« AnteriorContinuar »
occasioned some times by the preaching of the word, and at other seasons by the light of my education, which still hung about me, and was a check upon me : But all this were only like the starts of a sleeping man, occasion'd by some sudden noise; up he gets, but prefently he is down, and faster asleep than be. fore, I found means to get rid of these convictions. I. I would, when they were uneasy, promise them a hearing afterwards. Afts xxiv. 25. And as Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way, and when I have a convenient yeafon I will call for thee. 2. At other seasons, I looked to the tendency of them, that they aim'd at engaging me to be holy, and then I por'd upon the difficulties of that course, till I not only got the edge of my convictions blunted, but frighted myself from a compliance: Prov. xxii. 13. The Nuggard faith, There is a lion in the way, and I Shall be pain in the streets, 3. When convictions were lighter, I got rid of them by withdrawing from the mcans. fames i. 23. 24: If a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass : For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth, what manner of man he was. 4. Sometimes I promised them fair, and so put them off at that time, but minded it not afterward. Matth. xxi. 30. And he said to the fecond likewise, and he answeaed, I go, Sir, and went not. 5. Sometimes they issued in fruitless,unactive and Nothful wishes ; Prov. xiii. 4. The foul of the rug. gard desireth, and hath nothing. xxi. 25. The desire of the Mothful killeth him; for his hands refufeth to la. bour. 6. At other times when they were troublesome, I turned mine eye to something which I thought good, in: my way, though, the Lord knows, little was there that had so much as any tolérable appearance of good. Yet so foolish was I, that I refled here,' as if this had been 'not only enough to attone for bygones, but procure good at God's hand, Luke xviii. 10, 11. Two men went up into the Temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, the other a Publican. The Pharifee.stood and prayed with himself, God I thank thee that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican, &c. 7: Sometimes I endeavoured to diminish my sin as much as I could. Hof, xii. 8. ' In all my labours they shall find no iniquity in me,
that were fin.' 8. When these shifts failed, and they were still uneasy, I then betook myself to diversions, and they chock'd the word and convictions from it: Luke viii. 14. And that which fell among 'thorns are they, which when they have heard, go
forth, and are chocked with cares and riches, and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfec(tion.'
7. About this time. I met with some things that crossed me. Hercon I, turned thoughtful, what way to rid myself of these difficulties. I seemed more than ordinary concerned, and my spirit was much troubled; yet really this strait led me not to God. But my thoughts were spent in resentments against the real, or supposed authors of my uneasiness, in proud, selfish and vain contrivances for mine own ease and relief : Pjalm x..4. ' The wicked through
the pride of his countenance, will not seek after 'God: God is not in all his thoughts. Job xxxv. 169. 10. They cry out by reason of the arm of the
Mighty : But none faith, Where is God my Maker, who giveth songs in the night? Isa. xxii. 8. II. "And thou didit look in that day to the armour of
the house of the forrest, &c. But ye have not looked unto the Maker thereof, neither had respect to him that fashioned it long ago.;
8- About the month of December 1686, upon the earnest desire of my father's sister, married to John Glas provost.of Perth, I was sent home. While I ftaid in his family, I saw nothing of religion, tho’my aunt .
was . .
was a woman very moral. Here I was muchindulged. I got liberty, and I took it. I saw little of the worfhip of God, and I easily complied, and turned remiss too. What further advances toward an open rejectionof the very form of religion, I made in this place I do not Ilow, at this distance distinctly remember : But no doubt they were great. This I do remember, that I: found my aversion to these fins, which thro' the influence of education I abominated before, sensibly weakned. Yea, I found some secret hankering after some of them, a delight in them,who were guilty, and a sort of approbation of them in my heart. Yet still I was, in a great measure, restrained from an avowed practical coinpliance, by the awful impressions early instruction had left on my mind, which were not as yet wholly worn off ; tho' far were they decayed, confidering the shortness of my stay, whence I may easily discern what had become of them, if I had stayed Plonger here. Further I mind, that as this tirne, I had a great aversion to learning, which was the only good thing that in this place was urged upon me. I looked on it as a burden and crudgery, to which the bafest employments were to be preferr'd and hence I no way set my heart to it; but trifled my time away. And many a sinful shift did I betake myself to, that I might get the time shuffled over. Pfalm. l. 17. 18. 21. Thus I hated instruction, and cast God's word behind my back: When thou sawest a thief thou consentedst with him, and haft been partaker with adulterers. There things haft thou done, and I kept filence, and thought. est i hat I was altogether such a one as thyself.
9. Thus I spent the winter. In the spring 1687, my mother fearing that I might be ensijared with the company I was now amongst, came home for me, as minding the wise man's observation. Prov 29. 15. Therod and reproof give wisdom : But a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. Rom i, 30, Tim. iii. 3. But so great was my wickedness, chat
in Spight of natural affection, I was grieved at her return, and when first I heard her voice, it damp'd me, I cared not to see her. Nothing I disliked more, than a godly and affectionate mother's converse. I feared to be questioned as to bygones, I feared the would carry me away back to Holland, whereby I would be put under uneasy restraints from my sinful liberty.-- Jer. ii, 25. But thou saidlt, There is no hope. No for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.
10. In the spring, or towards furmmer, my mother carried me with her much against my will ; And put me to school there at Erasmus's school. I stayed but 'fhurt while there. But the advantageous method of teaching took with me; I began to delight in learning, and quickly turned proud of my success, Buc otherwise, lived as I had done before, still worfe and worse under all the means God made use of to bring me near, and keep me closs to him. Jer xiii. 11. As the girdle cleaveth to the loines of a man to have / 'cauled to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel, and the whole houje of Judah; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory : But they would not hear.
- C H A P, II. Containing an account of the revival of convictions,
their effects, progress, isues and interuptions from the close of 1687, to 1690, or 1691, when I went from Perth to stay at Edinburgh.
:) i.. IN the month of February 1687, king James e; I mitted his proclamations for indulgence. whereon most of those who had fled, ventured home; and my mother amongst others, toward August or September, that year. It had been for my advantage probably,for my education to have stayed here, which
made me unwilling to return. In our return we were in imminent danger of ship wreck on the scars of Eng. land, but by the mercy of God escaped. The danger was sudden, and suddenly over and so left little or no impression on me. When we came home we fixed at Perth, and abode there till harvest 1690, or 1691, I cannot be positive which. What was my case as to my soul concerns during this time, so far as I remember, I shall here narrate.
2. Presently upon our settlement in this place, I was entered to school: and made some better profi. ciency than before. But as to religion I continued as inconcerned as ever, as intent upon fin, as averse to duiy as formerly. However I carried under my mo. ther's eye, when I was among my comrades I took my liberty, and went with them into all follies and extravagancies they went into, but with this aggravation above most of them, that what I did I knew to be a fault very often, whereas they, at least many of them, did not. Yea, not only went I along with them, but was foremost, and enticed others to folly. Yet still through the mercy of God kept from openly scandalous evils, fave once, that I mind, with some other boys I was seized in a garden, taking some fruit. Whereof I was much ashamed, and never attempted the like again, not from any real dinike of the fin, but fears of a discovery. And this I continued till toward the clofe of king James his reign, when fears of a massacre or some sudden stroak from the papists, whereof then there was a great noise every where, revived my concern about religion. Psalm lxxviii. 34. 35. But when he new them, than they fought him: and they returned and enquired early after God. And they remembred that God was their rock, and the high God their Redeemer,
3. This concern being some deeper, and the effects of it more remarkable and lasting, I shall endeavour a distinct account of it. About this time, the Lord,