Robert Garnock was born in Stirling, anno
-- -- , and baptized by faithful Mr. James Guthrie. In his younger years, his parents took much pains to train him up in the way of duty: but soon after the restoration, the faithful presbyterian ministers being turned out, curates were put in their place, and with them came ignorance, profanity and persecution. -- Some time after this, Mr. Law preached at his own house in Monteith, and one Mr. Hutchison sometimes at Kippen. Being one Saturday's evening gone out to his grandmother's house in the country, and having an uncle who frequented these meetings, he went along with him unto a place called Shield-brae. -- And next Sabbath he went with him through much difficulty (being then but young) through frost and snow, and heard Mr. Law at Montieth; which sermon through a divine blessing, wrought much upon his mind. -- Thus he continued for some considerable time to go out in the end of the week for an opportunity of hearing the gospel, and to return in the beginning of next week to Stirling, but did not let his parents know anything of the matter.
But one time, hearing a proclamation read at the cross exhibiting, that all who did not hear or receive privileges from the curates were to be severely punished; which much troubled his mind, making him hesitate whether to go to a field preaching that he heard was to be next Sabbath, or not. But at last he came to this resolution. Says he, |the Lord inclined my heart to go and put that word to me, go for once, go for all, if they take thee, for that which is to come. So I went there, and the Lord did me good: for I got at that sermon that which, although they had rent me into a thousand pieces, I would not have said what I had said before. So the Lord made me follow the gospel for a long time; and tho' I knew little then what I meant, yet he put it in my heart still to keep by the honest side, and not to comply or join with enemies of one kind or another, yea not to watch, ward or strengthen their hands any manner of way. When I was asked, why I would not keep watch (or stand centry) on the town; it was a commanded duty; I told them, I would not lift arms against the work of God. If ever I carried arms, it should be for the defence of the gospel.|
Now, he became a persecuted man, and was obliged to leave the town. His father being a black-smith, he had learned the same trade, and so he went some time to Glasgow, and followed his occupation. From Glasgow he returned home; and from thence went again to Borrowstouness, where he had great debate, as himself expresses it, -- |about that woeful indulgence: I did not know the dreadful hazard of hearing them, until I saw they preached at the hazard of men's lives. -- This made me examine the matter, until I found out that they were directly wrong and contrary to scripture, had changed their head, had quitted Jesus Christ as their head, and had taken their commission from men, owning that perjured adulterous wretch as head of the church, receiving then commission to preach in such and such places from him and those bloody thieves under him.|
From Borrowstouness he returned back to Falkirk; and thence home to Stirling, where he remained for some time under a series of difficulties: for, after he got off when taken with others at the Shield-brae, -- while he was making bold to visit Mr. Skeen, he was taken in the castle, and kept all night, and used very barbarously by the soldiers, and at eight o'clock next morning taken before the provost, who not being then at leisure, he was imprisoned till afternoon. But by the intercession of one Colin M'Kinzie (to whom his father was smith) he was got out, and without so much as paying the jailor's fee. |I had much of the Lord's kindness at that time, (says he) although I did not know then what it meant, and so I was thrust forth unto my wandering again.|
About this time, he intended to go to Ireland; but being disappointed, he returned back to Stirling, where he was tost to and fro for some time, and yet he remarks, he had some sweet times in this condition; particularly one night, when he was down in the Carfe with one Barton Hendry; after which heavy trials ensued unto him from professors; because he testified against every kind of their compliance with the current of the times. Upon this account, the society meeting he was in and he could not agree. This made him leave them, and go to one in the country; which, he says, |were more sound in judgment, and of an undaunted courage and zeal for God and his cause; for the life of religion was in that society.|
At this time, he fell into such a degree of temptation by the devices of the enemy of man's salvation, that he was made to supplicate the Lord several times that he might not be permitted to a affright him in some visible shape, which he then apprehended he was attempting to do. But from these dreadful oppressions he was at last, through the goodness of God, happily delivered. Although, as yet, he knew but little of experimental religion. And, says he, |The world thought I had religion: but to know the hidden things of godliness was yet a mystery to me. I did not know any thing as yet of the new birth, or what it was spiritually to take the kingdom of heaven by violence, &c.| Which serves to shew, that one may do and suffer many things for Christ and religion, and yet at the same time be a stranger to the life and power thereof.
