So much famed for his singular piety, zeal, and faithfulness, and indefatigableness in the duty of prayer.
Alexander Peden was born in the parish of Sorn, in the shire of Ayr. After he had passed his courses of learning at the University, he was for some time employed as schoolmaster, precentor, and session-clerk, to Mr John Guthrie, minister of the Gospel, then at Tarbolton. When he was about to enter into the ministry, he was accused by a young woman, as being the father of her child; but of this aspersion he was fully cleared by the confession of the real father. The woman, after suffering many calamities, put an end to her life, in the very same place where Mr Peden had spent twenty-four hours, seeking the Divine direction, while he was embarrassed with that affair.
A little before the Restoration he was settled minister at New Glenluce in Galloway, where he continued for about the space of three years, until he was, among others, thrust out by the violence and tyranny of these times. When he was about to depart from that perish, he lectured upon Acts 20, from the seventh verse to the end, and preached in the forenoon from these words, in the 31st verse, “Therefore watch, and remember, that, by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn every one,” etc: asserting that he had declared unto them the whole counsel of God, and had kept back nothing, professing he was free from the blood of all souls. In the afternoon he preached from the 32nd verse, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace,” which occasioned a weeping day in that church. He many times requested them to be silent; but they sorrowed most of all, when he told them, they should never see his face in that pulpit again. He continued till night, and when he closed the pulpit door, he knocked three times very hard on it, with his Bible, saying three times over, “I arrest thee in my Master’s name, that none ever enter thee but such as come in by the door as I have done.” Accordingly, never did any one enter that pulpit until the Revolution, when one of the Presbyterian persuasion opened it.
About the beginning of the year 1666, a proclamation was emitted by the Council against him, and several of the ejected ministers, wherein he was charged with holding conventicles, preaching, and baptising children at Ralstoun in Kilmarnock parish, and at Castlehill in Craigie parish, where he baptized twenty-five children. Upon his non-appearance at this citation, he was next year declared a rebel, and forfeited in both life and fortune.
After this he joined with that faithful party, which, in the same year, was defeated at Pentland; and with them he came the length of Clyde, where he had a melancholy view of their end, and parted with them there. Afterwards, when one of his friends said to him, “Sir, you did well that left them, seeing you were persuaded that they would fall and flee before the enemy,” he was offended, and said, “Glory, glory to God, that He sent me not to hell immediately, for I should have stayed with them though I should have been all cut to pieces.”
In the same year he met with a very remarkable deliverance; for he, Mr Welch, and the laird of Glerover, riding together, they met a party of the enemy’s horse, whom there was no escaping. The laird fainted, fearing they should be taken. Peden, seeing this, said, “Keep up your courage and confidence, for God hath laid an arrest on these men, that they shall do us no harm.” When they met they were courteous, and asked the way. Peden went off the way, and showed them the ford of the water of Titt. When he returned, the laird said, “Why did you go? you might have let the lad go with them.” “No,” said he, “they might have asked questions of the lad, which might have discovered us; but as for me, I knew they would be like Egyptian dogs; they could not move a tongue against me, my time being not yet come.”
He passed his time sometimes in Scotland and sometimes in Ireland, until June 1673, when he was, by Major Cockburn, taken in the house of Hugh Ferguson of Knockdew, in Carrick, who constrained him to stay all night. Peden told them that it would be a dear night’s quarters to them both: accordingly they were both carried prisoners to Edinburgh. There the said Hugh was fined in 1000 merks for reset, harbour, and converse with him.
Some time after his examination he was sent prisoner to the Bass. One Sabbath morning, being about the public worship of God, a young girl, about the age of fourteen years, came to the chamber door, mocking with loud laughter. He said, “Poor thing, thou laughest and mockest at the worship of God, but ere long God shall write such a sudden and surprising judgment on thee, that shall stay thy laughing.” Very shortly after that, as she was walking on the rock, a blast of wind swept her off to the sea, where she was lost.
