« PreviousContinue »
greater joy and peace of God's people, they shall see bis work go on and prosper gloriously. In witness of the premises, I have subscribed the same with my hand at Kirkaldy, Dec. 15, 1648, before these witnesses, Mr. F. Carmichael, minister at Markinch, and Mr Alex. Moncrief, minister at Sconie.
Sic Sub.-GEORGE GILLESPIE."* F. CARMICHAEL, A. MONCRIEF,
XIV. ANDREW GRAY.
[It appears that Mr. Gray was born about the year 1634, and being
very early sent to college, was prepared for license by his twentieth year. He, shortly after, was called to be minister of the Outer High Church of Glasgow, where his notable gifts as a preacher 300n procured for him an extensive reputation and a numerous auditory. People from all quarters flocked to hear him, it being their constant emulation who should be most under the refreshing drops of his ministry. He was allowed to continue in his blessed work only for about two years and a half, when it pleased his divine Master to call him bome. It is to be regretted that his last words were not recorded. We
learn, however, what were bis spiritual exercises, and what his concern for the church's prosperity, and what his desire to save souls, from the following letter, addressed by him to lord Warriston, a little before death, and bearing date
February 7th, 1656.] “ My Lord,- It may seem strange, that after so long interruption of intercourse with your lordship by letters, I should at this juncture of time write to you, wherein there seems to be a toleration of tongues, and lusts, and religion, wherein many by their practice say, our tongues are our own. I am afraid, that sad word sball be spoken to Scotland yet seven times more, · That whereas he hath chastised with whips, he will do it by scorpions, and his little finger shall be heavier than his loins in former times. If our judgments that seem to approach, were known, and these terrible things in righteousness, by which he, whose furnace is in Jerusalem, is like to speak to us, were seen and printed on a board, it might make us cry out, · Who shall live when God doth these things, and who can dwell with everlasting burnings ?'
“ He hath broken bis staff of bands, and is threatening to break bis staff of beauty, that his covenant which he hath made with all the people, might not be broken. Is it not to be feared, · That the sword of the justice of God is bathed in heaven, and will come down to make a sacrifice, not in the land of Idumea, or Bozrah, but on these that were once his people, wbo hath broken his everlasting covenant,
• Testimony-bearing Exemplified, pp. 39–44.
and changed his ordinances ? What shall Scotland be called ? Loru. namah and Lo-ammi, who was termed Beulah and Hephzibab, ' A peo. ple delighted in, and married to the Lord.' I think that curse in Zeph. i. 17. is much accomplished in our days, “ They shall walk like blind inen, because they have sinned against the Lord. Does not our car. riage under all these speaking and afflicting dispensations, fighting against God in the furnace, and our dross not departing from us, speak this with our hearts, • That for three transgressions, and for four, he will not turn away the punishment of these covenanted lands ?' And this shall be our blot in all generations this is that Scotland that in its afflictions, sins more and more. It is no wonder then, that we be put to our, · How long, how long wilt thou hide thy face? How long wilt thou forget, O Lord ? O Lord, how shall thy jealousy burn like a fire, and we hear the confused noise of war, and of rumours of war?'
“ Since God has put it, • How long wilt thou go about, O) thou backsliding daughter?' Jer. xxxi. 22. Are ye pot gadding about to change, turning his glory into shame, and loving lying vanities? And there are four How longs that God is put to lament over Scotland, and which are most in Luke ix. 41. · How long shall I be with you, and suffer you?' Is not Christ necessitate to depart, and to make us a land sown with salt and grass in our most frequented congregations ? Ay, believe it, ere it be long, these two words shall be our lot, there is that in Jer. ii. 31. • generation, see the word of the Lord ;' when these that would not hear him in his word, shall see him in his dispensations; when all our threatenings shall be preached to our ears; and that word in Hosea vii. 12. I will chastise them as their congregation hath heard.' O shall poor Scotland serve themselves beirs to the sins of the Gadarenes, to desire Christ to fit out of their coasts, and to subscribe the bill of divorce (in a manner) before Christ subscribe it? It is like, these three sad evidences of affliction that are in Isaiah xlvii. 11. shall come upon us in their perfection.' I shall add no more on a sad subject. *
" My lord, not being able to write to you with my own hand, I have thought fit to present these few thoughts unto you by the hand of a friend.
