Brief historical relation of the life of Mr. John Livingston Minister of the Gospel
Mr. JOHN LIVINGSTON
MINISTER of the GOSPEL:
Imitanda illorum vita, qui Chriſti vitam imitaii ſunt.
Life of Mr. John Livingston.
MY Father was Mr. William Livingſton, firſt: miniſter at Monybroch, where he entred in the Year 1600, and thereafter was tranſported about the Year 1614, to be miniſter at Lanerk, where he died in the Year 1641, being 65 Years old. His Father was Mr. Alexander Livingſton, alſo at Monybroch, who was a near relation to the Houſe of Calender. His Father was killed at Pinkiefield, Anno 1547, being a ſoldier of my Lord Livingſton's Regiment, who thereafter was dignified to be Earl of Linlithgow. My Father was ſtraight and zealous in the work of Reformation, and for his non-ſubmiſſion to the Canons and Ceremonies, was depoſed and deprived of his miniſtry both at Monybroch, and alſo at Lanerk.
My mother was Agnes Livingſton, daughter of Alexander Livingſton Portioner of C—— of the houſe of Dunipace, ſhe was a rare Pattern of Godlineſs and virtue. She died in the year 1617, being about 32 years of age. She left 3 ſons and 4 daughters. I was born in Monybroch, in Stirling-ſhire the 21 of June 1603.
The firſt period of my life, I reckon from my birth to the day I firſt preached in publick, which was in January 2d 1625. Having at home learned to read and write; I was ſent in the year 1613 to Stirling to a Latin ſchool, with Mr. William Wallace a good man and a learned humanity-ſchoolmaſter; where I ſtaid till ſummer 1617, at which time I was ſent for, to be preſent with my mother dying. October 1617. I was ſent to the College of Glasgow where I ſtayed four years; I paſſed Mr. of Arts July 1621. After that I ſtayed in my father’s in Lanerk till I began to preach. During this time I obſerved the Lord's great goodneſs, that I was born of ſuch parents, who taught me ſomewhat of God ſo ſoon as I was capable to underſtand any thing; I had great fears about my ſalvation when I was but very young; I had the advantage of the acquaintance and example of many gracious Chriſtians. who uſed to reſort to my father's houſe, eſpecially at communion-occaſions: ſuch as Mr. Robert Bruce, and ſeveral other godly miniſters, the rare Counteſs of Wigown, lady Lillias Graham, who alſo at my baptiſm deſired my name, becauſe her father, her husband and eldeſt ſon were all of that name; the lady Culroſs, the lady Barnton, and ſundry others. It is remarkable, that Mr. William Wallace came but a ſhort while to Stirling before I was ſent thither to ſchool, and the year after I left the ſchool, he alſo left that charge: Like wife worthy Mr. Robert Boyd of Threebridge, was but lately come front Somer in France, to be Principal in the College of Glasgow when I went thither, and went from the College the year after I left it. The while I was in Stirling, Mr. Patrick Simpſon was miniſter there, a man learned, godly and very faithful in the cauſe of God; and in Glaſgow, I heard Mr. John Bell a grave ſerious man, and Mr. Robert Scot, who alſo was once depoſed for oppoſing the corruptions of the time. The firſt year I went to Stirling ſchool I profited not much, and was often beaten by the Schoolmaſter, and it happened that one day, when he had beaten me on the check with a ſtick, ſo that, it ſwelled, that ſame day my Father came occaſionally to town, and ſeeing my face ſwoln chode with the maſter that he had a chief hand to bring him to that place, and ſhould he uſe me ſo? the maſter promiſed to forbear beating of me, and I profited a great deal more in my learning after that; and when about September 1616. I with the reſt of my equals, had gone through all the Latin and Greek that was taught in the ſchool, and ſo were ready to go to the college, and my father came to bring me home for that ⟨⟩; the ſchoolmaſter prevailed with my father, I being ⟨⟩ young, and the maſte having hopes of my proficiency, ⟨⟩ I ſhould ſtay yet one other year, and thus another boy ⟨⟩ I atayed another year. We, for the moſt part read by ⟨⟩ in a little chamber above the ſchool, the maſter ⟨⟩ us books, where we went through moſt part of ⟨⟩ choice Latin Writers, both Poets and others, and that ⟨⟩ was to me the large mod profitable year I had at the ⟨⟩, only in my third year at the college of Glaſgow, ⟨⟩ read more than I think I did any year ſince: I waſ then ⟨⟩ the oversight of precious Mr. Robert Blair who for ⟨⟩ years was my Regent: and having gotten ſome ⟨⟩ in the logicks and metaphyſicks, and the ſubtilties of ⟨⟩ ſchool-men, a vain desire to be above my equals, ⟨⟩ me to more diligence. In many things whereunto ⟨⟩ mind was very bent, the Lord often diſappointed me, ⟨⟩ always to my greater advantage. After I had paſſed ⟨⟩ degrees in the college, I had a great mind to the study of ⟨⟩ claſſicks, and therefore was delirous to ſpend ſome time ⟨⟩ a Regent in the college, and for that end, a place being ⟨⟩ in the college of Glaſgow, I studied hard and ⟨⟩ to diſpute for the place, but when the time came I ⟨⟩ that one without any diſpute was placed. Becauſe in ⟨⟩ winter of my laſt year at the college, I had been long ⟨⟩ under phyficians or chirurgeons with a ſiſtula in my ⟨⟩, in which time Mr. Robert Boyd had taught the reſt in ⟨⟩ claſs fome Hebrew; being grieved at that loſs, I began ⟨⟩ my father’s houſe by my private ſtudy to attain to ſome ⟨⟩ of the Hebrew, which thereafter by time I ⟨⟩ encreaſed.
I do not remember the time or means particularly, ⟨⟩ the Lord at first wrought upon my heart; when I ⟨⟩ but very young I would sometimes pray with ſome ⟨⟩, and read the word with delight; but thereafter ⟨⟩ often intermit any ſuch exerciſe; I would have ſome ⟨⟩ and begin, and again intermit. I remember the ⟨⟩ time that ever I communicated at the Lord’s table ⟨⟩ in Stirling, when I was at ſchool, where ſitting at the ⟨⟩, and Mr. Patrick Simpſon exhorting before the diſtribution, there came ſuch a trembling upon me that all my body ſhook, yet thereafter the fear and trembling departed, and I got ſome comfort and aſſurance. I had no inclination to the miniſtry, till a year or more after I had paſſed my degrees in the college, and that upon this occaſion; I had a bent deſire to give myſelf to the knowledge and practice of medicine, I was very earneſt to go to France for that purpoſe, and propounded it to my father, that I might obtain his conſent, but he refuſed the ſame.
Alſo about the ſame time, my father having before purchaſed ſome land in the pariſh of Monybroch, the rights whereof were taken in my name, and that land by ill neighbours being in a manner laid waste, and Sir William Livingſton of Kilfyth one of the lords of ſeſſion, being very deſirous to buy that land, that he might build a burgh of barony upon it at Burnſide, my father propounded that I ſhould go and dwell on that land and many; but finding that that courſe would divert me from all ſtudy of learning, I refuſed that offer, and rather agreed to the ſelling of it, altho' I was not yet major to ratify the ſale. Now being in thefe ſtraits I reſolved, that I would ſpend a day my alone before God, and knowing of a ſecret cave on the fouth-ſide of Mouſe-water, a little above the honſe of Jerviſwood, over againſt Clegorn-wood, I went thither, and after many to’s and fro’s, and much confusion, and fear about the ſtate of my ſoul, I thought it was made out to me, that I behoved to preach Chriſt Jeſus, which if I did not, I ſhould have no aſſurance of ſalvation. Upon this I laid aſide all thoughts of France, and medicine, and land, and betook me to the ſtudy of divinity.
I was from my infancy bred with an averſion to epiſcopacy and ceremonies. While I was in the college of Glaſgow in the year 1619, being as I think, the firſt year that kneeling at the communion was brought in there, I being with two or three more of the young men at the college ſet down among the people at the table, and Mr. James Law the pretended biſhop of Glaſgow coming to celebrate the communion, he urged all the people to fall down and kneel; ſome did ſo, we ſat ſtill; he came to us commanding ⟨⟩ to kneel or to depart: ſomewhat I ſpoke to him, but to not remember perfectly what I ſaid, it was to this ⟨⟩; That there was no warrant for kneeling, and for ⟨⟩ of it, we ought not to be excommunicated from the ⟨⟩ of the Lord. He cauſed ſome of the people about ⟨⟩ to riſe that we might have place to remove, which we ⟨⟩; The next day the Principal Mr, Robert Boyd called ⟨⟩ to him, and ſaid, within two or three weeks, he would ⟨⟩ the communion at Govan, for he was miniſter at Govan, and deſired me that whom I knew to be well ⟨⟩ of the young men of the college, I would bring with ⟨⟩ to him; altho’ he was a man of a sour-like diſpoſition ⟨⟩ carriage, I always found him so kind and ſamiliar as ⟨⟩ me wonder: ſometimes he would call me with other ⟨⟩ or four, and lay down books before us, and have us ⟨⟩ tunes of muſick, wherein he took great delight. The ⟨⟩ Chriſtian acquaintance and ſociety whereby I got any ⟨⟩, was with a religious gentleman William Cunningham ⟨⟩ of Bonytown, who uſed to be oft at my father’s houſe; ⟨⟩ times he and John Wier of Stockbridges, Alexander Tenant, James Wier , George Matthew, and David Matthew, who were Packmen, would meet in my chamber ⟨⟩ Lanerk, where we uſed to ſpend ſome time in conference ⟨⟩ prayer.
The ſecond period of my life, I reckon from the time I reached in publick, till the time I was settled in the ministry ⟨⟩ Killinchie in Ireland, for having begun to preach in ⟨⟩ 1625, I continued in my father’s houſe in Lanerk, ⟨⟩ for the ſpace of an year and an half or ſome more, I ⟨⟩ there, and preached ſometimes there, and ſometimes ⟨⟩ neighbouring kirks, during which time I wrote all my ⟨⟩ before I preached them word by word, till one day ⟨⟩ to preach after the communion of Quodquan, and ⟨⟩ in readineſs only a ſermon which I had preached ⟨⟩ before in another kirk, and perceiving ſeverals to be (illegible text) Quodquan, who had been at the other kirk, I reſolved ⟨⟩ chuſe a new text, and having but little time, wrote only ⟨⟩ notes of the heads I was to deliver, yet I found at that time, more affiftance in the enlarging of theſe points and more motion in my own heart, than ever I had found before, and after that I never, wrote all at length, but only notes.
About April 1626 I was ſent for by my lord Kenmure to come to Galloway, in reference to a call, to the pariſh of Anwoth, which at that time was not a pariſh by itſelf, but a part of another, neither had a church builded; they offered before Auguſt next, to have it disjoined, a church built, and a ſtipend ſettled, and deſired that I would ſtay there in the mean time: I was not willing to ſtay at that time, there being no appearance that I could preach in the meantime: therefore they deſired, if they got theſe things performed before Auguſt that upon a call I would return; thereunto; I condeſcended, but ſome difficulties coming in the way, they got not theſe things ſo ſoon done, and therefore in harveſt firſt I hearkned to a call to Torphichen, but thereafter the Lord provided a great deal better for them, for they got that worthy fervant of Jesus Chriſt; Mr.Samuel Rutherford, whoſe praiſe is in all the reformed churches; and I obſerved afterwards, that ſeveral pariſhes whereunto I had a motion of a call were diſappointed, either by obſtruction from the biſhops, or thereafter by the general aſſembly's refuſing to tranſport: yet theſe pariſhes were far better provided; For Lieth got Mr David Forreſt, Kirkaldy got Mr. Robert Douglaſs, Glasgow got precious Mr. James Durham; Antrum in Ireland got Mr. Archibald Ferguſon, Newton there got Mr. John Greg, and Killinchie there got Mr. Michael Bruce. The ſhort time I was in Galloway I got acquaintance with my lord Kenmure and his religious lady, and ſeveral worthy experienced chriſtians, as Alexander Gordon of Earlſtown, Alexander Gordon of Knockgray, Alexander Gordon of Knockbreik, John his brother, and Alexander Gordon of Garlurk, John Gordon of Barſkeoch, the laird of Careltoun, Tullertoun, John M'adam and Chriſtian M'adam of Waterhead, Marion M‘naught in Kirkudbright, and ſeveral others for I preached at a communion in Borgue, where were many good people that came out of Kirkudbright, and ⟨⟩ at ſome private meetings with ſome of the forementioned in Garlurk, and in the Airds, where Earlſtoun then dwelt.
In harveſt 1626 I was deſired by my lord Torphichen, to come to his houſe in Calder, and being deſired by the aged miniſter of Torphichen, to preach there; after two or three weeks, the presbytery of Linlithgow kept a visitation in that church, where I got a joint call by the pariſh and presbytery, and the old miniſter, and by my lord Torphichen patron of the pariſh and maſter of the land, to be miniſter there. The old miniſter died within a month or two; I preached there a whole year, and bund ſeveral times the Lord’s prefence with me in preaching, otherways than I had found before. Means were uſed by the pariſh and the lord Torphichen, that I might be ordained. The presbytery, altho' ſome of them were but corrupt men, ſhewed themſelves willing thereunto: but Mr. John Spoiswood pretended biſhop of St. Andrews ſtopped all becauſe of my non-conformity; and when the earl of Linlithgow, lord Torphichen and ſome others, dealt with him on my behalf, (for even at that time ſome few by moyen, were ſuffered to enter into the miniſtry without conformity) he pretended that notwithſtanding of my non-conformity, he ſhould not hinder my entrance in ſome other place; but that was promiſed to one Mr. George Hanna, who thereafter was intruded upon that poor people; and the report went, that either Mr. George, or his brother Mr. James, had given the biſhop, or ſome about him, 500 merks Scots, to get that place. This oppoſition and fear of diſappointment, made the people more deſirous to hear the word; and this deſire to hear, I thought made, that the Lord furniſhed the more to be preached to them, eſecially toward the end: for, about October 1627, the presbytery of Linlithgow wrote to me, to deſiſt from preaching any more at Torphichen, and I found the two or three laſt Sabbaths I preached there, the ſweeteſt Sabbaths, altho’ ſorrowful, that I had ſeen in that place.
When I was thus forced to leave Torphichen, and was reſolved to return to my father's houſe in Lanark, and had only gone to take my leave oimy uncle William Livingſton in Falkirk, being anxious about the caſe of Torphichen, and my own want of imployment, when I had ſent away before me to Lanerk the boy that waited on me and kept my horſe, being minded within half an hour to follow, I got letters from the counteſs of Wigtown from Cumbernauld, (that was six miles diſtant) deſiring that I would come thither to be preſent with her mother the counteſs of Linlithgow who was a-dying, and had been all her days a Papiſt, but ſome while before had deserted that religion. When I came thither, the earl of Wigtown and ſhe propounded, That (seeing their houſe was ſix miles from their pariſh church, and ſeveral of their tenants might come to hear ſermon in their houſe; and that it was but 10 or 12 miles diſtant from Torphichen, and ſo ſome of them alſo might come) I would ſtay with them, and, at leaſt in the winter-time, preach in the hall of Cumbernauld to the family and ſuch as came, until other occaſion of imployment offered: whereunto I condeſcended. Thus, until Auguſt 1630, at which time I went to Ireland; I continued more, than two years and a half moſt part in the houſe of the earl of Wigtown, and ſometimes with my father in Lanerk. Moſt part of theſe ſummers I was travelling from, place to place, according as I got invitations to preach, and eſpecially at communions in Lanerk, Irvine, New-milns, Kinniel Culross, Larber and the Shots, and several other places: I preached ſometimes alſo at Glasgow for Mr. Robert Scot. He died the 28 of January 1629. I was with him ſeveral times on his death-bed. One time in presence of many, ſpeaking of the biſhops apd ceremonies, he ſaid, "Their wicked and corrupt courſes my ſoul abhorrs, and my comfort is that God hath withheld me from them; if God lengthen my days, I ſhall not be ſo ſparing as I have been; to gain caſe I have diſhonoured God:" and a little before his death, having lain, ſome while in a kind of trance, he awaked, and taking off his night-cap, threw it to the bed-foot; and cryed out, "I have now ſeen the Lord, and heard him ſay,———Make way for my faithful ſervant Mr. Robert Sat. And after a ſhort while he died.
