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Hugh McKail Martyred (1666): 'He Gained the Martyr’s Crown'

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Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

"Farewell father, mother, friends, and relations; Farewell the world and its delights; farewell meat and drink; farewell sun, moon, and starts; Welcome God and Father; welcome sweet Jesus Christ the mediator of the New Covenant; welcome blessed Spirit of grace, the God of all consolation; welcome glory, welcome eternal life; welcome death! Into Thy Hands I commit my spirit." (Hugh McKail's last words)
The enemies of the Covenanters had very long memories. Long after sermons were preached or actions taken, the authorities in Scotland remembered words and actions against them. Such was the case with a young minister by the name of Hugh McKail.

A child of the manse, from Bothwell, Scotland, his pastor father was one of those forced out of his pulpit and parish when he refused to conform to Prelacy. Little is known of young Hugh’s early days, but he did go to Edinburgh for education. There he was soon marked out as a young man of ex…

The Covenanters and the Theology of Liberty

Margaret Mure: 'And they shall be one flesh'

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By Angela Wittman

"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
(Genesis Ch. 2, vs. 18, 21-24 KJV)


This week’s character sketch is of Margaret Mure, who was born in Scotland in 1618. It is reported her parents brought her up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord."

Her first marriage was to the minister Zachary Boyd of Glasgow. She was soon widowed and then went on to marry Mr. James Durham, a celebrated and popular minister who d…

Covenanters in the Crown of London

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By David T. Myers - Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

The story of the Covenanters defeated at Bothwell Bridge and sent aboard the Crown of London as slaves is a sobering story. There are pictures on the web of the monument on the coast of Orkney near the sea as well as the Covenanter Fountain in Kirkland.

Covenanters in the Crown of London


Following the disastrous Battle at Bothwell Bridge on June 22, 1679, in which Covenanters were defeated in the battle, close to 1200 Covenanter prisoners were taken to Edinburgh and imprisoned in a make shift, open air prison next to Greyfriars Kirk (church). Some were tortured and killed immediately. Others died of natural conditions due to the harsh conditions of the site. Others were pardoned and set free under the August 14th Act of Indemnity that same year. But our attention today focuses in on the approximately 257 alleged ringleaders, including Covenanter ministers, who were sentenced to be shipped to the West Indies or Virginia as wh…

Melville: Two Kings, Two Kingdoms

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Originally posted at TheHeidelblog:

"Sir, we will always humbly reverence your majesty in public; but since we have this occasion to be with your majesty in private, and since you are brought in extreme danger both of your life and crown, and along with you the country and the church of God or like to go to wreck, for not telling you the truth and giving you faithful counsel, we must discharge our duty, or else be traitors both to Christ and you. Therefore, Sir, as diverse times before I have told you so now again I must tell you, there are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland: there is King James the head of this commonwealth, and there is Christ Jesus the King of the church, whose subject James the sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member. Sir, those whom Christ has called and commanded to watch over his church, have power and authority from him to govern his spiritual kingdom both jointly and severally; the which no Christian king …

The Covenanter Communion

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Posted at Mint, Anise and the Cumin:


Covenanters, Though historically they were predominately lowlanders there were many highlander’s among them including two of the largest Highlander clans and like all true Scotsmen, “They fought like warrior poets.” and were poetic to the core. And may we imitate them and their faith & actions for the glory of Christ.

The Covenanter Communion by David Vedder Dedicated to Doctor Reverand Thomas M’crie, 1828 I. Dark is the page that chronicles the time When James the latest tyrant of his race Reigned o’er his bleeding country Not sublime With golden sceptre but an iron mace With which he crushed his subjects power and place Were given to base familiars who to fill The measure of their crimes in briefest space Did deeds of woe at which the blood runs chill And owned no law except a gloomy bigot’s will II. Land of my sires beloved of bounteous heaven On wbose blest soil nor slave nor tyrant treads Then then by bigotry thy sons were driven From hearth…

Archive Recording of Dr. Ian Paisley: Richard Cameron (Covenanter)

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Mrs. Janet (Mure) Carstairs: 'A Dearest and Most Kind Friend'

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By Angela Wittman
"I desire to bless Him that ever He was pleased to cast our lot together, that He found you out a help meet for me: you were never a temptation to me, nor an obstruction to me either in my ministerial or Christian course…" (Written by Mr. John Carstairs to his wife Janet in November of 1662.)
Janet Mure was born in February of 1625 in Scotland; she was the sister of Margaret Durham, who was married to James Durham, the well known theologian and respected minister of the Presbyterian Church.

Janet married Mr. John Carstairs, who became one of the persecuted non-conformist ministers of the Gospel, at the age of 22 or 23 years. Together they had seven children: three sons and four daughters.

Most of what we know about Janet Carstairs is derived from the letters she and her husband wrote to each other during the period of time when he was forced to flee Scotland due to persecution for his adherence to the Presbyterian faith.

