Robert Bruce - Born Again (1581)

Robert Bruce wrote, ‘As touching my vocation to the ministry, I was first called to grace before I obeyed my calling to the ministry. He made me first a Christian before he made me a minister. I repugned long to this calling. Ten years, at the least, I never leapt on horseback, nor alighted, but with a repugning and justly accusing conscience. At last it pleased God, in the year 1581, in the month of August, in the last night thereof, being in the place of Airth lying in a room, called the new loft chamber, in the very night while I lay, to smite me inwardly and judicially in my conscience and to present all my sins before me, in such sort that He omitted not a circumstance, but made my conscience to see time, place, and persons as vividly as in the hour I did them. He made the devil to accuse me so audibly that I heard his voice, as vividly as ever I heard anything, not being asleep but waking. So far as he spake true, my conscience bares him record and testified against me very clearly. But when he came to be a false accuser and laid things to my charge which I had never done, then my conscience failed him and would not testify with him. But in those things which were true, my conscience condemned me and the condemner tormented me and made me feel the wrath of God pressing me down, as it were, to the lowest hell. Yea, I was so fearfully and extremely tormented that I would have been content to have been cast into a cauldron of hot melted lead, to have had my soul relieved of that insupportable weight. Always so far as he spoke true, I confessed, restored God to His glory, and craved God's mercy for the merits of Christ; yea appealed sore to His mercy purchased to me by the blood, death and passion of Christ. This Court of Justice holden upon my soul turned (of the bottomless mercy of God) to a Court of mercy to me, for that same night, 'ere the day dawned, or the sun rose, He restrained these furies and these outcries of my justly accusing conscience and enabled me to rise in the morning.’

Additional Information

There is in the Castle of Airth a Wallace room with ancient oaken wainscoting, which claims the attention of every patriotic visitor. But there is another chamber in an adjoining, newer wing of the building, which has at present a stronger claim upon our attention. There is no sure tradition indicating the exact room which Robert Bruce in his narrative describes as the "New Loft Chamber." In was in this room that, three hundred years after Wallace fought his fight, the young Scottish student, Bruce, encountered a struggle big with consequences both to his own career and to the Church of his native land. The great baffles of history have been fought in the intellect and the heart. It was a struggle of this kind which went on within the soul of Bruce on a summer night of the year 1581, as he lay in the New Loft Chamber of his father's castle