A Gentle Glimpse Into a Covenanter Church Service and Communion During the Persecution of 1677.

I Thought that it may be interesting…

(c) National Galleries of Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundationto get the detailed account of one of these solemn communion seasons that was celebrated at East Nisbet, in Berwickshire, in 1677. It was well attended; the multitudes who assembled from all quarters of the country amounted to several thousand.

The people had reason to believe that an attempt might be made to disperse them by violence, and in order to protect from invasion the assembly and solemn work, some of the gentlemen present drew together about seven or eight score horses on the Saturday, equipped with such weapons as they had. Of these, parties of about twelve or sixteen men were appointed to ride forth towards the most suspected parts, and single horsemen were also dispatched to greater distances, to view the country, and give warning in case of danger. The remainder of the horses were drawn around the people, as a kind of rampart, at such distances as they might hear the sermon, and be in readiness in case of the approach of the enemy.

The place where they were assembled was peculiarly well adapted for such a work. It was a verdant and pleasant low-lying meadow, secretly close by the side of the Whitadder, with a spacious hillside in front, and on either hand, in form of a semi-circle. It was covered with delightful pasture, and rising with a gentle slope to a goodly height.

The communion-table was set in the midst of the little valley, around which a large number of people were congregated, but the great body of the people sat on the face of the hillside, which was crowded from top to bottom, “presenting perhaps the finest and most lovely sight of the kind which many present had ever beheld.”

That all things might be done decently and in order, tokens of admission to the Lord’s table were distributed on Saturday, and they were given only to such as were known to ministers or persons of trust present, to be free of known scandals.

The Sabbath morning rose calm and peaceful…

…and throughout the day the sky over their heads was serene and unclouded, in delightful harmony with that tranquilizing joyful, and holy service, in which they were to engage.

The ministers were remarkably well assisted and the whole scene was most interesting and solemnizing. All seemed to feel like Jacob, “Surely the Lord is in this place; this is none other than the house of God, this is the gate of heaven.” Or, perhaps even like the disciples on the mount of transfiguration; “It is good for us to be here.”

CovworThere were sixteen tables in all, and each table was supposed to contain about a hundred persons. After the communion was over, Mr. Welsh offered up a fervent prayer and thanksgiving, and then the whole assembly united in a solemn hymn of praise to Him who had thus mercifully spread a table before them in the presence of their enemies. Blackadder particularly mentions the solemn joy with which the people joined in this concluding exercise.

Such were some of the scenes in which Blackadder and his fellow exiles from their sorrowing flocks passed the time of their probation.

Edited for thought and sense

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