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Christ, I was still confused, indistinct, and hampered in it, as to the free, open, and unhampered access of finners unto him. And thus, I am sure, it was with me, till the year 1702. How long I continued so thereafter, I know not. But, through the mercy of God, I was by the year 1704 let into that point also ; and so far confirmed there. in, that, on the gth of July that year, at a communion in Coldinghame, I preached on Matth. xi. 28. “ Come « unto me, all ye thar labour and are heavy laden," &c. then and there giving the true sense of that text, since published in the notes on the Marrow, and prosecuting it accordingly. And by the same time also, I reckon I had the true sense of the parallel texts, If. lv. 1. Matth. ix. 12. 13. fince that time also published in the notes aforesaid. How I was led thereto, I cannot distinctly tell ; but I ap. prehend I had taken the hint from the Marrow; and I had no great fondness for the doctrine of the conditiona, lity of the covenant of grace.
With relation to the point last named, I remember, that upon a young man's mentioning, in a piece of trial before the presbytery, the conditions of the covenant of grace; I quarrelled it, having no great gust for faith's being called the condition thereof, but abhorring the joining of other conditions with it. Thereupon he was appointed to deliver an exegesis on the question, An fædus gratia fit conditionatum ? This the young man, in his exegesis, resolved in the affirmative ; though, I think, he held by faith only as the condition. I impugned his thesis, using this argument, viz. “ I will be their God, and they shall be “ my people,' is not conditional, but absolute : But this is the covenant: Ergo, The covenant is not conditional. To which Mr Ramsay aforesaid answered for the young man, That the covenant of grace was indeed a testament, and not, properly speaking, conditional. Herewith I was fa. tisfied, and declared I would not infist, since I had been in earnest : but withal that I thought it was pity, that such an improper way of speaking of faith should be used ; since it was not scriptural, was liable to be abused, and ready to lead people into mistakes.
These things, in these days, while I was in the Merse, gave my sermons a certain tincture, which was discerned; though the Marrow, from whence it sprang, continued in utter obscurity : but they were acceptable to the saints ; neither did brethren Thew disgust of them. I conversed
occasionally on some of these points with brethren, parti. cularly with Mr Ramsay, then in Eymouth ; and indeed he was still on the other side of the question. We had then some of the same arguments, that, afterwards in the year 1723, were cast up before the fynod, in Mr Wilfon's affair : but these disputes marred not our friendship, he being still pleased to call me to affist at the communion with him in Eymouth, though he used not to be with me at Simprin on that occasion. The worthy Mr Colden also had a difficulty to admit what I advanced on the first question aforesaid: but after some reasoning, he owned there was some weight in that argument, If believers were liable to eternal wrath in the case mentioned, they behoved to be so, either by the law and covenant of works, or by the gospel, and covenant of grace : not the first, for believers are dead to it; not the second, for that it condemns no man.
As for the subject of baptifin ; after I was settled among the people of Simprin, and had entered closely on my work, finding some of them grossly ignorant, and hardly teachable in the ordinary way, and casting in my mind what course to take with such, I drew up in writing a little form of catechising in the fundamentals, in short questions and answers, on design to teach it them privatelg in my house. I do not well remember the progress of that affair ; nor do I well know where these questions are; but afterward I used the fame, in the case of my little children, in the first place, when they became capable of instruction. Among other such grossly ignorant, there was one, who defiring his child to be baptized, I could not have freedom to grant his desire for some time: nei. ther am I clear, whether, when the child was baptized, it was baptized on a satisfying account of the fundamental principles from him or his wife. Whatever had laid the foundation of such scrupling, I was, by means of such Itraitening in practice, brought closely to consider that point. And having purposely studied the question, Who have right to baptism, and are to be baptized ? I wrote my thoughts thereon also. And being one day in conversation on that head with Mr William Bird, diffenting minister in Barmoor in England, he presented to me Fulwood's discourse of the visible church, for clearing me. Bringing home the faid book with me, I considered it, and wrote also some animadversions on a part of it. From
that time I had little fondness for national churches strict, ly and properly so called, as of equal latitude with the nations; and withed for an amendment of the constitution of our own church, as to the membership thereof.
There were, besides there, other two questions I bestow, ed some thoughts on, in like manner. The one, Where hath fin its lodging-place in the regenerate ? the occasion whereof was a discourse with Mr Mair on that head : but I doubt if I have well understood him in that point. The other, Why the Lord suffers fin to remain in the regenerate ? which had its rise from a particular straitening on that head in my own private case, as before narrated.
My thoughts on these several subjects, written for my own fatisfaction, I had, by the 4th of August this year 1704, all fairly transcribed for conservation, in a book purchased for the purpose, and which I have called The miscellany manuscript ; and thereby it was filled up to p. 325 *. But whereas I had, in May 1703, bugun exercises on the Confession of Faith, written at large for my own instruction, and the edification of the people, to whom I delivered them, for the evening-exercise on Sabbachs for ordinary, that work was continued only to the end of that year 1703. And in the said space of time I went through the first two chapters only. I judge its proving sometimes too strong meat for the people; and its requiring more time and study than my other affairs could well allow, contributed to the breaking me off from that defign, that otherwise would have been very profitable to myself for my instruction in the whole system.
