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small-pox. Whenever I went in to see them, and looked on the second son, I was impressed he would die; and this haunted me both in prayer for him, and whenever I looked on him; so firmly was I persuaded of it, that I told the lady and my wife that the child would die. The lady said, she could not observe the least symptom or evidence of it. I assured her she would find it so; and so it fell out, for that child died by the small-pox, and the other two recovered. A little before the Revolution, I had a great desire to be acquainted with one Nicholas Dalrymple, an experienced Christian, who lived about six miles from Craigdarroch, in the parish of Keir. I entreated my comrade, who was acquainted with her, to go along with me. When we came to her house, and had discoursed some time, I retired to the fields for secret prayer about midnight. When I went to pray, I was much straitened, and could not get one request, but Lord pity, Lord help; this I came over frequently; at length, the terror of Satan fell on me in a high degree, and all I could say even then was, Lord help. I continued in the duty for some time, notwithstanding of this terror. At length I got up to my feet, and the terror still increased; then the enemy took me by the arm-pits, and seemed to lift me up by my arms. I saw a loch just before me, and I concluded he designed to drown me there by force; and had he got leave to do so, it might have brought a great reproach upon religion; but as I had frequently in my straitened case, and under this terror, cried to the Lord for help, so I may say my God helped me, and gave not the enemy power over me: however, I came in, and told the Christian woman and my comrade what the enemy had done; and my comrade asked if I would go out with him and pray before we went to bed? I agreed to it. He asked if we should go to the place where I had been before? I told him I knew no interest the devil had in that place more than another; on which we came to the place, but were no sooner at it than the terrors of Satan fell upon us both, and each of us strove to hide it from the other. At length I told my comrade that the enemy was nigh, or to this purpose. He answered, he found that, but had not a mind to mention it. The Lord, however, helped us to begin spiritual discourse, and to speak of the perfections of God and love in Christ, and the enemy troubled us no more. We went to prayer, and the Lord very much enlarged me, and was kind in spite of the enemy.
Some time after the Revolution, a boy about twelve years of age, in the neighbourhood, was frequently tempted by Satan to sell his interest in Christ. The boy abhorred the proposal, but was still haunted with it, and that for a considerable time: it troubled him so much that his relations feared he might lose the exercise of his reason. They sent one over with him to me. I was told his case before. When he came, he bursted out because of the enemy. I took him into the barn, and prayed that God would free him from the enemy, and made him pray likewise; and after some discourse I prayed again, and after me the boy, and the Lord rebuked Satan that he never troubled him more. I had occasion to see him after he had been some time abroad, and he told me that the enemy had never got leave to assault him as he had done, and never perplexed him since we had prayed together.
Some time after this, my son John was servant with Mr Adam in Kirkoswald, and took a great swelling in both his legs, which came to such a pitch that he was obliged to quit his work and come home to me for a time. When he came, I was filled with compassion towards him, to see him in such distress; on which, I went and prayed to God, the great Physician of soul and body, that he would condescend to direct to proper means for his recovery, and that he would bless the means, and heal my son. After prayer, it was suggested to me, and impressed on my spirit, to send for some sea-water and wash his legs with it. I did so immediately, and with once bathing of them, he was as well next morning as ever, and continues so till this day, for God sent his powerful word and healed him.
Much about that time I had a horse which was seized with an extraordinary distemper, frightful to look on; all that could be applied for the removing of it was to no purpose, but still increased the more; whereupon I humbly begged of God, that he who was the preserver both of man and beast, would direct me to some proper mean for his preservation, that I might not lose him, and that he would make it useful. Immediately after, I was standing without with the horse: a stranger came past, who asked me what ailed him? I told him. He directed me, by the good providence of God, to what would cure him. I immediately made the application, for the mean prescribed was easily obtained, and no sooner did but he was recovered from his trouble. This, dear children, I record that you may make errands to the throne of grace, even on the account of your beasts, and acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will direct your steps.