Another day, as he was walking on the rock, some soldiers were passing by, and one of them cried, “The devil take him.” He said, “Fy, fy! poor man, thou knowest not what thou art saying; but thou shalt repent that.” At this he stood astonished, and went to the guard distracted, crying out for Mr Peden, saying, the devil would immediately come and take him away. Peden came, and spoke to and prayed for him, and next morning came to him again, and found him in his right mind, under deep convictions of great guilt. The guard being to change, they commanded him to his arms, but he refused, and said, he would lift no arms against Jesus Christ, His cause, and people, adding, “I have done that too long.” The Governor threatened him with death next day by ten o’clock. He confidently said, three times over, that, though he should tear him in pieces, he should never lift arms in that way. About three days after, the Governor put him forth of the garrison, setting him ashore; and he having a wife and children, took a house in East Lothian, where he became a singular Christian.
Alexander Peden was brought from the Bass to Edinburgh, and sentence of banishment passed upon him in December 1678, along with other sixty prisoners for the same cause, to go to America, never to be seen again in Scotland, under pain of death. After this sentence was passed, he often said the ship was not yet built which should take him and these prisoners to Virginia, or any other of the English plantations in America. When they were on shipboard in the roads of Leith, there was a report that the enemy was to send down thumbkins to keep them in order, at which they were much discouraged. He went on deck, and said, “Why are you so discouraged? You need not fear; there will neither thumbkins nor bootkins come here; lift up your hearts, for the day of your redemption draweth near. If we were once at London, we will all be set at liberty.” In their voyage thither, they had the opportunity of commanding the ship, and escaping, but would not adventure upon it without his advice. He said, “Let all alone, for the Lord will set all at liberty, in a way more conducive to His own glory, and our own safety.” Accordingly, when they arrived, the skipper, who received them at Leith, being to carry them no farther, delivered them to another, to carry them to Virginia, to whom they were represented as thieves and robbers. But when he came to see them, and found they were all grave, sober Christians, banished for Presbyterian principles, he would sail the sea with none such. In this confusion, as the one skipper would not receive them, and the other would keep them no longer at his own expense, they were set at liberty. Some say the skipper got compliments from friends in London; others assure us, that they got off through the means of the Lord Shaftesbury, who was always friendly to the Presbyterians. However, it is certain they were all liberated at Gravesend, without any bond or imposition whatever; and in their way homeward, the English showed them no small degree of kindness.
After they were set at liberty, Mr Peden stayed in London, and other places in England, until June 1679, when he came to Scotland. On that dismal day, the 22nd of that month, when the Lord’s people fell and fled before their enemies at Bothwell Bridge, he was forty miles distant, being near the Border, where he kept himself retired until the middle of the day, when some friends said to him, “Sir, the people are waiting for sermon” - it being the Lord’s day. To whom he said, “Let the people go to their prayers; for me, I neither can nor will preach any this day; for our friends are fallen and fled before the enemy at Hamilton, and they are hashing and hagging them down, and their blood is running down like water.”
Shortly after Bothwell Bridge, he went to Ireland, but did not stay long; for in the year 1680, being near Mauchline, in the shire of Ayr, Robert Brown, at Corsehouse, in Loudon parish, and Hugh Pinaneve, factor to the Earl of Loudon, stabling their horses in the house where he was, went to a fair at Mauchline. In the afternoon, when they came to take their horses, they got some drink; in the taking of which, the said Hugh broke out into railing against our sufferers, particularly against Richard Cameron, who was lately before that slain at Airsmoss. Peden, being in another room, overhearing all, was so grieved, that he came to the chamber door, and said to him, “Sir, hold your peace; ere twelve o’clock you shall know what a man Richard Cameron was; God shall punish that blasphemous mouth of yours in such a manner, that you shall be set up for a beacon to all such railing Rabshakehs.” Robert Brown, knowing Mr Peden, hastened to his horse, being persuaded that his word would not fall to the ground; and, fearing also that some mischief might befall him in Hugh’s company, he hastened home to his own house, and the said Hugh to the Earl’s; where, casting off his boots, he was struck with a sudden sickness and pain through his body, with his mouth wide open, and his tongue hanging out in a fearful manner. They sent for Brown to take some blood from him, but all in vain, for he died before midnight.
