‘Shall the Prey be Taken from the Mighty?’: Cameron’s Preaching in Carluke parish, 1680

On Thursday 8 July, 1680, Richard Cameron preached a remarkable fast day sermon somewhere in Carluke parish, Lanarkshire. Cameron’s words laid out a strategy for the Society people to contend with their powerful enemies. They are worth reading in full.

The muirs in the north of Carluke parish  © Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse.

Although the Carluke preaching was only recorded in a copy of his sermon printed in 1733, some of the context in which it took place can be reconstructed from other sources. (Cameron, Good News to Scotland, a sermon, Preached in the parish of Carluke, in Clydesdale upon the 8th day of July, 1680 (1733).)

On Sunday 4 July, Cameron had preached at the Gass Water in Ayrshire. However, the next day, Captain Strachan reported intelligence that Cameron and ‘13 or 14 horsemen’ had been spotted riding north-east from the hill of Corsencone towards either Cumberhead in Lesmahagow parish or Crawfordjohn, which both lie in Lanarkshire.

On the morning after the Carluke preaching, Cameron narrowly escaped from some dragoons. (If Walker’s date for the Hynd’s Bottom preaching in correct). According to Cameron’s lecture on 11 July, ‘many thought we should have been left dead carcasses on the place by the dragoons [on 9 July], if they had got leave. They would have got a breakfast of us’. (Cameron, Hynd’s Bottom Lecture.)

It is not known where Cameron preached in Carluke parish. However, he probably preached in the high muirs between Benty Rigg and the Auchter Water, which lie near the northern boundary with Cambusnethan parish, as such remote locations were used by the Society people for nearly all of their field preachings in 1680 and 1681.

Bing OS Map of probable area of Cameron’s preaching

After the Carluke sermon, Cameron next preached at Hynd’s Bottom on 11 July. The text of Cameron’s preface and sermon in Carluke parish is as follows:

Cameron’s Preface to the preaching in Carluke parish

‘Now, know ye wherefore ye are come here today? I trow many of you cannot tell more than these horses beside you. But, do not ye look on this as your principal end that you have now before you, namely, to sanctify a fast unto the Lord, and turn unto Him with prayer, fasting and mourning. I am sure it is a necessary and seasonable duty, and it is, at least, a great part of this day’s work to set about these things that the Lord calls for at our hands in this day of perplexity, and breaking down in the valley of vision for the Lord God of Hosts.

Now I would ask every one of you this question – though the truth is, I am not acquainted with you all, nor the half of you. There are many of you that I never saw in the face before, but our Lord knows you all. Now beware, for He is very nigh you. He is nearer every one of you than ye are aware of; yea, He is nearer you than your very hands and arms are. His eyes are like a flaming fire, and He knows what you have done privately and secretly. He knows your down-sitting and your uprisings, and knows and understands all your thoughts afar off.

Now this is the question I would ask you, man and woman:– Whether or not you have made conscience of setting a day apart to the Lord in secret for this end, to wrestle with Him for the turning away of His fierce anger and displeasure that hath been burning like a hot oven so long against this poor land? There are twenties, nay, hundreds, nay, thousands in Scotland, that will come running to a public fast that never had a secret fast in their families. Could ye never spare one of the six days of the week from your employment to the Lord? But I tell you, your public fasting will do no good except you have private wrestlings betwixt God and you.

