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The Comforting Cordial of John Stevenson Las been printed in many forms; and was long very popular, especially in the West of Scotland. It will be seen that the Narrative is characterised by not a few of the peculiarities of Stevenson's age; but as some of the Lives already published exhibit the characteristics of those times as developed in the conduct of their most conspicuous men, this may show how others acted at a lower level, and thus farther illustrate those events which have so largely influenced the men of all succeeding ages. There are some of John Stevenson's experiences which few would regard in the same light as he did; but the whole seems worthy of preservation, as at once extending and varying the range of these Biographies.
LL you have by way of Preface in commendation of this Tract is a Letter from the Keverend Mr Cupples, which is now in the publisher's hand, which is as I follows:—
"What you have in the sheets I sent, I wrote from his papers and from his mouth. Many ministers in Carrick, and eminent Christians, have frequently heard him tell the matters of fact which you have before you.
"He was the most eminently pious man I ever knew, adorned with all the Christian graces and virtues. His life was a life of prayer, meditation, and holiness; he was a good husband, one of the best of parents, a kind neighbour, a choice Christian friend; he excelled in meekness, modesty, and sympathy, shined in every station and relation wherein God placed him; and, in a word, was one of the most knowing, judicious, solid, devout Christians I ever was acquainted with. I appeal to all the ministers and Christians in Carrick for the truth of the above character, and for the matters of fact contained in this tract.
"Yours to serve you,
"Kirkoswald, May 20, 1729."
1 Mr Cupples was minister of Kirkoswald, one of the nine parishes of Carrick, and much respected in his day. His name was, till a comparatively recent period, like a household word in some parts of the district.
OLD AND YOUNG CHRISTIANS:
BEING THE LAST ADVICE OF JOHN STEVENSON, IN THE SHIRE OF AYR, TO HIS CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.
Y dear children and grandchildren, knowing that I must shortly put off this tabernacle, and being fully persuaded of the reality that Is in religion, and that " godliness is great gain," I cannot but leave some testimony behind me of my real concern for your never-dying souls; which I choose to commit to writing, that, when I am gathered to my fathers, ye may at your leisure read what God has done for my soul, and may be thence encouraged to set your hope in God.
I. I shall, in the first place, give you an account of some exercises of soul I have met with in my pilgrimage.
II. Show what remarkable providences I have been trysted with, and many of them the return of prayer.
III. I shall mention some texts of Scripture which have been the subject-matter of sweet meditation to my soul.
IV. And, lastly, I shall give you my last and best advice.
AS TO MY SOUL'S EXERCISE.
The first time I found my heart sensibly engaged to the good word and way of the Lord was in the days of my youth, when there was little or no open vision; because faithful pastors were driven into corners. The Lord in his providence brought me to hear Mr Thomas Kennedy, once minister in Lasswade, but at this time thrown out of his charge by the rage of the prelates. The place where I heard him was in the Hall of Killochan, where he lectured on the 129th Psalm; then and there fell I in love with the word and ordinances of God, and through grace have through several tribulations adhered to the purity of doctrine, discipline, government, and worship, which is now established in the Church of Scotland. My sister, my wife, and wife's brother, were at the same time with me engaged to the good way of the Lord, and were all of us about the same age.
After my heart was thus disposed seriously to work out ray own salvation, I fell under great discouragement: First, Because of my ignorance. Secondly, Because of my want of Christian experience. As to the first, the Lord made me to hope it would be cured; and the word on which he caused me to hope was in Prov. u- 3, 4, 5 verses. He bore it in on my mind, and I took it as the ground of my sure hope, and I must own to his glory, he has sent his word and healed me of this plague in a competent measure.
As to the second, my discouragement for want of Christian experience: The Lord brought to my mind the 6th chapter of Hosea and 3d verse, " Then shall we know, if we follow on to