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degree, that her reluctant affection struggled with her duty; but the voice of Providence soon gave the last principle the superiority. When he was preparing for his departure, a violent fit of the gravel reduced him to the greatest extremity of pain and danger. His religious spouse understood and improved the divine chastisement. She saw how easily God could put an end to a life she was too apprehensive about; and this wrought her up to a fixed resolution never to oppose her inclinations to his entering upon any employment whereby he might honour his Master, how formidable soever were the hazards which attended it. While he was with the army, he was in a remarkable manner preserved when in very dangerous circumstances, upon a defeat of a party which he was then with. He ever after retained a grateful sense of the divine goodness, and, after his return to the parish, was animated thereby to a more vigorous diligence in the work of the ministry, and propagating the kingdom of the Son of God, both among his own people, and all who were round about him, his public preaching, especially at the administration of the Lord's Supper, and his private conversation, conspiring for those noble purposes.
And, indeed, in other respects also, his shining piety, wisdom, and good breeding, made him universally useful in the country where he lived. The just value which the nobility and gentry in the neighbourhood had for him, and the interest which this gave him with them, enabled him to improve successfully frequent opportunities he had to do good offices to particular persons, to compose differences, and remove feuds which were ready enough to prevail in the country; and to assist the judicatures of the Church by procuring the consent and support concerned, in planting vacant congregations with men worthy of the sacred character.
The prevailing of the English sectarians under Oliver Cromwell, and the variety of attempts which they made, while in Scotland, upon the constitution and discipline of the Church, was one of the difficulties which the ministry had then to struggle with ; and it, among others, gave a discovery of the excellent qualities of Mr Guthrie. His pleasant facetious conversation, and masterly rea
soning, procured him an universal respect from the company. While, at the same time, his courage and constancy did not fail him in the cause of his great Master, and were often useful to curb the extravagancies of the sectarians, and maintain order and regularity. One instance hereof happened at the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, celebrated at Glasgow by Mr Andrew Gray. Several of the English officers had formed a design to put in execution the disorderly principle of a promiscuous admission to the Lord's Table, by coming to it themselves without acquainting the minister, or being in a due manner found worthy of that privilege. Mr Guthrie, to whose share it fell to dispense the sacrament at that table, spoke to them, when they were leaving their pews in order to make their attempt, with such gravity, resolution, and zeal, that they were quite confounded, and sat down again without occasioning any further disturbance.
The Quakers also endeavoured, about this time, to sow tares in Mr Guthrie's parish, improving for this end his absence for some weeks, during which he was detained in Angus about his private affairs. But he returned before the poison had sunk deep, recovered some that were in hazard of being tainted by its fatal influences; and in conference so confounded those heretics, that they despaired of ever attacking with success a flock guarded by so watchful and skilful a shepherd, whereas they had made too many proselytes to their wild delusions in Kilbride, and some other neighbouring parishes.
It may be easily imagined that the eminent gifts and graces of this excellent person would engage parishes of greater character and importance than Fenwick to desire his ministry, and earnestly labour for success in their attempts to obtain it; and, indeed, his people and himself were frequently exposed to the troubles of processes of transportation, and vexed with fears as to the issue of them, Renfrew, Linlithgow, Stirling, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, having all of them called him. But beside the indifferent opinion he entertained of the method of supplying vacancies by transportations in general, and that the air and diversions of a country life
were of use to him in maintaining a healthy constitution, his love to his flock was so warm and constant, that he put an invincible obstinacy against all designs of separating him from them. A relation is indeed founded on the noblest bottom, and sinks deepest into the soul, when it is animated by the principle of the spiritual life; and therefore it must, in the highest degree, endear a minister to his people, and engage their affection and esteem by the most powerful tie, when his labours have been successful in reclaiming them from sin, their ruin, and persuading them to enter upon a religious life; and so they owe to him, as far as they can do to an instrument in the hand of God, the salvation of their immortal souls, which is the incomparably strongest obligation that one man can have to another, and the most flowing source of gratitude. And, on the other hand, a minister can scarce miss to have a peculiar tenderness and warmth of divine affection for those whose father he is after the Spirit, and hath been honoured by God in bringing them to the kingdom of his Son, and begetting them through the gospel, whose heavenly birth is now the highest pleasure, and brightest triumph of his life, and will be one day his crown of glory and rejoicing. A friendship that had such a life, and was invigorated by a spirit so pure and active, made Mr Guthrie prefer Fenwick, a poor obscure parish, to the most considerable charges in the nation; which was a proof of his mortification to the world, and that he was moved by views superior to temporal interests.
