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Showing posts from 2016

On The Trail of Claverhouse: The Killing of Matthew MacIlwraith in 1685

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By Dr. Mark Jardine - Posted at Jardine's Book of Martyrs:

Matthew MacIlwraith’s death is one of the most difficult events of the Killing Times to place in a chronological context. He was shot by John Graham of Claverhouse’s troops in Colmonell parish in Carrick at some point in 1685, but no specific date for that event is given.

For all the sources about his death, see here.

When I first wrote about MacIlwraith, it was not clear when he was killed. However, after further research, there is a way of narrowing down the broad time frame for his death by looking at the known movements of Claverhouse in the historical sources for 1685.

Where was Claverhouse?

Claverhouse was involved in operations in Galloway in late 1684, when he was involved in the killings at Auchencloy after a raid on Kirkcudbright Tolbooth. However, the debacle of the raid and its aftermath led to him being replaced in the field by his rival, Colonel James Douglas. Contrary to the black legend of “Bluidy Clavers”, from…

Samuel Rutherford’s Word of Comfort for the Grief of a Child

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Posted at Regeneration, Repentance and Reformation:
Letter 310, to Lady Kenmure, on the occasion of the death of her infant daughter.
Written by, Samuel Rutherford





MADAM,


Saluting your Ladyship with grace and mercy from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. I was sorry, at my departure, leaving your Ladyship in grief, and would be still grieved at it if I were not assured that ye have one with you in the furnace whose visage is like unto the Son of God.

I am glad that ye have been acquainted from your youth with the wrestlings of God,
knowing that if ye were not dear to God, and if your health did not require so much of Him, He would not spend so much physic upon you. All the brethren and sisters of Christ must be conform to His image and copy in suffering (Rom. 8.29). And some do more vividly resemble the copy than others. Think, Madam, that it is a part of your glory to be enrolled among those whom one of the elders pointed out to John, ‘These are they which came out of great t…

The Covenanters’ Prison, Edinburgh, 1679

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By Dr. Mark Jardine - Posted at Jardine's Book of Martyrs:

After the Covenanters were defeated in the battle of Bothwell Brig on 22 June, 1679, at least 1,184 prisoners were delivered to Edinburgh.

They were held in Inner Greyfriars’ Yard.


What is today called The Covenanters’ Prison in Greyfriars’ churchyard only covers a small portion of the area where the prisoners were actually held. At that time, The Covenanters’ Prison was not part of the graveyard, but part of a considerably larger enclosure – the Inner Yard – which ran east from the Covenanters’ Prison through the houses, across Forest Road and through the buildings there, to Bristo Place. Today, the pub called Sandy Bell’s lies approximately in the centre of what was the Inner Yard. It was a grass park of over three acres surrounded on all sides by high walls and accessed via a single gate by the Society Port. There was no access via the present-day gate to the Covenanters’ Prison. Instead, a continuous dyke ran across the n…

Lady Colvill imprisoned for her faith (1684)

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

Entitled to the Benediction of the Savior


In the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pronounced a blessing upon His followers in Matthew 5:10, 11 when He said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (NASB) There can be no doubt that the subject of our post today was entitled to the benediction of the Savior in her life.

Her name at birth was Margaret Wemyss, but through marriage with the Lord of Colvill, she was called Lady Colvill. From that union, which ended with the death of her husband in 1671, she bore two daughters. Our focus today is on this wife, and her son. The former was “A Lady of the Covenant,” and steadfast in her adherence to Presbyterianism in Scotland.

Her “crimes” were two-fold in the eyes of the An…

The Covenanter James Renwick’s Tree in Moniaive

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By Dr. Mark Jardine - Posted at Jardine's Book of Martyrs:

It is a curious fact, that James Renwick, the minister of the Covenanters, has remarkably few places named after him considering his central role in their struggle in the 1680s. That stands in marked contrast to Alexander Peden, whom Renwick opposed, who has a plethora of trees, caves and stones associated with him. One reason for that may be that Peden’s wanderings through the landscape had a superb and evocative publicist in the form of Patrick Walker, whose Life of Peden was a very popular work in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

One place where Renwick is remembered in the landscape is at his place of birth, Moniaive, in his native parish of Glencairn in Dumfriesshire. There a monument was erected ‘about 100 yards from the place where he is supposed to have been born’ just over the hill to the north of the monument.

