On a recent week’s trip to Dumfries and Galloway I was mildly excited by the designation of a place called Wigtown. Named “Scotland’s Book Town” I was very eager to go. Surely, this place would be a paradise of second-hand Reformed books in a land where Presbyterianism is the national religion? Well, apart from picking up a split-leaf Psalter and Berkhof’s Summary of Christian Doctrine for £1 I was left disappointed by Scotland’s Book Town.
However, Wigtown is a pretty little place and so I wandered down to the Kirk. In the churchyard I found these gravemarkers:
Margaret McLachlan and Margaret Wilson were Covenanters – sworn to uphold the Reformation of Scotland and the Presbyterian religion. The Stuart Kings, Charles II and James II (VII), seemed to have learned nothing from their father’s dabblings in Scottish religion and were once again imposing episcopal religion on Scotland. In 1685 the two Margarets were arrested and condemned to death by drowning in the Solway Firth.
Wandering down the hill from the Kirk to the shoreline you come to the Martyrs’ stake. The estuary has now silted over and there were men going out to shoot geese but it was still a poignant spot.
At my ordination service I promised to uphold the purity of the church. Those words convicted me then and they continue to do so today. Could I be faithful to my promise to the Lord, as Margaret McLachlan and Margaret Wilson were to theirs? In the face of persecution, will I be able to cling to my Lord as my only hope?
I’m forever thankful for people like the Wigtown Martyrs. We owe them a debt of gratitude for holding to their conviction that Christ is the only head of the church. I pray that we may do the same.