But anon he falls into another difficulty; for a proclamation being issued, that all betwixt thirteen and sixty was to pay Poll-money; word was sent his father, that if he would pay it, he should have his liberty; which was no small temptation. But this he absolutely refused, and also told his father plainly (when urged by him to do it) that, if one plack (or four pennies) would do it, he would not give it. His father said, He would give it for him; to whom he answered, If he did, he needed never expect it or any consideration for it from him. And for the result of the matter, hear his own words: |And O! but the Lord was kind to me then; and his love was better than life. I was tossed in my wanderings and banishment with many ups and downs, till I came to Edinburgh, where I heard of a communion to be on the borders of England; and then I went to it. O! let me bless the Lord that ever trysted me with such a lot as that was: for the 20, 21 and 22 of April were the three most wonderful days with the Lord's presence that ever I saw on earth. O! but his power was wonderfully seen, and great to all the assembly, especially to me. Of the three wonderful days of the Lord's presence at East-Nisbet in the Merse. That was the greatest communion, I suppose, these twenty years. I got there what I will never forget while I live. Glory to his sweet name that ever there was such a day in Scotland. His work was wonderful to me both in spirituals and temporals. O! that I could get him praised and magnified for it. He was seen that day sitting at the head of his table, and his spikenard sending forth a pleasant smell. Both good and bad were made to cry out, and some to say, with the disciples, It is good for us to be here. They would have been content to have staid there. And I thought it was a begun heaven to be in that place.|
After this, he returned home to Stirling, and got liberty to follow his employment for some time. -- But, lo! another difficulty occurred; for while the Highland host was commanded west, [in the beginning of 1678] all Stirling being commanded to be in arms, which all excepting a very few, obeyed; he refused, and went out of town with these few, and kept a meeting. When he returned, his father told him, he was past for the first time, but it behoved him to mount guard to-morrow. -- He refused: his father was angry, and urged him with the practices of others. He told his father, he would hang his faith upon no man's belt, &c. On the morrow, when the drums beat to mount the guard, being the day of his social meeting, he went out of the town under a heavy load of reproach, and even from professors, who made no bones to say, that it was not principle of conscience he hesitated upon, but that he might have liberty to strole through the country: because he attended these meetings; which was no easy matter to bear. Orders were given to apprehend him; but at that time he escaped their hand, and wandered from one place to another, until the beginning of August 1678, that he came to Carrick communion at Maybole: and what his exercise was there, himself thus expresses: |I was wonderfully trysted there; but not so as at the other. I went to the first table, and then went and heard worthy Messrs. Kid and Cameron preach at a little distance from the meeting, who never left the fields till they sealed and crowned it with their blood. I cannot say but the Lord was kind to me, on the day after there, and on the fast day in the middle of the week after that, near the borders of Kilmarnock parish, where a division arose about the indulgence, which to this day is never yet done away. After my return home, I was made to enter into covenant with him upon his own terms against the indulgence and all other compliances: and, because through the Lord's strength I resolved to keep my bargain, and not to join with them, it was said, I had got new light; and I was much reproached, yet I got much of the Lord's kindness when attending the preached gospel in the field, to which I would sometimes go twenty miles.|
And having thus wandered to and fro for some time, he went to Edinburgh to see the prisoners, and then returned home to Stirling in the end of the week. Late on Saturday night, he heard of a field preaching, and seeing the soldiers and troopers marching out of the town to attack the people at that meeting, he made himself ready, and, with a few others, went toward the meeting: and, being armed, they arrived near the place; but the soldiers coming forward, the people still, as they approached, seeing the enemy, turned off. So he and a few armed men and the minister, seeing this, took a hill above Fintry beside the craigs of Ball-glass. So the enemy came forward. This little handful drew up in the best posture the time and circumstances would allow; and sung a psalm, at which the soldiers were so affrighted, that they told afterward, that the very matches had almost fallen out of their hands. At last a trooper coming up, commanded them to dismiss: but they refused. This was repeated several times, till the captain of the foot came forward, and gave them the same charge; which they also refused. Upon this, he commanded a party of his men to advance and fire upon them: which they did once or twice: which was by this little company returned with much courage and agility, until the whole party and the commanding officer (consisting of 48 men and 16 horsemen) fired upon this little handful, which he thinks amounted to not above 18 that had arms, with a few women. After several fires were returned on both sides, one of the sufferers stepped forward, and shot one side of the captain's periwig off, at which the foot fled; but the horsemen, taking the advantage of the rising ground, surrounded this small party. They then fired on a young man, but missed him. However, they took him and some others prisoners. The rest fled off. Robert Garnock was hindermost, being the last on the place of action, and says, he intended not to have been taken, but rather killed. At last one of the enemy came after him, on which he resolved either to kill or be killed before he surrendered, -- catching a pistol from one for that purpose. But another coming in for assistance, the trooper fled off, and so they escaped unto the other side of a precipice, where they staid until the enemy were gone, who marched directly with their prisoners to Stirling.
