Mr. Josias Welch was a younger son to the famous Mr. John Welch sometime minister of the gospel at Ayr, and Elizabeth Knox daughter to the great Mr. John Knox, who was minister at Edinburgh, from whom he received a most liberal and religious education. But what enhanced his reputation more, was, that he was, heir to his father's graces and virtues. And although he had received all the branches of useful learning in order for the ministry, yet, prelacy being then prevalent in Scotland, he was detained for some time from that function, seeing he was not clear in his own mind to enter into that office by the door of episcopacy. But some time after, it so fell out, that meeting with worthy Mr. Blair, (who was then settled a minister at Bangor in Ireland) he finding how zealous a spirit Mr. Welch was of, exhorted and solicited him much to hasten over there, where he would find work enough, and he hoped success likewise, which accordingly came to pass, for upon his going thither he was highly honoured and provided of the Lord to bring the covenant of grace to the people at the six-mile water, (on whom Mr. Glendining formerly minister there had wrought some legal convictions) and having preached sometime at Oldstone, he was settled at Temple-Patrick, where he with great vigilance and diligence exercised his office, which by the blessing of God upon his labours, gained him many seals of his ministry.
But the devil envying the success of the gospel in that quarter, stirred up the prelatical clergy, whereupon the bishop of Down, in May 1632, caused cite him, Messrs. Blair, Livingston and Dumbar before him, and urged them to conform and give their subscription to that effect, but they answered with great boldness, That there was no law nor canon in that kingdom requiring this; yet notwithstanding they were all four deposed by him from the office of the holy ministry.
After this, Mr. Welch continued for some time preaching in his own house, where he had a large auditory, and such was his desire to gain souls to Christ, that he commonly stood in a door looking towards a garden, that so he might be heard without as well as within, by means of which, being of a weakly constitution, he contracted such a cold as occasioned his death in a short time thereafter.
He continued in this way, until May 1634, when by the intercession of Lord Castle-Stuart with the king in their behalf, the foresaid ministers received a grant from the bishop of six months liberty, which freedom none more willingly embraced than Mr. Welch, but he had preached only a few weeks in his own pulpit before he sickened, and the Sabbath afternoon before his death, which was on the Monday following. |I heard of his sickness,| saith Mr. Livingston, |and came to him about eleven o'clock at night, and Mr. Blair came about two hours thereafter. He had many gracious discourses, as also some wrestling and exercise of mind. One time cried out, Oh for hypocrisy; on which Mr. Blair said, See how Satan is nibbling at his heels before he enter into glory. A very little before he died, being at prayer by his bed-side, and the word victory coming out of my mouth, he took hold of my hand and desiring me to forbear a little, and clapping his hands, cried out, Victory, victory, victory for ever more, then he desired me to go on, and in a little expired -- on the 23d of June 1634.|
Thus died the pious and faithful Mr. Josias Welch, in the flower of his youth, leaving only one son behind him, viz. Mr. John Welch, who was afterward minister at Irongray in Galloway.