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"And O that all had taken this method! for then there had been fewer apostacies. The religion of the land, and zeal for the land's engagements, are come to nothing but a supine, loathsome, and hateful formality; and there cannot be zeal, liveliness, and rightness, where people meet with persecution, and want heart-renovation. My soul trembles to think how little of regeneration there is amongst the ministers and professors of Scotland. O the ministers of Scotland, how have they betrayed Christ's interest and beguiled souls! They have not entered in themselves, and them that were entering in, they hindered.' They have sold the things of Christ and liberties of His Church for a short and cursed quiet to themselves, which is now near an end; and they are more one and at peace with God's enemies, after they have done all their mischiefs, nor [i.e., than] they were at first when they had but put hand to them. And I much fear, that though there were but one minister on all the earth, He will make no more use of them; but there will be a dreadful judgment upon themselves, and a long curse upon their posterity!
"As to our professors, my counsel to them is, that they would see well to their own regeneration, for the most part of them have that yet to do; and yet, let never one think that he is in the right exercise of true religion, that has not a zeal to God's public glory. There is a small remnant in Scotland that my soul has had its greatest comfort on earth from. I wish your increase in holiness, number, love, religion, and righteousness; and wait you, and cease to contend with these men that are gone from us, for there is nothing that shall convince them but judgment. Satisfy your consciences, and go forward; for the nearer you are to God, and the further from all others, whether stated [i.e., declared] enemies or lukewarm ministers and professors, it shall be the better.
"My preaching has occasioned persecution, but the want of it will, I fear, occasion worse. However, I have preached the truths of God to others, as it is written, 'I believed, and so I preached,' and I have not an ill conscience in preaching truth, whatever has followed; and this day I am to seal with my blood all the truths that ever I preached; and what is controverted of that which I have been professing, shall, ere long, be manifested by God's judgments in the consciences of men. I had a sweet calmness of spirit and great submission as to my taking, the providence of God was so eminent in it; and I could not but think that God judged it necessary for His glory to bring me to such an end, seeing He
loosed me from such a work. My soul would be exceedingly troubled anent the remnant, were it not that I think the time will be short. Wherefore, hold fast, for this is the way that is now persecuted.
"As to the cause of my suffering, the main is, 'Not acknowledging the present authority, as it is established in the Supremacy and Explanatory Act.' This is the magistracy that I have rejected, that was invested with Christ's power. And seeing that this power, taken from Christ, which is His glory, made the essential of the crown, I thought it was as if I had seen one wearing my husband's garments after he had killed him; and seeing it is made the essential of the crown, there is no distinction we can make, that can free the conscience of the acknowledger from being a partaker of this sacrilegious robbing of God; and it is but to cheat our consciences to acknowledge the civil power; for it is not civil power only that is made of the essence of his crown. And seeing they are so express, we ought to be plain ; for otherwise it is to deny our testimony and consent to His robbery."
FTER Mr Cargill was come to the scaffold, standing with his back towards the ladder, he fixed his eyes upon the multitude, and desired their attention; and after singing a part of the 118th Psalm, from the 16th verse to the close, he looked up to the windows on both sides of the scaffold with a smiling countenance, requesting the people to compose themselves and hear a few words that he had to say, which, said he, "I shall direct to three sorts of folk, and shall endeavour to be brief: "
"First, All you that are going on in persecuting the work and people of God, O beware for the Lord's sake, and refrain from such courses, as you would escape wrath eternally, which will be a torment far beyond what we are to endure by the hands of cruel and bloody murderers."
Upon this the drums were beaten, at which he smilingly said, "Now ye see we have not liberty to speak, or at least to speak what we would; but God knoweth our hearts. But, O ye that are called ministers and professors in the Church of Scotland, who are wearied in waiting upon the Lord, and are turned out of His way, and run into a course of gross defection and backsliding, truly, for my part, I tremble to think what will become of you; for either you shall be punished with sore affliction (I mean in your consciences, because of sin), or else you shall be tormented eternally without remedy, which
may be All ye
shall be shortly, if mercy prevent it not; which I pray God the mercy of all these to whom He has thoughts of peace. that are the poor remnant, who fear sinning more than suffering, and are begging for His returning into Scotland, to wear His own crown and reign as King in Zion, in spite of all that will oppose Him, whether devils or men, I say to you that are thus waiting, wait on, and ye shall not be disappointed; for either your eyes shall see it, or else ye shall die in the faith of it, that He shall return, and 'if you suffer with Him, you shall also reign with Him,' which reign will be glorious and eternal.
