Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Rutherford's Correspondents - 4,The Viscountess of Kenmure

The Viscountess of Kenmure  (d. 1675)was Lady Jane Campbell, third daughter of Archibald Campbell, seventh Earl of Argyle  (c. 1575–1638) and sister to the Marquis of Argyle beheaded in 1661. In 1594 her father had commanded royal troops in the Battle of Glenlivet against Catholic Rebels, especially the Gordons of Huntly. In 1618 Archibald Campbell converted to Roman Catholicism, religion of his wife, Anne (Cornwallis), from Presbyterianism.By 1619, he had surrendered his estates to his son, Archibald Campbell.He announced his new religion from the Netherlands and as a consequence he was declared a traitor in Edinburgh on 16 February 1619 and banned from his country. He was allowed back in 1621. He and his wife returned to Britain and lived at Drury Lane in London having abandoned everything apart from his title to his heir.
   Jane [Jean], Viscountess Kenmure's mother was Lady Agnes Douglas (1574–1607), daughter of William Douglas, fsixth Earl of Morton, of the house of Lochlevin. 
   The precise date Jane Campbell's birth is uncertain, but her parents were married before October, 1594. Descended both on the father’s and the mother’s side from ancient and noble families of great distinction, she was particularly honoured in her paternal ancestors, who were renowned for the zeal with which they maintained the cause of the Reformation. Her great grandfather, Archibald, fourth Earl of Argyll, who in extreme old age espoused, among the first of his rank, Protestant principles, was one of the Lords of the Congregation who subscribed the “Band,” dated Edinburgh, 3d December, 1557, the first covenant or engagement of the Scottish Reformers for their mutual defence; and on his death bed,towards the close of the year 1558] he left it as his dying charge to his son Archibald Lord Lorn, afterwards fifth Earl of Argyll, “that he should study to set forward the public and true preaching of the Evangell of Jesus Christ, and to suppress all superstition and idolatry to the uttermost of his power.”     
    In her early years Lady Jane was of a delicate constitution, and she suffered much from bodily affliction. Between 1624 and 1626 she married Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar, afterwards Viscount of Kenmure. The exact date of this union we have not ascertained; but we find her mentioned as his wife early in 1626. Mr. John Livingstone, who had visited Galloway in the beginning of the summer of that year upon the invitation of Sir John Gordon, informs us in his Life, that during the short period of his sojourn in that district, he “got acquaintance with Lord Kenmure and his religious lady.” 
   Sir John was a man of accomplishment and piety, and, like his lady; a warm friend to the Presbyterian interest. As Rosco, the place of his residence, was situated in the parish of Anwoth, he succeeded in obtaining for Anwoth Mr. Samuel Rutherford; Lady Gordon and her husband were thus placed under the ministry of Mr. Samuel Rutherford. 
   From the beginning, Lady Gordon formed a very high opinion of Rutherford's talents and piety; and, as the course of his ministry advanced, she appreciated in an increasing degree his pastoral diligence and faithfulness. Rutherford, on the other hand, highly esteemed her for the amiableness of her disposition, the humility of her demeanour, and the sanctity of her deportment, as well as for her enlightened and warm attachment to the Presbyterian cause. An intimate Christian friendship was thus soon formed between them; and, they maintained frequent epistolary intercourse on religious subjects till the death of Rutherford, the last of whose letters to her, dated July 24, 1660, scarcely eight months before his own death, was written on his hearing that her brother, the marquis of Argyll, was imprisoned by Charles II in the Tower of London.
   None of her letters to Rutherford have been preserved; but, from the allusions to them in his letters, we gather that they were characterized by a strain of sincere and humble piety; by the confidence of genuine friendship, the warmth of Christian sympathy, and a spirit of active benevolence. She complained that, notwithstanding all the methods adopted by her Saviour to teach her, she was yet an ill scholar, lamented her deficiencies in the practice of holiness, and expressed her fears that she had little grace, but encouraged herself from the consideration that God’s compassions failed not, although her service to him mis- carried. [Rutherford’s Letters, pp. 123, 183, 200, 203-205.] In all her difficulties, doubts, and trials, she applied to him for advice and comfort, in the happy art of communicating which he was equalled by few. And such was the confidence she reposed in his piety, wisdom, and prudence, that she could communicate the state of her mind to him with more freedom than to almost any other individual with whom she was acquainted. Of all his friends, none took a deeper interest in his welfare than she took. Tender in her feelings, she warmly sympathized with him under his domestic afflictions, under the loss of his children and his wife. Her influence she was ever ready to exert in his behalf when he was subjected to public suffering in the cause of truth; and instances are not wanting of persons in high places befriending him from a knowledge of the Christian intimacy which subsisted between him and this excellent Lady. When he was summoned to appear before the court of high commission in 1630, Mr. Alexander Colville, one of the judges, “for respect to your Ladyship,” says Rutherford to her, “was my great friend, and wrote a most kind letter to me. I entreat your Ladyship to thank Mr. Alexander Colville with two lines of a letter.” [Rutherford's Letters, p. 21.] When he was before the same court in 1636, “the Lord,” says he, writing to Marion M'Naught, “has brought me a friend from the Highlands of Argyll, my Lord of Lorn, [Brother to Lady Kenmure, and afterwards the Marquis of Argyll, who suffered in 1661.] who has done as much as was within the compass of his power;” an act of generosity which he doubt- less owed to his friendship with Lady Gordon; for he was “a poor unknown stranger to his Lordship.” And when her influence was insufficient to shield him from persecution, he could calculate upon being a sharer in her sympathies and prayers, as his numerous letters to her from Aberdeen, when confined a prisoner there by the high commission court, fully testify. Writing to her from his place of confinement, June 17, 1637, he says, “I am somewhat encouraged in that your Ladyship is not dry and cold to Christ’s prisoner, as some are.” And in a letter to Lady Culross, from the same place and in the same year, he thus writes: - “I know also that ye are kind to my worthy Lady Kenmure, a woman beloved of the Lord, who hath been very mindful of my bonds. The Lord give her and her child to find mercy in the day of Christ!” 
