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adopted opinions on the insufficiency of Scripture as a rule to man, without particular revelations from the Holy Spirit, that led him to decline subscription to the French Confession of Faith, when called to minister to a congregation in Middleburg, in Holland. After his death in 1674, his flock removed to Friesland. As Friesland is the adjoining province to Groningen, Renwick's enemies fancied that Labadeans must have been concerned in his ordination.-ED.
HE LAST TESTIMONY of ARTHUR TACKET, tailor in
Hamilton, who suffered in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh, August 1, 1684.
“ Being appointed to die in the Grassmarket, I thought it was a duty lying upon my conscience before the Lord, to leave this short word of testimony
behind me, in testification of my close adherence to all these controverted truths, as they are all agreeable and conform to the written Word of God.
“ And now I desire to bless His name with my whole heart and soul for this, that ever He made choice of the like of me, such a poor, weak, feckless [i.e., worthless) insignificant thing as I am, in counting me worthy to suffer for His noble cause and controverted truths, His name, interest, and Covenant, now controverted and brought in debate by this God-daring, Christ-dethroning, and Godcontemning, adulterous, and bloody generation wherein my lot is fallen. And this I can say, that through His grace, I am well satisfied and heartily content with my lot, that God, in His infinite wisdom, has seen fit to carve out unto me. And through His grace I am well helped to great quietness, calmness, and serenity of mind before the Lord, and a holy submission to what is His will towards me in this ; that if every hair of my head and every drop of my blood were a life, I would willingly lay them down for my lovely Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
“Some will possibly say that this is an untruth, and so cannot be believed by them, notwithstanding of all this. But whether it be believed or not, it is true; for I am not dying by constraint and
unwillingness; for this I dare say in His sight (my conscience bearing me witness), that I am a thousand times more willing to die this day for my lovely Lord and Master's noble cause, and controverted truths, than ever I was to live; and the truths of God that are so much controverted, are become more precious and clearer unto me at death, than ever they were heretofore in my life : as David says, Ps. xxiii. 4, • Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.' This I have been made really sensible of, by my experience in all that I have met with, that the cross of Christ has been all paved over with love, that it has been made to become like unto a bed of roses unto me; and all that ever I have met with, first and last, has been made sweet and easy unto me, and no trouble in the least, and that He has been a loving and a kind Lord unto me, and He has been as good as His word. This I can say to His commendation, and to the commendation of the cross of Christ, that He has borne always the heavy end of the cross Himself, that to me it was no trouble in the least.
“Oh praise, praise to the riches of His free grace, for His matchless and unexpressible love that I have met with since I was brought to prison; and when I was sorest put at, and threatened with torture by these cruel and bloody tyrants, the more of His love and kindness I did meet with. This I have been made really sensible of, when I was hardest dealt with, as David says, “ Blessed be the Lord, because He hath heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped ; therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth' (Ps. xxviii. 6, 7). For I have been well helped and owned of the Lord, and that in a very singular manner, that His presence has made my soul to sing and rejoice through the greatest of difficulties and trials that ever I was trysted [i.e., visited) with.
“ And this is a sweet promise and noble encouragement for me in that xli. of Isa. verse 10-13, 'Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee ; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded; they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee; they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I
the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee.' Which has been well made out unto me in all things that I have met with. For since I was brought to prison 1 have been well helped of the Lord, that the fear of hell, death, and the grave, and the fear of all things are taken away fully from me, that I am not afraid to venture upon a gibbet for my lovely Lord and Master's noble cause, and for His controverted truths; and this I am really persuaded of, that the truth of God was never so much controverted as now. But I am sure of it, that the truths of God, when they are most controverted, ought to be most zealously owned by His people, I may well acquiesce and assent unto. Nevertheless I am continually with thee : thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee' (Psalm lxxiii. 23-25). This I dare say in His sight (my conscience bearing me witness), that there is nothing in heaven or in earth so desirable unto my soul as precious Christ; for I am confident and persuaded, that this is His language to me, ' Arise and depart, for this is not your rest, because it is polluted.' As Paul says, 'For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens' (2 Cor. v. 1). And as Paul says, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption' (1 Cor. xv. 50). I can clearly say by my experience, that through Jesus Christ, whom I desire to take for my King, Priest, and Prophet, and my only Lord and Lawgiver, I have been made more than a conqueror over death, hell, and the grave, and all things in this life.
