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ALL IN A DAYS WORK.

As they say, “And now for something completely different.” Trying to find material for a given date often leads to unexpected, even unusual finds. And admittedly they can’t all be show-stoppers. The following account of the Presbytery of Berwick in England as it met one February 3d in 1846, is mildly interesting, if only to see how other Presbyteries in other times conducted their business. Not a great deal of difference, all in all. At least here you have the opportunity to learn a new word: sederunt : from the Latin sedēre, to sit; thus, a prolonged discussion; the sitting of a church assembly or other body. I’ve never known the PCA to use this term in its meetings, nor have I seen in used by the OPC, but it was routinely used by the old Bible Presbyterian Church [1938-1955] and later by the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, at least for a few years. I don’t know if the continuing Bible Presbyterians still employ the term.

The Presbytery of Berwick.

The Presbytery of Berwick met at Belford, on February 3. After sermon by the Rev. Donald Munro, of North Sunderland, Moderator, from Rev. xxii. 11, 12, being duly constituted, sederunt five ministers and two elders. The Session Records which, at last meeting, had been ordered up, were in part produced, and having been examined and approved, were duly attested. Mr. Kidd, of Norham, reported that the collection in his congregation for the College, amounting to 2£. 2s., had been transmitted to the treasurer, Wm. Hamilton, Esq., London.

Ordered that the members be all prepared at next meeting to give an account of their Associations and of the contributions and collections for the schemes of the Synod. The Presbytery agreed to record with grateful satisfaction, the result of the applications to the School Committee for aid from the School Sustentation Fund, viz. grants as follow :—To Lowick, 5£.; to Ancroft Moor, 15£.; to Berwick, 15£.; to Norham and Tweedmouth, when schools shall have been opened in these places, 15£. each. Mr. Murdoch moved, and the Presbytery unanimously adopted, an overture to the Synod anent desecration of the Lord’s-day connected with railways and railway labourers.

The attention of the Presbytery having been called to a portion of the minutes of Synod relative to the deletion of a part of the Presbytery’s Record in reference to the Newcastle Presbytery and Mr. Storie, found that some mistake must have originated the publication, in the form in which it stands, of this portion of the Synod’s minutes. Appointed a letter to be addressed, through the Moderator of the Presbytery, and in their name, to the Moderator of the Newcastle Presbytery concerning the matters in question referred to. Next ordinary meeting was appointed to be held at Norham, on the first Tuesday of May, at noon, Mr. M’Clelland, of Tweedmouth, to preach.

excerpted from The English Presbyterian Messenger (March 1846), p. 177.

Words to Live By:
Part of the problem admittedly is that congregations are often not even notified as to when Presbytery will be meeting, but the various meetings of this church assembly should be an occasion for calling the church to prayer, that the Lord’s will would be done and that His kingdom would be advanced. Take the time to ask your pastor when Presbytery will next meet and then begin to pray. You might even consider attending yourself to observe first-hand what goes on, so that in the future you can pray all the more wisely.

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The story of the Covenanters defeated at Bothwell Bridge and sent aboard the Crown of London as slaves is a sobering story. There are pictures on the web of the monument on the coast of Orkney near the sea as well as the Covenanter Fountain in Kirkland.

Covenanters in the Crown of London

Following the disastrous Battle at Bothwell Bridge on June 22, 1679, in which Covenanters were defeated in the battle, close to 1200 Covenanter prisoners were taken to Edinburgh and imprisoned in a make shift, open air prison next to Greyfriars Kirk (church). Some were tortured and killed immediately. Others died of natural conditions due to the harsh conditions of the site. Others were pardoned and set free under the August 14th Act of Indemnity that same year. But our attention today focuses in on the approximately 257 alleged ringleaders, including Covenanter ministers, who were sentenced to be shipped to the West Indies or Virginia as white slaves. Setting sail from Leith, Scotland, on the prison ship, Crown of London, on November 27, 1679, they sailed only a short while before bad weather forced them into a port.

