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The vicar of Dollar was a conspicuous martyr for the doctrines of Patrick Hamilton. He was very zealous in preaching and teaching his people. When the friars came into his parish selling indulgences he said, “Parishioners, I am bound to speak the truth to you; this is but to deceive you. There is no pardon for our sins that can come to us either from pope or any other, but solely by the blood of Christ.” His neighbouring brethren of the clergy did not like his labours and accused him to the bishop for preaching and explaining the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue. The bishop, who was lazy and lenient, urged that if he preached so much, he might lead the people to think that prelates should preach also. “It is enough for you,” he counselled, “when you find any good epistle or any good gospel, that setteth forth the liberty of the holy Church, to preach that and let the rest alone.” Forrest said that he was unaware of any ill gospel or epistle, in either Old or New Testaments which he had read, but if his lordship would point out the evil parts, he would omit them and preach only the good. “Nay, brother Thomas, my joy, that I cannot do,” said the diocesan, "for I thank God I never knew either the Old or New Testament. I will know nothing but my breviary and my pontifical. But go your way, and leave these fancies alone, else you will repent it when you cannot mend it.” Forrest would not be silenced, hence he was condemned to be burned. He went in faith to the stake ten years after the martyrdom of his great precursor Patrick Hamilton. His last words were portions of psalms by which he expressed his faith in God and hope of glory as he passed away from the fiery flame on earth to the chariots of fire to convey him to his crown.
The nobility and gentry of Scotland were far more influenced by the reformed doctrine than they have generally got credit for. The Hamilton period was a movement among the upper classes, and it prepared the way for the constitutional establishment of Protestantism in the days of Knox. The poetic genius of Sir David Lindsay of the Mount aided greatly to advance the cause of truth. His exposure of the vices of the clergy brought them into contempt. The learned George Buchanan, tutor to James VI. published bold attacks upon the order of St. Francis. Henry Balnaves, one of the ablest of Scottish lawyers, and secretary of state, was a reformer, and greatly useful to the rising cause. Erskine of Dun, afterwards one of the superintendents of the Church, was a valiant professor of the truth.
And there were many more who loved the word of God, and were able in the year 1543 to pass an act of parliament which ordained “that it should be lawful to every man to use the benefit of the translation which then they had of the Bible and New Testament, together with the benefit of other treatises containing wholesome doctrine, until such time as the prelates and kirkmen should give and set forth to them a translation more correct.”
Thus the light from the martyr's pile illumined the whole land, and in twenty years thereafter, popery in Scotland was matter of history.
There was gladness in Zion, her standard was flying,
Free o'er her battlements, glorious and gay;
And fearful to foes was her godly array.
Defiled in the dust, to the spoiler a prey;
For the best of her children are weeded away.
The good have been taken, their place is forsaken ;
The man and the maiden, the green and the grey : The voice of the weepers wails over the sleepers,
The martyrs of Scotland that now are away!
The hue of her waters is crimsoned with slaughters,
The blood of the martyrs has reddened the clay; And dark desolation broods over the nation,
For the faithful are perished, the good are away!
On the mountains of heather they slumber together;
On the wastes of the moorland their bodies decay; How sound is their sleeping, how safe is their keeping,
Though far from their kindred they moulder away!
Their blessing shall hover, their children to cover,
Like the cloud of the desert, by night and by day;
HORATIUS BONAR, D.D.
THE PURITAN PREACHER OF ST. MARY MAGDALENE,
MIDST the bright constellations which adorn
the firmament of the Church, we are apt to
overlook some of the minor stars. Especially is this so with reference to the lights of bygone times. They were men of eminence, whose memory posterity will not let die, and with whose names we associate all that was great and good during the epoch of their lives. But there moved among them men of as saintly life, and as laborious in the Church, who are little remembered
They had more limited orbits, loved retirement, and seldom appeared in the public places where historians find the famous. It is, therefore, a great service when any writer reproduces the story of forgotten lives, and renews an acquaintanceship with the witnesses of the truth, who have long since joined the noble army of the martyrs in the Church triumphant. One of the most happy republications will be found to be the life of Joseph Alleine of Taunton, whose piety was so rare, whose labours were so blessed, and whose writings have exercised great influence on many in the greatest crisis of their history.
JOSEPH ALLEINE was born in the beginning of 1634, at Devizes, Wiltshire. He was descended from a parentage honourable by lineage and by character. His father was a burgess, and a councillor, and a man of business in Devizes. He was also' a zealous Puritan, and suffered great spoiling of his goods for the sake of his consistent Christian profession. His dying testimony was, “My life is hid with Christ in God," and while sitting in his chair he closed his eyes with his own hand, and passed through the valley of the shadow of death to the light of God in glory.
The boyhood of Joseph Alleine was a time of trouble in England. There was then a conflict between the king and the Parliament, and the town of Devizes shared the severe ordeal of sanguinary warfare. Soldiers and guns were familiar objects to the youthful Puritan, but his best training was at home, where he had the Christian counsel and pious example of Mr. Tobie Alleine. His early days were solemn, and his youthful heart received serious impressions. His eldest brother was a clergyman, who died early, to the great grief of his parents; but Joseph, who was then in his fifteenth year, and just awakened to a spiritual life, desired to be educated as his brother's successor in the ministry.
This request was not a little gratifying to his Christian parents, who readily gave their consent, and forthwith sent him to school to prepare. The times were stirring and often troublous, so that his education was broken, but for the most part of four years he pursued his classical studies, and obtained an excellent acquaintance with the Latin and Greek languages.
He went to Oxford in 1649, and entered Lincoln