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a day for humiliation and supplication, and for believing in Christ Jesus, both for repentance, remission, and sanctification. Thou lovest truth in the innermost parts: let him be filled with that which thou lovest! There is a promise for this end, he will build on it another heart, another heart. Tho' a heart go on in a course without contradiction, it does not argue uprightness. Lord, does not this speak to my heart, in reference to profession, love to the Lord, and his cause and his people, in these times? Here will be his snare, and sin, and judgment, if thou preventest not, and purgest not, and redeemest not, and savest me. Save; for he is thy servant. he desires to be humbled, and to believe in thy name, for inward thorow sanctification, sanctification in his particular trials, 1, A heart touched for the straits, and not for the cause of the straits: sin is not the burden, but affliction. 2, Every fit of repentance or feeling is not a changed renewed heart. 3, When the principle of our earnestness is not right; when it arises from self-love and revenge, or fear of calamity to come, and not out of delight in God, and anger at ourselves for grieving him. D. It is mercy that our duty is laid on by way of a covenant; he might have laid it on simply, and out of his absolute sovereignty. D. A sincere heart will find not only a necessity to confess and mourn, but to bind and lay obligations on itself. A sincere heart will be convinced much of their own unsteadfastness. They cannot trust themselves without an engagement, nor when they have engaged and sworn. Men that lay by our solemn covenants will find themselves in a wrong close one day; no article must be laid by. Oh for grace to discern, and walk tenderly in this matter, and not to credit his own jealousies, suspicions, doubts My heart has been fast and loose with God; Oh Lord, let it be so no more Observe, God [doth] not so much look what we are in the present state, or fit of repentance or mourning, as what we are in the substantial duties of covenanted absolute obedience; the one will sooner mis-lippen us than the other. If substantial duties are neglected or slighted, it is a shrewd suspicion, be the repentance what it will, that it is not right. Lord, discover thyself in these duties of the time, and every substantial duty, and help me on in Christ Jesus! Eye the reward in duties, but not as a covenant of works. Hang not the weight of our well-being on the duty, but on Christ by faith.
D. The Lord doth not so much take notice of a people not coming under the covenant, or total barrenness, as he doth of their unstedfastness in it and want of uprightness, and sin, and duty. D. Men, when trials are over, are ready to lay by their weapons, and to become more loose than when they were in the strait. Lord help me to try, mourn, and return 1 The Lord lets trials ly on, and rids us not ever when we cry; because he sees that his people are not so siccard [stedfast] to him, as they would bide [abide] by him if they wanted these trials. Let us have much to do with God, beside particular difficulties. Let the love of, and delight in himself, set us on to seek him, when we want straits or difficulties. Self-denial, joined with faith, helps much to perseverance. When we want difficulties to exercise, then be exercised in seeking the light of his countenance and his favour, and to be satisfied and delighted in him, tho' we wanted trouble. Oh Lord! for grace to sanctify thy name in the faith and application of thy Word. This day some complain of a dead, some of [a faint] heart, some of a flinty heart: but, Oh Lord ' beside the great measure of all these, Oh what a deceitfulness, unsoundness, wavering, doubleness, unstedfastness, disobedience, formality, deceitfulness. Hearts are unchangeable and incurable if thou employest not thy power and thy grace. Observe, the death of good Mr. Ephraim Melvil," a loss much to be lamented and not slighted. The taking away a man so precious at such a time and in such a way, Lord help me to understand. The taking away of Mr. James Fleming,” and Mr. Rollock" in Perth. Observe, the kything [appearing] of the grace of God in children and young ones so eminently; the persecution in Ireland of godly men and ministers by Anabaptists. If this be not a ground for me to forbear and keep distance, what is? This evening he prayed for the setting up of the Lord's work in the dead * Mr. Ephraim Melvill, minister of Lin
lithgow. In his Diary, April, 1653, Lamont says, “Mr. James Flymen, Mr.
the University of Edinburgh (A.M. in 1633) became one of the ministers of St. Johnston or Perth. According to Lamont, (who calls
Jhone Oswell, and Mr. Ephraim Melven, thrie ministers in Louthian, depairted out of this life.”—(p. 54.) Fleming was minister of St. Bathens or Yester (see Lamont, p. 33); and Oswald of Pencaitland, in East Lothian. Mr. Alexander Rollock, who was educated at
him Rogge and Rogue for Rook, a not uncommon contraction of his name) he was silenced by the English garrison there, for praying for the King, in December, 1651, and died at Perth, 17th October, 1652. (Diary, p. 49.)
