It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.—Proverbs 20.25.

 Hide Menu 
Hide Banner

THE

CHRISTIAN’s CONDUCT:

OR, A

WITNESS

FOR

TRUTH againſt ERROR.

Containing the following PIECES, viz.

Proteſtation, Declinature, Letters,

and Teſtimony.

By Sir ROBERT HAMILTON.

Together with

A Declaration of Principles, and his Elegy.

Prov. xxiii. 23. Buy the truth, and sell it not.

Rev. iii. 10. Because thou hast kept the word of my pa­tience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation.  Ver. 12. Him that overcometh, will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.

EDINBURGH:

Printed in the Year MDCCLXII.

X

TrueCovenanter.com Editor's Introduction.

A Covenanter to the end: such was faithful Sir Robert Hamilton of Preston.  A blessing to a little remnant, struggling to keep hold of the cause of Christ when the Devil’s tricks and temptations were multiplied with serpentine subtlety in an effort to persuade Presbyterians to give up in the Lord’s battle; — And a source of torment to men in Church and State whose consciences found in him a reminder of their defections in the cause of Christ and of the duties to which the Lord was calling their unwilling hearts.  He was a man to be either loved or hated — either praised or mocked — by all within Scotland, both before, and especially after, the Revolution of 1688.

Notwithstanding the insults of ministers in the revolution church, who pretended to eminence in the cause of Christ at a time when it was evident his Church, his Bride, had been taken captive by a power invading his kingdom and authority; still this man’s name has continued to abide in honour among those who desire the establishment of Christ’s spiritual kingdom with the good fruits thereof in earth’s kingdoms and commonwealths.  He was a man who would lift a sword, to defend his Master’s cause and people; and he was a man who would send away the help of every sword that came not in conformity to his Master’s honour and authority.  He was a man who would suffer imprisonment during a time of “Toleration” rather than buy his freedom at the cost of the least jewel in his Saviour’s crown; and he was a man who out of prison would spend the little that remained of his own, to make his brethren rich and strong for the difficult years ahead.

But what may be said further, will do little in comparison of what is written below, especially coming from one who cannot claim personal acquaintance with a man gone to glory so many years ago.  Still, we say so much, because the odium which some have placed upon this man, has not entirely worn off to this day, but men of wrong information have sometimes repeated what was falsely said about him by men of ill bias in former generations.  It is to be wished, that as Mr. Cargill, Mr. Cameron, and Mr. Renwick have all found a hand to tell their story and record their honour in recent years, so the same hand may do a fair part in telling the world of this worthy gentleman.  It is true, he had not like them the office of a Pastor, or the death of a Martyr, but it is also true that his letters exhibit the care and counsel of a shepherd, and likely served for Mr. Renwick much like the help of a fellow minister, and his imprisonment after the Revolution tells how ready he was to die a martyr, had it been the time for such work.  Nevertheless, if an account of this man is not to be joined to the others, either another may do the work better, or this present re-publication will go far to serve the purpose.

But before the reader is sent to the following Preface, Declaration, Interrogation, Protestation and Declinature, Letters, Dying Testimony, etc., one little quote should be offered, that may serve to inform him of the reason why this man was once so respected, and these items first published.  The following words are taken from Mr. Robert Smith, a student of Divinity among the United Societies, who tells in his Dying Testimony, by what means he was encouraged to stand fast in the Lord’s cause among such a people lacking the help of pastors, and not knowing how long the backslidings and declinings of the Church of Jesus Christ should continue:

I sojourned, among the meetings for their encouragement and strengthening, and indeed, it was easy for me, as long as that great man Sir Robert Hamilton lived and was able to travel among the party; for he, laying his worldly honour in the dust, out of true love to his royal and princely Master's honour, was a father to us all, and while he lived things went well with us.

— Which is quoted in Mr. Howie’s Appendix to Faithful Contendings Displayed and Mr. Hutchison’s History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, but may be seen in full in a Collection of Dying Testimonies published about 13 years after Mr. Howie’s departure.

2012.06.23::JTK.

THE

PREFACE.

Chriſtian Reader,

IT ought, no doubt, to be acknowledged by every man, that the Scriptures are of divine authority; that all the commands of God contained therein, have the stamp of majesty and holiness upon them, that every moral duty in them, whether expressly, or by consequence enjoined, are binding upon mankind in every age; and therefore that every one, yea the least moral truth, ought to be contended for, even unto blood; for as the breaking of one commandment, involves in the guilt of breaking the whole; so the denying of one, may, in the same sense, be constructed a denial of every moral truth: And as a subject breaking one of the smallest of the laws enacted by his sovereign, is as real, tho’ not so great a rebel, as he that breaks the most fundamental law of the nation; so the denying of one of the least of moral truths, is as true, tho’ not so aggravated an act of contempt of, and rebellion against Jehovah, the sovereign Ruler of heaven and earth, as the denial of the greatest, or of the whole of truth.  Hence a Christian may justly found his testimony upon one, yea, upon the smallest moral truth.

Therefore, tho’ the truth which the martyrs in the last century witnessed for unto the death, had comparatively been a small one, yet, being one, it deserved as much, yea ten thousand times more blood to be shed in defence thereof, than was.

But, on the contrary, Christ’s sole and absolute supremacy over his church, the truth then witnessed for, is a very great, glorious, and inestimable truth, for which many, out of love to Christ, accounted it their greatest honour, to lay down their lives, and no doubt many more were ready, at the Lord’s call, to do in like {iii} manner.  Among whom, it may be supposed, the author of the following letters, &c. Sir Robert Hamilton was one.

He, as his title doth bear, was noble and honourable by birth, being brother to Sir William Hamilton of Preston: but more so, by his holy and exemplary life, stedfast and Christian zeal for Christ and his cause.  He was one that both professed and practiced truth; was bold in Christ’s cause, ventured wealth, reputation, and life, in defence thereof; was among the Lord’s remnant at Drumclog and Bothwell, clothed with the office of a commander; behaved very honestly therein, contrary to false rumours spread by envious persons, as has been documented in a print already published for that purpose.  After this his estate was forfeited, and himself sentenced to be executed when apprehended, as history bears, which forced him to abscond, go abroad, and stay in Germany for some time, where his service was of use to some of his countrymen there.  He was against Popery, Prelacy, Indulgence, and Toleration; would not, in the least, own the tyrants Charles II or James VII.  Thus all the time of that bloody persecution, he kept free from defection.

When the Revolution came, tho’ some little things were rectified, yet he saw what a corrupt and erastian footing, both church and state were settled upon, could approve of neither; but declared against both, as neglecters and disapprovers of the covenanted work of reformation, and the faithful contendings of the martyrs, which caused the civil rulers, no friends to truth and reformation, to lay hold on, and imprison him in the tolbooth of Edinburgh, which may give any an idea of the principles and spirit of that civil constitution.  Their principles anti-covenant, and spirit embittered against the ways of the Lord, since persecution therefrom, must be the fate of covenanters.  Had the state been well principled and affected to the cause our martyrs contended for; such as adhered to, and practised only the same, would not have met with such unjust and cruel {iv} treatment therefrom; and had the church recognized true Presbyterian principles, she surely would have shewed more sympathy with the sufferings of one for that cause: but as church and state were settled in opposition to reformation and the testimonies of the martyrs, so they have discovered themselves haters of that way, and the followers thereof.  Hence all who account that settlement lawful, must, in justice, be esteemed disapprovers of a covenanted work of reformation, and of the faithful contendings of the martyrs; and if they did speak agreeable to their principles, they would say, the martyrs shed their blood without reason.  But the author of the following letters was of better principles, and judged that he could not own the church, unless they mourned over, and turned from, all the steps of defection and bloodshed; and settled upon a scriptural and covenanted footing, which they were so far from, that they would not accept of some applying to them, unless they left reformation attainments; nor [would he own] the state as settled at best on prelatical and erastian principles: not like some, who pretend to approve of the persecuted cause, for which he suffered much, and yet would plead the lawfulness of the present civil government.  But as our Reformers and Martyrs were so far from thinking that one disaffected to a covenanted work of reformation was qualified for the throne of a reformed land, that they did not think such a one qualified for the army; in vain do such pretend to be of the same principles of our Reformers and martyrs: Surely as Publick Resolutioners and Indulged, plead for Malignants being received into places of power and trust; so, it would be more self-consistent for such to approve of their, and discommend the principles of our Reformers and Martyrs.

Concerning the authenticity of these Letters, &c. it need not be questioned; or, if it should, the publishers think it easy to prove: neither need any wonder they are published now, so long after the decease of the Author, considering how much need there is for something of this kind; for as neutrality, indifferency, coldrifeness among {v} Christians, and irreligion, now greatly prevail; so as this shows the practices and principles of one, who, to an eminent degree, performed the opposite virtues, piety towards God, zeal for his truths, and brotherly love and sympathy, the publication thereof must be necessary and proper: besides, it tends to keep up the remembrance of such a honourable and religious nobleman, which also must make it desirable to any loving the cause he maintained.

Further, as the Author of these pieces did not intend or expect they should be published, so, no doubt, they are not so accurate in style, on that account; but yet we may say, that the language is easy, the sentences short, and the whole intelligible; and tho’ there are some Scoticisms and familiar expressions, which not the inability of the author, but the genius of his correspondents required, yet we think these will offend no religious reader; and as for the censure of the ungodly critic, it shall not be regarded, as such are blind in spiritual things, and to every good work reprobate.

Along with these letters, &c. the reader will find a declaration of the principles of the author and others, together with his elegy, both already in print.  The former as it was the ground of his imprisonment, so to send it forth along with his declinature, &c. was thought proper, that it might be seen he suffered not as an evil-doer. Which also discovers how unjust the exceptions of some have been against those who were joined in the same testimony, when they said such had no testimony, and that the world knew not their principles: but surely such as have owned and recognized in their several declarations the whole of the covenanted work of reformation, and testimonies of the faithful martyrs as such, have never wanted a testimony; and surely the world might very well know such principles as have openly and faithfully been proclaimed at market-crosses.

The elegy as it is in very few hands, and as it gives the reader a description of the author of these pieces, so the publication thereof may be accounted proper, and {vi} surely as much so, along with the following pieces, as by itself.

Thus, Christian reader, you have some imperfect hints of the Author, and his principles: how he behaved under the persecuting Period, and how at the Revolution; and were he alive now, and following the same principles, he, no doubt, would disown both ecclesiastic and civil officers; for as neither have yet forsaken their anti-covenant principles and practices, but have more deeply plunged themselves therein, so neither can justly be owned as yet, by any lying under the obligation of the Covenants, which expressly bind and engage against Prelacy, neutrality, and indifferency, &c.  But we shall no longer detain the serious reader from the Author’s own works, which we hope and desire will be serviceable to some; and if they shall, the publishers shall rejoice, and think their labour in collecting, and causing to be printed these useful Tracts and Letters, well bestowed.

J. G.

THE

DECLARATION

Of a poor, waſted, miſrepreſented remnant, of the ſuffering, Anti-Popiſh, Anti-Prelatick, Anti-Eraſtian, Anti-Sectarian, true Preſbyterian church of Chriſt in Scotland, united together in a general correſpondence.

Publiſhed at Sanquhair the 10th of Auguſt, 1692.

IT will, no doubt, be reputed by many a work both superfluous and unseasonable at this time, to publish any thing of this nature.  Superfluous, in regard that our principles and practices are abundantly manifest to the world, particularly in our Informatory Vindication, The Testimony against the Toleration, and the contendings and the sufferings of many of our dear brethren in their adhering to the same: And unseasonable, by reason of our present circumstances, being this day as sheep scattered upon the mountains, without a shepherd to gather or lead us; no man taking care for our souls; but instead thereof, all, or most part, waiting for our halting, looking for, and lying in wait to catch advantage against the cause, through the least misbehaviour of any of those who own it: and would, we doubt not, be glad of any thing whereby they might get the least shadow of ground to reproach: Now, when we are as signs and wonders, and have far more to criticize upon our words and actions than to kyth any sympathy with the scope and design of what we intend by the same.  Upon these and the like considerations, it may be a question, whether at this time it be our duty {2} to appear in this manner? Seeing much of the beauty and lustre of a testimony, yea, and much of its weight, depends upon its being both seasonably exhibited, and by men of understanding, that have knowledge of the times, and what Israel ought to do.  These and many other things relative to the same, and they have in some measure been pondered by us; so have not altogether wanted their own weight, to deter us from any thing of that nature in such a juncture: But yet, upon the other hand, when we consider, that ever since the Lord’s outstretched arm brought redemption to this land from Antichristian darkness, and in an eminent way made it his own, by bringing us under these sacred and inviolable bonds of holy covenants; as enemies to that covenanted work of reformation, have not been, neither at this day are wanting, for their part, in carrying on their malignant designs, in opposition to, and for destruction of the covenant and cause of God, and have been not a little helped thereto, by the faintings and dastardly yieldings of unfaithful and declining ministers and professors of the same; so likewise the Lord hath glorified his name, and hath so far dignified this church, as to have the honour (to the honour of his name be it spoken) of having still a party in her, who, notwithstanding the hellish cruelty of open and avowed enemies in their persecution, on the one hand, and the base and treacherous dealings of backsliding ministers and professors, in their reproaches and misrepresentations of that poor party, on the other hand: yet over all these difficulties, accounted it their glory to be faithful for him, in their places and stations; and esteemed the least hoof of the attained-unto reformation, preferably to their dearest interests: laid hold upon all opportunities that were offered for giving a testimony of their love to himself, and zeal for his public glory; although seldom or never thought seasonable by the wise and learned rabbis of the time.  Considering how they were helped to resist unto blood, in striving to keep the word of his patience, and contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints.  How the Lord smiled upon their honest designs, and received {3} them with good-will at their hands.  And likewise considering, what God-provoking, soul-ensnaring, and land-desolating courses are now on foot in these lands; as if all we have done these years bypast were not sufficient to draw down the Lord’s deserved wrath upon us, without putting on the copestone on all our other defections, by joining once more in affinity with the people of these abominations, and carrying it on under the name of Protestant Interest, and New Reformation.  And then, what strange apprehensions the land hath conceived of us, upon the account of our non-concurrence with the same; looking upon us, as men misled, drinking in and maintaining strange and pernicious principles, despisers of government, and rejecters of the gospel.  We say, upon these and other weighty considerations, we judge ourselves some way obliged, if we can do no more, at least to kyth our desire to follow that noble cloud of witnesses, and to go forth by their foot-steps in contending for truth, by adding our mite of a testimony to all the truths that are this day practically contravened: and against all defections either on the right or left hand, whatsoever plausible pretences they may be covered with.  Although we judge ourselves, at this time, incapable of publishing any thing that can either make truth more clear than it is, or yet escape the sneaking censure of those, whose station, if they were faithful in it, leads them to be far more forward in this work than we.

We therefore declare to the world, our hearty desire to embrace and adhere to the written word of God, contained in the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as the only and complete rule of faith and manners: and whatsoever is founded thereupon, or agreeable thereunto; such as our Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Directory for Worship; our Covenants National and Solemn League, the Acknowledgment of Sins, and Engagement to Duties; the Causes of God’s Wrath; the ordinary and perpetual officers of the church by Christ’s own appointment, as Pastors, Doctors, Elders, and Deacons, and the Form of Church Government, commonly called Presbyterial. {4} We declare our adherence to all the faithful contendings for truth, whether of old or of late, by ministers or professors, against whatsoever courses, whether more refined or more gross.  And particularly against the Public Resolutions, Cromwell’s Usurpation, the toleration of heresies and sects in his time.  Against the sacrilegious usurpations and tyranny of Charles II. The unfaithfulness of ministers and professors in complying with him, by accepting his indulgences, first and last.  And in a word, to every thing agreeable to the matter of our testimony, as it is declared page 25th and 26th, of our Informatory Vindication, printed anno 1687. Likewise our adherence to the testimony against the abominable Toleration granted by the duke of York, given in to the ministers at Edinburgh by that faithful minister, and now glorified martyr, Mr. James Renwick, January 17th, 1688.  And to whatever faithful contendings have been made, or testimonies given against the endeavours of any, in their striving to engage us in a sinful confederacy with a malignant cause, contrary to this our testimony, since the late revolutions.

