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Full text of "Memorials of Alexander Moncrieff, M.A., and James Fisher : fathers of the United Presbyterian Church"

637 



CAVEN LIBRARY 

KNOX COLLEGE 

TORONTO 




A 1 Dllaitoa fcC landaafcEdnibrargh. 




MEMORIALS 



ALEXANDER MONCBIEFF, M.A., 

AND 

I 

JAMES FISHER, 

TATHERS Or THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. 



: 



DAVID YOUNG, D.D., PERTH, 



JOHN BROWN, D.D., EDINBURGH, 

PROFESSOR OF EXEGETICAL THEOLOGY TO THE UNITED P. CHUBCH. 



A. FULLARTON & CO.: 
EDINBURGH, DUBLIN, AND LONDON. 

1849. 



Kl \U <#* 



EDINBURGH: 

FUXLARTOX AND 1LA.CNAB, PRJSTKRS, LKITH WALK 



MEMOIR 

OF THE 

REV. ALEXANDER MOHCRIEFF 

OF ABERNETHY, 
- > v \ 

WITH A SELECTION FROM HIS WORKS. 

BY DAVID YOUflG, D.D. 



PREFACE. 



THE task attempted in the following pages has been both pleas 
ing and painful. Pleasing, because it drew attention to the 
character and career of a man of God, to whom the Secession 
Church in Scotland owes a debt of lasting gratitude ; and pain 
ful, because the materials, which were once so plentiful, are now 
so scanty, and so ill authenticated. As memory served, I have 
availed myself of conversations, in years gone by, with my late 
venerable colleague, the Rev. Dr. Pringle, who was connected 
by marriage with the Moncrieff family, and of other sources of 
oral information, to which, through vicinity, I have long had 
access. But my chief dependence has been on two articles in 
the Christian Magazine for 1804, written, as is supposed, by the 
Kev. Mr. Whytock, then of Dalkeith. In these articles extracts 
are given from a Diary of Mr. Moncrieff s, which, if obtained, 
might have added much to the details of the present narrative, 
but which seems to be now irrecoverably lost. To original 
documents, therefore, my access has been extremely limited; 
although relatives of the family, and other friends, have done 
what they could to supply the deficiency. In particular, Mrs. 
Captain Moncrieff of Barnhill has kindly given me every facility 
for examining such of the family papers, as might seem at all 
to suit my purpose; and to that estimable lady I present re 
spectful thanks. 

In setting down a few of the statements, which are not, how 
ever, the most important, I feel myself in the predicament of 
one who knows enough to convince him of their truth, while 
yet he feels himself without the means of formally establishing 
them to the conviction of others. " To everything there is a 
time ; " and as to the third of the Four Brethren, it must now 
be admitted, however regretfully, that the time for doing justice 
to his life had passed away before the deed was determined on. 

For the reference to the minister of Scoonie, I am also in 
debted to the Christian Magazine : and for the account given 
of the young Laird, to the Weekly Christian Teacher. These 
may, perhaps, appear digressive; and had specific matter been 
more abundant, they might, perhaps, have been passed over. 



PREFACE. 



But as they both are possessed of intrinsic interest, and have 
each a link which binds it to the subject, the balance fell, right 
or wrong, in favour of insertion. 

The specimens of Mr. Moncrieff s authorship, which follow 
the narrative, are selected on the principle of present utility, 
and taken from his posthumous volumes as edited by his son. 

The "ENQUIRY INTO THE KULE AND END OF MORAL Ac- 

TIONS" is somewhat controversial, being a reply to the specula 
tions of Professor Campbell, on the subject to which it refers. 
But as the errors of that individual, the character of whose mind 
seems to have been pravity rather than power lie at the root 
of all ungodliness, and may be found at this day, giving impulse 
as well as disguise to some of the forms of living infidelity, 
Moncrieff s antidote, although olden in attire, may still be re 
garded as a word in season. " CHRIST S CALL TO THE KISING 
GENERATION," although taking occasionally a wider range than 
might now be taken on such a subject, is plain, pointed, and 
richly evangelical, dealing closely with the youthful mind, and 
plying it with those peculiar motives, which alone can prevail 
in bringing it to Christ. 

I). YOUNG. 
PERTH, 22 May, 1849. 



CONTENTS, 



Page 
MEMOIR, . ix 

AN ENQUIRY INTO THE PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND 
END OF MORAL ACTIONS. 

INTRODUCTION, .... 63 
SECTION I. 

Wherein it is made appear, that self - love is not, nor ought to 
be, the leading principle of moral virtue. .... 67 

SECTION II. 

That self-interest or pleasure, is not the only standard by which 
we are to judge of the virtue of our own and others actions ; 
and that actions are not to be called virtuous on account of their 
correspondency to self-interest. ...... 85 

SECTION III. 

That self-love, as it exerts itself in the desire of universal un 
limited esteem, ought not to be made the commanding motive 
to virtuous actions; nor is the obtaining the good-liking and 
esteem of those beings, among whom we are mixed, to be our 
main end in pursuing them. ...... 99 

CONCLUSION, .... 113 

CHRIST S CALL TO THE RISING GENERATION, 
IN THREE SERMONS. 

SERMON I. 

MARK x. 14- " But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, 
and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, 
and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." . 121 



Vlll CONTENTS. 



SERMON II. 

GEN. xxviii. 10 13, 19. " And Jacob went out from Beersheba, 
and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, 

and tarried there all night, and lay down in that place to 

sleep : and he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, 
and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of 
God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood 
above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy Father, 

and the God of Isaac. And he called the name of that place 

Bethel." 153 

SERMON III. 

GEN. xxviii. 20, 21. " And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God 

will be with me, and keep me, then shall the Lord be my 

God." Jer. iii. 4, 19. " Wilt thou not, from this time, cry unto 
me, My Father, thou art the Guide of my youth? And I said, 
Thou shalt call me, My Father, and shalt not turn away from 
me." 167 



MEMOIR 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF, 



THE name of Alexander Moncrieff stands conspicuous 
among the four, who, in 1733, began to be the found 
ers of the Secession Church in Scotland. He was born 
in 1695, and, being the eldest son, inherited from his 
father, who died when he was only about thirteen years 
of age, the estate of Culfargie, in the parish of Aber- 
nethy, Perthshire, with its commodious mansion-house, 
pleasantly situated on the banks of the Earn. That 
the branch of the Moncrieff family from which he 
sprang, is of old standing among the gentry of Scot 
land, is abundantly evinced by existing documents. 
Their connection with Kintillo, an estate contiguous to 
that of Culfargie, can be traced back to about the com 
mencement of the sixteenth century; and while some 
of them did credit to their name in the civil or mili 
tary service of their country, not a few bore the higher 
distinction of eminent piety, and unbending integrity. 
Being early written fatherless, the heir of Culfargie 
of whom we write was left to the care of his mother 
whose name was Margaret Mitchell, of the family of 
Balbardie in Fife a lady singularly qualified, by na 
ture and by grace, for the task which Providence had 
reserved for her, and who lived to be rewarded for her 
maternal solicitude in the piety and usefulness of her 



X MEMOIR OF THE 

darling boy. It would appear that several of his 
paternal relatives were very attentive to him during 
his minority; and especially Mr. David Moncrieff of 
Khynd, his curator in law, to whom, after he came of 
age, we find him making graceful acknowledgment, of 
the considerate kindness, with which so much had been 
deferred to his mother, in the management of his per 
son and affairs. In those days more than in ours, it 
was common for the younger sons of landholding fami 
lies, to be educated for the Christian ministry, the 
office of a clergyman, or even its emolument, being 
regarded as an object of laudable ambition. But secu 
lar motives cannot, in fairness, be imputed to the sub 
ject of the present narrative. He was not a younger 
son, but the heir of a good estate; and there is every 
reason to believe, that, by the grace of God, his mor- 
ther s judicious piety so wrought upon his mind, as to 
beget in him a desire for the Christian ministry out of 
love to Christ himself. 

At what particular time this desire was formed, or 
when expression was first given to it, we have not the 
means of knowing: but we know that it was early 
formed ; and there is reason to believe that, ultimately, 
the history of a near relative of his own, who died 
about seven years before he was born, and whose face, 
of course, he never saw in the flesh, contributed more 
than biography has penned, towards its formation. 
That relative was the minister of Scoonie in Fife, his 
paternal grandfather, after whom he was named a 
man of truly apostolic spirit the companion and the 
counterpart of the martyred Guthrie, whose fame is 
enshrined in Scotland s piety and a man the tale of 
whose worth and woes, flowing softly from his mother s 
lips, could scarcely fail to leave its impress on the mind 
of young Culfargie. What has been said of this man 
seems to commit us to say more; and although he was 
not of the Secession Fathers, in the ordinary sense of the 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XI 

words, he was at one with these Fathers in principle; 
the same spirit which sustained him was, forty years 
after his death, inspiration to them; and an episode to 
his memory, if such it must be called, while claimed by 
the relationship which has just been referred to, seems 
due to posterity on higher grounds. 

The Rev. Alexander Moncrieff of Scoonie, then, had 
been minister of the parish which bears that name, 
some time before the Restoration in 1660 : for, during 
the sway of Oliver Cromwell, he was noted for his 
attachment to the Stuarts, for which he received the 
usual thanks of that detested race. But apart from 
politics, which, then as now, were variously estimated, 
he was a man of pre-eminent piety, ardent zeal for the 
doctrines of grace, and high moral courage in the de 
fence of truth and righteousness. Instigated, as would 
seem, by his faithfulness in reproving iniquity, a gen 
tleman of his parish conceived against him a deep and 
inveterate prejudice. To gratify his malevolence, this 
gentleman ventured so far as to bring him, by libel, 
before the Synod of Fife, charged with an offence of 
serious import, which we have not now the means of 
specifying. The accuser was defeated; his minister 
was fully arid openly acquitted; and on the spot where 
he hoped to be the ruin of the innocent, he was seized 
with a violent distemper, which compelled him to has 
ten home. At home, however, there was no rest for 
him; his conscience became his own accuser; the trou 
ble of his mind was far greater than the trouble of his 
bo dy; he cried earnestly for a sight of his minister 
that he might confess the wrong, and ask forgiveness; 
but his haughty lady forbade the interview, and he 
died without obtaining it. Not long afterwards, the 
lady herself fell under affliction; her conscience also 
began to accuse her; the boon she so obstinately denied 
to her husband she very earnestly asked for herself; 
her minister hastened to pay her a visit; and in the 



Xll MEMOIR OF THE 

anguish of her heart she made full confession of the 
deeds of infamy done against him, by her and her de 
parted husband. Nor, as the record has it, did the mat 
ter end here. A young man who lived in the family in 
the capacity of tutor, and had appeared as a witness for 
the libel, was seized with remorse for the part he had 
acted, and went to a subsequent meeting of Synod for 
the purpose of retracting his testimony; but as he was 
prevented from effecting his purpose, his agony in 
creased till it overset his reason, and he died in a state 
of insanity. 

Such is a specimen of the world s enmity against the 
heralds of the cross, and such the way in which THE 
CRUCIFIED himself is sometimes terrible on their behalf. 
But the troubles of the minister of Scoonie did not end 
here. He was a burning and shining light, which the 
spirit of darkness seemed determined to extinguish; 
and what the malice of a local laird was too feeble to 
accomplish, was sought and obtained through a higher 
agency. 

The Scottish Presbyterians of those days were, in 
general, favourable to the house of Stuart. For their 
loyalty, as they deemed it, they suffered during the 
Protectorate; and no sooner was the perfidious Charles 
restored to the throne, than he began to repay them 
by persecution. Not long after the king s return, a 
few of them, including the minister of Scoonie, met 
privately to prepare an Address to him. In this Ad 
dress they paid him court in terms sufficiently lauda 
tory, denouncing the measures which led to the death 
of his predecessor, and giving thanks to Almighty God, 
for the counter-revolution which had just been effected. 
But they ventured to remind the king, of the obliga 
tions under which he had come to the throne, with the 
course he was in virtue of them expected to pursue; 
and this was enough to kindle his ire. While their 
Address was yet unfinished a mere scroll of proposals 






REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. Xlll 

and while they were engaged in writing their breth 
ren, in various parts of the country, to meet for the 
purpose of considering it, they were apprehended and 
thrown into prison, first in the Castle of Edinburgh, 
and then in their own houses, till the ensuing meeting 
of Parliament, that is the Parliament of 1661. Such 
was the conduct of Charles, to men whose only fault 
was a blind attachment to his family, and a disposition 
to confide where no confidence was due. It fared with 
them as it usually fares with men who put their re 
ligion into the keeping of princes, and look to Csesar 
when they should be looking to God. Release was 
promised them, on the condition of confessing to the 
crime of framing the Address; but as honest men they 
could not confess to crime they had never committed, 
and so the persecution grew hotter and hotter. 

Soon after the Parliament assembled, an indictment 
was produced against two of the party, namely, Alex 
ander Moncrieff of Scoonie, and James Guthrie of Stir 
ling, who was afterwards put to death. For Moncriefi 
great intercession was made; the reason of the nation 
being not quite extinguished, although cowardice kept 
it in bondage; and his standing in society might have 
proved his safeguard, but for his inflexible adherence 
to principle. The Earl of Athol, and others of note, 
who knew well how the tide was flowing, assured his 
lady that his life would be forfeited, if he continued to 
show himself so unbending, and earnestly entreated her 
to do her utmost, to elicit from him some concession; 
but she proved herself a wife worthy of such a husband, 
and so among posterity she shares in his renown. "You 
all know," said she to beseeching friends, " that I am 
happy in a good husband, that I have great affection 
for him and for my children; yet I know him to be so 
steadfast in his principles, that nobody needs to deal 
with him on that head: and for my part, before I 
would contribute any thing that would break his peace 



XIV MEMOIR OF THE 

with his Master, I would rather choose to receive his 
head at the Cross."* 

Failing in these expedients, the assiduity of his 
friends resorted to another, but with no better success. 
According to the custom of these ignominious times, a 
number of ladies of rank made a present of plate to 
the Advocate s lady, hoping by this means to propitiate 
his Lordship. But the present was rejected, more in 
hate, there is reason to believe, than from a principle 
of honour; for this same Advocate had but slender 
claims to the credit of official integrity. During the 
sittings of the Parliament for that year, Mr. Moncrieff 
was repeatedly brought before it, and so teased with 
questions and menaces, that but for the greatness of 
his heart, and the grace of God which was in him, he 
might have suffered many deaths in the prospect of 
one. But he knew of another Judge, and had the ear 
of another Advocate, to whom he calmly committed his 
cause. " Prayer was made without ceasing, of the 
church, unto God for him:" and when the decision 
came forth, his bodily life was spared, but his official 
life was taken away. Their lenity, as they called it, 
was like themselves; it slew the minister, but spared 
the man. He was declared incapable of any trust, 
civil or ecclesiastical, and banished from his parish and 
his flock. The trial was severe; to such a man, per 
haps, severer than death itself; for although he loved 
and was loved, as a husband and a father, and was 
much attached to his circle of friends, yet the preach 
ing of salvation through Jesus Christ was most of all 
the delight of his heart. 

This privilege, however, as hatred would have it, 
was sternly denied to him, and, soon after, to many 
others, in those days of rebuke and of blasphemy. In 

* To see him beheaded at the common place of execution in 
Edinburgh. 



EEV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XV 

1664, when a report of his preaching was carried to 
his persecutors, he was condemned to seek a habitation, 
twenty miles away from the seat of a bishop, and seven 
from a royal borough. After a while, he retired to a 
sequestered spot in the Highlands, and preached to 
little groups of people as God gave him opportunity. 
There it would appear that, for a time, he was com 
paratively free from molestation; but, being anxious 
about the education of his children, and hoping that 
the storm was somewhat abated, he ventured to seek 
a residence in Per-th, where his preaching again ex 
posed him to danger, and forced him to seek a lurking- 
place, at a distance from all who were dear to him. 
At length we find him with his family in Edinburgh, 
where also he began to preach; for no fear of man 
could restrain him from preaching; and by this time, 
(1675,) being outlawed, or intercommuned as they 
called it, his danger was greater than ever. But God 
was with him; and his sojourn, in and about the capi 
tal, presents a very remarkable conjunction of untiring 
malice, and merciful deliverance. On one occasion, a 
captain and his party searched every dwelling in the 
close where he lodged, except the one where he was 
to be found, into which they never entered, although 
its door was wide open. On another occasion, as he 
went out to take a walk, near to the place of his con 
cealment he was met by a party sent to search for him. 
As they passed, and set their eyes on him, one of them 
remarked, " That may be the man we are in quest of; 
for he looks like a minister;" to which it was replied, 
" It cannot be he ; for he knows his danger too well to 
be found walking there." So they went on, accom 
plished their search, and returned without their victim. 
On a third occasion, being informed that the soldiers 
were on their way to apprehend him, he made no haste 
to escape from them, till a friend urged him to do so; 
when, with the utmost composure, and with no appear- 



XVI MEMOIR OF THE 

ance of haste, he went out, took a short walk in the 
street, and returned to his house, just as the soldiers 
had left it. These are but specimens of his perils and 
escapes; till at last his friends became so anxious about 
him, that they entreated him to leave the country. 
But this he resolutely declined, saying in terms of 
confiding pleasantry, that he preferred to suffer where 
he had sinned, and would endeavour to keep possession 
of the house the land of his nativity till its Lord 
should return to it. Nor is it unworthy of remark, 
that in a modified sense he did so: for he lived till the 
harvest of 1688, when the arm of the persecutor was 
broken, and when HE, who had preserved him from 
the violence of man, caught up his spirit to the region 
of blessedness, leaving his dust to sleep till the morn 
ing, where " the wicked cease from troubling," and 
" where the weary are at rest." 

The subject of this memoir, as already stated, was 
the grandson of this distinguished man; and there is 
little stretch of fancy in supposing, that the mantle 
which fell from the one was, after the lapse of years, 
taken up by the other. Principle and emotion have 
their lines of descent, as well as races of men and wo 
men, and to the warm affinities of flesh and blood they 
easily give the preference. Men die, but their thoughts 
survive them; and back to the progenitor we are often 
conducted, for the embryo of that which is developed 
in his offspring. This is the way with moral evil, and 
alas! for its devastations; but it is sometimes the way 
with moral good, under the guidance of its compassionate 
Author; and happy is the man whom God has hon 
oured to give an impulse in the right direction, which 
lives after him in his children, and passes on with 
augmenting force till it comes to settle in the ascend 
ant. In the high moral bearing of the minister of 
Scoonie, we see the seeds of the Scottish Secession ; 
and in the position taken by his grandson, with his 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEPF. XV 11 

honoured coadjutors, we see the Secession brought 
forth. Nor are our musings arrested here ; for in the 
history of the Secession, down to this day, we see 
principles brought into action, by which a deep-seated 
delusion is progressively exposed, and the deliverance 
of the church from a desolating bondage effectively 
promoted. 

Leaving Moncrieff of Scoonie, and returning to the 
boyhood of the more immediate subject of our narra 
tive, we find little to remark on his elementary educa 
tion. After passing through the grammar school at 
Perth, and making there a creditable proficiency, he 
went to the University of St. Andrews, where he 
studied for four consecutive sessions, and took out the 
degree of Master of Arts. He then entered the Divinity 
Hall of the same University, where he studied for three 
sessions under Professor Haddow, of whose talents, and 
learning, and theological attainments, he makes re 
spectful mention. Of Professor Rymer also, who then, 
it would appear, filled the chair of Moral Philosophy, 
he speaks in terms of much respect. Apart, indeed, 
from specific religion, and prior, perhaps, to its gov 
erning influence, he seems to have been one of those 
ingenuous youths, who, thirsting for mental improve 
ment, are easily inspired with grateful esteem for those 
who aid the pursuit of it; and from the little that we 
know of this matter there seems ground to conclude, 
; i -y the various Professors under whom he sat, his 
frank and docile and studious habits were duly appre 
ciated. As an evidence of the ardour with which he 
prosecuted study, we find that with the facilities fur 
nished at St. Andrews he did not rest satisfied. The 
University of Leyden, in Holland, had in those days 
a high reputation as a school of Christian theology, 
earned for it by the just celebrity of John a Mark, and 
his contemporary Wesselius : and it was no uncommon 
thing for the more devoted of our Scottish students of 

4 



XV111 MEMOIH OF TilE 

divinity to go there, that they might finish their course 
under these illustrious masters. M Laureu, Fullarton, 
Bruce, Ainslie, and others are recorded as specimens 
of those who did so, and among the rest Alexander 
Moncrieff. He left his country for Leyden in Sep 
tember 1716, when he could be no more than one 
and twenty years of age; and so close was his ap 
plication to study there, that serious apprehensions 
for his health were entertained by his friends at 
home. Besides spending four or five hours of the day 
in attending his several classes, he used to devote seven 
or eight more to private reading and study ; and that 
he was a successful as well as diligent student, we hap 
pen to have the testimony of Mark himself, who, in a 
volume published by him at Amsterdam, in 1721, 
classes him with the elite of his students for the above 
year.* Among the few fragments which can now be 
recovered, is a printed THESIS quite entire, On the 
Future Subjection of the Son to the Father (1 Corin. 
xv. 28), written in very creditable Latin, and consist 
ing of eight quarto pages, with propositions and corol 
laries appended, all after the manner of the schools. 
As it is marked " Thesis vii." and begins without an 
introduction, obviously supposing previous discussion, 
it seems to have been one of a series, on various 
branches of the same subject, and executed probably 
by a selection of students of whom Moncrieff was one. 
But taken by itself, it does honour to its author, and 
speaks well for his early proficiency, both in logic and 
sacred philology. t 

* Referring to the exercises of that year, and recording the 
" nomina Prestantissimorum Juvenum, qui, exercitationes has 
publice defenderant," he inserts the name of " Alex. Moncrieff 
Scoto Perth." 

t This relic bears no date, and gives no hint as to the place 
where it was printed ; but as it is inscribed, not only to the Rev. 
William Moncrieff of Largo, David Moncrieff of Rhynd, his 
paternal uncles, John Mitchell, Balbardie, his uncle by the 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XIX 

But while the youthful student from the first enjoyed 
the advantage of earthly masters, and was not slack in 
availing himself of it, there was another education 
going on of far more commanding interest, an educa 
tion by which the heart of its subject, and all his men 
tal acquirements were seasoned progressively for the 
service of God in the gospel of his Son. Assiduous 
domestic instruction, aided by the example of the 
mother who imparted it, seems to have inspired the 
future minister with an early reverence for religion; 
although for a time, as he himself declares, he had no 
desire for quite so much of it, as that which gave law 
to his ancestor at Scoonie. That ancestor he could 
admire, and perhaps was proud of bearing his name ; 
but in early youth he was not prepared to take him as 
his model. He could not think of disowning religion; 
but neither could he think of yielding himself up en 
tirely to its guidance. His early education restrained 
him from the one, and his love of the world restrained 
him from the other. Like many a youth in 1 similar cir 
cumstances, he would fain have found a middle path, 
in which he might walk with God and with Mammon. 
But he was shut up, and not permitted long to halt 
between two such opinions. In the seventeenth year 
of his age, he began to feel an engrossing concern about 
the salvation of his soul; and so distressing were his 
convictions, that many a time he uttered the cry, 
"what must I do to be saved?" This state of mind 
seems to have been produced, during the session of 
college in 1711 and 12, but by what particular means 
we are not informed, nor does it appear that anything, 
beyond the ordinary course of religious observance, was 
at that time accessible to him. 

mother s side, James Haddow and Henry Rymer, St. Andrews, 
but also to Mark and Wesselius, and Thomas Hoog, pastor of 
the Scottish Church, Rotterdam, there can be no doubt of its 
being one of the fruits of his labour at Leyden. 



XX MEMOIR OF THE 

After returning from college in May, he went on a 
visit to his maternal uncle, the minister of Largo in 
Fifeshire, from whose public instructions, and private 
counsels, he seems to have derived great spiritual 
benefit. But still his disquietude continued ; and he 
was led to special earnestness in prayer an exercise 
for which, as we may yet have occasion to show, he 
was very remarkable, during the whole of his subse 
quent life. While at Largo, we are told, he often 
made the church or the churchyard his oratory, where, 
unknown to the eye or the ear of man, he wrestled for 
relief, pouring out his confessions and supplications to 
him who alone can send relief. He criqd, and the Lord 
heard him, guiding the workings of his troubled spirit, 
and by an infusion of Christian hope, gradually mel 
lowing the bitterness of his contrition, even while its 
intensity was scarcely abated. " At the communion 
at Largo," he says, " I got more of a broken heart on 
the Sabbath-day, than ever I found before not in a 
terrible, but in a sweet and pleasing manner, by many 
degrees more than ever I had formerly experienced 
a day I ought never to forget. I hope my sorrow was 
genuine and evangelical." This was in June 1712 ; 
and it may be regarded as the turning point of his 
spiritual history: for generally afterwards, although 
with some relapses, his "joy of faith," not only re 
mained, but rose occasionally into rapture. " O what 
I felt," says he farther on, " at the second sacrament I 
participated of at the Rhynd! I hope I got a real 
manifestation, and an earnest of heaven. What thirst 
for God, and love to Christ! sweet church, sweet 
churchyard of Largo ! where I have wrestled and seen 
something of God, great, glorious, and soul-engaging ! 
sweet balk* at Forgan ! O it is good to be about 

* A grassy foot-path between ridges, or small cultivated 

fields. 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XXI 

HIS Land ! Many a temptation I had, many a struggle 
with corruption, many a time was I foiled; but thanks 
to God who giveth the victory." 

Such is a specimen of the working of his mind, when 
his affections were yet but young and fitful. He had 
hoped that the night of sorrow was past, and a cloud 
less day begun to dawn; but like many a convert in 
similar circumstances, and at his stage of the Christian 
life, he had new trials to pass through, and new lessons 
to learn from them. In the law of God after the in 
ward man he had now a supreme delight; and pleasing 
was the thought that this delight would be permanent : 
but he soon found that the other the alien law was 
still in his members, warring against the law of his 
mind, and bringing him into captivity to the law of sin 
and death. About the time of his going to Leyden, and 
for some time after he was there, his struggles with 
inward corruption were many and severe, marring the 
comfort he had previously enjoyed, and awakening the 
apprehension, that after all he had seen and felt, he was 
still in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. But 
all this was God s way of correcting his mistakes, ma 
turing his experience, and preparing him for future 
usefulness, as a spiritual guide to others. " Out of the 
eater came forth meat, out of the strong came forth 
sweetness ;" and he lived to be the riddle expounded. 

Under this course of training, he was gradually led 
to a juster estimate of sin in the heart of its power 
of its malignity of its infatuating tendency and this 
made him more skilful, as well as more direct, in im 
proving the gracious provisions of the gospel. In a 
school of theology far more effective than the soundest, 
or the best of human prelections, he was taught that 
the heart is deceitful above all things, arid desperately 
wicked, that the work of sanctification makes progress 
by vicissitude, that no power which is less than divine 
can either commence it or carry it on, and that it is 



XXil MEMOIR OF THE 

not upon his fluctuating frames and feelings, but upon 
the CROSS, and the spirit of the cross, that a Christian 
must place his entire dependence. In this school, in 
short, he was taught to look less to the good he had 
already received, and more to that which was still in 
the promise, and thereby to live, more simply, more 
immediately, and more habitually by the faith of the 
Son of God, improving privilege, yielding obedience, 
and leaving enjoyment to ebb or to flow as God may 
be pleased to measure it out. Hence his subsequent 
reflections on this part of his mental history so judi 
cious, so devotional, and so instructive to all who 
would know the mystery of sanctification. " It is 
well worth while to notice the wisdom of the divine 
conduct in dealing with some souls. The soul at first 
conversion has yet a great touch of the law, and a pro 
pensity to be saved by the old covenant; and the Lord 
leaves it to formal, sleepy, successless prayers, to con 
vince it (as I hope he has done me) of the uselessness 
of all performances in order to justification before God. 
Lord, teach me to fight in the name of the Captain of 
salvation. Possibly it is to teach me this, that I am 
so often foiled by the enemy, and fight with so little 
success. I hope I have been, ere now, convinced of 
the helplessness of all my duties; but oh! that I may 
flee to Christ for all. I remember I did think it a 
strange-like doctrine, to be saved by the righteousness 
of another, and to have all for nothing. Now I think 
it strange, that I do not experimentally understand 
what it is to live by the strength of another. With 
out this, sin will never be mortified." 

These things, with Mr. Moncrieff, were not mere 
theories, but matters of the gravest personal concern. 
He was zealous for the dogmas of the Christian faith; 
but he was more zealous for their practical effects; and 
indeed it is only by zeal for the latter, that zeal for 
the former is legitimized. It is not for preservation 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XX1 11 

so much as for use, that the doctrines of grace are 
given to us; and so far as we fail to make use of them, 
their preservation among us is put in peril. Few have 
been more alive to this, than the man of whom we 
write. He regarded a legal spirit, not merely as the 
besetting sin of the children of this world, but as the 
grand enemy of the Christian himself, especially when 
young and inexperienced a restless enemy an in 
sidious enemy an enemy which prosecutes its aim 
under pretexts which are exceedingly plausible and 
these views of it were unfolded to him by the early 
workings of his own mind. So we find him penning 
such sayings as the following : " I am sometimes hang 
ing between the law and the gospel. I cannot get 
fairly off from the old covenant, nor fairly into the city 
of refuge. I see that works will not do; but I cannot 
well understand the mystery of grace; how Christ can 
do, and will do, and none else can. Though I have 
heard much of the danger of building on a wrong foun 
dation, I have been seeking terms and conditions to 
bring with me, and putting my duties in Christ s room." 
So much was he afraid of this spirit, that much as he 
had suffered from the smitings of conscience, he decid 
edly preferred them to the treacherous relief which 
comes of mere self-reliance. " God has been pleased 
sometimes to awaken me, as he has done now; for a 
little time a plaster made up of the law and grace has 
given me ease. But, Lord, now I beg, for Christ s 
sake, wound, wound, wound, till no plaster but that 
of Christ s blood give any ease." 

From what has already been said, the reader will 
easily be led to infer that, even in his youth for it is 
of his youth we are still speaking Mr. Moncrieff was 
habituated to a close inspection of his own heart, as 
well as punctual in his religious observances, personal 
and private, not less than those which were open to the 
eyes of men. Nay there is evidence, that for a time 



MEMOIR OF THE 



at least, he prescribed rules to himself, which were 
scarcely compatible with Christian liberty; while the 
attempt to observe them, with its frequent shortcom 
ings, involved him in not a little perplexity. This 
was a real error, although it is by no means a common 
one, even with those who have Christ in their hearts; 
and while it is condemned as an error, we are not 
to forget, that it clearly bespeaks a tender conscience. 
Still, feeling it to be an error, and beginning to gain 
the mastery over it, we find our youthful Christian 
saying, " I am tormented with things that are of no 
moment, thinking that this word written, or that word 
spoken is sin. This is a sad trouble to me. Lord 
help me, and if it be thy will deliver me from it. 
Whether it be that I have a devil thus daily molesting 
me, or if it be something in my constitution, I am not 
perfectly sure. If the devil have such power in trifles, 
as to make a reasonable man doubt contrary to all 
common sense, what power must he have, when per 
mitted, to make men doubt of the great truths of re 
ligion. Lord, pity me, and make me to place religion 
where it truly is, and not in anything else; and if it 
be thy will remove this trouble." 

These last words suggest a darker shade of the evil 
to which his extreme scrupulosity gave rise. That 
scrupulosity was itself the fruit, not of true religion, 
but of morbid sensibility; and the sensibility, being 
morbid, naturally gave birth to the morbid idea, that 
religion, as a whole, is but the fancy of a melancholy 
mind. In short, on the principle that extremes meet, 
and come in the long-run to support one another, its 
tendency was to generate a species of scepticism. It 
is not said that sceptical ideas rested on his mind, or 
gained from him so much as a momentary acceptance ; 
but they came up to his view; they hovered over him; 
they haunted him like a demon; and they cost him 
not a little uneasiness, till, by the grace of God, he 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XXV 

escaped from them by such reasonings as the following : 
" I have experience of these two truths, that of man s 
sin and misery, and that of the matchless and suitable 
nature of the remedy" provided in the gospel; "and 
am persuaded that the soul s exercise about them, in 
conformity with the word of God, can be no delusion." 
Again; "It is a hellish temptation, that religion is a 
fancy. Is it a fancy to love Jesus Christ, to mourn 
over sin, to fight with corruption, to storm heaven, to 
take it by force ? No, no, it is deep delusion in spiri 
tual things that gives occasion to such a profane 
dream." 

About the time when these sentiments were penned ? 
or, it may be, a little before it, Mr. Moncrieff at the 
prompting of his own sense of duty, and, so far as 
appears, without the knowledge of any friend on earth, 
entered into a personal covenant with God; a copy of 
which happens to be preserved, written out with his 
own hand, and regularly signed and dated, with re 
peated records of adherence to it at subsequent dates. 
This interesting relic, so apt a memorial of his early 
piety, it seems proper to insert; simply premising, 
that personal covenanting was much more common in 
the days of our fathers, than it is in our days, that it 
is virtually exemplified in every instance, where a poor 
perishing sinner really surrenders himself to Christ for 
salvation, that the formality of writing, date, and 
signature, is by no means essential to it, and does not 
in the least degree affect its nature as a religious exer 
cise, and that while the specimen before us, in a few 
expressions, bears marks of juvenility, which the judi 
cious reader will know how to estimate, the writer 
being then but seventeen years of age, it seems far 
better to oifend the fastidious by giving it as it is, than 
by the change of a single expression to interfere with 
its entireness. 

" I who am the chief of all sinners, and less than 



XXVI MEMOIR OF THE 

the least of all his mercies, yet by the good provi 
dence of the blessed, gracious, and never enough to 
be admired Jehovah, had not my lot casten amongst 
Turks and Pagans, Heathens, or Papists, but in a place 
where the light of the glorious gospel of Christ did 
shine in the brightest meridian, and in greatest perfec 
tion, and where the calls of Christ to life and salvation 
were most full and frequent: although alas! I have it 
to mourn over, that they were too long to me a sound 
ing brass or a tinkling cymbal. Yet now, blessed be 
God, and to his name be the praise, if my heart do not 
deceive me, 

" First, I can say, that I believe that there are three 
persons in the Godhead, and yet only one God, so essen 
tially one, and personally three, that HE has made 
heaven and earth and all things, that he has created 
them, and for his pleasure, they are and were created. 

"2. I believe that Adam, being created in a 
state of innocence, having ability to keep all God s 
commandments, but not so confirmed in that state but 
that he had a liberty of breaking them, and so being 
left to the freedom of his own will, he fell together 
with all his posterity that came from him in an ordinary 
generation, the covenant being made with him and all 
his posterity after him. 

" 3. Man being in this fallen, undone, and miserable 
condition, God s justice was irritate ; so that man lay 
open and exposed to wrath and eternal punishment, to 
all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and the pains 
of hell forever. 

" 4. That God, in his infinite wisdom, found out a 
way to reclaim poor fallen miserable man, whereby he 
manifested the glory of his name, as well as of his jus 
tice, viz., the covenant with his Son, that he should 
give him a certain number of fallen men, to be to him 
an elect and peculiar people, upon these terms, that he 
should take upon him the nature of man, and become 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XXV11 

in every thing like unto man, sin excepted, that he 
should live in the world, and undergo the miseries of 
this life, and that he should at last offer himself a sacri 
fice for his elect on the cross. So I believe that he did 
come into the world, suffer many miseries and hardships 
for his elect, and at length out of his wonderful love to 
a certain number of poor rebel sinners, being priest 
himself, willingly offered up himself a sacrifice on the 
tree, and afterwards was exalted to glory, and there 
makes intercession for his people. 

" 5. That he is both a willing and an able Saviour, 
to save all that corne to God through him, and them 
that come to him he will in no wise cast out. 

" 6. I do believe that I, by nature, am far from 
God, an enemy to God, and can never be brought nigh 
to him, but only by blessed Jesus Christ. 

"7. I do renounce self, as being utterly unable to 
help myself; and so I flee unto Jesus Christ, the blessed 
city of refuge, that I may be clothed with the robes of 
his righteousness, and that so being clothed, I may not 
be found naked. 

" 8. I do renounce all my sins, both original and 
actual, with an endeavour after due hatred and sorrow 
for them, as highly displeasing in the sight of a holy 
God, and do resolve, through his strength, to run the 
way of every commanded duty, and to mourn over 
every thing wherein I come short; yea and to fight 
against every known sin, that through his strength, no 
sin hereafter, no known sin, shall be allowed or ap 
proved of, or have peaceable quarter in my heart or 
affections, but shall endeavour to walk in the strait 
and narrow way that leads to life everlasting. 

" 9. I do, with uplifted hands, accept of Christ, in 
sight and presence of the all-seeing God. I accept of 
Christ in all his offices, and on his own terms, as 
my Prophet, Priest, and King, as my all, my Lord, 
my God, my Saviour, and King; and am heartily 



XXV111 MEMOIR OF THE 

content to be his subject, to be at his disposal every 
way. 

" 10. And here I do endeavour, through his strength, 
to surrender myself, and give myself to him, in soul 
and body, mind, heart, and affections, and to devote 
myself to him alone and to his service. 

" And finally, I do disclaim all confidence in myself, 
as to the performance of this covenant, knowing the 
inconstancy and unfaithfulness of my heart, how apt it 
is to turn aside like a deceitful bow ; and therefore I 
lay the whole weight and stress of it upon him, who 
works both to will, and to do, of his good pleasure; 
humbly beseeching him, through Jesus Christ, gra 
ciously to accept of this offer, and mercifully to pardon 
my sinful weakness, and infirmities, and favourably 
grant his necessary assistance, that I may go on in the 
strength of the Lord, making mention of his righteous 
ness, even of his only. In witness of the premisses, I 
do subscribe the same with my hand as follows : 
" ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. 

At Culfargie 11 day of July 1712, afternoon, 
towards or near night." 

" But though, oh ! my soul, because I did not know 
what days of tribulation I might meet with, what per 
secution, what I might meet with from Satan, or the 
world, or an awakened conscience, or fears and terrors 
at death, I thought convenient for thy satisfaction, and 
that I might not be found guilty of burying the good 
ness of God in oblivion, or the tokens of his wonderful 
condescending favour to lie in the grave of forgetful- 
ness to set down these things for the help of my 
memory, and thy comfort, and having reason to think 
that the Lord had graciously received the offer of my 
self, because of the discoveries he made to me of him 
self and drawing of my heart after him in my verbal 



REV. ALEXANDER MOXCRIEFF. XXIX 

covenanting, and how he enlarged my heart and 
strengthened me to wrestle with him. 

" 2. Because after all, when I was last down in my 
room that night, he made me such a discovery of him, 
as made me long to be with himself in glory, and then 
made me to acquiesce in his will, that I should remain 
here upon the earth, if he should have any farther ser 
vice for me ; backed with an earnest desire, if I should 
live (that) he would above all things make me for his 
glory in my day and generation : yea and he made me 
sing that song, and if I was not mistaken, put that song 
in my mouth : 

Whom have I in the heavens high, 

But thee, O Lord alone ? 
And in the earth whom I desire 
Besides thee there is none. 

To his name be glory forever, Amen." 

" Being on the 15 October 1712, to renew my 
covenant, and to take upon me again the seals of the 
covenant which I had broken, I thought it my duty to 
renew my covenant with the Lord, as well as the seal. 
So I acquiesce in all the articles of that covenant, and, 
if my heart do not deceive me, am heartily well pleased 
with the bargain, and resolve to be for him, and not 
for another, and to adhere to blessed HIM and his 
truths. But withal disclaim myself, as being utterly 
unwilling, unable, and insufficient for these things; 
but I lay the whole weight of this, and the stress of 
my salvation on blessed Jesus Christ. And besides 
(and if he would help me to do it !) to go through 
the wilderness leaning on the beloved. To his name 
be glory forever, Amen. Subscribed the foresaid 15 
October at Culfargie. 

" ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF." 

" I adhere unto all the articles of the covenant, and 



XXX MEMOIR OF THE 

renew it again the last Sabbath of July 1713, at Perth 
before going to the sacrament. that the Lord would 
help me to perform all the articles of it with all my 
endeavour ! that he may send me help from his 
holy hill ! and be my Shepherd and my guide to lead 
me in the road of righteousness, and give me strength ; 
for in him only is strength. To his name be glory. 
" ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF." 

" I desire to adhere to the articles of the covenant, 
and to renew it, and do subscribe to all the premisses, 
looking to the Lord Jesus Christ for strength to per 
form ; which I pray he may grant me, and help me to 
lean upon him for strength. So with resolutions to en 
deavour the performance of them through his strength, 
(0 that he may help me) I subscribe 

" ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF." 

Such is a specimen of the way in which the heir of 
Culfargie thought and felt and schooled himself, at that 
period of life when the heart is full of sublunary hope, 
and easily fascinated by terrestrial pleasures, of which 
he had the prospect of commanding more than an ordi 
nary share. It may be doubted whether the form 
which his exercise assumed was the wisest or the best 
for the progress of his piety. Of this there will pro 
bably be two opinions, even among judges the most 
competent ; and as for the literature of what we have 
quoted, it is not a subject for criticism. It was never 
meant to be exposed to human praise or blame ; but 
we see in it the undress of an earnest spirit, working 
its way in the right direction, grappling with difficul 
ties which it felt to be formidable, and too much en 
grossed with spiritual realities, for caring to bestow a 
thought on the drapery of expression. 

In the midst of these personal exercises, and not re 
motely connected with them, the work of the Christian 



REV, ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XXXI 

ministry, for which he was preparing himself, was now 
much in Moncrieff s mind. He sought the honour of 
this ministry, and he regarded it as a high honour 
far higher than any which could accrue to him from 
his standing in civil society, respectable though it was 
but at the same time, he was awed by the magni 
tude of the office, afraid of its responsibilities, and 
anxious that his call to it might be clear and satisfac 
tory. Of this we find him recording his impressions 
in such terms as do him credit : " I design to apply 
myself, as closely as possible, to reading and study for 
some years, in order to be a minister, if the Lord will. 
I desire to give the Lord the offer of my service, 
though I have nothing but sin and want. And if he 
shall through Christ, accept of me, and give me all 
furniture, Christ in the first place, and all necessary 
gifts; making me a friend of the Bridegroom, and one 
of the children of the family, and employ me as an 
instrument for bringing in others; I thmk I will have 
reason to praise him through all eternity." " I hope 
God is putting on my clothes, and fitting me out for 
going in the quality of his ambassador, which is far 
sweeter to me, than if he were to encircle my head 
with an earthly crown, unless, by so doing, I could do 
as much for his glory. I hope I have got some sweet 
lessons from Christ. ! his teaching is sweet. I 
would cry to God for more love to Christ, and to have 
him enthroned in my heart." " If thou call me to the 
sweet ministry of thy dear Son, Lord direct and man 
age, in thy wisdom, as to the time, that it may not be 
sooner or later than is for thy glory. Keep me from 
a sinful hand or aim. Let me have thy glory always 
in my eye, and give me thy presence. God do it 
or I cry that thou carry me not up hence." " Do not 
I long, Lord, if thou wilt give me thy own call and 
be with me, to have the happiness of commending Christ 
to others? Oh ! commend him effectually to my own soul." 



XXX11 MEMOIR OF THE 

As his preparatory studies drew to a close these 
pious breathings increased in their fervour. So when 
ready to enter on his trials for licence, we find him 
impressed with a truly awful view of the subject so 
awful that, were it realized, no hireling would ever be 
found to obtrude himself on the flock of Christ. " It 
is a very weighty matter to be a minister. I can, 
through divine aid, venture my own soul; since God 
hath made it, I shall serve him with it; and I may be 
severely punished if I refuse, when called to be a min 
ister, because of the difficulty or danger of the work. 
But shall I risk other people s souls 1 If God in mercy 
do not prevent it, I may be instrumental in damning, 
instead of saving them. If I be a minister, I should 
have skill of my business, as every man of his trade. 
I should thoroughly know the disease of sin, and the 
remedy, Christ. If I know not my business, I should 
not meddle with it." 

