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Mr Donald Cargill.
TOWIE, in his collection of lectures and sermons, has given
twenty pages of notes of the lecture and the discourse
delivered by Donald Cargill before the Torwood Excommunication, and the sermon afterwards on Lam. iii. 31, 32, “For the Lord will not cast off for ever. But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.”
In Wilson's manuscript sermons, already referred to, there are also notes of the whole. They show that Howie, as in the case of those of Richard Can.eron, has sometimes made changes on the text of the manuscript that are by no means an improvement.--ED.)
RELATION of some remarkable passages in the Life of
Mr DONALD CARGILL. (A former notice of Mr Cargill's Life, by way of preface to his testimony, will be found at page 1 of this volume.--Ed.)
These foregoing testimonies everywhere speaking so honourably of the reverend Mr Donald Cargill as a
faithful Minister of Jesus Christ : a true and full relation of his life, and more especially of his ministry, would be very necessary to a right understanding of the state of their testimony; but by reason that there are not in the hands of the publishers such wellattested narrations thereof, as might furnish them with an exact and full history thereof, let it suffice for the present to set down the following accounts collected by that worthy and religious gentleman, Sir Robert Hamilton of Preston, who ushers them in with this personal character of Mr Cargill :
“First (saith he) as he was of a most holy, strict, tender and composed practice and conversation, so he was affectionate, affable, and tender-hearted to all he judged had anything of the image of God in them : sober and temperate in his diet, saying commonly, It was well won that was won off the flesh; generous, liberal, and most charitable to the poor, a great hater of covetousness, a frequent visitor of the sick, much alone, loving to be retired; but when about his Master's public work, laying hold of every opportunity to edify; in converse still dropping what might minister grace to the hearers; his very countenance was edifying to beholders, often sighing with deep groans : preaching in season and out of season, upon all hazards, ever the same in judgment and practice.”
There were several things remarkable in the manner of his calling to the ministry; for after he had perfected his philosophy course, at the University of St Andrews, his father, a godly and religious gentleman pressed much upon him to study divinity, in order to fit him for the ministry; but he, through his great tenderness of spirit, constantly refused, telling his father, that the work of the ministry was too great a weight for his weak shoulders, and requesting him to command him to any other employment he pleased. But his father still urging, he resolved to seek the mind of the Lord therein, and for that end set apart a day of private fasting, and after long and earnest wrestling with the Lord by prayer, the third chapter of Ezekiel's prophecy, and chiefly these words in the first verse, “Son of man, eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel,” made a strong impression upon his mind, so that he durst never after refuse his father's desire, to betake himself to that study, and dedicate himself wholly to that office. And having got a call to the Barony Parish of Glasgow, Divine Providence ordered it so, that the first text upon which the Presbytery ordered him to preach was in these very words of the third of Ezekiel, which he had got clearness from before ; whence he was the more confirmed, that he had God's call to that parish.
The parish had been long vacant, by reason that two ministers of the Public Resolution party-viz., Mr George Young and Mr Hugh Blair-had still opposed the settlement of such godly men as had been called by the people, and had practised secretly with the Council of Glasgow not to suffer any to be settled there that might be against the Public Resolutions; but in reference to Mr Cargill's call, they were by God's good providence much bound up from their
wonted opposition. Mr Cargill perceiving the lightness of the people, and their unconcernedness under the Word, was much discouraged thereat, and resolved to return home, and not to accept the call, and when urged by the godly ministers not to do it, and his reason asked, he answered, “They are a rebellious people.” The ministers solicited him much to stay, but could not prevail. At last when his horse was drawn, and he just about to take journey, being in Mr James Durham's house, when he had saluted several of the Christian friends that came to see him take horse, as he was bidding farewell to a certain godly woman, she said to him, “Sir, you have promised to preach on Thursday, and have you appointed a meal to a poor starving people, and will ye go away and not give it? If you do, the curse of God will go with you.” This so commoved him, that he durst not go away as he intended, but sitting down, desired her and others to pray for him. So he remained, and was settled in that parish, where he continued to exercise his ministry with great success, to the unspeakable satisfaction of his own parish, and of all the godly who heard and knew him, till, after the introduction of Prelacy, he was first put from the exercise thereof in public, and likewise chased and pursued for exercising it privately, by the bloody violence of persecutors.
