TIMES OF PERSECUTION IN SCOTLAND,
SUFFERERS FOR THE ROYAL PREROGATIVES OF JESUS CHRIST.
Sermons & Lectures by Donald Cargill.
WE shall say this, if ye will give us leave to speak it, that this word was a prophecy, and who knows but it is a prophecy unto us. Now, God may measure out fair providences when He hath very wrathful intentions, and providence may appear fairest before the greatest wrath break forth. This we see here in the 12th verse, "Every bottle shall be filled with wine." Wine cellars, barn, and barnyards, all shall be full. But what follows in the 14th verse? "I will dash them one against another." Remember, then, that this is the sum of these words.
- Therefore, thou shalt speak unto them this word, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall say unto thee, Do not we certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?
- Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with drunkenness.
- And I will dash one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the Lord: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
- Hear ye, and give ear, be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken.
- Give glory to the Lord your God before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.
- But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride, and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord's flock is carried away captive.Jeremiah 13.12-17.
1. Here is a vintage, a full and fair vintage"Every bottle shall be filled with wine."
2. They shall be drunk with it, as in the 13th verse, "I will fill all the inhabitants of this land with drunkenness."
3. They shall fall, and sheathe their swords in one another's sides. "I will dash them one against another." We have seen and known part of the two former amongst us. And who knows but the Lord hath thoughts of performing the third, and of putting it in execution in our land also. Tell them that they shall be filled with wine and drunkenness, and they shall dash one upon another. But it may be thought, this is too like deceitful man; this is to give fair dispensations, and, at the same time, have wrathful intentions. Indeed, it would not be like God to deal in this way, had it not been procured by the great wickedness of man. For we may say that the Lord never measures out such providences as this, but where and when much sinning goes before; but where there is much sinning, then look for this, as a consequent: fair providences for some time, and then the execution of wrathful intentions. Sinning hath always a wrathful end. If you consider rightly, sinners have provoked God. The Lord hath wrathful designs towards them. He intends to "rain snow, fire, brimstone, and a horrible tempest upon them." He throws stumbling-blocks before them, and whatever dispensations may make most for their ruin (as prosperity makes more for ensnaring a man to his destruction than adversity does). The Lord out of anger, and in justice, grants them sometimes adversity, with a stumbling-block cast upon it, and sometimes fair appearances, while they are in the way of backsliding and destruction, to cause them to follow it. Know now that the Lord hath wrathful intentions, and is choosing men's delusions, and casting in stumbling-blocks before men, "and raining snares amongst them" every day.
Now, we see here these three things, in which the Lord shows His people what He is about to do, and what providences He is to exercise first and last. What will He then exercise?
1. He will give them a fair vintage.
2. He will fill them with drunkenness. And
3. He "will dash them one against another." After He hath shown them what providences He will exercise, He gives them a word of warning, "Be not proud; for the Lord hath spoken." Despise not these things. It is a part of men's pride to despise the threatening of God against themselves. Another part of man's pride is not to acknowledge or take with his sins. Be not proud, but give glory to God.
That which we would here observe is, that you should improve the time which God is giving you. Wherefore is it that He gives it you? Remember that all the time ye get after this, is to acknowledge your sins, and to get free from them before He cause darkness, and "before your feet stumble on the dark mountains." For there are such dark mountains that ye have to pass over that ye will be made to stumble upon them, if ye be not made free from the prevailing power of sin. Ye have mountains which ye will never get over, and dark mountains upon which ye will never hold your feet, if God lead you not. Imagine this with yourselves, that there are dreadful things before you, and that the most effectual means ye can use is, to have your conscience eased of the burden of sin before darkness come upon you. A dark night will be enough for itself. Dark mountains will be burden heavy enough, though ye have not a load of sin and guilt upon your consciences. Now take heed to what God is speaking.
Let all the time that God is giving you after this day, nay, this very hour, be employed in preparing for sad dispensations that you shall meet with. If ye be wise, make ready for them; and the best way to do it, is not to be proud, "but to give glory to God;" that is, to take with sin, and acknowledge iniquity, before these dark times come upon you.
Now, Jeremiah concludes with these words, "But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep for you in secret places." "I can do no more but this," says he. "I tell you, if ye will not take my counsel and advice, I can do no more, but go alone, and weep for you." We have sent the ministers of the gospel, or rather God hath sent them all. But oh, that they were all weeping in secret places! and if there are any who are not yet got within their closets, ye will send them to mourn in secret places also, if ye will not be counseled to give glory to God. Then strive who shall be first in casting off sin, and in giving glory to God. We are sure that judgments are hastening apace, and if you run not they will overtake you, and will outrun your confession of sin and repentance. Your acknowledgments perhaps will come too late.
