The History of Leith

December 20, 2003

David Lindsay

Part 4 South Leith Records 1925. A record of a Commemoration Lecture given by Rev. William Swan.

The Life and Times of David Lindsay-A Strange dream of the apocalypse

While David Lindsay was held in prison in Blackness Castle he had the following dream. The first night here appeared unto me a personage high in the air, the sun shone very bright above his head and clear, a full Moon under his feet, bright stars above him, whose visage and portraiture I was not able to behold for the great light that shined about him. From him there came one like a man of great and hideous stature clothed all in red, having in his right hand a red sword, in his left hand a great fire, who appeared to me to stand above the Castle of Edinburgh, and sundry persons looking upon him there.

The next night I saw only this red man with his sword and roll of paper, and fire under his feet but after a far greater stature than at the first time and I thought I was in a valley where I saw Edinburgh, Dunbar, Haddington, Dalkeith and sundry other towns which I knew with large bounds between them. And this red man appeared unto me in the air, in the midst of them and to cry in a loud voice “ Metuant stulti sapientes resipiscant appropinquat judicium (let the foolish fear, let the wise be silent, the judgement draws nigh). Thereafter I saw a certain number gather themselves together crying “Justus es,Domine, et judica tua rect. Minserere nosri et protégé nos, sub umbra alarum tuarum” (Thou art righteous, O lord and they judgements are right, Pity us and protect us under the shadow of they wings). After this the red man openeth up the roll of paper speaking with a mighty voice “ Adest judex obi est contempter Dei sacrilegus, blasphemus adulter? ( The judge is come,where is the despiser of God,the profane,the blasphemer,the adulterer)with great many vices, and having read the role pronounceth this sentence “Odists lucem tenebras elegistis, diu toleravi, nunc vindicabo (Ye have hated the light, ye have chosen the darkness, I have bourne long with you, now I will avenge me). With this he striketh a certain space with a sword and all the streets of the towns and fields appeared to me full of blood! Shortly thereafter, another sentence “Domi vorabit pestis extra vastabit gladius undique flagrabit ignis (at home the pestilence will devour, abroad the sword shall waste, everywhere fire shall burn). With this I thought I saw streets and fields full of dead carcasses, the doors of sundry houses open and dead persons in them and a voice everywhere crying “Dies irae , et furoris Jehovae (The day of wrath and of the fury of Jehovah). At last I heard the sound of a bell after which the first company that came together came to the Kirk where the man in red clothes spoke these words unto them “Timeant sapientes iniqitatem fugite deligite justiciam et judicium aut cito revertar et tunc posteriora erunt pejora pejoribus (let the wise fear, flee iniquity, love justice and judgement, else I shall return and then the last things will be worse then the worst) and all the people cried amen.

With this I wakened and suddenly started out of my bed and came to one of the windows of my chamber where I heard a bell ringing either in Culross or Dunfermline. The vision testifies to two things his knowledge of the apocalyptic writings and his absorption in the critical state of public affairs.

After the marriage of James VI to Anne of Denmark already referred to above, the royal party returned to Scotland, and the Queen was crowned the Abbey Church by Mr Robert Bruce, Lindsay being also present. Later on he was presented with some ecclesiastical revenues in consideration of the great expenses to which he had been put in connection with his many services to Royalty. In 1592 Presbyterianism

touched high water mark in James reign an Act of Parliament being extorted from him largely by the resource of Maitland of Thirlstanes, which has ever been its Magna Charta. But both before and afterwards James wrought strenuously to supplant it by the other form of Church government. For one thing, it was the system recognised in England over which one day he hoped to rule and he desired to have one Church over the entire island. For another, Episcopacy has no tinge of democracy about it, while Presbyterianism if not democratic has at least a strong blend of it in its constitution. He imagined that Episcopacy with a King by Divine right at the head of it would be more easily managed and would act as a stronger buttress to the throne. In his later years Lindsay must have been more convinced than ever that this was the right course to be adopted, for we find that in one of the assemblies that of 1598 when James was using all his influence in favour of reinstatement of Episcopacy Lindsay who presided was sharply rebuked by Melville for putting conclusions of a previous discussion in a light more favourable to the Kings own side than they were in reality.

In the year 1600 by a piece of sharp practice, King James managed to send Melville and some others away from the Assembly at St Andrews on Committee business. In their absence three Bishops were appointed one of them being David Lindsay now seventy years of age. His see was Ross. He still retained however his incumbency in Leith. The collegiate minister must have been charged with the main duties of the cure during Lindsay’s frequent absences on Episcopal duty. It is not to be supposed, however that he became a mere creature of the King.

To be continued…..

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