Memoirs of the Life, Time, and Writings
of the Reverend and Learned
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No. 1. Note on p. 244.
The situation of the people of Ettrick at this time, with regard to their entertainment of the gospel, their divisive temper, and the author's vexation and disquiet thereby occasioned, may be learned frown the following extracts of sermons preached this year, 1710.
On the 25th of June he had begun an ordinary preparatory to the sacrament, viz. Jer. 50: 4, 5. On the fast day, 13th July, he preached from that clause, "Going and weeping." The doctrine observed from which was, "That the frame and exercise suitable to a covenanting time is going and weeping." Having showed that such a time should be a going-time, he proceeded also to show, that it should be a weeping-time. Here he exhorted the people to drop a tear for the case of the land, branching it out into several particulars of great importance, which want of room obliges us to omit. He then added as follows.
"Go, weeping over the case of the congregation. Weep over,
"1. Our barrenness under the means of grace. Ah! how many sermons are lost, for any benefit the most part get of them! How dead, stupid, and unconcerned are we for the most part! Generally, he that was filthy is filthy still. It is an observe of some on Luke 13: 7, that if a minister do any good in a place, it is ordinarily in the first three years of his ministry. God forbid it hold true in our case. If the gospel meet with no better entertainment after, than for these three years past, it would be telling many of you, that you had [better] never seen my face, nor I yours. I had some experience that way elsewhere, and it was not so in my case.
"2. The slight and contempt of gospel-ordinances among us. Our parish is not great, but our congregation is less, by reason of the principles, passions, and prejudices, of not a few. But yet smallest of all is the company of ordinary hearers; when those are taken off that come once in twenty days, a month, or six weeks; who are taken up with their beasts all the summer in the fields, and sleep at home with them all the winter; yet some whose faces I seldom if ever can discern, but when I surprise them at their houses, though I tell publicly in the congregation that I am to be that way. Weep over the slighting of the preaching of the word among us. Some that have not far to come, will loiter away Lord's days at home; though, if they would come little further than half-way from their own houses, they might possibly sometimes hear the sound of my voice. When I come in to the church, and the worship is begun, I will see some of you sitting or standing in the churchyard in pairs, as close at your discourse, that sometimes I think we would not have seen your faces that day, if you had not had business with somebody ye would see at the church: in which I am the more confirmed, when I see they have staid all the time between sermons, and when the congregation is assembling again, they will go away home. Some will spend a good part of sermons about the dikes; ay and go out of the church in the very time thereof, and lie about the dikes, and crack. I cannot get you pleased with short enough preaching; though some of you make it short enough, what with your sleeping, what with your leaving it, even when there is no milking; and some will sit at the door all the afternoon, that they may get away when they think they have got enough of it.
"3. Weep over the slighting of the sacraments. That of baptism is dolefully slighted. If the child be like to die, then, without any regard to the congregation, or the strugglings of this church against private baptism, the minister must come and give the child a name, without any more. But if not, Sabbath shall go over after Sabbath, one opportunity after another; and they never trouble themselves about the baptising of their children, even when neither weakness nor the weather hinders. As to the sacrament of the supper, go weeping, Sirs, that there are so few in this congregation to go with you. They need Christ as well as you; the blood they slight, is the blood they must be saved by, if ever; the covenant they prepare not themselves to seal, is that they must enter into, if they would enter into heaven. It is long since Christ made such a visit to Etterick. O weep that they are so few to receive Him, so few fit to be admitted, and so few going out to meet the Bridegroom. This slighting of ordinances, as it is something more than ordinary, is a very sad sign.
"4. Weep over the loose lives of many of us; the abounding sin of swearing, that devil-like sin, by which there is neither profit nor pleasure; lying and backbiting, supplanting of one another, the lack of common honesty in many, to the disgrace of the society they live in, and the reproach of those that entertain them; the brutish ignorance of many, even of some who pretend to be high-flown professors, the contentious spirit of those who live like fire-brands in the place. Let none such presume to approach the Lord's table in that their wickedness.
