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Kilsyth, A Parish History
Chapter III


John Livingston—A Burning and Shining Light—Appearance and Disposition—Birth and Education—Mouse Water Cave —Licensed—Continued Opposition—Torpbichen—Countess of Wigton—Persecution and its Results—Stewarton Revival— Shott’s Revival—Livingston’s Great Sermon—The Holyrood Sermon—Three Young Men—Livingston’s Methods—Killinchy —Suspended—Attempts to Reach America—Marriage—Deposed-Second Attempt to Reach America—Stranraer—Newburn Skirmish—Commissioner to the King—“The Plague to Scotland”—Cromwell and Livingston—Cromwell asks him to Preach—His Prayer—Oliver has enough of John—Summoned before Privy Council—Banished—Life in Holland, and Studies— Death.

Than John Livingston of Monyabroch, Stranraer, and Ancrum, in Scottish ecclesiastical history there are few men whose memories are more warmly cherished. He was the greatest preacher of his day, and there still clings to his

memory the fragrance which was exhaled from his saintly life. During a career of the allotted span he maintained a walk and conversation singularly befitting the Gospel.

He was a man of prayer, and lived near to the Blood of Sprinkling. Left to himself, he would have chosen a life of obscurity among the simple folk of some remote parish. It was persecution that dragged him into fame. But not persecution wholly. His ministry was in demonstration of the Spirit and in power. Even when he conducted his family devotions, men so crowded about him and hungered after his utterances that he was obliged, by reason of the press, to set up his family altar in his church. “Oh! when I remember that burning and shining light, worthy and warm Mr. Livingston, who used to preach as within the sight of Christ and the glory to be revealed!” exclaimed one of his contemporaries, when he looked back on the times of refreshing he enjoyed in his presence.

His appearance and disposition may help to bring his personality nearer. In Scotland there is only one known portrait, and it is in the possession of Sir Arthur Grant of Monymusk. In America, where his descendants have risen to the possession of the greatest wealth and highest distinction, there are in existence three portraits. To Edwin Brockholst Livingston I am indebted for an autotype copy of the painting in possession of Mrs. Robert Ralston Crosby of New York. It is apparently a faithful and artistic likeness. It represents a man of about sixty years of age, with short, silvery hair, the greater part of which is confined in a closely fitting cap. There are no whiskers, but there is a moustache, and the goatee or napoleon on the lower lip terminates in a sharp peak. In his young days his hair was of that brown, sandy colour usually indicative of the ardent temperament. The eyes were hazel, the brow prominent, the nose Roman, the facial outline oval. The shoulders are massive, the chest full, and a broad, white collar gives a touch of character to an otherwise uninteresting dress.

All the portraits are of Dutch origin. With his own hand he wrote a faithful delineation of his character. Physically he was “ of ane waterish constitution. He had frequent attacks of toothache, and he smoked to alleviate the pain. He was short-sighted. This failing did not affect his studies, as he was able to the last to dispense with the aid of spectacles. As to disposition, he was very unlike his father, and quite averse to wrangling and debates. He was more inclined to solitude than company. With the exception of walking, he indulged in no kind of exercise. Only two kinds of recreation held out to him any temptation. As a young man he had hunted on horseback, “and found it very bewitching.” Possessing musical talent, he had also proved the growing seductions of the concert-room. He had often been conscious of the power of the Lord working in his heart, but he was never able to identify his conversion with any special time or occasion. He experienced the greatest terror of the wrath of God one night after he had been in the company of some young people who had been influenced by the work of the Lord at Stewarton. The feeling was so acute that if it had been prolonged it would have been beyond endurance.

