Posts

Showing posts from August, 2015

Mrs. James Guthrie: Unswerving faithfulness in God

Image
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.

Image
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?

Image

Lady Margaret Douglas: A Lady of Good Courage

Image
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

Image
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

Image
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

Image
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

Image
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…

Richard Cameron (Covenanter) - His Life and Principles

Image

The Sanquhar Declaration (1680) by Richard Cameron

Image
From Wikisource:

A speech read by Covenanter, Richard Cameron, accompanied by twenty armed men in the public square of Sanquhar, Scotland, in 1680, disavowing allegiance to Charles II and the government of Scotland, in the name of "true Protestant and Presbyterian interest", opposition to government interference in religious affairs, and anti-Catholicism. This symbolic demonstration, essentially a declaration of war, was among the first of a series of events that led to the Glorious Revolution and the end of the reign of the House of Stuart.




It is not amongst the smallest of the Lord’s mercies to this poor land, that there have been always some who have given their testimony against every cause of defection that many are guilty of; which is a token for good, that He doth not, as yet, intend to cast us off altogether, but that He will leave a remnant in whom He will be glorious, if they, through His grace, keep themselves clean still, and walk in His way and method as it has be…

Richard Cameron, Lion of the Covenant

Image
By Dan Graves, MSL

A company of English dragoons surprised and surrounded a Scottish preacher and a small band of armed men on this day July 22, 1680. Deciding to fight to the death, their leader, Richard Cameron, prayed "Lord, spare the green and take the ripe." The skirmish took place at Ayrsmoss and sprang out of the complicated web of religious and political considerations which composed English and Scottish relations at the time.

England had imposed Episcopalian worship on parts of Scotland. Cameron was born in such a region and attended and served in an Episcopal church. After hearing Presbyterian outdoor preachers, he converted to their beliefs. Because of his natural gift of oratory, Covenant leaders felt Cameron was called to preach the gospel. And so he became an outdoor preacher. He embraced the sternest position of the Scottish reformers, holding that anyone who had accepted an indulgence to return to the Episcopal worship should be shunned. Cameron had tutored t…

Lady Anne Cunningham: An Encourager of Faithful Ministers

Image
By Angela Wittman

This story of Lady Anne Cunningham is taken from the book “The Ladies of the Covenant” by Rev. James Anderson.

Lady Anne was born in Scotland sometime before 1588 (her exact birth date is unknown); she married Lord James, the Marquis of Hamilton in 1603. Together they had five children. Lady Anne was then widowed in 1625.



After her husband’s death, she continued to live a life of devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and of blessing others until her death in September of 1647. She lived during two periods of national covenanting that took place in Scotland in 1638 and 1643. Those known as “Covenanters” maintained that Christ was the Supreme King of the church and the nation, which conflicted with those who advocated “the divine rights of kings” over both realms.

Even though her husband did not have share her zeal for freedom of religion and he reportedly was more concerned with personal ambition, Lady Anne persevered and left an impact upon future generations of Christians.…

Are You A Fearless Believer?

Image
By Angela Wittman

I can think of nothing more stirring than hearing accounts of those martyred for their faith. While there are those who scoff at the zeal of Christians willing to lay down their lives for Jesus Christ, history proves that those who have done so were full of the grace and joy of the Holy Spirit even until the very end.
These men and women who counted their lives not as dear as the Gospel impacted the world for Christ in a way that will never be forgotten.

J. C. McFeeters, author of “Sketches of the Covenanters” writes this about those who spill their blood for the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

“God has His own way of calling out His witnesses, and assigning service to them. The Church, as a whole, has invalidated and incapacitated herself for this responsibility, by weakness, declension, and compromise. God does not commit His testimony to the Church, while in such condition; nor to the faithful in the Church, whose voice and actions are weakened or neutralized by majorities. T…

Elizabeth Melville: 'Look to the Lord'

Image
By Angela Wittman

The resource used for this story of Elizabeth Melvill (Lady Culross) is the book “Ladies of the Covenant” written by Rev. James Anderson.


“Look to the Lord, thou art not left alone,
Since He is thine, what pleasure canst thou take?
He is at hand, and hears thy every groan:
End out thy fight, and suffer for His sake.”
(Excerpt from a sonnet written by Elizabeth Melvill in 1605 to John Welsh, a non-conformist minister of the Gospel, while he was imprisoned in the Castle of Blackness.)
Elizabeth Melvill was born in Scotland in 1578 and died in 1640. She was an extremely intelligent and highly educated woman who was well known for her knowledge of religion. She unashamedly supported and encouraged the non-conformist ministers who stood for freedom and liberty in the Church and the Worship of God.

The story has been told that Lady Culross was a devoted hearer of the preaching of the Gospel, and would often travel to different parishes to hear the preachers and to participate in t…

Biographical highlights for Elizabeth Melville, Lady Culross (c.1578–c.1640)

Image
These biographical highlights are from Wikipedia:
In 1603 Elizabeth became the earliest known Scottish woman writer to see her work in print, when the Edinburgh publisher Robert Charteris issued the first edition of Ane Godlie Dreame, a Calvinist dream-vision poem.She was a personal friend of leading figures in the presbyterian opposition, whose frustration eventually erupted in 1637 in the Edinburgh Prayerbook Riots, leading to the National Covenant of February 1638, the Glasgow General Assembly which abolished the episcopate, and the outbreak of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.[2]Melville's father was the courtier and diplomat Sir James Melville of Halhill (1535–1617), one of the many children of the Fife landowner Sir John Melville of Raith, an early convert to protestantism who was executed for treasonable communication with the English invaders in 1548.Elizabeth's marriage contract has not survived, but it is clear from the signatures to a legal document of February 1597 …

Ane Godlie Dreame

Image
By Elizabeth Melville (Lady Culross,)
Published 1603
One day as mourned very sorely, With various things which my soul was grieving My peace fled and could not be relieved With heaviness my heart was very upset I loathed my life, I could not eat or drink I could not speak or look to any living soul But mused alone and diverse things did think.
The wretched world did irritate my mind I thought upon this false and Iron age, And how our hearts were so to vice inclined That Satan seemed most fearfully to rage Nothing on earth my sorrow could ease I felt my sin most strongly to increase I grieved my Spirit that was wont to be, My soul was drowned in deep distress...
Before the Lord I had thus complained My mind grew calm, my heart was at great rest...
I long to live with my Redeemer near.
Is this the cause, said he, rise up at once, And follow me and I shall be your guide...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

See also:
ELIZABETH MELVILLE’S ANE GODLIE DREAME: A CRITICAL EDITION by KAREN RAE KECK, B.A., M.A. 


Editor's Note…