Alexander Hume Hanged at Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross in 1682 #History #Scotland

Under 29 December, 1682:

Alex[ande]r Home portiouner of Home hanged at the [mercat] cross of Edr for treason & rebellion’ (Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, VIII, 142.)

The Gallows Speech of Alexander Hume, Executed at Edinburgh’s Mercat Cross on 29 December, 1682:

‘Men And Brethren,—There is a great confluence of people here at this time, and I fain hope there are some amongst you that desire to be edified by the last words of a dying man;—which shall be but few, because I do not think or judge myself qualified, to enlarge upon any thing I have to say, as need requires and some might expect; and moreover, the time allowed is but short.

And now I am come here to lay down my life, and I bless the Lord that I am not to lay it down as an evil-doer; and albeit I be a sinful man, as others are, by nature, yet through his grace, I hope I am planted in Jesus Christ,—in whom I have redemption and remission of sins through his blood, and am separated from the generation of unbelievers. Free love only hath made the difference, and happily hath ordered it so, that I have been born within the church, where the blessed device of the gospel hath been discovered, and the means of salvation made effectual for converting and building me up in grace, and begetting in me the hope of that glory and redemption which I am now going to possess.

The ground of my sentence is the alleged converse I had with the party that took the castle of Hawick, in the year 1679;—the probation whereof was not clear, and from which the verdict of the assize did materially differ, as is evident from the witnesses’ subscribed depositions, and the recorded verdict of the said assize;—the equity and justice whereof I leave to God, and all unbiassed persons to judge.

I need not be ashamed to live, (as through his grace I am not ashamed to die,) and here I dare say, it has been my study to keep a conscience void of offence towards God, and also towards man. The world represents me as seditious and disloyal, but God is my witness, and my own conscience, of my innocence in this matter; I am loyal and did ever judge obedience unto lawful authority my duty, and the duty of all Christians; I was never against the king’s just power and greatness, and this I commend to all that hear me this day; but all a Christian doth must be of faith, for what clasheth with the command of God cannot be our duty, and I wish the Lord may help the king to do his duty to the people, and the people to do their duty to the king.

It doth minister no small peace and joy to me this day, that the Lord hath set his love upon me, one of Adam’s unworthy posterity, and has given me the best experience of his grace working in my heart, whereby he hath inclined me to look towards himself, and make choice of him for my soul’s everlasting portion. It is the Lord Jesus, and he alone, who is my rock, and the strength and stay of my soul. All my own righteousness I do utterly renounce, as a garment too short for me, yea, as filthy rags. I die a protestant and presbyterian this day, adhering to the holy Scriptures, and work of reformation from popery and prelacy; according to the engagements personal or national lying on me; and I do leave my testimony against all the steps of defection there from, either in doctrine, worship, or government, and all the encroachments made upon the kingdom and privileges of Jesus Christ, and whatever is against the life and power of godliness.

It was the glory and happiness of our land, that the Lord Jesus Christ made choice of us, to dwell in the midst of us by his gospel, and the ordinances thereof, the precious symbols of his presence, by which we had the advantage of many, if not of all the churches about us. But oh and alas I how far are we degenerated, and what contempt of this precious gospel are we become guilty of? We have not received the love of God in our hearts, nor improved him for growth and progress in holiness; in place whereof all manner of impiety and naughtiness does abound, which I fear will provoke the holy and jealous God to send many heavy judgments on the whole land, whereby it may be laid utterly desolate without an inhabitant. ‘Tis to be feared that these things may turn this church into a den of idolatry, and provoke the Beloved to put a bill of final divorce into our harlot mother’s hand. O! what cause is there to fear, that this people, partly through their own ignorance, and partly through the unfaithfulness and delusion of their pretended teachers, shall return again in multitudes into the darkness and superstition of popery, from which the Lord in his mercy delivered our fathers. O! that the Lord would give repentance to this generation, that the evil day might be prevented. Be exhorted to turn from sin, and make your acquaintance and peace with God in time, which is not so easy a work as many apprehend, and who wants his own challenge for negligence in this matter? People love to defer this great concernment until it be too late, unhappily preferring the pleasures of sin to the favour of God, and all the expectations of the saints within or beyond time. Was there ever a generation wherein so many sad prognostics of divine wrath, upon its near approach, did so much abound amongst men of all ranks and capacities of whom far other things were expected, and I am sure, solemnly thereunto obliged, no less than those who have suffered at their hands upon that account ?—which cannot but highly aggravate sin, heighten and hasten judgment beyond ordinary,—which I pray the Lord may prevent. He knows I desire not the evil day; I would exhort the Lord’s people to study much nearness to God, and oneness among themselves, that being of one mind and one spirit, they may stand fast for the faith o the gospel, which is in such palpable hazard this day, as all who have but half an eye may see. I cannot but be sensible of the sharpness and severity of my sentence, which, after strict inquiry, will be found to be as hard measure as any have met with before me: which seems to flow from some other thing than what law and justice could allow I wish, I may be the last that may be thus dealt with. I question not but if competent time had been given, that application might have been made unto his majesty,—his clemency would not have been wanting in this case. Nevertheless, I bless the Lord, I find it in my heart to forgive all men, even as I desire to be forgiven, and obtain mercy in that day; and if there be any at whose door my blood may more directly lie than others, I pray the Lord to forgive them; and now I wish it may be well with the land when I am gone. My conscience bears me witness, I ever studied the good of my country; I hope I shall be no loser that I have gone so young a man off the stage of this world, seeing I am to make so blest an exchange, as to receive eternal life, the crown of glory, the near and immediate fruition of the blessed Father, Son,and Holy Ghost, in place of a short, frail, and miserable life here below. I bless his name he made me willing to take share with his persecuted people, for I hope I shall also share with them in their consolations, when he shall wipe all tears from their eyes, and they shall suffer no more, but reign with him in his kingdom.

I am shortly to be clothed upon with my house from above, and that city that hath foundations; I shall sin no more. O desirable condition! when beyond all hazard of offending God any more, I shall be capable both of serving God, and enjoying him more: I shall wander and toil no more, having reached that harbour of eternal rest.

I now contentedly take my leave of the world. Farewell all enjoyments, earthly pleasures, and contentments: Farewell friends and relations, in whom I had much satisfaction: Farewell my dear wife and children, dear indeed unto me, though not so dear as Christ, for whom I now willingly suffer the loss of all things, and yet am no loser! I leave them on the tender mercies of Christ. Now, welcome blessed Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; welcome innumerable company of angels, and spirits of just men made perfect: welcome celestial city; welcome endless joy I And now, O Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit, Lord Jesus receive my soul!

Alexander Hume.’ (Cloud of Witnesses and Naphtali, 424-7.)

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~ by drmarkjardine on December 29, 2017.

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