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the guilt and misery of the people on the awful negligence of their rulers, who had not only failed to establish presbytery as the national religion, but had tolerated sectaries of various descriptions, Papists, Prelatists, Erastians assuming the name of Presbyterians, Independents, Socinians, and Quakers ; all of whom, Kettledrummle proposed, by one sweeping act, to expel from the land, and thus re-edify in its integrity the beauty of the sanctuary. He next handled very pithily the doctrine of defensive arms, and of resistance to Charles II., observing, that, instead of a nursing father to the Kirk, that monarch had been a nursing father to none but his own bastards. He went at some length through the life and conversation of that joyous prince, few parts of which, it must be owned, were qualified to stand the rough handling of so uncourtly an orator, who conferred on him the hard names of Jeroboam, Omri, Ahab, Shallum, Pekah, and every other evil monarch recorded in the Chronicles, and concluded with a round application of the Scripture, “ Tophet is ordained of old ; yea, for the King it is provided : he hath inade it deep and large ; the pile thereof is fire and much wood : the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it."
Kettledrumle had no sooner ended his sermon, and descended from the huge rock which had served him for a pulpit, than his post was occupied by a pastor of a very different description. The reverend Gabriel was advanced in years, somewhat corpulent, with a loud voice, a square face, and a set of stupid and unanimated features, in which the body seemed more to predominate over the spirit than was seemly in a sound divine. The youth who succeeded him in exhorting this extraordinary convocation, Ephraim Macbriar by name, was hardly twenty years old ; yet his thin features already indicated, that a constitution, naturally hectic, was worn out by vigils, by fasts, by the rigour of imprisonment, and the fatigues incident to a fugitive life. Young as he was, he had been twice imprisoned for several months, and suffered many severities, which gave him
5 VOL. n.
great influence with those of his own sect. He threw his faded eyes over the multitude and over the scene of battle, and a light of triumph arose in his glance, his pale yet striking features were coloured with a transient and hectic blush of joy. He folded his hands, raised his face to heaven, and seemed lost in mental prayer and thanksgiving ere he addressed the people. When he spoke, his faint and broken voice seemed at first inadequate to express his conceptions. But the deep silence of the assembly, the eagerness with which the ear gathered every word, as the famished Israelites collected the heavenly manna, had a corresponding effect upon the preacher himself. His words became more distinct, his manner more earnest and energetic ; it seemed as if religious zeal was triumphing over bodily weakness and infirmity. His natural eloquence was not altogether untainted with the coarseness of his sect; and yet, by the influence of a good natural taste, it was freed from the grosser and more ludicrous errors of his contemporaries; and the language of Scripture, which, in their mouths, was sometimes degraded by misapplication, gave, in Macbriar's exhortation, a rich and solemn effect, like that which is produced by the beams of the sun streaming through the storied representation of saints and martyrs on the Gothic window of some ancient cathedral.
He painted the desolation of the church, during the late period of her distresses, in the most affecting colours. He described her, like Hagar watching the waning life of her infant amid the fountainless desert; like Judah, under her palm-tree, mourning for the devastation of her temple ; like Rachel, weeping for her children and refusing comfort. But he chiefly rose into rough sublimity when addressing the men yet reeking from battle. He called on them to remember the great things which God had done for them, and to persevere in the career which their victory had opened.