The pariſh of Shots bordered on the pariſh of Torphichen, where they ſometimes reſorted, and I was ſeveral times invited by Mr. John Hance miniſter of Shots to preach there. In that place I uſed to find more liberty in preaching than elſewhere; yea, the only day in all my life wherein I found moſt of the prefence of God in preaching, was on a Monday after the communion, preaching in the church yard of Shots, June 2l. l620. The night before, I had been with ſome chriſtians, who ſpent the night in prayer and conference. When I was alone in the fields about 8 or 9 of the clock in the morning, before we were to go to ſermon, there came ſuch a miſgiving of ſpirit upon me, conſidering my unworthineſs and weakneſs, and the multitude and expectation of the people, that I was conſulting with myſelf to have ſtolen away ſomewhere, and declined that day’s preaching, but that I thought I durſt not ſo far diſtruſt God, and ſo went to ſermon, and got good aſſiſtance about an hour and a half upon the points which I had meditated on Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26. "Then will I ſprinkle clean water upon you, and ye ſhall be clean: from all your filthineſs, and from all your idols will I cleanſe you. A new heart alſo will I give you, and a new ſpirit will I put within you, and I will take away the ſtony heart out of your fleſh, and I will give you an heart of fleſh:" And in the end, offering to cloſe with ſome words of exhortation, I was led on about an hour’s time, in a strain of exhortation and warning, with ſuch liberty and melting of heart, as I never had the like in publick all my life-time. Some little of that ſtamp remained on the Thurſday after when I preached in Kilmarnock; but the very Monday following, preaching in Irvine, I was ſo deserted, that the points I had meditated and written, and had them fully in my memory, I was not for my heart able to get them pronounced. So it pleaſed the Lord to counterballance his dealings, and hide pride from man. This ſo diſeouraged me, that I was upon reſolution for ſome time, not to preach, at lead not in Irvine; but Mr. David Dickſon would not ſuffer me to go from thence till I preached the next Sabbath, To get (as he expreſſed it) amends of the devil: and ſo I ſtayed and preached with ſome tolerable freedom.
By reaſon of this going from place to place, in ſummer time, I got acquaintance with many of the godly and able miniſters and profeſſors of Scotland; which proved to me a great advantage. The miniſters chiefly were, Meſſrs. Robert Bruce, who had been miniſter in Edinburgh, John Scrimgeour, who had been at Kinghorn, John Chalmers of Auchterdean, John Dykes of Anſtruther, William Scot of Cowper, Alexander Henderſon of Leuchars, John Row of Carnock, John Ker of Preſtonpans, James Creg of News-milns, John Ferguſhil of Ochiltree, Robert Scot of Glaſgow, James Ingles of Dalzel, and ſome others; and of profeſſors, William Rigg of Athernie, the lairds of Halhill, Croſshill, Cunningham-head, Ceſſnock , and Rowaller, John Stuart provost of Air, William Roger merchant there, John Mein merchant in Edinburgh, John Hamilton apothecary there, James Murray writer there, the counteſſes of Eglintoun, and Lowdon, the ladies Boyd, Robertland, Culroſs her siſter, Monwhanny, Halhill, Raith, Innertail, and many others; the memory of whom is very precious and refreſhing, I got not much read, nor any ſettled ſtudy followed all that time; only ſome touches here and there of ſundry both ancient and modern divines. Thoſe whereby I profited mod were the ſermons of Mr. Robert Rollock, Mr. Robert Bruce, Mr, Jo. Welſh, and Mr. David Dickſon, whom I thought of all that I had read, breathed moſt of the Spirit of God, were beſt affected, and moſt clear, plain and powerful; Several of Mr. Robert Rollock’s ſermons are in print; I got in loan from John Stuart in Air, a large book of ſermons of Mr. Welſh's, in which are almoſt nothing but unfolding of the inward exerciſe of a chriſtian. Mr. Robert Bruce I ſeveral times heard, and in my opinion never man ſpake with, greater power ſince the Apoſtles days; there are five or ſix of his ſermons printed; but the chief that I ſaw, were ſome written preachings of his which I got from my father: and Mr. David Dickſon I often heard, and borrowed from Croſshill, ⟨⟩ of his written ſermons. Several motions were ⟨⟩of calls to churches during this time; as to ⟨⟩, North-Lieth and Kirkaldy, in which places, upon ⟨⟩, I preached in reference to a call, but all were ⟨⟩ by the Biſhops.
The third period of my life, from the time I entred to ⟨⟩ miniſtry in Killinchie in Ireland, till I was ſettled ⟨⟩ at Stranrawer in Galloway 1633. In ſummer ⟨⟩ being in Irvine, Mr. Robert Cunningham miniſter (illegible text) Holywood in Ireland, and ſome while before that Mr. ⟨⟩ Dumbar miniſter at Leru in Ireland propounded (illegible text) me, ſeeing there was no appearance I could enter into ⟨⟩ miniſtry in Scotland, whether or not I would be content ⟨⟩ go to Ireland? I anſwered them both, if I got a clear ⟨⟩ and a free entry, I would not refuſe. About Auguſt ⟨⟩, I got letters from the viſcount Clanniboy to come ⟨⟩ Ireland, in reference to a call to Killinchie, whither I ⟨⟩, and got an unanimous call from the pariſh: and, ⟨⟩ it was needful that I ſhould be ordained to the ⟨⟩, and the biſhop of Down, in whoſe dioceſe Killinchie ⟨⟩, being a corrupt humorous man, and would require (illegible text)e engagement; therefore my lord Clanniboy ſent ſome ⟨⟩ me, and wrote to Mr. Andrew Knox biſhop of Rapho, (illegible text)o, when I came and had delivered the letters from my ⟨⟩ Clanniboy and from the earl of Wigtown and ſome ⟨⟩, that I had for that purpoſe brought out of Scotland, (illegible text) me he knew my errand, That I came to him ⟨⟩ I had ſeruples againſt episcopacy and ceremonies, ⟨⟩ as Mr. Joſias Welſh and ſome others had done ⟨⟩; and that he thought his old age was prolonged (illegible text) little other purpoſe but to do ſuch offices: That if I (illegible text)led to call him My Lord, he cared not much for it; (illegible text) he would deſire of me, becauſe they got there but (illegible text) ſermons, that I would preach at Ramallen the firſt ⟨⟩, and that I would ſend for Mr. Cunningham, and ⟨⟩ or three other neighbouring miniſters to be prefect, (illegible text) after ſermon ſhould give me impoſition of hands; but (illegible text)' they performed the work, he beloved to be present; and altho’ he durſt not anſwer it to the State, he gave ⟨⟩ the book of ordination, and deſired that any thing I ⟨⟩ at, I ſhould draw a line over it on the margin, and that Mr Cunningham ſhould not read it: but I found that it ⟨⟩ been ſo marked by ſome others before, that I needed ⟨⟩ mark any thing: ſo the Lord was pleaſed to carry ⟨⟩ buſineſs far beyond any thing that I had thought or ⟨⟩ ever deſired. That Winter following I was often in ⟨⟩ heavineſs, for altho’ the people were very tractable, ⟨⟩ they were generally very ignorant, and I ſaw no ⟨⟩ of doing any good among them, yet it pleaſed the ⟨⟩ that in a ſhort time ſome of them began to ⟨⟩ ſomewhat of their condition. The biſhop of Down ⟨⟩ an ill eye upon me becauſe I had gone elſewhere to ⟨⟩ ordination, and at a viſitation at Down, in the ⟨⟩ following, whither I went much againſt my will, but ⟨⟩ Blair and Mr. Cunningham drew me, ſaying, my ⟨⟩ away would procure more trouble. The biſhop aſked ⟨⟩ in preſence of all the miniſters, what was my ⟨⟩ of the ſervice-book? my anſwer ſo diſpleaſed him, ⟨⟩ there was ſome appearance I might ſhortly be ⟨⟩ but my lord Clannihoy prevailed with him that I ſhould ⟨⟩ forborn, the pariſh of Killinchie being looked upon ⟨⟩ as a pendicle of another pariſh, viz. Killileach, ⟨⟩ was never any official court kept in it all the while I ⟨⟩ there. Not only had we publick worſhip free of ⟨⟩ inventions of men, but we had alſo a tolerable ⟨⟩ for after I had been ſome while among them, by ⟨⟩ advice of the heads of families, ſome ableſt for that ⟨⟩ were choſen elders, to overſee the manners of the ⟨⟩ and ſome deacons to gather and diſtribute the ⟨⟩ We met every week, and ſuch as fell into notorious ⟨⟩ ſcandals, we deſired to come before us, ſuch as came w(illegible text) dealt with both in publick and private to confeſs th(illegible text) ſcandal, in prefence of the congregation, at the ⟨⟩ ſermon before the communion, which was celebrated ⟨⟩ in the year: ſuch as after dealing would not come ⟨⟩ us, or coming would not be convinced to ⟨⟩ their fault before the congregation, upon the ⟨⟩ ⟨⟩ the communion, their names, ſcandals and ⟨⟩ were read out before the congregation, and ⟨⟩ debarred from the communion; which proved ſuch a ⟨⟩ that we found very few of that ſort. We needed ⟨⟩ to have the communion oftner, for there were nine ⟨⟩ ten pariſhes within the bounds of twenty miles or little ⟨⟩, wherein there were godly and able miniſters, that ⟨⟩ a ſociety together, and every one of theſe had the ⟨⟩ twice a year, at different times, and had two ⟨⟩ three of the neighbouring miniſters to help thereat, ⟨⟩ moſt part of the religious people uſed to reſort to ⟨⟩ communions of the rest of the parishes. These ⟨⟩ were Meſſrs. Robert Blair at Bangor, Robert ⟨⟩ at Holywood, James Hamilton at Ballywater, ⟨⟩ Ridge at Antrum, Henry Colwort at old Stow, ⟨⟩ Dunbar at Lern, Josias Welſh at Temple-Patrick, ⟨⟩ Stuart, at Dunagor; moſt of all theſe uſed ⟨⟩ to meet the firſt Friday of every month at Antrum, ⟨⟩ was a great and good congregation, and that day ⟨⟩ ſpent in faſting and prayer, and publick preachings: ⟨⟩ two preached every forenoon, and two in the ⟨⟩: we uſed to come together the Thurſday’s night ⟨⟩, and ſtayed the Friday’s night; after, and conſulted ⟨⟩ ſuch things as concerned the carrying on of the ⟨⟩ of God; and, theſe meetings amongst ourſelves, ⟨⟩ ſometimes as profitable as either presbyteries or ſynods, ⟨⟩ out of theſe parities now mentioned, and ſome others ⟨⟩, ſuch as laid religion to heart, uſed to conveen to ⟨⟩ meetings, eſpecially out of the Six-Mile-Water, ⟨⟩ was neareſt hand; and where was the greateſt ⟨⟩ of religious people, and frequently the Sabbath after ⟨⟩ Friday's meeting, the communion was celebrated in ⟨⟩ or other of theſe pariſhes. Among all theſe miniſters, ⟨⟩ was never any jar or jealouſy, yea nor amongſt the ⟨⟩, the greateſt part of them being Scots, and ⟨⟩ good number of very gracious Engliſh; all whoſe ⟨⟩ was to prefer others to themſelves, and altho’ ⟨⟩ gifts of the miniſters were much different, yet it was (illegible text) obſerved that the people followed any to the undervaluing of others. Many of theſe religious profeſſors, had been both ignorant and prophane, and for debt and want, and worſe cauſes, had left Scotland, yet the Lord was pleaſed by his word to work ſuch a change. I do not think there were more lively and experienced chriſtians any where, than were theſe at that time in Ireland, and that in good numbers, and ſeveral of them perſos of good outward condition in the world; being but lately brought in, the lively edge was not yet gone off them, and the perpetual fear that the biſhops would put away their miniſters, made them with great hunger wait on the ordinances. I have known them come ſeveral miles from their own houſes, to communions to the Saturday’s ſermon, and ſpent the whole Saturday night in ſeveral companies, ſometimes a miniſter being with them, ſometimes themſelves alone, in conference and prayer, and waited on the publick ordinances the whole Sabbath, and ſpent the Sabbath night likewiſe, and yet at the Monday’s ſermon were not troubled with ſleepineſs, and ſo have not ſlept till they went home. Becauſe of their holy and righteous carriage, they were generally reverenced even by the graceleſs multitude among whom they lived. Some of them had attained ſuch dexterity of expreſſing religious purpoſes, by the reſemblance of worldly things, that being at feaſts and meals in common inns, where were ſome ignorant prophane perſons, they would among themſelves entertain a ſpiritual diſcourſe for a long time, and the other profoſſed that altho’ they ſpoke good Engliſh. they could not underſtand what they ſaid. In thoſe days it was no great difficulty for a miniſter to preach or pray in publick or private, ſuch was the hunger of the hearers, and it was hard to judge, whether there was more of the Lord’s preſence in the publick or private meetings.
Auguſt 24. 1631, the Lord was pleaſed to deliver me from a great danger of fire. I lay in a high chamber of John Stuart's houſe in B---- the room was ſtrawed with a great deal of dry ſea-bent; I uſed never after I was aſleep to awaken till the morning, yet that night about one of the clock, all of the houſe being fall aſleep, I wakened peaceably, and thought it had been day, and for a little ſpace kept my eyes ſhut, and neither heard any noiſe, nor felt any ſmell: but within a little while, opening my eyes, I ſaw the flame of the bent, burning within two ells of the bed whereon I lay; for a great fire in the room below, making ready the meat for the reapers, had fired a joyſt of the chimney, the end of the which came into the room where I lay. The fire was betwixt me and the door of the chamber; I roſe and took my breeches, my bible and watch, giving my books and any things elſe I had for loſt; I got out of the door and called up thoſe of the houſe. It pleaſed the Lord, that in a ſhort ſpace they got the fire quenched; whereas in all appearance, had I ſlept a quarter of an hour longer, the fire had ſeized on the roof of the houſe covered only with ſtraw, and ſo not only houſe and goods but our lives had been confumed.
I got not above a year’s quiet miniſtry in Killinchie, for in harveſt 1631, Mr. Robert Ecklen biſhop of Down, ſuſpended Mr. Blair and me for nonconformity, but the occaſion was, that the ſummer before we had been in Scotland, and had preached in ſeveral parts, but eſpecially at a communion in the Shots, which procured that the biſhops in Scotland, eſpecially Mr. James Law in Glaſgow, ſent information againſt us, by one Mr. Henry Leſly then dean; afterward biſhop of Down; He and Sir Richard Beaten lord chief baron of Ireland, who uſed to come to the affize Circuits in the north, ſtirred up the biſhop againſt us; but we were ſhortly after reſtored: for worthy Meſſrs; Dunbar, Welſh, Hamilton, and Culvert, went to Tradeth, to doctor James Uſher primate of Armaugh, not only a learned but a godly man, altho’ a biſhop. Thither came alſo Sir Andrew Stuart, after lord Caſtle-Stuart to deal for us. The primate very carefully dealt for us with the biſhop, fo that we were at that time reſtored. But the biſhops of Scotland ſent to the king information againſt us by Mr. John Maxwel, called biſhop of Roſs, and thinking that nonconformity would not be a crime ſufficiently hainous, they informed that we ſtirred up the people, to extaſies and enthuſiaſms. There were indeed in ſome pariſhes eſpecially in Braidiſland, where was a godly aged miniſter Mr. Edward Bryce, ſome people who uſed in time of ſermon to fall on a high breathing and panting, as thoſe do who have run long, but I moſt of the miniſters, and eſpecially theſe who were complained of, diſcountenanced theſe practices, and ſuſpected them not to proceed from any working of the Spirit of God, and that upon this ground, that theſe people were alike affected whatever purpoſe was preached, yea altho’ by one who had neither gifts nor good affection to the work of God, and accordingly few of theſe people ever came forward to any ſolid exerciſe of chriſtianity, but continued ignorant and profane, and left off that ſeeming motion. It is like Mr. Henry Leſly had informed this againſt us; however upon theſe informations the king wrote to the lords juſtices of Ireland, and by them to the biſhop of Down, that Meſſrs. Dunbar, Blair, Welſh, and I ſhould be tryed and cenſured. The 4th of May 1632, the biſhop depoſed Mr. Blair and me, and eight days after Mr. Dunbar and Mr. Welſh. He proceeded againſt us for conconformity, never mentioning what was in the king’s letter, knowing us to be free of that charge. Therefore we reſolved for our own vindication, and upon ſome hopes that we might be restored again, to petition the king, that we might be tried in what was informed, and if guilty; we refuſed no puniſhment; otherwiſe, that for ſimple non-conformity, we might in reſpect of our Scotiſh breeding, be forborn in ſuch a barren place as the north-part of Ireland. Upon this deſign, shortly after Mr. Blair went to London, and I to Scotland, with a purpoſe to follow him, only I was to procure letters from my lady marchioneſs of Hamilton, and from the earls of Eglintoun, Linlithgow, and Wigtown, to ſome of their friends at court, that we were free of what was informed, and to deſire toleration in our nonconformity. Mr. Blair wrote to me, that it was needleſs for me to come, and only required that I ſhould ſend thoſe letters; which I did. He, after tedious onwaiting, at laſt obtained a letter from the king to Strafford the lord deputy, that the information ſhould be tried, and if we were free, ſome favour ſhould be ſhewed us: and after the letter was thus drawn up by the ſecretary, the king wrote on the margin with his own hand. That the matter ſhould be narrowly tried, and ſeeing he had got from ſome perſons of honour, atteſtations of oar innocency, that the informers ſhould be puniſhed if we were free. But when Mr. Blair took this letter to the deputy to Dublin, it ſeems he had got new advertiſement from Laud, who guided all church-matters at court; for he refuſed, except we would conform, to take any trial or ſhew any favour: ſo we continued depoſed till May 1634. At that time there being ſome little difference between Strafford and some of the Engliſh nobles in Ireland, and Strafford speaking occasionally with my lord Castle-Stuart a good and wife man, he took occaſion to ſhew him, he might gain the hearts of all the Scots in Ireland, if he would reſtore the depoſed miniſters, for which he had alſo ſome warrant from the king; hereupon he wrote that we ſhould be reſtored.
