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a tolerable faculty at drawing of papers; yet no faculty at dictating, but behoved to have the pen in my own hand : and even in that case it would often have been a while ere I could enter on. Accordingly, as for my fermons, it was often hard for me to fix on a text; the which hath oft-times been more wasting and weakening to me, than the study of my fermon thereon. I studied my sermons with the pen in my hand, my matter coming to me as I wrote, and the bread increasing in the breaking of it : if at any time I walked, it was occasioned by my sticking. Mean while, it would frequently have been long ere I got the vein of my subject itruck: but then I could not be ealy, unless I thought I had hit it. Thence it was, I often tore out what I had written, and began anew again ; but ordinarily I found, this turned to my greatest comfort and satisfaction, in end falling upon the vein. Hence it was not my manner, to shift from text to text; but to ins fit long on an ordinary; the closing of which at length I readily found to relish as much, with myself, and the ferious godly, as the other parts preceding.
Thus also I was much addicted to peace, and averse to controversy; though, once engaged therein, I was fet to go through with it. I had no great difficulty to retain a due honour and charity for my brethren differing from me in opinion and practice : but then I was in no great hazard neither, of being fwayed by them, to depart from what I judged truth or duty. Withal it was easy to me, to yield to them in things wherein I found not myself in conscience bound up. Whatever precipitant steps I have made in the course of my life, which I desire to be humbled for, rashness in conduct was not my weak side. But since the Lord, by his grace, brought me to consider things, it was much my exercise to discern sin and duty in particular cases; being afraid to venture on things, until I should see myself called thereto : but when the matter was cleared to me, I generally stuck fait by it, being as much afraid to desert the way which I took to be pointed out to me. And this I sincerely judge to have been the spring of that course of conduct upon which Mr James Ramsay above mentioned did, before the commiffion anno 1717, in my hearing, give me the following character, viz. That if I thought myself right, there would be no diverting of me by any means.
the chu' dip in the at any
readily ind under any no efpecially in thed Provide
I never had the art of making rich; nor could I ever heartily apply myself to the managing of secular affairs. Even the fecular way of managing the discipline of the church, was so unacceptable to me, that I had no heart to dip in the public church-management. What appearances I made at any time in these matters, were not readily in that way. I had a certain averseness to the being laid under any notable obligation to others, and so was not fond of gifts, efpecially in the case of any whom I had to deal with as a minister. And Providence fo ordered, that I had little trial of that kind. I easily perceived, that in that cafe 'the borrower is servant to the < lender.
As to the parish, there are few now alive that subscribed my call: nor are there, that I know, above two of the congregation of my hearers, paying rent this day, that were so doing, when I came among them twenty-three years ago, (viz. from May 1. 1707, to Oct. 24. 1730]. They are by far more polished in their manners, than at that time ; and much more tractable, and easy to me : and fewer scandals fall out among them. The old dirfenters continue immoveable : but their increasing is ceased. There is still a handful of serious Chriftians among them, as there hath been all along: and I have often observed, that as some fuch, from time to time, have been one way or other carried away, there came others in their stead; and whatever the Lord laid to my hand to preach on unto them, I used not to be straitened on their account; judging I would be understoody, on any subject I was led to treat of. The late fickness is now, by the merey of God, abated.
And thus have I given some account of the days of my vanity, being this 24th of O&tober 1730, 54 years, 7 months, and I week old *. Upon the whole, I bless my God in Jesus Christ, that ever he made me a Christian, and took an early dealing with my foul; that ever he made me a minister of the gospel, and gave me fome infight into the doctrine of his grace; and that ever he gave me the blessed Bible, and brought me acquainted with the originals, and especially with the Hebrew text. The
and fewers and more polish
• The continuation of this account, before inferiori, beginning p. 470. and ending p. 508. was written after this time, as luas been already on. Surved, p. 479.
world hath all along been a stepdame to me, and wherefoever I would have attempted to neftle in it, there was a thorn of uneasiness laid for me. Man is born crying, lives complaining, and dies disappointed from that quar. ter. “ All is vanity and vexation of spirit.--I have waited “ for thy salvation, O Lord.”
