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On Lord's day, June 14. I closed my subject of the Covenant of Grace: my notes thereon being written fo largely, that, in transcribing them since for the press, I needed rather, for the most part, to contract, than to add and enlarge
On the following Sabbath, the 21st, kaving come in from the fermons, and sat down to dinner, I fell indifpo. sed; endured the time of dinner ; but while we were finging as usual, (I think the pfalm was Pfal.cvii. 23. and downwards), after it my trouble came to a height, and I went off, with much ado, to my closet, where a prodigious vomiting and exquisite pain feized me, which afterwards I knew to be a fit of the gravel, which I had never been acquainted with before. It kept me till the Wednefday thereafter; though not always agonizing. It was told me, that one fit of the agony lasted about five hours, another about feven hours. In the mean time of my trouble, my wife, whom all had enough ado to wait on before, was helped to go up and down stairs, betwixt me and the children, then fick, and to be helpful to both. When all were recovered, I was thinking on a day for a family-thanksgiving ; but was some way diverted from it: but that day, or the morrow after, the clouds returned after the rain : my son John fell fick, and at the same time our servant-woman. His case was of all the most dan. gerous. The fever took no turn in the daughters till the eleventh day, in the fons till the thirteenth; but in the servant-woman on the sixth. Thus was the summer fpent; but no breach was made on us. They all came out of their fevers infenfibly, without a distinct crifis; but my eldest son was very long a-recovering, even till about the middle of August. Towards the end of that month, we had a day of family.thanksgiving ; the whole family, except the man-fervant, having been under the rod.
I was sensibly helped to the exercise of faith in the time of our first distress; and had a sweet view of the Lord Jefus as administrator of the covenant, being a fkilful pilot to carry us through the deep waters; which view was kept before me all along, after we were entered into them. My personal trouble was turned to my advantage. It was fore indeed ; but kind Providence made it short, and timed it so happily, that my public work was not interrupted by it. faw therein a palpable difference between groaning and grudging. For while in my agony I could not help
groaning and crying, so that I was heard at a distance ; yet my heart, sensible that I had had much health, was made by grace to say, Welcome, welcome; and kissed the rod, for the sake of him who groaned and died on the cross for me; and I was even made to weep for joy in his dying love to me. The foundation of faith, that “ who“ foever believeth, shall not perish, but have everlasting “ life,” John iii. 16. was my anchor-ground. I had a fatisfaction, in that while the rod was going about, my kind God had not forgotten me, but given me my share. But I had a greater difficulty to believe, upon the turning back of our broken fhip into the deeps, after we were brought within fight of land. But one day, as I was going into the pulpit, in the time of our first distress, the congregation was singing Pfal. cxxviii. verf. 3. to the end,“ Thy “ children like to olive-plants about thy table round, &c. That came seasonably to me, and was of great use to me all along thereafter. At length I got my wife and children so planted about my table; and on the familythanksgiving, I told them how useful that psalm had been to me in the day of our distress; and so I sung it with them. And there is something more in that psalm, that I have some expectation of still.
Mean while this shock by the gravel quite broke and fhattered my frame, and altered my conftitution ; so that thereafter I was no more as I had been formerly.
From the notable breach in my health, to the time of the clos
fing of this account.
it came on when I was now going in the forty-ninth year of my age, the seventh septenary: and here I reckon the groaning part of my life, more plainly pointing to my diffolution, to have begun. And whatever groanings I had, in the former part of my life, been witness to by day or by night, it hath, in the depth of sovereign wisdom, for my greater trial, been, from the preceding April 1724, unto this day, my lot, to be folitary in my clofet by night, as well as by day: but good is the will of the Lord; he hath done all things well.
The summer thus spent as aforesaid, a weary season to me, at best, as an idle time ; being engaged in a course of drinking Moffat-well water, at home, for the gravel; I did, on the last day of August, put pen to paper again, in the beloved work aforesaid on the Hebrew text; not knowing whether I would be able to sit close any more at it or not. But it is but little I have had access to do in it fince; however, I defire to be thankful, that I have got the essay on the accentuation done : how the Lord may dispose of me after, I know not ; but I desire to be resigned.
Now as the winter came on, my teeth began to be loofened, much pain in them going before; and that reason I lost three, whereof two were fore-teeth ; which marred my pronunciation in some measure. Nevertheless I was helped closely to ply the work aforesaid: and my plan therein was carried to its height, with exceeding great labour : and when at any time I happened to go to bed, with some difficulty entered into, but not got through ; the intentenels of the mind upon it bereaved me of fome fleep, which I think did harm.
