Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33

[The Life of Donald Cargil, by John Howie.]
The Life of Mr. DONALD CARGIL.
taken from
Biographia Scoticana
John Howie.
MR. CARGIL seems to have been born sometime about the year 1610. He was eldest son to a most respected family in the parish of Rattray. After he had been sometime in the schools of Aberdeen, he went to St. Andrews, where having perfected his course of philosophy, his Father pressed upon him much to study divinity, in order for the ministry; but he, through tenderness of spirit, constantly refused, telling his father, That the work of the ministry was too great a burden for his weak shoulders;—and requested to command any other employment he pleased. But his father still continuing to urge him, he resolved to set apart a day of private fasting to seek the Lord’s mind therein. And after much wrestling with the Lord by prayer, the third chapter of Ezekiel, and chiefly these words in the first verse, Son of man, eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel, made a strong impression upon his mind, so that he durst no longer refuse his father’s desire, but dedicated himself wholly unto that office.

After this, he got a call to the Barony church of Glasgow. It was so ordered by divine providence that the very first text the presbytery ordered him to preach upon, was these words in the third of Ezekiel (already mentioned) by which he was more confirmed that he had God’s call to that parish. This parish had been long vacant, by reason that two ministers of the resolution party, viz. Messrs Young and Blair, had still opposed the settlement of such godly men as had been called by the people. But in reference to Mr. Cargil’s call, they were, in God’s providence, much bound up from their wonted opposition. Here Mr. Cargil perceiving the lightness and unconcerned behaviour of the people under the word, was much discouraged thereat, so that he resolved to return home and not accept the call; which when he was urged by some godly ministers not to do, and his reasons asked, he answered, They are a rebellious people. The ministers solicited him to stay, but in vain. But when the horse was drawn, and he just going to begin his journey, being in the house of Mr. Durham, when he had saluted several of his christian friends that came to see him take horse [depart], as he was taking farewell of a {420} certain godly woman, she said to him, "Sir, you have promised to preach on Thursday, and have you appointed a meal to a poor starving people, and will ye go away and not give it? if you do, the curse of God will go with you." This so moved him, that he durst not go away as he intended; but sitting down desired her and others to pray for him. So he remained and was settled in that parish, where he continued to exercise his ministry with great success, to the unspeakable satisfaction both of his own parish, and all the godly that heard and knew him, until that by the unhappy restoration of Charles II. prelacy was again restored.

Upon the 26th of May following, the day consecrated in commemoration of the said restoration, he had occasion to preach in his own church (it being his ordinary week-day’s preaching) when he saw an unusual throng of people come to hear him, thinking he had preached in compliance with that solemnity. Upon entering the pulpit, he said, "We are not come here to keep this day upon the account for which others keep it. We thought once to have blessed the day, wherein the king came home again, but now we think we shall have reason to curse it, and if any of you be come here in order to the solemnizing of this day we desire you to remove." And enlarging upon these words in the 9th of Hosea, Rejoice not, O Israel, &c. he said, This is the first step of our going a-whoring from God; and whoever of the Lord’s people this day are rejoicing, their joy will be like the crackling of thorns under a pot, it will soon be turned to mourning; he (meaning the king) will be the woefullest sight that ever the poor church of Scotland saw; woe, woe, woe unto him, his name shall stink while the world stands, for treachery, tyranny, and lechery.

This did extremely enrage the malignant party against him, so that being hotly pursued, he was obliged to abscond, remaining sometime in private houses, and sometime lying all night without, among broom near the city, yet never omitting any proper occasion of private preaching, catechizing, and visiting of families and other ministerial duties. But at length when the churches were all vacated of presbyterians by an act of council anno 1662, Middleton sent a band of soldiers to apprehend him, who, coming to the church, found him not, he having providentially just stepped out of the one door, a minute before they came in at the other; whereupon they took the keys of the church-door with them and departed. In the mean {421} while the council passed an act of confinement, banishing him unto the north side of the Tay, under penalty of being imprisoned and prosecuted as a seditious person: But this sentence he no way regarded.