After the fray was over, Robert staid till evening, and spoke with some friends and the minister, who dissuaded him all they could from going into Stirling. But being now approaching toward the eve of his pilgrimage state, with Paul, in another case, when going up to Jerusalem, he could not be prevailed upon; and so went to town: and entering the town about One in the morning, he got into a house at the foot of the castle-hill, and there got his arms left with much difficulty: but, as he was near the head of the castle-hill, he was by two soldiers (who were lying in wait for those who had been at that meeting) apprehended and brought to the guard; and then brought before lord Linlithgow's son: who asked him, if he was at that preaching? he told him, he was at no preaching. Linlithgow's son said, he was a liar. Robert said, he was no liar; and seeing ye will not believe me, I will tell no more: prove the rest. Linlithgow said, he would make him do it. -- But he answered, he should not. Then he asked his name, trade, and his father's name, and where they dwelt? all which he answered. Then he bade keep him fast. At night he was much abused by the soldiers; some of them who had been wounded in the skirmish, threatening him with torture, gagging in the mouth, &c. all which he bore with much patience. In the morning a serjeant came to examine him; but he refused him as a judge to answer to. At last the commanding officer came and examined him, if he was at that skirmish. He answered, That for being there he was taken; and whether I was there or not, I am not bound to give you an account. So he went out, and in a little returned with the provost, who thought to surplant him by asking, who of Stirling folk was there? he answered, That they were both his neighbours and his; and though he had been there, he might account him very impudent to tell: for though he thought it his duty to ask, yet it was not his to tell or answer: and he thought he should rather commend him for so doing. After several other things anent that affair, he was commanded to close prison; and none, not so much as his father, allowed to speak to him; but he did not want company at that time; for, says he, |O but I had a sweet time of it: the Lord's countenance was better unto me than all the company in the world.|
The forementioned skirmish had fallen out May 8th, 1679, and upon the 19th of the same month, he was put into the common prison amongst malefactors; where he got some more liberty, having some others of the sufferers with him. However, they were very much disturbed by a notorious murderer, who, being drunk one time, thought to have killed him with a large plank or form. But happily the stroke did not hurt him, though he struck with all his force twice, whereby another was almost killed. This made him and other five to lie sometimes upon the stairs; for they could have no other place; though they desired the thieves hole, they could not obtain it. And thus they passed the time with much pain and trouble, until June 16th, that the Fife men were broke at Bewly, and numbers taken which were brought in prisoners on the 11th; whereby they were very much thronged. Here he continued till the break at Bothwel on the 22d, after which there was no small confusion by tendering and pressing of a bond of conformity against offensive arms, wherein he got his share during that time.