   Lady Gordon, who had suffered much from ill health in the previous part of her life, was, in July, 1628, visited with sickness. Under this affliction Rutherford reminded her, that He who “knew the frame and constitution of her nature, and what was most healthful for her soul, held every cup of affliction to her head with his own gracious hand;” and, that her “tender-hearted Saviour, who knew the strength of her stomach, would not mix that cup with one drachm weight of poison.” About the close of the same year, or the beginning of the year 1629, she was bereaved of an infant daughter. On this occasion Rutherford visited her, to administer Christian comfort, and afterwards kindly addressed to her a consolatory letter. Among other things, he wrote “Ye have lost a child; nay, she is not lost to you who is found to Christ; she is not sent away, but only sent before, like unto a star, which going out of our sight doth not die and vanish, but shineth in another hemisphere. Ye see her not, yet she doth shine in another country. If her glass was but a short hour, what she wanteth of time, that she hath gotten of eternity; and ye have to rejoice that ye have now some plenishing up in heaven. Show yourself a Christian by suffering without murmuring. In patience possess your soul.”
   In the autumn of the year 1629, she and her husband removed from Rosco to London, where they intended to reside for some time. Rutherford lord writes, “Ye are going to a country where the Sun of Righteousness in the gospel shineth not so clearly as in this kingdom.”  The design of Sir John in going to London probably was to prosecute his views of worldly honour and ambition. By right of his mother, who was Lady Isabel Ruthven, daughter of William, first Earl of Gowrie, he expected that the honours of the house of Gowrie, attainted for high treason in 1600, would be revived in his person. 
   Lady Gordon’s change of residence, brought about by these circumstances, in less than two years after Rutherford’s induction, was no small loss both to him and to his people; and he lamented her departure as one of the heaviest trials he had met with since the Lord had called him to the ministry; “but,” says he, “I perceive God will have us to be deprived of whatsoever we idolize, that he may have his own room.” During her absence, she and Rutherford maintained a regular epistolary correspondence. He assured her how exceedingly he longed to hear of her spiritual welfare, and that it was his constant prayer at the throne of grace, that while “deprived,” as she then was, “of the comfort of a lively ministry,” God might be to her as a little sanctuary; and that as she “advanced in years and stealed forward insensibly towards eternity; her faith might grow and ripen for the Lord’s harvest.” In her communications to him, she complained of bodily infirmity and weakness; but Rutherford reminds her that “it is better to be sick, providing Christ come to the bed-side and draw by (aside) the curtains, and say, ‘Courage, I am thy salvation,’ than to enjoy health, being lusty and strong, and never to be visited of God.” He also regrets her absence for the sake of the interests of religion in her native country. “We would think it a blessing,” says he, “to our kirk to see you here.”She and her husband appear to have remained in England till about the close of the year 1631, when they returned to Scotland, and settled at Kenmure Castle, a place about twenty miles distant from Anwoth. During her stay in England, notwithstanding reports to the contrary, she “had not changed upon nor wearied of her sweet master Christ and his service;” and Rutherford still “expected that whatever she could do by work or deed for the Lord'’ friendless Zion, she would do it.”
   Early in the year 1633, she was bereaved of another daughter, who died in infancy, as we learn from a letter written to her by Rutherford on the 1st of April that year. “I have heard also, madam, that your child is removed; but to have or want is best as He pleaseth. Whether she be with you or in God’s keeping, think it all one; nay, think it the better of the two by far that she is with him.” 