During this time, partly by grief for the ruin of God’s work in the land, and partly by the toils and inconveniences of his labours and accommodation, his voice became so broken, that he could not be heard by many together, which was a sore exercise to him, and discouragement to preach in the fields; but one day, Mr. Blackater coming to preach near Glasgow, he essayed to preach with him, and standing on a chair (as his custom was) he lectured on Isa. 44.3, I will pour water on him that is thirsty, &c. The people were much discouraged (knowing his voice to be sore broken) lest they should not have heard by reason of the great confluence. But it pleased the Lord to loose his tongue, and restore his voice to such a distinct clearness, that none could easily exceed him; and not only his voice, but his spirit was so enlarged, and such a door of utterance given him, that Mr. Blackater, succeeding him, said to the people, "Ye, that have such preaching, have no need to invite strangers to preach to you; make good use of your mercy." After this he continued to preach without the city, a great multitude attending and profiting by his ministry, being wonderfully preserved in the midst of dangers, the enemy several times sending out to watch him, and catch something from his mouth whereof they might accuse him, &c.

In the month of October 1665, they made a public search for him in the city. But he, being informed, took horse, and rode out of town, and at a narrow pass of the way he met a good number of musketeers. As he passed them, turning to another way on the right hand, one of them asked him, Sir, What-o-clock is it? he answered, It is six. Another of them, knowing his voice said, There is the man we are seeking. Upon hearing this, he put spurs to his horse, and so escaped.

For about three years he usually resided in the house of one Margaret Craig, a very godly woman, where he lectured morning and evening to such as came to hear him. And though they searched strictly for him here, yet providence so ordered it, that he was either casually or purposely absent; for the Lord was often so gracious to him, that he left him not without some notice of approaching hazard. Thus, one Sabbath, as he was going to Woodside to preach, as he was about to mount the horse, having {422} one foot in the stirrup, he turned about to his man, and said, I must no go yonder today—And in a little, a party of the enemy came there in quest of him, but missing the mark they aimed at, they fell upon the people, by apprehending and imprisoning severals of them.

Another of his remarkable escapes was at a search made for him in the city, where they came to his chamber and found him not, being providentially in another house that night. But what is most remarkable, being one day preaching privately in the house of one Mr. Calender, they came and beset the house; the people put him and another into a window, closing the window up with books. The search was so strict, that they searched the very ceiling of the house, until one of them fell through the lower loft. Had they removed but one of the books, they would certainly have found him. But the Lord so ordered that they did it not; for as one of the soldiers was about to take up one of them, the maid cried to the commander, That he was going to take her master’s books, and he was ordered to let them be. Thus narrowly he escaped this danger.

Thus he continued until the 23d of November 1668, that the council, upon information of a breach or his confinement, cited him to appear before them on the 11th of January thereafter. But when he was apprehended and compeered before the council, and strictly examined (wherein he was most singularly strengthened to bear a faithful testimony to his Master’s honour and his persecuted cause and truths), yet by the interposition of some persons of quality, his own friends, and his wife’s relations, he was dismissed, and presently returned to Glasgow, and there performed all the ministerial duties, as when in his own church, notwithstanding the diligence of persecutors in searching for him again.

Some time before Bothwel, notwithstanding all the searches that were made for him by the enemy, which were both strict and frequent, he preached publicly for eighteen Sabbath-days to multitudes, consisting of several thousands, within a little more than a quarter of a mile of the city of Glasgow; yea, so near it, that the psalms when singing, were heard through several parts of it; and yet all this time uninterrupted.

At Bothwel being taken by the enemy, and struck down to the ground with a sword, seeing nothing but present death for him, having received several dangerous wounds in the head, one of the soldiers asked his name; he told him it was Donald Cargil; another asked him, if {423} he was a minister? He answered, he was: whereupon they let him go. When his wounds were examined, he feared to ask if they were mortal, desiring, in submission to God, to live, judging that the Lord had yet further work for him to accomplish.

Some time after the fight at Bothwel, he was pursued from his own chamber out of town, and forced to go through several thorn hedges. But he was no sooner out, than he saw a troop of dragoons just opposite to him, back he could not go, soldiers being posted everywhere to catch him; upon which he went forward, near by the troop, who looked to him, and he to them, until he got past. But coming to the place of the water, at which he intended to go over, he saw another troop standing on the other side, who called to him, but he made them no answer. And going about a mile up the water he escaped, and preached at Langside next Sabbath without interruption. At another time, being in a house beset with soldiers, he went through the midst of them, they thinking it was the goodman of the house, and escaped.