Upon the 13th of July, he was brought forth and in company with about 100 more prisoners under a strong guard of red coats taken from Stirling to Edinburgh, and put into Gray-friar's church-yard, amongst the Bothwel prisoners: there he was more vexed both by the enemy and his fellow-sufferers than ever. A specimen of which I shall give in his own words: |Some of my neighbours desired the bond, so they put it to me; but I refused. However, the most part of them took it. Nay, there were some of them supplicated for any bond. This made some of us conclude it was our duty to testify against it; which piece of employment was put upon me, against which some of the prisoners obtested. -- So I was rendered odious; but many a-day the Lord was kind to me in that yard, and kept me from many a fear and snare; his love was sweet unto me. The men complained of us to the commanders, who sent for me and examined me on the bond and other things: they said, I should be gagged, and every day I was vexed with them; until almost the whole prisoners petitioned for it -- And there was as good as seventy ministers sent unto the ward to take it, and they said, it was not a head to suffer upon: when they had done, they sent in two gentlewomen with the commission; and they set upon me: I told them, if every one of them had as much of it as I had, they would not be so busy to press it: for before this, the bloody crew came to the yard, and called on me, and asked, If I would take the bond. I said, No. They said, I would get no other sentence. -- So I was sore put to it: I would often have been at the doing of something; but the Lord would not suffer me. So, in his strength, I fought on against my own heart and them all, and overcame. But O! the cross was sweet unto me and easy. There needs none fear to venture on suffering in his way and strength. O happy day, that ever I was trysted with such a thing. My bargaining with lovely Jesus was sweet unto me. It is true, affliction, for the present, seems not joyous but grievous; but afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to those who are exercised thereby. I never knew the treachery of ministers, and their dreadful hypocrisy and double dealing in the matters of God before that time, and I could never love them after that; for they made many a one to rack their conscience in taking that bond. I was brought out of the yard, Oct.25th, with a guard of soldiers; when coming out, one Mr. White asked, if I would take the bond? I, smiling, said, No. He, in way of jeer, said, I had a face to glorify God in the Salt market. So I bade farewel to all my neighbours who were sorry; and White bade me take goodnight with them, for I should never see them more. But I said, Lads, take good heart; for we may yet meet again for all this. -- So I was brought before their council-court. They asked, if I would take the bond? I said, No. -- Some of them said, May be he does not know it; but Halton said, he knows it well enough. So one of them read it. I asked, if they would have me subscribe a lie to take away my life; for I never was in rebellion, nor intended to be so. They said, they would make another bond for me. I answered they needed not trouble themselves; for I was not designed to subscribe any bond at this time.
|Quest. Will ye rise in rebellion against the king?
|Answ. I was not rising in rebellion against the king.
|Q. Will ye take the bond never to rise against the king and his authority?
|A. What is the thing ye call authority? They said, If they, the soldiers or any other subject, should kill me, I was bound not to resist. I answered, That I will never do.
|Q. Is the bishop's death murder?
|A. I am a prisoner; and so no judge.
|Q. Is Bothwel-bridge rebellion?
|A. I am not bound to give my judgment in that.
|Then one of them said, I told you what the rebel rascal would say: you will be hanged, Sir. I answered, you must first convict me of a crime. They said, you did excommunicate prisoners for taking the bond. I said, that was not in my power; and moreover, I was now before them, and prove it if they were able. They said, they would hang me for rebellion. I said, you cannot: for if you walk according to your own laws, I should have my liberty. They said, Should we give a rebellious knave, like you, your liberty? you should be hanged immediately. I answered, That lies not yet in your power: so they caused quickly to take me away, and put me in the iron-house tolbooth. Much more passed that I must not spend time to notice.
|So they brought me to the iron-house to fifteen of my dear companions in tribulation; and there we were a sweet company, being all of one judgment. There serving the Lord, day and night, in singleness of heart, his blessing was seen amongst us; for his love was better than life. We were all with one accord trysted sweetly together: and O it was sweet to be in this company, and pleasant to those who came in to see us, until the indictments came in amongst us. There were ten got their indictments. Six came off, and four got their sentence to die at Magus muir. There were fifteen brought out of the yard, and some of them got their liberty offered, if they would witness against me. But they refused, so they got all their indictments, but complied all, save one, who was sentenced to die with the other four at Magus muir.|