Next, we declare our rejecting of whatever is contradictory or contrary unto the written Word of God, or not founded thereupon, either expressly, or by direct, near or necessary consequence.  More particularly, we testify our detestation and abhorrence of Popery, Quakerism, Libertinism, Antinomianism, Socinianism, Anabaptism, Independency, Prelacy, and Erastianism; and all extravagancies and errors on the right or left-hand, such as the doting delusions of these drawn into a consortship in and about the Cotemoor: together with all kinds of idolatry, superstition, and profaneness, and whatsoever is found contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness, and against every other thing, contrary to the testimony of this church, as they are particularly enumerated in pages 27th and 28th of our foresaid Vindication.

And in like manner, we disown, as a step of defection, declining from, and contradictory unto the covenanted reformation of the church of Scotland, and inconsistent with the testimony of our ancestors, the publishing {5} of that declaration, called, The Declaration of his Highness William Prince of Orange, &c. and espousing it as the state of the church and kingdom of Scotland’s quarrel, while he then was, and yet is, surrounded in council and army with many of the old and inveterate enemies of Christ’s cause and people, both at home in these lands and abroad, except France and his associates. His unconcernedness with the overturning the work of God in these lands these many years, till his own interest, and the call of the Prelates in England did prompt him to his undertakings.  Their being set up by the suffrages of these men of blood here in Scotland, notwithstanding of their being immediately before crowned and anointed king and queen in our neighbouring covenanted land, according to all the Popish ceremonies, upon their engaging on their knees, before the altar, &c. To the utmost of their power to preserve unto the bishops and clergy of that realm, and that to the churches committed to their charge, such rites and privileges as do or shall appertain unto them, or any of them.

As also, if we consider his other declaration, of the reason inducing him to appear in arms in the kingdom of England, Scotland, and Ireland, emitted at the same time; wherein he labours to put shame and contempt upon most of all the contendings of this church, and to bury many of the most material points of her testimony: thereby declaring his principles, and what he resolved upon in his after practice; and his thereby rending and overturning that desirable uniformity in religion attained unto with England, which these lands cannot break, without manifest perjury; being sworn thereto by the first article of the Solemn League and Covenant.  At least it is a walking in their counsels who rent the same before him; and a corroborating and ratifying the statutes of Omri, and the works of the house of Ahab, [Mic. 6.16.] that thereby these covenanted lands should be made a desolation, and the inhabitants thereof an hissing.  Upon these, and other very weighty grounds and reasons, which, if the Lord will, we may have the occasion to make known afterwards; We declare the refusal of our concurrence {6} with the present course now on foot; it being no way concerted according to the ancient plea of the Scottish Covenanters, for the covenanted reformation of religion in Britain and Ireland, for the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government of the house of God, against Popery, Prelacy, Malignancy, Sectarianism, Erastianism, and whatever is contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness: But instead thereof, a joining and concurring with the promoters of all these, in their Popish, Prelatick, Malignant, and Sectarian designs; whereby error, profanity, and wickedness is encouraged and tolerated; the Lord highly dishonoured; his avowed and declared enemies brought into places of greatest power and trust, instead of bringing the wheel of justice over them, [Prov. 20.26]; together with the addition of most of all those who have been the chief ring-leaders, fomentors and favourers of Indulgences, Toleration, and all other defections of this church.  This quarrel we say, we refuse to espouse in lieu of that other: but, to signify our displeasure therewith, refuses to concur in any thing that we know will strengthen or encourage the same, such as taking the oath of allegiance, rendezvousing at their command, paying any subsidies imposed for that end, or doing any thing that may tend to the weakening the hands or saddening the hearts of our brethren, in their honest, zealous, and faithful contendings against the same.  For which let all concerned see The seasonable and necessary warning of the General Assembly of this kirk to all the members thereof, July 27, 1649. sess. 27. Gen. Assembly, July ult. 1648. sess. 21. with the Humble Supplication of the Assembly to the Committee of Estates, August 2d, 1648, sess. 25. Act General Assembly, August 3d, 1648. sess. 26. Act 4. Parl. 2. Charles.  And what our land mourned for, Art. 9. step 5. of the Causes of God’s Wrath.  With many places of scripture, acts both of assemblies and parliaments, which are so clear, that if they were made judges, and durst come above-board to examine the present course, it were no great difficulty to the meanest capacity, to see as great disparity between this and {7} what our fathers contended for, as between defection and reformation.  But lest we should be hereby suspected of maintaining the principle of disowning all government: Therefore, as for such magistrates, as being rightly and lawfully constitute over us, shall employ their power for setting the Mediator on his throne, and the crown upon his head; and in defence of his crown-rights and royal prerogatives, shall act as the ministers of God in a direct line of subordination to him, in defence of our covenanted reformation, and the subject’s liberties, against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, superstition, heresy, profaneness, and whatever shall be found to be contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness; and thus become a terror to evil doers, and encouragers of them that do well: We declare, whensoever we can obtain and enjoy such rulers, we will own, embrace, and defend them to the utmost of our power, and prove encouraging, subject, and obedient to them, in our places and station.  And here, in pursuance of our former testimony, we resolve to stand and wait.

Moreover, we testify and declare against the unparalleled unfaithfulness of the ministers of Scotland, as in what they have done before these revolutions, to the detriment of the cause; so especially since, in contributing and concurring, they and all their accomplices, in their stations, and to their power, with the bulk of these old, bloody, and perjured enemies of Christ, his cause and people, in setting up their Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Orange, King and Queen over these covenanted lands, while acting directly contrary to the covenants, being without covenant qualifications, viz. Of known integrity, approved fidelity, constant affection and zeal to the cause of God, such against whom there is no just cause of exception nor jealousy; which our covenants and the laws of the crown require to be in judges superior or inferior, whom we are allowed to set over us, and join with: according to Exod. 18.21. 2 Sam 23.3,4. Neh. 7.2,7. Being not of one perfect religion with ourselves, neither in covenant, nor admitted covenant-ways, {8} without the sealing and swearing of which, our fathers, or rather we ourselves, refused to receive Charles II. to the crown.  It being the very foundation whereupon any right they have to govern is founded; and without the approbation and subscription whereof, the people can never have from him sufficient security, either for religion or their just liberties.  And if the Prelates in England, with their associates, were so peremptory as not to admit him to the exercise of the government, until they had him engaged to maintain and defend that abjured hierarchy; how astonishing is it that Presbyterians should have waited, till the Lord had raised up instruments, rightly qualified, and from whom sufficient security for the covenanted reformation of the true religion in these lands might be had: and not to have made haste, in building up Zion’s breaches with the stones of that burnt mountain of BABYLON! Their unfaithfulness to their souls, in not representing to them the hazard they were and would be in, if they entered themselves heirs to the sins of that throne, against which the Lord hath such a long and eminent controversy, in seeking to establish his own interest upon the ruins of the interest of Jesus Christ, which is nothing else but to oppose the kingdom of the Son of God, by whom kings do reign. [Prov. 8.15.]  If he should cleave unto these men as his trusty counsellors; who, as they never had the glory of God, nor the good of his people before their eyes; so now, in all their ways and councils, are seeking nothing but their own interest, to the hazard and destruction of religion, and the desolation of the kingdoms.  If he should settle a peace with God’s avowed and declared enemies, the murderers of his poor innocent people, by owning them as his good and loyal subjects, upon condition of their peaceable submission to his government.  And if he should employ, help, concur, or join with Antichristian forces, either at home or abroad: all which he hath done, and this day is doing; which cannot be otherwise judged but a giving his royal power and strength unto the beast: and an accession to all that blood of the {9} Lord’s people, wherewith those sons of Babel have made the lands under their respective tyrannies to swim. Their unfaithfulness, in not laying plainly and seasonably to his consideration, what the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken of all the accounts of people, nations, kings, and rulers against the kingdom of his Son, that they imagine a vain thing; and that he that sitteth in heaven will have them in derision, and vex them in his sore displeasure. [Psalm 2.]

What marks of desperate malignancy, enmity, and hatred to the cause and people of God, hath appeared these years bypast, in these men that now bear sway in his councils and armies.  How the anger of the Lord hath been kindled, even against his dearest saints, when they have joined themselves to such men as he hateth, and is cursed; and how severely he hath threatened and punished such kings as have associate with idolaters, and leaned to their helps.  And next, their unfaithfulness to the poor guilty land, in not foreseeing the evil, and foreshewing the danger; setting up magistrates without asking counsel at the mouth of the Lord; although a duty incumbent on faithful watchmen, to set the trumpet to their mouths in such cases, and give faithful and distinct warnings, lest Israel cast off the thing that is good, and the enemy pursue him, for setting up kings, and not by God, and princes without his knowledge, [Hos. 8.4]:  Nor yet declaring the sin and danger of associating in war with known enemies of truth and godliness such as are employed in the present expedition: whereby a door is opened for the introduction, toleration, and encouragement of Papists, Malignants, and Sectaries.  And the state of the quarrel, in stead of being rightly proposed, according to the ancient Plea, against both right and left hand opposites, it is thereby betrayed, lost, and buried.  Add to all these, their pretended fasts and thanksgivings, for success and prosperity to the enemies of God, his church and people: whereby the Lord is mocked, his truths buried, the people’s souls ensnared, the godly stumbled, a course of reformation rather buried than raised, prosecuted, or {10} defended, and a malignant quarrel embraced; yea, that same course which hath been always cursed of God, and upon which he hath set evident marks of his displeasure; the public sin, for which he is this day contending against the land; and the Achan which made Israel so often to fall before his enemies.

Now, if this be no false charge, as, alas! it is not; and if these be not only pieces of unfaithfulness, but manifest breaches of covenant, and very great steps of defection from the principles and practices of the once famous church of Scotland, as indeed they are; and if our hearing and joining with them, will infer a concurrence with their course, a participation of their guilt, and a rendering of us obnoxious to the judgments to which the breach of the covenant is liable; since it is such a communion, as, in the present circumstances is interpreted by all to be a tessera of incorporation with them, and a sign of approbation of their way, with which all must be interpreted consenters, that are not contradictors: and likewise a laying down of our former testimony, before the courses testified against be forsaken, as none will deny: Then we see not, how any honest man, zealous Christian, or faithful minister, can condemn us, for declaring our cheerful resolution, in the Lord’s strength, to stand off, and not to concur with them in this their new and strange way, by hearing them, paying their stipends, observing their fasts or thanksgiving days, compearing before their kirk-sessions, presbyteries, synods, general assemblies, or the like:  but on the contrary, to protest and testify against the constitution of these ecclesiastic meetings; in regard they are made up of such a corrupt mixture of members, some of them having embraced indulgences; some having given bonds to the council, not to preach for an indefinite, or longer, or shorter time; some having ordinarily heard, and communicated with curates; some having come under sinful bonds of peace, and oaths of allegiance, and the like, to the persecuting adversaries, repugnant to the oath of our covenants: against the breaches of which covenants we testify, and against all {11} the injuries or affronts that have been, or are offered to the same by the ministers in Scotland, in not preaching the perpetual obligation of them, nor renewing them; neither discovering particularly the breaches thereof: yea, many not once mentioning them in the engagements which they require of parents, when they present their children to baptism, or in their licensing and ordaining of persons to that holy function of the ministry.

Oh! how astonishing! the like not to be heard among the heathen, that these solemn vows and covenants should not only be scorned, derided, and openly burnt, and made a capital crime to own them, by open and avowed adversaries, but also cast by and buried by the ministers of the church of Scotland, called Presbyterians. A covenant, without the swearing of which none was capable of the meanest employment either in church or state: a covenant, to which Christ’s witnesses did always adhere, and for which they did suffer and contend: that covenant which the representatives of church and state in the three kingdoms, did solemnly swear and subscribe for themselves and posterity; to which the obligation, either as to the duty or punishment, continues indispensible upon the generation; which, for the moral equity of its matter, the formality of its manner, the importance of its purpose, the holiness of its solemn engagement, and the glory of its ends, no power on earth can disannul, disable, or dispense.  That covenant, which was justly thought a fit and excellent mean, not only to strengthen and fortify the kingdoms against the common enemy of the true reformed religion, public peace and prosperity; but also, to acquire the favour of Almighty God towards the three kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland, as is exprest in the ordinance of the Lords and Commons, dated February 2d, 1643. Surely then the authors and chief instruments of the breaches of that covenant, are to be looked upon as those that strengthen the hands of the common enemy, and provoke the wrath of Almighty God against those kingdoms.  And if by the Declaration of both kingdoms, joined in arms, anno 1643, such as would not take the {12} covenant, are declared to be public enemies to their religion and country, and to be censured and punished as public adversaries and malignants.  Who seeth not now a strange falling away from these first principles and professions, among these who either magnify or cry up, or, at the least, connive at or comply with such as have not taken the covenant; yea, are known enemies to it.

Yet notwithstanding, these same enemies have been complied with and connived at, by many ministers, in their taking oaths imposed by them, repugnant, we say, to the oath of our covenants.  And others of them having gone on in sundry other steps of defection; and to no small contradiction of Christ’s most faithful sufferers and witnesses; most part having addressed for, and accepted of the late Antichristian Toleration: and to this day are treading the same paths that lead to defection, and to a detestable indifferency and neutrality in the Lord’s matters; without any shadow of their cordial abandoning such woful courses: but on the contrary, a wiping of the mouth, and saying, We have done no evil. [Prov. 30.20.] A fasting, praying, and giving thanks for success and prosperity to those who have devoured Jacob, and laid his habitation desolate, [Jer. 10.25]: under whose shadow they enjoy this unhallowed ease, as if they were delivered to retain and maintain all these abominations. Can such a work be of God? Can tender, zealous souls concur with it in faith? Or, can it stand, which hath its foundation laid upon the ruins of truth? Such a superstructure, as building up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity [Mic. 3.10]; such measures, being bounded by the decrees of God’s enemies; and such workers, who by the word of God and decrees of our church, would be suspended, if not deposed from their office, and brought in as delinquents to undergo censure, and not as constituent members of a judicatory; in regard they have yielded up the liberties of the church into the hands and will of her enemies; and in regard they carry on a course of defection, contrary to the Scriptures, our covenants, and the acts and constitutions of this church. {13}

We say again, upon these grounds,  We in our places and stations, testify against all that they may conclude or determine in these their ecclesiastic courts, by acts, ratifications, declarations, sentences, censures, or commissions, &c. that shall be made or given out by them: and protests that the same may be void and null, and not interpreted as binding to the church of Scotland.  But let none think, that what we have here said can be interpreted to be a vilipending or rejecting of the free, lawful, and rightly constitute courts of Christ: for we do acknowledge such to have been among the first and most effectual means appointed of God, for preserving the purity, and advancing the power of reformation in the church; the sweet fruits and blessed effects whereof this church hath sometime enjoyed; which we have endeavoured after, and are this day longing for.