At the time when these last extracts were written, 
or near to it for exact dates cannot now be given 
their author began to share in that alarm about the 
state of doctrine in the Church of Scotland, which had 
previously been felt by the best of her ministers, 
although no public measures had as yet been resorted 
to, for probing the evil, or arresting its progress. In 
the providence of God, it so happened, that the min 
isters with whom he was most intimate belonged to 
the more evangelical class. Several of them, indeed, 
were his own relatives; and as he was now a student 
of divinity, considerably advanced in his curriculum, 
they conversed of church matters freely in his presence ; 
while he, as a matter of course, took interest in their 
statements, and had his opinions modified by them. 
It was in this state of mind that he went to Leyden, a 
year or so before he was licensed; and while there his 
opposition to the errors which were infecting the church 
at home, instead of being diminished was deepened and 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XXX111 

matured. He had the means of acquiring more accu 
rate and enlarged views of the doctrines of grace, than 
had been furnished to him at St. Andrews, and of these 
means he availed himself with great avidity. Com 
plaints, as is well known, were in 1715, laid before the 
General Assembly against the errors of Professor Sim- 
son, which that Assembly, in its policy, refused to 
entertain. This refusal, two years afterwards, the dis 
satisfaction being on the increase, constrained Mr. Web 
ster, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, to bring the 
case of the suspected Professor, by formal libel, before the 
Presbytery of Edinburgh, which libel came to be dis 
posed of by the Assembly in 1717, the year Mr. Mon- 
crieff was at Leyden. A particular account of Sim- 
son s errors, it were superfluous to insert here, as that 
has been given already and given to good purpose 
in a previous part of the present series. * Suffice it to 
say, that, from the first, they went to subvert the doc 
trine of Scripture, about the fallen condition of man, 
and the means necessary for his restoration, while ulti 
mately they came to a flat denial of the true Divinity 
of the Son of God. Mr. Moncrieff, as has been said, 
was at Leyden when Mr. Webster s libel was before 
the courts; but by correspondence with home, he made 
himself acquainted with it; and knowing when the 
Assembly was to meet, he set apart a portion of time 
for special prayer to God in relation to it. Nor did 
he content himself with this, but, busied as he was 
with other studies, he wrote a pamphlet in defence of 
the truth which Simson was charged with impugning, 
in relation to which, there is reason to believe, he 
obtained the advice of both Mark and Wesselius, who 
shared with him in his deep concern for the purity and 
peace of the Scottish Church. Indeed, it is hinted 



* Historical Sketch of the Origin of the Secession Church. 
By the Rev. Andrew Thomson, B. A., Edinburgh. 



XXXIV MEMOIR OF THE 

that during all the time of his sojourn at Leyden, this 
affair " was little out of his mind;" so early did that 
zeal for the truth of the gospel, which was so conspi 
cuous in his later days, begin to display itself. 

We come now to that period of Mr. MoricriefFs life, 
for which he had made such laborious preparation, both 
devotional and academic his entrance, namely, on the 
Christian ministry. He returned from Holland in the 
month of August 1717, soon after the meeting of the 
Assembly referred to above; and not long after this 
probably in the beginning of 1718 having passed the 
ordinary trials, was licensed by the Presbytery of 
Perth, as a preacher of the Church of Scotland. It so 
happened that just about this time, his native parish 
of Abernethy had become vacant, by the death of tho 
Kev. Mr. Dunning; and an application was made to 
the Presbytery for the moderation of a call, with a 
view to Mr. Moncrieff. Nor were the moderations of 
those days so inane and illusory as they afterwards 
became: for although the power of the patrons had 
then been restored, yet it was exercised with a degree 
of lenity, and did not practically outrage the freedom 
of election, till some years afterward. The modera 
tion took place in April 1720, in the presence of three 
members of the Presbytery; and the call was found to 
be harmonious. It is not said to have been unanimous ; 
but as sixty-one heritors, and thirteen elders appended 
their names to it, while no active opposition is at all 
hinted at, the approach to unanimity must have been 
considerable. The ordination followed in September 
of the same year; and Mr. Monerieff of Methven, a 
distant relative of the Culfargie family, preached and 
presided on the occasion. It is said that, in giving 
the charge, he exemplified great fidelity, in warning 
his kinsman against the danger which might arise from 
his connections in life, and exhorting him on no ac 
count to permit his position in society to become an 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XXXV 

obstruction to his ministry. This freedom proved dis 
pleasing to nearer relatives who were present; but, 
when the young minister heard of their displeasure, he 
remonstrated with them, warmly defending the expres 
sions objected to, declaring that he regarded them as 
just and seasonable, and avowing his determination, 
through grace, to keep all that he possessed on earth, 
in property or influence, subservient to the sacred 
office with which God had invested him. 

Before Mr. Moncrieff was ordained at Abernethy 
and but a little before it what is called the Marrow 
controversy* had commenced in the Church of Scot 
land; and the course pursued in this matter, as step 
by step it was disclosed, gave a humiliating display of 
ignorance or perverseness, on the part of the General 
Assembly. In the book which gave rise to the con 
troversy, as in every extended composition of man, 
there are expressions which admit of amendment; but 
taken as a whole, and when permitted to be its own 
interpreter, it is an admirable exposition of Christian 
doctrine; while the relentless condemnation of it for 
errors which it never taught, and for truths which its 
censors could not appreciate, fixed on the leaders of 
the Scottish Church a deep brand of infamy. The 
contention became hot and hotter; distinct formation 
was given to parties; and from what has already been 
said of the young minister of Abernethy, it is not diffi 
cult to foresee on which side he would be found to 
place himself. He was zealous for the doctrine which 
the Assembly had condemned, although not one of the 
twelve who are given to history under the honoured 
name of " The Marrow-men ;" and one little incident 
which casts doubt on his adherence to them is easily 
explained. They framed a " Representation " against 

* For an account of this controversy, see Historical Sketch 
ut supra. Page lo and onwards. 



XXXVI MEMOIR OF THE 

the Assembly s decision, and appended their names to 
it, as a means of reviving the question at a subsequent 
meeting ; and Mr. Boston complains that at a private 
meeting held by them at Edinburgh during the sittings 
of the Assembly in 1721, with a view to prepare for 
introducing their cause, some brethren not of their 
number were pleased to attend, and to give them not a 
little trouble. Among these he mentions Mr. Warden, 
and Mr. Moncrieff of Abernethy, as making themselves 
very active in proposing new methods of procedure, 
besides " picking quarrels with the Representation " 
itself. There might be ground for this complaint 
very possibly there was ground for it, although it 
seems rather peevishly made without supposing dif 
ference of opinion about the doctrines at issue. It was 
to be expected that the twelve, who, at not a little 
risk of standing and emolument, had put themselves 
forward to the front of the battle, would think it un 
seemly for those who had lagged behind, to come for 
ward now and involve them in disputation. But it 
does not follow it is not even insinuated by Boston 
himself that either Warden or Moucrieff were in any 
degree disposed to defend or to palliate the Assembly s 
decision. Moncrieff, indeed, was then but young ; the 
spirit of his mind, it may well be supposed, was but 
partially known to his senior brethren ; and his sug 
gestions about modes of procedure might fail to accord 
with their riper judgment ; but in all this there is no 
room for suspecting his sincerity. Then, again, as to 
his " picking quarrels " with the " Representation," it 
does not appear that these were of damaging import ; 
for some of his suggestions were ultimately adopted as 
acknowledged improvements ; and who knows not that 
in the Marrow itself, which Boston was so laudably 
eager to vindicate, there are modes of expression which 
have been regretted, by the most enlightened, arid the 
warmest of its friends? But if, at first, there was a 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XXXV11 

doubt of Moncrieff as a Marrow-man which it is not 
evident there ever was that doubt was soon dispelled; 
for he very cordially went along with the twelve in 
all their subsequent contendings, and soon gave evi 
dence not to be mistaken, that he was neither a new 
nor reluctant convert to the cause they had so much 
at heart. 

The interest taken by Mr. Moncrieff, when a student 
at Leyden, in the process against Professor Simson, has 
already been noticed ; and not long after he entered on 
his ministry, that unhappy individual was to him, as 
well as to many others, the cause of renewed uneasi 
ness. As the more judicious had predicted, the As 
sembly s lenity in 1717, had been lost upon Simson. 
It had been worse than lost ; for instead of restraining, 
it encouraged him to go on in his course of reckless 
speculation, till in 1726 a process was commenced 
against him, for broadly and distinctly denying the 
divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mr. Moncrieff was 
not a member of the Assembly which disposed of this 
charge, but was present as an anxious listener ; and 
when he saw the result to be merely suspension from 
preaching or teaching the students, without any farther 
mark of the church s disapprobation, his spirit was so 
moved, that having obtained leave to speak, he charged 
the Assembly with a very flagrant dereliction of duty. 
Indeed there is reason to believe that this decision so 
shook his confidence in the fidelity of the Assembly, as 
in some degree at least, to prepare his mind for the 
position which he subsequently assumed among the 
leaders of the Secession. Nor was his the only mind 
which these proceedings alienated. The godly through 
out the church were deeply aggrieved by them ; and 
not a few were compelled to feel, that the specific doc 
trines of the cross were, in point of fact, but second 
ary matters to the prevailing party in the Church of 
Scotland. 



XXX V1U MEMOIR OF THE 

For about six years after this, or between 1726 and 
1732, the name of Culfargie, as they generally called 
him, seems to be little mixed up with public contend- 
ings. These, so far as is now known, were to him 
years of comparative quietness, although not of satis 
faction or hope of reform ; and we have reason to be 
lieve that he devoted them to the public and private 
duties of his parish, in which he is said to have laboured 
so assiduously as to bring upon himself the infirmities 
of a premature old age. Nor did he labour in vain ; 
for as his people know his worth, and were, as a body, 
greatly attached to him, so they listened to his instruc 
tions with a ready mind; although his strict fidelity in 
watching for souls was offensive to some of the tempo 
rizing. There is an incident on record, which may 
have occurred about this time or perhaps at a later 
date, and which seems entitled to insertion here, partly 
on account of its intrinsic interest, and partly as a 
specimen of the way in which the man of whom we 
write made prCof of his ministry. 

In his parish, there lived a wealthy young Laird^ 
who in defiance of a pious education had forsaken the 
God of his fathers, and struck out into a career of 
headlong wickedness. He was an heritor of the par 
ish, and the representative of a distinguished family ; 
and as such, had occupied a conspicuous place in the 
house of God. This was now deserted; and he sought 
by every means to shun the presence of his minister, 
at home and abroad, as well as that of his associates in 
the discipline of the church. Every one saw that the 
young man was hastening on to ruin. His amiable 
spouse was now neglected and broken-hearted. His 
very children seemed to be forgotten ; and the fireside 
scenes of his former days, so peaceful and so happy, 
were lost sight of and forsaken for the haunts qf drunk 
enness and impiety ; while his fine estate was melt 
ing away, as snow before the sun of summer, and pious 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. XXXI X 

parents presenting his case to the minds of their rising 
children, as a specimen of the misery which a life of 
debauchery ever entails on its wretched victim. His 
constitution, as a matter of course, was soon broken 
down; disease began to prey upon him; his drunken 
companions forsook him ; his conscience became his 
accuser ; and by night and by day was he made afraid 
by the terrors of the Almighty. The instructions of 
his godly father, the tears of his tender-hearted mother, 
the family prayers of other times, in which he had so 
often been mentioned by name all rushed on his re 
collection. The very words seemed vivid before him 
" O good and merciful God, the God of our fathers, 
remember in mercy our dear child ! O grant that the 
grace of the good Spirit may be lodged deep in his heart : 
and may he stand up in our stead, when we shall sleep 
in the silence of the grave ! " 

The first softening of this profligate s heart, appeared 
in a gush of tenderness towards his long-neglected wife 
and dear little children. One day as they were all 
hanging about him, he took his wife gently by the 
hand, and said to her, weeping as he spoke ; " My 
dear, can you forgive me the wrongs I have done 
you ?" She could make no reply, but burst into tears; 
and when her surprise at such words of tenderness, to 
which she had been so long a stranger, had somewhat 
subsided, she replied by kissing him, first on the one 
cheek and then on the other, till her tears flowed down 
upon his bosom; while the children, in their turn, 
melted by the unwonted softness of their father s voice, 
drew near and embraced him. " My dear," said his 
wife, as she wept and witnessed his mental distress, 
u shall we send for our worthy minister Culfargie?" 
He gave a reluctant and dubious assent; being evi 
dently overwhelmed at the idea of meeting with his 
minister. She, however, ventured on her own 
course, and despatched a servant to tell the inin- 



Xl MEMOIR OF THE 

ister that his presence was desired as speedily as 
possible. 

Culfargie lost no time in complying with the invita 
tion ; but ordering the servant who usually attended 
him in his pastoral visitations to saddle a couple of 
horses, he was sitting by the bed of the afflicted laird, 
in the short space of forty minutes. There was a long 
and distressing silence. None of the parties seemed 
disposed to break it. The pastor, on his part, was 
anxious to know the true state of the sufferer s mind. 
He saw his agony, but had yet to learn how far it pro 
ceeded from the working of his conscience. At length, 
he took the laird by the hand, and began to remind 
him of those things which, if penitent, he would at 
once admit, and which, if impenitent, he required the 
more to have distinctly and faithfully rehearsed. He 
told him of the good example which had been set before 
him by his godly father, and of the religious instruc 
tions with which both his parents, as well as his min 
ister now addressing him, had plied him from his child 
hood upwards. On these things he dwelt with marked 
particularity; and, "Oh! young man," said he, "what 
a return have you made? We sowed wheat; but no 
thing has yet sprung up but tares all tares! Thy 
Maker and thy Eedeemer called on thee, saying, Give 
me thy heart/ Oh! how tenderly this call was fol 
lowed up, by every means calculated to enforce it. 
But thou didst turn away from God; and thou thou 
didst sin still more and more. Thou hast made thy 
brow as brass, and thy neck as a sinew of iron ! Thou 
wouldst not hear him that made thee. He stretched 
out his hands to thee all the day long; but thou hast 
dashed from thee the cup of mercy held out to thy 
lips. Ah ! sinful young man, laden with iniquity, thou 
hast forsaken the Lord, thou hast provoked the Holy 
One of Israel to anger, and now that anger is burning 
hot against thee." 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. xli 

The pastor paused, for he was overcome with grief. 
The anguish of the laird seemed now insupportable. 
He groaned and sobbed out, " Wo is me, for I am un 
done, mine iniquity is ever before me. Against thee, 
O God against thee only have I sinned, and in thy 
sight done all these evils." On hearing these words, 
the pastor rose abruptly, and casting a mournful look 
on the sufferer, hurried out of the room, and rode 
directly home. But when dismounting at his own 
door, he told the servant, whose name was John, not 
to unsaddle the horses, nor yet to retire to bed, but to 
be ready, at a moment s notice to attend his call. 

John afterwards stated that, according to orders, he 
remained in the anti-chamber, quite in the dark as to 
his master s intentions ; although, as the night ad 
vanced, he was enabled to understand them. Mr, 
Moncrieff wished for a spot where he could enjoy com 
plete retirement in the exercise of prayer; and he knew 
of no place for that purpose equal to his own study. 
During the whole night, John overheard him wrestling 
in prayer for the heart-stricken penitent. Distinctly 
could he hear him, all prostrate on the floor, pleading 
with strong crying and tears, for " the poor perishing 
son of his ancient friend." " For thy Son s sake," he 
heard him say, " for his dear sake who hung upon the 
tree, thine own well-beloved Son s sake, O Lord have 
mercy on this sin-sick soul ! Spirit of all grace ! O 
life-giving Spirit! come, in thy love, revive and quicken 
him: he is broken in the place of dragons: let the 
bones which thou hast broken yet rejoice. bind up 
that broken heart! Look on his disease and his pains, 
and forgive him all his sins." 

Such was the exercise of the night; and as the day 
began to dawn, he summoned John to bring out the 
horses, and setting off at full speed, he was again, in 
forty minutes, in the sick man s chamber, wearing a 
benignant smile. Like Jacob, he had been wrestling 



Xlii MEMOIR OF THE 

with the Angel of the covenant, and felt something 
like assurance that he had prevailed. " Culfargie ! 
come away," cried the distracted laird, the moment 
his eyes fell on him; "my heart has been broken by 
the terrors of your message: and how I have longed 
these slow-moving hours past to see your face again! 
Great was my trouble after you left me; but when I 
had tried, again and again, to call on the great de 
liverer, a ray of hope seemed to spring up, and it gave 
me some relief. Oh, said I, there is, there is One who 
is * mighty to save! O God of my fathers! surely 
thou wilt not leave me in my extreme necessity! And 
now sit down, Culfargie, and preach to me this Sa 
viour; and tell me if there be in the holy word, one 
drop of comfort for this burning spirit of mine." 

This was a joyful moment for Culfargie. He sat 
down by the bed-side, secretly breathing out a prayer 
for wisdom to speak a word in season to the heart 
broken man, whose wife and children were also present, 
sharing in the solemn softness of the scene. " It was 
an hour/ said one present, " of thrilling joy to all." 
Taking the laird by the hand, while tears of gladness 
bedimmed his eye, Mr. Moncrieff proceeded, with more 
than his wonted alacrity, to speak to him of the love 
of God in Christ Jesus, and of Christ himself as God 
and man our Redeemer, and the head of the everlast 
ing covenant. He discoursed on the atonement of 
Christ, its necessity, its reality, and its perfection; he 
made a free and formal offer of Christ, to the eager and 
anxious listener; and in the name of his Divine Mas 
ter, he called upon him, at once and without reserve, 
to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; declaring to him, 
earnestly and officially, that in doing this he would be 
accepted and saved. He next spoke of the Holy Spirit, 
his divine person, his presence in the church, his work 
of grace in the souls of men, creating in them a clean 
heart, and renewing a right spirit within them ; and he 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. xliii 

concluded the whole with a fervent prayer for a gra 
cious out-pouring of this same Spirit on his young 
friend, now coming up from the fearful pit, and from 
the miry clay. 

When the prayer was ended, both of them for some 
time wept in silence. All present were in tears. The 
laird himself was the first to speak : he could no longer 
conceal his emotion; and aided now by that Christian 
knowledge which had been so painfully instilled into 
his youthful mind, he opened his heart as follows: 
" O Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief. My 
Saviour, here I lay down my guilt and worthlessness 
at the foot of thy cross; and I accept thy blessed right 
eousness, as freely offered and given to me. My Divine 
Teacher, thou blessed Spirit, O teach a poor wandering 
prodigal to come to thee, O my God, and to walk in 
thy ways. Blessed and pitying Saviour, accept a poor 
sinner, the vilest of the vile, who ventures, at thy bid 
ding, to come, in all his poverty and need, to the foot 
of the cross. On thy atonement, and on that alone, I 
rely. And, O Redeemer of poor perishing sinners, 
may I venture to call thee my Redeemer? Then, take 
this heart; it is thine: wash it in thy blood, O my 
Saviour; to thee I give it away; to thee, my God, I 
dedicate this body, this soul, and my all. Oh ! what 
a debtor to free grace. Thine I am, now and for ever 
more; for thou hast redeemed me, Lord God of truth." 

Such is, at least, an outline of this interesting narra 
tive; and by the account, the sequel was a happy one. 
The laird recovered from his bodily affliction, and lived 
to a good old age, giving clear and convincing evidence, 
that he was, in very deed, a prodigal reclaimed. The 
wife found her husband again, and the children their 
father; but first of all, and best of all, the God of sal 
vation in Jesus Christ found a monument of his mercy. 
Nor need we doubt that this incident, apart from its 
exciting peculiarities, presents to our view a fair sample 



MEMOIR OF THE 

of the minister of Abernethy s private ministrations. 
To the rich, in the intercourse of civil society, he could 
render the deference which was due; but, in the things 
of God, he knew no man, so as to pamper his pride, or 
palliate his iniquity. Being bent on the salvation of 
all, he regarded all as on the same level, and pointed 
the rich and poor alike, to one and the same narrow 
gate, as the entrance into life. 

It does not appear that Mr. Moncrieff had any thing 
like a strong propensity for controversial discussion; 
but while he was yet but young in the ministry, ne 
cessity was laid upon him, and he yielded to the 
call of duty. The cloud which hung over the Church 
of Scotland became every year more dark and lurid; 
and an agitation again commenced, in which he was 
to be found among the most active. In 1732, the 
General Assembly chose to determine, that where a 
patron should waive his right of presentation, the choice 
of a minister to a vacant parish should be limited to 
its heritors and elders; thus intercepting that liberty 
of choice, which some, at least, of the more pliant 
patrons still conceded to the communicants. The re 
sults of this decision are well known, and it were out 
of place to dwell on them here, although a brief refer 
ence is indispensable to the continuity of our narrative. 
Dissatisfaction with the decision was felt and expressed 
over a large portion of the church; many Presbyteries, 
as well as individuals, took vigorous measures against 
it; prior grievances which had been partially forgotten, 
were by means of it brought into quickened remem 
brance; and a movement began, for which they who 
provoked it were far enough from being prepared. It 
was in October of that same year, that Mr. Erskine, in 
his far-famed sermon before the Synod of Perth and 
Stirling, denounced the invasion of the people s rights, 
with other misdoings of the ascendant party, in terms 
too explicit to be mistaken or forgiven. And when 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. xlv 

the Assembly proceeded to inflict upon him the penalty 
of his faithfulness, Mr. Moncrieff was one of the three 
who made his cause their own. He stood by Mr. 
Erskine in the Synod at Perth; he stood by him in 
the Assembly ; he stood by him before the Com 
mission in August and November ; and he had the 
honour of being one of the four, who were cast out by 
a sentence, which has branded the Assembly with in 
delible disgrace. Being laid under a suspension which 
they knew to be unjust, they not only protested against 
it, but declared themselves to be formally separated 
from the judicatories of the Church of Scotland, and 
continued in their respective parishes to minister to 
their flocks. 

This, as is well known, was the origin of the Seces 
sion a step which could not be lightly taken by Mon 
crieff, or by his associates. And, although in his case 
the loss of emolument was little to be regarded, there 
were other considerations, which as a man of heart and 
gentlemanly habitudes, he could not so easily get over. 
It threw him out of the circle with which he had been 
familiar, and made him an object of dislike and avoid 
ance where, heretofore, he had been courted and es 
teemed. But these were matters comparatively trivial, 
when set up against the claims of conscience; and the 
whole four felt them to be so. Their attachment to 
the Church of Scotland was hereditary and sincere; 
the fear of contracting the guilt of schism a sin in 
those days but dimly defined was constantly before 
their minds; they were leaving behind them a minority 
of brethren, whose personal piety, and soundness in 
the faith, they readily acknowledged; their views of 
the utility of a State Church were different from those 
which have since prevailed; separation was then a rare 
thing in the land, and in very bad repute; and, with 
these things before their eyes, it seems impossible to 
find a motive for their secession, short of a sense of 



xlvi MEMOIR OF THE 

duty to God, deeply pondered, and prayerfully ma 
tured. That this was the case with Alexander Mon- 
crieff, we have the most explicit evidence. It was no 
easy matter for him to set at nought the authority of 
his church. The step he had taken weighed so heavily 
on his spirit, as to produce occasional misgivings. In 
opening his mind to some of his parishioners, in whose 
piety and intelligence he could confide, he urged them, 
with great earnestness, to pray for direction to him; 
and speaking to one of them of the sentence of sus 
pension, he said with tears in his eyes, " They say I 
must speak no more in his name." The Commission 
had forbidden him to preach that Christ whom he 
loved so well, and this was more than his heart could 
bear. 

But since these points have been started, a little 
more may be said about them. Had the Brethren 
been in doubt as to the course they had taken, had 
subsequent reflection led them to suspect, that they 
had been chargeable with rashness, an opportunity of 
retracing their steps was very seasonably furnished to 
them. The Assembly, which met in 1734, began to 
see the impolicy, although not the sinfulness, of the 
deed done by their Commission; they found that the 
people, in various parts of the church, were cleaving to 
the suspended ministers, and blaming the conduct of 
the Commission, in terms of unsparing severity; and 
alarmed at this, they instructed the Synod of Perth 
and Stirling, to restore the whole four to their respec 
tive charges, but not to record any opinion about the 
legality or illegality of the decision they were directed 
to cancel. This was odd enough; it was in effect a 
plea of guilty; but whatever may be said of it in other 
respects, it was an opening made for the suspended 
brethren, which, in the opinion of many, was wide 
enough to warrant their return, and which, in point of 
fact, made some of themselves to hesitate for a little. 



EEV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFP. xlvii 

Instead of embracing the opening, however, they not 
only kept their ground, but took steps to fortify and 
extend it, which led the Assembly formally to depose 
them, and thus to aggravate the evil which it feared, 
by giving a new arid salutary impulse to the cause of 
the Secession. 

The effect of the deposition on Mr. Moncrieff s mind 
was relieving rather than otherwise; it went far to 
extinguish his lingering respect for the decisions of the 
Assembly; and placed him in a position where he could 
act, with more than his wonted freedom. Disregarding 
the deposition he continued to preach in the parish 
church as heretofore; and the secular authorities were 
not in haste to take measures for his forcible ejection. 
It is hinted that they shrunk from the odious task till 
distinctly given to understand, that, unless they pro 
ceeded, complaints would be lodged, which might lead 
to their own ejection from office. Being at last driven 
from the church, he continued to preach in the church 
yard, till the building, which is still occupied by the 
congregation, was ready for his reception. A consider 
able portion of the cost of this building, which is large, 
substantial, and for its time, commodious, was contri 
buted by Mr. Moncrieff himself: and he took care to 
secure to the congregation from his own estate, a num 
ber of acres of glebe land, to be theirs in perpetuity, 
on the single condition of their continuing, as a reli 
gious body, to hold by the principles of the Secession. 
As to the stipendiary emolument of the parish, there 
is the most abundant evidence that he relinquished it 
without a grudge; for, during the whole of his subse 
quent ministry, he never took a farthing from his con 
gregation, although their numbers and substance were 
such, as to enable them to afford him a liberal support. 
In this, however, his generosity is more to be admired 
than his foresight. It did not occur to him that his 
successors, although equally generous with himself, 



xlviii MEMOIR OF THE 

might not be in circumstances to " wait at the altar" 
without being " partakers with the altar," nor that to 
exempt a Christian people from the duty of supporting 
the ordinances of grace, tends, in all ordinary circum 
stances, not to promote but rather to hinder the right 
formation of their Christian character. 

After being about seventeen years in the ministry, 
and ten of these in the Secession, or in February 1742, 
Mr. Moncrieff was unanimously chosen by his brethren 
to be their Professor of Divinity, as successor to the 
venerated Wilson of Perth, whose death had occurred 
about three months before; and there is reason to be 
lieve, that his early education, which had been both 
liberal and diversified, and was now matured by pas 
toral experience, contributed not a little to sustain, or 
to elevate, that tone of evangelical preaching, which 
from the first had characterized the seceding ministers. 
It is recorded of him by a very competent judge, who 
wrote more than forty years ago, and may have been 
one of his students, that he filled the chair of Divinity 
" with great ability, zeal, and faithfulness. This," he 
adds, " was manifested, in the character and usefulness 
of a great number, who, in the course of twenty years, 
were trained up by him for the work of the ministry, 
some of whom are yet alive; but the greater part, 
having served their generation, are fallen asleep." 

Before he entered on this office, as well as after 
wards, he had taken a deep interest in the progress of 
the Secession, exerting himself to the utmost of his 
power, to meet the new demands for sermon, which 
were every year increasing, and making journeys to 
distant places, at not a little toil and expense. Nor 
was he less active as a member of the Associate Pres 
bytery ; but went heartily along with his brethren in 
all their corporate proceedings. It was by him and 
Mr. Wilson that the first draught of the Extra-judicial 
Testimony was prepared for consideration; and in 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. 

framing the Act concerning the Doctrine of Grace, and 
the Act for Renewing the Covenants, he took his fall 
share. By the first of these Acts, the Presbytery, at 
once, adopted, defined, and vindicated the views of the 
Marrow-men, and gave a new impulse to that free, and 
full, and fervid strain of evangelical preaching, which 
proved itself, in after years, so extensive a blessing to 
the people of Scotland. Of the second we cannot speak 
in terms so complacent ; but neither is there room for 
indiscriminate censure. The National Covenant and 
the Solemn League embodied an error which our fath 
ers could scarcely have been expected to detect. Nor 
is there any reason to suppose that we would have 
detected it, had we lived in their times, or been brought 
up under their training. Looking back to Moses, and 
in so far forgetting Christ, our earlier reformers re 
sorted, not merely to ecclesiastical, but to national 
confederacy, as the likeliest means of securing the good 
which the Commonwealth had attained, and averting 
the danger which was still impending. They were the 
godliest in the land who adopted this expedient ; its 
enemies were, with few exceptions, the carnal and the 
careless; defection from the Covenant and defection 
from godliness were, not only supposed, but positively 
seen to go hand in hand; and it was quite a matter of 
course, that the Four Brethren, with those who succes 
sively adhered to them, honest as they were, and ear 
nest for God, would recur to the Covenant, as in their 
judgment, a scriptural means, at once of excitement 
and concentration. They did so, and we honour them 
in the deed ; for if we now know of a more excellent 
way, it becomes us never to forget, that they were the 
men who, under God, pointed our way to the mountain 
top, from whence we have descried it; and as they 
were true to their light, in the midst of obloquy and 
privation, so from their tombs there comes a voice, 
calling upon us to be true to ours. 
4 D 



1 MEMOIR OF THE 

It was not long after the passing of these " Acts," 
till the rising community, now so far extended as to 
be arranged into three presbyteries, under what was 
thereafter known as the Associate Synod, was broken 
into two parties of nearly equal strength, by the well 
known controversy about the lawfulness, or unlawful 
ness, of swearing certain burgess-oaths. Into the merits 
of this controversy it were worse than superfluous to 
enter here, as its olden records are still accessible to 
those who choose to consult them, while a very judi 
cious and veritable account of it has been recently 
given to the public.* Our task, however, requires us 
to say, that Mr. Moncrieff took part in the contro 
versy, and seems to have been active in urging it on. 
He was keenly opposed to the swearing of the oaths, 
for reasons which he felt to be strong and convincing. 
It would appear that he was even a leader among those 
who were for making a testimony against them a con 
dition of ecclesiastical fellowship. Here, again, he was 
right arid he was wrong. He was right in doing hom 
age to his honest convictions, even by the sacrifice of 
cherished friendship ; and we believe he was right in 
the view which he took of the merits of the question 
at issue. But he was wrong decidedly wrong, and 
so were all who followed him, especially as adherents 
to the state-church principle, in taking measures which 
compelled a separation from those who were cordially 
at one with him on all the vital points for which they 
had been hitherto contending. There was mutual 
wrong in this matter; Christian equanimity was dis 
turbed ; controversy, as is often the case, degenerated 
into strife ; the worst things about good men gained 
their advantage, while the best were, for a time, held 
in abeyance ; and so they parted asunder. The day 
of this parting was a dark day to the yet infant Seces- 

* Historical Sketches ut supra. 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. li 

sion so dark that some have wished it were blotted 
out of remembrance. But the wish is vain, and though 
it were not, there is more of sect than of wisdom in it. 
Let history tell the tale of the " Breach," and tell it 
fully out, as a warning to the United Presbyterian 
Church in years that are yet to come. Nor let it be 
forgotten that, deplorable as it was, and sulphureous 
some of its odours, its collisions gave out some 
sparks of light, which have led us on to a better un 
derstanding of the spiritual constitution of the Chris 
tian church. 

Mr. Moncrieff s secession from the church of his 
fathers, although marked by a deep conviction of duty, 
did not induce him to look upon her with indifference 
or contempt. His confidence in her was gone; but 
his concern about her lingered and lamented. The 
corruptions of her judicatories, and the erastian spirit, 
which from year to year was enthroning itself in her 
counsels, cost him many an hour of sorrow. By his 
personal exertions, and in concert with his brethren, he 
continued to expose those evils, and to point out their 
disastrous tendency. But he never confounded them 
with the civil constitution of the country, nor cherished 
disaffection to the family of Hanover; although, to 
serve the purposes of spleen, surmises of this kind 
were industriously circulated. Nay, so ardent was 
his zeal against the Pretender, that, during the trou 
bles of 1745, he not only prayed for the reigning 
monarch in the presence of the rebels, but refused to 
pay with his own hand, or permit any to pay in his 
name, the cess they were exacting in support of their 
cause. " When some officers and a party were sent to 
distrain, he dealt very faithfully with them, and avowed, 
as the reason of his refusal, that he could not do any 
thing that would have an appearance of acknowledging 
their authority or might in any way promote their 
cause. He laid before them, with great freedom, the 



Ill MEMOIR OF THE 

evil of the course they were engaged in, and warned 
them against it. However, they proceeded in their 
purpose, and not only took away his cattle and his 
furniture, but carried off his eldest son to prison, and 
threatened his life if rescue was attempted ; which they 
were somewhat afraid of, knowing how much the peo 
ple of the place were exasperated at the treatment 
given to the family. But none of their plundering.? 
or threatenings could induce Culfargie to any com 
pliance." 

About four years after this, or in 1749, he had the 
comfort of receiving this very son whom the rebels had 
cast into prison, as his colleague in the charge of the 
congregation. He continued, however, laboriously en 
gaged in all the parts of his ministry, in teaching the 
students of divinity three months in the year, and in 
giving a punctual and exemplary attendance on meet 
ings of Presbytery and Synod. By these labours, and 
his close application to study, his constitution was 
worn out, and the infirmities of old age were brought 
on, at a period of life when many retain considerable 
vigour. In the summer of 1761, his strength was 
greatly exhausted ; and, though he still continued his 
public ministrations, so far as his strength would ad 
mit, he considered his death to be at no great distance. 
In August of that year he attended the funeral of the 
Rev. Mr. Brown of Perth, and on coming into the room 
where the mourners were assembling, he said to the 
brethren present, " My brother has got the start of 
me. It was a question whether he or I would be first 
removed. The Lord has decided it. He knows who 
are ripe." 

This discovered his apprehension of the near ap 
proach of death ; and yet his desire for public useful 
ness continued unabated. About two weeks before his 
death, he took a journey of forty miles, to prosecute 
measures he had in view for supporting a weak con- 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. liii 

gregation, which had recently become vacant. In two 
or three days after his return, an end was put to his 
labours. He died on the seventh of October, 1761, in 
the sixty-seventh year of his age, and forty-second of 
his ministry. Twenty-four hours before his death, he 
ceased to be able to speak so as to be heard or under 
stood; but during the last three hours, he was distinctly 
heard breathing out praises to God. On the Sabbath 
after his funeral, his son and successor addressed the 
people on these very touching words, " His disciples 
came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went 
and told Jesus." Moncrieff was indeed like the mar 
tyred Baptist, " a burning and a shining light." 

In his domestic relations, this servant of Christ 
seems to have been peculiarly happy. His first wife 
for he was twice married was Miss Mary Clerk, 
daughter of Sir John Clerk of Pennycuik, a lady of 
amiable dispositions and decided piety ; which last he 
regarded as a matter of primary importance in forming 
a connection so intimate. There are fragments of his 
handwriting still remaining, although now scarcely 
legible, which in part show how solicitous he was that 
his connections in life might tend to promote the effi 
ciency of his ministry. For this he had presented 
many an earnest prayer; and in Miss Clerk he found 
the answer of his prayers. She was spared with him, 
however, for but a few years, during which she bore 
him three children, namely, Matthew, his successor in 
the ministry referred to above, and two daughters, who 
died in their infancy. This marriage was consummated 
on the 8th of March, 1722, and marked by an incident, 
which tended to make it instructively memorable. Sir 
John Clerk, who is said to have been a godly man, had 
often remarked, in familiar conversation, that it would 
be a very pleasant thing for a person to fall asleep at 
night, and not to awake till he found himself in heaven. 
That very pleasant thing was in reserve for himself. 



Hv MEMOIR OF THE 

On the night of the marriage, or the next after it, 
while the young couple were still in his house, he re 
tired to his bedchamber at the usual hour. Some time 
after Lady Clerk followed, and wondering, as she en 
tered the room, that she did not hear him breathe, took 
the candle to look in his face, when she found him quite 
dead, and lying as if in a pleasant sleep, with his head 
pillowed on the palm of his hand. 

Mr. Moncrieffs second wife was Miss Jane Lyon, 
daughter of the Rev. William Lyon of Ogle, minister 
of the parish of Airlie. This lady is also described as 
a person of much Christian worth, whose sweetness of 
temper and unaffected piety, proved a very special 
blessing to her husband and family. She bore to him 
fifteen children, eight of whom died in their infancy ; 
and she survived him in widowhood for no less a pe 
riod than thirty years. On his own demise, he left be 
hind him seven children, three sons and four daughters. 
Matthew, his heir, and colleague in the ministry, a man 
of prompt and active habits, somewhat eccentric in his 
cast of mind, and peculiarly effective as a pulpit orator, 
survived him but a few years, having died in the month 
of June 1767. William, his second son, was ordained 
at Alloa in 1749 ; and, after his father s death, was 
chosen to be his successor as Professor of Divinity, 
which office he held till his own death in 1786. 

The published works of Mr. Moncrieff are not nu 
merous. During his life, he occasionally published a 
sermon, as well as a few short treatises, intended to 
expose prevailing errors, against which he was ever on 
the alert. A good many years after his death, these, 
with some additions from his manuscript discourses, 
were collected and published, in two duodecimo volumes, 
by his son at Alloa, who has just been referred to. 
These volumes, while they indicate a respectable share 
of the scholarship of his times, and familiar acquaint 
ance with divinity as a system, are, upon the whole, 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. Iv 

practical in their character, and exhibit throughout a 
strong attachment to the doctrines of grace, as held 
and vindicated by the Church of the Secession. Con 
cern for the advancement of vital godliness a desire 
for the prosperity of his own church, chiefly as a nur 
sery of godliness and an apprehension of terrible judg 
ments, coming upon the land for its abounding iniquity 
are three things which seem to have been constantly 
pressing on his mind. They have prominence in 
almost all his discourses; and if, in some instances, 
his fears were extreme, they never fail to indicate the 
tenderness of his conscience, and a cordial self-devotion 
to the cause of the Redeemer. 

A fair portraiture of Mr. Moiicrieff, as he lived and 
moved among men on the earth, cannot now be given. 
We know enough to awaken interest, but not enough 
to meet its demands. Nor, indeed, would bare facts, al 
though we could certify them more extensively, be found 
sufficient for the task. There was a raciness about the 
living man, if waning tradition can be trusted, and a 
peculiarity of minor feature, which would have required 
an intimate contemporary, and that contemporary skilled 
in limning, to bring them out with adequate effect. 
He seems to have possessed a happy combination of 
practical thinking, ardour of feeling, and promptitude 
in action, which fitted him very peculiarly for the work 
of his day ; and he rose to his eminence, less by the 
strength of his intellect, than by the frank, open, and 
manly sincerity which met the eyes of all who knew 
him. What he judged to be right he set himself to 
prosecute, with a zeal and determination not easily 
checked ; and when opposition beset his path, espe 
cially from quarters unexpected, the restraints of mode 
ration were sometimes apt to be overlooked. His 
promptitude withal made him a reprover where others 
would scarcely have ventured on reproof; while the 
sanctity of his character gave him a power, which even 



Ivi MEMOIR OF THE 

the profane could not easily resist. It is talked of as a 
specimen of what frequently occurred, that meeting a 
country gentleman of his acquaintance, who had just 
set out on a Sabbath-breaking excursion, he rebuked 
him in terms more definite than smooth. The gen 
tleman took it amiss, and angrily put the question, 
"Who gave you a right to impede my movements 1" To 
which Mr. Moncrieff replied, " You will learn that at 
the day of judgment," and instantly walked off. The 
words took effect. The gentleman, after pausing for a 
little, gave up his amusement and returned to his 
home. 

He was the lion of the Four Brethren, as the more 
calculating Wilson had jocularly called him a man 
whose spirit was so resolute and daring, that lie was 
much more likely to commit an imprudence than to 
compromise his sense of duty. It is not denied that 
his peculiar temperament, especially in the earlier part 
of his life, occasionally betrayed him into fits of pas 
sion; but of this infirmity no one was more sensible 
than himself. It led him out to constant watchfulness, 
with many a self-abasing prayer; and it is said that, 
in his riper years, his victory over it was all but com 
plete. The warmth of his heart, as a matter of course, 
was poured into his manner of preaching, which is said 
to have been fluent, animated, and striking, well fitted 
to arrest attention, and to interest the heart in the 
message from heaven. Although careful in his pre 
parations for the pulpit, he was not in the habit of 
rigidly adhering to his notes, but took advantage of 
what was suggested by the excitement of delivery. 
Indeed, he seems to have been addicted to off-hand 
remarks, both in the pulpit and out of it, some of which 
are still rehearsed by the descendants of those who 
knew him. It is told, for instance, that when he 
preached at Perth on a certain occasion, in what is 
still called the Glovers Yard the place where the 



REV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. Ivii 

Seceders met for worship before a church was built for 
them and that when, after the concluding psalm was 
sung, he rose to pronounce the blessing, he looked for 
a moment at the multitudes who had been listening to 
him so eagerly, and joining so heartily in the song of 
praise, and then addressed them thus: "My friends, 
I shall tell you one thing before I dismiss you, and 
that is, that if the thorns of the state were as sharp- 
pointed as the thorns of the kirk, there are some of 
you here to-day who would have been singing psalms 
in heaven." 

The young of Mr. MoncriefFs flock were the objects 
of his special care. In both his public and his private 
addresses, he seldom forgot to have a word for them ; 
and, taught by his own experience the advantages of 
early piety, he was anxious to see them brought to 
Christ, while yet their hearts were tender, and their 
hands comparatively unpractised in the works of the 
flesh. We have already seen that his heart was free 
from the love of "filthy lucre;" and that he merged 
the country gentleman in the laborious Christian min 
ister was manifest to all. The ordinary expedients for 
improving his estate, and thereby increasing the wealth 
of his family, received but little of his attention. When 
a friend was pointing out to Matthew, his oldest son 
and heir, certain improvements which were desirable, 
and suggesting that, if his father would resort to them, 
they would give to the whole estate, or to the portion 
of it particularly referred to, quite a new appearance, 
Matthew replied with considerable emphasis, " New ! 
my father cares for nothing new except the new cove 
nant." 

But the most remarkable feature of his character, 
and that which armed him with most of his power, 
was a deep-toned devotional spirit. All that has come 
down to us respecting him, whether recorded or oral, 
represents him as eminently a man of prayer. Every 



Iviii 



MEMOIR OF THE 



thing winch presented the least dubiety, or gave him 
unusual pain or pleasure, was with him an errand to 
the throne of grace. " Be careful for nothing; but in 
every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanks 
giving, let your requests be made known unto God," 
was remarkably the motto of his life : and he had his 
reward; for, although his troubles were not few, yet in 
the midst of them all, and upon the whole, " the peace 
of God which passeth all understanding kept his heart 
and mind, through Christ Jesus." Not only was it his 
practice to engage in secret prayer three times every 
day, " morning, evening, and at noon ;" but he was 
observed to retire for this exercise, at other times, as 
incident or inclination gave him the impulse. He 
could not live without prayer; and when opportunity 
of retirement was denied him, he had recourse to 
ejaculation. Even when in company, it was no rare 
thing for him to rise from his seat, and take a few 
steps through the room, or to stand before the window, 
as if looking out, that unobserved he might pour out 
his heart before God. The story of the woman, who, 
at one of these pauses, in the middle of a sermon, whis 
pered to the person beside her in the pew, " See ! Cul- 
fargie is away to heaven, and has left us all sitting 
here," is more likely than otherwise to be strictly true; 
and there is no lack of other anecdotes, the very exist 
ence of which, although they cannot now be formally 
authenticated, may be regarded as characteristic, and 
tend at once to illustrate and verify the statements 
which have just been made. 

Such was ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF, a father and foun 
der of the Secession Church. He is not held up to 
the view of posterity as a man of brilliant genius, nor 
as possessed of extraordinary skill in science or litera 
ture, nor yet, as in every thing, above the influence of 
prejudice or mistake. But let posterity be told, that 
he was an honest man a spiritually-minded man a 



EEV. ALEXANDER MONCRIEFF. lix 

disinterested man a mail devoted to the service of 
Christ a Christian hero a man who, as much as any 
of his Brethren, if riot more than any one of them, 
counted all things but loss for the excellency of the 
knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord ; a man, in short, 
who, taken altogether, was singularly qualified, in head 
and in heart, by the God of nature and the God of 
grace, for the position which was assigned to him. 
Nor, in these days of comparative refinement, let it be 
forgotten by our living ministers, that the specific 
Christian virtues which, amidst some acknowledged 
defects, shone so conspicuously in their father at Cul- 
fargie, are absolutely indispensable to the continued 
prosperity of the United Presbyterian Church. Some 
other things may be dispensed with; but these can never 
be dispensed with. Some other things may be polished 
away; but these ought never to be polished away. 
Talents, and learning, and administrative wisdom, and 
tact in argument, and ornate address, have each its 
measure of value, and let no man despise them. But 
they are ever to be regarded as secondary things as 
accessaries rather than essentials as the instrument 
rather than the operator as the body rather than the 
soul of the true Christian ministry, and unless they 
be all seasoned with piety a constantly cherished and 
presiding piety, a piety which takes its fire from the 
cross, and is kept in glow by the efficacy of the cross 
the church may sink into dismal degeneracy, while 
they are cultivated and loudly extolled. " Not by 
might, nor by power; but by my Spirit, saith the 
Lord." 



AN INQUIRY 

INTO THE 

PRINCIPLE RULE, AND END 

OF 

MORAL ACTIONS; 

WHEKEIN 

THE SCHEME OF SELFISH LOVE, LAID DOWN BY 

MR. ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL, PROFESSOR OF ECCLESIASTICAL 

HISTORY IX ST. ANDREW S, IN HIS INQUIRY INTO THE ORIGINAL, OP 

MORAL VIRTUE, IS EXAMLNED, AND THE RECEIVED 

DOCTRINE IS VINDICATED. 



This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men 
shall be lovers of their own selves, Jteady, high-minded, lovers of 
pleasures more than lovers of God. 2 Tim. iii. 1, 2, 4. 