During all that time from May 1632. to May 1634. I ſtayed at firſt ſome while in Killinchie, and not only had ſeveral private meetings in ſeveral parts of the pariſh, but ſundry Sabbaths conveened with them and prayed in the church, and after one had read a chapter I ſpoke thereon; but finding I could not be long ſuffered to do ſo, I went to Scotland, and as I had before, went from place to place as I had invitation to preach, or to be at communions in thoſe places where I had haunted before, and in ſome others. My chief reſidence at that time was in the dean of Kilmarnock, with the worthy lady Boyd, and the while I was there, I preached ordinarily on the Sabbath once, being deſired by the maſter. I was alſo frequently in Lanerk with my father, and in Cumbernauld and other places, and ſometimes in Edinburgh, where were frequent private meetings of chriſtians. I never had of ſtipend in Killinchie, above 4 pounds ſterling by year, and enjoyed that but a ſhort ſpace, yet I bleſs the Lord I never wanted money to ſupply my neceſſity, and to bear my charges in going to and again. My father was not able to ſupply me, having a great charge of other nine children, whereof ſeven were daughters. Theſe from whom I got at ſeveral times ſupply of money were, the lady Boyd, the counteſs of Eglintoun, and Wigtoun, and the lady Innertail.
During theſe two years, I went twice or thrice over into Ireland, to viſit the pariſh and friends there; the laſt of theſe times having come to Ireland in February 1634. Our friends in Ireland ſeeing no appearance of being delivered from the yoke of the prelates tyranny, had ſome mind to tranſport themſelves to New-England, but reſolved firſt to ſend a miniſter and a gentleman thither to the governour and council, to try the condition of the country, and to agree for a place to ſettle in; and accordingly they pitched upon William Wallace and me to go ſtraight to London, to go from thence with the firſt ſhip in the Spring, and return with the firſt conveniency. Therein I perceived, howbeit I truſt the Lord did accept and approve of our intention, yet wonderfully he ſtopped our deſign, for had William Wallace come to me in Grooms-port in Ireland, at the time prefixed, we might eaſily have reached London before the fird fhip went, but he staying two days taking leave of his family, all which time the wind was fair; ſo ſoon as he came, the wind became contrary for a fourthnight, but after that we came to Scotland, and made all the haſte we could to come to London, but the ſhips were gone, only three were to go within a fourthnight or ſo. The firſt we met with that had intereſt in thoſe ſhips, was Mr. Humphray, who urged much that we ſhould go with him in his ſhip; we told we would adviſe. After that Mr. Belinham having a greater ſhip, offered us better accommodation; yet becauſe Mr. Humphray ſpoke firſt, we agreed to go with him. Had we gone with Mr. Belinham, we had gone forward; but Mr. Humphray, to gain time to do fome buſineſs, and to eſchew ſome tossing at ſea, did not go aboard when the ſhips looſed, but took us with him to Dorcheſter, that when the ſhips ſhould come over-againſt Wymouth we might go aboard; on a Sabbath forenoon, the three ſhips came to Wymouth, the other two went forward with a ſpread sail: Mr. Humphray deſired his ſhip to caſt herſelf in the ſtayes, till we ſhould hear Mr. White of Dorchester preach in the afternoon. We went aboard, but by this means when a storm and contrary wind came on us on Wedneſday night, the other two ſhips being-paſt Lands-end ſtood to the ſea, and we were forced to come to an anchor in Plymouth, and ſtaid eight or ten days there with contrary wind. During this time William Wallace fell ſick, and was both adviſed by doctors not to go to ſea, and was ſomewhat averſe to it himſelf; and our friends in Ireland had condeſcended that I ſhould not go alone without him: wherefore we both reſolved to return. When we were coming back I told him, I apprehended that we would get our liberty in Ireland, and accordingly when we came we found that we four who had been depoſed, were reſtored by the deputy's letter on May 1634.
Shortly after on Monday June 23. 1634. The Lord was pleaſed to call home worthy Mr. Joſias Welſh: I heard of his dangerous ſickneſs on Sabbath afternoon before, and came to him to Temple-Patrick, about eleven o’clock at night, two hours after came Mr. Blair. He had many gracious and edifying diſcourſes, as alſo ſome wreſtlings; one time when he, had ſaid, Oh for hypocriſy! Mr. Blair ſaid to the great company of chriſtians preſent, See how Satan knibbles at his heel, when he is going over the threſhold of heaven. A little after, I being at prayer at the bedſide before him, and the word VICTORY coming out of my mouth, he took hold of my hand, and deſired me to ceaſe a little, and clapped both his hands, and cried out, VICTORY! VICTORY! VICTORY! for evermore! and then deſired me to go on in prayer, and within a ſhort time he expired.
Mr. Blair, and Mr. Dunbar were again depoſed within half a year. I continued preaching in Killinchie for an year and a half, till November 1635. During my abode in London, I got acquaintance with my lord Forbes, Sir Nathaniel Rich, Sir Richard Saltonstall, Sir William Conſtable, Sir Philip Stapleton, Sir Matthew Bonningtcn, Doctor Gouge, Doctor Sibs, Mr. Philip Nye, Mr. Thomas Goodwin, Mr. Harris, Mr. Ross, and ſeveral others. I was often with Doctor Alexander Leighton, who was priſoner in the ſleet. He diſſwaded us from going to New-England; and told us he was confident of the downfall of the biſhops in Scotland; which came to paſs within, three years. Some other things he then told me, which whether yet came to paſs, I know not.
In June 1635. the Lord was graciouſly pleaſed to bleſs me with my wife, who how well accompliſhed every way, and how faithful a yoke-fellow, I deſire to leave to the memory of others. She was the eldeſt daughter of Barthlomew Fleeming, merchant in Edinburgh, of moſt worthy memory, whoſe brothers were John Fleeming merchant in Edinburgh, and Mr. James Fleeming miniſter at the Bathings. Her father died at London, Anno 1624, and was laid hard by Mr. Jo. Welſh, and these two only of a long time, had been ſolemnly buried without the ſervice-book. Her mother Marion Hamilton, was a rare godly woman who had alſo three religious ſiſters, Elizabeth married to Mr. Richard Dickſon, miniſter firſt at the Weſt-kirk of Edinburgh, after at Kinniel, Barbara married to John Mien merchant in Edinburgh, and Beatrice married to Mr. Blair; Her brother James Fleeming a gracious and hopeful youth, died in the year 1640. and a while after, her ſiſter Marion, after ſhe had been ſome while married to Mr. John MacClellan miniſter of Kircudbright. Her mother with her ſecond husband John Stevenſon, and her family, came to Ireland in the end of the year 1633. When I went a viſit to Ireland in February 1634. Mr. Blair, propounded to me that marriage. Immediately thereafter I was ſent to London, to have gone to New-England, and returned the June following. I had ſeen her before ſeveral times in Scotland, and heard the teſtimony of many of her gracious diſpoſition, yet I was for nine months ſeeking, as I could, direction from God about that buſineſs; during which time, I did not offer to ſpeak to her, who I believe had not heard any thing of the matter, only for want of clearneſs in my mind, altho’ I was twice or thrice in the houſe, and ſaw her frequently at communions and publick meetings, and it is like I might have been longer in ſuch darkneſs, except the Lord had preſented me an occaſion of our conferring together; for in November 1634, when I was going to the Friday-meeting at Antrum, I met with her and ſome others going thither, and propounded to them by the way, to confer on a text whereupon I was to preach the day after at Antrum, wherein I found her conference ſo judicious and ſpiritual that I took that for ſome anſwer of my prayer to have my mind cleared, and blamed myſelf that I had not before taken occaſion to confer with her. Four or five days after I propounded the matter to her, and deſired her to think upon it; and after a week or two I went to her mother’s houſe, and being alone with her deſiring her anſwer, I went to prayer, and urged her to pray, which at laſt ſhe did; and in that time, I got abundance of clearneſs, that it was the Lord’s mind, that I ſhould marry her, and then propounded the matter more fully to her mother. And altho’ I was fully cleared, I may truly ſay it was above a month before I got marriage affection to her, altho’ ſhe was for perſonal endowments beyond many of her equals, and I got it not till I obtained it by prayer. But thereafter I had a great difficulty to moderate it. In Summer 1635 her mother and ſhe went to Scotland, and I followed, becauſe on both ſides we were to have the conſent of friends in Scotland. We were married by my father in the Weſt-kirk of Edinburgh, June 23d, 1635. and altho’ ſome told me ſome days before, that Spotiſwood, who was then Chancellour of Scotland, had given orders, to a Macer to apprehend me, our marriage was very ſolemn and countenanced with the preſence of a good number of religious friends, among whom was alſo the earl of Wigtoun and his ſon my lord Fleeming, in the houſe of her uncle John Fleeming, who did as great a duty as if ſhe had been his own daughter, and providence ſo ordered, that thereafter I was preſent with him, and his eight daughters on their death-bed, and clearly diſcerned in them all, full evidence of the grace of God. I was alſo at the death of her gracious uncle Mr. James, miniſter at Bathans. From Edinburgh we went over to Ireland, and I remained in her mother’s houſe, being at the Iron-furnace of Miloore, twelve miles from Killinchie, becauſe there was ſo little appearance. I might continue in my miniſtry there. For in November 1635, I was again depoſed By Mr. Henry Leſly, called biſhop of Down, and ſome while after excommunicated by his order, by one Mr. John Melvin miniſter at Down and for any thing I know, that ſentence ſtands in ſuch force as it can have to this day: but I Bleſs the Lord, the curſe cauſeleſs hath not lighted on me; and I have found since the Lord’s bleſsing on ſoul and body, on family, name and goods, yea, when after the rebellion I was ſent to Ireland in the year 1642, that Mr. Melvin was the frist that welcomed me aſhore and profeſſed his grief, that he had had a hand in ſuch a wicked act. Notwithſtanding the cenſure of the biſhops, I continued preaching every Sabbath in my mother’s houſe, whither ſeverals reſorted, where Mr. Blair alſo preached, for he and his wife came alſo and remained in my mother’s houſe.
This Winter perceiving no appearance of liberty, either to preachers of profeſſors, from the bondage of the prelates: A miniſter of the north of Ireland, and ſome few out of Scotland reſolved to tranſport ourſelves to New-England, others of our friends being minded thereafter to follow us. We had got letters from the governour and council, full of kind invitations and large promiſes of good accommodation: We, built a ship near Belfaſt, called the Eagle-Wing, of about 115 tuns, and were minded to have ſet opt in the Spring 1636. But through the difficulties that uſe to ariſe in ſuch undertakings, in preparing the ſhip and our other accommodations, it was the September following, before we ſet sail; we were all to go passengers at that time about 140 perſons, of whom the chief were, Mr. Blair, John Stuart provoſt of Air, Mr. Robert Hamilton, afterward miniſter at Kirkudbright, Charles Campbel, John Sumervel, Hugh Brown, and ſeveral other families and ſingle perſons; among whom was one Andrew Brown of the pariſh of Lern; born deaf and dumb, who had been a very vicious looſe man; but when it pleaſed the Lord to work a change on ſeveral of that pariſh, a very ſennſible change was obſerved in him, not only in forſaking his former looſe courſes and company, but joining himſelf to religious people, and all the exerciſes of God’s worſhip in public and private,and ordinarily morning and evening uſed to go alone to prayer, and would weep at sermons, and by ſnch ſigns, theſe who were acquainted with him underſtood, he would expreſs many things of the work of God upon his heart, ſo that upon his earneſt deſire, by the conſent of all the miniſters who uſed to meet at Antrum, he was at laſt admitted to the ordinance of the Lord’s ſupper. I was abundantly clear in my mind, that the Lord approved our intention and endeavour, and was as ready in making ail ſorts of preparation as any of the reſt, yea, during all that time, Mr. Blair and we that were in my mother’s houſe, ſpent one day in the week, in fasting and prayer, for a bleſsng to our undertaking; yet I often told my wife long before our outſetting, that it gave me in mind, we would never go to New-England; but I laid not ſo great hold on that, as thereafter I found I had reaſon to do. Finding that it would be the end of summmer before we could be ready to go, I went in March 1636 to Scotland, to take leave of my father and other dear friends there; and went to moſt of all the places where I had haunted before, and ſound in the midſt of much mutual grief, my heart often well refreſhed both in publick and private: I came back in the end of April. In Auguſt, all the reſt of the honeſt miniſters were depoſed, viz. Meſſrs. Cunningham, Ridge, Bryce, Hamilton, and Culvert. June 30. my eldeſt ſon John was born, and was the next day after ſermon baptiſed in our own houſe. We had much toil in our preparations, and many hindrances in our out-setting, and both ſad and glad hearts in taking leave of our friend's. At laſt about the ninth of September 1636. we looſed from Loch-ſergus, but were detained sometime with contrary winds in Lochryan in Scotland, and grounded the ship to ſearch ſome leaks in the keels of the boat. Yet thereafter we ſet to ſea, and for ſome ſpace had a fair wind, till we were between three and 400 leagues from Ireland, and ſo nearer the banks of Newfoundland, than any place of Europe: but if ever the Lord, ſpake by his winds and other-diſpenſations, it was made evident to us that it was not his will that we ſhould go to New-England; For we met with a mighty heavy rain out of the North-west which did break our rudder, which we got mended, with much of our gallon-head and fore-croſs-trees, and tore our fore-sail, five or ſix of our champlets made up a great beam under the gunner-room-door broke; ſeas came in over, the round-houſe, and broke a plank or two on the deck, and wet all them that were between the decks: we ſprung a leak, that gave us 700 ſtrokes in two pumps in the half hour glaſs; yet we lay at hull a long time, to beat out that ſtorm, till the maſter and company came one morning and told, it was impoſſible to hold out any longer; and altho’ we beat out that ſtorm, yet we might be ſure in that ſeaſon of the year, we would foregather with one or two more of that ſort, before we could reach New-England. After prayer, when we were conſulting what to do, I propounded an overture, wherewith I was ſomewhat perplexed thereafter, viz. "That ſeeing we thought we had the Lord is warrant for our intended voyage; howbeit it be preſumption to propone a ſign to him, yet we being in ſuch a ſtrait, and having ſtood out ſome days already; we might yet for 24 hours ſtand to it, and if in that time he were pleaſed to calm, the ſtorm, and ſend a fair wind, we might take it for his approbation of our advancing: otherwiſe, that he called us to return". To this they all agreed, but that day, and eſpecially the night thereafter, we had the work ſtorm that we had ſeen; ſo that the next morning ſo ſoon as we ſaw day, we turned and made good, way with a main courſe and a little of a fore-top-sail, and after ſome toſſing we came ap laſt on the third of November, to an anchor in Loch-fergus. During all this time, amidſt ſuch fears and dangers, the moſt part of the paſſengers were very chearful and confident, yea, ſome in prayer had expreſſed ſuch hopes, that rather than the Lord would, suffer such a company in ſuch ſort to periſh, if the ſhip ſhould break, he ſhould put wings to our ſhoulders and carry us ſafe aſhore. I never in my days found the day ſo ſhort as all that time, altho’ I ſlept ſome nights not above two hours, and ſome none at all, but ſtood moſt part in the gallery aſtern the great cabin, where Mr, Blair and I and our families lay. For in the morning by that time that every one had been ſome while alone; and then at prayer in their ſeveral ſocieties, and then at publick prayer in the ſhip, it was time to go to dinner, and after that we would viſit our friends in the gunner-room, or thoſe between the decks, or any that were ſick, and then publick prayer would come, and after that ſupper and family-exerciſes. Mr. Blair was much of the time weakly, and lay in time of ſtorm; I was ſometimes ſick, and then my brother Mr. MacClellan only performed duty in the ſhip; ſeveral of thoſe between the decks being throng were ſickly. An aged perſon and one child died, and were buried in the ſea. One woman, the wife of Michael Colvert of Killinchie pariſh, brought forth a child in the ſhip , I baptiſed him on Sabbath following, and called him SEABORN. My wife went aboard with her ſon ſucking her breaſt, being about fourteen weeks old, yet ſhe had milk abundance for him, and to help others. Mr. Blair was much affected with our returning, and fell in a ſwoon that day we turned back, and altho’ we could not imagine what to make of that diſpenſation, yet we were confident, the Lord would let us ſee ſomewhat that would abundantly ſatiſy us. Our outward means were much impaired by this diſappointment, for we had put moſt of our ſtocks in proviſion, and ſomewhat of merchandiſe, which we behoved to fell at low rates at our return, and had provided ourſelves with ſome ſervants, for ſithing and building of houſes, whom we behoved to turn off. That which grieved us moſt was, that we were like to be a mocking to the wicked; but we found the contrary, that the prelates and their followers, were much diſmaid and feared at our return; but neither they nor we knew, that within a year, the Lord would root out the prelates out of Scotland, and after that out of England and Ireland. Mr. Blair went and dwelt at the Stoue in Belfaſt; others elſewhere, I came back and remained at my mother’s houſe, and preached each Sabbath that Winter, as I had done before.