I had, on the 3d of September, in my course of lecturing, proceeded unto the epittle to the Romans. And whereas it was not my ordinary practice to write my lectures ; yet having considered that cpistle, as the proper fountain from whence the doctrine of justification was to be drawn, I had an earnest desire of insight into it, so far as I could reach: for which cause, having gathered together some commentaries upon it, I studied the doctrmal part thereof, viz, to chap. xii. with that design, and wrote some thoughts thereon, which are in retentis But stickįng too precisely unto the lecturing of a chapter every Lord's day, this did, of course, make them the more lu
* All these questions were printed in 1953, except the animadverlons ca Fulwood ; the manufcrip of which is now imperfect,
perficial; and withal the work was interrupted in the sch and th chipiers.
As in the 10mljer part of this year, I had got a new parcel or books, fo toward the latter end thereof, in October, I goi another. This parcel I had bought in England Ere I got them home, they had stolen away my heart, and I was extremely fond on them. This raised in me a great fear while the lad was gone to fetch them ; and it fent me to God; but I had no confidence. The books were taken, and then I saw well that my fin had found me out. This was a piece of trouble to me for two or three days. At length I resolved to lay mytelf down at God's feet, and to leave caring for the books; which that I ini, bit the beiter do, I applied myfelf to the work of miattrial vilitation of families. Having spent but a forenoon that way, when I came in, it was told me, that the books were in Ladykirk, and I might fend for them when l wouid. Among these books were some of Lightfoot's picces, ihe which did especially take with me, in refpect of the Jewish learning therein ; to which a particuluar bias seems always to have been hung on me, plainly perceiving the fingular usefulness thereof for understanding of the holy fcriptures. While I proceeded in acquainting myseit with these, as I had access, I ftudied his description of the temple, fo as I made a draught of the temple and the alur accordingly, which to this day hang in my cloiet. And though, being an utter stranger to mathematics, I could not represent things in their proper figures ; yet that draught, such as it is, fo fixed the idea of the temple with me in some measure of distinctness, that it soon became familiar to me, and hath since that time been of very great use to ine on several occafions.
That wintcr I vuited a woman in Hoitoun, who al. Jeuiged the devil was in her. After I had fpoke and prayed with her, I went out; and in the mean time the got out of the bed, and cried with a most horrid cry, without intermission, near a quarter of an hour. Coming in, and finding her in this case, I often defired her but to say, God help me; and the still faid, the could not, and cried again. A weaver-lad had prayed with her; the told him the devil had fuid to her, the could be nothing the better of catsood pronur, becauis it was not her own prayer, but his. To which the young man answered, The devil is a liar ; for the prayer was not mine, but the Spirit's. I admired the answer.
Being with E. P. the night before she died, I had no satisfaction in converse with her; which affected me exceedingly. Thereupon I came in to my closet, and fut myself to wrestle with God on her account, and then went to her again, and was much comforted in her; so that iny fpirit was more than ordinarily elevated. She said, the fixed on that word, “ Thou hast played the harlot with
many lovers ; yet return again to me, faith the Lord.”
In the latter part of the month of December, it pleafed the Lord to threaten to remove my wife by death, being violently fick. I was anxious exceedingly, and above measure grieved on that account. She recovered ; but God met me in such a manner, that I was moit convincingly made to smart for that excess.
After having closed the ordinary of subjects for the Sabbath, as before narrated, I handied some texts for exciting unto exercise to godliness; and, upon a particular occasion from the parish, I treated of divine defertion : 3 subject whichi, together with that of communion with God, was, in the early days of my bearing the gospel, much in the mouths of the old experience ministers, though now much worn out of our practical divinity, through the decay, I doubt, of foul exercise and experience among ministers and people. Afterwards I did, on the roth of December, enter on the cpiftle to the church of the Laodiceans, Rev. iii. 14.–22. on which I dwelt till May 6. 1700.
Having administered the facrament of the Lord's fupper in the summer-season, yearly, hitherio from the time I began that course, I did, on Jan. 28. 1705, adminifter it again : and this course of adminiftcring it in the winterfeaion also, was continued from that time, yearly, till I was removed from that place. And thus we had that foul-itrengthening ordinance twice a year from this time. My son Robert was fick before, and I was laying my account with bis death, even in the fore-end or that month. It was the first facrament I gave in the winter-time. I was engaged to that way, for the benefit of the good people in the corner, who through the winter have no occasion of partaking of that sciem ordinance; and I lonnd it was what I could get done. It pleafed the Lord to met me as an enemy in the way. My child died on the Friday, and