One of the most remarkable prophetic Scottish Covenanters
was Alexander Peden (1626-1686). His prophetic ministry was so outstanding he
was called Prophet Peden.
In 1682, Peden performed the wedding ceremony for the godly couple John Brown and Isable Weir. After the ceremony, he told Isabel she had gotten a good man for her husband, but that she would not enjoy him long. He advised her to prize his company and to keep a linen burial sheet close by, for when she least expected it her husband would come to a bloody end.
About three years later, Peden spent the night of April 30, 1685, at the Browns' home in Priesthill. Peden left the house before dawn. As he was leaving they heard him repeating these words to himself, "Poor woman, a fearful morning. A dark, misty morning." Not long after Peden had left, John Graham of Claverhouse arrived with a group of soldiers. Graham gave John Brown an opportunity to repent of his conviction that Christ was the head of the church rather than the King of England. Brown refused. "Then go to your prayers, for you shall immediately die," replied Graham. Brown prayed, turned to his wife Isabel and said, "You see me summoned to appear, in a few minutes, before the court of heaven, as a witness in our Redeemer's cause, against the Ruler of Scotland. Are you willing that I should part from you?" "Heartily willing," said Isabel. John took her into his arms, kissed her good-bye, then kissed his baby boy. He knelt down before his two-year-old daughter, kissed her and said, "My sweet child, give your hand to God as your guide; and be your mother's comfort." When he rose, his last words were to God: "Blessed by thou, O Holy Spirit, that speaketh more comfort to my heart than the voice of my oppressors can speak terror to my ears."
Captain Graham of Claverhouse was enraged at John Brown's godly courage. He ordered six of his soldiers to shoot him where he stood. The soldiers stood motionless, refusing the order. The furious Graham drew his own pistol and shot Brown through the head. With a cruelty that is difficult to imagine, he turned to Isabel and asked, "What thinkest thou of thy husband now, woman?" "I have always thought well of him," the widow replied, "but never more than now." The murder was committed between 6-7 a.m. By that time, Peden was eleven miles away. He entered his friend John Muirhead's house and asked to pray with the family. "Lord," he said, "when wilt Thou avenge Brown's blood? O, let Brown's blood be precious in Thy sight." He explained to the family what he had seen in a vision: Claverhouse has been at the Priesthill this morning, and has murdered John Brown. His corpse is lying at the end of his house, and his poor wife sitting weeping by his corpse, and not a soul to speak comfortably to her. This morning, after the sunrising, I saw a strange apparition in the firmament, the appearance of a very bright, clear, shining star fall from heaven to the earth. And indeed there is a clear, shining light fallen this day, the greatest Christian that ever I conversed with.
Meanwhile, back at Priesthill, Isabel had gotten up to get the linen burial sheet she had reserved since the day of her wedding for this moment. With a shattered heart, she wrapped the linen around her husband's body. And though her heart was shattered, it was not shattered with bitterness. She was not bitter over wasted days in her marriage, nor was she bitter at God, or even at the enemies of God who took her husband's life. Three years before this tragic day, the word of God had come down from heaven through an old celibate prophet and prepared her heart for this hour. Her heart was shattered, but it was shattered the way hearts are meant to be shattered, with love. When people ask, "What use are prophets now that we have the whole Bible?" I wish Isabel were here to answer that question.
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