How would ye know what ye should fast for? The truth is, I will not take upon me to tell you at this time what ye are to fast for. But ye should fast and humble yourselves in the sight of God, for if I had begun at six o’clock in the morning, it would have employed me till six o’clock at night to have told you the causes of fasting. It might take, perhaps, as much paper to specify the particulars of the libel that God hath against us, as would lie betwixt me and Edinburgh. And if ye would fast aright for your private sins and family sins, the husband should fast for the sins of his wife, and the wife for the sins of her husband, and both should fast for the sins of their children, and ye should fast for your own sins and your fathers’ sins; “For we and our fathers have sinned against the Lord.” [Jer. 3. 25.] And we may say, Oh, but there be much sin within us that never appeared unto the world! And oh, that we were trembling with tears running down from our eyes for all the evils, wickedness and abominations that have been committed in general through the land, and in particular families, and in private. We know well enough that it is a wonder that the earth bears us. The generation hath exceeded Tyre and Sidon. The wickedness done in Scotland is come to such a pitch that they contend who shall swear the greatest oaths, and go the greatest length in villainy. And from whence come these? They come from our lusts. I will tell you this: If ye would look into your hearts ye would not think it strange from whence these things come; for the seeds of these things are in the heart of both men and women. There are none here who, if they were not more beholden to God than to themselves, would not have gone the greatest length that ever any profligate hath gone in this generation. But truly our rulers may say that they will defy any that come after them, to exceed them in wickedness. Let us however consider our own ways, and turn our “feet into the ways of His commandments and testimonies.” [Pss. 119. 59-60.] Unless we be mourning for our own sins, it sets us but ill to mourn for the land’s sins. For we should first “take the beam out of our own eye, before we take the mote out of our brother’s eye.” [Matt. 7.5, Luke. 6.42.] I assure you, if ye take a look of matters at this day, ye will see no need to say to the rest of the land, “Stand by, for I am holier than thou.” [Isa. 65.5.] For there are none of us but what are beholden to the free mercy of God. For whom He will, “He justifieth; and whom he will, he hardeneth.” [Rom. 9.18.] But as to the sins of the land, I do not intend at present to enter upon them. We are wearied of speaking of them, and ashamed of them. I think they should hardly be mentioned amongst us if we could get them buried. For I think that the rulers, and those who comply with them, should not be much spoken of. We should quit them. And it is a great question with me, Whether or not we should mourn for their sins any more? It is true we should mourn over the dishonours done to God. Hence says the psalmist, “Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.” [Pss. 119.136.] As for the great ones of the land, I have, for my part, given them over. But we should weep for the vengeance of God that is a-coming and may not long be protracted. Let us then cry unto Him to whom vengeance belongs, “Stir up thyself, O thou avenger of blood.” We need not pray much more for them. But let us pray that the Lord would bring His declarative glory from under that cloud that hath hung so long over it. Now, we have great need to be looking seriously and taking heed what we are doing, for the eyes of many are upon us. I trow there are few here that have been preparing rightly for this work, and it may be there are some of us here of as light a spirit as any in the land. Oh! but lightness of behaviour becomes us ill at this time! It becomes us rather to be grave and sober, taking heed unto our ways. For many are waiting for our halting. Now it is likely you have not been praying for a frame and furniture for this day, and many are come here and cannot well tell what brought them. However, when ye are come, engage heartily in the work of the day, seeing the Lord threatens either to go away or else to come in wrath to destroy the land. Let us then cry to Him to spare a remnant in whom He will be glorified.

Cameron’s Sermon in Carluke parish

Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with them that contend with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. — Isaiah 49.24-26.

‘We may claim a special interest in this place of Scripture beyond many other places of it. Look into the very first verse of this chapter. “Listen, O isles, and hearken ye people from afar.” [Isa. 49.1.] It would appear that this was unto Britain. “Listen unto me, O Britain and Ireland.” The Lord is crying unto us this day to listen unto Him. You will say, “What is the Lord saying? What will the Lord cry unto us?” We cannot now take time to speak unto all that is in this chapter, and make application of it; but look to the thirteenth verse, “Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth. For the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” [Isa. 49.13.]

He is crying unto us, “Sing, O heaven”—that is, “Sing, O Church; and rejoice, O earth. Sing, O State: sing both Church and State of Scotland.” Oh! how should we sing? Hath not the Lord forsaken and forgotten us? Nay, though it appears so, yet it is not really so. “A woman may forget her sucking child, but the Lord cannot forget his people.” [Isa. 49.15.] The purpose of God is pregnant and about to bring forth a great deliverance unto the Church and State of Scotland. If we saw the days that our Lord is to bestow upon us in Scotland, and had a view of the ministers that shall be in it, it would make us sing. Ye think now that the ministers are gone. Indeed a great part of them are so, and the magistrates are rejected by us. We declare before sun, moon, and stars that this is the case. But the Lord hath yet ministers that shall be polished shafts in His quiver; and He will yet give us rulers, and will make out that promise: “And kings shall be thy nursing fathers;” [Isa. 49.23.] so that if we saw the good days that are coming upon the back of these troubles, we would not get men and women kept from dancing for joy. Ye would all go home with gladness, rejoicing as if ye were frantic for joy. But you may say, “How can this be?” For there are two things to be objected against it:—