Their letters reveal a strong, heroic wom…

Lady Anne, Duchess of Hamilton: A Humble Heart

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By Angela Wittman
Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear… Psalm 10, verse 17 – KJV
Lady Anne, Duchess of Hamilton was born in 1631 in Scotland to Christian parents. Her mother died when Anne was 8 years old, and her father, James, was beheaded for treason when she was only 19 years old.

James Hamilton was one of the leading Royalists who supported King Charles I. He had tried to form an alliance between the King and the Earl of Argyll, a Scottish Covenanter and friend. They eventually had a falling out and their friendship became severed. James was arrested during the administration of Oliver Cromwell, charged with treason and then executed. (Source: British-Civil-Wars.co.uk)

Due to the death of Lady Anne’s father and then her guardian, an uncle, she became impoverished as the family wealth was seized by the administration of Cromwell. The hardship of poverty left its imprint upon the character of Lady Anne which is…

Marion Fairlie: Nothing but the Righteousness of Christ

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By Angela Wittman
“It pleased God of his great goodness, early to incline my heart to seek him, and bless him that I was born in a land where the gospel was at that time purely and powerfully preached; as also, that I was born of godly parents and well educated. But above all things, I bless him that he made me see that nothing but the righteousness of Christ could save me from the wrath of God.” – Mrs. William Veitch (Marion Fairlie)
Marion Fairlie was born in Scotland in 1638, and married William Veitch, a non-conforming minister in 1664. It has been reported that her friends tried to persuade her from marrying the young minister as he had been ejected from the pulpit for not being licensed by the bishop to preach, and for having “opinions hostile to prelacy”. Instead of listening to her friends’ advice, Marion chose to cast her all upon the LORD and to trust in His providential care. She then began a life of hardship, separation and persecution as the wife of an “ejected minister” in…

Jenny Geddes - The Day of Small Beginnings

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Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

Drawing from three separate quotations, we have in short compass the story of Jenny Geddes and her little wooden stool, which God used to bring about a revolution and a return to biblical truth.

Two years ago, while walking about in Old St. Giles’ church in Edinburgh, with Dr. W. G. Blaikie, whose fame as author, scholar, and preacher, is known throughout the Presbyterian Church, he said, ― this is the first time I have been here in seventeen years. And yet this is the church in which Knox preached and Jennie Geddes worshipped. Here she threw the famous stool at the head of the Dean who was reading the liturgy, under orders from King Charles. The outburst of popular indignation, occasioned by this act, was the beginning of the great struggle for religious liberty in Scotland.
Read more here...

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From Wikipedia:


Since the early years of the 17th century, the Scottish Church had been established on the same Episcop…

The Killing Times of 1685: Ridpath’s List of Covenanters Executed in the Fields

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From Jardine's Book of Martyrs:

The 500th post...


In 1693, George Ridpath, one of the first Scottish journalists, published a list of Covenanters who had been summarily executed in the fields. Ridpath’s list was copied from the list found in Alexander Shields’ A Short Memorial in 1690. It appeared in his pamphlet An Answer to the Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence (1693), 39-42.

‘A LIST of those Murdered in Cold Blood, without trial, conviction, or any colour of Law.

ONE Finlay shot at Belmoynock, by General Dalzel’s orders, because he could not discover who was in arms at Pentland, Anno 1666; James Davie in Bathgate parish, and several others at divers times, shot, as hearing sermons in the fields, before the insurrection at Bothwell-bridge [in 1679].

Henry Hall of Haughhead, murdered at the Queen’s Ferry [in 1680], by Thomas George Waiter, after several wounds from Middleton, Governor of Blackness.

William Graham in Galloway, shot by Graham of Claverhouse’s order [in 1682], who together wi…

Mrs. James Guthrie: Unswerving faithfulness in God

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By Angela Wittman

"I know in whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. I have preached salvation through His name, and as I have preached, so do I believe, and do commend the riches of His free grace, and faith in His name unto you all, as the only way whereby you can be saved." (Spoken by Rev. James Guthrie while on the scaffold in 1661.)
Jane Ramsey, who became Mrs. James Guthrie, has been described as a woman with "unswerving faithfulness to the cause of God." It is only by the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit that one could possibly endure the suffering Mrs. Guthrie did when she lost her husband to martyrdom.

Rev. James Guthrie was a contemporary of Samuel Rutherford and became an ordained minister in 1638. He has been described as a man who loved God, his country, and one who boldly spoke of the Lordship of Christ over both the Church and the nation. This eventually led to his being charged with …

The Articles of Perth [1618] - Usurpers, Pretenders, and the One True King.

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Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

It was an ancient issue in many respects. Who was the king of the church? Was it the king of the British Isles, or was it Jesus Christ? There was no doubt in the prelacy party that the first answer was the correct one. And equally in the Presbyterian church, there was no doubt that Jesus is the king of the church. What was a turning point between the Crown and the Presbyterians was the passing of the Five Articles of Perth on August 25, 1618.

