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the first and last I readily yielded; but the second I could by no means comply with.
Being resolved to take my journey for the bounds of the presbytery of Stirling, on the Tuesday after the October fynod, now at hand, I sent to the prefbytery.clerk for my licence accordingly : the which I received; but so very informal, that it could not well be presented to a preshytery. Whereupon I was persuaded to go to Kelso to the fynod, that I might get it drawn there in due form; resolving to go ftraight from thence, without returning to Dunse. But Providence had more work for me to do at home.
The presbytery having appointed me no where, for the third Sabbath after I was licensed, I was invited to preach that day in the parish of Abbay, one of the four kirks of Lammermoor; the which invitation I accepted, and studied a fermon for that end on Rev. iii. 20. which I believe was never delivered. But Mr Colden being on the Saturday called to a communion at Earlston on the morrow, I was obliged to preach for him at Dunfe that Sabbath. The presbytery would never send me to the said parish of Abbay till I was just going out of the country, as said is; they having a design to transport unto it the Laird of Abbay, minister of Aiton, whom they looked on as unfit for that public post. But he being both a weak and an untender man, was unacceptable to the parish of Abbay, as. well as to his brethren. By their appointment forefaid, I preached there the Sabbath before the fynod, Oct. 17. There had been before that an inclination in that parish to me to be their minister; the which was first moved to me by Abbay himself, and afterward by an elder with much affection. After being appointed to preach there, they Thewed themselves very cordial for my settlement among them, very affectionate to me, and unwilling that I should go out of the country.
Having come to Kelfo as aforesaid, the drawing up of my licence in due form was shifted and put oft. It was reprefented, that a lady had engaged to write to Lord Ross in my favour: I was urged to fall from my intended departure ; and Mr Colden, wllom I particularly regarded, told me, he thought Providence lay cross to it. So I behoved to return home again without my licence, unexpected, to my friends. Being thus locked in at home for that reason, I preacha ed several times at Abbay during the winter, lodging ordinarily in Blackeçdone ; where, at family-prayer, Dec. 14. I fainted away, not having got the prayer formally closed, as they afterwards told me. There was an appearance of my settling there; the people were knit to me; and that was the only parish, I think, that ever I was fond of. But I smarted for the loose I foolishly had given to my heart upon it. I proposed to myself to be very happy in such a small charge, being told that they would be but about fourscore of people : but then there appeared to be an occasion of diffusive usefulness in that hill-country, the other three kirks thereof being still poflefled by curates, The stipend was about 700 merks, the place retired among the hills, the manfe pleasantly situate on Whitwater, and within three or four miles of Dunse. But the presbytery was still against settling me there.
1698. On Jan. 16. 1698, the elders, who twice before that had desired a minister to moderate in a call there, but were repulsed, applied to them again for the fame end, and were repulsed as formerly ; notwithstanding that the fame day there was read before them a letter from Lord Ross, bearing, that since I had not come to him, he had another in view for Foulden.
About the latter end of that month, Abbay being in Dunfe, told me, that sometime he had a mind for that parish himself, but now he had changed his resolution, and would join with the elders, in order to my settlement there. And about the 8th of February, the elders appearing again before the presbyterý, renewed their address for a minister to moderate in a call there ; and Abbay himself joining them accordingly, as an heritor, the presbytery could no longer refuse it ; but, in the mean time, they took a long day for it, purposely it would feem, and appointed the roth of March for that effect. As we came out of the presbytery, Abbay told me, according to his manner, he would preach my ordinationsermon.
Now the poor parith thought themselves secure; and things seeming to go according to my heart's wish, I was much comforted in the thoughts thereof. But, behold, in a few days Abbay changed his mind, and all endeavours were used to turn about the call for him ; which with the heritors was easily obtained, none of them residing within the parish. The poing on which it seemed to turn was,
that that now or never was the occafion of consulting his inte. reft; which miffed, the presbytery would by some means get him turned out of Aiton. This, I was informed, some ministers did put in the head of his friends, by whose persuafion he changed his mind and course again in that matter.
Observing the matter to be going thus, I fell under great discouragement, by means of the disappointment, having foolishly judged that place the fittest for me. Then it was my exercise, and a hard one, to get my heart brought to a fubmiffion to Providence in that point; the which submiffion I desired, if my heart deceived me not, more than the removal of the stroke. Being sore broken by the disappointment, I took hold of an occasion to preach, for my own ease, a fermon on i Sam. jii. 18. on a week-day at Dunse. After sermon, one of the hearers came to me, and thankfully acknowledged God's goodness in bringing her to that sermon, fo suited to her case. She was a godly woman of Polwarth parish, who shortly before had lost her husband. This sermon was not without advantage to myself in the point I was aiming to reach. Howbeit, that discouragement and the spring-season trysting together, there was a notable breach made in my health, which continued for a long time alter, the which I dated from the beginning of that month of March. When I had near studied that fermon, I was in hazard of fainting away; but being taken care of, and laid to bed, I recovered.