“I know not, (I will not limit bim) but I may stand within that judgment-hall, where that glorious and spotless high priest doth sit,
• It must be evident to every one at all acquainted with the history of the times, that in the foregoing reflections Mr. Gray alludes to the state of matters in Scotland, produced by the repeal of the act of classes, and more lately, by the toleration of all sects under Cromwell's usurpation. We pretend not to say how far his views on these matters were correct, but only to explain the allusions which he makes to the religious aspect of Scotland at the period in ques. tion. And undoubtedly, to one who regarded presbytery as the most perfect, and indeed, the divinely authorized form of church government, the diversity of principle, and consequently of profession, wbich then prevailed, even amongst the religious; and the laxity of feeling and conduct amongst the careless and the profane, naturally resulting from such a confusion in the publie mind, wight well appear to be the token and the precursor of still farther chastisements from the band of God
with that train that does fill the temple: and, O to be among the last of these that are bidden come in, and partake of that everlasting peace! O what a poor report will the messengers of the covenant and gospel make, whose image they crucify in their hearts, to whom I may apply these words by allusion, · The morning of conversion is to them as the terrors of death, and as the terrors of the breaking in of the day to the destroying of them ?' What a poor account will some of us make, both as to the answer of our conscience, and as to the answer of his pains taken upon us, and as to the answer of his promises, and as to the answer of his threatenings, and as to the answer of his commandsand as to the answer of our light ? Now, not to trouble your lord. ship, whom I also highly reverence, and my soul was knit unto in the Lord, but that you would bespeak my case to the great Master of requests, and my broken case before him, who has pleaded the desperate case of many, according to the sweet word in Lamentations iii. 56.this is all at this time from one in a very weak condition, in a great fever, who for much of seven nights bas but slept little at all, but has been kept in a right sad and grievous torment from his hand, with many other sad particulars and circumstances.
“ I shalı say now no more, but I am yours in some single respects, I hope, I may say, dying in Christ,
Gray's Worke, pp. 513-514
SCOTS WORTHI E S.
COMPREHENDING TESTIMONIES THAT WERE EMITTED, BETWEFN
THE YEARS 1660 AND 1680.
I. SAMUEL RUTHERFORD.
[This eminent Christian and divine, so well known to the religious
world by his “ Letters," was educated at Edinburgh, and very early was elected professor of philosophy in that university. He was afterwards called to be minister of Adwoth in Galloway, and became no less distinguished by the conscientious performance of his private duties, than by the troubles he experienced on account of bis nonconformity. These he detailed to the memorable assembly of 1638, and in consideration of his high merits, was forthwith appointed to the divinity chair in the new college of St. Andrews. He was also selected in 1643, as one of the commissioners to the assembly at Westminster. It was about this period he published the famous treatise, entitled Lex Rex, for which, in the year 1661, it was proposed to indict him, when he was happily removed from the threatened evils into a better world. Together with his last words, we subjoin his testimony to the work of reformation, since 1638, which was signed by him only twelve days before his death.]
1. His LAST WORDS. During the time of his last sickness, he uttered many savoury speeches, and often broke out in a kind of sacred rapture, exalting and commending the Lord Jesus. Especially when his end drew near, he often called bim his “ blessed Master," bis “ kingly King.” Some days before his death, he said, “I shall shine ; I shall sce him as he
is ; I shall see bim reign, and all his fair company with him, and I shall have my large share. Mine eyes shall see my Redeemer; these very eyes of mine, and none other for me.
This may seem a wide word: but it is no fancy or delusion it is true. Lord's name be exalted, and if he will, let my name be grinded to pieces, that he may be all in all. If he should slay me ten thousand times, I will trust in bim. He often repeated Jer. xv. 16. “ Thy words were found of me, and I did eat them.”
When exhorting one to diligence, be said, “ It is no easy thing to be a Christian. For me, I have got the victory, and Christ is holding out both his arms to embrace me.” At another time, to some friends present, he said, “ At the beginning of my sufferings, I had mine own fears, like other sinful men, lest I should faint, and not be carried creditably through, and I laid this before the Lord, and as sure as ever he spoke to me in his word, as sure as his Spirit witnesseth to my heart, he bath accepted my sufferings. He said to me, Fear not, the outgate shall not be simply matter of prayer, but matter of praise. I said to the Lord, If he should slay me five thousand times five thousand, I would trust in bim : and I speak with much trembling, fearing I should not make my part good; but as really as ever he spake to me by bis Spirit, he witnessed to my heart, that his grace should be sufficient." The Thursday night before his death, being much grieved with the state of the public, he had this expression, “ Horror hath taken hold on me.” And afterwards, falling on his own condition, he said, “ I renounce all that ever be made me will and do, as defiled and imperfect, as coming from me; I betake myself to Christ for sanctification as well as justification :-Repeating these words, “ He is made of God to me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption :"-adding, I close with it, let him be so, he is my all in all.
March 17th, three gentlewomen came to see him, and after ex. horting them to read the word, to be much in prayer, and much in communion with God, he said, “ My bonourable Master and lovely Lord, my great Royal King, hath not a match in heaven nor in earth. I have my own guilt,
sinful men ; but he hath pardoned, loved, washed, and given me joy unspeakable and full of glory. I repent not that ever I owned his cause. These, whom ye call protesters, are the witnesses of Jesus Christ. I hope never to depart from that cause, nor side with those that have burnt the Causes of God's Wrath. They have broken their covenant oftener than once or twice; but I believe the Lord will build Zion, and repair the waste places of Jacob. Ob! to obtain mercy to wrestle with God for their eternal salvation. As for this presbytery, it hath stood in opposition to me these years past. I have my record in heaven, I had no particular end in view, but was seeking the bonour of God, the thriving of the gospel in this place, and the good of the new college, that society which I have left upon the Lord. What personal wrongs they have done me, and what grief they have occasioned to me, I heartily forgive them, and desire mercy to wrestle with God for mercy to them, and for the salvation of them all.”