We detest and abhor that principle of casting off the ministry, wherewith we are maliciously calumniated, by those who labour to fasten upon us the odious names of Schismaticks and Separatists, despisers of the gospel, and the like.  But as herein they bewray their enmity to the cause we own; so, till they bring their own principles and practices, and ours both, and try them by the law and the testimony, the measuring line of the sanctuary, the word of God, and the practice of this church, when the Lord kept house with her, and rejoiced over her as a bridegroom over the bride; they can never prove us Schismatics or Separatists from the kirk of Scotland, upon the account of our non-union with the backsliding multitude therein.  And herein we may have a sure and well grounded hope, that when the Lord shall decide the controversy in favours of truth, in that day, union in truth and duty, and separation sinfully considered, will be otherwise applied than now they are.  Besides, we may say, without boasting, we suppose it may be gathered from what we have done for the faithfully preached gospel, and what love and respect we have shown towards faithful ministers, whilst such, what our carriage to them would yet be if we had them; yea, we are so far from having any stated prejudice (as {14} some foolishly think) at any of them, for whatever their strayings have been, either as ministers or Christians, that we declare, by these presents, whenever the Lord shall send us such, as out of love to God, zeal for his publick concernments, and conscience of their duty, will kyth their resentment of their former backslidings and defections, by condemning and forsaking the same, and satisfy the offended consciences of the Lord’s people, by their publick declaring the mind of God faithfully and freely, and the people’s duty in order to the past and present courses of the time; keeping nothing back that may be profitable for our building up in holiness, our managing a testimony for Christ, against all the forementioned or the like steps of defection; and that the same may be faithfully transmitted to the succeeding generations, that they may know what the Lord hath done for our land, and may not be like their fathers, a race not right in heart with God, unsteadfast and perfidious in his covenant. [Psalm 78.8.]  Upon these conditions, and upon removal of just exceptions, we promise our hearty concurrence with them, in hearing them; and to do every other thing that precept or former practice to ministers in the like case, can oblige persons in our circumstances to do to, or for their faithful leaders, to whom they may safely, without scruple, commit the charge of their souls: withal protesting, that this our declaration may be a standing answer to all the lies, reproaches, misinformations, or misrepresentations, or whatsoever, that shall be brought in against us in time coming, by whatsoever party or persons, upon the account of our non-confederating with them, seeing what we here require, is both religious and reasonable; and seeing what we own is of no new extraction, but was esteemed truth before we had a tongue to speak for it; and, we hope, shall be so, when its enemies and betrayers shall want a mouth to speak against it.

And now, having thus declared our testimony in as compendious and innocent a way, as the nature and circumstances of it will allow,  As we are not altogether ignorant what acceptation it shall find from persons of {15} all tempers to whose hands it may come; so especially from those ministers, Mr. Alexander Shields, Mr. Thomas Linning, Mr. William Boyd, and others their accomplices, who have lately gone from us and left us, after the Lord, in his mercy to us, had frustrate their design of precipitating us into a confederacy with all those to whom the nations are saying, A confederacy, by regimenting and uniting with the destroyers and betrayers of the cause, and that both in church and state; and casting in our lots, and interweaving our interests with theirs; as they had done with many of our brethren before, and also with many of ourselves, which this day we desire to mourn for, and longs for that day wherein we may confess the same before a competent and faithful judicatory. But, as we dare say, that what we have here done was not intended to please ourselves, so neither to give just ground of irritation or stumbling to any of the Lord’s people.  And as for the wicked, who know not at what they stumble, we may warrantably say, It was [not] designed to [dis]please them, be the event what will. Only this, To let the indifferent and lukewarm party, on the one hand, know, that the Lord is keeping up a handful to witness for him, against their past and present rotten courses of defection; notwithstanding their cutting off the hair, and putting out the eyes of these three ministers before-mentioned, and carrying them, in their printed acts and letters, thro’ the nations, as trophies of their victory over them; as men, whose former lives and doctrine had been contrary to the former rules and principles of the church, nourishing and encouraging schism, division, and defection; and their former testimonies made up, in many things, of several peremptory gross mistakes, uncharitable and injurious reflections, tending rather to kindle contentions, than remove divisions.  All which are plainly insinuated in their act, called, The proceedings of the assembly anent Mr. Linning and others.  Thereby labouring, through them, to reach a blow to the cause of God, and to all the faithful witnesses and witnessings of the poor remnant with whom they were once embarked.  And the {16} malignant party may also know, that we look upon them as the murderers of our dear brethren, whose blood, as it is precious in God’s sight, so no human power can indemnify; for tho’ it be God’s glory to pardon, yet man’s duty and glory is to administer justice impartially. We are not changed from our former principles and intentions, but our cause is the same, whatever those who have fallen off from us may plead for.  And finally, we desire all persons, of whatsoever new party they be, minister or other, that would appear more refined than the rest, and pretending to act separately from our enemies and antagonists, whilst yet really incorporate with them, and carrying on their designs more effectually, tho’ more smoothly; and instrumental, to break and divide us more than any, as if purposely sent forth by the rest for that effect; not to mistake us, as if what we have said in order to the rest, were not applicable to them.  But on the contrary, that we look upon their course as accompanied with many aggravations that others are not capable of; and so, as more loathsome to God, ought to be the more detestable to us.  And as for neutralists, who account it wisdom to condemn all, and pretend to side with none, we refer them to the last article of the Solemn League and Covenant (without forgetting the rest) namely, That we shall assist and defend all that enter into this League and Covenant, in the maintaining and pursuing thereof, and shall not suffer ourselves directly nor indirectly, by whatsoever combination, persuasion, or terror, to be divided or withdrawn from this blessed union and conjunction; whether to make defection to the contrary part, or to give ourselves to a detestable indifferency and neutrality in this cause.  According to which article, men’s reality and integrity in the covenant will be manifest and demonstrable, as well by their omissions, as by their commissions; as well by their not doing good, as by their doing of evil. He that is not with us, is against us; and he that gathereth not with us, scattereth, [Matt. 12.30]: and however our complaints be this day, tossed with tempests, and not comforted; yet, we hope, he hath thoughts of peace and purpose {17} of mercy towards us.  We do not mourn as those without hope; but we will bear the indignation of the Lord, because we have sinned against him; until he plead our cause, and execute judgment for us. [Micah 7.9.]  He hath lifted up our enemies, that their fall may be the greater; and that he may cast them down into desolation for ever.  He will make his cause to triumph at last over all opposition; and the enemy’s foot to slide in due time: and so put a new song of praise in the mouths of all the faithful friends and followers of the Lamb.

Therefore we appoint and ordain, that incontinently, ye our emissaries, pass, upon the tenth day of August, 1692 years, unto the market-cross of Sanquhar, and there by open proclamation, make intimation of this our Declaration, leaving copies of the same, affixed upon the foresaid market-cross, and other patent places of the kingdom necessary.    Given — — upon the tenth day of Auguſt 1692 years.

Let King JESUS reign, and let all his enemies be ſcattered.


Edinburgh, Sept. 15th. 1692.

Sir Robert Hamilton being apprehended upon the account of the foregoing Declaration, was called before the Committee.  Present: the viscount of Torbat, president, Lothian Ker, Gen. Livingstone, Lord Linlithgow, Lord Brade-Albion, Sir William Lockart, sollicitor.  He was interrogate as follows.

Q.  WAs you at Sanquhar?

A. I put it to the probation.  (Thinking they would have put more to me immediately, to have rid marches; but instantly they put me out.  After that some others were called and dismissed, they called me in again.)

Q. Do you know, and will you give an account of any that was at Sanquhar?

A. I must take liberty to speak.  I am a Presbyterian, and have been persecuted by you, with many others of our dear brethren, these many years.  I adhere to the National and Solemn League and Covenants; The Acknowledgment of Sins and Engagement to Duties; and to the whole of our covenanted work of reformation, and the acts of parliament ratifying and supporting the same; particularly these of the 1648 and 1649, which exclude you, and the like of you, as incapable of being judges over a covenanted land, and so over me.  They said they knew that very well, but that was not the question; but, If I would discover who were at Sanquhar?

A. I speak this, my lords, for exoneration of my conscience; and lest any of my answers should be interpreted an owning of you.  As to the question, I think it so contrary to reason, religion, and moral honesty, that it deserves no answer.  However, I deny to answer the question.

Q. Will ye take the oath of allegiance?

A. No; it being an unlimited oath, not bottomed upon our covenants. {19}

Q. Will ye converse with the godly, faithful ministers, if we would send any of them to you?

A. How long is it since you judged them so? but I have had some 16 or 17 years to consult my principles; I bless the Lord I am not now to seek them.  So putting me out the 2d time; when called,

Q. Will ye own King William and Queen Mary?

A. I wish them well.

Q. Will you own them, and their government; live peaceably, and not rise in arms against them?

A. When they are admitted according to the laws of the crown, and acts of parliament 1648 and 1649, bottomed upon our sacred covenants, and sound qualifications; according to these, pursuing the ends of those covenants in their own families, and in the three kingdoms, actually in covenant, joining with the friends thereof, and separating from the enemies of the same; and which the laws of the crown, and the laws of the nation, required of the kings of Scotland; then I shall give my answer.  Whereupon some turned hot. Lothian said, They were pursuing the ends of the covenants.

How can that be, when joining with, and exalting the greatest of its enemies, which by covenant we are called to extirpate?

Another answered, He had taken the coronation oath.

I asked, What religion was established, when that oath was taken?  They replied, Prelacy was abolished. I then returned, But Presbytery was not established; so that he is not bound to us in religion, save to Prelacy in England.

Q. Will ye do what was required last?

A. I adhered to my former answers.  At which some raged; and said, Would I give no security for obedience and peaceable living?  I then said, I marvel why such questions are asked at me, who have lived so retiredly hitherto; neither found plotting with York, France, or Monmouth, or any such, as the rumour was, nor acting any thing contrary to the laws of the nation, enacted in the time of the purity of Presbytery. {20}

Lothian said, We are ashamed of you.

Reply. Better you be ashamed of me, than I be ashamed of the laws of the church and nation, whereof you seem to be ashamed.

Lothian said, You desire to be involved in troubles.

A. I am not so lavish of either life or liberty, but if the asserting of truth was an evidence thereof, it might be thought more strange.


To the Lords and Gentlemen of the pre­tended Privy Council and Parliament of Scotland;

THE

PROTESTATION and DECLINATURE

OF

Sir ROBERT HAMILTON.

THE Lord being pleased at this time, to deliver me up into your hands, after his wonderful care, gracious and miraculous preservation, when sentenced to death, intercommuned, spoiled, hunted, and invidiously reproached for several years, by many of you, both at home and abroad, merely for my adherence to, and appearing for the fundamental laws and laudable constitutions of our church and covenanted nation; which lays the greater obligation on me, from the Lord’s undeserved favour, to be a true and faithful witness for him, when now by you unjustly taken and detained; Your lordships are not ignorant, how, called before a committee of several of your number, I declined them, as being incapable of being judges in this covenanted {21} land; and so, of being mine.  Upon the same grounds, my lords, I dare not, I cannot but decline this judicatory, as not of a covenanted constitution, [being] composed of the open invaders of the general and special privileges of the kingdom of our Lord; of the open adversaries, burners, contemners, and buriers of his covenant, and covenanted interests; the cruel hunters, spoilers, murderers, and reproachers of his dear people; of these who are now joined with such; and in this I desire to be understood to speak simply for Christ, and his interests, without particular respect to persons, interests, or designs, or particular disrespects to any, there being some embarked in the present courses whom otherwise I honour, and hopes the Lord will reclaim; but till then, I must decline, out of respect to the cause, without disrespect to them, but of mere absolute necessity; for he that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me. [Matt. 10.37.]  For as to the complex course of the present defection, I see not how to look otherwise on it, than a justifying what is past, making way to tread the same paths over again; and in man’s part, a real renunciation and dissolution of the marriage-contract, covenant-relation, and union betwixt God and this land, wherein consists our greatest happiness and privileges beyond other nations, whereof the summa totalis was to have the same interests, friends, and foes, with him; whereas the present courses and conjunction implies a palpable contradiction and subversion; a covenanted people condemning and burying their marriage-contract, taking his friends for their foes, and his foes for their friends, intrusting his covenanted interests to his anti-covenanted enemies, contrary to the principles of this covenanted church, the rule of our covenants, and the laudable laws of this covenanted kingdom, all bottomed on the sacred word of God, which none can disannul, enervate, or dispense with, without disclaiming God, his commands, and covenants.  The Commission in their Declaration, March 1648, approven by the General Assembly thereafter, shews, That our union and conjunction in the covenant, with God, his people, and {22} cause, stands in our keeping the principles thereof; and that separation from that union, consists in our defection from our principles: but both these, and in their necessary desires given in to the Parliament, and in the General Assembly’s answers to the Committee of Estates, sess. 14. July 25. these are declared to be principles of the cause, most necessary for securing religion, That the popish, prelatical, and malignant party be declared enemies to the cause, on the one hand, as well as sectaries on the other; and that all associations, either in councils, or forces, with the former, as well as with the latter, be avoided; and that they be resisted and opposed, whensoever, upon any pretence whatsoever, they rise in arms; and that the managing of public affairs be only intrusted to such as have given constant proof of their integrity, and against whom there is no just cause of exception or jealousy.  And in the Declaration, the last of July 1648, they express, with a wonder that any can be ignorant, how contrary association with malignants is, to the Word of God, and what a breach of God’s commandments; and shews, that next to the change of principles, the change of parties is a great breach of covenant, as the assisting of these whom we should not assist, and joining with these against whom the covenant was made, and against these for whom it was made, contrary to the Solemn League and Covenant, article 4. putting power in the hands of a malignant party, that has given such long and palpable evidences of their enmity to the work and people of God; the power of the sword, inconsistent with either actually punishing of them, or endeavouring to bring them to punishment: And to the 6th article, because it is a declining to the contrary party, even that party against whom the covenant was, at the making, expressly contrived; and as the General Assembly 1648 has it, It is a joining with one enemy to beat another, &c. contrary to our Solemn Acknowledgment of Sins and Engagement to Duties, where we are standing under such a sentence, which we deliberately and sincerely past on ourselves in the days of our vows to God, That if we did ever more {23} join with the people of these abominations, the Lord will consume till there be no remnant; and this was done, not in rashness, but in sobriety, with a Scripture precedent, Ezra 9.12,13,14. Contrary to the laudable laws of this covenanted nation, particularly act 5. parl. 1640, and 9th act, 1641, enacting, That whosoever subscribed not the Covenant should not have voice in parliament, &c. and the Committee and Convention of Estates 1643, at the desire and advice of the General Assembly then sitting, and the Parliament thereafter 1644, enacting, That whosoever subscribed not the Solemn League and Covenant, should enjoy no benefice or place, civil or ecclesiastick.  And shall now the open enemies, secret underminers, and palpable betrayers thereof, (who swore and subscribed both, yet openly condemned, burned, and buried them; yea, framed and enacted blasphemous oaths, contrary all of them to the said covenants; and not only wickedly engaging in them themselves, but dreadfully pressing, forcing, and persuading all to the same height of rebellion with themselves, and that under highest penalties and ensnaring pretexts) be chief, and exalted as chief in the judicatories and armies of this covenanted land; shall we again take in our bosoms these serpents which have so often stung us almost unto death?  Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in Askalon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice. [2 Sam. 1.20.]  But more particularly contrary to act 8. parl. 2. sess. 2. Act for purging judicatories, and other places of publick trust, 23d of January 1649. and parl. 2. sess. 2. Act for keeping judicatories and places of publick trust free of corruption, 17th February 1649. Act 2. parl. 3. sess. 2. Act for purging of the army, 2d June 1649. and parl. 2 act 15. anent securing of the covenant, religion, and peace of the kingdom, 17th February 1649. All which abundantly shews, what judges, superior and inferior, the Lord’s covenanted people are to choose, or not to choose, own or disown. And these being some of the ancient, costly, and glorious march-stones of our church and covenanted nation, which many of you have been so long labouring to raze {24} and remove, and now all of you to bury: I shall only say, if it be so dreadful and accursed to remove and bury our neighbour’s marks and bounds; ah! how much more to change and alter Jehovah’s, with the Mediator’s land-marks, privileges, oaths, and covenants.

