Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

but that when the trial comes, he will provide a way to escape.

34. Fifthly, My faith as to this promise was often strengthned by former experience ; particularly, I remember one day travelling from Edinburgh to Leith and meditating upon death, I was oppressed with fear, when the Lord mercifully suggested this fcriptural thought, though not in the scripture words, have you not shrinked formerly under the remote profpect of other trials? And have you not yet been carried hon-: ourably and safely thro' them? What reason have you to distrust God as to future trials, who has given

grace forınerly to help in time of need? This quieted e. my mind at the time.

35. Sixthly. With respect to this, it has always been very fatisfying to consider, that it is no way meet that God should giev us grace before trials come, but that he should keep us humble and dependant by reserving thät in his own and hand teach us to submit to his judgment,as to the measure and time of performing his own promises,and givingthe necessary supplies ofgrace. . 36. Seventhly, Hereon my soul is quieted under all my fears of this trial, in some measure of the faith of this, that the Lord is a God of judgment, and that they are all blefled who wait on him in the faith of his promises, not doubting either of his faithfulness as to the accomplishment, or judgment as to the right tim. ing and measuring them in proportion to our trials and necessities.

37. Eightly, The Lord ha's often given me, when clouded by this fear, a sweet discovery of the beauty of this disposal that we have promises to live upon, till the trials come, and that when they come, we shall then get-accomplishments to live on: In the inount of the Lord it mall be seen.

Fina'ly, The experiences of the Lords faithfulness recorded in history, and learned by report, or by my own obfervation, did oft help to ftrengthen my faith

of

of this and here I rest to this day, I dare not say, I am ready to die ; I dare not say I have faith or grace fufficient to carry me through death; I dare not say, I have no fears of death ; but this I say, there isgrace enough for helping me, laid up in the promife. There is a throne of grace to which in our straits we may have recourse : He is a God of judgment, who has the difpofal, and who will not withold it when it is really the time of need.

PART. Iy. : Containing some account of his ordination unto the holy

ministry, and his conduct therein.

CH A P. . .. Of his being licensed to preach the gospel. W Hen I was under the violent strugglings related VV in the account of the second part of my life, I had laid by all thoughts of che work of the ministry, It was like hell once, to entertain a thought of preach. ing to others what I did not believe myself; But now things began to alter, and the Lord led me on to that which I declin'd before; And I find the steps of his providence about me in this matter, do deserve to be remembred by mc. 1. My mother did devote me from my childhood, to this work, and oft express'd her desire to lend me to the Lord all the days of my life, to serve him in the Gospel of his Son : This has oft had its own weight on my spirit. 2. The course of my studies had Jook'd that way; my education pointed towards that work; which providential de. termination of my studies, tho' I had no great regard to it at some times; yet on other occasions it had some weight on my spirit, that I durst not rashly turn my" thoughts another way; 3. The Lord forcibly, by his providence, did break my design of following the

Study

study of philosophy, by the foregoing" exercise, of
which I have given an account, brought my mind
to acquiesce in this difpenfation,and made philosophy
comparatively distasteful, and it was upon the serious
review of the temptations moving me to incline that
way,made extremely unsavoury. 4. The Lord having
thus loos’d my heart from that study, that for a while
did rival it with the study of divinity; he did also.
by the foregoing issue of my dark exercise, remove
and take away the principal stuinbling blocks, and
make the ways straighi. 5. He further by the discov.
cry of his glory in the face of Christ, engaged my!
heart to, and endeared to my soul the knowlege of
Christ, and him crucified. 6. He brought me under:
a lively sense of that forcible tie that was hereon láid
on me, to lay out myself in any way that he should
call me to be ferviceable to him, and I was made to
think, that I should be the more happy, the more
directly my work should look that way. 7. While,
like Peter, I was musing sometimes on these things,
about the month of April or May 1698, two minil-
ers were sent to my great surprise, from the presby-
tery of Kircaldie, urging me to enter on trials: I did
altogether decline the propofal, because I had no read-
ing, wanted the languages, and had been much die
verted from study, particularly by the foregoing ex.
ercise, which had filled my thoughts for near a year
and an half, and it was not then two years since I