After Bothwel, he fell into a deep exercise anent his call to the ministry,1 but, by the grace and goodness of God, he soon emerged out of that, and also got much light anent the duty of the day, being a faithful contender against the enemy’s usurped power, and against the sinful compliance of ministers, in accepting the indulgence, with indemnities, oaths, bonds, and all other corruptions.

There was a certain woman in Rutherglen, about two miles from Glasgow, who, by the instigation of some, both ministers and professors, was persuaded to advise her husband to go but once to hear the curate, to prevent the family being reduced; which she prevailed with him to do. But she going the next day after to milk her cows, two or three of them dropt down dead at her feet, and Satan, as she conceived, appeared unto her; which cast her under sad and sore exercise and desertion: so that she was brought to question her interest in Christ, and all that had formerly passed betwixt God and her soul, and was often tempted to destroy herself, and sundry times attempted it. Being before known to be an eminent Christian, she was visited by many Christians; but without success: still crying out, she was undone; she had denied Christ, and he had denied {424} her. After a long time’s continuance of this exercise, she cried for Mr. Cargil; who came to her, but found her distemper so strong, that for several visits he was obliged to leave her as he found her, to his no small grief. However, after setting some days apart on her behalf, he at last came again to her; but finding her no better, still rejecting all comfort, still crying out, That she had no interest in the mercy of God, or merits of Christ, but had sinned the unpardonable sin; he, looking in her face for a considerable time, took out his Bible, and naming her, said, "I have this day a commission from my Lord and Master, to renew the marriage contract betwixt you and him; and if ye will not consent, I am to require your subscription on this Bible, that you are willing to quit all right, interest in, or pretence unto him:" and then he offered her pen and ink for that purpose. She was silent for some time; but at last cried out, "O! salvation is come unto this house. I take him; I take him on his own terms, as he is offered unto me by his faithful ambassador." From that time her bonds were loosed.

One time, Mr. Cargil, Mr. Walter Smith, and some other Christian friends being met in a friend’s house in Edinburgh, one of the company, having got notice, told him of the general bonding of the west country gentlemen for suppressing the field meetings, and for putting all out of their grounds who frequented them. After sitting silent for some time, he answered, with several heavy sighs and groans, The enemy have been long filling up their cup; and ministers and professors must have time to fill up theirs also; and it shall not be full till enemies and they be clasped in one another’s arms; and then, as the Lord lives, he will bring the wheel of his wrath and justice over them altogether.

Some time after the beginning of the year 1680, he retired toward the frith of Forth, where he continued until that scuffle at Queensferry, where worthy Haugh-head was killed, and he sorely wounded. But escaping, a certain woman found him in a private place, on the south side of town, and tying up his wounds with her head-clothes, conducted him to the house of one Robert Putens, in Carlowrie, where a surgeon dressed his wounds, and Mrs. Putens gave him some warm milk, and he lay in their barn all night. From thence he went to the south, and next Sabbath preached at Cairn-hill, somewhere adjacent to Loudon, in his blood and wounds (for no danger could stop him from going about doing good). His text was in {425} Heb. 11.32, And shall I more say, for time would fail me to tell of Gideon, &c. At night some persons said to him, We think, Sir, preaching and praying go best with you when your danger and distress are greatest. He said, It had been so, and he hoped it would be so, that the more that enemies and others did thrust at him that he might fall, the more sensibly the Lord had helped him; and then (as it had been to himself) he repeated these words, The Lord is my strength and song, and has become my salvation, in the 118th Psalm, which was the psalm he sung upon the scaffold.

After this, he and Mr. Richard Cameron met and preached together in Darmeid-muir, and other places, until that Mr. Cameron was slain at Airs-moss, and then he went north, where, in the month of September following, he had a most numerous meeting at the Torwood near Stirling, where he pronounced the sentence of excommunication against some of the most violent persecutors of that day, as formally as the present state of things could then permit. Some time before this, it is said, he was very remote and spoke very little in company; only to some he said, He had a tout to give with the trumpet that the Lord had put in his hand, that would sound in the ears of many in Britain, and other places in Europe also. It is said,2 that nobody knew what he was to do that morning, except Mr. Walter Smith, to whom he imparted the thoughts of his heart. When he began, some friends feared he would be shot. His landlord, in whose house he had been that night, cast his coat and ran for it. In the forenoon he lectured on Ezek. 21.25, &c. and preached on 1 Cor. 5.13, and then discoursed some time on the nature of excommunication, and then proceeded to the sentence; after which, in the afternoon, he preached from Lam. 3.31,32, For the Lord will not cast off for ever.