   By letters patent, dated 8th May, 1633, her husband was created Viscount of Kenmure and Lord of Lochinvar, Jane was with him in Edinburgh when he attended King Charles I at the parliament in June that year; but after staying only a few days they retired home to their country seat, the Castle of Kenmure. The reason of their early departure was this: In that parliament Charles intended to pass two acts, the one, ratifying the acts of Perth assembly and other acts made for settling and advancing the estate of bishops; and the other, asserting the king’s prerogative to impose the surplice and other Popish apparel upon ministers. For neither of these acts could Lord Kenmure, according to his convictions of duty; give his vote; but instead of attending the parliament, and honestly opposing the passing of these acts, as others nobly did, at a juncture when the safety of the Presbyterian cause demanded the most decided and energetic measures on the part of its friends, he pusillanimously deserted the parliament, under pretence of indisposition, for fear of incurring the displeasure of his prince, who had already elevated him to the peerage, and from whom he expected additional honours, - a dereliction of duty for which at the time, as he afterwards declared, he felt “fearful wrestlings of conscience,” and which caused him the most bitter remorse in his dying moments. When in Edinburgh, Lady Kenmure had an opportunity of witnessing the imposing splendour and gaiety of a court; but scenes which have so often dazzled and intoxicated others, only served the more deeply to impress upon her mind, what she had long before learned by the teaching of the Spirit of God, the empty and evanescent nature of all the glitter and pageantry of the world. “I bless the Lord Jesus Christ,” says Rutherford to her on her return, “who hath brought you home again to your country from that place where ye have seen with your eyes, that which our Lord’s truth taught you before, to wit, that worldly glory is nothing but a vapour, a shadow, the foam of the water, or something less and lighter, even nothing; and that our Lord hath not without cause said in his word, The countenance or fashion of this world passeth away.’
   Worldly honour and splendour had however more attractions for her husband. So great an influence had they of late acquired over his mind, that though there is every reason to believe he was a converted man, yet he had fallen into a state of comparative indifference both as to personal religion and the public interests of the church. Rutherford, it would seem, perceived this, and with his characteristic fidelity urges it upon Lady Kenmure as “a part of the truth of her profession, to drop words in the ears of her noble husband continually, of eternity, judgment, death, hell, heaven, the honourable profession, the sins of his father’s house.” “I know,” says he, “he looketh homeward and loveth the truth, but I pity him with my soul, because of his many temptations.” With this counsel, from her eminently religious character, we need not doubt that she would comply. In the spring of 1634 she lost another daughter, who had become dangerously ill towards the close of the preceding year, and who was only about a year old. Writing to Marion M'Naught, April 25, 1634, Rutherford says, “know that I have been visiting Lady Kenmure. Her child is with the Lord; I entreat you visit her, and desire the goodwife of Barcapple to visit her, and Knockbreck, [Robert Gordon of Knockbreck.] if you see him in the town. My lord her husband is absent, and I think she will be heavy.” And in a consolatory letter addressed to herself on that occasion he thus writes: “I believe faith will teach you to kiss a striking Lord, and so acknowledge the sovereignty of God in the death of a child, to be above the power of us mortal men, who may pluck up a flower in the bud, and not be blamed for it. If our dear Lord pluck up one of his roses and pull down sour and green fruit before harvest, who can challenge him ?”
   In the autumn of 1634, she met with a still more severe trial in the death of Lord Kenmure. His lordship left Kenmure castle for Edinburgh in the month of August that year, probably on business connected with the earldom of Gowrie, to which he was so desirous of being elevated. But it was the ordination of Providence that his hopes of this preferment should never be realized. After staying some days in Edinburgh, he came home towards the end of August under much indisposition. It turned out to be a fever, of which, after enduring much suffering, he died on the 12th of September, at the early age of thirtyfive. Having, as we have just now said, been for some time past less careful in cultivating personal piety, and less zealous in promoting the public interests of the church than in former days, he was painfully conscious of his want of preparation for death; and at first the most poignant remorse took possession of his conscience, causing many a pang of anguish and many a bitter tear to flow. Among the sins which at that solemn period came crowding into his memory, that which occasioned him the greatest agony was his deserting the parliament the preceding year. “Since I did lie down on this bed,” said he to Mr. Andrew Lamb, the bishop of Galloway, who visited him, “the sin that lay heaviest on my soul and hath burdened my conscience most, was my withdrawing of myself from the parliament, and not giving my voice for the truth against those things which they call indifferent; for in so doing I have denied the Lord my God.” But by the judicious counsels of Rutherford, who continued with him at the Castle, almost from the commencement of his illness to his death, he was led to improve the peace-speaking blood of Christ; and thus attaining to the full assurance that God in his abounding mercy had pardoned his sins, he enjoyed much comfort in passing through the dark valley of the shadow of death. A few minutes before its departure, Rutherford engaged in prayer, and “in the time of that last prayer, his lordship was observed joyfully smiling, and looking up with glorious looks, as was observed by the beholders, and with a certain beauty his vis- age was beautified, as beautiful as ever he was in his life. And the expiry of his breath, the ceasing of the motion of his pulse (which the physician was still holding), corresponded exactly with the Amen of the prayer, - and so he died sweetly and holily, and his end was peace.” [The Last and Heavenly Speeches and Glorious Departure of John Viscount of Kenmure, by Samuel Rutherford.]