John Livingston was born at Monyabroch, on the 21st June, 1603; and by the Abroch, the Garrel, and the Kelvin swamp, and amid those green and woody braes of the parish he loved so much, he spent his happy, gentle boyhood, receiving from his strong, resolute father the best of nurture in all things human and divine. He received his Christian name at the earnest request of Lady Lilias Graham, the wife of the sixth Lord Fleming of Cumbernauld, who was soon after created Lord Wigton. This lady held his father, William Livingston, in great respect, and was a frequent visitor at Monyabroch. She attended the Monyabroch communions regularly, and was well known for her devoutness of spirit and saintliness of character. Her maid said of her when she dressed her hair of a morning, she had always the Bible open before her, and u shed more tears on such occasions than I ever did all my lifetime.”

When John was ten he was sent to the Grammar School at Stirling, where he remained till the summer of 1617. He was recalled from school that he might be present at the bedside of his dying mother. Afterwards he went to the University of Glasgow, and completed his arts’ course there with considerable distinction. At Stirling, from the hands of the Rev. Patrick Simpson, he received his first sacrament. On that solemn occasion he experienced such a physical agitation that he believed it was the Lord for the first time directly striving with him. At the end of his college course there came a serious crisis in his life. His father having repurchased the half of Monyabroch glebe, and added it to his various other possessions in the parish, he now wished his son to marry and settle on his estate. His father, having gone to Lanark, could not now attend to it, and it was greatly wasted by ill neighbours. The young man had, however, his own ideas as to his future, and he besought his father to allow him to go to France, that he might study medicine. His father refused his request. Not knowing what to do, at this turning point in his life, he resolved to spend a day in solitary contemplation in some quiet spot, and hear what God the Lord would say unto him. With this end in view he repaired to a secret cave on Mouse Water, an old hiding-place of Sir William Wallace. After a day’s spiritual wrestling in much confusion and fear anent the state of his soul, he believed God made it clear to him that he should go out into the world and preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and that if he resisted he should have no assurance of his own salvation.