After this, in the year 1682, Mr Peden married that singular Christian, John Brown, at his house in Priesthill, in the parish of Muirkirk, in Kyle, to Isabel Weir. After marriage, he said to the bride, Isabel, “You have got a good man to be your husband, but you will not enjoy him long; prize his company, and keep linen by you to be his winding sheet, for you will need it when ye are not looking for it, and it will be a bloody one.” This sadly came to pass in the beginning of May, 1685.
In the same year, 1682, he went to Ireland again, and coming to the house of William Steel in Glenwhary, in the county of Antrim, he inquired at Mrs Steel, if she wanted a servant for threshing of victual. She said they did, and asked what his wages were a-day and a-week. He said the common rate was a common rule: to which she assented. At night he was put to bed in the barn with the servant lad, and that night he spent in prayer and groaning, Next day, he threshed with the lad, and the next night he spent in the same way. The second day, the lad said to his mistress, “This man sleeps none, but groans and prays all night; I can get no sleep with him; he threshes very well, and not sparing himself, though I think he hath not been used to it; and when I put the barn in order, he goes to such a place, and prays for the afflicted Church of Scotland, and names so many people in the furnace.” He wrought the second day. His mistress watched and overheard him praying, as the lad had said. At night she desired her husband to inquire if he was a minister; which he did, and desired him to be free with him, and he should not only be no enemy to him, but a friend. Mr Peden said, he was not ashamed of his office, and gave an account of his circumstances; and he was no more set to work, or to lie with the lad. He stayed some considerable time in that place, and was a blessed instrument in the conversion of some, and the civilising of others. There was a servant lass in that house, whom he could not look upon but with frowns; and at last he said to William Steel and his wife, “Put her away, for she will be a stain to your family; she is with child and will murder it, and will be punished for the same.” This accordingly came to pass; for which she was burned at Carrickfergus; the usual punishment of malefactors in that country.
In the year 1684, being in the house of John Slowan, in the parish of Conner, in the same county of Antrim, about ten o’clock at night, sitting by the fire side, discoursing with some honest people, he started to his feet and said, “Flee off, Sandy, and hide yourself, for Colonel -- is coming to this house to apprehend you, and I advise you all to do the like, for they will be here within an hour;” which came to pass. When they had made a most inquisitive search, without and within the house, and gone round the thorn-bush, where he was lying praying, they went off without their prey. He came in, and said, “And has this gentleman given poor Sandy and thir [these] poor things such a fright? For this night’s work, God shall give him such a blow within a few days, as all the physicians on earth shall not be able to cure.” This likewise came to pass, for he soon died in great misery, vermin issuing from all the pores of his body, with such a nauseous smell that none could enter the room where he lay.
At another time, when he was in the same parish, David Cunningham, minister in the meeting-house there, one Sabbath-day broke out into very bitter reflections against Mr Peden. Mr Vernon, one of Mr Cunningham’s elders, being much offended thereat, told Peden on Monday what he had said. Peden, taking a turn in his garden, came back, and charged him to go tell Mr Cunningham from him, that before Saturday night, he should be as free of a meeting-house as he was. This accordingly came to pass; for he got a charge that same week, not to enter his meeting-house under pain of death.
