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Excommunication

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  • Ginny Dohms
    On the Lord s Day I was reading the book Men of the Covenant by Alexander Smellie. It is a collection of biographies of the Covenanters that chronologically
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2003
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      On the Lord's Day I was reading the book "Men of the Covenant" by Alexander Smellie.  It is a collection of biographies of the Covenanters that chronologically deals with the period from 1528 to 1688, talking of the times and sufferings that these faithful people went through.  While reading Donald Cargill's chapter called the Breaker and Builder, I found an interesteding section that I thought I would share on the binding nature of excommunication from a first hand experience.
       
      "When Cargill was a student in St. Andrews he had for one of his comrades the young Earl of Rothes.  There is still preserved in the University Library the copy of the Solemn League and Covenant which was signed in the Fifeshire town.  The first column of the names of undergraduates in St. Salvator's College is headed by Rothes, and not far from this signature stands the autograph of the Rattray notary's son (Cargill).  The two had started on their course together.  But how soon they diverged and how completely.  In an age of license, the profligacy and the drunkedness of the Earl were notorious; he gave himself great liberty in all sorts of debaucheries. He threw his energy too, with peculiar violence into the work of persecution.  And, all this while, his fellowstudent (Cargill) was getting God glorified on earth and commending those things which are true and venerable and lovely.  No separation could be better defined and more thorough.  But once again in their deaths, the former associates were brought strangely near.  On the 26th of July, the very night before Cargill witnessed his good confession (he was executed on a scaffold), the Duke of Rothes, his strength sapped by his intemperance, found himself in the grip of the last enemy.  He called out that some of his wife's ministers should be summoned to Holyrood to talk with him, for his own ministers were "good to live with, but not to die with".  So Lady Anne's counsellors were sent for and John Carstares, and George Johnston came.  They spoke to the nobleman of his sins, and told him of the mercy which even at the last was within his reach.  The comfortable words was the medicine he required; but he could not believe that it was designed for him.  "WE ALL THOUGHT LITTLE OF WHAT CARGILL DID IN EXCOMMUNICATING US, BUT I FIND THAT SENTENCE BINDING UPON ME NOW, AND IT WILL BIND TO ETERNITY."" 
       
      Sobering thought. 
       
      Ginny
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