Following the divine prompting thus given him, he studied divinity at the University of St Andrews, under Principal Boyd and Professor Blair. During this period his Presbyterian views became greatly confirmed. Whilst present at a communion in Glasgow, Archbishop Law, who was dispensing the sacrament, seeing the people all sitting at the table, desired them to kneel after the Episcopal fashion. The archbishop, seeing that John Livingston and one or two others did not obey, commanded them to kneel or depart. To this the young man replied boldly “that there was no warrant for kneeling, and for want of it no one ought to be excommunicated.” Thus began that long struggle with Prelacy he was to maintain during his whole life, and in which struggle he was eventually to be overcome. Having received license, he began in January, 1625, the preaching of the Gospel, the work that was to be so dear to him, and which was to be so abundantly blessed. Promotion would have come quickly, but he was already a marked man and under the suspicion of the bishops. He received calls to various parishes, but somehow or other there was always something which came between him and ordination. The reason is found in a letter in Colzium House. The Laird of Kilsyth having approached the archbishop in his kinsman’s behalf, the prelate replied, that if his friend had not already received an appointment in the Church, he had nobody to blame but himself, seeing “he had declared he would not submit himself to the orders received in the Church.” “I love peace,” continued the archbishop, its but these sort of men will not cease till they bring trouble upon themselves.” Eventually, Livingston was appointed by Lord Torphichen assistant to the aged minister of Torphichen parish. The minister dying soon after, and notwithstanding that the parishioners were wholly in his favour, and that moreover he had the Earl of Linlithgow, Lord Torphichen, and Sir William Livingston of Kilsyth all in his favour, and all appealing to the Archbishop of St. Andrews, he was refused ordination by that prelate, and not only so, but was ordered to desist from preaching. This was in 1627. When on his way home to his father’s house at Lanark, he stopped at Falkirk to bid farewell to his uncle, William Livingston. This was a fortunate stoppage, for while delaying his journey, he received a pressing invitation from the Countess of Wigton, to come to Cumbernauld to visit her mother, who lay dying. He made so good an impression on the earl and countess that they engaged him as their chaplain. It was while residing in Cumbernauld there occurred that memorable revival of the kirk of Shotts in which he took so prominent a part, and during which he preached the sermon that was the occasion of such a memorable outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The hard lot of Scotland’s suffering Church was not without its counterbalancing advantages in the spiritual life of the people. It forced them to consider their standing ground, to seek the roots of religion and faith. The result was a widespread interest in all theological and ecclesiastical problems. As they mused, here and there throughout the country the fire of the repressed spiritual life burst into flame. Times of great refreshing, as from the presence of the Lord, were at once causes and consequences of the persecutions to which the Church was subjected. The diligent study of the Bible made them able to suffer, and the suffering gave new intensity to their religious fervour. Just as the spring showers cause the grass to grow, so the blood of the Scottish martyrs, poured out on Scottish soil, caused a widespread germination and growth of a sweet and rich religious feeling. The historical revivals of Scotland are so in-woven with the history of Kilsyth and the men who have been born and bred and laboured there, that at this point it is full of interest to turn the eyes back and survey the scenes and circumstances of the first revival times.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Stewarton continued from 1625 to 1630. The date of the termination of the fevival at Stewarton marks the beginning of the revival at Shotts. The part played by John Livingston in the latter awakening was of a memorable character. A carriage containing some ladies of rank having broken down in Shotts parish, the travellers were entertained by Mr. Hance, the minister, at the manse, till the chaise was repaired. In return for his hospitality the ladies got a new manse erected for the clergyman. It was a magnificent return for the hospitality that had been extended to them, even although the ladies were all attached members of the Church and greatly interested in her persecuted pastors. Out of gratitude, Mr. Hance resolved to ask to his next communion such clergymen as they might be pleased to name. One of the names mentioned was that of John Livingston, then residing at Cumbernauld. The breaking down of the carriage, the proposals about the manse, the coming of the ministers, became. matter of public notoriety, with the result that when the communion arrived there had gathered in Shotts an immense concourse of people. Amongst the other ministers present was Robert Bruce of Kinnaird. When the sacrament had been dispensed, the people had such a peaceful and joyous feeling, that instead of retiring to rest, they formed themselves into groups and spent the whole night—the 21st June—in prayer and the giving of thanks unto God. Livingston was a member of one of these companies. He had often preached at Shotts with much acceptance. It having been arranged that he was to conduct divine service at nine o’clock, early in the morning he left the company with which he had spent the night and walked out into the fields that he might be alone. In the solitude of his walk there fell upon him great misgiving of spirit, a poignant sense of his unworthiness and weakness in the face of the great expectations of the people. Possessed of this feeling, he determined not to return to the church, but to steal away from the meeting. When he was about to lose sight of the church it occurred to him that his action was cowardly and mistrustful of God. At the same time there came upon him with overwhelming force the accusation contained in Jeremiah ii. 31—“O generation, see ye the word of the Lord. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness?” Turning, he found his way back to the church, where the people were thronging to hear him. Choosing for his text Ezekiel xxxvi. 25, 26—“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” The sermon was two hours and a half in length. In the first hour and a half he exhausted the points he had previously pondered, and he says, “I was led on about an hour’s time in a strain of exhortation and warning, with such liberty and melting of heart as I never had the like in public.” Just as the great effort was being brought to a close a heavy shower beginning to fall— for the service was held in the graveyard—he thus turned the circumstance to spiritual account. “ If a few drops of rain from the clouds so discomposed them, how discomposed would they be, how full of horror and despair, if God should deal with them as they deserved; and thus he will deal with all the finally impenitent. That God might justly rain fire and brimstone upon them as upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain; that the Son of God by tabernacling in our nature, and obeying and suffering in it, is the only refuge and covert from the storm of divine wrath due to us for sin; that his merits and meditation are the alone screen from that storm, and none but penitent believers will have the advantage of that shelter.”