In this situation he continued till Nov.13, that he was, by the intercession of some friends, brought to the west galleries on the other side of the tolbooth, where he continued sometime, till called again before some of the council; after which he was again committed to close prison for a time, till one night being called forth by one of the keepers, one Mr. John Blair, being present, accosted him thus, Wherefore do ye refuse the bond? He answered, I have no time now for that matter. But out of that place, said Blair, you shall not go, for the covenants and the xiii. of the Romans bind you to it. I answered, No; they just bound me to the contrary. What if popery should come to the land, should we bind ourselves never to defend the true religion? He said, we were loosed then. I said, No; Presbyterians were taken by their word, and they should abide by it: and ere all were done, it should be a dear bond unto them: -- as for my part, I would rather go to the Grass-market, and seal it with my blood, &c. After he came down, the goodman of the tolbooth abused him in a very indiscreet manner, saying, that, if there were no more men, he should be hanged; and that he was an ignorant fool; ministers nor men could not convince him; and bade take him off again to close prison, where he was again as much vexed with a company of bonders as ever: for they were not only become lax in principle but in duty also, for he roundly told them, |You are far from what you were in the iron-house before you took the bond: then you would have been up at duty by two or three in the morning; now you lie in bed till eight or nine in the day. -- They said, it was true enough; but said no more.|
After these got their liberty, he was accompanied with some other prisoners, some of whom were kept in for debt. And then, he says, he would have been up by four in the morning, and made exercise amongst them three times a-day, and the Lord was kind to him during that time; and he resolved never to make any compliance, and in this he was made to eat meat out of the eater, and sweet out of the strong. But some gentlemen, prisoners for religion where he was before, prevailed with the goodman of the tolbooth to have him back to them about the beginning of 1680. But here the old temptation to compliance and tampering with the enemy was afresh renewed; for the ministers coming in to visit these, when they could do no more, they brought ministers to the rooms to preach, and would make him hear them; which he positively refused. At last, they brought a minister, one of his acquaintance; him that should have preached that day he was taken. But hearing he had made some compliance with the enemy, he would not go to the next room to hear him make exercise, till he knew the certainty of the matter. After which, he came to another room, where they had some conference. A short hint of it I shall here subjoin as follows: |He asked after my welfare; and if I was going out of the prison? I told him, I blessed the Lord for it, I was well, and was not going out yet.| After some conversation anent field-preachings, particularly, one by worthy Mr. Cameron at Monkland, which he condemned; |He asked, why I did not hear ministers? I answered, I desired to hear none but what are faithful; for I am a prisoner, and would gladly be in the right way, not to wrong myself. -- He said, wherein are they unfaithful? I said, in changing their head, quiting the Lord's way, and taking on with covenant breakers, murderers of his people, &c. He said, how would I prove that? I said, their own practice proves it. He said, these were but failings, and these would not perjure a man; And it is not for you to cast at ministers: you know not what you are doing. -- Answer, I do not cast them off: they cast off themselves by quiting the holding of their ministry of Christ. Quest. How prove you that? Answ. The 10th of John proves it; for they come not in by the door. -- You may put me wrong; but I think that in Gal. i.6. I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you, &c. you may read that at your leisure, how Paul had not his gospel from men, nor by the will of men. He said, lay by these: but what is the reason you will not hear others? I said, I desire to hear none of these gaping for the indulgence, and not faithful in preaching against it.|
After some conference anent Messrs. Cameron and Cargil, in which he said Mr. Cameron was no minister; and Mr. Cargil was once one, and had quitted it; that they received their doctrines from men, their hearers, who said, you must preach such and such doctrines, and we will hear you. To all which the martyr gave pertinent answers. He said, |Robert, do not think I am angry that you come not to hear me; for I desire not you, nor any of your faction to come and hear me; for I cannot preach to all your humours. I said, it was all the worse for that. He said, none of these faults would cast off a minister. They were but failings, not principles. I said I could not debate, but I should let any Christian judge, if it was no principle for a minister to hold Christ head of the church. I told him, there was once a day I would have ventured my life at his back for the defence of Christ's gospel; but not now; and I was more willing to lay down my life now for his sweet and dear truths than ever I was. He said, the Lord pity and help me. I said, I had much need of it. And so he went away, and rendered me odious. This, amongst other things, made me go to God and to engage in covenant with his Son never to hear any of those who betrayed his cause, till I saw evidences of their repentance. And I would have been willing to have quitted all for that chiefest among ten thousands.|
Thus he continued, till, he says, he got bad counsel from some of his friends to supplicate for his liberty; and they prevailed so far as to draw up a supplication and brought him to subscribe. But when they had got him to take the pen in his hand. |The Lord bade me hold, (says he) and one came and bade me take heed. So I did it not, for which I bless his holy name. But this lets me see, there is no standing in me. Had it not been his free love, I had gone the blackest way ever one did, &c.|
The night before gallant Hackston was executed, being down stairs, and hearing of the way and manner he was to be executed, he went up stairs, (though it was treason to speak to him) and told him of it; which he could scarcely believe: But the keepers hearing came up to persuade him to the contrary, and to put Robert in the irons. However they got eight gray coats who watched Mr. Hackston all night, persuading him to the contrary. So that he did not know till at the place of execution.