Despite warnings from the locals to not attempt to sail, they had hardly cleared the land mass when the ship lost its anchor on December 10, 1679, striking rocks off of Dearness.The captain, Thomas Teddico, described as a profane, cruel wretch, ordered the crew to escape by chopping down the mast and riding it to the shore. The prisoners in the hold, who had their hatches chained to prevent them from escaping, were left to their own straits. All of them perished, with the exception of around 50 who were enabled to escape by means of a ax which one prisoner had with him. During  the next several days, bodies of the dead prisoners washed up at the beaches, and subsequently were buried in the area.

Of those who managed to escape, six prisoners were caught and shipped to the Barbados as slaves. Eight other Covenanters were shipped to the English plantations in Virginia. Some escaped to Ulster. At least two families in the port area claimed to be descended from a few Covenanters who stayed where they landed.

orkneyOn August 22, 1888, a majestic granite monument [pictured at right] was erected about 300 yards from the spot where the Crown of London went down. It has the following memorial etched on its side: “Erected by public subscription to the memory of 200 Covenanters who were taken prisoner at Bothwell Bridge and sentenced to transportation for life, but who perished by shipwreck near this spot, 10th December 1679.” Another memorial is found in nearby Kirkwall and is known as the Covenanter Water Fountain, built just two years later in 1890 due to excess funds left over from the original monument.

Words to Live By:
Our spiritual forefathers suffered much for the Savior in their battles to win the Reformation. They deserve to be remembered by all Presbyterians everywhere for their sacrifices for the kingdom of Christ. In  so remembering, you the reader may be informed that black African slaves were not the only ones shipped to these shores. White slaves — Covenanter slaves — also were sent to our shores. Don’t forget their sacrifices. Remember their sacrifices as we approach the coming year.

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Presbyterians ought to know Presbyterianism.

Our series earlier this month, TEN REASONS FOR BEING A PRESBYTERIAN, was well received. So taking that encouragement, our plan is to now present each Saturday for the remainder of this summer a chapter from the little book PRESBYTERIANISM FOR THE PEOPLE, by the Rev. Dr. Robert P. Kerr. Today we present Chapter I.

kerr_robertPThis little volume is not for theologians. There are many abler and more elaborate works on Presbyterianism written for them. It is for the people—the busy, earnest people, who have neither the time nor the taste for an extensive study of this subject, but who ought to know—at least, in a general way—what Presbyterianism is, what it has been in the past, what it believes and teaches. In his pastoral work the author has often wished for such a book, and he earnestly hopes that this one may help supply what he believes to be a real need of the Church. For it he asks the blessing of God and the favor of the people.—R.P.K.
[Robert Pollock Kerr, 1850-1923, pictured at right]

CHAPTER I. — THE STUDY OF PRESBYTERIANISM.

The Presbyterian Church, including all its branches, is the largest Protestant organization in the world. Its communion embraces people of every civilized nation, and it is recognized as one of the great forces of Christendom. Its members have acted a distinguished part in literature, philosophy, science, art and government, as well as in religion, and many of the great names of history are found on its rolls. It has been identified with nearly all great movements looking to the advancement of the highest interests of mankind, in Church and in State. Liberality and breadth of vision have at all times characterized this branch of the Church of Christ. The Presbyterian Church has never been sectarian in its treatment of other denominations, but has acknowledged the churchship of all bodies which hold the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, offering fellowship even to those who would not hold fellowship with it, receiving their members at its communion-table and their ministers into its pulpits.

Indeed, in many cases, Presbyterians have been so liberal as to neglect the study of their own peculiar institutions. Thousands of them are in ignorance of the history of their Church and of the high place it holds among the denominations. A boastful spirit is not to be desired, but Presbyterians ought to know Presbyterianism. They have been noted for the study of the great doctrines of religion rather than of forms of government and worship or of their own peculiarities. In other words, they have studied Christianity more than they have studied Presbyterianism. This is right, but they have gone too far. In doing one they should not have left the other undone. The Shorter Catechism, which was drawn up, in connection with other standards of doctrine, by the Westminster Assembly, in London, in 1646, and which is our great theological text-book, is so thoroughly unsectarian that it has been freely used by other denominations for the instruction of the young, and in some instances by persons who did not know that it was a Presbyterian catechism; for the word “Presbyterian” does not occur in the book.

