‘Stood Without, in the Rain, and Preached’: Nisbet on Renwick in Late 1687 #History #Scotland

In late 1687, James Nisbet heard James Renwick field preach ‘within two months’ of the latter’s capture, i.e., in about early December.

braids-craigs-blackford-hill

Braid’s Craigs © Anthony O’Neil and licensed for reuse.

Nisbet tells us about the kind of man Renwick was. In the incessant rain, Renwick chose to stand in the downpour with his hearers, rather than use his preaching tent. Renwick had used a preaching tent at Polgavin Moor in 1686.

Craig Minnan

Craig Minnan

We know that Renwick field preached at Craig Minnan by Duchal Moor on the boundary between Kilmacolm parish and Lochwinnoch parish in September.

According to September 1687. Some notes or heads of a preface and sermon [Canticles chapter 4, last verse] at Lintoch – steps, by that great man of God, and now glorified martyr Mr James Renwick, he preached at the ‘Lintoch-steps’, a mysterious location that possibly lay by Linthaugh in Stonehouse parish, in the same month. See also A Choice Collection, 509-21.

Renwick’s indictment when he was captured in February, 1688, also mentioned that he field preached at ‘Braid’s Craigs’, within two miles of Edinburgh, in November.

The preaching Nisbet attended appears to be a different and later event.

‘The latter end of this year [i.e., 1687], I heard that great man of God, Mr. James Renwick, preach on the Song of Solomon, iii, 9, 10, [‘King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.’] where he treated sweetly on the covenant of redemption, agreed on betwixt God the Father and God the Son, his equal, in favours of the elect, and also on the covenant of grace established with believers in Christ. This was a great and sweet day of the gospel, for he handled and pressed the privileges of the covenant of grace with seraphic-like enlargement, to the great edification of the hearers. Sweet and charming were the offers that he made of Christ to all sorts of sinners. There was one thing this day which was very remarkable to me, for though it was rain from morning till night, and we as wet as if drenched in water, yet not one fell sick; and though there was a tent fixed for him, he would not go into it, but stood without, in the rain, and preached: which example had great influence on the people to patience, when they saw his sympathy with them; and though he was the only minister that kept closest to his text, and had the best method for the judgment and memory of any that ever I heard, yet now, when he perceived the people crowding close together, because of the rain, he digressed a little, and cried, with a pleasant melting voice, My dear friends, be not disturbed because of the rain; for to have a covenant interest in Christ, the true Solomon, and in the benefits of his blessed purchase, are well worth the enduring of all temporal elementary storms that can fall on us: and this Solomon, who is here pointed at, endured a far other kind of storm for his people, even a storm of unmixed wrath. And what would the poor damned reprobates in hell give for this day’s offer of sweet and lovely Christ to be their redeemer! and how welcome would our suffering friends, in prison – and banishment, make this day’s offer of Christ! And I, for my own part, says he, as the Lord will help me, shall bear my equal share of this rain in sympathy with you.— And then he returned to his sweet subject again, and offered us peace and reconciliation with God, through Christ, by his spirit. Words fail me to express my own frame, and the frame of many others; only this, we would have been glad to have endured any Kind of death, to have been home at the uninterrupted enjoyment of that glorious Redeemer, who was so livelily and clearly offered to us that day. O my soul, behold and wonder! What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits for here he was remarkably present with us, by inward consolation and outward preservation. But now, with a grieved heart, I must bid a final farewell, in time, to this worthy minister and highly-honoured martyr; for, within two months, he was apprehended after this, and executed at Edinburgh, 17th February 1688. (Nisbet, Private Life of the Persecuted, 196-9.)

For more on the life of James Nisbet, see here.

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Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

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~ by drmarkjardine on October 8, 2016.

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