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N preparing this volume of Select Biographies
for the Members of the Wodeow Society, the
principle of selection adopted was that of singling
out individuals who acted a prominent part in their
eventful times, but whose histories were not so generally known
as it appeared they ought to be. Acting on this principle,
chronological order has in general been followed, and the Life of
Joim Welsh readily occurred as the most appropriate for com-
mencing the Series. The present Memoir is a reprint of the Life
first published at Edinburgh, by George Mosman, in 1703 ; and
universally ascribed to the Rev. James Kirkton, himself a sufferer
in those troublous times, and related by marriage to Welsh.
But it must be confessed that the Life is neither so full of incident,
nor so satisfactory in its details, as the character of him who forms
its subject demands. Indeed, it may be regarded rather as
sketching some passages of Welsh's history, than as presenting a
full delineation of his character, and the Life of John Welsh has
yet to be written.


To compensate, in some degree, for the meagreness or defects of
the work here reprinted, an attempt has been made to collect, from
various other som'ces, facts which were unknown to Kirkton, or
unnoticed by him, and to introduce them as notes to the work. The
Members of the Wodrow Society are thus presented with all
that is easily accessible, or accurately known, of one who certainly
ranked among the most remarkable men of his time, at once for
learning, piety, and zeal. It has not been deemed necessary to
offer any remarks on the claims to prophetic power put forth on
this Reformer's behalf. The Editor, in accordance with the con-
stitution of the Society, reckoned it his province merely to embody
the statements of others — not to speculate concerning them.

Regarding the Life of Welsh, we would only farther add, that
the most common mode of spelling his name is that which is here
adopted. He wrote it differently himself at different periods, and
it has passed through various changes, from Welsche to Welshe,
Welche, "Welch, and Welsh.

The Life of Patrick Simson, the second in the Series, is
printed from one of the Wodrow MSS., in the Library of the
Faculty of Advocates. Though less known than Welsh, the
character of Simson is scarcely less admirable than his ; and
whether for his learning, his judiciousness in counsel, or his bold-
ness in opposing what he reckoned error, few of his contemporaries
surpassed Patrick Simson.

Concerning the Life here published, it may be remarked, that


the MS. from which it is printed diiFers in some places from other
sources of information regarding him : for example, from Kow's
CoRONis. In some instances also, the MS. could not be easily
pointed, — or the meaning accurately discovered, — ^but the perusal
of the Life, in the form in which it now appears, will perhaps sug-
gest the desire that we knew more of the personal history and
habits of such a master in Israel as this sketch exhibits Simson to
have been. It is not improbable that some additional information
concerning him might be gleaned from the Records of the Presby-
tery of Stirling, from those of his parish, or of the burgh where he
laboured for so many years as a minister of Christ.

The third Life in the Series — that of John Livingstone — an
interesting autobiography, is also printed from a MS. in the
Advocates' Library, carefully collated with other MSS. by Rev.
James Anderson, especially with one now in the possession of
Rev. Thomas M^Crie. The latter, at one period, belonged to
Anna Elizabeth Lundin, and was bequeathed to her by her mother,
Anna Livingstone, daughter of William Livingstone, the eldest
son of John. This MS. is said to be taken " fr^om the principall
writ by himself, [John Livingstone,] and compaired." It seems,
however, to be verbally less correct than Wodrow's, and the latter
was, therefore, adopted as the basis of the present edition. It will
be seen that it differs considerably fi'om editions formerly printed.

Besides The Autobiography and Characteristics op Liv-
ingstone, this volume contains various other productions of that
distinguished man, some of which, we believe, are printed for the


first time. The object was to bring togetbcr all tbat could throw
light on the life and character of one who occupied so conspicuous
a sphere in the times in which he lived ; and it is scarcely too
much to say, that the documents here laid before the Members of
the WODROW Society perhaps embody aU that can now be
known regarding him.^

But in order to exhibit as fully as possible the character of
Livingstone himself, of his times, and his friends, there are ap-
pended to his own productions some Letters from one of his
correspondents, — a lady who stood very high in his estimation,
Elizabeth Melville, Lady Colville of Cidross. They indi-
cate not merely the estimate in which Livingstone was held, but
present us indirectly with instructive glimpses of the manners and
spirit of his times. The views expressed by Lady ColviUe in
these letters, as well as the sentiments recorded by another lady
in the " Soliloquies" Avhich close this volume, exhibit to us how
perfect was the sympathy, and how vigorous the co-operation, of
the female mind in the sufferings and events of the times when
Israel was troubled.