Now, my lords and gentlemen, upon these and many other just and weighty reasons, contained in the laudable acts and constitutions of our church and covenanted nation, and in the testimonies, protestations, and declarations of old, and of late, of the faithful witnesses of Christ, particularly in our late Declaration at Sanquhar, August the 10th, 1692, I cannot, I dare not, but disown your judicatories, superior and inferior, seeing judicatories are the chief fountains under God, of right and wrong, good or evil, to the church or state; that the right or wrong constitution thereof, is the most intrinsick essential of all the good or evil that floweth therefrom; so that an error committed or acknowledged therein, is of more dangerous consequence therein, than many evil acts flowing therefrom, because it contains a world of them in the belly of it, like poison in the fountain, a crack in the foundation, a fallacy in the principles, and defect in the cause, so must have the same influence in the streams, superstructure, effect, and conclusion; as also, all confederate and joined with you, as uncapable of being either the judges, lifeguard or safeguard, leaders or guides, of the Lord’s covenanted cause, kingdom, or people, and so of being mine, most unjustly apprehended, and still detained prisoner by you.  It is like, this may be cried out upon as treason by some: Well, if the mentioning of the lands treacherous dealings with God be called treason, all my apology is, that that makes the necessity of doing it a double and indispensible duty: Let me be a traitor, if that be treason; and only desires that this my Declinature may be insert in the acts of your pretended parliament and council.

From my cloſs priſon in the tolbooth of Edinburgh, May 4th 1693.

Sic ſubſcribitur,

ROBERT HAMILTON.


A LETTER to Sir James Stuart, Advocate.

SIR,

BEing informed of the most sinful, forged, and false petitions of some, not long ago, in attempting my own, and the late accomplishing the liberation of my dear fellow-prisoners, I judged a necessity put upon me, for preventing, if possible, such dastardly, lothsome, and God-provoking courses, to deal, (as I have ever laboured) singly and ingeniously with you, as not ignorant of the form of the house, and fashion thereof; the outgoings and incomings thereof; if not according to the pattern thereof, I appeal to the fundamental laws and laudable constitutions of our church and covenanted nation; by sending this line with the enclosed, that both may be published before your court of parliament; which, I hope, I need neither be ashamed of, nor afraid to own and avow: withal disclaiming all engagements to live peaceably, which were a condemning myself of former unpeaceableness, which also I deny: as also, coming in any terms of oath or bond with that party that brake the covenant, overturned the reformation, and destroyed the Lord’s people, and engaging to a sinful peace with them, or any confederate with them; of binding and fettering myself under any bonds or penalties, either by myself, or a cautioner, to a forbearance of a testimony, or that may directly or indirectly make myself or others answerable to these courts, which, by the law of God, the rule of our solemn covenants, the principles of our church, the covenanted laws of the nation, are not lawful courts: all, or any of which, were palpable rebellion against God, and breach of covenant.  Withal I must add that

Nil conscire sibi, nulla pallescere culpa,[1]

as it hath greatly sweetened the bitterness of my past lot, so it hath exceedingly fortified and supported under the present trouble; being to me not only as a brazen {26} wall and bulwark against the stormy tempest, and impetuosity of calumny and reproach, and that not only of open enemies, but of those of whom other things might have been expected; and made me digest, without grudging, wearying, or repining at whatever I have met with, affording me a sweet peace and serenity of mind under all my troubles and trials for my honourable and matchless Master, his precious and spotless cause.

SIR, Yours in all duty,

(Sic ſubſcribitur)

ROBERT HAMILTON.

The above Letter, with the foregoing Declina­ture, where given the night before his liberation.


The Protestation and Declinature of Sir Robert Hamilton, at his coming out of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, after eight months closs imprison­ment, depositate in the hands of the keepers of the said Tolbooth.

Robert Hamilton, after a long tract of most barbarous and cruel persecution, from most of the present pretended powers, for my adhering to, and appearing for the fundamental laws and laudable constitutions of our church and covenanted nation: Again in Sept. 10th, 1692, unlawfully apprehended, and for a long time unjustly detained closs prisoner by the foresaid pretended powers, and their confederates, on suspicion of my being at the publishing of that necessary and so much called for Declaration, published August 10th, 1692, which I own, and ever judged it the duty of all, any way privy thereto, to have countenanced, and of the whole nation to own and approve the same; and informed of the most sinfully forged and false petitions of some not long ago, in attempting my liberation, {27} I fearing the reiteration of the same, on these and such like terms, from what of that nature I am informed has been done to my other fellow-prisoners, I judged it my duty, beside what other diligence I have used otherways, for my exoneration, and truth’s vindication, to leave this my protestation with all the designed officers and servants of this tolbooth, disclaiming all engagements to live peaceably, which were a condemning myself of former unpeaceableness, which I deny; as also, coming in any terms of oaths or bonds with that party that have broken the covenant, overturned the reformation, and destroyed the people of God; or engaging to a sinful peace with them, or any confederate with them; or binding or fettering myself under any bonds, or pretence of a testimony, or what may make myself, or others, directly or indirectly, answerable to the present pretended courts, superior or inferior; which, by the law of God, the rule of our solemn covenants, the principles of our church, the covenanted laws of the nation, are no lawful courts.  I declare my present outcoming is merely on the account I find open doors; and desires that this my present protestation be insert in your ordinary register.  As witness my hand, May 5th, 1693.

(Sic ſubſcribitur)

ROB. HAMILTON.


A Collection of missive LETTERS written by the late Right Honour­able Sir ROBERT HAMILTON to his Christian Friends.

LETTER I.

To the Revd. Mr. JAMES RENWICK.

Right Rev. and much honoured of the Lord,

WHAT think ye now of Christ’s cross?  O what doleful uptakings has many of it! and O wretched and deluded popish clergy, who are for having it in such speals [splinters], making their own purse heavy! and O deluded souls and consciences poor therewith!  Wo to them that can either part with it, or divide that noble jewel, All Christ, and all his cross; I say, Christ and his cross, one speal whereof is more than able to weigh down a thousand worlds.  O the worth! the unspeakable worth thereof!  I confess, it often makes a light purse, though I confess, some in our day have made a trade of it, and so now is seen on it; yet great contentment, and a serene and desireable frame of spirit, and an heavenly peace of conscience, attend it.  O dear brother, go on in that noble work, the deeper the sweeter.  It was Christ’s lot (O noble forerunner) his legacy, a testament indeed like himself.  O what witless and silly creatures are we, that would ever be at carving out our own lot otherways than eternal love and infinite wisdom hath contrived it: we are ready to think, O if we wanted this cross, we would swim bravely; as if they were appointed for dead weights to drown us: And O if we wanted this cross, we would be the more fit to grapple against the common enemy; whereas it is the very contrary; to harden Christ’s soldiers against all toils, and render them invincible against all assaults, expert in the {29} use and handling of their arms; yea, proof against all engines, that nothing may pierce them; and not only to know where their strength lies, the worth of their leader and commander; but also to know him, and the power of his resurrection, and fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.  O foolish soul, that thinks or desires to be at heaven without a cross, or fancies they would travel the better to it, if all crosses were away: Far is it from the judgment of all the worthies that have gone before them, who always taught that Before they were afflicted, they went astray; that thro’ great tribulation we must enter into the kingdom; far from the fair plot, and eternal contrivance of the Lord Jesus, who hath not only entailed the cross to his followers, but blessings to the cross; and the more crosses, the more blessings, Matt. 5.10-12, that none might either mistake or scar [scare] thereat.  O poor things, that would be at serving God dry shod; nay, nay, when he is to court his bride, or a poor soul, he first brings her to the wilderness, and there speaks comfortably to her. [Hos. 2.14.]  When there is any thing of moment he is to communicate to his servants, he first sets their feet in Jordan, ere he comes in speak terms with them; and there they are to stand still, and hear what the Lord has to say to them; and by an open profession and practice, bearing the ark of the Lord, entering Jordan, with this glorious burden on their backs.  Alas! many fearing the ark would drown them, have cast it from them, and drowned themselves, and many with them.  But oh! who would have the Lord without fail drive out the Canaanite, Hittite, Hivite, and Jebusite, and the Lord of the whole earth to pass over before them, whose stately steps, and obedience to his sweet commands, dries up the deeps, and over-awes the swellings of Jordan: let them keep fast by the ark, and no fear of their drowning; yea, it will fend for itself and them both.  O wonderful! yet noble and experienced truth, that when the soul by faith wins to forsake its tents, with a resolution to deny itself, and take up its cross, and follow Christ, that oftentimes {30} no sooner are their feet dipt in the brim of Jordan’s banks, (the sight whereof formerly was able to have drowned them) but their storms from above are not only calmed and removed, but made servants, to stand up, as it were, to receive their commands from them; and to rise up and give place, setting themselves in heaps, for bulwarks and walls of safety and defence round about them.  As also these inward and underhand enemies, being the salt-petre of their afflictions, the salt-ocean of tribulation, not only cut off, but so sanctified, as made leaders and guides to land them safely and conveniently under the very walls of their adversaries, and in possession of a sure and glorious victory; yea, and of the land of promise, at one and the same time.  O dear and honoured brother, what a glorious exchange shall that be, when they that are come out of great tribulation, having washen their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; having gotten the victory over the beast, his image, and his mark, instead of treading or standing any more in the swellings of Jordan, and marching thro’ the red and salt-seas of affliction, shall be eternally and firmly settled upon that glorious sea of glass, like unto crystal, before the throne of God; with the harps of God, singing the song of Moses, and of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, O thou King of saints: Who shall not fear thee, O Lord.

Dear Sir, I hope ye will recommend me much, while before the throne, to your Master, as also lay it upon all to do the same; Satan shoots sharply against me in a strange land, and separate from my brethren: And I see this protestation will make to me, in a special way, a new storm, and a bitter one.  But O! his grace is sufficient for me; whose strength is made perfect in weakness [2 Cor. 12.9.]; neither dare I but prosecute it, cost what it will; and if he be glorified, and his cause advanced, we can have no skaith.——I have a door opened to go to Helvetia and Geneva, but it will be September before I take journey.  O lay it before the Lord; I see difficulties and trials abiding me wherever I go: I think the {31} more secret it be kept, it will be the better; some trusty friends may know of it.  I hope with the next occasion I will be more in case to inform of all matters than now.  O to be much in wrestling and waiting, for the Lord cometh to judge the nations, and terrible shall the day of his coming be; however glorious to some.

Now, worthy and dearest friend, what can I say further to you, or unfold more of my heart unto you? O Scotland, the sweet remnant there, hath much room in my heart, and you no little, tho’ it is like we may never meet on earth; yet O, while alive, to be much in trysting [meeting, coming together] before the throne, and living much faith’s life, in the sense, hope, and expectation of that general meeting of the first-born, where friends shall never part again; where Christ and his followers possess one another, in the lovely and everlasting mansions of endless eternity.  O that honourable, lovely, and great work you are called unto, even to plenish Christ’s house, to weed, to sow, to harrow, to clod, to hedge and dyke in his vineyard, in his old and ancient habitation; to dig out the rotten stocks, and hunt out the cunning foxes, both old and young of them.  O that the Lord may stand with you, and make you as a brazen wall against all his and your enemies, and replenish you with his Spirit, to whom the fulness thereof belongs: Stand on a hoof; Christ thinks more of a hoof now, than once of a bail cow: They have driven all from him; and, to speak with reverence of his holy Majesty, they say, He that hath but one eye, had need to keep it well.  O his glory is dear to him, but never more than when so undervalued and trampled upon.  O but it be a sweet THEREFORE that we read Psalm 119.126-128,—For they have made void thy law; Therefore I love thy commandments:—Therefore I esteem thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.  And O! as it is pleasant to God, so a promising token, where ever such a spirit is; a promising one to Moses and Israel, when this spirit kyths [appears] in him; to Esther and the Jews, when the zeal of God nailed honest Mordecai’s hat to his crown; as it keeped his {32} and their heads on their shoulders, so it nailed Haman’s to the gallows.  O! it is such a spirit he delights to honour; such a generation he will take pleasure in.  Now again, I must say to you, my dearest friend, lay it on friends that they do nothing rashly in sending any abroad: I confess Scotland’s case calls greatly for it; but alas! we are but witless worms, and see but very short way; God knows how to perform his great work upon mount Zion, without colleges; not that I was ever against learning, but if not well larded with grace, I think there cannot be worse company this day.  O ye know what a fleece the Lord hath cast off in our land; I think they will be strange folk he will take on again; and whatever other qualifications they may be known by, I think this will be one, They will be folk lying very low in the dust, sitting upon dunghills that he will honour and chop upon.  O but my heart be much with you, and the pleasant remnant there: I think the Lord will never honour the like of me to return to it again; but O the skaith [hurt, damage] is small, if he be glorified, and his work flourish there.  I hope ye will not forget me; I hope ye will not do it; for I may say, if ever I was in hazard to be jealous or afraid of you, it was upon that head, that I thought you had any esteem of me; and the Lord knows how sometimes that has given me work; however, I had the more freedom to give you my poor advice.  Lay not your love easily upon any in this day, so as to confide too much I mean on them; and in a special way it lieth upon you to manage that noble grace well; which tho’ it thinketh no evil, yet it is a grace that is not blind, it rejoiceth only in truth: indeed what of God we see in any, we are to cherish it so far, yet seeing it is the gift of God conferred upon a poor, failing sinful creature; when lodged with much ill company, we are called to deal circumspectly in it: for in our noticing the poor creature too much, as we greatly wrong God, so often we ruin ourselves, and the person also thereby.  And O dear Sir, I know by experience, that the too great intimacy of ministers in Scotland with poor things, has ruined many a poor {33} soul: it broke them off from all faithful freedom and holy authority, and so lulled many asleep, and at last broke the necks both of ministers and people.  Where ye have most hope, be most watchful in marking, in freely reproving in all brotherly kindness; a little small hole will drown the ship, at least sorely endamage the commodities and the finer they be, the easier damnified [damaged, lost]: indeed there is a catching of poor things by wiles; but O Sir, ye know this better than I, that the little freedom there hath been among all ranks in faithfully reproving one another, is one of our lands sins, I think the Lord hath been provoked with; for it came to that, if we could have spoken of this exploit or the other; of this or that design of the enemy, and could have cried out against the bishops, indulged, tyrant, &c. then we reckoned we were bound to bear with all other things in one another; and so it is seen on it this day. Soul conferences, soul-cases were very rare; if begun by any, all about were silent, and it was soon let fall again; little commending Christ’s cross, and his way, in engaging, alluring, and first wooing the soul, except by a word in general; and little in commending Christ himself, and laying out all his ways with one anothers souls; their drawings and his holdings; or talking of access, communion and fellowship with him; little crying of missing him, except in a word, which could do more ill than good, when not accompanied with that earnestness, brokenness, and fervency, in seeking of him again, and putting others to it upon their account, telling what he had done to their souls; what a friend, what a husband, what a prize, what a jewel, how fair, how lovely, how sweet, how matchless; and that now they could swim thro’ death, tortures, yea, hell itself for him.  I think I know partly, that to fall upon religion in general with some, and by some, is as dangerous a thing as ever was invented against a poor soul; I mean, when Christians that have a name, and especially ministers, fall upon generals with some poor things, and so draw them on generals again, and every {34} one of them consenting to another: it were far better, I may say, that that poor soul were hearing devils roaring against it, than to be so handled.  O Sir, I even lay out my soul to you; I expect you will not take it ill, and it may be, we will not have long correspondence together; for I think I have seen that sight now of that poor land that I was promised; and I think I am assured it is before a terrible storm; yea, a great desolation: however, O blessed is he that is working now while it is the day; and tho’ your case be more hard and more intricate than any that has gone before; yet his grace is sufficient for you, whose strength is perfected in weakness; and ye must look upon it as also having its own advantages; ye have the prints and footsteps of our worthies that have gone before you, not loving their lives unto the death, to look into; ye have the wrath of great ones of all qualities, sex and age, lying upon all hands of you, crying to be faithful; you have the rocks they split upon, by their ruins, discovered unto you; you have the holiness, justice, sovereignty, mercy, and condescendency of God, eminently and largely pourtrayed unto you; his holiness and justice, in that he cannot bear with sin, no not in his own; his mercy, sovereignty, and condescendency in passing by the great and perfecting his praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. [Matt. 21.16.]  O! great is his faithfulness, and his mercy endureth for ever.  The blessing of him that dwelt in the bush be with you, and all of you.