The effect of the sermon was extraordinary. It was like water to the thirsting. It was accompanied by a great downpouring of the Holy Ghost and by a strange and unusual commotion among the hearers. . On five hundred of the audience there was wrought a change for the good, not transitory but permanent. It was the day in his life, the preacher confessed, when he had the richest presence of God. On account of the influence of this discourse, the preacher has been styled “Single Sermon Livingston.” The title is inappropriate. At Holyrood in Ireland, in 1641, he preached another sermon with much greater results for good. By the sermon at Holyrood it was estimated that not less than one thousand souls were begotten, anew in Christ Jesus. Wodrow says, that since the days of the apostles few ministers were more abundantly countenanced in their work than Mr. Livingston. Apart from the general effect of this sermon there were striking instances of its power in the lives of particular individuals. Three young men of Glasgow being on their way to spend some days in diversion and pleasure in Edinburgh, alighted in the morning at Shotts to breakfast. Hearing of the stir, they thought they would attend the Monday morning service and gratify their curiosity. Intending only to remain for a little, they became so powerfully influenced that they stayed until the service was done. When they pursued their journey they were more staid than they had been before, but each kept his deep concern entirely to himself. When they arrived in Edinburgh, they kept wholly to their rooms during their visit. Returning again to Glasgow in each other’s company, they arrived there without having once disclosed their thoughts to each other. At last one of them went to one of the others and opened up to him the whole state of his mind since he had heard Livingston at Shotts. The other frankly owned the serious concern he had also experienced concerning his salvation. The two repairing to the house of the third, found him in a similar state of mind. They then began fellowship meetings together, and the three young men became exemplary citizens of Glasgow, and continued to lead to the end of their days lives of the highest Christian practice and profession.

Livingston began life by writing his sermons, but eventually he merely wrote out notes and trusted to enlargement at the time of delivery. The expectancy of his hearers helped him more than his own preparation. His chief difficulty was the getting of his heart into a right spiritual disposition. He always remembered that his two best and most fruitful discourses were preached after he had spent the previous night in prayer and Christian conference. While he considered his gift more suited to simple and commonplace people than to learned and judicious audiences, he at the same time was a diligent student of the art of effective address. He was in favour of short sermons. “Ordinarily,” he says, “goe not beyond the hour.” As to subject matter: “A mediocrity should be kept, so that there be not too much matter in one sermon, which but overburdens the memory of hearers, and smells of ostentation; nor, again, should there be too little which hungers an audience and argues an empty gift” He held that the subject matter should not be too exquisite and fine, with abstruse learning and quaint notions, which go beyond the capacity of the vulgar; nor yet too common, for this procured careless hearing and despising of the gift. All his rules as to the use of the voice are good. The preacher should remember he is preaching, not singing. He should not use long-drawn words. He should not affect a weeping-like voice. He should neither be too loud nor too low. He should neither speak too fast nor too slow. He should not interrupt his discourse with oft sighing. Throughout Scotland a Monday service was instituted after the Communion in imitation and commemoration of the Monday service at Shotts, and in many parishes it is still held.

The work of the preacher is not mechanical. In the ministry of the Word certain efforts are not to be depended upon as the means of achieving certain results. After his great sermon at Shotts, Livingston experienced a spiritual and oratorical reaction. Before a week was gone he had to lament a sense of desertion and an incapability of applying to the souls of his auditory the thoughts on which he had carefully meditated. By such means, he considered, the Lord counterbalanced his dealings with him and humbled his pride. His friends having persuaded him to stay at Irvine till the depression had passed, he was able to preach to them before he left “with tolerable freedom.”

