John Barkstead: 'The congregational way, in which he had found much comfort.'

John Barkstead, Cromwellian Major General and Keeper of the Tower, was executed in April 1662. Before he was hung, drawn and quartered, 'He showed great courage, thanked God he had been faithful to the powers he had served, and commended to the bystanders "the congregational way, in which he had found much comfort."'

Barkstead was executed for having signed Charles I's death warrant rather than being a Congregationalist. Nevertheless, he was faithful to his Christian conviction that believers should gather together in self-governing groups of mutual fellowship. Barkstead was a hard-line puritan, persecutor of royalists and suppressor of so-called fun. Nevertheless, the executioner sent him ' be with Christ, which is better by far.' Phil 1:23.

When the day of our departure comes, may we face it with calm certainty that Christ awaits us on the other side. And may we find comfort in our fellowships until that time.