‘The Wind of God’s Vengeance’ and ‘the Chaff’: Prophet Peden’s Carrick in 1685
At some point in that year, Peden also preached in a barn in Carrick on Psalm 68.1-2.:
‘41. In the same Year 1685; preaching in the Nighttime, in a Barn at Carrick, upon that Text, Psal. Lxviii. 1, 2. Let God arise, and let his Enemies be scattered: Let them also that hate him, flee before him. As Smoke is driven, so drive thou them.
So insisting how the Enemies, and Haters of God and Godliness, were tossed and driven as Smoke or Chaff, by the Wind of God’s Vengeance, while on Earth, and that Wind would blow and drive them all to Hell in the End;
Stooping down, there being Chaff among his Feet, he took a Handful of it, and said, The Duke of York, the Duke of York, and now King of Britain, a known Enemy of God and Godliness; it was by the Vengeance of God that ever he got that Name; but as ye see me throw away that Chaff, so the Wind of that Vengeance shall blow and drive him off that Throne; and he, nor no other of that Name, shall ever come on it again.’ (Walker, BP, I, 77-8.)
Immediately after the story of the wind and the chaff, Patrick Walker recounts a story about Peden field preaching in Girvan parish in Carrick.
‘42. About this Time, preaching at Carrick, in the Parish of Girvin, in the Day-time in the Fields, David Mason, then a Professor, came in haste, trampling upon the People to be near him; he said, There comes the Devil’s Rattle-bag, we do not want him here: After this, the said David became Officer in that Bounds, and an Informer, running throw, rattling his Bag, and summoning the People to their unhappy Courts for their Non-conformity; for that, he and his, got the Name of the Devil’s Rattle-bags, and to this Day do. Since the Revolution, he complain’d to his Minister, that he and his got that Name; the Minister said, Ye well deserved it, and he was an honest Man that gave you it; you and your’s must enjoy it, there’s no Help for it.’ (Walker, BP, I, 78.)
Walker’s story that David Mason was a professing presbyterian who became an ‘officer’ acting against nonconformists implies that Mason may have been one of the Society people in Carrick in mid 1685, but that he then switched to the government side. Other ‘professors’, like Alexander Gordon of Kinsture, would make a similar transition after the schism in the Society people in late 1685. Throughout his works, Walker was relentless in his criticism of such individuals who had broken with the Society people.
Among the parishes of Carrick, Girvan is unusual in that it was not connected with militant presbyterian activity.
Peden’s daytime field preaching probably took place in the hills which bound Girvan parish which lie close to parishes which are frequently connected to militant activity.
Peden and John Welsh are both said to have preached in Kirkoswald parish to the north of Girvan.
Peden’s presence in Carrick in mid 1685 is of interest, as later that year many in the Carrick societies would split from James Renwick and the United Societies’s general convention. Peden’s preaching may have been a factor in that decision. Peden also turned against Renwick in the latter half of 1685.
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