"5. Weep over the woful divisions among us, that have prevailed to the breaking of us so far, that we are among the most broken and shattered congregations in the country. Weep over that rent that was so early made amongst us, in which Satan hotly pursued me, ere I knew well where I was. Ye are but too little affected with it. It has been an engine of Satan against the kingdom of Christ in people's hearts, under a pretence of zeal for His kingdom in the land; and a notable hindrance of the success of the gospel among us. For, 1. Some are thereby turned aside from the ordinary means of grace and knowledge, that know not the right hand by the left in religion, being specially ignorant of God in Christ. 2. Many that remain are thereby made to hear with prejudices; and are so fickle and loosed at the root, that they cannot take on growth by the preached word. And I know not what influence it may have on the slighting of the ordinance before us; I am apprehensive it has had some influence. If it have, I desire to lament the case of such: and for the confirmation of you that are to join, I promise you, in my Master's name, that if you honestly consent to the marriage-covenant, and come with longing desires after Him, He will not refuse to keep communion with you, Rev. 3: 20. Your own defections lie nearer you than the defections of the land do: but if ye be mourning over them, they shall not mar your communion with Him. I think they may look with bashful faces before the Lord, that are so scared at their mother's deformities, that they will not come into her horse, when yet her Husband is there feeding His children whom she has brought forth to Him.
"6. Lastly, Forget not when ye are going, to weep over the frequent sin of uncleanness that has fallen out among us within these few years. If ever the devil raged in a parish at the coming of the gospel among them, he has done it here one way and another. What with fornications, what with adulteries, the place of repentance has been seldom empty since the planting of this parish. I may say to you as the apostle did to the church of Corinth, 'I speak not this to shame you.' But well may I say with him, I have reason to bewail those who have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness which they have committed, 2 Cor. 12: 21, seeing we so much resemble that church in her three grand evils, selfconceit, a divisive temper, and sins of uncleanness."
The author had also, in a sermon from 2 Cor. 6: 1, preached at Ettrick, on the national fast-day, 29th March, in the same year, 1710, censured with some freedom the people's itch for public things, their contempt of the gospel, their unsettled and giddy humour, etc.
Notwithstanding these repeated warnings, many of the people were so giddy and inconstant, that, 3rd September, the very Lord's day that the author began his ordinary on Mark 10: 21, 22,2 they deserted his ministry, and went off to hear Mr. Macmillan preaching in the neighbourhood: which gave occasion to the following reflection and awful rebuke, publicly given from the pulpit on the 10th.
"An unstable mind and judgement is very prejudicial. No wonder the tree withers that is never fast at the root, Eph. 4: 14. This was the one thing that ruined the Galatians: for though they had received the Spirit by the hearing of faith, yet when Satan broke in on them with that, they quickly lost all the savoury impressions they had of the hearing of faith. The wavering temper among us, I am confident, is no small hindrance in the way of the success of the gospel. And as I bless God for what stability any of you have attained to, so as for you that deserted the message I had from the Lord to you this day eight days, whether there were many of you or few, and joined yourselves to those whose work it is to break down what we build up, and that after that solemn reproof of and lamentation over that practice, and of other heart-breaking pieces of your contempt of the gospel, which was given on the fast-day, and after what ye heard and saw on the sacrament-day, I do, as the messenger of the Lord, in His name, rebuke you here as obstinate contemners of the message sent of God unto you; and protest, as the messenger of God to you, that this rebuke stand before the Lord that sent me, till it be wiped out by repentance, and fleeing to the blood of Christ for pardon; and so I leave it before Him, who confirms the word of His servants."
No. 2. Mote on p. 297.
