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A few things we would name, that we should look to for preparing of us.
1st, We should study to have our ship as light of all unnecessary burdens as we can. I mean all things of a present world, all things beside God and our precious soul; we should have as little weight of these things on our spirits as we may, for they will sink our ship in a storm.
2dly, We should be careful to make friendship with Jesus Christ, that blessed pilot, that we may get him in the ship with us, for we are not able to steer our ship in a storm.
3dly, We should be careful to keep a low sail, to have our spirits humble and low before the Lord, for the humble soul is most like to hold out when the wind and storm blows.
4thly, We should be careful to get the knowledge of the cause that we profess; for indeed a dark night is ill to sail in when the wind blows, and when there are quicksands before us.
And, lastly, We should be careful to have our ship well ballasted with the faith and patience of the saints.
USE IV. We would consider what grounds of consolation we shall have for strengthening of our hearts, if we bide fast by the cause of Jesus Christ, for the biding out of a storm, if so be God be pleased to bring it on us.
We might name many, only at this time take these few. The first ground of encouragement, is, that you have a good cause, I mean the cause of God, and the interest of Jesus Christ. Speak against it who will, forsake it who will, reproach and persecute it who will, doubtless, good is the cause, the cause is worth the contending for, worth the suffering any thing that can come for it.
2dly, Another thing to be a ground of comfort to us, is, as we have a good cause, so we have a good Captain too, Jesus Christ the Lord, who is the Captain and Prince of salvation, who was never put to the worse, and who sits at the right hand of the Father, and will reign there till he make all his enemies his footstool.
3dly, Another thing to be a ground of consolation to us
is, as we have a good cause, and a good captain, so we have good company too; all in whose hearts the fear of the Lord is in these three nations; yea more, we have all the saints that have lived since the beginning of the world; for all the cause they have owned and suffered for, is one and the same, though there be sundry branches of it: we have also the blessed promises of God, and we have the experience of all the saints; we have also our own experiences, and many things more of that kind. Oh that we knew our privileges, for strengthening of our hearts to be sincere and stedfast in his work! And so we close.
LAST SPEECH UPON THE SCAFFOLD,
JUNE 1. 1661.
MEN and brethren, I fear many of you are come hither to gaze, rather than to be edified by the carriage and last words of a dying man; but if any have an ear to hear, as I hope some of this great confluence have, I desire your audience to a few words. I am come hither to lay down this earthly tabernacle and mortal flesh of mine, and I bless God, through his grace, I do it willingly, and not by constraint. I say, I suffer willingly. If I had been so minded, I might have made a diversion, and not been a prisoner; but being conscious to myself of nothing worthy of death or of bonds, I would not stain my innocency with the suspicion of guiltiness, by withdrawing. Neither have I wanted opportunities and advantages to escape since I was a prisoner, not by the fault of my keepers, God knoweth, but otherwise; but neither for this had I light or liberty, lest I should
reflect upon the Lord's name, and offend the generation of the righteous. And if some men have not been mistaken, or dealt deceitfully in telling me so, I might have avoided not only the severity of the sentence, but also had much favour and countenance, by complying with the courses of the times. But I durst not redeem my life with the loss of my integrity: God knoweth, I durst not; and that since I was a prisoner, he hath so holden me by the hand, that he never suffered me to bring it in debate in my inward thoughts, much less to propone or hearken to any overture of that kind. I did judge it better to suffer than to sin; and therefore, I am come hither to lay down my life this day, and I bless God, I die not as a fool; not that I have any thing wherein to glory in myself: I acknowledge that I am a sinner, yea, one of the greatest and vilest that has owned a profession of religion, and one of the most unworthy that has preached the gospel. My corruptions have been strong and many, and have made me a sinner in all things, yea, even in following my duty; and therefore, righteousness have I none of my own, all is vile. But I do believe “that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, whereof I am chief;" through faith in his righteousness and blood have I obtained mercy; and through him, and in him alone, have I the hope of a blessed conquest and victory over sin and Satan, and hell and death, and that I shall attain unto the resurrection of the just, and be made partaker of eternal life. "I know in whom I have believed, and that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. I have preached salvation through his name, and as I have preached, so do I believe, and do commend the riches of his free grace and faith in his name unto you all, as the only way whereby ye can be saved.
And, as I bless the Lord, that I die not as a fool, so also that I die not for evil doing. Not a few of you may haply judge that I suffer as a thief, or as a murderer, or as an evil-doer, or as a busy-body in other men's matters. It was the lot of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and of many
of his precious servants and people, to suffer by the world as evil-doers; and as my soul scareth not at it, but desireth to rejoice in being brought into conformity with my blessed Head, and so blessed a company in this thing; so I desire and pray, that I may be to none of you to-day upon this account a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. Blessed is he that shall not be offended at Jesus Christ, and his poor servants and members, because of their being condemned as evil-doers by the world. God is my record, that in these things for which sentence of death hath passed against me, I have a good conscience. I bless God they are not matters of compliance with sectaries, or designs or practices against his majesty's person or government, or the person and government of his royal father. My heart, I bless God, is conscious to no disloyalty, nay, loyal I have been, and I commend it to you to be loyal and obedient in the Lord. True piety is the foundation of true loyalty. A wicked man may be a flatterer and a time server, but he will never be a loyal subject.
But to return to my purpose; the matters for which I am condemned, are matters belonging to my calling and function as a minister of the gospel, such as the discovery and reproving of sin, the pressing and the holding fast of the path of God in the covenant, and preserving and carrying the work of religion and reformation according thereto, and denying to acknowledge the civil magistrate, as the proper competent immediate judge in causes ecclesiastical. That in all these things, which God so ordering by his gracious providence, are the grounds of my indictment and death, I have a good conscience, as having walked therein according to the light and rule of God's word, and as it did become a minister of the gospel.
I do also bless the Lord that I do not die as one not desired. I know that by not a few, I neither have been nor am desired. It hath been my lot to have been a man of contention and sorrow; but it is my comfort that for my own things I have not contended, but for the things of Jesus
Christ, for what relateth to his interest and work; and the well-being of his people. In order to the preserving and promoting of these, I did protest against, and stood in opposition unto these late assemblies at St Andrews, Dundee, and Edinburgh, and the public resolutions for bringing the malignant party into the judicatories and armies of this kingdom, conceiving the same contrary to the word of God, and to our solemn covenant engagements; and to be an inlet to the defection, and to the ruin and destruction of the work of God. And it is now manifest to many consciences that I have not been therein mistaken, and was not fighting against a man of straw. I was also desirous, and did use some poor endeavours, to have the church of God purged of insufficient, and scandalous, and corrupt ministers and elders: for these things I have been mistaken by some, and hated by others. But I bless the Lord, as I had the testimony of my own conscience, so I was and am therein approven in the consciences of many of the Lord's precious servants and people; and however so little I may die desired by some, yet by these I know I do die desired, and their approbation, and prayers, and affection is of more value with me than the contradiction, or reproach, or hatred of many others. The love of the one I cannot recompense, and the mistake, or hatred, or reproach of the other I do with all my heart forgive; and wherein I have offended any of them, I do beg their mercy and forgiveness. I do from my soul wish that my death may be profitable unto both, that the one may be confirmed and established in the straight ways of the Lord; and that the other, if the Lord so will, may be convinced, and cease from these things that are not good, and do not edify but destroy.
One thing I would warn you all of,-that God is wroth, yea, very wroth with Scotland, and threateneth to depart and remove his candlestick. The causes of his wrath are many; and would to God it were not one great cause, that causes of wrath are despised and rejected of men! Consider the cause that is recorded (Jer. xxxvi.), and the conse