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all along since continued, the assembly being first diffolved in the name of Jesus Christ, by the Moderator as their mouth, and in the name of the magistrate by the Commiffioner.
In April following, the fynod meeting at Dunse, entered on making an act, asserting their principles with refpect to the established government of the church. A. gainst which, Mr Alexander Orrock minister at Hawick, a man of vast parts, and the greatest assurance I ever knew, protested, and left the synod; pretending the same to be a railing of groundless jealousies against the magiItrate ; though in the mean time the grounds of jealousy were looked on as not small. With him joined Mr Robert Bell minister at Cavers, now at Crailling, Mr Robert Cuningham at Wilton, afterward at Hawick, and Mr Robert Scot at Roberton. Upon the other hand, I was dissatisfied with the act, for that it touched not the particular point in which the church was at that time especia ally aggrieved ; namely, her intrinsic power of meeting, and treating, in her judicatories, of her affairs, as necellity might require, for the honour of her Head, and the fpiritual welfare of her members. And since, for the said cause, I could not approve of it, and had not so clear access as ordinary to give my vote, I declared this my mind before the synod ere it was put to the vote. Whereupon Mr Charles Gordon minister of Ashkirk, a learned and holy man, of uncommon integrity, sometime chosen to be profeffor of divinity in Aberdeen, though he accepted it not, fpoke something in answer thereto, and for the act, which thereafter was voted, and approved by the rest. But ihat same night, I think, he fent for me to his quarters, where he lodging together with Mr William Macghie minister of Selkirk, we supped together, and were brought acquainted. And this, I believe, was the occafion of the prefbytery of Selkirk their setting their eye on me for the parish of Etterick. And I had the comfort of his declaring to me, on his deathbed, some time after my coming to Etterick, the fatisfaction he had in having seen Mr Gabriel Wilson, my friend, and me, fettled in their presbytery.
I being only a singular successor, and not heir to my father, was liable to Drummelzier, the superior, in a year's rent of my tenement, for entry, which otherwise would have been but the double of the feu-duty: so, on the 15th
of April, I compounded with him for L. 60 Scots; for which the town-clerk having drawn a bond in the jog-trot style of bonds for borrowed money, I refused to sign it; but drew a bond with my own hand, with the which Drummelzier was fatisfied. This I figned accordingly; and relieved, by paying the money, on May 14. thereafter. Having upon that affair had occasions of conversing with Drummelzier, who was a sober sensible man, I afterward found, he had upon occasions shewn himself friendly disposed, in his own way, towards me : particularly, that it being told him, speaking of planting me in Dunse, then vacant, that I was too hot; he thereupon mentioned another place for me, as one as hot as I, viz. Etterick. So early Providence was at work for bringing about my settlement in that place, where I was to spend the most of my strength and days.
Invited by Mr Gabriel Semple retaining of his former difpofition towards me, I preached at Jedburgh Feb. 27. forenoon and afternoon. The congregation being convened again, about a quarter of an hour after, he, from the reader's desk, made a short discourse on the fifth command, particularly the duties of husbands and wives. The things he insisted on were indeed common and ordi. pary; but they were delivered in such a manner, and such power accompanied them, that I was in a manner ama, zed; and they went out through me, and in through me, so that I said in my heart, Happy are those that hear
thy wisdom. Mr Gabriel Wilson being then his affiftant, but preaching that day at Oxnam, there began at that time an acquaintance betwixt him and me, which by some interviews afterward, and particularly by a meeting at Simprin, advanced to a particular friendship. And after I was settled in Etterick, and he in Maxton, the same grew up into a noted and uncommon strictness, continuing, through the mercy of God, inviolate unto this day.
On March 21. about two o'clock in the morning, my son Robert was born ; and he was baptized on the 26th, by Mr John Lithgow minister at Swinton.
This year was remarkable to me, with respect to my ore dinary in preaching, and my studies; of both which I shall here give an account.
As to my ordinary in preaching, occasionally mixed with other subjects ; having begun, as said is, the fecond Sabbath in Simprin after my ordination, I continued
preaching preaching man's natural state, until Aug. 10. 1900. As which time I entered on preaching Christ the remedy for man's misery. From which I proceeded, Oct. 19. 1701, to the doctrine of the application of the remedy: in the which, entering Feb. 18. 1702, on the particulars of the ordinary method of the Spirit with finners in conversion ; being fensible of the delicacy of the subject, and defiring to say nothing thereon but what I had digested beforehand, I began writing my fermons at largc, and to venture very little on extemporary expreflion. And this was the occasion of my falling into a habit of writing my fermons at large, which I have fince for ordinary continued, as I had accels, and could reach it : a yoke which often fince that time I would have been glad to have shaken off, but could not get it done. Neverthelefs I have been con. vinced, it was a kind and honourable dispensation of Profidence that kept it on me. Howbeit, whereas in my votes at that time, as aifo before and after unto this day, may be sometimes found Latin, Greek, and perhaps Hebrew, it was noi my manner to express them in the pulpit to the people ; but in their mother tongue to express the thing the best way I could. In fermons indeed coram clero, as presbyterial exercises, I used all freedom in that point: but fo doing in fermons before the people, in country or town, I ever despised, and had a contempt of, as pedantic, and unbecoming the weight of the sacred inyiteries. Mean while, having dispatched that subject, I proceeded, Nov. 15. 1702, to the privileges of believers in Christ. And finally, on Feb. 14. 1703, I entered on the believers duty: wherein, afier the general doctrine, co. ming to particulars, I went through all the ten commands : which done, I thewed the use of the law to those that are out of Christ; the believers deliverance and freedom from the law as a covenant ; and pressed the regarding thereof, as a rule of life : with which I closed that ordinary of subjects, in the month of April this year 1704.