One time, travelling alone in Ireland, it being a dark mist, and night approaching, he was obliged to go to a house belonging to a Quaker, where he begged the shelter of his roof all night. The Quaker said, “Thou art a stranger; thou art very welcome, and shalt be kindly entertained; but I cannot wait upon thee, for I am going to the meeting.” Peden said, “I will go along with you.” The Quaker said, “Thou mayest if thou pleasest, but thou must not trouble us.” He said, “I shall be civil.” When they came to the meeting, as their custom was, they sat for some time silent, some with their faces to the wall, and some covered; and, there being a void in the loft above, there came down the appearance of a raven, and sat on one man’s head, who rose up and spoke with such vehemence, that the foam flew from his mouth. It went to a second, and he did so likewise. Peden, sitting next the landlord, said, “Do you not see? You will not deny yon afterwards.” He answered, “Thou promised to be silent.” From a second it went to a third man’s head, who did as the former two. When they dismissed, on the way home, Peden said to his landlord, “I always thought there was devilry amongst you, but I never thought that he had appeared visibly, till now I have seen it. Oh! for the Lord’s sake, quit this way, and flee to the Lord Jesus, in whom there is redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of all your iniquities.” The poor man fell a-weeping, and said, “I perceive that God hath sent thee to my house, and put it in thy heart to go along with me, and permitted the devil to appear visibly amongst us this night. I never saw the like before; let me have the help of thy prayers, for I resolve, through the Lord’s grace, to follow this way no longer.” After this, he became a singular Christian; and when dying blessed the Lord that in mercy he sent the man of God to his house.
Before he left Ireland, he preached in several places, particularly one time near the fore-mentioned Mr Vernon’s house, in the year 1685, where he made a most clear discovery of the many hardships his fellow-sufferers were then undergoing in Scotland; and of the death of Charles II, the news of which came not to Ireland till twenty-four hours thereafter.
After this he longed to be out of Ireland, partly through a fearful apprehension of the dismal rebellion that broke out there about four years after, and partly from a desire he had to take part with the sufferings of Scotland. And before his departure from thence, he baptized a child of John Maxwell, a Glasgow man, who had fled over from the persecution; which was all the drink money (as he expressed it) that he had to leave in Ireland.
After he and twenty Scots sufferers came aboard ship, he went on deck, and prayed (there not being then the least wind), where he made a rehearsal of times and places when and where the Lord had heard and helped them in the day of their distress, and now they were in a great strait. Waving his hand to the west, from whence he desired the wind, he said, “Lord, give us a loof-ful of wind; fill the sails, Lord, and give us a fresh gale, and let us have a swift and safe passage over to the bloody land, come of us what will.” When he began to pray, the sails were hanging all straight down, but ere he ended, they were all blown full, and they got a very swift and safe passage over. In the morning after they landed, he lectured, ere they parted, on a brae-side; where he had some awful threatenings against Scotland, saying, “The time was coming, that they might travel many miles in Galloway, Nithsdale, Ayr, and Clydesdale, and not see a reeking house, or hear a cock crow.” He further added, “My soul trembles to think what will become of the indulged, backslidden, and upsitting ministers of Scotland; as the Lord lives, none of them shall ever be honoured to put a right pin in the Lord’s tabernacle, nor assert Christ’s kingly prerogative as Head and King of His Church.”
After his arrival in Scotland, in the beginning of the year 1685, he met with several remarkable deliverances from the enemy. One time, fleeing from them on horseback, he was obliged to cross a water, where he was in imminent danger. After he got out, he cried, “Lads, do not follow, for I assure you, ye want [lack] my boat, and so will drown; and consider where your landing will be,” which affrighted them from entering the water. At another time, being also hard pursued, he was forced to take a bog and moss before him. One of the dragoons, being more forward than the rest, ran himself into that dangerous bog, where he and the horse were never seen more.
About this time, he preached one Sabbath night in a sheep-house, the hazard of the time affording no better. That night he lectured upon Amos 7:8, “Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel.” In this lecture, he said, “I’ll tell you good news. Our Lord will take a feather out of Antichrist’s wing, which shall bring down the Duke of York, and banish him out of these kingdoms. And there shall never a man of the house of Stuart sit upon the throne of Britain after the Duke of York, whose reign is now short; for their lechery, treachery, tyranny, and shedding the precious blood of the Lord’s people. But, oh! black, black will the days be that will come upon Ireland! so that they shall travel forty miles and not see a reeking house, or hear a cock crow.” When ended, he and those with him lay down in the sheep-house, and got some sleep; and early next morning he went up a burnside, and stayed long. When he came back, he sung the 32nd Psalm, from the seventh verse to the end, and then repeated that verse,
“Thou art my hiding-place, thou shalt
From trouble keep me free;
Thou with songs of deliverance
About shalt compass me.”