When Livingston found that ordination in Scotland was impossible through the hostility of the bishops, he gladly accepted the invitation of Viscount Claneboyes to take charge of the parish of Killinchy. He then received ordination, not from Dr. Robert Echlin, the bishop of the diocese, but from Dr. Andrew Knox, Bishop of Raphoe, who extended towards the Presbyterians a gentle and conciliatory spirit. This action roused Echlin’s ire, but notwithstanding a smart conflict with his bishop, Livingston was able to devote himself with all his zeal to the duties of his parish. His stipend from teinds amounted to only four pounds a year, but he was supported by the Countesses of Wigton and Eglinton, and other devout women. In this parish Livingston’s ministry was greatly blessed. It might have been thought in such a poor place he would have been beneath envy, and except from the shafts of hostility, have been allowed to go on his way in .peace. But it was not so. Before a year was out he was suspended for nonconformity (1631). This was the first blow levelled at the Presbyterian ministry of Ulster, and, although through the interest of that kindly and friendly primate, Archbishop Usher, Livingston was soon reinstated, from his suspension dates the commencement of that systematic opposition which ultimately terminated in the forcible expulsion of the Presbyterian brethren from the kingdom. The peace was of very short duration. The Scottish bishops having brought pressure to bear on the Irish Government, Livingston and his friend Blair were deposed on the 4th May, 1632. After visiting his father at Lanark and his friends at Cumbernauld, and rendered desperate by insult and persecution, Livingston with some of his parishioners resolved to emigrate to America. Through contrary winds the attempt failed. After landing once more on the shores of Ireland, Livingston and his deposed brethren were reinstated in their parishes, and at Killinchy Livingston continued to preach for a year and a half, until November, 1635.

At this time he formed an attachment to the eldest daughter of Bartholomew Fleming, merchant in Edinburgh, “of most worthy memory.” It is a curious trait, both of the age and of the man, that after she had been commended to him by his friends, he spent nine months in seeking direction from God, before he could prevail on himself to pay his addresses. “It is like,” he says, "I might have been longer in that darkness, except the Lord had presented an occasion for our conferring together; for in November, 1634, when I was going to the Friday meeting at Antrim, I foregathered with her and some others going thither, and propounded to them by the way to confer upon a text whereon I was to preach the day after at Antrim, wherein I found her conference so judicious and spiritual, that I took that for some answer to my prayer to have my mind cleared, and blamed myself that I had not before taken occasion to confer with her. Four or five days thereafter I propounded the matter to her, and desired her to think upon it, and after a week or two I went to her mother’s house, and being alone with her, desiring her answer, I went to prayer, and urged her to pray, which at last she did, and in that time, I got abundant clearness that it was the Lord’s mind I should marry her.” John Livingston was married in St. Cuthbert’s Church on the 23rd June, 1635. The Earl of Wigton and his son, Lord Fleming, were present. His father was the officiating clergyman. A warrant having been issued for his apprehension, the service was conducted with much solemnity.

On Livingston’s return to Ireland he was again deposed, and again in despair of all liberty at home for the ministry of the Word, he once more embarked for America. After a long struggle with adverse winds, in which the vessel sprang a leak and met with various mishaps, they reached the banks of Newfoundland* Regarding further struggle as hopeless, the voyage was abandoned and the prow of the vessel directed homeward. Livingston reached Ireland after a hazardous voyage, only to find his position more insecure than ever. The Government at once issued a warrant for his arrest, but he knew how to save himself by timely flight to Scotland. Although a marked man, he took a prominent part in those meetings when, amid scenes of the tenderest character, the Covenant was signed and sworn. In 1638 he received a commission to proceed to London with several copies of the Covenant and letters to friends of the Scottish cause at court. He had not been long in the English capital when the Marquis of Hamilton informed him it would be well for him to make speed northward, as the King had been made aware of his presence and was ready to commit him to the Tower.

