesus Christ: again, in the reigns of James VI. and Charles I. Christ's REGALIA[19], and the divine right of presbytery became the subject-matter of their testimony. Then in the beginning of the reign of Charles II. (until he got the whole of our ancient and laudable constitution effaced and overturned) our WORTHIES only saw it their duty to hold and contend for what they had already attained unto.—But then in the end of this and subsequent tyrant's reign, they found it their duty (a duty which they had too long neglected) to advance one step higher, by casting off their authority altogether, and that as well on account of their manifest usurpation of Christ's crown and dignity, as on account of their treachery, bloodshed and tyranny. And yet as all these faithful witnesses of Christ did harmoniously agree in promoting the kingdom and interest of the Messiah, in all his threefold offices, they stood in defence of religion and liberty (and that not only in opposition to the more gross errors of Popery, but even to the more refined errors of English hierarchy) we must take their testimony to be materially all and the same testimony, only under different circumstances, which may be summed up thus; "The primitive martyrs sealed the prophetic office of Christ in opposition to Pagan idolatry.—The reforming martyrs sealed his priestly office with their blood, in opposition to Popish idolatry.—But last of all, our late martyrs have sealed his kingly office with their best blood, in despite of supremacy and bold Erastianism. They indeed have cemented it upon his royal head, so that to the world's end it shall never drop off again."

But, candid reader, to detain thee no longer upon these or the like considerations,—I have put the following sheets into thy hands, wherein if thou findest any thing amiss, either as to matter or method, let it be ascribed unto any thing else, rather then want of honesty or integrity of intention; considering, that all mankind are liable to err, and that there is more difficulty in digesting such a great mass of materials into such a small composition, than in writing many volumes. Indeed there is but little probability, that a thing of this nature can altogether escape or evade the critical eye of some carping Momus[20], particularly such as are either altogether ignorant of reformation principles, or, of what the Lord hath done for covenanted Scotland; and those who can bear with nothing but what comes from those men who are of an uniform stature or persuasion with themselves: and yet were it possible to anticipate anything arising here by way of objection, these few things following might be observed.

Here some may object, That many things more useful for the present generation might have been published, than the deeds and public actings of those men, who have stood so long condemned by the laws of the nation, being exploded by some, and accounted such a reproach, as unfit to be any longer on record.—In answer to this, I shall only notice, (1.) That there have been some hundreds of volumes published of things fabulous, fictitious and romantic, fit for little else than to amuse the credulous reader; while this subject has been in a great measure neglected. (2.) We find it to have been the constant practice of the Lord's people in all ages, to hand down and keep on record what the Lord had done by and for their forefathers in former times. We find the royal psalmist, in name of the church, oftener than once at this work, Psal. xliv. and lxxviii. We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us, what works thou didst in their days, in the times of old: We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, &c. (3.) It has been the practice of almost all nations (yea and our own also) to publish the warlike exploits and martial atchievements of their most illustrious heroes, who distinguished themselves in defence of their native country, for a little worldly honour, or a little temporary subsistence; and shall we be behind in publishing the lives, characters, and most memorable actions of these noble CHAMPIONS of Christ, who not only stood in defence of religion and liberty, but also fought the battles of the Lord against his and their avowed enemies, till in imitation of their princely Master, their garments were all stained with blood, for which their names shall be had in everlasting remembrance. (4.) As to the last part of the objection, it must be granted, that in foro homines, their actions and attainments cannot now be pled upon, but in foro Dei, that which was lawful from the beginning cannot afterwards be made sinful[21] or void; and the longer they have been buried under the ashes of neglect and apostacy, the more need have they to be raised up and revived. It is usual for men to keep that well which was left them by their fathers, and for us either to oppose or industriously conceal any part of these their contendings, were not only an addition to the contempt already thrown upon the memories of these RENOWNED SIRES, but also an injury done to posterity.—"Your honourable ancestors, with the hazard of their lives, brought Christ into our lands, and it shall be cruelty to posterity if ye lose him to them," said one of these worthies to a Scots nobleman[22].

Again, some sceptical nullifidian or other may be ready to object farther, "That many things related in this collection smell too much of enthusiasm; and that several other things narrated therein, are beyond all credit." But these we must suppose to be either quite ignorant of what the Lord did for our forefathers in former times, or else in a great measure destitute of the like gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, by which they were actuated and animated. For,

(1.) These worthies did and suffered much for Christ and his cause, in their day and generation, and therefore in a peculiar and singular manner were honoured and beloved of him; and although there are some things here narrated, of a pretty extraordinary nature, yet as they imply nothing contrary to reason, they do not forfeit a title to any man's belief, since they are otherwise well attested, nay obviously referred to a cause, whose ways and thoughts surmount the ways and thoughts of men, as far as the heavens are above our heads.—The sacred history affords us store of instances and examples of a more transcendent nature than any thing here related; the truth of which we are at as little liberty to question, as the divinity of the book in which they are related.

(2.) As to the soul-exercise and pious devotion of these men herein related, they are so far supported by the authority of scripture, that there is mentioned by them (as a ground of their hope) some text or passage thereof, carried in upon their minds, suited and adapted to their cases and circumstances; by which faith they were enabled to lay claim to some particular promise, as a lamp unto their feet, a light unto their path, and this neither hypocrite nor enthusiast can do: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. iii. 11.

But then, it may be alleged by those who have a high esteem for this subject, That nothing is here given as a commendation suitable or adequate to the merit of these Worthies, considering their zeal, diligence and activity in the discharge of their duty, in that office or station which they filled. This indeed comes nearest the truth; for it is very common for biographers to pass eulogiums of a very high strain in praise of those whom they affect. But in these panegyrical orations, they oftimes rather exceed than excel.—It was an ancient (but true) saying of the Jews, "That great men (and we may say good men) commonly find stones for their own monuments;" and laudable actions always support themselves: And a thing (as an author[23] observes on the like subject) "if right, it will defend itself; if wrong, none can defend it: Truth needs not, falsehood deserves not a supporter."