Thanks to Evelyn Boyes who posted about Renwick’s Tree on the ‘Moniaive, Dunscore and the Cairn Val…

Apples of Gold: Lady Mary Johnston

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Covenant Ladies
Index Page (Apples of Gold)


Lady Mary (Johnston) Lindsay
Countess Crawford


Lady Mary Johnson was the eldest daughter of James, Earl of Annandale and Hartfell, by his wife Lady Henrietta Douglas, daughter of William, first Marquis of Douglas, by his second wife, Lady Mary Gordon. She was married at Leith, on the 8th of March, 1670, to William, sixteenth Earl of Crawford, and second Earl of Lindsay, the son of John, Earl of Crawford and Lindsay, and brother to the Duchess of Rothes. Her husband, like his parents was a nonconformist, and great deference was paid to him by the Presbyterians. On this account he was, throughout the period of the persecution, a marked man; and, from the danger to which he was exposed, he once intended to go abroad, though he never went, but lived in retirement till the Revolution, which brought him deliverance and honour.

The early education and family connections of this lady tended to prejudice her mind against the suffering Covenanters. But her…

William Guthrie

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Posted at Banner of Truth:

William Guthrie, one of the holiest and ablest of the experimental divines of Scotland, was born at Pitforthy, Angus, the seat of his ancestors, in the year 1620. He was the eldest son of the family, and his superior genius was displayed in his early and successful attention to learning; but till his entrance into college life, he did not obtain that intimate and saving acquaintance with Divine truth which enabled him at once to stay his own soul upon God as the God of his salvation, and to prescribe most skilfully for the cases of spiritual disease that came under his notice. He felt himself greatly indebted for acquaintance with the way of holiness to the instructions of a near kinsman. This was his cousin, James Guthrie, then holding one of the chairs in the New College of St Andrews, and afterwards highly esteemed as the faithful minister of Stirling during the period of the Covenant, for his faithful adherence to which he obtained a martyr’s crown.

Samuel…

Apples of Gold: 'The Two Margarets'

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The Two MargaretsCovenant Ladies
Index Page (Apples of Gold)

Margaret McLauchlan and Margaret Wilson

The years 1684 and 1685 were years of terrible suffering to the Covenanters. The history of these years is written in letters of blood, and they were emphatically called, by the sufferers, 'The Killing Time.' the savage ruffians, who were scouring the country like incarnate demons, hunted the poor helpless victims of their cruelty like wild beasts, over moors and mountains. If they met with a person who refused to answer their questions, or who did not satisfy them in his answers; or if they found another reading the Bible; or observed a third apparently alarmed or attempting to escape, they reckoned all such persons fanatics, and in many instances shot them dead on the spot. The devil had gone forth, having great wrath, as if knowing that his time was short. Patrick Walker remarks, that during these two years, eighty persons were shot in the fields, in cold blood; and he further …

The Woman Who Never Was

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By Dr. Mark Jardine - Posted at Jardine's Book of Martyrs:


Amid the flotsam of the Killing Times of 1685 are a few brief lines on a threatened drowning of a woman at Kirkcudbright. She never was drowned, but her remarkable story deserves to be told…

The case of Grizel Fullarton has striking parallels with the drowning of the two Wigtown martyrs, Margaret McLachlan and Margaret Wilson.

Grizel Fullarton was captured by Colonel James Douglas, who commissioned the court that initially sentenced the two Wigtown women to be drowned for refusing the abjuration oath in April, 1685, under powers awarded to him on 27 March.

The events of Fullarton’s case took place earlier in the same year in the same jurisdiction, Galloway, but under a slightly different set of judicial commissions. She was scheduled to face some of the same judges that went on to condemn the Wigtown women, but under their commission to press the abjuration oath in January, 1685.

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Handed Down From the Scaffold: The Cargill Bible

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By Dr. Mark Jardine - Posted at Jardine's Book of Martyrs:


One of Cargill’s last acts on the scaffold on 27 July, 1681, was to hand down his bible to a sympathizer and instruct them to pass it on to his sister. The incident is recorded in a handwritten entry in Cargill’s bible:

‘[Cargill] Bore this Bible to the Scaffold as his last best friend and handed it therefrom as his last sad legacy to be carried to his oldest sister Anne Cargill with these memorable words – ‘I am sure of my salvation being complete in Jesus Christ as I am of the truth of all that is contained in this holy this inestimable book of God!’ (Quoted in Crawford, Scotland’s Books, 214.)
Cargill had three sisters. His bible was handed down via the family of Anne Cargill, the eldest of them. A second sister, Grizel Cargill, was married to Donald Crockatt, a notary in Alyth parish, Perthshire.