“These and the following,” he said, “are sweet lines, which I got at the burnside this morning, and I will get more to-morrow; and so will get daily provision. He is never behind with any who put their trust in Him, and we will go on in His strength, making mention of His righteousness and of His only.”
He met with another remarkable deliverance, for the enemy coming upon him, and some others, they were pursued by both horse and foot a considerable way. At last, getting some little height between them and the enemy, he stood still, and said, “Let us pray here, for if the Lord hear not our prayers, and save us, we are all dead men.” Then he began, saying, “Lord, it is Thy enemy’s day, hour, and power; they may not be idle. But hast Thou no other work for them, but to send them after us? Send them after them to whom Thou wilt give strength to flee, for our strength is gone. Twine them about the hill, Lord, and cast the lap of Thy cloak over Old Sandy, and thir [these] poor things, and save us this one time; and we’ll keep it in remembrance, and tell it to the commendation of Thy goodness, pity, and compassion, what Thou didst for us at such a time.” And in this he was heard, for a cloud of mist intervened immediately betwixt them; and in the meantime, a post came to the enemy to go in quest of Renwick, and a great company with him.
At this time it was seldom that Mr Peden could be prevailed on to preach; frequently answering and advising people to pray much, saying, “It was praying folk that would get through the storm; they would yet get preaching, both meikle [much] and good; but not much of it, until judgment was poured out to lay the land desolate.”
In the same year, 1685, being in Carrick, John Clark of Moorbrook, being with him, said, “Sir, what think you of this time? Is it not a dark and melancholy day? Can there be a more discouraging time than this?” He said, “Yes, John, this is a dark, discouraging time, but there will be a darker time than this; these silly, graceless creatures, the curates, shall go down; and after them shall arise a party called Presbyterians, but having little more than the name, and these shall, as really as Christ was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem on Mount Calvary bodily - I say they shall as really crucify Christ in His cause and interest in Scotland; and shall lay Him in His grave, and His friends shall give Him His winding sheet, and He shall lie as one buried for a considerable time. Oh! then, John, there shall be darkness and dark days, such as the poor Church of Scotland never saw the like, nor shall ever see, if once they were over; yea, John, they shall be so dark, that if a poor thing would go between the east sea-bank and the west sea-bank, seeking a minister to whom he would communicate his case, or tell him the mind of the Lord concerning the time, he shall not find one.” John asked “where the Testimony should be then?” He answered, “In the hands of a few, who will be despised and undervalued of all, but especially by these ministers who buried Christ; but after that He shall get up upon them; and at the crack of His winding-sheet, as many of them as are alive, who were at His burial, shall be distracted and mad with fear, not knowing what to do. Then, John, there shall be brave days, such as the Church of Scotland never saw the like; but I shall not see them, though you may.”
About this time, as Peden was preaching in the day-time in the parish of Girvan, and being in the fields, David Mason, then a professor, came in haste, trampling upon the people to be near him. At this he said, “There comes the devil’s rattle-bag; we do not want him here.” After this, the said David became officer and informer of that district, running through, rattling, and summoning the people to their unhappy courts for nonconformity; at which he and his got the name of “the devil’s rattle-bag.” After the Revolution he complained to his minister, that he and his family got that name. The minister said, “You well deserve it; and he was an honest man that gave you it; you and yours must enjoy it; there is no help for that.”
It is very remarkable, that being sick, and the landlord where Peden stayed being afraid to keep him in his house (the enemy being then in search of hiding people), he made him a bed among the standing corn; at which time a great rain fell out, insomuch that the waters were raised, and yet not one drop was to be observed within ten feet of his bed, while he lay in that field.
Much about the same time, he came to Garfield, in the parish of Mauchline, to the house of Matthew Hogg, a smith by trade. He went to the barn, but thought himself not safe there, foot and horse of the enemy searching for wanderers, as they were then called; and he desired the favour of his loft, being an old waste house two storeys high. Hogg refused. Peden then said, “Weel, weel, poor man, you will not let me have the shelter of your roof; but that same house will be your judgment and ruin yet.” Some time after this, the gable of that house fell, and killed both him and his son.
