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


taken from

Biographia Scoticana


John Howie

TrueCovenanter.com Editor's Introduction.

There is much which might be said about this remarkable man; but it shall be left chiefly to his life recorded below and to his famous sermons to speak his honour and the excellence of the cause for which he contended until his dying day. Only, because he can never be divorced from the character of a prophet, (for little then would be left of the man,) which to some might be stumbling, the following is cited to assure the reader that in this there is nothing contrary to the Covenanted Reformation of Scotland:

Some of thir [these] Ecclesiasticall functions are ordinarie, and some extraordinary or temporarie. There be three extraordinary functions; The office of the Apostle, the Evangelist, and of the Prophet, which are not perpetuall, and now have ceased in the kirk of God, except when it pleased God extraordinarily for a time to stirre some of them up againe.

——Kirk of Scotland. Book of Policy. Chapter 2.


MR. ALEXANDER PEDEN was born in the parish of Sorn in the shire of Air.  After he had past his courses of learning at the university, he was, for some time, employed to be school-master, precentor, and session clerk to Mr. John Guthrie, minister of the gospel then at Tarbolton*.[1]  When he was about to enter into the ministry, he was accused by a young woman, as being the father of a child, which she was with.  But of this aspersion he was fully cleared, by the confession of the real father. The woman, after suffering many calamities, put an end to her own life, in the very same place where Mr. Peden had spent 24 hours seeking the divine direction, while he was embarrassed with that affair.

A little before the restoration, he was settled minister at New Glenluce in Galloway, where he continued for about {486} the space of three years, until he was among others thrust out by the violence and tyranny of these times.  When he was about to depart from that parish, he lectured upon Acts 20, from the seventh verse to the end, and preached in the forenoon from these words in the 31st verse, Therefore watch, and remember, that for the space of three years I ceased not to warn every man, &c. asserting that he had declared unto them the whole counsel of God, and had kept back nothing, professing he was free from the blood of all souls. In the afternoon, he preached from the 32d verse, And now, brethren, I commend you to the word of his grace, &c. which occasioned a weeping day in that church. He many times requested them to be silent, but they sorrowed most of all when he told them, they should never see his face in that pulpit again. He continued till night, and when he closed the pulpit door, he knocked three times very hard on it, with his Bible, saying three times over, I arrest thee, in my Master's name, that none ever enter thee, but such as come in by the door, as I have done.  Accordingly, never did curate or indulged enter that pulpit, until the revolution, that one of the presbyterian persuasion opened it.

About the beginning of the year 1666, a proclamation was emitted by the council against him (and several of the ejected ministers); wherein he was charged with holding conventicles, preaching and baptizing children at the Ralstoun in Kilmarnock parish in October last, and another in Castlehill in Craigy parish, where he baptized 25 children.  But upon his non-appearance at this citation, he was next year declared a rebel, and forfeited in both life and fortune*.[2]

After this, he joined with that faithful party, which in the same year, was broke at Pentland hills; and with them he came the length of Clyde, where he had a melancholy view of their end, and parted with them there.  Afterward, when one of his friends said to him, Sir, You did well that left them, seeing you was persuaded that they would fall and flee before the enemy; he was offended, and said, Glory, glory to God, that he sent me not to hell immediately, For I should have stayed with them, though I should have been all cut in pieces.

In the same year he met with a very remarkable deliverance.  For he, Mr. Welch, and the laird of Gler-over, riding together, they met a party of the enemy's horse whom there was no eviting.  The laird fainted, fearing {487} they should be taken. Mr. Peden, seeing this, said, Keep up your courage and confidence, for God hath laid an arrest on these men, that they shall do us no harm. When they met, they were courteous, and asked the way. Mr. Peden went off the way, and shewed them the ford of the water of Titt. When he returned, the laird said, Why did you go? you might have let the lad go with them. No, said he, they might have asked questions of the lad, which might have discovered us; but as for me, I knew they would be like Egyptian dogs; they could not move a tongue against me, my time not being yet come, &c.

