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XTRACT of the proceedings of the Privy Council,
In presence of the Lords, Justiciary Clerk, and Commissioners of Justiciary, compeared David Hackston of Rathillet, and declines the King's Majesty's authority, the authority of the Commissioners of Justiciary as his judges, and absolutely refuses to sign this declaration, as being before persons who are not his judges. He refuses to answer concerning the murder of the late Archbishop of St Andrews, and says the causes of his declinement are, "because they have usurped the Supremacy over the Church, belonging alone to Jesus Christ, and have established idolatry, perjury, and other iniquities; and, in prosecuting their design in confirming themselves in this usurped right, have shed much innocent blood." Therefore the said David, adhering to Christ His rights and kingly office over the Church, declines them that are His open enemies and competitors for His crown and power as competent judges; refuses, as formerly, to sign this his declaration, dated from his own mouth; whereupon his Majesty's Advocate takes instruments, and requires the Commissioners of Justiciary to sign the same in his presence as for him; and his Majesty's Advocate takes instruments, that the said David has declined his Majesty's authority and the authority of his commissioners, and refused to deny the murder of the late Archbishop of St Andrews, and requires Mr John Vass, James Balfour, and the men of the court witnesses to the foresaid declaration. Sic subscribitur, SIR ROBERT MAITLAND, JAMES FOULIS, DAVID BALFOUR, DAVID FALCONER, RODGER HODGE.
PON Friday, July 30, being again brought before the council, it was asked of him if he had any other thing to say. He answered "That which I have said, I will seal it." Then they told him they had something to say to him, and commanded him to sit down and receive his sentence, which willingly he did; but told them, they were all murderers, for all that power they had was derived from tyranny, and that these years bygone they have not only tyrannised over the Church of God, but have also grinded the face of the
poor, so that oppression, bloodshed, perjury, and many murders were to be found in their skirts. Upon which he was incontinent [i.e., instantly] carried away to the scaffold at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, where he died with great torture inflicted upon his body, not being permitted to leave any testimony to the world; except what is comprehended in these missives, directed to some of his Christian acquaintance from his prison in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, which are as follows:
OPY of a LETTER written by DAVID HACKSTON of
the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, July 25, 1680.
"DEAR ACQUAINTANCE,-I know this late dispensation of Providence will occasion much sadness to you, and other lovers of God's truth; now in this day, when so few by their practice prove themselves to be zealous for God, or lovers of His truth, but, instead of that growth in the graces of God's Spirit, and steadfastness which should be in Christians, have made defection from the truth, and are fallen from their first love, to the strengthening the hands of usurpers of the crown of Christ, in their unlawful encroachments on the privileges of the Son of God.
"Wherefore, I entreat you, and all others, as you would not offend God, and provoke Him to more anger, do not murmur, but bless and praise Him, and submit to Him in all humility; for if this be one of the steps to Zion's deliverance, and God's glory, why should not we praise Him for everything? If we had the manner of our delivery at our carving, we would spill [i.e., mar] it. He is the wisdom of the Father, who sits at the helm, and orders all affairs. The faith of this should silence all suggestions from Satan, our own hearts, and misbelief.
"I desire you will discharge all that have love or affection to me, not to be sad on my account, but rather to rejoice on my behalf, that God hath so honoured me in all I have been trysted [ie., tried] with. For as He took me, when I was a slave to Satan and sin, and cast His love upon me, and plucked me as a brand out of the fire, and brought me into covenant with Him, to pro
mote and carry forward His work without fear of what man could do unto me; and as He helped me to make the bargain with Him in good terms; which was a renouncing of my own strength, and a resolution to do all in His strength; so now He hath been faithful in all things to me, and hath furnished me sufficiently for what He hath called me to, and hath passed by my many gross failings, and breaches of my conditions to Him, and hath done to me above what I could ask of Him.
"Oh! that I could commend Him to all, and stir up all to fear, admire, and praise Him, and believe on Him! But the lukewarmness and want of love to God, and indifferency in Christ's matters (which, in His condescendency to His Church He hath reserved as His declarative glory), and neutrality in these things, are come to so great a height amongst professors, that I think God is laying stumbling-blocks before them, one after another; that, when they are fallen whom He will have to fall, He may be glorified in His justice, by bringing that stroke of vengeance that seems to be hanging over these lands, because of their fearful idolatry, perjury, bloodshed, blasphemy, and other abominations which the whole land is this day guilty of.
"Think it not strange that I say all are guilty. There are none free, nor shall be reputed free in the sight of God, but mourners in Zion. Lord grant repentance and a spirit of mourning! Brokenness and contrition of spirit are the only sacrifices well-pleasing unto God; and I prove all guilty; first, our representatives, and so we in them, established these sins in our national decrees, which we have homologated in owning them ever after, and much more have we homologated their sins, in contributing, one way or other, to the strengthening of their hands against God; as, alas! but few be free of this, this day. Oh that preachers would preach repentance, and professors would exhort one another to mourn in secret, and together, because of sin; and with their mourning would believe; for these are very consistent together.