The study of Presbyterianism need not make men bigoted or exclusive, but should contribute to their efficiency in the grand army of God. The cavalry ought to understand cavalry tactics, the infantry and artillery should master their own respective departments, and all should fight harmoniously, side by side, for one great end.

It is hoped that the perusal of these pages may not tend to sectarianism, but that it may help some Presbyterians to a better understanding of the peculiarities of the Church to which they belong. These peculiarities refer to government and doctrine, and may be described as ecclesiastical republicanism combined with Calvinistic theology.. The subject will be examined under these two divisions, prominence being given to the former, as that is our own peculiar possession, Calvinistic theology being held by several other churches in common with our own.

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Our post today comes from a biographical sketch written for the PCA Historical Center by Barry Waugh. Our thanks to him for permission to use this portion for today’s blog post. Click here to read the full article.

He Sold the Books!

smythT_150As with many ministers and theologians, Thomas Smyth was afflicted with bibliomania. His symptoms appeared early in his life. As a young child, he was a voracious reader and while at Belfast College he worked as the librarian. Reading and cataloging were not sufficient to alleviate his love for books; he had to own them as well. He wrote in 1829, “My thirst for books, in London became rapacious. I overspent my supplies in procuring them, at the cheap repositories and left myself in the cold winter for two or three months without a cent …” (Autobiography, 39). Dr. Smyth’s comments on his developing bibliomania are reminiscent of Erasmus and his practice of buying books first, and then, if any money was left, he bought food. A few years later as he entered his ministerial service in Charleston, he specifically purposed to develop a theological and literary library similar to Dr. Williams’s Library in London. Over the years, he accumulated about 20,000 volumes. One unusual book in his possession was a Hebrew Psalter with the autographs of Jonathan Edwards, Edwards’s son, and Rev. Tryan Edwards, who gave it to Dr. Smyth. The Grand Debate and other original documents of the Westminster Assembly were procured at great cost, as well as forty works by members of the Assembly along with ten quarto volumes of their discourses. Dr. Smyth’s compulsive, though purposeful, book buying may have been a point of tension for he and his wife. In a letter written by Margaret to him in the summer of 1846 she informed him of the expenses they were incurring due to the addition of three rooms to their home:

“I tell you all this now as a preface to a caution, not to involve yourself too deeply or inextricably in debt by the purchase of books & pictures; of the last, with the maps, we have enough now to cover all the walls, even of the new rooms; & the books are already too numerous for comfort in the Study & Library. … But I would enter a protest not only against books & pictures, but all other things not necessary & which can come under the charge of extravagance. Do be admonished & study to be economical.” (Autobiography, 384f).

It should be noted that one of the reasons the three rooms were built was to accommodate Dr. Smyth’s ever-growing library; one of the new rooms was thirty feet long and intended for his use. As Dr. Smyth’s health continued to deteriorate, he made the difficult decision to sell over half of the volumes of his library to Columbia Theological Seminary. He was concerned that since he could not take full advantage of his magnificent library it would be best that ministerial students have access to the books. The actual sale was dated May 28, 1856 and the seminary contracted to pay the Smyths $14,400 for the volumes. The seminary organized the collection in a special area designated the Smyth Library. Dr. Smyth continued to add to the collection by donating other books so that by May of 1863, the special collection contained 11,845 volumes, and by the time a posthumous inventory was taken in November of 1912, the number was over 15,000. Even though he had sold and donated thousands of volumes to Columbia Seminary, his remaining library was still large, but it was reduced once again when a fire, in 1870, burned about 3,000 books. Though the affliction of bibliomania can become all-consuming, it is certain that many Presbyterian ministers trained at Columbia Seminary benefited from the collection gathered by Thomas Smyth.

Words to Live By:
Suffering a similar affliction (though my own library paled in comparison), I found some years ago that the best way to temper the disease was to realize that I was responsible before the Lord for each volume I purchased. Was it a truly necessary purchase? Would I in fact read it, or at least use it in a way that would justify the expense? Pastors typically need the resources of a good many books and so it is never a foolish expenditure when they are first wisely chosen and then wisely and well-used. Software programs for the study of the Bible add new abilities for search and access, and even make it possible to carry an entire library on a single laptop, tablet, or even a phone.