As a Prefatory Note introduces, and in some degree explains,
nearly all the other portions of the volume, it is needless to refer

1 There are two portraits in the possession of the Eight Honourable the Earl
of Wemyss, at Gosford House, said to be those of Livingstone and his wife.
AVe may here observe, that in some MSS. his stipend from one of his parishes is
mentioned at L.40 per annum ; but startling as it may appear, this is a mistake
for L.4. — (See Reid's Hist, of the Presbyterian Church in L'eland, vol. i.
p. 124.)


to them here in detail ; and we only remark, in reference to the
spelling, which varies so much in different MSS., or even in the
same at different places, that we have generally followed the ori-
ginal words when editing from MSS., and been less particular in
reference to what had formerly been printed, and in a great measure

The Members of the Wodrow Society are indebted to the
Eev. Thomas M^Crie for the use of several MSS., which will be
found frequently referred to in this volume ; to the Rev. J.
Stevenson of Newton-on-Ayr, for his kindness in procuring ex-
tracts illustrative of the Life of Welsh, from the Records of the
Kirk-Session of Ayr ; to James Pateeson, Esq., of that town, for
his kindness and pains in decyphering and transcribing them ; to
William Brown, Esq., surgeon, Edinburgh, for the use of
a valuable MS. of Livingstone's Life and two MSS. of his
Characteristics, and to other friends for the use of works,
which tended to throw light on various passages of the different
Biographies, especially those of Welsh and Simson.

The Second Volume of Select Biographies will form part
of the issue to the Members for the year 1846.

W. K. T.

Edinburgh, 15, George Square,
4.th December 1845.


The History of Mr John Welsh, Minister of the Gospel at Ayr,
Appendix to the History of Mr John Welsh, ....



A True Record of the Life and Death of Master Patrick
Simsone. Written by his Brother, Archibald Simsone,
Minister at Dalkeith, G3

A Sermon by the Rev. A. Simson, Minister at Dalkeith, on the

Death of Master Patrick Simson, an/io 1618, . . .113

A Brief Historical Relation of the Life of Mr John Living-
stone, Minister of the Gospel : Containing several observa-
tions of the Divine Goodness manifested to him in the several
occurrences thereof. Written by himself, during his banish-
ment in Holland for the cause of Christ, . . . ,127

The Substance of a Discourse had by Mr John Livingstone, to

his Parish at Ancrum, 13th of October 1662, . . .199

Ane Accompt of what past when Mr John Livingstone appeared
before the Council, in the Lower Council-house at Edinburgh,
December 11, 1662, at which time they banished him, . 213



A Letter from Mr John Livixgstoxe to his Parish, before his
departui'o forth of tlie kingdom, when permission to visit it,
after his sentence, was refused, 223

A Letter written by that famous and faithful Minister of Christ,
Mr John Livingstone, unto his Parishioners of Ancrum, in
Scotland, dated Rotterdam, October 7, 1G71, . . . 231

Letters of Mr John Livingstone relating to the public events of

his time, .......... 255

Sayings and Observations of Mr John Livingstone, late Minister
of the Gospel at Ancrum. Collected from his own Manu-
script, 277

Remarks on Preaching and Praying in Pcjblic, by Mr John

Livingstone, 287

Observations by Mr John Livingstone, previous to his death, 290

Memorable Characteristics, and Remarkable Passages of
Divine Providence, exemplified in the Lives of some of the
most eminent Ministers and Professors in the Churcli of
Scotland. Collected bj Mr John Livingstone, late Minister

at Ancrum, . 293

Part I. — Some of the Ministers in the Church of Scot-
land, of whom I have only heard, .... 295
Part II. — Some of the Ministers in the Church of Scot-
land, whom I have known, and had acquaintance of, 305
Part III. — The Ministers in Ireland with whom I had
acquaintance and converse, from tlie year 1G30 to the
year 1G37, and some whereof were thereafter Ministers

in Scotland, 322

Part IV.— Some of the faithful and able Ministers in the
Church of Scotland, at or after the blessed Reformation,
in the year 1G38, and who died before the year IGGO, 330