"This doctrine reproves those who at this time are secure, careless, and unconcerned spectators of the present confusions, which is the prevailing plague among us at this day. Ah! Sirs, 'Shall a trumpet be blown in the day, and the people not be afraid?' Amos 3: 6. Yes, we see there are such people. 'The lion has roared, who will not fear? the Lord God has spoken, who can but prophesy?' ver. 8. Why, some will sleep full sound amidst all the roarings of the Lord in His anger this day. Ah! Sirs, our sleeping so sound in the ship of this church and nation, while the storm is blowing, and the waves are like to sink it, if there were no more, is enough to prove the deep hand we have, like another Jonah, in raising the storm.
"I know some still say, to cloak their loathsome indifference, that it is not religion, but crowns and kingdoms they are fighting for. If it were so, is there not a right and a wrong even in that? and why do not ye take part with the right, according to the fifth commandment? Is not even that enough to make the land a field of blood, and may not yours go among the rest? But pray you, Sirs, is religion no wise concerned, whether a Protestant king or a Papist be on the throne? whether an army of Papists and malignants, avowed enemies to the Church of Scotland, carry the day, or an army employed to break them? Do the rebels so much as pretend any favour to this church? Are congregations laid desolate, mass said, and the English service set up, where they come, and yet religion not concerned in the matter? It were telling religion that such people pretended not to it, for the way of God is ill spoken of through their unreasonableness. If ye believe what ye say, I think ye lie pretty fair for embracing Popery if it were come, seeing ye can already believe things over the belly of sense and reason.
"I tell you, that your security and unconcernedness at this time is more dangerous than ye are aware of: Ps. 28: 5, 'Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of His hands, He shall destroy them, and not build them up.' They do not lie most safe that lie most secure, when the cause of God is at stake. I mind what word Mordecai sent to Esther, chap. 4: 14, "If thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another quarter; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed.' I remember that he was burnt in his own house, that said he could not burn for Christ: Matt. 16: 25, 'For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake, shall find it.' We have made ourselves singular in our backwardness and unconcernedness in the cause of God at this time, beyond all our neighbours: take heed God make not our stroke as remarkable, as our backwardness and unconcernedness has been, ere all be done."
No. 3. Note on p. 338.
As these overtures, Of admission to the Lord's table, and debarring from it, are excellent in themselves, were crowned with success in the author's own practice, and seemed to be peculiarly seasonable at this day, it has been judged proper to give the following exact copy of them, taken from the author's original.
"1. Admission to the Lord's table, and debarring from it, being acts of church discipline and government in a particular congregation, belong to the session of the congregation, and are not to be exercised by any minister or elder by themselves, nor any society of ministers and elders in an extrajudicial capacity.
"2. Besides the ordinary examinations in parishes, it is meet there be diets of examination particularly for non-communicants, and specially those of the younger sort. And for this end, that once every year at least, especially before the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the congregation, ministers, from the pulpit, exhort and stir up non-communicants to serious godliness, and the use of the means of knowledge I and intimate to all such as desire to be prepared to partake of that ordinance, that they give in their names to him, and wait on the diets of catechising to be appointed for such.
"3. The names of such as offer themselves to be instructed, in order to their being admitted to the Lord's table, are to be kept in a roll separate from that of the whole congregation, and to be brought into the session, and read before them; that it may be recommended to all the brethren, to have a particular eye on the inrolled, each especially on those of his own district; to excite, admonish, and exhort them, to a walk becoming the gospel, and the high privilege they are aspiring to.
"4. When a non-communicant removes out of one parish into another, it were fit that he produce sufficient testimonials from the place of his former abode, before he be inrolled amongst those who have offered themselves to be instructed as above said, in the congregation to which he comes.
"5. When one desires to be admitted to the Lord's table, he is in due time to intimate his desire to the session, that they may maturely consider of it. But it were fit, that the party should in the first place acquaint the minister with his purpose; who, if he finds he has not made a competent proficiency by the pains taken on him, in the examinations of non-communicants, or otherwise, may advise him yet to forbear for a time.
