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Life Sketches from Scottish History of Brief Biographies of the Scottish Presbyterian Worthies
Jerome Russell and Alexander Kennedy


These two martyrs suffered together in Scotland in the year 1539. When they were brought before the archbishop, the courage of Kennedy, who was but eighteen years old, failed him, and he would nave recanted; but while thus faltering, the Spirit of God began to work wonderfully in him, his face was lighted up with a heavenly glow, and falling upon his knees, he exclaimed with a holy joy, “O eternal God, how wondrous is that love and mercy that thou bearest unto mankind, and unto me the most vile and miserable wretch above all others; for even now, when I would have denied thee and thy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ my Saviour, and so have cast myself into everlasting damnation, thou by thy own hand hast pulled me from the very bottom of hell, and makest me to feel that heavenly comfort, which takes from me that ungodly fear, wherewith before I was oppressed. Now I defy death. Do what YOU please. I praise God I am ready.” When Russell was reviled by the lookers on, he said, “ This is your hour and the power of darkness; now sit ya as judges, we stand wrongfulhr accused, and more wrongfully to be condemned; but the day shall come, when our innocence shall appear, and that ye shall see our own blindness, to your everlasting confusion ; go forward and fulfil the measure of your iniquity.”

The archbishop seems fora moment to have relented and he said, “I think it better to spare these men and not put them to death.” But his associates urged him on, and he condemned them to die.

Russell comforted his weaker brother, saying, “Brother, fear not; more powerful is He that is in us, than he that is in the world; the pain that we shall suffer is short, and shall be light, but our joy and consolation shall never have end; and therefore let us contend to enter in unto our Master and Saviour, by the same strait way which he has trod before us. Death cannot destroy us, for it is already destroyed by Him for whose sake we suffer.” And thus they constantly triumphed over death and Satan even in the midst of the flames.


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