66 Your garments are dyed—but not with the juice of the wine-press; your swords are filled with blood,” he exclaimed, “ but not with the blood of goats or lambs ;
the dust of the desert on which ye stand is made fat with gore, but not with the blood of bullocks, for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the the land of Idumea. These were not the firstlings of the flock, the small cattle of burnt-offerings, whose bodies lie like dung on the ploughed field of the husbandman ; this is not the savour of myrrh, of frankincense, or of sweet herbs, that is steaming in your nostrils ; but these bloody trunks are the carcasses of those who held the bow and the lance, who were cruel and would show no mercy, whose voice roared like the sea, who rode upon horses, every man in array as if to battle—they are the carcasses even of the mighty men of war that came against Jacob in the day of his deliverance, and the smoke is that of the devouring fires that have consumed them. And those wild hills that surround you are not a sanctuary planked with cedar and plated with silver ; nor are ye ministering priests at the altar, with censers and with torches ; but ye hold in your hands the sword, and the bow, and the weapons of death. And yet verily, I say unto you, that pot when the ancient Temple was in its first glory was there offered sacrifice more acceptable than that which you have this day presented, giving to the slaughter the tyrant and the oppressor, with the rocks for your altars, and the sky for your vaulted sanctuary, and your own good swords for the instruments of sacrifice. Leave not, therefore, the plough in the furrow-turn not back from the path in which you have entered like the famous worthies of old, whom God raised up for the glorifying of his name and the deliverance of his afflicted people-halt not in the race you are running, lest the latter end should be worse than the beginning. Wherefore, set up a standard in the land ; blow a trumpet upon the mountains ; let not the shepherd tarry by his sheepfold, or the seedsman continue in the ploughed field ; but make the watch strong, sharpen the arrows, burnish the shields, name ye the captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens; call the footmen like the rushing of winds, and cause the horsemen to come up like the sound of
very man's hand be as the bow of learen
the Lord of martyrs, es of saints, ribution ; th
many waters, for the passages of the destroyers are stopped, their rods are burned, and the face of their men of battle hath been turned to fight Heaven has been with you, and has broken the bow of the mighty ; then let every man's heart be as the heart of the valiant Maccabeus, every man's hand as the hand of the mighty Sampson, every man's sword as that of Gideon, which turned not back from the slaughter; for the banner of Reformation is spread abroad on the mountains in its first loveliness, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
6 Well is he this day that shall barter his house for a helmet, and sell his garment for a sword, and cast in his lot with the children of the Covenant, even to the fulfilling of the promise ; and woe, woe unto him who, for carnal ends and self-seeking, shall withhold himself from the great work, for the curse shall abide with him, even the bitter curse of Meroz, because he came not to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Up, then, and be doing ; the blood of martyrs, reeking upon scaffolds, is crying for vengeance ; the bones of saints, which lie whitening in the highways, are pleading for retribution; the groans of innocent captives from desolate isles of the sea, and from the dungeons of the tyrants' high places, cry for deliverance ; the prayers of persecuted Christians, sheltering themselves in dens and deserts from the sword of their persecutors, famished with hunger, starving with cold, lacking fire, food, shelter, and clothing, because they serve God rather than man-all are with you, pleading, watching, knocking, storming the gates of heaven in your behalf. Heaven itself shall fight for you, as the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. Then whosó will deserve immortal fame in this world, and eternal happiness in that which is to come, let them enter into God's service, and take arles at the hand of his servant,-a blessing, namely, upon him and his household, and bis children, to the ninth generation, even the blessing of the promise, forever and ever! Amen."
The eloquence of the preacher was rewarded by the deep hum of stern approbation which resounded through the armed assemblage at the conclusion of an exhortation so well suited to that which they had done, and that which remained for them to do. The wounded forgot their pain, the faint and hungry their fatigues and privations, as they listened to doctrines which elevated them alike above the wants and calamities of the world, and identified their cause with that of the Deity. Many crowded around the preacher, as he descended from the eminence on which he stood, and, clasping him with hands on which the gore was not yet hardened,pledged their sacred vow that they would play the part of Heaven's true soldiers. Exhausted by his own enthusiasm, and by the animated fervour which he had exerted in his discourse, the preacher could only reply, in broken accents," God bless you, my brethren--it is his cause.-Stand strongly up and play the men—the worst that can befall us is but a brief and bloody passage to heaven.”
Balfour, and the other leaders, had not lost the time which was employed in these spiritual exercises. Watchfires were lighted, sentinels were posted, and arrangements were made to refresh the army with such provisions as had been hastily collected from the nearest farm-houses and villages. The present necessity thus provided for, they turned their thoughts to the future. They had despatched parties to spread the news of their victory, and to obtain, either by force or favour, supplies of what they stood most in need. In this they had succeeded beyond their hopes, having at one village seized, a small magazine of provisions, forage, and ammunition, which had been provided for the royal forces. This success not only gave them relief at the time, but such hopes for the future, that whereas formerly some of their number had begun to slacken in their zeal, they now unanimously resolved to abide together in arms, and commit themselves and their cause to the event of war.
And whatever may be thought of the extravagance or harrow-minded bigotry of many of their tenets, it is impossible to deny the praise of devoted courage to a few
5* VOL. II.