It would appear, he was not put in the irons then until some time after, that a young woman, who was taken at the Ferry when Hall-head was killed, who having liberty to come into the lady Gilkerclugh then in prison, was conveyed out in a gentleman's habit, of which he and another got the blame, though entirely innocent; for which they were laid in irons: the other got his liberty, but Robert continued his alone sometime, till they intended to send him off with some soldiers to Tanguirs. But the Lord having other ways determined, they could not get as many of the council conveened, as to get an order made out: and so he was continued in prison, during which time he endured sore conflict with those his fellow prisoners, who still complied and got off, and others came in their place who set upon him afresh: So that he and any one who was of his own judgment, could scarcely get liberty to worship God in the room without disturbance, calling him a devil, &c. And those who were faithful and a comfort to him, were still taken from him and executed, while he was retained (his time not being yet come) in prison where he was sometime with one John Scarlet, who, he says, was one of the basest of creatures.
To relate all the trials and difficulties he underwent, during the time of his imprisonment near the space of two years and a half, with his various exercises, with the remarkable goodness of God towards him all that time, will be more than can conveniently be accomplished at present. I shall only notice one or two very strange occurrences of divine providence towards him; which he observes, with a few of his own expressions concerning himself and exercise, and his condition toward the end of his narrative and life also, which follows in his own words.
|I have no reason (says he) but to go through with cheerfulness, whatever he puts me to for owning of his cause: for if it had not been his sweet love to me, I might have been a sufferer for the worst of crimes: for there is in me what is in the worst of creatures: a remarkable instance of which I was tristed with long since; -- which, while I live, I will not forget. Being at home working with my father, and having mended a chest-lock to an honest woman, I went home with it to put it on: the woman not being at leisure, there was a gun standing besides me: and I oftimes having guns amongst my hands to dress, took it up, and (not adverting that it was loaded) thinking her not good, tried to fire her; whereupon she went off, and the ball went up through a loft above, and had almost killed a woman and a child; and had not providence directed that shot, I had suffered as a murderer: And am I not obliged to follow and suffer for the chiefest among ten thousands, that has so honoured me a poor wretch? for many other things have escaped me; but I may not stay to mention what the Lord has done for me both at field preachings and other places.
|I have had a continued warfare, and my predominants grew mightily on my hand, which made my life sometimes heavy; but, amongst the many sweet nights and days I have had, was that 23d in the evening and 24th in the morning of August, 1681. The Lord was kind to me; that was the beginning of mornings indeed, whereon I got some of the Lord's love, and whereon I got an open door, and got a little within the court, and there was allowed to give in what I had to say either as to my own souls case or the case of the church which is low at this day. I have indeed had some sweet days since, but I have misguided them, and could not keep in with him; for my corruptions are so mighty, that sometimes I have been made to cry out, Woes me that ever I was born a man of strife and contention to many. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from me from the body of this death? But the Lord maketh up all again with his love; so that I have many ups and downs in my case. -- I have forgotten some things particularly worthy remark: Such as, one night I was set upon by a French captain when out of town; but the Lord remarkably delivered me and brought me back again. So the Lord has let me see, I might have been staged for worse actions. So that I have no ground but to be for God while I live, and bless his name that ever honoured me with this dignity of suffering for his name and honourable cause.
|What will become of me is yet uncertain; but upon some considerations, what the land was doing in bringing in of popery -- the love I bear to the Lord and his righteous cause, made me give in my protestation against the parliament, which this present year 1681 has made laws for the strengthening of popery: and I could do no less; for the glory of God was dearer to me than my life.