During the whole of his illness, Lady Kenmure watched over him with affectionate tenderness and care. Of her kind and unwearied attentions, as well as of her high Christian excellence, he was deeply sensible. “He gave her, diverse times, and that openly, an honourable and ample testimony of holiness and goodness, and of all respectful kindness to him, earnestly craved her forgiveness wherein he had offended her, desired her to make the Lord her comforter, and observed that he was gone before, and that it was but fifteen or sixteen years up or down.” She felt, in a special manner, deeply anxious about the state of his soul. When, on the first night of Rutherford’s arrival at Kenmure Castle, his lordship expressed to him his fears of death, and desired him to stay with him and show him the marks of a child of God, “for,” said he, “you must be my second in this combat;” she judiciously observed, “You must have Jesus Christ to be your second;” an observation in which he cordially concurred. At another time, when, from the hopes of recovery, inspired by the temporary abating of the fever, he became much less concerned about the salvation of his soul than before, it is particularly mentioned in his Last and Heavenly Speeches, that this was to her a source of no small distress. 
   Under this painful bereavement, Lady Kenmure was enabled to exercise a pious resignation to the will of her heavenly Father, all whose dispensations towards her she believed to be in wisdom and love, a consideration which proved her chief support and surest consolation under all her afflictions. In attaining to this desirable state of mind, she was greatly aided by Rutherford, who, while he remained at the Castle, allayed her sorrow by his prayers and counsels, and who, on his return home, still addressing himself to the task of soothing her grief, wrote her a very comforting letter two days after the fatal event. “And, albeit,” says he, “I must, out of some experience, say the mourning for the husband of your youth be by God’s own mouth the heaviest worldly sorrow (Joel i. 8); and though this be the weightiest burden that ever lay upon your back, yet ye know, (when the fields are emptied, and your husband now asleep in the Lord,) if ye shall wait upon him who hideth his face for a while, that it lieth upon God’s honour and truth to fill the field, and to be a husband to the widow.” Speaking of Lord Kenmure, he says, “Remember, that star that shined in Galloway is now shining in another world.” And, in reference to the past trials of her life, as well as to the present, he observes: - “I dare say that God’s hammering of you from your youth, is only to make you a fair carved stone in the high upper temple of the New Jerusalem. Your Lord never thought this world’s vain painted glory a gift worthy of you; and therefore would not bestow it on you, because he is to present you with a better portion. I am now expecting to see, and that with joy and comfort, that which I hoped of you since I knew you fully; even that ye have laid such strength upon the Holy One of Israel that ye defy troubles, and that your soul is a castle that may be besieged, but cannot be taken. What have ye to do here ? This world never looked like a friend upon you. Ye owe it little love. It looked ever sourlike upon you.” 
   In another letter he thus writes, in reference to the same subject: - “In this late visitation that hath befallen your ladyship, ye have seen God’s love and care in such a measure that I thought our Lord broke the sharp point off the cross, and made us and your ladyship see Christ take possession and infeftment upon earth of him who is now reigning and triumphing with the hundred forty and four thousand who stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion.”
   To this nobleman, besides the three daughters, who, as we have already seen, died in infancy, she had a son, John, second Viscount of Kenmure, who was served heir to his father in his large estates in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, 17th March, 1635   
   Besides these children, it is not unlikely she had some others who also died in infancy. Rutherford, writing to her in 1634, says, that the Lord had taken away from her many children. This son was born after his father’s death, about the close of the year 1634, or early in the year 1635; [In one of Rutherford’s Letters to her, dated Nov. 29, 1634, obvious allusions are made to her being near the time of her confinement, and the child born was evidently this son; for Rutherford reminds her, after his death, that she had got a four years’ loan of him. He would be some months more than four years of age.] and died in infancy in August, 1689, at the age of four years and some months. He had long before been in so delicate health, as to excite the apprehensions of his mother, whose maternal solicitudes were all concentrated in her tender watchfulness over her infant boy. His death therefore could not be said to have come unexpected, nor could she be altogether unprepared for the stroke. But still the removal of this much loved and caressed child, inflicted a deep wound on the affectionate mother’s heart. He was her only son and her only remaining child, the heir of his father’s wealth and honours, and by his death the honour and estates of the noble house of Kenmure would pass into another family. All these circumstances would naturally intwine her affections around him, and increase the pangs of maternal agony when he was taken from her and laid in the grave. “I confess,” writes Rutherford to her, “it seemed strange to me that your Lord should have done that which seemed to ding out the bottom of your worldly comforts; but we see not the ground of the Almighty’s sovereignty; ‘he goeth by on our right hand, and on our left hand, and we see him not.’ We see but pieces of the broken links of the chains of his providence; and he coggeth the wheels of his own providence that we see not. Oh, let the Former work his own clay into what frame he pleaseth! ‘Shall any teach the Almighty knowledge?’ If he pursue the dry stubble, who dare say, ‘What doest thou?’ Do not wonder to see the Judge of the world weave into one web your mercies and the judgments of the house of Kenmure. He can make one web of contraries.” “But,” adds Rutherford in the same letter, “my weak advice, with reverence and correction, were for you, dear and worthy lady, to see how far mortification goeth on, and what scum the Lord’s fire casteth out of you. . . . . . I do not say, that heavier afflictions prophesy heavier guiltiness; a cross is often but a false prophet in this kind; but I am sure that our Lord would have the tin and the bastard metal in you removed; lest the Lord say, ‘The bellows are burnt, the lead is consumed in the fire, the Founder melteth in vain,’” (Jer. vi. 29.) And in the conclusion, he thus counsels her, “It is a Christian art to comfort yourself in the Lord; to say, ‘I was obliged to render back again this child to the Giver; and if I have had four years’ loan of him, and Christ eternity’s possession of him, the Lord hath kept condition with me.’”
