Rev. Robert Simpson
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The collecting of the following anecdotes respecting our persecuted ancestors was at first purely incidental. The editor of the “Weekly Christian Teacher” having requested of the author a communication for his miscellany, there was sent to him a paper containing two or three anecdotes, entitled “Reminiscences of the Covenanters,” and after its transmission no more was contemplated. At the further solicitation of the conductor of that periodical, however, a second paper was prepared, and then a third. At length the idea was entertained that something more than a few stray notices of the worthies of the Covenant might, perchance, be gleaned in the neighbourhood of the author’s residence, as the locality is well known to have been the frequent resort of the suffering wanderers during the dark and protracted period of the Church’s affliction in Scotland. The attempt was successful, and resembled the striking of the enchanted ground with the mystic wand, when innumerable elfins, formerly invisible, started up all around. The writer, though fully aware that the memory of not a few incidents which happened in those trying times was still retained by the peasantry among the mountains and glens of the district, had yet no idea of the vast number of traditional stories that really existed. Having been made aware of the fact, therefore, his object was to collect and arrange them in the best manner he could, and then to publish them in a serial form.<br><br>The sources from which these Traditions are drawn are chiefly the descendants of the persons themselves to whom the incidents refer. They have been retained as heirlooms in the families of the worthy men who suffered so much in the cause of truth and righteousness. This circumstance affords a strong guarantee for the fidelity and correctness of the narratives as a whole, although some attendant circumstances may probably, in the lapse of three generations, have varied in the telling. They are all of them precisely in keeping with the times to which they refer.
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