As for sending Thomas over, it is like a little time will determine you better than I can; for indeed, I think shortly the world will be swimming in blood: it has long swimmed in sin; the will of the Lord be done. The Lord himself will take the sceptre in his own hand, and he will rule in righteousness, the colleges, the pulpits, the doctrine and the discipline: he will make good scholars, else he will make sore skins.

Now, what shall I further say, I think I am loth to part with you, and I can write no more; Many good nights is loth to part.  I hope you and friends will mind {35} me, and the blessing of the great Master of assemblies, the Bishop of souls, be with you.   The blessing of Him who dwelt in the bush, and led Israel as a flock thro’ the wilderness, who holds the stars in his right hand, and walks among the golden candlesticks, be with you, and all the pleasant remnant, the followers of the Lamb in that land, who hath said he cometh; and so let our souls say, Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Right Rev. and much honoured of the Lord,

Your assured friend, and real sympathizer,

May 12. 1684.

ROBERT HAMILTON.


LETTER II.

To ſome FRIENDS.

Kind and Christian friends,

AS to the union of thir [these] lands you mention in yours, I know that they are walking by the same rules and measures that our plotters did, and are yet doing, viz. To an association of all whatsoever against the common enemy.  I think indeed that the Lord, as he is now to bundle Antichrist, and all that side of the house; so all the Protestant churches, with her sons and her daughters, that have not been zealous for his declarative glory: and as he will utterly destroy the one; so the other he shall so purge, that there shall be but a poor handful left.  And O! who shall be able to abide the day of his coming?  Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision, for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision; but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel, &c. [Mal. 3.2; Joel 3.14,16.]  As it will not be the strength of man, nor of princes, nor the wisdom of men, nor silver or gold, that will help; neither will it be a well stated cause, profession, {36} &c., that will help in that day, if not found within the city of refuge, under the shadow of the wings of the Almighty.  I confess for a soul to have it to say, that they were embarked in his cause, and contenders for him in the day of trial, will say much; yet this is not all: it is these that follow him in the regeneration, that shall sit with him on his throne of glory, judging the twelve tribes of Israel; even those which are come out of great tribulation, must have their robes washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.  O! Christianity is a great mystery, and the reality thereof little known; many have conceptions thereof within their hearts; but alas! the thing itself is but little known. Who knows what it meaneth to have an interest in the Lord God, thro’ the Saviour Jesus Christ? Who knows what this is, with boldness to approach the throne of grace, thro’ a Mediator? Who is it, that hath experience what it is, to have an heavenly and spiritual fellowship, a spiritual and hidden union and marriage with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, thro’ the alone Saviour, the Lord Jesus?  Who knows the true excellency of an heavenly conversation, what it is to trade with heaven, and to entertain a daily fellowship with God, as our God in Christ?  Alas! we are fair to deceive ourselves with a name, and some such like fancy; O what a plague is this?  And what an evidence gives it of our deceitful hearts? O what need have we to look round about us, and consider seriously where we are, and on what ground we stand? for many undoubtedly deceive themselves, and know not that there is a lie in their right hand, [Isa. 44.20]; they rejoice often in a thing of nought, and hope nevertheless that all is well: they promise themselves assuredly heaven, without the least ground of solid hope.  It is indeed a wonder to see how ready we are to sit down under the shadow of our gourd, [Jonah 4], and so to build mere castles in the air, and to found our eternal salvation and well-being on I know not what; and then to cry out, Peace, peace, [Jer. 6.14], to our soul, without laying to heart, that the very next hour we may be cast into everlasting ruin.  O! what an alarming {37} passage is that of the five foolish virgins, who waited long, and no suspicion of being cast out; who rested assured, as it seems, in their hope and expectation, and none of the wise ones that conversed with them had jealousy of them; and were inferior to none, (so far as could be noticed) in zeal and diligence, and had a general longing to enjoy the Bridegroom’s presence eternally; crying, Lord, open unto us; and who nevertheless, after all this, got no other answer, than this, Depart from me, I know you not.  Were we but comparing our case with these, and how we are exercised in these matters; what could we do but burst out in wondering how it is possible that we are not more diligent in making our calling and election sure. [2 Pet. 1.10.]  Heaven and eternal salvation will not come to us in our sleep. Shall many seek to enter in, and yet be debarred? and shall we imagine to enter, without the least trouble and pains?  Alas! we spend our days, as if heaven were not worth the seeking, or needed not be enquired after by us.  Ah! What do we for it? Is there a crown? Is there an eternal inheritance? Is there a kingdom to obtain? And are we slippery and careless, not once to try if we have any interest therein? Doth our days, weeks, months, and years, so pass over our heads, without once asking ourselves, how it is as to our state; without once sitting down, and asking our soul, O soul! where shall you lodge at the evening of this day, when it shall come to a close? Where will you live eternally? Shall you be in God’s presence everlastingly; or shall you inhabit with devils; and shall you be everlastingly banished from the blessed presence of God, and from the glory of his strength? [2 Thess. 1.9.]  Determine ye, O soul, for heaven?  What are your grounds?  Are you certain that you shall not be deceived? Have you seen your name in the book of life?  Are you assured that your hope shall not fail you?  Have ye assurance, that providing death seized upon you in a moment, that ye should be carried up by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: Is it not possible that ye can be deceived? &c. I am confident, if eternity were really believed, and we {38} had that impression on our hearts, as it ought, we could not live at random, and so great uncertainty in such a high and concerning business.  Should we not be daily enquiring, Where our hearts are; where our treasure, crown, and our all is?

Now, dear friends, to know if we can answer these questions aright, and not with the foolish virgins build our hope on the sand, I judge these, or such things, ought often to be put to our souls.  My soul, Have ye made choice of the Lord Jesus, as the only way to the Father?  Are ye really married unto him?  Is there an inviolable marriage and contract betwixt you both?  Stands it firm, that he is yours, and you are his?  Lieth he the whole night betwixt your breasts as a bundle of myrrh?  Is he the standard-bearer in you, the chiefest among ten thousand?  Hath he set up his throne in you? and is he the chiefest in your affections and estimation? And is it all your desire, to please, honour, and glorify him?  Or, at least, is it your exercise to regret that you cannot love him more?  Have you a continual filial fear to sin against his love, his unchangeable love; his inexpressible and endless love?  O what shall I do for him?  How shall I exalt him, as prince and king in my heart, that he may reign and rule in me without a competitor? And what is there, wherein I may acknowledge in any measure, his matchless infinite love and excellencies?  O what an heaven is it, to have Christ thus in the soul?  What a glory is it, to have the King of glory living and abiding in the heart?  O what an unspeakable happiness is it, to have the Prince of the kings of the earth; the Prince of life, light, immortality, and eternity, lodging in our souls?  If we know what this is, we are frequenters of heaven, and its glory.  Christ in the soul, shewing his sceptre, as King, Lord, and Head, is heaven in the soul: Where he is and dwells, there also dwells the Father, and the Holy Ghost.  Have we Christ? we have the Trinity, all the glory, all the happiness, with all the glory and refreshing that can be named.  Wherefore then [are we] not more busy to seek after this JESUS.  Know we not, that he who hath seen {39} him, hath seen the Father also?  Are we yet to know, that He is in the Father, and the Father in him; and that he and the Father is one? [John 14.9; 17.21; 10.30.]  Wherefore are we not then always saying, Sweet Lord Jesus, Come; come, and take possession of the whole soul; come, and dwell; come, and rule; come, and take possession for ever; come, and command all; and let there be none besides thee; as also, none to partake with thee; none to oppose thee; none to grieve thee.  O! let all be thine; thine for now and for ever, Amen.  Let my soul cleave to, and embrace thee continually.  Let my soul love thee, and I am made up.  Let my soul seek after thee, and I am satisfied.  Let my soul hunger and thirst after thee, and I am refreshed.  Let my soul follow hard after thee, and I possess thee.  Let my soul fear thee, and I am preserved from sin.  Let my soul contemplate thee, and I behold God.  Let my soul dwell in thee and with thee, and I am in heaven.  Let my soul glorify thee, and I am glorified.  Let my soul be one with thee, and I am one with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  O! come, come and make no longer tarrying.  Make haste that I may see thy lovely countenance.  Come, come, sweet Lord Jesus, that I may once be possessed of thee, and in thee, and may be with thee for ever.  Let my soul be married unto thee, and be continually in love with thee; and then farewell all creatures, and all treasures and riches, for I have all in Jesus: possessing him, I possess all things.  One beam of his lovely, shining, enlightening countenance, how would it darken all the other glories under the sun, and make its leaves to wither in a moment.  O here is the fairest flower that ever did grow in the Lord’s paradise!  O here is the chiefest of the pleasures in heaven! Let us here take a stand, and sit down and sing, and look upon it as all our joy and satisfaction.  If we can but please him, let us not be troubled whom we offend, providing we can but glorify him.  O! this is enough: in his glory is both our happiness and glory folded up.  If we can but love him, all is well.  O! will the Lord bestow his love on such as we? Will he bestow such an {40} heaven, crown, and glory, on such as we? O wonderful and inexpressible free, free grace!  O wonderful preventing love!  Now I see that he is a God that doth wonders, and that all his works are wonders; for he is Wonderful.  Let then all the angels wonder over this wonderful Wonder; and, O my soul, behold it, and wonder also, and long to be there, where ye shall have more will and capacity to wonder, and chant and sing over your wonders as new.  I shall say no more, but the eternal blessing of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be with you, and all the sweet and pleasant remnant ye are going to, and my blessing so far as it will reach, who desires to be a sympathizer, and a servant unto you all, in the blessed and glorious work of our sweet Lord Jesus.

October 16th, 1685.

ROB. HAMILTON.


LETTER III.

To Iſabel Wright in Ely.

Edinburgh Tolbooth, October 27. 1692.

Chriſtian Mother,

OUR kind Lord makes me oft to weep and joy, and joy and weep, to see and find his unspeakable love wading thro’ such seas of difficulties, and mountains of opposition, to such a poor abject as I am.  O what powerful, what distinguishing love is his.  But what can I say, It is like himself, who delights to be gracious, and loves to magnify the freeness and richness of his grace, on the greatest objects of misery, and so make the world’s filth and off-scouring of all things, his peculiar treasure, and precious jewels.  Praises, praises to him that looketh at what I desire to be, and not at what I am.  O the depth of Christ’s love:  ah! the {41} serving the world and sin hath but a base reward, and stinking smoke for all its fair pretences, and gilded promises; but in him is all we can either want or wish.  He hath been graciously pleased, more and more, to confirm me his poor prisoner, that this is the way that is now persecute, and that this is his own precious truth that I now suffer for; yea, he hath sealed my sufferings with his own comforts, and his seals are not to confirm notions and untruths, nor to deceive his afflicted ones that trust in him.  He hath enlarged my desires, that he may be glorified in my sufferings; and much may be spoken to matchless Christ’s commendation on my account; and I more and more purged of my dross; precious truth more vindicated, and that his honourable cause be no ways stained nor weakened by poor worthless me.  Open enemies, with other antagonists, the ministers and professors of Scotland, have sold Christ’s interest, with the churches liberties, for their own things, and proposed great advantage, by some of our takings, both designing to raise and secure their interests by our bonds and afflictions; but it may be the Lord disappoint and rub confusion and shame on their politicks, and make both of them find their gain, when it comes to count and reckoning, far short of what they promised.  I understand by our worthy friend the lady Carlop’s letters, that she is swallowed up of melancholy: I doubt not but friends labour to be as comfortable to her as possible; and I hope sister Earlstone will not be short in her part of duty to her; and when they are so near, I would have them often together, as sisters in Christ, and companions in tribulation.  I desire to be remembered before the throne, by dear Christian friends in town; tell them I have no jealousies of their tenderness and concernedness in me.  O! I think the Lord is calling his to a running hand in hand to their chambers; for O! a terrible day seems to be near on Scotland: and ah! how few prepared or preparing.  I hope ye do not forget me; nay, I am persuaded of it.  I must desist, for I neither can nor dare write much at once; neither will my head now allow {42} it.  Now, the blessing of him that was separate from his brethren be with you all.  I am, my dear friend,

Your companion in tribulation,

ROBERT HAMILTON.


LETTER IV.

To Iſabel Wright in Edinburgh.

Dear Mother,

YE must not weary to stay in a wearisome world, for the strengthening and encouraging of your poor bairns; tho’, I confess, it is no less than singular submission to attain real satisfaction in dabling through this thorny, miry wilderness, when so many sad sights of ruin in the way, and the Lord so hardly to be found, and to be keeped:  And alas! so few missing, and so few lamenting after him.  Ah! he is away, and when he is gone, all is gone; and the generation not only of worldlings, but of professors, growing ay worse and worse, turning further and further from him, growing unliker and unliker to him.  O for holiness in all manner of conversation; to be holy because he is holy. [1 Pet. 1.15,16.]  O! were it thus, all would be well yet.  But alas! I think the curse, Zeph. 1.17, is much accomplished in our day, They shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord:  And who knows but that in Isaiah 47.11, shall be the fate of these lands, notwithstanding of all the peace so much talked of and rejoiced in; Therefore shall evil come upon thee, and thou shalt not know from whence.  I am in haste, dear mother, mind me; and my love to all your despised bairns, praying that the Lord may be with you all.  I am,

Your real and assured friend,

ROBERT HAMILTON.


LETTER V.

To Elizabeth Swan in Ely.

Dear and Chriſtian friend,

THE savoury report which our two friends brought anent the poor handful in that place; as also the token of your sympathy and concernedness, was very refreshing to me in bonds for Christ.  The cause is still the same, and as well worth the contending and suffering for as ever.  That it is the Lord’s cause, it ought to be enough to venture life, and all that is dear to us for the same; but few alas! few this day see it worth contending for, and so but little valued.  Some are pleas’d to say, that this is Scotland’s delivery; a sad delivery that is attended with precious truth’s captivity; with all the spiritual plagues that ever was rained on a nation; with a most dreadful speat [flood] of all wickedness and impiety; and a further and further departure of the Lord from amongst us.  Ah! if our hearts were not hard as the adamant, our consciences seared as with an hot iron, and our faces become brazen, ashamed of nothing; how might we blush and be confounded to say we are free and delivered, and Christ more and more departed; his royal prerogatives in determining the qualifications of the officers of his own house, of the buyers and sellers, and money-changers, who for a little ease and profit to themselves were ever ready to sell what Christ’s enemies were pleased to buy from them: All these, and what not, yet in the hands of enemies; all the wrongs done against our Lord, by consent, not only not resented, but buried; and the greatest actors of these abominations, now our sworn friends and confederates; and these that would, in any measure, witness against such, must be reputed publick enemies.  If this union be not a palpable conspiracy against Christ, I see not; but further, the marriage-contract betwixt Christ and thir [these] lands, our solemn and sacred Covenants, {44} with the Causes of God’s Wrath, both which were burnt by open enemies, and now buried by pretended friends; yea, by the pretended parliaments and assemblies of such, with all the blood and persecution against the Lord’s people; yea, the very authors and actors of these abominations advanced, rewarded, and made the life-guard and safe-guard of church and state.  Oh! will not such a delivery make our ruin more certain and sudden, more terrible and dreadful.  My dear friends, let us labour to be found in him, and faithful for him, tho’ we should be left alone: Religion is a reward sufficient of itself; and to be Christ’s servant, and in his service, is a king’s life.  Let us come entreating him, with hearts expanded, holy affections flaming upward, and hands stretched out to embosom and embrace him, and follow him fully, and take up his cross heartily, for he is a noble captain we have to fight under, who not only bears each soldier’s charges, all their stock being only in his hand, but ensures them of the victory, crown, and kingdom, in the end of the battle.  Let us espouse his spotless and glorious, tho’ despised cause, for our own, and not be discouraged, or put off our ground, either with the smooth painted and high flowing pretences of backsliding ministers and professors, who have sold Christ’s things for their own, and serve any master that will secure them and theirs, tho’ never so much to the prejudice of our Lord, the great Master of assemblies, and his interests.  Let us guard against the wiles of Satan, who, when he cannot gain poor things by open defection, or bloody persecution, transforms himself into an angel of light, if possible he can catch some that way; but the Captain of our salvation is engaged for all, and that the least of his poor little flock, to carry the weak, and nourish them in his warm and enlivening bosom; to seek in the wanderers, and gather them that halteth, that it is impossible for Satan, and all his instruments, to steal one single lamb out of Christ’s fold; what is wanting on the last day Christ will make it up; but nobly shall it then be fulfilled in him, Those that thou gavest me, I have kept; and none {45} of them is lost. [John 17.12.]  O let us wait on him in his own ways, for he is hastening, yea, at the very door, to decide all the controversies in Zion, and propounds to meet with us in garments rolled in blood: But come what way he pleases, will he not be welcome to some; yea, he will be a hiding-place from the storm [Isa. 32.2.] to a remnant.  Now, the Lord himself be light, life, and all to you, and his blessing rest on you, and all that are desiring to keep the way of God, the good old way.  And O pray for Christ’s poor feckless prisoner, and friendless Zion; and the blessing of him who is separate from his brethren, be with you all.

