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NO 1. Note on p. 2553 l. 4. at finall The situation of the people of Etterick at this time, with regard to their entertainment of the gospel, their divisive temper, and the author's vexation and disquiet thereby occasioned, may be learned from the following extracts of fermons preached this year, 1710.
On the 25th of June he had begun an ordinary preparatory to the facrament, viz. Jer. 1. 4. 5. On the fast-day, July 13. he preached from that clause, Going and weeping." The doctrine observed from which was, “That the frame and exer:
cise suitable to a covenanting time is going and weeping.' Having thewed that such a time should be a going-time; he proceeded also to lhew, that it should be a weeping-time. Here he exhorted the people to drop a tear for the cale of the land, branching it out into several particulars of great importance, which want of room obliges as to omit. He then added as fol. lows.
Go, weeping over the case of the congregation. Weep over, 1. Our barrenness under the means of grace. Ah! how many sermons are loft, for any benefit the most part get of them! How dead, stupid, and unconcerned are we for the most part ! Generally, he that was filthy is filthy still. It is an obterve of some on Luke xiii. 7. that if a minister do any good in a place, it is ordinarily in the first three years of his ininiftry. God forbid it hold true in our case. If the gospel meet with no better entertainment after, than for thele three years past, it would be telling many of you, that ye had never seen my face, nor I yours. I had some experience that way elsewhere, and it was not so in
case. 2. The flight and contempt of gospel-ordinances among us. Our parish is not great, but our congregation is leis, by reason of the principles, passions, and prejudices, of not a few. But yet smallest of all is the company of ordinary hearers; when those are taken off that come once in twenty days, a month, or fix weeks; who are taken up with their beasts all the summer in the fields, and fleep at home with them all the winter ; yet fome whose faces I seldom if ever can discern, but when I lurprise them at their houses, though I tell publicly in the congregation that I am to be that way. Weep over the flighting of the preaching of the word among us.
Some that have not far to come, will loiter away Lord's days at home; though, if they
would come little further than half-way from their own houses, they might possibly sometimes hear the sound of my voice. When I come in to the church, and the worship is begun, I will see fome of you fitting or standing in the church-yard in pairs, as close at your discourse, that sometimes I think we would not have seen your faces that day, if you have had not had business with some body ye would see at the church: in which I arn the more confirmed, when I will see they have staid all the time between sermons, and when the congregration is affembling again, they will go away home. Some will spend a good part of sermons about the dikes; ay and go out of the church in the very time thereof, and lie about the dikes, and crack. I cannot get you pleased with thort enough preaching; though some of you make it thort enough, what with your sleeping, what with your leaving it, even when there is no milking; and fome will lit the door all the afternoon, that they may get a. way when they think they have got enough of it.
3. Weep over the flighting of the facraments. That of baptism is dolefully slighted. If the child be like to die, then, without any regard to the congregation, or the strugglings of this church against private baptism, the minister must come and give the child a name, without any more. But if not, Sabbath Thall go over after Sabbath, one opportunity after another; and they never trouble themselves about the baptizing of their children, even when neither weakness nor the weather hinders. As to the facrament of the supper, go weeping, Sirs, that there are so few in this congregation to go with you. They need Christ as well as you; the blood they slight, is the blood they mult be saved by, if ever; the covenant they prepare not themselves to seal, is that they must enter into, if they would enter into heaven. It is long since Chriít made such a visit to Errerick. O weep that they are so few to receive him, so few fit to be admitted, and so few going out to meet the bridegroom. This lighting of ordinances, as it is fomething more than ordinary, is a very sad lign.
4. Weep over the loose lives of many of us ; the abounding fin of swearing, that devil-like sin, by which there is neither profit nor pleature; lying and backbiting, fupplanting of one another, the lack of coinmon h-nelty in many, to the disgrace of the society they live in, and the reproach of those that enter. tain them; the brutth ignorance of many, even of some who pretend to be high-flown profeflors, (lee inftances above, p. 224. & 226.d; the contentious fpirit of those who live like fire-brands in the place. Let none such presume to approach the Lord's table in that their wickednets,
5. Weep over the woful divisions among us, that have prevailed to the breaking of us so far, that we are among the moit broken and hattered congregations in the country. Weep over
that rent that was so early made amongst us, in which Satan hotly pursued me, ere I knew well where I was. Ye are but too little affected with it. It has been an engine of Satan against the kingdom of Christ in people's hearts, under a pretence of zeal for his kingdom in the land; and a notable hinderance of the success of the gospel among us. For, 1. Some are thereby turned aside from the ordinary means of grace
and knowledge, that know not the right hand by the left in religion, being specially ignorant of God in Chrift. 2. Many that remain are thereby made to hear with prejudices; and are so fickle and looled at the root, that they cannot take on growth by the preached word. And I know not what influence it may have on the flighting of the ordinance before us; I am apprehensive it bas had some influence If it have, I desire to lament the case of such: and for the confirmation of you that are to join, I promise you, in my Master's name, that if you honestly content to the marriage.covenant, and come with longing desires after him, he will not refuse to keep communion with you, Rev ii. 20. Your own defections lie nearer you than the defections of the land do : but if ye be mourning over them, they shall not imar your communion with him. I think they may look with bashful faces before the Lord, that are so scared at their mother's deformities, that they will not come into her house, when yet her Husband is there feeding his children whom she has brought forth to him.