Indeed it must be regretted, that this collection is not drawn out with more advantage to the cause of Christ, and the interest of religion in commending the mighty acts of the Lord done for and by these worthy servants or his, in a way suitable to the merit and dignity of such a subject. But in this case it is the greater pity, "That those who have a goodwill to such a piece of service cannot do it, while those who should and can do it will not do it."—But in this I shall make no other apology, than what our Saviour (in another case) said to the woman, She hath done what she could.

All that I shall observe anent the form or method used in the following lives, is, that they are all, except one, ranged in order, according to the time of their exit, and not according to their birth; and that in general, the historical account of their birth, parentage, and memorable transactions is first inserted; and with as few repetitions as possible: Yea, sometimes to save a repetition, a fact is related of one Worthy in the life of another, which is not in his own life. Then follows their characteristic part, which oftimes is just one's testimony successively of another; and last of all, their works[24].—That which is given in their own words, mostly stands in commas.

I know it is usual, when relating matters of fact, to make remarks or reflections, yet as this oftimes brings authors under suspicion of party zeal or partiality, they are designedly waved in the body of the book.—Any thing of this kind is placed among other things in the marginal notes, where the reader is at a little more freedom to chuse or refuse as he pleases, only with this proviso, That truth be always regarded.

The last thing to be observed is, That as the credit due to this collection depends so much upon the authors from whom it was extracted, their names should have been inserted. However, the reader will find the most part of them mentioned in the notes; so that if any doubt of the veracity of any thing here related, they may have recourse to the original authors, some of whom, though enemies to reformation principles, nevertheless serve to illustrate the facts narrated in these memoirs, as nothing serves more to confirmation of either truth or historical facts, than the testimony of its opposers.

But to conclude; May the Lord arise and plead his own cause in putting a final stop to all manner of prevailing wickedness; and hasten that day when the glorious light of the gospel may shine forth in purity, and with such power and success as in former times, with an enlargement of the Mediator's kingdom,—That his large and great dominion may be extended from the river to the ends of the earth, when all these heats, animosities and breaking divisions, that now prevail and increase among Christ's professed friends and followers, may be healed; that being cemented and knitted to one another, they may join heart and hand together in the matters of the Lord, and the concerns of his glory; when Ephraim shall no more envy Judah, and Judah shall no more vex Ephraim, but both shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines, Isa. xi. 13.; with a further accomplishment of these with other gracious promises,—And thine officers shall be peace, and thine exactors righteousness, &c.; and they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again the captivity of Zion.—And that when we are endeavouring to perpetuate the memory of these worthies, or commemorate what the Lord did for and by our forefathers, in the days of old, we may be so auspicious as to have somewhat to declare of his goodness and wonderful works done for us in our day and generation also.

And if the following sheets shall in the least through divine grace, under the management of an over-ruling providence (which claims the care of directing every mean to its proper end) prove useful to the reclaiming of neutrals from backsliding courses, to the confirming of halters, and the encouraging of others to the like fortitude and vigorous zeal, to contend for our most valuable privileges (whether of a civil or a religious nature), then I shall think all my pains recompensed, and the end gained. For that many may be found standing in the way, to see and ask for the good old paths, and walk therein, cleaving to the law and to the testimony, would be the joy, and is the earnest desire of one, impartial reader, who remains thy friend and well-wisher in the truth,

JOHN HOWIE. LOCHGOIN, July 21, 1775.

N. B. If any person or persons have or shall object to this or the former edition, that in transcribing these lives (particularly those who were formerly in print) I have curtailed them in favours of my own particular sentiment; I must here let them know, that it is entirely false; for I never omitted any thing to my knowledge, that I thought would be for the benefit of the public, where I had room to insert it: For I could heartily wish, that these lives were in whole re-printed; in the mean time, I cannot help thinking, that such reflections are or would be but a very slender or ungenteel requital for my past pains and labour.

ADVERTISEMENT to the Public, concerning this Edition.

That, after what I formerly observed on the subject in the foregoing pages, it were needless to add any thing farther here, than to notice to the Reader, that besides a number of small corrections, there are four lives added, and upwards of fifty other additions or short improvements;—only as Mr. Vetch's life and practice, especially since the Revolution, was not so consonant to the rest as could have been wished, it was desired by some friends to be deleted; but others alledging that he was a sufferer, and that his life being once providentially cast into this number, it might be accounted an injury, if not to the book, yet to the purchasers of this edition, therefore I have abridged it as concisely as possible, and placed it in its own proper place, in the end; which is no more nor no less freedom used with his memory, than what has been done with others as deserving, might I say, as faithful as he: besides his life in full still stands entire in the first edition, which may be either consulted or printed again at pleasure.

I am further to acquaint the reader, that I have been sometimes solicited by acquaintance to write another volume of the wicked lives and characters of some of the late wicked persecutors; but not finding proper materials for all that should have had a place in this catalogue, I have presumed to add, by way of appendix unto this edition, a short sketch or historical account of the wicked lives and miserable deaths of some of the most notable apostate church-men and violent persecutors, from the Reformation to the Revolution, which it is hoped will be no ways unapt unto the subject, and, through a divine blessing, may not want its own proper use; for while we are made to behold the Lord's admirable goodness and mercy, yea miracles of mercy, extended towards his church and people, we, at the same time, have a view of his displeasure and the severity of his judgments inflicted upon his and their enemies, according to his own promise, I will punish them that afflict thee, and even in this life; which must be an eminent accomplishment, display and illustration of divine revelation, in opposition to all deistical scribblers.—The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way; but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness, &c. But to insist no further, I remain as above,


LOCHGOIN, June, 1781.


