« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
' And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps : and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders : and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women ; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile : for they are without fault before the throne of God' (Rev. xiv. 1-5). 'Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints' (Jude 3). Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God' (Eph. vi. 10-17).
“And scar not [i.e., be not frightened) at His sweet, lovely and desirable cross; for although I have not been able because of my wounds (that I received at my taking) to lift up or lay down my head, but as I was helped, yet I was never in better case all my life; He has not given me one challenge since I came to prison, for any thing less or more ; but on the contrary, He has so wonderfully shined on me with the sense of His redeeming, strengthening, assisting, supporting, through-bearing, pardoning, and reconciling love, grace and mercy, that my soul doth long to be freed of bodily infirmities and earthly organs, that so I may flee to His royal palace, even the
heavenly habitation of my God, where I am sure of a crown put on my head, and a palm put in my hand, and a new song put in my mouth, even the song of Moses and the Lamb, that so I may bless, praise, magnify and extol Him, for what He hath done to me and for me.
“Wherefore, I bid farewell to all my dear fellow-sufferers for the testimony of Jesus, who are wandering in dens and caves. Farewell my children, study holiness in all your ways, and praise the Lord for what He hath done for me, and tell all my Christian friends to praise Him on my account. Farewell sweet Bible, and wanderings and contendings for truth. Welcome death. Welcome the city of my God, where I shall see Him, and be enabled to serve Him eternally with full freedom. Welcome blessed company, the angels and spirits of just men made perfect. But above all, welcome, welcome, welcome, our glorious and alone God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, into thy hands I commit my spirit, for thou art worthy. Amen.
AMES 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 honour was wanting in his first birth made up in the second. He died as he lived, in the Lord, February ist, 1676, the same day twelve years after that his son was taken to die for the Lord.
His mother, Elizabeth Corsan, was of like piety with her husband. She had several children, but all died previous to the birth of James. Their loss filled her with grief. Her husband tried to comfort her by declaring that he was well satisfied if his children, die when they
might, were heirs of glory. Her prayer, however, was Hannah like, for a child from the Lord that might not only be an heir of glory, but live to serve Him on earth. When James was born, she received him as an answer to prayer, and felt herself bound to dedicate him to the Lord. It soon appeared that the dedication was accepted. As he learned to speak he learned to pray. His mother lovingly tells, that, by the time he was but two years of age, he was discerned to be aiming at prayer even in the cradle and about it. Along with the work of grace on his soul, his natural faculties came to early ripeness. He could read the Bible in his sixth year, a wonderful attainment in that century, when learning was not made easy as it is now; and “his inclination was constant for his book.'
With some difficulty his parents kept him at the parish school, for they were poor, until means were found, through the assistance of friends who admired the good parts of the boy, of sending him to Edinburgh. Here he remained until ready for the University, which he attended until he passed through the classes necessary for a degree. The piety of his childhood was not cast aside by him when a student at college. He resisted the temptations that abound in a city, and at the close of his curriculum such was his tenderness of conscience, that he would not take the oath of allegiance required before the degree of Master of Arts could be conferred. But shortly afterwards, by some means not mentioned by his first biographer, he, along with other two students, obtained the degree privately, without taking the oath of allegiance.
After taking his degree he remained in the capital for some time, prosecuting his studies in theology, and associating with the indulged ministers, or with those who, unable to comply with the Erastian demands of the government, lived in retirement in Edinburgh or in its neighbourhood. Their silence respecting the sins of the time, and the spectacle of the frequent martyrdoms that took place, set him a thinking, and led him to inquire after ministers who had not in any form consented to the supremacy exercised by the crown over the church. These he could not find, while he at the same time came to the conclusion that he could no longer attend the ministrations of the indulged. The execution of Donald Cargill, at which he was present, so moved him that he determined to adopt the martyrs' testimony, and to cast in his lot with the persecuted. He entered heartily into the plan formed in the close of 1681, by those who
sympathised with the cause for which the martyrs suffered, of establishing societies throughout the country, to meet at regular intervals for prayer and conference.
He was present at the publication of the Declaration at Lanark, January 12, 1682, although he had no share in drawing it up, otherwise he would have softened some of its expressions. In the same year, the Societies sent Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun to the United Provinces, in order to vindicate themselves from the slanders that had been circulated, to their discredit, among the foreign churches. One result of this mission was, that steps were taken to send young men abroad to study for the Christian ministry. In the “Faithful Contendings,” in the account of the fifth General Meeting of the Societies, held at Edinburgh, October 11, 1682, is recorded what was done to send out Renwick and three companions. Twenty-five pounds Scots were voted to each to defray the expenses of the voyage, as well as what was needful to provide them in clothes and other necessaries. Renwick sailed in December, and went to Gröningen, where John a Marck, the author of the “ Medulla Theologia” --a favourite text book with Dr Chalmers—was at that time Professor of Divinity and Church History. Here he made such progress in his studies, that, at the recommendation of Marck himself, he was ordained by the Classis of Gröningen, roth May 1683. He left Holland early in the following August, and, after a long and stormy passage, in which the vessel had to put into Rye, in Sussex, where he narrowly escaped apprehension, he reached Dublin. Here, after a short stay, he found friends who procured him a passage to Scotland. But his difficulties were not at an end, for all the harbours were then strictly watched, and the captain at first would not land him but at a regular port. At last he was prevailed to put him ashore, tradition says, somewhere below Gourock.
It was September when he arrived, but he refrained from preaching until the tenth General Meeting-October 3, 1683-at Darmead, in Carnbusnethan parish, where he gave an account of his studies; and handed in his testimony to the truths of God, and to His cause; a document drawn up by him before he left Gröningen, and containing some expressions which he afterwards regretted, but valuable as showing how well acquainted he was, at that early age, with the true state of the controversy between the persecuted and the Government, and how earnestly he had espoused the cause for which the martyrs
At this meeting they gave him a call to be their minister,
which he accepted, and entered on his ministry by preaching at the same place, Sabbath, November 23.
William Wilson, in his collection of sermons by Renwick, has given notes of the discourses he preached that day. After a short preface he lectured on Isa. xl. 1-8: “Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God," etc.; and preached two sermons on Isa. xxvi. 20: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast." The notes of the lecture are meagre : they occupy little more than two octavo pages; but those of the sermons are much fuller: they extend to seventeen pages, and are evidently a faithful report of what he said. They are remarkable sermons for one so young in years, and more than justify the recommendation of Marck, that he should be ordained as speedily as possible.
Those who fancy that the burden of Renwick's preaching was upon matters of church government, and declamation against the tyranny of the time, will have their fancies sent to the winds when they read such a statement of the Gospel message, and such impassioned pleading that men would come to Christ, as are contained in the following paragraphs, in illustration of the proposition -"There is both ability and willingness in the Lord to give you whatsoever your necessity requires."
“ There is Ability. What would you have? Salvation and deliverance ? then He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto Him. Lift up your eyes, and behold a wonder which you cannot know, and put forth this question, Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?—this that is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength ?' And His answer will be unto you : 'It is I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.' Gainsay it who will, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied.
“And now, methinks, I hear some of you saying, All this is true; we can set to our seals to it. But is He willing ? This is our question.
Willing He is indeed. He is not more able than He is willing. What are all His promises, but declarations of His free willingness? What are all His sweet invitations, but to tell you that He is willing, and ye are welcome. 'Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him come, and take of the water of life freely.' Ah! what say you to it? Give us your seal to His willingness also. Go, say