1. The fewness of them who have kept straight. But ere long that shall be made out: “The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the others, shall say, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell. Then thou shalt say, Who hath begotten me these; and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone, these, where had they been?” [Isa. 49.20.] Indeed the Lord is coming to make this land desolate. There will not be many men, or women, or children in it, and the remnant that He will leave in it will be a poor afflicted people. But that small company will leaven the whole lump again, so that the number of the Presbyterians who adhere to Christ’s cause, and to the despised and persecuted party in Scotland, will not get room to dwell in Scotland; and the reason will be because all the neighbouring nations will come and take, as it were, a copy of the doctrine, worship, and discipline of the Church of Scotland. But you may say, “How can that be?” You have the word of God for it. But this word hath not been made out very much to any Church as yet. The truth is, it is set down for the isles, and seems to have a respect to Britain and Ireland, especially Scotland. “Listen, O isles, unto me.”

2. The second objection is from the strength and power of enemies. Well, come away with that. Make language of your case and the Church’s case. What you say as to that, you will say, is very sad, and you are so impressed with it that when you go to God with the Church’s case, you are, as it were, tongue-tacked, and cannot get it properly expressed. Well, here is your case brought to your hand. There is a question here proposed by God Himself, and it is just our language, at least the language of such as would prefer Jerusalem above their chiefest joy. And it is this, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive be delivered?” Is not this our case? In a word, are we not made a prey? And they that have made us a prey are mighty; and we are captives. And if you take lawful captive for the captivity of the just. Or thus, we are in captivity according to their law that is established by iniquity.

Now I shall not be long in speaking what I intend to say from these words. But as to the question, there are these two or three things in it. I shall only name them and not come over them again. And

First, There is obviously held out by it that sometimes the people of God are made a prey. I wot well, that word, “Yea, truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey,” [Isa. 59.15.] is made out in our day. I will tell you that there are many folk in this land that think by forbearing some practices that some men are forward to at this time to evite trouble. Nay, but forbearing duty is your sin; and if ye sin not with others ye make yourselves a prey to them. But the providences of this time are a sufficient commentary upon this. The truth is, they are not worthy of their room now that are not a prey in Scotland. That man that can keep the crown of the causey is not worthy of a good day or a good evening, though he were the best minister in Scotland. I hardly know a worse mark of a man or woman than this, that they are not a prey. The truth is any man may shoot us; and we count it our glory that it is so. Those who are free to buy or sell, to go to kirk or market, have their freedom at a dear rate. Well, we are a prey and captives. They have many of our Lord’s servants both men and women in prison, and all according to their law. Well, we must not take it ill that it is so. You see there is no strange thing happened unto us, but what hath befallen many. Such things have befallen the Church before. And the Lord hath warned us not only in general – “If any man come unto me, he must deny himself and take up his cross; and through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of heaven” [Matt. 16.24., Luke. 9.23. Acts. 14.22.] – but particulars are condescended upon, and cordials suitable to these particulars. There is a suitable cordial promised in this chapter, beware of grudging. We are a prey now, but ere long they that prey upon us shall themselves be preyed upon.

Secondly, The second thing that we may here observe is, that it is incident to the Church and people of God, not only to be made a prey, but to be made a prey to the mighty, strong and terrible; for so much the words will bear. We may say, our persecutors are stronger than we. Ye know if we were only a prey to men as strong as ourselves, we would laugh at them and but play with them, as we use to say. But the truth is, those that have led us captive are mighty. They have forces and armies at their command.

