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your trial, fo you are still to be eying him in his prophetical office for light to give you just views of it. I see our Lord, the great prophet, has come to you already in your darkness. I perceive the Interpreter, one among a thousand, was with you in a particular manner on Monday Feb. 20. He was in these two hours exercising his prophetical office in you. He was letting you see your trial in its just colours, not putting colours on it ; for he is the Amen, the faithful and true witness ; and therefore, though it do not always appear in these colours to you, that is the native hue of it, and the fault is in your eyes when it appears otherwise. He was taking you by the arms, and teaching you to go; and that you will employ him for his light, as well as his Itrength, in time to come; that if he comes not to you, you will go to him; and if a promise be not laid to your hand, you will go out and fetch in one ; and welcome. The blessed Bible is a richly-loaden tree of that kind of fruit. Sometimes his people has no more ado, but to take of the fruit falling into their lap; but that is only a piece of indulgence that they sometimes meet with ; the or. dinary way is to look up to the tree, and reach out the hand of faith, perhaps, with no little difficulty, and pluck the fruit ; and O but a sharp trial makes the promise sweet! Witness your experience of the two laft verses of Psal. cxxxiii.. Sir, you are in a plunge; but, I make no question, he that sits at the Father's right hand, having all judgement committed to him, will bring you out of it; and the day will come, when you will fay from leisurely observation, He hath done all things well. Yea, Sir, look for seeing God's wonders in the deeps, and he will not disappoint you. However, if you were through this trial, you will not be at the end of trials, lesser or greater, till you be in the better country; only this is a deep step, a deep water ; but the Lord Jesus is the lifter up of mine head', you must say with David, Pfal. iii. That psalm has appeared of late to me, to bear an instance of as strong a faith as readily appears in the whole book of Pfalms, considering its firmness, and the circumstances there described : only it must be owned, the terror of God on his soul, with which nothing is to be laid in the balance, was indeed wanting in it. But O how piercing was that, that the common saying on that melancholy occasion was, 'There is no help in God for him,' (say the Jews) who stole the ewe and killed the shepherd (Bathsheba and Uriah)! the very thing God was pursuing him for. I was so affected with your friend's manner of entertaining your trial, that I was obliged to give God thanks for it; and since that time, my heart bleiles that person as acting like a Christian; and doubt pot, but if thai mind continue, as I hope it will, it will have a plentiful reward of free grace: but will own myself quite mistaken, if ever the change on that head prove a gainful one at
balancing accounts. The news of Mr Archibald Stewart's death and burial was stunning. It is an awful dispensation of a wrathful aspect to this generation. Oh! what does it speak, that such a promising instrument is laid aside at this time a-day. But the Lord's ways are not ours, nor his thoughts as our thoughts. We must be silent to him.
That the state of your own affairs did not keep you ceeding in mine, is a rare token of a rare kind of friendship. It will not be unacceptable to me to hear of the matter's being determined, with the joint advice of Mr W. and yourself, without hearing further from me. My infirmity increases apace. The leg, still painful, is now almost useless ; so that I know not if I get down Itairs again, without being carried, till I be provided with two llilts. My wife, I hear, is somewhat feverill to-day. The presence of him who dwelt in the bush while it burned, be with you! I am, in the straiteft bonds, my V.D. Sir, yours affectionately, &c. (23) My V. D. Sir,
March 23. 1732. The use of the providential distress in your affairs, and its influence relative to your other business, I doubt not, you will see in due time to be an event, both in the kind of it, and the timing of it, becoming the divine wisdom and goodness, and that God acts like himself. Efau and his posterity, who had their lot by common Providence, were soon and easily settled in the land of Edom; but Jacob and his, whose lot was to be brought about in the way of accomplishing of a promise of the covenant, met with many rubs in their way, and some of them such as seemed to render it quite hope. less. Your present circumstances puts you in much need of die rection from the Lord, as you remark. But, dear Sir, is it not a great privilege to be allowed to come to the great Counsellor in all our straits ? and you may go to him with your greater and your smaller matters ; for all is comprehended in the word Prov. iii. 6.; both the precept and promise takes in all. You are neither to look for impreslions, nor any thing else of that kind, whatever indulgence the Lord makes to some of his people in some circumstances: but lay you the matter before the Lord, and yourself open to the divine determination, and believe the promise of direction, with application to your own cale, firmly trusting that he will be as good as his word, Prov. iii. 6. Psalms xxv. 9. and xxxii. 8. to you: and then, depending on the promise of Heaven's directions, set yourself as a ChriStian man to perceive what in the circumstances appears reasonable to be done ; to the clearing whereof, observation of concurring dispentations of Providence notably contribuies, that being in many cases the finger of God pointing out our way. In this way of management, there is a real communion with
God to be had in providences as in ordinances, Psal. cvii. ult.