   Lady Kenmure, on the 21st of September, 1640, nearly a year after the death of her son, married for her second husband the Honourable Sir Henry Montgomery of Giffen, second son of Alexander, sixth Earl of Eglinton. This new relation proved a source of happiness to both. Sir Henry was an excellent man. His sentiments on religious and ecclesiastical questions corresponded with her own; and he is described as an “active and faithful friend of the Lords kirk.” But the union, which was without issue, did not last long; she was soon left a widow a second time; in which state she lived till a very venerable age. The exact time of Sir Henry’s death we have not discovered. Rutherford addressed a letter to her on that occasion, from St. Andrews, but it wants the date of the year. 
   Though by this second marriage she became Lady Montgomery, we shall take the liberty still to designate her “Lady Kenmure,” as this is the name by which she is most generally known.
Subsequently to this, Rutherford’s letters to her furnish few additional facts respecting her history. They contain repeated allusions to her bodily infirmities; and from their tone, it is manifest that she had attained to much maturity in grace, and that “all the sad losses, trials, sicknesses, infirmities, griefs, heaviness, and inconstancy of the creature,” had been ripening her for heaven. There is also evidence that she continued steadfast in the principles of the second reformation, and adhered in her judgment to the Presbyterian party called the Protesters, regarding the policy of the Resolutioners, what it really was, as inconsistent with the obligations of the Solemn League and Covenant, of which, if she did not enter into it, she cordially approved. “I am glad,” says Rutherford, writing to her from Glasgow, Sept. 28, 1651, “that your breath serveth you to run to the end, in the same condition and way wherein ye have walked these twenty years past. The Lord, it is true, hath stained the pride of all our glory, and now, last of all, the sun hath gone down upon many of the prophets. . . . I hear that your ladyship hath the same esteem of the despised cause and covenant of our Lord that ye had before. Madam, hold you there.”
   Much would it have gratified both these eminent saints to have lived to see “the despised cause and covenant of the Lord” honoured and prospering in the land; but this neither of them was privileged to witness. Writing to her in the autumn of 1659, Rutherford tells her of the satisfaction it would award him should God be pleased to lengthen out more time to her, that she might, before her eyes were shut, “see more of the work of the right hand of the Lord in reviving a swooning and crushed land and church.”       More time was indeed lengthened out to her, but it was to see, not the work of God in reviving the church, but the work of man in laying it waste, and in persecuting even to the death its ministers and members. Her highly esteemed correspondent was removed by death on the eve of these calamities, having died on the 20th of March, 1661, just in time to escape being put to an ignominious death for the testimony of Jesus. He was taken away from the evil to come. She survived him above eleven years, witnessing the desolations of the church, and though personally preserved from the fury of persecution, she suffered bitterly in some of her nearest relations.
   After Rutherford was laid in the dust, she cherished his memory with affectionate veneration, and in token of her remembrance, liberally extended her beneficence and kindness to his widow and only surviving daughter. This we find adverted to in a letter addressed to her by Mr. Robert M'Ward, from Rotterdam, October 2, but without the date of the year. “Madam,” says he, “Mrs. Rutherford gives me often an account of the singular testimonies
which she meets with of your ladyship’s affection to her and her daughter. If I could (though I had never had those personal obligations to your ladyship which I have, and under which I must die undischarged,) I would look on myself as obliged upon this account to pray that God may remember and reward your labour of love shown to the dead and continued to the living.” [Wodrow, MSS. Vol. lviii. Folio, no. 52.] The letters Rutherford had written to her she carefully preserved; and when, after his death, the publication of a collection of his letters was resolved upon, very desirous that those of them in her possession should be included in the volume, she transmitted them to Holland, to Mr. M'Ward, under whose superintendence the work was published at Rotterdam, in 1664. When it was published, M'Ward sent to her a copy in common binding, and some time after a copy bound in morocco, which, however, never reached her; on learning which, he sent her another copy in the same binding. [Wodrow, MSS. Vol. lviii. Folio, no. 56.]
   Soon after the restoration of Charles II, a deep wound was inflicted on the heart of Lady Kenmure by the cruel manner in which the government treated her brother, the Marquis of Argyll, who, immediately on his arrival at Whitehall, whither he had proceeded from Scotland to offer his respectful congratulations to his Majesty, was by his orders thrown into the Tower of London, and afterwards brought to trial before the Scottish Parliament, by which he was condemned to be beheaded.
