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“ Another thing makes me scruple, because they command no more prayers to be prayed, save unto thee, O king (Dan. vi. 7).
"And lastly, I dare not pray it, because all the profane profligate persons have it always in their mouth, especially when they are drunk; and if I do what they do, I fear I go where they go. blessed be the Lord, who has yet prevented me from the paths of these destroyers. Much of this was spoken when I was before them, and so I shall forbear to speak any more as to this question.
“The next question is, in order to the Prelate's death, whether it was murder or not? Murder, I dare not call it, more than Eglon's, Sisera's, and Balaam's deaths, but the just judgment of God for his fearful apostacy and backsliding, together with the horrid murders committed by him upon the saints and servants of God.
“The third is, that of the death of the late king: Whether it was murder or not? I am not much to meddle with it. But the many thousands that were slain in England, the horrid murder committed by the Irish in Ireland, and the dreadful slaughter of the Protestants in Scotland, cause great thoughts of heart, that it was a fatal stroke.
"A fourth thing, whether Bothwell Bridge was rebellion ? which, whether it was so or not, may appear, if ye consider our former engagements to that effect.
" And fifthly, anent owning and adhering to the Covenants ? We answered publicly before the Court, That in all the Scripture it was warrantable, both to make covenants, and also to keep them, and that there was never a covenant so broken, but that which was punished by signal judgments and plagues by the Lord.
“ These were the answers to the indictment, and whereupon the sentence of death passed, or for not answering to some of these questions; for which I must lay down my life, and if this be not murder, let the Christian nations bear witness, if ever the like was done in any Christian kingdom heretofore.
“But now, being straitened for want of time, and other inconveniences, I cannot say much more to you. Only I leave it with you as my last advice, that ye would endeavour to keep the way of the Lord sincerely, and not to meddle with them that are given to such changes, which alas ! too many plead for, and are given to this day; and that ye would not be so formal in many things, concerning godliness, and the work and worship of God. Formality, [it] may be feared, will give many a beguile, when it cannot be mended.
“As first, I beseech you, be more observant in keeping the Lord's
Day, in rising betimes in the morning, and in spending the whole time in worshipping of God sincerely. Take heed to your thoughts, words, and actions. And when ye set a day apart-I mean of humiliation-give God the whole day, and notice what success ye have had, and how you have found the work thrive and prosper among you. And use less disputings, even in things seemingly necessary; and be more in examination and edification, both of yourselves and others. And believe it, a well-spent Sabbath will be helpful to spend the week well. And also labouring to have your conversation aright through the week will be a noble presage to begin the Sabbath.
“And what ye spare of your ordinary diet, bestow it upon the poor and needy. There is this among many who profess to be religious, which is odious, that they take well with it to be called religious, and yet they have little or no scruple to do wrong, and speak wrong of others, and towards them. I beseech you, sin not, though there were no eye to see you but God, either by doing or suffering. Ye will never perform religious duties aright, till ye be at this, that ye dare do wrong in no kind to any. Do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Alas! it is sad to see and hear judgments and plagues multiplied, and sin so much increasing.
“O for more tenderness one towards another, and of a spirit of meekness and zeal for God; give yourselves to be ever in prayer one with another, and one for another. Wrestle with Him in behalf of His Church and ruined work now borne down, and that He may return to the land and pity His people ; and be importunate with Him in this, lest the ruin thereof be found to be under your hand. I fear ye may expect judgments to come suddenly upon this sinful land; so that ye will think, happy were they that wan [i.e., got] away before they came. Therefore, so many of you as would in any measure escape the deluge of wrath, that is coming on this sinful generation, keep clean hands, and be free of the sinful abominations committed therein; and for witnessing against them, we are to lay down our lives this day.
“And now, as a dying man, and a dying Christian, I join with, and approve of all the Holy Scriptures both of the Old and New Testaments, both of threatenings and promises therein. As also, I agree with, and allow of that excellent book, called the Confession of Faith, with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Sum of Saving Knowledge, Directory for Worship ; and particularly I adhere to, and allow of the two Covenants, both National and Solemn League and
Covenant, Acknowledgment of Sins and Engagement to Duties, with all other contained in the forenamed book. As also, I do witness and testify my dislike of the breaches and burnings of these Covenants and of all other horrid abominations of that nature. And, likewise, I abhor and detest all compliance or joining with the enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ; and more particularly of bonding, bargaining, and informing, or putting them to do hurt, any manner of way, to any of the Lord's poor afflicted, borne-down, wandering, and distressed people. And in like manner, I hate and detest all communing with, speaking favourably of, or eating or drinking with any such, except in case of necessity. And, in like manner, I testify my dislike of that dreadful, blasphemous, and abominable unparallelled Test, and all pretended magistrates or ministers, which have taken the same, and of all that meddle and join with them, or of payers of fines, for hearing the Gospel, or transacting or colleaguing with any such, any manner of way, upon the foresaid account.
