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beautiful; and therefore how frequent such precepts and examples, to "glory, rejoice in tribulation?" for this gives a good report of Christ, his cause and cross to others. (19.) Sufferings on public accounts are not only our duty, but our great privilege; to suffer for Christ is one of Christ's love-gifts, Phil. i. ult., "It is given you to suffer for the name of Christ." To give testimony for Christ and his truth is our greatest honour. A sufferer and witness for Christ is the most honourable person and officer in the kingdom of Christ; it is Christ's highest and honourablest employment, Acts v., " They rejoiced they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Christ." (20.) Reproach and shame, and ill-will of men, is the heaviest of Christ's crosses to bear: "Reproach hath broken my heart," saith David. (21.) It is the great guilt of professors this day, that they not only shun the ways of God, but are ashamed of them, and of the cross of Christ, yea, and of the truths of Christ; of such will Christ be ashamed. (22.) It is a very hard matter to get our sufferings stated upon Christ's account, but yet it is very necessary we get it done; for many objections doth a poor suffering soul meet with in this case, as possibly not so clear to many as the matter of the sufferings of Christians under heathens, and of Protestants under Papists. Nor is the call to such a thing clear at such a time; some sinful accession of our own (through want of consideration or mistake) to our trouble, sense of guilt and unworthiness, doth render our cause dark to us many times. That as it was said of these, "Ye did not fast to me," so may it be said of us, Ye suffer not to me, nor for me, but for your sins and yourselves. (23.) Outward trouble from the hands of persecutors may be both a rod and correction for sin, and a testimony for Christ and his truth. The Lord Jesus may by one rod design both the correction and chastisement of his Church and people, and likewise design a confirmation and witness to his truth, cause, and work. Heb. xii. 12, the public sufferings of the believing Hebrews were "chastisements for our profit." (24.) We by our sins therefore may provoke the Lord to deliver us into the hands of men, and by our weakness we may have some sinful hand and occasion thereto, and great failings attending our sufferings; and yet Christ accept of our sufferings, so maimed, as a testimony for him. (25.) Whatever pretext wicked persecutors make of afflicting God's people, and that they be schismatic, scandalous, seditious, that they walk disorderly; yet the true ground of their quarrel is because of their enmity to God and godliness; and therefore we may be assured we suffer for Christ and for his cause: "All these things will they do unto you, because the love of the Father is not in them." And David saith, that all his enemies' quarrel with him was, "because he followed after that which was good." It is the enmity that is between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, Gen. iii. 15; Matth. xxiii. 33; John xv. 19, 21. (26.) I observe, that the Lord doth accept of the faithful ends and endeavours, and honest intention and zeal of his people, when the methods and particular means and courses they take for witnessing for Christ are sometimes not altogether justifiable; as he who scruples through want of light an oath in itself lawful, out of zeal for the glory of God which he fears by taking this oath he wrongs, and thereupon suffers, this man's sufferings are accepted of Christ as a testimony for him. (27.) The controversy this day is as manifestly stated betwixt Christ and the devil, sin and godliness, whether the world should be Christ's subjects, or the devil's and sin's subjects, as ever it was. The smaller differences, though in themselves of no great consequence, yet centre in this great gulf of rebellion against God. To touch any thing belonging to this wicked generation, Christ's stated enemies, or to have ought ado with them, is dangerous, Numb. xvi. 26; and they are the emissaries of Satan, and doing his work, who plead for union and compliance with them. (28.) Yet ought not the miscarriages of superiors dissolve the civil or natural bonds of relation to them, Matth. xxiii. 1, 2. We are to do, and be submissive to, the commands of superiors, though we be not to imitate their practice. (29.) Man's wrath, and all persecution, shall tend and work to the praise of God and the good of saints, Psal. lxxvi. 10; Isa. xxxi. 9, and this is a marvellous consolation. (30.) Many a time may we, in a public stroke of persecution, see our sin and guilt clearly and legibly written, as in Adonibezek, Judges i.; Gen. xix. Such as burned with unnatural lust to one another are justly consumed with fire from heaven: and it is just that lovers, whom we preferred to Christ, be the instruments of our greatest trouble. (31.) Many times do the people of God find great favour and kindness at the hands of natural men, yea, and more sometimes than from the truly godly: the earth helped the woman many times. I found some professors of religion stood at greater distance with me, than did mere natural and graceless persons. (32.) The preservation of some, of a remnant in a day of straits, is exceeding wonderful and marvellous sometimes. (33.) "The wicked are snared in the work of their own hands," Psal. ix., and Ilamans hanged on their own gallows. The Lord makes the weapons of the wicked recoil on themselves; every mean for a good while they take in hand doth but weaken them, and increase the other party. (34.) It is the people of God that only can undo and harm themselves; and it is by division that it is done: while we stood in one spirit, we could not be overcome or prevailed against; but false brethren crept in amongst us, divided and broke us through the subtilty of adversaries, and did draw us to rash enterprises. (35.) The greatest consolations do attend the greatest tribulations, 2 Cor. i. 5, 6. (36.) The first brunt of the cross is saddest and sharpest: "No affliction for the present seemeth joyous, but grievous." (37.) Great outward troubles, whether personal or on public accounts, quicken and revive our apprehensions of eternity. (38.) And always do us good; though not alike good to all, nor so sensibly, yet no cross but we get some good of it. (39.) I found it very hard to appear before councils, and carry rightly. We seek rather to save ourselves in any lawful way, than to honour and give testimony for Christ; and there is not boldness and dependence on Christ for assistance. (40.) There is not so much of the "Spirit of glory resting upon" sufferers as hath been formerly: which I think flows from these three; 1. That our testimony for Christ is not so glorious; 2. That a sadder shock is coming; and, lastly, That Vol. ir. 2 A

370 MEMOIRS OP THE REV. JAMES FRASER.

our sufferings are so moderate. (41.) Yet, blessed be the Lord, for my part I have found the Lord in a special way with me in all my sufferings, and I never repent of any thing I have suffered for Christ. (42.) Though the Lord can sanctify and bless any lot to his people, yet, to speak absolutely, an afflicted condition in the world is best for God's people. (43.) The infinite condescendence of God, and his gracious and tender nature, is that only which can be a bottom to our faith; to believe we suffer for Christ, and as such to be accepted and looked upon by him. (44.) There is a large allowance for sufferers for righteousness; but many live not upon their allowance, and therefore look so ill upon it.1

'It is believed that Fraser continued to record the incidents of his life subsequent to the period here referred to; but though frequent search has been made, no Diaries or Journals have been discovered. It is known that he eventually returned to his native country, and was settled as minister at Culross.

A

TRUE RELATION

OF THE

LIFE AND SUFFERINGS

OF

JOHN NISBET IN HARDHILL,

HIS LAST TESTIMONY TO THE TRUTH;

WITH

A SHORT ACCOUNT OF HIS LAST WORDS ON THE SCAFFOLD, DECEMBER 4, M.DC.LXXXV.

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