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self, and much valuing the tolerable performances of his students.
Mr James Murray, minister of Penpont, whose schoolfellow I had been at Dunse a little while, having engaged me to embrace the grammar-school of Penpont, came to the Merse about the harvest, and invited me to go with him, shewing considerable encouragement. I could not then go along; but afterwards I made ready for it, and exhausted what remained of my burse, which was in all L. 80 Scots, in fitting out myself. Upon this view, thewing a minister of the presbytery, a wife man, that I minded not to defire the burse again, he bid me fasten one foot before I loofed the other : An advice which I had frequent occation of ininding thereafter.
In September, Mr Murray having sent his horse for me, but withal in a letter signified his fears of the miscar, rying of that project, but that in that cafe I might have another school; I, not a little troubled at the sudden change, did notwithstanding go to Penpont, in company with the worthy Mr Henry Erikine aforementiened.
There I continued with Mr Murray about a quarter of a year, in fufpenfe with reference to that project: in which time, Mr G. B. minister of Glencairn, detired me to take the school of that parish ; which I was unwilling to accept. All hope of the school of Penpont being at length cut off, and I alhamed to return home, Mr Bwas wrote to, for what was before refufed ; and he made return, that he could not be positive as to the matter, Under this trial, which I was brought into by precipitant conduct, I was helped in some measure to truit God.
After this, Mr Murray being in Edinburgh, Mr Bsent for me, and agreed with nie to teach the school there for 100 merks of falary. Thereafter came to my hand a letter from Mr Murray, defiring me to come in to Edinburgh for a pedagogy provided for me. Whereupon I carnestly dcalt with Mr B--- to quit me, while I was not yet entered; which nevertheless he would by no means agree to.
1696. On the first day of the new year 1696, being in his house, his manner was inost grievous and loathsome to me ; fo that I feared I might there come to be hardened from God's fear. On the oth, much against the grain, I took up the school, having never inclined much to that employment, but bţing quite averse to it there. I was kindly and liberally entertained in Mr B~'s house, and that freely; but the vanity and untenderness of his carriage, and of his wife's, I was not able to digest. He was wont, among other pieces of conduct very unacceptable io me, to go to an alehouse, taking me along with him, much against my inclination, under pretence of discourfing with an old gentleman. There we were entertained with warm ale and brandy mixed, and with idle stories; I obtaining by his character not to be pressed to drink. Thefe things made me earnestly to cry unto the Lord, that he would rid and deliver me, and dispose of me so as I might be freed from them and their society. He was a young man, his wife an old woman: they had no chile dren; and there, I think, was their snare. Being sunk in debt, they left the country at length.
After I had kept the school a little while, the Lady Mersington wrote a pressing letter to Mr Murray, that I thould take the charge of her grandchild Aberlady, as his governor. Whereupon Mr B- was again addreifed to quit me; but could not be prevailed with. I committed the cause to God, to be by him determined what to do. And considering that no time of iny continuance there had been condescended on, that the scholars were but few, and that the presbytery was clear for my going away; and above all contidering that God, according to my earnest prayer, had opened an outgate from the heavy fituation I found myself in, as above said, I began to queftion, if I could, without fin, let such an occasion of riddance from it slip : fo being at length fully determined, I gave up the school on the 8th of February, much against Mr B—'s will, having kept it a month. At Candlemas the boys had gifted me about 10 s. Sterling, which I took from them with the usual civilities, but immediately returned each one his own : so that I had nothing by them.
While I was in that country, I had advantage of converse with Mr Murray, a learned and holy man; the meeting of which two in a character was not very frequent there ; as also of Janet Maclaunie, an old, exercifed, godly woman. She obliged me to take from her about half a dollar ; which, as a token of that woman's Christian love, I do to this day value more than gold. I remember not but another instance of that nature, which I hall also mention in the due place. I bless the Lord, who gave me counsel then and afterwards, to seek and value conversation with serious Christians, in the places where my lot was cast ; being confident, I had much advantage thereby towards my preaching of the gospel. But the small number of hearers I often faw in the kirk of Penpont, and the thronging away to separate meetings, kept, I think, by Mr Hepburn, with other things respecting ministers and people, made a lasting bad impression of that country on me. Mean time it was my endeavour to live near God, and I was helped, while there, in some measure to live by faith. And there it was, that I first of all began to record passages of my life; the which I did on loose papers.
Having gone to Edinburgh, in pursuance of the proposal above mentioned, I did on February 18. take the charge of my pupil, Andrew Fletcher of Aberlady, a boy of about nine years of age; whose father having died young, his mother was married again to Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce of Kennet, in the parish of Clackmannan. The boy being at the high school, with a servant waiting on him, I waited on the school of divinity; which advantageous occasion proposed, had been a great inducement to me to engage in that business. And there I had a homily on Mark X. 27. delivered March 6. which is in retentis ; but to my great disappointment we were removed from Edinburgh to Kennet, whither we came on the morrow after, viz. March 7. and where we continued all along till I parted with him.
