Mrs. James Guthrie: Unswerving faithfulness in God

By Angela Wittman

Execution of Rev James Guthrie  
"I know in whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. I have preached salvation through His name, and as I have preached, so do I believe, and do commend the riches of His free grace, and faith in His name unto you all, as the only way whereby you can be saved." (Spoken by Rev. James Guthrie while on the scaffold in 1661.)

Jane Ramsey, who became Mrs. James Guthrie, has been described as a woman with "unswerving faithfulness to the cause of God." It is only by the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit that one could possibly endure the suffering Mrs. Guthrie did when she lost her husband to martyrdom.

Rev. James Guthrie was a contemporary of Samuel Rutherford and became an ordained minister in 1638. He has been described as a man who loved God, his country, and one who boldly spoke of the Lordship of Christ over both the Church and the nation. This eventually led to his being charged with treason and his execution during the reign of Charles II who believed in the divine right of kings. He was hanged and then beheaded with his head to be displayed prominently in public as an example to others who dared preach according to Scripture.

James Guthrie wrote these blessed words to his wife shortly before his death:

"My heart, being within a few hours to lay down my life for the testimony of Jesus Christ, I do send these few lines as the last obedience of unfeigned and spotless affection which I bear to you, not only as one flesh, but as a member with me of that blessed mystical body of the Lord; for I trust you are, and that God who hath begun His good work in you, will also perfect it and bring it to an end, and give you life and salvation. Whatever may be your infirmities and weakness, yet the grace of God shall be sufficient for you, and His strength shall be perfected in your weakness...

"Let not your wants and weaknesses discourage you; there is power, riches, and abundance with God, both as to the things of the body and things of the soul; and he will supply all your wants, and carry you through. It is like to be a most trying time, but cleave you to God and keep His way, without casting away your confidence; fear not to be drowned in the depths of the troubles that may attend this land; God will hide you under His shadow, and keep you in the hollow of His hand."

I pray you will also take heart from these words of James Guthrie as there is no better place to be than in the hollow of the Lord’s hand. May we, the Church of Jesus Christ, not cast away our confidence, but instead let us cleave unto the LORD and keep His way forevermore. Amen and amen.

Originally written and published June, 2007.


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