Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Patrick Hamilton, the first Scottish martyr, 1528

I've been reading a bit about Patrick Hamilton again. He was a follower of Martin Luther and visited him in Germany. Hamilton's only known writings, later titled Patrick's Places - are online here. And here is a simple biography of the man from 1918. Luther once wrote that '... Virtually the whole of the scriptures and the understanding of the whole of theology–the entire Christian life, even–depends upon the true understanding of the law and the gospel...' . Patrick Hamilton wrote this:


The Law saith,
Pay thy debt.
Thou art a sinner desperate.
And thou shalt die.

The Gospel saith,
Christ hath paid it.
Thy sins are forgiven thee.
Be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved.

The Law saith,
Make amends for thy sin.
The Father of Heaven is wrath with thee.
Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction?
Thou art bound and obliged unto me, to the devil, and to hell.

The Gospel saith,
Christ hath made it for thee.
Christ hath pacified him with his blood.
Christ is thy righteousness, thy goodness, and satisfaction.
Christ hath delivered thee from them all.

Bad religion is a long list of rules for people try to keep. True religion is a long list of rules which demand perfection - and which you therefore know you can never keep - but which Someone else has kept on your behalf.


King James V was king of Scotland when Patrick Hamilton was martyred on 29 February 1528 - Hamilton himself was of Royal descent through both of his parents. In fact, King James II of Scotland was a great-grandfather of both King James V and Patrick Hamilton too.

Over in Ayrshire, another branch of the family was led at this time by Archibald Hamilton of Raploch (1504-1559), who is described on a gravestone in Dunlop as being 'a servant of King James the Fift'. Photos below are from one of my visits to Dunlop.



There is no doubt that Archibald Hamilton would have been aware of the burning of his relative Patrick. Archibald died on the cusp of the Scottish Reformation and his son Hans Hamilton became the first Protestant (Presbyterian) minister of Dunlop, Ayrshire - and Hans' son would later become Sir James Hamilton, one of the 'Founding Fathers' of the Ulster-Scots.