Just a Bit O’ History… Psalm 11, of Dungeons and Prayers on the Firth of Forth.

Psalm 11

Blackness_Castle,_Scotland-12April2008When John Welsh and his fellow captives were summoned from their prison in Blackness…

on the Firth of Forth, to appear before the Court at Linlithgow, they sang this psalm as they walked by night under guard to their trial. In the old Geneva Bible, which they used, it stands:

I trust in God, how dare ye then
Say thus my soul until;
Flee hence as fast as any fowle,
And hide you in your hill?

Behold, the wicked bend their bowes,
And make their arrows prest (ready)
To shoot in secret, and to hurt
The sound and harmless breast.

But he that in his temple is
Most holy and most hie,
And in the heavens hath his seat
Of royal majestie,

‘The poor and simple man’s estate
Considereth in his mind;
And searcheth out full narrowly
The manners of mankind.

While they were lying in their dungeon, deep and dark, below the level of the sea, they received a letter from Lady Melville, of Culross, one of the best women of her time, bidding them be thankful that they were only ‘in the darkness of Blackness, and not in the blackness of darkness’

puritanprayerThey were at length banished ‘forth from the kingdom,’ under the arbitrary government of James VI., who was bent upon the establishment of Episcopacy. Calderwood says: ‘Upon the 6th of Nov. 1606, about the evening, when they were ready to embark, Mr. John Welsh conceived a fervent prayer, on the shore of Leith, and they took good-night of their friends, wives, and acquaintances, and entered in the boat; and after they had waited a good space upon the skipper, because he was not ready, they returned by two hours in the morning, at which time many were present. After prayer, they entered in the boat, with singing the 23rd Psalm. The people were much moved, and prayed heartily for them.’

Written by John Ker, D. D.
Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography”.

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