"6. The session entering on this affair, a strict inquiry is to be made among the members, particularly at the elder or elders of the district which the party belongs to, concerning his life and conversation; whether he be guilty of any scandal; owns, submits to, and ordinarily attends, the ordinances of Christ, the public and private worship of God; if he be of a pious and sober deportment, and reputed to be a worshipper of God in secret; and if he be the head of a family, whether he worships God in his family.
"7. If nothing be found on that part to hinder his admission to the Lord's table, the session convening, on a set day, in the place of public worship, and the doors being open, that all the communicants, and those who have offered themselves to be instructed as above said, may have access, if they please, he is, in face of session, to give proof of his knowledge of the principles of the Christian religion, and particularly of the nature, use, and ends, of the ordinance of the supper, by making a confession of his faith, either in the way of a continued discourse, or by answering questions thereupon proposed by the minister.
"8. And here special consideration is to be had of some who are known to be serious, and willing to learn, yet are weak; namely, that the questions be proposed to them, so as they may be answered by Yes, or No; or that the truth and error be both laid before them, and they asked, which of them they believe.
"9. The trial being ended, the session is to judge, whether the party be endowed with competent knowledge of the principles of the Christian religion, or not.
"10. And if they be satisfied in this also, the party is to be put explicitly to consent to the covenant (whereof he desires the seal), to be the Lord's, live into Him, and serve Him all the days of his life, by answering expressly the following (or the like) questions. 1. Do you believe the doctrine of the Shorter Catechism of this church, so far as you understand the same, to be the true doctrine agreeable to the holy Scriptures, and resolve, through grace, to live and die in the profession of the same? 2. Do you consent to take God in Christ to be your God, the Father to be your Father, the Son to be your Saviour, and the Holy Ghost to be your Sanctifier; and that, renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesh, you be the Lord's for ever? 3. Do you consent to receive Christ as He is offered in the gospel, for your prophet, priest, and king: giving up yourself to Him, to be led and guided by His word and Spirit; looking for salvation only through the obedience and death of Jesus Christ, who was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem; promising, in His strength, to endeavour to lead a holy life, to forsake every known sin, and to comply with every known duty? 4. Lastly, Do you promise to subject yourself to exhortation, admonition, and rebuke, and the discipline of the church, in ease (which God forbid) you fall into any scandalous sin?
"11. The party having: professed, consented, and promised, as above said, is to be admitted to the table of the Lord, by a sentence of the session; which is to be recorded in their register, and an extract thereof allowed to be given him, when called for.
"12. It were fit, that the names of all those who, from time to time are admitted to the Lord's table, be inrolled in a bound book belonging to the session.
"13. And how often soever that ordinance be administered in a congregation, the aforesaid roll of those who have at any time been admitted, is always to be read over distinctly, in presence of the session, some competent time before, and the members required to declare, if they know anything against the life and conversation of any of them.
"14. If anything be objected, the session is to order private exhortation or admonition, or sist the accused before them, as they shall see ground, and find the matter to require. And this is to be so managed, as that the accused be sisted, as aforesaid, on report concerning the private exhortation or admonition made, before the time of the administration of the sacrament. But those who have once been orderly admitted, are at no time after to be denied the privilege they were admitted to, except in the case of scandal; for which they are to be debarred by the session, till they have removed the scandal, according to the discipline of the church: Which done, they are restored to their former church-state."
No. 4. Mr Gabriel Wilsonís speech before the Synod of Merse and Teviotdale, in defence of his sermon preached before that synod, October 1721. See p. 563.
MODERATOR, - How many soever may be otherwise minded, this day I take to be a day of the Lord's jealousy and indignation on all ranks and conditions of men, and on all societies and assemblies. The anger of the Lord has set us on fire round about, yet we know it not; and though it consumes us, we lay it not to heart. Of all which this present occasion, being such an one as I know not if the like, in all its circumstances, has happened in any Reformed church since Calvin's days, is an instance none of the least notable and discernible.