Thirdly, The words import this likewise; that not only is the Church sometimes a prey to the mighty, but also the people of God will be just on the point of despairing that ever they can be delivered. Again, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty?” Shall the prey be taken from the king, from the council, from the forces and soldiers? How can it be? It cannot be. When we look “to our right hand, there is none to care for us; all refuge faileth us.” [Pss. 142.4.] There is a question here which I desire all the ministers in Scotland to answer. Ask them, “Will yonder prey be taken from the mighty?” “Nay,” say they, “we need not attempt it, and we ourselves who know it, are on the point of despairing. We begin to think it needless to preach, pray, fast, weep or fight; for when we attempt to rise, or to use the means, the Lord comes and gives such a blow that we are made to sit down, and cleave faster to the ground than ever before.” Nay, if we could get all the angels of heaven, today, to ask them this question, it would puzzle them, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty?” It is true, indeed, believers that attain unto any intimacy with God may get a sight of this: that God will deliver His Church. But then there comes the matter: “By whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small?” [Amos. 7.2. & 5.] Here is one to answer positively and affirmatively, and tell how it shall be accomplished. The Lord even says, “I see that though I should charge ministers and angels to tell how the prey shall be taken from the mighty, they will not do it. I will then take it on Myself to answer this question.” For immediately before, you see He promiseth to make kings their nursing fathers, which shows us this, that after God hath promised a thing He doth not instantly and immediately perform it; for between God’s giving a promise to His people and the accomplishment thereof, there may follow such things as may make us think it will never be accomplished but rather the contrary. When people are under those things that prognosticate the contrary of what He hath promised in His word, and “on which he hath caused us to hope,” then He comes in Himself. “But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,” which is an answer to this, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty?” Say the mighty, “Nay, ye shall never be taken out of our hands.” Yea, and most part of the people think so. But “Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered.” Oh, do ye believe this? I am sure if ye did ye would be content to suffer affliction and persecution; to be fined and cast out of your houses; to wander and take your lives in your hand for a while. There is as much in this word as may make us go away singing, and may comfort us against all the trouble this time may threaten us with.

If ye talk of news, here is good news, “The prey shall be taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive delivered.” But say ye, “There is little appearance of it. Where is the man to do it? I know no nobleman, gentleman, nor common to do it. We had these to go to within these few years, but now the commons are involved in the same guilt with the gentlemen, and are lying by as well as they. There is no minister or professor to do it.” Indeed the Lord will not entrust the work of our deliverance to one of us. Thanks be to Him for that! For if it were so, we would lie under troubles always, and the work would be razed to the foundation, so that there would be no memory of it transmitted to posterity. Then say ye to the Lord, “How shall the prey be taken from the mighty?” And this will be His answer, “I will contend with them that contend with thee, and I will save thy children; and will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh.” Never think that ye will get salvation till God come and contend with His enemies. Many would invert the Lord’s order and method. They would first have salvation, and then contending with enemies. But that is not God’s way; and take it in hand who will, it shall not prosper. Those who take outward salvation and preservation in a time of trouble, in the Church’s distress, before the Lord comes to contend, shall find that when the Lord comes to contend with enemies, He will contend with them too. Oh, how many ministers and professors will God have to contend with when He comes back to Scotland to contend with them that contend with Him and His people! Many think that if we had such an army as we had last year we would contend with them. Well, the Lord God of Hosts will contend with them ere long, and He will feed them that oppress His own people with their own flesh.

But many folk may think this is cruelty. If ministers only and professors had said it, it might have been thought cruel, but it is the Lord’s word. When our Lord comes, He will be severe; He will, to speak after the manner of men, be cruel. But He is just and righteous. The instruments He will make use of, whether they be His own people or not, must handle enemies after another sort than they have been handled; yea, they will take pieces out of their flesh and make them eat it, and make them drink their own blood as sweet wine. This will the Lord do, and make them know that He is the Lord and Redeemer of His Church and people. He is not known to be the Lord now, but is mocked and lightly esteemed. But when He comes to execute justice and judgment on the land He will make all know that He is the Redeemer of His people, and that His loving-kindness hath been remaining with them all along. And be they who they will whom the Lord will raise up to execute judgment in this land, they will reward them as they have rewarded or done unto us. They will not spare. As He lives He will bring cruel foreigners ere He want. But we may say, “We need not trouble ourselves about it, since the Lord will do it we may lie by. We need not trouble ourselves about it.” Many would be at that. Indeed, the Lord will do it; but we must be in the use of the means that are incumbent on us. I shall speak to several means to be used in order to hasten the Lord’s delivery of the captives, and His contending with them that contend with His people.