In the time of our distress in the summer, watchful and kiud Providence favoured me with a visit from Mr JG, a minister of the church of Scotland, whom I had but little acquaintance of before: A man well feen in the doctrine of free grace, and to a pitch kind, and dif posed to be useful, whereof I have fince had signal proof. At that time I shewed him, that I could get no body to judge of the essay made on the Hebrew'accentuation, the performance being upon such an out-of-the-way subject ; and that I had some view to Professor Simson for that end. And he having minded this, and taken occasion in his own country to inform himself, did afterwards write e a letter, giving me notice of Mr George Gordon, profeffor of the Oriental languages in the King's College, A, berdeen, as the fittest in our island to judge in such mat, ters. Mr Wodrow was his informer, being a man of the most extensive correspondence. I had no acquaintance with Mr Gordon, nor did I know his character, but by my correspondent's letter. I knew not till afterwards that I had it from himself, that he was that Gordon whom Mr Crofs mentions in his preface to the Taghmical Art. But without more ado, 1 quickly addressed myself to him,
by a letter of the 14th December, committing the matter to the Lord.
Mean while, after closing my fermons on the Covenant of Grace, I had pursued my former subject of Christian morality, in the general, from John xv. 14. “ Ye are my “ friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you ;” and Eccl. ix. 10. " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it," &c. Then I entered on some particulars, viz. against profane swearing, sinful anger, revenge ; and prefied the love of our enemies ; the which subjects were ended Dec. 27.
On the 17th of January 1725, I received a letter from Mr George Gordon aforesaid, large and friendly, quite beyond any thing I could have expected, thewing all readiness to peruse the effay, when it cquld conveniently be put in his hand. This step of Providence was great in my eyes, looking like a dawning of light, in a cafe right hopeless, even as to the getting any body's judgement upon it, that I could rely on, for which my attempts hitherto had been bafiled. The date of the letter, being jan. 1. was most sweet, when I called to mind, that that very day having spent some time in folemn prayer, (as usual on the occasion of the new year), my letter's finding favour with that man, had been much on my heart before the Lord. Whatever be the issue, it is a great mercy to me, to
ave hope of getting it put in one's hand capable to judge of it.
After carrying on the work aforesaid, through the first twenty chapters of Genesis, I found it neceflary to stop ; and that in consideration of my frailty, and that the notes were written in short-hand characters, and therefore uteless to any but myself. And after feeking the Lord, I began, on the oth of February, to write all over in mundo, in long hand, defiring to believe that he will give power to the faint, and to them that have no might, he will increafe ftrength.
The notes on the Marrow had now for some time been in a friend's hand at Edinburgh. And in the latter end of that month, there was a proposal made me, for publishing the Marrow with them. Mr William Wardrobe apothecary there, above mentioned, was the chief under
All these fermons are published in the volume, intitled, The disiaguishing charaliers of true believers, printed in 1773, and are a molt choice ict of discourses.
taker in this. Hereupon I revised the notes again : -and having spent some time in prayer for light in that malter, April 0. and again on the 13th, laid it before the Lord; I was cleared, and determined to give up the copy of the Marrow, as corrected and new-modelled by me, together with the notes thereon, into his hand, to do therein as he should find himself conducted by Providence; and this in confideration that matters are still growing worse in this generation, and the declining is on the increate ; for the sake of truth, and of the present and rifing generation.
in this month of April, began my wife's entire barring from public ordinances, which lafteth unto this day
About the middle of May, my fon Thomas, who had got about two years domestic teaching in the Latin tongue, especially by my own and my other fon's means, was lent to the grammar-school at Hawick.
Now, after infitting for some time this year on the hiding of the Lord's face, Pal xxx. 7 I entered on ç the Son of man's coining to feck and save the loft," Luke xix. 10. and d eit thereon till the sermons preparatory for the facrament of the supper. It was administered June 6. not without apprehenfions, that it might be the last I should have occasion to administer. By that time I had carried on the work forefaid to Gen. iii. 22. MS. in folio, p. 44. I entered on it, and proceeded therein, with a viuw of death at my back; and was much cafed in my mind, when I had brought it that length; judging that the church of God iniglit thereby difcern what it was I aimed at, in case I thould never have had access to have carried it on further.
Mean while great were my trials about this communion. My wife seemed to be in a dying condition for about two weeks before : on the Tuesday immediately before the communion, the furgeon told me, he thought she could not now iait long. The want of my teeth made speaking difficult ; and I had less strength to speak with, than fome time before : and the remaining tecth were become blackjih. But the Lord pitied, amidst these and other trying incidents.
Mr Cordon aforefuid coming to Edinburgh to the summer-feflion, the effay on the accentuation was, according to our concert, pui into his hand about this time. I preached the action-fermon on the “ bruising of the