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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 suffered. 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 you, why not? you have it. Then come away, there is no more wanting, save, Come; we know He is willing, and we set to our seal to His willingness. But is He willing to receive me? Satisfy me in this, and then I will be right. Ah cheat ! ye are taking your word back again now, and lifting off your seal. If ye except not yourself, He will not except you. His invitation is unto all: “Every one, come; he that thirsteth, come; he that hath no money, come.”
“Now, why will ye be so ill to yourselves, as to debar yourselves ? for He doth not do it. Ye may as well and as rationally say, that ye are not a body as to say He debars you. His invitation is to every one.
Now assent to this; and then, before you except yourself, out of this invitation, you must first say you have not a being, neither of soul nor body. We say, for you to think that He excepts you, it is all one as to deny yourself to be one of the children of Adam.
“Now, O come, come niggard ! what aileth thee? Come, what would ye have that is not in Christ? Oh! that sweet invitation, Come! we cannot tell you what is in it. There is a depth in it that all the angels in heaven cannot fathom. It is no less than Jesus Christ, who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification, spreading forth His arms and inviting you. He is opening up Himself — His all-sufficiency and super-transcendent excellency--and calling to all poor, needy things, Come, here is enough for you ; give in your desires, and you shall have them satisfied to the full.' What, then, have ye to say to the bargain? Come, come; it is a rich commodity, and there is no sticking at the price; only receive and have—the easiest of all terms. There is no more required at your hands.
“But say ye, ha ! sir, ye go without your bounds; the invitation in your text is to His people only: ye are, then, all wrong. We are not so far wrong as ye trow [i.e., believe], for the invitation is to His people to enter into their chambers, and to all who will come and become His people to enter into their chambers; and so this is a free market. We must invite all to come. Ye who are enemies, lay down your arms against Him, and come. Ye who are upholding His enemies, and complying with them in their sinful courses and abominations, by paying them cess and locality, and by furnishing them meat and drink (which is more than a bidding them God speed, which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of John, forbids), quit the putting of the sword into God's enemies' hands, and come. Ye who have given bonds to the adversary; break your covenant with hell and death, and come ; break your sworn allegiance to the devil, and come and swear a new allegiance to Jesus Christ, and ye shall never rue it. Ye who compear before their courts, and pay them fines, whereby ye both acknowledge them who are robbers of God, and call your duty your sin, quit these courses, and come. Ye who go to the curates, leave these perjured, blind guides, and come. Ye who go to the indulged, leave these traitors to God. Ye who go to the backslidden, silent ministers, leave these betrayers of the cause, and deserters of the cross of Christ, and come ; leave all these, and follow Him ; He is a true guide, and will be so to you. Ye who any ways seek or take the enemy's protection, leave it, and come; come to Him, and ye shall find chambers indeed both for safety and delight. All ye that are strangers to Him, come; ye that are in nature, come; and ye that know Him, come. We must preach this word · Come' unto you so long as ye are here, until ye be transplanted out of this spiritual warfare into celestial triumph. Oh! sirs, come, come, ask what ye will, and He shall give it. Oh! come, come !"
The reader of these paragraphs will not wonder that Renwick at once became a favourite preacher among the persecuted Covenanters, and that there were demands for his services from many quarters. In a few months, in the first year of his ministry, he is said to have baptized no less than six hundred children. His fame as a preacher soon came to the ears of the enemies of liberty then in power, and August 30th, 1684, the form of summoning him before the Privy Council was gone through at the Cross of Edinburgh and the Pier of Leith; and, in the following month, letters of intercommuning were issued against him, in which he is called, after the fashion in which the Government of the time were wont to speak of the salt of the earth, a seditious vagabond and pretended preacher, is accused of debauching some of our unwary subjects into the same wicked, unnatural, and seditious principles with himself, and closing with the following sentences, as notable for their virulence as for their grammar:
“We command and charge all and sundry our lieges and subjects that they nor none of them presume, nor take upon hand to reset, supply or intercommune with the said Mr James Renwick, rebel foresaid ; nor furnish him with meat, drink, house, harbour, victual nor no other thing useful or comfortable to him ; or to have intelligence with him by word writ or message or any other manner of