Hus far did the author bring down the history and
account of his own life and times. His disorder (which was of the scorbutic kind) relifting the power of inedicine, increased in its violence until May 20, 1732, when he entered into the joy of his Lord His public Services in the church of Christ, were not much interrupted by his indisposition: and when he was so debilitated by it as to be unable to go out to the church, he preached from a window in the manse, the auditory standing without. His fortitude in the immediate prospect of diffolution never forsook him. His patience under the chastisement of a father's hand was uninterrupted. Inured to afflictions, as well personal as domestic, he bore them withi that quiet submiflion, and unreluctant resignation, which a filial spirit can only inspire. Viewing them as originating from his heavenly Father, the habitual language of his heart was, “Shall I receive all good at the hand of • God, and thall I not receive evil.'
It will be obvious to the intelligent reader, that the radical principle upon which the narrative in there Memoirs is founded, is, " That God hath foreordained whatsoever • comes to pass' This principle the author believed with his whole heart: it was often an anchor to his soul; and every minister of the church of Scotland is bound, by his subscription, and ordination-vows, to maintain it. This, kept in vicw, will account for the author's afcribing to an over ruling Providence many incidents, which some may think might be resolved into natural causes.
During his last illness, he received the following affectionate and confolatory letter from his endeared friend Mr Gabriel Wilson.
Rev. Dearest Brother, • It has been a most real pain to me, after I was fully • purposed to be with you sometime this day, to think of • sending any. But the ordering seems to be of the Lord. • I design to essay it again without delay, according as I hear from you.
"I hear the trial is become still inore fiery; but hope « you will be kept from thinking it strange, as though
some strange thing had happened you. O it is difficult; • but you are allowed, and even called to rejoice, in as
much as you are thus made a partaker of Christ's suffersings.
The Lord has in great favour led you forth into his truth, and is now in his fatherly wisdom giving you use $ for it all; calling you to thew forth the supporting and o comforting power of it. Our season (if need be) of be¢ ing in heaviness through manifold temptations, is made • up of hours and minutes, and will soon run out, 2 Cor. riv. 17. 18.
· The Son of God, your Lord and Master, is with you s in the furnace, though not always vilble, and will ne« ver leave you nor forsake you. May the God of hope, ? of patience, and confolation, the God and Father of our • LORD JESUS CHRIST, the Father of mercies, and the < God of all comfort, comfort you in all your tribulation « with comforts of his covenant, and with the same com« forts he has enabled you to comfort others in any trou*ble. You mind Pfal. xxxi. ult. that it is in the way of
our labouring to be of good courage, that he promises " to strengthen our hearts. I will yet still hope and seek, ' he may turn the shadow of death into morning, and « spare to recover itrength.
i Our session being met this day, in token of their love ! and sympathy, have fent the bearer, one of their number, to visit you, and bring them word. Dearest Brother, I desire to remember your bonds, 'as bound with you. Great grace be upon you. I am, with love to all yours, Dearest Sir, yours,
Maxton, April 8. 1732. GAB. Wilson.
A few weeks before his death, he likewise wrote the following letter to a correspondent in Edinburgh; which, as it terminated a correspondence of twelve years ftanding, and is perhaps the last letter the author ever wrote, we shall conclude this postscript with a copy of it.
"My very dear Sir, • I am obliged downright to acquaint you, that I have
been of a considerable time, and am still, in an apparrently dying condition. All business is quite given over; " and I can no more, as matters ftand, correspond with
any about the MSS, or any thing else, but must leave them to the Lord, and the management of my friends,
as he shall direct them. I do not doubt but your God, • who has seen meet to row you into deep waters, will in due time bring you out; but there is need of patience. « I cannot infift. The eternal God be your refuge,
and underneath the everlasting arms, and plentifully re: sward your twelve years most substantial friendship. -1 I am, my very dear Sir, Yours most affectionately, &c.'