The death of John Brown


The death of John Brown

The Covenanters were Scottish Presbyterians who resisted the Episcopal system that Charles I, Charles II and James VI imposed on Scotland from 1637-1690. They oppose the divine rights of kings and believed that limitless sovereignty belongs to God alone. The Covenanters movement was outlawed. During the reign of Charles II they were hunted, jailed and killed in large numbers.

John Brown was a poor farmer who aspired to be a Covenanter minister, but had a problem with stammering. He had a brilliant intellect and and taught theology classes to the young people on the farm. He taught his students that one needs to be ready to give up your life at any moment and not to be afraid to suffer for Christ. The students came from miles around to be inspired by him.

In 1682 Covenanter pastor Alexander Peden performed the wedding ceremony for Johan Brown and Isabel Weir. After the ceremony Peden said to the bride: “Isabel, you have got a good man; but you will not enjoy him long. Prize his company and keep linen by you to be his winding sheet; for you will need it when you are not looking for it, and it will be a bloody one.”

On May 1, 1685, the king’s troops came looking for pastor Peden. They surprised John Brown in his field and ransacked his house. The found Covenanter literature and started to interrogate him. He started to talk to his interrogators in a stammer-free voice. They soldiers told him to say his last prayers and prepare to be killed immediately.

John Brown said to his wife: “Isebel, the day is come that I told you would come when I spoke to you first of marrying me.” She said: “Indeed John, I can willingly part with you.” He replied: “That is all I desire. I have no more to do but die. I have been ready to meet death for years past.”

As he said his good-byes and kissed his wife and baby, the officer ordered the troops to shoot him. They refused. Then the officer angrily pulled out his pistol, walked over to John Brown and shot him through the head.

The officer asked Isebel: “What do you think of your fine husband now?” She answered: “I ever thought much of him, and more than ever now.” She laid down the baby on the ground, bound up her beloved husband’s head, straighten his body, covered him with a plaid blanket, sat down and wept.

Christian men and women who live with the conviction of God’s sovereignty and a deep relationship with Jesus, do not fear death and will eventually overcome evil, even through many tears.

(Some information take from: One year of Christian History, E Michael and Sharon Rustenburg)

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About the author

Bennie Mostert
By Bennie Mostert