James Renwick

1662-1688. Last of the Scottish Covenanter* martyrs. Born at Moniaive, Dumfriesshire, the only son of poor and God-fearing parents whose several daughters had died in infancy, he showed early signs of piety, though his sensitive mind was at times clouded with doubt. While a student at Edinburgh University, he heard Donald Cargill* preach and saw his martyrdom. Cargill's influence led him to associate with the Covenanting societies that had adhered to Richard Cameron.* They sent him to Holland to train for the gospel ministry. He was ordained there and returned to Scotland through Dublin in the summer of 1683. He began a passionate four-year ministry at Darmead, preaching in all weathers and at all hours. In one year he baptized 600 children. Though anxious to refrain from violence, he could not allow the enthronement of James II* to pass without a solemn Protestation that denounced the king as a murderer and idolater, and an enemy of true religion. He was arrested in Edinburgh condemned to die, and executed at the Grassmarket. Letters and sermons are extant that give valuable information about his character and the times in which he lived.