In February 1637. One Frankhill of Caſtleraith, who yet uſed to come ſome Sabbaths, to hear ſermons at my mother’s houſe, being in Dublin, informed the State againſt Mr. Blair and me. Order is given ro apprehend us! One night one Andrew Young, a ſervant of Mr. Blair’s, who dwelt hard by our houſe, overheard a Purſeuant calling to a Stabler, to prepare againſt to-morrow morning, becauſe they had orders to go to the North, and bring up two Scottiſh depoſed miniſters. This Andrew immediately goes to a ſtable, prepares a horſe, and rode all that night, and in two days after brings us word, ſo that Mr. Blair and I went out of the way, and came over to Scotland. When we came to Irvine to Mr. Dickſon's, he told us. That ſome good gentlemen in that country had been with him, having heard that we were come to Scotland, and deſired him not to employ us to preach, for fear that at ſuch a time, the Biſhops being then upon the urging of the ſervice-book, might take occafion thereby to put him out of his miniflry: but ſaid he, I dare not follow their opinion ſo far to diſcountenance you in your ſufferings, as not to employ you as in former times, but would think rather, ſo doing would provoke the Lord, that I might be on another account depoſed, and not have ſo good a conſcience. We were very unwilling either to occaſion his trouble, or diſſatisfy any of the gentlemen of the country; but he urged with ſuch grounds, as we could not get refuſed. After that I went by Dean, and Lowdon, and Lanerk, to Edinburgh, and remained there ſome ſpace; being at ſome private meeting every day. And when I returned to the communion of Irvine, which was the 26th of March, I found that my wife having come only a viſit from her mother’s houſe to Newtoun, to ſee the lady Airds, and finding ſome of our Killinchie folks coming by to go to Irvine communion, ſhe preſently came along to Scotland with them, bringing with her the child ſucking her breaſt:, and a ſervant-woman to wait on him; Ihe came with a purpoſe to have gone back preſently, but I kept her ſtill, and brought her with the child to Lanerk to my father’s, and ſent to Ireland for ſome of our goods, and remained in Lanerk, till I went to Stranrawer.
Wiile we were at Irvine, the Lord called home ſweet Mr. Robert Cunningham, miniſter at Holywood, March 29. 1637. for both he and all the reſt of the depoſed miniſters, were forced to fly out of Ireland. He had many gracious expreſſions of the Lord’s goodneſs to him, and his great peace in regard of the cauſe of his ſuffering, and ſpoke much and well to the presbytery of Irvine, who came to ſee him the day before he died. A little before he died, his wife ſitting on a low bed where he lay, and having her hand on his hand, he was in prayer, commending to God his flock of Holywood, and his dear acquaintance and children, at laſt he ſaid, And, O Lord, I commend unto thy care this gentlewoman; who is now no more my wife; and with that he gently thruſt away her hand, and after a while he ſlept in the Lord. In the beginning of June, my wife went to Ireland, being ſent for to be with her mother who was dying, becauſe I might not go myſelf, I ſent my brother Samuel with her. After the death of her mother, ſhe returned in September next, and came and remained in Lanerk, where the 7th of January following, ſhe brought forth her ſecond ſon William. All that Summer 1637. I had as much work of preaching in publick, and exerciſes in private, as any time before; partly in Lanerk, partly in the Weſt, and at communions in divers places, in the Stuarty of Kircudbright and Presbytery of Stranrawer, whiles I was waiting at the Port, for my wife’s coming out of Ireland.
This Summer, ſeveral minifters in Scotland were charged with horning, to buy and receive the ſervice-book, which ſtirred up great thoughts of heart through the land, beſide a tumult in Edinburgh, by ſome of the common people at the firſt reading of the ſervice-book. The true riſe of that bleſsed reformation in Scotland, began with two petitions againſt the ſervice-book. the one from the Weſt, and the other out of Fife, which met together at the council-door in Edinburgh, the one not knowing of the other. After that about the 20th of September, a great many other petitions were preſented againſt the ſervice-book: Theſe being denied by the king, the number of the petitioners, and their demands encreaſed, for they deſired not only exemption from the ſervice-book, but alſo from the five ceremonies of Perth, and the high commiſsion court, and theſe things being denied, they at laſt deſired freedom from Epiſcopacy, and a free Parliament, and General Aſſembly: When theſe things were ſtill denied, and their number had ſo encreaſed, that in ſome ſort they were the wholebody of the land: they considering that the Lord’s controversy with them was the breach of covenant, did in the beginning of March 1638. renew the national covenant, which had formerly by authority of king and parliament several times been sworn.
I was immediately ſent poſt to London, with ſeveral copies of the covenant, and letters to friends at court of both nations. To avoid diſcovery, I rode in a gray coat, and a gray montiro-cap. One night riding late, the horſe and I fell to the ground; where I lay about a quarter of an hour as dead, the firſt thing I diſcovered when I came to myſelf, I found the guide ſitting under me, and crying and weeping, yet it pleaſed the Lord I recovered, and got to Ferybridge, where after a day or two’s ſtay, I did in two days come to London, but one of my eyes and part of my cheek being blood ſhot, I did not go to the street, but Mr. Eleazar Borthwick delivered the letters for me. Some friends and ſome of the Engliſh nobility came to my chamber, to be informed how thatters went. I had been but a few days there, when Mr. Borthwick came to me and told me, that the marquis of Hamilton had ſent him to me, to ſhew he had overheard the king saying, I was come, but he ſhould endeavour to put a pair of fetters about my feet: Wherefore fearing to be way laid in the poſt-way, I bought a horſe and came home by St. Albans, and the Weſter-way.
I was preſent at Lanerk, and at ſeveral other pariſhes, when on a Sabbath after the forenoon ſermon, the covenant was read and ſworn; and may truly ſay, that in all my lifetime except one day at the kirk of Shots, I never ſaw ſuch motions from the Spirit of God; all the people generally, and moſt willingly concurring; where I have ſeen more than a thouſand perſons all at once lifting up their hands, and the tears falling down from their eyes , ſo that through the whole land, except the profeſſed Papiſts, and ſome few who for baſe ends adhered to the Prelates, the people univerſally entred into the covenant of God, for reformation of religion, againſt Prelates and the ceremonies.
The fourth period of my life, I reckon from the time I entred in the miniſtry at Stranrarawer, till I was tranſported to Ancrum. In the end of May 1638. I got letters from the earl of Caſſils, to come to his houſe of Caſſils, in reference to a call to a pariſh, wherein he had ſome intereſt. When I came there, there came both at one time commiſſioners from the town of Stranrawer in Galloway, and from the pariſh of Straitoun in Carrick with a call to me: I deſired ſome time to adviſe; and becauſe both equally urged, I propounded, that we ſhould refer the matter to the determination of six miniſters, viz. Meſſrs. Robert Blair, David Dickſon, Andrew Cant, Alexander Henderſon, Samuel Rutherford, and my father, who by occaſion at another meeting were all to be at Edinburgh within a few days: my own mind inclined moſt to Straiton; becauſe it was a more obſcure place, and the people being landwart ſimple people, were the more likely to be wrought upon by the goſpel: But they all having heard both parties, adviſed me to hearken to the call of Stranrawer, being a thorow fair way within four miles of Portpatrick, and nearer for the advantage of out people in Ireland. So I was there received by the presbytery the 5th of July 1638. and ſhortly after tranſported my family thither, and I remained in the miniſtry of that place, until Harveſt, 1648. when by the ſentence of the General Aſſembly, I was tranſported to Ancrum in Tiviotdale. Becauſe I had ſome houſhold furniture to carry, and the way was ſo far, I put my family in a boat at Irvine, and put in a tolerable quantity of meat and drink. The wind being the firſt day very fair, we were like to be ſoon at out port; the boat’s company conſumed moſt of all our proviſion, ſo that by a calm, and a little contrary wind, being three days at ſea, the laſt day we had neither meat nor drink, nor could reach no coaſt:, and my wife had then a child ſucking her breaſt, yet it pleaſed the Lord, we came ſafe to Lochryan.
Some of our friends came out of Ireland, and dwelt in Stranrawer, and at the communions twice in the year, great numbers uſed to come; at one time 500 perſons. At one time I baptiſed 28 children brought out of Ireland.
Providence ſo ordered, that I was a member of the General Aſſembly at Glaſgow, in November 1638. which eſtabliſhed the reformation of religion, and of the reſt of the General Aſſemblies, even till that in the year 1650; except that of Aberdeen in the year 1640. When I came first to Stranrawer, ſome of the folks of the town deſired to come to our houſe, to be preſent at our family exerciſes Therefore I propounded, that I would rather chooſe every morning to go to the church, and ſo each morning the bell was rung, and we conveened, and after two or three verſes of a pſalm ſung, and a ſhort prayer, ſome portion of Scripture was read and explained, only ſo long as an half-hour glaſs ran, and then cloſed with prayer. The whole pariſh was within the bounds of a little town. The people were very tractable and reſpectful, and no doubt had I taken pains, and believed as I ought to have done, more fruit would have appeared among them. I was ſometimes well ſatisfied and refreſhed being with ſome of them on their death-bed.
I was ſent out by the Presbytery in the year 1640. to go with the earl of Caſſils’s regiment, when our army went to Newcaſtle. Our army lay a while at Chusely-wood, a mile or two from Dunſe, till the reſt of the army came up. I had there a little trench tent, and a bed hung between two leager cheſts, and having lain ſeveral nights with my cloaths on, I being wearied with want of deep, did ty one night with my cloaths off; that night was very cold, and while I ſlept all the cloaths went off me; ſo that in the morning I was not able to ſtir any part of my body, and I had much ado, with the help of my man and a baggage-man to get on my cloaths. I cauſed them to put me on my horſe, and went to Dunſe, and lay down in a bed, and cauſed them to give me into the bed, a big tin-ſtoup full of water, whereby a ſweat was procured; ſo that before night I was able to riſe and put on my cloaths. When the whole army was come up, it was found that there was want of powder and of bread, the biſket being ſpoiled, and of cloath to be huts to the ſoldiers. This produced ſome fears that the expedition might be delayed for that year. One day when the committee of eſtates and general officers, and ſome miniſters were met in the caſtle of Dunſe, and were at prayer, and conſulting what to do, an officer of the guard comes, and knocks rudely at the door of the room where we were; and told there was treachery diſcovered, for he going to a big cellar in the bottom of the houſe ſeeking for ſome other thing, had found a great many barrels of powder, which he apprehended was intended to blow us all up. After ſearch, it was found that the powder had been laid in there the year before, when the-army departed from Dunſe-law after the pacification, and had been forgotten. Therefore having found powder, the earls of Rothes and Lowdon, Mr. Alexander Henderſon, and Mr. Archibald Johnſton were ſent to Edinburgh, and within a few days brought as much meal and cloath to the ſoldiers, by the gift of well-affected people there, as ſufficed the whole army. The 20th of Auguſt 1640. the army marched into England; and after fome little oppoſition made by the Engliſh army, paſſed Tine at Newburn; had Newcaſtle rendred to them, and after two petitions to the king, followed the treaty at Ripon, and thereafter the Parliament of England in November following, where the large treaty was concluded. It was laid upon me by the presbytery of the army, to draw up a narration of what happened in that skirmiſh, at Newburn, which I did in a paper out of that I ſaw or heard from others, by the help of the Lieutenant-general.
It was very,refreſhful to remark, that after we came to a quarter at night, there was nothing to be heard almoſt through the whole army, but ſinging of Pſalms, prayer, and reading of Scripture, by the ſoldiers in their ſeveral huts, and I was informed, there was large more the year before, when the army lay at Dunſe-Law. And indeed in all our meetings and conſultings, both within doors and without in the fields, always the nearer the beginning, there was ſo much the more of dependance upon God, and more tenderneſs in worship and walking, but through proceſs of time, we ſtill declined more and more. The day we came to Newburn the General, and ſome others ſtepped aſide to Hadden on the wall; where old Mrs. Finnick met them, and burſt out and ſaid, "And is it ſo, that Jeſus Chriſt will not come to England, for reforming of abuſes, without an army of 22000 men at his back?"
In November 1640. I returned back to Stranrawer, all the reſt of the partſhes of the country had before that, contributed money to ſend to buy cloaths for the ſoldiers whom they had ſent out. This was not yet done in Stranrawer, by reaſon of my abſence. We had ſent out our fourth ſenſible man, viz. 15 men; The town was but little and poor; all the yearly rent was eſtimated to 2000 merks Scots, out of which a part of the miniſter’s ſtipend was to be paid, but the earl of Caſſils paid a great part of it. On the Saturday morning after I came home, one came to me to enquire if I had any word to the army, he being to go the Monday or Tueſday following. Therefore at our meeting in the church on that Saturday, I propounded unto them the condition of the army, and deſired that they would prepare their, contribution to be given to morrow after ſermon, at which time we got £. 45 ſterling, whereof we ſent £. 15 ſterling to our own ſoldiers, and £. 15 to captain Ellis’s company, who were all Iriſh-men, and ſo had no pariſh in Scotland to provide for them, and £. 15 to the Commiſſar General to be diſtributed by public order. The reaſon that we got ſo much was, that there were ſundry families of Irish people dwelling in the town. One Margaret Fame, the wife of William Scot a malt-man, who had fled out of Ireland, and were but in a mean condition, gave ſeven twenty two ſhilling ſterling pieces, and an eleven pound piece. When the day after I enquired at her, how ſhe came to give ſo much? She anſwered, "I was gathering, and had laid up this to be a part of a portion to a young daughter I had, and as the Lord hath lately been pleaſed to take my daughter to himſelf, I thought I would give him her portion alſo."
In Summer 1641. the General Aſſembly was kept, and after that the Parliament, where the king was preſent, and ratified all the preceeding work of reformation. When I was coming home from that Aſſembly, I ſtayed with my father in Lanerk, till it pleaſed the Lord to call him home to himſelf. He was worn with ſore pains of the gravel, but had great peace of mind. He died on the Saturday morning, and was to be buried on the Monday following. The night before the burial, I had a ſore fit of the gravel, which now and then for five years had taken me, and continued but with long intermiſſions for eight or nine years thereafter. This put me in fear that it might continue the time of the burial; therefore I besought the Lord, if he ſo pleaſed to free me of the pain, till I might perform that duty to my father, to ſee him buried, altho’ it ſhould come ſorer on me thereafter. About eight o’clock I was fully freed of the pain, and ſo continued till all was done, and was making account it would not return at that time; but within an hour after I was come into the houſe, my pain came again, and continued a day or two.
In October 1641. The rebellion broke out in Ireland, many of the religious people in the north of Ireland had left it in the year 1637. when the depoſed miniſters were forced out of it by Purſevants, ſent out to apprehend them. Others left it in the year 1639. when the Deputy urged upon all the Scots in Ireland, an oath abjuring the national covenant of Scotland, and ſo they were free of that ſtroke of the rebellion, while many of theſe that took the oath were murdered by the rebels. Such as lived near the coaſt, over-againſt Scotland, for moſt part eſcaped, and ſundry fled from other parts of the country to them. It was obſerved that the ſtroke on the people in the north of Ireland, increaſed by degrees. At firſt they thought it a hard caſe, that they were not ſure to enjoy their miniſters, but thereafter their miniſters were depoſed. When that was found yet harder to be born, the miniſters were forced to flee the country, and hirelings thruſt in upon them. When that had continued ſome time, and they thought hardly a worſe condition could come, the abjuration oath was urged upon them, and after all came the bloody ſword of the rebels. And I have heard some of them that eſcaped the ſword of the rebels complain, that they thought the oppreſſion and inſolences of ſome of the Scottiſh army, that came over, was to them worſe than the rebellion. The Winter following many came fleeing over to Scotland, ſundry to Air and Irvine, and other places of the West by ſea, but the greateſt number came by Portpatrick and Stranrawer, and were generally in a very deſtitute condition. There had been collected in Edinburgh and ſeveral other places about, conſiderable ſums of money for their ſupply: Of which there was ſent to me £1000 Scots, to diſtribute to needy perſons at their firſt arriving. All this in a few weeks was diſtributed in prefence of ſome of our elders. The moſt that was given to any was a half-crown, only a very few got five ſhillings ſterling, but for the moſt part they got but one ſhilling, and ſome 18 pence, the number was ſo great. Of all the numbers that came our way, I hardly obſerved one perſon ſufficiently ſenfible of the lord’s hand in it, or of deſerving on their part, except one Engliſhman, ſo far had the ſtroke ſeiſed their ſpirits as well as bodies.
In April 1642. I was ſent by order of the council of Scotland to Ireland, to wait on the Scottiſh army, that went over with major general Monro, and ſtaid for ſix weeks, moſt part in Carrickfergus, where the head quarters were, and for other ſix weeks moſt part at Antrum, with Sir John Clotworthy and his regiment, who had obtained an order from the council for me ſo to do. I preached for moſt part in theſe two places; but ſometimes in other pariſhes of the coaſt-ſide about; and before I left Antrum, we had the communion celebrated there, where ſundry that had taken the oath did willingly and with great expreſſions of grief publickly confeſs the ſame. I found a great alteration in Ireland; many of thoſe who had been civil before, were become many ways exceeding looſe; yea, ſundry who as could be conceived had true grace, were declined much in tenderneſs; ſo as it would ſeem the ſword opens a gap, and makes every body worse than before, an inward plague coming with the outward; yet ſome few were in a very lively condition. I went with the army to the field, whim they took in Newry: a part of the rebels that made ſome oppoſition by the way at the entry of a wood were killed. They were ſo fat, that one might have hid their fingers in the lirks of their breasts. The people of the north of Ireland, ſent commiſſioners to the next general aſſembly of Scotland, Anno 1642. petitioning for miniſters to be ſent to them, for now they had none at all. The aſſembly thought not ſit to looſe any, but for four or five years thereafter, ordered eight miniſters in the year to go over for viſits, two for three months, and after them other two, and in the mean time ſome godly and able young men to be dealt with to go over for ſettling; and that theſe miniſters might in pariſhes tied elderſhips, and with the presbytery of the army, try and admit miniſters. Theſe miniſters who went, uſed, for the moſt part, to ſeparate themſelves to divers pariſhes in ſeveral parts of the country; there being ſuch a great number of vacant pariſhes, yet ſo as the one would alſo viſit the place where the other had been. By this appointment I was ſent over three months in Summer 1643. and as long in Summer 1645. In Summer 1646. I went thither with the
marquis of Argyl and ſome other commiſſioners, who went to deſire ſome of the Scots army in Ireland, to be ſent to Scotland, and Anno 1648. I was deſired by the commiſſion of the kirk to deal with the army there, not to ſend any to the engagers. For the moſt part of all theſe three months I preached every day once, and twice on the Sabbath; the deſtitute pariſhes were many; the hunger of the people was become great; and the Lord was pleaſed to furniſh otherwiſe than uſually I wont to get at home. I came ordinarily the night before to the place where I was to preach, and commonly lodged in ſome religious perſon’s houſe; where we were often well refreſhed at family exerciſe: Uſually I deſired no more before I went to bed, but to make ſure the place of Scripture I was to preach on the next day. And riſing in the morning, I had four or five hours myſelf alone, either in a chamber or in the fields; after that we went to church, and then dined, and then rode five or fix miles more or leſs to another pariſh. Sometimes there would be four or five communions in ſeveral places in the three months time. I eſteemed theſe viſits in Ireland, the far beſt time of all the while I was in Galloway. After the year 1647. or 1648. the general aſſembly ſent no more any for viſits to Ireland, becauſe by that time ſeveral godly and able miniſters were ſettled there. The miniſters with whom I kept moſt ſociety, and by whoſe counſel and company I profited moſt, were my brother MacClellan at Kircudbright, Messrs. Robert Hamilton at Ballantrae, George Hutchiſon at Colmonell, and in the presbytery of Stranrawer, Alexander Turnbull at Kirkmaiden, John Dick at Inch, George Dick at Glenluce, and in the presbytery of Wigtoun, Andrew Lauder at Whithorn, and John Park at Mochrum, who ſucceeded me at Stranrawer; and with all theſe I have been at communions at Stranrawer.
The fifth period of my life, I reckon from the time I was ſettled in the miniſtry at Ancrum, to this preſent February 1666. In Summer 1648. I had a call from the pariſh of Ancrum, an invitation from the presbytery of Jedburgh, and a preſentation from the earl of Lothian the Patron, and by act of the general aſſembly, that year was tranſported thither, and was received by the presbytery. I the rather inclined to that place, becauſe I found they were generally landwart ſimple people; who for ſome time before, had not had ſo much of the goſpel as to deſpiſe it. In the Harveſt following, I tranſported my family thither. I found the tranſporting very troubleſome, being above 100 miles and bad way, with a numerous family, ſix children, one of them ſucking the breaſt, four or five ſervants, and ſome furniture and books; yet the Lord brought us all ſafe thither. I dwelt a year or two in a houſe of the earl of Lothian's, till one was built for me. The people were very tractable but very ignorant, and ſome of them looſe in their carriage, and it was along time before any competent number of them were brought to ſuch a condition, as we might adventure to celebrate the ordinance of the Lord’s ſupper, but after ſome time ſeverals of them began to lay religion to heart.
In the year 1649. the parliament of Scotland and the church alſo, had ſent ſome commiſſioners to treat with the king at the Hague, for ſecurity to religion and liberties of the country, before his admiſſion to the exerciſe of his government; theſe had returned without ſatisfaction, yet the parliament ſent again in Summer 1650. the earls of Caſſils and Lothian, Alexander Brody of that ilk, one of the lords of ſeſſion, Mr. George Windram of Libertoun, another of the lords of ſeſſion, Mr. John Smith and Alexander Jaffray, to proſecute the foreſaid treaty with the king at Breda. The commiſſion of the kirk choſe Mr. James Wood and me, and after that alſo, by my lord Caſſil's procurement, Mr. George Hutchiſon.
To us were joined Caſſils and Brody as ruling elders, that in name of the church, we ſhould preſent and proſecute their deſires; and becauſe much depended on that treaty. I will out of my own private obſervations, more fully ſet down the ſame. When it was firſt laid upon me to go, I was moſt averſe therefrom: my reaſons were three; Find, my own inſufficiency, having both a kind of natural antipathy againſt public employments and State matters, and having ſome ſcruple, that ſome miniſters meddled but too much therein: and knowing my own unacquaintedneſs with, and inability in ſuch things, and my ſoftneſs of diſpoſition, ready to condeſcend too eaſily to anything having a ſhow of reaſon; not being able to debate or diſpute any buſineſs, ſo that I feared I ſhould be a grief and ſhame to thoſe that ſent me. Beſides that I could not ſpeak promptly the Latin tongue, which was requiſite among foreign divines. This reaſon I expreſſed in the commiſſion of the kirk: The other two which weighed as much with me I ſuppreſſed. The ſecond was, when I conſidered the commiſſioners ſent by the State, I was not willing to imbark in any buſineſs with them. Caſſils, Brody, and Alexander Jaffray I had no exception againſt. The other three I ſuſpected would be more ready to condeſcend to an agreement upon unſafe terms. Lothian I had found two years before Anno 164S. when the Weſt roſe againſt the Engagers returning home from England, that he was very diſſatſfied with their riſing, and he was many ways involved, with the marquis of Argyle, who of a long time had been, very entire with William Murray, and Sir Robert Murray, negotiators for the king, and who, 'tis thought, put him in hope, that the king might marry his daughter. Libertoun had been long with the king at Jerſay and brought the overture of the treaty, and in all his diſcourſes gave evidence of a moſt earneſt deſire, upon any terms to have the king brought home; whereupon it is like, he thought he would have a chief ſhare of the thanks, Sir John Smith had tampered with James Graham 1645, and was a man of no great ability; and what ability he had, I ſuſpected would not be well employed. The third reaſon was, when I looked upon the whole busineſs, the terms whereupon the king was to be admitted to his government, upon his bare ſubſeribing and ſwearing ſome words, without any evidence that it was done from the heart, I ſuſpected it might prove a deſign for promoting a malignant intered, to the prejudice of the work of God, and that our nobles who had power in their hands, fearing if matters went on as formerly, that they might be levelled, and knowing that many in the kingdom would be ready to receive the king upon any terms, whom poſſibly, the malignants might bring home without them, and knowing that after ſo many backſlidings, the well affected were but few, and many of them simple, and all of them deſirous to give the king all his due, religion and liberty being ſecured, they thought it ſafeſt to have the king, not looking much what might have been the conſequence. For theſe reaſons I was fully reſolved to have gone home, and taken my hazard of any cenſure of the kirk for my diſobedience; eſpecially when I perceived that ſundry well affected, whoſe judgment I much reverenced, had great fears of the iſſue of the treaty; but according as my nature is blunt, and ready to yield, chiefly to thoſe whom I know both pious and wife; Meſſrs. David Dickſon, James Guthrie, and Patrick Gilleſpie, after ſome while’s dealing, prevailed with me to go. One word I fooliſhly ſpoke then to them, which many times thereafter met me: "That ere I condeſcended to go, and to have an hand in the conſequences that I apprehended would follow, I would chufe rather to condefcend, if it were the Lord’s will, to be drowned in the waters by the way."
That very day we landed at Camphier, Lothian and Libbertoun propounded, that letters might be wrote by the commiſſioners, to duke Hamiltoun, the earl of Lauderdale, and ſome other malignants, at the Hague, to come to Breda, to help forward the treaty. This was not agreed to, but the propounding was no good prelage of a bleſsing, and ſhewed what sort of men ſome were minded to make uſe of. But howſoever all theſe came.
When we were come to Breda, it was put on my lord Caſſils, to make ſome ſpeech to the king at our friſt receiving, and on me to make another ſpeech after him, in name of the Church. This ſpeech I did prepare; wherein were ſome things a little free, ſuch as I thought became a miniſter to ſpeak, concerning the king himſelf, and his father’s houſe, and the counſel and ways he had followed. This I did communicate firſt to the commiſſioners of the church, after to thoſe of the State. But it was once and again so altered with delations and additions, that it was nothing like itſelf. Every thing that was thought harſh, behoved to be delate, and ſome things added, ſuch as would be ſavoury in the entry of the treaty to the king and court. I thought it was not my part to hand peremptory for a paper of my own drawing, and they told me it was not my own mind I was to follow, but theirs; whereupon I agreed to all. So dangerous it is for a man of a ſimple diſpoſition, to be yoked with theſe who by wit, authority, and boldneſs can overmaſter him. When we began firſt to keep any meetings, the commiſſioners of the State did chooſe Caſſils to be our preſident, and after continued him during all the time. Some of us at firſt thought it a benefit, to have him preſident, of whom we had moſt confidence; but we did find it thereafter a diſadvantage, for ordinarily Lothian, Libbertoun, and Sir John Smith agreed in one voice, and that ſometimes ſuch as ſome of us were not well pleaſed with. Now there were to be of a contrary opinion only Brody and Jaffray, and thus three being against two carried it, the preſident not having liberty to give his vote, except where there is an equality. Some of our number urged once, that the treaty might be by word of mouth, and not by papers; but that was rejected. The drawing up of the papers to be preſented to the king, was committed by theſe of the State to Brody and by theſe of the church to Mr. James Wood; wherein this overſight was committed in the very firſt papers, that the words and purpoſe of the instructions were not fully kept to; but both in the order and matter, ſomewhat was altered or left out by them that drew them up, and more thereafter was altered upon debate in the meetings, whether for exornation of the language, or to ſeem not to be tied to the words and order of them, or to make things ſmooth in the beginning, or if there were a deſign in ſome that debated the alterations, that ſome things might not be mentioned at firſt, which they having founded the mind of the court, found would not be eaſily granted, I cannot certainly ſay. But we found it did great harm thereafter, when theſe of the court alleged, that we behoved to reſt finished with what was in our firſt papers. We had acceſs to the king on Tueſday, yet no papers of the treaty were delivered to him till the Monday after; which was ſome neglect of diligence, the parliament having limited the treaty to thirty days, and only granting ten days more, in caſe there were appearance of agreement at theſe thirty days end. And after the delivering of theſe firſt papers, Lothian, Libbertoun, and Sir John Smith, went to Antwerp and Bruſſels, and ſtaid eight or ten days, ſo that when the king had given us his firſt papers the Saturday following, no return could be made to them through their abſence, till Wedneſday or Thurſday of the following week. We found the king of a courteous and tractable like diſpoſition, which made ſome of us ſuſpect that if all had dealt alike earneſtly, eſpecially Lothian and Libbertoun, who moſt frequently and privately reſorted to the court, but moſt of all Libbertoun, that the king at the firſt had granted all our deſires fully. The reaſon why we thus ſuſpected, was, theſe of our number in debating in our meetings agreed that he ſhould not be ſo much preſſed in them: alleging frequently that commiſſioners had always power to manage their inſtructions, and that we ought not for ſuch things to break off the treaty, and undo the king and his buſineſs. None of us three, miniſters ever went to the king alone, but often all together, or at least two of us. We went ſeldom, but whenever we went, we had acceſs and liberty to stay, and ſpeak ſo long as we pleaſed. We oft urged that if the king had any ſcruples againſt the covenant, or any of the parts of uniformity, or deſires of the treaty, that he would impart them to us: but he never propounded any ſuch thing to us. One time I lying ſick of the megrum, the other two having been with him reported to me, that having entred into a kind of diſpute with him about epiſcopacy and ceremonies; they found that he had been poiſoned in his principles by thoſe that had been with him; denying that the Scriptures were a perfect rule in theſe things controverted; and enquiring how people knew it was the word of God, but by the teſtimony of the church?
