Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Monday, January 26, 2015

26 Jan 1681 A.D. 2 Scots Covenanter girls die on the scaffold for their faiths

26 Jan 1681 A.D.  2 Scots Covenanter girls die on the scaffold for their faiths.

Dr. Rusten tells the story.

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.  Available at:

Backstory about 2 girls in the Scots Covenanter tradition.

Isabel Alison grew up in Perth, Scotland.  She listened to Donald Cargill, a leader of the persecuted Covenanters. In 1680, she spoke out against those punishing non-conformists to the Church of England.  She was arrest in Perth and forwarded to Edinburgh.  She was imprisoned with another female Covenanter.

She underwent 2 months of interrogation.  Both were brought before the Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh.  He proceeded to read the Prayer Book.  They sang Psalm 23 loudly and over the bishop’s reading.  The upshot was:  “Ya’ll conform, by God, ya’ will.” The bishop returned an indictment condemning both to hanging; the civic dragoons or civil magistrates of repression carried out the deed.

The two girls wrote separate responses.

The first response to the bishop’s sentence comes from Marion:

“I desire to bless the Lord for my lot…It was but little I knew of Him before I came to prison; but now He has said to me, because He lives, I shall live also…Kind has He been to me since He brought me out to witness for Him.  I have never sought anything from Him but that was for His glory since I came to prison, but He granted me my desire.  I have found Him in everything that hath come my way, ordering it to Himself for His own glory.  And how I bless Him that thoughts of death are not terrible to me.  He hath made me as willing to lay down my life for Him as ever I was willing to live in this world.”

The second response comes from Isabel who wrote:

“I lay down my life for owning and adhering to Jesus Christ…But what shall I say to the commendation of Christ Jesus and His cross? I bless the Lord, praise to His holy name, that hath made my prison a palace to me…Oh! How great is His love to me that He hath brought me forth to testify against the abominations of the times, and kept me from fainting hitherto, and hath made me rejoice in Him! Now I bless the Lord that ever He gave me a life to lay down for Him.”

They both were led to the Grassmarket scaffold in Edinburgh on 26 Jan 1681.

On the persecutors’ scaffold, Isabel said as she climbed the ladder:

“Oh, ye His enemies, what will ye do, whither will ye fly in that day? For now there is a dreadful day coming on all the enemies of Jesus Christ.”

Marion’s words on the murderers’ scafford were:

“I am come here today for avowing Christ to be the head of his church and King in Zion.  Oh! Seek Him, sirs; seek Him and ye shall find Him.  I sought Him and found Him; I held Him and would not let Him go.”


  1. What is one to think of these English dragoons and their Episcopalian supremacism?  Repression?
  2. Would you have died for the claim that Royals are not the heads of the church?
  3. What Biblical warrant justifies a King or Queen, e.g. England, claiming to be the Head or Governor of the Church?


Smellie, Alexander. Men of the Covenant.  Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1960. 435-8.

Thomson, John H. A Cloud of Witnesses. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle, 1989. 116-47.

No comments: