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Apostle of the Covenant.” We are told that he was careful to note down for future vengeance the names of all who refused to subscribe that famous league. He was a busy member of the memorable Glasgow Assembly of 1638 ; and the secret history of that meeting relates this anecdote of him : “Mr Andrew Cant (upon whose judgment the assembly did much rely) was desired to deliver his judgment concerning Arminianism. He very gravely and modestly did excuse himself, for that there were many more learned than he to speak of that matter; ' for I,' saith he, have been otherwise occupied than in reading Arminius's tenets ; for after I had spent some years in the college of Aberdeen, I was promoted to be a doctor (that is usher) of the Grammar school there, and in the mean time I did read Becanus his Theology. There was one sitting beside him who touched him on the elbow, and told him Becanus was a jesuit, and that he should have said Bucanus. On this he craved the
A profane parody on the Litany, popular in these unhappy times, ran :
“ From Dickson, Henderson, and Cant,
Almighty God deliver us." Third Book of Scotish Pasquils, p. 47. Edinburgh, 1828.
2 Spalding's History of the Troubles in Scotland, p. 48.
whole assembly pardon, that he should have named a jesuit, and protested that he never read three lines either on Jesuit or any other popish writer; ‘yea,' saith he, 'I abhor reading these men whom they call the Fathers, for one told me, who heard it of Mr Charles Ferme, that they smelled too much of popery : Bucanus have I studied, and some English homilies, but above all I owe all I have to the most Reverend Mr Cartwright. I could have studied Mr Calvin's Institutions, but I found them somewhat harsh and obscure to be understood [that is, he did not understand Latin, for Calvin writes in a plain intelligible style, but his Latin is as refined as any performance that ever appeared in that language within sixteen hundred years]; and, in the mean time, when I should have studied most, I behoved to marry, being of a complexion quite contrary to our Moderator. Therefore I request you to ask some other's judgment concerning that; for Popery, Arminianism, and the Alcoran are all alike known to me.'
By this Assembly he was translated from his obscure country parish “(in order to a farther step in his preferment) to Newbottle, hard by the gates of Edinburgh, where some day it was thought he might enter the pulpit as their minister; but his unsocial
1 Third Book of Scotish Pasquils, pp. 47, 48.
temper cooled the city and ministry towards him.” In 1640 he was removed to Aberdeen, but some time passed before he entered on his duties there ; for he found a more congenial employment in marching across the Border with the Blue Bonnets under Leslie. When the Scots entered Newcastle, he was one of two preachers appointed to hold forth in the churches of that city. This crusade over, he went in June 1641 to his new charge ; and immediately set himself to the task of purging the minds of his people from the perilous errors inculcated by their former Episcopal pastors. He denounced private baptism, tolling the bells at funerals, eating beef at Easter, reading the Scriptures or singing psalms at lykewakes, and, above all, making merry at Christmas. He instituted lectures on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and from these “night-abouts,” as they were called, “no honest persons durst be absent but were rebuked and cried out against ; nor durst any merchant's or craftsman's booth be opened, in order that the kirk might be the better kept.” On the days of fasting, which were of very frequent occurrence, eight, and occasionally twelve hours were occupied in public worship; and to enforce the abstinence of the citizens, pious persons were appointed to search their kitchens.
? Gordon's Memoirs of Scots Affairs, MS.
Notwithstanding all these reforms, so perverse were the inhabitants in the ways of wickedness, and such was their ignorance in his eyes, that for two years after he went among them, Cant would not administer to them the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. In this manner, as the credulous Wodrow tells us," he was singularly useful in Aberdeen;" but he seems not to have been very popular, for the same writer informs us," that he frequently preached in the great square at the Cross of Aberdeen ; and one day in time of preaching, somebody or other threw a dead corby [crow] at him. He stopped a little, and said, “I know not who it is who has done this open affront, but be what he will, I am much mistaken if there be not as many gazing on him at his death as there are here this day.” Which,” says Wodrow, “ fell out; in some years the man was taken up for robbery or some crime, and executed in the Grassmarket at Edinburgh, with abundance of onlookers. He that despiseth you despiseth me. This judgment appears not to have deterred the scoffers ; for the records of Cant's kirk-session show, that it was often necessary to bring his ungodly parishioners to trial for such offences as railing against their mi
Spalding's Hist. of Troubles, pp. 272, 291, 310, 321, 362, 454, 486.
2 Wodrow's Analecta, vol. iii. p. 146. MS. Advocates' Library.
nister, by saying, that because the said Mr Andrew spake against Yule [Christmas], he spake like an old fool.”
An ungrateful flock like this was unworthy his care ; and he seems to have requited their scorn by neglecting them, for we find him at all times busy in the plots of his factious time. His sermons were much in favour with the Parliament; and he was frequently chosen to hold forth at the opening or close of their sessions. His discourse delivered before the members in 1644 was thought to be a masterpiece ; he took for his text the twenty-second and twentythird verses of the fifth chaper of St John's Gospel, and “ the main point he drove at, was to state an opposition between King Charles and King Jesus (as he was pleased to speak); and upon that account to press resistance to King Charles for the interest of King Jesus." He was on all occasions an undaunted opponent of the temporal monarch ; it is said, that by his advice the Earl Marischal held out his castle of Dunnottar against Montrose, then in arms for the king ; and when the great marquis, according to the barbarous usage of the time, gave the neighbouring hamlets to the flames, Mr Andrew comforted the Marischal, by assuring him, that the smoke of the ruined village was a sweet-smell
Bishop Guthry's Memoirs, p. 157.