For, upon the 29th of May, which was then consecrate to King Charles in commemoration of his happy (unhappy) restoration, he had occasion to preach in his own Church. It falling upon the ordinary week-day, wherein he used to preach, he saw an unusual throng of people come to hear him, as thinking he had preached in compliance with that solemnity. Upon his entering the pulpit he said, “We are not come here to keep this day upon the account for which others keep it. We thought once to have blessed the day, wherein the king came home again ; but now we think we shall have reason to curse it. And if any of you be come here in order to the solemnising of this day, we desire you to remove." And he enlarged upon the unlawfulness of solemnising it, with several weighty arguments.
This did extremely incense the malignant party against him ; so that being hotly pursued and searched for, he was forced to abscond, remaining sometimes in private houses of his parish, sometimes lying without all night among broom near by the city, yet never omitting any proper occasion of private preaching, exercising, catechising, visiting families, and other ministerial duties. And after a while he returned to his church, and preached publicly, and gave the com
munion, not without great fear among the people, lest he should have been taken out of the pulpit by the persecutors.
At length, when the churches were all vacated of Presbyterians by an Act of Council, commonly known by the name of the Act of Glasgow, Middleton sent a band of soldiers to apprehend him, who, coming to the church, found him not, he having providentially just stepped out of the one door a minute before they came in at the other, whereupon they took the keys of the church door with them and departed. Meantime, the Council passed an act of confinement, banishing him to the north, but he did not regard it; and so being at length apprehended at Edinburgh, was brought before the Council and strictly examined, being signally strengthened to bear faithful testimony to his Master's honour, and His persecuted cause and truths. But by the interposition of some persons of quality, his own and his wife's relations, he was liberated. And he returned presently to Glasgow, and there performed all the ministerial duties as when he was in his own church, notwithstanding the diligence of persecutors in searching for him.
During this time, partly the great grief he conceived for the ruin of the work of God in the land, partly the toils and labours of his calling and inconveniences of his accommodation, did so break his voice, that he could not be heard by many people together, which was a sore exercise to him, and a discouragement to come to preach in the fields. But one day, Mr Blackader coming to preach near Glasgow, he essayed to preach with him, and standing on a chair (as his ordinary was) he lectured on Isa. xliv. 3, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground : I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.” The people knowing that his voice was sore broken, were much discouraged lest they should not have heard, by reason of the great confluence ; but it pleased the Lord so to loose his tongue and restore his voice to that distinctness and clearness, that none could readily exceed him in that respect ever after ; and not only his voice, but his spirit was so enlarged, and such a door of utterance given him, that Mr Blackader, succeeding him, said to the people, “Ye that have such preaching as this, have no need to invite strangers to preach to you. Make good use of your mercy.”
After this he continued to preach within a very little of the city, a great multitude still attending upon and profiting by his ministry, being wonderfully preserved in the midst of dangers ; the enemies
several times sending out some to watch him, and catch something from his mouth, whereof they might accuse him. Particularly one day the archbishop of Glasgow sent one of his domestic servants to take notice what he would say concerning the prelates; he, knowing nothing thereof, was directed of the Lord to have these words in prayer, while he was bewailing the overthrow of the work of God: “What shall we say of the prelates ? the good Lord make us quit of them; for we will never have a day to do well, till once the Lord remove that abominable party, that has destroyed the vineyard of the Lord :” which was all that the spy had to return to his master with.
To relate all the surprising deliverances that he met with, in escaping very narrowly from his enemies, would take much time; take only a few instances.
In the month of October 1665 they made a public search for him in the city; he being informed of it, took his horse and rode out of the town, and at a narrow pass of the way, he met a good number of musketeers, and as he passed by them, turning into another way upon the right hand, one of them asked him, “Sir, what of the clock is it?" He answered, “ It is six.” Another of them knowing his voice, says to his fellows, “ There's the man we're seeking,” which he hearing, put the spurs to the horse and escaped.
He most usually resided for the space of three years and upwards in the house of one Margaret Craig, a godly and honest woman, lecturing evening and morning to such as came to hear him, where, though they searched frequently for him, yet Divine providence so ordered it, that at all the times he was either casually or purposely absent, though they managed their searches with much closeness ; but the Lord was so graciously kind to him, that He left him not without some peculiar notices of approaching hazard (our atheistical wits perhaps will call them enthusiasms; but the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him); as for instance, on a certain Sabbath, when he was going to Woodside to preach, as he was about to mount his horse, the one foot being in the stirrup, he turned about to his man, and said, “I must not go yonder to-day," and within a little, a party of horse and foot came in quest of him, and not finding the mark they aimed at, fell upon the people, apprehending and imprisoning many of them.
Another remarkable escape was, at a search purposely made for taking him in the city. They came to his chamber, and found him not, for he was providentially in another house that night; the search