AN INQUIRY, ETC. 



INTRODUCTION. 

THE present modish turn of religion looks as if we began 
to think that we have no need of a Mediator, but that all 
our concerns were to be managed with God, as an absolute 
God. The religion of nature is the darling topic of our 
age ; and the religion of Jesus is valued only for the sake 
of that, and only so far as it carries on the light of nature, 
and is a bare improvement of that light. All that is pe 
culiar to the Christian religion, and everything concerning 
Christ that has not its apparent foundation in natural 
light, or that goes beyond its principles, is waved, and 
banished, and despised by too many. Even moral duties 
themselves, which are essential to the very being of Chris 
tianity, are harangued upon, without any reference to 
Christ ; are placed in his room, and urged upon principles 
and with views ineffectual to secure their practice ; and 
more suited to the sentiments and temper of a heathen, 
than of those who take the whole of their religion from 
Christ. 

The sufficiency of the light of nature is warmly con 
tended for, even by those who do not profess to reject 
revelation ; and most of the doctrines of Scripture have 
been given up by some who yet declare that the Bible is 
their religion. It is therefore necessary to stand up for 
the honour of the great God, against those who set their 
bewildered reason, and proud conceits, above the dictates 
of infinite wisdom. 



64 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

The reader may judge for himself how far Mr. Campbell 
has adopted these modish principles: and that he may 
have a view of the scheme of principles, which he has pro 
pagated with so much zeal and industry, I shall transcribe 
the propositions he endeavours to confirm in his writings 
lately published, in the terms in which he has thought fit 
to express himself: and shall at present only take notice 
of such propositions as express his sentiments concerning 
what he calls natural religion. 

In his discourse, proving that the apostles were no en 
thusiasts, and in his preface thereto prefixed, he lays down 
the following principles: wz. That "the laws of nature 
(i. e. natural religion) are, in themselves, a certain and 
sufficient rule to direct rational minds to happiness;"* 
and that " supernatural light is however necessary or fit to 
give them sufficient information of the law of nature, in 
its full compass and latitude, and of all things that are 
necessary to work upon their passions, in order to engage 
them to observe it carefully." f That "our observing of 
the law of nature, is the great mean or instrument of our 
real and lasting felicity." J And that "men may very 
well, in a natural course and series of things, attain such 
manifestations of the nature and excellencies of God, as 
are necessary to engage them to love and admire him, 
without any more immediate interposing of the Divinity, 
than there is when a man opens his eyes, and beholds the 
sun at noon-day, and feels an agreeable warmth spreading 
itself through his whole body." 

He proceeds, in another || discourse, to give us a more 
full account of his opinion ; in which he tells us, in the 
first place, that he agrees with the author of Christianity 
as old as the creation, in thinking, " that natural religion 
stands on these natural principles, as its peculiar founda 
tions ; namely, that God is, and governs the world by his 
providence ; that the soul is immortal ; and that all men, 

* Preface, p. 6. f Ibid. p. 7. f Ibid. p. 6. 

Discourse, pp. 1, 2. j| Oratio de vanitate luminis naturae. 



OP MOKAL ACTIONS. 65 

of whatsoever condition, shall be rewarded or punished in 
the next life after this." * He adds, in the same place, 
that " the law, or religion of nature, consists in those 
duties, which, because they are founded on, and derived 
from nature, we are obliged to pay to G od and men : all 
which duties," he says, " we are to perform to this end, 
that we may recommend ourselves to God ; and that, hav 
ing spent our whole lives in a careful observance of them, 
we may attain everlasting life with God in heaven." And, 
in the following page, he gives it as his opinion, that " all 
the welfare and happiness of rational minds is compre 
hended in the duties of natural religion." 

In order to show, that while natural religion is a suffi 
cient rule to direct mankind to happiness, yet revelation 
\sfit or necessary to give them sufficient information of the 
law of nature, in its full compass and latitude, he attempts 
to prove, " that men, by the mere light of nature, without 
revelation or tradition, are not able to arrive at the know 
ledge of the being and existence of God, and of the im 
mortality of the soul."t 

Since these discourses were sent abroad into the world, he 
has published a new edition of his Enquiry into the origin of 
moral virtue. In this treatise, he takes in all those natural 
principles, upon which he asserts, in his former discourse, 
that natural religion stands as the foundation of virtue ; 
namely, that God is, and governs the world by his pro 
vidence : that the soul is immortal ; and that all men, of 
whatsoever condition, shall be rewarded or punished in 
the life which is to come. And from his supposed lead 
ing principle of self-love, he derives all acts of piety towards 
God, or of justice and charity towards men. So that we 
have here a complete system of natural religion, which 
Mr. Campbell has composed, by the assistance of revelation 
or tradition ; and which he has declared, both in this, and 
in his other performances, to be sufficient to entail upon 

* Oratio de vanitate luminis naturae, pp. 4, 5. f Ibid. pp. 26. 27. 32. 
t Enquiry into the origin of moral virtue, pp. 63. 79. 
Ibid. pp. 111. 124. 

4 E 



66 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END OP MORAL- ACTIONS. 

us, if duly observed, both real and lasting felicity, in re 
commending ourselves to the favour of God, and attaining 
everlasting life with him in heaven. 

I have formerly made some reflections on his first two 
discourses ; and seeing he has, in a Christian society, and 
though clothed with a sacred character, taken it upon 
him to recommend to the world a visionary scheme of his 
own, as sufficient, if practised, to entitle mankind to future 
and lasting felicity ; it is necessary to examine his senti 
ments by the Scriptures of truth, the only test and in 
fallible standard of faith and manners. It were an un 
necessary labour to trace him in all the periods of such a 
verbose discourse ; which, however, might be so managed, 
as to expose every particular branch of his hypothesis to 
the just resentment of every sober mind, were it worth 
either the reader s while, or mine, to employ ourselves 
in such a manner. I shall therefore confine myself to 
these few things, as the subject of the following sections. 
1. To show that self-love is not, nor ought to be, the lead 
ing principle of moral virtue. 2. That self-interest, or 
pleasure, is not the only standard by which we can, and 
should judge of the virtue of our own, and others actions ; 
or that actions are not to be called virtuous, on account 
of their correspondency to self-interest. 3. That self-love, 
as it exerts itself in the desire of universal unlimited 
esteem, ought not to be the great commanding motive to 
virtuous actions: nor is obtaining the good -liking and 
esteem of those beings, among whom we are mixed, to be 
our main end in pursuing them. This will be sufficient 
to answer my design, which is to vindicate the truths of 
God, against the principles laid down in his scheme of 
selfish love. 



SECTION I. 

WHEREIN IT IS MADE APPEAR, THAT SELF-LOVE 18 NOT, NOR 
OUGHT TO BE, THE LEADING PRINCIPLE OF MORAL VIRTUE. 

OUR author tells us, " That it is very certain, that all men 
have implanted in their nature a principle of self-love or 
preservation, that irresistibly operates upon us in all in 
stances whatsoever; and is the great cause, or the first 
spring of all our several motions and actions, which way 
soever they may happen to be directed:"* that " self-love 
lies always at the bottom of every rational mind, and is 
universally the first spring that awakes her powers, and 
begins her motions, and carries her on to action." f He 
adds, " When you apprehend the Deity under these ideas, 
that promise you so much advantage, so as to refuse to 
worship him, unless he presents himself thus favourably 
inclined to your interest, and studious of your happiness ; 
pray, what is the generous principle that determines you ? 
I see nothing here that has the least semblance of your 
being disinterested. Give me leave to say, this is a suffi 
cient demonstration to me ; and I suppose, to every body 
else ; that, even in matters of devotion, you are absolutely 
governed by self-interest." J And elsewhere, he inserts 
on the margin a citation from Arrian, in which he brings 
him in, saying, That when the gods appear to cross us, and 
mar our self-interest, we throw down their image-houses, and 
burn their temples: and he expressly says, in that place, 
" that he owns every thing in that citation, as his princi 
ples." Having thus presented our Author s sentiments, 
in this particular, in his own words, which he attempts to 

* Enquiry into the origin of moral virtue, p. 4. f Ibid p. 101. 

J Ibid. p. 460. Ibid. PD. 451. 455. 



68 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

establish in his prolix performance, I shall next proceed 
to fix the true state of the question. 

As to which it may be noticed, that the question is not, 
Whether self-interest be a motive of our obedience to God ; 
or of moral virtue, as he calls it ? This is owned on all 
hands. God has implanted in us a principle of self-pre 
servation ; and we may laudably have a respect to the re- 
compence of the reward. But the question is, Whether 
self-love be the first spring, or leading principle of virtuous 
actions ? and, Whether self-interest be the highest motive 
of our obedience to God 1 Mr. Campbell holds the affirma 
tive, and I the negative, in the present question. 

Here I must likewise observe, that though Mr. Camp 
bell begs his reader not to regard him as either Jew or 
Christian, but as some heathen philosopher ; yet we must 
in charity think, that the principles maintained in this 
book are truly his sentiments ; and, in his opinion, agree 
able to all the principles of religion, whether natural or 
revealed ; unless we are to suppose him to believe, and to 
propagate, with a great deal of industry, " a scheme of 
principles directly opposite to his Christian creed." 

It is evident, from his Preface, that he recommends 
moral philosophy as that which ought to be the main 
study of a Christian divine, next to the holy Scriptures : 
and pretends, that it is the great, and chief business of 
ministers, to preach * it to their people. Nay, seeing he 
has composed a system of this kind, and expresses a fond 
concern for its being valued at a high rate by all who 
shall peruse it ; we must conclude, that, in his opinion, it 
is very proper for students to form themselves upon this 
performance ; and to make it their main work, when they 
shall happen to be invested with a sacred character, to 
preach its morality to those under their pastoral charge. 
All which, with what I have observed in the introduction, 
gives sufficient ground to call it immediately to the bar 
of the sacred oracles; and, according as it is found to 

* Preface to his Enquiry, pp. 22, 23. 



OP MORAL ACTIONS. 69 

agree to that infallible standard, let a judgment be formed 
about it. 

I begin, with endeavouring to show, in this section, 1. 
That a pretence to make self-love, interest, and pleasure, 
the first spring and principle of moral virtue, is condemned 
by the Holy Scriptures, which set our obedience to God 
upon a quite other foundation. 2. That this notion of the 
first rise of moral virtue is contrary to the plainest prin 
ciples of reason. 3. That it has no manner of countenance 
from the writings of the more judicious and thinking part 
of the heathen philosophers, who have expressed quite 
other sentiments upon this subject. 

I. If we consult the sacred records upon this question, 
we are assured from them, that the Holy Spirit doth renew 
our natures by regenerating grace; and that this new 
nature is the principle of aU holy and spiritual actions : 
which might be illustrated and confirmed at great length, 
from John iii. 6. 2 Cor. v. 17. 2 Pet. i. 4. Jer. xxiv. 7. and 
xxxi. 33. 

Nay, what true virtue can we reasonably expect to find 
among mankind, in their present circumstances of sin and 
guilt ? If we pay a due regard to divine revelation, we 
must believe that the apostle Paul gives a just character 
of them, when he tells us, that they cannot please God ; 
that they are alienated from the Author of their being, 
through their blindness of mind, and enmity of heart ; and 
are indisposed for living to his glory, as their end, and for 
moving to the enjoyment of him, as the centre of their 
happiness. From which it is very manifest, that whatever 
external conformity the actions of men, in an unregenerate 
state, may carry to the letter of the law ; and however 
useful this conformity may be to themselves or to society ; 
yet it can neither be acceptable to God, nor recommend 
men to his favour ; as Mr. Campbell has confidently alleged 
upon this argument See Rom. viii. 7, 8. Eph. iv. 18. 
Prov. xxi. 17. 

God himself has declared it to be his method of proceed 
ing with us in the new covenant, that he giveth us new 



70 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

hearts, and writeth his laws in them : and that the effect 
of this internal change is, our walking in his statutes, 
and our keeping his judgments, and doing them, Ezek. 
xxxvi. 26 : that is, we are led, in this way, to reform our 
lives, and yield all holy obedience unto God. 

We know, from the sacred oracles, that Adam, the first 
man, was created in the image of God, before he had done 
any good action, or was capable of performing it ; and we 
are likewise assured, that mankind, in their present lapsed 
state, are destitute of the image of God, which consists in 
the rectitude of the whole soul, and in the powers and 
abilities that were necessary for that obedience God re 
quired of them. This makes it certain, according to the 
saying of our Lord and Saviour, that " A corrupt tree can 
not bring forth good fruit;" and that before men, in their 
present state of sin and guilt, can perform actions accept 
able to God, a new principle of spiritual life must be in 
fused into their souls by the divine Spirit ; which, in the 
nature of the thing, must be a principle and spring of 
action of a very different kind from the corrupt self-love 
of mankind in their present situation. 

Though it can be demonstrated, that self-love neither 
was, nor could have been the leading principle of moral 
virtue, according to the original frame of human nature ; 
yet it were idle to digress to a question that cannot be in 
the field, as matters now stand. Mr. Campbell s system 
of moral philosophy is composed for the benefit of man 
kind in their present circumstances ; and, as such recom 
mended by him to the students, to whom he says in the 
plainest terms, * " That, by performing the duties of na 
tural religion, we are recommended to the favour of God ; 
that, having spent our lives in the observance of them, we 
may attain everlasting life with him in heaven : " and that, 
" all the welfare and happiness of rational minds is com 
prehended in the duties of natural religion." These opi 
nions he delivers in his discourse, designed for the refuta- 

ratio, &c. pp. 4, 5. 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 71 

tion of the deists, who contend for the sufficiency of natural 
religion, in the present situation of mankind ! 

I am not to canvass Mr. Campbell s sentiments as to this 
article of the Christian creed, whether he believes man 
kind to be in a state of guilt and universal corruption or 
not: it no way affects my argument. I have elsewhere 
proved it from the Holy Scriptures, * that they are in a 
state of entire depravation: and this, as has been there 
observed, has been acknowledged by the wisest among the 
heathen, and by the deists themselves. It being therefore 
certain, that the self-love of mankind, in their present 
circumstances, is corrupted and depraved ; it can with no 
show of reason be pretended, that a vitious, inordinate 
passion, can possibly be the first spring and principle of all 
virtuous actions. 

If Mr. Campbell pretend, that it is not a vitious self- 
love, but self-love duly qualified, as having a chief regard 
to God, as the head of human society, which is the prin 
ciple of moral virtue ; then he must acknowledge, that our 
love is either virtuous or vitious, according as God is, or 
is not, preferred to the creature ; which is the same, as to 
say, that supreme love to God is the first principle of 
moral virtue ; an opinion which I do not oppose. Or his 
meaning must be that it is upon the account of our own 
self-interest, and not for his divine excellency and autho 
rity, that a chief regard is to be had to the Most High ; 
and then, according to him, the morality of the love pro 
ceeds from a higher regard to self-interest, than to God ; 
and the infinite God is made a subordinate to self and self- 
interest : which is the opinion I contend against, main 
taining that self-love, considered in this view, is a most 
vitious and inordinate passion, and cannot possibly be the 
principle of any virtuous action whatsoever. 

But, to proceed: The morality which Mr. Campbell 
would have the students of divinity instructed in, that, in 
imitation of him, they may preach it in Christian congre- 

* A review and examination of Mr. Campbell s principles, &c. 



72 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

gations, being moral philosophy ; it must exhibit such a 
kind of moral virtue, as bears no relation to Christ, or to 
the grace and operations of the divine Spirit : for all are 
agreed, that philosophy, or the bare light of nature, doth 
not present moral virtue in this view: and, if he had 
taken up moral virtue in this light, it cannot easily be 
accounted for, that in so large a treatise, he should not so 
much as have once attempted to show the defects of philo 
sophical morality, or its difference from gospel obedience, 
that students, as well as others, might not be led into per 
nicious mistakes. 

But Christian morality, in my opinion, has alone the 
just claim to be preached in Christian congregations. It 
proceeds from a regenerating work of the divine Spirit, 
which is altogether unknown in philosophical morality : 
and it is likewise the fruit of Christ s purchase and merit. 
Hence our Lord says, " For their sakes I sanctify myself, 
that they may be sanctified through the truth," John 
xvii. 19. He prevails for the communication of it, by 
his intercession within the vail : " Sanctify them through 
thy truth : thy word is truth," John xvii. 17. Thus 
the gospel of Christ, with the moral law ingrafted into 
it, is the rule and measure of our obedience, or holy 
walking with God. The moral law, or the law of nature, 
in its full compass and latitude, as it is contained in the 
word, was the ride of original holiness and obedience : but 
it is not the adequate rule of that holiness whereunto we 
are restored by Christ. The law of nature, in its greatest 
latitude, cannot reveal Christ, nor those treasures of grace 
which are in him, for enabling us, by daily communications 
of light and life from him, to " perfect holiness in the fear 
of God : " nor can it direct to faith in him, which is the 
first spring of all virtuous actions ; and, as such, is cele 
brated by the apostle Paul, at great length, in the llth 
chapter of his epistle to the Hebrews. 

The obedience that is accepted with God, is the obedi 
ence of faith, Rom. i. 5. Heb. xi. 6 : thence it springs ; and 
therewith it is animated. Our Lord Jesus Christ affirms, 



OP MORAL ACTIONS. 73 

that men are sanctified by the faith that is in him, Acts 
xxvi. 18. From which it is plain, that there is no other 
way to attain to that holiness, by which we are made meet 
for the inheritance of the saints in light ; seeing it is by 
faith our hearts are purified, and not otherwise ; and where 
the heart is not purified, there can be no obedience accept 
able unto God, nor any fellowship with him. 

It is the peculiar glory of Christian morality, or gospel 
holiness, that it " is our being conformed to the image of 
the Son of God : For whom he did foreknow, he also did 
predestinate, to be conformed to the image of his Son," 
Rom. viii. 29. To this end, among others, is he set before 
us by the gospel, in the holiness of his person, the glory of 
his graces, and the beneficence and usefulness of his con 
versation in the world ; that we may imitate him, as the 
great pattern and example of holiness. As it is a fool 
ish imagination, that the only end of his life and death, 
was to exemplify and confirm his doctrine ; so to neglect 
to consider him, as our example, or to refuse to imitate 
him as such, is most vile and pernicious. And if Mr. 
Campbell had paid a due regard to the Scriptures, which 
alone give us a right notion of true morality ; had he kept 
his eye upon the example of our Lord, that noble pattern 
of exalted virtue, with that veneration which became him, 
he had not amused the world with his imaginary scheme 
of philosophical morality ; nor asserted it to be the great 
and chief business of ministers to preach such a system to 
their people. Nor yet would he have talked in the manner 
he has done, of the noble sentiments, and heroical actions, 
of heathen philosophers ; it being easy to show how dim 
their light was, and that their fairest virtues were blended 
with the foulest of vices. But we have a Saviour that is 
full of grace and truth; and certainly we had all the 
greatest need of grace and truth. For whatever fond con 
ceits some entertain of the sufficiency of the religion of 
nature, regarding the religion of Jesus Christ only for the 
sake of it, or so far as it carries on the light of nature : 
yet it is manifest, that the whole human race was miser- 



74 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

ably fallen into the deadly darkness of iniquity and error ; 
a darkness that did still increase upon them, and out of 
which they never could be able to extricate themselves : for, 
even " when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, 
neither were thankful, but became vain in their imagina 
tions, and their foolish heart was darkened : and professing 
themselves to be wise, they became fools," Rom. i. 21, 22. 
This darkness had everywhere spread itself through the 
earth ; as the apostle Paul does prove at length, in his 
epistle to the Romans, and as the history of the gospel 
plainly shows us. It is in Christ alone, that we have a 
full provision made for our deliverance out of this wretched 
state. 

As to our author s celebrated heroes, Socrates and Plato, 
what the apostle Paul has said of the heathens, in general, 
held true of them ; " That God gave them up to unclean- 
ness, through the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their 
own bodies between themselves, who changed the truth of 
God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature 
more than the Creator, who is God, blessed for ever." 
They who have considered the broad hints that are given 
in their writings, of their being under the power of these 
vile affections, must have less sense than charity, if they 
can regard the apologies some have attempted to make for 
them as of any value. What weight can be attached to 
the sayings of men who, in practice, conformed to the 
idolatry and superstition of the country in which they 
lived? An instance of this we have in Socrates; who, 
with his last breath, used this mean expression ; " Crito, 
We are indebted a cock to jEsculapius ; offer it, and do 
not forget." 

But further, as Christian morality is the fruit of Christ s 
purchase and intercession; and as his word is the rule 
and measure of it, and his example its complete pattern : 
so we are animated to pursue a course of virtuous 
actions, by daily supplies of grace from Christ, " who is 
given to be head over all things to the church ; which is 
his body," Eph. i. 22. It hath been always granted, by 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 75 

such as acknowledge the divine person of the Son of God, 
that he is the head of his church ; namely, that he is the 
political head of it in a way of government, and the 
spiritual head, as to vital influences of grace unto all his 
members. The church of Rome, indeed, cast some dis 
turbance on the former, by interposing another immediate 
governing head between him and the catholic church : yet 
they do not deny, but that the Lord Christ is, in his own 
person, the absolute supreme king and head of the church. 
The latter is refused by the Socinians, and others who go 
their way, because they deny his divine person. But by 
all others who profess the Christian religion, this hath 
hitherto been acknowledged : and it is most evidently ex 
pressed in several places of scripture. The apostle Paul, 
in his epistle to the Ephesians, assures us, in the strongest 
language, that as, in the natural body, there are supplies 
of nourishment, and natural spirits communicated from 
the head unto the members ; so, from Christ, the head of 
the church ; which he is as God man, there is a supply of 
spiritual life made unto every member of his mystical body. 
He also says, that Christians, " Speaking the truth in love, 
grow up unto him in all things, which is the head, even 
Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together, 
and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, accord 
ing to the effectual working, in the measure of every part, 
maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in 
love." See 1 Cor, xii. 12. Eph. iv. 15. Col. ii. 19. John 
xv. and xiv. 19. Eph. iv. 15, 16. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ hath encouraged us to expect 
and depend upon assistances of this kind, by his own gra 
cious word of promise, " Because I live, ye shall live also," 
John xiv. 19. He is said to be " our life," Col. iii. 3 ; and 
we are said to " receive out of his fulness, and grace for 
grace," John i. 15. To the same purpose the apostle ex- 
presseth the matter, " I am crucified with Christ ; never 
theless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the 
life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the 
Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me," Gal. 



76 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

ii. 20. " I am crucified with Christ : " that is, as if he had 
said, The death of Christ hath a mortifying influence upon 
the corruptions of my heart and nature. Christ died to 
expiate sin ; we die to sin when we mortify it : but adds 
he, " Nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in 
me : and the life which I live in the flesh, I live by the 
faith of the Son of God : " that is, I live a holy spiritual 
life : yet I do not lead that life, considered in myself, and 
what I am by nature ; for my motions as a Christian, are 
not according to my natural propensions and inclinations, 
but Christ, by his Spirit, liveth in me, having renewed and 
changed my heart, and infused spiritual dispositions into 
my soul ; so that I am enabled, by a principle of faith, 
acting upon the Son of God, in his person, offices, and 
mediation, to order my whole conversation, according to 
the will of God, revealed in his word. 

I shall not at present enlarge upon the relation which 
Christian morality bears to the Divine Spirit, having given 
some hints in what has been said, and treated, at some 
length, of the necessity of regeneration in a former dis 
course. 

Yet I cannot but observe, upon the whole, that the 
philosophical morality, recommended by Mr. Campbell, is 
something very foreign to the Scriptures of truth. Chris 
tian morality, as has been shown, bears a relation to Christ, 
and the Divine Spirit : but philosophical morality can have 
no such respect to these glorious persons of the adorable 
Trinity, seeing the doctrines concerning their operations, 
in the method of salvation, are peculiar to revealed religion ; 
and are not in the least hinted at by our author, though 
a Christian divine, in his whole scheme of moral philosophy. 
Mr. Campbell s philosophical morality takes its rise from 
his love to himself; but Christian morality proceeds from 
the knowledge and love of God : his philosophical morality 
springs from a corrupt and inordinate self - love ; but 
Christian morality proceeds from a new nature, and the 
image of God restored in the soul of a lapsed creature, 
by the Holy Spirit in regeneration, and from faith in the 



OP MORAL ACTIONS. 77 

Son of God, as its first spring and principle. Seeing then 
that the above propositions have been made evident, from 
the word of God, it will be very manifest to every one that 
pays a due regard to the sacred oracles, how silly a figure 
this new philosophy does make, when it is viewed in scrip 
ture light ; and that it can never possibly answer the ends 
proposed by its author of recommending men to the favour 
of God, and entitling them to future and lasting felicity. 

II. But, to proceed : Since Mr. Campbell enrols himself 
among the high pretenders to reason in these days, it will 
be fit to examine if this, his principle, be agreeable to the 
common reason of mankind. 

It is most agreeable, in my opinion, to all the principles 
of sound reason, that rational creatures be animated in a 
course of virtue, by the knowledge and love of the Deity, 
the great Author of their being, as the ruling motive of all 
their actions. For it is very manifest, that the duty of 
glorifying God, or celebrating his infinite perfections, is 
founded in the nature of God, and the relation creatures 
stand in to the Author of their being ; and that it is im 
possible, in the nature of the thing, that a reasonable 
creature, remaining in a state of integrity, can fail to pro 
mote this great and noble end of its being and existence ; 
because an holy and innocent creature cannot possibly 
contemplate infinite wisdom, power, goodness, and holiness, 
without supreme love and esteem, the most humble adora 
tion, and most accented praises. 

Mr. Campbell has had the assurance to express himself 
in a very extravagant manner, maintaining, " That we may 
refuse to worship God, unless he present himself favour 
ably inclined to our interest, and studious of our happi 
ness." Again he tells us, " That, by our happiness, he 
understands future and lasting felicity, universal and im 
mortal fame and renown, and God s expressing his love 
and esteem of us, in such instances, as are fully propor 
tionated to our natural principle of self-love."* 

* Enquiry, c. pp. 460. and 76. 83. 86. 94. Preface to his dis 
course, p. 6. 



78 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

This bold assertion, that we are not obliged to worship 
God, that is, to esteem, love, or obey him, unless he con 
ferred upon us an immortal fame and renown, and a future 
and lasting felicity, had need, I think, to have been well 
established by solid arguments, when it was confidently 
published to the world by its author : for, if he fail in the 
proof of it, he may be found guilty, of what will be con 
structed, by all sober minds, to be a reproaching of his 
Maker, in whose hands his breath is, and to whom he must 
account for the whole of his conduct. For my part, I see 
no shadow of proof, either for this, or his other opinions, 
in all his wordy performance ; and therefore, till he pro 
duce a claim of right to future and lasting felicity, and to 
universal and immortal fame and renown, that is not 
founded in the free condescension, will, and good pleasure 
of God, I cannot vindicate him from the charge of having, 
in this particular, made sadly too free with the great 
Author of his existence. 

But, to set this matter in a true light, we may consider, 
that our worshipping God is a necessary duty, founded upon 
the precept and law of God, which is an emanation from 
his holiness, wisdom, and dominion over his creatures: 
whereas the eternal felicity of a dependent being, is a 
privilege voluntarily bestowed, and hath its rise in divine 
goodness or bounty, which is free in its egress. Whoso 
ever will consider the nature of God, and the necessary 
condition of a creature, cannot, with reason, think, that 
eternal life is, of itself, due from God, as a recompence to 
him for his obedience. Who can think so great a reward 
due, for the simple performance of the creature s duty ? 
God owes nothing to the holiest creature. What he gives 
is a present from his bounty ; not the reward of merit : 
" for who hath first given unto him, and it shall be recom 
pensed to him again 1 " What obligation could there be 
from the creature, to confer a goodness on him, to this or 
that degree, for this or that duration 1 If God had never 
created man or angel, he had done them no wrong ; and if 
he had taken away their being, after a time, when he had 



OP MORAL ACTIONS. 79 

answered his end, he had done them no injury.* For 
what law obliged him to continue them in that being 
wherein he had invested them, but his mere good pleasure 1 

Although it is owned, that, in all ages of the world, men 
have had a strong hankering after immortality ; yet this 
is only an evidence that God designed that they should 
exist beyond the grave ; but not that they stood entitled 
to future and lasting felicity, from the nature and relation 
of things, independently of his own free purpose and will. 
For the same power that gave them a being, could have 
produced them, without any appetite of that nature and 
kind. And though it was this appetite which gave life and 
spirit to all the reasonings of the philosophers on this sub 
ject, and was itself one of the best arguments of the soul s 
immortality within their reach ; yet so conscious were 
mankind, that a future and lasting state of felicity was a 
privilege that depended on the divine will, favour, and 
bounty, that Socrates himself, notwithstanding all the 
arguments by which he endeavours to encourage his 
hopes, speaks doubtfully about it in the very last moments 
of his life : as might be shown, from his own words, if I 
could take the time to mark them down in this place. 

It is true, we know, from revelation, that God will not 
deprive any rational creature of its being and existence : 
but can it be shown to be so inconsistent with his wisdom, 
that he cannot do it if he will 1 Though he withdraw that 
being he has given to some creatures, his power can raise 
up others of the same, or nobler faculties, to answer the 
ends of his glory. And none can prove, but that it might 
have been agreeable to God s wisdom, in this manner, to 
manifest his sovereignty over the works of his hands, if he 
had thought fit to do so. It cannot be shown, that divine 
goodness may not possibly stop short of an eternal reward 
to an innocent creature, and think a less reward sufficient : 
and, though justice requires, that an innocent creature 
shall not be punished, by being made miserable; yet it 

* Mr. Boyle s Excellency of Theology, pp. 25, 26. 



80 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

doth not require, that God shall be obliged to continue 
that creature in unending existence. 

Now, seeing it is very manifest, that the most innocent 
creature cannot possibly produce a claim to everlasting 
felicity, except what is founded upon, and must be resolved 
into the pleasure, free-will, and bounty of God ; must it 
not be an arrogant thing for those, whose foundation is 
in the dust, to talk at this rate, that they would pay no 
homage or worship to the great God, if he refused to 
bestow upon them so great a reward? How visionary 
must that scheme be, which strikes at the first principles of 
reason, and cannot subsist one moment, but by banishing 
from among men all due regard for the rights of the Deity ? 

But, further, I hope Mr. Campbell will acknowledge, 
that himself, and all other men, are now in a lapsed state. 
If he refuse it, his writings will prove it : heathen philo 
sophers have acknowledged it ; and the deists themselves 
have confessed it. But natural conscience must dictate 
to every man, that sinful creatures, who are in a lapsed 
state, have forfeited all title to happiness ; and are obnoxi 
ous to justice, for violating the law of God. This might 
be confirmed, by a variety of proofs from pagan writers, 
as well as illustrated from the principles of reason itself. 
For however some may amuse themselves with the notion 
of God s benevolence, yet this will yield little comfort to 
the person who is convinced of sin. Justice being pro 
voked, right reason, if we attend to it, will convince us, 
that it must be satisfied, the honour of God s law vindi 
cated, and his hatred at sin manifested, before goodness is 
extended to the guilty. 

It is farther to be remarked that, as the whole writings 
of pagan philosophers, notwithstanding the assistances 
some of them had from revelation, discover their absolute 
ignorance of the way in which God was to be reconciled 
unto sinners ; so this is a plain argument, among others, 
that the restoring of lapsed man to the favour of God, and 
to future and lasting felicity, had its rise from grace, or 
the free will and purpose of God ; and that therefore God, 



OP MORAL ACTIONS. 81 

if he had thought meet so to do, might have left them 
all to perish in their sins, without any prospect of felicity. 
Will our author, then, take it upon him to say, that if 
mercy had not interposed in the manner it did, mankind 
had been loosed from all obligation to obey their Creator I 
that man, by his sin, had exempted himself from the govern 
ment of God 1 that the law of God had lost its binding 
power, because man, by his rebellion, had lost the prospect 
of future and lasting felicity ? and that man, in these cir 
cumstances, might have laudably hated, reproached, and 
blasphemed the Author of his being ] These are vile and 
impious suppositions ; and the scheme, from which they 
follow, must be absurd in itself, and subversive of all reli 
gion, whether natural or revealed. 

III. Before I conclude this section, I must examine into 
the sentiments of our author s celebrated writers. And, 
if it be found that he has outdone his fellow-heathens upon 
this argument, notwithstanding of his being a Christian 
divine, I do not well know how he shall answer for it at 
his next conversation with them. 

The noblest sentiments that I can observe to have been 
delivered by heathen philosophers upon this subject, are 
these of Pythagoras, Plato, and some others, * namely, 
" That it is our end to be like God ; and that conformity 
to God is the chief good." And Hierocles, cited by our 
author, says, That " virtue being the image of God in a 
rational soul, as every image must have a pattern for its 
subsistence; so, whatever is acquired as virtuous, must 
refer to God, as our great pattern, in the acquisition of 
virtue ; otherwise it is only an imposture, and can have 
no value." 

Now, if God be considered as our great pattern, and 
virtue as his image and likeness in a rational soul, this 
will give us the notion of quite another principle and end 
of virtuous actions, than our self-love, interest, or pleasure : 
for, if moral virtue is considered in this light, then God s 

* Stanley s Lives, page 541. 
4 F 



82 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

love to himself, and to his creatures, is the great pattern 
of our love to God, to ourselves, and to our fellow-men. 
As it proceeds from the infinite perfection of the Deity, 
that he loves himself in a supreme manner, and that it is 
his peculiar glory to do so ; so, on the other hand, it pro 
ceeds from the finite and limited perfection of his creature, 
and its universal dependence on him, that it ought to love 
God more than itself. God can love nothing above him 
self and his own glory ; because there is nothing so good 
or so great, or so truly lovely, as himself. And, for the 
same reason, his love to his creatures must be for his own 
sake, or according as some resemblance of himself, the 
great pattern and standard of beauty and perfection, ap 
pears in them. Thus, our love to God must be supreme, 
and for his own sake ; that is, for his glorious excellencies 
and perfections : and our love to ourselves, and our fellow- 
men, must be on God s account, and as the rays of the 
divine image do appear in them. 

This I take to be a just sentiment, and the true notion 
of moral virtue ; and I hope Mr. Campbell will agree with 
me, that we ought to love God for himself, and that in a 
superlative manner ; that we ought to love our fellow-men 
for God s sake : and that he will not adventure any more 
either to say that he loves himself more than the great 
God, or that he loves every thing else, only for his own 
sake. 

As this view of moral virtue is founded in the plain and 
evident principles of reason ; so it follows, by a native and 
immediate consequence from it, that the knowledge and 
love of God must be the leading principle of all moral 
actions : which is the doctrine I do herein maintain and 
defend. 

Nay more, seeing moral virtue consists in the imitation 
of God, he that would live in the image of God, must im 
print upon his mind the most exalted idea, and the highest 
esteem possible, of the holiness, the righteousness, the 
moral perfection of the divine nature ; that in this way he 
may awaken all the powers of his soul, to be formed to 






OF MORAL ACTIONS. 83 

actions, worthy of the infinite Original; and can it be 
possible, but that in so doing, self, and every created be 
ing, must sink infinitely low in the view of the man 
employed in so noble an exercise ? 

We cannot possibly imitate this great pattern of exalted 
virtue, without supreme love and admiration. The more 
adoring thoughts we have of God, the more delightfully 
we shall aspire to, and catch after any thing that may 
promote the full draught of his image in our hearts. 
When the soul is ravished with the contemplation of God s 
holiness, goodness, justice, righteousness, and truth, it will 
desire to be like him, more than to have its own being con 
tinued to it; and it will delight in its own existence, 
chiefly in order to this heavenly and spiritual work. The 
impressions of the nature of God upon it, and the imita 
tions of the nature of God by it, will be more desirable 
than any other conceivable good. 

Then if God himself be our pattern, he must, in order 
to this, be our end. Every man s mind forms itself to a 
likeness to that which it makes its chief end. The same 
characters that are upon the thing aimed at, will be im 
printed upon the spirit of him that aims at it ; even as 
the ambitious man thinks himself equal to the honour he 
reaches after. Thus, when God and his glory are made our 
end, we shall find a silent likeness pass in upon us ; and 
the beauty of God will, by degrees, enter upon our souls. 

As Plutarch saith, God is angry with those that imitate 
his thunder or lightning, his works of majesty ; but de 
lighted with those that imitate his virtue. They, how 
ever, who make self-love the spring, centre, and end of 
all their actions, set themselves in the temple of God, and 
lift up themselves above all that is called God : they con 
found and overthrow the whole order and nature of things ; 
they daringly invade the awful regalia of heaven, and 
react the part of that foul spirit, who, by such an impo 
tent attempt, became, of a holy angel, a ghastly apostate 
devil. 

I shall only farther observe, that our author has over- 



84 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END OP MORAL ACTIONS. 

looked what Tully * has said on this subject, viz. " That 
a due consideration of the heavenly bodies must lead every 
thinking man to the knowledge of God ; that, from this 
knowledge, springs piety, with which is connected justice, 
and all the other virtues : " which is the same as if he had 
said, that the knowledge and love of God is the first spring 
of all virtuous actions. 

I think Mr. Campbell cannot well make it out, that 
Socrates was animated to pursue a course of virtue, from 
the prospect of future and lasting felicity, unless his highest 
motive to action had been something he was very uncertain 
about ; as is evident from his words to his friends, a little 
before his death : " I would have you know, said he, that I 
have great hopes that I am now going into the company of 
good men ; yet I would not be too peremptory and confident 
concerning it."t " I am now about to leave this world, and 
ye are still to continue in it ; which of us have the better 
part allotted us, God only knows." $ He talks much of 
the writings of the heathen philosophers, but I am confi 
dent, that, when they are duly considered, it will be found 
that none of them go half-way with him, except what may 
be made of some expressions of the demure Stoics, and 
the stupid system of the Epicureans. 

Upon the whole, it has been shown, that a pretence to 
make self-love, interest, and pleasure, the first spring and 
principle of moral virtue, is condemned by the Holy Scrip 
tures, which set our obedience to God upon quite another 
foundation: that this notion of the first rise of moral 
virtue, is contrary to the plainest principles of reason ; 
and that it has no manner of countenance from the writ 
ings of the more judicious and thinking part of the heathen 
philosophers, who have expressed quite other sentiments 
upon this important subject. 

* De natura Deorum, lib. 2. f Plato in Phsed. 

J Plato in Apol. Socrat. 



SECTION II. 

THAT SELF-INTEREST OR PLEASURE, IS NOT THE ONLY STANDARD 

BY WHICH WE ARE TO JUDGE OF THE VIRTUE OF OUR OWN 
AND OTHERS ACTIONS; AND THAT ACTIONS ARE NOT TO BE 
CALLED VIRTUOUS ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR CORRESPONDENCY 
TO SELF-INTEREST. 

HAVING considered what our author judges to be the first 
spring or principle of moral virtue, I shall now inquire 
into his sentiments concerning the rule or standard of 
virtuous actions. As to which, he expresseth himself as 
follows : " Since self-interest or pleasure is the only stan 
dard by which we can judge of the virtue, i. e. the value 
or goodness, of any action whatsoever, I do not see how a 
sense of virtue can be antecedent to ideas of advantage. 
For my part, I know no one action of any intelligent 
being, that can be called virtuous on any other account 
than from its correspondency to self-interest, or its fitness 
to promote the happiness of one s nature. Thus our actions 
towards the Deity are called virtuous, because they are 
suitable to his self-love ; as, on the other hand, the actions 
of the Deity towards us are called virtuous, because they are 
adapted to the interests of human nature."* " If we will 
consider all the several moral qualities that can be called 
virtuous, we shall find, that we like and approve those qua 
lities, for no other reason, but for their being good to us ; 
i. e. for the pleasure they give us, or for their gratifying 
our self-love." t " The goodness of any action done by one 
intelligent mind to another, from which it is denominated 
moral virtue, immediately lies in the conformity it has to 

* Enquiry into the origin of moral virtue, p. 389. 
f Ibid. pp. 357, 358. 



86 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

our self-love, while it concurs and co-operates with this 
principle, in approving our being happy, and to secure and 
promote our well-being." * " But what ideas must we have 
of moral goodness ? Does this likewise lie, as well as the 
other, in pleasure ? or does it signify any thing else ? I 
confess ingenuously, that I neither have, nor can form any 
other notion of it. And I conceive, that this sort of plea 
sure, or good, is called moral, because it springs from the 
mores, the manners, or the affections and actions of in 
telligent beings, or rational agents, and to distinguish it 
from that kind of pleasure or good, which we have from 
inanimate or irrational creatures ; though it might be 
called natural, with as good reason as any other sort of 
pleasure or good whatsoever. One might subdivide natural 
goodness into a great many particular sorts, which differ 
fully as much from one another, as moral goodness can do 
from every one of them. If custom would allow of it, 
might not one talk of musical-goodness, picture-goodness, 
landscape-goodness, &c., thereby understanding the plea 
sures which we have from music, pictures, landscapes, and 
the like 1 And do not all these sorts of natural goodness 
differ from one another, as much as moral goodness pos 
sibly can do 1 " t Thus far Mr. Campbell. 

Before I consider if our author s opinion here be founded 
upon the principles of sound reason, I shall first inquire 
into its agreeableness with the Holy Scriptures ; and from 
them, I think, it will be abundantly evident, that self-in 
terest or pleasure is not the only standard by which we 
are to judge of the virtue or goodness of actions; and 
that the goodness of an action, from which it is deno 
minated moral virtue, does not immediately lie in the con 
formity it has to our self-love, although it concurs with this 
principle, or tends to secure and promote our happiness. 

I. We are assured, from the word of God, that the 
goodness of an action does immediately lie in the con- 



* Enquiiy into the origin of moral virtue, pp. 319, 320. 
f Ibid. pp. 354, 355. 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 87 

formity it has to the law of God, and his will therein de 
clared, and its being done from a respect to the authority 
of God the Lawgiver. To this purpose, God is said, by 
his word, and his law and will therein published, to have 
" showed unto us what is good," Mic. vi. 7, 8, 9. and " to 
delight in our obeying his voice ; obedience to his will 
being better than sacrifice ; and to hearken to him more 
acceptable than the fat of lambs," 1 Sam. xv. 22. And 
that the law of God, revealed in his word, is the adequate 
and only standard by which the goodness of actions is to 
be tried, appears, from his strictly requiring, that nothing 
be added to it, or taken from it, Deut. iv. 2. and xiii. 32. 
Prov. xxx. 6. Rev. xxii. 18. Nay it is certain, that as we are 
to do only what is commanded, so whatever we do, we 
are to do it because it is commanded, and from a respect 
to the will and authority of God manifested in his word ; 
otherwise it is no part of our obedience to God, nor will 
be regarded by him as such. Hence it is said to be the 
character of the righteous man, that he endeavours " to 
keep God s statutes ; because he hath commanded him to 
keep his precepts diligently," Psal. cxix. 4, 5. The great 
God hath enjoined us to order our conversation according 
to his word, Psal. cxix. 9: he hath remitted us to the 
" law and testimony," as the only standard of our conduct 
or actions ; and he hath required us to take heed there 
to, " as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, till the 
day dawn and the day star arise in our hearts," Is. viii. 20. 
2 Pet. i. 19. It is affirmed of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
has left us an example that we should follow his steps, 
that " he pleased not himself," or consulted not his own 
ease, Rom. xv. 3. but willingly exposed himself to all his 
sufferings, in obedience to his Father s will ; and the 
whole of his obedience, as Mediator, is described in the 
glory and perfection of it, from its being performed in 
obedience to the command of God : for, saith he, " Lo, I 
come to do thy will, my God," Psal. xl. 7, 8. The judi 
cious Dr. Owen * has well observed, from the parallel 
* Comment, on Heb. x. 7. 



88 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

text, " That the fundamental motive unto the Lord 
Christ, in his undertaking the work of mediation, was 
the will and glory of God." We are obliged to honour 
the law of God, not principally because of its usefulness 
to us, or its suitableness to the order of the world, but for 
its innate purity, as bearing on it an impression of the 
holiness of God ; and he values no service unless this pro 
perty be found in it. " I will be sanctified in them that 
come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified," 
Lev. x. 3. Such is the principle of God s moral govern 
ment ; and seeing he formed the rational creature, to 
manifest his holiness in that law, whereby he was to be 
governed, we ought not to deprive him of that design of 
his own glory. The law of God is called holy and pure, 
Psal. xix. 8. Rom. vii. 12. as it emanates from the pure 
nature of the Lawgiver : and our lives are not expressive 
of his holiness, when we do a thing in the matter of it 
agreeable to the rule, if we do it not with a respect to the 
purity of the Lawgiver beaming in it. For, if we do any 
thing chiefly to serve a purpose of our own, we make not 
the holiness and authority of God, discovered in the law, 
our rule, but our own conveniency or happiness, which, 
in that case, we put in the place of God, and make a god 
to ourselves. It is very manifest, that if a man makes 
himself, and his own interest and pleasure, the rule and 
end of his actions, he prefers the creature to God, and 
loves it supremely, contrary to the will of God. Thus he * 
invades God s right, refuseth to take God for his God, sets ! 
up himself as his own governor, and affects virtually an 
equality with God, and independency on him ; which is 
that daring crime of the devil, which made him a sinner 
from the beginning. I might multiply Scripture texts to 
illustrate this subject ; but having elsewhere made it ap 
pear, that the law of nature is insufficient to direct man 
kind to happiness, and that the Scriptures alone, in which 
the law of God is revealed, are the infallible standard of 
our duty, I shall not at present enlarge upon this part of 
the argument. 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 80 

But, further, Mr. Campbell says, " That the goodness of 
any action, from which it is denominated moral virtue, lies 
in the conformity it has to our self-love ; and that there is 
no difference betwixt natural goodness and moral good 
ness." But I hesitate not to affirm, that an action is not 
denominated virtuous, from its conformity to our self-love, 
but from the conformity it has to the law of God. We 
are assured by the apostle Paul, that the remains of the 
law of nature upon the minds of the Gentiles, who had not 
the written law, were the standard by which they judged 
of the virtue of their actions ; that the will of God, revealed 
in his word, was the rule and measure, according to which 
they, who had the advantage of revealed religion, were to 
measure their actions ; and that the actions of both were 
to be tried and judged, good or bad, at the judgment-seat 
of Christ, according to their conformity unto, or disagree 
ment from the written word, or light of nature, Rom. ii. 
12, 13, 14. " For as many as have sinned without law 
shall also perish without law : and as many as have sinned 
in the law shall be judged by the law ; (for not the hearers 
of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law 
shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not 
the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, 
these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves : 
which show the work of the law written in their hearts, 
their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts 
the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another ;) in 
the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus 
Christ according to my gospel." 