The next Lord’s day he preached at Fallow-hill in the parish of Livingston. In the preface he said, "I know I am and will be condemned by many, for excommunicating those wicked men; but condemn me who will, I know I am approven of by God, and am persuaded that what I have done on earth is ratified in heaven; for, if ever I knew the mind of God, and was clear in my call to any piece of my generation-work, it was that. And I shall give you two signs, that ye may know I am in no delusion: (1.) If some of these men do not find that sentence {426} binding upon them, ere they go off the stage, and be obliged to confess it, &c. (2.) If these men die the ordinary death of men, then God hath not spoken by me."3

About the 22d of October following, a long and severe proclamation was issued out against him and his followers, wherein a reward of 5000 merks was offered for apprehending him, &c.——Next month governor Middleton, having been frustrated in his design upon Mr. Cargil at Queensferry, laid another plot for him, by consulting one James Henderson in Ferry, who, by forging and signing letters, in name of bailie Adam in Culross, and some other serious Christians in Fife, for Mr. Cargil to come over, and preach to them at the hill of Baith. Accordingly Henderson went to Edinburgh with the letters, and after a most diligent search, found him in the west bow. Mr. Cargil being willing to answer the call, Henderson proposed to go before, and have a boat ready at the Ferry against they came; and, that he might know them, he desired to see Mr. Cargil’s cloath, (Mr. Skeen and Mr. Boig being in the same room). In the mean time he had Middleton’s soldiers lying at the Mutton-hole, about three miles from Edinburgh, &c. Mr. Skeen, Archibald Stuart, Mrs. Muir, and Marion Hervey took the way before on foot, Mr. Cargil and Mr. Boig being to follow on horseback. Whenever they came to the place, the soldiers spied them; but Mrs. Muir escaped, and went and stopped Mr. Cargil and Mr. Boig, who fled back to Edinburgh.

After this remarkable escape, Mr. Cargil, seeing nothing but the violent flames of treachery and tyranny against him above all others, retired for about three months to England, where the Lord blessed his labours, to the conviction and edification of many. In the time of his absence that delusion of the Gibbites arose, from one John Gib sailor in Borrowstoness, who, with other three men and twenty-six women, vented and maintained the most strange delusions. Some time after, Mr. Cargil returned from England, {427} and was at no small pains to reclaim them, but with little success. After his last conference with them4 (at Darngavel in Cambusnethan parish) he come next Sabbath, and preached at the Underbank wood, below Lanerk, and from thence to Louden-hill, where he preached upon a fast day, being the 5th of May. Here he intended only to have preached once, and to have baptized some children. His text was, No man that hath followed me in the regeneration, &c. When sermon was over, and the children baptized, more children came up; whereupon friends pressed him to preach in the afternoon; which he did from these words, Weep not for me, &c. In the mean while, the enemy at Glasgow, getting notice of this meeting, seized all the horses in and about the town, that they could come by, and mounted in quest of him; yea, such was their haste and fury, that one of the soldiers, who happened to be behind the rest, riding furiously down the street, called the Stockwell, at mid-day, rode over a child, and killed her on the spot. Just as Mr. Cargil was praying at the close, a lad alarmed them of the enemy’s approach. They (having no sentinels that day, which was not their ordinary) were surprized, that some of them, who had been at Pentland, Bothwel, Airs-moss, and other dangers, were never so seized with fear, some of the women throwing their children from them. In this confusion Mr. Cargil was running straight on the enemy, but Gavin Wotherspoon and others haled him to the moss, unto which the people fled. The dragoons fired hard upon them, but there were none either killed or taken that day.

About this time, some spoke to Mr. Cargil of his preaching and praying short. They said, "O Sir, it is long betwixt meals, and we are in a starving condition; all is good, sweet, and wholesome that you deliver; but why do you so straiten us?" He said, "Ever since I bowed a knee in good earnest to pray, I never durst preach and pray with my gifts; and when my heart is not affected, and comes not up with my mouth, I always thought it time to quit it. What comes not from the heart, I have little hope it will go to the hearts of others." Then he {428} repeated these words in the 51st Psalm, Then will I teach transgressors thy way, &c.