“And lastly, I hate too much covetousness in prisoners who are in any capacity to maintain themselves, and are yet burdensome to other poor, mean (though charitable) people. And I join heartily with the testimonies of our dear suffering brethren, who suffered either formerly or of late. And, likewise, I join my testimony to a faithful preached Gospel by faithful Presbyterian, lawfully called, and authorised ministers, and lawful magistrates placed and empowered, as is agreeable and warranted by the Word of God, and none other. And notwithstanding I be branded with not admitting of magistracy and kingly authority, I do hereby declare and make it known to the world, that I do allow of lawful authority, agreeable and conformable to the will and command of God, the only lawgiver, as much as any man in my station in Scotland, and account a land happy and blessed in having and enjoying of such.
And now, being honoured to die for adhering to the truth, and to die this same day, being the 22d of February 1684, I do hereby forgive all persons all wrongs done to me, and wish them forgiveness, as I desire to be forgiven of God.
“And now I leave all friends and Christian relations to the good guiding of Almighty God, and bid all of you farewell in the Lord. Farewell all worldly enjoyments and created comforts; and welcome Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, into whose hands I commit my spirit.
“ GEORGE MARTIN.”
JOGETHER with this martyr suffered John Gilry, wright in
the parish of Hownam, in Teviotdale, whose indictment was
founded upon the same heads, and his testimony is much of a piece with his. He dies admiring and praising free grace, adhering to the truths of Jesus, and firmly trusting in Him for salvation.
JOHN MAIN suffered at the same time with four others,
James Johnston, John Richmond, Archibald Stewart, and
James Winning. Of all the five, little else is now known beyond the fact of their trial and martyrdom.
John Main lived in the parish of West Monkland. He was apprehended with arms about him, November 1683, in the Gorbals of Glasgow, at a time when a vigorous search was made after all suspected of hostility to the Government. Sometime during his imprisonment he made an attempt to escape, but he seems to have been surprised and taken, when just about to succeed.
Of James Johnston, it is simply said, that he belonged to the parish of Cadder.
John Richmond was younger of Knowe, a farm in Galston parish, about a mile to the south of the village of Darvel, in Ayrshire. He was seized in Glasgow, November 1683, the day previous to the apprehension of John Main. He was walking on the street when Major John Balfour tried to lay hold of him. Balfour knew nothing of him, but declared that, from his garb, he was one of the persecuted. A scuffle ensued, in which Richmond endeavoured to escape, but was unsuccessful. He was overpowered, and, although there was no charge against him except that he tried to get away when Balfour sought to make him a prisoner, he was carried to the guardhouse. Here he was tied neck and heels together, and, notwithstanding he was bleeding from the wounds received in this effort to maintain his
freedom, he was left lying on the ground till next day, when he was taken to prison, where he lay for about five months till his trial.
Of Archibald Stewart little more is known than his name and parish. He was a countryman, belonging to the parish of Lesmahagow, and in the twentieth year of his age.
James Winning was a tailor in Glasgow. He had long been a hearer of curates ; but, from some private information, he was summoned, February 1684, to appear before one of the bailies. He was examined about Bothwell and Archbishop Sharp's death. His answers were deemed unsatisfactory, and he was sent to prison.
The five were tried in Glasgow on the same day, March 17, 1684, before a special commission. Their indictment was of the usual nature. It charged them with being at Bothwell, and concealing fugitives or conversing with them. A great many witnesses were adduced, and their evidence, however improbable, was sustained, after the manner of the times. One witness was asked, if he saw John Main among the rebels with arms ? and answered, he saw him coming from the eastward, while they were going westward. The preses, Lieutenant-Colonel Windram, declared this statement was material, and ordered the clerk to write, “depones, he saw John Main coming to the rebels, and going from them in arms,” a statement nearly the opposite of what the witness said. Another affirmed that he saw John Richmond at Airsmoss in arms. The preses asked how far he was from the prisoner ? About half-a-mile, was the reply. Improbable as was this assertion, it was sustained, and was, indeed, the only evidence they had of his being at Airsmoss. Richmond, in his testimony, mournfully complains, that four who witnessed against him were persons who, by their previous profession, were bound to defend him, rather than seek to take away his life. James Winning was asked if he had anything against the witnesses ? and replied he had nothing, but solemnly professed, as he was to answer to God at the last day, that he never carried arms in his life, for or against any
The preses scoffingly replied, it was enough if he was in company with the rebels, though he had but his needle with him.
The trial seems to have lasted the whole day. John Richmond says, it was eight o'clock at night when sentence was passed. They were sentenced to die in less than two days—on the 19th of March --at two in the afternoon, and, in Richmond's case at least, his head was to be struck off and fixed upon the Tolbooth of Glasgow.
In the first edition of the “Cloud," the testimony of Main is the