Part V. — Some of the faithful and able Ministers of the
Church of Scotland, at or after the blessed Reformation,
1638, and who died after 1660, .... 334

Part VI. — Some of the Professors in the Church of Scot-
land, eminent for Grace and Gifts, of whom I have only
heard, 336

Part VII. — Some of the Professors in the Church of Scot-
land, of mj acquaintance, who were eminent for Grace
and Gifts, 341

Letters from Elizabeth, Daughter of Sir James Melvill of Hal-
hiU, and Wife of John, Lord Colvill of Culross, to Mr John
Livingstone, 349

The Last and Heavenly Speeches, and Glorious Departure,

OF John, Viscount Kenmuke, . . . . . 371

The Memoirs of Walter Pringle of Greenknow ; or some few
of the Free Mercies of God to him, and his Will to his
Children, left to them under his own hand, . . . 411
The Copy of a Letter, written by Walter Pringle of Green-
know, from Elgin, to his family, . . , . 491

An Account of the Particular Soliloquies and Covenant
Engagements, past betwixt Mrs Janet Hamilton, the defunct
Lady of Alexander Gordon of Earlstoun, upon several diets,
and at several places, which were found in her cabinet among
her papers after her death, at Earlstoun, February 26, 1696 ;
being aU written and subscribed with her own hand, and
thought fit to be discovered for the encouragement of others
to do the like duty, at the desire of pious friends, , . 495

Index, 509












ASTER John Welsh was born a gentleman, his
father being Laird of Coliestoun/ (an estate rather
competent than large, in the shire of Nithsdale,)
about the year 1570,^ the dawning of our Reforma-
tion being then but dark. He was a rich example
of grace and mercy, but the night went before the day, being a
most hopeless extravagant boy. It was not enough to him fre-
quently, when he was a young stripling, to run away from the
school, and play the truant ; but after he had past his grammar, and
was come to be a youth, he left the school and his father's house,
and went and joined himself to the thieves on the English Border,
who lived by robbing the two nations ; and amongst them he staid
till he spent a suit of clothes. Then when he was clothed only with
rags, the prodigal's misery brought him to the prodigal's resolu-
tions : so he resolved to return to his father's house, but durst not

^ It lies in the parish of Dunscore according to some, of Irongray according to
others. — (M'Gavin's edit, of Scottish Worthies, Life of Mr John Welsh.)
3 1569.


adventure till he should intei-pose a reconciler. So in his return
homeward, he took Dumfries in his way, where he had an aunt,
one Agnes Forsyth ; and with her he diverted some days, earnestly
entreatino' her to reconcile him to his father. TVTiile he lurked
in her house, his father came providentially to the house to salute
his cousin, IMrs Forsyth ; and after they had talked a while, she
asked him whether ever he had heard any news of his son John :
To her he repHed ^^dth great grief, O cruel woman, how can you
name liis name to me ? the first news I expect to hear of liun is
that he is hanged for a thief. She answered. Many a profligate
boy had become a vu^tuous man, and comforted him. He insisted
upon his sad complaint, but asked whether she knew liis lost son
was yet alive ; she answered. Yes, he was, and she hoped he should
prove a better man than he was a boy : and with that she called
upon him to come to his father. He came weeping, and kneeled,
beseeching his father for Christ's sake to pardon his misbehaviour,
and deeply engaged to be a new man. His father reproached him
and threatened him ; yet at length, by the boy's tears and Mrs
Forsyth's importunities, he w^as persuaded to a reconciliation.
The boy entreated his father to put him to the college, and there
to try his behaviour, and if ever thereafter he should break, he said
he should be content his father should disclaim him for ever : so
his father carried him home, and put him to the college,^ and there
he became a diligent student of great expectation, and showed
himself a sincere convert, and so he proceeded to the ministry.

