There were brave men in the pulpits of Scotland five hundreds of years ago…
…Among these was the good pastor, Patrick Simson, who, when uttering words for God, respected not the persons of men. He did not fail even to let the king know the mind of the Lord regarding his conduct, as the following incident will show. Upon Tuesday, the 8th of February, 1572, Edinburgh was thrown into a state of excitement and lamentation by the news that a cruel murder had been committed, on the preceding night, upon the Earl of Murray in his own place at Donny bristle, by the Earl of Huntly. It seems that the Earl of Huntly had left the court of King James VI. and set fire to Donny bristle House, so that the Earl of Murray was forced to come out to see it, and being discovered, he was killed, and, as history says, “cruelly demained” –beheaded, and the Sheriff of Moray was likewise killed. The king went forth to hunting that morning as if nothing had occurred, and, hunting about Inverleith and Wardie, he saw the fire, which had not died out, but was not moved at the sight.
Aware of being popularly suspected of having been privy to the horrid deed, he sent for four of five of the ministers, and desired that they would “clear his part before the people.” But the ministers said, if he was innocent, then the king should arrest Huntly, and try him for the deed.
This, however, he would not do. A few days after the murder, Mr. Patrick Simson preached before James VI at Stirling, and took for his text the words, ” –The Lord said lo Cain, where is Abel thy brother? –Gen. 4: 9. In the course of his sermon the minister said to the king, –“Sir, I assure you, in God’s name, the Lord will ask you, ‘Where is the Erie of Moray, thy brother?’”
This startled the king, and he replied, before all the convocation, –“Mr. Patrick, my chamber door was never stalked upon by you; ye might have told me anything you thought in secret.” He replied, “Sir, the scandal is public.”
After the service was over he was sent for, and went up to the Castle to meet His Majesty with the Bible under his “ockster,” affirming that the “bulk” would plead for him. The brave minister of Christ was privileged to preach before the same king six years after this, and he lost none of his influence, but gained it by being faithful even to those who were high in position, and to the one man in the realm who wore a crown and wielded the Scepter.
Written by, William Adamson