"I find flesh and blood great enemies to faith, and friends, yea fosterers, of sinful fears. It is above nature to believe, especially when dispensations seem to contradict our faith. But if any had faith towards God concerning me, let not this brangle [i.e., weaken] their faith, but rather strengthen it. There is nothing can contradict what God hath determined; but over the belly of all opposition He will perfect His work in and by me, either to a remarkable delivery,
or through-bearing [i.e., upholding] me as He sees most for His own glory.
"Wherefore, let us submit to His will, and lie before His throne in behalf of Zion and her children. And oh! that ye yourselves would, and that ye would desire others that are faithful, to hold up my case to Zion's God, that He would glorify Himself in me; and let your prayers be in faith. To him that believeth, all things are possible.' There are many feckless [i.e., worthless] misbelieving prayers, that prevail not with God, because of unbelief. I know these sufferings will be a great stumbling to many otherwise gracious; but let it not be to you. I bless God it is not, as yet, so to me; but rather the power, yea, the love of God to me; for it was not altogether unexpected unto me.
"For (not to reflect upon any that have sealed that truth and cause, as we stated it, with their blood), I cannot deny but it was over the belly of conscience that I joined with some of our party;--[referring to the discussions and fatal divisions immediately previous to the battle of Bothwell Bridge.-ED.]-for some of them had not their garments clean of their late defections, and there was too much of pride amongst us. Neither dare I allow that taking of satisfaction for practices, which are the homologating of the public sins, which we did about half-an-hour before our break; which checked me exceedingly in the time. I think real sorrow would make men, like the prodigal, to think themselves not worthy to be employed in that work. Real evidences of reconciliation with God should be seen before admission to such an employment.
"Oh! that all would take warning, by my reproof, not to venture to follow any man over conscience! There were choice, godly men amongst us, but one Achan will make Israel to fall. I fear the want of faith among us, first and last, and all along our late business. I know many mouths will be opened against me, because of what I did before this business. But I dare not but speak it; this is a stumblingblock laid to drive them to more sin; and alas! that I did not do more to purge us of every sin, especially known sin among us. These that abode within, and came not out with us, let them remember Meroz' curse. I am afraid that God thinks them not free of our blood, for not joining to our help.
"And now, knowing ye will be anxious to know how it was then [at Airsmoss], and how it hath been since with me: First, we getting notice of a party out seeking us, sent two on Wednesday night late
to know their motion, and lay on a muir side all night, and Thursday about ten hours [ie, ten o'clock], we went to take some meat; and sent out other two, and desired them to consult with the first two, who had not come to us, but were lying down to sleep; who all four returned and told us, it was unnecessary to send any for intelligence, they having secured it.
"Whereupon, after we had gotten some meat, we came to a piece of grass, and lay down, and presently we were all alarmed. that they were upon us; and so making ready, we saw them coming fast on, and that about three or four hours [i.e., three or four o'clock] in the afternoon; and each one resolving to fight, I rode off, to seek a strength [i.e., a piece of rising or commanding ground] for our advantage, and being desired by a countryman to go into such a place for the best strength, I went, and they followed; but, coming to it, I found we could go no further, and so running and drawing up quickly eight horse on the right hand with R. D[ick], and fifteen on the left with me, being no more; the foot not being forty, and many of them ill armed in the midst; I asked all if they were willing to fight, who all said yes, especially J[ames] G[ray].
"The enemy advanced fast, whom I took to be above an hundred and twelve, well armed and horsed; who sent first about twenty dragoons on foot to take the wind of us, which we seeing, sent a party on foot to meet them, and the rest of us advanced fast on the enemy, being a strong body of horse coming hard on us; whereupon, when we were joined, our horse fired first, and wounded and killed some of them, both horse and foot. Our horse advanced to their faces, and we fired on each other, I being foremost after receiving their fire, and, finding the horse behind me broken, I then rode in amongst them, and went out at a side, without any wrong or wound. I was pursued by several, with whom I fought a good space; sometimes they following me, and sometimes I following them.
"At length my horse bogged, and also the foremost of theirs, which was David Ramsay, one of my acquaintance. We both being on foot, fought it with small swords, without advantage to one another, but at length closing, I was stricken down with three on horseback behind me, and receiving three sore wounds on the head, and so falling, he saved my life, which I submitted to. They searched me, and carried me to their rear, and laid me down, where I bled much; where were also brought several of their men sore wounded. They gave us all testimony of brave resolute men. What more of our men were killed,