Withal on the 4th of May following, I began an ordinary of week-days fermons on the Song of Solomon : in which, I think, I continued till my removal to Etterick ; where I had no more access to service of that kind. In that time I went through the ad and 3d chapters of that book, and had entered on the 4th: and there afforded us many a swect lour together. These sermons are in rem
t entis. But I judge I had before that gone through the firft chapter in some exercises, without writing any notes.
As to my studies, when I was settled in Simprin, I had very few books; which occasioned my borrowing, as I had access; and moreover, where I wanted to be satisfied in some particular points, obliged me to think of the same, if so I could find out what to rest satisfied in, not having access to consult many authors. And thus my scarcity of books proved a kind difpofal of Providence towards me ; 1, in that method, arriving at a greater distinctness and certainty in these points, than otherwise I could readily have obtained. The chief of these points I wanted to be satisfied in, were two ; namely, the doctrine of the grace of God in Christ, and the subject of baptism.
As for the doctrine of grace, how the Lord was pleased to give my heart a set toward the preaching of Christ, and how I had several convictions of legality in my own practice, is already narrated. I had heard Mr Mair often speak, of being divorced from the law, dead to it, and the like; but I understood very little of the matter. Howbeit, my thoughts being, after my settlement at Simprin, turned that way, that I might understand somewhat of these things; some light, new to me, seemed to break up from the doctrine of Christ: but then I could not see how to reconcile the same with other things which seemed to be truth too. And I think, that among these first rays of light, was a notion, that the fins of believers in Chriit, even while yet not actually repented of, did not make them, being in a state of grace, liable to eternal punishment. And on this head I did, by a letter, consult Mr Nurray in Penpont; but was not thoroughly satisfied with what he advanced upon it. Mean while, being still on the scent, as I was sitting one day in a house of Simprin, I espied above the window-head two little old books; which when I had taken down, I found intitled, the one The marrow of modern divinity, the other, Christ's blood flowing freely to finners. These I reckon had been brought home from England by the master of the house, a soldier in the time of the civil wars. Finding them to point to the subject I was in particular concern about, I brought them both away. The latter, a book of Saltmarth's, I relished not; and I think I returned it without reading it quite through. The other, being the first part only of the Marrow, I relished greatly; and having purchased it ac length from the owner, kept it from that time to this day; and it is still to be found among my books. I found it to come close to the points I was in quest of; and to thew the consistency of these, which I could not reconcile before: so that I rejoiced in it, as a light which the Lord had seafonably struck up to me in my darkness.
What time, precisely, this happened, I cannot tell: but I am very sure, that, by the latter end of the year 1700, I had not only seen that book, but digested the doctrine thereof in a tolerable measure; since by that time I was begun to preach it, as I had occasion, abroad. Such opportunities I took, to give way to the then bent of my heart, which I could not so directly fatisfy at home, being on the ordinary aforesaid.
The first parcel of books I got added to my small library, was in the year 1702. The which year, in August, Mr Simson aforesaid being in my closet, and looking at my book-press, smiled : the which, from whatever principle he did it, touched me to the quick, being conscious of my want of a tolerable quantity. Among these were Zanchy's works, and Luther on the Galatians, which I was much taken with : and Providence also laid to my hand, about that time, Beza's Confession of Faith. Mort of the books mentioned in the 2d, 3d, and 4th pages of my catalogue yet in retentis, whose prices are set down with them, were purchased in that year, and the follow. ing 1703. And from the year 1704, the catalogue aforesaid goes on orderly, according to the years, generally, wherein the books came to my hand.
Being thus provided, I was in better case to pursue my search, to my further instruction and confirmation. In this manner, I reached, through grace, a distinctness and certainty, as to several points of the doctrine of grace, that I had not before. And what contributed much thereto was, that I purposely studied some points of that nature, for my own fatisfaction; and set down my thoughts in writing; particularly these three points, viz. 1. Whether or not the sins of believers, while unrepented of, make them liable to eternal punishment? 2. Whether or not all sins, past, prefent, and to come, are pardoned together and at once? 3. Whether or not repentance be necessary, in order to the obtaining of the pardon of fin ?
Meanwhile, after I was let into the knowledge of the doctrine of grace, as to the state and case of believers in