Edinburgh Closs Prison,

May 2. 1693.

Your assured friend,

and Christ’s prisoner,

R. HAMILTON.


LETTER VI.

To Elizabeth Swan in Ely.

Chriſtian friend,

SINCE my last, the Lord has wonderfully wrought my liberation, that tho’ the night before I was in a manner shut out of prison, I sent the inclosed Declinature, with the letter to their king’s advocate; and the day of my coming out of prison, left the other paper with the keepers of the tolbooth, yet there was not a dog in all the land to bark against me; but how enemies carried it on, I know not in the least, only I can say, that before I was unjustly taken and detained by them, and now I am free, and praises, praises to him alone, without truth’s disadvantage: but no thanks to enemies; for as their malice and hatred shut me up, so I judge, their own interest and credit shut me out, without respect either to truth, or me.  For my part, I think, as it discovers, on the one hand, how easy it is {46} with the Lord to set his captives, and captive truth, and Zion free; so, it ever sounds in my ears, that it calls me to prepare for a greater battle.  Our Jordan will yet be deeper; but O pray, pray that it may not be broad.

I was at Leith near two days, in order to have payed you a visit; but was forced to return back again, by reason of the storm, and by the approaching of the general meeting, I am forced to delay it at this time; but so soon as I can I will see you.  The inclosed you may make as public as ye will.  There is of our friends, I hear, taken prisoner, in Holland, one James Kid, for printing the last Declaration, and some useful piece against the Association.  I hope the Lord will be with him, and the devices against Zion shall not prosper.  The Lord will have Scotland’s witnesses, both in the land, and out of it, and in that land where our late defections and apostacy was hatched and contrived.  Let us be labouring to be hid in that Rock to which the righteous run, and are safe [Prov. 18.10]; to watch in our armour at our Captain’s back, and tho’ the battle may be hot, and O it will be both hot and sudden, yet it will be safe, and the victory sure.  Now, my dear friends, the Lord be with you all.

Your assured friend,

May 13th, 1693.        ROB. HAMILTON.


LETTER VII.

To James Currie merchant in Pentland.

Chriſtian friend,

HAVING this occasion, I could not but salute you, and your bed-fellow with a line; our night seems to grow still darker and darker, and will do, I think, till the day break; for I can see nothing but still more and more confirmations, that nothing but judgments will decide Zion’s controversy, for see we not, that sin {47} and all manner of abominations, has free scouth [scope] to range and rage at random, without opposition and contradiction, whereas precious truth no sooner begins to gaunt, rax, stretch or rouse itself in the grave, tho’ never so faintly, but all ranks, kings, princes, priests, and people, are all armed, affrighted, provoked and irritated, and new discoveries of hatred, malice, dissatisfaction, and enmity, appears in their tongues, countenances, and actions; but no wonder, that the adulterer and adulteress, the thief and robber, is made ever to flee the light, which might both discover and be a mean to apprehend them: I find the great ones, with the clergy, speak with one tongue; they find they are truth-bitten, and they know of no other mean but to lick themselves whole again with their own tongues, calling the late declaration nonsensical, and what not; but let them call it what they will, they were never so stung nor galled with any thing, as some of their own accomplices has been made to drop from them; but let them say and think of it what they will, great peace have I, in what is done, and I trust the Lord has set to his seal to it, as an acceptable sacrifice in his sight.  Now, dear friends, when the Lord is coming to pull down what he hath built, and to pluck up what he hath planted, and to bring evil upon all flesh, O but it be much the duty of his poor people, not to seek great things for themselves: we are not behind if we keep clean garments, tho’ cloathed with the reproaches of Christ: and if we can have a peaceable conscience, which will be a feast unto us, tho’ kept between hand and mouth otherways, and put to grapple with the frowns, down-lookings, malice and hatred of open enemies and professed friends.  They know little of the emptiness of a deceitful world, and of the soul-satisfaction and consolation to be found in Christ, who will not come from that Lebanon to enjoy his company.  We are but strangers and pilgrims on earth, and we need not think much, if it be not kindly unto us.  O sweet, sweet word, Verily there is a rest prepared for the people of God. [Heb. 4.9.]  My love and respects to yourself, bed-fellow, and family, and to all {48} my dear Christian friends at Edinburgh; hoping you will mind us, who desire to commend and commit you to the Lord; and remains

Dec. 17. 1695.        Your assured friend,

ROB. HAMILTON.


LETTER VIII.

To James Currie merchant in Pentland.

Dear Chriſtian friend,

TO forget you were both unnatural and unchristian. I confess you and your family have been encouraging and refreshing, not only when present with you, but my reflection on it when at a distance: but alas! What can I write, what can I say; The Lord’s ways are in the deep waters, and his paths are past finding out, [Rom. 11.33]: and yet, I doubt not, both legible, instructing, and strengthening to some; but O! such are rare, few fearing him, and few upon his secrets: Ah! how may this in a great measure be our lamentation, We have not a prophet among us, nor any that knows how long, [Psalm 74.9,] Lord keep us from wearying.  O to be waiting on him.  But ah! we may fear that on-waiters will be few; yet blessed shall they be, tho’ but one, that shall wait it out, they shall be made to see and say, that he has done all things well, [Mark. 7.37,] and all the pains and cost of these times has been but small in comparison of that noble result and enriching income it shall yield and produce.  But O wrath! wrath at the door, against a perfidious, profane, hypocritical, Christ’s-cause-and-people-betraying generation; and turners-aside shall not want their large share in it.  Who shall be able to abide the day of his coming? [Mal. 3.2.]  O for hearts to fear, hear, and draw near a holy and sin-revenging God.  Ah! his holiness and justice is vilipended, his name is trampled upon, his works and ways flouted at and disdained; the monuments of enemies ruins, and his peoples deliverances forgotten {49} and misimproven.  O dear friend, when I win to think of my base ingratitude, it makes my heart to bleed within.  O what has he done for some, and how badly requited.  Let me hear from you, and how it is with you all.  My love to yourself and bed-fellow; and to all the sweet children; and the blessing of the Lord be with you all.  I hope ye will mind us.  I remain,

Bridge-noſe,

June 9. 1697.

          

Your assured friend,

ROBERT HAMILTON.


LETTER IX.

To James Currie merchant in Pentland.

Chriſtian and dear friend,

I Am ever glad to hear of you and your family’s welfare, so I would be very desirous to have a line from you now and then.  Mr Kid has been very diligent in performing your line anent me.  O! to have this enemy Self more and more subdued, that his will and way with me, were more my delight.  But O! silly worm that I am, that would be content to be more denied to one piece of self, to have another piece of it somewhat gratified; to have my allowance diminished, providing I could have it another way; but he will have his people know, that that piece of the cross their stomach stands most at, is the very thing can least be wanting; yea, without it, it would be no cross, and if no cross, what creatures would we be; yea, what noble experiences and promises, should the poor thing be robbed of:  Then, dear friend, nothing to a full resignation and up-giving of ourselves to him, to his tutory, guiding, and disposal, and closely following him thro’ thorns, seas, rocks, and mountains, and where-ever he goes.  It is poor thoughts and esteem we have of him, when his company is not prized beyond all hazards and difficulties that can attend it; and when not seen {50} in his tutory, leading, and disposing, as infinite in power, love, and wisdom.  O brother, let us set to, to keep him high; for tho’ we should never see a better of it in time, to get leave to serve him, tho’ in the meanest of his service, is a reward above what men or angels can give; yea, he, and his despised cause, will yet win the day.  O to wait without wearying, fainting, offending, or making haste.  My respects to your kind bed-fellow and family.  Now mind us, and God’s blessing be with you all.  I am, dear friend,

Borrowſtounneſs,

Dec. 13. 1697.

          

Your ſympathizing,

R. HAMILTON.


LETTER X.

To Helen Alexander, spouse to James Currie, mer­chant in Pentland, upon the death of her dear son Thomas Currie.

Dear Chriſtian friend,

THO’ both time and weakness straitens me, yet I could not omit this occasion.  Your trial (I shall not say my own, that not once is to be compared with yours) hath been sharp since our last meeting, but well are we, that our cross is both of Christ’s choosing, ordering, and managing:  And O! strange to flesh and blood, that the more heavy, the more bitter and sharp it be, the more proper for us.  It lets us find where our leprous botch and boil lies, for were our back whole, our burden would be the more light and easy; but it is our boil there, that makes it uneasy, and us kick and fling under it; yea further, the more we are made to see and dwell under the mismanagements of our cross, we may conclude that the more dextrously it is composed for us: for thereby we are led to see what miserable comforters we are in the time of need, either to ourselves, or these most dear to us; and what need there is of momentaneous influences from the great Physician, {51} not only to bear our cross, but to guide ourselves and others under it; and this is one of his main designs in afflicting his, to keep them empty about his hand, and to employ him in all, both as to the matter and manner of our affairs, or afflictions, to take with our sinfulness, senselessness and stupidity, in both helping and extricating ourselves, or others, that he may get the sole trust, credit, and employment, both as to the care, management, or accomplishing of his own unspotted and tender designs towards us:  This was his way with Martha and Mary, whom he loved, yet tarried after their sending to him: Why, O what a discovery thereby made he of their folly, misjudgings of themselves, yea, rather of his blessed self, with the misjudgings of the other disciples.  No doubt, these poor women thought they were short, in not sending oftner to him; yea, it stays not there, but questioned both his power and tenderness, in not coming sooner and that now he has sitten his time; and the other disciples, they’ll die with Lazarus, even Christ himself, they think, can be no comfort to them when Lazarus was gone.  O! how loves Satan to fish in muddy water, to draw poor things from the very end and design of Christ in the cross, to rob them both of the peaceable fruit and sweetness thereof.  But, dear friend, I trust that the Lord will frustrate the enemy, and raise you up in due time, and make you find, see, and say, that all his ways are good towards you; and that all things, even your own real mismanagements, shall work together for your good, [Rom. 8.28]; wean you more from yourself, and all self-confidence, from all time’s things, comforts, and delights, and so a seeing an infinite up-making, with an all sufficiency of relief, peace, comfort, and consolation in himself.  But I must desist, my head is yet very weak.  I design to see you shortly.  I am not able to write to your kind husband; I refer him to Mr. Kid and Thomas Gillespie’s letters.  My love to all your kind and sweet family.  The Lord himself be with you all.  In haste,

Borrowſtounneſs,

April 29. 1698.

          

Your aſſured and affectionate

friend and ſympathizer,

R. HAMILTON.


LETTER XI.

To Thomas Gillespie.

Chriſtian friend,                 May 25. 1698.

ON Wednesday last at night, we had a conference with Mr. M‘Hendrie, who was all day at Mr. Hepburn’s parties meeting, and at night came to us. He evidenced great kindness to us, but in conference seemed not to be very distinct in any part of our Testimony; and as to that of the magistrate, whatever he seemed to yield to us, yet, at the long-run, he seemed clear in no part of it.  After we had spent the whole night with him, and our friends had been singularly helped, every one to lend in their mite in defence of truth, all the meeting unanimously agreed, that there was no joining with him; and that he appeared not to be a man, for the time, that the Lord had raised up, either to espouse or defend Scotland’s covenanted reformation and buried Testimony: however, we parted with him, and he with us, very friendly, and, I doubt not, but both sides much weighted; and before parting he told us, that Mr. Hepburn’s party had engaged him to preach on the Sabbath; so this is an account in short. It is true, dear friend, we have need to be an humbled people, not only by our sin in putting away the precious gospel from us, but in not being yet fitted for receiving of it, otherways we had had it before now; yet we are to bless him, that he puts an opportunity in a remnant’s hand in this land, to witness their preferring Christ, his right and privileges, yea, the least of his controverted truths, before their own credit, and all outward advantages.  O blessed are they that wait on him, and shall not make haste; he will come, and will not tarry. [Hab. 2.3.]  My respects to all friends.  I am, dear friend,

Yours in all duty,

R. HAMILTON.


LETTER XII.

To James Currie merchant in Pentland.

My dear friend,

I Have had a sore fit of my colick since I saw you, and still indisposed; but O! he does all things well: And I think indeed, Christ and his cross, in such a day, is no small mercy.  Our light and toom [empty] vessel would soon coup [overturn], if Christ’s ballast were a-wanting, and soon sink, if but a little overloaden:  Well knows he how to order and steer his crazy and poor ship thro’ thir [these] lower seas; what wind we take, what water we draw, and what storms we may bide; he is our maker, pilot, owner, merchant, and all, himself:  Not indeed like the world’s carpenters, who when they build their ship, send her to sea, and enquire no more after her.  O that we know him so little, and that he is known no more; if known, who would not love, serve, admire, and adore him.  But alas! this world is crying for want of corn and wine; neither seeing nor sorrowing for our abominable iniquities, nor how to avert the present, nor approaching vengeance that is following, nor seeing the glory of his justice that is displaying in the nations as a banner.  O to be found in him, like him, and for him.  No other thing will do it; silver and gold, barns and garnels [granaries], ships and armies, king and counsellors, when all joined together, will not do it.  He will go through them, and break them down as a fire doth thorns.  O for a life of faith, a life of diligence and on-waiting; for he is surely on his way.—Now, my respects to yourself, kind bed-fellow, and family.  Your mercies are not few, the Lord help you to improve them to his glory.  Now, himself be with you all.  I am, dear friend,

Borrowſtounneſs,

Nov. 30. 1698.

          

Yours affectionately,

R. HAMILTON.


LETTER XIII.

To James Currie merchant in Pentland.

Dear and Chriſtian friend,

THE case and trials of your family came not to my hand till this day.  I long to hear how it is with you.  I hope he is letting you see the need of all, and making you say, It is the Lord, let him do whatsoever he will [1 Sam. 3.18,] with me and mine; he is a wise manager, it is his hand that can do no wrong; a skilful, tender and loving physician that knows how to mix his potions to the best advantage.  O let us commit our way to him, and trust in him, and cast our care on him, for he careth for us. [1 Pet. 5.7.]  His design is but to melt off our dross, and draw us near himself.  O to be living under lively impressions of our interest in and relation to that glory that is above, and of that infinite love that has purchased and procured it to us: how would it encourage us to mend our pace homeward, and to bear patiently all blasts and storms in the way; thro’ them we must, but if once there, how happy were we.  O to be lifting up our eyes and seeing, and then lifting up our heads and rejoicing, to see how by every duty and difficulty our redemption draweth nigh.  If our eyes were more heaven-ward and homeward, there would be less fretting and wearying in our way.  O brother, what is here to detain holy souls: Zion is made a desolation, truth murdered, holiness mocked, the godly despised, wickedness and all defection abounding, graces withering, and love decaying: but ah! the cup is going round; it is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture, and he poureth out the same; but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them, Psalm 75.8.  But I will not detain you.  My love to your kind bed-fellow, self, and family.  The Lord be with you all.  I am, dear friend,

Sept. 4th 1699.

