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preaching against it, I was overtaken with it. But that word is helpful, “When I sent you, lacked ye any thing?" and that John xiv. 18. " I will not leave you comfortless; "I will come to you.” O I find it a difficult thing to be really religious. I preached it in Langton, having procured the minister of that place to preach in Simprin that day, being the Sabbath immediately preceding my ordination ; and upon that day's work, I find I had the following reflection. What good this preaching hath done to others, "I know pot; yet I think myself am not the worse of it: !0! that it were written in my heart, as it is in my book?"
On the Monday I went to · Simprin, and found, that Langton had ordered a decent entertainment for the minifters at the ordinarion, which I was almost hopeless of. On the morrow I went to an ordination, where I faw the candidate answered the questions by a nod or bowing of the head; which I wished not to imitate. From thence I went to Berwick ; and having nighted at Churnside, returned to Dunfe on the Wednesday, where I got some inpression of the weight of the work of the ministry fixed on my spirit, which continued with me, while at my chamber, and while abroad about necessary business, and received some comfortable account of the preceding Sabbach's work.
Sept. 20. After prayer, meditating on what is before me, I saw much of the weight of the work; where. fore I went to God mourning, and poured out my soul to him. I saw it a great matter to have the charge of fouls, and to be faithful. Two things were mainly before me : the difficulty to carry right in the ministry in general; which was heightened from the confideration of the present state of affairs, and an impreflion I had of matters turning worse : and then the difficulty of carrying right to the poor parish to which I am called, These made my heart almost to fink: and indeed my heart and flesh did faint and fail; but that word, John xiv. 18, above cited, and especially that If. xl 11. “He shall feed " his flock," did bear me up. When I went to prayer again, I had more confidence and courage ; and when I canie away, that word came, Heb. X. 35.
6 Caft not a“ way your confidence," &c. And while I was meditating, J F. came in co me; and told me, that last Lord's day at Langton was, in her opinion, an extraordinary day, particularly to her cafe and feeling ; and that her cafe was read in the sermons. This is the second time that sermons preached for my own case had so reached that woman's. Having spent the time in prayer, meditation, and reading, till the night was well far on, and remembering how Satan is sure to lay wait for me in a special manner before some great work that I have to do, I committed foul, body, and spirit, to the Lord, and so went on with fpiritual thoughts
Sept. 21. But that which I feared came upon me: Sacan get advantage of me indeed, and his hand appeared eminent in it. This did fadly cast me down : fo I poured out my soul before the Lord, hoping against hope while I walked up and down; for in fo far as it came from the devil, it dahed my confidence the lefs. Afterwards I grew more dull in my frame; but going to God again, I got a little more of God. I spent the rest of the time in my chaober in prayer and meditation. After I had been a while in company in Mr Colden's, I retired to his garden and meditated, my heart being in a tender frame. And when I came away, and through the day, that word was given me for support, Deut. xxxiii. 27. "The eter“ nal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the ever“ lafting arms." And I came to Simprin in a solid compored frame of fpirit, leaning on the foresaid word. This was the doing of the Lord, and wondrous in my eyes. I heard fermon with fome good frame; but my heart was very much moved when I came in to the kirk. Mr John Pow minitier at Leonel preached from Aéts xx. 24. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my
life “ dear unto myfelf, so that I might finish my course with “ joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord “ Jelus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” After fermon I was ordained and fet apart to the holy miniftry, by prayer made over me, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. I thought the text was ordained of God for me, and my heart desired to go along with the doctrine, that ministers thould prefer the faithful discharge of their ministry to all their other concerns in the world. While I answered the questions, which I did at some length, being fenfible in some measure of my weakness and unworthiness to be a door-keeper in the house of my God, my heart being great, I had much ado to contain myself; and in that time there were many wet cheeks among the people. Se I was ordained ; and while the
words of ordination were said, I freely resigned myself wholly to the Lord, my soul in effect saying, Even so, Lord. After the ordination, I received the right hand of fellowship from the brethren : but had no heritor, nor representative of an heritor, to take me by the hand; and I think there were but two elders in the place at that time. Then I received some exhortations from the minifter aforesaid, actor in the work; and the work was closed as ordinary.
