CLOUD OF WITNESSES
ROYAL PREROGATIVES OF JESUS CHRIST:
THE LAST SPEECHES AND TESTIMONIES
WHO HAVE SUFFERED FOR THE TRUTH IN SCOTLAND.
SINCE THE YEAR 1680.
Mr. Richard Cameron.
THERE is a short life of Richard Cameron by Patrick Walker. It abounds in the same curious matter as his other lives. Its substance is given by John Howie in the "Scots Worthies." The house in Falkland where Richard Cameron was born is still pointed out. Some years ago the title-deeds were examined, and it was found that Cameron's father had borrowed money on the house in order to send him to college.
M'Millan's collection of Letters contains two letters from Richard Cameron to Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun, and one to Lady Earlstoun. They are short, but they tell of the writer's piety, and of his warm affection for his friends.
John Howie's Collection of Lectures and Sermons contains three prefaces, two lectures, and six sermons by Richard Cameron. Two of the sermons are on John 5.40, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." When preaching on this text, Patrick Walker says, "he fell in such a rap of calm weeping, and the greater part of that multitude that there was, scarce a dry cheek to be seen among them, which obliged him to halt and pray." A manuscript copy of this sermon, transcribed by William Wilson in 1720, from notes taken by a hearer, is still extant. It is evidently more correct than Howie's transcription, who seems occasionally to have altered a Saxon word into its Latinized form, and not by any means added to the point and vigour of the sermon by the change. A few sentences from Wilson's manuscript will show how impassioned a preacher Richard Cameron must have been:
"There are many here that are at this—'Indeed, I find it very difficult to close with Christ.' Before we speak to you we will pray a word.
"Now for you that are saying this, 'It is true it is not easy to bring folks to Christ; I have had a profession these many years, but I fear I have not come to Christ.' Our Lord is here this day, saying, 'Will ye take me.' Ye that have had a lie in your right hand, what say ye to it? ay or no? Ye that have been plagued with deadness, hardness, and unbelief, what say ye to it? Will ye take Him? He is saying [to you], will ye take me... O what fault have ye to Him? There are many saying, 'an [if] I take Him, I will get a cross with Him.' That is true. But ye get a sweet cross. And thus we offer Him to you in the parish of Douglas, Affleck [i.e., Auchinleck], and all about. Take Him, for we shall take instruments before these hills and mountains that we offer Him to you this day. Will ye take Him, ye that are free of the cess: will ye take Him? Ye that are free of the Bond that is going through; will ye take Him? Ye that are free of the Indulgence, ye poor ignorant things; will ye not take Him this day? Ye shall be welcome now when the old wily professors are taking offence at His way and cross. O will ye cast up your eyes to Him!
"Angels are wondering at this offer. They are standing looking on with admiration at their Lord and your Lord that is making such an offer here this day.
"O what wonder is this. They, gone to hell these hundreds of years, are crying and howling, 'O and we had such an offer as you parish of Affieck [i.e., Auchinleck] has this day.' Come, come to Him, and never a word shall be of your sins—sin shall be buried!
"But will ye not come to Him? If ye will not, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for you. But what will ye say to me? What shall I say to Him that sent me this day? What! shall I say, there were some yonder that were content to give Him their hand, heart, house, and land? Now, if ye can make a better bargain with any other, do it. Look to these hill-tops there, over the shawhead. Take them in your view—they are all witnesses. Look to them, they shall all be witnesses when you are dying, and we take you all witnesses one against another. O how will it aggravate your sorrow and pain when they come in your mind and conscience; 'O sirs, I heard you invited and obtested to take Christ, and that on the last of May, and we are witnesses.' There is some tenderness among you. That is well-faured [well-favoured], I confess, but that is not all. The angels will go up to the throne and say, 'We saw and bear witness to the new bargain the day [to-day]; we saw some in the parish of Affleck [i.e., Auchinleck], Douglas, and Crawford-john close with the offers of our Master the day in the Gospel.' O they will be welcome news to heaven!
"And there are some in hell; they will be saying, 'Woes me! Some are going away yonder the day [to-day], and will never come here.' 'O,' says the devil, 'we shall set the troopers upon them, we shall set the dragoons upon them; yon minister shall be hanged, and the people hauled to prison, and sent to the sea, and they shall be drowned or banished.' But we defy him and them both."—ED.]
A SHORT RELATION
concerning the Reverend
Mr. RICHARD CAMERON,
Minister of the Gospel,
Who was killed in a rencounter [encounter] at
Airsmoss, July 22, 1680.