Moderator, According to the measure of the gift bestowed on me, I delivered before this Reverend Synod, what I took to be the Lord's mind and message by me. In which message, I, according as I conceived the state of religion in these lands required, and as my subject led me, endeavoured to witness for truth, and against sin. Among others, I offered my poor and mean testimony to that glorious gospel-truth, the justification and salvation of lost and undone sinners by free grace, without works, through faith in a crucified Saviour; where, at the same time, the unalterable obligation of the law of God upon believers, and the necessity of holiness in the redeemed, was in the strongest and plainest terms asserted. I likewise bore witness, not immodestly, as I thought, though somewhat plainly, against sin, the defections of former and present times, for which I did, and do still, apprehend the Lord's anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still. Upon some words, Moderator, and occasional passages, in my enlargement on these two heads, am I this day called in question before this court.
Moderator, It is known all the world over, and will be while the world lasts, that where a man's discourse is in general solid, sound, and to the purpose, little notice is taken, or severity used, as to some words or phrases, though not so well chosen, or fitly set; because men for most part remember themselves to be but men, who cannot promise on every occasion to write or speak infallibly; else processes of this sort had not unto this day been such a rarity in the churches of Christ, and particularly in the Church of Scotland. Now, since it is undeniable, so might it not have been expected, if the main of what I delivered on these subjects had been agreeable, and acceptable, the want of some of that accuracy and exactness of words, or prudence, which others knew themselves could have managed these subjects with, would have been overlooked or pardoned? But the measures which have been taken, will, I am afraid, occasion suspicions, which I heartily wish may be groundless.
There are, Moderator, many things to persuade a shyness and wariness in judging and condemning what is delivered as a message from the Lord, which it might be reckoned impertinent for me to insist upon before such a reverend judicatory; and therefore I shall not do it. Far be it from me to mean hereby, that it should be any screen to a man's delivering error or heresy, that he does it from the pulpit; or that this Reverend Synod should not shew a due zeal for the purity of gospel-doctrine: but I must say, it was a sore matter, if so many learned men, having their spiritual senses exercised to discern betwixt good and evil, could not judge of the doctrine of a sermon they heard, without so much ado, and such a procedure, so very extraordinary; having for its native tendency (however the mercy and wisdom of Divine Providence may turn it) the utter and irretrievable ruin of a man's reputation and usefulness in the world; things that no judicatory of Jesus Christ should be very fond or rash of attempting. This, I say, being the native tendency of such measures, every failing or imperfection, the wit and invention of men set on work, and doing their utmost, may find out in a man's papers, forced from him, will be so far from justifying such pomp and solemnity before the Lord, the world, or their own consciences, acting a faithful part, that, without they have some very considerable matter for their foundation, they may be a persecution less merciful, and more bloody, than carrying one to a scaffold would be.
Moderator, It is given out of me, propagated among the people, and through the church, as far as it will go, that I deny the Father in the glorious Godhead, the necessity of holiness in believers, that the law of God is binding upon them, or that there is any need of a preparatory work of the Holy Spirit on the souls of men, etc., and what not? and now, when the sermon is delivered, that I have altered it, and kept back all the gross things that were in my papers, and which I delivered before the Synod; whereas the brethren appointed to receive the copy know, and the brethren of the committee know, they have a faithful copy of my notes; and not only so, but of all things delivered by me, though they were not in my notes, so far as I can remember them. Whatever measure I have got, or may further get, never did one give his judges fairer play against himself, than I have done. What shall I say, Moderator? I am made a gazing-stock, a reproach, and a world's wonder, throughout Scotland, and may be further too, for anything I know. Reproach sometimes breaks my heart; and were it not in some measure I believe the promises, and the special providence of God, I behoved to sink, and be broken effectually.
Moderator, It is not in the power of this Synod, were they ever so willing, to make reparation of the injuries done me by means of their procedure: for infamy will stick better.