In this period of my life the difpenfations of God to. wards me have been very wonderful, as in the former. I must say, upon the whole, “ The Lord's ways are not “ our ways, &c. His paths are in the deep waters.” My foul is well satisfied with the determination. He hath enured me to hardness by the opposition I met with while a preacher. He frustrated all designs for my settlement, till the time before appointed, and the bouods of my habitation determined by him were come to, Acts xvii. 26. This was an useful word to me in my vagrant state, supported my heart often, and kept me from tranfgrefling for a piece of bread. My itching desires he would not grant; but by this he hath tried me how I would deny myself, and what I would make of my own inclinations. Blessed be my God that has helped me to trample on them, and made me content with my lot. It is the Lord's way with me, to shake me out of myself, and to make me renounce my own wisdom, or rather folly. When I came home from Kennet, I little thought of paffing trials here, yet I beboved to do it. When I had done it, I had no will to stay; yet the Lord would. Afterwards, when I left the country, I had ill will to leave it, but God had said it. When I was in Stirling prefbytery, I would have gladly staid there, but the Lord would not. When I came home, I had no good will to this business; but God had faid it, and it beloved to be done. When my head was away, he put his bridle in my mouth, and turned me aa gain, « How unsearchable are his judgements, and his
ways past finding out !" And now I have undertaken this work, in confidence of fupport by the everlasting arms. My itching defires after a fettlement have been, and are grievous to me now : but the Lord is my God, who blotteth out mine iniquities as a thick cloud. To his nime be glory in the highest for ever. Amen, yea and Amen. N
And thus I have followed the course of this affair, in order narrating the several steps thereof, however minute some of them may appear ; and that because it issued in what was to me one of the weightiest matters of my life; pamely, my ordination to the office of the ministry, and first fitting down in the world. And the reflecting on the clear divine conduct, in pointing out unto me, and carrying me to, these appointed bounds of my habitation, is like a rock of comfort to me unto this day; as it obliged me to look well about me for the like discovery of the Lord's mind, before I moved my foot again.
PER I O D VII.
From my ordination, to my marriage.
I Returned to Dunfe that night. In prayer I had much
confidence in God. I found my heart well content with my lot; and the sense of God's calling me to that work, with the promise of his presence : O it satisfies my foul, and my very heart blefseth him for it; for really it is the doing of the Lord, and wondrous in my eyes. I have a prospect of comfort and success in my labours a. mong that people, and my foul rejoiceth in the Lord. He hath enlarged my heart, I will run the way of his commandments. O! my heart is almost fond on God's good dealing with me. By the mercy of my God, I was not disappointed in my prospect. I closed that night with singing Pfal. xvi. 5. “God is of mine inheritance and cup " the portion," &c. to the end, and prayer.
From this time more than two months passed ere I took up my settled abode at Simprin: during which time, my ordinary residence being at Dunfe, as before, I applied myself to my work, as I had opportunity.
Sept. 22. It was long ese I got a text for the Sabbath. When I got it, my studies went flowly on. On the more row also my thoughts were very confused, and it went very ill away with me. I comforted myself with the example of Jacob's going at God's command, on his return to his own country, and yet the Lord met him as an enemy: so it went some better with me. Yet while I studied that sermon, my soul was folidly affected with the weight of the work of the ministry. I meditated on the forenpon-fermon with more fatisfaction than I studied it. I had desired the people of Simprin to fend a horse for ņe; but it was so long acoming, that I despaired of its coming at all. This was a piece of exercise to me; for I thought it strange to be thus treated at the very first: so I began to lay my account withi trouble, and to be concerned for the salvation of the
people, though I should meet with discouragements from them. The horse came, and it was not their fault that it came not sooner. I was bettered by the dispensation. Afo ter studying of the preliminary fermons, as above; on Heb. xiii. 17. “ For they watch for your souls, as they “ that must give account," I went to God by prayer for his countenance, and for direction toward such things as might be most profitable for that people ; and found my foul much strengthened in confidence of the Lord's owning me, by means of that word, “Go - and lo I am with
you alway, even to the end of the world." And I was then determined to begin with the book of Psalms for lecture; and for the exercise on the Sabbath-evenings, to explain a question of the catechism.
Sept. 24. Having allotted the morning entirely for prayer and meditation, some worldly thoughts crept in ; yea on a fudden my heart made a contrivance for staying in Simprin, which perhaps it would not easily have fallen on, if I had thought on the business seafonably. But I thought I bought it at the rate of the loss of that liveliness I expected. In the afternoon I fomewhat recovered my forenoon's loss. At night, I had an exercise on the first question of the catechism, with some good frame of spirit : and on the morrow after I visited the people, exhorted to secret prayer, and family-worship; and found in all eighty-eight examinable persons. On the Tuesday, returning to Dunse, I received a letter from Mr Murray, inviting me to the west, and fhewing great encouragement : but God had now shewed me the appointed bounds of my habitation.
Sept. 28. I never found that word, “ Go- and lo I am * with you alway,” &c. fo ftrengthening to my foul, as fince I was a minister.
Having that week, upon weighing of my circumstances, laid down a resolution to delay my marriage till the spring 1701, I was brought into a grievous ftrait on the Friday's night: finding, that I behoved either to expede it sooner, or not at all. This sent me to God once and a