Sayfadaki görseller

on with that work returned with that, that now I saw I behoved to be a fool for Christ in the matter of the oath, and fo I might be in the matter of these sermons too. And withal, whereas I had foreseen a peculiar difficulty as to the managing of the sermons on the state of grace, it was given me to see how to get over that difficulty, and that by casting my thoughts into a shorter and more matural method than before ; which never came into my hcad before that day.


From the oath of abjuration refused, till the transportation

to Closeburn refused by the commiffon.


N the following Sabbath, being Nov. 2. I did, under

a great preffure, from the consideration of the feve. rity of the law upon the one hand, and the temper of the parish upon the other, enter again on my work, at my peril. What I said by way of preface that day, is also to be found in the notes aforesaid *: after which I went on as before, proceeding on the same text in my ordinary, Phil. iii. And I bless the Lord, who gave me counsel, not to intermit the exercise of my ministry for ever so short a time, on that trying occafion.

According to what befel me on the 28th of October, with respect to proceeding in writing of the Fourfold State,


The preface here referred to is as follows. " The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and If rael he thall know, if ic be in rebellion against the government that I appcar here this day, to preach unto you the gospel of Christ. Contempt of magistrares, and of their laws, is no part of my religion : but it lies upon my conscience to cleave to the laws of my Lord and Master Jesus Christ, the only king and head of his church; from whom I have received the of fice of the ministry, by the hands of church-officers, and not by the hand of the magistrate; even when these laws of his are crofled and contradicted by the laws of men, 2 Tim. iv. I 2. The magistrate has the same power over ministers persons and goods, as over other mens; and if he abuse it, it is his fin. But he has no power over our office : he has no power to deprive the ministers of the gospel of their ministerial office, nor yet of the cxercise of it formally and directly. For the kingdom of Chrift is a king dom within a kingdom; a spiritual kingdom, dilting from and independent on the magistrate. I have now served the Lord in this work of the ministry thirteen years : and though he needs none of my service, and his wosk might be well done without me; yet secing he has not discharged me,

I applied myfelf closely thereto again ; I had perfected the following part thereof, viz. the state of grace, by the 23d of December

Proceeding in writing of the Fourfold State, I finished it on the oth of March. On the 25th of January I gave myself unto prayer, with new endeavours after personal holiness. Then I went on; and, according to iny natural difpofition when once engaged in a work, was too eager., Rifing to it long before day, on the Saturday morning thereafter, that day my body was fore weakened, my spirits exhausted, very little was done, and that little very unsatisfying. At length I was obliged to leave it, with that check, “ It is vain for you to rise up early," &c. Pfal. cxxvii. 2.; and I resolved through grace to do so no more. And now do I bless God, for that that eagerness is removed, and it goes better with me. However, on the 9th of March the work was-finished : and for the help of the Lord I had therein, I desire to be thankful. Whatever the Lord minds to do with them, I had worth my pains in the work, with respect to my own private ease ; for they made me many errands to the throne of grace, and helped me to keep up a sense of religion on my spirit. Writing of heaven, I found it no easy thing to believe the greatness of that glory which is to be revealed. The copy then written in octavo, which is in retentis, was pot the copy from which it was afterwards printed.

On Friday, April 3. about eight minutes after one in the morning, my youngest fon Thomas was born; and was baptized on the 14th, by Mr William Macghie minister of Selkirk.

Coming in view of the sacrament this year, the impresfion I had of the low state of practical religion in the place, led me to a new ordinary, viz. Hof. xiv. which chapter I began May 17. and proceeding therein to the last clause of verf. 6. dwelt long on it. I must say, as the servant under the law, “ I love my maler," and my children whom I have begotten in the gospel, or nourished up; and I defre not to go out, and would be content my car were bored through with an awl to serve him for ever. Our Lord has given us a plain and policive allowance, “ When they persecure you in one city, flee unto another." I cannot reckon this perfecution to be begun yet: therefore I must work thework of him that sent me while it is called to-day, oot knowing how soon the violence of our enemies may bring on the night. What I delire of you is, that as the Israelites of old were to eat the passover, you will eat your {piritual food, in haste, not knowing how foon your table may be drawn. Let us then go on as formerly.”

I find, that, about this time, having seen Cross's Taghmical Art, I was begun to have some notion of the accentuation of the Hebrew Bible, according to the principles of that author. Having been with Mr Macghie forelaid in his closet at a time, he happened to speak of his acquaintance with Mr Crots at London, and of his giving him a copy of his book above mentioned, which I believe I had never heard of before. I desired thereupon to see the book; and, finding it relate to the facred Hebrew, I borrowed it from him. This behoved to be, either in the spring this year, or else in October 1712, what time I was affifting at the facrament there. Had I known then what was in the womb of that step of Providence, I had surely marked the day of my borrowing that book, as one of the happiest days of my life.