Thus Mr Guthrie continued with his old parish till the great alteration which the restoration of King Charles II. made in public affairs. The first discovery that the measures of the Court gave of a design to overturn the government of the Church, affected the worthy Mr Guthrie in the most sensible part; nor could anything afford him satisfaction while she was in trouble, and about to be laid desolate. Nor did he let any occasion slip of showing his concern for that which was dearer to him than his other interests. At the Synod of Glasgow, held April 1661, after long reasoning about proper measures for the security of religion, the matter was referred to a committee. Mr Guthrie presented the draught of an address to the Parliament, wherein a faithful testimony was given to the purity of our reformation in worship, doctrine, discipline, and government, in terms equally remarkable for their prudence and their courage. Every body approved of it, and it was transmitted to the synod. But some worthy ministers, of the side of the public Resolutioners, being doubtful of the seasonableness of such a representation, considering the difficulties of the times, gave an opportunity to those who designed to comply with Prelacy to procure a delay, and so to crush it; which did not prevent its being serviceable to the end of our now mentioning it, namely, affording a proof of the zealous honesty and firmness of Mr Guthrie.
Another instance whereof was, the resolution he took to wait upon his worthy friend, Mr James Guthrie, at his execution, notwithstanding the apparent hazards he must thereby have exposed himself to. But his session prevailed upon him, though not without difficulty, by their earnest entreaties, to lay aside a design that could not miss to deprive them immediately of his ministry, which, by the goodness of God, they enjoyed some years after his brethren were ejected.
Next to the protection of a kind Providence, and the fervent prayers of his own people, and of many others, unto which he always attributed this distinguished favour in the first place, Mr Guthrie's being connived at for some time was principally owing to the favour of some great men in the government, particularly the Earls of Eglinton and Glencairn, the last of whom had a regard for him, which was heightened by a conjunction of esteem and gratitude, Mr Guthrie having had occasion to oblige him when imprisoned for his loyalty before the Restoration, which that noble lord never forgot; and, when he was Chancellor, contributed what he could to his preservation, by which means he enjoyed the peaceable possession of his church till the year 1664.
As God had designed and prepared him for eminent and extensive services, during this period his excellent accomplishments now exerted themselves with the greatest efficacy, and his usefulness was more universally diffused through the whole country, which was in a great measure deprived of their pastors. Many then hungered after the word of the Lord, and this made them with more eagerness embrace the advantage which a merciful Providence afforded them of Mr Guthrie's ministry. Great multitudes resorted to him from all the parts of the west country; his large church was crowded with hearers from Glasgow, Paisley, Lanark, Hamilton, and other distant places, and his strong and clear voice enabled him to extend the profit of his discourses to the many hundreds who were obliged to keep without doors.
An extraordinary zeal then enlivened the souls of sincere Christians; they were animated by a warm affection to the truth, and an uncommon delight in hearing the joyful sound; and this made them despise the difficulties that lay in their way, and bear cheerfully with many inconveniences, which attendance upon the sacred ordinances was then accompanied with ; so that we are assured by several worthy persons, who enjoyed Mr Guthrie's ministry at that time, that it was their usual practice to come to Fenwick upon Saturday, spend the greatest part of that night in prayer to God, and conversation about the great concerns of their souls, attend on the public worship on the Sabbath, dedicate the remainder of that holy day to religious exercise, and then, on the Monday, go home ten, twelve, or twenty miles, without grudging the fatigue of so long a way, and the want of sleep and other refreshments, or finding themselves less prepared for any business throughout the week, so much was their heart engaged in the attendance they gave to the sacred administrations. A remarkable blessing accompanied ordinances that were dispensed to people who came with such a disposition of soul : great numbers were converted unto the truth, and many were built up in their most holy faith; a divine power animated the gospel that was preached, and exerted itself in a holy warmth of sanctified affections, a ravishing pleasure in divine fellowship, and a noble joy and triumph in their King and Saviour, which were to be visibly discerned in the hearers ; many were confirmed in the good ways of the Lord, strengthened and comforted