6. Lastly, Forget not when ye are going, to weep over the frequent fin of uncleanness that has fallen out among us within there few years. If ever the devil raged in a parish at the coming of the gospel among them, he has done it here one way and another, What with fornications, what with adulicrics, the place of repentance has been seldom empty since the planting of this parish. I may say to you as the apostle did to the church of Corinth, “I speak not this to shame you.” But well may I say with him, I have reason to bewail those who have finned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness which they have committed, 2 Cor. xii. 21. seeing we so much resemble that church in her three grand evils, felf-conceit, a divisive temper, and fins of uncleanness.'
The author had also, in a sermon from 2 Cor. vi. 1. preached at Etterick, on the national fält.day, March 29. in the fame year, 1710; censured with some freedom the people's itch for public things, their contempt of the gospel, their unsettled and giddy humour, &c. This fermon is printed in his Body of Divinity, vol. 3. p. 322. feqq. and deserves a ferious perusal.
Notwithstanding these repeated warnings, many of the people were so giddy and inconitant, that, Sept. 3. the very
Lord's day that the author began his ordinary on Mark 1. 21. 22. they deserted his ministry, and went off to hear Mr Mac, millan preaching, in the neighbourhood : which gave occasion to the following reflection and awful rebuke, publicly given from the pulpit on the roth.
· An unstable mind and judgement is very prejudicial. No wonder the tree wither that is never fast at the root, Eph. iv. 14. This was the one thing that ruined the Galatians : for though they had received the Spirit by the hearing of faith, yet when Satan broke in on them with that, they quickly lost all the favoury impressions they had of the hearing of faith. The wavering temper among us, I am confident, is no small hinderance in the way of the success of the gospel. And as I bless God for what stability any of you have attained to, so as for you that deserted the message I had from the Lord to you this day eight days, whether there were many of you or few, and joined yourselves to those whose work it is to break down what we build up, and that after that solemn reproof of and lamentation over that practice, and of other heart-breaking pieces of your contempt of the gospel, which was given on the fast-day, and after what ye heard and saw on the sacramentday, I do, as the messenger of the Lord, in his name, rebuke you here as obstinate contemners of the message sent of God unto you; and protest, as the messenger of God to you, that this rebuke stand before the Lord that sent me, till it be wiped out by repentance, and fleeing to the blood of Christ for pardon; and so I leave it before him, who confirms the word of his feryants.'
N° 2. Note on p. 308. 1.37. at p. 72.
This doctrine reproves those who at this time are secure, careless, and unconcerned spectators of the present confusions, which is the prevailing plague among us at this day. Ah! Sirs, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the day, and the people “ not be afraid?” Amos iii. 6. Yes, we see there are fuch people. “ The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord * God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?" verf. 8. Why, fome will fleep full found amidst all the roarings of the Lord in his anger this day. "Ah! Sirs, our sleeping so found in the fhip of this church and nation, while the ltorm is blowing, and the waves are like to sink it, if there were no more, is enough to prove the deep hand we have, like another Jonah, in raising the storm.
I know fome still fay, to cloak their loathsome indifferency, that it is not religion, but crowns and kingdoms they are fighting for. If it were fo, is there not a right and a wrong even in that? and why do not ye take part with the right, accord
ing to the fifth commandment? Is not even that enough to make the land a field of blood ? and may not yours go among the rest? But pray you, Sirs, is religion no wise concerned, whether a Protestant king or a Papilt be on the throne ? whether an army of Papists and malignants, avowed enemies to the church of Scotland, carry the day, or an army employed to break them? Do the rebels so much as pretend any favour to this church? Are congregations laid defolate, mass faid, and the English service fet up, where they come, and yet religion not concerned in the matter? It were telling religion that such people pretended not to it, for the way of God is ill fpoken of through their unreasonableness. If ye believe what ye fay, I think ye lie pretty fair for embracing Popery if it were come, seeing ye can already believe things over the belly of sense and reason.
I tell you, that your security and unconcernedness at this time is more dangerous than ye are aware of : Píal. xxviii. 5. “ Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the ó“peration of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build “ them up.” They do not lie most fafe that lie most secure, when the cause of God is at stake. I mind what word Mordecai sent to Esther, chap.iv. 14. “ If thou altogether holdest “ thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and de“ liverance arise to the Jews from another quarter ; but thou “ and thy father's house shall be destroyed.” I remember that he was burnt in his own house, that faid he could not burn for Christ: Matth. xvi. 25. “ For whosoever will save his “ life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my “ fake, thall find it.” We have made ourselves fingular in our backwardnefs and unconcernedness in the cause of God at this time, beyond all our neighbours : take heed God make not our stroke as remarkable, as our backwardness and uncon. cernedness has been, ere all be done."
No 3. Note on p. 351. 1. 33.' at papers. As these overtures, Of admission to the Lord's table, and debarring from it, are excellent in themselves, were crowned with success in the author's own practice, and seem to be peculiarly seasonable at this day, it has been judged proper to give the following exact copy of them, taken from the author's original.
1. Admission to the Lord's table, and debarring from it, being acts of church discipline and government in a particular çongregation, belong to the session of the congregation, and are pot to be exercised by any minister or elder by themselves, nor