From Loudon hill he took a tour through Ayr-shire to Carrick and Galloway, preaching, baptizing, and marrying some people; but stayed not long until he returned to Clydesdale. He designed, after his return, to have preached one day at Tinto-hill, but the lady of St. John’s kirk gave it out to be at Home-common. He, being in the house of John Liddel near Tinto, went out to spend the Sabbath morning by himself, and seeing the people all passing by, he inquired the reason, which being told, he rose and followed them five miles. The morning being warm (about the first of June) and the heights steep, he was very much fatigued before he got to the place, where a man gave him a drink of water out of his bonnet, and another between sermons; this being the best entertainment he got that day, for he had tasted nothing that morning. Here he lectured on the 6th of Isaiah, and preached on these words, Be not high-minded, but fear, &c. From thence he went to Fife, and baptized many children, and preached one day at Daven-common, and then returned to the Benry-ridge in Cambusnethen, where he received a call from the hands of two men, to come back to Galloway, but got it not answered.5

Mr. Cargil, in that short time, had run very fast towards his end,6 which now hastens apace. Having left the Benry-ridge, he preached one day at Auchingilloch,7 and then came to preach his last sermon on Dunsyre-comon, betwixt Clydesdale and Lothian) upon that text, Isa. 24.20, Come, my people, and enter into your chambers, &c. {429}

Some time that night, through the persuasion of Mr. Smith and Mr. Boig, he went with the lady of St. John’s kirk, as far as Covington Mill, to the house of one Andrew Fisher. In the mean time, James Irvin of Bonshaw, having got a general commission, marched with a party of dragoons from Kilbride, and next morning, by sun-rising, came to St. John’s kirk, and having searched it, he searched also the house of one Thomson, and then came to Covington mill, and there apprehended him, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Boig. Bonshaw, when he found them, cried out, O blessed Bonshaw! and blessed day that ever I was born! that has found such a prize! a prize of 5000 merks for apprehending of him this morning! They marched hard to Lanerk, and put them in jail, until they got some refreshment, and then brought them out in haste, got horses and set the prisoners on their bare backs. Bonshaw tied Mr. Cargil’s feet below the horse’s belly (with his own hand) very hard, at which this good man looked down to him, and said, "Why do you tie me so hard? your wickedness is great. You will not long escape the just judgment of God, and, if I be not mistaken, it will seize you in this place." Which accordingly next year came to pass; for having got this price of blood, one of his comrades, in a rage, ran him through with a sword at Lanerk; and his last words were, "G—d d——n my soul eternally, for I am gone." Mischief shall hunt the violent man.

They came to Glasgow in haste, fearing a rescue of the prisoners, while waiting at the tollbooth till the magistrates came to receive them, one John Nisbet, the archbishop’s factor, said to Mr. Cargil in ridicule, three times over, Will you give us one word more, (alluding to an expression he used sometimes when preaching) to whom Mr. Cargil said with regret, "Mock not, lest your hands be made strong. The day is coming, when you shall not have one word to say though you would." This also came quickly to pass, for, not many days after, he fell suddenly ill, and for three days his tongue swelled, and though he was most earnest to speak, yet he could not command one word, and died in great torment and seeming terror.

From Glasgow they were taken to Edinburgh; and July 15th, were brought before the council. Chancellor Rothes (being one of those whom he excommunicated at Torwood) raged against him, threatening him with torture and a violent death. To whom he said, "My lord Rothes forbear to threaten me, for die what death I will, your eyes shall not see it."—Which accordingly came to pass, {430} for he died the morning of that day, in the afternoon of which Mr. Cargil was executed.8

When before the council, he was asked, If he owned the king’s authority, &c.? He answered, As the magistrate’s authority is now established by the act of parliament and explanatory act, that he denied the same. Being also examined anent the excommunication at Torwood, he declined to answer, as being an ecclesiastical matter, and they a civil judicatory. He owned the lawfulness of defensive arms in cases of necessity, and denied that those who rose at Bothwel, &c. were rebels; and being interrogate anent the Sanquhar declaration, he declined to give his judgment until he had more time to peruse the contents thereof. He further declared, he could not give his sense of the killing of the bishop; but that the scriptures say, Upon the Lord’s giving a call to a private man to kill, he might do it lawfully; and gave the instances of Jael and Phinehas. These were the most material points on which he was examined.9

While he was in prison a gentlewoman (who came to visit him) told him weeping, "That these heaven-daring enemies were contriving a most violent death for him; some, a barrel with many pikes to roll him in; others, an iron chair red-hot to roast him in, &c." But he said, "Let you, nor none of the Lord’s people be troubled for these things, for all that they will get liberty to do to me will be to knit me up, cut me down, and chop off my old head, and then fare them well; they have done with me and I with them for ever."