On Livingston’s return from London, on the 5th July 1638, he was inducted to the parish of Stranraer, where he ministered for the next ten years. He was recommended to that parish because it placed him as near as possible to his friends in Ireland. As many as five hundred of his old parishioners at Killinchy came over twice a year to the Stranraer communion, and it was there he was compelled to hold his family devotions in church, there not being room in his house to accommodate the people that came to them. At this juncture the Covenanters resolved upon a movement much more skilful than they usually showed in their military tactics. Under the Earl of Cassillis they advanced into England, and as Livingston was chaplain to the forces, he exchanged, for a time, the church for the camp. The change, however, was only a change of scene, for every night, when the troops came to their quarters, there was nothing to be heard throughout the whole army but the singing of psalms, and prayer, and reading of Scripture. He was present at the skirmish at Newburn, but, than the facts of the engagement, he noted down with greater interest that a Scottish lady, whom they had met, made the exclamation, “And is it so, that Jesus Christ will not come to England for the reforming of abuses, but with an army of twenty-two thousand men at His back Iv The brief campaign ended, he busied himself at Stranraer with thj raising of money for the use of the army, and for the Presbyterians of Ulster, who were passing through Stranraer, fleeing from the fury of the Catholics. Leaving his father’s deathbed, in the autumn of 1641, we find him, after a few months, joining the army of the Scots under Major-General Munro, lying at Carrickfergus, whither they had been sent by the Privy Council to put down the Irish Rebellion. He had an ofF-and-on connection with the army for the next six years; but it is unaccountable how, in 1648, when he attended the army for the last time, he had a special commission from the General Assembly to persuade the Scottish regiments to take no part in the proposed endeavour to rescue Charles I. from his English prison. It is surely no part of the duty of a chaplain to advise soldiers in such matters. At the close of these Irish Commissions Livingston was translated by the General Assembly to the parish of Ancrum.

The next occurrence in the Rev. John Livingston’s eventful life was of an important character. He was nominated, by the Scottish Church, one of three delegates on the Commission sent by the Committee of Estates to the Hague in the early part of 1650, to treat with young King Charles II. as to the conditions and concessions which would make him an acceptable Sovereign to the Scottish people. The Commission was composed of the Earls of Cassillis and Lothian for the nobility, the Lairds of Brodie and Liberton for the barons, Sir John Smith and Alexander Jaffray for the burghs, and Messrs. James Wood, John Livingston, and George Hutcheson for the Assembly. The work was distasteful to Livingston, and he would have resigned but for the pressure of his friends. He believed the Commission contained unpatriotic elements, men who would have bought the favour of the King at the expense of their country, and it was unlikely to accomplish any good. When he set his foot on board the vessel that was to bear him to Holland, “he hoped, if it were the Lord’s will, to be drowned in the waters by the way.” His conference with the King made him still more dissatisfied. Believing they were taking “the plague to Scotland,” he refused to return in the company of the King and the Commission, and it was only by stratagem he was brought back to Scotland with the others. At Dundee, Livingston had his final interview with the King. He took liberty “to use some freedom,” and imparted some wholesome counsel. The King replied that “he hoped he would not wish him to sell his father’s blood.” The abrupt and foolish answer confirmed the worthy Covenanter in the opinion that he had never been made to negotiate affairs of state.

Full of vague fears, and baffled in his designs, the worthy minister retired to his parish. He was elected to join the army of David Leslie, but he flatly refused, and was thus saved from witnessing the defeat of the Scottish army at Dunbar by Cromwell. When the English officers or soldiers were quartered at his manse, “he neither ate with them, nor drank with them, nor hardly spoke to them.” Oliver Cromwell heard of Livingston’s great influence, and wrote of him as a man highly esteemed as any for his piety and learning. He wrote further that he had withdrawn from certain of his own class (the Resolutioners) “and retired to his own house.” At this juncture Livingston was both sour and sulky. When Cromwell asked him “to come to Edinburgh and confer with him,” he politely excused himself. The meeting with Livingston, which Cromwell was so anxious to bring about, took place in London in 1654. Cromwell was determined to use Livingston to gain the Protesters to his side. Both parties in the Church were, however, equally loyal, and both resented with equal warmth the charge of encouraging sectarianism. Beneath the rupture there was a hearty and honest wish for the unity of the Church. Well, when Livingston was in London, he was called upon to preach before Cromwell at Whitehall. Cromwell had mistaken his man. The compliment did not influence Livingston in the very least One part of his prayer ran as follows:— “God be gracious to him whose right it is to rule in this place, and unjustly is thrust from it; sanctify the rod of affliction unto him, and when our bones are laid in the dust, let our prayers be registrate in the Book of Life, that they may come forth in Thy appointed time for doing him and his family good. And as for these poor men that now fill their rooms, Lord be merciful unto them.” As these words were uttered there was some whispering where Cromwell sat, and he was heard to say, “Let him alone, he is a good man. What are we but poor men in comparison with the kings of England.”