“Now to come to show you the only head that my sentence of death is founded upon ; by men it is mainly for being in arms at Bothwell, which was merely in defence of ourselves, and in defence of the Gospel preached, and standing to the defence of the Covenant of God, which the whole of the land was solemnly sworn and engaged to, with hands lifted up to the most high God, and so bound to stand to the defence thereof. For which I am unjustly sentenced to death by men, of which sentence I am not ashamed this day, but count it my only glory, honour, and dignity, whilst He passed by such tall cedars, which is a matter of wonder and admiration to me. But as He has said in His Word, 'In nothing be ye terrified by your adversaries, which is to them an
evident token of perdition; but to you of salvation, and that of God; for unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for his sake.' So suffering is a gift, not given to every one ; and I desire to bless His name with my whole heart and soul, that He has counted such a poor thing as I am, worthy of the gift of suffering.
“Now, this is to let you all know, worthy and dear Christian friends, that are desiring to keep the way of the Lord, that there was not one word of all they interrogated me upon, in the sentence of death that these bloody tyrants passed against me; but only for being in arms at Bothwell Bridge. And let none think that I am sentenced to death upon that head (that I was so cruelly threatened with torture by these bloody tyrants for), which was for being at the Blackloch, and because I would not declare who was the minister, and what persons I knew. And although men have, by a permissive and limited power, passed a sentence of death against me, to take away my natural life, this I know, and am persuaded of, that there is a judge above who has passed a sentence of life in heaven unto my soul this day, which shall never be recalled or ranversed [i.e., reversed] again, which is my only encouragement; and this He has promised to as many as believe in Him, to give them everlasting life. These that suffer with Him, shall reign with Him; and these that be dead with Him, shall also live with Him. As Paul says in Rom. x. 9-11, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, • Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed,' which is my only comfort, and a noble, sweet encouragement for me; and this He has promised in His Word, 'that He shall feed His flock like a shepherd ; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. I have found by my experience, that the Lord my God has sweetly and gently led me through the greatest of difficulties that I have been trysted [i.e., visited) with, since He made choice of me to suffer for His noble cause.
Oh ! if
knew what of His love I have met with, and what sweet ingredients of the Lord's matchless love have been intermixed and put in my cup, ye would not be afraid to venture upon the sweet cross of Christ, which has been made sweet and easy unto me."
SECAUSE the heads of truth he gives his testimony to, and the
defections he witnesseth against, are much the same with the
preceding testimonies; therefore, to avoid all impertinent repetition, they are omitted. He is both full and accurate, passing by nothing of the heads of sin and duty, which at that time were controverted; particularly (which hath not been met with in any of the former) he gives his hearty testimony to that faithful and called minister of Jesus Christ, Mr James Renwick, for his holding up the fallendown banner of our Lord, and jeoparding his life in the open fields; although some are pleased to say, that he is not lawfully called and ordained to the ministry, but that he was admitted by the Erastian ministers of Holland, such as Cocceians and Labadeans; but it is faithfully witnessed, that he was admitted without them, and by the purest of the ministers of the Church of Holland, according to the Church of Scotland's discipline and government, Covenants, and Confession of Faith. And he dies with a spirit of meekness, declaring that he forgives his enemies all the wrongs they had done him, personally considered, though witnessing against the indignities which they had done to Christ, and him as a member of that body whereof Christ is the head. And whereas he was branded with disowning magistrates, he declares before God and the world that he owns and allows of all magistrates, superior or inferior, as they are conform to the written Word of God, and our Solemn Covenants, and as they are a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well,
HOMAS ROBERTSON was a native of a parish somewhere
in the south of Scotland. In his testimony, he says he had
been a hearer of curates. Under their ministry he received no profit, but came away from hearing them with more hardness of heart than when he went. Ere long, he came to the conclusion that