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The Life of FRASER of Brea, or Brae, has been several times printed. The present edition has been compared with a MS. copy, the property of David LAING, Esq. ; while the edition from which it is printed is attested as correct by William Stuart, for some time minister at Inverness, and thereafter at Kiltearn, in Ross-shire. Fraser, it is said, had bestowed more particular pains on the MS. from which that edition was taken than on other copies, “because of the probability that it would sometime or other be published ;” and this, together with some authentic matter appended to it which does not appear in other edi. tions, seemed to point out the copy now used as the proper basis for the present reprint. The various readings in Mr Laing's MS. are not such as to require any special notice.
The following Preface to the first edition will best explain the nature of this work :-" The design of publishing this part of the works of the worthy Author is to do honour to his memory, and to gratify severals, whose savour of piety hath endeared it to them, of whom we might men. tion some of high distinction. If it be asked why it was not published sooner, there is no other reason to be given than that it was a loss, and that better now than not at all. By the dedication to Mr Thomas Ross, (a singularly pious minister in the North,) the Author seems to give permission to publish it, so that the world may be fully satisfied that the work is genuine, being copied from that written by his own hand, of the truth of which they may rest assured, as can be attested by several ministers still living. The reason why Mr Thomas Ross did not cause publish it probably was, that he was at the time he received it in prison at Tain, and died there in prison, or soon thereafter. Such as had a ten
i It appeared in 1738.
der regard for the Author, wished that this had been published at the same time with the first part of his Treatise on Faith ; particularly this would help to clear up that, as to some things dark, and not so very obvious, at least till it was thought proper to publish the second part of that Treatise. It was, and is the wish of many, that the rest of his Life, particularly after his settlement at Culross, had been got: for surely he wrote diaries during life. But after all the search possible, this could not be found. This now published is, however, very valuable, and will be so esteemed by the truly serious and judicious, being a very rational account of conversion, as to beginning, progress, and issue, and of the operation of the Spirit of God on the heart ; and such an account of faith as cannot but please those who love it, and may, by the blessing of God, help to engage to it such as hitherto had it not in reality. There is, perhaps, no other performance gives a more distinct account of a supernatural work of grace ; and it is thought not to be unseasonable, at this juncture, for reviving piety and the exercise of grace, and convicting those who make a jest of these serious matters, The first eight chapters, dedicated to Mr Thomas Ross, were allowed by himself to be published. What follows is judged to be of good use, and therefore now published with the rest.”
Besides this autobiography, Fraser, as the Preface now quoted indi. cates, was the author of a Treatise “Concerning Justifying or Saving Faith,” of which several editions were printed. There is also a small posthumous volume published from his MSS. under the Title, “The Lawfulness and Duty of Separation from corrupt Ministers and Churches." (1744.) His own more explicit title for it was, “ An Inquiry into that so much debated case, whether it be the duty of the Lord's people in Britain and Ireland to hear such as have submitted to the prelatie government, or to join with them in such acts as do belong to their pastoral office.' But the narrative which follows will best exhibit the at. tainments and sufferings, the faith, and patience of Fraser.
HAVE thought the disregarding of the Lord's Provi
dences to be one common great sin, not only among SI
open enemies, but among professed friends of Christ,
Isa. v. 12; Psal. xxviii. 5. All God's ways being wisdom and goodness, are worthy of observation; but especially those wherewith ourselves are exercised (as having most certainty and fuller information of them, and concerning ourselves most) are much to be observed, Prov. xxi. 26, and those Providences that concern our spiritual estate most of any, wherein the Lord hath appeared more eminently, Exod. xii. 42. “A night much to be observed unto the Lord.” I have in nothing been more refreshed, quickened, and edified, than by hearing and reading of the spiritual experiences of others of the Lord's people, Heb. xü. 1, and in nothing more comforted and sanctified than by a serious recalling to mind of the Lord's dealings with me. Three ways doth the Lord reveal himself; by his word, by his works of creation, and by his works of providence. And it is man's happiness to know him thus revealed, John xvii. 3. And these are the several glasses through which the invisible God is seen, 1 John iv. 16. God doth not reveal himself to any, that this might be kept under a bushel ; for “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to profit withal.” And we find the Lord's people in Scripture to be much in recounting to others their own experiences, and God's dealing with them; “Come, and I will tell you what the Lord hath done for my soul,” Psal. Ixvi. 16. As also, the blessed effect this has had on others ; “ For this shall every one that is godly pray unto the Lord, in a time when he may be found,” Psal. xxxii. 6. The consideration of this, with the desires of others, and my willingness to show my thankfulness unto the Lord, by an acknowledgment of these his favours at least, and being some way hopeful that it might profit others, and to provoke those exercised more nobly to manifest the Lord's goodness unto them; I say, these things have put me out to this work at this time, (O that the Lord would accept it off my hand!) even to record some passages of Divine Providence manifested towards me while here in my pilgrimage.
I have dedicated them to you, Sir, because I hold myself much bound unto you; and some little thing of this nature, whereby I might kyth my gratitude, I thought incumbent on me to do. I looked on you likewise as one who would with more moderation and discretion pass over the faults and weaknesses therein than others, to whom notwithstanding I owe much love. As likewise, you was the occasion of my undertaking this work at this time in a more especial way; and therefore I looked for a more kindly entertainment to this child from you, who had such influence in bringing it to the world, than from others. I believe you will not fail my expectation; make what use you please of it, and either censure, correct or approve, divulge or hide it, as you shall think fit. I wish you profit hereby; and am in Christ,