A third sister may have been married to John Miller in Watershaugh in Shotts parish. Lanarkshire: ‘Mrs. Miller, the worthy spous…

Janet Geddes - Laud's Liturgy

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For more background of the account of Jenny Gedde's tossing her stool at the minister at St. Giles, here is an excerpt from Laud's Liturgy as posted at The Salty Scrivener:
Dean Hannay first read the new Scottish Prayer book, which became known as ‘Laud’s Liturgy’, at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, on the third Sunday in July 1637. There is an interesting story relating to the first reading of the Liturgy. It is believed that a vegetable-seller, known as Jenny Geddis was in the church for the service. When the Dean began to read the liturgy, Geddis rose to her feet, shouting, “The devil give thee bellyache! Woulds’t thou say mass in my lug!”
Geddis then proceeded to throw her stool across the room at the dean. How much of this is legend is unknown, but there is a plaque on the floor of St. Giles Cathedral today, which marks the point from where Geddis registered her protest. The protest is thought to have been both heavily organised and heavily politicised. One thing is …

David Dickson from Scots Worthies by John Howie

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Posted at Monergism.com:

David Dickson was born about the year 1583. He was the only son of Mr John Dick or Dickson, merchant in Glasgow, whose father was an old feuar and possessor of some lands in the barony of Fintry, and parish of St Ninian’s, called the Kirk of the Muir. His parents were religious, of considerable substance, and were many years married before they had David, who was their only child. As he was a Samuel asked of the Lord, so he was early devoted to Him and the ministry. Yet afterwards the vow was forgot, till Providence, by a rod and sore sickness on their son, brought their sins to their remembrance, and then he was sent to assume his studies at the University of Glasgow.

Soon after he had received the degree of Master of Arts, he was admitted professor of philosophy in that college, where he was very useful in training up the youth in solid learning; and, with the learned Principal Boyd of Trochrig, the worthy Mr Blair, and other pious members of that society, his…

Jenny Geddes and the Prayer Book Protest

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Posted at Jenny Geddes, Reformation History:

On the 23rd of July 1637, in St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Dean Hannay attempted to read from the prayer book for the first time. At this, a woman called Jenny Geddes picked up the stool she was sitting and threw it at his head, shouting 'Villain, dost thou say mass at my lug? [in my hearing]'. Then a riot broke out, with more people shouting and throwing stools, before leaving the building.

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David Dickson and the protests against the prayer book

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Posted at Reformation History:

David Dickson was born in 1583 and was minister in Irvine before becoming a Professor of theology at Glasgow University. Along with Alexander Henderson, David Dickson led the protests against the Book of Common Prayer in 1637 after the first attempt to read it had been interrupted by Jenny Geddes. They had planned the opposition to the prayer book in the months before it was introduced, and now Dickson helped organise petitions to the privy council against the prayer book. These protests condemned the prayer book as containing errors and being forced on the church without having the approval of a General Assembly or Parliament. The privy council wrote to the king telling him of the opposition to the prayer book from all sorts of people from different parts of the country.

On the 17th of October, the king ordered that all the protestors were to leave Edinburgh within 24 hours. However the nobles, lairds and ministers stayed on to present another protest. Th…

John Knox – Scotland’s Reformer

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By Rev. Robert K McEvoy - Posted at The Salty Scrivener:

Born near Haddington in 1505, Knox studied at the university of St Andrews, and upon graduating (at a very young age) was admitted into holy orders. An early disciple of George Wishart, Knox soon developed a deep distaste for Roman Catholicism and the clergy of Rome, who had done to death his friend and mentor. Knox was captured by the French and made a galley slave, escaping to England in 1550, where he preached at Newcastle, Berwick and London. Edward VI of England offered him a bishopric, but Knox refused on principle and after the King’s death made his way to Geneva, where he became a close friend of John Calvin. In 1554, at the request of some of the nobility, Knox returned to Scotland, where he began to preach and campaign against the mass, with such success that people in droves began to turn away from the Catholic worship. He spent another time in Geneva, between 1556 and 1559, after which he returned to Scotland. Fo…

‘Scotland’s last martyr’ : remembering James Renwick

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Posted at New College Librarian:

February was a suitable month to remember James Renwick (15 February 1662 – 17 February 1688). Renwick was a graduate of Edinburgh University who accepted a call to the ministry within the independent Presbyterian church ‘societies’. These communities were formed by the Covenanters, so named because they bound themselves in ‘covenants’ to maintain the Presbyterian doctrine as the sole form of religion in Scotland. They rejected the attempts of the Crown to control church government and patronage in Scotland.