As to the point of prudence and expedience, under which consideration some of the quarrelled passages will fall, I will not pretend so much as a tolerable skill of that sort; but I desire to depend on Him on whom the spirit of wisdom and understanding rests, and in Whom dwell all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The expediency of speaking and acting in particular instances, is a point we will never all be agreed in; but good folk, as they will be differing among themselves, so they may happen to be of a different judgement from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself in such cases. The gospel furnishes us with instances enow of this, particularly of the woman who was not only accepted and approved of our Lord, but has an everlasting badge of honour put upon her for a deed which was the object of the disciples' indignation. Moderator, I adduce this, not as if I took mine for an exact parallel case, but only as a document of what may be, where even good folk are very confident, and reckon themselves pretty sure; and it is not very choiceable, nor what any of us would wish, to be of a different judgement from Christ, especially in such matters as concern His own glory.
Moderator, As ministers should show an example of impartiality one towards another, in case of error or vice, so ought they to set people a pattern of charity, tenderness, and brotherly love, in not wresting, stretching, or straining one another's words or actions, to such meanings as they neither fairly bear, nor were ever intended to express, or so as to discover the prevalence of such works of the flesh in themselves, as we condemn and preach against in others. This has been, and will be the way of the world; the way of enemies towards the saints, especially towards the ministers of Christ; and it is both pity and shame that it should ever be their way one towards another. Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. If there had dropped from one's pen, on a paper which in his account the world was never to see, expressions not so well chosen, or guarded; would not the love of God, the love of truth, and the love of our neighbour, which the gospel so much teacheth and recommends, make all men in whom it dwells, rejoice to see those things elsewhere in the same paper, more plainly and fully expressed to satisfaction? And will not that humility, modesty, and compassion, which a sense of human weakness and frailty, which a sense of our own imperfections, and liableness to mistake, begets, persuade the same thing? Even the wisest of societies happen at times to express themselves so as they see need to explain themselves, for removing such misapprehensions as their words had given occasion to.
The straining or wresting of words, or occasional passages, in this case, in order to the fathering inferences or consequences not owned, or to the fixing of odious notions, that the words neither express, nor, candidly interpreted, give any countenance to, cannot miss to be held as a clear evidence, that something is aimed at, either with respect to the person or doctrine, that is not fairly and honestly owned, and spoken out.
Moderator, Though I shall readily own, that any who hear the word at the Lord's mouth, and bear His message, may be able to express the truth in more fit and acceptable words than I have done in these papers; yet, considering my unskilfulness, and my profound security from all fears of such unprecedented measures, I conceive I have much reason to bless the name of the Lord, who instructs the simple, and guides the blind in the way they know not; and accordingly here I desire, with all my soul, to bless Him, that my escapes were not both more and greater than they are: else, Alas! where had I been? I had been swallowed and eaten up as bread; the truth had suffered by my means, and the friends of truth had been ashamed for my sake. Which brings to mind another thing, namely, whatever imperfections or alleged offensive things may be found in that sermon, you are not, Moderator, so much as in thought, to impute them to any but me. My reason for saying so is, that I know it has been strongly, though most invidiously suggested, that there was concert and advice in this affair; but never was anything less true, Moderator. No advice, no consultation, about word or thing in these papers; yea, so far from it, that I sincerely declare, no one in the world knew so much as the text I was to preach from, till I read it in this place. Moderator, we have not so learned Christ as to consult with man in such cases.
I own, Moderator, I have cause, more than for all the committee's remarks, to be humbled, that I had not more of the Lord's presence in the delivery of that sermon (yet I desire to bless Him for carrying me through); and that so little of the Lord's power accompanied the word from my mouth: for it is but too evident, it has been an unblessed sermon to many; woes me for it! However, it might have been expected, some regard would have been had to conscience, honesty, and sincerity, in declaring one's mind as to what he reckoned amiss or in danger, on an occasion the most solemn and public he ever had before, or was like to have again. Whereas, or at the same time, it may be easily seen, these measures tend to discourage all faithfulness and plain dealing for the time to come, be the evidence or aspect of affairs in the church what it will; which, therefore, some will perhaps think might have fallen less unseasonably out in some other juncture than this.
