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yet come not ye away, albeit ye should fall alwoon at his feet. 6. Ye crave my mind, whether sound comfort
be found in prayer, when conviction of a known idol is present. I answer, An idol, as an idol, cannot stand with found comforts ; for that comfort that is gotten at Dagon's feet is a chcat or ble-flume; yet found comfort, and conviction of an eye to an idol, may as well dwell together as tears and joy; but let this do you no ill
, I speak it for your encouragement, that ye may make the best out of your joys ye can, albeit
find them mixed with mutes. 2dly. Sole conviction, if alone, without remorse and grief, is not enough; therefore lend it a tear if ye do win at it. 7. Ye question, when ye win to more fervency sometimes with your neighbour in prayer, than when you're alone, whether hypocrisy be in it or not? I answer, If this be always, no question a spice of hypocrify is in it, which would be taken heed to; but possibly defertion may be in private, and presence in public, and then the case is clear. fit of applaufe may occafion, by accident, a rubbing off a cold heart, and so heat and life may come ; but it is not the proper cause of that heat; hence God of his free grace will ride his er. rands upon our stinking corruption, but corruption is but a mere occasion and accident, as the playing on a pipe removed anger from the prophet, and made him fitter to prophesy, 2 Kings iii. 1.15. 8. Ye complain of Christ's short visits, that he will not bear your company one night; but when ye ly dowa warm at one night, ye rise cold at morning. Anfwer, I cannot blame you (nor any other, who knoweth that sweet guest) to bemoan his withdrawings, and to be most desirous of his abode and company; for he would captivate and engage the affection of any creature that saw his face: fince he looked on me, and gave me a light of his fair love, he gained my heart wholly, and got away with it: well, well may he brook it; he shall keep it long, ere I fetch it from him. But I shall tell you what ye shall do ; treat him well, give him the chair and the board head, and make him welcome to the mean portion ye have ; a good supper and kind entertainment maketh the guest love the ions the better : yet sometimes Christ has an errand elsewhere, for mere trial; and then, though ye give him king's cheer, he will away: as is clear in desertions for mere trial, and not for sin. . 9. Ye seek the difference betwixt the molions of the spirit, in their least measure, and the natural joys of your own heart. Answer, As a man can tell, if he joy and delight in his wife, as his wife: or if he delight and joy in her for fatisfaction of his lust, but hating her person, and so loving her for her flesh, and not grieving when ill befalleth her; so will a map's joy in God, and his whorish natural joy, be discovered : if he forrow for any thing that may offend the Lord, it will speak the singleness of that love to him. 10. Ye ask the reason why
fenle overcometh faith. Answer, Because sense is more natural, and near of kio to our own leifish and soft nature. Ye aik, if faith in that case be sound? Anlwer, If it be chased away, it is neither found nor unsound, because it is faith; but it might be, and was faith, before sense did blow out the act of believing. Lastly, Ye alk what to do, when promises are born in upon you, and tense of impenitency, for fios of youth, hindereth application. Taalwer, If it be living sense, it may stand with application; and in this case, put to your hand and eat your meat in God's name: if false, fo that the fios of youth are not repented of, then, as faith and impenitency cannot stand together, so neither that sense and application can consist. Brother, excuse my brevity, for time Atraitneth me, that I get not my mind said in these things, but must refer that to a ew occasion, if God offer it. Brocher, pray for me. Grace be with you.
Aberdeen, 1637, Yours in his deareft Lord Jesus, S. R.