Great was the stumbling among the people through the fouth and west, on the account of the abjuration-oath, taken, in the preceding year, by about two parts of three of the ministry in Scotland : and I gained but little in our parish, by my refusing it ; because I would not feparato from, but still kept communion with, the jurors; meeting with them in presbyteries and fynods. And now was beginning the schism made by Mr John Taylor minister of Wamphray, on that account. I had been assisting to the said Mr Taylor at the facrament in the year 1711; and he to me in the 1712; as he was also this year, June 7. *, on the same occafion. On that night, after the public work was over, finding him inclined to separation upon the account of the oath, I earnestly argued against it from the holy scripture : and he seemed not to be very peremptory, nor much to let himself to answer my arguings. But immediately after this conference on that fubject, going to family-worship, whereat a great many were prefent, but perhaps all strangers, except my own family; he surprised me with his discourse on Psal. xxiii. delivered in a very homely manner, and just feeding the reeling, feparating humour among the people : the which I looked upon as a forry piece of service at best, and unbecoming a man of fenfe and confideration, in these circumstances.

On the 12th of July, I was assisting to him again. And the work being begun before I got thither, on the Sa

The action-fermon on Heb. xi. 28. was pablished in a volume ia


turday, I sat down on the brae-fide among the people ; where, after fermons, I was surprised to hear him thew their resolution to declare their adherence to the covenants, national and folemn league, for which they had made fome preparation on the fast day; but withal leaving others to their liberty. The people, having got the call from him for that effect, rose up on every side of me; and by holding up their hands, as had been agreed on, testified their adherence. I was not apprised beforehand of this design; and judging it a matter requiring due preparation, and not to be rashly entered upon, fat ftill, and joined not. By all the accounts I had of it, I judged the management thereof not suitable nor proportionable to the weight of the matter. Through the mercy of God, I found no ill effect of this piece of my conduct, at home, which I feared.

Some time after, being called to answer for himself before the presbytery, in matters unquestionably fcandalous, whether right or wrong alledged against him, he did most unwisely decline them, and separate. But I think, that, even though his feparation had been warrantable, he ought, for the honour of God, and the cause of religion, to have appeared, and purged himself of these things to their face, in the first place. Hearing how matters were like to go betwixt him and the prcfbytcry, I wrote to him, whom I always took for a good man; offering my best offices and advice, if he would give me a view of the state of his matters. The letter he received, but made me no return; and I never saw him since that time. A great many of the parish of Efkdale-moor joined him : the which, by reason of the neighbourhood, was another fountain of trouble and uneasiness to me, giving me another class of diffenters, servants coming in from thence to our parish ; though I remember none of our congregation that went off to him, but one inconstant woman, who joined with his way for a time.

At first Mr John Hepburn, head of an old and confiderable party, Mr John Gilchrist minister of Duntcore, and he, joining together, formed a presbytery; which lasted very short while. At length his own party broke among themselves, and many of them left him : fo that this day, though he still continues his schism, his affairs and reputation are in a forry situation. Amongst us who affifted in those days, as aforesaid, at Nn2

Wamphray, Wamphray, was Mr Thomas Hoy minister at Annan, Him also, some time after, lodging a night in my house, I was at pains to convince of the unwarrantableness of the separation on account of the oath ; but prevailed not. Howbeit, some time after, I heard with indignation, his taking of the oath itself: Such a propensity there is in human nature to run to extremes, and such a need of walking by a fixed principle of church-communion, eftablished from the holy scriptures.

On Aug. 30. continuing my ordinary, Hof. xiv. I did withal return to explain the catechism ; but began at the duty which God requireth of man. And judging the discovery of the exceeding breadth of the command to be of great importance, I did insist on the ten commands very largely ; so that the sermons on them ended not'till August 28. 1715, two years after this. Which brings to mind an occasional encounter, before our presbytery, with Mr John Gowdie above mentioned ; who happening to tell us of his preaching catechetical doctrine, Thewed, that he had curforily gone over the ten commands, as judging that best for the case of the people : I found my. self obliged to declare before them all, that I was quite of another mind; the fullest unfolding of the holy commandment being neceffary to discover the need of Chrift, both to faints and sinners. But I have always observed narrow thoughts of the doctrine of free grace, to be accompanied with narrow thoughts of the extent of the holy law.

About this time I set myself to consider the mass-book, and the English service-book ; between which I found a surprising agreement, several particulars of which I marked on the service-book, which remains as yet among my other books. For the course of public affairs had taken such a turn, that from the year 1710 they had run straight towards the interest of the pretender ; and continued so to do, till, being brought to the point of full ripeness, it pleased the Lord, suddenly and surprisingly to break the measures of the party, through the removal of Queen Anne by death Aug. 1. 1714 ; so that King George had a peaceable accession to the throne, as much unexpected, as the Queen's death at the time foresaid. Mean while, at this time, matters had a formidable appearance, and a terrible cloud seemed to hang over the head of the nations, hastening to break. Papists and Jesuits were flocking hi


« ÖncekiDevam »