His first post in the ministry was at Selldrk, while he was yet
very young, and the country rude. While he was there, his
ministry was rather admu'ed by some than received by many ; for
he was always attended mth the prophet's shadow, the hatred of
the ■\^icked ; yea, even the ministers of that country were more
ready to pick a quarrel with his person than to follow his doctrine,
as may appear to this day in their Synodal Records, where we find

^ He was educated in the University of Edinburgh, wliere he took his degree
of M.A. in 1588, — (Miscellany of Wod. Soc. p. 543,) — and was ordained, per-
haps, in 1589.


he had many to censure him, and only some to defend him ; yet it
was thought his ministry in that place was not without fruit,
though he staid but short time there. Being a young man,
unmarried, he tabled himself in the house of one Mitclielhill, and
took a young boy of his to be his bedfellow, who to his dying day
retained both a respect to Mr Welsh and his ministry, from the
impressions Mr Welsh's behaviour made upon his aj)prehension
though but a child. His custom was, when he went to bed at
night, to lay a Scottish plaid above his bed-clothes, and when he
went to his night prayers, to sit up and cover himself negligently
therewith, and so to continue. For from the beginning of his
ministry to his death, he reckoned the day ill spent if he staid not
seven or eight hours in prayer ; and this the boy would never
forget even to hoary hairs.

I had once the curiosity, travelling through that toTv^l, to call
for an old man, (his name was Ewart,) who remembered upon Mr
Welsh's being in that place ; and after other discourses, inquired
of him what sort of a man ^ir Welsh was. His ansAver was, O Sir,
he was a type of Christ : an expression more significant than proper ;
for his meaning was, that he was an example that imitated Christ,
as indeed in many things he did. He told me also that his
custom was to preach publicly once every day, and to spend his
whole time in spiritual exercises ; that some in that place waited
well upon his ministry with great tenderness, but that he was con-
strained to leave that place because of the malice of the wicked.

The special cause of his departure was, a profane gentleman
in the country, (one Scot of Headschaw, whose family is now
extinct ;) but because ]\Ir Welsh had either reproved him, or merely
from hatred, ^ir Welsh was most unworthily abused by the un-
happy man ; and amongst the rest of the injuries he did him, this
was one : INIr Welsh kept always two good horses for his use ; and
the mcked gentleman, when he could do no more, either with his
own hand, or his servant's, cut off the rumps of the two innocent
beasts, upon which followed such effusion of blood that they both
died ; which Mr Welsh did much resent : and such base usage as


this persuaded him to listen to a call to the ministry at Kirkcud-
bright,^ which was his next post.

But when he was to leave Selku'k, he could not find a man in all
the town to transport his fiirniture except only Ewart, who was at
that time a poor young man, but master of two horses, mth which
he transported IMr Welsh's goods, and so left him ; but as he took
his leave, INIr Welsh gave him his blessing, and a piece of gold for
a token, exhorting him to fear God, and promised he should never
want : which promise Providence made good through the whole
course of the man's life, as was observed by all his neighbours.

At Kirkcudbright he staid not long ; but there he reaped a
harvest of converts which subsisted long after his departure, and
were a part of Mr Samuel Kutherford's flock, though not his
parish, while he was minister at Anwoth ; yet when his call to Ayr
came to him, the people of the parish of Ku'kcudbright never
offered to detain him, so his transportation to Ayr was the more

^Vliile he was in Kirkcudbright, he met ^^iith a young gallant in
scarlet and silver lace, (the gentleman's name was Mr Robert
Glendoning,) new come home from his travels, and much surprised
the young man by telling him he behoved to change his garb and
way of life, and betake himself to the study of the Scriptm^es,
which at that time was not his business, for he should be his
successor in the ministry at Kirkcudbright ; Avhich accordingly
came to pass some time thereafter.

Mr Welsh was transported to Ayr in the year 1590,^ and there

^ He was translated about 1594: or 1595.

