Rev. John Livingston
Autobiography Extract

A Brief Historical Relation of the life of Mr John Livingstone, minister of the gospel, containing several observations of the divine goodness manifested to him, in the several occurrences thereof.

Written by Himself
during his banishment in Holland, for the cause of Christ.

With a historical introduction and notes,
by the Rev. Thomas Houston,

A new edition, with appendix.

John Johnstone,
15 Princes Street, Edinburgh; and
26 Paternoster Row, London.

My father was Mr. William Livingstone, first minister at Monybroch (The same as Kilayth), where he entered in the year 1600, and thereafter was transported, about the year 1615, to be minister at Lanark, where he died in the year 1641, being sixty-five years old. His father was Mr Alexander Livingstone, also at Monybroch, who was a near relation to the house of Calender. His father was killed at Pinkiefield, anno 1547, being a son of the Lord Livingstone, which house thereafter was dignified to be Earl of Linlithgow. My father was all his days straight and zealous in the work of reformation against Episcopacy and ceremonies, and was once deposed; and wanted not seals of his ministry, both at Monybroch and also at Lanark. My mother was Agnes Livingstone, daughter of Alexander Livingstone, portioner of Falkirk, come of the house of Dunipace. She was a rare pattern of godliness and virtue. She died in the year 1617, being about thirty-two years of age. She left three sons and four daughters. I was born in Monybroch, in Stirlingshire, the 21st of June 1603.

The first period of my life, I reckon from my birth to the first day I preached in public, which was at Lanark, on a Sabbath afternoon, the 2d of January 1625.

Having at home learned to read and write, I was sent, in the year 1613, to Stirling, to a Latin school, where Mr William Wallace, a good man, and a learned humanist, was schoolmaster; where I stayed till summer 1617; at which time I was sent for, to be present with my mother dying. About October 1617, I was sent to the College of Glasgow, where I stayed four years. I passed master of arts July 1621. After that I stayed in my father's, in Lanark, till I began to preach.

During this time, I observed the Lord's great goodness, that I was born of such parents, who taught me somewhat of God so soon as I was capable to understand anything, and had great care of my education. I had great fears about my salvation when I was but very young. I saw somewhat of the example and carriage of sundry gracious Christians, who used to resort to my father's house, especially at communion occasions: such as Mr Robert Bruce, and several other godly ministers, the rare Countess of Wigtown, Lady Lillias Graham, who also at my baptism desired my name, because her father, her husband, and eldest son, were all of that name; the Lady Culross, the Lady Bantoon, and sundry others.

It is remarkable, that Mr William Wallace came but a short while to Stirling before I was sent thither to school, and the year after I left the school he also left that charge. Likewise worthy Mr Robert Boyd of Trochrigg, was but lately come from Suamur in France, to be Principal of the College of Glasgow when I went thither,a dn went from the college the year after I left it.

The while I was in Stirling, Mr Patrick Simpson was minister there -- a man learneed, godly, and very faithful in the cause of God; and in Glasgow, I heard Mr John Bell - a grave, serious man; and Mr Robert Scot, who also was once deposed for opposing the corruptions of the time.

The first year after I went to Stirling school, I profited not much, and was often beaten by the schoolmaster; and one day he had beaten me on the cheek with a stick, so that it swelled. That same day, my father came occasionally to town, and seeing my face swollen, did chide with the master, that he having a chief hand to bring me to that place,he should use me so. The master promised to forbear beating of me, and I profited a great deal more in my learning after that. And when, in September 1616, I with the rest of my equals, had gone through all the Latin and Greek that was taught in the school, and so were ready to go to the college, and my father was come to bring me home for that end, the schoolmaster prevailed with my father (I being so young, and the master having hopes of my proficiency) that I should stay one other year; and thus another boy and I stayed another year. We for the most part read by ourselves in a little chamber above the school, the mster furnishing us books, where we went through the most part of the choice Latin writers, both poets and others; and that year was to me the largemost profitable year I had at the schools.

Xerox stops here and continues...

An Account

Of what passed when Mr John Livingstone appeared before the council in the lower council-house at Edinburgh, December 11, 1662, at which time they banished him.

Lord Chancellor. -- You are called here before his Majesty's secret council fo rturbulency and sedition. You have been in all the rebellions and disobedience to authority that have been these many years; and although his Majesty and Parliament have given an act of indemnity for what is past, yet you continue in the same courses.

Mr Livingston. -- My Lords, if I shall not be so ready in my answers, as were requisite, or if anything, through inadvertency, shall offend, I crave to be excused in regard of my unacquaintedness with such ways, as being now towards sixty years, and was never before called in such sort before such a judicatory. I am a poor servant of Jesus Christ, and have been labouring to serve him and his people in the ministry of his word, and it is a grief to me to be so charged by your Lordship; for I am not conscious to myself of any turbulency or sedition. There are some things anent the officers and government of the Church wherein I confes my judgement and principles differ from what is presently maintained; but I have laboured to carry myself with all moderation and peaceableness with due respect to authority, and have lived so obscurely, that I wonder how I am taken notice of.

L. Ch. -- You have transgressed tow acts of Parliament -- one appointing the 29th day of May a day of commemoration of his Majesty's happy restoring, and another appointing the snynods to be keeped. Did you preach on the 29th day of May?

Mr. Liv. -- There are witnesses in town who testify that I preached the last 29th day of May.

L. Ch. -- [But] did you keep the day as is appointed in obedience to the act of Parliament?

Mr. Liv. -- I dare not say that I did so: it was my ordinary lecture-day; yet the place of Scripture that was my ordinary gave occasion to speak somewhat of the benefit of magistracy.

L. Ch. -- But will [not] you publicly, as others do, acknowledge the Lord's mercy in restoring the king?

Mr. Liv. -- I have (My Lord) done so, both at the first, and sometime since.

L. Ch. -- But what is the reason that you do not keep the day appointed by the Parliament?

Mr. Liv. -- My Lord I have not that promptness of judgment or expression that were requisite for surprising questions, and would beg, if your Lordship please, that I may be forborne.

L. Ch. -- Can you not give a reason why you keep it not?

Mr. Liv. -- My Lord, there may be some expression that may furnish a scruple to a man who conceives that God only can appoint a holy-day.

L. Ch. -- But you kept days of your own. You kept a day of thanksgiving for the battle of Langmarston Moor, and several days of fasting in the time of the engagement. Did you not keep the day for Langmarsten Moor?

Mr. Liv. -- So far as I know, I did; but these days were not, or were not called, holy-days, but only appointed on several occasions; and besides, one may scruple if any have power to appoint anniversary holy-days.

L. Ch. -- But will you keep that day hereafter?

Mr. Liv. -- My Lord, I would desire first to see an issue...

All that was sent to me in xerox form from Glasgow.

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