All the while of the treaty at Breda, he continued the uſe of the ſervice-book, and of his chaplains, and many nights there was balling and dancing ſometimes till near day. At the beginning of the treaty it was reported to us by Libbertoun, that a gentleman had come to the king from Paris, being ſent by his mother, deſiring that by all means he would cloſe with the Scots, otherwiſe ſhe was reſolved never to come out of that cloiſter, through the gate whereof ſhe then ſpoke to the gentleman. And all the while it was ſo looked upon, that there were two factions at court, the one (the Queen’s faction) was for the cloſe of the treaty; the other, called prince Rupert's, wherein was alſo the queen of Bohemia his mother, and James Graham, were ſuppoſed to be againſt the treaty. All theſe things made me always ſuſpect there would be no bleſsing on the treaty, and many a time Mr. Hutchiſon and I whoſe chambers joined cloſe to one another, would confeſs one to the other, that we were glad when the treaty was like to break up, and fad when there was appearance of cloſing it. It was found thereafter, that in the very time of the treaty, James Graham by commiſſion from the king, invaded Scotland with an army; who being defeated, his commiſſion was found, himſelf brought to Edinburgh, and hanged. It was an omiſſion, that we who were commiſſioners for the kirk, ſeldom ever met in a meeting ſeverally, for proſecuting of our inſtructions, but ſatisfied ourſelves with drawing up, and giving in our papers, from the State papers, and with joining with the meetings of the commiſſioners of the State, when they met. I was diſſatisfied with the whole management of the treaty, for first it ſeemed rather like a merchant’s bargain of prigging ſomewhat higher or lower, than ingenuous dealing; and fo far as could be diſcerned, the king granted nothing, but what he was in a ſort compelled to; and which, if he had had his full freedom, he would not willingly have granted, which poſſibly was rather the fault of thoſe that were about him, than his own. 2dly, The prince of Orange, and one Mr. M'dowal who were employed by the king, were ſometimes ſpoken with: But Lauderdale, who had done no good offices to Scotland before, whether brought in, or coming of himſelf, was preſent at ſome of our meetings and debates, and papers and reſolutions were communicated ſometimes to him, and to duke Hamiltoun. 3dly, The king in his demands, the granting whereof he deſired to be previous to all his conceſſions, required ſome things, which altho’ they were not directly granted, yet diſcovered his purpoſe and inclination, as that there ſhould be an union of all for promoting his intereſt. And altho’ the demand did not mention the Iriſh rebels and James Graham, yet, if it had been granted, it would have included them, 4thly, Some of the king’s demands, as that about the engagers, and that about the enſuring the proſecuting of the king’s intereſt in England, the commiſſioners tho’ not inſtructed to anſwer theſe, yet adventured to go a good length in giving afſſurance for and ſaid, for the firſt they had an act of parliament for their warrant, altho’ it was replied, that not acts of parliament, but their ſpecial inſtructions were the bounding of their commiſſion, and that ſame act of parliament did not fully warrant what they granted. 5thly, In ſome debates, when they were for granting things which were not in their inſtructions, it was many a time by them alleged, that they had private inſtructions, yet when at laſt ſome deſired a ſight of them, it was confeſſed they had none. Only ſome words had been ſpoken by ſome prime men in private conference. 6thly, In the king’s commiſſions, which by the parliament’s instructions, ſhould have preceeded any invitation, ſome material things were left out, yet they proceeded to cloſe the treaty, and to invite, and ſome debated that the want of theſe things ſhould not hinder the cloſing thereof. Altho’ thereafter when the cloſed treaty was ſent home, the parliament by their ſecond inſtructions, which were no other but the renewing of the firſt, declared that they did not approve the treaty without theſe. 7thly When ſome urged that the parliament of Scotland, would not find themſelves obliged to the treaty, if things were agreed to beſide, or beyond the inſtructions; ’twas replied by ſome of the commiſſioners, that they had heads, and eſtates to loſe, and that the parliament might call them to an account for what they did, but both the parliament and kingdom of Scotland, would be bound to all that they had done in their name. All theſe things I was diſſatisfied with, and in my own blunt way, declared the ſame, as I had occaſion to ſpeak; but had not the ability or hardineſs to debate and argue any of theſe things. There was no great haſte made the firſt three or four weeks of the treaty, but when it came towards the fortieth day, it was much urged by ſome of the commiſſioners, that by any means the treaty ſhould come to agreement, before that day were paſt:, and when it came to the laſt: day that the invitation to the king was drawn up and to be ſubſcribed, they firſt enquired the opinion of us three miniſters, becauſe we could not have a vote among themſelves, who were commiſſioners the State: When my opinion was aſked, "I told that as I conceived, altho’ a State or their commiſſioners ſhould agree with a king, upon terms diſadvantageous to religion and liberty, a miniſter might well ſhow his mind, but if they went on, it was not a minister’s part to oppoſe the ſame; but ſubmit himſelf to the government, although not rightly conſtituted, and deſired them to do according as, they found themſelves warranted in their commiſſion and inſtructions," I am ſince convinced, that I might have dealt more freely, and ſhewed them, that I thought their proceedings were not conſonant to their inſtructions, and that the honeſt party in Scotland, would not be ſatisified with them; and that so far as I could diſceern, there was no appearance of a bleſſing from God upon the treaty: but partly I ſaw ſuch a torrent in carrying, on that buſineſs, partly I ſomewhat doubted thy own judgment, and partly my weakneſs of nature made me neglect that duty.
After this Mr. James Dalrymple ſecretary to the commiſſioners, was ſent home to Scotland with the cloſed treaty. I thought to have written home my ſenſe of the whole buſineſs, but partly we were ſtrictly forbidden by the commiſſioners, to divulge any thing of the treaty, or write anything of it; and partly I had obſerved Mr. Dalrymple a little too forward, for that ſame way of cloſing the treaty. Altho’ great hade was made to cloſe the treaty, yet after it was ended, we perceived no great haſte of going to Scotland.
The Saturday before the king left Breda, to come to Scotland, we got notice about three or four of the clock in the afternoon, that he was about to communicate kneeling the morrow after. We dial were commiſſioners for the church, prepared a paper and preſented it to him, and both in the paper and by ſpeech, ſhewed the ſin of ſo doing, and that it would provoke God to blaſt all his deſigns, and what inconveniency it might bring on his buſineſs, and confirmation to all enemies, and what ſcandal to ſuch as were honeſt, and how it was againſt that which he had granted in his conceſſions, and would confirm ſome to think, that the was but dallying with God and with us; we left him to think upon it till after ſupper, but when we went to him, we found him tenaciouſiy reſolute to continue his purpoſe. He ſaid, "His father uſed always to communicate at Chriſtmaſs,, Eaſter, and Whitſunday, and he behoved to do ſo likewiſe, and that people would think ſtrange of him, if having reſolved to communicate he ſhould forbear it, and that he did it to procure a bleſsing from God on his intended voyage." We ſhewed him that we feared the Lord ſhould indeed declare whether he approved that his way or not; and earneſtly preſſed he would forbear, ſeeing altho’ the action were never ſo lawful, he might upon ſome conſiderations forbear it; but we could not prevail. He did communicate kneeling, and beſides ſome diſorder committed by the chaplain, Bramble, who was once pretended Biſhop of Derry, and did give the bleſſing after the action. It was abundantly known to all the commiſſioners, that moſt of all the malignants and evil inſtruments about the king were intending to go to Scotland with him; yet no effectual courſe was taken to debarr them, altho’ it was one of the inſtrudtions to urge the ſame.
On Saturday thereafter when all the commiſſioners were aboard, except Caſſils and Lothian, who were with the king at Unſlidyke, the new letters and inſtructions from the parliament and commiſſion of the kirk, were brought, wherein they declared their diſſatisfaction with the treaty; and ſuch other things to be obtained; and declared the treaty otherways to be null and void, and the perſons names were ſet down who ſhould be left in Holland. Theſe came to the two lords, and being read by them, and, as ſome ſay, ſhown to Hamiltoun and Lauderdale, who were expreſly by theſe inſtructions forbidden to come to Scotland, were ſent aboard to us. How welcome theſe were to ſome of us is not eaſy to expreſs; others, as particularly Libbertoun, were not ſo well ſatisfied with them, but preſently we took boat to go aſhore, with reſolution not to come aboard till we had obtained ſatisfaction to the parliament. The wind did not fuller us to go aſhore at Torbay, which was the next way to Unslidyke, but put us to Savelin, where landing about midnight, and not being able to go in waggons to Torbay, the ſea being full, we ſent two on foot to Torbay to meet the lords, if they ſhould come thither before we came at them, to deſire them not to go aboard, till we ſhould come to them. For we were afraid that after theſe letters, (altho’ the wind was contrary) both the king and lords, and the malignants, who ſhould have ſtaid behind, ſhould make haſte to go aboard before any more treaty. We ourſelves behoved to go about by the Hague, and rode all night, and coming to Unslidyke about break of day, or a little after, found that the king and all were gone. We followed ſo faſt as we could to Torbay, but all were gone aboard; the two that we had ſent met the lords, and ſpoke as we had deſired them; but they ſaid Lothian would needs go aboard with the king, and drew Caſſils along with him. When we were ſtanding amaſed on the ſhore, one Mr. Webſter of Amſterdam comes to go aboard, and warn the king, that the parliament of England had twenty two ſhips at ſea to wait for him. He going aboard in a boat, Libbertoun without more ado, runs to the boat to go aboard to the reſt, and after him Sir John Smith upon his call, in the ſame boat. Brody, Mr. Jaffray, and we three miniſters ſtaid. Some of us may ſay, we never ſaw a heavier day than that Sabbath was. After prayer together and apart, when we were conſulting what to do, Mr. James Wood’s opinion was to go aboard; ſaying that it was a pity that the king and my lord Caſſils ſhould be there and none to preach to them. Brody, and Alexander Jaffray ſaid, it were to have been wiſhed that they had ſtaid aſhore, but now as matters ſtood, it was beſt to go aboard and diſcharge their truth, in the laſt inſtructions from the parliament; Mr. George Hutchiſon inclined to the ſame. For my part I told, I had no light, nor inclination to go aboard: I thought both in regard of the profane malignant company, and in regard how matters ſtood in the treaty, we were taking along the plague of God to Scotland, and I ſhould not deſire to go along, but would go back to Rotterdam, and come with the firſt conveniency. Here at Mr. Hutchiſon ſaid he would go back with me, and not let it be ſaid, that I was left alone in a ſtrange country. I urged him, that ſeeing his light ſerved him to go aboard, he would not draw back from it for me. As for me, I had Edward Gilleſpie, who brought us the parliament’s letters, and John Don, and my brother Andrew ſtevenſon to go along with. He perſiſted that he would go with me, yet thereby my mind would not incline to go aboard. By this time a boat comes from the king’s ſhip, and letters from the two lords, deſiring us, as we would not marr the buſineſs of the king and kingdom, to come aboard: yet for all this my mind was bent for Roterdam. At laſt Brody, and Mr. Hutchiſon propounded, that I ſhould only go to the ſhip ſide, and there the reſt ſhould come down to the boat, that we might ſpeak a little of our buſineſs, and I ſhould take my leave of them, and come aſhore again in the ſame boat: to this, altho’ unwillingly, I did agree. When the boat was come to the ſhip ſide, and the reſt gone up, ſtaid in the boat looking they ſhould come down; but Caſſil and Mr. Hutchiſon came and called me up, ſaying, it would be unſeemly for commiſſioners of the kingdom of Scotland, in ſight of ſo many onlookers, to come to an open boat to ſpeak to any buſineſs, and deſired that I would only come a little to the gunner-room and ſpeak with them, and the boat ſhould be ſtaid till I ſhould go back. I went up and deſired a young man that was with me to wait that the boat ſhould not go away. But within a little while he comes and tells, that the boat was gone and under ſail. Whether this was done of purpoſe, men making a mock of peeviſhneſs and folly as they thought, or otherwiſe, I will not determine; I but I looked upon my ſelf as in little other condition than a priſoner. That night when they were conſulting what to do in reference to their laſt inſtructions, Lothian and Libberton were of the mind, that no application ſhould be made to the king about theſe late inſtructions, till they arrived in Scotland, ſaying, that if they did, it would provoke the king to take ſome other courſe, and not go to Scotland at all. The next day, I not being well, and having but very ill accommodation in that ſhip wherein the king was, Mr. Jeffrey and I went aboard another ſhip, called the Sun of Amsterdam, where we ſtaid for ſeveral days, till we were again called aboard the king’s ſhip, and conſultation had what to do in reference to the new inſtructions. If it had not been that Sir John Smith, who uſed not before in his vote to differ from Lothian, and Libberton, had given his vote for applications, there had none been made before we had come to Scotland; but he and Brody, and Mr. Jeffrey, being for applications, 'twas carried by one vote; and ſo papers were prepared and given to the king, who by his next papers deſired to know whether the commiſſioners would ſtand to their firſt agreement, and give him aſſurance of honour, ſafety and freedom in Scotland, as they had done before. When much debate to and again had been uſed for many days, and at laſt papers had been prepared by commiſſioners both of State and Church for exoneration, and in ſhort giving up the treaty, and when there was no appearance of ſatisfaction, but rather of the contrary, all of a ſudden, on tire Friday before we came aſhore in Scotland, Libberton comes from the king, and tells, that the king was ready to ſwear and ſubſcribe the covenant. This was ſuſpicious like to ſome of us, efpecially ſeeing ſome other things which ſhould have been granted before that, were not then agreed to, and that the parliament in theſe laſt inſtructions, had not deſired the king’s ſubſcribing and ſwearing the covenant, but an obligation to do it. But theſe other things were afterwards granted that day. And becauſe ere we came out of Scotland, it was deſired, that if the king could be moved to ſwear the covenant in Holland, it ſhould be ſo done, the commiſſioners reſolved that they would accept of his ſwearing and ſubſcription. It was laid on me to preach the next Sabbath when he ſhould ſwear it, and to read the national covenant and ſolemn league, and take his oath; the which day alſo we came to an anchor at the mouth of the Spey. I would gladly have put it off till we had been in Scotland, or that ſome of the other two miniſters ſhould preach, but all the reſt preſſed moſt earneſtly, urging what a great ſcandal it would be; and how far honeſt men would be diſſatisfied, if the king’s offer of ſwearing the covenant ſhould be rejected. According to my ſoftneſs and ſillineſs of diſpoſition, I was moved to agree.
On the Sabbath morning before we met for ſermon, ſome told me that the king was minded to ſpeak ſome words when he ſwore the covenant, that what he did ſhould not import any infringing of the laws of the kingdom of England; In that way he ſaid, he behoved to prevent the ſtumbling his Engliſh ſubjects, becauſe in the declaration annexed to the covenant which he was to ſwear, he bound himſelf to confirm acts, bills or ordinances of the parliament of England, ratifying the ſolemn league and covenant; which acts and ordinances were expired with the late king. I went to the reſt of the commiſſioners and told them; and we all went to the king and told him, that we could not receive his oath, if he added any thing to the words that were to be read, that would declare the oath no oath. He preſſed much and long that he behoved to do it; ſo that I began to be hopeful his ſwearing might be put off for that day. At laſt he ſaid, he would forbear to ſpeak theſe words. Yet I urged, that ſeeing both he and we were in ſome heat and diſtemper by that diſpute, that his ſwearing might be forborn till another day; but both he and the commiſſioners preſſed, that it ſhould not be delayed. For the outward part of ſwearing and ſubſcribing the covenant, the king performed any thing that could have been required; but it ſeems to have been the guilt not of the commiſſioners only, but of the whole kingdom, of the State, yea, of the Church, who knew the terms whereupon the State was to admit him to his government, yet without any evidence of a real change upon his heart; and without forſaking former principles, counſels and company; yea when, as ſome ſay, letters found among James Graham's papers did evidence the contrary, yet they proceeded to admit him to the exerciſe of his government; whereas by the laſt inſtructions by the parliament, which came to the commiſſioners hands in Holland, ere the king and they came aboard, ten or twelve perſons expreſly named ſhould not have come home, yet all theſt perſons except two or three who were not preſent, did come along to Scotland. Neither did the commiſſioners of the State make any application to the king, by a ſubſcribed paper about, that article of their inſtructions, till two days after he was landed in Scotland at the Bogue of Geigh, at which time they were all in the country; and at this time did Caſſils to my obſervation, give ſome evidence of declining; for from the very time that theſe laſt inſtructions came, he did always declare himſelf diſatisfied, that the parliament ſhould have controuled any thing of their proceedings in the treaty, till they had been preſent to anſwer for themſelves. After we had landed I drew behind, and left the king and the court, and never did ſee him again but one blink in Dundee as I was coming homeward. After we were come to Edinburgh the general aſſembly being ſitting, and Mr. Hutchiſon and I being deſired to make relation to the aſſembly, of the proceedings of the treaty, we firſt committed what we had drawn up to ſome miniſters in private, and told them of the king’s kneeling at the communion, and of the paper which we had given him thereabout, and ſome of thoſe things above mention’d; but they deſired us to forbear the mentioning of that paper in the aſſembly, or any thing that might tend to make the king or his way odious, in the entry of his government; and we at their deſire did forbear.
