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by the means I lived under the preaching of the word, catechizing in public and private, enlightned my mind further in the notional knowlege of the law and gospel. My capacity growing with my years, and knowlege of what was sin and what was duty, and what the fearful consequences of fin were and the advantage of duty, increasing ; fin was left open and naked without the excuse of ignorance and conscience had a further advantage, being arm'd with more knowlege and hetter inform’d; hereon its checks, when now by the Lord's providences it was in some measure awakned, were more frequent, and sharp, and not so easily to be evaded : John xv. 22. "If I had not
come and spoken to them, they had had no sin, but now they have no cloke for their fin.'
4. Some touches of sickness riveted on me the impressions of mortality and frality, and the tendency
of each of those numerous train of diseases, by which . We are daily expos'd to death : Hereon I was brought into and kept under continual · Bondage through 'fears of death. Hebii, igi
5. But that which above all affected me most deeply, and gave an edge to convictions, was the contin. ual tears we were in of being suddenly destroy'd by the papists: This keept death in its most terrible shape ever in mine eyes and thoughts : And to my great terror, I saw wrath and judgment following it, • The finners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness hath sur
prized the hypocrites : Who amongst us shall dwell 'with devouring fire ? Who amongst us shall dwell
with everlasting burnings ? Ija. xxxiii. 14.. : 6. Herein I was cast into grievous disquietment, Pfalm xiii. 2. ' I took counsel in my soul, having forfrow in my heart daily.'I was in a dreadful strait betwixt two. On the one hand, my convictions of sin were Mary, fears of a present death and judgment quickned them, this made meattend more to the word, : the more I attended to it, they increas'd the more ; ;
and I was daily perswaded, more and more that their was no way to be rid of them, but by turning religious. On the other hand, if I should engage in carnest with religion, then I saw the hazard of suffering for it, and wist not but I might be call'd immediately to die for it ; and this I could not think of doing. : Betwixt the two I was dreadfully tossed in my own mind; some nights Neep went from mine eyes, and I was full of trouble; I set imagination a work, and did sometimes strongly impress myself with the fancy of an Irish cut throat holding a dagger to my breast, and offering me these terms, ' Quit your religion, turn papist,
and you shall live : Hold it, and you are dead. The imagination was sometimes so strong, that I have fainted almost with it, and still I was dreadfully unresolved what to do : Sometimes I would let him give the fatal stroke : But hereon my spirits shrunk, and my heart fail'd at the apprehension of death : At other times I resolved to quit my religion, but with resol. ution to take it up again when the danger was over : But here I could get no reít. What thought I, if the treacherous enemy destroy me after I have done it, and so I lose both life and religion? And what if I die before the danger is over, and so time be not allow'd me to repent ? Hof. vii., 11. Ephraim is as a lilly, dove without a heart ; they call to Egypt and they go to Assyria.
. This sort of exercise frequently recurr'd, and I continued this way at times, ever till after the battle of Gillechrunkie, which was fought July 27th, 1689 It had some interuptions, and then I was remissas bee fore, but for near a year, few weeks, and frequently few days or nights passed over me without some such exercise': But the fears of the Papists being quickly over, my remaining difficulty was only with my convictions. Now as to these I endeavoured to relieve myself, 1. By promises of abstaining froin those fins which most directly cross'd my light, and for which
I was moft plainly challeng'd. Exod. ix. 28 ' And Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, intreat the Lord for me, and I will let the people
go. 2. I took fanctuary in resolutions of enquiring into the Lord's Mind and complying. But when I confulted any practical book, or the ministry of the word, and found them not give such directions as agrer ed with my unrenewed heart, I was grieved and stuck there : Matth. xix. 16, 21, 22, And behold, one ' came to him, and said unto him, good Master, what 'good thing thall I do that.I many have eternal ' life. - Jesus said unto him,, If thou wilt be per
fect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the 'poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven? Ant
come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away forrowful : For he
had great possessions. 3. I thought to find peace in a more careful attendance upon duties: Rom y. 3, 4. • Thus being ignorant of God's righteouliefs,
and going about to establish mine own righteoul. 'ness, I submitted not myself unto the righteousneli
of God, (nor shewed I any regard to Christ, who ' is the end of the law for righteousness, to every one are that believeth.'
8. Though my foolish heart run to those courses, yet really they afforded no folid repose ; for, 1. The first sin against light, and the first omission of duty, which very speedily ensued upon the intermission of the force that present conviction put on me, shook all. And I was confounded at the thoughts of appearing before God in a righteousness so plainly ragged, that where it had one piece, wanted two, lla, Ixiv, 6. 2. Though there ways gave some ease where trials were at a distance; yet when the thoughts of death came near, I found not quiet here: This was not gold tried in the fire, nor would it abide so much as 2 near-hand view of a trial : But at the very appear. ance of a storm, this fandy foundation hook Matth.
This shall ye have of mine hand, ye shall ly down
9. The effects of this exercise that abode and increas'd afterwards, were principally these three. I. Hereby I was brought into a doubt about truths of
religion, the being of a God and things eternal; This · hesitation was not from any argument that offered themselves against these truths; or from any suspicion of ministers, parents, or others from whom I had received them : But merely from this, That whenever in danger or straits, I would build on them a fura picion secretly haunted me, What if the things are not? Whence I was brought to think, that I had not certainty and evidences about them answerable to the weight that was to be laid on them. I thought death, · and the trouble attending it, were certain and sena sible things : But I could not get my mind fo fatisfied, and fully assured upon the truths of religion. Still when under apprehensions of death, I would have taken rest upon the truths of religion, the perswasion fail'd me, and my mind begun to waver ; though I could give no reason of this. Prov. iv. 19. "The « way of the wicked is as darkness: They know not 6 at what they stumble. 2. I was hereby perswaded, and this perswalion ever after increas'd in strength, that I could never have peace till I came to another." fort of evidence and certainty about the truths of reli. .. gion, than I was yet acquainted withal : Death I saw inevitable, it might be very sudden, I was capable of
* Consider Heb. X. 2, 3. Ihere conscience of sin remains after the use of means, it argues their weakness,
being impress’d with the fore thoughts of it, and could not banish them. Therefor concluded I, unless I obtain such a conviction of religion, and such an interest" in it, as will make me not only look at death without fear, but go through it with comfort, 'better
for me I had never been :' But how or where this was to be obtain’d, I was utterly uncertain. Here I lay in great perplexity under the melancholly impresi fions that I had hitherto spent my money for that ' which is not bread, and my labour for that which
profiteth not. Ifa. lv. 2. 3. This perplexity was fomewhat eas'd, while one day or other reading in the close of the fulfiling of the scriptures, how Mr. Robert Bruce was shaken about the being of a God, and how at length he came to fullest satisfaction ; hereby a hope secretly sprung up, That one time or other, in one way or other the like might befal me, and that the Lord might satisfie me in this: Here was the dawning of a light that though long it did not fully clear up, yet was never put wholly out again ; though it was far from fatisfying, yet it kept from despair as to the issue :----Mark viii. 23. * And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands on him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up and said, I see men as trees, walk. 'ing:' But all this notwithstanding, the vail ftill remained untaken away.' 2 Cor. iii. 14, 15.;
10. About this time, one Mr. Donaldson a reverend old minister, preached at Perth, and came to visit my mother'; called for me, and among other questions, he asked me if I sought a blessing on my learning. To which I ingenuously answered, No. He replied with an austere look, “ sirrah, unsanctified learning " has done much mischief to the kirk of God." This faying stuck with me ever after, and left à deep.im-, pression on me; so that when ever I was any way straitned, I applied to God by prayer for help in my