He passed his time sometimes in Scotland and sometimes in Ireland†,[3] until June 1673. that he was by Major Cockburn taken in the house of Hugh Ferguson of Knockdew in Carrick, who constrained him to stay all night. Mr. Peden told them it would be a dear night's quarters to them both, accordingly they were both carried prisoners to Edinburgh.  There the said Hugh was fined in 1000 merks for reset, harbour, and converse with him.  Some time after his examination he was sent prisoner to the bass one sabbath morning.  Being about the public worship of God, a young girl, about the age of fourteen years, came to the chamber door mocking with loud laughter.  He said, Poor thing, thou laughest and mockest at the worship of God, but ere long God shall write such a sudden and surprising judgment on thee, that shall stay thy laughing, &c.  Very shortly after that, as she was walking on the rock, a blast of wind swept her off to the sea, where she was lost.

Another day as he was walking on the rock, some soldiers were passing by, and one of them cried, the devil take him.  He said, Fy, fy! poor man, thou knowest not what thou art saying; but thou shalt repent that.  At which he stood astonished, and went to the guard distracted, crying out for Mr. Peden, saying, The devil would immediately come and take him away.  Mr. Peden came, and spoke to and prayed for him, and next morning came to him again and found him in his right mind, under deep convictions of great guilt.  The guard being to change, they commanded him to his arms, but he refused; and said, He would lift no arms against Jesus Christ, his cause and people; I have done that too long.  The governor threatened him with death to-morrow by ten o-clock.  He confidently {488} said, three times over, That though he should tear him in pieces, he should never lift arms that way.  About three days after, the governor put him forth of the garrison, setting him ashore.  And he, having a wife and children, took a house in East Lothian, where he became a singular christian.

He [Mr. Peden] was brought from the Bass to Edinburgh, and sentence of banishment passed upon him in Dec. 1678, with other 60 prisoners for the same cause, to go to America, never to be seen again in Scotland, under pain of death. After this sentence was past, he often said, That that ship was not yet built that should take him or these prisoners to Virginia, or any other of the English plantations in America.  When they were on shipboard in the road of Leith, there was a report that the enemies were to send down thumbkins to keep them in order; on which they were much discouraged. He went above deck and said, Why are ye so discouraged; you need not fear, there will neither thumbkins nor bootkins come here; lift up your hearts, for the day of your redemption draweth near: If we were once at London, we will all be set at liberty, &c.  In their voyage thither, they had the opportunity of commanding the ship and escaping, but would not adventure upon it without his advice. He said, Let all alone, for the Lord will set all at liberty in a way more conducive to his own glory and our own safety.  Accordingly when they arrived, the skipper who received them at Leith, being to carry them no farther, delivered them to another to carry them to Virginia, to whom they were represented as thieves and robbers.  But when he came to see them, and found they were all grave sober Christians, banished for presbyterian principles, he said, He would sail the seas with none such.  In this confusion, that the one skipper would not receive them, and the other would keep them no longer for being expensive to him, they were set at liberty.  Some, says the skipper, got compliments from friends in London.  Others assure us, That they got off through means of the Lord Shaftesbury, who was always friendly to the presbyterians.  However it is certain that they were all liberated at Gravesend, without any bond or imposition whatever.  And in their homeward the English shewed them no small degrees of kindness.

After they were set at liberty, Mr. Peden stayed in London and other places of England until June 1679, that he came to Scotland, and that dismal day, the 22d of that month, when the Lord's people fell and fled before their {489} enemies at Bothwel-bridge, he was 40 miles distant (being near the border), where he kept himself retired until the middle of the day, that some friends said to him, Sir, the people are waiting for sermon, (it being the Lord's day). To whom he said, Let the people go to their prayers; for me, I neither can nor will preach any this day; for our friends are fallen and fled before the enemy at Hamilton, and they are hashing and hagging them down, and their blood is running down like water.

Shortly after this stroke at Bothwel-bridge, he went to Ireland, but did not stay long at that time. For in the year 1680, being near Mauchlin in the shire of Ayr, one Robert Brown, in Corsehouse in Loudon parish, and one Hugh Pinaneve, factor to the earl of Loudon, stabling their horses in that house where he was, went to a fair in Mauchlin, and in the afternoon, when they came to take their horses, they got some drink; in the taking of which the said Hugh broke out into railing against our sufferers, particularly against Mr. Cameron, who was lately, before that, slain at Air's-moss.  Mr. Peden, being in another room overhearing all, was so grieved that he came to the chamber door and said to him, Sir, hold your peace; ere twelve o’clock you shall know what for a man Mr. Cameron was: God shall punish that blasphemous mouth of yours in such a manner, that you shall be set up for a beacon to all such railing Rabshakehs. [Isa. 36.]  Robert Brown, knowing Mr. Peden, hastened to his horse, being persuaded that his word would not fall to the ground; and fearing also that some mischief might befall him in the said Hugh's company, he hastened home to his own house, and the said Hugh to the earl's; and casting off his boots, he was struck with a sudden sickness and pain through his body, with his mouth wide open, and his tongue hanging out in a fearful manner.  They sent for the said Robert to take some blood from him, but all in vain; for he died before midnight.

