Friday, October 10, 2014

Reformation Month: Biography of David Black (Part 2)

A decree of council was passed against him, upon which his brethren of the Commission directed their doctrines against the Council. The King sent a message to the commissioners, signifying that he would rest satisfied with Black's simple declaration of the truth; but Robert Bruce and the rest replied: That if the affair concerned Mr. Black alone, they should be content; but the liberty of Christ's kingdom had received such a wound by the proclamation of last Saturday, that if Mr. Black's life, and a dozen of others besides, had been taken, it had not grieved the hearts of the godly so much, and that either these things behooved to be retracted, or they would oppose so long as they had breath. But, after a long process, no mitigation of the Council's severity could be obtained; for Black was charged by a macer to enter his person in ward on the north of the Tay, there to remain at his own expense during his Majesty's pleasure; and though he was next year restored to his place at St. Andrews, yet he was not suffered to continue, for, about the month of July that same year, the King and Council again proceeded against him; and he was removed to Angus, where he continued until the day of his death. He had always been a severe check on the negligent and unfaithful part of the clergy, but now they had found means to get free of him.

After his removal to Angus, he continued the exercise of his ministry, preaching daily unto such as resorted to him, with much success, and an intimate communion with God, until a few days before his death. In his last sickness, the Christian temper of his mind was so much improved by large measures of the Spirit, that his conversation had a remarkable effect in humbling the hearts, and comforting the souls of those who attended him, engaging them to take the easy yoke of Christ upon themselves. He found in his own soul also such a sensible taste of eternal joy, that he was seized with a fervent desire to depart and to be with the Lord, longing to have the earthly house of this his tabernacle put off, that he might be admitted into the mansions of everlasting rest. In the midst of these earnest breathings after God, the Lord was wonderfully pleased to condescend to the importunity of His servant, to let him know that the time of his departure was near. Upon this, he took a solemn farewell of his family and flock, with a discourse, as Melville says, that seemed to be spoken out of heaven, concerning the misery and grief of this life, and the inconceivable glory which is above.

The night following, after supper, having read and prayed in his family with unusual continuance, strong crying, and heavy groans, he went a little while to bed: and the next day, having called his people to the celebration of the Lord's Supper, he went to church.

Having brought the communion service near a close, he felt the approach of death, and all discovered a sudden change in his countenance, so that some ran to support him. But pressing to be on his knees, with his hands and eyes lifted up to heaven, in the very act of devotion and adoration, as in a transport of joy, he was taken away, with scarcely any pain at all. Thus this holy man, who had so faithfully maintained the interest of Christ upon earth, breathed forth his soul in this extraordinary manner, so that it seemed rather like a translation than a real death. See more of him in Calderwood's History; De Foe's Memoirs; and "Hind Let Loose."

This biography is from: The Scot's Worthies, by John Howie (1736-1793)

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