Renwick’s short career included illegal field preaching, baptizing, and eluding capture by the authorities. His sermons and letter were published as tracts and pamphlets, some of which are preserved in New College Library’s Pamphlets Collection.
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The Martyrdom Of George Wishart - 1 March 1546

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Posted at The Heidelblog:


"On the sixteenth day of January, 1546, the Regent and cardinal arrived after night-fall at Elphingston Tower, in the neighbourhood of Ormiston, with five hundred men, and despatched the Earl of Bothwell to apprehend Wishart, holding themselves in readiness, if need were, to support him by force. As soon as the Reformer became aware of his errand, he cried out to Cockburn and his other friends, “Open the gates), the blessed will of my God be done.” The earl being admitted with some other gentlemen who accompanied him, Wishart addressed him thus: “I praise my God that so honourable a man as you, my lord, receives me this night in the presence of these noblemen, for now I am assured, that for your honour’s sake, you will suffer nothing to be done unto me contrary to the order of law. I am not ignorant that their law is nothing but corruption, and a cloak to shed the blood of the saints; but yet I less fear to die openly, than secretly to be murdered.” …On t…

February 28: The National Covenant of Scotland

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Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

Scotland’s Covenant with God.


The intense emotions of many Scot Presbyterians that day became irrepressible. Some wept aloud; some burst into a shout of exultation; some, after their names, added the words unto death; and some opening a vein, subscribed with their own warm blood.

Whatever was the Rev. W. M. Hetherington referring to in these stirring words, in his book “History of the Church of Scotland”? (see page 155). In one phrase, it was that of our title. Presbyterians of Scotland began the historic signing of the National Covenant with God at Greyfriars Church in Edinburgh on February 28, 1638.

Read more here...
See also: The National Covenant and Civil War (BBC)
HT: Scotch Irish (Facebook)

1688: James Renwick, to end the Killing Time

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Posted at ExecutedToday.com:

Though none of the crowd that thronged Edinburgh’s Grassmarket this day in 1688 could know it, that date’s execution of minister James Renwick would make to the Killing Time, the great 1680s persecutions that scattered martyrs’ bones across Highland and Lowland.

Renwick, at any rate, was the last of many Covenanters who submitted to the public executioner; only a few months yet remained when officers in the field were empowered to force an oath of abjuration upon suspected dissidents, on pain of summary death in the field. By year’s end, the absolutist Catholic King James II — with whose brother and predecessor the movement had such a tortured history — fled to exile as the Glorious Revolution brought the Protestant William of Orange to power: royal recognition of Scottish Presbyterianism ensued.*

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Of Cameronians and Seceders, The Difference Found Between Them

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Posted at Mint, Anise and the Cumin:


Every once in awhile I will get asked the question “What is the difference between Cameronian Covenanters and Seceders?” or I might get asked the question “What is a Seceder?”  In the year 1761 Cameronian Covenanters also known as the Continuing Societies, Hillmen, Sanquharmen, Reformed Presbyterians and yes even called militant radicals who were the original heirs to the Covenant and were the hardliners of the Covenant wrote a polemic against the Seceders in very explicit details within the Act, Declaration and Testimony of 1761. Seceders went on to become the Revolution Settlement Church while Cameronians remained separated in their own United Societies and where outside the Revolution Settlement Church.  Cameronians and Seceders agreed on many points and I count many Seceders today a dear friend but the following is a summary of the main difference between Cameronians and Seceders as it took form in the 1600s and 1700s. In addition to the follow…

Our Covenant Heritage

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From This Day in Presbyterian History:

A Review of a Book on the Scottish Covenanters
by Rev. David T. Myers

You take notice of a book when, on the covers are favorable reviews of the book by James Boice, D. James Kennedy, Morton Smith and J. Ligon Duncan. Even though two of the above Presbyterian ministers are now members of the triumphant church while two are still in the militant church on earth, their joint commendations should prompt each of our readers to buy and read this 432 page book. Written by a PCA ruling elder of Grace Presbyterian Church, Aiken, South Carolina, Edwin Nisbet Moore, it asks the soul searching question, “How much are you prepared to go through for the sake of the truth?”

In essence, Edwin Moore traces the religious heritage of his Scottish ancestor, John Nisbet and one John Nevay, who believed and lived in the late seventeenth century during the “Killing times” of the Covenanters in the land of Scotland. Episcopalian or Anglican clergy had replaced the faithful…

Of Knox and of Cameron – True Zeal and Fire For the Lord

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Posted at Mint, Anise and the Cumin:


John Knox, one of the greatest Reformers of the Reformed Church. His appearance was like that of a dwarf. He was extremely short. Knox was considered to be of middle height which from what I can gather from that time frame was somewhere between 5’2 or 5’3. His beard was jet black with white hairs intermingled which was 13.5 inches in length. His face was longish; and his nose beyond the average length; his forehead rather narrow; with his brows standing out like a ridge. He also never went without a staff in his hand and when traveling always carried a sword on his back for defense. In his countenance, was grave and severe which befitted such a man of God with a certain graciousness was united with natural dignity and majesty.

He had such fire and zeal in his heart for the Yahovah Almighty that he boldly stood up to anyone who dare question the word of God. As John Calvin would say, “A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I s…