31. TO JOHN STEWART, Provost of Air, now in Ireland.
Much bonoured Sir,
you, being now removed from my flock, and the prisoner of Christ at Aberdecn. I would not have you to think it Atrange, that your journey to New-England hath gotten such a dalh: it indeed hath made my heart heavy; yet I know it is no dumb providence, but a speaking one, whereby our Lord 1peaketh his mind to you, though for the present ye do not well understand what he faith: however it be, he who sitteth upon the Aoods,hath shewn you his marvellous kindness in the great depths. I know your loss is great, and your hope gone against you; but I intreat you, Sir, expound aright our Lord's laying all hinderances in the way. I persuade myself, your heart aimeth at the foot. ' Ateps of the flock, to feed befide the shepherds tents, and to dwell beside Him whom your soul loveth; and that is your desire to remain in the wilderness, where the woman is kept from the dragon: and this being your desire, remember that a poor prisoner of Christ said it to you, that, that miscarried journey is with child to you of mercy and confolation; and shall bring forth a fair birth, and the Lord thall be midwife to this fair birth: wait on then, for he that believeth maketh got halte, Isaiah xxviii. 16. I hope, ye have been asking what the Lord mean? eth, and what further may be his will, in reference to your return. My dear brother, let God make of you what he will, he will end all with confolation, and shall make glory out of your sufferings; and would ye wilh better work? This water was in your way to beaven, and written in your Lord's book, ye behoved to cross it; and therefore kiss his wife and unerring providence: Let not
the censures of men, who see but the outside of things and scarce well that) abate your courage and rejoicing in the Lord : howbeit your faith seeth but the black side of providence, yet it hath a better side, and God shall let you see it. Learn to believe Christ better than his strokes, himself and his promises better than his glooms : dashes and disappointments are not canonic fcripture; hghting for the promised land, seemed to cry to God's promife, Thou liest. If our Lord ride upon a straw, his horse shall neither stumble nor fall, Rom. viii. 28. For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God; ergo, shipwreck, loffes, &c. work together for the good of them that love God : hence I infer, that losses, disappointments, ill tongues, 'lofs of friends, houses or country, are God's workmen, set on work to work out good to you, out of every thing that befalleth you. Let not the Lord's dealing seem harsh, rough, or unfatherly, because it is unpleasant : when the Lord's blessed will bloweth cross your desires, it is beft, in humility, to strike fail to him, and to be willing to be led any way our Lord pleaseth. It is a point of de. pial of yourself, to be as if ye had not a will, but had made a free disposition of it to God, and had sold it over to him; and to make use of his will for your own, is both true holiness, and your ease and peace : ye know not what the Lord is working out of this, but ye shall know it hereafter. And what I write to you, I write to your wife; 1 compassionate her case, but intreat her not to fear or faint: this journey is a part of her wilderness to heaven and the promised land, and there are fewer miles behind : it is nearer the dawning of the day to her, than when the went out of Scotland. I would be glad to hear that ye and she have comfort and courage in the Lord. Now as concerning our kirk: our service book is ordained, by open proclamation and sound of trumpet, to be read in all the kirks of this kingdom: our prelates are to meet this month for it and our canons, and for a reconciliation betwixt us and the Lutherans. The profeffors of Aberdeen university are charged to draw up the articles of an uniform confeffion; but reconciliation with Popery is intended; this is the day of Jacob's visitation : the ways of Zion mourn, our gold is become dim, the sun is gone down upon our prophets. A dry wind, but neither to fan nor to cleanse, is coming upon this land; and all our ill is coming from the multiplied transgressions of this land, and from the friends and lovers of Babel amongst us, Jer. xxxi. 53. The violence done to me and my Aeth be upon thee, Babylon, fhall the inhabitants of Zion fay, and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, thall Jerusalem fay. Now for myself, I was three days before the high commiffion, and accused of treason preached against our king: a miniSter being witness, went well nigh to swear it; God hath fav