He was again before the council on the 19th, but refused to answer their questions, except anent the excommunication, wherein he exprest himself much as above. It appears that there was some motion made to spare him, as he was an old man, and send him prisoner to the Bass during life; which motion, being put to a vote, was, by the casting vote of the earl of Argyle, rejected, who doomed him to the gallows, there to die like a traitor.

Upon the 26th, he was brought before the justiciary, and indicted in common form. His confession being produced in evidence against him, he was brought in guilty of high treason, and condemned, with the rest, to be hanged at the cross of Edinburgh, and his head placed on the Nether-bow. When they came to these words in his indictment, viz. having cast off all fear of God, &c. he caused the {431} clerk to stop, and (pointing to the advocate Sir George MacKenzie) said, "The man that hath caused that paper to be drawn up, hath done it contrary to the light of his own conscience, for he knoweth that I have been a fearer of God from mine infancy; but that man, I say, who took the holy Bible in his hand, and said, It would never be well with the land, until that book was destroyed, &c. I say, he is the man that hath cast off all fear of God." The advocate stormed at this, but could not deny the truth thereof.

When they got their sentence announced by sound of trumpet, he said, That is a weary sound, but the sound of the last trumpet will be a joyful sound to me, and all that will be found having on Christ’s righteousness."

Being come to the scaffold, he stood with his back to the ladder, and desired the attention of the numerous spectators, and after singing from the 16th verse of he 118th psalm, he began to speak to three sorts of people, but being interrupted by the drums, he said, with a smiling countenance, Ye see we have not liberty to speak, or speak what we would, but God knoweth our hearts. As he proceeded, he was again interrupted. Then after a little pause or silence he began to exhort the people; and to shew his own comfort in laying down his life, in the assurance of a blessed eternity, expressing himself in these words, "Now, I am as sure of my interest in Christ and peace with God, as all within this Bible and the Spirit of God can make me; and I am fully persuaded that this is the very way for which I suffer, and that he will return gloriously to Scotland; but it will be terrifying to many. Therefore I entreat you, be not discouraged at the way of Christ, and the cause for which I am to lay down my life, and step to eternity, where my soul shall be as full of him as it can desire to be; and now this is the sweetest and most glorious day that ever mine eyes did see. Enemies are now enraged against the way and people of God, but ere long they shall be enraged one against another, to their own confusion;" here the drums did beat a third time. Then setting his foot on the ladder, he said, "The Lord knows I go on this ladder with less fear and perturbation of mind, than ever I entered the pulpit to preach."—When up, he sat down and said, "Now I am near the getting of the crown, which shall be sure, for which I bless the Lord, and desire all of you to bless him, that he hath brought me here, and made me triumph over devils, men, and sin: They shall wound me no more. I {432} forgive all men the wrongs they have done me; and I pray the sufferers may be kept from sin, and helped to know their duty." Then having prayed a little within himself, he lifted up the napkin and said, "Farewell all relations and friends in Christ; farewell acquaintances and earthly enjoyments; farewell reading and preaching, praying and believing, wanderings, reproach and sufferings. Welcome Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; into thy hands I commit my spirit." Then he prayed a little, and the executioner turned him over as he was praying; and so he finished his course, and the ministry that he had received of the Lord.

Take his character from Sir Robert Hamilton of Preston, who was his cotemporary.—He was affectionate, affable, and tender-hearted to all such as he thought had anything of the image of God in them; sober and temperate in his diet, saying commonly, It was well won that was won off the flesh; generous, liberal and most charitable to the poor; a great hater of covetousness; a frequent visitor of the sick; much alone; loving to be retired; but when about his Master’s public work, laying hold of every opportunity to edify; in conversation still dropping what might minister grace to the hearers; his countenance was edifying to beholders; often sighing with deep groans; preaching in season, and out of season, upon all hazards; ever the same in judgment and practice. From his youth he was much given to the duty of secret prayer, for whole nights together; wherein it was observed that, both in secret and in families, he always sat straight up upon his knees with his hands lifted up, and in this posture (as some took notice) he died with the rope about his neck.