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A Plea for Ministers and Money

Most of us can remember Paul’s vision which he experienced on his second missionary journey of a man who called out to the apostle, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” (NIV – Acts 16:9)   Well, we don’t have any record of any visionary request for help, but early Presbyterians in this blessed land did correspond with Presbyterians in the mother country just two years after the organization of the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1707.  There is a letter written on May 11, 1709 to Presbyterians in London, England from the Presbyterian ministers in the Philadelphia Presbytery appealing for more men and money to help the infant Presbyterian Church get off the ground.  Listen to the pathos in their words:

“Unto whom can we apply ourselves more fitly than unto our fathers, who have been extolled in the reformed churches for their large bounty and benevolence in their necessities!  We doubt not, but if the sum of about two hundred pounds per annum, were raised for the encouragement of ministers in these parts, it would enable ministers and people to erect eight congregations, and ourselves put in better circumstances than hitherto we have been.  We are at present seven ministers, most of whose outward affairs are so straightened as to crave relief, unto which, if two or three more were added, it would greatly strengthen our interest, which does miserably suffer, as things are at present are among us.

“Sir, if we shall be supplied with ministers from you, which we earnestly desire; with your benevolence to the value above, you may be assured of our fidelity and Christian care in distributing it to the best ends and purposes we can, so as we hope we shall be able to give a just and fair account for every part of it to yourself and others, by our letters to you.

“That our evangelical affairs may be the better managed, we have formed ourselves into a Presbytery, annually convened.  It is a sore distress and trouble unto us, that we are not able to comply with the desires of sundry places, crying unto us for ministers.  Therefore we earnestly beseech you to intercede with the ministers of London, to extend their charity to us, otherwise many people will remain in a perishing condition as to spiritual things.”

It is obvious that the seven ministers of the Presbytery of Philadelphia certainly saw that the fields of America were ripe unto harvest.  They also sadly realized that the laborers were few so as to reap that spiritual harvest.  And so they, in a spirit of prayer, asked for both ministers and money to take advantage of the opportunities for a wide and effective service in the American colonies.

It would be at a later date in the history of the American church, indeed several decades from this date,  that the question of where you were trained educationally became an issue in the visible church.  But at this early date in American Presbyterian history, they were at a critical crossroads, as the letter above proves.  They needed more pastors and more money to support those who were present in ministering to the masses.

Words to Live By: Such a prayer and plea as this is never outdated, even in current America.  We might add the adjective “faithful” before the men who are needed in our conservative Presbyterian and Reformed church bodies, but the need is the same.  Will you be a prayer warrior before our Sovereign God and heavenly Father for Him to thrust out faithful  laborers into the harvest fields?

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Written by Smectymnuus

Smectymnuus! What? Who? What rational parent would give his kid this confusing name? Yet it wasn’t a birth name. It was rather the nom de plume framed by the initials of five authors to a book against episcopacy in seventeenth century England. To be exact, this was 1641 and the book itself had a title which may well be one of the longest titles in existence, ever!  It was “An Answer to a Book entitled, An Humble Remonstrance in which, the original of Liturgy and Episcopacy is discussed: and Queries proposed concerned both. The Parity of Bishops and Presbyters in Scripture demonstrated.  The Occasion of their Imparity in Antiquity discovered. The Disparity of the Ancient and our modern Bishops manifested. The Antiquity of Ruling Elders in the Church vindicated. The Prelatical church bounded.” It would seem to this writer that the outline of the book was put into the title thereof!  Oh yes, and it written by Smectymnuus or S(tephen) M(arshall), E(dmund) C(alamy), T(homas) Y(young), M(atthew) N(ewcommen), and W(illiam–rendered as “UU“) S(purstow).