Oliver had had too much of John, and was glad to get quit of him. That the Protector held him in esteem notwithstanding his freedom of speech is apparent, because, in 1654, he appointed Livingston one of the ministers for settling the affairs of the Kirk and certifying such as were proper to be admitted to benefices.

The news of the restoration of Charles II. to the throne of England filled Livingston with dismay. He clearly saw that it meant untold trial and suffering for the Church of Scotland. And his worst fears were more than realised. After the “ Act Rescissory ” was passed by the Scottish Parliament in a fit of loyalty in 1661, the heads of the northern leaders and people began rapidly to fall. Before the year was out the Marquis of Argyll had perished by the Maiden, and James Guthrie of Stirling on the scaffold. When Livingston was made aware that peremptory orders had been issued by the Privy Council for his appearance before them, he had only too good reason to fear that the fate of the protomartyrs of the second reformation was in store for him. The date of his appearance was the 9th December, 1662. Before the messenger of the Court reached him he repaired to Edinburgh. Had the scaffold been before him he intended to flee the country. Finding, however, that his sentence in all probability would be banishment, he compeared before the Court on the nth December. Being pressed to take the oath of allegiance, he refused. The Lord Chancellor then asked—“Will you not take time to advise whether you will take the oath or not?” Livingston replied—“If I should take time to advise, it would import that I had unclearness, or hesitation, which I have not, and I judge it would be a kind of mocking your Lordship to take time to consider, and then return and give your Lordship the same answer."

He was then sentenced to banishment from His Majesty’s dominions, and, within forty-eight hours, to leave Edinburgh for the north side of the Tay. He was eventually allowed to remain at Leith till he took his departure. His petition for liberty to return to Ancrum and visit his wife, family, and parishioners was refused. When his friend, the erudite Robert Blair, saw the ship which was bearing Livingston to Holland sailing down the Firth of Forth, he was greatly touched, and celebrated the occasion by the composition of some Latin verses :—

“Care Livingston salve multumque valeto Invidia ipsa crepit, te mea musa canet Til lachrimis madefacte tuis, nos linguis in alto Stertentes somno lethiferoque malo, Sed Tralio et sociis suavis comes ibis in oras Quas dabit Omnipotens visdere propitius.”

When Livingston landed in Rotterdam, in 1663, he received from the Scottish colony the warmest of welcomes. During the years of his banishment he solaced his mind with biblical studies. He found it a delight to make once again that close acquaintance with the Hebrew tongue which had given him so much pleasure in his St. Andrews years lying now so far behind. He prepared a polyglot bible, but the work was never published, through the death of Provost John Graham of Glasgow, who was to have borne the expense of the printing. In the congenial society of his wife and kindred spirits, and surrounded with his family, the closing years of Livingston’s life were the happiest he enjoyed. To his friends who gathered about him on the day of his death he spoke some brief and kindly words. “ I have my faults as other men, but God made me to abhor shows. I know I have given offence to many through my slackness and negligence, but I forgive and desire to be forgiven. I cannot say much of great services, yet if my heart was lifted up, it was in the preaching of Jesus Christ. I die in the faith that the truths of God, which he hath helped the Church of Scotland to own, shall be owned by him as truths so long as sun and moon endure.” His wife, seeing he was unable to say more, desired him to take leave of his friends. “I do not need to take leave of them,” he said, “our parting shall be only for a short time.” Then his benignant spirit passed to join the company of those of whom the world was not worthy.

Thus died in banishment, in a foreign land, John Livingston, one of the sons of Kilsyth, and one of whom the parish has good reason to be proud. The date of his death was between the 14th and 21st of August, 1672. He was seventy years of age. Janet Fleming, his wife, survived him for over twenty years. She bore him fifteen children. Robert, born at Ancrum on the 13th December, 1654, was the fourteenth child, and he became the founder of the Livingston family of New York.


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