north country; and that a good minister at Oldearn, and a family at Leathin might be a means for this end; and that he might not close with these that were the instruments of his people's persecution. On 20th April, 1653, General Cromwel dissolved that Parliament. Lord, ere he gather, let him first be prepared and furnished, that he may not inconsiderately or rashly interprete, apply, or pass judgment on any of the Lord's works, or on other men. Meikle (much] of the righteousness of God in it. How much confusion appears in the Lord's depriving us of all rulers or governors is evident. Oh! pray that the Lord would make us understand and take up these great works of his, that we may adore them. Guard against the temptations that may arise from this, either allurement, or threatning, or force: fair temptations are most dangerous. 1st May-1, He did set the 1st May apart a day of solemn humiliation in the cause foresaid, that he may understand and not stumble at his dealing. “By the word of thy lips that I may be kept from the paths of the destroyers, and upholden in thy paths,” Psal. xvii. 4, 5. “Concerning the works of men,” &c. 2, To be humbled under the darkness of his mind in the matter of the protestation and publick resolutions, that difference of judgment may be removed. 3, That the exhortations from Waristoun, and his letters, and the prayers of His people, may be heard in this; that in thy name may be his glory, and that he may not either think shame, shrink, or run from thee by carnal policy, reasoning, study to preserve and save himself, or avoid reproach of men; that with all boldness he may bear thee witness, even in that very cause which they maintain, so far as thou allowest; that secret ignorance, prejudices, slackness, reasonings, may be removed, and he may be clearly taught by the word and thy spirit. He spreads their letters, papers, and prayers, and quotations before thee; let him not resist, but discern thy Spirit, and wholly yield up himself to it. Lord! save him from swaying to any way or party on that ground of favour or good-liking to himself. He desires to chuse that way which thou approvest, albeit it lead me to cross and contradict these that would shew me most favour. Let me not fail by that compass, it will beguile my soul if thou preventest not. 1st May.—His ordinary, Isa. viii. 2. “The Lord spake unto me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people.” It was the way that most of them went, common, usual. Lord, a strong hand is needful to keep from such ways; not a word only, but thy hand I Such is the duty, such is the sin and snare, that he is seeking to be instructed in this day, either anent complying with English Sectaries or Scottish Malignants, the body of the land. Oh Lord! what shall he say to this? It is one of the particulars of the day. “Say not, A confederacy, to all to whom this people say, A confederacy.” They were ready to contract and join with any body that seemed able to help them, and not to the Lord.
“There was more cause of fear (says Musculus) “ab ecclesia malignantium Jehudae, quam ab Assyriis, Syris vel Israelitis, professis piorum hostibus;” from the Church of the Malignants of Judah, than from the Assyrians, Syrians, or Israelites, the avowed enemies of the godly.”
They cannot sanctify the Lord in their hearts, that in time of danger run to the arm of flesh, fear the power of men, love this word or the things in it, or that go to his enemies for protection. Blindness makes stumbling, not only when a people directly contradict and reject the Lord; but when with false reasoning they will not hear his words, but have their consciences tied to false teachers.
After he went to the Sanctuary it was his complaint that the Lord hid his face from him: he asked at himself, What if the Lord should not hear him this day? The consequent would be desertion, and to be given up to delusion, mistake, snares, carnal ways, resisting the Holy Ghost, and perdition in the end; to be hardned in sin, and so to add one sin to another. Oh, forbid, forbid, good Lord! Hast thou so oft prevented, and wilt thou not prevent, and deliver this once? What pleasure hast thou in his death? Wandering and miscarrying is his death. Albeit the Lord this day would condescend to clear him anent the one and the other, and tell him what he should chuse, and what he should refuse; yet that would not suffice, nor do his turn. Oh Lord! remember in the morning what thou didst to thy Prophet. Thou didst not only speak, but with a strong hand thou taughtst and instructedst: but his heart tells him he would refuse, and oppose, and resist, and reason against this strong hand. Lord, he cannot answer that objection, if thy grace be not sufficient and effectual enough. Oh, there is more in this than can be spoken or believed Oh, the refractoriness of a carnal unbelieving heart, who can express it? It were mercy indeed to be delivered from such a plague.
It is the very purpose of this day, to be humbled under the sense and fear of such a plague, and to deprecate it. He is now, as it were, between two milstones; let not the one or the other fall upon him. Js he be deceived, let the Lord deceive him, if he may [so] speak with reverence. Thou requirest meikle [much] at his hands; and this is the day in which he desires to clear what he rests, and to renew surety, and transact with thee, and give thee a new bond. It is owing to thee, put whose name thou willest in the band. He desires not be loose, but to be tied and bound and engaged to the particular duty on the terms of thy covenant of grace. He will in thy light, and thy strength, and thy name, desire to give up himself to thee this day, and to follow thee in the very way that thou shalt point out to be thine, thine, thine; and to renounce the way of man, be what it will. As for the works of men, by the words of thy mouth, thou wilt preserve me from the paths of the destroyer. He is (thou knowest) an empty, unstable, unsound creature; impotent, blind, carnal. It were thy shortest work to destroy him, as a withered, rotten, useless stick, that no use could be made of Lord, cast not away; it is mercy and wonder indeed, and no reason can be given for it, not to cast away such a one as he is: let it be to thy glory ! Discover idols and corruptions that have been hid and secret; and when thou loosest corruptions, let them not be his death, but purge them out, and rid of them for thy name's sake: for discovering and convincing will not do the turn. Oh make the heart perfect in thy statutes unto the end |
Mr. Hutchison, on Hosea vii.-Men that begin to decline will not get the mediocrity of declining kept that they think. Good motions cannot be kept in with all our care and watchfulness, and are soon extinguished; but evil are still burning, and cannot be extinguished. An ill-ordered Church will soon make a tottering estate and Civil Government. They devoured their judges, and their kings are fallen. Sedition, tumult, mutations, couping [overturning] of rulers, arise from burning lusts. It is great stupidity, under such confusions, not to seek to the Lord. Lord! help me to make application, that I never begin to decline; for, alas! I will not get a mediocrity kept, but depart farther and farther from thee, until I perish: therefore prevent and guard against the first motion. Alas, Lord! I cannot discern nor foresee evil; I am not stedfast for thee, and valiant.
The disorders in Church have made England reel and Scotland also.