Prophet Peden, the Martyr and the Suicide: Douglas Parish in 1682
One of Patrick Walker’s stories about Alexander Peden places him in Douglas parish, Lanarkshire, in June 1682:
‘13. In the Month of June 1682, he was in the House of James Brown in Paddockholm above Douglas;’
‘Paddockholm’ is probably a typographic error for ‘Parrochholm’, i.e., Parish Holm in Douglas parish, Lanarkshire. Parish Holm lies ‘above Douglas’ near Glenbuck, the head of the Douglas Water, Cairntable Hill and the shire march with Ayrshire.
‘John Wilson in Lanark was with him, who suffer’d Martyrdom, in the Grass-market of Edinburgh, the next Year, May 1683.’
John Wilson was captured by Lieutenant Crichton on an island in the river Clyde below Lanark. He was executed with David McMillan in Edinburgh on 16 May, 1683. Wilson’s martyrs’ testimony was admired by Hanna Keir, but was rejected by James Renwick and Robert Hamilton. It is possible that Wilson’s connections to Peden were the cause of Renwick and Hamilton’s hostility, as they both urged to Society people to have no contact with Peden.
Peden’s Preaching at Parish Holm
‘He lectured at Night upon the 7th Chap, of Amos, and repeated these Words in the 9th Verse three Times, And I will rise against the House of Jeroboam with the Sword.
The seventh chapter of Amos is as follows in the King James Bible:
‘Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings.
And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord God, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
The Lord repented for this: It shall not be, saith the Lord.
Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me: and, behold, the Lord God called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.
Then said I, O Lord God, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
The Lord repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord God.
Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.
And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:
And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.
Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.
For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.
Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:
But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court.
Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.
Therefore thus saith the Lord; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.’
Peden would return to the seventh chapter of the herdman prophet in 1685, when he once again declared that the Stewart kings would be swept away.
Peden, the Martyr, and the Suicide
‘He laid his Hands on the said John [Wilson], and said, John, Have at the unhappy Race of the Name of Stewarts; Off the Throne of Britain they shall go, if all the World would set Side and Shoulder to hold them on.
Afterwards, in that Exercise, he broke out in a Rapture about our Martyrs, saying, They were going off the Stage with fresh Gales and full Sails, and now they are all Glancing in Glory; O if you saw them! they would fley you out of your Wits. He again laid his Hand upon the said John [Wilson], and said, Encourage your self in the Lord, and follow fast, John; for you’ll win up yonder shortly, and get on all your Bra’s.
That Night he went to the Fields; To morrow, about six a Clock, John [Wilson] went to seek him, and found him coming to the House: He said, John, let us go from this House, for the Devil is about it, and will take his Prey with him. John said, We will take Breakfast ere we go, ‘tis a Question when we get the Offer again. He said, No, no, I will eat no more Bread in this Place; our LandLord [, James Brown in Parish Holm,] is an unhappy Man, the Devil will get him shortly, for he will hang himself:
Which very shortly came to pass. His Daughter Jean Brown was the first that got him, in her Arms, hanging in the Statue: She was reckoned hy all to be a grave Christian Lass, but from that Day had never her Health, and died of a Decay at last, after she had been some Time in Prison for her Principles. This Passage the said John Wilson reported several Times to many, and some yet alive can bear Witness to the Truth of it.’ (Walker, BP, I, 49-50.)
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