   In those days it would appear that, like astrologers,who professed to foretell the fortunes of men from the aspect of the heavens, and the influence of the stars, physiognomists, with equal absurdity, pretended to read men’s future destiny in their countenances. The following instance of this may be quoted as an illustration of the foolish superstition which, at that period, existed in the best educated and most enlightened circles of society: - “Alexander Colville, justice depute, an old servant of the house, told me that my Lady Kenmure, a gracious lady, my lord’s (Marquis of Argyll’s) sister, from some little skill of physiognomy, which Sir Alexander had taught her, had told him some years ago that her brother would die in blood.” - Baillie's Letters, quoted in Kirkton's History, p. 107.
she received kind letters of condolence from several of her friends. Rutherford, on hearing of the imprisonment of her brother in the Tower, wrote to her from St. Andrews, July 24, 1660, saying, among other things, “It is not my part to be unmindful of you. Be not afflicted for your brother, the Marquis of Argyll. As to the main, in my weak apprehension, the seed of God being in him, and love to the people of God and his cause, it shall be well.”
   Another of her relatives who suffered from the iniquity of the times was Lord Lorn, the eldest son of her broth- er, the Marquis of Argyll. Lorn, naturally indignant at the cruel treatment which his father and family had received at the hands of the Parliament, gave free expression to his sentiments in a confidential letter he sent to his friend Lord Duffus. This letter being intercepted and carried to Middleton, that unprincipled statesman resolved to make it the foundation of a capital charge against him. Disappointed in his hope of obtaining the estate of the Marquis of Argyll, which through the intercession of Lauderdale was gifted to Lord Lorn, who had married Lauderdale’s lady’s niece, Middleton thought he had now found a favourable opportunity of getting into his rapacious grasp the spoils of the Argyll family. Accordingly, he laid the letter before the estates of Parliament, which voted it treasonable, and sent information to his Majesty, with a desire that Lorn, who was then in London, should be secured and sent down to Scotland to stand trial before the Parliament. Lorn was ordered to return to Scotland, though, at the intercession of Lauderdale, who personally became bail for his appearance, he was not sent down as a prisoner; and arriving in Edinburgh on the 17th of July, 1662, he was immediately charged to appear at the bar of the house on the afternoon of that day; which be did. That same night he was committed prisoner to the Castle, and on the 26th of August was sentenced to be beheaded, and his lands, goods, and estate forfeited, for treasonable speeches and writings against the Parliament; the time of the execution of the sentence being remitted to the king. He lay in prison in the Castle till Middleton’s fall, when he was liberated, in June 1663, and was soon after restored to his grandfather’s estate, with the title of Earl of Argyll. [Wodrow’s History, vol. i. pp. 297, 388; Aikman’s History, vol, iv. p. 500; Row’s Life of Robert Blair, p. 469.] During the time of Lorn’s imprisonment, M'Ward wrote to Lady Kenmure a letter, in which, among other things, he particularly animadverts upon this
additional instance of the injustice and cruelty exercised towards the noble house of Argyll. The portion of it relating to Lorn’s imprisonment may be quoted, as, besides containing a vindication of the prisoner’s father, the Marquis of Argyll, and describing the true character of the proceedings of that unprincipled government, it illustrates the pious and patriotic spirit of this noble lady. “The men,” says he, “who have sold themselves to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, have stretched forth their hand against your ladyship’s honourable and truly noble family. They made that worthy whose name is savoury amongst his people, the butt of their malice, and as if that had not been enough, they persecute with deadly malice his honourable and hopeful posterity, that their name may be no more in remembrance. But have they slain and also taken possession? and will he not bring evil upon them and their posterity for this, and for the provocation wherewith they have provoked him to anger and made Israel to sin? But what wonder that they have stretched forth their hand against his worthies, who have been honoured to be singularly useful and instrumental in his work, when it is come to this, that in a land solemn- ly sworn away to God, the Son of Man hath not so much left him, even by law, as whereupon to lay his head, except it be upon a cold stone in a prison! We have laws now framed by the throne of iniquity and in force, and by these laws he must die or be driven away. The men who have taken first the life and then the lands of him whom God hath taken off the stage with so much true honour; they have spoiled Christ also of his prerogative, and say, by what they do, ‘This man shall not reign over us, we have no king but Caesar,’and his people of their privilege, saying to them, ‘Bow down that we may go over you.’I believe, while your ladyship remembers these last, ye forget the first: however, your ladyship, and all the rest of his honourable relations, may be confident and comforted in the hope of it, when he comes to count with these men and cause them answer for that laese-majesty whereof they are guilty against God, he will make inquisition for blood, yea, that blood, and make them sensible how sadly he resents the injuries done to that house, and will, if ever he builds up Zion and appear in his glory in the land, (as I desire to believe he will,) restore the honour of that family with such a considerable over- plus of splendour, as shall make them who see it say, ‘Verily, there is a reward for the righteous; verily, he is a God that judgeth in the earth.’But, madam, I know, since God hath learned you to prefer Jerusalem to your chief joy, (a rare mercy amidst a generation who are crying, ‘Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation,’) that ye forget to sorrow for your father's house, and weep when ye remember Zion; it no doubt makes your sighing come before ye eat to see the ruins of that so lately beautiful fabric wherein ye, with the rest of his people, worshipped. Who can be but sad that hath the heart of a child to consider how the songs of the sanctuary are turned into howling?”[Wodrow MSS., vol. lviii., folio, no. 59.]