Much about the same time, a woman of my acquaintance being under the power of a spirit of discontent to that degree that she ran from her family, with a firm resolution never to return, her husband and daughters pursued after her, not knowing to what desperate courses Satan might drive her. When they got her back, she would not enter the dwelling-house, but staid in an outchamber in great discontent. As I came from the church on Sabbath, I happened, by the good hand of God upon me, by the way to meditate on a subject that suited her case. As I was passing the house, it was borne in upon me to go and visit her, and drop something suitable to her tentation, because a candle was not lighted to put under a bushel; and seeing the Lord had shown me the evil and danger of a discontented spirit, it was represented to me as my unquestionable duty, to help, if I could, the poor woman under her trouble: on this I went in, and finding her husband and daughters about her in the chamber, I discoursed for some time as the Lord enabled me, in order to rescue her from her bad frame, and afterwards prayed with them, and for them, and was much enlarged in the duty, helped to beg God would break the power of the tentation; and accordingly I was made to remark, that I never after could see with her the least discontent with her lot, or ever hear of her falling again under the power of the tentation.
I forgot to tell you, that in the time of the Highland host before Bothwell, when we had no open vision, honest ministers being in danger of their lives, and many of them banished the country, I had occasion to hear Mr William Lamb preaching on the hill of Drumnilly, about two miles from the Bar, and sitting with my face to the south, I thought I saw, as it were, the heavens opened, and beheld the glory of God shining bright in the face of Jesus Christ; I saw such a wonderful display of all the divine perfections in their dazzling splendour, that I not only was made in a ravishing way to adore him for redeeming love, but for all that undeserved goodness which he bestows on the very wicked. I was made to see somewhat of the excellent glory in every creature I set my eyes upon. Such a manifestation, or rather vision, of God, did I never meet with in the dispensation of the word, save one very like it on the Monday of a communion at Straiton, and it may be, must not expect till I be allowed to see him face to face, and know, even as I am known; though I must own he has frequently satisfied me with the fatness of his house, and let me feel his power, and see his glory in all his ordinances, yet I never met with anything that came up to the foresaid manifestations, where I might truly say, " I was sick of love," and got as much of the new wine which goes down sweetly, as I was well able to bear; and I must own, that what I met with on Drumnilly hill, before Bothwell engagement, did wonderfully confirm me in the faith, and remarkably prepare me for continuing with Christ in his tentations, and kept me from thirsting after time's things, when he led me through the desert.
I shall only add one thing more, which is this, that havinw come to Kirkoswald on a certain time, as frequently I did, to spend a day in the church in prayer and meditation; when I was at prayer in the session-house early in the morning, I heard a mighty noise at the church door, as of one knocking in great haste, I fancying that some sad thing had fallen out in the minister's family, because they knew what I was about, and never used to call for me till I came in at night. This made me rise from prayer, and go to the door with speed, but found no person there; lest it might have been a dog, I searched every seat in the church, both below and in the common loft, and found nothing; wherefore, I returned to prayer again, and in the time of it, there was a great noise in the dead-chest or coffin which was hard by. I then understood it was Satan, but was not at all suffered to fall under his terror. I continued in the duty for a considerable time. My face was towards the coffin in which the noise was. When I rose up from prayer, I went and looked into the coffin, and saw nothing there; and knowing that the enemy wanted to fright me from my duty, I sat down to read and meditate. No sooner was I begun than the enemy made a noise on the loft just above, and knocked as if one were calling another up; on which, I looked up to him, or towards the place where he seemed to be, and assured the enemy, he should not make me search after him any more. The Lord whom I served did rebuke him, that he troubled me no more, and I left not the place or my duty till my ordinary time. That which the tempter seemed to have in view was to discourage me from coming to that place for prayer and meditation, for my conveniency was not great at home, and to be at some distance from the hurry and noise of the world, I chose to come to Kirkoswald, being acquainted with Mr Adam, the minister, that so I might serve the Lord without distraction. It was my ordinary to set apart one day in the month for fasting and humiliation, prayer and meditation, and I found great quiet for it in the church of Kirkoswald. I stayed in the minister's when I was at that place, and went into the church in the morning about sunrising, and came not out till sunsetting, in the longest summer-day; and in case matters went not well with me the first day, I usually spent the second, and sometimes the third day in the foresaid duties, and found this a great mean of holding my soul in life; then I could say, "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day;" and it was ever with me, and I rejoiced when I found his word, u as one that findeth great spoil," and could say, "that I esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." Now Satan knowing all this, thought to banish me from the place where I had best retirement, "but my God helped me."