The while I was in Holland, my wife riding by the miln of Nether Ancrum, through the unſkilfulneſs of the ſervant that rode before her, fell in the miln-dam, and was carried down the troughs, till with her body ſhe ſtopped the outer wheel then faſt going. Providence ſo ordered, that the wheel wanting one of the awes, and juſt over-againſt that part of the wheel which wanted thſt piece of timber, her body was drawn down and ſo ſtopped the going of the miln, and continued in that caſe, the water ſtill falling about her, till a gentleman who ſaw her, and was about half a quarter of a mile diſtant, came running, and cauſed the people to go within the miln, and turn the outer wheel back, and ſo got her out and carried her home. She was all bruiſed, and on the third day a ſore fever ſeized her, yet it pleaſed the Lord that ſhe recovered, and wrote to me to Holland, that ſhe thought ſhe was therein an emblem of what our treaty was like to bring on the church and land. When I took my leave of the king at Dundee, I being alone with him, begged liberty to uſe ſome freedom with him, which he granted; after I had ſpoken fome things about his carriage, I propounded, that he ſaw the Engliſh army, animated by many victories, for his ſake coming in upon Scotland, which at preſent was in a very low condition, and therefore that he might with his council deviſe ſome way to divert the preſent ſtroke, by a declaration or ſome ſuch way, wherein he, needed not quit or weaken his right to the crown of England; only how that for the preſent, he was not to proſecute his title by the ſword, but wait till their confuſions being evaniſhred, they were in better caſe to be governed, and till he were called by the people there; which I was confident a ſhort while’s good government in Scotland would eaſily produce. He was not pleaſed to reliſh the motion, and ſaid, he hoped I would not wiſh him to ſell his father’s blood. By that and ſome other paſſages of my life I gathered, that either I was not called to meddle in any public State matters, or that my meddling ſhould have but ſmall ſucceſs; for in the year 1654. when I was in London, I propounded to the lord protector, that he would take off the heavy fines, which they had laid on ſeveral in Scotland; which neither they were able to pay, and the payment would alienate their minds the more; He ſeemed to like the overture; but when he had ſpoken with his council, many of them being to have a ſhare in theſe fines, they went on in their purpoſe.
The general aſſembly appointed ſome miniſters, and among them me alſo, to wait on the army, and the committee of eſtates that reſided with the army; But the apprehenſion and fear of what enſued, made that I had no freedom to go thither, and ſo went home, till we got the ſad news of the defeat at Dumbar. After that I got alſo letters from them that were in Dumfries, who were upon the ſide of the remonſtrance, to come and join with them; but I had not clearneſs to go. Some while after I went to Stirling, to thy commiſſion of the kirk; and there in a great meeting declared how ſenfible I was, that being over-ruled by ſome others, had not made a perfect narration of the treaty in the general aſſembly. The Winter after the defeat of Dumbar, I ſtaid at home, as did moſt of the miniſters and gentry of the South, and ſo were in a far better condition than thoſe of ſome other parts, where the miniſters and gentry went to the North-side of Forth; for the Engliſh army deſtroyed almoſt all that they left. Sometimes ſome of the Engliſh quartered in my houſe, but neither many nor long. While they ſtaid, I did neither eat nor drink with any of them, nor hardly ſpoke with them, nor ever went on buſineſs to any of their officers. Yea, when general Cromwel wrote to me from Edinburgh, to come and ſpeak to him, I excuſed myſelf.
That Winter the unhappy buſineſs fell out about the public reſolutions. My light carried me to join with them that proteſted againſt theſe reſolutions, and the aſſembly that followed thereafter: and I was preſent at the firſt meeting of ſome of the proteſters in the Weſt at Kilmarnock, thereafter at ſeveral of their meetings; but indeed I was not ſatisfied in my mind, that the proteſters kept ſo many meetings, ſo numerous, and of ſo long continuance, which I thought made the diviſion wider, and more conſpicuous than otherwise it would have been, and therefore I ſtaid from many meetings
About two or three years after the Engliſh had in a manner ſubdued the land, there began ſome reviving of the work of God in the land. In ſeveral parts ſundry were brought in by the miniſtry of the word; amongſt which there were ſome alſo in the pariſh of Ancrum, and other parts of the South. In Tiviotdale and the Merſe, communions were very lively and much frequented. We had ſeveral monthly meetings in theſe two ſhires. The miniſters in that country with whom I kept moſt correſpondence, were in Jedburgh presbytery where I lived, Meſſrs. James Ker at Abotrule, John Scot at Oxnam, and my ſon-in-law John Scot at Harwick. In other presbyteries, Meffrs. James Guthrie at Lauder (who thereafter went to Stirling) Thomas Donaldſon at Smellom, John Veitch at Weſtruther, James Kirkton at Merton, William Elliot at Yarow, John Sumervail at Ednam, Samuel Row at Sprouston, Edward Jamiſon at Swinton, David Douglas at Hilton, James Tweedie at Culdon, Thomas Ramſay at Mordington, Luke Ogle at Berwick. The gentlemen in that country with whom I converſed moſt, were, Sir Andrew Ker of Greenhead, Sir William Scot of Harden, Sir Gideon Scot of Haycheſter, Sir Walter Riddel of That Ilk, and his ſon; Walter Pringle of Greenknow, George Pringle of Torwoodlie, Alexander Pringle of Whitebank; and their ladies alſo. As alſo the lady Stobs, the lady Newton, and Mrs. Elliot of Craigend. All theſe I looked upon as well affected perſons, and have been often well refreſhed at exerciſe in their houſes, and at communions where ſome of them had intereſt, and at communions with ſeveral of the miniſters before-mentioned, all within the province of Merſe and Tiviotdale, and at Borthwick, Ormiſton, Whitekirk, and Innerwick, within the province of Edinburgh.
A motion being made at one communion, about chriſtians honouring God with their ſubliance, the gentlemen above named, together with moſt of the miniſters before-mentioned , and ſome few other profeſſors, agreed among themſelves, and ſubſcribed to give a certain portion yearly, which came in all to 50 Lib.ſter. a year, and was employed only upon diſtreſſed chriſtians, and breeding of hopeful, youth in learning.
In Summer 1654. Mr. Patrick Gilleſpie, Mr. John Menzies and I, were called by letters from the Protestor to come to London: I went becauſe he had the preſent power over the land, and I hoped we might procure ſome good to Scotland. I went the rather, becauſe at that time, the Moſs-troopers were in the night-time ſeeking for me at my houſe, and I was not like to be long in ſafety; but being at London, I found no great advantage, ſo I left the other two there, and came home. After that the pariſh of Killinchie in Ireland where I had formerly been, ſent a commiſſioner once and again, with a call to me to return to them. If I could have obtained fair looſing, my mind inclined ſomewhat to have gone, becauſe of the preſent diſtractions in Scotland, and becauſe that I thought Ireland had more need, and more appearance of ſucceſs; but many a time both before and after, I found that things I inclined to were diſappointed, and fell better out another way. The ſynod of Merſe and Tiviotdale refuſed to looſe me, and live or ſix miniſters in other parts, on whoſe judgments I relied, diſſwaded me; only they adviſed me that I ſhould firſt make a viſit to Ireland; therefore in Summer 1656. I went over; and our friends in Tiviotdale put themſelves to the trouble, to ſend collonel Ker, and Mr. John Scot of Oxnam along, to ſee the caſe of Ireland. When I came I could not get preaching in Killinchie my way as in former times, and that I took as a declaration of the Lord’s mind, that I ſhould not go to ſettle there; yea, I did not find above two or three families, nor above ten or twelve perſons that had been in that pariſh when I was there. So great a change had the rebellion and devaſtation brought, and that all almoſt were new inhabitants. I preached in ſeveral parts, and at ſome communions, and was at a great meeting of their presbytery in the North, which was more like a ſynod; where were 30 or 36 miniſters, and ruling elders from 60 or 80 pariſhes, and that presbytery was divided in three ſeveral committees, that met apart in three ſeveral parts of the country. One of theſe committees had 20 or 24 vacant pariſhes, which they ſupplied ſending two or three miniſters at once to viſit for two or three months, and after that others by turns. The chief of thefe miniſters that I was acquainted with, were, Meſſrs. John Greg miniſter at Newtoun, Andrew Stuart at Donochadee, William Richardſon at Killileach, Andrew MacCormick at Macheraly, John Dryſdale at Portofery, Thomas Peebles at Dundonald, Patrick Adair at Carncaſtle, Thomas Hall at Loughlern, Robert Cunningham at Brodiſland, Andrew Kennedy at Temple-patrick, Thomas Crawford at Dunagore, David Battle at Balemanoch, John Douglaſs at Braid, Samuel Ker at Bellemonie, Jeremiah Oquein at———Gabriel Cornwel, William Semple at Kilcoum, Hugh Cunningham at Ray, William Moorcraft at Newtoun-Stuart. Afterwards ſome more miniſters were placed in the North of Ireland, ſo that in all they were above 60, and Killinchie was well provided by Mr. Michael Bruce. As I returned I ſtaid ſome few days to ſee friends in Galloway, amongſt whom I had dwelt before. I was at a communion at Stranrawer, and another at Air, before I came home. During my abode in Ireland, being occaſionally at Dublin, the council there urged me to accept a charge in Dublin, and offered me 200 Lib.ſter. a year, but that was to me no temptation, ſeeing I was not looſed from Ancrum, and if I had been, I was reſolved rather to ſettle at Killinchie, among the Scots in the North, than any where elſe.
When in Summer 1660. the word came of the king’s being called home, I clearly foreſaw there would enſue an overturning of the whole work of reformation, and a trial to all who would adhere thereunto. In the year 1662. after the parliament and council had by proclamations, ordered all miniſters who had come in ſince the year 1649. and had not kept the 29th of May as a holiday, either to acknowledge the prelates or remove, I might well foreſee a ſtorm was coming. At the laſt communion we had at Ancrum on the 12 of October, and which was more frequent than any before; after ſermon on the Monday it pleaſed the Lord, I got my mouth opened in a reaſonable large diſcourſe, about the grounds and encouragements to ſuffering, for the preſent controverſy of the kingdom of Chriſt, in the appointing of the government of his houſe and in a manner took my leave, altho’ I knew nothing of what was then in hand, and followed ſhortly after; but on the 20 of November, I got letters from ſome friends in Edinburgh, that upon the 18 of that month, the council had ordained 12 or 16 miniſters to be brought before them, whereof I was one; I went preſently to Edinburgh, and kept myſelf cloſe for ſome days, till I ſhould in a private way ſearch and get ſome notice what they were minded I to do for if they ſhould only proceed to baniſhment, as they had the year before done to Mr. Macward and Mr. Simpſon, I was reſolved to appear, altho’ the citation had not come to me; but if that I found that they were upon ſuch a deſign as againſt Mr. Guthrie, that my life were in danger, I was minded to lurk, and not to appear, ſeeing I was not cited nor apprehended. But finding their ſentences would be only baniſhment, and Mr. Trail having got that ſentence on the 9th of December, being called before the council, I did on the 11th of December appear.
I have in another paper ſet down what paſt when I was before the council;  the ſum of all came to this, They required me to ſubſcribe the oath which they called the oath of allegiance, wherein the king was to be acknowledged ſupreme governour over all perſons, and in all cauſes both civil and ecclefiaflic. This I know well was contrived by them, in ſo general, ambiguous and comprehenſive terms, that it might import the receding from the covenant for reformation, and the owning as lawful the bringing in of the Biſhops. And the Summer before, when ſome miniſters of the Weſt had given in their ſenſe, that they would acknowledge the king ſupreme civil governour, even in eccleſiaſtic matters, that ſenſe was rejected. Therefore I refuſed to take ſome time to adviſe about the matter, as ſome who had been before them had done. This I thought would import that I was not fully clear, nor reſolved in the matter, and would both render myſelf obnoxious to many temptations, and offend and weaken many others: Therefore I told, I needed not take time, ſeeing I was abundantly, clear, that I could not take that oath. This made them the ſharper againſt me: They pronounced the ſentence of baniſhment. That within 48 hours, I ſhould depart Edinburgh, and go to the North-side of Tay, and within two months depart out of all the king’s dominions. The while was in the outer-houſe before the council-houſe door, being removed till the council adviſed about my ſentence; there being preſent ſeveral of my friends, and a great many other people, one James Wallace came to me, who once had been a profeſſor, and thereafter had turned an antinomian, whoſe renouncing of antinomianiſm, I got from Mr. William Struthers of Edinburgh, and have yet by me, and who alſo turned again to the ſame opinion and practices, and when I was in Killinchie in Ireland, he going through the country came thither, and on a Sabbath when we had the communion, I perceived him ſitting at the table, and ſent an elder to remove him becauſe of his ſcandal: This man being one of the Macers, began a diſeourſe to another Macer, railing on them that would not in all things give obedience to the king’s commandment. After I had been long ſilent, all l ſaid at laſt was, The king's commandment was, ſaying, anſwer him not. This I perceived enraged him the more.
After two days, having taken leave of my friends in Edinburgh, I went to Leith, and thereafter upon petition, in regard of my age and infirmity, I obtained liberty to ſtay in Leith till I ſhould remove. I petitioned but for a few days to go home to ſee my wife and children, but it was refuſed; I alſo petitioned once and again for an extract of my ſentence; but could not obtain it. During my ſtay in Leith, I was every day almoſt through the whole day viſited by ſome friends out of Edinburgh, and ſome other parts of the country. A roll of theſe that viſited me, I have ſet down in another paper apart. In that time through cold, I took a pain and weakneſs in my loins, that for ſundry days, I was not able to ſtep, or put on or off my own clothes, yet in a month’s time it departed. I had taken the like before in Summer 1661. in Edinburgh, that kept me longer, ſo as I was forced to be taken homein a sedan, and for ſeveral Sabbaths was carried to the church in a chair. I was many a time in Leith well refreſhed in conference and prayer with thoſe that came to viſit me, and had the company of very many friends when I went aboard.
At laſt in April 1663. I went aboard old John Allan's ſhip, and in eight days came to Rotterdam. When I arrived there, I found before me the reſt of the baniſhed miniſters, viz, Meſſrs. Robert Trail miniſter at Edinburgh, John Nevy at Newmilns, Robert Macward at Glasgow, James Simpſon at Airth, John Brown at Wamphray, and James Gardiner at Saddle. Here I got frequent occaſion of preaching in the Scots congregation. In December 1663. my wife came to me and brought two of the children, the other five were left in Scotland. Hitherto I can ſay during my abode in Rotterdam, I have been in my body as free of pain and ſicknefs, and in my mind as free of anxiety, as ever I have been all my life during ſo long time, and I make account that my lot is a great deal eaſier, than that of many that are at home.
Now when I look back upon the whole, I find, that the Lord hath given me a body not very ſtrong, and yet not weak. I have ſometimes continued reaſonable long riding, both journey and poſt without great wearying. I hardly remember that I wearied in reading and ſtudying, altho' I have continued ſome ſeven or eight hours without riſing, I have had my ſtomach as well after reading a whole day, as after riding or any other exerciſe. Since I began to preach I hardly ever uſed any bodily recreation or ſport, except walking, nor had I need of any other. There was only two recreations I was in danger to be taken with. The one I had not the occaſion of but ſome five or ſix times, and that about 40 years ago. It was hunting on horſe-back, but I found it very bewitching. The other was ſinging in conſort of muſick, wherein I had ſome little ſkill and took great delight, but it is 36 years ago ſince I uſed it. I had twice a hot fever, once in the ſchool of Stirling, and again Anno 1622. in Lanerk. From 14 years of age till 40, I had ſeveral fits of the gravel, but hardly ever took it, but when ſome outward evident cauſe brought it on, ſuch as, faſting, watching, wetneſs and cold in my feet, or immoderate ſtudy. I was of a wateriſh conſtitution, and ſometimes troubled with the tooth-ach. I thought the uſe of tobacco helped me. Twice through cold, I had ſuch a pain in the lower part of my back, as I could hardly ſtir, once in Edinburgh, and again in Leith. I was always ſhort-ſighted, and could not well diſcern any thing afar off, but hitherto have found no need of ſpetacles, and can read as long at ſmall print, with as little light, and with as little wearying as almoſt any other. My inclination and diſpofition was generally ſoft, amorous, averſe from debates, rather given to laſineſs than raſhneſs , and eaſy to be wrought upon. I cannot ſay what Luther affirmed of himſelf concerning covetouſneſs, but I may ſay I have been leſs troubled with covetousness and cares than many other evils. I rather inclined to ſolitarineſs than company. I was much troubled with wandering of mind and idle thoughts. For outward things I never was rich, and I never was in want, and I do not remember that ever I borrowed money, but once in Ireland 5 or 6 Lib.ſterl. and got it shortly paid. I chooſed rather to want ſundry things than to be in debt. I never put any thing to the fore of any maintainance had, yea, if it had not been for what I got with my wife, and by the death of her brother, and ſome others of her friends, I could hardly have maintained my family, by any ſtipend I had in all the three places I was in.