Peden’s last sermon was preached in the Collimwood, at the Water of Ayr, a short time before his death. In the preface, he said, “There are four or five things I have to tell you this night, and the 1st is, A bloody sword, a bloody sword, a bloody sword for thee, O Scotland, that shall pierce the hearts of many. 2ndly, Many miles shall ye travel and see nothing but desolation and ruinous wastes in thee, O Scotland. 3rdly, The most fertile places in thee shall be as waste as the mountains. 4thly, The woman with child shall be ripped up and dashed in pieces. And 5thly, Many a conventicle has God had in thee, O Scotland; but, ere long God will hold a conventicle that will make Scotland tremble. Many a preaching has God bestowed on thee; but ere long, God’s judgment shall be as frequent as these precious meetings were, wherein He sent forth His servants to give faithful warning of the hazard of thy apostasy from God, in breaking, burning, and burying His covenant, persecuting, slighting, and contemning the gospel, shedding the precious blood of His saints and servants. God sent forth a Welwood, a Kid, a King, a Cameron, a Cargill, and others to preach to thee: but ere long, God shall preach to thee by fire and a bloody sword. God will let none of these men’s words fall to the ground, whom He sent forth with a commission to preach these things in His name.”
In the sermon, he further said, that a few years after his death, there would be a wonderful alteration of affairs in Britain and Ireland, and Scotland’s persecution should cease; upon which every one would believe the deliverance was come, and consequently would be fatally secure: but they would be very far mistaken, for both Scotland and England would be scourged by foreigners (a set of unhappy men in these lands taking part with them), before any of them could pretend to be happy, or get a thorough deliverance; which would be more severe chastisement than any other they had met with, or could come under, if once that were over.
After much wandering from place to place, through Kyle, Carrick, and Galloway (his death drawing near), Peden came to his brother’s house, in the parish of Sorn, where he was born, where he caused dig a cave, with a willow bush covering the mouth thereof, near to his brother’s house. The enemy got notice, and searched the house narrowly several times, but found him not. While in this cave, he said to some friends: 1. That God would make Scotland a desolation; 2. That there would be a remnant in the land whom God would spare and hide; 3. They would be in holes and caves of the earth, and be supplied with meat and drink; and when they came out of their holes, they would not have freedom to walk for stumbling on dead corpses; and 4. A stone cut out of the mountain would come down, and God would be avenged on the great ones of the earth, and the inhabitants of the land, for their wickedness; and then the church would come forth with a bonny bairn-time at her back of young ones. And he wished that the Lord’s people might be hid in their caves, as if they were not in the world; for nothing would do until God appeared with His judgments. He also gave them a sign, That if he were but once buried, they might be in doubt; but if oftener than once, they might be persuaded that all he had said would come to pass; and earnestly desired them to take his corpse out to Airsmoss, and bury him beside Ritchie (meaning Richard Cameron), that he might have rest in his grave, for he had got little during his life. But he said, bury him where they would, he would be lifted again; but the man who would first put hands to his corpse, four things would befall him: 1. He would get a great fall from a house; 2. He would fall in adultery; 3. In theft, and for that he should leave the land; 4. He would make a melancholy end abroad for murder: all which came to pass. This man was one Murdoch, a mason by trade, but then in the military service, being the first man who put hands to his corpse.