The scope of the apostle in this passage is to show, that 
neither Jew nor Gentile can be justified by the works of 
the law. And, to illustrate the argument, he lays down 
what is requisite to justification, according to the tenor of 
the covenant of works ; namely, to fulfil perfectly what 
ever is written in the law, or to persevere in a course of 
perfect obedience. " For not the hearers of the law are 
just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." 
Though Mr. Campbell, then, should suppose himself as in- 



90 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

nocent as Adam was in his primitive state, he cannot 
recommend himself to the favour of God, upon the foot 
ing of promoting his self-interest, but upon his entire 
conformity, in heart and life, to the law of God, and his 
subjection to the authority of God therein interposed. 
And however his conscience may acquiesce in his acting 
agreeably to his own interest, yet the heathens had, in this 
particular, more noble sentiments; for their consciences 
accused or excused them, according as their actions were 
agreeable or not "to the law of God written in their 
hearts." By this law written in their hearts we must 
understand the first principles of right reason, in a 
due exercise of which, a thinking man must deduce 
some of the first rules of veneration for the Deity, 
and of equity to man. This law contained some faint 
draught of the written law, and in so far instructed them 
what to do and avoid, which is the great property of a 
law ; and because it did so, they are said " to do, by na 
ture, the things contained in the law," and to be " a law 
unto themselves :" that is, they had some remains of that 
law in their hearts, which was inscribed, in full characters, 
upon the mind of man, at his creation, and were directed 
by it, in many instances, as to matters of moral right and 
wrong. 

As the terms in which sin is described in scripture, such 
as nNftTT, PE/B, )T, ocvo^ioi, Trot^otKo^ rebellion and diso 
bedience, Is. i. 2. Rom. v. 19. discover the nature of it to 
consist in its disagreement to the law of God, therein de 
clared ; so the apostle John expressly asserts, that sin is 
" the transgression of the law," 1 John iii. 4. From which 
it is very manifest, that the law of God is the great and 
only standard of virtue, and that the virtue of our actions 
does immediately lie, not in their conformity to our self- 
love, but in their conformity to the law and will of God. 

II. But, in proceeding to the second part of our inquiry, 
namely, whether this opinion be founded upon the princi 
ples of reason 1 we may observe, that to make self-interest 
or pleasure the only standard of virtue, and to pretend 



OP MOKAL ACTIONS. 91 

that no action can be called virtuous, on any other account 
than its correspondency to self-interest, is plainly to de 
stroy all virtue, and to make our own self-love the only 
ground and reason of our owing any love to God, or to our 
fellow-creatures. Can it be agreeable to the nature of 
things to say, that reasonable creatures owe no esteem, 
love, and subjection to God, pr what he is in himself, but 
only for what he does, to gratify their self-love ? Nothing 
but Deity can be the formal cause and foundation of divine 
worship, which is an ascribing infinite perfection to the 
object of worship, or giving expression to that love, trust, 
and esteem, which is proper and peculiar to God : and there 
fore our love to God, and our universal subjection unto 
him, must, in the nature of the thing, be founded upon 
what he is in himself, and not chiefly upon what he hath 
done for us ; which is the fruit of his mere good pleasure. 
None of our actions can be called virtuous, but so far as 
they are done in obedience to him, and are agreeable to 
his will : for, as it is highly reasonable, that an infinitely 
perfect Being should prescribe a rule of action to his crea 
tures ; so they do not act agreeably to the rational facul 
ties with which they are endowed, if their love to him is 
not supreme : that is, if, in all instances, they do not ex 
press the sense they have of their dependence upon him, 
and his authority over them as their great and only moral 
governor. 

Our author has the assurance to say, that the actions 
of the Deity towards us are called virtuous, because they 
are adapted to the interest of human nature. But I 
thought that they had been holy, great, and good, because 
agreeable to his own nature and will. All who acknow 
ledge the being and perfections of God, must own that he 
is not regulated by any law, without or beside himself. 
He is his own law and rule ; and all his actions whatsoever 
are necessarily right, because agreeable to his own nature, 
will, and perfections ; and it cannot be imagined, that he 
is astricted to, and governed by, a rule inferior to himself. 
Can Mr. Campbell deny that God is of " purer eyes than 






92 PRINCIPLED RULE, AND ENP 

to behold evil," or that "he hateth all the workers of 
iniquity?" Can he refuse it, that this is an holy, or, as 
he irreverently styles it, a virtuous action ? Can he make 
it appear that it is holy or virtuous, because it is adapted to 
the interest of a sinful creature, and tends to promote its 
happiness ? It must be acknowledged to be highly dishon 
ourable to the great God, when men pay no regard either 
to reason or revelation, in talking of his ways, but imagine 
him to be such an one as themselves, and make a visionary 
hypothesis of their own, the measure and rule of their sen 
timents about him ! 

The more we consider this scheme, the more clearly does 
it appear, that, according to it, the creature s self-interest 
is made the sole, the paramount law, the measure of right 
and wrong, and God is confined to act by it, as much as 
those he has created; which is just the same as to say, 
that man is not accountable to his Creator, and that God has 
no authority to prescribe such laws to his creatures, as shall 
oblige them, dutifully, to acknowledge his sovereignty over 
them, or their entire dependence upon him. For, accord 
ing to this scheme, he can prescribe nothing unto them 
but what their self-interest must direct them unto, although 
they were in no way dependent on him, and although he 
had no authority over them. So that every man is to be 
his own judge, as to whether he has, or has not, answered 
the end of his creation, by promoting his own happiness. 
If he has failed of this, he bears the loss of his own bad 
management; but is not otherwise accountable to the 
Most High for breaking his laws. Now what doth all this 
amount to, but just to supposing the living God to be an 
indolent Being, as Epicurus has represented him, not mind 
ing what they, who are the product of his hands, may do, 
in contempt of his authority ! 

There can be no doubt, that the duties prescribed to us 
by God, when rightly performed, do tend to promote our 
happiness. But to make that happiness the standard of 
duty, and to say that the actions of the Deity towards us 
are virtuous, because they are adapted to our interest, is 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 93 

to reproach the Author of our being. For, is he not blas 
phemed, when that which is peculiar to him is ascribed 
to creatures 1 And is not this done, when it is maintained, 
that creatures are to act for themselves as their last end ; 
or that their own interest and pleasure is the measure and 
rule of their actions, and not the will and law of God 1 Is 
not this to make creatures, or the interest and pleasure of 
creatures, as absolutely the rule of their actions, as if there 
was not a God to rule over them, as if they had received 
nothing from him, and were no way accountable to him, 
except in so far as they had done well for themselves in 
promoting their own happiness 1 ? Mr. Campbell could not 
bear it well, we see, from his preface to this edition of his 
Inquiry, that Dr. Innes should have the praise of this fine 
performance, as he took it to be ! and how shall the Author 
of our being take it, if poor creatures like him arrogate to 
themselves the praise of what they have received from him, 
sacrificing to their own net, and burning incense to their 
own drag ? Can they expect any thing less than that, as 
God, by the prophet, has threatened, they shall lie down in 
sorrow ? 

Our author tells us, that God, and all other intelligent 
beings, are universally governed by one common principle 
of self-love. But can it be agreeable to reason itself, or to 
the nature of things, to maintain, that creatures like us 
have as good reason to love themselves for their own in 
trinsic goodness as God has to love himself on that 
account ; or that they have as good a right to act univer 
sally, and only from love to themselves, as God has to act 
only from love to himself? Nay, seeing, as has been shown, 
and shall in the sequel be further illustrated, that it is the 
peculiar and incommunicable glory of the great God, re 
sulting from the infinite perfection of his nature, to act 
from supreme love to himself, and for himself, as his ulti 
mate end; must not an attempt to set this important 
matter in a false light, and to invest poor creatures with 
the prerogative of heaven, be most injurious unto the hon 
our of God, and the ready way to betray unthinking men 



94 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

into mistakes, most destructive and pernicious to them 
selves ? 

Mr. Puffendorff, who may be allowed to have been as 
good a judge of the common reason of mankind as the 
high pretenders to reason in our times, says, " We call 
that a good action which is conformable to the law, as an 
ill one is that which is not conformable to it."* He adds 
elsewhere, as follows : " Since, to the goodness of an ac 
tion, it is not enough to do what the law enjoins, but to 
do it also with such an intention as is agreeable to that 
law ; an action cannot be deemed perfectly good, unless it 
exactly, and in all its parts, answer the prescription ; and 
unless the only motive that influenced the agent, was his 
desire of paying the legislator a prompt and ready obedi 
ence. ^ He likewise tells us, " That God, by his right of 
creation, has the power of prescribing bounds to that 
liberty of will he has been pleased to indulge mankind ;"$ 
and that, " seeing moral goodness and turpitude are affec 
tions of human deeds, arising from their agreeableness or 
disagreeableness to a rule or a law ; and since a law is the 
command of a superior, it does not appear how we can 
conceive any goodness and turpitude before all law, and 
without the institution of some superior : and truly, as for 
those who would establish an eternal rule, for the morality 
of human actions, independent of a divine institution, the 
result of their endeavours seems to us to be the joining 
with God Almighty, some co-eval extrinsic principle, which 
he was obliged to follow in assigning the forms and es 
sences of things." Thus far this author. 

But, to proceed: It has been shown else where, || that 
it is the first principle of the law of nature, that there is 
a God, who governs all things. And it may, from the 
same, and like arguments, be demonstrated to be the lead 
ing principle of natural religion, that as the dictates of 
sound reason are so many laws, made known to us by God ; 

* Puffendorff s Law of Nature, &c., by Spavan, chap. 7. p. 8. 

f ibid. pp. 92, 93. J Ibid. p. 3. Ibid. p. 20. || Review, &c. 






OF MORAL ACTIONS. 95 

so it is his will, that we walk according to these dictates ; 
and that if we walk contrary to them we violate his law, 
and contemn his authority. From which it follows, that 
the goodness of our actions lies in their conformity to the 
law and will of God, and not in their conformity to our 
self-love, pleasure, and advantage. 

Indeed it is most certain, that however men may pay a 
regard to some of the laws of nature, from a prospect of 
their interest in so doing, as we follow a physician s pre 
scription for our health, who has no authority over us ; 
yet they cannot observe them as laws, because every law 
necessarily implies a superior ; or one that has, or has 
usurped, the right to govern and direct his inferiors. 

Our author, who magnifies the law of nature, and be 
stows such great encomiums upon it, must be of opinion, 
either that this same law of nature doth subject mankind 
to the authority of God, or that it doth not. If it doth 
not, then, according to him, God has no authority over the 
works of his hands ; and they are no more accountable to 
God, than if they were independent of him, and had re 
ceived neither existence nor preservation from him ; which 
is an opinion so black, that I forbear to give it a name. 
But if he acknowledge that mankind, by the law of nature, 
are subjected to the authority of God, then it must be 
owned, that it is God s authority only that makes the law 
of nature to be a law, and that its binding force is not 
from the fitness of what is prescribed by it, to promote 
pleasure or self-interest, but from the authority of God 
stamped upon it. Hence the nature of moral virtue must 
lie, not in the fitness of the action to promote happiness, 
but in its agreeableness to the will of God, declared in 
his law. 

Our author s scheme seems likewise to expose him to 
the necessity of allowing some degree of moral virtue to 
brutes. And, although there is no reason to doubt but 
that brutes, as they are capable of being treated by us 
either mercifully or cruelly, may be to us the objects either 
of virtue or vice ; yet, to maintain that they may be the 



96 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

subjects of virtue, must be wild and extravagant. But if 
the tendency of an action, to promote the happiness of the 
agent, be the true notion of virtue, it were unreasonable 
to refuse that brutes are virtuous ; seeing they manifestly 
pursue their own pleasure or their own happiness, in a 
great variety of actions, and do follow the instincts and 
impulses of nature more steadily and regularly than men. 
Nay, if a consciousness of the moral goodness of actions, in 
their conformity to the divine law, be not required to con 
stitute these actions virtuous, what is there wanting to 
the virtue of many a brute ? 

What a moral agent primarily proposes, is to act reason 
ably, or according to the law of God, made known to him, 
either by the word of God as among us Christians, or by 
the principles of natural religion, as among such as are 
not enlightened from above. But to act merely from an 
impulse to what is pleasing, or a natural good, has always 
been reckoned a leading principle only among agents which 
are destitute of reason and reflection; and therefore in 
capable to be moved from any other spring of action. So 
that, to make pleasure of any kind the chief end of a moral 
agent, must be as absurd as to make truth or virtue the 
property of a being who is merely sentient. 

Our author, to complete his scheme, has thought fit to 
reject the distinction betwixt bonum honestum, and bo- 
num utile etjucundum, which has been maintained by some 
of the most judicious of the heathen philosophers: and he 
tells us frankly, that musical-goodness and landscape-good 
ness differ from one another, as much as moral goodness 
possibly can do from either. Thus the morality of our 
actions, according to him, has no relation to the law, will, 
or authority of God ; but our interest or pleasure is the 
rule and measure of all things ; there is no difference, in 
his eyes, betwixt devotion-goodness and landscape-good 
ness ; our love to God, and our love to a fine house or gar 
den : and there is no difference betwixt the devotions and 
services of the angelical tribe, and the goodness of Mr. 
Campbell s action, in looking at, or riding on a fine horse, 



OF MOKAL ACTIONS. 97 

but just as Mr. Campbell s pleasure is greater or less in 
degree than theirs ! 

I suppose that no thinking man will judge it worth 
while to enlarge in refuting such extravagant tenets. I 
shall only tell our author, that, by resolving all obligations 
into pleasure, and natural good, he has denied that virtue 
is good in itself, and affirmed it to be no otherwise good, 
than as it does us good. Whereas, it is certainly self- 
amiable and self-worthy, and deserves our approbation and 
choice. On the same ground, he has likewise denied, that 
there can be any such thing as an intrinsic preferableness 
of one action to another, more than of one colour to an 
other. Every agent well knows what actions please him, 
and what displease him ; but in themselves, according to 
this scheme, they are all equally valuable, or rather equally 
worthless. 

But however our author may amuse himself with these 
speculations, it is a thing most certain, that the communi 
cation of natural good is by no means an essential ingre 
dient of moral rectitude. If no natural good, if the hap 
piness of no being whatever, could possibly be promoted 
by piety, for instance, it would still be the duty of every 
intelligent creature to reverence and worship the Deity : 
for the supremacy and infinite perfection of such an object 
makes this, in the highest degree, reasonable, even sup 
posing no advantage did or could redound from it to any 
one whatever. 

Is it to be imagined, that Mr. Campbell would take it 
as a compliment from his friend, if that friend told him 
that he esteemed him, and testified his esteem for him on 
all occasions, for no better reason, than a suspicion or fear, 
that, if he carried it otherwise towards him, this might, 
some time or other, turn to his own disadvantage. For my 
part, I think his friend, by such an address, would very 
naturally be led to tell him, that he neither esteemed nor 
regarded him at all. Let him therefore seriously consider 
whether he has behaved himself suitably to the Author 
of his being, when he has published to the world, that his 



98 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END OP MORAL ACTIONS. 

leading motive for reverencing HIM, is merely his own 
profit, pleasure, and advantage ; and that the reason why 
he abstains from blaspheming or reproaching him, is chiefly 
the fear of bringing injury on himself. 

Upon the whole, I think it is very manifest, from what 
has been advanced, that our actions are called virtuous, 
on account of their correspondency to the law and will of 
God, or to the relation creatures stand in to the Author of 
their being ; and not on account of their tendency to 
gratify our self-love. 



SECTION III. 

THAT SELF-LOVE, AS IT EXERTS ITSELF IN THE DESIRE OF UNI 
VERSAL UNLIMITED ESTEEM, OUGHT NOT TO BE MADE THE 
COMMANDING MOTIVE TO VIRTUOUS ACTIONS ; NOR IS THE OB 
TAINING THE GOOD-LIKING AND ESTEEM OF THOSE BEINGS, 
AMONG WHOM WE ARE MIXED, TO BE OUR MAIN END IN PUR 
SUING THEM. 

HAVING made some reflections upon Mr. Campbell s senti 
ments, concerning the spring or principle, and the rule or 
standard of virtuous actions; I shall now consider his 
opinion, as to our great motive and main end, in pursuing 
a course of virtue. On this point, he expresseth himself as 
follows : " I likewise hold, that self-love, as it exerts itself 
in the desire of universal unlimited esteem, is the great 
commanding motive that determines us to the pursuit of 
such virtuous actions.* Every man being thus naturally 
joined in society to all his own species, and to God him 
self, as the great Author of his being, our supreme Head 
and kind Benefactor ; if his social appetite be not miser 
ably perverted, he cannot but necessarily seek for, and 
desire the esteem and good liking of all mankind ; and 
particularly of God, under whose government we all live.t 
If we settle it, as our main purpose, to recommend our 
selves to the love, esteem, and commendation of God, and 
of all mankind, through every stage of our eternal existence, 
(which, if we follow nature, we cannot but do, as I have 
already explained in my Enquiry,) every degree of esteem 
we acquire here cannot but be exceedingly grateful ; and 
the means that lift us up to this commendation (which 1 
have likewise shown, in the foregoing Enquiry, to be the 

* Enquiry, &c. pp. 257, 258. f Ibid. p. 72. 



100 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

moral virtues) cannot but prove extremely agreeable.* 
Upon the whole, I will conclude, that the sole and universal 
motive to virtuous actions is self-love, interest, or plea 
sure." t Thus far our author. 

In order to fix the true state of the question, let it be 
borne in mind that it is by no means denied that we may 
have a respect to our own happiness : for God having made 
man capable of enjoying himself, and having condescended, 
at his creation, to encourage his obedience, by a promise 
of future and lasting felicity, which is renewed, through 
Christ, in the gospel ; it can be no part of the Christian 
scheme, that men are to be denied to their own happiness, 
or made willing to forego it. But the question is, whether, 
in obeying the law of God, we should be chiefly actuated 
by a sense of the infinite perfection and authority of the 
Lawgiver, and of our subjection to him. Or whether we 
ought rather, though poor dependent creatures, principally 
to act from love to ourselves, aiming at our own advantage, 
pleasure, and honour, as the commanding motive to virtu 
ous actions, and our main end in pursuing them 1 The 
first seems to me to be founded in the nature and relation 
of things ; and the latter to be subversive of both. 

Here I have the pleasure to observe, that I don t differ 
in opinion from a reverend and learned body of men, who, 
upon a certain occasion, delivered their sentiments on this 
head, in the following terms : That " men are bound to 
make the glory of God their chief end, though yet they are 
called herewith to pursue happiness." And " that by the 
instinct of that new nature, the Lord endoweth all his 
people with in regeneration, they are enabled, by the in 
fluence of grace, in some measure, and daily desire, more 
and more, to serve God for himself, and his supereminent 
excellencies, and not merely or chiefly for the prospect of 
their own happiness." And " that it is agreeable, both to 
their character and duty, to have a prevailing respect to 

* Enquiry, &c. p. 273. f Ibid. p. 463. 

t See State of the Process against Mr. Sirnson, p. 277. 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 101 

God s glory, as their ultimate end, and the chief motive of 
their obedience." Thus far the reverend committee of the 
Assembly of the Church of Scotland. 

In treating this subject very briefly, I shall first make 
it appear, from the scriptures of truth, that the glory of 
God, and not our own fame and esteem, ought to be our main 
end in pursuing virtuous actions. Secondly, I shall in 
quire, if it be agreeable to the principles of reason, to make 
the desire of universal unlimited esteem the great com 
manding motive unto them. 

I. As to the first, that the glory of God, and not our 
own fame and esteem, ought to be our main end, in pur 
suing a course of virtue and obedience to God, appears, if 
we consider, that our duty of worship and obedience is 
primarily founded upon the infinite excellencies of God, or 
upon what he is in himself. Thus, when God is about to 
deliver a law to Israel, at Horeb, he introduceth the whole 
with this solemn preface, " I am the Lord JEHOVAH," i. e. the 
only true God, the self-existent, eternal, infinitely perfect 
and necessary Being. It is true, it is added, " Thy God," 
that is, by creation, and a special covenant relation ; and 
this is acknowledged to be a secondary and powerful mo 
tive to duty and obedience. But he fitly placeth himself, 
in his nature, and infinite perfections, in the front, as the 
primary foundation of all his commands, and of his people s 
duty in obeying them : because we must first, in order, 
view him, as infinitely perfect in himself, and an all-suffi 
cient Being, else he had never given creatures a being, or 
well-being ; and because their duty of obedience is founded 
in their relation to him, and dependence upon him : where 
as their happiness, in a state of future and lasting felicity, 
proceeds, as I have shown above, from his free-will and 
bounty. 

To this purpose, the prophet Jeremiah assigns it, as the 
great reason why we are to fear and worship God; be 
cause " there is none like unto him, and because he is 
great, and his name great in might." Elsewhere we 
are taught to glorify his name, because he only is holy, 



102 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND EXD 

Jer. x. 6, 7. Rev. xv. 4. And the apostle Paul condemns 
those who did service to them which by nature were no 
gods, Gal. iv. 8 : intimating, that God s title to our worship 
is primarily founded in his Godhead or in the infinite and 
supereminent excellency of his nature. In a suitableness 
to this, when the Lycaonians took Paul and Barnabas for 
gods, they answered them, by telling them, not that they 
" could not do much good unto them," which, in a minis 
terial way, they were abundantly qualified for, but that 
they were weak, imperfect, dependent creatures, who had 
not a divine nature, and so were not fit objects of religious 
adoration. From which it is very manifest, that God s 
title to our worship and service is primarily founded upon 
what he is in himself, and not upon his bounty to us as 
his creatures ; and his legislative authority over all de 
pendent, intelligent beings, stands upon the same founda 
tion. For though he has a right to prescribe laws to 
those to whom he gave a being ; yet it was, in the first 
place, owing to his being infinitely perfect, and infinitely 
good in himself, that he gave a being to those who had 
none before. 

It is not merely because of what he hath done in a way 
of bounty, but primarily, because he is in himself infinitely 
perfect, that he is w r orthy of the highest adoration, and of 
the most absolute subjection, that finite creatures are 
capable of rendering to the Author of their being. From 
all which, it is very manifest, that we are obliged, prin 
cipally, to love, fear, worship, and obey God, for " what he 
is in himself," and not chiefly from a prospect of our own 
happiness, pleasure, and interest. 

The apostle Paul confirms this doctrine, from that plain 
topic, that God is the first Cause, and therefore he is the 
unlimited End of all things. " For of him, and through 
him, and to him are all things," Rom. xi. 36. " The nature 
of God consists in this," says a learned author,* " that he 
is the prime and original Cause of all things, as an inde- 

* Pearson on the Creed, p. 23. 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 103 

pendent Being, upon which all things also depend ; and 
likewise he is the ultimate End or final Cause of all." 
Again Solomon tells us, " That God made all things for 
himself:" and it is plain he could have no other end than 
himself, and his own glory, in so doing ; for there was no 
thing good or great, and truly lovely, but himself; and all 
rational creatures, acting as such, cannot but make him, 
and his glory, their ultimate end. For, seeing it is the 
brightest ray of the divine image, that a created under 
standing should see and judge of things in God s light, and 
entertain the same sentiments of them with him, whose 
infinite knowledge makes it impossible he can fall into 
any mistake ; it must therefore be the highest excellency 
of the soul of man, to move to the same end with the 
Author of his being. 

It is very manifest, that self-love, in a supreme sense, 
can only be the distinguishing character and peculiar glory 
of the ever-blessed God. He can love nothing above him 
self, and his own glory, because there is nothing supremely 
good or great, or lovely, but himself. It therefore flows 
from his own infinite perfection, that he loves himself in 
a supreme manner ; and it is his peculiar glory to do so. 
Upon the other hand, for a finite creature to be actuated 
chiefly by a principle of self-love, argues the greatest im 
perfection and depravity of nature. For, it is either to 
say, that there is nothing greater or better than itself, and 
what relates to itself, than which nothing can be more 
blasphemous ; or, that a rational creature, acting as such, 
may prefer a lesser good to a greater ; than which nothing 
can be more absurd. 

If it be pretended, that the creature s happiness is the 
greatest good to itself, and that no rational creature can 
love any thing but as good to itself; it is replied, that 
while man s happiness is placed where it ought to be, in 
the enjoyment of God, an infinite good, yet it may be con 
sidered, either as that by which a finite creature is made 
happy, which is a finite, relative, precarious good, because 
mutable in its nature, and finite in its subject ; as is plain 






]04 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

in the case of the fallen angels : or, it may be considered 
as that by which an infinite God is glorified, which is an 
absolute infinite good. Now, if a man s happiness, though 
in the enjoyment of God, be chiefly sought, that the man 
himself may be happy therein, then it is himself that he 
ultimately and chiefly seeks and not God : and if he ulti 
mately seek himself, though the noblest means, such as the 
enjoyment of God, be made use of; yet they are only means 
to the end, and loved chiefly for the sake of the end ; and 
thus man is made his own ultimate end : and if he be his 
own ultimate end, then he is his own god ; for a man can 
not esteem, love, or desire any thing beyond his ultimate 
end : and what a man esteems, loves, and desires most, is 
his god. But if a man chiefly desire his own happiness in 
the enjoyment of God, that God may be glorified in him, 
and by him, he thereby acknowledges God and his glory 
to be his ultimate end ; which is the very thing we con 
tend for. 

Whatever excels is worthy of esteem, suited to the de 
gree of its excellency. Now, God s excellency being infin 
itely superior to that of all creatures, they must sink 
infinitely below him ; and if they act according to reason, 
they must acknowledge his infinite perfection, their depen 
dence upon him, and their absolute subjection unto him. 
It cannot be refused to be essential to the moral perfection 
of a reasonable creature, to esteem and love that Being above 
all things, who is above all things, in glory, excellency, and 
every perfection ; and therefore every man, acting accord 
ing to the original frame of human nature, must have the 
highest respect to the honour and glory of God, as his chief 
and ultimate end. It is by no means asserted, that we are 
obliged to a willingness to forego our own happiness ; which 
is no constitutive part of a subordinate end : seeing all that 
is required, is to love the ultimate end most, and the sub 
ordinate less. I hope those who make God s glory subor 
dinate to man s happiness, do not therefore say that they are 
obliged, in some cases, willingly to give up with the glory of 
God, for their own private interest. But to proceed, 



OP MORAL ACTIONS. 105 

Let us further consider, that man stands in a subordina 
tion to God in his being ; and therefore in a subordination 
to him as his last end. Hence the apostle directs us, that 
" whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, we should 
do all to the glory of God," 1 Cor. x. 31. The rule is gen 
eral, not to be restrained to the eating of meat offered to 
idols, of which the former discourse had been ; but extends 
itself to whatever we do, that is, to all human actions 
whatsoever. Elsewhere he tells us, " That we are not our 
own, but are bought with a price, and therefore are 
obliged to glorify God in our bodies and spirits, which are 
his :" and it is highly agreeable to reason, that we, deriv 
ing our being from another by creation, and passing into 
the right of another by redemption, should employ our de 
rived and borrowed all, for his honour and glory. 

It was the end of our election and effectual calling, that 
we should show forth the praises of him, who hath called 
us out of darkness into his marvellous light, 1 Pet. ii. 9. ; 
and it was one great design of the death of Christ, to re 
store man to his primitive allegiance ; for he died for us, 
that we should not live to ourselves, but to him who died 
for us, and rose again, 2 Cor. v. 15. This is plainly the 
exercise of the spirits of just men made perfect, in the 
regions of light and bliss above ; who are represented, in 
scripture, as employing all their faculties in adoring him 
that sits upon the throne, and the Lamb for ever and ever. 
God here is ALL IN ALL, the Centre and End of all ; he is 
infinitely lifted up above all: and his servants do serve 
him, beholding his face, and eternally losing themselves in 
love, wonder, and praise ! 

It may be further observed, that if our own happiness 
and self-interest be allowed to be the chief motive of our 
glorifying God upon earth, then the chief motive of our 
hatred against sin, and of our returning to God with a 
penitential sorrow for it, cannot be the offence and dis 
honour done thereby to God, but the ruin which it brings 
upon us ; and the chief motive to the love of God, by which 
we most eminently glorify him, must be our own happi- 



106 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

ness, or love to ourselves. But to assert these things, is, 
at once, to contradict the whole scripture, and to over 
throw the plainest principles of natural religion. 

Again, if self-love is acknowledged to be the leading 
principle of action among dependent beings, then it will fol 
low, that there is such an unintelligible thing as a creature 
made by God, and yet not for God and his glory, but for 
itself, and for its own private interest, as its highest end ; 
and that the creature is, in itself, its own ultimate happi 
ness, as well as its own ultimate end ; seeing no created 
being, in a course of action, can arrive at a greater happi 
ness than the perfection of its own nature. 

I have elsewhere* observed, that a respect to the glory 
of God was the highest and noblest principle that moved 
our Lord Jesus Christ to undertake and undergo his suf 
ferings ; and that a chief and primary regard to the honour 
of God, as the ultimate end of his whole mediation, did 
most conspicuously appear in the whole course of his obe 
dience, wherein he has left us a pattern, to be followed by 
us, with veneration, in the whole of our Christian course. 
Therefore I shall not at present enlarge further upon this 
branch of the argument ; but proceed to observe, that as 
the apostle has given it as the black character of the worst 
of men, that should be a plague to human society, and the 
reproach of human nature, in the latter days, that they are 
" lovers of their ownselves," and " lovers of pleasures more 
than lovers of God," 2 Tim. iii. 1, 2, 4. ; so our Lord and 
Saviour has made self-denial the distinguishing and neces 
sary character of all his disciples and followers : for, saith 
he, " If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, 
and take up his cross and follow me." Christ s disciples 
must come after him ; that is, they must walk in the same 
way that he walked in, and propose to themselves the 
same high and ultimate end which he aimed at, the glory 
of God. They must " deny themselves," and herein " come 
after Christ j" whose birth, life, and death, were all a con- 

* Sermon on Jude, verse 3. 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 107 

tinued act of self-denial, Phil. ii. 7, 8. They must deny 
themselves absolutely: they must not admire their own 
excellencies, nor gratify their own humours, nor seek their 
own things ; and they must not lean to their own under 
standing, nor be their own end. 

It is an excellent saying that Bernard hath upon the 
nativity of Christ,* " What more detestable, what more 
unworthy, or what deserves severer punishment," saith he, 
" than for a poor man to magnify himself; after he hath 
seen the great and high God so humble as to become a lit 
tle child 1 " " And," adds he, " it is intolerable impudence 
for a worm to swell with pride, after it hath seen Majesty 
emptying itself." 

Let us but consider how opposite a thing pride is to the 
spirit of a Christian. Nothing certainly can be more so 
to the Spirit of Christ. Our Saviour was lowly, meek, and 
self-denying. He has assured us, a That he did not seek 
his own will, but the will of him that sent him ;" the apos 
tle tells us, " That he pleased not himself;" and seeing he 
was of a most humble and condescending spirit, seeking 
not his own things, but ours, Phil. ii. 4, 5. doth it become 
us to be proud, vain, and selfish ? 

It likewise deserves our consideration, upon this part of 
the argument, that, by our Lord s account, the love of 
God is the first and great commandment, the summary of 
all the commands of the first table of the moral law ; thus 
telling us that we must love God with all our hearts, 
strength, soul, and mind ; importing, that our love to him 
must be supreme and singular, as well as sincere ; that, in 
short, we must love him more than any thing else. Now 
our Lord s saying that this is the first and great command 
ment, can bear no other meaning, but that obedience to it 
is the spring of obedience to all the rest ; and that our 
obedience to him is only acceptable when it flows from 
love to God himself. And though we are allowed to love 
ourselves, and to pursue happiness at the impulse of that 

* Bernard Serm. 1st de Nativit. 



108 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

love, yet how can it be otherwise in the nature of things, 
but that we must love God better than ourselves, or any 
thing else ; seeing he is JEHOVAH, a Being infinitely better 
than we are, or any thing beside himself? We ought there 
fore to love God supremely ; and to love him chiefly for 
himself, and not mainly with a view to our own happi 
ness. For to love God chiefly as good to us, is to love him 
chiefly for ourselves, and so to love ourselves more than 
God; than which nothing can be more impious or con 
tradictory to the principles of religion, whether natural or 
revealed. 

A celebrated author* says, "That we must first con 
ceive the object lovely and excellent in itself, before we 
can wish it loving and kind to us. And let us consider," 
adds he, "how much those that are conscious to their 
having virtue enough in themselves to make them prize it 
in others, are in love with Cato, Scipio, and those other 
heroes, upon the bare knowledge of their virtues, although 
from them they derive no present advantage." "Since 
then," he goes on to say, " we pay such disinterested love 
to some few, faint, and ill-refined virtues, that never did 
profit us; how much, on such a score, and at that rate, 
should we love him, who so possesses all perfection, that 
each of his perfections is infinite ? Though his benefits to 
us did not entitle him to our love, his essence and perfec 
tions, the only source of those benefits, would give a right 
to it ; and though we owed him nothing for what we are, 
we yet should owe him love for what he is." 

It may be easily demonstrated, that self-love, as it is to 
be found among lapsed men, is most irregular and inordi 
nate. And can it be thought, that that inordinate passion 
for felicity, which at once seduced both angels and men 
from their true happiness, by pride and folly, can justly be 
esteemed the leading principle and chief motive of all moral 
actions ? Was not Adam obliged to love and obey his 
Creator, even although he had made no promise to him of 

* Mr. Boyle in bis discourse of Seraphic Love. 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 109 

future and eternal happiness, as the reward of his obe 
dience ? And, shall we imagine, that this is the genuine 
fruit of God s gracious condescension, in promising and 
conferring happiness on the creature, to make his love and 
obedience become merely selfish and mercenary? 

Love is the great thing that God demands of us ; it is 
therefore the great thing we should devote to him ; and 
seeing good is the proper object of love, God being good 
infinitely, originally, and eternally, must therefore be loved 
in the first place ; nothing being loved beside him, but 
what is loved for him : and it follows from this, that our 
obedience must be animated with love to God, or a due 
respect to his honour and glory, as its great governing 
principle. 

It is certain, indeed, that if we love God above all things, 
as it has been shown we ought to do, we cannot possibly 
fail to celebrate his infinite excellencies, or to give him 
that glory which is due to his name ; and nothing will be 
farther from our thoughts, than to make our own fame or 
renown to rival it with him. 

Upon the whole, I think it is very manifest, from the 
holy scriptures, that the glory of God, and not our own 
fame and esteem, ought to be our ruling motive in pursu 
ing virtuous actions. 

II. I shall now proceed to inquire what reason has to 
say upon this point ; and I think an ingenious writer has 
set it in a true light when he expresseth himself in the 
following terms :* " It is usual for us, when we would 
take off from the fame and reputation of an action, to 
ascribe it to vain-glory, and a desire of fame in the actor. 
Nor is this common judgment and opinion of mankind ill 
founded ; for certainly it denotes no great bravery of mind 
to be worked up to any noble action by so selfish a motive, 
and to do that out of a desire of fame, which we could not 
be prompted to by a disinterested love to mankind, or by 
a generous passion for the glory of him that made us. 






Spectator, vol. iv., numbers 255, 256. 



110 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END 

" Fame is a thing difficult to be obtained by all, but 
particularly by those who thirst after it ; since most men 
have so much either of ill-nature or of wariness, as not to 
gratify and soothe the vanity of the ambitious man : and 
since this very thirst after fame naturally betrays him into 
such indecencies as are a lessening to his reputation, and 
is itself looked upon as a weakness in the greatest 
characters. 

" In the next place, fame is easily lost ; and as difficult 

to be preserved as it was at first to be acquired. How 

difficult is it to preserve a great name, when he that has 
acquired it is obnoxious to such little weaknesses and 
infirmities, as are no small diminution to it when disco 
vered ! Were no dispositions in others to censure a 

famous man, he would meet with no small trouble in keep 
ing up his reputation in all its height and splendour. 
There must be always a noble train of actions to preserve 
his fame in life and motion ; for, when it is once at a stand, 
it naturally flags and languishes. 

" Ambition raises a secret tumult in the soul ; it inflames 
the mind, and puts it into a violent hurry of thought ; it 
is still reaching after an empty imaginary good, that has 
not in it the power to abate or satisfy it. It may, indeed, 
fill the mind for a while with a giddy kind of pleasure, but 
it is such a pleasure as makes a man restless and uneasy 
under it ; and which does not so much satisfy the present 
thirst, as it excites fresh desires, and sets the soul on new 
enterprises. 

" Nor is fame only unsatisfying in itself, but the desire 
of it lays open to many accidental troubles, which those 
are free from who have no such a tender regard to it. 
How often is the ambitious man cast down and disap 
pointed, if he receives no praise where he expected it 1 
Nay, how often is he mortified with the praises he re 
ceives, if they do not rise so high as he thinks they 
ought : which they seldom do, unless increased by flat 
tery ; since few men have so good an opinion of us as we 
have of ourselves 1 " 



OP MORAL ACTIONS. Ill 

I hope the above reasoning will have its own force to 
persuade Mr. Campbell, that the esteem of his fellow-men, 
and of those beings among whom he is mixed, is a thing 
by no means so valuable as he at first apprehended ; and 
that he will think of following a course of virtue for the 
future, from a view to a higher end, and from a more 
noble motive than self-love, interest, and pleasure. 

Mr. Campbell tells us that " we are to settle it, as our 
main purpose, to recommend ourselves to the love, and 
esteem, and commendation of God; and that the moral 
virtues are the means that lift us up to this commenda 
tion." But it is very manifest that mankind are in a 
depraved state, and that they have offended God ; which 
is proved, by the malignity of the wicked, by the sacrifices 
which obtained in the Pagan world, and by the complaints 
which heathen philosophers have made of the depravation 
and wickedness of the ages themselves had fallen into. 
And, can it be pretended to be a principle of sound reason, 
that the moral virtues, or the best actions of men in a sin 
ful state, can gain them the esteem and good-liking of God, 
here or hereafter 1 Nature s light will teach us, and 
Plato, cited by the author,* referred to in the margin, has 
owned it, that a holy and good God did not create man 
kind depraved and disordered in their faculties as they now 
are. Their depravation and corruption is owing to them 
selves, and not to the Author of their being ; and hence 
they must, in the nature of the thing, be justly obnoxious 
to the divine displeasure, upon this account, and for all 
the consequences of this depravation of their nature ; par 
ticularly for this, among others, that they can perform no 
duty in such a manner as to please God. 

It is very certain that no man, in a state of depravation, 
can do any thing, with that love to God, or respect to his 
authority, which the law doth require ; and therefore his 
best actions cannot recommend him to the esteem of the 
Author of his being. For, if he is supposed to do anything, 

* Gales s Court of the Gentiles, part. 4, lib. i., cap. 4. 



112 PRINCIPLE, RtfLE, AND END 

every way as the law requires, he is not a depraved but a 
perfect creature ; and if he can do any thing as it ought 
to be done, he may, by the same abilities, do every thing 
as it ought to be done. But, as the best thing he can do, 
coming short of the law and rule of action, is therefore 
sinful : as the best actions of all men being thus imperfect 
are sinful; as it is a vain imagination to pretend, that 
they can render men acceptable to God, or gain his esteem 
and good-liking ; so we cannot enough adore God, for the 
revelation of Christ, and the hopes of being justified by his 
merit, and sanctified by his Spirit. 

Can it ever be thought that there is any excellency in 
the most holy creatures, but what God himself has given 
to them, and preserves in them ? But if it all comes from 
him, it is more his than theirs ; and all the praise of it is 
due to him alone. And, as to us, who are lapsed creatures, 
what can he see in us but sin or moral uncleanness, the 
very object of his holy aversion? It were therefore the 
most absurd thing in the world, for any created being, 
whether fallen or unfallen, to make his own fame and 
esteem the highest end of his actions ; seeing the pursuing 
of such a course would be itself a fall ; as it is absolutely 
inconsistent with a state of innocence to be chiefly in 
fluenced by it. 

As to what our author says, about every man necessarily 
desiring the esteem of all mankind, and passionately seek 
ing after the good opinion of those among whom he is 
mixed ; I must beg him to tell me, if he, or any other man, 
can reasonably desire any greater esteem, than his merit 
entitles him unto 1 And let him tell me, at the same time, 
what name that passion deserves, which can inspire a man 
with the remotest thought, that his good qualities deserve 
such respect from his fellow-men as makes that respect a 
higher motive to virtue, than a respect to the authority 
and glory of the great God, from whom he has received 
life, and breath, and all things. 

I conclude this argument with observing, That for a 
man to make himself his own ultimate end, is to make 



OF MORAL ACTIONS. 113 

himself the object of his own supreme love, desire, and 
esteem ; because nothing can be loved, desired, or esteemed, 
above the ultimate end of a rational agent : and every 
thing else, being only means to that end, must, in the na 
ture of the thing, have only a secondary regard, and be 
loved for its sake. But for a creature to love and esteem 
itself above all other beings, is at once to throw away all 
regard to the Deity, and to renounce its dependence upon 
him. For, it being certain, that religious worship essen 
tially includes in it, that the object be loved and esteemed 
above all things ; it must follow, that self is the idol to be 
worshipped, according to this scheme of principles ; and 
that God is to be dethroned, and neither worshipped nor 
acknowledged : or if acknowledged, only in so far as self 
can serve a turn by it ; which, I think, cannot well be 
allowed to be any kind of worship at all, unless Mr. Camp 
bell be delighted with the distinction of supreme and in 
ferior worship, and have the confidence to present the lat 
ter to his Maker. 

Thus, I think, it has been made very evident, from the 
sacred oracles, and from the principles of reason, that the 
glory of God, and not our own self-love, interest, and plea 
sure ought to be our main and ultimate end as moral 
agents ; and that our own fame and esteem ought not to 
be the great commanding motive to virtuous actions. 



CONCLUSION. 

I MIGHT conclude, by making some general reflections upon 
Mr. Campbell s treatise, and his preface thereto prefixed. 
But, seeing this would lead me into much greater length 
than I intend, I shall not enter upon them at present. 

Only, I think, it might have been reasonably expected, 
that our author would have advanced very strong argu 
ments, to support such a scheme of principles as he has 
thought fit to send abroad into the world ; but if we search 
his whole book, we can find none except the following, or 



114 PlilNCIPLE, KTJLE, AND END 

others of the like nature ; namely, that he cannot but be 
governed by self-love, because he sees all the world besides 
only animated by this principle. 

But what although Mr. Campbell should find in himself, 
and can appeal to the breasts of too many others, that a 
silly vanity has the ascendancy over him; and that a re 
gard to the authority of God, and a respect to his glory, 
has not that prevailing influence which it ought to have 
upon the actions of men ? Will this say, that such dis 
order and confusion in men s breasts, belongs to the original 
frame of human nature 1 No more, I am sure, than Mr. 
Campbell can prove, from a highway-man s being induced, 
from his self-interest, to plunder the innocent traveller, 
and afterwards cut his throat, that robbery and murder 
belong to the original frame of human nature. 

Of all things in the world depravity is the most univer 
sal. Every thinking man feels it in himself, and observes 
it in others. But it were a weak way of reasoning to 
argue thus : Vice is universal ; and all the world are, less 
or more, under its influence : Ergo, vice belongs to the 
original frame of human nature. I say, it were ex 
ceeding blunt to run away with the consequence, as suffi 
ciently proved, by a bare proposal of the argument ; or to 
sound an imaginary triumph, in a harangue of three or 
four hundred pages. However beautiful expressions, and 
laboured periods, may be entertaining to a polite taste ; 
yet I cannot, for my part, have any great value for a book, 
however polished or prolix, whose reasoning proceeds upon 
no better a foundation than petitio principii, et ignorantia 
elenchi. 