But now (having run over these words) we shall proceed a little further upon them. "Tell them that every bottle shall be filled with wine. And they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?" The Spirit of God elsewhere hath this, "If a man will prophesy unto thee of wine and strong drink, he shall even be the prophet of this people," he will be welcome and well heard amongst them. But woe unto you when ye have better temporal than spiritual things spoken unto you. What is that? Say ye, "Why sometimes God will answer a man according to the idols of his own heart?" The Lord is a witness unto us that we are as earnest and desirous of your welfare as of our own, but this harvest is more dreadful to us than if it had been rain all along. But what we are saying is, that the Lord will answer a people (especially before a stroke come) according to the idols of their hearts. They never got a better year than this, I am afraid. But what shall come next? We may say this of it that whenever the wicked in Scotland shall be apprehended and taken out to scaffolds and places of execution, they shall be taken away from a good life, of full barns and cellars of wine so that they shall think within themselves there was never a worse time with us, although at that time we had never so much. So I say it is evident that the Lord will answer a sinning people according to the evils of their own heart.
Now, would you have wine? Ye shall have enough. Would you have corn? Ye shall have plenty, and as few to eat it, or rather over many, whom ye would not desire, and who knows but that this carefulness or bounty of God in this plentiful harvest in Scotland, may be to feed the enemies of God and men. Now, that is one thing, but let us see next how they answer. "Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?" What mean they by this? Do we not certainly know that it is the word of the Lord? This we are looking for, and nothing less than this. But how comes it that you look for this? It is a wonder that ye look not rather for judgments of all kinds; but to be looking for fullness of abundance of all kinds is strange. But it is here evident that the greatest of sinners and revolters from God will be looking for rich and full providences. We never have our expectations according to our defects, especially the wicked. Indeed for a tender broken-hearted Christian, he will be looking for great and terrible things from God, and God, nevertheless, may be designing merciful things for him. But a rebellious heart, a person that never rightly knows his own heart, may look for great outward temporal things or enjoyments, and God may give that person great things. But what follows in the end or comes up in the rear? Wealth and abundance come, and a shower of the wrath of God follows hard upon the heels of that. "When all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed for ever." [Psalm 92.7.] Now, "Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?" We need not a prophet to tell us of this. Yet there is something at the back of that which you have need of a prophet to tell you of. If we might use the expression, the front looks like the salutation of Ishmael to the fourscore men that came from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria. He met them weeping and with much concern, but the rear was fatal with weapons and armed men. He invited them to come to the governor, but how were they entertained? He slew them and cast them into the midst of the pit. [Jer. 41.]
Now, you have got one dish, you must see what effect it has upon you; for says the Lord, "Ye have heard this gladly, you have received it and made it welcome." "Every bottle shall be filled with wine." But what comes next? "I will fill the king, the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of the land with drunkenness." What is this? The prosperity of the wicked makes them, like drunkards, distracted and distempered. Prosperity has made them drunk. Whom hath it made drunk? Their kings, their priests, their prophets, and all the inhabitants of the land shall be filled with drunkenness. They shall dash one against another, even the father against the sons, and the sons against the father; everyone shall fall foul of another, when once they are filled with drunkenness.
Now, we are sure that their prosperity, here laid before them, has made them drunk. We will see sad effects follow upon it ere all be done: their actions will declare that they have been drunk. Would they have done such things had they been in their sober mind? This will be your sin with kings, priests, and prophets, and the other inhabitants of the land. The things they have done and shall do shall evidence that they have been drunk with the prosperity that they have had, and that they have been beside themselves. Their prosperity hath intoxicated and infatuated them. For this end God hath sent prosperity amongst them to make them drunk. It is for this end that God sends prosperity where much sin hath abounded, that He may make them fall with drunkenness. He hath made acts come out of their hands that declared nothing but drunkenness or madness. They must be first drunk, then mad, through great prosperity, when the Lord designs to bring them to an end. As one time the Lord sent a lying spirit into the mouths of the false prophets, so He will fill all with drunkenness so that they will do that which they would not have done, had they not been mad with prosperity.