Moderator, However contemptible I may be in the eyes of many, this piece of conduct being so very extraordinary, and of such a conspicuous judicatory in the Church of Scotland, will be under the observation and examination of, not only both friends and enemies at home among ourselves, but of strangers (I doubt not) also: for all people are at this day wrestling for liberty, and many will be curious to look into a case reckoned to have so unfavourable an aspect upon it.
To conclude, Moderator, I can say it in truth, though my brethren and mother's children have been very angry with me, and have dealt roughly with me, my Lord and Master has not yet, to my discerning, discovered Himself displeased with me on the account of that sermon, or of any one thing in it. No doubt, He saw many more faults, and other sort of ones, than you can find; yea, the whole performance, I know, was full of blemishes, and would not at all abide a trial at the bar of His holy law: yet I believe He has graciously pardoned all, and will never article me on that head; which, though it may be of no consideration with others, nor do I desire it should be of any, yet it is of great importance to me. And as for the little remarks some people make on it, I believe I may venture to say, He laughs at them; nay, I will say more, Moderator, I believe He will deliver me out of all this trouble I am meeting with on the account of it, when such as seek my hurt have done their worst and utmost against me: yea tho' I should be tossed like a broken vessel to assemblies and commissions, I am not afraid of the issue. But though in such an event I may be delivered, allow me to say it, Moderator, tho' it may seem bold, it shall not, I hope, be found irrelevant; and was their soul in my soul's stead, none here present would think much of anything I have yet said, or am going to say; whoever shall send me there, I regard their doing so, can import no less than that they reckon me worthy of death, or of bonds, neither of which I deserve at the hand of man; they shall be held guilty of my blood before the Lord.
To the above is subjoined another Speech.
MODERATOR, - I own the copy by me delivered to the brethren appointed by the synod to receive the same, to be a true copy of the notes or papers from which I preached the sermon before the last synod; and that the said copy contains nothing but what is my sentiments; and being favourably constructed, will be found, I hope, to bear no ground of offence. The additions, being mostly of words deficient, transitions, or enlargements upon heads barely named in the papers, together with the filling up of some pieces of the method proposed, but left blank, are all distinctly marked, and do not touch the sense of what is in the notes; nor do I crave any benefit of them. But for as much as it ought to be presumed, that the Reverend Synod did peremptorily require the copy aforesaid, only in order to satisfy themselves as to some particular points touched in the sermon, and not out of it to form a libel, or draw articles against me, upon which I may be judged in order to censure; and since I neither did, nor could exactly repeat these notes or papers in the pulpit, and likewise since many things in them were not at all delivered, and other things were delivered that were not in the said notes, which nevertheless are now added in their proper places, so far as I could remember them and several things were delivered purposely in other and smoother words than were written: I do protest the said copy cannot be improved to the forming of a libel or articles against me, as said is; and that the using it to such a purpose, would be in effect to make me mine own accuser, contrary to the word of God, the form of process, and the natural rights of mankind; and also that the said copy can never be used, and sustained as probative, in any process against me, on the account of the sermon above mentioned. And finally, that which I may reckon myself concerned to say here on this affair, for satisfying the committee as to my sentiments on the heads they may be pleased to bring into question, shall not militate against me in any process upon the account of these heads, or that sermon aforesaid. Upon all which I take instruments in the clerk's hands.
No. 5. Note on p. 391.
One paragraph of the letter here mentioned is as follows: - "I sincerely desired to have been useful to you, to my power, since you were settled in the neighbourhood; and that was the spring of some parts of my conduct. But we having now twice encountered, you treating of faith and I of repentance, and again you of repentance and I of faith, I perceive our strain is so very different, that there seems to me to be a danger in our encountering before a multitude from several places in the country wherein our lot is cast. However venturous others may be, I, who have had about twenty years' experience of the temper of the people in these parts, would be very inexcusable if I should not be wary."
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