After this, in the year 1682, he married that singular christian John Brown, at his own house at Priesthall (in the parish of Moorkirk in Kyle) upon one Isabel Weir.  After marriage, he said to the bride Isabel, You have got a good man to be your husband, but you will not enjoy him long; prize his company, and keep linen by you to be his winding-sheet, for ye will need it when ye are not looking for it, and it will be a bloody one.  Which sadly came to pass in the beginning of May 1683. {490}

In the same year 1682, he went to Ireland again, and coming to the house of William Steel in Glenwhary in the county of Antrim, he enquired at Mrs. Steel, if she wanted a servant for threshing of victuals. She said, They did, and asked what his wages were a-day and a-week. He said, The common rate was a common rule. To which she assented.  At night he was put to bed in the barn with the servant lad, and that night he spent in prayer and groaning. To-morrow he threshed with the lad, and the next night he spent in the same way.  The second day the lad said to his mistress, This man sleeps none, but groans and prays all night; I can get no sleep with him; he threshes very well and not sparing himself, though I think he hath not been used to it, &c.; and when I put the barn in order, he goes to such a place and prays for the afflicted church of Scotland, and names so many people in the furnace, &c.  He wrought the second day; his mistress watched and overheard him praying, as the lad had said.  At night she desired her husband to enquire if he was a minister: which he did, and desired him to be free with him, and he should not only be no enemy to him but a friend.  Mr. Peden said, he was not ashamed of his office, and gave an account of his circumstances. But he was no more set to work, or to lie with the lad. He stayed some considerable time in that place, and was a blessed instrument in the conversion of some, and the civilizing of others, &c.  There was a servant lass in that house, whom he could not look upon but with frowns; and at last he said to the said William Steel and his wife, Put her away, for she will be a stain to your family; she is with child, and will murder it, and will be punished for the same.  Which accordingly came to pass; for which she was burnt at Craigfergus; the usual punishment of malefactors in that country.

In the year 1684, being in the house of John Slowan in the parish of Conert, in the same county of Antrim, about 10 o’clock at night sitting by the fireside, discoursing with some honest people, he started to his feet, and said, Flee off, Sandy, and hide yourself, for col. —— is coming to this house to apprehend you, and I advise you all to do the like, for they will be here within an hour.  Which came to pass.  When they had made a most inquisitive search without and within the house, and went round the thorn bush where he was lying praying, they went off without their prey.  He came in and said, And has this gentleman given poor Sandy such a fright, and other poor things; for this night’s work, God shall give him such a blow within {491} a few days, that all the physicians on earth shall not be able to cure.  Which likewise came to pass; for he soon died in great misery, vermin issuing from all the pores of his body, with such a nauseous smell that none could enter the room where he lay.

At another time, when he was in the same parish, one David Cuningham, minister in the meeting-house there, one Sabbath-day broke out into very bitter reflections upon Mr. Peden.  One Mr. Vernon, one of Mr. Cuningham's elders, being much offended thereat, told Mr. Peden on monday what he had said.  Mr. Peden, taking a turn in his garden, came back and charged him to go tell Mr. Cuningham from him, That before saturday's night he should be as free of a meeting-house as he was.  Which accordingly came to pass, for he got a charge that same week not to enter his meeting-house under pain of death.