1. The first two or three of them, viz., of these means, ye may see in Rev. 12. 11. In the tenth verse it is said, “The accuser of our brethren is cast down.” What is meant by that? It means that the devil hath got a sore stroke. How got he that? “And they overcame by the blood of the Lamb.” [Rev. 12.11.] What is that? It is believing in Jesus Christ, and employing Him, and giving Him much credit who is the Captain of our salvation, and was made perfect through suffering. Oh sad, that there is so little faith exercised in our days! For faith will say to this mountain, “Remove to yonder place,” and it will be removed. “There is nothing impossible to him that believes.” [Mark. 9. 23.] “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb.” Indeed, he that believes will overcome if it were on a scaffold, or even lying upon the ground in the fields, and his blood gushing out, for his blood when it is gone is, by virtue of the blood of Jesus Christ, crying for vengeance. Oh, the noble victories that have been won on scaffolds and other places in this land by our Lord over the dragon and his angels! “The dragon and his angels have fought with Michael and his angels, but the dragon hath been cast down.” [Rev. 12.7-8.]

2. A second means is their testimony. “They overcame by the word of their testimony.” [Rev. 12.11.] It is a shame for this generation that they are so much for silence, and against a testimony, when the Lord is extorting it from them. And if any appear for a testimony, the rest are afraid and offended thereby. “They overcame by the word of their testimony.” Had we openly, plainly, and avowedly pleaded with our Mother-Church, and testified against the sins of our rulers, we should not have lain so long under the feet of the usurper, of him who is the stated enemy of Jesus Christ, nor under the feet of those under him. Indeed, it is a testimony at this time to come out to preach and to hear preaching in this manner. But oh, that such a testimony were in our power! We should see about it. For my part, I would think it our duty, were there a possibility that we could get away, to go and tell them to their face that they are traitors to God, and abominable persons. This we have often said in the fields, that our chief ruler is a traitor to God and our Mother-Church, and when we go to the market crosses, to declare it by papers [i.e., in the Sanquhar Declaration of 22 June], the most part are offended in our Lord at this time. But I will tell you I desire not to take the praise to myself, but I say, if that testimony be adhered unto, it will give them a sore blow, even that testimony or paper that hath accidentally fallen into their hands, and hath been left at crosses [i.e., the ‘Queensferry Paper’ discovered on 3 June]. If the testimony given at Rutherglen, May 29, 1679, had been adhered to, we would have seen other things of that people than we have seen; the Lord would have countenanced His people and owned their testimony. I say, set about the giving of a testimony. This will hasten the Lord to come out of His place to save His children.

3. “They overcame by not loving their lives unto the death” [Rev. 12.11.] – that is, by suffering; and indeed suffering gives a noble clash to enemies. We never lost anything by suffering cleanly, but gained much by those who have lost their lives on fields and scaffolds. Many folk will say, “Indeed we should suffer;” but, say they, “We should not fight.” But let me see the man that says he is not for fighting (it is true, if the Lord call not to it, it should be so); but, for suffering, it may be confined in the breadth of a farthing that that man will suffer; for those that cry down defensive arms in these times, when they see it comes to this, “You must do this or suffer,” will suffer the wrongs done to Jesus Christ, but they will never suffer the least loss as to their own matters. They will suffer the gospel to go away. We are ashamed of such folk as pretend to suffer for Christ [i.e., moderate presbyterians], while in the meantime they submit to every temptation. There is never an act made by the enemies for some years past but they yield to it. Some will say, “I could not help taking the bond and paying the cess and locality.” “I wot well” (says each of them), “I did it against my will, so that it was my affliction and suffering.” But as for such suffering the Lord will not thank you for it: it is not suffering, it is yielding.

4. There is a fourth means we would prescribe to you in order to the doing what ye can to hasten the Lord’s contending “with them that contend with you;” and you may read it in Luke 18.7. “Pray always, and faint not.” [Luke. 18.1.] “Will not God avenge his own elect, that cry to him day and night, though he bear long with them?” [Luke. 18.7.] Ye must never give over praying. Refuse to give Him rest, or keep silence “till He establish truth, and make Jerusalem a praise in the whole earth.” [Isa. 62.7.] Many of you, it may be, have prayed long and come little speed. “We have been in pain; but brought forth wind” [Isa. 26.18.] – yet you must continue. Continue this month or this year, and ye may get deliverance the next. We cannot set a time, but we know not how soon our deliverance may appear to the view of all, to the terror of enemies, the confusion of them that reproach us, and to the joy of all His people who wait for it; for He is in all appearance coming. Then, cry, “Come forward.” He will avenge His elect. But if ye quit your duty in prayer before He come, ye will get no thanks when He comes for what ye have done. “If the righteous man commit sin, his righteousness shall be forgotten.” [Ezek. 18.24.] There are many such righteous men in Scotland. But when our Lord comes, as for “such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, he shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity.” [Pss. 125.5.] Up, therefore, and be doing! Up to your prayers and the Lord will be with you!

