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and it is hard for a minister (called of God to preach the gospel) to refuse to hearken to the call of a necessitous people. 4. Whereas, the defender is charged for not swearing the oath of allegiance, and not subscribing the assurance; it is answered, he doth most ingenuously declare, it is not from any disrespect to his majesty and his authority, but because of some relative circumstances wherewith the same is clothed, and chiefly that the said oaths taking and subscribing is made such a necessary qualification of a minister, that he who hath not freedom to take them is declared (in the act of parliament for settling the quiet of the church) to be no minister of this church, which, as he conceives, tendeth to bring the kingdom of Christ Jesus under a most sad bondage, in granting to the civil magistrate a power to inflict ecclesiastical censures, and to enjoin qualifications of the ministry, which the Lord Jesus (the church's alone head and lawgiver) doth not require. For this, and many other weighty reasons, (which if their lordships require he is ready to adduce) the said defender cannot take the foresaid oaths.
“ As to what is libelled, that the defender stands suspended by a sentence of the church—it is answered, he is really sorry that matters should be at such a pass betwixt the ministry of this church and him, and is not willing before this court to adduce his exceptions against the said sentence, nor his grounds why he cannot submit to it. Only their lordships would be informed that the sentence merely was in absence, and that it could not be reputed contumacy, in as far as he had attended the commission of the kirk once and again; as also, two other diets when the assembly should have met, and knew not but he might have met with the like disappointment at the time the assembly did sit; withal, had the assembly continued sitting as long as former assemblies had usually done, he came to Edinburgh in such time as he could have attended them; but they were up, which he did not expect.
“ As to what is libelled anent his not keeping fasts and thanksgiving days, and his inveighing against them; and his presuming to keep fusts and thanksgiving days of his own devising—it is answered as to the first, there are no particulars
mentioned; neither doth he know that any to whom the noticing the nonobservants of these days is recommended, have brought any accusation against him on that head. And seeing he hath completely vindicated himself from all imputation of disloyalty, it is hoped their lordships will not sustain the libel in that part.
“ As to his appointing days of his own devising—it is answered, he doth it no where but in Urr and Kirkgunzean, where he ordinarily preacheth; which is what Christ's faithful servants always have done, and at this day by some of the present ministry, upon very good grounds is practised, having the call of God's Word, and the dispensations of the day for their warrant.
“ As to the unlawful convocation of the king's lieges, scandalous tumults, and riots libelled-he utterly denies the same, except people's peaceable meeting to hear the Lord's Word be so interpreted, which he is confident their lordships will not do. As for the particular instance of that disturbance Mr. Reid met with at the church of Urr, the defender is most wrongously charged therewith, being at that time some scores of miles distant from the place; as also, it will be found, on search, that the matter of fact is misrepresented, and that the persons mentioned in the libel are much injured by those who informed the government against them, they being all peaceable men, and well affected to his majesty.
“ Lastly, As to the charge of casting off the fear of God and regard to the laws of the land—it is answered, it is truly to be regretted that God is not feared at this day by the generality of all ranks, and as for the defender, he acknowledgeth, he is indeed before the Lord chargeable that he feareth him so little, yet can declare that he desireth and endeavoureth through grace, in the whole of his conversation and ministry, to demean himself so as to show forth the Lord's fear and due regard to authority; and is bold to say, there are few in his station who have endeavoured to pay more respect to the king and government, consistent with that obedience he owes to the King of kings, and that neither for temporal reward nor fear of punishment, but purely for conscience' sake, than the defender. In consideration of the premises, he humbly craves of their lordships that he may be discharged from this libel.”*
Having requested to see the above answers of Mr. Hepburn before they were presented to the council, the lord advocate kept possession of them till Mr. Hepburn himself was sisted before it. Here the advocate questioned him if he would have his answers read, assuring him that there was treason in them!+ To this Mr. Hepburn replied, they might do as they thought fit; and being again asked if he had taken the oaths, he answered no; because he did not regard them as bestowing any ministerial qualification. On this he was immediately ordered out, and the lords of his majesty's privy council agreed in sentencing him “ to be confined to the town of Brechin, and two miles round the same, ordaining him instantly to find caution that he should repair straight to the place of his confinement betwixt and Tuesday the fourth of August next, and should keep within the same, and not go without the bounds thereof, under the penalty of three thousand merks Scots, in case he should transgress in any part of the premises. And in case he should not instantly find sufficient caution in
* Humble Pleadings, &c. pp. 192, 197.
