The Last Speech of Thomas Robertson, Hanged between Edinburgh & Leith on 9 December, 1684 #History #Scotland

Thomas Robertson apparently lived in Newcastle and was imprisoned, there, for refusing the English oath of allegiance. He escaped and fled to Edinburgh where he was captured in a sweep search of the city on 29 November, 1684. The search of Edinburgh had been provoked by the assassination of two Lifeguards by the Society people at Swine Abbey. Hanna Kier was captured in the same search. Alexander Reid escaped the search.

Robertson was executed at the Gallowlee between Edinburgh and Leith on 9 December, 1684, with James Graham, George Jackson and Thomas Wood.

The Last Speech and Testimony of Thomas Robertson, who suffered at the Gallowlee on 9 December, 1684:

‘Now, Dear Friends,—Time seems to me to be but short; oh! now, welcome long eternity. It is, and has been the butt of my desire, this considerable time, to eye God’s glory, and I preferred it to my own soul’s salvation; yet, when I heard my indictment, it had a strange effect upon me; and although death hath sometimes been my desire for the cause of Christ; yet it seemed not a little terrible unto me, and that for the space of six or seven hours; so that sometimes it had such a prevalency, that I was afraid I should have turned back; and I was so put to it, that I had nothing to hold by but former purposes and determinations; and from the consideration of Christ’s faithfulness, I grappled like a man more than half-drowned. At last I got hold—a small hold of Him whom I could not see. And that small grip which I got through His mercy, I kept until I got more; so that now He has discovered Himself unto me, and He was pleased to stay, and make with me a new contract; so that now, through His grace, I am resolved not to let Him go, let the cost be what it will.

Now, my friends, I say not this for the discouragement of any that is beginning to follow Christ, or any that is already begun; only I do it as a warning. I would fain have poor things to make sure work, and to get sure hold of Him; for although He seems to cover Himself, and that when poor things think they stand in most need, yet He will return unto them, in His own appointed time, and that for the greater advantage of them that are thus trysted [i.e., tried].

Oh! for hearts to love Him! It hath been my great trouble, that I could never love Him much, nor fall upon the right way of worshipping Him. Oh! to have my soul soundly knit to Him. Oh! for strength. Oh! for strength to be carried straight and cleanly through, so that I may lose neither hair nor hoof of the truths of Christ. In so far as I am able to understand, it hath been my great care always to know what was sin, and what was duty. I think I have not been out of my duty in so doing; and I think it is the duty of all persons to be concerned in that matter; for how can persons know how to avoid the one, and cleave to the other, except they distinguish betwixt the two. Now, I shall say no more to that, but only, oh! that folk would make it a great part of their work, to distinguish betwixt the two. tor the cause of Christ, and are banished to foreign lands for the name of Christ, and His most noble cause.

Now, I adhere to the covenant of redemption betwixt the Father and the Son, before the foundation of the world, for redemption of poor things that He has chosen out of the world. O! for love to Him! oh for love to Him! O! now to be with Him, that I may experience the benefit of that Covenant which cost Him His precious blood! And now, seeing He is calling me to give a testimony, I think, if every hair of my head were a man, it is all too little to lay down for Him. O for love to this nonsuch Jesus Christ!

I adhere and leave my testimony to the Word of God, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, by which I must be judged; for if we take any other way, we will be sure to go wrong, for the Spirit of God witnesseth with our spirits, that the Word of God is the only rule by which we ought to walk.

I leave my testimony to the Work of Reformation, once glorious in our land; although, alas! now defaced, and the hedge and government of Christ’s house broken down; and the kingly office of Christ usurped by a cruel and blood-thirsty man, to whom I could wish repentance, if it were the will of God; and to all that associate and join with him; but alas! I think it is hid from their eyes.

Now, I leave my testimony to the National and Solemn League and Covenant, Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Sum of Saving Knowledge, and the several parts of Reformation to this day of my death.

Also, I leave my testimony to all the faithful ambassadors, and sent servants of Jesus Christ, and to the preached Gospel itself; to Mr Donald Cargill, that worthy servant of Jesus Christ, who kept up the standard and banner of Jesus Christ, when the rest fled from Him, and the Lord’s standard. Also, I leave my testimony to Mr James Renwick, as a faithfully and lawfully ordained and called servant of Jesus Christ.

And I leave my testimony to all the testimonies of the faithful martyrs and witnesses of Jesus Christ, that have laid down their lives

And, also, I disown, disclaim, and witness against all this evil and adulterous generation—a generation of revolters, backsliders, and evil-doers, that will meet with severe punishment, great wrath and judgments, and eternal death besides, except they repent.

And now, in a special manner, being convinced of my sin and folly in adhering to Prelacy, and spending the most part of my time in hearing of curates, and thereby approving of them and their corruptions, and corrupt doctrines; notwithstanding that I came always away from hearing them with more hardness of heart than when I went to hear them; but at last I began to consider that matters were not right with me in this case, and hearing that there was a people in the place that were hearers of Presbyterian ministers, but not being acquainted with them, I knew not what to do to be acquainted. However, I presumed to tell my case to one of them, who took me to the place where I heard a Presbyterian minister preach, which left a conviction upon my conscience of my former courses, and that I was out of the way of the Lord for salvation and eternal life. After which time I went no more back to follow them that are in direct opposition to the way of the Lord, our Covenants, and work of Reformation; and by degrees came to see clearly, that the ministers that were most even-down for God, and against the defections and abominations of the time, and this adulterous generation, were only they that the Lord honoured with the revealing of His secrets and His mind concerning the duty of the day; as Mr Donald Cargill, and these that were faithful to the death, and sealed the cause with their blood. And oh! how did I love and long to be a witness for Him, both against my own former ways and the ways of that abominable Prelacy, which now I hate, and to get leave to lay down my life for Christ and His precious truths. And now He has granted me my heart’s desire, and I seal this with my blood that this is the way of God, and His truth, which I now lay down my life for.

Not having time, I shall say no more, but leave my wife to the good guiding of the Lord, and commend Him and His way for her to follow, and my love to her and all my dear friends in Newcastle. Farewell, farewell in our blessed Lord Jesus. And welcome Lord Jesus, for whom I suffer, and whose love I long to have in possession. Welcome heaven and holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, through the blood of the Lamb. Welcome Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, into whose hands I commit my Spirit.
Sic subscribitur,
Thomas Robertson.’

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

~ by drmarkjardine on December 9, 2017.

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