One time traveling alone in Ireland, being a dark mist, and night approaching, he was obliged to go to a house belonging to a quaker, where he begged the favour of his roof all night. The quaker said, Thou art a stranger, thou art very welcome, and shalt be kindly entertained, but I cannot wait upon thee, for I am going to the meeting. Mr. Peden said, I will go along.  The quaker said, Thou mayest if thou pleasest, but thou must not trouble us. He said, I shall be civil.  When they came to the meeting (as their custom was) they sat for some time silent, some with their faces to the wall, and some covered; and, there being a void in the loft above, there came down the appearance of a raven, and sat on one man's head, who rose up and spoke with such vehemence, that the foam flew from his mouth.  It went to a second, and he did so likewise. Mr. Peden, sitting next the landlord, said, Do you not see? You will not deny yon afterward.  He answered, Thou promised to be silent.  From a second it went to a third man's head, who did as the former two.  When they dismissed, on the way home, Mr. Peden said to his landlord, I always thought there was devilry amongst you, but I never thought that he had appeared visibly till now I have seen it. O! for the Lord's sake, quit this way, and flee to the Lord Jesus, in whom there is redemption thro’ his blood, even the forgiveness of all your iniquities.  The poor man fell a-weeping and said, I perceive that God hath sent you to my house, and put it in your heart to go along with me, and permitted the devil to appear visibly among us this night. I never saw the like before; let me have the help of your prayers, for I resolve, through the Lord's grace, to follow {492} this way no longer.  After this he became a singular Christian; and when dying, blessed the Lord that in mercy he sent the man of God to his house.

Before he left Ireland, he preached in several places, particularly one time near the fore-mentioned Mr. Vernon's house in 1685, where he had made a most clear discovery of the many hardships his fellow-sufferers were then undergoing in Scotland; and of the death of king Charles, the news of which came not to Ireland till twenty-four hours thereafter.

After this he longed to be out of Ireland; what through the fearful apprehension of that dismal rebellion that broke out there about four years after, and what from a desire he had to take part with the sufferings of Scotland.  And before his departure from thence, he baptized a child to one John Maxwel a Glasgow-man (who had fled over from the persecution) which was all the drink-money (as he expressed it) that he had to leave in Ireland.

After he and twenty Scots sufferers came aboard, he went above deck, and prayed, (there not being then the least wind) where he made a rehearsal of times and places when and where the Lord had heard and helped them in the day of their distress, and now they were in a great strait. Waving his hand to the west (from whence he desired the wind) he said, Lord, give us a loof-full of wind; fill the sails, Lord, and give us a fresh gale, and let us have a swift and safe passage over to the bloody land, come of us what will.  When he began to pray, the sails were hanging all straight down, but ere he ended they were all blown full, and they got a very swift and safe passage over.  In the morning, after they landed, he lectured ere they parted on a brae side; in which he had some awful threatening against Scotland, saying, The time was coming, that they might travel many miles in Galloway, Nithsdale, Ayr, and Clydesdale, and not see a reeking house or hear a cock crow; and further added, My soul trembles to think what will become of the indulged, backslidden and upsitten ministers of Scotland; as the Lord lives, none of them shall ever be honoured to put a right pin in the Lord's tabernacle, nor assert Christ's kingly prerogatives as Head and King of his church.

After his arrival in Scotland, in the beginning of the year 1685, he met with several remarkable deliverances from the enemy.  One time fleeing from them on horseback, he was obliged to ride a water where he was in eminent danger. After he got out, he cried, Lads, do not {493} follow me, for I assure you, ye want my boat, and so will drown; and consider where your landing will be, &c.—which affrighted them from entering the water.  At another time, being also hard pursued, he was forced to take a bog [marsh, swamp] and a moss before him. One of the dragoons, being more forward than the rest, run himself into that dangerous bog, where he and the horse were never seen more.

About this time he preached one Sabbath night in a sheep-house (the hazard of the time affording no better). That night he lectured upon Amos 7.8, And I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people the house of Israel, &c. In this lecture he said, I'll tell you good news—Our Lord will take a feather out of Antichrist's wing, which shall bring down the duke of York, and banish him out of these kingdoms——And there shall never a man of the house of Stuart sit upon the throne of Britain after the duke of York, whose reign is now short; for their lechery, treachery, tyranny, and shedding the precious blood of the Lord's people.—But oh! black, black! will the days be that will come upon Ireland! that they shall travel forty miles, and not see a reeking house or hear a cock crow, &c. When ended, he and those with him lay down in the sheep-house, and got some sleep; and early next morning went up a burn-side and stayed long.  When he came back, he sung the 32d psalm from the 7th verse to the end; and then repeated that verse,

Thou art my hiding-place, thou shalt

from trouble keep me free;

Thou with songs of deliverance

about shalt compass me.