          

Yours, &c.

R. HAMILTON.


LETTER XIV.

To James Currie merchant in Pentland, after the whole family had the fever.

Chriſtian and dear friend,

AT my coming here, I was much refreshed to hear that the Lord had so mercifully dealt with your family, in bringing you all safely thro’ such boisterous storms, when so many, in all airths [quarters], of greater bulk and strength, are sunk and split.  The Lord himself make us to improve and employ our mercies singly for him: He is doing great things, and will perfect his work, his whole work, tho’ we neither know when, nor how.  I was comforting myself to have seen you at this place, otherways neither my ease nor convenience would have stopt me to have seen you at the Ferry; however I was glad ye did take it so well, for indeed, I think, it should be all our business to keep up these despised meetings, should it be but for a witness of what has been, and yet is, and may be; and to see one another whom this generation cares not for seeing of; however I hope to see you at the next tryst [meeting], tho’ my health still remains very uncertain, yet blessings to him that debates in measure.  Now, tho’ I have but little to say, yet I cannot be silent when I have occasion.  My love and respects to yourself, and kind family, referring all till meeting.  I am,

Borrowſtounneſs,

Nov. 11. 1699.

          

Your assured friend,

R. HAMILTON.


LETTER XV.

To James Currie and Thomas Gillespie.

My dear friends,

BEyond my design and inclination, I am stopped from attending you at this time, by reason of my indisposition {56} of body; my old distemper falling heavier on me.  This is the time I use to be most molested with it; what height it may come to, the Lord knows, who must give frail me a back for the burden, and due preparation for what he is trysting, or may tryst me with; he has made me sometimes see a need to praise and prize him in all his ways with me.  The Lord be with you in your meeting.  As to Mr. M‘Hendrie, his cause between him and his adversaries seems to be clear enough; but what of a door of hope seems to be casting up to us as yet, I see not, but the Lord’s ways are in the deep.  That point of the magistrate is a weighty one, neither can I see how we can more own, in our covenanted circumstances, a malignant king, than a malignant minister.  It is a gross compliance with the public enemies of this covenanted and reformed church and nation; for this, Abiathar was thrust from the priest-hood, because of his compliance with Adonijah the usurper; and since Scotland’s crown is a covenanted crown, I cannot see how any head, but a covenanted one, can bruik [possess, hold, enjoy] it, without the height of usurpation: but I must add, that his letter to you from Dundee seemingly gives the fullest and truest discovery of him; if he still stick to it, on which he would be interrogate, ye should also get from him a true double of the extract of his deposition, which I think they could not deny him, otherways how could they expect his submission: but when I have said this, it is my judgment, that friends, each to their power, should sympathize with him, and give him all the encouragement possible.  Thus I have only written my simple thoughts at the time, but shall be glad to know and hear of yours.  I think these two articles of Informatory Vindication, page 98, gives us great light. Now, dear friends, I say again, the Lord be with you, and mind them that tarries at home with a heavy heart.  I am,

Yours in all duty,

ROBERT HAMILTON.


LETTER XVI.

To James Currie merchant in Pentland.

My dear friend,

COULD my sympathy at this time be steadable to you, I may say, he knows ye want it not, God has more shown his will, ye are to show your obedience, submission and complacency in it: He allows your being concerned and affected with your trial; but here is super-abounding comfort, that he not only allows himself to sympathize with you in it, but to be afflicted in all your afflictions; and withal has given you a signal door of hope, not to mourn as these that are without hope; but to rejoice in his eternal love that ever condescended and ordained out of your loins a twig of glory; and ascribe glory to him, who, as he has promised to be better than ten sons to you, so as an incomparable father has taken home his own child to an uninterrupted communion with himself out of the world, from the imminent snares and dangers thereof, to these chambers and mansions of glory, safety and ease, rest and security, where he shall say no more he is sick or pained, out of the dint of all storms, fears, and tentations.  O brother, the days are coming, when such a trial will not only be thought easy, but pure and matchless mercy,  But my scriblings, I judge, will but trouble you to read them; it is he that has given the wound, [who] must apply the plaister to you all:  Well can he do it, and I hope he will do it.  The Lord himself be with you all.  O my heart bleeds on all your behalfs.  The Lord himself step in amongst you; a word from himself will do, and will comfort your afflicted souls, and put off the tempter, who at such a time is not idle.  I could have no rest till I sent out William.  The Lord’s blessing, and mine, to yourself and afflicted bed-fellow and family.

Yours in all duty,

R. HAMILTON.


LETTER XVII.

To Helen Alexander, spouse to James Currie, after the death of her dear son James Currie.

My dear sympathizing Christian friend,

THO’ it is seldom I am able to write, and at best with great pain, yet I am in a great measure constrained to this short line.  You seem to me yet to drive heavily under various discouragements.  What are you doing?  Are you suffering the enemy to make a pack-horse of you?  Are you siding with that inveterate enemy against your sweet Lord, his will and way with you and yours?  O do you think you could have managed better than he has done?  Let not such thoughts once enter, but with horror and indignation.  Can ye not say, He has done all things well; ye will be made both to see and say it.  Fall on another way of it, of prizing him above all, and praising him for all, and you will find a sweet life of it; yea, it shall prove a door of hope, a door of entrance for a pleasant life of it, in your old days.  You may safely credit him; put a blank in his hand; he can, he will do you no wrong; tho’ he cause grief, yet he will have compassion, according to his tender mercies. [Lam. 3.32.]  Has he said it, that all things, even crosses and afflictions, shall tend for the good of them that love and fear him. [Rom. 8.28.]  O what a cordial is this! and what a noble commentary to expone the darkest and heaviest-like dispensations we may be trysted with; and hath this come forth from his sweet lips, and shall we not sit down, and sing over it; and singly and cordially say, The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? [John 18.11]  It was our Lord’s own words when about to grapple with his Father’s wrath, and the all of the wrath of man; yet to make your cup easy he took up his heartsomely, with a Shall I not drink it? yea, I will drink the bitter dregs of it, that they may but taste of the brim of it.  O! my dear friend, is not his yoke easy, and his burden light, [Matth. 11.30,] besides what it was {59} to him.  O prize and praise, employ, credit and trust, and lay and leave yourself, and all your cares, fears, and troubles on him, and this is the way to please him, and ease your soul.  I can say no more.  Himself be with you, and all your sweet family.  I am,

March 17. 1701.

          

Your assured friend,

R. HAMILTON.


The dying TESTIMONY of Sir Robert

Hamilton of Preston.

Chriſtian friends, companions in my tribulation, and fellow-witneſſes for the controverted truths of the church of Scotland,

THO’ I have many things that might discourage me from shewing myself this way, at such a time, when the Lord’s controverted truths, his covenanted reformation, and the wrestlings of his faithful and slain witnesses, are things so much flouted at, despised and buried, not only by the profane, but alas! even by the ministers and professors of this generation; yet I could not but leave this short line to you, who of all interests in the world, have been my greatest comfort:  Being now come to the utmost period of my time, and looking in upon my eternal state, it cannot be readily judged by rational men, that I should dare to write any thing, but according to what I expect shortly to be judged; having had such a long time to consider on my ways, under a sharp affliction.  As for my own case, I bless my God, it is many years since my interest in him was secured; and under all my afflictions from all airths [quarters], he hath been a present help in time of my greatest need.  I have been a man of reproach, a man of contention; but praise to him, it was not for my own things, but for the things of my Lord Jesus Christ: Whatever were my infirmities, yet his glory, and the rising and flourishing of his kingdom, was still the mark {60} I laboured to shoot at; nor is it now my design to vindicate myself from the many calumnies that have been cast upon my name, for when his slain witnesses shall be vindicated, his own glory and buried truths raised up, in that day he will assuredly take away the reproach of his servants, and will raise and beautify the names of his living and dead witnesses; only this I must add, tho’ I cannot but say that reproaches have broken my heart; yet in what I have met with, before and at the time of Bothwell, and also since, I had often more difficulty to carry humbly under the glory of his cross, than to bear the burden of it.  O peace with God, and peace of conscience is a rich feast.

Now, as to his public cause, that he hath honoured you in some measure to side with; stand fast therein; hold fast, let no man take your crown, [Rev. 3.11]; for it is the road he will take in coming to this poor land; and praise him for honouring such poor things as you are, as to make you wish well to his cause, when church and state, and all ranks, have turned their backs on it: And my humble advice to you as a dying brother, is to stand still, and to beware of all tamperings with those betrayers of the royal interests and concerns of Christ’s kingdom, and listen to no conferences with the ministers or professors of this generation, till the public defections of this land, from the doleful source of all our ruin and misery, that sin of the Public Resolutions, the compliance with Prelacy, the church ruining and dividing indulgences and toleration, until the present sinful course of vindicating all these defections, and burying all the testimonies given against the same; I say, until these be acknowledged, and publickly rejected and disowned both by church and state.

I die a true Protestant, and to my knowledge a reformed Presbyterian, in opposition to Popery, Prelacy, and Malignancy, and whatever is contrary to truth, and the power of godliness, as well against frazing [effusive, flattering, exaggerated] pretenders to unwarrantable zeal on the right hand, as against indifferent lukewarmness on the left; adhereing with {61} my soul to the holy and sweet Scriptures, which have often comforted me in the house of my pilgrimage; our Confession of Faith, and our Catechisms; the Directory for Worship; Covenants, National and Solemn League and Covenant; Acknowledgment of Sins, and Engagement to Duties; with the Causes of God’s Wrath; and to all the faithful, public testimonies, given against defection of old and of late; particularly these contained in the Informatory Vindication, and that against the Toleration, and the two last declarations emitted since this late fatal Revolution; which testimonies I ever looked upon as a door of hope of the Lord’s returning again to these poor backsliding lands.

And now, my dear friends, Let nothing discourage you in that way:  The Lord will maintain his own cause, and make it yet to triumph; the nearer to day, it may be the darker, but yet in the evening-time it shall be light; and the farther distant ye keep from all the parties, courses, and interests of this generation, the greater will be your peace and security.  O labour to be in Christ, for him, and like him: much in reading of the holy Scriptures, much in prayer, and holy unity and cordialness among yourselves.  Be zealous and tender in keeping up your private fellowships for prayer and Christian conference; as also, your public correspondences and general meetings; go to them, and come from them, as those instructed, really concerned, and weighted with Christ’s precious controverted truths in Scotland, and labour still to take Christ along with you, to all your meetings, and to behave yourselves as under his holy and all-seeing eye, when at them, that ye may always return with a blessing from his own rich hand.

Now, farewel my dear Christian friends; the Lord send us a joyful meeting at his own right hand, after time, which shall be the earnest desire, while in time, of your dying friend,

At Borrowſtounneſs,

Sept. 5. 1701.

}     

Sic ſubſcribitur,

R. HAMILTON.


THE

Believer‘s Farewel to the

WORLD,

OR, AN

❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋❋

E L E G Y

TO THE

NEVER-DYING MEMORY

OF THE

Much Honoured and Religious Gentleman

Sir ROBERT HAMILTON.

WHAT can so many heavy deaths portend!

Means this pale tyrant thus to make an end

Of all our Worthies?  Shall not one be left?

Shall Zion of her children be bereft?

Must all go hence, yet none come in their place?

Shall none surviving read our doleful case

With mournful eyes?  O ye whose charming art

Can move the passions, now come act a part!

Come screw affections to their highest pitch,

Rack your inventions, and your fancies stretch.

Ye who can Elegiacs write, come now

Here is a theme not unbecoming you!

Snatch this sad talk from an unlearned swain [shepherd],

Whose notes are flat, tho’ sorrowful and plain.

Dull muse, awake, put on a mourning stile,

Employ my barren fancy for a while

Fit words and matter, sadly to express,

For inward sorrow, mourning and distress

Becomes all Zion’s sons in such a day,

When thus her ripest champions drop away.

I suck no Pagan dew, nor gather drops

Distill’d by Clio from Parnassus’ tops: {63}

My lips did never kiss these sacred wells

Which Pegasus once op’ned with his heels.

Such wanton flourishes can but bewray,

That artificial mourning cannot stay:

Lead thou my genius in another strain;

Weep tears in verse, yea write and weep again:

Let streaming rivulets from eyes take vent,

And make their channels wider by descent.

Say all that’s lawful, spare not, since he’s gone,

That noble soul, thrice lovely HAMILTON!

Lovely in life, lovely in death also;

Hateful to none but such as did not know

What gracious habits in an heavenly mind

Compos’d the man; whose equals few behind

Can vie with him: Envy herself might judge,

Tho’ in his life she always did him grudge.

Ye who can tell what true devotion is,

May wish your souls so fram’d as here was his.

Unfeigned faith his soul did firmly ty

To JESUS CHRIST; his love incessantly

Did burn, with zeal, unmix’d with foolish fire:

And choicest objects bounded his desire.

His troubles all endur’d with patience,

Brought forth a treasure of experience.

Regret the churches loss!  One fewer now

Prevails with God, who at his footstool bow!

A wrestling Jacob! giant on his knee,

Whom faith and love did in an high degree,

Make serious shining Christian; and we can

Say, moral virtues also made him Man.

All ye whose throats with sp’rit of malice fill’d,

From hell’s alembick as it were distill’d;

Ye prating fools, whose clamours daily grew,

Like dogs who bark’d at him ye never knew:

Let checks and blushes evidence your shame

And ignorance: while he, with living fame,

Now sings the song of Moses and the Lamb,

With those who out of tribulation came; {64}

While such as you, with hellish furies led,

Are griev’d he should have dy’d upon his bed.

Whose soaring soul reproaches did disdain;

Whose equal temper made your labour vain.

His memory shall never be forgot;

His name shall live, while yours in grave shall rot.

Ingrateful world!  who would not bemoan,

Such wrath presaging losses?  Here was one,

Whose room a thousand dwarfs, now left behind,

Shall never fill!  Here was a constant friend,

Prudent in counsel, ready and discreet,

Kind, wise, and in his conversation sweet:

Whom all the noblest qualities possest;

No virtue was a stranger to his breast:

Here, all those motions of the giddy will

Which prompt to vice; or would encourage ill,

Were frown’d upon, and with an awful hand,

Reduc’d to reason, with severe command.

Mirror of patience, resolute and brave;

For all the shocks united dangers gave,

Mov’d not his soul, which still serene appear’d:

He hated no man, and he no man fear’d.

O for a wit to correspond my will!

Then Pegasus I’d not thank for a quill,

Nor borrow lower than an angels wing,

With whom in consort gladly would I sing,

To welcome in his soul before the throne,

Where glorious trains attend that holy One,

Whom angels praise, and yet desire to pry

Into the abyss of that mystery

Of GOD incarnate: wondering how he can

Be very GOD, and yet a very man!

O that my fancy might presume to climb,

And in his heaven-ward flight to follow him

Up to these glorious mansions, where his soul

Shall in love’s labyrinth for ever roul!

My wish in vain!  A vail is drawn before

Such dazzling objects; I can look no more {65}

On that exchange, where life’s instead of death,

And mirth o’er mourning now triumphed hath.

He leaves his sorrow, joy comes in its stead:

He drinks fresh comforts at the fountain-head.

O that my grief had not prejudg’d my sight

That day his soul on angels wings took flight!