|And now for any thing I know, I will be tortured, and my life taken, and so will get no more written. As to any that read it, I beg of them to shun all that is evil in my life, as they wish to shun hell; and if there be any thing in it that is for use, I request the Lord that he may bring it home upon them, when I am gone, and make it thus useful for them that read it. -- So I bid you all farewel, desiring none of you may slight your time or duty as I have done; but shun the appearances of evil, cleave to that which is good, and spend much of your time with God: be not idle night nor day, and give not ever much sleep unto yourselves. -- O sirs, if you would be prevailed with to spend time for God, it would be the sweetest and most desireable service ever you took in hand. O be persuaded to fall in love with him, who is, without compare, the chiefest among ten thousand, yea, altogether lovely. -- Take him for your all, and bind yourselves hand and foot to his obedience. Let your ears be nailed to the posts of his doors, and be his servants for ever.|
|And now seeing I get no more time allowed me here on earth, I close with my hearty farewel to all friends, and pray the Lord may guide them in all truth, and keep them from dreadful snares that are coming through this covenanted land of Scotland. So I bid you all farewel, and be faithful to the death. I know not certainly what may become of me after this; but I look and expect that my time in this world is now near an end, and so desire to welcome all that the Lord sends. Thinking presently to be called in before God's enemies, I subscribe it,
And having now with pleasure heard somewhat of the life and exercises of Robert Garnock, we come now to notice somewhat anent his trial, death or martyrdom which now hastens apace. So, according to his own expectation, above narrated, he was brought before the council, October 1st, where he disowned the king's authority, refused them as his judges, and on the 7th was brought before the Justiciary, and indicted, |That he did before the council, on the 1st of October, decline the authority of the king and council, and called the king and council tyrant, murderers, perjured and mansworn, declaring it was lawful to rise in arms against them; -- And gave in a most treasonable paper, termed, A protestation and testimony against parliamenters, wherein he terms the members of parliament, idolaters, usurpers of the Lord's inheritance; and protests against their procedure in their hell-hatched acts: which paper is signed by his hand, whereby he is guilty of the crime of treason; and further gave in a declaration to the council, wherein the said Robert Garnock disowns the king's authority and government, and protests against the council as tyrants: Therefore, &c.| By such an explicit confession, his own papers being turned to an indictment without any matters of fact against him, there was no difficulty of probation, his own protest and declinature being produced before the justiciary and assize, to whom he was remitted. But before the assize were inclosed, Robert Garnock and other five who were indicted with him, delivered a paper to the inquest, containing a protestation and warning, wherein |They advise them to consider what they are doing, and upon what grounds they pass a sentence upon them. They declare they are no rebels: they disown no authority that is according to the word of God and the covenants the land is bound by. -- They charge them to consider how deep a guilt covenant breaking is, and put them in mind they are to be answerable to the great Judge of all for what they do in this matter; and say they do this, since they are in hazard of their lives, and against them. It is a dangerous thing to pass a sentence on men merely because of their conscience and judgment; only because they cannot in conscience yield to the iniquous laws of men; -- that they are free subjects never taken in any action contrary to the present laws; adding that these whom they once thought should or would rule for God have turned their authority for tyranny and inhumanity, and employ it both in destroying the laws of God, and murdering his people against and without law; -- as we ourselves can prove and witness, when brought in before them. After two years imprisonment; one of them most cruelly and tyrant-like rose from the place of judgment, and drew a sword, and would have killed one of us, but Providence ordered it otherways: However the wound is yet to be shown. The like action was never heard or read of. After reminding them of David Finlay murdered at Newmills, Mr. Mitchel's case, and James Learmond's, who was murdered after he was three times freed by the assize. They add, that, after such murders as deserve death, they cannot see how they can own them as judges, charging them to notice what they do; assuring them their blood will be heavy upon them: -- Concluding with Jer. xxvi.15. And charging them not to take innocent blood on their heads.| And subscribe at Edinburgh October 7th 1681.
ROBERT GARNOCK, D. FARRIE, JA. STEWART,
ALEX. RUSSEL, PAT. FORMAN, and G. LAPSLY.
Notwithstanding all this, they were brought in guilty and sentenced to be executed at the Gallowlee betwixt Leith and Edinburgh, upon the 10th instant; Forman's hand to be cut off before, and the heads and hands of the rest after death, and to be set up upon the Pleasance port.