Neither can I think that mankind are exceedingly 
obliged to Mr. Campbell s courtesy for representing them 
as so many vain -glorious creatures; seeking fame, and 
thirsting for renown, as the main end of all their actions. 
For all that creatures have is derived from God s exuberant 
goodness ; and therefore all the praise of it is due to him, 
and not to themselves. Nothing truly valuable can be 
found among lapsed creatures, but what is owing to grace 



OP MORAL ACTIONS. 115 

in its rise, progress, and consummation ; which must for 
ever exclude all boasting on our part, and induce him that 
glorieth, to glory in the Lord. 

I may appeal to the breast of every thinking man, if it 
is not reasonable that rational creatures, deriving their 
being from God, as the first Cause, should employ all their 
faculties and powers to promote his glory as their last 
end ? and, if it is not manifest, that their agreeing in one 
last end necessarily unites them, as lines meeting in the 
centre ; whereas making as many last ends as there are 
rational creatures, leads to universal disorder and con 
fusion? I might farther ask with equal confidence, if 
their pursuing the same high and ultimate end with the 
Author of their being must not be worthy of their nature, 
a branch of their conformity and likeness to God, and the 
way to maintain union and intercourse with him 1 Where 
as, to set up our own self-interest, pleasure, and esteem, 
as our highest end, is either to say, that a man may at 
tempt to pass into an higher rank than that of created 
beings ; or that he may act otherwise than a creature is, 
in reason, obliged to do, from a consideration of its depen 
dence upon God, and of its own weak and limited perfec 
tions. 

No doubt, we are to desire, and endeavour *to maintain 
our good name ; that we may be useful in the world, and 
that God may be honoured by us : but to make this our 
main end, and the highest and sole motive to action, and 
thus to set it above the reverence which dependent beings 
ought to have for the authority of the great God, is to 
throw up all regard to religion, whether natural or revealed. 
Such a vicious self-love ought by all means to be mortified. 
To this purpose, our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ has 
taught us to deny ourselves ; and an apostle has given a 
check to this unreasonable passion, in these remarkable 
words : " Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou 
boast as if thou hadst not received it ? " 

Ambition or vain -glory is most certainly a corrupt 
thing ; disposing us to boast and commend ourselves, and 



116 PRINCIPLE, RULE, AND END OP MORAL ACTIONS. 

inordinately to seek after applause and esteem. The apos 
tles of Christ did vindicate their ministry, from this as 
well as other vices, 1 Thess. ii. 6. and made ostentation 
the characteristic of false teachers, 2 Cor. x. 12. Our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ reproved it as the sin of 
the Scribes and Pharisees, that in their prayers, alms, 
fasting, affected habits, and titles, they sought the praise 
of men. And as the apostle Paul did not seek glory of 
men, so did he forbid it to others. " Let us not be desir 
ous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one an 
other." It is clearly a sin directly opposite to humility, 
unbecoming in man, highly dishonourable to God, and 
contrary to the whole spirit of the gospel ; and though 
some among the heathen took it for a virtue, as they did 
likewise some of the foulest of vices, yet we have not so 
learned Christ. 

May " the same mind be in us, which also was in Christ 
Jesus ; " who being one God with the Father, and the Son 
of the Father, by an eternal, necessary, and ineffable gen 
eration ; yet having, by his own voluntary condescension, 
assumed our nature, " sought not his own glory, but the 
glory of him that sent him," John viii. 50. and vii. 18. 
Phil. ii. 5, 6, 7. And may the love of Christ constrain us 
to a course of holy walking with God, because " we thus 
judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead : and that 
he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth 
live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, 
and rose again," 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. 



CHRIST S CALL TO THE RISING GENERATION, 



CONSIDERED AND APPLIED IX 



THREE SERMONS 



PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR. 



HAVING been directed, in the course of my ministry, to preach 
the gospel of Christ to you, from the texts prefixed to the follow 
ing sermons, I have taken this method, to lay the truths then 
delivered before you, and others who may read these discourses, 
that you may deliberately consider the things which belong to 
your peace, before they be hid from your eyes. In transcribing 
my notes, I have not closely adhered to the periods of the ser 
mons, as they were delivered in your hearing ; but have put the 
substance of the discourses in such a form as I thought most 
proper for edification to the private reader; while, in transcrib 
ing, I have enlarged upon several heads, and added others. 

In these discourses, I have not entered upon the controversies 
of the times, nor dwelt upon your duty to bear testimony to the 
truths of Christ, to his kingly office, and all the other branches 
of his covenanted cause and interest in this land ; which is a , 
subject most useful and necessary to be handled in its own pro 
per place: but considering that it is needful you have some 
saving acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith of the 
operation of God, in order to your being faithful witnesses for 
Christ, and holding fast the word of his patience, I have there 
fore endeavoured, through the Lord s assistance, to lay the fol 
lowing plain and important truths before you, from the word of 
God: and may the Holy Spirit breathe upon them, by his own 
divine influence, that, through his grace, you may be brought 
to believe on the Son of God! And if you believe in him with 



120 PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR. 

the heart, you have ground to expect that you shall be en 
abled, by grace, according to your circumstances, to confess him 
with your mouth. 

I hope you will strive together in your prayers to God, that 
the truths here delivered, may be blessed to the glory of his 
name, and the spiritual benefit of such as shall read and 
ponder them in their hearts ; and that the promises made to 
our highest Lord IMMANUEL, and to us in him, may be now 
remarkably accomplished in the latter days, that " the isles shall 
wait for his law;" that " in his name the Gentiles shall trust;" 
and that "his name shall endure for ever;" and " upon his head 
the crown shall flourish ! " 



SERMON I. 



MARK x. 14. " But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said 
unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them 
not : for of such is the kingdo 



WE have here the welcome which Christ gave to some 
little children that were brought unto him. In the pre 
ceding verse, it is said, " They brought young children to 
him, that he should touch them ; and his disciples rebuked 
those that brought them." We may suppose they were 
their parents that brought them : others brought their 
children to Christ, to be healed when they were sick ; but 
these children were under no present malady, only they 
who brought them to Christ desired a blessing for them. 
They brought them to him, that he might touch them ; 
it is elsewhere said, that he might lay his hands upon 
them ; that is, that he might bestow a blessing upon them. 
Thus Jacob put his hands upon the sons of Joseph, when 
he blessed them. The disciples discouraged those that 
brought them ; they thought it would bring a great trou 
ble to their Master, and therefore rebuked them. 

But our Lord Jesus was much displeased with the con 
duct of the disciples, and encouraged the little children 
to come unto him, and their parents in bringing them. 
They who come to Christ themselves, should bring all 
they have with them, and confidently expect a kindly 
welcome. They who are blessed in Christ themselves, 
should desire to have their children blessed in him ; and 
should testify the love they have for their children, by 
a concern about their souls, as well as the honour they 



122 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

desire to put upon the Lord Jesus, by devoting them 
to his service. Yea we may present our children to 
Christ, now in heaven, that he may touch their hearts 
by his Spirit and grace. In this way we may act faith 
upon the fulness and freedom of the grace of Christ, who 
has promised to pour his Spirit upon our seed, and his 
blessing upon our offspring, 

The words contain a gracious call or invitation, di 
rected by Christ to the rising generation, and a direction 
to all with reference thereto ; " Suffer the little children 
to come unto me, and forbid them not." Here we 
may notice, 1. The glorious Person speaking, and inviting 
perishing souls to himself; " Jesus said unto them, Suffer 
the little children to come unto me." Jesus said it, and 
you may trust his word, little children ; Jesus, the Saviour 
of the world ; Jesus, who saves his people from their sins, 
has said it, that little children, such as you, are included 
in his commission, to seek and to save that which was 
lost. 2. We may observe the persons to whom this gospel 
call is directed ; it is to you who are little children ; 
" Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid 
them not." Let nothing be done to hinder them, for they 
shall be as welcome as any. Little children, as soon as 
they are capable, ought to come to Christ ; to come with 
their prayers and supplications to him, and to come to 
receive the blessing from him. 3. We may notice, that 
the call is laid down by Christ, in the most endearing 
manner to the little children : when the disciples oppose 
them, he takes their part, and gives them abundant en 
couragement ; " Suffer the little children to come unto 
me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of 
heaven." Little children have participated of Adam s 
first sin, and of the malignant influences thereof; and 
they are made welcome to partake of the grace of the 
second Adam, and of that righteousness which reigns unto 
eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. He takes it 
ill that any should exclude those whom he has received, 
or cast them out from the inheritance of the Lord ; and 



SERMON I. 123 

he tells his disciples, that of such is the kingdom of heaven. 
The children of believing parents belong externally to the 
kingdom of heaven, or are members of the visible church ; 
and to them pertain the privileges of visible church- 
membership, as among the Jews of old ; for the Lord 
has said it, "I will be your God, and the God of your 
seed;" and Acts ii. 39. it is said, "The promise is unto 
you, and your children." 

From these words, we may deduce the following doc 
trinal observation : 

" That as the rising generation have the greatest need 
of Christ, and of the grace of Christ ; so, whatever dis 
couragements they may meet with in coming to Christ, 
yet they have abundant encouragement from himself, who 
hath said it, " Suffer the little children to come unto me, 
and forbid them not : for of such is the kingdom of heaven." 

In discoursing on this doctrine, we shall endeavour, by 
divine assistance, 

I. To show that the rising generation have the greatest 
need of Christ, and of the grace of Christ. 

II. To speak of some of those discouragements that 
young people may meet with in coming unto Christ. 

III. To speak of the heavenly exercise the rising gen 
eration are called and invited unto, namely, to come to the 
Lord Jesus in the way of faith, or believing on him 
whom God hath sent. 

IV. To give a hint at some of those encouragements 
which the Lord Jesus hath given to the rising generation 
to come unto him. And, 

V. To make some application of the doctrine. 

I. We proceed to the first thing proposed, namely, To 
show that the rising generation have the greatest need of 
Christ, and of the grace of Christ. 

The youngest of you are sinners; a sinner needeth a 
Saviour; and Christ is the only Saviour, for there is no 
salvation in any other. 

1. The youngest of you are guilty of Adam s first sin, 
Rom. v. 12. " Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into 



124 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

the world, and death by sin ; and so death passed upon all 
men, for that all have sinned : " or, as it may be rendered, 
" in whom all have sinned." And Rom, v. 19. " For, as 
by one man s disobedience many were made sinners ; so, 
by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." 
Thus you see, that you and all the posterity of Adam are 
sinners, by the imputation of Adam s first sin ; even as all 
the redeemed from among men are righteous, by the im 
putation of the righteousness of Christ, their Head and 
Representative in the covenant of promise. In Adam all 
mankind died, 1 Cor. xv. 22 ; because they all sinned in 
him ; for " the wages of sin is death." Infants are born 
under the power of spiritual death, and obnoxious to tem 
poral and eternal death. Death hath passed upon them, 
and all mankind, for that they all have sinned, Rom. v. 12 ; 
that is, they sinned in Adam ; for they could not sin in 
their own persons, prior to their being born in sin, and 
under the sentence of death, the proper desert of sin. 

As mankind were made upright, and after God s image, 
Eccl. vii. 29 ; so the covenant was made with mankind, 
not merely with the first man, as one individual of the 
species, but it was made with him, as the federal head and 
representative of his posterity. His first sin therefore was 
not merely the sin of one man, but the insurrection of the 
whole human nature against God. It is true, the fallen 
angels did every one of them act for themselves, and in 
volved themselves in sin and misery : but it doth not there 
fore follow, that we are free from Adam s first sin, because 
we were not present to give a formal personal consent to 
what was done. Shall we poor creatures take it upon us 
to prescribe to God himself, that he cannot take one 
method of transacting with angels, and another with man 
kind? It was a thing equal in itself, to deal with man 
kind in the way of a covenant and federal representation ; 
and we may be assured it was the best method, seeing a 
God of infinite wisdom and goodness transacted with us 
in that manner. If Adam had stood, and his posterity 
had thus in him been confirmed in a state of happiness, 



SERMON I. 125 

the whole human race had applauded it, and praised God 
for it. It was therefore a transaction good and equal in 
itself; and if men of corrupt principles object against it, 
they only discover the corruption of their hearts, by re 
plying against God ; and they may consider how unfit 
they are to judge in a matter wherein they are so much 
parties themselves, and with what veneration they ought 
therefore to receive what God himself has revealed con 
cerning this matter in his word. Had all mankind been 
in paradise, they could not have declined it, that God 
should transact with them in the way of a federal repre 
sentation. None could have been more fit to have repre 
sented Adam s posterity than himself. Mankind had a 
surer prospect of happiness by the good management of 
one, the fittest of mankind to act for the rest, than if every 
one had been left to act a part for himself; unless we sup 
pose that some of Adam s posterity would have been fitter 
to act a good part for their own personal interest than 
Adam was to act a wise part for his own sake, and for the 
sake of all mankind his descendants. None of them could 
have had better abilities than Adam ; and none of them 
could have had such strong motives to exert them, as the 
common parent of mankind, who, besides his personal in 
terest, was made the trustee and representative of his race 
and posterity. 

The youngest of you, yea, all mankind, are guilty of 
Adam s first sin. The inspired writer, Eccl. vii. 29, giv 
ing an account of the origin of all the sin, misery, and 
vanity, that now takes place among mankind, lodges the 
fault and blame of all, not upon one man, but upon the 
whole race of mankind : " Lo, this only have I found, that 
God hath made man upright, but they have sought out 
many inventions." God made man upright, not merely 
one man, but he made mankind, the human nature up 
right, in the first original of it : and they (that is the 
human race, as represented by the first man) made apos 
tasy from God, and sought out many inventions. Instead 
of resting in what God had found for them, they sought to 



126 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

mend themselves ; and the law of their creation could not 
hold them, but they would be at their own disposal, and 
follow their own sentiments. To the same purpose God 
saith to Israel, and in them to all mankind, " Israel, 
thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help." And 
how great and inexcusable was the sin of the human race ! 
Man had an easy law to obey ; and as the moral law was 
of undoubted excellency, so was the positive law likewise : 
for it was for man s safety that he had one tree forbidden, 
that he might know that he as the vassal held all of God 
his superior ; so that when all the creatures were subject 
to him, he might remember that he was still subject to 
God. This forbidden tree was a memorial to him of his 
mutable state, which was to be laid up by him for his 
greater caution : for man was created with a free-will to 
good, which the tree of life was an evidence of; but his 
will was mutable to evil, and the forbidden tree was to 
him a memorial thereof: it was in a manner a continual 
watchword to him against evil. And the forbidden tree 
taught Adam that his happiness did not lie in enjoying 
creatures, for there was a want in paradise : it was there 
fore in effect the hand of all the creatures pointing man 
away from themselves to God for happiness ; and it was 
like unto a sign of emptiness, lifted up on the door of the 
creation, with this inscription, " This is not your rest." 
So that upon the whole man s ruin was most evidently 
owing to himself; " Man being in honour continued not, 
but became as the beasts that perish." 

The youngest of you have the greatest ground to be 
humbled before God for this, that you are guilty of Adam s 
first sin. And if you look into your own hearts, ye will 
see the features of the first Adam s face, the very linea 
ments of his first sin, in the complexion of your own souls. 
His posterity are infected with his sinful curiosity (Gen. 
iii. 6) ; they are more concerned to know new things than 
to practise known truths. "Vain man would be wise, 
though he be born like the wild ass s colt." They are 
ready to hearken to the " instruction that causeth to err." 



SERMON I. 127 

The eyes of their head often blind the eyes of their mind ; 
and they are too much inclined to care for the body at the 
expense of the soul. How much are we inclined, with 
Adam, to hide our sin, or to extenuate it, and to transfer 
the guilt of it upon others ? Seeing then that the sin of 
the first Adam is imputed to you, you can no otherwise be 
saved but by the imputation of Christ s righteousness, to 
the justification of life : and therefore every one of you has 
the greatest need of Christ, and of the grace of Christ, even 
of that grace which " reigns through righteousness unto 
eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." 

2. The youngest of you have an infinite need of Christ ; 
for you have lost the image of God, Rom. iii. 19. You 
want that original righteousness which Adam had ; that 
knowledge of God, of his law, and of his will ; that holiness 
of affections, and that conformity of will to the divine law, 
which human nature was endowed with at its creation ; 
and, having lost the image of God, you have thereby lost 
your immortality, and are become subject to death. Man, 
at his creation, was a freeholder of heaven; but now, by 
sin, you are enslaved to your corruptions. You have lost 
that calm and serenity of conscience, which was the bless 
ing of man s primitive state ; and now you have an accus 
ing conscience, and a storm is raised in your breast. You 
have lost that love to God and delight in him which Adam 
had, and that filial dependence upon him as a God and 
Father. You have lost all will and power to that which 
is spiritually good ; and you are lost as to the very end of 
your creation, which was to see God in all his works, to 
gather in the revenue of his praise from all the inferior 
creatures ; and to hand it up to him, and be the mouth 
of this lower part of the creation, by worshipping and 
praising God upon the earth, as the angels do in heaven. 

The youngest of you, then, have an infinite need of 
Christ, who restored that which he took not away, Psal. 
Ixix. 4. He restored glory to God, and honour to his law ; 
and he only can restore the image of God to man, and bring 
man into favour with God. 



128 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

3. The youngest of you stand in the greatest need of 
Christ ; for your natures are corrupted, and you are carnal 
and altogether sinful. You are morally unclean, and your 
natures are polluted, Job xiv. 4 : for " who can bring a 
clean thing out of an unclean? no, not one." The 
Psalmist doth acknowledge his original corruption, Psal. 
li. 5. " Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my 
mother conceive me :"* and our Lord hath determined it, 
" That which is born of the flesh is flesh," John iii. 6. 
Man, considered in his corrupted state, is here called flesh; 
because the unrenewed man is fleshly and carnal, even in 
his most religious performances, and is carried out wholly 
by the principle of flesh within him. In supernatural 
mysteries he is blind and carnal, 1 Cor. ii. 14; so that 
flesh and blood cannot reveal them to us, but the Father, 
Matth. xvi. 17; and this fleshly mind doth move and oper 
ate powerfully in atheists and heretics. He is carnal in 
his performances, because, when he doth them, it is not 
from love to God, to exalt and honour him, but from love 
to himself, to avoid some judgment or other. God takes 
notice of the corruption of your nature, Gen. vi. 5. Psal. 
xiv. 2, 3. and maketh it lie heavy upon the consciences 
of his own people in their new birth ; and, while they are 
in this life, they are exercised with a daily conflict with 
it : you ought therefore to take notice of it, and be hum 
bled for it. Your mind is clouded, and filled with spiritual 
darkness, Eph. v. 8. You see not the beauty and glory of 
Christ nor the vileness of sin. That your understand 
ings are corrupted doth appear from the vanity of your 
minds, from the swarms of vain thoughts which do lodge 
within you ; and from your spiritual folly, that you pre 
fer the worst things to the best ; that you prefer a crea 
ture to God, earth to heaven, the body to the soul ; and 
that you mind only the present time, forgetting eternity, 
and the world to come. 



* See these texts explained and vindicated, in the review of Mr. 
Campbell s principles. 



SERMON I. 129 

Again, your will is corrupted in its powers, in so far that 
it is not only weakened but disabled to duty. There is in 
your will an averseness to good, and a proneness to evil, 
Jer. xiii. last, Hos. ii. 7 ; and there is in your will an ob 
stinacy and contumacy against God, so that you are wilful 
in an evil course, and refuse to be reclaimed, Jer. viii. 6. 
Prov. viii. 36. Ezek. xviii. 31. Your will is corrupted and 
perverse, in reference to your great and ultimate end ; for 
the natural man seeks not God and his glory for his high 
est end, but himself, Psal. xiv. 2, 3. " They are all gone 
aside." Thou art gone aside from God as thy rest, and as 
thy last end. All things are from God, and therefore all 
things ought to be directed to God, and to his glory ; but 
turning aside from God to the idol of self, thou hast 
usurped the throne of God, and hast gathered in the rents 
of his crown to thyself. This is thy case whilst thou art 
an unrenewed man ; thou art wholly enslaved to sin, and 
canst do nothing but sin ; hence the natural man is com 
pared to an evil tree, that can bring forth nothing but evil 
fruit. 

Your memory is corrupted ; for you remember what you 
ought to forget, and forget what you ought to remember ; 
you forget God s word and his works ; you forget God s 
mercies and rods ; you forget yourselves and your sins ; 
you forget your convictions, and the working of God s 
Spirit upon your hearts ; you forget God himself, his grace 
and love manifested in Christ Jesus, Is. Ivii. 11, " Thou 
hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart :" and 
therefore are you so propense to all manner of evil ; whereas 
the remembrance of God would be an excellent antidote 
against all sin. 

Your conscience is defiled, Tit. i. 15. There is a darkness 
and vail upon it ; whereas, if the candle of the Lord were 
lighted, thou wouldest be amazed at thyself, and at thy 
condition. Thy conscience by sin is become senseless and 
stupid, hence it is called a " seared conscience :" and if 
conscience at some times endeavours to exert itself, it is 
but weakly and faintly; conscience is too weak for cor- 



130 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

ruptions. Like Balaam, men will press forward to their 
wickedness, though conscience stand like an angel with a 
sword in his hand to stop the way. 

Your afl ections are corrupted, in that they are placed 
and fixed upon wrong objects ; they were given to men to 
be wings to their souls in their motions after God, but now 
they are become clogs and impediments to us in our ap 
proaches to God. So corrupted are your affections, that 
they have usurped a dominion over your understanding, 
so that you judge as you affect, and not as matters are; 
hence you have drawn false conclusions about the state 
and condition of your own soul, as if it were safe, when 
you may well know that it is very bad. 

You have ground to be humbled for your pollution by 
original sin ; for original sin is the most diffusive sin ; 
other sins are like particular sores, but this is the gan 
grene of the whole man ; the understanding, the will, and 
the affections, are all defiled and infected with it : all other 
sins are like the streams, but this is the fountain ; this is 
the flaming furnace in the inward man, and your actual 
sins, as so many sparks of hell, do flash forth from that 
burning lake within. Truly you are in a most deplo 
rable condition ; so that you are not capable to feel your 
misery, nor to get out of it, or return to God, from whom 
you have revolted, till sovereign grace interpose for your 
relief. Know therefore the desperate wickedness of thy 
heart, Jer. xvii. 9. Psal. xix. 13. A man s heart is like 
Peter s great sheet, Acts xi. 6, which was full of four- 
footed beasts, and creeping things, all unclean. Look in 
ward, and you will find that your sinful words and actions, 
though very dishonouring to God in themselves, are yet 
nothing to the sea of corruption within you, where you 
cannot reach the bottom. And as you are children of 
disobedience, so you are children of wrath, Eph. ii. 3, 
" by nature children of wrath, even as others." You 
are so by nature, that is, by original sin, which is now 
natural to you ; by it you are " children of wrath," that is, 
you are worthy of wrath, liable to it, and under it : wrath 



SERMOX I. 131 

is your heirship, and you are born to wrath, as you are the 
children of the first Adam. 

We say, considered in yourselves, you are liable to the 
wrath of God ; for you have sinned and come short of the 
glory of God ; and the Lord hath said it, " The soul that 
sinneth, it shall die." And you have broken God s law : now, 
thus saith the Lord, " Cursed is every one that continueth 
not in all things written in the book of the law to do 
them." Let us consider that wrath is gone as wide as 
ever sin went. When angels sinned, wrath brake in upon 
them as a flood, 2 Pet. ii. 4 ; and when Adam sinned, the 
whole lump of mankind was leavened, and bound over to 
the fiery oven of God s justice and wrath. All men 
and women are under this wrath ; the Gentiles, that 
know not God, are under it, Rom. ii. 12 ; and you, who 
are young ones, are under this same wrath of God ; you 
were born under it, but will make yourselves twofold 
more its children if you do not flee in to Jesus Christ, 
who hath delivered us from the wrath to come. Nay, 
there needeth not be a surer mark of your being under the 
wrath of God, than that you never saw yourself to be under 
it, Is. xxvii. 11. 2 Thess. i. 8. Hos. iv. 6. No outward pri 
vileges can exempt you from this sad condition ; though 
you be descended of godly parents, and can say, " We have 
Abraham to our father ;" and though you have been bap 
tized, and admitted to church privileges, yet are you 
" children of wrath as well as others." There is wrath 
upon your body, it is a piece of cursed clay ; and there is 
wrath upon your soul, so that you can have no communion 
with God while in a natural unconverted state, Psal. v. 5. 
Eph. ii. 12. There is wrath upon all your enjoyments, 
upon your basket and upon your store, Deut. xxviii. 17; 
and you have no security for a moment from the wrath of 
God coming on you to the uttermost. In a little, and 
you know not how soon, death will be a dreadful messen 
ger unto you ; it will come armed with wrath, and put a 
charge and summons in your hand, to bid an eternal fare 
well to all things in this world, to appear before the tri- 



132 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

bunal of God, and to go to another world, where you will 
have no portion but a treasure of wrath for evermore. It 
is in hell that the full floods of this wrath go over the pri 
soners for ever ; for it will be their sad and dreadful con 
dition to be separated from the presence of the Lord, and 
to depart from Jesus Christ into everlasting fire, prepared 
for the devil and his angels, where their worm will not die 
and their fire shall never be quenched. Thus, by original 
sin, as well as actual transgressions, you are children of 
wrath ; and unless your nature be changed by the renew 
ing grace of God, you must lie to all eternity under this 
load of divine wrath, and be " punished with everlasting 
destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the 
glory of his power." We might likewise tell you of your 
personal sins; your disobedience to your parents; your 
Sabbath- breaking ; your neglecting of secret prayer, morn 
ing or evening ; your lying and taking of the name of God 
in vain ; for the sake of which things, the wrath of God 
cometh upon the children of disobedience : and we might 
likewise warn you of your perishing condition, by reason 
of your sin of unbelief, and the need you have of the Spirit 
of Christ " to convince you of sin, because you believe not 
in the Lord Jesus Christ," John xvi. 8, 9. By this sin of 
unbelief, Christ is despised and rejected by you ; and you 
" see no form nor comeliness in him, why he should be 
desired" by you, though he be truly the " desire of all na 
tions, and more excellent than all the mountains of prey." 
You need not think to despise the love of the Father, the 
blood of the Son of God, and the promises of the gospel at 
an easy rate ; for, Mark xvi. 16, " He that belie veth, and 
is baptized, shall be saved ; and he that believeth not shall 
be damned." 

II. But we proceed to the second thing proposed, viz., 
To mention some of those discouragements that young 
people may meet with in coming unto Christ. And, 

1. Some of you who are of the rising generation may be 
discouraged in coming unto Christ, from the temptations 
of Satan leading you to delay this blessed work ; and se- 



SERMON I. 133 

cretly suggesting this thought, That it is soon enough for 
you to come to Christ. But you are called to come. " The 
Master is come, and calleth for you" by name ; and if you 
sit this call you may never get another. There are young 
sprigs, as well as old logs, burning in the flames of hell ; 
and there are graves in the churchyard j ust of your length. 
Perhaps you are tempted to security : when the Lord vis 
ited you with the rod and affliction, you then poured out 
a prayer, and came under many resolutions ; but, now that 
the blast of trouble is over, you are following your old 
course. Beware of despising the Lord s warnings: by 
these very troubles Christ giveth so many knocks at the 
door of thy young and sinful heart ; and after all the re 
fusals you have given him, he is still calling to you and 
saying, " Behold, I stand at the door and knock ; if any 
man open to me, I will come in and sup with him, and he 
with me," Rev. iii. 20. Or, you are tempted to despair : 
but consider that " Christ is able to save to the uttermost 
all that come unto God through him ;" that the mercy of 
God, in Christ Jesus, is great unto the heavens ; and that 
he has proclaimed his name, " The Lord God merciful and 
gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin." Or 
possibly you are tempted to think hardly of the Lord s 
way, or of his yoke as burdensome and uneasy ; but know 
it for a certain truth, that " Wisdom s ways are ways of 
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace : " and though the 
hearts of the children of Zion " may know their own bitter 
ness, yet a stranger doth not intermeddle with their joy." 

2. Some of you may be discouraged in coming unto 
Christ, by carnal friends and relations that endeavour to 
turn you away from him : for the best that ever lived have 
had trials of this sort ; but the Lord Jesus " giveth power 
to the faint, and to them that have no might he increaseth 
strength ; they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their 
strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they 
shall walk and not weary, they shall run and not faint." 

3. You may perhaps be discouraged, from fears of falling 
away in the time of trial : but trust in the Lord at all 



134 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUXG. 

times, for " in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength :" 
and thus you shall be among the preserved in Christ 
Jesus ; you shall be kept by the power of God, through faith 
unto salvation ; you shall be delivered from every evil work, 
and preserved to his heavenly kingdom. The Lord hath said 
it, and faithful is he who hath promised, Zech. x. 12, " I 
will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk up 
and down in his name, saith the Lord." 

4. Some of you may be discouraged, from a sense of your 
own sinfulness and unworthiness : but it is sinners that 
Christ came to save ; and " worthy is the Lamb who was 
slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his blood, out of 
every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." The 
voice of angels is heard round about the throne, saying, 
with a loud voice, " Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, 
to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, 
and honour, and glory, and blessing." And you are war 
ranted to trust his promise who hath said it, " Your 
righteousness is of me, saith the Lord : and men shall be 
blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed," 
Psal. Ixxii. 17. Are any of you discouraged from the 
greatness of your sin ? then know, that Christ is the great 
God our Saviour, and that he hath proclaimed his name, 
saying, " It is I that speak in righteousness, mighty to 
save," Isa. Ixiii. 1, 2. Or are you discouraged from the 
power of your corruptions ? Then take encouragement 
from his own word of promise, Rom. vi. 14, " Sin shall not 
have dominion over you : for ye are not under the law, 
but under grace." Again, Mic. vii. 19, " He will subdue our 
iniquities ; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the midst 
of the sea : thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the 
mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn to our fathers 
in the days of old." 

III. We proceed now, in the third place, to speak of the 
heavenly exercise which the rising generation are called 
and invited unto, viz. to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, 
by believing on him whom God hath sent. 

1. Then your coming to Christ suppose th, that there is 



SERMON I. 135 

a call directed to you from a Trinity of Persons in the 
Godhead, inviting you to come, to come to Jesus the Me 
diator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, 
that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 1 John iii. 
23. " And this is his commandment, that we should believe 
on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." Matt. xi. 28, " Come 
unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest." Rev. xxii. 17, "And the Spirit and the 
bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come. 
And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let 
him take the waters of life freely." 

2. It supposeth that there is room in the love of God, 
in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in God s cove 
nant of promise, for your welcome and reception, who are 
the rising generation, Luke xiv. 22, " And yet there is 
room." John vi. 37, " All that the Father giveth me, shall 
come unto me, and him that coineth to me, I will in no 
wise cast out." 

Young ones, you may be verily persuaded that Christ 
calleth you by name, Prov. viii. 17, "I love them that 
love me; and those that seek me early shall find me." 
Christ is a public blessing ; " for God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever be- 
lieveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
" As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even 
so was the Son of man lifted up ; that whosoever believeth 
on him should not perish, but have eternal life." As all 
the congregation of Israel had a good right and a warrant 
from God to look to the serpent lifted up, and be healed ; 
so all that hear the gospel, particularly you who are 
the rising generation, have the call and command of God 
to look unto Christ and be saved, who is the " salvation of 
God to the ends of the earth." You have all access to this 
Tree of life, which groweth in the midst of the paradise of 
God, the " leaves whereof are for the healing of the na 
tions;" and there is no cherubim nor flaming sword to 
hinder your approach unto it. Take a view of the en 
couraging promises ; it is the voice of them all, Come, and 



136 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

welcome to Jesus Christ. Through the whole gospel, 
Christ never once made an objection to any that came to 
him with their sinfulness or unworthiness ; but all his 
complaints are of their backwardness and unwillingness to 
come to him, that they might have life, and have it more 
abundantly, John v. 40. The vilest sinners that ever 
were, when they came to him, were made welcome ; Ma- 
nasseh, Mary Magdalene, and Paul, who had persecuted 
the church of God. Consider, young ones, that it was the 
great design of the covenant of grace, that sinners, 
such as you are, might have a Saviour, Is. Ixi. 1, " The 
Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath 
anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek ; he hath 
sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty 
to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them 
that are bound." Consider with what pleasure the Lord 
Jesus undertook the work of your redemption, and with 
what cheerfulness he went through that labour of love. 
Psal. xl. 7, 8. he saith, " Lo, I come;" or "I hasten 
to come : " and when he is come, he saith, " It is my meat 
and drink to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish 
the work which the Father gave me to do ;" viz. by pour 
ing out his soul unto death, and making it an offering for 
sin, that we might receive forgiveness of sins, and inherit 
ance among them that are sanctified by faith in his blood. 
Consider likewise, that it is the end of all the ordinances, 
that you may come unto Christ and be saved ; for what 
saith the word 1 but that through Jesus is preached unto 
you the forgiveness of sins. What say ministers 1 " We 
are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you 
by us, we pray you in Christ s stead be ye reconciled unto 
God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew 
no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God 
in him." And what saith the sacrament ? " This is the 
new testament in my blood, shed for the remission of sins 
unto many ; drink ye all of it." Our Lord Jesus doth feed 
in the gardens, and he gathers lilies. The day of the sin 
ner s closing with him, is the day of the gladness of his 



SERMON I. 137 

heart. The hour, wherein the soul is determined to 
come to Christ, is that very hour wherein he rejoiceth 
in Spirit ; and seeing the travail of his soul, is satis 
fied. His forbearance with sinners, and the welcome 
they get when they come, discover abundantly his good 
will towards men. He accepts of a weak mint and 
essay at coming to him, even of a look, or the breath 
ing out of the desires of the soul after himself, as the de 
sire of all nations. He is most pressing and earnest in 
bearing home the calls and offers of his grace. How long- 
suffering is he, and with what patience doth he wait ? even 
" till his head be filled with dew, and his locks with the 
drops of the night." Our Lord Jesus is much weighted 
with it, when sinners will not come to him ; it is accounted 
by him an affronting him, and a treading the blood of the 
covenant under foot : it drew tears from his eyes, and he 
wept bitterly over Jerusalem, because, like many of you, 
they knew not the things that belong to their peace. The 
Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world ; 
you may therefore trust him with your salvation; and 
seeing you are sinners of Adam s house, you are therefore 
warranted to intrust your souls with him, upon his own 
call in the word ; for his name is called JESUS, " because 
he saveth his people from their sins." Thus you see, that 
you, who are the rising generation, are called to the 
marriage-supper of the Lamb, and may expect a gracious 
reception from the Lord Jesus Christ, who is come to seek 
and to save that which was lost. 

3. Your coming unto Christ implieth in it, that the 
powerful efficacy of divine grace is exerted in renewing 
you in the spirit of your minds, and making you willing 
in the day of the Mediator s power, Psal. ex. 3, " Thy peo 
ple shall be willing in the day of thy power." And John 
vi. 44, " No man can come unto me, except the Father 
which sent me draw him." 

4. Your coming unto Christ, implieth in it a conviction 
of your sinful and lost condition, as you are children of the 
first Adam ; that you are children of wrath, and that your 



138 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

iniquities do separate betwixt God and you ; that you are 
fatherless and orphans ; that you cannot help yourselves 
by your prayers, duties, or righteousness ; and that you can 
have relief no otherwise but in him, in whom the father 
less do find mercy, Hos. xiv. 3. Although the light of the 
Spirit of God in conviction is like unto the light of the 
sun, making all things to appear as they really are ; yet 
many see their sin and perishing condition only by dis 
course : but when the Spirit of God is bringing a soul to 
Christ, he fixeth the vain mind of a sinner upon the due 
consideration of sin in its nature, tendency, and end, John 
xvi. 8, 9. He discovers to the soul the real greatness of 
sin, by manifesting the real greatness of God against 
whom it is committed, Hos. iv. 4. Isa. vi. 3 ; and by 
giving realizing views of the justice of God, who will 
by no means clear the guilty; of the infinite majesty 
of God, Job xxxvii. 22 ; and of the holiness and purity of 
God, who hateth all the workers of iniquity. Hence the 
convinced sinner is pierced with perplexing grief, and is 
made to despair of any deliverance by the law or the first 
covenant, and is made to inquire into the way of relief, 
by Christ in the gospel, and to pant after that salvation 
that is in him, from present distress and future misery, 
Acts ii. 37. 

5. Your coming unto Christ, implieth in it that you see 
him to be the great God your Saviour, or the Lord your 
righteousness : and your believing on him, or receiving 
him, as offered to you in the gospel, as your Redeemer. 
In short, coming to him is just believing the report of the 
gospel, that Christ is the Messiah, the mercy promised to 
the fathers ; that he is the Saviour of the world ; that he is 
the Christ, the Son of the living God ; and that he is given 
of God to you in the gospel ; for this is God s record, " that 
he hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son : 
he that hath the Son hath life." God giveth his Son to 
you, to be received by you, with a particular application 
to your own soul s case and exigencies. Christ is exhi 
bited in the word, as the great propitiation, to be received 



SERMON I. 139 

by you in particular upon the warrant of the free call, and 
encouraging promise of the gospel. As conviction is par 
ticular, " Thou art the man," saith the Spirit ; so the ap 
plication of faith is particular, though it be sometimes 
accompanied with but a small degree of sensible comfort, 
Is. xlv. 24. 

6. Your coming unto Christ implieth in it your being 
espoused and betrothed to him, in a marriage covenant, as 
the one husband raised from the dead. " Ye are become 
dead to the law, by the body of Christ, that ye should be 
married to another, even to him who is raised from the 
dead," Rom. vii. 4. "And I will betroth thee unto me 
for ever, yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteous 
ness, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies : I will even 
betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know 
the Lord," Hos. ii. 19, 20. The soul going forth and be 
holding king Solomon with the crown upon his head in 
the day of his espousals, cometh to the marriage of the 
King s son, to be betrothed to him for ever ; and the soul s 
motion to Christ is the fruit of God s promise of betroth 
ing souls to himself, in loving-kindness and in tender mer 
cies. You are thus, through grace, to come to and trust 
in the Lord Jesus for your all of righteousness and 
strength ; to devote yourselves to him ; to love the name 
of the Lord, and to serve him ; to come with him from 
Lebanon, to look to him from the top of Amana and Her- 
mon, from the lions dens, the mountains of the leopards ; 
and to take him for your all of consolation, who is the 
consolation of Israel. 

IV. We proceed now, in the fourth place, to speak of 
some of those encouragements which the Lord Jesus hath 
given unto the rising generation to come unto him. And, 

1. The full and ample call of Christ in the gospel, is most 
encouraging to engage poor sinners to come unto Christ, 
and particularly to encourage the rising generation to come 
unto him ; " Suffer the little children to come unto me, 
and forbid them not." The call is directed to all the sons 
of men, and giveth them a good warrant to come, Prov. 



140 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

viii. 4, " To you I call, men ; and my voice is to the 
sons of Adam." 

2. The promise of grace and strength to enable you to 
come is a noble encouragement to come to Jesus Christ, 

Psal. xxii. 30, 31, " A seed shall serve him. They shall 

come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people 
that shall be born, and that he hath done this." And the 
promise of welcome to all that come is most encouraging, 
John vi. 37, " Him that cometh to me, I will in nowise 
cast out :" or, as the word may be rendered, Him that is 
a-coming unto me (him that is but essaying to come), I 
will in nowise cast him out. 

3. That God is most glorified by those that come to 
Christ, is encouraging to come. He has condescended to 
gather in to himself the revenue of his glory, from the sal 
vation of sinners by Christ Jesus, Eph. ii. 6, 7 ; and this is 
a most comfortable encouragement, nay, sure warrant for 
sinners to come to Christ ; seeing, in this method of salva 
tion by him, there is " glory to God in the highest, as well 
as peace on earth, and good will towards men," Luke ii. 
14. Well, that very moment you come to Christ, you put 
the crown upon his head, and ascribe glory unto him ; and 
his glory to all eternity shall be great in your salvation, 
Psal. xxi. 25. That moment you fall in with God s great 
and highest design of creating all things, and upholding 
them to this very day, which is, that the burden of the praise 
of Immanuel might be lifted up, and that to the ages to 
come, he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in 
his kindness toward you through Christ Jesus ; and you 
put in your note in a concert with the angels and the re 
deemed from amongst men, in celebrating the grace of 
Christ, and that salvation he hath wrought, with the glory 
of God manifested therein : and that moment you come to 
Christ, there is a shout of song among the angels of 
God ; for " there is joy in heaven over one sinner that re- 
penteth." 

4. God the Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour 
of the world ; John iv. 15, and this is a sure warrant, and 



SERMON I. 141 

good encouragement for you to come unto Christ, and to 
believe on him as the Saviour of the world. This world 
had been the very suburbs of hell, upon the entrance of 
sin, if the Son of God had not been sent into it ; and God 
had never received any thing more of a revenue of glory 
from men on the earth, if the Son had not been sent to be 
the Saviour of the world. But, behold, " the Word was 
made flesh, and dwelt among us ;" and there is a shout 
among the seraphims, that " the whole earth is full of his 
glory," Is. vi. 3 ; for God had more glory from the obe 
dience of his eternal Son, than from the obedience of all 
the hosts of angels since ever the world began. The Lord 
Jesus is the great High Priest, taken from among men, 
and ordained for men, in things pertaining to God ; in the 
nature of man he finished this work of our redemption ; 
and therefore every man that hears this everlasting gospel 
is warranted to come unto him, and to trust in him with a 
full confidence of faith, to obtain salvation by him, who is 
the Saviour of the world. 

5. It is encouraging to you to come to Jesus Christ, that 
when poor sinners come unto him " he seeth the travail of 
his soul and is satisfied," Is. liii. 11. He had sore travail 
of soul, by the sword of justice awakening against him, 
that it might be quiet as to you ; he had sore travail of 
soul, by the hidings of his Father s face, and drinking of 
the brook in the way, that torrent of vindictive wrath 
which interposed betwixt you and the city of God. But, 
so to speak, he reckons himself well rewarded, and is 
satisfied, for all the sore travail of his soul, in the garden of 
Gethsemane, in his agony, and upon the cross in Calvary, 
in his being, through his whole life, a man of sorrows and 
acquainted with grief; when he seeth the rising genera 
tion coming to him for life, for righteousness and strength; 
and seeth you coming to God, through him, as to your rest, 
portion, and everlasting blessedness. 

V. We now proceed to make some application of this 
doctrine ; and that, by addressing ourselves, 1. To the pre 
sent generation. 2. To the rising generation. 



142 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

(1.) Then, we would exhort you, who are the present 
generation, to imitate the example laid before you in our 
text, by bringing your children, and the rising generation, 
to Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant. 

In order to this, you should be concerned to have 
some knowledge of Christ, and acquaintance with him 
yourselves: like these parents here spoken of, you must 
have some love to Christ, and an esteem of the grace of 
Christ, and an expectation of a gracious reception from 
him. The people here spoken of believed that Christ was 
both able and willing to help them ; they came to Christ 
themselves, and brought their children, their best things 
with them, as an offering unto him. They had been with 
him, we may suppose, in some mount Tabor of mani 
festation, and found that it was good to be there ; and 
therefore thought it was best to have their children there 
likewise. Imitate their example in this, that they had 
first a concern about their own souls, and then were deeply 
concerned about the souls of their children ; and in that 
they were persuaded it would be well with the souls of 
their children if they were Christ s, and no way else. This 
seems to have been their conviction, and therefore they de 
voted both themselves and their children to the Lord Jesus, 
in whom alone the families of the earth shall be blessed. 

Let this be your exercise, to bring your children to 
Christ, that they may obtain " the blessing from the Lord, 
and righteousness from the God of our salvation ;" for, by 
nature, they are children of wrath, and under the curse. 
Bring them to him for instruction, that they may be 
all taught of the Lord ; and great shall be the blessed 
ness and peace of your children. Bring them to him for 
redemption ; for he is a living Redeemer. Bring them to 
him for quickening and spiritual life ; for they are dead in 
trespasses and sins, and Christ is the resurrection and the 
life. Bring them unto him, that their persons may be jus 
tified, and their natures sanctified ; for he is " made of God 
unto us sanctification, and in him all the seed of Israel shall 
be justified, and shall glory." 



SERMON I. 143 

Consider the marks and characters of such as may ex 
pect to succeed in bringing their children to Christ. 1. 
Such as make an acceptable offering of them to the Lord, 
bring them to Christ, as the altar of acceptance, Is. Ivi. 7, 
" Their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted 
on mine altar." 2. They are importunate with the Lord 
for his grace and help ; they are humble and self-denied, 
and after seeming repulses wait patiently on for an answer 
of peace, Matt. xv. 22, 24, 25, 28, " And, behold, a woman 
of Canaan cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, 
Lord, thou Son of David ; my daughter is grievously vexed 
with a devil: but he answered her not a word. Then 
came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord help me : but 
he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children s 
bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord, 
yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their mas 
ter s table. Then Jesus answered, and said unto her, 
woman, great is thy faith : be it unto thee even as thou 
wilt." 3. They maintain honourable thoughts of Christ, 
and they believe and trust to his word of grace and pro 
mise, John iv. 50, " Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way, thy 
son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus 
had spoken unto him, and he went his way : and himself 
believed, and his whole house." 