ed me from their malice. ist, They have deprived me of my mi. niftry; 2dly, Silenced me, that I exercise no part of the minifterial function within this kingdom, under the pain of rebellion; 3dly, Confined my person within the town of Aberdeen, where I find the ministers working for my confinement in Caithness or Orkney, far from them; because some people here (willing to be edified) resort to me. At my first entry, I had heavy challenges within me, and a court fenced (but I hope, not in Christ's Dame) wherein it was asserted, that my Lord would have no more of my service, and was tired of me: and, like a fool, I fummoned Christ also for unkindness; my soul faipted, and I refused comfort, and faid, What ailed Christ at me for I desired to be faithful in his house. Thus, in my rovings and mistakings, my Lord Jesus bestowed mercy on me, who am less than the least of all saints. I lay upon the dust, and bought a plea from Satan against Chrift, and he was content to sell it: but at length Christ did (hew himself friends with me, and in mercy pardoned and past my part of it, and only complained that a court should be holdea in his bounds, without his own allowance. Now I pass from my compearance; and, as if Christ had done the fault, he hath made the mends, and returned to my soul; so that now his poor prifoner feedeth on the feasts of love. My adversaries know not what a courtier I am now with my royal King, for whose crown Inow suffer: it is but our soft and lazy Aesh that hath raised as ill report of the cross of Christ; O sweet, sweet is his yoke! Christ's chains are of pure gold; sufferings for him are perfum. ed: I would not give my weeping for the laughing of all the fourteen prelates, I would not exchange my faddess with the world's joy. O lovely, lovely Jefus, how sweet must thy kisses be, when thy cross smelleth so sweetly! O if all the three kingdoms had part of my love-feast, and of the comfort of a dawted prisoder! Dear brother, I charge you to praise for me, and seek help of our acquaintance there, to help me to praise. Why should I fmother Christ's honesty to me? My heart is taken up with this, that my filence and sufferings may preach. I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, to help me to praise. Remember my love to your wife, to Mr. Blair, and Mr. Livingston, and Mr. Cunningham. Let me hear from you, for I am anxious what to do: if I saw a call for New England, I would follow it. Grace be with you. Aberdeen, 1637.
Tours in our Lord Jesus, S. R.
52. TO JOHN STEWART Provost of Air. Much honoured and deareft in Chrift, GRace, mercy and peace from God our Father, and from our
Lord Jesus Christ, be upon you. I expected the comfort of a letter to a prisoner from you, ere bow. I am here, Sir, M
putting off a part of my inch of time; and when I awake first in the morning (which is always with great heaviness and sadness) this question is brought to my mind; Am I serving God or not? Not that I doubt of the truth of this honourable cause, wherein I am engaged (I dare venture into eternity, and before my judge, that I now suffer for the truth: because that I cannot endure that
my master, who is a free-born King, should pay tribute to any of the shields or pot-sheards of the earth; Oh that I could hold the crown upon my princely King's head with my sinful arm, howbeit it should be truck from me in that service from the shoulder-blade!) but my closed mouth, my dumb fabbaths, the memory of my communion with Christ, in many fair, fair days in Aowoth (whereas now my master getteth no service of my tongue as then) hath almost broken my faith in two halves: yet in my deepest apprehensions of his anger, I see through a cloud that I am wrong; and he, in love to my soul, hath taken up the controverfy betwixt faith and apprehensions, and a decreet is part on Christ's side of it, and I subscribe the decreet. The Lord is equal in his ways, but my guiltiness often over mastereth my believing. I have not been well known; for, except as to open out-breakings, I want nothing of what Judas and Cain had; only he hath been pleased to prevent me in mercy, and to cast me into a fever of love for himself, and his absence maketh my fever most painful, and beside, he hath visited my soul and watered it with his comforts: but yet I have not what I would, the want of real and felt possession is my only death; I know Christ pitieth me in this. The great men my friends, that did for me, are dried up, like winter-brooks of water : all fay, No dealing for that man; his best will be, to be gone out of the kingdom. So I see they tire of me; but, believe me, I am most gladly content that Chrift breaketh all my idols in pieces: it hath put a new edge upon my blunted love to Chrift; I see he is jealous of my love, and will have all to himself. In a word, these fix things are my burden; 1. I am not in the vineyard as others are, it may be, becaufe Christ thinketh me a withered tree, not worth its room ; but God forbid. 2. Wo, wo, wo is coming upon my ther, this apostate kirk: the time is coming, when we shall with for doves wings, to fly and hide us: Oh for the defolation of this. land! 3. I fee my dear master, Christ, going as alone (as it were) mourning in sackcloth : his fainting friends fear that King Jesus shall lose the field; but he must carry the day. 4. My guiltiness and the sins of my youth are come up against me, and they would come in the plea in my fufferings, as deserving causes in God's justice; but I pray God, for Christ's fake, he never give them that room. Wo's me that I cannot get my royal, dreadful, mighty, and glorious prince of the kings of the earth set on high.