As for my fpiritual condition, I cannot deny, but ſometimes both in public and private, I have found the Lord work upon, my heart, and give confirmations of kindneſs and engagements to his ſervice; but I do not remember any particular time of converſion, or that I was much caſt down or lifted up. I do remember one night in the Dean of Kilmarnock, having been moſt: of the day before in company with ſome of the people of Stuartoun, who were under rare and ſad exerciſes of mind, I lay down ſome heavineſs that I never had experience of any ſuch thing. That night in the midſt of my deep, there came upon me ſuch a terror of the wrath of God, that if it had increaſed a ſmall degree higher, or continued a minute longer, I had been in as dreadful a condition as ever living man was in, but it was inſtantly removed, and I thought it was laid to me within my heart, See what a fool thou art to defire the thing thou couldſt not endure. And that which I thought ſtrange was, that neither the horror nor the caſe out of it wakened me out of my deep, but I slept till the morning, only the impreſſion of it remained freſh with me for a reſonable time thereafter. As concerning my gift of preaching, I never attained to any accuracy therein, and through laſineſs I did not much endeavour in I uſed ordinarily to write ſome few notes, and left the enlargement to the time of the delivery. I found that much studying did not ſo much help me in preaching, as the getting of my heart brought to a ſpiritual diſpoſition ; yea, ſometimes I thought the hunger of the hearers helped me more than my own preparation. Many a time I found that which was suggeſted to me in the delivery, was more refreſhful to myfelf, and edifying to the hearers, than what I had premeditated. I was often much deferred and cast down in preaching, and ſometimes tolerably assisted. I never preached a ſermon that I would be earnest to ſee again in writ, but two. The one was at a communion on a Monday at the kirk of Shots, and the other on a Monday after a communion in Holywood. And both theſe times I had ſpent the whole night before in conference and prayer, with ſome chriſtians, without any more than ordinary preparation: otherwiſe, my gift was rather suited to ſimple common people, than to learned judicious auditors. I could hardly ever get my own ſermons repeated, neither could I get the ſame ſermon preached twice, althou' to other hearers. I thought it became taſteleſs both to myſelf and others. I have ſometimes after ſome years, preached on the ſame text, but then I behoved to make uſe of new notes. Had I in a right manner believed and taken pains, it had been better for myſelf; but by a laſy truſting to aſſiſtance in the mean time, I kept myſelf bare-handed all my days. I had a kind of coveting when I got leiſure and opportunity to read much, and of different ſubjects; and I was oft challenged, that my way of reading was like ſome mens luſt, after ſuch a kind of play or recreation. I uſed to read much too fast, and ſo was ſomewhat pleaſed in the time, but retained little. My memory was wateriſh and weak, yet had I improved it, I might have had better uſe of it; for after that I came from the college, I did with no great difficulty attain to ſome tolerable inſight in the Hebrew, Chaldee, and ſomewhat alſo of the Syriack: the Arabick I did eſſay, but the vastneſs of it made me give it over. I got alſo ſo much of the French, the Italian, and after that of the low Dutch, that I could make use of ſundry of their books, and of the Spaniſh and high Dutch, that I could make uſe of their bibles.
It was once or twice laid on me by the general aſſembly, to write the hiſtory of the church of Scotland, ſince the late reformation 1638. but beſide my inability for ſuch an undertaking, and my laſy diſpoſition, I could by no means procure the materials fit for ſuch a work.
Now ſince I came to Holland, and ſo had more leiſure than before, when I was deviling how to employ my time to ſome advantage; I remembred that I had ſpent ſome of my former years in the ſtudy of the Hebrew language, and had a great deſire that ſome means might be uſed, that the knowledge of the only true God might be yet more plentifully had, both by miniſters and profeſſors, out of the Original text, and for that cauſe, in as ſmall a volume as might be, the original text of the Bible might be printed in the one column, and the ſeveral vulgar tranſlations thereof, in the other column in ſeveral Bibles. Therefore when I thought what Latin tranſlation would be fit to join with the original text, for a Latin Bible, I found that for the old testament, Junius's verſion varies much from the native phraſe, and order of the Hebrew, and Pagnin's verſion as Montanus hath helped it, comes indeed near the Hebrew; but if printed and read alone, in many places it yields almoſt no ſenſe; therefore I thought Pagnin's own tranſlation, would be fitter to put in a column over againſt the Hebrew, only that it were needful, that in ſeveral places it might be amended out of later and more I accurate tranſlation's. For this cauſe much of my time in Holland I ſpent, in comparing Pagnin's verſion with the original text, and with the later tranſlations, ſuch as Munſter's, the Tigurine, Junius, Diodate, the Engliſh, but eſpecially the Dutch, which is the lateſt and moſt accurate tranſlation; being encouraged therein, and having the approbation of Voetius, Eſſenius, Nethenus and Leuſden; and ſo through the whole old teſtament wrote ſome endations on Pagnin's tranſlation. I alſo took ſome time in going through the Engliſh Bible, and wrote a few diverſe readings, and ſome explanatory notes, and ſome reconciliations of ſeemingly contrary places, to have been inferred either among the marginal readings, or printed in two or three ſheets in the end of the Bible: but the death of worthy John Graham provoſt of Glaſgow, who was ready to have borne moſt of the charges of printing, ſtopped both theſe enterpriſes. Therefore upon a motion from doctor Leuſden, that a printer in Utrecht would print a Latin Bible, having for the Old Teſtament, Pagnin's tranſlation ſo amended, I ſent doctor Leuſden all theſe papers, but as yet have not heard of any thing done.
Now, whether my conſtant ſitting at theſe ſtudies; or one time upon buſineſs walking long to and again through the town, without rendring urine, ſo as at laſt my urine was bloody, or any other former infirmity, or age creeping on may have been the occaſion, I cannot determine; but ſince the year 1667. and thereafter, I have ſuch a conſtant pain in my bladder, eſpecially when I walk, that I have been forced to take a houſe nearer the kirk. Yet neither I nor ſuch phyſicians as I conſult, can be certain whether it be a ſtone, or only a carnoſity in my bladder. Alſo my hand ſhakes ſo, that ſometimes I can hardly write any at all. Otherwiſe, I bleſs the Lord, find hitherto no great defect, either of body or mind.
SOME things were propoſed to have been added to the foregoing life, as firſt a diſcourſe by Mr. Livingſton, on Monday 13th October 1662. after the laſt communion he had at Ancrum, which he mentions with approbation: but the copy having only been taken from his mouth, by the pen of an innacurate amanuenſis, it were injurious to his worthy memory, to tranſcribe the ſame literally; and therefore the Editor prefumes rather to give what he conceives to be the ſubſtance of the ſame, than the copy itſelf.
After signifying his ſtrong expectations that he would be quickly removed from that people, and that he might not get another opportunity to salute them,(which fell out according to his fears) he doth with a great deal of fervour and affection teſtify his love to them, and his prayer that the Lord who bleſseth the feed that is ſown in the ground, might bleſs his labours among them, and make the fruit thereof to appear when he was gone.
Next he read to them Matth.x.32. where Chriſt ſays, Whosoever therefore ſhall confeſs me before men, him will I confeſs alſo before my Father who is in heaven; and there-from had a ſpeech to this effect, "Chriſtianity is nothing elſe now than it was formerly. There are four pillars in it, to ſpeak ſo, A man believeth with the heart, and that bringeth in another, viz. Righteouſneſs: A third, Man confeſſeth with his mouth, and that brings in a fourth, which accompliſheth all, viz. Salvation. There are two main ways whereby Satan prevails over poor creatures, ſometimes he allures, and at other times he terrifies them. There are the luſts of the fleſh, and the love of the world, and of honour; theſe engines hate a kind of enticing quality, and if they fail, he bends up terrors, and maketh them afraid. Now, as an antidote againſt theſe our Lord holds forth the Words which we have read; and, becauſe many are ready to find out ſtrange ways to ſave themſelves, their means and their life, he propones it very sharply, Whoſoever denieth me (ſays he) before men, him will I deny, &c. Now this is the moſt tickliſh point in all divinity, and the rock on which many beat out their brains; Satan way-lays people and enticeth them to deny Jesus Christ, and alas that his influence is so great in the time wherein we live; Some think if it were Jesus Christ, and if it were a fundamental point they were called to confeſs, they would ſtand for it with life and eſtate; but it is thought that Chriſtians now ſtand upon ſome things, that are but fancies and nice ſerupuloſities, and if there be any thing in them, it is but a small matter; and ſhall a man venture his life and all upon a ſmall thing? Well, if they be none of Christ’s small things, let them go; but if they be one of his truths, will ye call that a ſmall thing? His small things are very great things. It might be proven unto you, that there never was a controverſy ſince the beginning of the world, even touching the moſt momentous truths, that was not accounted a ſmall thing, while it was an occaſion of trial; and that the thing which is now become the occaſion of trial to many, is no leſs than the free exerciſe of the kingly and royal office of Jesus Christ, in the diſcipline and government of his houſe. But ſome of you will ſay, This is but a matter of diſcipline and government, and why need we make ſo great ado about this? For ſilencing ſuch objections, let us uſe this compariſon; A gardner is appointed to keep his maſter’s garden, and after a while he calls down the rails and hedges about the ſame: His maſtler challenges him for doing ſo; The other anſwers, I have not meddled with your fruit-trees, your flowers nor your herbs, I have only call down the fences, and that is but a ſmall thing. You poſſibly reckon it ſo, ſays his maſter, but in doing that small thing, you open a gap for the beaſts to come in and ſpoil all. Our bleſsed Lord Jesus was of another mind, when he ſaid. The faithful ſervant is faithful in a little, and if it be a ſmall thing, the ſervant that is faithful in it, doth thereby teſtify his love to his maſter, as much as in a greater matter. Take another ſimilitude; A tenant, in his maſter’s abſence, doth, upon the intreaty of his neighbour tenant, give him a butt or half a ridge of ground: and when, at his maſter’s return, he is challenged for ſuffering the other to change his march-ſtone, he anſwers. It was a ſmall thing. Sir, and ye have ground enough beſides. Would his maſter accept that anſwer off his hand? Satan always ſhapes a trial, and puts it to ſuch a frame he can draw to a ſmall point, and ſet it, as ye uſe to ſay, in aciem novaculi, like a raſor’s edge, that many think there is little between the two; and yet the one ſide is a denying of Christ, and the other a confeſſing him. It may be you that are the people, think the miniſters too peremptory in theſe days, and that we might go on ſome length, that ye and we may abide together; it ſeems (ſay you) that we care little for you, when we will not yield ſomewhat. The Lord knows whether or not we have love to you, and that we could do any thing in our power for your welfare; but we dare not exceed our inſtructions. Take this further ſimilitude; A certain man gets his maſter’s flock to keep, and gets inſtructions to abide by his flock, and not to acknowledge any judicature beyond his border. Sometime after this, he is ſummoned to a foreign court, with certification, if he refuſed to go, they would drive away the flock and ſpoil his maſter’s goods. Now, ſays the man, I am in a ſtrait, If I go, I will betray my maſter’s liberty; and if I go not, the flock will be abuſed: but I remember my maſter gave me aſſurance, that his flock ſhall lack nothing, and ſhall get no hurt. Notwithſtanding, they will have the ſervant to go, and would perſuade him that it were better to acknowledge an unlawful court, and unlawful judges, than expoſe his maſter’s flock to haſard: Nay, faith he, my maſter hath given me aſſurance, that let his flock be driven and poinded as they will, and let them ſtand, as they uſe to ſay, till their chafts fall, yet they ſhall never die for want, and therefore I will let them ſtand to their hazard, rather than betray my truft. But ſay ſome, Why may ye not in ſuch a particular acknowledge the magiſtrate? For anſwer to this, take another ſimilitude; An ambaſſador is ſent from one state to another upon theſe terms: You ſhall in your negooiations carry yourſelf uprightly, according to the inſtructions given you. The prince to whom he is ſent comes to propone to the ambaſſador, that he ſhall acknowledge an eccleſiaſtic officer unknown to him; The ambaſſador anſwers, With your liberty, I muſt firſt adviſe with my Inſtructions, and having done ſo, he ſays, I cannot find ſuch an office in all my inſtructions; I find in the 20th of Matthew, that the princes of the Gentiles exerciſe dominion, but it muſt not be ſo among church-officers, and therefore I dare not go beyond that. To kings and princes we ſhall give their due, and we acknowledge they have a power to rule about eccleſiaſtical things, but then it is not ſpiritual power; for ſuch a power is only competent to Jesus Christ. Would any prince take it well if another ſhould ſay to him, Ye have ſuch and ſuch officers in your houſe, but I will have certain other officers? Or, would the master of a private family take it well, if another ſhould come and appoint him ſervants? Some think ſuch an officer a ſtrengthening of the civil powers greatly, but truly dominion in church-men hath been the greatest enemy that ever civil powers had; and if ye will go upon theſe terms, ye cannot avoid a pope. But you will perhaps ſay. May not miniſters be ſilent? What need have they to endanger their miniſtry, their family, and every thing elſe, by ſpeaking things that they had better forbear? Can they not hold themſelves ſatified with preaching faith and repentance? In ſo far, my friends, you ſay well; Faith and Repentance are very comprehenſive duties; and I confeſs I never delighted to hear a man, the moſt part of whoſe preaching is what they call, on the public, and meddling with State matters: But there are times and ſeaſons wherein a man’s ſilence may bring a curſe upon his head; As ſuppoſe there is a beſieged city, and a watchman with a guard let at the West-port, with a commiſſion to found the trumpet whenever he ſees any danger; according as it is in Nehemiah iv. and in the iii. and xxxiii. chapters of Ezekeil. Well, he ſeeth the enemy coming on; but, inſtead of holding by his inſtructions, he marches all his force to the Eaſt-port, which is the far ſtronger, and where there is no imminent danger; there he ſtands where there is none to oppoſe him, and in the mean time, the ſtation he was placed in, is deſerted, and the enemy comes in as a flood: Juſt ſo is it with the man who will preach only againſt popery, and meddle with no other controverſies; and it may be if popery come along, as indeed we have reaſon to believe it will be the next trial, then he will preach you good moral doctrine. Now, Can the man who believes ſo, be accounted Faithful? or can he look for a glad ſight of Jesus Christ on his death-bed? When his Maſter ſhall ſay, Ha Sir, I know you well enough, ye did ſpeak indeed but never in a miſter; ye did ſpeak, as they uſe to ſay, when none ſpeired at you, ye were ſtout then; but when my cauſe came in hand, and when ye ought to have borne up my banner, ye would not; Therefore get you gone." And having ſo ſaid, he cloſed with prayer.
What befel Mr. Livingſton after this, is recorded by himſelf. It was intended to have given a copy of his examination before the Privy-council, and of his letters to his pariſhioners; but theſe are already in print: and what hath diſpoſed us the rather to omit theſe, is, to make way for the memorable characters given by Mr. Livingſton of the eminent miniſters and profeſſors of his time, which came to hand after propoſing the other. And therefore it ſhall only be further obſerved here. That this eminent miniſter died at Rotterdam, Auguſt 9th, 1672. Some of his laſt words were, "Carry my commendations to Jesus Christ, till I come there myſelf." After a pauſe, he added, "I die in the faith That the truths of God which he hath helped the Church of Scotland to own, shall be owned by him as truths, ſo long as ſun and moon endure: and that Independency, though there be good men and well-meaning profeſſors of that way, will be found more to the prejudice of the work of God than many are aware of, for they evaniſh into vain opinions. I have had my own faults as other men, but he made me always abhor ſhows. I have I know given offence to many, through my ſlackneſs and negligence, but I forgive and deſire to be forgiven. I cannot ſay much of great ſervices, yet if ever my heart was lifted up, it was in preaching Jesus Christ." After a pauſe, for he was not able to fpeak much at a time, he ſaid, "I would not have people to forecaſt the worſt, but there is a dark cloud above the Reformed churches, which prognoſticates a ſtorm coming." His wife fearing what ſhortly followed, deſired him to take leave of his friends; "I dare not," replied he, with an affectionate tenderneſs, "but it is like our parting will only be for a ſhort time." And then he ſlept in the Lord.
Them that ſleep in Jeſus will God bring with him.
- The ſame as Kilſyth.
- See the ſubſtance of that diſcourſe ſubjoined at the end of this life.
- See a copy of this paper in Wodrow's Hiſtory, Vol. I. Page 144.