Peden had for some time been too credulous in believing the misrepresentations of some false brethren concerning James Renwick, whereby he was much alienated from him. This exceedingly grieved Renwick, stumbled some of his followers, and confirmed some of his adversaries, who boasted that Peden was turned his enemy. But now, when dying, he sent for Renwick, who came to him in all haste, and found him lying in very low circumstances. When he came in, he raised himself upon his elbow, with his head on his hand, and said, “Are you the James Renwick there is so much noise about?” He answered, “Father, my name is James Renwick, but I have given the world no ground to make any noise about me, for I have espoused no new principles or practices, but what our reformers and covenanters maintained.” He caused him to sit down, and give him an account of his conversion, principles, and call to the ministry; all which Renwick did, in a most distinct manner. When ended, Peden said, “Sir, you have answered me to my soul’s satisfaction; I am very sorry that I should have believed any such evil reports of you, which not only quenched my love to, and marred my sympathy with you, but led me to express myself so bitterly against you, for which I have sadly smarted. But, sir, ere you go, you must pray for me, for I am old, and going to leave the world.” This Renwick did with more than ordinary enlargement. When he ended, Peden took him by the hand, and drew him to him, and kissed him, saying, “Sir, I find you a faithful servant to your Master; go on in a single dependence upon the Lord, and ye will get honestly through and clear off the stage, when many others who hold their heads high will lie in the mire, and make foul hands and garments.” And then he prayed that the Lord might spirit, strengthen, support, and comfort him in all duties and difficulties.
A little before his death, Peden said, “Ye will all be displeased at the place where I shall be buried at last, but I discharge you all to lift my corpse again.” At last, one morning early he left the cave, and came to his brother’s door. His brother’s wife said, “Where are you going? The enemy will be here.” He said, “I know that.” “Alas! Sir,” said she, “what will become of you; you must go back to the cave again.” He said, “I have done with that, for it is discovered; but there is no matter, for within forty-eight hours, I will be beyond the reach of all the devil’s temptations, and his instruments in hell and on earth, and they shall trouble me no more.” About three hours after he entered the house, the enemy came, and having found him not in the cave, searched the barn narrowly, casting the unthreshed corn, searched the house, stabbing the beds, but entered not into the place where he lay. Within forty-eight hours after this, after a weary pilgrimage, he became an inhabitant of that land, where the weary are at rest, being then past sixty years of age.
He was buried in the laird of Auchinleck’s isle, but a troop of dragoons came and lifted his corpse, and carried it two miles to Cumnock gallows-foot (after he had been forty days in the grave), where he lies buried beside other martyrs.
Thus died Alexander Peden, so much famed for his singular piety, zeal, and faithfulness, and indefatigableness in the duty of prayer, but especially exceeding all we have heard of in latter times for that gift of foreseeing and foretelling future events, both with respect to the Church and nation of Scotland and Ireland, and particular persons and families, several of which are already accomplished. A gentleman of late, when speaking in his writings of Mr Peden, says, “Abundance of this good man’s predictions are well-known to be already come to pass.” And although these things are now made to stoop or yield to the force of ridicule, the sarcasms of the profane, and the fashions of an atheistical age and generation; yet we must believe and conclude with the Spirit of God, that the secrets of the Lord both have been, are, and will be, with them who fear His name.
There are some few of Peden’s sermons in print, especially two preached at Glenluce, in 1682, the one from Matt. 21:38, and the other from Luke 24:21; which prophetical sermons, though in a homely style, are of a most zealous and spiritual strain, now reprinted in a late collection of sermons. As for those papers handed about under his name, anent James Renwick and his followers, they are, with good reason, looked upon as altogether spurious.
This article on Alexander Peden is from John Howie’s Scots Worthies, first published 1775, revised and enlarged 1781. Revised from the author’s original edition, by Rev W H Carslaw, (Edinburgh: Johnstone, Hunter and Company, 1870), pp 507-521.
Editorial notes in square brackets were inserted by Rev W H Carslaw, who stated in his preface:
“Nothing new has been inserted without being carefully marked; and even these insertions have been made as few and brief as possible, their principle object being to supply important historical links for the reader’s information and guidance. A few of Howie’s notes have also been put into the text where this could easily be done, and several verbal corrections have been made.”
SCOTTISH REFORMATION SOCIETY
The Scottish Reformation Society was founded in 1851, following a protest against the re-establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England. The original constitution of the Society set out its objectives as being “to resist the aggressions of Popery; to watch the designs and movements of its promoters and abettors; and to diffuse sound Scriptural teaching and information on the distinctive tenets of Protestantism and Popery”.
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