Most in the Main Things

16 Jan

Canongate Tolbooth, Edinburgh, where Cargill was held before his execution

Imprisoned and due to be executed within hours Cargill wrote his last testimony. In it he recorded these words:

“This is the most joyful day that I ever saw in my pilgrimage on earth. My joy is now begun, which I see shall never be interrupted. I see both my interest and his truth, and the sureness of the one and the preciousness of the other. It is near thirty years since he made it sure, and since that time, though there has fallen out much sin, yet I was never out of an assurance if mine interest, nor long out of sight of his presence, He has dandled me, and kept me lively, and never left me behind, though I was oft times turning back. Oh, he has showed the wonderful preciousness of his grace, not only in the first receiving thereof, but in renewed and multiplied pardons! I have been a man of great sins, but he has been a God of great mercies, and now, through his mercies, I have a conscience as sound and quiet as if I had never sinned. It is long since I could have ventured on eternity, through God’s mercy and Christ’s merit, but death remained somewhat terrible, and now that is taken away; and, however it be with me at the last, though I should be  straitened by God or interrupted by men, yet all is sure, and shall be well. I have followed holiness, I have taught truth, and I have been most in the main things; not that I thought the things concerning our times little, but that I thought none could do anything to purpose in God’s great and public matters, till they were right in their conditions.”

Maurice Grant writes:

“‘Most in the main things’ is a phrase which perfectly sums up Cargill’s life, a life spent in devotion to God and service to his church, a life which ever kept at its centre the great theme of God’s glory, and was never diverted from this supreme aim.”

What a magnificent tribute. What about our lives? What are we “most in”? Are we in the “main things” or wasting our time with things that won’t last? The unending joy of which Cargill writes cannot be found anywhere else but in glorifying God.

Quotations from No King but Christ by Maurice Grant

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