Had but my faith from sense abstracted been,

I might that joyful meeting then have seen,

When glorious guardians stood about him round,

Rejoiced that his soul was to be crown’d.

I might have heard sweet JESUS crying, Come,

Ascend to ME, dear soul, thou’rt welcome home.

Too late I see, ’twas but a childish thing

To sigh, when all that heav’nly host did sing.

His swan-like song my mind cannot forget

From time his soul was on her Pisgah set,

’Tween heav’n and earth: and now, when leaving us,

His long farewel to mortals warbling thus:

‘Ye who have best proportion’d bodies, Come,

‘See how I go to mine eternal home.[2]

‘I had as comely features once as you,

‘As strong and healthful; yet behold me now!

‘Sickness contracted by that fatal Stone

‘Hath made my body like a skeleton;

‘Mine innate heat turn’d to a chilling cold,

‘My groans are frequent, torments manifold.

‘My rheums like clouds returning after rain;

‘The keepers of the house do help in vain:

‘The strong men bow, unable to support;

‘The grinders almost cease, their work is short:

‘The doors are almost shut to ev’ry street

‘And passage of my body; what I eat

‘Finds no digestion; Mirth’s a burden now,

‘And musick’s daughters are brought very low: {66}

‘The smallest discontent afflict me may;

‘Desire doth fail, and fears are in the way:

‘The silver cord of marrow down my back

‘Is loos’d from service now, by turning slack;

‘That golden bowl, or membrane of my brain,

‘Call’d Pia Mater, broken is with pain:

‘The pitcher’s at the fountain broken too;

‘And wheel at cistern.  What remains to do,

‘But yield my panting wearied soul to thee,

‘O God of truth, who hast redeemed me!

‘Come loose my fetters, free me, let me go;

‘My battle now is fought: my sp’rit also

‘This mud-wall prison shall no more detain:

‘This death is life, this loss my lasting gain.

‘Mount upward soul, these fumes that daily rise

‘From the foul dungeon cloud thy tender eyes:

‘Leave these dark shadows, take an eagles flight,

‘Go view the regions of that lasting light,

‘Where nothing comes from whence a cloud may grow,

‘Where glorious visions, light and eyes bestow:

‘And holy souls eternal watches-keep,

‘Advanc’d above earth, sin, death, night, or sleep.

‘Lo! now I see the haven of my joy,

‘Where all my faculties I shall employ

‘To praise and wonder; when I have laid down

‘My sufferings and my sins, to lift a crown:

‘Love-songs to join in grateful harmony

‘With saints and angels thro’ eternity;

‘Where heav’nly pow’rs do in his presence meet,

‘Archangels cast their crowns before his feet,

‘Whom prophets and apostles bow before,

‘And elders and the patriarchs adore:

‘By whose blest breathings from that throne above,

‘Souls are inspir’d, and angels taught to love.

‘Here I am toss’d among these boist’rous waves,

‘But look to him who ship-wreck’d sailers saves,

‘And joy in GOD the spring of all my mirth:

‘For by his love, my heav’n begins on earth. {67}

‘Look back, my soul, Remember when and where,

‘In former fears and straits, ev’n then and there,

‘Thou hast an Eben-Ezer still set up;

‘In all thy trials love fill’d ay the cup.

‘Wand’rings and hidings none on earth can tell,

‘But ended now, I bid them all farewell:

‘The rocks and hills in SCOTLAND might declare

‘My storms and cold, my mean and sober fare;

‘What riding, running, hiding from the chase

‘Of furious fiends, shifting from place to place,

‘As if a rogue, a felon, or a thief;

‘Yet how preserv’d surpasseth all belief!

‘When thus perplex’d with wand’ring, grief and toil,

‘I had no safety on my native soil;

‘Passage refus’d to waft me o’er the main;

‘Yet go I must, or stay, and so be slain:

Batavian borders, Germany also,

‘Might tell what perils I did undergo,

Helvetian Cantons ere I could attain:

‘And then traversing Germany again,

‘Returned home, when Tyranny was fled,

‘Expecting Honesty would lift her head:

‘Most men cry’d out th’expected time was come

‘Of our deliv’ry; all our fears of Rome

‘Were vanish’d quite: then who would not have thought

‘That sudden change should reformation wrought?

‘Poor toss’d afflicted body, here ly down;

‘I’ll mount up yonder, and embrace the crown,

‘And take possession of our house above:

‘Yet here I promise, still to mind the love

‘And straitest union have been us between;

‘Thou hast my partner in afflictions been:

‘But since by nature’s law we must now part,

‘Thy lungs consume, the vitals leave thine heart.

‘In short, death craves the debt that’s due for sin,

‘I can no longer lodge in such an inn.

‘But rest in hope: God’s faithful promise says,

‘He’ll quickly come, our scatter’d dust to raise. {68}

‘Thou must ly down to rot, yet rise again,

‘A glorious body, free from grief or pain,

‘Or sin, or shame, and then shalt thou and I

‘Begin our songs to last eternally.

‘Thou me, I thee, shall love as heretofore,

‘With this advantage we shall part no more:

‘When stones and ulcers shall create no pain,

‘When wounds are clos’d, and scars no more remain.

‘Reproaches shall no more afflict mine heart,

‘Which in this life did fully act their part,

‘To let me see, how frothy bubbling fame

‘Can grieve the soul, by grating on the name:

‘But names shall rise again with sweet perfume

‘When ev’ry soul its body shall resume:

‘Our names are dear to GOD, so is our dust;

‘In covenant are both, and rise they must.

‘Farewel ye triffling nothings, get you hence,

‘Bewitch the worldling with a carnal sense;

‘On me no more prevail, nor shall ye keep

‘The watchful powers of my soul asleep:

‘Earth’s greatest comforts tasteless are and dry

‘To me, now bordering on eternity.

‘Farewel reproaches and reproachers too:

‘Mockers, with all that ye can say or do.

‘Farewel ye neutral Gallio’s of the time,

‘Who value not, if Zion sink or swim.

‘Farewel all ye whose comforts ly below

‘On this dull earth, whence sin and sickness flow

‘Ye drunkards, atheists, swearers, lyars, all

‘Bad company; ye tyrants great and small;

‘Ye who take pleasure now to vex the saints;

‘That day is coming, wherein their complaints

‘Shall end; and yours for ever shall begin:

‘Farewel ye fools, who make a sport of sin;

‘Ye debauchees, with modish execrations;

‘Ye ranting tribe, reproach to church and nations,

‘Whose course proclaims your end; words are but vain,

‘No finite pow’r your madness can restrain. {69}

‘Pursue that herd, whose path is large and broad,

‘To hell ye must, to prove there is a GOD.

‘But count the cost in time, or otherwise

‘Ye may be fools, and made to reckon twice.

‘Accounts are justed there; bold sinners must

‘Be forc’d to pay, and say that GOD is just.

‘Men who were atheists, by experience try

‘That sin is something, hell a verity.

‘There patience long abus’d, turns lasting wrath;

‘There late repentance dwells; immortal death,

‘Old mother Night, felt darkness there doth lodge,

‘Where men curse GOD; yet justify their Judge.

‘No light, no love, no help, no hope to see

‘An end of long and vast eternity.

‘The peasant there gets titles like the prince;

‘Mens senses shall their unbelief convince,

‘That vengeance fetters rebels in her chains,

‘And spotless justice links mens sins to pains.

‘Farewel sweet Bible.  Friends in Christ adieu;

‘I shall no more on earth converse with you;

‘All ye, whom most my soul delighted in,

‘Who have companions of my sorrows been,

‘God’s love be with you all, when I am gone,

‘His chiefest blessings rest your souls upon:

‘Saints live to dy, yet dy that they may live;

‘We are not lost when dead: friends do not grieve;

‘Ye should my happy change congratulate:

‘Could ye look up, and see that blessed seat

‘Now vacant, till my soul be there enthron’d,

‘For which on earth I frequently have groan’d.

‘Here now on Jordan’s brim-full banks I stand,

‘Longing for passage to IMMANUEL’s land.

‘Who but the Captain of JEHOVAH’s host,

‘Can lead me in, yet keep from being lost,

‘And land me safely on the other side,

‘Where I in pleasure’s ever-flowing tide

‘May wade and swim, yet never see the shore,

‘Nor hear complaining echos any more? {70}

‘O friends, What do we here! One close embrace,

‘One charming smile of JESUS’ lovely face,

‘Will make the scatter’d beauties here below

‘Seem what they are, pure vanity in show!

‘Instead of jars, so much on earth abounding,

‘Harmonious hallelujahs sweetly sounding;

‘Instead of mutual chidings, scoffs and jears,

‘Angelic anthems gratify the ears.

‘Here darkness dwells; there light shall on us shine,

‘And dart in a direct unbroken line,

‘From Sun of righteousness.  And who can tell

‘How Sharon’s rose in paradise doth smell?

‘Corruption spoil’d communion here on earth,

‘Among the best, sin marr’d their holy mirth,

‘But O! how shall their souls be knit to mine,

‘When both shall in our bright perfection shine!

‘Here darkly I did oft his love embrace;

‘There clearly I shall see him face to face.

‘Here, by a faint reflection in a glass;

‘There, intuition makes these shadows pass.

‘The pleasures here, though of a divine kind,

‘Are relish’d by a sick distemper’d mind:

‘But souls by death to perfect health restor’d,

‘Their pleasures must some higher joy afford.

‘Here, comforts of a gracious soul are rare,

‘Seldom an hour uninterrupted are;

‘Our souls still call’d our bodies to attend,

‘Diverted ay from what’s their chiefest end;

‘But when by death unbodied and made free,

‘What must the comforts of such darlings be?

‘Or can their life by any be exprest

‘When center’d in their everlasting rest?

‘Much labour, pains and study here are spent,

‘To find clear notions to the mind’s content;

‘Our souls, confin’d unto this earthly mould,

‘Act as they can, but cannot as they would;

‘And divine light must in a vail descend,

‘Or then its native lustre would offend {71}

‘The greatest mind, ev’n with its smallest ray;

‘But when this soul puts off this house of clay,

‘Then Truth unvail’d shall shew her naked face,

‘And all my pow’rs her beauty shall embrace.

‘We dispute now, we quarrel and contend;

‘Some study, some oppose, and some defend:

‘Here one asserts, there contradicts another;

‘So that lay all our shallow wits together,

‘Him wise we may repute that gather shall

‘Uncontroverted truth among them all:

‘At best, we’re candidates for this degree

‘Of knowledge; then we graduates shall be:

‘My soul exults with joy, in contemplation

‘Of that my long’d for laureation;

‘When What is God? my soul shall clearly know,

‘With all the knots that rack’d my wits below:

‘How GOD and man in our Immanuel?

‘How Three in One, and One in Three can dwell?

‘How attributes and essence are the same?

‘How here on earth these letters of his name,

‘Seen in his stately steps of providence,

‘Did spell his justice, dread, and eminence?

‘Since faith’s dim sight, by which on earth we live,

‘Can now and then, such joyful glances give,

‘Who would not long for that triumphant day,

‘When what’s imperfect shall be done away!

Reproach hath said, I judg’d myself above

‘Pure ordinances: this I might disprove,

‘Among what other stuff some blacker mouths

‘Were pleas’d to vent against the clearest truths.

‘But leaving that till they and I shall meet,

‘Where clouds shall be the dust of JESUS’s feet;

‘I tell them now, disprove it if they can,

Child here I was, but there I shall be Man.

‘My taper-light shall by the rising-sun

‘Seem darkness: When my worship is begun

‘In such a manner and to such degree,

‘My soul the disproportion well shall see {72}

‘’Twixt candle’s shining in this lower story,

‘And sun when up in his meridian glory.

‘Then worship’s Object I’ll see face to face,

‘When faith shall cease, and sight come in its place.

‘Where perfect spirits now their graces act,

‘Without corruptions clogs to pull them back;

‘Which made them in their life-time, daily cry,

‘Our hearts are constant in inconstancy.

Death, where’s thy sting? Grave, where is thy victory?

‘Unite your force, your terrors I defy:

‘Your dreadful aspect in my Saviour’s grave

‘Lies buried:  Who dare strike whom he will save?

‘O king of terrors, terrible to kings!

‘My soul a triumph o’er thy malice sings,

‘But strike more softly, cruel Falcifer,

‘Cut down more gently: Grim-fac’d messenger,

‘Thy staring eyes, cold breath, and ghastly look,

‘Menacing mortals with thy dreadful hook,

‘Shall not affright me: Why? thy conquest can

‘But reach the outward, not the inward man.

‘Thy stroak indeed will cause a separation

‘Of soul and body; yet that sweet relation

‘To JESUS CHRIST can not divided be,

‘I am so knit to him, and he to me.

‘When he in Joseph’s tomb lay crucify’d,

‘God-head and man-hood death could not divide:

‘He was my Lord when in that lonesome cave,

‘And I am his when rotting in the grave:

‘Death did not part his union personal,

‘Nor shall it loose our union mystical.

‘The grave may turn mine earthly part to dust,

‘Which rise again and sing in glory must:

‘Horror at worms, dispersion, putrefaction,

‘May breed reluctancy, and heart distraction:

‘That doleful train of melancholious fears,

‘Which at first view of that cold bed appears,

‘May damp the courage of the bravest sp’rit,

‘To whom our Lord hath not the grave made sweet. {73}

But I, who have a Life of Sorrows led,

Shall find the Grave a soft refreshing Bed:

Then farewell Earth, my LORD doth on me call:

And Welcome Heav’n, my GOD, my All in All. {16}

Thus in a Fiery Chariot pav’d with Love,

This Soul ascends unto these Joys above,

Where Heavenly Harpers alwise stand, and sing

The praises of Redemption to their King.

Archangels, Angels, Saints still Bless him shall,

Without one jarring Note among them all.

My Muse must halt, I can no further pry;

No Access there for Curiosity;

Eye hath not seen, Ear heard, no Heart can guess,

What waits Believers.  Paul durst not express

What in his Sacred Raptures he had seen,

When he had in these Glorious Visions been.

Were we above, thus Cloath’d with dying Clay,

What could we profit? there we could not stay:

There Mortals dwell not; so we needs must fall

To things which are to us Connatural.

Twixt Object and the Faculty we find

Some Likeness, els no joy of any kind.

I add no more, but leave this HERO then,

VVhose Name is at a loss by my blunt Pen.

[ These last several lines above, set in italics, as well as the acrostic which follows, were both missing from the defective original used for this publication.  The missing lines are all supplied from the original 1701 edition of The Believer’s Farewel to the World.  Likewise, the said 1701 title, and the word ‘Dull’ (to replace ‘Hail’) in the fifteenth line, were taken from this original edition of the Elegy on the Death of Mr. Hamilton. — JTKER. ]


An Acroſtick on his Name.

SIn wrought our Death, Death strikes and none doth spare}
It levels Scepters with the Plowing-Share:
Raging among poor Mortals every where.
 
REligion‘s Lovers Death must also own,
Or this brave Soul his Life had not laid down,
But weep not, why? Death challenges but Dross;
Eternal Gain compenses Temp‘ral Loss:
Rest from his Labour, Sickness; Grief, and Pain.
This makes him happy, and our Mourning vain.
 
HAd he not Reason rather to be glad
At Deaths approach? that Life he never had
Must meet him there, he enters now that Land,
In view of which believing he did stand;
Longing for ling‘ring Death, still crying, Come,
Take me, Lord, hence unto my Fathers Home:
OFaithless Age, of Glory take a sight:
No Death nor Grave shall then so much affright.

Footnotes:

1. Which is variously rendered: To be conscious of no fault, to turn pale at no accusation, or, To have a clear conscience and not pale at any charge, as is found on the Internet.—JTKer.

2. Understand this of the soul: for tho’ the scripture calls the grave man’s long home, yet it is not his eternal home, his body being to rise again.—Original Elegy (1701) Footnote.