It all took place at a General Assembly on this date in Perth, Scotland. Yes, it was the national assembly of Scottish Presbyterians. Yes, there were various elders from the church of Scotland. Yes, there were faithful Presbyterians who were relegated to inferior positions, without the possibility of voting, even though they were elders sent by their Presbyterian parishes. Yes, there were many people present who were hand picked and not even ruling elders in the churches. The constitution of the Presbyter…

Who were the Covenanters?

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Lady Margaret Douglas: A Lady of Good Courage

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By Angela Wittman

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
(Deuteronomy 31:6 – KJV)

The heroine of this story is Lady Margaret Douglas who was born in Scotland in 1610 and then at a young age married the man who became the love of her life, the First Marquis of Argyll, Archibald, Lord Lorn.

During her first pregnancy Lady Margaret suffered from a serious illness. The doctors told her that to treat her illness the life of her child would need to be sacrificed in order to save hers. Rev. James Anderson, author of the book "Ladies of the Covenant" writes this about her:

"But from this proposal the heart of the mother recoiled, and on no consideration would she give her consent. In the good providence of God, however, the life both of the mother and of the infant was saved..."
Of Lady Margaret’s marriage to Lord Lorn, we are told that both she …

THE LAST SPEECH AND TESTIMONY OF THE REVEREND MR. JAMES RENWICK

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Minister of the Gospel, who suffered in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh, February 17, 1688. Emitted from his own hand, the day before his suffering.

MY DEAR FRIENDS IN CHRIST,

It hath pleased the Lord to deliver me up into the hands of men; and I think fit to send you this salutation, which I expect will be the last. When I pose [i.e., question] my heart upon it, before God, I dare not desire to have escaped this lot; for no less could have been for His glory and vindication of His cause on my behalf. And as I am free before Him of the profanity, which some, either naughty, wicked, or strangers to me, have reported that I have been sometimes guilty of, so He hath kept me, from the womb, free of the ordinary pollutions of children; as these that have been acquainted with me through the tract of my life do know. And now my blood shall either more silence reproachers, or more ripen them for judgment. But I hope it shall make some more sparing to speak of those who shall come after me; and so …

Lady Jane Campbell: A Heart Filled With Faith

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By Angela Wittman

“Christ hath too many occasional friends; but the ground of all is this, ‘I love Jesus Christ, but I have not the gift of burning quick for Christ.’ Oh, how securely should faith land us out of the gun-shot of the prevailing power of a black hour of darkness! Faith can make us able to be willing, for Christ, to go through a quarter of hell's pain.”
(Taken from Samuel Rutherford’s dedication of “Trial and Triumph of Faith” to Lady Jane Campbell, the Viscountess of Kenmure)
Lady Jane Campbell was born in Scotland in the 17th century. She was a contemporary of Lady Culross, and also shared a friendship with Samuel Rutherford who spoke of her in the highest terms. He immortalized her memory and name with dedicating his book “Trial and Triumph of Faith” to her.

Lady Kenmure not only was a benefactor to the Presbyterian ministers, but she was one of their greatest advocates. Toward the end of her life when her fortune had diminished, she continued to give to the banished a…

JAMES RENWICK

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From: A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, by Rev. John H. Thomson - Posted at CRTA:

ON A MONUMENT AT MONIAIVE: In memory of the late Reverend James Renwick, the last who suffered to death for attachment to the Covenanted Cause of Christ in Scotland — born near this spot, 15th February 1662, and executed at the Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 17th February 1688.
JAMES RENWICK was born February 15, 1662, at Moniaive, in the parish of Glencairn, Dumfriesshire. His father, Andrew Renwick, was a weaver, and in profession and practice a fervent and faithful Christian, which was enough, says Alexander Shields in his Life of Renwick, to nobilitate the birth of his worthy son, who had what honor was wanting in his first birth made up in the second. He died as he lived, in the Lord, February 1st, 1676, the same day twelve years after that his son was taken to die for the Lord [age 26].

His mother, Elizabeth Corsan, was of like piety with her husband. She had several children, but all died previous to the birth of James…

Lady Boyd: Living only for Christ

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By Angela Wittman

“They lose nothing who gain Christ.” ~ Samuel Rutherford

Lady Boyd was born in Scotland between 1588 and 1594; her maiden name was Christian Hamilton. She was the oldest daughter of Sir Thomas Hamilton and his wife Margaret.

Alexander Whyte, the author of “Samuel Rutherford and his Correspondents” writes that “she inherited no small part of her father’s talents and strength of character.” He then goes on to say that “All her days Lady Boyd was on the most intimate terms with the most eminent ministers of the Church of Scotland. We find such men as Robert Bruce, Robert Blair, John Livingstone and Samuel Rutherford continually referring to her in the loftiest terms.”

In the book “Ladies of the Covenant” by Rev. James Anderson, she is described as having “encouraged the preaching of the gospel, exercising a generous hospitality and liberality towards its ministers, receiving them into her house and supplying them with money.”

She was known to stay up late into the night writ…