Cargill’s Preaching in the Pentlands

East Cairn Hill © Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for reuse.

In early June 1680, Donald Cargill preached at Cairnhill which lies between Edinburghshire and Peeblesshire.

According to Patrick Walker:

‘Mr. Cargill the next Sabbath preached at Cairnhill, betwixt Lowden and Tweddale, in his Wounds and Blood; for no Danger nor Distress could stop him in going about doing Good, and distributing Food to so many starving Souls up and down the Land. His time being short, that so he might finish his Course with Joy, he preached that Day upon that Text, And what shall I more say? for the Time would fail me to speak of Gideon- and Jephthah’. (Walker, BP, II, 13.)

Cairnhill, a.k.a. East and West Cairnhill, lies to the south-west of Edinburgh in the Pentland Hills on the boundary between Mid Calder parish in Edinburghshire and Linton parish in Peebleshire. In June 1684, Cairnhill or Claudstane Slap/Wolf Craigs was also the site of one or two conventicles held by James Renwick.

Bing OS Map of Cauldstane Slap

Wolf Craigs  © Copyright Calum McRoberts and licensed for reuse.

Bing OS Map of Wolf Craigs and West Cairnhill:

Cargill’s sermon at Cairnhill can be dated to the 6 June 1680, as Walker stated that Cargill preached there on the ‘next Sabbath’ after he was wounded and nearly captured at Queensferry on 3 June 1680.

Cargill’s sermon was on Hebrews 11.32 and the following verses:

[32] And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

Cargill probably made reference to the verses which followed:

[33] Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
[34] Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
[35] Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
[36] And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
[37] They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
[38] (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

The topic of the sermon clearly related to the “sufferings” of the Society people in 1680.

Walker also relates that:

‘At Night some said to him, We think, Sir, Praying and Preaching go best with you when your Danger and Distress is greatest. He said, It had been so, and he hoped that it would be so; that the more that Enemies and all others did thrust that he might fall, the more sensibly and decernably the Lord had helped: And then (as his ordinar was) as it had been to himself repeated the following Words, The Lord is my Strength and Song, and has become my Salvation [Psalm 118.14]. That 118 Psalm was the last Psalm he sang on Earth, which he sang on the Scaffold’. (Walker, BP, II, 13.)

Cargill was executed in Edinburgh on 27 July 1681. The words of the Psalm 118 are as follows:

‘O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let them now that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
The Lord taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the Lord will I destroy them.
They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.
The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:
This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.
I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.
God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.’

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~ by drmarkjardine on February 20, 2011.

5 Responses to “Cargill’s Preaching in the Pentlands”

  1. […] locations Cargill’s preachings at Benry Bridge, as ‘betwixt Clyd[e]sdale and Lothian’, and at Cairnhill, as between the Lothians and […]

  2. […] recorded preachings mostly took place further to the east. In that year, Cargill preached at Cairnhill (6 June), Kip-Rig (18 July with Cameron), Starryshaw (25 July), Craigmad (1 Aug), Torwood (mid […]

  3. […] has a pedigree of use by the Society people, as it was possibly used by Donald Cargill as a preaching site in June 1680 and was also probably used for field preaching by James Renwick in […]

  4. […] A few days later Cargill preached at Cairnhill in the Pentland Hills […]

  5. […] Cargill was wounded and Henry Hall died of his wounds. A bandaged-up Cargill was barely fit enough to preach at Cairnhill (probably at Wolf Craigs) on 6 June, but then he disappears from the record, probably recovering […]

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