+ That the revolution church, as she had assumed into her communion many of those who had acted under the late prelacy, had also imbibed no small portion of the prelatic spirit; and that somewhat of the deadly venom of the Middletons, the Lauderdales, and the Perths, still breathed through the organs of the executive government, would be proved by the above to a demonstration, although there was nothing else of a documentary kind remaining. Nor is this at all to be wondered at, when we reflect that there were still among those who had the ear of the king, men who had been the open advisers of James in those stretches of prerogative which led to his abdication, and that the bloody and unprincipled Tarbat held at this very time the office of clerk register. From the advocate, however, Sir James Stuart, one of the authors of Naphtali, something superior to the refined barbarity and disingenuous shuffling of Sir George Mackenzie might have been reasonably expected; but, unfortunately for his reputation, he copied, in this instance, exactly after that unprincipled predecessor. Of the imposition with regard to these oaths, practised upon the unsuspecting part of the ministry at this time, the truculency of ecclesiastical managers, and the illegal violence of this same lord advocate, the reader will find some striking examples in Memoirs of the Public Life of Mr. James Hogg, written by himself, and pub. lished by the late Professor Bruce of Whitburn, a work but little known, but of inestimable value to all who take an interest in the history of that period
manner foresaid, they ordained him to be carried prisoner to the tolbooth of Edinburgh until he should find security as said is."
In consequence of this sentence, Mr. Hepburn was imprisoned in the tolbooth of Edinburgh from the twenty-eighth of July  to the twenty-second of August, during which time he preached every Lord's day from a window of the prison to the crowd who waited without, the magistrates, with the advice of some of the ministers, forbidding any to be admitted within to hear him. They even went the length of ordering the prisoners to be locked up who had showed a desire to listen to his discourses. A number of his hearers, the people of Galloway, were put to trouble, by being summoned in to Edinburgh, about the same time, though nothing criminal could be proved against them. On the twenty-second he was removed from Edinburgh, and it being Saturday, he was that night and next day detained at Liniithgow, where he again preached from the windows of his prison. On the twenty-fourth, he was lodged in the castle of Stirling, where his accommodations were better than they had been before, but his liberty of preaching was greatly restrained, few or none being admitted to hear him. After the lapse of some months he was liberated from prison, but it was three years before he was allowed to return to his people in Galloway, who did not fail to sympathize with him in his affliction, and to assist and encourage him by every means in their power.
This attachment on the part of his people defeated the intrigues of the presbytery of Dumfries, the members of which, though Mr. Hepburn had only been suspended, not deposed, laboured hard to have his parish declared vacant, and another minister put in his place. In this they did not succeed; but, by some means or other, he was deprived of his stipend for these three years.* His enemies, indeed, during all that time appear to have been doing their utmost to have a higher censure passed against him, though, by what means it does not now appear, they were baffled in the attempt once and again.
Among the unprinted acts of the General Assembly for the
* Humble Plcadings, &c. pp. 197, 202.
years 1697 and 1698, we find the processes against Mr. Mair and Mr. Hepburn referred to the commission, and among the unprinted acts for the year 1699, we find an act taking the suspension off Mr. John Hepburn, on his humble and earnest desire, and professed deference and respect to the judicatories. of this church, and the peace thereof, which was granted by the General Assembly, with certification, &c., and it appears that he exercised his ministry without further molestation till the year 1703, when his refusal to take the oath of allegiance to queen Anne occasioned new complaints against him from the synods of Wigton and Dumfries. In consequence of these complaints, we find him next year, 1704, joined with Mr. John Mackmillan, and both their cases referred to the commission of assembly, by “ an act against schism and disorder,” dated at Edinburgh, March the thirtieth, 1704. The same assembly appointed a committee for “ considering a process against Mr. John Mackmillan, who was deposed from the ministry, and for considering the schism in the south and west.” The result of all this was a summons to Mr. Hepburn before the commission, at the instance of Mr. John Blair, agent for the church, by which he was, on the eighth day of June, that same year, deposed from the office of the holy ministry, and cited to appear before them on the eleventh of July, which citation was continued to the twentieth, and from that to the first Wednesday of September. Mr. Hepburn gave in a long paper in reply to all the charges contained in Mr. Blair's libel, and particularly in explanation of his conduct since the suspension was taken off him in the year 1699 ;* and the commission appointed a com. mittee to compare his answers with the libel, and to interrogate him further upon what the answers had not touched. This committee gave in their report, finding that he owns the things charged, in point of fact, and offers to justify himself by this only reason, viz. “ that he is satisfied in his own conscience, and that being so, he is not to regard any deference or respect he may be obliged to pay to the authority and direction of the church;" and that, when interrogate if he would desist from
* Humble Pleadings, pp. 205, 216.