Beside his last speech and testimony, and several other religious letters, with the lecture, sermon, and sentence of excommunication at Torwood, which are all published, there are also several other sermons, and notes of sermons interspersed, among some peoples hands in print and manuscript, some of which were lately published. Yet if we may believe one10 who heard severals of them preached, they are nothing to what they were when delivered; and however pathetical, yet doubtless far inferior to what they would have been, had they been corrected and published by the worthy author himself. {433}

Follows an ACROSTICK on his Name.




ost sweet and savoury is thy fame,
nd more renowned is thy name,
urely than any can record,
hou highly favoured of the Lord.
xalted thou on earth didst live;
ich grace to thee the Lord did give.

uring the time thou dwelt below,
n in a course to heaven didst go.
ot casten down with doubts and fears,
ssured of heaven near thirty years.
abour thou didst in Christ’s vineyard;
iligent wast, no time thou spar’d.

hrist’s standard thou didst bear alone,
fter others from it were gone.
ight zeal for truth was found in thee,
reat sinners censur’dst faithfully.
n holding truth didst constant prove,
aidst down thy life out of true love.

June 21st, 1741.


1. It appears that it was about this time, that he resolved to go over to Holland, but we have no certain account where or what time he stayed there; but from the sequel of the following account it could not be long.

2. See Walker’s remarkable passages of the life of Mr. Cargil, &c. page 8.

3. The first of these was clearly verified in the case of lord Rothes, and the second was verified in the remembrance of many yet alive. (1.) Every person knoweth that Charles II. was poisoned. (2.) His brother the duke of York died at St. Germains in France. (3.) The duke of Monmouth was executed at London. (4.) The duke of Lauderdale turned a belly god, and died on the chamber-box. (5.) The duke of Rothes died raving under the dreadful terror of that sentence, &c. (6.) Bloody Sir George MacKenzie died at London, and all the passages of his body running blood. (7.) General Dalziel died with a glass of wine at his mouth in perfect health. See Walker’s remarks, page 10.

4. About this time the Gibbites were all taken and imprisoned in the tolbooth and correction house of Edinburgh, but, by the duke of York and his faction, were soon liberated; after which the four men and two women went west to the Frost moss, betwixt Airth and Stirling, where they burnt the Holy Bible, every one of them using expressions at that horrid action which are fearful to utter.

5. To these two men he said, If I be not under a delusion, (for that was his ordinary way of speaking of things to come) the French and other foreigners with some unhappy men in this land, will be your stroke: it will come at such a nick of time when one of these nations will not be in a capacity to help another. For me, I am to die shortly by the hand of those murderers, and shall not see it, I know not how the Lord’s people will endure it that have to meet with it; but the foresight and forethought of it make me tremble. And then, as if it had been to himself, he said, Short but very sharp.

6. Sometimes he ran on foot, having lost several horses in his remarkable escapes, one of which was shot under him at Linlithgow-bridge.

7. The week before he was taken, he married two persons; and being in the Leewood, John Weir and his wife brought him his dinner. Being pressed to eat, he said, Let me alone, I cannot be pressed: for I took not that meal of meat these 30 years but I could have taken as much when I rose up as when I sat down. Vide Walk. Relation, page 45.

8. The following details respecting this event are of great interest: "When Rothes found himself dying, he sent for some of his Lady's ministers, for the Dutchess of Rothes was a presbyterian. Accordingly he had the assistance of John Carstairs and George Johnstone, both presbyterian ministers. They spoke with plainness and firmness to the dying Duke. They described with freedom the wickedness he had done. Rothes said to Carstairs, 'we all thought little of what that man Cargill did in excommunicating us, but I find that sentence binding upon me now, and it will bind me to eternity.' Johnstone was asked to pray. While he prayed several noblemen and prelates were listening in a neighbouring apartment. A nobleman said to one of the Bishops, 'That must be a presbyterian minister who is praying. Deil ane o' you can' pray as they do.—No though it were to keep a soul from hell.' Some of the noblemen were much affected. The Duke of Hamilton said—"We banish these men from us, yet when we come to die we call for them—This is melancholy work!" See Lights and Shadows of Scottish character, p. 208-209.

9. See his examination and answers at large in Wodrow’s history, Vol. 2. page 184.

10. Vid Walker in his remarkable passages, &c.