Christianity seems to have made its appearance in Scotland in a very early period, being, according to some writers, propagated in this kingdom by the Apostles themselves; some saying that Simon Zelotes, others that Paul was some time in this part of the world; but as this opinion is not supported by proper vouchers, it merits only the regard due to conjecture, not the attention which an undoubted narrative calls for.

Another, and more probable account, is, that during the persecution raised by Domitian, (who was the twelfth and last Caesar, about A. D. 96.) some of the disciples of the apostle John fled into our Island, and there taught the religion of Jesus. It does not seem that Christianity made any very rapid progress for a considerable time. The first account of the success of the gospel that can be depended on, is that about A. D. 203. King Donald I. with his Queen, and several courtiers were baptized, and continued afterwards to promote the interest of Christianity, in opposition to Pagan idolatry. But the invasion of the Emperor Severus soon disturbed this king's measures, so that for the space of more than seventy years after, religion was on the decline, and the idolatry of the Druids prevailed; they were an order of Heathen priests, who performed their rites in groves of oak trees; this was a species of Paganism of great antiquity, being that kind of idolatry to which the Jews were often revolting, of which mention is made in the lives of Ahab, Manasseh, &c. in the books of the kings. These Druids likewise possessed a considerable share of civil power, being the ordinary arbitrators in almost all controversies, and highly esteemed by the people; this made it a very difficult task to establish a religion so opposite to, and subversive of that institution: but the difficulties which Christianity has in every age and country had to encounter, have served its interest, and illustrated the power and grace of its divine Author. These Druids were expelled by king Cratilinth, about the year 277, who took special care to obliterate every memorial of them; and from this period we may date the true aera of Christianity in Scotland, because from this time forward, until the persecution under the emperor Dioclesian, in the beginning of the fourth century, there was a gradual increase of the true knowledge of God and religion, that persecution became so hot in the south parts of Britain, as to drive many, both preachers and professors, into Scotland, where they were kindly received, and had the Isle of Man (then in possession of the Scots) given them for their residence, and a sufficient maintenance assigned them. King Cratilinth built a church for them, which was called the church of our SAVIOUR, in the Greek, {soter}, and is now by corruption SODOR, in Icolumbkil, one of the western isles. They were not employed, like the Druidical priests, in whose place they had come, in settling the worldly affairs of men, but gave themselves wholly to divine services, in instructing the ignorant, comforting the weak, administering the sacraments, and training up disciples to the same services.

Whether these Refugees were the ancient Culdees or a different set of men, is not easily determined, nor would be very material, though it could. The Culdees (from cultores Dei, worshippers of God) flourished at this time, they were called {mona'choi}, or Monks, from the retired religious lives which they led; the cells into which they had retired, were, after their deaths, mostly converted into churches, and to this day retain their names, as Cell or Kill or church of Marnock; Kil-Patrick, Kil-Malcolm, &c. The Culdees chose superintendents from among themselves, whose office obliged them to travel the country, in order to see that every one discharged his duty properly: but they were utter strangers to the lordly power of the modern Prelate, having no proper diocese, and only a temporary superintendency, with which they were vested by their brethren, and to whom they were accountable. It was an institution, in the spirit of it, the same with the privy censures of ministers among Presbyterians.

During the reigns of Cratilinth, and Fincormac his successor, the Culdees were in a flourishing state: but after the death of the latter, both the church and state of Scotland went into disorder. Maximus the Roman Praefect, stirred up the Picts to aid him against the Scots, who were totally defeated, their King Ewing, with most part of the nobility, being slain. This overthrow was immediately succeeded by an edict commanding all the Scots, without exception, to depart the kingdom against a certain day, under pain of death. This drove them entirely into Ireland and the western isles of Denmark and Norway, excepting a few ecclesiastics, who wandered about from place to place. This bloody battle was fought about the year 380, at the water of Dunne in Carrick.

After an exile of 44, or according to Buchanan, 27 years which the Scots endured, the Picts became sensible of their mistake, in assisting the Romans against them, and accordingly strengthened the hands of the few who remained, and invited the fugitives back into their own land. These were joined by some foreigners, and returned with Fergus II. (then in Denmark) upon their head, their enterprise was the more successful, that at this time many of the Roman forces were called home. Their king was crowned with the usual rites in his own country, and the news of his success drew great numbers to him, in so much that he recovered all the country out of which the Scots had been expelled: most of the foreign forces returned home, except the Irish, who possessed the country of Galloway for their reward. This successful undertaking happened about the year 404, or as others would have it, 420.

The Culdees were now recalled out of all their lurking places, restored to their livings, and had their churches repaired; at this time they possessed the peoples esteem to a higher degree than ever: but this tranquility was again interrupted by a more formidable enemy than before. The Pelagian heresy had now gained considerable ground in Britain, it is so called from Pelagius a Monk at Rome; its chief articles are, 1. That original sin is not inherent. 2. That faith is a thing natural. 3. That good works done by our own strength, of our own free-will, are agreeable to the law of God, and worthy of heaven.—Whether all, or only part of these errors then infected the Scottish church, is uncertain; but Celestine, then bishop of Rome, embraced this opportunity to send Palladius among them, who, joining with the orthodox of south Britain, restored peace to that part of the church, by suppressing the heresy. Eugenius the second, being desirous that this church should likewise be purged of the impure leaven, invited Palladius hither, who obtaining liberty from Celestine, and being enjoined to introduce the hierarchy as opportunity should offer, came into Scotland, and succeeded so effectually in his commission, as both to confute Pelagianism and new-model the government of the church.