    From the allusion in the last sentence quoted, the reader will perceive that, at the time when this letter was written, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland had been overthrown. Charles II had got it into his head that Presbytery was not a religion for a gentleman, - an opinion of which the foundation no doubt was, what a young monarch of licentious morals could not easily brook, the strict surveillance which the Presbyterian Church exercised over the manners of all her members without respect of persons; - and no sooner was he restored to his throne than he and the base men selected by him for his counsellors, were determined not to suffer the offence and reproach of such an ill-bred religion to remain in the land, no, not even in the form of a dissenting body. Nor was it by gradual encroachments that they resolved to sap the foundations of the Scottish Presbyterian Church. Too impatient to wait the operation of slow and insidious measures, they proceeded openly, summarily, and by violence. Such ministers as did not conform against a certain day were to be unceremoniously ejected. No soft words were to be employed; no gentle acts of persuasion were to be resorted to with the view of bringing them to submission. The law, with its severe penalties, which were deemed a sufficient argument, was promulgated, and, stern and unbending, it was to take its course on all the disobedient. The majority of the ministers conformed, though they had sworn against prelacy; but a noble army of nearly four hundred of them refused compliance, preferring to suffer rather than to part with their integrity. They were in consequence driven from their people, who were thus deprived of the ordinances of the gospel, and who mourned the loss of their faithful pastors as a family bereavement.
   To this calamitous state of things M'Ward, in the same letter, proceeds to advert more particularly. He dwells upon the sorrow which he knew Lady Kenmure felt because her ear did not hear the joyful sound, nor her eyes see her teachers, and that she was not now made glad in the sanctuary, as in former days, when she had been abundantly satisfied with the fatness of God’s house, and made to drink with delight of the rivers of his pleasure, his banner over her being love. “You have now known of a long time,” says he, “what it is to live and almost languish in a dry and thirsty land where no water is, where all the streams of creature contentments have been dried up, and diverted by the scorching heat of fiery trials. But this, I know, is the hardest and heaviest of all, that the streams of the sanctuary which did refresh the city of God are dried up, and that these ordinances of life in the use whereof God doth ordinarily set forth and impart much of his loving kindness, which is better than life, are taken away from you.” And he concludes by observing that, “though he knew it to be grieving to her to see the faithful feeders put from their work, and God’s house of prayer turned into a den of thieves, who come not in by the door, and how the valley of vision was become a dungeon of Egyptian darkness,” yet that it would comfort her in a great measure, notwithstanding all that had happened, if she saw “the ministers of the Lord zealous and carrying like men of understanding who knew the times and what Israel ought to do, and not as asses crouching between the burdens.” [Wodrow MSS., vol. lviii., folio, no. 59.]
   In the welfare and happiness of the ministers ejected from their charges for nonconformity, Lady Kenmure took a deep interest, being warmly attached to the cause in which they suffered. Their integrity and conscientiousness in renouncing their livings rather than do violence to their conscience, excited both her approval and admiration; and if she could not restore them to the places from which they were extruded, she was willing, according to her ability, to mitigate the privations and hardships of their lot. After the death of her son, Lord Viscount Kenmure, and of her second husband, the Honourable Sir Henry Montgomery of Giffen, her pecuniary means were indeed much reduced, but having devoted herself and her all to the Saviour who redeemed her, she was liberal in communicating even beyond her ability to the necessities of the suffering Presbyterian ministers; and these acts of benevolence and generosity, which she felt to be sacred duties, she performed with a readiness and an alacrity corresponding to the deep sense she had of a Saviour’s love. Mr. Robert M'Ward, among others, was a sharer of her bounty. She frequently sent remittances to him in his straits when he was in Holland, of which he makes grateful mention in most of his letters to her, as well as refers to her profuse beneficence towards others who suf-fered for righteousness’sake, and who were in needy circumstances. In one of his letters to her, without date, but which, as appears from internal evidence, was written subsequently to the martyrdom of the Marquis of Argyll, and from Holland, after apologizing for taking the liberty of writing to her, he says, “It flows from an affection- ate respect which your ladyship’s undeserved kindness and bounty towards me in my strait (whereof I hope to cease to be sensible and cease to be together), hath made a debt which I can never forbear to acknowledge (though I am not in ease to requite it) without the imputation of baseness and ingratitude.” [Wodrow MSS., vol lviii., folio, no. 53.] In another letter to her from Rotterdam, in 1668, he writes, “Your ladyship hath put me oft to seek what to say, but, never more than by your last. I am truly at a loss for words to express myself about it; and I can assure you, madam, that it was a trouble to me to think how prodigal ye have been towards me at such a time. When I know well what the riches of your liberality are to others, and how much they who should give you what God hath made your own pinch you in withholding what they ought to give, what shall I say? but I see I must be among the rest, and with the first of them, who bear record of your doing even beyond power; and to make it appear that ye have, in the first place, given your ownself unto the Lord, ye give, in the second place, yourself and whatever God hath given you, to those whom ye suppose to have given themselves to God. Madam, when I can neither requite these high favours nor deserve them, I desire to have a complacency in the thoughts of what a rich reward abides you from him who is faithful and will never forget your work and labour of love showed towards his name. If he will not forget a cup of cold water, which is given by the hand of him who boiled it before he gave it, in the fire of love to God which burns in his bosom, how much more must these great givings be an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing unto God!” [Wodrow MSS., vol. lviii., folio, no. 54.] Mr. John Carstairs, minister of the High Church of Glasgow at the restoration, had also received substantial tokens of her good will. In a letter to his wife, May 27, 1664, from Ireland, whether he had fled to escape persecution, he says, “Present my humble service and tenderest respects to my noble Lady Kenmure. The Lord remember and graciously reward all her labour of love!” [Letters of Sir. John Carstairs, &c., edited by the Rev. William Ferrie, Anstruther Easter, p. 120.]