At Kennet, my pupil going to the grammar-school at Clackmannan, with the servant attending him, and being of a towardly and tractable disposition, my business with him was no burden ; taking notice of him at home, and sometimes visiting him in the school. But my business was increased toward the latter end of the year, teaching two boys of Kennet's to read. My pupil died afterward in his youth, while I was at Simprin.
I gave myself to my study, kept a correspondence with the neighbouring ministers, there being an Episcopal incumbent in the parish when I went thither, and conversed much with some serious Christians about the place.
Though I was not properly the chaplain of the family, nor had, that I remember, any particular order from the master of the family, and neither laird nor lady were at home for a considerable time after I went thither; yet
finding myself providentially settled there, in the character I bore, I judged myself obliged in conscience to seek the fpiritual good of the family, and to watch over them, and fee to their manners. Accordingly I kept up family-worfhip, catechised the fervants, pressed the careless to secret prayer, reproved and warned against finful practices, and carneftly endeavoured the reformation of the vitious.
This course not having the desired effect on some, created me a great deal of uneasiness for the most part of the time I was there: the which arose especially from an ill-disposed and incorrigible woman, who was steward, and so did of course fometimes extend itself to my entertainment; which I bore with, that I might not mix quarrels on my private interest with those I was engaged in for the honour of God. And this principle I have all along, in the course of my miniftry, aimed to walk by.
Mean while the united presbyteries of Stirling and Dumblane meeting at Tulliallan, a neighbouring parish, June 22. a motion was made to give me a piece of trial ; which I refused : but afterward Mr George Turnbull, a grave learned man, then minister at Alloa, now at Tinninghame, gave me a text, John viii. 32. which I received, declaring it to be without view unto my entering on trials before the presbytery, being convinced I was not ripe for it. On that text I wrote a discourse, and gave it him. Afterward he fhewed me, by a letter, what he judged amiss in it ; but was pleased to add, that he observed a very promising gift in it. Thereafter Mr Thomas Buchanan, then minister at Tulliallan, afterward at Dunfermline, gave me another text, viz. Acts xx. 28. on which also I wrote a discourse, not unsatisfying to him. Both these discourses are in retentis.
My circumstances continuing uneasy through the means aforesaid, Mr Turnbull did, on the 7th of September, by appointment of the presbytery, defire me to wait on them, bringing my testimonials along with me, on design to enter me on trials. He also spoke to Kennet about my removing out of his family, an opportunity of my going into the family of Colonel Eríkine, then governor of Stirling castle, offering at that time : but Kennet fhewed an unwillingness to part with me ; in which I believe he was very ingenuous, being a man that had some good thing rooted in him. Wherefore, though I inclined to, I could not infift for the removal : but the entering on trials I was not clear for, and so could not promise to go to the presbytery. Howbeit, being afterward persuaded to go to their meeting, I was minded to do it; but was providentially stopt.
But on the 23d I waited on them at Stirling, leaving my testimonials at home, of set purpose. Notwithstanding they appointed me to give in my thoughts on Phil. ii. 12. the following presbytery-day, producing my testimonials. This I could not undertake, having no freedom to enter on trials as yet; and, I think, I saw them no more till I was going out of the country. But these things obliged me to lay that matter to heart, for light from the Lord therein, to know what I was called of him unto.
I had in the summer represented to the lady the careless and ungodly lives, cursing and swearing, of the steward and another servani, persisted in after many admonitions; and hinted to her, that it was her duty to rcform them; and if they would not be reforined, to dismiss them from her service The answer was favourable : but the term drawing near, the gave over the only two common fervants who had any fhew of religion, keeping the rest. This was very grievous to me; I told her the evil, and at large teitified my dislike of that manner of management; and it was received civilly, but.prevailed nothing. Mean while I was still acceptable to Kennet; who, when again I had an occasion of entering into Colonel Erskine's family, still refused to part with me. But by reason of his post in the military he was not much at home.
I held on, as new occasions offered, to discharge my conscience, until I left the fainily. And though it prevailed not according to my desire ; yet, by the good hand of God fencing me, my struggle had an awe with it, and was not openly treated with contempt: though their words of me were like sharp swords, yet to me they were fimooth as butter. I remember, that one Saturday's night they had set on a fire in the hall for drying their cloaths they had been washing, not to be removed till the fabbath was over. Grieved with this as a profanation of the Lord's day, I spoke to the gentlewoman; who infinuating, that the had not done without orders what she had done, refused to remove them : whereupon I spoke to the lady, who soon caused remove the cloaths, and dispose of them otherwise. In like manner, on a Lord's day, word being sent me that my pupil was noi going to church that