Saying, these and the following are sweet lines which I got at the burnside this morning, and will get more to-morrow; and so will get daily provision.——He was never behind with any who put their trust in him, and we will go on in his strength, making mention of his righteousness, and of his only.

He met with another remarkable deliverance, for the enemy coming upon him, and some others, they were pursued by both horse and foot a considerable way.  At last, getting some little height between them and the enemy, he stood still and said, Let us pray here; for if the Lord hear not our prayers and save us, we are all dead men, &c.  Then he began, saying, Lord, it is thy enemy's day, hour and power, they may not be idle: But hast thou no other work for them, but to send them after us? send them after them to whom thou wilt give strength to flee, or our strength is gone.  Twine them about the hill, Lord, {494} and cast the lap of thy cloak over old Sandy and thir [these] poor things, and save us this one time; and we'll keep it in remembrance, and tell it to the commendation of thy goodness, pity, and compassion, what thou didst for us at such a time.  And in this he was heard; for a cloud of mist intervened immediately betwixt them; and in the mean time a post came to the enemy to go in quest of Mr. Renwick and a great company with him.

At this time it was seldom that Mr. Peden could be prevailed on to preach; frequently answering and advising people to pray much, saying, It was praying folk that would get through the storm; they would yet get preaching, both meikle [much] and good, but not much good of it, until judgment was poured out to lay the land desolate, &c.

In the same year 1685, being in Carrick, John Clark of Muirbrook, being with him, said, Sir, what think ye of this time? Is it not a dark and melancholy day? Can there be a more discouraging time than this? He said, Yes, John, this is a dark discouraging time, but there will be a darker time than this; these silly graceless creatures the curates shall go down, and after them shall arise a party called presbyterians, but having little more but the name, and these shall, as really as Christ was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem on mount Calvary bodily, I say, they shall as really crucify Christ in his cause and interest in Scotland, and shall lay him in his grave, and his friends shall give him his winding-sheet, and he shall lie as one buried for a considerable time; O then, John, there shall be darkness and dark days, such as the poor church of Scotland never saw the like, nor ever shall see if once they were over: yea, John, this shall be so dark that if a poor thing would go between the east sea-bank and the west sea-bank, seeking a minister to whom they would communicate their case, or tell them the mind of the Lord concerning the time, he shall not find one.[4]  John asked, Where the testimony should be then? He answered, In the hands of a few, who should be despised and undervalued of all*,[5] but especially by these ministers who buried Christ; but after that he shall get up upon them, and at the crack of his winding-sheet {495} as many of them as are alive, who were at his burial, shall be distracted and mad with fear, not knowing what to do; then, John, there shall be brave days such as the church of Scotland never saw the like, but I shall not see them, but you may.

About this time as he was preaching in the day-time, in the parish of Girvin, and being in the fields, one David Mason, then a professor, came in haste trampling upon the people, to be near him.  At which he said, There comes the devil's rattle-bag; we do not want him here.  After this, the said David became officer and informer in that bounds, running through rattling and summoning the people to their unhappy courts for non-conformity, at which he and his got the name of the devil's rattle-bag,——Since the revolution, he complained to his minister, that he and his family got that name.——The minister said, Ye weel deserved it, and he was an honest man that gave you it; you and yours must enjoy it; there is no help for that.

It is very remarkable, that being sick, and the landlord where he stayed, being afraid to keep him in his house (the enemy being then in search of hiding people), made him a bed among the standing corn; at which time a great rain fell out, insomuch that the waters were raised, and yet not one drop to be observed within ten feet of his bed, while he lay in that field.

Much about the same time he came to Garfield, in the parish of Mauchlin, to the house of one Matthew Hog (a smith to trade). He went to his barn, but thought himself not safe there, foot and horse of the enemy searching for wanderers (as they were then called). He desired the favour of his loft, being an old waste house two story high. This he refused. He then said, Weel, weel, poor man, you will not let me have the shelter of your roof, but that same house will be your judgment and ruin yet.  Some time after this, the gable of that house fell and killed both him and his son.

