Blackader (or Blackadder), John

Blackader (Or Blackadder), John a minister famous in the religious history of Scotland, was descended from all ancient family of wealth and distinction, and was born — perhaps in Blairhall, Scotland — December, 1623. He studied at Glasgow under his uncle, principal Strang, son to Rev. Wm. Strang, minister at Irvine, and was called to the parish of Errol, Perthshire, in 1651, where he converted from the Roman faith the earl and his family. he seems to have taken his degree the preceding year. Although episcopacy was in its zenith when he studied divinity, it is not likely that he was ever tinctured with its sentiments. Long before he became a minister, prelacy was completely abolished in Scotland. Blackader was called as pastor to Troqueer, in the presbytery of Dumfries, in 1652, where he exercised a most diligent and faithful ministry for nine years. He rigidly enforced discipline, and completely renovated the parish and the Church. In 1660 the Restoration came, and with that dark days for the Scottish Church. Royalty was made the fountain of ecclesiastical power; every sanction and safeguard of the Church of Scotland was one after the other torn away, and the hierarchy re-established in the plenitude of jurisdiction, and the bishops restored to all the temporal emoluments. Blackader, with many other ministers, refusing to receive their charges from the new bishops, was expelled from his living, and, in November, 1662, removed his family to Glencairn, and still preached in his own house. For this he was cited to appear in person at Edinburgh, a journey he declined, as he did not wish to surrender himself to illegal violence, which was crowding the jails with prisoners, driving his countrymen across the seas in perpetual banishment, selling others into slavery, and filling the country with outlaws. In 1666 he went to Edinburgh for concealment, and his family was forced to lead a homeless life. It was a terrible time; the laws proscribed the common duties of humanity; acts of piety and beneficence were pronounced criminal, and visited with heaviest chastisements. The inhuman cruelties of Turner, Ballenden, Bannatyne, and Dalzell overspread the country with terror, devastation, and despair. People were made "to groan and weary of their lives," immured in prisons, or hunted like beasts of prey. After the defeat at Pentland, persecution became even more severe, and innocent and godly people, including women, were put to extreme torture and torment. From 1667, under the milder administration of Tweedale and Murray, the rigor of the persecution was softened. Blackader was engaged in holding conventicles and preaching throughout Scotland. Itinerant field-preaching became a feature of the times. The conventicles continually increased, until they were universally suppressed in 1679. Through these weary years — still marked by bloodshed and cruelty, which saw the murder of archbishop Sharp and the battle of Bothwell Bridge Blackader continued preaching and holding: conventicles, until, April 5, 1681, he was seized in Edinburgh and lodged in the Bass, a high insulated rock at the mouth of the Forth, off the coast of East Lothian, at that time the most celebrated stateprison in Scotland, and, until the Revolution, crammed with the victims of prelatic cruelty, doomed to pine in solitary wretchedness, and often subjected to unnecessary privations. After an imprisonment of four years, this heroic and godly man died at the Bass, and was buried at North Berwick. See Crichton, Memoirs of Rev. John Blackader (2d ed. Edinb. 1826); Fasti Eccles. Scoticance, 1, 603.

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