The gray skies cast a charcoal hue over the landscape, whilst a crisp breeze flowed without restraint over the fields, carrying with it a light mist. Quietness whispered solemnity. History had been made on this ground. Bloody history. The lonely, half-naked monument, erected in memory to that event stood before us. Neglect was written all over its face. Its paint was nearly gone, its rock chipped, and moss was growing freely over its face. And so we set to work. Paintbrushes in hand, we mounted the centuries-old structure and sought to re-erect the memory of the blood shedding that occurred on this ground.
335 years before, on this spot, the landscape was not very different from what it now appears, but that was all that was the same. Here, horses had prodded lightly across the open field. A band of sixty men – men of resolve, righteousness, and devotion – inched their way across the moss. Muskets, swords, and Bibles were their instruments of war, and their cause was none other than the cause of Christ. Heaven and its dealings with Scotland rode upon each of their shoulders. It is no surprise that each footfall carried the weight of eternity behind it. They were a remnant, a people left physically tattered and rent, but strong in the King that was the rightful heir of all things, the true King of kings. In the midst of this band was a minister, deposed from any ordinary charge due to his loyalty to the Christ whom he loved above life, and for that love, was hunted and desired to be killed by multitudes. Cameron was accompanied by his brother, Michael, and was under the military care of a like-minded commander, David Hackston, with sixty other Covenanters. Richard Cameron, the minister, had left the farm in the west of the moss with the clear knowledge that this last ride would be his final on this side of glory – thus, he and his men were trotting into the threshold of eternity. As they crested the small hill, on a road a few hundred yards before them, red-cladded dragoons came into view. The commander, experienced and resolved to die if dying be required, ordered the footmen with them to form a line and meet the enemy first, giving time for the horsemen to form themselves into a stronger defensive position with their anointed minister protected in the center. Before the battle commenced, however, Reverend Cameron lifted his hands toward heaven and thrice besought the throne of Grace to “spare the green and take the ripe.” The footmen were quickly caught and overrun by the superior numbers that rode into them, leaving the horsemen open to the savage attack of the fast approaching soldiers without aid. Cameron, turning to his brother, said, “Michael, come, let us fight it out to the last! For this is the day that I have longed for, and the death that I have prayed for, to die fighting against our Lord’s enemies; and this is the day that we will get the crown.” To the rest, ready to fall under the fire and swords of the horde, he cried, “Be encouraged all of you, to fight it out valiantly; for all of you that shall fall this day, I see Heaven’s gates cast wide open to receive them.” At last the battle enveloped the horsemen and the Rev. Cameron was killed almost immediately, with his brother shortly thereafter.
All of that played in my mind, and whilst upon the monument, I could see the moss in all of its vast flatness, and at my feet, the grave of those fallen that day – Reverend Cameron and his brother interred together. This battle, had it been won, and had the Covenanters returned Scotland to its past glorious state of Reformation, the nation, Britain, and the West would be a very different place. It would be a place where men feared God. A place where men would be forced to recognize Christ as the true King of Kings, and thus, apply His laws as the laws of the land. Thus, the import of this battle transcends history. It touches both sides of the Atlantic, indeed, it reckons with the whole world, and so, this battle was, for all intents and purposes, a battle for the soul of the west. And it was lost.
The five of us chipped away old paint to reapply a new coat. Moss was stripped away. Scripture was read. At last, the monument could be clearly seen shining brightly over the moss, as it should, for the spiritual consequences of what occurred here are worthy of remembering. The neglect of this monument speaks volumes of the greater problem of rebellion that pervades our present society. Oh that Zion would repent in dust and ashes! Oh that this world would beseech Heaven for turning upon such a gracious and holy testimony!
Lo! here of faithful witnesses a cloud,
For Christ their King resisting unto blood,
Lo! here upon their Pisgah top they stand,
Just on the confines of Emmanuel’s Land:
Leaving the ungrateful world, longing to be
possessed of blessed immortality.
Clean up of monument