The church of Scotland knew no officers vested with pre-eminence above their brethren, nor had any thing to do with the Roman pontiff, until the year 450. Bede says, that "Palladius was sent unto the Scots who believed in Christ, as their first bishop.[25]" Boetius likewise says, "that Palladius was the first of all who did bear holy magistracy among the Scots, being made bishop by the Great Pope." Fordun in his chronicle, tells us, that "before the coming of Palladius, the Scots had for teachers of the faith, and ministers of the sacraments, Presbyters only, or Monks, following the customs of the primitive church[26]."

But we are not even to fix the aera of diocesan Bishops so early as this, for there were no such office-bearers in the church of Scotland, until the reign of Malcolm II. in the eleventh century. During the first 1000 years after Christ, there were no divided dioceses, nor superiorities over others, but they governed in the church in common with Presbyters; so that they were no more than nominally bishops, possessing little or nothing of that lordly dignity, which they now, and for a long time past have enjoyed. Spotiswood (history page 29.) himself testifies, that the Scottish bishops before the eleventh century, exercised their functions indifferently in every place to which they came. Palladius may be said to have rather laid the foundation of the after degeneracy of the church of Scotland, than to have built that superstructure of corruption and idolatry which afterwards prevailed, because she continued for near two hundred years in a state comparatively pure and unspotted, when we cast our eyes on the following times.

About the end of the sixth and beginning of the seventh century, a number of pious and wise men flourished in the country, among whom was Kentigern, commonly called Mungo, some of these persons were employed by Oswald a Northumbrian king, to instruct his people; they are represented by Bede, as eminent for their love to God and knowledge of the holy scriptures: the light of the gospel by their means broke into other parts of the Saxon dominions, which long maintained an opposition to the growing usurpation of the church of Rome, which after the middle of this century was strenuously supported by Austin's disciples.

Beside these men, the church of Scotland at this time sent many other worthy and successful missionaries into foreign parts, particularly France, and Germany. Thus was Scotland early privileged, and thus were her privileges improven: But soon the gold became dim, and the most fine gold was changed.

Popery came now by degrees to show her horrid head; the assiduity of Austin and his disciples in England, was attended with melancholy consequences to Scotland, by fomenting divisions, corrupting her princes with Romish principles, and inattention to the lives of her clergy, the Papal power soon came to be universally acknowledged. In the seventh century a hot contest arose betwixt Austin and his disciples on the one part, and the Scots and northern Saxons on the other, about the time of keeping Easter, immersing three times in baptism, shaving of priests, &c. which these last would not receive, nor submit to the authority that imposed them; each refused ministerial communion with the other party, until an arbitral decision was given by Oswy king of the Northumbrians, at Whitby in Yorkshire, in favours of the Romanists, when the opinions of the Scots were exploded, and the modish fooleries of Papal Hierarchy were established. This decision, however, was far from putting an end to the confusion which this dissention had occasioned; the Romanists urged their rites with rigour, the others rather chose to yield their places than conform: their discouragements daily increased, as the clerical power was augmented, In the year 886, they obtained the act exempting them from taxes, and all civil prosecutions before temporal judges, and ordaining that all matters concerning them should be tried by their bishops, who were at this time vested with those powers, which are now in the hands of commissaries, respecting matrimonial causes, testaments, &c. They were likewise by the same statute impowered to make canons, try heretics, &c. and all future kings were ordained to take an oath at their coronation, for maintaining these privileges to the church. The convention of estates which passed this act was held at Forfar, in the reign of that too indulgent prince, Gregory.

Malcolm III. Alexander, David, &c. successively supported this dignity by erecting particular bishopricks, abbeys, and monasteries; the same superstitious zeal seized the nobility of both sexes, some giving a third, others more, and others their whole estates, for the support of pontifical pride and spiritual tyranny, which soon became insupportable, and opened the eyes of the nation, so that they discovered their mistake in raising the clerical authority to such a height. Accordingly, we find the nobles complaining of it to Alexander III. who reigned after the middle of the thirteenth century, but he was so far from being able to afford them redress, that when they were excommunicated by the church on account of this complaint, to prevent greater evils, he was obliged to cause the nobility satisfy both the avarice and arrogance of the clergy, who had now resolved upon and begun a journey to Rome, with a view to raise as great commotions in Scotland, as Thomas Becket had lately made in England.

The Pope's power was now generally acknowledged over Christendom, particularly in our nation, for which, in return, the church of Scotland was declared free from all foreign spiritual jurisdiction, that of the "Apostolic fee only excepted." This bull was occasioned by an attempt of one Roger bishop of York, in the year 1159, to raise himself to the dignity of Metropolitan of Scotland, and who found means to be Legate of this kingdom, but lost that office upon the remonstrance of the Scottish clergy: which likewise procured the above bull in their favours, with many other favours of a like nature at this time conferred upon them, by all which they were exempted from any other jurisdiction than that of Rome, in so much that we find pope Boniface VIII. commanding Edward of England to cease hostilities against the Scots, alledging that "the sovereignty of Scotland belonged to the church;" which claim seems to have been founded in the papal appointment for the unction of the Scots kings, which was first used on king Edgar, A. D. 1098. and at that time regarded by the people as a new mark of royalty, but which, as it was the appointment of the Pope, was really the mark of the beast.

There were now in Scotland all orders of Monks and Friars, Templars, or Red Monks, Trinity Monks of Aberdeen, Cisternian Monks, Carmelite, Black and Grey Friars, Carthusians, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jacobites, Benedictines, &c. which shows to what a height Antichrist had raised his head in our land, and how readily all his oppressive measures were complied with by all ranks.