But it may be for a lamentation, that many of us, in 
stead of bringing our children to Christ, have provoked 
the Lord to leave both us and them. 1. By stoutness of 
heart, in not being humbled by the thought that both we 
and our children have sinned in the first Adam, that we 
have lost the image of God, and that our natures are uni 
versally corrupted. 2. By our ignorance of Christ; for, 
had we attained to more acquaintance and communion 
with him, we might have spoken of him as of a friend to our 
children. 3. By our unbelief, rejecting many an offer of 
Christ, and distrusting the promise given to us and to our 
children, Acts ii. 39. 4. By our carnality and worldly- 
mindedness ; so that little of Christ was to be seen about 
us, either in our words or actions : and by our formality 



144 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

in our closets and family duties, Whereas had we been 
spiritual and lively, we might have transmitted a savour 
of Christ to our children, and to others about us. 

But let the present generation be excited to this neces 
sary duty of bringing the rising generation to Christ, from 
a consideration of the encouragements the Lord hath given 
to them in his word. Consider, that as the promise is to 
you and to your children, so those who have brought their 
children to the Lord, have met with a gracious reception : 
thus, when Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord, her 
offering was accepted. Consider, the Lord has promised 
to pour his Spirit upon your seed, and his blessing upon 
your offspring, Is. xliv. 4, 5 ; and that he has said, Christ 
shall have a seed to serve him, who shall cause his name 
to be remembered to all generations, Psal. xxii. 30. and 
xlv. 17. Consider also, that God hath promised to circum 
cise your hearts, and the hearts of your seed, to love the 
Lord your God with all your heart, Deut. xxx. 6. In 
bringing your children to the Lord, in the strength of 
grace, fix your faith upon these his words of promise ; and, 
in so doing, you may be assured of success in this duty 
and exercise. 

Again, if the present generation would bring the rising 
generation to Christ, then they will be inclined, 1. To 
come to Christ themselves, as to a " living Stone, disallowed 
indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious," 1 Pet. ii. 
4 ; to abase themselves under the mighty hand of God, 
who " resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the hum 
ble : " to be grieved for their own sins, Psal. xxxviii. 18 ; 
to be as doves in the valleys, every one mourning for his 
iniquities : and to weep for the sins of the present genera 
tion, the profanity, atheism, lewdness, wantonness, drunk 
enness, and scoffing at religion, which prevails ; for the 
public indignities done to the Lord Jesus, by all ranks, by 
the courts of judgment, by the state s invading the rights 
of the Redeemer s crown, and by church -judicatories, 
their silent and sinful connivance at all the dishonours 
done to the Lord of glory, and by intrusions made upon the 



SERMON I. 145 

heritage of the Lord ; thus taking away the bread of life 
from the souls of the rising generation. Let your hearts 
be deeply affected with the signs of the Lord s anger, and 
with the apostasy of this generation. It is matter of deep 
humiliation, that the false prophet and the unclean spirit 
are passing uncontrolled through the land; the grossest 
of errors are spread in all corners, to the perdition and de 
struction of the souls of men ; the Supreme Deity of the 
Lord Jesus Christ is opposed and denied ; the work of the 
Spirit of God, in the conversion and sanctification of sinful 
men, is assailed and subverted ; self-love is declared to be 
the principle, rule, and standard of all religious actions, 
and self-interest to be their main and ultimate end. If 
these foundation-truths be buried, what shall become of 
the rising generation, but that they will lay aside all 
regard to God and religion, and be drenched in mere 
atheism and infidelity, to the dishonour of God, and to 
their own eternal destruction 1 What reason withal have 
you to lament the neutrality of some that have in them 
the root of the matter, and are, notwithstanding, con 
tinuing in a conjunction with those who have denied these 
foundation-truths, and are associated with those that have 
given up with Christ s Headship, and take their holding 
of the powers of the earth 1 It were easy to show that 
such an association is most unwarrantable; as thereby 
they partake of other men s sins, do not bring them to a 
conviction of such enormities as are censurable by the 
word of God, and thus suffer sin to lie upon them ; while, 
in opposition to the rule of the word, they do not with 
draw, but continue in fellowship with the workers of ini 
quity. It is most manifest, that such a course as this 
cannot possibly be a proper mean to assert and defend the 
royalties of the Redeemer s crown, nor to maintain the 
purity of doctrine, the government, worship, and discipline 
of his house, or to transmit them faithfully to posterity ; 
which church -officers and church -judicatories are most 
sacredly bound to do, not only from the solemn oath of 
God, in our Covenants, National and Solemn League, but 



146 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

by the very nature and duties of their office, by all the 
rules laid down in God s holy word, and by all the ties of 
nature ; that is, by humanity itself, and the love and regard 
they ought naturally to have for their own posterity, the 
rising generation. Eli s coldness and neutrality in the 
matters of God, was severely punished in that good man ; 
and it was in itself a dreadful judgment to the generation 
wherein he lived, being an effectual bar in the way of re 
formation ; while the tribes of Israel being thereby har 
dened in their course of apostasy, were brought, as the 
fruit of it, under most dreadful marks of the divine dis 
pleasure. 2. If you, who are the present generation, would 
bring your children to Christ, then set apart some time 
for secret fasting, and the prayer of faith for your chil 
dren, Job L 5 ; and instruct them daily in the good ways 
of the Lord, encouraging them in well-doing, and correct 
ing them for their faults. Talk with them when you sit 
in your house arid when you walk by the way, when you 
lie down, and when you rise up, Deut. vi. 7. Talk with 
them of their baptismal vows, and of their warrant to be 
lieve in the Lord Jesus, and of their duty to devote them 
selves to the Lord, as you have endeavoured, through 
grace, to do it in their name. Talk with them of the love 
of God, in sending his Son into the world, and of the love of 
Christ, which passeth knowledge ; of their duty to love the 
Lord, and of the promise of grace, to enable them to love 
him, Deut. xxx. 6. Talk with them, and tell them of the 
works of God for this land, in our glorious reformation, 
and wonderful revolution; "Walk about Zion, and go 
round about her; tell the towers thereof; mark ye well 
her bulwarks, consider her palaces, that ye may tell it to 
the generation following : for this God is our God for ever 
and ever ; he will be our guide even unto death," Psal. 
xlviii. 12, 13, 14. Talk with them, and tell them of the 
solemn engagements these lands are under, to promote re 
formation, and to walk closely with God, by our Covenants, 
National and Solemn League ; and tell them of our back- 
slidings and defections from the Lord, and of the breaches 



SERMON I. 147 

and violations of the vows of God. Talk with them of 
God s wonderful appearances for us, and of their duty to 
cleave to the Lord with purpose of heart. Tell them of 
the ordinances, the pleasant palaces of Zion, where the 
King is held in the galleries ; and of the promise of God, 
which are her bulwarks. Let it be your exercise, "to 
show to the generation to come, the praises of the Lord, 
and his strength, and the wonderful works that he hath 
done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and ap 
pointed a law in Israel, that you should make them known 
to your children : that the generations to come might know 
them ; who should arise and declare them to their children: 
that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the 
works of God, but keep his commandments," Psal. Ixxviii. 
4, 5, 6, 7. Talk with them of God s covenant of grace and 
promise, which is his testimony established in Jacob, and 
his law appointed in Israel. Talk with them of the com 
prehensive blessing and promise of this covenant, that 
" this God is our God for ever and ever." Talk with them 
of the absoluteness and freeness of this covenant ; and of 
the righteousness of Christ, its only proper condition, 
which being fulfilled, the rising generation, as well as 
others, may warrantably put in a claim for all its blessings 
in Christ s right, and for Christ s sake ; a claim that will 
certainly be sustained in the court of heaven. And tell 
them to give themselves up to God, who hath raised 
Christ from the dead, and given him glory, that our faith 
and hope might be in God. 

We now proceed to conclude this discourse, by directing 
a word to you who are the rising generation, in a use of 
Examination and Consolation. 

EXAMINATION. 

1. It is necessary that you examine and try yourselves, 
whether or not you have as yet come to Jesus, the Media 
tor of the new covenant. 

(1.) Then, is it your exercise, with young Josiah, 2 Chron. 



148 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

xxxiv. 3. to prepare your hearts to seek the Lord God of 
your fathers ? Early seekers of Christ shall not seek him 
in vain; for those that seek him early shall find him, 
Prov. viii. 17. Young seekers of the Lord have some in 
sight into the evil of sin, and they are tenderly affected with 
it ; young Josiah s heart was tender, and he wept before 
the Lord, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 21, 27, 30 ; he wept not only for 
his original sin, and his actual sins, but for the sins of the 
land, and the people among whom he lived ; and is this 
your exercise ? The voice of prayer is heard among young 
seekers ; they read the scriptures ; the word of the Lord 
is precious to them; and they devote themselves to the 
Lord, to love the name of the Lord, and to serve him, 
through the grace of Jesus Christ. Josiah, while he was 
yet young, in the sixteenth year of his age, " made a cove 
nant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep 
his testimonies with all his heart, and with all his soul," 
2 Chron. xxxiv. 31. But, in order to your devoting your 
selves to the Lord in a covenant of duties, you must, by 
faith, take hold of his covenant of promise ; seeing you 
can no otherwise be accepted, but by the righteousness of 
Christ, and no otherwise be assisted but by the grace of 
Christ, which is exhibited to you in the promise of the 
covenant. 

(2.) Do you believe in the Son of God ? Have you got a 
sight of the King in his beauty ; has your soul been made 
to follow hard after him ; are your desires drawn out to 
wards the " Desire of all nations ? " Is Christ precious to 
you, and " more than another beloved 1 for to those that 
believe he is precious," 1 Pet. ii. 7. Do you account all 
things but loss and dung to win Christ, and to be found 
in him, not having your own righteousness, but that which 
is by the faith of Christ ? Are you in him, as Noah was in 
the ark, or as the manslayer was in the city of refuge ? 

(3.) Have your hearts been made to burn with love to 
the Lord Jesus Christ 1 ? Have you seen him to be the 
chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely ? Do 
you love him, and breathe after fellowship with him, and 



SERMON I. 149 

nearness to him, saying with the church, " Tell me, 
thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, and where 
thou makest thy flock to rest at noon T Song i. 7. Do you 
BO love him as to keep his commandments, and breathe after 
holiness and conformity to him ? Do you love his ordi 
nances, and esteem a day in his courts better than a thou 
sand elsewhere, and delight in the place where his honour 
dwelleth ? Do you love his people, and account them the 
excellent ones of the earth, in whom is all your delight ? 
Do you prefer Zion to your chiefest joy ; and are you af 
fected with the desolations of the sanctuary, and grieved 
for the affliction of Joseph? Do you rejoice when Christ 
is honoured ; and do the reproaches of those that reproach 
him fall upon you ? Is there nothing so humbling to you, 
as that you have so little love to Christ ; nothing a greater 
burden to you, than the weakness of your love to Christ ? 
Is there nothing so comfortable to you as the promise of 
the Spirit, to manifest the glory of Christ to your soul, 
John xvi. 14 ; and to shed his love abroad in your hearts ? 
Then you are of the number of those that love our Lord 
Jesus Christ in sincerity, and of the little children of whom 
is the kingdom of God. 

EXHORTATION. 

We now proceed to a word of Exhortation; and may the 
Lord, by his Holy Spirit, persuade and determine you to 
come to HIM, who is come in the name of the Lord to 
save you, and who is come that you may have life, and 
have it more abundantly. 

1. We exhort you to believe in the Son of God ; for this 
is to come to Christ, and this is the work of God, to be 
lieve in him whom God hath sent. Believe the record of 
God concerning his Son; and "this is the record, that 
God hath given to us eternal life ; and this life is in his 
Son. He that hath the Son hath life," 1 John v. 11, 12. 
You may well believe what God testifieth ; but God testi- 
fieth that he hath given to you eternal life, and that this 



150 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

life is in his Son, as its Spring and Fountain : he testi- 
fieth that he hath given to you his Son; and he that 
hath the Son hath life. Faith has Christ, it has the 
Son ; and faith only has him, because God has given him ; 
for faith can have nothing but what God gives. God gives 
Christ, and faith receiveth him, and hath him in posses 
sion : but he is given to many that do not receive him ; 
and this is their unbelief, that they do not, and will not, 
receive God s gift of Christ, and of life in him. For though 
Christ be given in possession only to those that by faith 
receive him, yet Christ, and life in him, is given unto all of 
you that hear the gospel, in the offer and right to put in your 
claim to Christ, and life in him as yours ; and every one of 
you is warranted to receive him as yours, laying claim to 
him, and to all the blessings of his purchase, as your own, 
in a way of grace. He is given of God to you, to be your 
Kinsman-Redeemer, Job xix. 25. Is. ix. 6. He is given to 
be a light to you that sit in darkness, in the region and 
shadow of death ; to be a Ransomer, to proclaim the gos 
pel jubilee, and liberty to the captives, Is. Ixi. 1. He is 
given to be a covenant to the people, Is. xlix. 8 ; to be the 
new-covenant Head, the Surety and Trustee of the cove 
nant, and to dispense all the blessings of the covenant. 
He is given to thee, man or woman, to be a Restorer of 
paths to dwell in, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages ; 
to be thy Head and Husband, to betroth thee unto him 
for ever ; to be a leader to thee through all thy dark be 
wildered steps ; to be a Saviour to thee from all thy sins ; 
to be a Physician to heal all thy plagues ; and to be the 
Salvation of God to the ends of the earth. 

What God hath said and recorded, you may, and ought 
to believe : now God hath said, that he offereth and giveth 
to you life, in Christ the Prince of life ; that he giveth to 
you life, and Christ the Fountain of life. He that believeth 
not God hath made him a liar, because he believeth not 
the record that God gave of his Son, 1 John v. 10. Unbe 
lief doth consist in discrediting what God hath said. Now 
the sin of unbelief is not your disbelieving that God giveth 



SERMON I. 151 

Christ to the elect, or that he giveth Christ to others ; but 
your not believing that God offereth and giveth Christ to 
you in particular, and that you have a warrant and right 
to accept of him. Thus it was with the Jews ; the pro 
mise was to them and to their children, Acts ii. 39 ; but 
they did not credit the word of salvation sent unto them, 
but rejected the counsel of God against themselves. 
When the brazen serpent was lifted up before all the 
congregation of Israel ; if multitudes of them perished by 
not looking up to the brazen serpent, it was not because 
the remedy was not offered and given to them as well as 
the rest of the congregation, but because they did not 
look to it, nor credit God s word that a look would cure 
them. 

2. We exhort you to come to Jesus Christ, the Mediator 
of the new covenant : and it is the voice of Christ to you 
who are the rising generation ; " Suffer the little children 
to come unto me, and forbid them not ; for of such is the 
kingdom of God." Our Lord commandeth you to be 
called ; and we say to you, as it was said to the blind man, 
Mark x. 49, " Be of good comfort, rise, for he calleth thee." 
He calleth for your hearts ; " My son, give me thy heart." 
He calleth you to come into a marriage-relation to him, and 
to sweet fellowship with him, upon the mountains of 
myrrh, and the hills of frankincense, till the day break, 
and the shadows flee away. He calleth you to come, with 
all your sins, to be pardoned ; with all your plagues, to be 
healed ; with all your wants, to be supplied ; and with all 
your burdens, to be relieved. 

As to you who are advanced in years, though it is in 
youth that God ordinarily brings in to himself, yet he is 
sovereign that way. sinner, if forty, if fifty years old, 
we say, yet even now is the word of this salvation sent 
unto you ; rise, for he this moment calleth you. Thus he 
calleth some at the eleventh hour ; and thus Paul was 
called when advanced in years, 1 Cor. xv. 8, " And last of 
all, he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." 

And if you who are the rising generation, would be 



152 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

directed how to come, then come, depending on God s 
word of promise for grace and strength to come ; for he 
has said it, Psal. xxii. 31, " They shall come, and they 
shall declare his righteousness." Come, looking unto 
Jesus, the Author and Finisher of faith, Heb. xii. 2 ; and 
say with the church, " Draw me, we will run after thee." 
Come in a mourning frame, that you have been so long a- 
coming, that you have been amongst the last to bring back 
the King: and come rejoicing, that you are yet called and 
invited to come ; for " Blessed are they who are called to 
the marriage-supper of the Lamb." 

Come then to him with all your hosannas, and praises 
of faith, Matt. xxi. 16, 16 ; for out of the mouths of babes 
and sucklings he has perfected praise. Come to him with 
all your supplications and prayers of faith, to be perfumed 
with his incense ; and come to him with the confidence of 
faith. Come, and in coming to him, depend upon the Holy 
Ghost, who is the Spirit of faith ; for it is the work of the 
Spirit to glorify Christ, John xvi. 14. And when Jesus is 
seen in his glory, then your souls will follow hard after him, 
as the chariots of Amminadib ; and the language of your 
hearts will be, " Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art 
the Lord our God." 



(153) 



SERMON II. 



GEX. xxviii. 1013, 19." And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and 
went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried 

there all night, and lay down in that place to sleep : and he 

dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it 
reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God ascending and 
descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I 

am the Lord God of Abraham thy Father, and the God of Isaac. 

And he called the name of that place Bethel." 

WE may notice, from these words, and their connection in 
this chapter, that Jacob had this vision in his youth, and 
in the day of his distress, when he was in exile from his 
father s house, and had fled from the face of Esau his 
brother, who sought his life. 

In the words, we may remark more particularly, 1. The 
season of this manifestation ; it was when Jacob was go 
ing from Beersheba towards Haran, going from his native 
country to a foreign land, in compliance with the call of 
God s Providence. 2. The manner in which the manifesta 
tion was given ; it was in a night vision ; and this was 
one of the ways in which God spake unto the fathers ; but 
he hath now, in these last times, spoken unto us by his 
own Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things. 3. 
The manifestation itself: Behold, " a ladder set up on the 
earth, and the top of it reached heaven." This ladder was 
an emblem of Christ, who is " the way, the truth, and the 
life," John xiv. 6. And the angels are said to ascend arid 
descend, as being, at his command, in the administration 
of his kingdom, Heb. i. 14. John i. 51. And he saw " the 
Lord standing above it;" God as in Christ reconciling the 



154 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

V 

world to himself, proclaiming his covenant of promise, " I 
am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of 
Isaac." 4. The gracious and kindly impression this mani 
festation made upon Jacob ; he says, " This is none other 
but the house of God, this is the gate of heaven. And he 
called the name of the place Bethel." Bethel signifies the 
house of God; though it was a solitary place, yet the divine 
presence made it to Jacob the house of God, and the gate 
of heaven. 

From these words, we may deduce the following doc 
trinal observation : 

" That the time of youth is a special season of Bethel 
manifestations, wherein God doth manifest to the souls of 
men the glory of Christ, and doth reveal himself, as a re 
conciled God in Christ, and condescends to show unto 
them his holy covenant of promise." 

In discoursing on this doctrine, we shall endeavour, by 
divine assistance, 

I. To offer a few remarks concerning these Bethel-mani 
festations, which the Lord frequently condescends to bless 
the sons of men with in the days of their youth. 

II. Speak a little of these manifestations, and show what 
it is he doth manifest and reveal to the rising generation, 
in the days of their youth. And, 

IIL Apply the doctrine. 

I. We proceed to the first thing proposed, to offer a few 
remarks concerning these Bethel - manifestations, which 
the Lord frequently condescends to bless the sons of men 
with in the days of their youth. And, 

1. We remark, that there is a Bethel-manifestation of 
Christ in his glory, in the morning of conversion, when 
the soul is first visited with the day-spring from on high. 
This was the privilege of Paul, in the day that he was 
effectually called, Acts ix. compared with 1 Cor. xv. 8. 
" And last of all, he was seen of me also, as of one born out 
of due time." The day of his conversion was his birth 
day, wherein he was born from above. He was a man 
advanced in years, who had long opposed the gospel, and 



SERMON II. 155 

rejected the offers of grace ; and therefore he looks on him 
self as one born out of due time : yet it was a blessed time 
to his soul, and the best day that ever he saw ; it was to 
him a day of manifestation, wherein he saw the holy One 
and the Just, and heard the voice of his mouth. So is it, 
in some measure, to all that are effectually called. Though 
every one cannot distinctly tell the day and time of his 
first meeting with Christ ; yet every one of them has got 
such a glimpse of the glory of Christ, as has drawn his 
heart, his trust, and the desires of his soul, towards himself. 
2. We remark, that the Lord s people have Bethel meet 
ings with Christ in the morning of a renewed manifesta 
tion, after they have been mourning without the sun, 
and walking in darkness, having no light. They may be 
said to attain such Bethel-manifestations, (1.) When he 
manifests himself unto them in the glory of his person, in 
his offices, and in the freeness and permanency of his love 
and grace ; and in his comfortable relations, mediation, 
and powerful intercession, John xiv. 21, " He that hath 
my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth 
me ; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." 
(2.) When he looseth their bonds, and maketh them to walk 
in the glorious liberty of the sons of God, Psal. cxvi. 16 ; 
hearing their prayers, and giving them gracious and com 
fortable returns : " In the day when I cried, thou an- 
sweredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my 
soul." Psal. cxvi. 1, 2, " I. love the Lord, because he hath 
heard my voice, my supplications : because he hath inclined 
his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as 
I live." (3.) When their souls are made, in a lively exer 
cise of faith, to feed upon his word ; when he speaketh 
into their hearts, and converseth with them by his word, 
and the motions of his Spirit upon their souls, Luke xxiv. 
32, " And they said one to another, Did not our heart 
burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and 
while he opened to us the Scriptures 1 " (4.) When they 
attain, through grace, a nearness to God, Song i. 3, " The 
King hath brought me into his chambers : we will be glad, 



156 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNCL 

and rejoice in thee : we will remember thy love more than 
wine : the upright love thee." Sometimes Christians have 
attained a greater nearness to the Lord, than they thought 
possible on the earth, and have been made to cry out, 
" Hold, Lord, for I can hold no more, for I am an earthen 
vessel; 1 because their old bottles were like to break to 
shivers, with a fill of that new wine of fellowship and com 
munion with God. (5.) When they have had such mani 
festations, that he has drawn by the vail, and they have 
seen the King in his beauty, and beheld the land that is 
afar off; their graces having been excited, and drawn forth 
into a lively exercise, by fresh influences of the Holy Spirit ; 
and the Beloved has come into his garden, to see the beds 
of spices, and to gather lilies. (6.) When they have had 
such intimations made unto them as, " Son, be of good 
cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee ; " and " I have loved thee 
with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness 
have I drawn thee : " when, with power and evidence of 
his Spirit, he saith " to them who are of a fearful heart, 
Be strong, fear not;" and encourageth them with such a 
word, " Fear not, I know that ye seek Jesus who was cru 
cified ; he is risen, as he said ; come, see the place where 
the Lord lay." (7.) When he giveth new and unwonted 
communications unto their souls ; when he giveth strength 
to them in their weakness, and life to them in their dead- 
ness ; when he giveth to them peace and pardon, and giveth 
to them himself, which is more than all other blessings, Rev. 
ii. 28, " And I will give him the morning star." He giveth 
them sometimes grapes from Eshcol, the first-fruits of the 
land of promise, a Pisgah-view of the land afar off, a fore 
taste of glory, some drops of that wine that goeth down 
sweetly, making the lips of them that are asleep to speak. 
So that, even here below, they are made to begin some 
notes of the song of the redeemed ; and have such com 
munion and fellowship with God through Jesus Christ, 
that it is to them the gate of heaven, the suburbs of glory. 
3. We remark, that there are some means and ordinances 
of God s appointment, wherein the followers of Christ are 






SERMON II. 157 

privileged with these manifestations. It is in the sanc 
tuary, in the attendance upon public ordinances, that they 
see his power and his glory, Psal. Ixiii. 1, 2. It was in 
hearing the gospel preached, that a great company of the 
priests became obedient to the faith ; and it was by the 
ministry of the word, that the Lord opened the heart of 
Lydia, to attend to the things that were spoken. It is in 
the field of meditation, that they get sometimes a refresh 
ing view of the glory of the Lord : " When I remember 
thee upon my bed," saith the Psalmist, " my soul followeth 
hard after thee." And it is in reading and searching the 
Scriptures, that they behold the glory of Christ, 2 Cor. iii. 
18. " Often," said an eminent saint, " have I seen the in 
visible God ; and when I saw him, it was in his word." It 
was in the duty of prayer, Gen. xxxii. 24, 30, that Jacob had 
a most remarkable manifestation of the glory of Christ. He 
wrestled with the Angel of the covenant till the breaking 
of the day, " and he blessed him there : and Jacob called 
the name of the place Peniel ; for I have seen God face to 
face, and my life is preserved." 

4. We remark, that there are some particular seasons 
wherein the Lord condescends to give manifestations to 
his disciples and followers ; such as, when they are lament 
ing after the Lord, and seeking him with a holy restless 
activity, Song iii. 3, " I sought him whom my soul loveth. 

It was but a little I passed from them, when I found 

him whom my soul loveth : I held him, and would not let 
him go." Or when humbled for their own sins, and the 
sins of the land, which have provoked him to withdraw : 
thus, when Daniel was exercised in this manner, it was 
said to him, " Daniel, a man greatly beloved," Dan. ix. 
23. Or when suffering for the cause and interest of Christ : 
thus Moses had a vision of Christ in a flame of fire out of 
the midst of a bush, when he was bearing the reproach of 
Christ at the back of the mount Horeb, and was there feed 
ing Jethro s sheep : and John, when in the isle of Patmos, for 
the testimony of Jesus, had the most refreshing manifesta 
tions of the glory of Christ, whose countenance is like the 



158 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

sun shining in his strength. Or when a person has difficult 
work to undertake at the Lord s command : thus Moses 
and Aaron had a manifestation of the glory of the Lord, 
and could say, " The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met 
with us." Or when a soul is tenderly affected with Christ s 
absence, and is mourning because the Comforter is far 
away, John xx. 11, 15, 16, "But Mary stood without at 

the sepulchre weeping. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, 

why weepest thou ? whom seekest thou 1 She supposing 
him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have 
borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will 
take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary : she turned 
herself, and said unto him, Rabboni, which is to say, Mas 
ter. Mary Magdalene came, and told the disciples that 
she had seen the Lord." Or in times of affliction. So was 
it with Jacob : he was destitute and afflicted, being an exile 
from his father s house ; but he had a manifestation of the 
glory of the Lord ; and " he called the name of the place 
Bethel." 

5. We remark, that frequently the most sensible and 
comfortable manifestations are attained to in the days of 
youth ; for not only to Jacob, but to Solomon also, did the 
Lord appear in his youth, 1 Kings iii. 5, " In Gibeon the 
Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night." 

6. We remark, that sometimes these manifestations are 
surprising. Jacob saith, " The Lord is in this place, and 
I knew it not." They fill the heart with a holy awe and 
reverence of God ; " How dreadful is this place ! " said 
Jacob : and they bring along with them some sweet taste 
of heart-warming, soul-refreshing communion with God; 
" This is the house of God, this is the gate of heaven." 
Christ is the gate by which the righteous enter in ; and a 
meeting with him brings the soul to the suburbs of heaven. 

7. We remark, that the memory of SanSestations of 
God in youth, remains with the saints through their pil 
grimage ; thus Jacob could not all his life forget the mani 
festations of God in his youth ; and the thoughts of them 
were fresh and supporting to him on his deathbed, Gen. 



SERMON II. 159 

xlviii. 3, " God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in Canaan, 
and blessed me." And the Lord himself doth keep a 
record of his gracious visits to souls in their youth : hence 
it was that he said to Jacob, " I am the God of Bethel, 
where thou anointedst the pillar, and vowedst the vow." 

8. We remark, that frequently the Lord doth make use 
of his rod in the days of youth. As we have formerly ob 
served, it was Jacob s case ; so, if it is thy case, reader, 
then plead the promise of God s covenant ; " I will cause 
you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the 
bond of the covenant," Ezek. xx. 37. The design of the 
rod is to bring you into the bond of the covenant ; and 
the Lord himself hath undertaken to bring you, though 
you are neither able nor willing to come of yourselves. 
This bond of the covenant will not rot in the grave, for it 
is an everlasting covenant ; and the blessings of this cove 
nant are free to needy sinners, such as you are : hence the 
blessings of the covenant, for their freeness, are called 
mercies, the " sure mercies of David." Mercy, I am sure, 
will answer thy case, be what it will : 0, then, trust a pro 
mising God, and put the work in his hand, who has said 
it, " I will cause you to pass under the rod, and bring you 
into the bond of the covenant." 

II. We proceed, in the second place, to speak a little of 
these manifestations, and to show what it is which God 
doth manifest and reveal to the rising generation. And, 

1. They get a manifestation of Jesus Christ, the Mediator 
betwixt God and man. Jacob saw a ladder set up on the 
earth, and the top of it reaching to heaven : this ladder 
was an emblem of Christ, who is called, " The way, the 
truth, and the life," John xiv. 6. And he is the Mediator 
between God and man, through whom we approach unto 
God. Christ the Son of God, like Jacob s ladder, was set 
up on the earth, in his incarnation and birth at Bethlehem ; 
and he reached heaven, in his Deity or divine nature. Thus, 
when he was upon earth, he affirmed of himself that he 
was likewise in heaven : " No man hath ascended to heaven, 
but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man 



160 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

which is in heaven." The ladder, the foot of it upon the 
earth, and the top of it in heaven at the same time, was 
an emblem of Christ in his person, God-man, 1 Tim. iii. 16, 
" Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the 
flesh, justified in the Spirit, preached to the Gentiles, be 
lieved on in the world, received up into glory." Heaven 
and earth are brought together, through Christ s media 
tion ; and there is an union by him betwixt God and man, 
an union of peace and reconciliation, an union of friend 
ship, and an union of end and design. By him also, there 
is a blessed intercourse and communion betwixt heaven 
and earth ; for, through him, by one Spirit, we have access 
to the Father, and come to God, the Judge of all ; and, 
through him, we believe in God, who raised him from the 
dead, and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might 
be in God. Through him, in short, we have boldness to 
enter into the holiest of all, by the blood of Jesus, through 
the new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, 
by the vail of his flesh. This ladder is fixed fast in the 
earth, in his satisfaction upon the cross, in his death and 
deep humiliation; and the top of it is fixed as fast in 
heaven, in his ascension, exaltation, and intercession with 
in the vail. It is a way and a ladder for the inhabitants 
of the earth : the foot of it is not set in hell, for the fallen 
angels ; no, there is a great and an unpassable gulph be 
twixt heaven and that place of separation from God : but 
the foot of it is set upon the earth, for the sons of men ; 
and every man, young or old, who hears this everlasting 
gospel, is invited, called, and warranted to come to God 
through Christ, who is " the way, the truth, and the life." 
There is no cherubim or flaming sword to obstruct your 
access ; but " the Spirit and the bride say, Come ; and let 
him that heareth say, Come ; and whosoever will, let him 
come and take the water of life freely." 

2. The Lord doth manifest and reveal himself to sinners 
in the days of their youth, as he is a God in Christ, recon 
ciling the world unto himself. Jacob, in this vision which 
he had in his youth, saw a ladder, an emblem of Christ in 



SEIIMON II. 161 

his mediation ; and he saw the Lord standing above it, 
proclaiming his covenant of promise, saying, " I am the 
God of Abraham thy father." 

God is seen, in Christ, in his ineffable glory, in the glory 
of all his infinite perfections : he is the eternal, self-exist 
ent Being ; he is JEHOVAH, and his glory he will not give 
to another. The glory of his infinite holiness and justice 
is seen in Christ, " whom he hath set forth to be a propi 
tiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteous 
ness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him that 
belie veth in Jesus." 

He is seen, in Christ, as a reconciled God, well pleased 
for his righteousness sake, Matth. iii. 17, " Lo, a voice from 
heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well 
pleased." God is well pleased with Christ, and with all 
those who are in Christ ; and those who are in Christ are 
well pleased with Christ, and well pleased with God, as he 
is in Christ : for God, as he is in Christ, is a reconciled 
God ; yea, he is " in Christ reconciling the world to him 
self;" willing, on Christ s account, to be reconciled to any 
man of the world whatsoever who hears this gospel ; and 
" beseeching sinners to be reconciled to him" through 
Christ, 2 Cor. v. 19, 20. God is so well pleased with the 
satisfaction of Christ, that he doth entreat and obtest sin 
ners to believe his love and good will to them, to stand no 
more at a distance from him, but to take the benefit of 
peace, of pardon, of grace and glory, for Christ s sake ; 
and, upon the account of what he hath done, " who was 
*nade sin for us, though he knew no sin, that we might be 
made the righteousness of God in him." 

God is seen in Christ as a promising God : Gen. xxviii. 
14, 15, " In thy seed shall all the families of the earth 
be blessed:" and, "Behold I am with thee, and will keep 
thee in all places whither thou goest." The divine pre 
sence is promised ; preserving and persevering grace is 
promised ; life is promised in all its fulness ; " he cominand- 
eth the blessing out of Zion, even life for evermore." 
God, as he is in Christ, is a giving God : " The land 
* L 



162 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

whereon thou liest, to tliee will I give it, and to thy seed," 
Gen. xxviii. 13. The earthly Canaan was a type and figure 
of heaven : the inheritance of the saints in light is given of 
God, here in the earnest of it, and hereafter in the full 
possession of it ; for he giveth grace and glory, Psal. Ixxxiv. 
11 ; he giveth the new heart, Ezek. xxxvi. 26; a heart to 
know the Lord, to love the name of the Lord, the heart of 
flesh. In the first covenant, man was to give something 
to God ; in the new covenant, God giveth all things to 
sinful men, in a way of free and sovereign grace : he giv 
eth them to inherit all things; he will be to them a 
God : and he giveth to them the kingdom ; " Pear not, 
little flock, it is the Father s good pleasure to give you 
the kingdom." 

God, as he is in Christ, is a forgiving God ; he has pro 
claimed his name, " The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and 
gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin." He 
is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, and " not 
imputing their trespasses unto them ;" because he " hath 
made him sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be 
made the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. v, 19, 21. 
In Jesus, " we have redemption through his blood, the for 
giveness of sins." Through him, all manner of sin and 
blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men ; and we receive the 
forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them that 
are sanctified by faith that is in him. Through him, God 
has promised to " be merciful to our unrighteousness, and 
to remember our sins and iniquities no more." It is there 
fore a full and free indemnity, which God has published 
through Christ in the gospel. 

Again, God, as he is in Christ, is a God of love, 1 John 
iv. 8, 16. He is not only loving, but he is love itself; and, 
by the exercise of faith, you are to believe, realize, and be 
persuaded of his love to your souls through Jesus Christ, 
and for his sake alone, 1 John iv. 16, 10, " We have known, 
and believed the love that God hath to us ; God is love. 
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved 
us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 



I 



SERMON II. 163 

This God is known and revealed in Christ, as our own 
God ; " God, even our God, shall bless us : " and " he that 
is our God, is the God of salvation." Have you seen God 
as he is in Christ ? You can have no saving, nor any com 
fortable discovery of God to your sinful souls, but as he is 
in Christ : out of Christ he is a consuming fire. God is 
only known and revealed in Christ as love, as the portion 
of his people : and if you have not seen him, as he is in 
Christ, standing above Jacob s ladder, you have never yet 
known him, nor seen him as he is. 

3. God doth frequently manifest and reveal to sinners, 
in the days of their youth, his holy covenant of promise. 
Jacob, in his youth, saw this ladder, an emblem of Christ, 
and JEHOVAH standing above the ladder, proclaiming his 
covenant of promise, saying, " I am the God of Abraham, 
and of Isaac ;" and " I will be with thee, and will keep 
thee." The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, 
and he showeth them his covenant ; he showeth them the 
freeness, the excellency, the stability of his covenant, and 
the great and glorious blessings and privileges that are in 
his covenant. 

He showeth them that he himself is in the covenant : 
thus he said to Jacob, " I am the God of Abraham thy 
father: I will be with thee, and will keep thee." Hence 
the great promise of the covenant, " I will be your God, 
and ye shall be my people," Zech. xiii. 9, " I will say, It is 
my people ; and they shall say, The Lord is my God." God 
has made over himself to you in the covenant, as your God 
in Christ s right ; and as your God in a way of promise, to 
be believed and relied on through Christ ; as your God in a 
way of grace, and not in a way of merit or in a way of works. 
Beware then that you reject not the counsel of God against 
your own souls. 

Christ is seen to be in the covenant, as the Mediator of 
the covenant ; as the Testator of the covenant ; as the con 
tracting party upon man s side in the covenant ; as having 
fulfilled the condition of the covenant in his everlasting 
righteousness ; as having purchased all the blessings of the 



164 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

covenant; and as dispensing all the grace of the covenant 
to needy destitute sinners of Adam s house. 

The Holy Spirit of promise is seen to be in the covenant, 
as your Teacher, Comforter, and Sanctifier ; and you are to 
believe in the Holy Ghost, and trust him to quicken you 
under your deadness, and to enlighten you under your 
darkness ; and you are to depend upon him, to manifest 
the glory of Christ to your souls, and to bring the words 
of Christ to your remembrance, John xiv. 26. and xvi. 14. 

The blessing is in the covenant, Gal. iii. 13, 14, " That 
the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles, 
through Jesus Christ." The blessing of a free-gifted righ 
teousness is in the covenant ; the everlasting righteousness 
of Messiah the Prince, which reigneth to eternal life, 
through Jesus Christ our Lord : the blessing of the pardon 
and remission of sins is in the covenant ; together with the 
blessing of fellowship with God in his ordinances here, and 
the immediate enjoyment of him in heaven hereafter. 

In short, the presence of God to be with you, is in the 
covenant : thus he said to Jacob, " I will be with thee, and 
will keep thee." His presence to be with you, in pros 
perity and adversity, in life and at death ; to be with you, 
to comfort you in all your tribulations ; to support you 
under all your burdens ; to direct you in all your straits ; 
to guide you with his counsel while here, and at death to 
receive you to glory. The Lord s keeping and safe preser 
vation is in the covenant, to keep you from sin, from Sa 
tan s devices and temptations ; to preserve your souls, in 
your going out and coming in, Psal. cxxi ; to deliver you 
from every evil work ; and to preserve you to his heavenly 
kingdom. 

The faithfulness, power, and mercy of God are all in the 
covenant, to secure the accomplishment of all he hath pro 
mised, Gen. xxviii. 15, " I will not leave thee till I have 
done that which I have spoken to thee of." Heaven, and 
the kingdom that cannot be moved, is in the covenant of 
promise. Canaan was a type of heaven ; and God said to 
Jacob, " The land on which thou liest will I give thee." 



SERMOX II. 165 

Death, the passage to heaven, is in the covenant ; " For all 
things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or 
the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things 
to come ; all are yours, and ye are Christ s, and Christ is 
God s," 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23. 

We proceed to apply the doctrine in a use of Examina 
tion and of Exhortation. 

EXAMINATION. 

1. They who have seen God as in Christ, and to whom 
JEHOVAH hath revealed his holy covenant of promise, are 
such as, through Christ, have " believed in God, who raised 
him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that our faith 
and hope might be in God," 1 Pet. i. 21. They trust to 
the promise, and wait for the accomplishment of the pro 
mise, through many contrary-like appearances and trials 
of their faith, because they judge him faithful who hath 
promised ; and they plead the promise even in their dark 
hours, with the eagerness of faith, Psal. cxix. 49, " Re 
member the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast 
caused me to hope." 

2. They who have seen God as he is in Christ, have 
avouched him for their God, Psal. xvi. 7, " my soul, 
thou hast said to the Lord, thou art my Lord." They have 
joined themselves to the Lord, to love the name of the 
Lord, and to serve him. They have taken hold of God s 
covenant of promise ; and as they account it a faithful 
saying, so they judge it worthy of all acceptation, " That 
Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom they 
are chief." 

3. They cleave to the Lord with purpose of heart. Hav 
ing seen him who is invisible, seen the glory of the invisi 
ble God in the person of Christ, they " choose rather to 
suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the 
pleasures of sin for a season," Heb. xi. 25. 



166 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 



EXHORTATION. 

We conclude this discourse, exhorting you to believe, 
and be persuaded of the promise of God, Heb. xi. 13, 
" These all died in faith, not having received the promises 
in the accomplishment of them, but having seen them afar 
off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and 
confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the 
earth." Believe the promise, as spoken to you, and trust to 
it, as a ground of faith to your souls ; for it is a covenant of 
promise ; and the promise is published to you, that it may be 
credited, believed, and trusted to by you. The great promise 
of the covenant is, " I will be your God, and ye shall be my 
people :" and this promise is given to you ; for " there are 
given unto us exceeding great and precious promises." It 
is given to be received by your faith and your trust in the 
mercy, love, grace, and faithfulness of God, brought near 
unto you, as the ground of your assured confidence. No 
thing is more free than a promise ; and the freeness of the 
covenant is a great encouragement to you to believe and 
trust in him who has given it. It is a covenant of grace, 
which was made for the unworthy and ill-deserving, and 
none else ; and therefore, though unworthy, thou art war 
ranted to trust to God s covenant of promise. 



( 167) 



SERMON III. 



GEN. xxviii. 20, 21. " And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will 

be with me, and keep me, then shall the Lord be my God." Jer. 

iii. 4, 19. " Wilt thou not, from this time, cry unto me, My Father, 
thou art the Guide of my youth? And 1 said, Thou shalt call me, My 
Father, and shalt not turn away from me." 

IN these words we may notice, 1. What was Jacob s exer 
cise in the days of his youth : he vowed a vow at Bethel, 
saying, " If God will be with me," or, as it may be read, 
seeing Jehovah will be with me, seeing he has promised to 
be with me, and has revealed his covenant of promise unto 
me, has made over himself to me in the covenant as my 
God ; therefore this same JEHOVAH " shall be my God." I 
trust to him, as a promising God, that he will be my God, 
through Christ Jesus ; I depend on him as my God, and 
devote myself to his service, worship, and obedience : 
" Then the Lord shall be my God." This exercise of Jacob, 
in the days of his youth, is recorded, as a pattern worthy 
of your imitation, who are the rising generation. 

2. In the other place of Scripture, Jer. iii. 4, we have 
God s own warrant to take hold of his covenant of promise 
in the days of our youth : " Wilt thou not, from this 
time, cry unto me, My Father, thou art the Guide of my 
youth?" 

3. Here, then, we have an encouraging promise of 
grace, to enable us to put in our claim to this wonderful 
relation, in which God is pleased to stand to us in the new 
covenant : " And I said, thou shalt call me, My Father, 
and shalt not turn away from me." 



168 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

From these words, we may deduce the following doc 
trinal observation. 

" That as the time of youth is an especial season of tak 
ing hold of God s covenant of promise ; so we ought to 
depend upon God s promised grace, to enable us to come 
personally into the bond of the covenant." 

In discoursing on this doctrine, we shall endeavour, by 
divine assistance, 

I. To show, that as God, in the covenant, stands in the 
relation of our God ; so we ought, in the application of 
faith, to say, " The Lord shall be my God." 

II. To speak a little of the import of these words, " Wilt 
thou not, from this time, cry unto me, My Father, thou art 
the Guide of my youth ] " 

III. To offer a few remarks concerning the encouraging 
promise of grace, to enable us to put in our claim to God, 
as standing in the relation of a Father in Christ Jesus 
unto us, who are fatherless, destitute sinners of Adam s 
house. 

IV. To apply the doctrine in a few inferences. 

I. We proceed to the first thing proposed, namely, To 
show, that as God in the covenant stands to us in the re 
lation of our God, so we ought, by the application of faith, 
to say, " The Lord shall be my God." And this head shall 
be considered in a few observations. 

1. We may observe, that man, by the breach of the first 
covenant, forfeited all right and claim to Jehovah, as his 
God : but Christ, as the second Adam, in virtue of his ful 
filling the condition of the covenant of grace, by his ever 
lasting righteousness, acquired a new claim and title to 
this relation ; hence it is said of him, as the new-covenant 
Head, Psal. Ixxxix. 26, " He shall cry unto me, Thou art 
my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation." Sin 
had made this world, which was like Eden, the garden of 
the Lord, to become like the valley of the son of Hinnom, 
a place of crying and howling ; and it had been eternally 
so, if the Son of God had not appeared on our behalf, and 
become the contracting party on man s side in the cove- 



SERMON m. 1G9 

nant of grace : but behold, in this howling wilderness, a 
cry is heard from the new-covenant Head, as a public per 
son, in the name of all his followers, " Thou art my God, 
the Rock of my salvation." Hence his words to the dis 
ciples, " I ascend to my Father, and your Father, and to 
my God, and your God." 