2 This must be a misprint. "Welsh was then only about twenty years of age.
Dr Murray (Lit. History of Galloway) says his translation could not have taken
place till towards the end of the year 1599. T)r M'Crie quotes a document
•which refers to Welsh as minister of Kirkcudbright in February 1602. The
dedication of his work on Popery is dated at Ayr in November of that year, so
that his translation must have taken place between these two dates. From Forbes'
MS. History of the Reformation in Scotland, it appears that Welsh had made him-
self obnoxious to the king so early as 1595. When he and Forbes were first dealt
with in the matter of the Aberdeen Assembly, Forbes says of Welsh : — "He always
had in most fervent zeal declared himself enemie to whatsoever intention in kino-


he contluued till he was banished. There he had a very hard begin-
ning, but a very sweet end : for when he came first to the town,
the country was so wicked, and the hatred of godliness so great,
that there could not one in all the town be found who would let
him a house to dwell in : so he was constrained to accommodate
himself the best he might in a part of a gentleman's house for a
time. The gentleman's name was John Stewart, merchant, and
sometimes Provost of Ayr, an eminent Christian, and great assistant
of Jyir Welsh.

And when he had first taken up his residence in that town, the
place was so divided into factions, and filled with bloody conflicts,
a man could hardly ^va\k the streets with safety ; w^herefore, ^ir
Welsh made it his first undertaking to remove the bloody quarrel-
lings, but he found it a very difficult work ; yet such was his
earnestness to pursue his design, that many times he would rush
betwixt two parties of men fighting, even in the midst of blood
and wounds. He used to cover his head with a head-piece before
he went to separate these bloody enemies, but would never use a

or counsell wliilk was contraire to the truth of God, and only true government of
his house ; wherupon, after the foresaid trouble in Edinburgh, raised the 17th of
December 1595, as said is, he having both greatly and sohdly, in great Hbertie
and freedom of the Spirit, in the pulpit of Edinburgh, uttered the counseU and
will of God to his Majestie and counsillors, not sparing to rebuke their known
enormities, was forced, for fear of his hfe, being most hatefully pursued and
sought for, to escape by withdrawing himself, as the minister of Edinburgh was
likewyse forced to do for a time." — (Forbes' MS. History, p. 65.)

Calderwood (anno 1596) mentions John Welsh among commissioners named
by the Assembly to visit Nithsdale and other " dangerous parts." Row's Hist,
of Kirk of Scotland (anno 1596) has the following among " Petitions given in
by the Assemblie to the king:" — "5°, That your Majesty may be pleased to
suffer Mr D. Black, Mr John Welsh, and Mr John Howison, to return to their
flocks."— (Wod. Soc. edit. p. 181.)

[John Forbes (to whose MS. History reference will be frequently made) was
the third son of William Forbes of Corse and O'Neil, in the county of Aberdeen,
and brother of Patrick Forbes, bishop of that city. He was first minister at
Alford ; and adhering with great zeal to the Presbyterian discipline, was at
lenoth driven into exile on account of his having acted as moderator of the
Aberdeen Assembly, 1605. He settled in Holland, and successively officiated
as a clergyman at Middleburgh and Delft. He died in exile about the year
lG:j4._(Kev. Thomas M'Crie.) ]


sword, that they might see he came for peace, and not for war ;
and so by little and little he made the tovm a peaceable habitation.

His manner was, after he had ended a sldrmish amongst his
neighbom's, and reconciled these bitter enemies, to cause cover a
table upon the street, and there brought the enemies together ; and
beginning -wdth prayer, he persuaded them to profess themselves
fi'iends, and then to eat and drink together. Then last of all he
ended the work with singing a psalm : for after the rude people
began to observe his example, and listen to his heavenly doctrine,
he came quickly to that resj)ect amongst them, that he became not
only a necessary counseller, without whose counsel they would do
nothing, but an example to imitate ; and so he buried the bloody

He gave himself wholly to ministerial exercises ; he preached
once every day, he prayed the third part of his time, was unwearied
in his studies ; and for a proof of this, it was found among his
papers that he had abridged Suarez's metaphysics, when they
came first to his hand, even when he was well stricken in years.
By all which it appears, that he has been not only a man of great
diligence, but also of a strong and robust natural constitution,
otherwise he had never endured the fatig-ue.

But if his diligence was great, so it is doubted whether his sowing

Online LibraryW. K. (William King) TweedieSelect biographies (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 41)