came from the college. In a word I did answer, I am E a child and cannot speak, Jerr i. 6. And here I stuck

surpris'd' and tossed with thoughts what this might mean, and whence it was, for I had scarce ever look'd near the presbytery. They prescrib'd John. ii 12. for a text and left me to consider of it. 8. I found my

averfion strong to enter To-foon at least on trials; but il fill it had some weighton' my spirit, and I did think - further of it, and found that the Lords dealings with me of late in the great variety of trials, cafting me

down

down, and raising me up again and again, look'd at a preparation for comforting others with the confolations wherewith I had been comforted, and sympathizing with them, as having had experience of a great varie. ity of temptations, and I found that by these my little knowlege of the mystery of the gospel received some improvement. 9. The ministers continued to follicite me, and press home their desire ; but while I stood out against their sollicitations, though not without fome secret struggle and doubting, whether in so doing I might not be declining duty, I began to observe the Lord raising a storm against me: I began to see the snares of the station I was in, the advantages my corruptions had by it against me: and in a word, the Lord made it out to me, That I behoved to change my Itation ; but I was not hereby cleared to comply with their desire, yet I durst not flatly decline it. About this I was much tossed, May 20, 1698. The Lord was taking away some that had been most helpful and encouraging, my inward perplexities grew, and I was not like to have peace in my own mind. 10. While I was in this case, Mr. Riddel did May 30, come to the Wemyss, and after much converse, and many reasonings, charged me to try, and have my thoughts on my text, and then do, or stand off, as the Lord should clear dury, which I did con. fent to. 11. But after this I still did shift and decline, and could not think of a compliance; and then De cember 28. Provoft Ramsay wrote earnestly desiring me to take the charge of my lord Maitland. This put me to a stand a little, and I was inclin'd to embrace it at first; But on further consideration I was fully clear'd to reject that motion, and so I remain'd in my former strait, crying to the Lord frequently, that he might discover duty. I was fully satisfied that I behoved not to stay there, but yet was averse from the ministry, at least so soon. But that which had well nigh turn’d me quite off, was an express from my. friend and my father's, the worthy Mr. James Dun. can, urging me in the most pressing terms to take the charge of my lord Duplin's Children, offering what encouragment I pleas’d; my father's deep obligation to that family, and several other things, carried my inclination strongly toward a compliance : But hava ing at Mr. Furrester's earnest desire, undertaken a homily in the new college, wbich I was to deliver next week, I took time to consider of it; and after that I had on February 28, 1699, delivered my difcourse on job xxviii. 28, I went to visit my acquaintance worthy Mr. Sheils, who did urge me to enter on trials, with thať gravity and concern, that had more weight on my spirit, than all that had been spor ken to me. Upon this, and other things that offered themselves to view, I was fully satisfy'd it was duty to lay aside thoughts of Mr. Duncan's propofal, u. The presbytery of Kirkaldie March 16, anno 1699, urged me to try a common head, and if I was not after that clear to proceed, promis'd to leave me to my choice ; whereupon I consented, and delivered is

April 20, when I accepted of a text, and they offered me Pfalm cxix. 9. which I delivered May 1 o, and afterward the exercise and addition which I delivered before the synod that met about Mr. Inglis's affair May 23, and thereon took a popular sermon, being not a little encouraged by Mr. Sheils, who spoke again seriously, to me after sermon and exěre cife, which was on Rom. viii. 36. My popular fer. mon on Pfalm lxxiii. 27, which I delivered on June 22, and was licensed then, after I had gone through the usual trials. 13. As the Lord did, by the former. ly mentioned conduct of providence about me, re. move my scruples, and clear my mind; so his countenancing me in my first appearances, not only by supplying me for the work, but making it successful towards the awakning of fome, and comforting of others, did not a little confirm and encourage me,

GHA P.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »