Sayfadaki görseller

not grant this transportation, which has been refused by the presbytery and fynod whereof I am a member; and who are best acquainted with the state of the parish of Etterick, and what concerns me; whereas both that parish and I are known but to very few of our now Reverend Judges. But if it shall please the holy wise God, to suffer me now, for my trial and correction, to fall under your fentence, transporting me from the parish of Etterick to the parish of Closeburn ; since it is a charge I have no clearness to undertake, I refolve, through grace, rather to suffer, than to enter upon it blindfolded. Though, in the mean time, I cannot help thinking, it will be hard measure to punish me, becaufe I cannot fee with other mens eyes; especially considering that the presbytery of Selkirk, and the Reverend Synod of Merfe" and Teviotdale, have, by their respective sentences, continued me in Etterick, upon very weighty grounds, contained in the fentence of the latter in this affair.'

The deep concern I was in, naturally formed the delivery of the speech. Parties being removed, I went into a feat in the church alone, and gave myself to prayer, it being in the night-season: I cast myself over on the Lord, to follow still as he should go before, but no otherwise ; and in case of the sentence going against me, was resolved to protest for liberty to complain to the allembly, and never to undertake that charge, unless light broke up to me, which had not yet appeared. But by a vast majority, the sentence passed in our favour : and others, as well as I, were convinced, that the speech I delivered, was that which influenced the Commission, and moved their compaflion.

Thus ended that weighty affair, for which several of the godly through the country, particularly those of the meetings for Christian fellowihip in Galathiels, had been concern before the Lord. About fourteen days before, at the facrament of Maxton, laying hold on the covenant, which is a covenant of promises, I was helped to some distinctness in applying the several sorts of promises, as those for pardon, for fanctification, for direction, &c. and this with a particular view to that business then before Ine.

And I must say, the Lord was with me in the management, giving me in that hour, both what to speak, and courage to speak it; and even when I ran, he left me not to stumble. One of our heritors that I had confi


dence in, quite failed me: but Sir William Scot, the principal one, surprised me with his personal appearance, and standing by me in judgement, which he had all along refused. My inclinations in that matter having been most injuriously misrepresented by some ministers and others, by the iflue they were filenced. That which was the real ground of my aversion to Closeburn, was, that I had a moft uncomfortable life in Etterick, and my work among them had all along been exceeding heavy; through the difpofition of the people, selfish, conceited, and bending towards the fchism, which has most deep rooting in this place: hence proceeded contempt of ordinances, miniIters, &c. to the great breaking of my spirit. To have gone to Closeburn, a parish of the same character, I reckoned would have been just to begin my weary task anew; in one word, to have cast me out of the frying-pan into the fire. Otherwise, to have been transported from Etterick, and gone any whither, where the gospel would have been heard and received at my hands, would have been most gladly embraced by me, if the Lord himself had but said it. Befides, I had been advised, that the air did not agree with my wife's constitution, and tended to impair her health; and that it would overcome me at length. Of these my heavy circumstances in this place, I had been speaking to Mr Murray, and he took occasion to provide this remedy of the transportation to Closeburn, which I looked on as ill as the disease, in respect of the uncomfortableness of my work, which the more wholesome air could not counterbalance to me. As for my wife's conduct in the matter, it was as became a Christian, spoke forth much felf-denial, and resignation to the will of the Lord; making not the least uneasiness to me in point of my conscience. The design of Providence in the whole affair, I take to have been, as at first, to rebuke the parish and myself; and, I would fain hope, to cement and knit us more closely for the time to come. And they seem to have a sense of the mercy.

This tofs hindered the adminiftering of the facrament this year; which was the only interruption it had met with, from the year 1710, that the course of it was begun.



From the transportation to Closeburn refused, to the notable

breach in my health, and alteration in my constitution.


AFter this affair was over, my wife went from Edin

burgh to her own country, to breathe her native air a while for her health, as had been advised in her case. That the air of Etterick did not agree with her, was declared to us : and that was an argument used by the purfuers for the transportation. It was also declared to me, by my dear friend Dr Trotter, that it would overcome me too at length. But what could we do for relief in the cafe, in the circumstances above narrated ?

But as the effects of the rebellion cured our people of their unnatural fondness for public confusions, so that that difpofition never appeared among them fince, as before; fo the attempt to transport me to Closeburn, did bring them to themselves with respect to me; and made life

among them tolerable. Howbeit, since that time I have not wanted enough to keep me from forgetting where I am.

On Sept. 18. there was, by appointment of our feffion, a congregational thanksgiving observed, upon the account of the favourable issue of the process aforesaid ; which was ground of thankfulness to me, as well as ļo the parish. But to balance the victory I had obtained, I came home from that struggle, with a fore rheumatic pain in my arm, which kept me a confiderable time after. On the thanksgiving-day Mr Henry Davidson minister of Galafhiels, Mr Gabriel Wilson, and I myself, preached.

Mr Davidson aforesaid was, by that time, become a third with Mr Wilson and me, in our bond of strict friendship: A man of great gravity, piety, and tendernefs ; learned and judicious'; well acquainted with books; a great preacher, delivering in a taking manner, mafterly thoughts, in an unaffected elevated style ; endowed with a gift of prayer, in heavenly oratory, beyond any man that ever I knew; extremely modest, and reserved in his temper ; but a kind and affectionate friend. This friendfhip, most comfortable, and useful as a threefold cord, does by the mercy of God continue inviolated to this day.

We We have always been so happy as to speak the same thing in public differences.

I had sent in unto Mr John Flint, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, who had revised the Fourfold State, and was noted for his skill in the Hebrew tongue, two sheets of the performance on Ezekiel, above mentioned. And, being in Edinburgh about the middle of November, he was pleased to tell me, that he judged no great thing could be done by the accents; and advised me to make no bustle about them, as he termed it. On the account of this difcouraging event, and other things, I did, on the 23d of this month, spend some time in prayer. And thinking on that study the conviction I had, made upon me by the light into some paffages of the holy text, by means of the accentuation, remained to be such, as that I could not see, how I could give over the study thereof. And having begged of God a token for good, I was that fame night surprised with a light into Jacob's vow, Gen. xxviii. 20. 21. 22. “ If God will be with me, and will keep me “ in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, " and raiment to put on; so that I come again to my fa" ther's house in peace : then shall the Lord be my God. « And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be « God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me, I will

surely give the tenth unto thee,” new. to me, and that arising from the accentuation.

By reason of the many avocations I had now for a good time had, there was little done by me in that study, being of such a nature, as it could not be managed by parts. But a week or two after the October fynod, I made fome collections on the subject. And the winter being come on, which in these days was the time I spent to my greatest satisfaction, I began, Nov. 27. to proceed in my book of materials mentioned above, p. 320.

Plying it eagerly thereafter, I was, on Dec. 22. being the Lord's day, at night, laid under a deep conviction of the woful disposition of my heart, pursuing like fire the ftudy of the accents, so that I could hardly ever get my heart from off them. I went to God, and bewailed my cale, cried to get ny heart under command, with respect to that matter : and I got, from my prayer-hearing God, my heart filled with love to Jesus Christ, and fet for him as the one thing needful. I had by that time, througla the good hand of God upon me, made a comfortable pro

gress' gress in that study: but towards the latter end of that week, beginning to make the observations on the majors, I stuck, day after day. At length I refolved, for that cause, to set some time apart for prayer, which necessarily fell to be Jan. 1. 1718. But the said resolution being laid down, I was helped to make some progress ere the appointed day came.

Jan. 1. I accordingly spent some time in prayer, 1. On the account of my study aforesaid ; 2. For the distress of the parish by the storm lying on the ground, &c: and the Lord was with me. That day, reading 1 Sam. ii. in the original, new light broke out unto me, particularly as to two things, ist, The abusing of the text by interrogations, where it really bears none, particularly 2 Kings v. 26. Job ii. 10. 2d, Some inkling of quite new light into the repetition of the fame majors ; with some other things : and my soul was filled with joy in the Lord, and I was made to cry out again and again," What am I!" As to the storm, the Lord feems to refuse to be intreated therein by congregational fasting with prayer : for it was in my mind to have had it done last week; but on the Lord's day, when it might have been appointed, there was a fair thaw; and when the occasion of appointing it for that week was over, the thaw misgave, I designed it as gain on Tuefday the 7th, and offered to have kept it on the 6th : but I was told the people could not be present, being to flee with their sheep that day and the next.

In February, having been for some time diverted from my beloved study, and, whereas I was then to enter on the minors, being in much confusion, not knowing where to begin my work, I did on the 13th spend some time in prayer, for light, both as to matter and method; which last I was obliged very particularly to feek of the Father of lights. And having eflayed it the same day, I found myself in a hopeful way as to both ; and that the confi. dence I had, through grace, bad in the Lord, was not in vain.

At that time I was lecturing on Genesis; and being allured by what I met with in the original, studying my lectures, I began that week to translate as I went on. Afterwards I wrote notes too on the translation. This performance, begun at Gen. xxxvii. is carried on to Exod. xxxv. and to be found among my papers. But this way of doing retarded me in my main study: wherefore 3


« ÖncekiDevam »