What his deportment and exercises were at the place of execution we are at a loss to describe: but from what is already related, we may safely conclude that, through divine grace, his demeanour was truly noble and Christian. But that the reader may guess somewhat of his exercises, temper and disposition about that time, I shall extract a few sentences of his own words from his last speech and dying testimony.
|I bless the Lord, that ever he honoured the like of me with a bloody gibbet and bloody windy sheet for his noble, honourable and sweet cause. O will ye love him, sirs? O he is well worth the loving and quitting all for. O for many lives to seal the sweet cause with: if I had as many lives as there are hairs on my head, I would think them all little to be martyrs for truth. I bless the Lord, I do not suffer unwillingly nor by constraint, but heartily and cheerfully. -- I have been a long time prisoner, and have been altered of my prison. I was amongst and in the company of the most part who suffered since Bothwell, and was in company with many ensnaring persons; though I do not question their being godly folk; and yet the Lord kept me from harkening to their counsel. Glory, glory to his holy and sweet name. -- It is many times my wonder how I have done such and such things; but it is he that has done it: he hath done all things in me and for me: holy is his name. -- I bless the Lord I am this day to step out of time into eternity, and I am no more troubled than if I were to take a match by marriage on earth, and not so much. I bless the Lord I have much peace of conscience in what I have done. O but I think it a very weighty piece of business to be within twelve hours of eternity, and not troubled. Indeed the Lord is kind, and has trained me up for this day, and now I can want him no longer. I shall be filled with his love this night; for I will be with him in paradise, and get a new song put in my mouth, the song of Moses and the Lamb; I will be in amongst the general assembly of the first born, and enjoy the sweet presence of God and his Son Jesus Christ, and the spirits of just men made perfect: I am sure of it.
|Now my Lord is bringing me to conformity with himself, and honouring me with my worthy pastor Mr. James Guthrie: although I knew nothing when he was alive, yet the Lord hath honoured me to protest against popery, and to seal it with my blood: and he hath honoured me to protest against prelacy and to seal it with blood. The Lord has kept me in prison to this day for that end. His head is on one port of Edinburgh, and mine must go on another. Glory, glory to the Lord's sweet name for what he hath done for me.
|Now I bless the Lord, I am not as many suspect me, thinking to won heaven by my suffering. No, there is no attaining of it but through the precious blood of the Son of God. -- Now, ye that are the true seeker of God, and the butt of the world's malice, O be diligent, and run fast. Time is precious: O make use of it, and act for God: contend for truth: stand for God against all his enemies: fear not the wrath of man: love one another; wrestle with God: mutually in societies confess your faults one to another; pray one with another: reprove, exhort and rebuke one another in love. Slight no commanded duty: Be faithful in your stations as you will be answerable at the great day: seek not counsel from men: follow none further than they hold by truth.
|Now, farewell, sweet reproaches for my lovely Lord Jesus, though once they were not joyous but grievous, yet now they are sweet. And I bless the Lord for it, I heartily forgive all men for any thing they have said of me; and I pray it may not be laid unto their charge in the day of accounts: and for what they have done to God and his cause, I leave that to God and their own conscience. Farewell, all Christian acquaintance, father, mother, &c. Farewell, sweet prison for my royal Lord Jesus Christ, now at an end. Farewell, all crosses of one sort or another: and so farewell, every thing in time, reading, praying and believing. Welcome eternal life, and the spirits of just men made perfect: Welcome, Father, Son and Holy Ghost: into thy hands I commit my Spirit.| -- Sic Subscribitur,
Accordingly the foregoing sentence in all its parts was executed upon them all except Lapslay who got off. -- And so they had their passage from the valley of misery into the celestial country above, to inhabit that land where the inhabitants say not, I am sick, and the people that dwell therein are forgiven their iniquities.
Thus ended Robert Garnock in the flower of his youth; a young man, but old in experimental religion. -- His faithfulness was as remarkable as his piety, and his courage and constancy as both. -- He was inured unto tribulations almost from his youth, wherein he was so far from being discouraged at the cross of Christ, that he, in imitation of the primitive martyrs, seemed rather ambitious of suffering. -- He always aimed at honesty; and, notwithstanding all opposition from pretended friends and professed foes, he was by the Lord's strength, enabled to remain unshaken to the last: for, though he was nigh tripped, yet with the faithful man he was seldom foiled, never vanquished. -- May the Lord enable many in this apostate, insidious, and lukewarm generation to emulate the martyr in imitation of him who now inherits the promise, Be thou faithful unto the death, and I will give thee a crown of life.