March 6. Preaching in Dunse, such an indisposition of body and faintness was on me, that I thought either to have swooned in the pulpit, or to have been obliged to go out abruptly : but, by good Providence, there was oppofite to the pulpit an aile wanting some of the roof, by which came a refreshing gale that supported me, and the Lord carried me through, giving me a taste of his goodness, of which I was preaching. The same day eight days, after preaching in the same place, the indifpofition recurred; and as I was going into the kirk very pentive, and thinking of the hazard of swooning in the pulpit, and how it would be matter of reproach, I heard the procentor reading, and found them linging Pfal. Ivii. 3. “From “ heaven he shall send down, and me from his reproach defend,” &c. which was sweetly seasonable to my soul.
Having been for some time very indisposed, I was under some apprehensions of death, but very unwilling and afraid to die : in which case I had occasion to ride by that spot of ground where I was formerly so content to die, (see p. 25.), which let me fee a vast difference in the frame of my fpirit now from what it was then.
March 1o. The call was drawn up for Abbay himself, my Lord Mersington, a good-natured, well-inclined man, being the main agent in the affair ; at whose door the poor people, among whom there were wet cheeks on that occafion, laid the blood of their souls ; but it prevailed not with him. One of the elders, Abbay's own tenant, was brought to subscribe the call. It was brought before the presbytery on the 15th; and Mersington having a cominillion from Abbay, had signed it for him in his name as an heritor. Two elders and a parishioner appeared that day before the presbytery, and reclaimed, earnestly intreating them to consider, that they behoved to answer to God for what they did. But the presbytery fustained the call. Mr Colden would say nothing in the matter, but went out in the time. They appointed him to write to Lord Ross, and to the minister of Paisley, to deal with my Lord on my account with refpect to Foulden. This was the ungospel-like way that even then much prevailed in the case of planting of churches; a way which I ever abhorred. I had been named by the commission of the assembly to go to Caithness, a few days before the moderating of that call: but Mr Colden telling them, that, on the Thursday after, a call was to be moderated for me, it was dropped. So by it Providence diverted that mission of me, which would have been very heavy.
On the 29th, the writing of the letters aforesaid having been forgot, a letter from Mr Wilkie, bailie of Foulden, was read coram, bearing, that he would cordially concur for my settlement in Foulden; but thought reason and good-breeding required that I should go to Lord Rofs. Whereupon they peremptorily enjoined me to go to him : and Mr Colden told me, I would be out of my duty if I went not. Nevertheless, having no clearners for it in my own conscience, I continued unmoved in my resolution; though it troubled me that they should have appointed me:
At the April fynod I was invited to the presbytery of Kelso ; but being advised to wait till the following presby. tery-day, I preached at Foulden: and, May 1. hearing there that my Lord Ross was to send them another man, I resolved forthwith to go to the presbytery of Stirling, having given over thoughts of Kelso.
Accordingly having got up the extract of my licence, and testimonials, on the ioth, I went away on the 15th ; and having come to my quarters at Edinburgh, I was 0vertaken with a fainting-fit. On the 17th I arrived in the bounds of the presbytery of Stirling.
Providence having thus tried me in my native country, especially in the affair of Abbay, I was so taught, that no place did ever after get so much of my fond affection. But, notwithstanding all the bustle made for the Laird's transportation to that place, it did not at this time take effect: but, after I was gone, Mr George Home minister of Selkirk was planted in it, he having been uneasy in that public poft. And afterward, when I was a member of the presbytery of Churnside, a process of drunkenness was commenced against Abbay, which yet proved ineffectual for his removal out of Aiton. But Mr Home being dead, he was at length, I think before I came to Ettrick, transported thither; the people by that time being taught more tamely to bear the yoke.
PERIOD V. From my removal into the bounds of the presbytery of Stira
ling, to my return unto the Merse.
HAving come into the bounds aforesaid, I took up my I lodging with Thomas Brown of Barhill in Ferricown, with whom I had contracted a particular friendship when I was at Kennet, he being a good inan. I was once and agaia invited to Kennet's family to lodge there, but declined it; a plain evidence of no real inclination to feitle in Clackmannan parish. I continued with Thomas Brown while I reinained in that country, which was near about a year : and in these days that text had weight with me, “ Go not “ from house to house;" judging that course unworthy of the facred character.
The parishes which I preached mostly in, while in that country, were Clackmannao and Airth, and after some time Dollar, all of them being then vacant. The Lord was with me in my work there, and did some good by me, especially in Airth and Dollar. The minister i converfed most with was Mr Turnbull in Alloa, a steady friend.