   Mr. M'Ward having come to London about the year 1669, resolved to visit some of his friends in Scotland, and among others Lady Kenmure. In a letter to her, without date, but which was probably written from Edinburgh. On receiving this communication, Lady Kenmure lost no time in intimating to her old friend and valued correspondent when he might wait upon her, and in giving him to understand how welcome would be the sight and converse of one who had suffered for his Master, and by whose letters she had been instructed and comforted. Their meeting was agreeable and refreshing to them both. In M'Ward she found one who had the tongue of the learned, and who could speak a word in season to them that were weary. In her he found a Christian, who, trained in the school of affliction, had attained to no ordinary degree of eminence in the christian graces, and who seemed to feel more deeply the distressed state of the church than the bodily infirmities which were pressing her down to the dust. To this visit he seems to refer in a letter which he addressed to her from Rotterdam, March 5, 1672, in which he mentions it as one thing “which did often refresh and comfort him concerning the reality and greenness of the grace of God in her, when he had occasion to see her upon her bed of languishing, namely; his finding that notwithstanding of all these weights and pressures of bodily infirmities under which her outward man was wasting, yet Zion and the concerns of our Lord Jesus Christ had a chief place in her thoughts, she resolving to prefer his interests to her chief joy and greatest sorrows.” [Wodrow MSS. vol. lviii., folio, no. 62.] Lady Kenmure was now far advanced in years, and during her lengthened life she had seen many changes in the beloved church of her native land. She had beheld the triumph of its liberties, after a protracted struggle of many years, over the arbitrary power of princes, and had seen the banner of the covenant unfurled and floating through- out the length and breadth of Scotland. She had again witnessed these liberties prostrated and trampled in the dust by a monarch who was sworn to maintain them, and a grinding persecution carried on against such as, faith- ful to their covenant engagement, scorned to surrender them. But time with its many changes, so far from altering, had only served to confirm her original sentiments on ecclesiastical questions. The good old cause was still the good old cause for her. “Madam,” says M'Ward, in the letter last quoted, “as it hath been observed by many
of your intimate Christian acquaintance that this hath been a piece of his gracious kindness to you to keep you still upon his side in an evil time, and to warm your soul into a good degree of holy heat and jealousy for God, his concerns, crown, and kingdom; so he continues to be gracious to you in this matter still, and to make you a comfort to such who take pleasure in the dust of Zion. How great a mercy is this when the breath of most men, the breath of most professors, nay, alas, the breath of most ministers, who by their fervour should warm the souls of others, is so cold that it doth plainly discover a falling from first love, and a want of divine zeal for him, and fervent desire for the coming of his kingdom in the world! This which he hath given you is a pearl of great price, a jewel of more value than the whole universe, nay, this is something above the reality of grace, and beyond every exercise of real grace. This is to carry like your father’s child, when the coming of his kingdom is the inward echo of your soul.” [Wodrow MMS., folio, lviii. no. 62.]
   The precise date of Lady Kenmure’s death we have not been able to ascertain. She was alive in August, 1672; for when Mr. John Livingstone, who died on the 19th of August that year, was giving some of his friends an account of God’s goodness to him during the course of his earthly pilgrimage the day before his death, and recounting it as one of the divine mercies conferred upon him that he had been acquainted with many eminent Christians in his youth, he named two, the tutor of Bonnington, and Lady Kenmure, “who is,” said he, “the old- est Christian acquaintance I have now alive.” But she was at that time in so very weak and infirm a state of health that M'Ward, in a letter to her, dated August 30, 1672, expresses his fears that it might possibly be his last letter to her, and whether it might come to her or find her in the land of the living. [Wodrow MMS., folio, lviii. no. 63.]
   It would no doubt be interesting to know the circumstances connected with the last sickness and death of a lady so eminent for piety; but these have not been transmitted to posterity. We have, however, traced her from early life to advanced age, and we have seen throughout that whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, on these things she thought, and these things she practised. Although, then, we lose sight of her at the closing scene, we may be sure that the light of heaven rested upon it, dispelling the darkness of death and the grave; and whether she gave utterance to the triumphant exclamation of the Apostle Paul, in the prospect of his departure, or no, that exclamation from her dying lips would have been an appropriate close to a life which so eminently exemplified the Christian graces, - faith, purity, humility, charity, - “I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Largely taken from https://www.electricscotland.com/history/ladies/ladies05.pdf

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