The Death of Donald Cargill

25 Jan

“Thou art me God, I’ll thee exalt;

my God, I will thee praise.

Give thanks to God, for he is good:

his mercy lasts always.”

These words from Psalm 118 were sung by Donald Cargill as he stood on the scaffold before his execution on 27th July 1681. The minister was then allowed to tell the gathered crowd why he was going to be executed but the soldiers’ drums drowned him out whenever he spoke against the unjust demands of the king upon the Church. He then gave a powerful personal testimony and entreated the crowd to “be not discouraged at the way of Christ, and the cause for which I am to lay down my life, and step into eternity.” Having been drowned out by the drums for a final time Cargill then stood and waited as his companion Walter Smith spoke to the people and sang a psalm.

The Old Mercat Cross, Edinburgh, where Cargill was executed

Maurice Grant records Donald Cargill’s final words and actions:

“At last, when all was ready, he was ordered to climb the ladder. As he set foot on it he remarked: ‘The Lord knows, I go up this ladder with less fear an perturbation of mind than ever I entered the pulpit to preach.’…

He mounted the ladder and seated himself at the top. His faith, triumphant and undimmed, was radiant with full assurance: ‘Now I am near to the getting of my crown, which shall be sure; for I bless the Lord, and desire all of you to bless him, that he has brought me here and made me triumph over devils and men and sin. They shall wound me no more. I forgive all men the wrongs that any of the elect have done against him. I pray that sufferers may be kept from sin and helped to know their duty’. The napkin was tied about his face. He lifted it for a moment, and called out: ‘Farewell, all relations and friends in Christ; farewell, all acquaintances and earthly enjoyments; farewell, reading and preaching, praying and believing, wanderings, reproaches and sufferings. Welcome, joy unspeakable and full of glory. Welcome, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Into thy hands I commit my spirit.’ And as he prayed, with hands lifted up to heaven, the executioner did his office, and in a moment Cargill’s work on earth was done.”

All quotations from No King But Christ by Maurice Grant.


One Response to “The Death of Donald Cargill”

  1. dadshomeschool April 24, 2010 at 6:39 am #

    Thanks for the info and especially the pic. If I have done my research correctly and I was as diligent as resources allowed, this man was my 5th great grandfather. I pray that I might be counted as faithful a man as he!

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