You have here my whole day's work. I am at my ne plus ultra, my distress being considerable, whereof there is fome account in the inclosed. The eternal God be your refuge ; and underneath the everlasting arms, may he be eyes, and all to you in the wilderness ! Kindly remembering your son, I am, in the straitelt bonds, V. D. Sir, yours most affectionately, &c.
P.S. I have got Mr Du Pont's letter. I am sorry Prof. Mauritius had not vouchsafed a few lines to me for the many fheets I sent him. The Lord has for my trial restrained him, and I take it kindly off that hand; but I keep foot in the main under the several pieces of that treatment: Quam fi dura filex aut stet cautes.
N° 17. Letter from the Author to the Reverend Mr James Hogg
minister of the gospel at Carnock.
R. and V. D. Sir,
Nov. 24. 1727. Yours of the 22d September came to my hand O&. 28. and I have taken this very first occasion to make you a return, that I may thew the cordial sympathy I have with you in your afflicted lot, and may not put you to a tiresome waiting for any thing that can come from me to you, from whom I would rather hear, than speak to in such matters. I could not but think, that the very writing of your letter to me, behoved, through the divine bleffing accompanying it, to be of use to you in your amiction for your comfort. Sure I am it was an apt mean ; though the most fit means can of themselves effect nothing, but only as they are blown upon by the Spirit, and fo rendered effectual to their ends. The account you give of the situation of matters with you with respect to the way, as it has a comfortable distinctness in it, without any thing of the confusion you speak of discernible to me ; so it carries such an agreeableness to the way.marks set up by the Spirit, the leader in the way, to be seen ftanding for the direction of travellers in the fcripture of truth, that you have ground from, the word to take the comfort of your being in the way in spite of hell, and consequently of your coming alluredly to the end of the journey in a happy fort, since the great leader drops none by the way, but perfects what he has begun, and never leaves nor forsakes the work of his own hands, nor those in whom it is wrought. I think I need not intiit to add to what you have advanced from the scripture on that head. What pincheth you, seems to be the blowing of the wind in your face, particularly the rising of florms and tempelts upon you, so that sometimes you lore light, are blown afide, yea, blown clown and foundered. But, D. Sir, if you were beyond there, you would not
be a traveller, but one got home from your travels ; jou would not be in, or by the way, but come to the end of it.' It is the glory of the man who is the Father's fellow, to be " an hi
ding.place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest,' Jf. xxxii. 2. to be a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, when the blast of the terrible ones is a storm against the wall. When should that glory of his be, if these tempests and storms did not rise, if the terrible ones did not get leave to blow sometimes furiously, like a storm against the wall ? If then our Lord Jesus, whose strength is made pere feet in weakness, fees meet to take away your ease for a time, to make of it a stepping-stone to his own glory, where you hear the Lord hath need of it, you will straightway fend it. I verily think, that when a poor believer is engaged in a combat with the powers of darkness, our Lord Jesus has an occasion of fignalizing his victory over the bruised serpent next to that which he had on the cross. It is true, that staggering, even on that place, is to be lamented as a finful weaknels; but, I think, all the travellers and combatants will be found to have been ftaggerers through stress, though that gives them not their denomination from their believing. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, yet we hear very much of his impatience too. Peter remained with an unfailing faith when he was fifted, yet he was shamefully foundered. Even Abraham, though in that instance, Rom. iv. he staggered not; yet in another case he did, Gen. xii. 11. and downwards : and in that same instance Sarah, who was a type of the church, as Abraham was of Chrift, staggered'; and fell foully, but recovered, Gen. xviii. In this last faith had but one single word, "My lord,” and unbe. lief had all the rest of the speech ; and yet the Spirit of God makes honourable mention of that one word in the New Testament, 1 Peter iii. 6.; drawing a vail over the rest. I own that temptations within, and troubles from without, trysting together, make a very heavy case ; yet it is scriptural too, that without be fightings, and within be fears. You have been particularly honoured of God to contend for the faith ; and it is 'no wonder Satan's malice prompt him to dispute it with you immediately: and the wisdom of the God of truth appears in permitting it to be so, to teach dependence on himself in managing the contending otherwise. The strong champion of truth, Luther, found himself hardly bestead in the several conficts within his own breast. I desire to maintain a cordial fynpathy with you in all your trials; being yours very affec tionately,
NO 18. A
NO 18. A letter from an eminent Disenting Minister in Efex, to
the Author's grandfon.
[As this letter contains a minute and circumftantial narrative
March 26. 1776.
claring my dislent from this decision of the Assembly, as I think
to the offence he has given, as to the points of doctrine that
cision of this act : on the contrary, I find myself obliged on this
name, and in the name of all that shall adhere to me, and if
that I shall never forget), for myself alone, I crave leave to en-
The Moderator, who was himself a very solemn grave man,