calamy_edwardOur attention  today in Presbyterian History is on the “E” and the “C” of the title, or on Edmund Calamy, known as Calamy the Elder. Born in London, England, in February 1600, day unknown, he was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. England.  He pastored and lectured at three Anglican churches from 1626 to 1639 when he was chosen to serve as the pastor of the London church of St.Mary Aaldermanbury.  In most of these parishes, he conformed to some of the ceremonies of the Anglican tradition, like bowing when the name of Jesus was mentioned, but resisting other practices of the Anglican liturgy.  Indeed, he was a Presbyterian delegate at the Savoy Conferences between April and July in 1661, attempting to find some compromise in the liturgy of the Anglican Church.  He, along with the other authors of the above title, were members of the Westminster Assembly of Divines from 1643 onward.  With the passing of the  Uniformity Act of King Charles II, the Rev. Edward Calamy was one of 2400 Presbyterians and Puritans who were ejected from his pulpit.   He preached his farewell sermon to his congregation at St. Mary’s on August 17, 1662.

Calamy continued to worship at the services of his old church. Once the appointed preacher did not attend the worship service, he was prevailed upon by his old congregation, and so took the pulpit and preached “with some warmth,” it was reported. Arrested for disobeying the Uniformity act, he was imprisoned for a time on January 6, 1663. He was freed later by the king and closed out his public ministry.

He survived to witness the terrible fire of London in 1666, which catastrophe contributed to his death when he saw his last congregation in ruins from the fire. He died on this day, October 29, 1666, and was buried in the ruins of the church as close as his mourners could guess was the place of the pulpit.

Words to Live By:
Where there had been earlier compromises of Presbyterian principles in his early life and ministry, he ended well with a firm commitment to Presbyterian principles and practice. Let that be our resolve as Christians, that we will end well in commitment to Biblical principles and practices. As Scottish pastor John Livingstone put it: “Let God be your only rule; Christ your own hope; The Holy Spirit your only guide, the Glory of God your only end.” 

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He Went About Doing Good

Thomas Gouge is not a household name to countless American Presbyterians today, but maybe he should be, considering his ministering of good to all. Born September 19, 1605 (and some say September 29, 1609) in England, he was the oldest son of celebrated William Gouge, member of the Westminster Assembly which produced our Confession and Catechisms.

Educated in the finest institutions of his day (Cambridge), Thomas graduated in 1626. After a time of three years, and marrying the daughter of a prominent family of that day, Thomas was called to the St. Sepulchre’s Church in London, England, where for the next twenty-four years he preached and pastored the membership and surrounding area. Not only did he minister to their spiritual needs, but also to their material needs.

Catechizing the people every morning of the week, Thomas Gouge would distribute gifts among the aged poor on varying days of the week so as to encourage regular attendance upon his catechism studies. These monies came out of his own pocket. To those abled-bodied among the poverty-stricken members, he distributed flax and hemp for them to spin, paying them for their yarn to be worked into cloth. Often in selling them later, he took the financial loss himself.

All of these benevolent work, including his proclamation of the Word of God, came to an end when the Great Ejection of 1662 took place. Hundreds of Presbyterian clergy were ejected from their Anglican pulpits, including Thomas Gouge. Unlike many others, he simply entered another ministry instead of continuing on to minister in secret to  his pastor-less flock. With two or three other ministers, he raised a considerable annual sum of money, to make provision for the ejected ministers then in desperate need. Even when the Great Fire of 1666 devastated London and brought a considerable loss to his income, he still continued to live on less and distribute to those in real need. He believed full the promise of the Psalmist when the latter wrote in Psalm 37:26, “He is ever merciful and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.” (KJV)

Looking to minister in ever widening circles, he had a heart for Wales.  Traveling there, he went from town to town to find out whether there would be interest in teaching willing children to read and write in the English language, and—oh yes—be catechized, no doubt using the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly.  Great droves of children came under the influence of the Scriptures, along with their families. Rev. Gouge began to preach regularly to the families, until the prelates of the Anglican church forbid him to preach the Word.  So in addition to the catechism classes, he arranged for the Word of God to be translated and printed into Welsh to be given freely to  Welsh families.  Added to the Scriptures were Christian books in Welsh which he freely handed out.

He entered heaven on October 29, 1681, remembered widely for his character and conduct in times of persecution.

