Cargill at Darmead in 1681: Ahab and the Nameless Judgments

The Darmead Monument © Copyright Jon Morrice and reproduced by kind permission.

After his betrayal and near capture outside of Edinburgh in late 1680, Donald Cargill fled into exile in England leaving the militant presbyterian movement without a field preacher. He remained there for several months, but in April 1681, he decided to return. Immediately on his return to Scotland he was called to preach at ‘Darmade-Muirs’, which is Darmead, a remote moorland site in Cambusnethan parish, Lanarkshire.

Bing OS Map of Darmead

The chronology of Cargill’s preachings in 1681 indicates that he preached there on Sunday 24 April, as he preached on the ‘next Sabbath-day’ at Underbank Wood on 1 May. (Walker, BP, II, 23.)

According to Patrick Walker:
‘The Man of God, blest Cargill, came down from England; a happy Tryst to many godly zealous Souls, who had a Gale of Zeal upon their Spirits, and feared no Danger upon the right Hand, if they held off the Left. Immediately he was called to preach in Darmade-Muirs, by some who retained their former Zeal and Faithfulness.’ (Walker, BP, II, 17.)

According to Walker, at Darmead, Cargill ‘came and stood upon a Chair, and had nothing to rest upon, with his Bible betwixt his Hands, as his Ordinary was at all Times when I heard him. I well remember, he sang the first Verse of the 37 Psalm, For Evil-doers fret thou not, &c. and lectured upon the 21 Chapter of 1 Kings from the 17 Verse, of what passed betwixt Ahab and Elijah, and Ahab’s outward Humiliation, where he had many sententious Notes’. (Walker, BP, II, 18.)

The first verse of Psalm 37 is as follows:

‘For evil-doers fret thou not
thyself unquietly;
Nor do thou envy bear to those
that work iniquity.’

(In the Scottish Metrical Psalter of 1650.)

The text of 1Kings. 21.17 to 29 is as follows:

And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
   Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.
   And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.
   And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the Lord.
   Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,
   And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.
   And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
   Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.
   But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
   And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel.
   And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
   And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
   Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring the evil upon his house.’ (1Kings. 21.17-29.)

Unfortunately, despite being at the Darmead preaching, Walker did not indicate what Cargill’s ‘many sententious Notes’ in his lecture were. Walker also recorded a brief summary of Cargill’s sermon at Darmead on Amos. 4.12.:

‘[He] preached upon that Text, Amos iv. 12. Therefore this will I do unto thee, O Israel;. and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. He insisted upon the foregoing Judgments that had proven ineffectual, and few had returned unto him; but this was a nameless Judgment, or a non-such Judgment; and made application to Scotland: When our Stroke came, he would not determine; but, when it came, it would be a non-such Stroke.’  (Walker, BP, II, 18.)

Intriguingly, Walker also deployed the rarely-used phrase “nonsuch judgment” in his preface to his Life of Peden, which may reflect the possibility that Cargill’s sermon warned about Presbyterian divisions:

‘All who do not shut their Eyes must see, that the Lord has divided us in his Anger, and poured out a Spirit of Confusion and Division, which may be great Thoughts of Heart to all, who allow themselves to think upon the Causes, and what shall be the End of these Things, that never a People were so divided, since these non-such Judgments were poured out upon that infatuate People devoted to Destruction at Jerusalem. The Jews Privileges, Sins and Judgments may be Thoughts of Heart to all thinking Scotsmen: All may know that Presbyterians in Scotland are now divided in Ten Parties, and Love so far decayed, that there is an Inclination to Division, and the most Part blinded with Affection and Prejudice, and a thrice cursed Spirit, of Self-conceit, Self-seeking and Self-confidence, poured out upon all: All right in their own Eyes, and none right; all wrong, and none wrong, is our Case; every Party confident that they have the Testimony, some have one Part of it, and some have another, but not one Party in all Scotland has the whole of the sworn to, and sealed Testimony against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, Sectarianism, Schism, Error, Tyranny and Defection, and whatsoever is contrary to sound Doctrine and the Power of Godliness.’ (Walker, BP, I, xvi.)

Cargill’s possible warning about schisms within the militant presbyterian movement would have been aimed at the Sweet Singers or Gibbites, as he invited them to his Darmead preaching and met with them at the nearby farm of Darngavel on the following day.

His next field preaching was at Underbank Wood by the Clyde.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

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~ by drmarkjardine on June 30, 2011.

9 Responses to “Cargill at Darmead in 1681: Ahab and the Nameless Judgments”

  1. […] Cargill seems to have moved his preaching activities to the west. In that year Cargill preached at Darmead (24 April), Underbank Wood (1 May), Loudoun Hill (5 May), toured the South West (c.12 May- c.5 […]

  2. […] was the last of three consecutive sermons in which he addressed those concerns. In his sermon at Darmead on 24 April, he warned of the dangers of presbyterian divisions, and at Underbank Wood on 1 May, he […]

  3. […] Darmead, which lies along the Auchter Water from ‘Kings-hill’, is located about one-and-a-half miles to the north-east of the site of the farm at Benty Rigg. […]

  4. […] preaching at Darmead in Cambusnethan parish, Lanarkshire, on 24 April was significant event for the Society people, as […]

  5. […] at Blackloch, Arnbuckle and Little Drumbreck to the west and Benhar, Starryshaw, Falla Hills and Darmead to the […]

  6. […] Peden Stone lies very close to other field preaching sites at Starryshaw, Darmead and Falla […]

  7. […] miles, i.e., 2.4 to 2.7km, from Fauldhouse. Cargill is known to have preached in that area at Darmead (1680 and 1681), Starryshaw (25 July, 1680) and Falla Hills (late September, 1680). A fourth site in […]

  8. […] the ambush, Cargill fled to England where he remained until he returned to preach at Darmead on 24 April, 1681. Soon after, he met the Sweet Singers at a conference at […]

  9. […] Young may have attended either one, or some, of Cargill’s preachings in 1681, which were held at Darmead (24 April), Underbank Wood (1 May), Loudoun Hill (5 May) or at Auchengilloch (3 July). The latter […]

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