But the reader must not think that during the period we have now reviewed, there were none to oppose this torrent of superstition and idolatry; for from the first appearance of the Romish Antichrist in this kingdom, God wanted not witnesses for the truth, who boldly stood forth for the defence of the blessed and pure gospel of Christ: Mention is first made of Clemens and Samson, two famous Culdees, who in the seventh century supported the authority of Christ as the only king and head of his church, against the usurped power of Rome, and who rejected the superstitious rites of Antichrist, as contrary to the simplicity of gospel institutions. The succeeding age was no less remarkable for learned and pious men, to whom Scotland gave birth, and whole praise was in the churches abroad; particularly Joannes Scotus, who wrote a book upon the Eucharist, condemned by Leo IX. in the year 1030, long after his death. In the ninth century, a convention of estates was held at Scoon for the reformation of the clergy, their lives and conversations being at that time a reproach to common decency and good manners; not to say, piety and religion. The remedies provided at this convention, discover the nature of the disease. It was ordained, that church-men should reside upon their charge; that they should not intermeddle with secular affairs, but instruct the people, and be good examples in their conversations; that they should not keep hawks, hounds, nor horses for their pleasure, &c. And if they failed in the observance of these injunctions, they were to be fined for the first, and deposed for the second transgression. These laws were made under King Constantine II. but his successor Gregory rendered them abortive by his indulgence. The age following this, is not remarkable for witnesses to the truth, but historians are agreed, that there were still some of the Culdees who lived and ministred apart from the Romanists and taught the people that Christ was the only propitiation for sin, and that his blood could only wash them from the guilt of it, in opposition to the indulgences and pardons of the Pope. Mr. Alexander Shields says, that the Culdees transmitted their testimony to the Lollards[27] and Pope John XXII. in his bull for anointing King Robert Bruce, complains that there were many heretics in Scotland; so that we may safely affirm there never was any very great period of time without witnesses for the truth and against the gross corruptions of the church of Rome. Some of our kings themselves opposed the Pope's supremacy, and prohibited his Legates from entering their dominions; the most remarkable instance of this kind is that of Robert Bruce. After his having defeated the English at Bannock-burn, they became suppliants to the Pope for his mediation, who accordingly sent a Legate into Scotland, proposing a cessation of arms, till the Pope should hear and decide the quarrel betwixt the two crowns, that he might be informed of the right which Edward had to the crown of Scotland; to this king Robert replied, "that the Pope could not be ignorant of that business, because it had been often explained to his predecessors, in the hearing of many cardinals then alive, who could tell him if they pleased, what insolent answers pope Boniface received from the English, while they were desired to desist from oppressing the Scots: And now (said he) when it hath pleased God to give us the better by some victories, by which we have not only recovered our own, but can make them live as good neighboors, they have recourse to such treaties, seeking to gain time in order to fall upon us again with greater force: But in this his holiness must excuse me, for I will not be so unwise as to let the advantage I have slip out of my hand." The Legate regarding this answer as contemptuous, interdicted the kingdom and departed; but K. Robert paying little regard to such proceedings, followed hard after the Legate, and entering England, wasted all the adjacent countries with fire and sword.

In the beginning of the fifteenth century, the reformation from Popery began to dawn in Scotland; at this time there was pope against pope, nay sometimes three of them at once, all excommunicating one another; which schism lasted for about thirty years, and by an over-ruling providence contributed much to the downfal of Antichrist, and to the revival of real religion and learning in Scotland, and many parts in Europe; for many embracing the opportunity now afforded to them, began to speak openly against the heresy, tyranny, and immorality of the clergy. Among those who preached publicly against these evils were John Huss, and Jerome of Prague in Bohemia, John Wickliff in England, and John Resby, an Englishman and scholar of Wickliff's in Scotland, who came hither about the year 1407, and was called in question for some doctrines which he taught against the Pope's supremacy; he was condemned to the fire, which he endured with great constancy. About ten years after, one Paul Craw a Bohemian and follower of Huss, was accused of heresy before such as were then called Doctors of theology. The articles of charge were, that he followed Huss and Wickliff in the opinion of the sacrament of the supper, who denied that the substance of bread and wine were changed by virtue of any words, or that auricular confession to priests, or praying to saints departed were lawful. He was committed to the secular judge, who condemned him to the fire at St. Andrews, where he suffered, being gagged when led to the stake, that he might not have the opportunity of making his confession.——Both the above-mentioned martyrs suffered under Henry Wardlaw bishop of St. Andrews, who founded that university, 1412; which might have done him honour, had he not imbrued his hands in innocent blood.

These returnings of the gospel light were not confined to St. Andrews, but Kyle, Carrick, Cunningham, and other places in the west of Scotland were also thus favoured about the same time; for we find that Robert Blackatter, the first arch-bishop of Glasgow, anno 1494, caused summon before King James IV, and his great council at Glasgow, George Campbel of Ceffnock, Adam Reid of Barskimming, and a great many others, mostly persons of distinction, opprobriously called the Lollards of Kyle, from one Lollard an eminent preacher among the antient Waldenses, for maintaining that images ought not to be worshipped; that the relicts of saints should not be adored, &c. But they answered their accusers with such constancy and boldness, that it was judged most prudent to dismiss them with an admonition, to content themselves with the faith of the church, and to beware of new doctrines.

Thus have we brought this summary of church-affairs in Scotland, down to the time of Mr. Patrick Hamilton, whose life stands upon the head of this collection: for he was the next sufferer on account of opposition to Romish tyranny and superstition in our country.

The following BOOKS to be had at the Shop of JOHN BRYCE, Printer and Bookseller, opposite Gibson's-Wynd, Salt-market.