His last sermon was preached in the Collimwood at the water of Air, a short time before his death.  In the preface before his sermon, he said, There are four or five things I have to tell you this night; and the  1ſt is, A bloody sword, a bloody sword, a bloody sword for thee, O Scotland, that shall pierce the hearts of many.  2dly, Many miles shall ye travel and see nothing but desolation and ruinous wastes in thee, O Scotland.  3dly, The fertilest places in Scotland shall be as waste as the mountains.  4thly, {496} The women with child shall be ript up and dashed in pieces.  And 5thly, Many a conventicle has God had in thee, O Scotland, but ere long God will make a conventicle that will make Scotland tremble. Many a preaching hath God bestowed on thee, but ere long God's judgment shall be as frequent as these precious meetings were, wherein he sent forth his faithful servants to give faithful warning of the hazard of thy apostasy from God, in breaking, burning, and burying his covenant, persecuting, slighting, and contemning the gospel, shedding the precious blood of his saints and servants. God sent forth a Welwood, a Kid, a King, a Cameron, a Cargil and others to preach to thee, but ere long God shall preach to thee by fire and a bloody sword. God will let none of these men's words fall to the ground, that he sent forth with a commission to preach these things in his name, &c.  In the sermon he further said, That a few years after his death there would be a wonderful alteration of affairs in Britain and Ireland, and Scotland's persecution should cease; upon which every one would believe the deliverance was come, and consequently would fall fatally secure; but you will be all very far mistaken, for both England and Scotland will be scourged by foreigners, and a set of unhappy men in these lands taking part with them, before any of you can pretend to be happy, or get a thorough deliverance, which will be more severe chastisement than any other they have met with, or can come under, if once that were over.

After much wandering from place to place, through Kyle, Carrick, and Galloway (his death drawing near), he came to his brother's house, in the parish of the Sorn, where he was born, where he caused dig a cave, with a willow bush covering the mouth thereof, near to his brother's house. The enemy got notice, and searched the house narrowly several times, but him they found not.  While in this cave, he said to some friends*,[6]  1ſt, That God would make Scotland a desolation.  2dly, There would be a remnant in the land, whom God would spare and hide.  3dly, They would be in holes and caves of the earth, and be supplied with meat and drink; and when they came out of their holes, they would not have freedom to walk for stumbling on dead corpses.  And 4thly, A stone cut out of the mountain would come down, and God would be avenged on the great ones of the earth, and the inhabitants of the land for {497} their wickedness; and then the church would come forth with a bonny bairn-time at her back of young ones; and he wished that the Lord's people might be hid in their caves as if they were not in the world, for nothing would do until God appeared with his judgments, &c.; and withal gave them this sign, That if he be but once buried, they might be in doubt, but if oftener than once, they might be persuaded that all he had said would come to pass, and earnestly desired them to take his corpse out to Airs-moss, and bury him beside Richie (meaning Mr. Richard Cameron) that he might have rest in his grave, for he had got little during his life. But he said, bury him where they would, he would be lifted again; but the man that would first put hands to his corpse, four things would befall him,  1ſt, He would get a great fall from a house.  2dly, He would fall in adultery.  3dly In theft, and for that he should leave the land.  4thly, Make a melancholy end abroad for murder.  All which came to pass.  This man was one Murdoch, a mason to trade, but then in the military service, being the very first man who put hands to his corpse.

Mr. Peden had for some time been too credulous in believing the obliquous misrepresentations of some false brethren concerning Mr. James Renwick, whereby he was much alienated from him; which exceedingly grieved Mr. Renwick, stumbled some of his followers, and confirmed some of his adversaries, who boasted that now Mr. Peden was turned his enemy†.[7]  But now, when dying, he sent for him, who came to him in all haste, and found him lying in very low circumstances.  When Mr. Renwick came in, he raised himself upon his elbow, with his head on his hand, and said, Are you the Mr. James Renwick there is so much noise about? He answered, Father, my name is James Renwick, but I have given the world no ground to make any noise about me, for I have espoused no new principles or practices, but what our reformers and covenanters maintained, &c.  He caused him sit down and give him an account of his conversion, principles, and call to the ministry. All which Mr. Renwick did in a most distinct manner. When ended, Mr. Peden said, Sir, You have answered me to my soul's satisfaction; I am very sorry that I should have believed any such ill reports of you, which not only quenched my love to, and marred my sympathy with you, but made me express myself so bitterly against you, for which {498} I have sadly smarted.  But, Sir, ere you go, you must pray me, for I am old and going to leave the world.  Which he did with more than ordinary enlargement.  When ended, he took him by the hand and drew him to him, and kissed him, saying, Sir, I find you a faithful servant to your Master; go on in a single dependence upon the Lord, and ye will get honestly through, and clear off the stage, when many others who hold their heads high will lie in the mire and make foul hands and garments.  And then prayed that the Lord might spirit, strengthen, support, and comfort him in all duties and difficulties*.[8]