"I come now to tell you for what I am brought here to die, and to give you an account of my faith, which I shall do as in the sight of the living God before whom I am shortly to stand. First, I declare I am a Christian, a Protestant, a Presbyterian in my judgment; and whatever hath been said of me, I die testifying against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, and all manner of defection from the truth of God, and against all who make not the Scriptures, which are the Word of God, their rule, that so they may commend Christ and His way to strangers by a holy and Gospel conversation. The cause for which I am sentenced to die here this day, is my disowning of authority in the unlawful exercise thereof, when they, instead of ruling for God, are fighting against Him, and encroaching upon His prerogatives, by that woful supremacy which my soul abhors, and which I have testified against since I was apprehended; and now again I disown all supremacy over the consciences of men and liberties of Christ's Church."
Whereupon the drums were again beaten, and he kept silence a little, and then said: "Of this subject I shall say no more. Only I think the Lord's quarrel against this land is, because there has not been so much heart religion and soul exercise among either ministers or professors, as there seemed to be when the land owned Christ and His truth. I wish there were more true conversion, and then there would not be so much backsliding, and, for fear of suffering, living at ease, when there are so few to contend for Christ and His cause.
"Now for my own case, I bless the Lord that, for all that hath been said of me, my conscience doth not condemn me. I do not say I am free of sin, but I am at peace with God through a slain Mediator; and I believe that there is no salvation but only in Christ. And I abhor that superstitious way of worshipping of angels and saints contrary unto the Word of God; as also I abhor the leaning
to self-righteousness and Popish penances. I bless the Lord that these thirty years and more I have been at peace with God, and was never shaken loose of it; and now I am as sure of my interest in Christ and peace with God as all within this Bible and the Spirit of God can make me; and I am no more terrified at death, nor afraid of hell, because of sin, than if I had never had sin; for all my sins are freely pardoned and washen thoroughly away, through the precious blood and intercession of Jesus Christ. And I am fully persuaded that this is His way for which I suffer; and that He will return gloriously to Scotland, but it will be terrifying to many; therefore I entreat you, be not discouraged at the way of Christ and the cause for which I am to lay down my life, and step into eternity, where my soul shall be as full of Him as it can desire to be.
"And now, this is the sweetest and most glorious day that ever my eyes did see. Now I entreat you, study to know and believe the Scriptures, which are the truths of God; these I have preached, and do firmly believe them. Oh! prepare for judgments, for they shall be sore and sudden. Enemies are now enraged against the way and people of God, but erelong they shall be enraged one against another to their own confusion."
At this the drums were beaten a third time, and being taken to the north side of the scaffold, he stood a little during the space that one of the rest was singing; and then being carried to the south side of the scaffold, he prayed. Thence he was brought to the east side of the scaffold, and there he said, "I entreat you prepare you presently for a stroke, for God will not sit with [i.e., disregard] all the wrongs done to Him, but will suddenly come and make inquisition for the blood that has been shed in Scotland."
Then he was commanded to go up the ladder, and as he set his foot on it, he said, "The Lord knows I go up this ladder with less fear and perturbation of mind than ever I entered the pulpit to preach."
And when he was up, he sat himself down, and said "Now I am near to the getting of my crown, which shall be sure; for I bless the Lord, and desire all of you to bless Him that He hath brought me here, and makes me triumph over devils, and men, and sin: they shall wound me no more. I forgive all men the wrongs they have done to me, and pray the Lord may forgive all the wrongs that any of the elect have done against Him. I pray that sufferers may be kept from sin, and helped to know their duty."
Then having prayed a little within himself, he lifted up the napkin and said: "Farewell all relations and friends in Christ; farewell acquaintances and all earthly enjoyments; farewell reading and preaching, praying and believing, wanderings, reproaches, and sufferings. Welcome joy unspeakable and full of glory. Welcome Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! into Thy hands I commit my spirit." Then he prayed a little, and the executioner turned him over praying.
ECAUSE this dying testimony and last speech are but short, which was occasioned through want of time and the persecutors' severity, who took his larger testimony from him the day before he died, paper and ink being conveyed to him secretly by a cord through the window the night before his death, it is thought proper to subjoin these following letters of his, they being all of public concern, to give a more full discovery of the testimony which he held; and particularly of his witnessing against the errors about that time broached by the infamous John Gib, as the letter written to the prisoners in the Correction House manifests.
LETTER from Mr DONALD CARGILL to Mr JAMES SKENE, who suffered Martyrdom at Edinburgh. [A short notice of Mr Skene, with his last Testimony, will be found in its proper place.-ED.]
"DEAREST FRIEND,-There is now nothing upon earth that I am so concerned in, except the Lord's work, as in you and your fellows; that you may either be cleanly brought off, or honourably and rightly carried through. He is begun in part to answer me; though not in that which I most affected, yet in that which is best.
"My soul was refreshed to see any that had so far overcome the fear and torture of death, and were so far denied to the affections of the flesh, as to give full liberty to the exoneration of conscience in the face of these bloody tyrants and vile apostates. And yet these, by our divines, must be acknowledged as magistrates! which very heathens, endued with the light of nature, would abominate, and would think it as inconsistent with reason to admit to or continue in magis