A day in the life of James Renwick.
LETTER XXXII. July 9, 1684, to Robert Hamilton in Holland.
Extract from The Life and Letters of James Renwick, Ed W H Carslaw (1893).
Right honourable and dear Sir,—Your letter which I received was wonderfully sweet and refreshing to me, and was made a means (in some measure) to prepare me for what I was to meet with. For immediately thereafter I was involved in such trials as before I had not been trysted with, but all indeed to manifest, in a wonderful manner, the Lord’s power and love to and for His people. For, upon the Sabbath, after your letter came to my hand, we met for public worship, near the Whin-bog in the Monkland; but that country having generally apostatised into an open hostility against the Lord, some went quickly away unto Glasgow, and gave notice unto the enemy’s forces. Howbeit we heard thereof ere forenoon’s sermon was ended, yet continued until that part of the work was gone about. Thereafter, we thought it fit to depart from that place, and also that the armed men should keep together for our better defence and safety; which (through God’s goodness) was a means to keep the enemy from noticing and pursuing after stragglers, they being stricken into some quandary and terror, and keeping both their horse and foot in one body. Yet they lodged all that night (we not knowing of it) within a mile of some, and two miles of others of us, intending to set forward toward the houses where we were. But the Lord, whose ways are wonderful, made use of a malignant gentleman to detain them, he asserting that none of us went toward that airt. Notwithstanding, this wakened up the adversaries more; so that they kept up a pursuit and search, which proved very obstructive to our Convention, which was upon the Thursday thereafter. For, upon that very day, they came with horse and foot to search the moors where we were, and came here upon us ere we could get any thing concluded: which thing moved us (we suspecting that they, some way or other, had gotten notice of some of us being together) to remove from that place some way off into a little glen, where we resolved to keep ourselves obscure. But after we had rested and refreshed ourselves a little, we espied four of their foot marclung toward us: whereupon it was thought fit to send out so many to meet them, who, when they came together fired upon one another. But the Lord’s gracious providence so ordered it, that there was not the least scathe upon our side, there being one of the enemy so wounded that lie died since. Howbeit the shots alarmed the rest of our enemies who were upon the hill, and, when we drew out to the open fields, we saw their foot not very far from us, and got present advertisement that the enemy was still upon the pursuit, and near unto us. We, in all haste, set forward through the moss, having no outward strength to fly unto, but by crossing the way of the adversary whereupon we expected an encounter with them. Yet, committing ourselves into the Lord’s hand, we went on, until we came unto another certain moss, where we staid until night, and got much of our business done. But in all this, the wonderful power of God was seen, in both inspiriting His people for that exigency, and preserving us from falling into the hands of the adversaries. Yea, though He shewed us wonders therein, yet He delighted to shew us more. For, upon the Saturday night thereafter, there was a competent number of us met in a barn for worship, and had not well begun until we heard both the drums and trumpets of the enemy; but we thought it most expedient to set watches without, and continue at our work until we saw further. Nevertheless, iii all these tumults and dangers, the Lord’s goodness was so manifested to His people, that ile not only hid them under His wings, and preserved them, but He also kept their spirits from the least fear, confusion, or commotion; yea, the very sight of some of them would have made resolute soldiers amongst us. So after this hazard was over, some of us thought it convenient to stay where we were (it being a woody place) until the Sabbath day was past. But, ere the middle of the day, we got an alarm that the enemy was within two miles or thereabout, coming toward that airt; whereupon we went over the Clyde. But so soon as that was, we, being in number about six or seven, had almost encountered a party of the enemy’s horse, who, at the crossing of our way, had inevitably met with us, if the Lord had not so ordered it, that a friend of ours had seen them ere they could see us; who thereupon came running toward us with a white napkin (because conspicuous to us) flourishing in his hand: whereupon we halted, and when lie came to us, we lurked among some bushes until the enemy passed by. Thereafter we setting forward by two and two upon our journey, which was intended to be but short, some two of us met with one of the adversary’s number upon horseback, who presently fled with all his might toward Lanark, we being within three short miles thereof; which forced us to take a desperate course, in running through that plenished country unto Darmead Moss, still expecting to foregather with that hostile town of Lanark, both horse and foot. But the Lord’s power and goodness was such toward us, that we escaped all their hands; which thing was great matter of admiration unto us all, and made me to wonder not a little; that scripture, Psal. cxxvi. 2, 3, being my companion, “Then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us ; whereof we are glad;