5. Another means to hasten the Lord’s return you have in Psalm 76.10. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of his wrath shalt thou restrain.” Would you have the remainder of man’s wrath restrained? Would you have greater things than verse 11: “Vow, and pay to the Lord your God.” That is the first; but what follows? He will “cut off the spirit of princes, he is terrible to the kings of the earth.” [Pss. 76.12.] Would you have the Lord cut off the spirit of princes—cut off that base and abominable family that have been tyrannizing over these kingdoms? Would you have Him terrible to King Charles, James, Duke of York, and the Duke of Monmouth too? Then vow, and bring yourselves under engagements to the Most High. Let us never imagine that ever a party in Scotland will thrive, or that our Lord will give success unto them, even using other lawful means, except they vow to the Lord and endeavour to perform. But you may say, “Did not that party who arose and appeared in the fields in 1666, renew the Covenant at Lanark, and yet they were broken at Pentland; and never looked so prosperous like afterwards as they did before.”

I dare say it in my Master’s name, and in His strength will make it out, that the reason, the only one I know, that the covenant then sworn to had so little increase and success was because they took in the king’s interest, notwithstanding his having declared himself before a stated enemy to Jesus Christ and His interest. You may read and always observe that in the several reformations that were in Judah, or in the Church of the Jews, they always entered into covenant with accommodations to the circumstances (sins and duties of that time). I do not desire to reflect upon our fathers for bringing home Charles Stuart to get the crown; indeed, some of them, and amongst others the reverend and worthy Mr. [John] Livingston [(d.1672)], did regret and go mourning to the grave for it. Yea, his actions since, and the connivances of those who had his favour or any power under him, evidence that it is impossible to manifest or maintain the royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ and yet maintain the king’s civil rights. Since it is so declared that we must either quit him as king or Christ, indeed for my part I am for no king but Jesus Christ, since they will have none but Caesar. When Christ is seated upon His throne and His crown upon His head, let such magistrates be appointed in every particular station as will employ their power for the advancement of his kingdom, and for destroying the kingdom of darkness in this land and in every place where Christ shall reign; and then let them be owned. We are constrained to say this, and can say in our Lord and Master’s name, that ye should not stumble at vowing and giving testimony, but let vows and covenant go through the land. Yea, though we should not have an army in Scotland, yet, as the Lord lives, though He had not a party to back Him, He will bring down all about us. “Vow and pay to the Lord, and he will cut off the spirit of princes, and be terrible to the kings of the earth.” Yea, they shall bring gifts and presents to our king, for He will make them all shake and quake. It was observed, by old Bishop Spotswood in Edinburgh, when the last bishops were brought down, when he heard that some noblemen and gentlemen were for renewing the national covenant, “Oh,” says he, “we have done with it, since the people are renewing their covenant with God.” And oh, that there were personal entering into covenant, and that there were general and national vowing to God; that they would have none to be head of His Church but Christ, and that they would have none to rule over them but such as are “fearers of God, and a terror to evil doers, haters of covetousness, and a praise to them that do well”! [See Exod. 18.21.] If it were so, we durst pawn our soul for it (if we had it at our disposal), that our Lord would soon arise out of His place, and let us see our desire on our enemies. Oh, that we were so wise now! But, poor people, they are much disheartened and discouraged. They think that no means will do good. Oh, that we were come to acknowledge that we have been walking contrary to Him and He unto us! He would soon in this case appear for our deliverance. If ye ask me, how can I speak so confidently of the Lord’s appearing, and contending with His enemies, since there is so little appearance of it? I answer, There is more appearance of it now than there was in the beginning of June a year [ago] when we had an army (before the break at Bothwell [on 22 June, 1679]). If ye were near God, and if these things were set about that we have spoken to, ye would see delivery very soon. And I will tell you why I cannot think that the time can be far off, in which the Lord is coming to “contend with them that contend with his people.” I will tell you the symptoms of it in these two things. And the