Mr. Ralph Erskine's Works, in 10 large vols Trail's sermons, 3 vols Pike and Hayward's cases of conscience, with the spiritual companion Dickenson's religious letters Neil's 23 sermons on important subjects Durham's exposition of the ten commands Owen on the CXXX Psalm Sibb's soul's conflict, together with the bruised reed and smoaking flax Dickson's truth's victory over error Durham's unsearchable riches of Christ, in fourteen communion sermons Adamson's loss and recovery of elect sinners Rawlin's sermons on justification Durham's 72 sermons on the LIII of Isaiah Watt's Logick Marshal on sanctification Erskine's scripture songs Shield's faithful contendings Welwood's glimpse of glory Blackwell's sacred scheme Ridgley's body of divinity, in Folio

The following ARTICLES to be had Stitched,

Act, Declaration and Testimony The Doctrine of Grace The full state of the marrow controversy The holy life of Mr John Janeway The life of Mr John Livinston Borland's history of Darien Form of process used in kirk courts Mr Graham's four discourses on covenanting

Where also may be had, Bibles gilt and plain, New Testaments, psalm books, confessions of faith, Catechisms large and small, Proverbs, Syllabing Catechisms, Brown's Catechism, Henry's catechism, Muckarsie's catechism, Oliphant's catechism, Proof catechism, Mother's catechism, Watt's catechism, Watt's songs for children, Paper and Pens, Letter cases and Pocket books &c. &c.



He was born about the year of our Lord 1503, and he was nephew to the earl of Arran by his father, and to the duke of Albany by his mother; he was also related to king James. V. of Scotland. He was early educated with a design for future high preferment, and had the abbey of Ferm given him, for the purpose of prosecuting his studies; which he did with great assiduity.

In order to complete this laudable design, he resolved to travel into Germany. The fame of the university of Wittemberg was then very great, and drew many to it from distant places, among which our Hamilton was one. He was the first who introduced public disputations upon faith and works, and such theological questions, into the university of Marpurg, in which he was assisted by Francis Lambert; by whose conversation he profited not a little.—Here he became acquainted with these eminent reformers, Martin Luther and Philip Melancthon, besides other learned men of their society. By these distinguished masters he was instructed in the knowledge of the true religion, which he had little opportunity to become acquainted with in his own country, because the small remains of it which were in Scotland at this time, were under the yoke of oppression which we have already shown in the close of the introduction.—He made an amazing proficiency in this most important study, and became soon as zealous in the profession of the true faith, as he had been diligent to attain the knowledge of it.—This drew the eyes of many upon him, and while they were waiting with impatience to see what part he would act, he came to this resolution, to return into his own country, and there in the face of all dangers to communicate the light which he had received.

Accordingly, being as yet a youth, and not much past twenty-three years of age, he began, sowing the seed of God's word where-ever he came, exposing the corruptions of the Romish church, and pointing out the errors which had crept into the Christian religion as professed in Scotland.—He was favourably received and followed by many, unto whom he readily showed the way of God more perfectly. His reputation as a scholar and courteous demeanour, contributed not a little to his usefulness in this good work.

The city of St. Andrews was at this time the grand rendezvous of the Romish clergy, and may, with no impropriety, be called the metropolis of the kingdom of darkness. James Beaton was arch-bishop, Hugh Spence dean of divinity, John Waddel rector, James Simson official, Thomas Ramsay canon and dean of the abbey, with the several superiors of the different orders of monks and friars.—It could not be expected, that Mr Hamilton's conduct would be long concealed from such a body as this. Their resentment against him soon rose to the utmost heights of persecuting rage; particularly the arch-bishop, who was chancellor of the kingdom, and otherwise very powerful, became his inveterate enemy. But being not less politic than cruel, the arch-bishop concealed his wicked design against him, until he had drawn him into the ambush prepared for him, which he effected by prevailing on him to attend a conference at St. Andrews.—Being come thither, Alexander Campbel prior of the black friars, who had been appointed to exert his faculties in reclaiming him, had several private interviews with him, in which he seemed to acknowledge the force of Mr. Hamilton's objections against the prevailing conduct of the clergy and errors of the Romish church. Such persuasions as Campbel used to bring him back to popery, had rather the tendency to confirm him in the truth. The arch-bishop and inferior clergy appeared to make concessions to him, allowing that many things stood in need of reformation, which they could wish had been brought about. Whether they were sincere in these acknowledgments, or only intended to conceal their bloody designs, and render the innocent and unsuspecting victim of their rage more secure, is a question to which this answer may be returned, That had they been sincere, the consciousness that Mr. Hamilton spoke truth, would perhaps have warded off the blow, for, at least some longer time, or divided their councils and measures against him. That neither of these was the case will now appear.—He was apprehended under night, and committed prisoner to the castle: at the same time, the young king was, at the earnest solicitation of the clergy, prevailed upon to undertake a pilgrimage to St. Dothess in Ross-shire, that he might be out of the way of any applications made to him for the life of Mr. Hamilton, which there was reason to believe would be granted. This measure affords full proof, that notwithstanding the friendly conferences which they kept up with him for some time, they had resolved on his ruin from the beginning: but such instances of Popish dissembling were not new even in Mr. Hamilton's time.