Because in the foregoing speeches there is frequent mention made of the Reverend Mr. Richard Cameron, and testimony given to the faithfulness of his ministry, it will not be perhaps ungrateful to some to insert the following relation of some remarkable things anent his call to the ministry, which was rehearsed by himself a little before his death; where he told some Christian friends, that after his having gone through the ordinary course of university learning, he was a schoolmaster and a precentor to a curate at Falkland, for some time, and at some occasions used to attend the sermons of the indulged ministers, as he had opportunity.
At length it pleased the Lord to incline him to go out to the field-meetings, which when the curates understood, they set upon him partly by flatteries, partly by menacing threats, and at length by more direct persecution, to cause him forbear attending these meetings; but such was the powerful and wonderful working of the Lord by His Spirit upon him, that he entirely deserted these Prelatic curates, having got a lively discovery of the sin and hazard of that abominable Prelacy. And no sooner was he enlightened anent the evil of Prelacy, but beginning more narrowly to search into the state of things, that he might know what was his proper and necessary duty, the Lord was pleased to discover to him the sinfulness of the Indulgence, as flowing from the ecclesiastical supremacy usurped by the king; and being zealously affected for the honour of Christ, wronged by that Erastian acknowledgment of the magistrate's usurped power over the Church, he longed for an opportunity to give a testimony against it.
And accordingly, being in the family of Sir William Scot of Harden, who attended the indulged meetings, he took opportunity (notwithstanding many strong temptations from Satan to the contrary) to witness in his station against the Indulgence; particularly one Sabbath, after he was called to attend the lady to church, he returned from the entry, refusing to go that day, and spent the day in his chamber, where he met with much of the Lord's presence (as he testified), and very evident discoveries of the true nature of these temptations and suggestions of Satan, which had like to have prevailed with him before. And upon the Monday, giving a reason to the said Sir William Scot and his lady, why he went not to church with them, he took occasion to be plain and express in testifying against the sinfulness of the Indulgence, in its complex nature, and original rise and spring from whence it flowed; and thereupon leaving that service, being no further acceptable to them, because of his faithfulness, he came to the south, and having met with the Reverend Mr. John Welch, he stayed in his company a considerable time; who, finding him a man qualified for the ministry, pressed upon him to accept a license to preach, which he refused for some time, chiefly upon this reason, that he, having such clear discoveries of the sinfulness of the Indulgence, could not but testify against it explicitly, so soon as he should have opportunity to preach in public; and, considering that none of the outed ministers, who had been of standing and experience in the ministry, had yet expressly declared the sinfulness thereof in public, he was afraid that his being singular in it, considering his youth, and his being but new entered upon the work of the ministry, might perhaps make his doctrine the less useful and weighty to the people.
But the force of his objection being removed by Mr. Welch's serious solicitations, he was prevailed with to accept a license from some of the outed ministers, who had not complied with the Indulgence, and were as yet preaching the Gospel in the fields. And having preached occasionally with Mr. Welch and others, in several places of the western shires, and finding the people warmed and affected with his doctrine, by the good hand of God blessing the word, he adventured sometimes, as the Lord assisted him, to be express and clear in declaring the sinfulness of the Indulgence, and of joining with the acceptors thereof; whereupon the ministers, who had licensed him to preach, conceiving it prudence not to be so explicit anent that step of compliance, began to persecute him with censure for his freedom in preaching against it, and called three several meetings upon that account, one at Dunscore in Nithsdale, another at Dindeugh in Galloway, and a third at Edinburgh.
After his return from Holland, where he received ordination to the exercise of the ministry, he went to some of those outed ministers, inviting and pressing them much to come out and preach in the fields, as they had done before the overthrow at Bothwell; but the persecution being then very hot against all such as had not accepted the Indulgence and Indemnity, they refused to adventure upon that hazard. Wherefore, notwithstanding such sad discouragements from the professed friends, and violent persecution by the declared enemies of the Reformation, he adventured upon all hazard to preach publicly in the fields, in order to discharge the dispensation of the Gospel, which the Lord had entrusted him with. And he continued so doing, till he sealed that cause and testimony with his blood; being, after some valiant resistance in his own defence, killed by a party of soldiers under the command of [Bruce of] Earlshall, and his head and hand, cut off by one Robert Murray, were brought and laid before the Council, who ordered them to be placed upon the Netherbow Port of Edinburgh.