A little before his death he said, Ye will all be displeased where I will be buried at last, but I discharge you all to lift my corpse again.  At last one morning early he left the cave and came to his brother's door.  His brother's wife said, Where are you going, the enemy will be here? He said, I know that.  Alas! Sir (said she), what will become of you, ye must go back to the cave again.  He said, I have done with that, for it is discovered; but there is no matter; for within forty-eight hours I will be beyond the reach of all the devil's temptations, and his instruments in hell and on earth, and they shall trouble me no more.  About three hours after that he entered the house, the enemy came, found him not in the cave, searched the barn narrowly, casting the unthreshen corn, searched the house, stabbing the beds, but entered not into the place where he lay.  After a weary pilgrimage, within forty eight hours he became an inhabitant of that land, where the weary are at rest, being then past sixty years of age.

He was buried in the laird of Affleck's isle; but a troop of dragoons came and lifted his corpse, and carried it†[9] two miles, to Cumnock gallows-foot (after he had been forty days in the grave) where he lies buried beside other martyrs.

Thus died Mr. Alexander Peden so much famed for his singular piety, zeal and faithfulness, and indefatigableness in the duty of prayer; but especially who exceeded all we {499} have heard of in latter times, for that gift of foreseeing and foretelling future events, both with respect to the church and nation of Scotland and Ireland, and particular persons and families, several of which are already accomplished. A gentleman of late, when speaking in his writings of Mr. Peden, says, Abundance of this good man's predictions are well known to be already come to pass*.[10]  And although these things are now made to stoop or yield to the force of ridicule and the sarcasms of the profane, and fashions of an atheistical age and generation, yet we must believe and conclude with the Spirit of God, that the secrets of the Lord both have been, are, and will be with them who fear his name.

There are some few of Mr. Peden's sermons in print, especially two preached at Glenluce anno 1682, the one from Matth. 21.38, and the other from Luke 24.21; which prophetical sermons, though in a homely style, are of a most zealous and spiritual strain; now reprinted in a late collection of sermons.  As for those papers handed about under Mr. Peden's name, anent Mr. James Renwick and his followers, they are, with good reason, looked upon as altogether spurious.


1. According to Mr. Wodrow he was sometime also precentor at Finwick.  See the History, Vol. I. page 443.

2. Wodrow's History, Vol. I. page 235.

3. Walker, in his eighth additional passage, &c. says, That he was in Ireland in the year 1670; but of this we have no farther account.

4. Which thing we find fulfilled now in our day; as it has been for many, many years.—JTK.

5. In an old copy there are these words, "In the hands of a few who shall have neither magistrate nor minister among them, who shall be sore despised and undervalued of all. &c."  Whether this alteration proceeds from different informations or from partiality is hard to determine, only it is affirmed that the author of the passages was then amongst that party who had neither magistrate nor minister at that time; Or at least was not in full communion with any part, if it was not those adhering to Mr. Hepburn. [This last phrase, beginning with "Or at least," was added to the footnote in the 2nd edition.—JTK.]

6. The foresaid old copy says, This was within two hours of his death.

7. Renwick's life wrote by Mr. Shields, page 99.

8. Some have doubted of the certainty of this interview; however, there is no seeming improbability in it, nor does it make any thing to the disparagement of either Mr. Peden, or Mr. Renwick.

9. After this (says Patrick Walker) that troop of dragoons came to quarter in Cambusnethen, two of them were quartered in the house of James Gray (one of his acquaintance) and being frighted in their sleep, they started up and clapped their hands, crying, Peden, Peden.  These two dragoons affirmed, That out of their curiousity they opened his coffin to see his corps, and yet they had no smell, though he had been forty days dead.

10. John Ker of Kersland, in his memoirs, page 8, where he adds, that when some people were going to join Argyle in 1685, Mr. Peden after a short ejaculation, bid them stop, for Argyle was fallen a sacrifice that minute.  Some taking out their watches marked the time, which accordingly answered his being taken.