The next day after his imprisonment, he was brought before the arch-bishop and his convention, and there charged with maintaining and propagating sundry heretical opinions; and though articles of the utmost importance had been debated betwixt him and them, they restricted their charge to such trifles as pilgrimage, purgatory, praying to saints, and for the dead; perhaps because these were the grand pillars upon which Antichrist built his empire, being the most lucrative doctrines ever invented by men. We must, however, take notice that Spotswood afterwards arch-bishop of that see, assigns the following grounds for his suffering, 1. That the corruption of sin remains in children after their baptism. 2. That no man by the power of his free-will can do any good. 3. That no man is without sin so long as he liveth. 4. That every true Christian may know himself to be in a state of grace. 5. That a man is not justified by works but by faith only. 6. That good works make not a man good, but that a good man doth good works, and that an ill man doth ill works, yet the same ill works, truly repented of, make not an ill man. 7. That faith, hope and charity are so linked together, that he who hath one of them hath all, and he that lacketh one lacketh all. 8. That God is the cause of sin, in this sense, that he withdraweth his grace from man; and grace withdrawn, he cannot but sin. These articles with the following make up the whole charge, (1.) That auricular confession is not necessary to salvation. (2.) That actual penance cannot purchase the remission of sin. (3.) That there is no purgatory, and that the holy patriarchs were in heaven before Christ's passion. (4.) That the pope is Antichrist, and that every priest hath as much power as he.——For these articles, and because he refused to abjure them, he was condemned as an obstinate heretic, and delivered to the secular power by the arch-bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow, three bishops, and fourteen underlings, who all set their hands to the sentence, which, that it might have the greater authority, was likewise subscribed by every person of note in the university, among whom the earl of Cassils was one, then not exceeding thirteen years of age. The sentence follows as given by Mr. Fox, in his acts and monuments, vol. II. p. 1108.

"CHRISTI nomine invocato: We James, by the mercy of God, arch-bishop of St. Andrews, primate of Scotland, with the counsel, decree and authority of the most reverend fathers in God, and lords, abbots, doctors of theology, professors of the holy scripture and masters of the university, assisting us for the time, sitting in judgment, within our metropolitan church of St. Andrews, in the cause of heretical pravity, against Mr Patrick Hamilton, abbot or pensionary of Ferm, being summoned to appear before us, to answer to certain articles affirmed, taught and preached by him, and so appearing before us, and accused, the merits of the cause being ripely weighed, discussed, and understood by faithful inquisition made in Lent last passed: We have found the same Mr. Hamilton, many ways infamed with heresy, disputing, holding and maintaining divers heresies of Martin Luther and his followers, repugnant to our faith, and which is already condemned by general councils and most famous universities. And he being under the same infamy, we decerning before him to be summoned and accused upon the premises, he of evil mind, (as may be presumed) passed to other parts, forth of the realm, suspected and noted of heresy. And being lately returned, not being admitted, but of his own head, without licence or privilege, hath presumed to preach wicked heresy.

"We have found also, that he hath affirmed, published and taught divers opinions of Luther, and wicked heresies after that he was summoned to appear before us and our council: That man hath no free-will: That man is in sin so long as he liveth: That children, incontinent after their baptism, are sinners: All Christians that be worthy to be called Christians, do know that they are in grace: No man is justified by works, but by faith only: Good works make not a good man, but a good man doth make good works: That faith, hope and charity are so knit, that he that hath the one hath the rest, and he that wanteth the one of them wanteth the rest, &c. with divers other heresies and detestable opinions; and hath persisted so obstinate in the same, that by no counsel nor persuasion, he may be drawn therefrom, to the way of our right faith.

"All these premises being considered, we having God and the integrity of our faith before our eyes, and following the counsel and advice of the professors of the holy scripture, men of law and others assisting us for the time, do pronounce, determine and declare the said Mr. Patrick Hamilton, for his affirming, confessing, and maintaining of the foresaid heresies, and his pertinacity (they being condemned already by the church, general councils, and most famous universities) to be an heretic, and to have an evil opinion of the faith, and therefore to be condemned and punished, like as we condemn, and define him to be punished, by this our sentence definitive, depriving and sentencing him, to be deprived of all dignities, honours, orders, offices, and benefices of the church; and therefore do judge and pronounce him to be delivered over to the secular power, to be punished, and his goods to be confiscated.

"This our sentence definitive, was given and read at our metropolitan church of St. Andrews, the last day of the month of February, anno 1527. being present, the most reverend fathers in Christ and lords, Gawand bishop of Glasgow, George bishop of Dunkelden, John bishop of Brecham, William bishop of Dunblane, Patrick, prior of St. Andrews, David abbot of Aberbrothock, George abbot of Dunfermline, Alexander abbot of Cambuskeneth, Henry abbot of Lendors, John prior of Pitterweeme, the dean and subdean of Glasgow, Mr. Hugh Spence, Thomas Ramsay, Allan Meldrum, &c. In the presence of the clergy and the people."

The same day that this doom was pronounced, he was also condemned by the secular power; and in the afternoon of that same day, (for they were afraid of an application to the king on his behalf) he was hurried to the stake, the fire being prepared, immediately after dinner, before the old college.—Being come to the place of martyrdom, he put off his clothes and gave them to a servant who had been with him of a long time, saying, "This stuff will not help me in the fire, yet will do thee some good; I have no more to leave thee, but the ensample of my death, which, I pray thee, keep in mind; for albeit the same be bitter and painful in man's judgment, yet it is the entrance to everlasting life, which none can inherit who deny Christ before this wicked generation." Having so said, he commended his soul into the hands of God, with his eyes fixed towards heaven, and being bound to the stake in the midst of some coals, timber, and other combustibles, a train of powder was made, with a design to kindle the fire, but did not succeed, the explosion only scorching one of his hands and face. In this situation he remained until more powder was brought from the castle, during which time his comfortable and godly speeches were often interrupted, particularly by friar Campbel calling upon him "to recant, pray to our lady and say, Salve regina." Upon being repeatedly disturbed in this manner by Campbel, Mr. Hamilton said, "Thou wicked man, thou knowest that I am not an heretic, and that it is the truth of God, for which I now suffer; so much didst thou confess unto me in private, and thereupon I appeal thee to answer before the judgment-seat of Christ:" By this time the fire was kindled, and the noble martyr yielded his soul to God, crying out, "How long, O Lord, shall darkness overwhelm this realm? How long will thou suffer this tyranny of men?" And then ended his speech with Stephen, saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Friar Campbel became soon after distracted, and died within a year after Mr. Hamilton's martyrdom, under the most awful apprehensions of the Lord's indignation against him.—The Popish clergy abroad congratulated their friends in Scotland, upon their zeal for the Romish faith discovered in the above tragedy—But it rather served the cause of reformation than retarded it, especially when the people began to compare deliberately the behaviour of Mr. Hamilton and friar Campbel together, they were induced to inquire more narrowly into the truth than before. The reader will find a very particular account of the doctrines maintained by Mr. Hamilton in Knox's history of the reformation of Scotland nigh the beginning.