Words to Live By:
And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not.  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially unto those who are of the household of faith.”  Galatians 6;9, 10 (KJV)

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Westminster Confession Approved by Church of Scotland

You may ask upon reading the title of this contribution, why are we thinking about adoption of the Westminster Confession of Faith, when the whole This Day in Presbyterian History blog deals with Presbyterian history in the United States?  And that is a fair question.  But it is quickly answered by two considerations. First, this Reformed standard—The Westminster Confession of Faith—was, with few changes, the subordinate standard of all the Presbyterian denominations in the United States.  And second, the Scots-Irish immigrants who came over to this country in its earliest days held strongly to this Reformed creedal statement.

The Westminster Confession of Faith was formulated by the Westminster Assembly of divines (i.e, pastors and theologians) in the mid-seventeenth century, meeting at Westminster Abby in London, England.  To the one hundred and twenty divines, primarily from the Church of England, were added nine Scottish divines from the Church of Scotland.  While the latter were seated as non-voting members of that Assembly, still their presence was felt in very effective ways during the six-year study that produced this confessional standard.

When it was adopted by the Parliament in England, it then went to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, where it was adopted without amendment on August 29, 1647.  It then became the summary of the teachings of the Old and New Testaments which was “owned” by the officers of the Church—the teaching and ruling elders, as well as the diaconate—in every local congregation. Down through the centuries, some changes in the Confession were made, most notably in 1789, but these have not affected the overall doctrinal content of the Confession. The majority of those changes were made in 1789. You can ask your pastor for more information about those changes.

The historic importance of this document remains relevant to this day as a focal point of our unity as Presbyterians, and so we seek to make our friends more knowledgeable of its magnificent statements.

Words to live by: Most of the Presbyterian denominations do not require their lay members to take vows which speak of their adoption of these historical creedal standards in order to join the church.  Yet a careful study of, and acceptance of this Confession of Westminster will give you a solid foundation for understanding the doctrine and life of the Word of God.  We urge you to do so, perhaps asking for a class in your church on it, or just studying it yourself for your personal and family benefit.

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A True Portrait of the Man

Mention the name of John Knox, and what comes to your mind?  Founder of Presbyterianism, the land of Scotland, Protestant Reformer, author, rigid leader, ever ready to prove his preaching orthodox by “apostolic blows and knocks”? Such is the picture which we have of this sixteenth century individual.

We always could expect negative views of him from his enemies in those centuries in assailing the character of this leader. They didn’t want his brand of Reformation truths and practices to become the norm in the Kingdom of Scotland. But often his friends in both those  years and today have felt that they must apologize for his fierce statements and actions, where and when no apology was needed. Of course, what doesn’t help is the familiar picture of John Knox, so familiar in all our minds, where his expression and especially his beard makes the present day characters of Duck Dynasty tame by comparison. And then there was that sermon written overseas entitled “First Draft of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regimen of Women,” which diatribe was against the female rulers of England. All this causes us to be thankful for the result of the establishment of Presbyterianism in Scotland, and our country, but sometimes apologetic about the instrument used to bring it about.

Yet all these negatives were challenged by the discovery of four unpublished papers of John Knox in a collegiate library in London near the close of the nineteenth century. These papers were not originals to be sure, but transcripts from the originals written in the sixteenth century. And from them, we get a true portrait of the character of John Knox.

In addition, they reveal a little more of his ministry spent—are you ready for this?—in England. In fact, half of his ministry was spent either in England, or among English exiles in Germany and Geneva. Further, today in April 7, 1549, we remember his license being issued as a priest of the Church of England.

John Knox himself in his great work, The History of the Reformation in Scotland, describes his time in the Church of England with a very succinct paragraph on page 98. He said, “The said John Knox was first appointed Preacher to Berwick; then to Newcastle; last he was called to London and to the south parts of England, where  he remained to the death of King Edward the Sixth.” His whole five years of ministry was reduced to thirty-seven words.

The footnote under that quotation reads on the same page, “In this modest sentence John Knox disposes of his English residence of five years, making no reference to his appointment as a Royal Chaplain to Edward the Sixth, before whom he frequently preached at Windsor, Hampton Court, St. James’s and Westminster, nor to the share he took in preparation of the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles to the Church of England, nor to his declination first of the Bishopric of Rochester, and afterward of the vicarage of All Hallows in London. His appointment as preacher to Berwick and Newcastle was made by the Privy Council of England.”

