The Scottish Reformation came painfully, costing the lives of many staunch Protestants, including John Nisbet, whose 16-year-old son later penned this account in a “neat old-fashioned hand”:

On the 7th of November, 1685, my father, with other three, desired to go and end a controversy in one of their Christian societies; upon which he left me to the kind care of Providence, and went on his intended journey. But early on Sabbath morning, he and the other three were seized by forty of the enemy. The night before, I had gone to the Earl of Loudon’s house; and in my sleep, I dreamed of all the passages of trouble my father was in. I awoke with much sorrow of spirit, and immediately rose and essayed prayer. But alas, alas, I was dead, lifeless, and overwhelmed with such a flood of sorrow that I could do nothing all that day but sigh to the breaking of my heart. At night, two young ladies came and sat down by me, and seeing me in such sorrow, asked me if I had got any meat. It was told them I would eat none all that day. Upon which they opened their skirts wherein they had some meat, and both very kindly urged me to eat. But I would eat none. At which the young ladies burst into tears; and one of them says, “This morning, forty of the enemy came upon your father near to Fenwick Kirk; they have killed the other three and your father has received seven wounds and is prisoner.” At the hearing of which sad news I was struck to the heart. I arose immediately and went out to the fields. But kind Providence ordered the matter so, that though very dark, I met an eminent Christian, William Woodburn, my father’s friend, who counseled me to acquiesce in and submit to the sovereign will of God who is a father to the fatherless. Upon this blessed advice and seasonable counsel, the weight of my burden was much taken off, my sorrow alleviated, and all fretting at the dispensation prevented. I spent this night looking to the Lord, that my father might be strengthened to be faithful unto the death.

Our Lord, you will always rule, But nations will vanish from the earth. You listen to the longings of those who suffer. You offer them hope, And you pay attention to their cries for help. You defend orphans and everyone else in need. (Psalm 10:16-18a)

Robert J. Morgan, On This Day: 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). November 6.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

1814 – Saying, “Heaven, heaven, my true home,” Chinese convert Peter Wu Guosheng is executed. He had led 128 families and friends to Christ.

1852 – Hymn writer John Cawood, died in Bewdley, Worcestershire, England. Of his seventeen hymns, the best-known are “Hark! What Mean Those Holy Voices?” and “Almighty God, Thy Word is Cast.”

1880 – Twenty-year-old Edgar Young Mullins was baptized. At birth his parents dedicated him to God, praying that he might become a minister; however, he had not become a Christian until shortly before his baptism. He went on to become a Baptist minister and president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which he greatly expanded.

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