2. We may observe, that the great and leading blessing 
of the new covenant, is the promise of a saving relation 
to God, as our God in Christ Jesus, Jer. xxxi. 33, " But 
this is the covenant that I will make with the house of 

Israel, after these days, saith the Lord, 1 will be their 

God, and they shall be my people." I will be their God ; 
this is the soul s blessedness : an interest in God, as our 
God, is the summary of all happiness ; it is heaven itself, 
and the very heart and first glory of heaven, Rev. xxi. 7. 
The Author of this relation is God himself; " I will be 
their God, and they shall be my people." They shall be 
an accepted people, through Christ, the new covenant 
Head, accepted through his righteousness ; and they shall 
be my people, a holy and sanctified people, through the 
Spirit and grace of Christ, the Head of the redeemed from 
among men. The Author of this relation is God himself ; 
" I will be their God, and they shall be my people. I will 
be," speaks grace, and " they shall be," imports the same. 
And it being God who says, " I will be, and they shall be " 
this makes it infallibly sure, and lays the most solid founda 
tion for faith and hope. The ground of this grant of 
grace, and the title to claim it, is God s covenant : " But 
this is the covenant that I will make with the house of 
Israel, I will be their God." The right shall be conveyed 
to them in the way of a covenant, the covenant made with 
Christ the second Adam, and representative of his seed, a 
covenant that stands fast in his suretyship and satisfaction ; 
or upon the account of his doing and dying, " I will be 
their God:" upon the account of what Christ has done, 
which is the greatest of doings, the most noble and glorious 
that possibly can be done ; I will do this ; I will do all I 
can do, all that a God can do for them, " I will be their 



170 CHRIST S CALL TO TUB YOUNG. 

God." Man could do nothing for himself; but " when we 
were without strength, in due time Christ died for the 
ungodly." When man could do nothing, then God did do 
great things, the greatest things, things that angels and 
men shall eternally wonder at ; for he made over himself 
to man in the way of his covenant, that stands fast with 
Christ : " This is the covenant that I will make with the 
house of Israel, I will be their God, and they shall be my 
people." 

3. We observe that your privilege is great, in this, that 
God is your God through Christ Jesus, Deut. xxxiii. 29, 
26, 27, "Happy art thou, Israel, people saved by 
the Lord : for there is none like the God of Jeshurun, who 
rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency 
on the sky ; the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath 
are the everlasting arms." You are happy, for God is 
your God ; God the Father, is your Father to love you ; 
God the Son, is your Redeemer to save you from your 
sins ; God the Holy Ghost is your Teacher, your Comforter, 
and Sanctifier. All God s perfections and attributes are 
yours; his mercy is yours, to pardon you; his wisdom 
is yours, to direct you; his power is yours, to protect 
you ; his omniscience is yours, to watch over you ; his holi 
ness is yours, to sanctify you ; his goodness is yours, to 
bestow all good things upon you; his omnipresence is 
yours, to attend you, and solace you in all places and con 
ditions. In short, his eternity is the date of your happi 
ness ; his faithfulness is your security, insuring the accom 
plishment of all he has promised ; his justice is yours, to 
punish your enemies ; and his all-sufficiency is yours, to 
make you completely happy. His perfections, as made 
over to you in Christ, are a suitable antidote to all the 
evils which sin has brought upon you ; his wisdom cures 
your ignorance, his grace your guilt, and his power your 
weakness ; his mercy is a remedy for your misery, his 
faithfulness for your inconstancy, his holiness for your im 
purity, and his fulness supplieth all your wants. 

Yes, seeing that God is your God, all his promises are 



SERMON III. 171 

yours, all his gifts and graces are yours, and all his crea 
tures are yours ; his creatures on earth are yours to sus 
tain you ; his angels are yours, to guard you and encamp 
about you; this world is your sojourning place, and his 
heavens are your country and inheritance. 

It follows from all this that he will be your God, not for 
days, months, or years, but every day, in every place, and 
in every condition ; for he said, " I will never leave thee, 
nor forsake thee." He will be your God in all the troubles 
you meet with, and will support you ; he will be your God 
at death, Psal. xlviii. 4 ; and when all earthly comforts fail 
you, he will not fail you. He will be your God after you 
are dead, Matt. xxii. 31, 32. That which was spoken to 
Moses at the bush, was spoken for you as well as for him, 
" I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the 
God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the 
living : " for the dead in Christ do live unto him, and with 
him ; and therefore their bodies, which are rotting in the 
grave, shall rise again; for he is the God of the whole 
man, and the body is a part of the man. He will be your 
God for ever in heaven, for of them who are there it is 
said, " God himself shall be with them, and be their God." 
Happy art thou then, Israel, who like unto thee ? a 
people saved by the Lord ! 

4. We observe, that you are not only warranted in a way 
of faith, to apply this great promise of the covenant to your 
selves, but grace is promised to enable each of you, in a way 
of believing, to say, " The Lord is my God." Thus Jacob, 
in the exercise of faith, says in the text, " The Lord shall 
be my God : " and this language of faith has been the dia 
lect of the church in all ages, Psal. xci. 2, " I will say of 
the Lord, He is my Refuge ; niy God, and in him I will 
trust." The Lord saith in the promise, " I will be thy 
God;" and faith, in applying the promise, saith, "The 
Lord shall be my God : I will say of the Lord, he is my 
God." I will say in a way of believing, what God has said 
in a way of promise ; for the promise is given to be trusted 
to, to be credited, to be believed. Every one that reads 



172 CHRIST S CALL TO THE roujra. 

the promise, is warranted to believe it with application ; 
for the promise is spoken to you by God, as much as it 
was spoken to Judah, Jer. xxxi. 33, " I will be their God, 
and they shall be my people." The Lord saith, " I will be 
thy God," for Christ s sake ; and do you therefore say, with 
assured confidence, "The Lord shall be my God," for 
Christ s sake. The grace of the Holy Spirit is promised to 
you, to enable you to say it, Zech. xiii. 9, " I will say, It is 
my people ; and they shall say, The Lord is my God." I 
will say, " It is my people," through Jesus Christ, and his 
righteousness and satisfaction ; and they shall say, " The 
Lord is my God," through Jesus Christ, and his right 
eousness and satisfaction. God cannot be the God of a 
sinner, such as you are, otherwise than through Christ ; 
and he will be the God of every sinner that puts in his 
claim to him through Christ, and in his right. Are you 
pleased with the great grant and promise of the covenant, 
" God for your God 1 " have your eyes been opened, to see 
Christ in the glory of his person ? and has your heart been 
made to acquiesce in the tenor of the covenant, the hold 
ing of grace, and through the righteousness of Jesus? 
Then you have said it, "The Lord is my God;" and you 
may know, for your comfort, " That this God is your God 
for ever and ever, and will be your Guide even unto 
death." 

God giveth himself to you, in the promise, for your God. 
Christ is a Prophet, to reveal God to you ; he is a Priest, 
to bring you to God ; and he is a King, to keep you with 
God : therefore trust to him, and depend upon him, as the 
Mediator betwixt God and you. Just now God is willing 
to be your God ; this is the season of mercy, to obtain God 
for your God : and I can tell you, as certainly as God is in 
heaven, that if you do not take him for your God, you 
shall repent it to all eternity. 

But can you not say, that, in some measure, this is your 
exercise, through grace, to make choice of God for your 
God, Psal. xvi. 2, and to give yourselves to the Lord, i 
Cor. viii. 4 ? Are you not in so far pleased with the con- 



SERMON III. 173 

trivance of salvation, because it is so much calculated for 
debasing self, and exalting free grace ? 

God giveth himself to you through Christ ; and seeing 
this to be the case, it is your great business, in the 
strength of grace, to accept of him in Christ for your chief 
end, to aim at his glory in all you do, 1 Cor. x. 31 ; to ac 
cept of him as your chief happiness, the rest of your souls, 
and the delight of your hearts, Psal. cxvi. 7 ; to take his 
will and law for your rule, and to accept of him in Christ, 
for your portion for ever, Lam. iii. 24. Surely it is your 
part to devote yourselves to him, and to present yourselves 
in soul and body a living sacrifice, acceptable through 
Christ, the gospel-altar, Is. Ivi. 7. You are to live to him 
who died for you, and rose again ; you are to obey what 
he commands, in his strength ; you are to be ruled by his 
laws ; you are to be disposed of by his providence : you 
are to give all you have to him ; your soul, with all its 
faculties and powers ; your body, with all its members ; 
your understanding, to know him ; your will, to choose 
him ; your heart, to love him ; your eyes, to read his word, 
and behold his works; and your lips, to pray to him, to 
bless him and to praise him. For you are not your own, 
but bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in your 
bodies and spirits, which are God s. Account not your 
life dear to you, if he call you to witness for him, even to 
resisting unto blood; but let it be your concern in all 
things to live to his glory, for you are " a chosen genera 
tion, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, 
that you might show forth the praises of him who hath 
called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." 

II. We proceed to speak a little of what is imported in 
these words of the text, " Wilt thou not, from this time, cry 
unto me, My Father, thou art the Guide of my youth I " 
And, 

1. These words do import, that a call and invitation is 
directed from God, to you who are the rising generation, 
to take hold of his covenant of promise : and thus saitii 
the Lord to you, and to every one of you in particular, 



174 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

" Wilt thou not, from this time, cry unto me, My Father ? " 
This is a message to you from God ; and the word of ex 
hortation speaketh unto you as unto children. 

2. They import, that every one of you in particular must 
personally take hold of the covenant. The faith of your 
parents will not save you, nor give you an interest in the 
covenant, unless you yourself believe on the Son of God. 
" Wilt thou not," in particular, and by name and sur 
name, " cry unto me, My Father ? " 

3. They import, that God publisheth an indemnity and 
an act of grace, and is willing to pass by all your former 
refusals of Christ, whether you are young or old : " Wilt 
thou not, from this time, cry unto me, My Father 1 " What 
ever you have done in former times, behold now, even yet, 
is the accepted time, the day of salvation ! " To day, if 
you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the 
provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness." 

4. They import, that it is most acceptable to God, that 
you, in particular, take hold of his covenant, and call him 
Father in Christ s right, in Christ s name, and by the 
assistance of the Spirit of Christ. You may speak it, yea, 
cry it to God himself; and it will be melody sounding 
sweetly in the court of heaven, and before a throne of 
grace : " Wilt thou not, from this time, cry unto me, My 
Father?" 

5. They import, that the Lord himself answereth all 
your objections against calling him your Father. There 
can be no reason against it, but your own unbelief; " Wilt 
thou not, from this time, cry unto me, My Father 1 " Your 
father Adam, the head of the first covenant, died, and left 
you and all his other children fatherless; but the Lord 
speaketh an encouraging word to you in the new covenant ; 
a call is directed to you who are fatherless, from him in 
whom the fatherless do find mercy ; " Wilt thou not, from 
this time, cry unto me, My Father ? " Here he declares, 
that he is willing to stand in the relation of a Father in 
Christ unto you, and directs you to claim him by this ten 
der appellation : and though you should object, that your 



SEEMON III. 175 

trespasses are grown up unto the heavens, and your sins 
are more than the hairs of your head ; yet he saith, as in 
the context, " Though thou hast played the harlot with 
many lovers, yet return unto me, saith the Lord. Wilt 
thou not, from this time, cry unto me, My Father 1 " 

6. They import, that the grounds of faith laid down in 
the word, are stable and solid ; so that the chief of sinners, 
who hear this everlasting gospel, may venture their souls 
salvation upon them, with assured confidence. They may 
not only say it, and whisper it with a soft voice, but they 
may cry it with a full breath, in the hearing of angels and 
men, to the glory of God in their salvation, " Thou art my 
Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation. Wilt thou 
not, from this time, cry unto me, My Father?" Faith, 
when planted in the soul, and drawn forth into exercise, 
with a sight of its object, is exerted with the greatest 
freedom, and with the complacency of the whole soul ; for, 
according to the strength of faith, the cry is raised, and 
doth ring and echo through the whole man, " Thou art my 
God, the Rock of my salvation." It belongs to faith, where 
it is, not only to realize its object, but to believe with a 
particular application to the man himself; so that my 
Father is its native cry. 

7. They import, that youth doth need a guide. " Thou 
art the Guide of my youth." Young men need a guide 
to teach them how to cleanse their way, Psal. cxix. 9, 
" By what means shall a young man cleanse his way 1 By 
taking heed thereto, according to thy word." The way of 
your heart is a polluted way ; and you would acknowledge 
it to be such, if you knew the plague of your own heart, 
1 Kings viii. 38. Had you a spiritual and humbling dis 
covery of the atheism, self-conceit, self -righteousness, 
enmity, earthly-mindedness, vanity and blasphemy, with 
which your hearts are defiled ; and did you see that your 
hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately 
wicked ; you would be persuaded that you infinitely need 
that God, by his word and Spirit, would come and cleanse 
them. You need to have the way of your worship cleansed. 



176 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

to be guided of God, to worship him in spirit and in truth ; 
and to have the way of your walk and conversation cleansed, 
that your corruptions may be mortified, that you may be 
kept from youthful lusts which war against the soul ; and 
that you may have your " conversation in heaven, from 
whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, 
who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned 
like unto his glorious body." Youth is exposed to many 
temptations, especially in this sinful and corrupt day 
wherein we live ; and you need to have God for the Guide 
of your youth, that you be not led into temptation, but 
delivered from all evil. And though you be young, yet 
your dying-day may be at the door, and a journey just be 
fore you, through the dark mountains, through the dark 
valley and shadow of death. You therefore greatly need 
to have this God for your God for ever and ever, and to be 
your Guide even unto death ; that he may bring you to 
that land, where the inhabitant shall not say I am sick, 
and the people thereof are forgiven their iniquity. 

8. They import, that you may have God for the Guide 
of your youth, and may lay claim to him in that relation ; 
" Wilt thou not" claim him in this character? Nothing 
doth dishonour him more, nothing doth offend him more, 
than that you do not in particular, and for yourselves, put 
in your claim upon him as your Father, and the Guide of 
your youth. Can you have a better father than God ? or 
can you have a better guide than a father ] Your heavenly 
Father has infinite wisdom, he is a God of infinite power, 
his love to you is an infinite love ; and can you be in safer 
keeping than just in his hand ? 

Young man, it is the voice of God to thee, " Trust in 
the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own 
understanding ; in all thy ways acknowledge him, and ne 
will direct thy paths." The Psalmist said it, and do you, 
through grace, say it likewise, " God, thou art my trust 
from my youth," Psal. Ixxi. 4, 5. 

Depend on God in Christ, for teaching, Psal. Ixxi. 17, 
" I have been taught by thee from my youth, and hitherto 



SERMON III. 177 

I have declared thy works." how refreshing and in 
structing are the lessons he has taught his people in their 
youth ! By one such lesson you will know more of God, 
than by hearing and reading all the days of your life : to 
hear and to read are means of his institution, but they 
are ineffectual without the teaching of his Spirit. By 
his teaching, you will be enabled to see, and seeing to 
declare his wonders ; his wonders in the works of na 
ture, in the works of creation and providence ; the won 
ders of his grace, and of his love ; the wonders of his 
mercy and goodness to your souls : " Come, hear, all ye 
that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for 
my soul." 

His teaching will be effectual to bring you to Christ, 
and to preserve you in Christ ; for every one that hath 
heard, and learned of the Father, cometh to the Son : and 
it will fit you for bearing his yoke in your youth, his yoke 
of obedience, and his yoke of suffering, as he sees meet to 
call you to it. " It is good for a man that he bear the 
yoke in his youth." 

III. We now proceed to offer a few remarks concerning the 
encouraging promise of grace, to enable you to put in your 
claim to God, as standing in the relation of a Father in 
Christ unto you. 

1. We remark, that adoption, or the privilege of son- 
ship, is one of the blessings of the new covenant. In the 
first covenant, Adam was the son of God by creation ; but 
in the new covenant, we become the sons of God by re 
generation, by adoption, and by faith in Christ Jesus. The 
eternal Son of God is become the Son of man, by his in 
carnation; and through him, as the new-covenant Head, 
the Head of the redeemed from among men, we have com 
munion with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
as our God and Father, in his title and right. And may 
we not, in a transport of holy wonder, cry out with the 
apostle, 1 John iii. 1, " Behold what manner of love the 
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called 
the sons of God ! " The Spirit of adoption, crying, " Abba 
4 M 



178 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

Father," is one of the blessings of this covenant of promise. 
And it is an article of this new-covenant, that the prodigal 
son shall see and be convinced of his lost estate in the first 
covenant ; that his first father Adam died, and left his 
children fatherless ; that we all sinned and died in him, as 
a public person, and are therefore, considered in ourselves, 
both destitute and without hope in the world, Psal. xlv. 
10, "Hearken, daughter, and incline thine ear; forget 
thine own people, and thy father s house." Thy father s 
house, the first Adam s family, is a broken house ; there is 
neither food nor clothing in it, nor any sanctuary in it, to 
protect perishing sinful souls from the vindictive wrath of 
God : but in Christ s Father s house there are many man 
sions, and a table is covered in it, to satiate every weary 
soul, and to replenish every sorrowful soul. 

2. We remark, that there is an almighty efficacy in the 
grace of God, conveyed to the souls of men, through the 
promise of the new covenant ; " Thou shalt call me, My 
Father." Though God reveals himself as a Father in 
Christ, yet not one soul would ever have cried to him, 
had he not pledged his faithfulness for it in the promise ; 
" Thou shalt call me, My Father." I, who am JEHOVAH, 
have said it ; and what I have said, shall be accomplished : 
I said it, who said, " Let there be light, and there was 
light," when nothing but darkness covered the face of the 
deep : I have said it, and therefore the unbelief and enmity 
of thy heart, and all the snares of the world, and tempta 
tions of Satan combined against thy soul, shall not be able 
to gainsay it : I have said it in a way of promise, and 
therefore thou shalt say it in a way of faith and believing. 
Thou shalt say it with the greatest freedom of choice and 
election, with the truest kind of liberty, and with a jubilee 
of delight running through thy whole soul. 

3. We may remark, that it is only by the Spirit of the 
Son, and in the right of the Son of God, the first-born from 
among many brethren, that we can say unto God, " Thou 
art my Father, thou art the Guide of my youth," Gal. iv. fi. 

4. We remark, that it is for the glory of God that we 



SEilMON III. 179 

eaJ-1 him, " My Father," in Christ s name, and in his right 
and title. God did never put any thing in a promise, but 
it was for his own honour and glory; and he has promised 
it, thou shalt call me, " My Father." But perhaps some 
may say, Is this promise directed to me ? and is it for the 
glory of God, that I in particular call him, " My Father?" 
Yes, it is. The promise is absolute, without any condition 
or limitation ; it is directed to all who hear this everlast 
ing gospel, and therefore it is directed to you, as well 
as to others. You have a Bible put into your hands, 
wherein this word of grace is recorded, and this is a full 
warrant to you to believe it, and apply it to yourselves. 
It is a word of grace directed to lost sinners, to those that 
are fatherless ; and you cannot deny that you are one of 
that sort and kind. It is then the will of God that you 
call him, " My Father," in the name of Christ ; for it is 
his will, that his promise be believed, and trusted unto. 
Nothing will please him so well as that you say to him, " My 
Father," in Christ Jesus ; and that you flee into the em 
braces of his love, through the Son of his love, Matt. iii. 
17, " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." 
God is well-pleased with Christ, and with all those that 
are in Christ ; and those who are in Christ are well-pleased 
with Christ, and they are well- pleased with God, as he is 
in Christ : for God, as he is in Christ, is a reconciled God, 
and a merciful Father, forgiving iniquity, transgression, 
and sin ; and he " rests in his love." 

5. We remark, that we may depend upon the pro 
mise of God for grace, to enable us to say to him, " My 
Father." The promise looketh to you that cannot use 
these words. Thou shalt be enabled to use them. This is 
determined on ; and he is saying to you, it is not from any 
good disposition in you, but from grace and love in me ; it 
is not from any power in you, but from my faithfulness in 
the promise, and from my almighty power to accomplish it, 
that thou shalt be brought to say, " My Father." Heaven 
itself, as it were, is wrapt up in this promise, " Thou shalt 
say, My Father;" that is, thou shalt know me to be JEHOVAH, 



180 CHKIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

to be thy God in Christ ; thou shalt know my name as it is 
in Christ, know my mercy, my love, and grace ; thou shalt 
choose me for thy God and portion ; thou shalt trust in 
me for grace and glory, for the upper and nether springs of 
heavenly consolation. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, 
honour and serve me with reverence and godly fear, as thy 
" Father;" thou shalt be circumcised to love me with all 
thine heart ; thou shalt be enabled to depend upon me for 
every thing thou dost need, from the shoe s latchet to the 
great salvation ; and thou shalt come to me daily with all 
thy wants and complaints, as a child to his father, able 
and ready to help him; for, "thou shalt call me, My 
Father, and shalt not depart from me." Yea, thou shalt 
live and die about my hand : and, waiting thus on the 
Lord, " thou shalt renew thy strength, and mount up with 
wings as eagles : thou shalt walk, and not weary, and thou 
shalt run, and not faint." 

IV. We now proceed to make some application of this 
doctrine, and that in a use of Examination and Exhor 
tation. 

EXAMINATION. 

1. Those who have taken hold of God s covenant of pro 
mise, have seen themselves to be in a sinful and miserable 
state, by the breach of the first covenant. You have seen 
that the variance betwixt God and you is very great, and 
that the quarrel is running very high: you have been 
made to approve of, and rely upon God s method of salva 
tion; accounting it a faithful saying, and worthy of all 
acceptation, that Christ came into the world to save sin 
ners, of whom you are chief. You have renounced all 
other confidences, and you depend upon the mediation of 
the Lord Jesus, in all your approaches to God ; you have 
a daily correspondence with him, as appearing in the pre 
sence of God for us, coming to him with all your wants to 
be supplied, with all your plagues to be healed, and with 
all your sins to be pardoned. 






SERMON III. 181 

2. They have a deliberate complacency in the covenant 
of promise. As we show ourselves the children of the first 
Adam, by our natural bent to the covenant of works ; so 
the believing soul has a liking and relish of the new cove 
nant proposed in the gospel, and saith of it, " It is all my 
salvation, and all my desire," 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 

3. How do you like the way of holding in this covenant, 
a holding of grace, and holding upon what Christ has 
done 1 Doth the grant and disposition of the new cove 
nant please you well, so that you delight to hold all in the 
Redeemer s right, and to cry through him, " Thou art my 
Father, the Rock of my salvation 1 " How stand you 
affected to the new-covenant Head ? Do you glory in him 
only? Is. xlv. last. And do you rejoice in Christ Jesus, 
having no confidence in the flesh 1 Phil. iii. 3. Do your 
hearts sometimes burn with love to an unseen Saviour ? 
And is he to you the " Plant of renown, the Pearl of great 
price, and more excellent than all the mountains of prey 1 " 
Do you look upon yourselves as bankrupt creatures ? and 
are you well-pleased that he has all your stock in his 
hand, or that in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowledge 1 " They shall hang upon him all the glory 
of his Father s house, and all the vessels of greater and 
smaller quantity." The great end and design of the new 
covenant, which is to glorify God, to honour Christ, and 
to abase self, is relished with complacency by all the 
spiritual seed of Abraham ; they see grace in it, mercy in 
it, wisdom and love in it, and heaven dawning in it. There 
is nothing in this covenant they would have out of it, and 
there is nothing out of it they would have in it ; they re 
joice in it, " as well ordered in all things and sure." 

4. The righteousness of Christ will be the only ground 
of your confidence, Phil. iii. 7, 8 ; you will desire to be 
found in him, having that righteousness which is by the 
faith of Christ ; and this you will rejoice and glory in, that 
his name is " The Lord our righteousness." The eternal 
Son of God, in the covenant, consented to become man, 
and to be the federal Head and Representative of an elect 



182 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUXG. 

world, Is. xlii. 1. Psal. Ixxxix. 19. The breach between 
God and man was greater than to be done away by one 
travelling between parties at variance, to reconcile them 
with bare words. There could be no covenant of peace 
betwixt God and sinners, without reparation of damages 
done to the honour of God through sin, and without hon 
ouring the law by an exact obedience ; and the Son of God 
said, "Lo! I come," Psal. xl. 7; I put myself in their 
room and law-place, as the second Adam, to do both these, 
in the obedience of my life, and in the sufferings of my 
death. And let us here adore the condescension of the 
Son of God in becoming man, a man of sorrows, and ac 
quainted with grief? He who is " over all, God blessed 
for ever," condescended to be brought into the rank and 
order of creatures, Rom. ix. 5. He condescended to take 
unto him an inferior nature, the nature of man, and not 
the nature of the angels, Heb. ii. 16. He assumed the 
human nature after it was blasted by sin, and withered 
with the curse ; for he took on him " the likeness of sinful 
flesh," Rom. viii. 3 ; so that, though he was not a sinner, 
yet he looked like one. By this assumption, his Deity was 
vailed, and his glory eclipsed, Phil. ii. 6, 7 ; for he humbled 
himself, and made himself of no reputation, that he might 
glorify God upon the earth, and that in his righteousness 
we might be exalted. 

Thus did the eternal Son of God condescend to be the 
Representative of an elect world, to transact in their 
name, Is. xlii. 1. Psal. Ixxxix. 19. 1 Cor. xv. 47. The 
holy One of God represented wretched sinners ; the Be 
loved of the Father represented the sinful company. 
Hence the righteousness of Christ is not imputed to his 
people in its effects only, (which is no proper imputation 
at all,) so as their faith, repentance, and sincere obedience, 
are therefore accepted, as their evangelical righteousness, 
on which they are justified ; but Christ s righteousness is 
imputed to them in itself, even as Adam s sin was imputed 
to his posterity ; for Christ obeyed and suffered as a public 
person, in the room and law-stead of his people ; even as 



SERMON III. 183 

Adam sinned as a public person, and his posterity sinned 
in him, and fell with him, Rom. v. 12, 19. and viii. 3 ; so 
that the covenant of grace is absolute, and not conditional 
to us ; for, it being made with Christ as Representative, 
the condition of it was laid upon him, and fulfilled by him, 
in his everlasting righteousness. 

EXHORTATION. 

We now proceed to a use of Exhortation ; and would 
solemnly exhort you, whether young or old, in the name 
of the eternal God, and in the name of his Son Christ 
Jesus our Lord, that you, and every one of you who shall 
read these lines, do personally, and for yourselves, embrace 
and take hold of God s covenant of promise. Take hold of 
it as left to you : for there is a promise left you of enter 
ing into God s rest ; and beware lest you come short of it, 
Heb. iv. 1. It is given to you and to your children, to be 
believed and trusted to, and applied by you, Acts ii. 39, 
40; and this will be your condemnation, if you reject the 
counsel of God against your own souls. 

When the soul gets a saving discovery of God, as he is 
in Christ, it is not one blessing that attends it, but a mul 
titude of blessings, even all the sure mercies of David. 
" Acquaint thyself now with God, and be at peace with 
him, and thereby good shall come unto thee." You can 
not know God until you see him in Christ ; since he is 
in Christ, you may now, without delay, acquaint yourself 
with him : and if once you are acquainted with God, and 
know him as he is in Christ, you cannot but be at peace 
with him ; for there you will see him as he is, " reconciling 
the world unto himself." You will see him to be love, 
1 John iv. 10 ; seeing him to be love, you will love him, 
who first loved you ; and, loving him, you will be at peace 
with him, who is " the God of peace, who brought again 
from the dead the Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the 
sheep, by the blood of the everlasting covenant." The 
very first sight you see of God, as he is in Christ, will draw 



184 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

your heart unto him with cords of love ; and that day will 
be the day-spring from on high to your soul ; the day of your 
espousals unto Christ, and of your conversion unto God. 
This will be the day of God s working in your heart the 
work of faith with power, and of his betrothing you unto 
himself for ever, in faithfulness, and in righteousness, in 
loving-kindness, and in tender mercies. 

If the question be moved, What is it to take hold of the 
covenant of promise? We answer, That the way to take 
hold of the covenant, or the way to enter personally into 
the covenant of grace, is to give yourselves up to Christ 
the new-covenant Head by faith. This is the way, and 
may a day of the Mediator s power accompany any small 
endeavours that are made, to speak of the mystery of 
faith, in the believing application of the promise of God s 
covenant ! It will be matter of the most mournful lamen 
tation, if the ark of the covenant be opened unto you in 
the gospel, and not one shelterless soul of Adam s family 
flee into it for refuge. 

It is only under the influence of the Holy Spirit that 
you can personally come into the covenant, Is. xliv. 5. and 
xlv. 24 ; and you come personally into it, by the following 
steps : 1. Through the grace of the Divine Spirit, you are 
convinced of sin, or made to see and believe that you are 
lost, ruined, and undone in Adam, by his breaking the 
first covenant, as a federal head and a public person, Rom. 
v. 12, 19. 1 Cor. xv. 22. 2. That by nature you are wholly 
corrupted, averse to good, and prone to evil, Gen. vi. 5. 

3. That you are under the curse of the broken law, and 
bound over to the avenging wrath of God, Gal. iii. 10. 

4. That you are utterly unable to help yourselves out of 
this gulf of sin and misery into which you are plunged, 
Ezek. xvi. 4, 5, 6. 5. You are made to believe, that there 
is a covenant of grace, for the relief of lost sinners, estab 
lished between God essentially considered, and the Lord 
Jesus, as the Head of the redeemed from among men ; or, 
between the Father, as representing the Deity, and his 
eternal Son, as the second Adam, wherein the Lord Jesus 



SERMON III. 185 

undertook to fulfil all righteousness as a public person, 
and the Father contracted to bestow all blessings upon 
that account ; and that this covenant of grace is a free 
and an absolute covenant, and not conditional as to you ; 
for, the covenant being made with Christ as Representa 
tive, the conditions of the covenant were laid upon him, 
and fulfilled by him, in and by his holy birth, his righteous 
life, and satisfactory death, Psal. Ixxxix. throughout. 6. 
You are made to believe, that the covenant of grace, ful 
filled in the condition of it by Christ its Head, and cer 
tainly to be fulfilled in its promise, is, in Christ crucified, 
really offered to you in particular in the gospel ; and that 
you are called to the fellowship of it in him : for, " To you 
is the word of this salvation sent ; " and, " The promise is 
to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, 
even as many as the Lord our God shall call," Acts ii. 39. 
and xiii. 26. 7. You are made to believe on the name of 
Christ crucified, offered and exhibited to you in particular, 
as the Lord our righteousness, as the great High Priest of 
our profession, who was ordained for men, who made re 
conciliation for the sins of the people, and who is now to 
men the end of the law for righteousness. " To him give 
all the prophets witness, that through his name, whoso 
ever believeth in his name, shall receive the remission of 
sins." 8. You are made so to believe in him as to devote 
yourselves unto him, and worship him, as the King of Zion, 
and Governor among the nations. Hearken unto him as 
your Prophet ; and, in his strength, resign yourselves in 
soul and body, and all you have, unto him, to be taught 
by his word and Spirit, ruled by his laws, and disposed of 
by his providence ; to be his disciples, his servants, his 
followers, Is. xliv. 4, 5 ; renouncing, through his grace, all 
other lords and lovers, Hos. xiv. 4, 5, 8 ; and relying on 
him, to be rescued from sin and Satan, from the present 
evil world, from death, hell, and the grave. You may trust 
in him, as King in Zion for sanctification ; for he is a 
heart-conquering and a sin-subduing Lord : " He will sub 
due our iniquities, and will cast all our sins into the depths 



186 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

of the sea," Mic. vii. 19. 9. Through Christ, believe in 
God, as your God and Father, in his title and right ; and 
depend upon the Holy Ghost, as your Sanctifier, Comforter, 
Teacher, and Remembrancer, 1 Cor. vi. 19. John xiv. 26. 
and xv. 26, 27. 

" To day if you will hear his voice, harden not your 
hearts." The word of exhortation speaketh unto you as 
unto children ; " My son, give me thy heart." Let no one 
think that he is shut out. " The sons of the stranger, that 
join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the 
name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keep- 
eth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my 
covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, 
and make them joyful in my house of prayer : their burnt- 
offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine 
altar ; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for 
all people," Is. Ivi. 6, 7. 

(1.) Consider, that it has been the practice of all the 
saints, in all ages, to come personally into the bond of the 
covenant. Thomas saith, " Thou art my Lord, and my 
God;" and the church doth put in her claim to the cove 
nant-relation, " The Lord is my portion, saith my soul ; 
therefore will I hope in him," Lam. iii. 24. See also Psal. 
xvi. 2. and Ixxiii. 25, 27. (2.) Consider it is a business no 
other person can do for you ; if, by grace, you do not person 
ally come into the bond of the covenant for yourselves, you 
cannot come at all. The parent cannot come for the child, 
nor the husband for the wife, Jer, ix. 25. Matt. viii. 11, 
12. Amos ix. 7. (3.) The call to come into the bond of the 
covenant is personal, directed to every man who hears the 
gospel ; " Unto you I call, men," Prov. viii. 4 ; and the 
answer of faith to the call must therefore be personal ; 
" When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said, Thy 
face, Lord, will I seek. Surely shall one say, in the Lord 
have I righteousness and strength," Psal. xxvii. 8. Is. xlv. 
23. and xliv. 4. (4.) Consider, this is the season of coming 
personally into the bond of the covenant ; it is the season 
of youth with some of you, and " it is good to bear Christ s 



SERMON III. 187 

yoke in your youth." The Lord appeared to Solomon, at 
Gibeon, in his youth ; and Obadiah feared the Lord from 
his youth. It is the voice of the Son of God to you, " I 
love them that love me, and those that seek me early, shall 
find me," Prov. viii. 17. It is a time of backsliding and 
defection with us all ; for we have forsaken the Lord God 
of our fathers ; and therefore it is a season wherein we 
ought to say, " I will go and return to my first husband ; 
for then was it better with me than now : " and it is en 
couraging for us to think that the Lord, the God of Israel, 
hateth putting away. It is withal a time of threatened 
judgments, and therefore a proper season for taking hold 
of God s covenant; for when the decree bringeth forth, 
and the day of the Lord s controversy approacheth, there 
will be no safety but in the ark of the covenant. 

As for directions, I shall only say, 1. That you are to 
take hold of the covenant of promise, in an humble and 
confident dependence upon the grace and strength of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, without whom you can do nothing ; 
depending upon a promising God, and upon the Holy Spirit 
of promise, Is. xliv. 5. and xlv. 24. Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26. 
John xv. 4, 5. and i. 16. 2. You are to take hold of it 
cordially ; " For with the heart man believeth unto righte 
ousness ; " and Psal. xvi. 2. the Psalmist saith, " my 
soul, thou hast said unto JEHOVAH, Thou art my Lord." 
3. You are to take hold of the covenant with judgment 
and solid consideration, and not by a mere flash of affec 
tion, Hos. ii. 19, "I will betroth thee unto me in judg 
ment." 4. You are to take hold of the covenant speedily, 
and without delay ; for the Master is come, and calleth 
for you ; and blessed are you who are called to the mar 
riage-supper of the Lamb. It is the voice of God to you 
this very day ; " I will say, It is my people ; and they shall 
say, The Lord is my God," Zech. xiii. 9. Though you find 
not that enlargement which you would wish to attain unto ; 
yet, if your doubting and averseness be your burden, as 
they are your sin, do you essay and endeavour to say it in 
the strength of grace, though it should be with stammer- 



188 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

ing lips, " The Lord is my God." This was Jacob s lan 
guage at Bethel, in the day of his youth, and in the day of 
his distress, when he fled from the face of Esau his brother, 
" The Lord shall be my God." 

I shall conclude with recommending it to you, to meditate 
frequently upon the love of Christ, and upon the decease 
which he accomplished at Jerusalem. 

1. Meditate frequently upon the love of Christ as be 
trothing love. God, in the new covenant, has revealed 
himself as a betrothing God. The Son of God has betrothed 
and married our nature to himself in a personal union, and 
we may therefore, with confidence, venture upon his grace 
and good-will toward men. The Lord Jesus Christ has 
promised to betroth sinners of Adam s house to himself 
in a way of free and sovereign grace, Hos. ii. 19, 20, " I 
will betroth thee unto me for ever ; yea, I will betroth thee 
unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving- 
kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto 
me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord." The 
great God in our nature Christ has taken his betrothing 
love, and wrapped it up in a covenant of promise ; and in 
dorsed the promise to sinners, that the sinful sons of men 
may trust it, and that all may feel they have a warrant to 
claim it for salvation. 

The persons betrothed are sinners of Adam s house ; the 
glorious infinite person betrothing, is the great God our 
Saviour : and it is a most blessed union which is thus 
formed betwixt sinners and a Saviour ; betwixt dead sin 
ners, and him who is the resurrection and the life ; betwixt 
blind benighted souls, and him who is the light of the 
world; betwixt diseased, polluted sinners, and him who 
loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood ; 
betwixt guilty sinners, and him who is JEHOVAH our 
righteousness, in whom God is to be found, reconciling the 
world unto himself, not imputing unto men their tres 
passes. Hearken therefore, and consider it, ye children of 
men ; forget your father s house, the house of the first 
Adam ; and forego all hold of the first covenant, (for that 



SERMON III. 189 

covenant being broken, the whole family is undone and 
ruined,) and be espoused to the Lord Jesus, the Head of 
the redeemed from among men ; " So shall the King greatly 
desire your beauty," Psal. xlv. 10. 

Consider the attractions of our Lord Jesus Christ. He 
is fairer than the sons of men ; he is altogether lovely, 
Psal. xlv. 1. Song v. 10, 16 ; his riches are unsearchable 
riches of grace and of glory, Eph. iii. 8. Consider his dying 
love, that he was slain, that he might redeem you to God 
by his blood, that he might redeem you from this present 
evil world, and redeem you from all iniquity, Rev. v. 9. Gal. 
i. 3, 4. Tit. ii. 14. He is the Judge of the quick and the 
dead, the Prince of the kings of the earth, the first-begot 
ten of the dead, who took upon him your dying clay that 
he might give you a glorious immortality ; for when Christ, 
who is your life, shall appear, ye shall also appear with 
him in glory. 

2. Meditate frequently upon the glorious decease which 
Christ accomplished at Jerusalem, Luke ix. 30, 31, " And 
behold there talked with him two men, which were Moses 
and Elias, who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease 
which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." 

It is necessary, in your meditating upon such a theme, 
that you be under the influence of the Spirit of glory. 
Moses and Elias appeared in glory, and talked of his de 
cease ; they had a noon-tide of the light of glory, of the 
Spirit of glory, upon them : and unless a twilight-glimpse 
of that glory beam into your hearts, you will neither think 
nor talk to purpose of a subject so stupendous. It is a 
subject so sublime as to be spoken of for ever by saints 
and angels. There will be use of speech in heaven ; there 
will be a voice of tongues about the throne ; and their talk 
will be of the decease which Christ accomplished at Jeru 
salem. 

His decease was his death, his exit or departure. The 
departure of Israel out of Egypt to Canaan, is called their 
Exit or Exodw, the same word which is used here : and 
his decease was like their departure, accompanied by a 



100 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

bloody attack upon him by all the hosts of hell. He went 
through a Red-sea of suffering, and of vindictive wrath, 
making peace by the blood of his cross. His decease was 
the subject of discourse upon mount Tabor ; a subject that 
was most delightful to our Lord himself, and most refresh 
ing to Moses and Elias : though they had come down 
from the place of heaven, yet their bliss, their beatitude 
was not impaired; for they had the presence of Christ; 
and, appearing in glory, they talked of his decease, which 
was at once the great theme of the inhabitants of the 
upper house, and the fountain and spring of all their feli 
city. The highest style of language in heaven, is devoted 
to the decease our Lord accomplished at Jerusalem. We 
have no nice elaborate discourse that Moses and Elias 
made upon the mount : no ; it was, in a few words, massy, 
lofty, and sublime, " The decease he should accomplish at 
Jerusalem ! " It was the burden of the song of the re 
deemed; they brought this highest note down with them 
to the earth : for when angels and saints about the throne 
have enlarged their thoughts and contemplations, and 
bended their faculties to the uttermost, and soared as high 
as their heads can carry them, they are just obliged to 
issue their song where they began : " how great, in- 
eifable, and divine, is that mystery of godliness, God mani 
fested in the flesh, accomplishing his decease at Jeru 
salem ! " The glory of heaven just centres in the death he 
accomplished at Jerusalem : we do not hear a word about 
Moses and Elias, when they appeared in glory upon mount 
Tabor, except that they talked of the " decease which was 
accomplished at Jerusalem ! " 

You are to meditate upon the glory of the person of 
Christ, who accomplished his decease at Jerusalem. He 
is Lord of all, the Lord of glory : " If the princes of this 
world had known it, they would not have crucified the 
Lord of glory." He is the Prince of the kings of the earth, 
the Prince of life ; " But ye killed the Prince of life, whom 
God hath raised from the dead," Acts iii. 15. He is the 
King of glory, " the God of glory, who appeared to Abraham 



SERMON III. 191 

when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran." 
He is JEHOVAH, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of 
Jacob, who spake to Moses, Exod. iii. from the burning- 
bush at Horeb. He is, " Wonderful, Counsellor, the 
mighty God, the everlasting Father," Is. ix. 6 ; and yet 
his name is called JESUS, because " he saveth his people 
from their sins." 

You are to mediate upon the grounds and reasons of the 
decease which he accomplished at Jerusalem. It was for 
the glory of God in man s salvation, John xvii. 3, 4. It 
was for the glory of the holiness, majesty, and justice of 
God ; of the grace, mercy, and love of God : it was to 
" finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to bring 
in an everlasting righteousness, and to make reconciliation 
for iniquity ; " that, in this way, God might be glorified in 
man s salvation. 

You are to meditate upon the nature and quality of the 
decease which Christ accomplished at Jerusalem. He ac 
complished it in a public capacity; he took our nature 
into an intimate and personal union with himself, 1 Tim. 
iii. 16. John i. 14 ; he substituted himself in our room and 
law-place ; and so he suffered " bearing our sins in his own 
body on the tree, giving his life a ransom for many." This 
decease was early promised, Gen. iii. 15 ; it was testified 
of by all the prophets, it was expected and looked for by 
all the Old- Testament saints ; it was seen by them afar off. 
In his decease he did bear our griefs, our sins, our shame, 
and our sorrows. It was an ignominious and a cursed 
death, and yet a triumphant and a victorious death ; for 
he " spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of 
them openly on the cross, triumphing over them in it." 
In addition to all this, it was a necessary death ; " Ought 
not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into 
his glory 1 " Yet more, it was an acceptable, a savoury 
death ; " Walk in love, as Christ also loved us, and hath 
given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for 
a sweet-smelling savour," Eph. v. 2. 

You are to meditate upon the pleasant fruits and effects 



192 CHRIST S CALL TO THE YOUNG. 

of the decease which Christ accomplished at Jerusalem. 
He has reconciled us to God by his death, and we have 
boldness to enter into the holiest of all by the blood of 
Jesus. The Lamb slain has opened the seven seals; he 
has opened the gates of paradise, the fountain of life, and 
the treasures of grace ; he has opened up and revealed the 
counsels and purposes of God s love that were hid in a 
mystery ; and he has opened the understandings of men, 
to see the wonders of his grace, mercy and love, in the 
covenant of promise. To do all this he was worthy, for he 
was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his blood ; he 
hath glorified God upon the earth, and finished the work 
he gave him to do ; " he said, It is finished, and bowed his 
head, and gave up the ghost." It was the purpose of the 
wisdom and love of God, to gather his greatest revenue of 
glory from the salvation of sinners of Adam s family, that 
deserved to be in hell ; and what a wonderful theme 
of meditation is it, that the cross and death of Jesus 
Christ, should be the great mean of the glory of God in 
man s salvation ! The most wonderful sight in heaven is, 
" The Lamb in the midst of the throne, as if he had been 
slain ; " and the greatest homage and worship God ever 
received, was in Golgotha, when Christ, though a Son, 
humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the 
death of the cross ! 

Yet again, you are to meditate upon that holy joy, that 
willingness and cheerfulness, with which he accomplished 
his decease at Jerusalem. This was the subject with which 
he entertained Moses and Elias in mount Tabor. He re 
joiced in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delights 
were with the sons of men. He said, " Lo, I come, a body 
hast thou prepared me;" that is, a human nature, to 
obey in, to suffer, and to die in, for the remission of the 
sins of many. He spake of his decease all along ; he 
preached it to Nicodemus, John iii. 14 ; he went to Jeru 
salem, with holy resolution, at the last passover ; " he went 
all the way journeying to Jerusalem;" he was the first in 
the company ; he went to his decease, as to a triumph, ac- 



SERMON III. 193 

companied by the hosannas of the multitude : he longed 
for the last passover ; " with desire have I desired to eat 
this passover with you, before I suffer : " and he longed 
for his bloody baptism ; " I have a baptism to be baptized 
with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished ! " 
He went singing to his work of suffering ; " he did sing 
an hymn, and went out to the mount of Olives." But 
what shall we say 1 for time would fail, and eternity itself 
will be too short, to speak of his glory, and of the wonders 
of his dying love, who accomplished his decease at Jeru 
salem. " Lo, these are parts of his ways ; and how small 
a part of him is known or heard ?" What can we think ? 
or, what can we say 1 but that our thoughts are swallowed 
up, and that expression doth fail us, while we contemplate 
the infinite evil of sin, the inexorable justice of God, and 
his infinite holiness, as all seen so clearly in him, who was 
crucified on Calvary. Let us for ever adore the love of 
Christ, which passeth knowledge : hoping through grace, 
to spend eternity, in beholding the Lamb, " in the midst of 
the throne." There may we all be found at last, wonder 
ing and praising with Moses and Elias, the prophets and 
apostles, and martyrs of Jesus, and talking with them " of 
the decease he accomplished at Jerusalem ! So shall we 
be ever with the Lord." 