As the English Reformer, the papers referenced above reveal the true character of Knox as exhibiting “a combination of tenderness with strength, of playful humor with the profoundest seriousness, of all genial sympathies with fervor of devotional and burning zeal for truth.”  (p. 443)  Knox is shown as a guide of souls in trouble, with remarkable wisdom and moderation. To be sure, John Knox did not compromise his divine calling as a pastor in the Church of England. He stood fast by his conviction that Scripture alone must command his actions as a servant of God.

Suffice to say, while this author rejoices in the Scottish Reformation, with no little gratitude that his ancestors were members of the Church of Scotland on his mother’s side, we must also rejoice in the influence that John Knox had on the English Reformation, where, preaching from the Word of God, he proclaimed the unsearchable riches of God’s grace, while defending the historic Christian faith from those who would seek to destroy it.

Then too, in cooperation with those Reformed members of the Church of England, Knox was a powerful influence in framing the Book of Common Prayer and the English Articles  of Religion. It was only with the death of Edward the Sixth that Mary Tudor came to the throne with the intention of restoring Romanism to the realm, which in turn forced Knox to flee to the Continent with countless other Protestants.

Words to Live By: And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness, God may perhaps grant them repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” — 2 Timothy 2:24 – 26, ESV.

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His Blood Baptized the Cause of Freedom, Conscience, and Pure Religion

marquis_argyleEarls, barons, lords and marquis — these titles are foreign to countless Americans.  Yet to those in Scotland and England, they are the stuff of ancient times, with some left over to the modern age.   We are interested in the last title, but only as it referred to the Marquis of Argyle, Archibald Campbell.  From an early period in Scottish history, his ancestors played a prominent part.  Vast domains were under their rule, with great power exhibited by this house.  It was said, for example, that today’s subject, Archibald Campbell, could have fielded an army of twenty thousand soldiers.  Well, you could imagine the gratitude of God’s people when Archibald Campbell joined the Covenanting Presbyterians at a General Assembly in 1638.

At the first and last coronation ceremony in which King Charles II was crowned in Scotland, which we developed for our readers on January 1, it was this Marquis himself who placed  the crown on the head of Charles the Second. We also saw that such early support would be repaid with years of persecution for Scottish Presbyterians, including the Marquis of Argyle himself.  When Charles finally ascended to the throne, Archibald Campbell traveled south to congratulate him. He never arrived in London, but was arrested on the journey there on February 7, 1661.  Clapped into the Tower of London, he lay in chains until the following winter. Then he was sent back to Scotland to be tried on everything from having signed the Solemn League and Covenant, to submission to Oliver Cromwell, to being acquainted with the plot to kill King Charles the First.

The trial would last several months and finally ended with the sentence that “Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyle, is found guilty of high treason, and is adjudged to be executed to death as a traitor, his head to be severed from his body at the Cross of Edinburgh on Monday, the twenty-seventh instance, and to be fixed in the same place where the Marquis of Montrose’s head was formerly.”

One would think that such a sentence would be met with a grim spirit. But such was not the case with this Covenanting Christian. He commented upon hearing the news that “I had the honor to set the crown on the King’s head, and now he hastens me to a better crown than his own.” Ascending to the place of execution on the day, he “blessed the Lord,” adding “I pardon all men, as I desire to be pardoned myself.”  With that, and other expressions of the forgiveness granted from Calvary, he went forth to be with His Lord and Savior.

It is said that in life he had “piety for a Christian, sense for a counselor, courage for a martyr, and a soul for a king.” With all these characteristics, he was among the first of the Covenanters to lay down his life for the Covenanted Reformation.

Words to Live By:  Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 1:26, “not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth . . .”  The apostle did not say “not any” were called, but “not many were called.”  We have in the Marquis of Argyle one such wise, influential, powerful and high and noble individual, who was called to stand up for the faith.

*Editor: Our thanks to an alert reader for catching a major error. Our subject’s name was Archibald Campbell, not Alexander. Not sure how that error crept in, but it may be an indication that I shouldn’t work on these pages so late at night!

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