We shall add: there has been great prosperity, and men have been intoxicated with it. Well, wait on a little, and ye shall see more mad actions. But what will follow? "They shall fall upon one another, and be dashed to pieces." Those who are so much crying up a king against all rights, and after all forfeitures, will be much for crying him down yet. Yea, there will be more declarations emitted yet than that at Sanquhar.1 Ere it be long, these same men will go further than that paper, and no thanks to them for it. But we fear it will not be upon God's account; because God hath filled them all with drunkenness.2 He hath made them a great feast, and He will suffer them to break out more and more into irrational actions. This we may look for, and we think it is not far off. The time hastens apace.
Now, we may observe further from these words, "I will fill their kings, their priests, and their prophets," &c., that there is not one wise and sober among them all, a dreadful token that God hath determined ruin and punishment for all, whether kings, priests, prophets, or common people. He will reach them all. According to their universal madness so will their punishment be. What then will be the effects of this drunken madness? It will be a strong madness, making a man put hand to himself, kill himself, or his own children, friends, or relations. It will be a general frenzy or madness that will seize upon all. What will it do? It will make children and fathers kill or put hand to one another. We may look for it. The first woe hath been already accomplished, great prosperity, and God making them drunk with it. For any wise man in the world may see that their actions indicate madnessa madness that brings on inevitable ruin though it tarry for a while. We have seen their first actions. But what ill follows? "I will dash them one against another." We have seen drunkenness already to be the effect of the wicked's prosperity, and more effects will follow. They will fall foul upon one another. Ye will see in armies, father and son, brother and brother, set against one another, and we know not, but it may be that priests against priests, and prophet against prophet will be fighting together.
2. The next thing desired is this: (1) The providence of God is here seen in prosperity; (2) in their drunkenness, for He is exercising acts of justice and wrath; and He is seen in dashing them one against another. This is the great end and design of God in dashing them one upon another, namely, to destroy them. Now, the Lord adds a word when He is speaking upon this, and you would think that the pity and compassion of God would be wearied out in this work. Nay, says the Lord, "I will not pity nor spare." We shall only add this word, when it comes to this that, 1st, There hath been long prosperity; 2ndly, Madness; and 3rdly, Civil and intestine broils with great outbreakings. What means all this? It signifies this, that God will never hold His hand till there be utter ruin. "I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but will destroy." He will not stop until He make a full end. Oh, ruin, ruin is the thing intended; ruin for enemies, for kings, for priests, for prophets, and for people! Oh, remember that the compassions of God will not hold till there be great destruction!
But we shall only speak a word unto these, and that is, the good counsel or advice that He gives to everyone who is in a capacity to take it, though many are past that, and we need speak no more of them. Yea, we judge that they have got their last blast or salutation, and some of them the Scripture hath given over. But there are others of them to whom the Lord gives this good counsel, if they hear it: "Be not proud." Remember it is God ye have to do with. Hear ye and give ear; be not proud for the Lord hath spoken it. Regard it. It is a word spoken by a prophet, and God's words are in his mouth, and His Spirit is in his heart. Therefore, "Give glory unto the Lord." Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. What shall we then do? Why, seek out, and acknowledge your sins, and be humbled for them before God; and if there be any way in the world to glorify Him, this will be the one special means of it. Oh, think upon no way of escaping but by acknowledging your sin and iniquity, for if ye acknowledge not sin, whatever ye may fancy or dream of, darkness will be your destiny. "Ye shall stumble upon the dark mountains."
We shall not speak more particularly upon this now, but what we have spoken is the mind of the Lord. And if ye take not God's counsel to repent of your sins and turn unto Him, whatever ye may expect, darkness and "stumbling upon the dark mountains" is the thing designed for you. Remember this, that it is much that ye have yet a day before this great day of darkness come upon you. Darkness will blind your eyes, and terror will fall amongst your hands; and woe, woe unto those who shall be proud, and stand out against the threatening of God!N.B.Any person who will deliberately consider the infatuated conduct of the present ministry, the awful contest betwixt Britain and her Colonies, wherein almost everyone is sheathing his sword in his brother's side, with the awful signs of approaching judgments, may easily conclude that the foregoing discourse is more just or applicable unto the present time and circumstance than that time wherein it was delivered.
1. This Declaration was published, June 22, 1680, and it would appear that this discourse was preached about the harvest following, as Mr. Cargill was executed July 27, 1681.
2. This was too truly verified about eight years after this at the Revolution, when religion was settled or established in these lands, merely upon the inclinations of the people.See "Claim of Right."