« PreviousContinue »
and distinct accounts of. I heartily wish some proper hand would give the public a just narrative of this great man's life, which might, I persuade myself, be very useful. The broken hints we have, before the last edition of his excellent “Saving Interest,” at London, 1705, are lame and indistinct, and were written without the knowledge of his remaining relations, who could have given more just and larger accounts. I shall therefore here give the more particular history of his sufferings at the time, and his being forced to part with his dear flock.
HE CONTINUES LONGER AT HIS WORK THAN MANY OTHERS.
By the interest of several noblemen and others, to whom Mr Guthrie was very dear, he enjoyed a connivance, and was overlooked for a considerable time, when he continued at his Master's work, though in his sermons he was more than ordinarily free and plain.
WHEN BISHOP BURNET COMES TO GLASGOW, HE AND SOME OTHER
MINISTERS ARE ATTACKED. But soon after Dr Alexander Burnet was brought from the see of Aberdeen to that of Glasgow, he and the few remaining ministers about him were attacked; such as, Mr Livingstone at Biggar, Mr M‘Kail at Bothwell, Mr Gabriel Maxwell at Dundonald, Mr Gabriel Cunningham at Dunlop, and Mr Andrew Hutcheson, and Mr William Castlelaw, ministers at Stewarton; and perhaps the Chancellor's death about this time helped to pave the way for the greater severity against these worthy persons.
NOTHING PREVAILS WITH THE ARCHBISHOP TO SPARE
MR GUTHRIE. The Archbishop had been addressed by some of the greatest in the kingdom in behalf of Mr Guthrie, and treated them very indiscreetly. By no importunity would he suffer himself to be prevailed upon to spare him any longer. When means and intercessions could not prevail, Mr Guthrie was warned of the Archbishop's design against him, and advised by persons of note, his friends, to suffer no resistance to be made to his dispossession of the church and manse; since his enemies wanted only this for a handle to prosecute him criminally for his zeal and faithfulness in the former times : such was their spite against this useful man of God.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 20TH, KEPT AS A CONGREGATIONAL FAST
WITH HIS PEOPLE. Under the prospect of parting with his beloved people, Wednesday the 20th of July this year was set apart by him for fasting and prayer with his congregation. The text he preached from was, Hosea xiii. 9, “O Israel! thou hast destroyed thyself." His sermon was afterwards printed very unfairly and indistinctly, from an uncorrect copy. From that Scripture, with great plainness and affection, he laid before them their sins, and those of the land, and of that age; and, indeed, the place was a Bochim.
HE PREACHES NEXT LO
RLY IN THE MORNIN
HE PREACHES NEXT LORD'S DAY, EARLY IN THE MORNING, AND
TAKES LEAVE OF HIS PEOPLE. At the close of that day's works, he gave intimation of sermon upon the next Lord's Day very early, and his own people and many others met him at the church of Fenwick betwixt four and five in the morning, where he preached twice to them from the close of his last text, “But in me is thine help.” And as he used upon ordinary Sabbaths, he had two sermons and a short interval betwixt them, and dismissed the people before nine in the morning. Upon this melancholy occasion he directed them unto the great Fountain of help, when the gospel and ministers were taken from them; and took his leave of them, commending them to this great God, who was able to build them up, and help them in the time of their need.
NO VIOLENCE USED AGAINST THE PARTY WHO CAME TO DISPOSSESS
HIM. His people would willingly have sacrificed all that was dear to them, in defence of the gospel, and adhering to him. Indeed, Mr Guthrie had some difficulty to get their affection to him so far moderated as to keep them from violent proceedings against the party who came to dispossess him; they would have effectually prevented the church its being declared vacant, and were ready to have a resisted even to blood, striving against sin,” if they had been permitted. But Mr Guthrie's peaceable disposition, his great regard to lawful civil authority, which his prudent foresight of the consequences of such a procedure, both as to the interests of the gospel, his people, and himself, made him lay himself out, and use the interests he had in the people, which was very great, to keep the peace; and there was no disturbance which could be made a handle of by adversaries.