This gentleman was a brother of the laird of Pittarro in Mearns, and was educated at the university of Cambridge, where his diligence and progress in useful learning, soon made him be respected. From an ardent desire to promote the truth in his own country, he returned to it in the summer of 1544, and began teaching a school in the town of Montrose, which he kept for some time with great applause. He is particularly celebrated for his uncommon eloquence, and agreeable manner of communication. The sequel of this narrative will inform the reader, That he possessed the spirit of prophecy to an extraordinary degree, and was at the same time humble, modest, charitable and patient, even to admiration. One of his own scholars gives the following picture of him, "That he was a man of a tall stature, black-hair'd, long-bearded, of a graceful personage, eloquent, courteous, ready to teach and desirous to learn; that he ordinarily wore a French cap, a frieze gown, plain black hose, and white bands and hand cuffs; that he frequently gave away different parts of his apparel to the poor; in his diet he was very moderate, eating only twice a day, and fasting every fourth day; his lodging, bedding, and such other circumstances, were correspondent to the things already mentioned." But as these particulars are rather curious than instructive, we shall say no more of them.

After he left Montrose, he came to Dundee, where he acquired still greater fame, in public lectures on the epistle to the Romans; insomuch that the Romish clergy began to think seriously on the consequences which they saw would inevitably ensue, if he was suffered to go on, pulling down that fabric of superstition and idolatry, which they with so much pains had reared; they were particularly disgusted at the reception which he met with in Dundee, and immediately set about projecting his ruin.

From the time that Mr. Patrick Hamilton suffered, until this period, papal tyranny reigned by fire and faggot without controul. In the year 1539, cardinal David Beaton succeeded his uncle in the see of St. Andrews, and carefully trod the path his uncle had marked out; to show his own greatness, and to recommend himself to his superior of Rome, he accused Sir John Borthwick of heresy, whose goods were confiscated, and himself burnt in effigy (for being forewarned of his danger, he had escaped out of the country). After this he suborned a priest to forge a will of K. James V. who died about this time, declaring himself, with the earls of Huntly, Argyle and Murray to be regents of the kingdom: The cheat being discovered, the earl of Arran was elected governor, and the cardinal was committed prisoner to the castle of Dalkeith; he soon found means to escape from his confinement, and prevailed with the regent to break all his promises to the party who had elected him into that office, and to join with him in imbruing his hands in the blood of the saints. Accordingly, several professors of the town of Perth were arraigned, condemned, hanged and drowned; others were sent into banishment, and some were strangled in private. We have departed thus far from the course of our narrative, to shew the reader, that the vacancies betwixt the respective lives in this collection, were as much remarkable for persecution, as the particular instances which are set before him in the lives themselves.

It was this cardinal who, incensed at Mr. Wishart's success in Dundee, prevailed with one Robert Mill (formerly a professor of the truth, and who had been a sufferer on that account, but who was now a man of considerable influence in that town,) to give Mr Wishart a charge in the queen and governor's names, to trouble them no more with his preaching in that place. This commission was executed by Mill one day, in public, just as Mr Wishart had ended his sermon. Upon hearing it, he kept silence for a little with his eyes turned towards heaven, and then casting them on the speaker with a sorrowful countenance, he said, "God is my witness, that I never minded your trouble, but your comfort; yea, your trouble is more grievous unto me than it is unto yourselves; but sure I am, to reject the word of God, and drive away his messengers, is not the way to save you from trouble, but to bring you into it: When I am gone, God will send you messengers, who will not be afraid either for burning or banishment. I have, at the hazard of my life, remained among you, preaching the word of salvation; and now, since you yourselves refuse me, I must leave my innocence to be declared by God. If it be long well with you, I am not led by the Spirit of truth; and if unexpected trouble come upon you, remember this is the cause, and turn to God by repentance, for he is merciful." These words being pronounced, he came down from the pulpit or preaching place. The earl of Marshal and some other noblemen who were present at the sermon, entreated him earnestly to go to the north with them, but he excused himself, and took journey for the west country, where he was gladly received by many.

Being come to the town of Air, he began to preach the gospel with great freedom and faithfulness. But Dunbar, the then arch-bishop of Glasgow, being informed of the great concourse of people who crouded to his sermons, at the instigation of cardinal Beaton, went to Air with the resolution to apprehend him; the bishop first took possession of the church, to prevent him from preaching in it. The news of this brought Alexander earl of Glencairn, and some gentlemen of the neighbourhood, immediately to the town; they offered to put Mr. Wishart in the church, but he would not consent, saying, "The bishop's sermon would not do much hurt, and that, if they pleased, he would go to the market-cross:" which he did, and preached with such success, that several of his hearers, formerly enemies to the truth, were converted on that occasion. During the time Mr. Wishart was thus employed, the bishop was haranguing some of his underlings and parasites in the church; having no sermon to give them, he promised to be better provided against a future occasion, and speedily left the town.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19     Next Part
Home - Random Browse