It is Sabbath-day among the mountains…
…and a company of the Persecuted have assembled. Around, is a mighty chasm of cliffs, called the Cartland Crags, where Wallace used to take refuge, through which a river is flowing, at present so low, owing to the heat of summer, that men could walk all but dry-shod up its channel.
A hundred Covenanters “men, women, and children included” have assembled to hear a minister, who stands up in a pulpit stone, and having a birch tree waving over his head. Between him and the congregation is a clear, deep pool, formed by the diminished stream, and there, after the sermon is over, a row of young maidens come gliding over the stream, to consecrate a number of infants who are to be baptized. The baptismal water is lying in the hollow of a large stone beside the brink of the pool.
How beautiful to look down, as you see the boys doing. Look into the clear water and see the whole scene, from the maidens, the parents and the minister, up to the topmost peaks of the sky striking summits, reflected there over the purest of mirrors.
The minister baptizes seven infants in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and gives out a psalm, with the words,
“Lo, children are God’s heritage,
The womb’s fruit his reward,
The sons of youth, like arrows, are
For strongman’s hands prepared.”
The psalm is reverberated like musical thunder from the surrounding crags…
…and all again is silent. Suddenly, a large stone falls from the rock above their heads into the pool; a voice is heard from the summit, and when they look up, there is a shepherd’s plaid waving in the air in the hand of the watchman stationed above.
It is the signal of instant danger, and immediately the whole congregation vanish into caves and hidden recesses, known only to themselves. They vanish almost in a moment; but they have been seen by a party of soldiers who have reached the top of the rock, and who exclaim when they see them, “They are delivered into our hands –they are caught in this nook as in a net; let us down, and they are our own. Halloo, boys! Halloo! Remember Drumclog, and let the blasted Covenanters perish!”
They leave their horses, and rush down a cleft in the crags, and arrive at the spot. But, to their utter astonishment, nothing is to be seen; nothing but a bonnet that had fallen from one of the Covenanters’ heads, and the Bible the minister had been using, and which they spurn into the pool. They are utterly unable to discover where their enemies have fled, and awful are the curses and the threats which they utter.
But hark! Louder than these curses and threats, is a sound like a distant muttering thunder far up the stream. It comes rolling, and warring, and deepening, as it descends. “What can it be?” The crags shake as if to the sound and stamp of earthquake.
“Lord! have mercy on us!” cried the soldiers, falling down on their knees and looking a hundred ways in their consternation, with pale faces and white lips. Meanwhile, the minister comes out of the cave where Wallace had long ago found refuge, and exclaims, “The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” It is a powerful voice that comes from the Lord Most High.” What is it? –what can it be? It is a water-spout which has burst among the hills, and there the river raging in flood is coming down in its irresistible power. The whole hollow of the cliffs is filled with the waters.
The army must have been swept away by that raging torrent. The soldiers perish in a few minutes, swept down by the flood; but far up in the cliffs are the Covenanters, now emerged from their hiding places, and, with clasped hands and streaming eyes, uttering prayers to the Almighty, and some of them exclaiming,
“We will sing unto the Lord,
for He hath triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider He hath
cast in the depth of the waters.”
Taken from “The Religious Anecdotes of Scotland.”