1st Is, that the people of God are very low. And the

2nd Is, that the enemies of God are very high. It may be that they will be higher yet. The army is nothing that they have, compared to what they may have. God will have all His enemies gathered together, and then bring a fatal stroke upon them. For our part we should not care, that not only this army that they have were in a body, but that all our Lord’s enemies in Europe were gathered together, that He might cut them off. It is true our power is gone, but He will not want ways to do it, though His people should never draw a sword. There is none now shut up or left, but the nearer is His coming. “For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants; when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left.” [Deut. 32.36.]

Now I would advise you to look much over the prophetical sermons of worthy Mr. William Guthrie [(d.1665)], for he spake clearly of what is now our lot, and many things he pointed out as marks of the Lord’s return. All outward things that we looked to are laid by. Great men and multitudes of ministers and professors now have gone. Indeed, it is sad to think on the ways they have gone. Yea, many ministers are saying, “Yonder people will get leave to stand or fall to themselves: none will join with them”. Some may think, “Oh, but it would be a hopeful business if all the ministers, professors, and people would join in one.” Indeed, if I saw them all coming to join in one as matters now stand, I would think it good wisdom to run away from that union. It would be a black mark. God will not give His glory to another. He will have few means, and these despicable ones, that His glory may the more conspicuously appear. And if they be such as attract the eyes of the people, I will warrant you they shall be laid by also, though He will make use of some means and instruments. Oh, to wait on Him for counsel, wisdom, courage, and furniture of every sort, for doing and suffering anything He may be calling us to! His and our enemies are laughing at us. Well, go to the Lord and put Him to make out His word: “Thus hast Thou said, and be as good as Thy word. Thou hast heard the blasphemy of Thine enemies.” Plead with Him. You may plead more familiarly with Him than with any man in the countryside. “Hast thou not said, for the oppression of the poor, and sighing of the needy, thou wilt arise?” [Pss. 12.5.] Oh, that we were but groaning to the Lord and telling Him what He hath promised! We would get wonderful things made out by Him. “Concerning my sons and my daughters, command ye me.” [Isa. 45.11.] Nay, there are as great things to be got from the Lord now as ever. He never said “to the house of Jacob, seek ye my face in vain.” [Isa. 45.19.] Let us make use of prayer, and that will not hinder us to make use of other means. I will assure you that you will make all your enemies to tremble and shake yet. What have we to fear? Is not the Lord on our side? and if so it matters not who be against us. Have we not the word of God to be our delight and our support in the time of our affliction? “Unless the law of the Lord had been our delight, we had fainted” [Pss. 119.92.] – we had either declined to that which is sinful, or we had been careless, or had lain down in despair, which would have been sinful also.

Now, on the whole, ye see our case proposed in a word to God “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?”—with His answer, “Thus saith the Lord, the prey shall be taken from the mighty, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” Now go with the answer of this question from the Lord, believing that He is to arise and contend with them that contend with His people.’

PDF Version:

Richard Cameron Carluke Sermon 8 July 1680

Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.

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~ by drmarkjardine on September 15, 2011.

5 Responses to “‘Shall the Prey be Taken from the Mighty?’: Cameron’s Preaching in Carluke parish, 1680”

  1. […] on 22 June, 1680. That attack had continued in Richard Cameron’s preachings at the Gass Water, Carluke and Hynd’s Bottom and at Cargill’s preaching at […]

  2. […] preaching took place a fortnight after Cameron preached at the Gass Water, ten days after his sermon in Carluke parish, and a week after he preached at Hynd’s Bottom. It was Cameron’s last preaching before […]

  3. […] After he preached at the Gass Water, Cameron’s next field preaching was in Carluke parish on Thursday 8 July. […]

  4. […] in the areas where the oath enforced. Instead, he preached in the parishes of Auchinleck (4 July), Carluke (8 July) and Crawfordjohn (11 […]

  5. […] band appears to have varied – continued in the fields. He preached at the Gass Water on 4 July, in Carluke parish on 8 July, at Hyndbottom/Shawhead on 11 July and by the Kype Water with Cargill on 18 July, the latter just […]

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