The Encounter and Convocation of Alexander Peden and James Renwick

alexander peden150

Alexander Peden, known as the Prophet of the Covenant, was one of the leading figures in the Covenanter movement in Scotland. After becoming an outlaw and rebel he wore a mask when going out in public preaching the gospel throughout all of Scotland. The following is a true account of the encounter and convocation between Alexander Peden and James Renwick another leading Covenanter after the death of James Cameron.


peden preaching


“Wrote Paul to Timothy, when about to die, ‘Take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is profitable to me for the ministry.’ It was not always so. There was a time when Paul had little use for the young man who ‘went not with them to the work’ But there came about a blessed change, and such an one as ‘Paul the aged’ would have with him, in the Roman prison, John Mark.

And old Alexander Peden, the Prophet of the Covenant, ‘in deaths oft’, was truly dying now in his cave, but of whom he had believed some hard things.

james renwickJames Renwick


By all his afflictions, Puir Auld Sandie was hastening on to the joy of his Lord, and he sent for James Renwick. Patrick Walker tells the fine old story:

He said to James Wilson, that from the time he drank in these false reports, and followed these unhappy advices, it had not been with him as formerly; and when he was a-dying, he sent for Mr. Renwick, who hasted to him and found him lying in very low circumstances, overgrown with hair, and few to take care of him, as he never took much care of his body, and seldom unclothed himself, or went to bed. When Mr. James came in, he raised himself upon his bed, leaning upon his elbow with his head upon his hand, and said,

“Well Sir,” said Mr. Peden, “turn about your back,” which he did in his condescending temper. Mr. Peden said, “I think your legs too small, and your shoulders too narrow, to take on the whole Church of Scotland on your back; sit down, sir, and give me an account of your conversion, and of your call to the ministry, of your principles, and the ground of your taking such singular courses, in withdrawing from all other ministers;”

Which Mr. Renwick did in a distinct manner; of the Lord’s way of dealing with him from his infancy, and of three mornings successive in some retired place in the King’s Park, where he used to frequent before he went abroad, where he got very signal manifestations and confirmations of his call to the ministry, and got renewed in Holland a little before he came off; a distinct short account of his grounds upon which he contended against tyranny and defections, and kept up an active testimony against all the evils of that day. When ended, Mr. Peden said,

“Ye have answered me to my soul’s satisfaction, and I am very sorry that I should have believed any such ill reports of you, which have not only quenched my love to you, and marred my sympathy with you, but made me express myself too bitterly against you, for which I have sadly smarted. But, sir, ere you go you must pray for me, for I am old, and going to leave the world;”

Which he did with more than ordinary enlargement; when ended, he took him by the land, and frew him to him, and kissed him and said,

“Sir, I find you a faithful servant to your Master, go on in a single dependence upon the Lord, and ye will win honestly through and cleanly off the stage, when many others that hold their head high will fall and lie in the mire, and make foul hands and garments;”

Then prayed, that the Lord might spirit, strengthen, support and comfort him in all duties and difficulties. James Wilson was witness to this, and James Nisbet, who then lied in that countryside, could have asserted the truth of this.’

They never met again. Peden ever a phantom to the troopers, evaded them to the last, but forty days after he was buried, they dug him up as he said they would, and hung him on a gallows, and out of contempt for him, reburied him at the gallows foot.”

-Fair Sunshine, Jock Purves


Think! No more in the old graveyard,
Will anyone bury his dead!
They carry them high to the Gallows Hill
And lay them there at his head.


The Mask of Alexander Peden


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