WITH MUCH DIFFICULTY THE ARCHBISHOP GETS ONE TO INTI
MATE HIS SENTENCE AGAINST MR GUTHRIE. When the Archbishop of Glasgow resolved upon dispossessing him, he dealt with several of his curates, to intimate his sentence against Mr Guthrie, and as many refused it. There was an awe upon their spirits, which scared them from meddling with this great man; besides, they very well knew it was an action would render them for ever odious to the West country, and they feared the consequences. At last he prevailed with one who was curate of Calder, as I am told, and promised him five pounds sterling for his reward: but, poor man! it was the price of blood, the blood of souls, and neither he nor his had much satisfaction in it.
THE CURATE OF CALDER INTIMATES IT, JULY 24, IN THE CHURCH
OF FENWICK. Upon the 24th of July, this man came with a party of twelve soldiers to Fenwick church on the Lord's Day, and by commission from the archbishop, discharged Mr Guthrie to preach any more at Fenwick, declared the church vacant, and suspended him from the exercise of his ministry.
AND TO HIMSELF IN THE MANSE. The commanders of the party and the curate, leaving the soldiers without, came into the manse, or minister's house. The best account I can at this distance give of what passed in the house, is by inserting a short minute of this, left amongst the small remains of a valuable collection of papers belonging to Mr Guthrie ; which were taken away, as we shall afterwards hear, some years after this, by violence, and against all the rules of equity, from his widow, and fell into the hands of the bishop. The paper was drawn up at the time to keep up the remembrance of this affair, without any design of it being published, and I give it in its own native and plain dress.
THE SUM OF THE CURATE'S DISCOURSE WHEN HE CAME AND INTIMATED MR WILLIAM GUTHRIE HIS SENTENCE OF SUSPENSION, WITA MR GUTHRIE'S ANSWER TO HIM.
AN ACCOUNT OF WHAT PASSED IN THE MANSE. “ The curate showed, that the bishop and committee, after much lenity shown to him for a long time, were constrained to pass the sentence of suspension against him for not keeping of presbyteries and synods with his brethren, and his unpeaceableness in the Church; of which sentence he was appointed to make public intimation to him, for which he read his commission under the Archbishop of Glasgow his hand.”
Mr Guthrie answered, “I judge it not convenient to say much in answer to what you have spoken : only, whereas you allege there hath been much lenity used towards me, be it known unto you that I take the Lord for party in that, and thank him for it; yea, I look upon it as a door which God opened to me for preaching this gospel, which neither you nor any man else was able to shut, till it was given you of God. And as to that sentence passed against me, I declare before those gentlemen (the officers of the party) that I lay no weight upon it, as it comes from you, or those who sent you ; though I do respect the civil authority, who by their law laid the ground for this sentence; and were it not for the reverence I owe to the civil magistrate, I would not surcease from the exercise of my ministry for all that sentence. And as to the crimes I am charged with, I did keep presbyteries and synods with my brethren ; but I do not judge those who now sit in these to be my brethren, but men who have made defection from the truth and cause of God; nor do I judge those to be free or lawful courts of Christ that are now sitting. And as to my unpeaceableness, I know I am bidden follow peace with all men, but I know also I am bidden follow it with holiness; and since I could not obtain peace without prejudice to holiness, I thought myself obliged to let it go. And as for your commission, sir, to intimate this sentence, I here declare I think myself called by the Lord to the work of the ministry, and did forsake my nearest relations in the world, and give up myself to the service of the gospel in this place, having received an unanimous call from this parish, and being tried and ordained by the presbytery: and I bless the Lord he hath given me some success, and a seal of my ministry upon the souls and consciences of not a few that are gone to heaven, and of some that are yet in the way to it. And now, sir, if you will take it upon you to interrupt my work among this people, as I shall wish the Lord may forgive you the guilt of it, so I cannot but leave all the bad consequences that follow upon it, betwixt God and your own conscience. And here I do further declare before these gentlemen, that I am suspended from my ministry for adhering to the covenants and work of God, from which you and others have apostatized.”
Here the curate interrupting him, said, “That the Lord had a work before that covenant had a being, and that he judged them apostates who adhered to that covenant; and that he wished that not only the Lord would forgive him, (Mr Guthrie,) but, if it were lawful to pray for the dead, (at which expression the soldiers did laugh,) that the Lord would forgive the sin of this Church these hundred years past.”
“ It is true,” answered Mr Guthrie, “ the Lord had a work before