MEMORIALS 



REV. JAMES FISHER, 

JUNISTER OF THE ASSOCIATE CONGREGATION IN GLASGOW, PROFESSOR OF DIV1MTT 

TO THE ASSOCIATE (BURGHER) SYNOD, AND ONE OF THE FOUR LEADERS Of 

THE SECESSION FROM THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH OF SCOTLAND, 

IN A NARRATIVE OF HIS LIFE 

BY JOHN BROWN, D.D., 

SENIOR MINISTER OF THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CONGREGATION, BROUGHTOX- 

PLACE, EDINBURGH, AND PROFESSOR OF EXEGETICAL THEOLOGY TO 

THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH ; 

AND A SELECTION FROM HIS WRITINGS. 



" In writing of lives all big words are to be left to those who dress up legend*, 
and make lives rather than write them : the things themselves must praise the 
person, otherwise all the good words that the writer bestows on him will only 
show his own great kindness to his memory, but will not persuade others: on 
the contrary, it will incline them to suspect his partiality, and make them look, 
on him as an author rather than a writer." BUUNET. 



PREFACE. 



THE following Memoir is the first attempt to give a detailed 
account of the life and character of Mr. Fisher; and, made at 
the distance of three quarters of a century from his death, it is 
necessarily meagre and in many respects imperfect. The writer 
cannot accuse himself of want of interest in his work, or of 
diligence in endeavouring to procure materials for executing it; 
and he gratefully acknowledges the readiness with which his in 
quiries have heen met in every quarter in which they have been 
made. The defects of the narrative must be traced either to 
scantiness of information, which in the circumstances is no way 
wonderful, or to unskilfulness in making use of it of which 
none can be more sensible than the compiler himself. The 
courteous reader, while he must regret the former, will, it is 
hoped, forgive the latter. 

Dr. Fraser s most judicious and interesting biographical 
works in reference to the Erskine Brothers, and Dr. MacKer- 
row s elaborate and most trustworthy History of the Secession 
have been habitually consulted during the composition of the 
sketch, and the great advantage derived from them is gratefully 
acknowledged. In almost every case, however, the original 
documents which were before them have been anew examined. 
The compiler finds himself under peculiar obligations to his 
old and esteemed fellow-student and friend, the REV. WILLIAM 
FRASER of Alloa, for not only laying open to him the whole of 
his venerated brother s MS. collections in reference to Mr. Fisher, 
but at the expense of much labour furnishing transcripts of 

many valuable documents from these short-hand collections. 

His best thanks also are due to the Very Rev. Principal Lee of 
the University of Edinburgh, the Rev. Dr. Reid, Professor 

of Ecclesiastical History in the University of Glasgow, the 

Rev. Dr. Buist, Professor of Theology in the University of St. 
Andrews, the Rev. Dr. Young of Perth, the Rev. Dr. 
M Kelvie of Balgedie, the Rev. Dr. Auld, Ayr, the Rev. Mr. 
Touch, Kinnoul, the Rev. Mr. Nelson, Auchtergaven, the 
Rev. Mr. Henderson, Kinclaven, the Rev Mr. Young of Kin- 
claven, the Rev. John Kidd, St. Andrews, the Rev. James 
Knox, Ayr, and the Rev. William Bayne, Auchtergaven. The 
Rev. George Jeffrey gave him the necessary information from 



IV PREFACE. 

the Minutes of the Associate Preshytery of Glasgow ; David 
Anderson, Esq., submitted to his inspection the Minutes of the 
Session of the Associate Congregation, Glasgow, from its con 
stitution in 1 740 till Mr. Fisher s death in 1775 ; and his esteemed 
relatives, Mr. Fisher s descendants, readily placed at his disposal 
such documents as were in their possession. 

It was at one time the writer s wish that a whole volume of 
this series should be occupied by Mr. Fisher s life and writings : 
but though abundance of materials, probably fit enough for pub 
lication, lies in Mr. Fisher s short-hand MS., there would be 
considerable difficulty in deciphering these; and the only MSS. 
in long-hand, fit for the press, two action sermons on Kev. xix. 
9. and Psal. Ixxx. 17. and a Synod sermon on Isaiah xxi. 11, 
12. would, along with his published sermons, have made a dis 
proportion ably thin volume. It has been resolved therefore to 
confine Mr. Fisher s writings to the sermons published under his 
own superintendence, and to connect his life and writings with 
those of his fellow-labourer Mr. Moncrieff. 

There is a peculiar propriety in such a connection. Mon 
crieff and Fisher were early friends and zealous co-operators 
in a common cause the cause of truth and freedom. They 
indeed differed, and "the contention was so sharp that they 
parted asunder one from the other." They have long ago been 
reconciled and reunited. The suspicion has often been thrown 
out, even in print,* though without any evidence for the revolting 
statement, that "THE BREACH" was in some good measure to be 
traced to private pique between these two good men. If it was 
so, there was "grievous fault" somewhere; but that would but 
afford an additional reason, why they, who side by side in heaven, 
have for near a century been singing together "the new song" 
in which there are no discords, should in this little book go down 
to posterity side by side, teaching Christian truth in their writ 
ings and Christian holiness by their example. " Nunc in sinu 
Veritatis, sese complectuntur, ubi nulloe lites, nulla dissensio, sed 
sola regnat eternum charitas." 

J. B. 
BUSBY, May 2oth, 1849. 

* Struthers History of Scotland since the Union, vol. ii., p. 552. 



TO TUB 

SURVIVING GRANDCHILDREN 
OP 

THE REV. JAMES FISHER: 

MRS. JANE CRUM, THORNLIEBANK, 

HUMPHRY EWING MACLAE, ESQUIRE OF CATHKIN, 

MRS. MARGARET BUCHAN, BRAESIDE, WEST CANADA, 

JAMES EWING, ESQUIRE OF STRATHLEVEN, 

MRS. ELIZABETH HYDE, DUNOON, 
AND RALPH WARDLAW, D.D., SS. T.P., GLASGOW ; 

AND TO HIS OTHER DESCENDANTS, 

THESE MEMORIALS ARE RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED 

BY THEIR KINSMAN, 

THE COMPILER. 
1 CHUOX. xxviii. 9; PSAI^JI ciii. 17, 18. 



( vii ) 



CONTENTS. 



Page 

NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF THE REV. 
JAMES FISHER. 

CHAPTER I. 
16971722. 

Parentage The Rev. Thomas Fisher Minister of Barr Auch- 
tergaven Rhynd His Death His Family Birth of his son 
James Education License, 9 

CHAPTER II. 
17221740. 

Call to Glenisla Ordination at Kinclaven Questions for Elders 
Marriage Mrs. Fisher Public spirit Representation to the 
Assembly 1732 Rejected Ebenezer Erskine s Sermon at Kin 
claven and Perth Mr. Fisher s Protest and Complaint against 
the Decision of the Synod of Perth and Stirling, Oct. 1732 
His appearance at the Assembly, 1733 Suspended by the 
Commission, August 1733 Separated from his Charge by 
the Commission, Nov. 1733 Chosen Clerk of the Associate 
Presbytery at its constitution, Dec. 6, 1733 Remarkable 
Act of Assembly, 1734 Reponed by the Synod of Perth and 
Stirling, July 1734 Formal Accession of the Session of Kin 
claven to the Associate Presbytery Communions at Kinclaven 
Libelled by the Commission, Nov. 1738 Deposed bv the 
Assembly, 1740, 15 

CHAPTER III. 
17401747. 

Ejected from the Church and Manse of Kinclaven, 1741 Call to 
GlasgowAdmission to Glasgow Introductory Sermon Con 
troversy with the Rev. Mr. James Robe respecting the " Kilsyth 
and Cambuslang work" Publications on that subject Charac 
ter of them Rebellion in 1745 Thanksgiving Sermon, 1746 
Burgess Oath Controversy The Breach, 1747, . . 37 



viii CONTENTS. 

Page 

CHAPTER IV. 
17471775. 

Mr. Fisher visits Ireland Is requested by the Synod to prepare 
for Theological Tuition Synod Sermon, Isa. xxi. 11, 12 
Publications on the Burgess Oath Controversy Character of 
them Explication of the Westminster Shorter Catechism- 
Appointment to the Professorship, 1749 Mode of Conducting 
the Divinity Hall Resignation of the Professorship Obtains a 
Colleague in the Ministry Death of Mrs. Fisher Death of Mr. 
Fisher Character Family Writings Conclusion, . . 5/ 

APPENDIX. 

No. I. Marrow Doctrines, 

No. II. Brief Notes respecting Mrs. Fisher, . . . . 86 
No III. Mr. Fisher s Register of the Divinity Hall, 17oO 1763, 

with Notes, 

No. IV. Letters of Mr. Fisher, chiefly to Relatives, . 

SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

SERMON I. 

THE INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 
PROV. xxiii. 23." Buy the truth, and sell it not," 
SERMON II. 

THE MATTER OF GOSPEL-PREACHING CHRIST JESUS 
THE LORD. 

2 COR. iv. 5. "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus 
the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake," . 185 

SERMON III. 

CHRIST THE SOLE AND WONDERFUL DOER IN THE WORK 

OF MAN S REDEMPTION. 

JUDGES xiii. 19. "The angel did wondrously, and Manoah and 
his wife looked on," . . 

SERMON IV. 

THE DOORS OF THE HEART SUMMONED TO OPEN TO 
THE KING OF GLORY. 

PSAL. xxiv. 7." Lift up your heads, ye gates ; and be ye lift 
up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come ^ 



MEMORIALS 



REV. JAMES FISHER 



I 



Jiarratifce of ins Hife. 



CHAPTER I. 

16971722. 

Parentage The Rev. Thomas Fisher Minister of Barr Auehtergaven 
Rhynd His death His family Birth of his son James Education 
License. 

JAMES FISHER, the youngest of the four " Associate 
Brethren " who were honoured to be the leaders in 
that Secession from the Established Church of Scot 
land, which has already, directly and indirectly, pro 
duced effects so important and beneficial, and the in 
fluence of which is likely to reach to distant countries 
and coming generations, was the son of the Kev. Tho 
mas Fisher and Mrs. Susanna Menzies his spouse. 

Mr. THOMAS FISHER was minister successively of 
Barr, an extensive moorland parish in the south of 
Ayrshire bordering on Galloway, and of Auehtergaven, 
and Ehynd, in the county of Perth. We have not the 
means of ascertaining the parentage of Mr. Thomas 
Fisher, nor even the district of Scotland of which he 
was a native. He probably was the first minister of 
Barr after the revolution settlement, arid not an Ayr 
shire man by birth. In April 1692 the parish of Barr 
applied to the Presbytery of Ayr, requesting that they 
would be pleased " to desire Mr. Thomas Fisher Ex- 



10 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

pectant," then a married man, for his marriage took 
place Nov. 16th, 1691, " who in providence was within 
the bounds, to come and preach to them." The Pres 
bytery "having seen his testimonials, complied with 
their request and desired Mr. F. to preach to them 
as oft as he could, betwixt and the next meeting of 
Presbytery, and then to preach before themselves." 
The result was, that the parishioners of Barr, in May 
1692, signified to the Presbytery that they had a sub 
scribed call ready to give Mr. F.; and though he dis 
covered an unwillingness to accept of it, the Pres 
bytery prescribed him trials for ordination. With 
difficulty, Mr. F. s objections to settle at Barr were got 
the better of, and his ordination took place on the 9th 
of May, 1693, Mr. Matthew Baird presiding and preach 
ing on 2 Cor. v. 20. He appears to have experienced 
difficulties of various kinds here; and at last, on the 
7th Jan., 1697, he "gave in a supplication to the 
Presbytery desiring an act of transportability* from 
the parish of Barr, by reason he finds himself prejudiced 
in health from the air of that place, so that he is not 
able to exercise his ministerial work, which is uneasy 
to his mind." The Presbytery, after due examination, 
and conference both with the minister and people, and 
having got the statement of physicians " to show how 
much they judge that the air where he liveth is hurt 
ful to him," on the 4th March, agreed, nem. con., to 
grant his supplication, f A call was given him by the 
parish of Auchtergaven in April 1698, and commis 
sioners appointed by the Presbytery of Perth to " agent 
his transportation with the Presbytery of Ayr." In 
this they of course found no difficulty, and on April 
26th, 1698, he was admitted by the Presbytery of 
Perth to the charge of the parish of Auchtergaven. 



* Vide Pardovan, book i. tit. iii. 
f Minutes of the Presbytery of Avr. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 1 1 

In some points of view the change must have been 
an agreeable one, from a bleak and thinly inhabited 
region to the fertile and populous and romantic banks 
of the Tay, and probably too from a very limited to 
a somewhat more competent income. But it seems to 
have had its drawbacks. In Barr Mr. Fisher, what 
ever difficulties he had to contend with, had to minister 
to a people deeply interested in, and firmly attached 
to, the doctrines and polity of the Presbyterian church, 
for which many of their fathers had laid down their 
lives, and not a few of themselves had been personal 
sufferers. * In removing to Auchtergaven, he went to 
a region where the body of the great landholders were 
Jacobites in their politics and Prelatists in their re 
ligion, and where the principles of the Covenant had 
never taken such extensive and deep root as in the 
south-west of the island. 

The result of this state of things appeared in Mr. 
Fisher being constrained, in the course of little more 
than a year, to bring his " Grievances" under the con 
sideration of the Presbytery. To his statement of 
grievances the Parishioners gave answers, but on 
being called to give rejoinders to his replies, they 
" compeared not neither sent any excuse." The Pres 
bytery were about, according to the practice of the 
time, to " grant Mr. Fisher an act of transportability," 
but finding that a call had come forth for him from the 
parish of Rhynd, they agreed to translate him. His 
admission took place on the 6th of October, 1699, 
under very favourable auspices; "the brethren of said 
paroch and elders thereof present, in token of their 
hearty concurrence and consent to the action, took 
their minister by the hand."t In this delightful little 

* In the list of proclaimed fugitives, 1684, in Wodrow, there 
are ten persons from the parish of Barr. 
t Minutes of the Presbytery of Perth. 



12 NARRATIVE OF TliE LIFE OF 

parish on tlie banks of the Tay and the Earn, in the 
immediate neighbourhood of "the Fair City," Mr. 
Fisher laboured for more than twenty years. In the 
Minutes of the Presbytery of Perth of date 26th April, 
1721, there is this entry: "The reverend and worthy 
Mr. Thomas Fisher, minister of the gospel at Rhind, 
died upon the 24th day of March last."* 

Mr. Fisher had a family of eleven children, seven 
sons and four daughters. Six of these died in infancy. 
Two daughters reached maturity, a third dying in 
early youth. The only one of his sons who survived 
him was the subject of this narrative. Another son, 
whose name was Samuel, died in the same year with 
his father at the early age of 17. 

JAMES, who was the third child of his parents, was 
born at Barr on the 23d January, 1697, and was under 
three years of age when his father settled at Rhynd. 
From the immediate vicinity of Perth, it is all but cer 
tain that he received the elements of his classical edu 
cation a more thorough one than could have been 
obtained at many of the parish schools at that period 
at the grammar school of that city. That was not the 
only advantage which he derived from his local posi 
tion. From the town of Perth being immediately 
adjoining, much intercourse was likely to take place 
between the families of the ministers, men of kin 
dred sentiments ; and it is probable that he there first 
met with Ebenezer Erskine, with whom in after life he 
was to become so closely connected by a variety of 
bands. His vicinity to Abernethy too, likely led to 
an early intimacy with the young laird of Culfargie, 
who was nearly of his own age, and had devoted him 
self to the service of God in the gospel of his Son, and 

* There was an attempt made, which all but succeeded, to 
obtain as his successor Mr. Wilson of Perth, who was about this 
time and afterwards made very unhappy by the waywardness of 
a colleague. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 13 

with whom he was to be so closely associated in the 
most important events of his future life. 

His literary and philosophical education seems to 
have been very complete. He commenced his curricu 
lum in Glasgow in the Session 1712-13, under the 
care of Professor Alexander Dunlop, a distinguished 
Greek scholar, and author of the Greek Grammar long 
taught in the Scottish Universities; and finished it in 
St. Andrews in the Session 1715-16. He entered the 
Divinity Hall in the University of Edinburgh, then 
superintended by Mr. William Hamilton, in November 
1716, and continued under his care for six Sessions.* 
Among his fellow-students of the same year is to be 
found the name of Edmund Calarny, the son of the 
" honest chronicler" of nonconformist learning, worth, 
and suffering. 

On the death of his father in 1721, his mother 
removed with her family, consisting then of her 
son JAMES and three daughters, from the manse of 
Khynd to Balcanquhal in the parish of Arngask, a 
mansion-house belonging to the Balcanquhals of that 
ilk, who rented it to Mrs. Fisher. The Marrow Con 
troversy at this time was agitating the church. Mr. 
Fisher had been led to adopt the views of the defend 
ers of what were called the Marrow doctrines,t and 
instead of attending the ministry of the incumbent of 
Arngask, who was hostile to these views, observed 
ordinances at Portmoak, the distinguished minister of 
which was one of their most enlightened and fear 
less champions. The acquaintance which he pro 
bably had previously with Mr. Erskine then became 
more intimate. He was a frequent visitor at the 
manse, and the foundation was thus laid of an attach 
ment, which, as we shall by and by see, led to the 

* MS. note-book of Professor Hamilton, in the hands of the 
Rev. Principal Lee. 

t Vide Appendix, No. I. 



1-i NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE, &C. 

formation of a close relationship with the minister s 
family. * 

At a meeting of the Presbytery of Perth, 7th March, 
1 722, it was " represented that Mr. James Fisher, son 
to the late Rev. Mr. Thomas Fisher, has attended the 
profession this six years bygone; and having had a 
savoury account of him, from many of the brethren 
that knew him, it was agreed that he be wrote to in 
Edinburgh, to wait on the Presbytery this day 20 days 
that they may commune with him anent entering on 
trials." On the 29th of March, "the brethren com 
muned with him, and were very well satisfied," and 
steps were taken to make the ordinary report to the 
Synod. On the llth April, "a testificate from the 
Rev. William Hamilton, Professor of Divinity, Edin 
burgh, in Mr. Fisher s favour, was produced and sus 
tained," and his trials for license were entered on. On 
the 21st of October, 1722, he was licensed to preach 
the gospel, and immediately employed for some time in 
supplying pulpits within the bounds of the Presbytery, f 

* Information furnished by Dr. M Kelvie. 
t Minutes of the Presbytery of Perth. 



(15) 



CHAPTER II. 

17-221740. 

Call to Glenisla Ordination at Kinclaven Questions for Elders Mar- 

jntation to the Assemblv 



Synod of Perth and Stirling, Oct. 1732 His appearance at the As 
sembly, 1733 Suspended by the Commission, Aug. 1733 Separated 
from his charge by the Commission, Nov. 1733 Chosen Clerk of the 
Associate Presbytery at its constitution, Dec. 6, 1733 Remarkable 
act of Assembly, 1734 Reponed by the Synod of Perth and Stir 
ling, July 1734- Formal accession of the Session of Kinclaven to 
the Associate Presbytery Communions at Kinclaven Libelled by 
the Commission, Nov. 1738 Deposed by the Assembly, 1740. 

THE term of Mr. Fisher s probationership was not of 
long duration. He appears speedily to have acquired 
the reputation of a useful and acceptable preacher, a 
reputation which, being solidly founded, lasted for life. 
His first call was to the parish of Glenisla, in Forfar- 
shire, and he had delivered part of his trials for ordi 
nation there, when an unanimous call from the vacant 
parish of Kinclaven, where the right of planting the 
parish had fallen out of the Patron s into the Presby 
tery s hand, was brought out for him. The Presbytery 
of Dunkeld having received a communication from the 
Presbytery of Meigle, giving a very favourable account 
of Mr. Fisher s conduct when in their bounds, certifying 
that both his license and testimonials had been pro 
duced before them, and farther that the parts of trials 
delivered before them had been approved, sustained the 
call from Kinclaven to Mr. Fisher, concurred with it, 
sustained the pieces of trial delivered before the Pres- 
4 o 



16 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

bytery of Meigle, and appointed the other trials required 
by the laws of the church. These trials were delivered 
by him on the 7th of December, 1725 a lecture on Ps. 
cxxi. and a popular sermon on Ps. cxxi. 2. He sustained 
his thesis " de deitate Filii," explained the 19th Psalm 
in Hebrew, read the Greek Testament "ad aperturam 
libri," answered his catechetics and chronological ques 
tions on the last half of the 10th century, and was 
approved. The call of the parish was put into his 
hand, and the Presbytery agreed " tanquam jure devo- 
luto" to give him their " call" to supply the legal place 
of the presentation; and arrangements were made for 
the ordination. 

His ordination at Kinclaven, accordingly, took place 
on the 23d of December, 1725. The Kev. Mr. Bowis 
presided, and preached from 2 Tim. iv. 5. " But watch 
thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an 
Evangelist, give full proof of thy ministry." " The 
questions appointed by acts of Assembly were proposed 
to him in face of the congregation, and he having an 
swered them, and declared his willingness to take 
charge of that congregation, and they having declared 
their willingness to have him to be their minister, by 
lifting up their hands as well as by their call formerly 
given, he was, by solemn prayer and imposition of the 
hands of the Presbytery, ordained, and the Moderator 
and brethren gave him the right hand of fellowship."* 
We have been thus minute, to show that Mr. Fisher, like 
the rest of the Associate Brethren, had from the beginning 
been a consistent advocate for the rights of the Christian 
people, and came into court with clean hands. It has 
been said that the words of the text of his ordination 
sermon seem to have been " in his heart, bound for a sign 
on his hand, and as frontlets between his eyes." He 
commenced his ministry on the following Lord s day by 

* Minutes of the Presbytery of Dunkeld. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 17 

preaching from Eom. xv. 30 32. " Now I beseech you, 
brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ s sake, and for the 
love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in 
your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered 
from them that do not believe, that my service may 
be accepted of the saints, that I may come to you 
with joy by the will of God, and may by you be re 
freshed." He appears to have entered on his work 
with a determination to "make full proof of his 
ministry," and he did so. After a lapse of more than 
a hundred and twenty years, the patriarchs of the dis 
trict bear testimony that their fathers were accustomed 
to tell them how well prepared Mr. Fisher was always 
for the pulpit, and how faithful in his private visitations.* 

* Like the other Fathers of the Secession, Mr. Fisher seems 
to have been through life very attentive to his pulpit prepara 
tions. No press of public business appears to have been allowed 
to interfere with that. His beautifully written note books prove 
this. Things cannot long continue in a healthy state in a reli 
gious body where preparation for the pulpit is made a secondary 
object. "Ministers are not set apart to their office to trifle away 
six days of the week, and then to go to the pulpit with whatever 
comes uppermost. Such extemporary performances, though for 
a little they may please some, seldom do credit to God s ordi 
nances, or produce any lasting effects on the hearers."* It was 
the practice at the Presbyterial examinations to require the 
minister to produce his note book, to show that he preached 
catechetical doctrine, and was regular and careful in preparation 
for the pulpit. A revival of the practice, gone into desuetude, 
might perhaps be useful in some quarters. Mr. Fisher seems 
to have been fond of apothegms and pointed sayings. A num 
ber of these, according to a practice not uncommon among the 
ministers of that time, are found on the inside of the boards of 
his note books. We give a specimen or two. 

Si sapiens fore vis, sex serva quae tibi mando: 

Quid loqueris, ad quern, de quo, cur, quoniodo, quando. 

Si tua pertingat, penetretque, Precatio coelum, 
Corde sit ex puro, sit brevis atquc frequens. 

Quisquis amat, dictis, absentium rodere faraam 
lianc inensain vetitam uoverit esse sibi. 

* Dr. John Erskine. 



18 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 



It is a proof of the just judgment he had formed 
of the vital importance of a godly active eldership to 
the well-being of a Christian church, and of the inter 
est he took in the progress of true religion among 
his people, that not many months after his ordination 
he laid the following questions before the Session to be 
proposed to its members individually at regular periods. 
" 1 . Do you worship God in your families, morning 
and evening? 2. Do you visit the sick in your quar 
ters and pray with them? 3. Do you take notice of 
the families in your quarter if they maintain and keep 
up the worship of God 1 4. Is there any scandal in 
your quarter? 5. Do you exhort parents to put their 
children to school? 6. Do you exhort and admonish 
persons in private before you delate them before the 
session, according to Christ s command and direction ? 
7. Do you instruct your children and families in the 
knowledge of the principles of religion? 8. Do you 
notice such persons and families as are in worldly 
straits? 9. Are you faithful in admitting arid debar 
ring, when the roll of the congregation is read before 
the Session?"* 

Mr. Fisher s diligent ministrations were so accep 
table that not long after his ordination the church was 
found incapable of accommodating the congregation. 
To meet this exigency a gallery was erected. On its 
completion, " the Session taking into consideration that 
the loft in the church was now finished, resolved to let 
it out for the use of the poor of this parish, and that 
the yearly rent which each person shall pay shall be 
two shillings and sixpence Scots," i. e. 9 twopence half 
penny in our money, t 

In the year 1727 an event occurred which, to a very 
great degree, gave colour to Mr. Fisher s future life, 
and was, under God, the source of much of his useful- 

* Session records of the parish of Kinclaven. f Ibid. 



THE KEY. JAMES FISHER. 19 

ness and happiness. We refer to his union in marriage 
with Miss Jean Erskine, eldest daughter of the Rev. 
Ebenezer Erskine, then of Portmoak, afterwards of 
Stirling. This event took place at Portmoak on the 
4th July, that year. The marriage ceremony was per 
formed by the Rev. Ralph Erskine, the bride being his 
favourite niece, and the bridegroom a very highly 
esteemed young friend and brother. Miss Erskine 
proved indeed " a help meet" for her husband, and in 
receiving her " he obtained favour of the Lord." Her 
piety, cheerfulness, prudence, and good temper made 
her quite a pattern minister s wife. She relieved him 
of, what he was ill fitted to bear, the burden of secular 
affairs, and " his heart safely trusted in her." It is 
delightful to see the sacred fire of conjugal affection 
burning brightly after the lapse of nearly half a cen 
tury of no ordinary trial, and diffusing so sweet a 
radiance over the evening of life. But Mrs. Fisher s 
character deserves more attention than can be given it 
here without interfering with the course of the narra 
tive, and shall form the subject of a brief notice in the 
Appendix. * 

While occupying the most of his time in the dis 
charge of his ministerial duties, Mr. Fisher early proved 
that he was possessed of that true public spirit which 
cannot allow a man to rest when he sees the great in 
terests of his country and of the church of Christ in 
danger. He was one of the men who " cared not only 

for his own things" but for "the things of Christ," 

" the things of others." He had witnessed with deep 
regret and inward indignation equally the invasions of 
the civil power, after the Union, on the ecclesiastical 
liberties of Scotland, arid the tame submission of the 
ecclesiastical courts and the great body of the clergv 
to these usurpations; and he had observed with, if 

* Vide Appendix, No. II. 



20 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

possible, deeper sorrow, the indications of a growing 
carelessness in the church courts about purity of doctrine, 
and a growing disposition to tamper with and disregard 
the most sacred rights of the members of the church 
the Christian people as they were then termed. So 
early as the year 1731, while yet a very young minis 
ter, we find him meeting with the Kev. William Wil 
son of Perth, George Gillespie of Strathmiglo, Robert 
Laing of Newburgh, Laurence M Intosh of Errol, and 
Alexander Moncrieff of Abernethy, to consider what 
measures it might be advisable and right to adopt in 
reference to that crisis of ecclesiastical affairs, which, 
to all who could discern the signs of the times, was seen 
to be rapidly approaching.* 

The result of this meeting was the drawing up a 
representation to be presented to the next General As 
sembly, May 1732, to which, besides their own signa 
tures, they obtained those of 36 ministers of the highest 
standing in the church, and 3 ruling elders, f 



* Fraser. 

t These names are worthy of all honour. Geo. Gillespie, Strath 
miglo; Geo. Freer, Lethendie; John Gibb, Cleish; James Ker, 
Dun; Peter Drummond, Crieff; John Currie, Kinglassie; Robert 
Laing, Newburgh ; Robert Gray, Brechin ; Geo. Meek, Redgorton ; 
Lau. M Intosh, Errol ; Will. Wilson, Perth ; James Fisher, Kin- 
claven; John Gow, Cargill; Thomas Nairn, Abbotshall; John 
Row, Navar and Lethnot; Alex. Moncrieff, Abernethy; Thos. 
Mair, Orwell; Robert Coventrie, Kilspindie; John M Claren, 
Edinburgh; John Bonar, Torphichen; Ralph Erskine, Dunferm- 
line ; John Wardlaw, there; James Farquhar, Nigg: Ebenezer 
Erskine, Stirling; John Forbes, Deer; Gabriel Wilson, Maxton; 
William Henderson, Dalgety; Thomas Thomson, Auchter- 
muchty; Alex. Hamilton, Stirling; Charles Moor, there (father 
of Dr. "John Moore and grandfather of Sir John Moore) ; William 
Hally, Muthil; David Stevenson, Glendovan; John Johnston, 
Brechin; James Goodsir, Monikie; Andrew Elliot, Auchtertoul; 
James Thomson, Burntisland; James Noble, Eckford; Geo. 
Mair, Newdeer; John Cranston, Ancrum; James Innes, Mer- 
ton; Henry Davidson, Galashiels; Walter Hart, Bunkill Mi 
nisters. Alex. Swinton of Strathore, Thomas Trotter, William 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 21 

In clear, dignified, unimpassioned language, this 
representation, complains " of encroachments by the 
British legislature on the legal rights of the church, 
acknowledged and secured by the Articles of Union 
between the two kingdoms, and of the want of due 
resistance to these encroachments by the General As 
sembly; of the tolerance or inadequate censure of false 
doctrine; of the interfering with the undeniable right 
of Christian congregations to have the free choice of 
their own pastors, and the disregard of that call and 
consent which are necessary to found the pastoral rela 
tion; of the refusal to record reasons of dissent against 
the determinations of church judicatories; of the un 
constitutional usurpations of the Commission of Assem 
bly; and of the neglect of proper measures to check 
innovations in the method and strain of preaching, 
very offensive to many of God s people." 

This representation, with a corresponding petition, 
was given in to the clerk of the Assembly, and read in 
the Committee of Bills; but though couched in the 
most unobjectionable terms, it was by them refused to 
be transmitted to the Assembly. Against this decision, 
the petitioners protested, and complained to the Assem 
bly, who contemptuously refused even to hear their 
complaint. Nothing was left to these good men, but 
to give in a solemn protestation against this most un 
constitutional and tyrannical procedure. This protest 
deserves to be recorded here. " We, the undersub- 
scribing ministers of this church, finding, to our great 
grief, that our humble and dutiful representation anent 
grievances, offered to this General Assembly, is not 
received, or allowed hearing therein, though craved 
with all earnestness, and in the due and orderly way, 
find ourselves obliged, much against our inclination, 

Walker Elders. Humble Representation and Petition anent 
Grievances of some Ministers and Elders, p. 14, 15. 4 to, Edin. 
1732. 



22 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

and with all due deference to this venerable Assembly, 
humbly to protest, in our own name and in the name 
of all concurring in the said representation or adhering, 
against the said deed, and for the preservation of the 
just rights belonging to us as men, Christians, and 
office-bearers of this church (by the light of nature, 
word of God, constitutions of this church, claims of 
right, laws of the land, and manifold approven prece 
dents since the Reformation to this day), to have repre 
sentations and petitions anent grievances, which are or 
may be offered by ourselves or others to the General 
Assembly, or other judicatories of this church received, 
openly read and taken into serious consideration by the 
said courts for redress; and that the church s continu 
ing still under the grievances specified in our representa 
tion, and others of like nature, shall be no wise charge 
able on us: And we humbly crave that this may be 
recorded in the Assembly s register, and extracts allowed 
to us for exoneration."* At the same time the As 
sembly treated with equal contempt a representation of 
a similar kind subscribed by upwards of 1,700 persons 
not ministers or elders drawn up without any previous 
concert with the ministers. 

The months that followed the meeting of that Assem 
bly were with Mr. Fisher and those who thought and 
felt along with him, a season of deep and painful deli 
beration. His venerated friend and father, Ebenezer 
Erskine, who had been Moderator of the Synod of 
Perth and Stirling at their last meeting, had made up 
his mind, when called in the ordinary course to preach 
at its approaching meeting in October, at all hazards, 

* This protest was signed by 14 of the petitioners who had 
been appointed to act in the name of the rest. Dr. M Kerrow 
states that the names of all the Fathers of the Secession were 
attached to this protest. In the copy penes me, Mr. Fisher s name 
does not appear, probably from his not having been at the 
Assembly. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 23 

to lift up his voice, in defence of the injured and in 
sulted rights of his Master and brethren. He came to 
Kinclaven in the end of the week previously to the 
meeting of the Synod, and preached there on Sabbath 
the 8th of October, 1732. Tradition says, and there 
is obvious probability in the report, that the sermon 
delivered to the parishioners of Kinclaven was that 
which was delivered before the Synod on the Tues 
day following, on Psal. cxviii. 22, and adds, that the 
impression made by that sermon on the people contri 
buted much to their abandoning the communion of the 
ruling party in the Establishment, almost as one man, 
in the course of a short period.* It is interesting to 
reflect on the probable course of conversation between 
the father and son-in-law, as they travelled together 
that Monday along the Tay, from Kinclaven to Perth. 
They no doubt felt their spirits stirred in them, and 
their hearts must have been agitated by painful antici 
pations; but they clearly apprehended their duty, and 
they were determined to perform it. They but indis 
tinctly saw the probable consequences of the step re 
solved on to themselves as individuals, and could have 
no idea of the high results which, in reference to the 
religion of their native land, hung on their being 
faithful to their convictions of duty. But here, as in 
many another step in their eventful journey, " they 
went forth not knowing whither they went," but well 
knowing who led them, and firmly trusting HIM. 

When the honest but measured utterance of disap 
probation of civil and ecclesiastical tyranny contained 
in Mr. Erskine s Synod sermon had awakened the indig 
nation of their abettors, and become the subject of judi 
cial investigation, undeterred by a false delicacy which 
might have shrunk from a course which was sure to 
be, as in fact it was, ascribed to family attachment 

* Communicated by the Rev. David Young, Kinclaven. 



24 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

rather than to regard to truth and justice, Mr. Fisher 
took a decided part in defence of his venerable relative. 
Though prevented from his near relationship to the 
accused, from giving his vote in the question, as to 
whether Mr. Erskine s expressions were censurable, and 
consequently incapacitated from dissenting, as Messrs. 
Wilson and Moncrieff did, from the Synod s sentence 
finding them censurable, he availed himself of his con 
stitutional privilege of protesting and complaining to 
the General Assembly. 

At the meeting of the Assembly in May 1733, Mr. 
Fisher appeared, but was not permitted to be heard in 
support of his protest. The committee of bills refused 
to transmit his reasons of protest, most presumptuously 
pronouncing that he had " engyred" himself into the 
process not for the vindication of the truth, but on ac 
count of his connexion with the delinquent, for the 
purpose of endeavouring to screen him from deserved 
punishment. 

The Assembly approved of the sentence of the Synod 
of Perth and Stirling, and appointed Mr. Erskine to be 
rebuked and admonished at the bar. On the sentence 
of the Assembly being implemented, Mr. Erskine offered 
a solemn protestation, to which Mr. Fisher, along with 
Messrs. Wilson and Moncrieff, presented a written de 
claration of adherence. That protestation the Assem 
bly refused to read, and it was thrown on the table 
among other papers. Had it been allowed to lie there, 
it is not improbable that the Secession would not have 
taken place when it did. It was, however, casually 
taken up and read by Mr. James Nasmith, minister of 
Dalrneny, " a fiery man," as Mr. Gib calls him, " in the 
corrupt measures of that time;" and, as his conduct in 
this instance proved him, a man more forward than 
wise. He had no sooner read it than he forced it on 
the attention of the Assembly as an insult which a 
regard to their own honour and authority could not 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 25 

allow to be overlooked. The reading of the paper and 
its appendages produced the highest indignation through 
out the Assembly. Mr. Erskine and his friends were 
closely dealt with, to induce them to withdraw their 
papers: and on their steadily refusing, the Assembly 
appointed them to appear before the Commission at 
their meeting in Edinburgh in August, and then and 
there to withdraw their papers and express their sor 
row for having presented them: and in case that they 
did not comply with this requisition, the Commission 
was empowered to suspend them from the exercise of 
their ministry; and, should their sentence be disre 
garded, to proceed to higher censure at their meeting 
in November. 

At the meeting of the Commission in August, Mr. 
Fisher with his associates firmly kept his ground. On 
being called to the bar and asked if he was not sorry 
for his conduct in adhering to the protestation given in 
by the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine to the last General As 
sembly, he calmly and resolutely answered in these well 
considered words, which have been preserved in the 
Minutes of the Commission: "Although I sincerely 
declare that I do not design, by the protestation given 
in against the decision of the last Assembly, to impugn 
the power and authority of the General Assembly to 
censure any of the ministers and members of this church 
upon just and relevant grounds, or the exercise of that 
power and authority according to the word of God and 
the known principles of this church; yet I am not sen 
sible of any just ground of offence I have given by my 
conduct before the last Assembly, and therefore cannot 
declare my sorrow for it, nor retract the said protesta 
tion ; but find it my duty to adhere thereunto, and to 
the papers given in this day under form of instru 
ment." 

With his " brethren and companions in tribulation, 
and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ," Mr. 



26 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

Fisher was, in consequence of this refusal to retract his 
protestation, suspended from the exercise of his min 
istry. On the suspension being intimated to him, 
he, with his brethren, gave in a solemn protestation, 
and under this protest they continued the discharge of 
their ministerial functions. We find them meeting to 
gether at Kinclaven on Sept. 19th, along with Mr. 
Ralph Erskine and Mr. John Gow of Cargill, who ap 
pears to have been an intimate friend of Mr. Fisher 
having baptized some of his children, and " spending the 
day in praying and seeking counsel of the Lord as to 
what they were next to do." Part of next day was also 
occupied in prayer and conference, and " the brethren 
came to find that in their circumstances, it was fit they 
should think, in case of their deposition next commis- 
mission, to be ready before it to constitute themselves 
into a Presbytery, and declare themselves not of the 
communion of the Church, with certain reserves."* 

At the meeting of the Commission in November 
much displeasure was expressed at the disregard of the 
sentence of suspension, and by the casting vote of the 
Moderator, the Rev. Mr. Gowdie, it was resolved to 
proceed to a higher censure; though not without a dis 
sent being entered by seven members of the Commission, 
among whom we find the singularly pious Mr. Alexan 
der Wardrobe, first minister of Whitburn, the Lord 
Grange and Colonel Erskine, the grandfather of the 
venerable Dr. John Erskine of fragrant memory. The 
relation between Mr. Fisher and his brethren and their 
congregations was thus declared to be dissolved, and 
they were pronounced no longer ministers of the 
Church of Scotland. On this sentence being inti 
mated to them, they in a written paper which, after 
reading, they left in the hands of the Clerk of the 
Assembly, declared their adherence to their former 

* Eraser s Life and Diary of Kalph Erskine, pp. 203, 204. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 27 

protestations; their determination to persevere in 
performing their ministerial duties to their congrega 
tions, with whom they held that their connexion con 
tinued unbroken; their sense of injustice in being cast 
out of communion with the Established Church of Scot 
land, to the doctrine, discipline, and government of 
which they clung fast, cast out on account of their 
constitutional efforts to defend these; their readiness 
to hold communion with all who consistently adhered 
to these; and their SECESSION from the prevailing- 
party in that Church, on the ground of a course of 
defection, and especially of their suppression of minis 
terial freedom and faithfulness, and infliction of censures 
on ministers for witnessing against their backslidings. 
The lion-hearted Gabriel Wilson of Maxton protested 
against the sentence, and declared " that as he should 
find opportunity he would hold communion with his 
dear brethren, as if no such sentence had been passed 
against them." To this protest Ealph Erskine, Thomas 
Mair, John Maclaren, Edinburgh, John Currie, James 
Wardlaw, and Thomas Nairn, adhered. 

Mr. Fisher and his brethren left the Assembly as 
the apostles did the Sanhedrim, " rejoicing that they 
were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name ;" 
and they retired to their respective homes, with the 
understanding that they must soon meet to consult as 
to what course they ought to adopt in their unprece 
dented circumstances, but without any fixed arrange 
ment as to time and place. It was finally arranged 
that the meeting should take place at Gairney Bridge, 
in the neighbourhood of Kinross, on the 5th day of 
December. They accordingly met there, and after the 
greater part of two days had been spent in solemn 
prayer and serious deliberation by the Four Brethren, 
who were cheered by the presence of two men of kin 
dred spirit, who ere long cast in their lot with them 
the Rev. Ralph Erskine of Dunfermline arid Thomas 



28 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

Mair of Orwell they saw their way clear to their 
forming themselves into a Presbytery, under the de 
signation of THE ASSOCIATE PRESBYTERY, "that they 
might be capable of performing all the functions of 
government to the congregations under their care; 
that they might have a clear claim to the promise of 
the Master s presence, where two or three are met in 
his name; that their union with each other might be 
consolidated; that they might afford a rallying point 
to the true but timid friends of ecclesiastical purity 
and freedom; and that they might be able more effec 
tually to resist ecclesiastical tyranny, and relieve those 
who were its victims." " There was," says Ralph 
Erskine, " I thought, much of the Lord with them, 
and I found my heart frequently warmed and drawn 
out in prayer with them."* Mr. Fisher was chosen 
Clerk of the new judicatory, for which his distinct and 
beautiful handwriting and accurate habits peculiarly 
fitted him, and he continued for a number of years to 
discharge this office, which, from the number of appli 
cations that soon poured in on the Presbytery, (riot 
fewer than seventy being mado in 1737-8,) was found 
to be no sinecure. The first important deed of the 
Associate Presbytery was the preparation and publica 
tion of " A Testimony for the Doctrine, Government, 
and Discipline of the Church of Scotland;" a calm, 
well-reasoned statement of the grounds on which they 
had acted, and were determined to continue to act. 
This was the work of Mr. Wilson assisted by Mr. 
Fisher, t 

There was a considerable party in the Church, who, 
though not prepared fully to justify, and still less to 

* Eraser s Life and Diary of Ralph Erskine, p. 207. 

t MS. note by Mr. Gib. Indeed Mr. Fisher seems to have 
had a hand in almost all the public papers. Mr. Gib particu 
larly mentions the introduction to the declinature as written by 
him. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 29 

imitate, the conduct of the Four Brethren, yet deeply 
regretted the arbitrary proceedings of the late As 
semblies and Commissions, and had become seriously 
alarmed with regard to their probable consequences. 
Great and successful exertions were made by this party 
to secure members of their way of thinking for the 
Assembly in 1734; and the ruling faction beginning 
to see that they had by their violent measures created 
dangers which they did not know well how to meet, 
seem to have allowed their opponents to have a good 
deal of their own will in the elections. The conse 
quence was one of the most extraordinary acts ever 
emitted by an ecclesiastical body. " The General As 
sembly," without application from any quarter, "with 
out farther inquiry into the occasions or steps of pro 
ceeding of Messrs. Ebenezer Erskine, William Wilson, 
Alexander Moncrieff, and James Fisher, who had sepa 
rated from this Church and the judicatories thereof, 
or of the several judicatories under whose consideration 
their case had been, empowered the Synod of Perth 
and Stirling to take the case of these Four Brethren 
under their consideration, with full power to proceed 
and do therein as they shall find most justifiable and 
expedient for restoring the peace, and preserving the 
authority of this Church, and restoring them to their 
respective charges, without pronouncing any judgment 
favourable or unfavourable, on the former proceedings 
of the church judicatories in their cause." 

The Synod of Perth and Stirling showed no back 
wardness in attempting to undo what had been the 
unlooked-for result of their intemperate rashness. At 
their meeting in July they followed up this remarkable 
empowerment, by, at one sweep, removing, without appli 
cation from any of the Four Brethren, and without any 
condition express or implied, the sentences pronounced 
by the Commission in 1733, against them, restoring 
them to ministerial communion and reponing them in 



30 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

their charges. They even went so far as to elect Mr. 
Ebenezer Erskine to be their Moderator, and appointed 
a deputation to wait on him to request him to occupy 
the chair. 

As the Associate Brethren were not to be terrified, 
so they were not to be seduced from what they saw to 
be the path of duty. They showed themselves equally 
superior to flattery as to fear. Had they been vain 
men, never perhaps had there been such an opportunity 
of having vanity gratified.* But they were men of 
" another spirit," and were determined to " follow the 
Lord fully." They took the proposal into serious con 
sideration; but after thoughtful and prayerful delibera 
tion, they saw that no explicit condemnation of what 
they held to be tyranny and injustice had been given, 
no pledge to retrace the steps of defection, and to pro 
ceed in a course of remonstrance with the civil power 
on its encroachments, and of internal reformation; and 
that therefore it was clearly their duty to continue for 
the present in that state of judicial separation from the 
ruling party of the Church into which they had been 
so wonderfully conducted ; and they assigned reasons 
for the course they had resolved on, not more remark 
able for the soundness of their substance than for the 
calmness of their manner. Subsequent events soon 
made it plain to them and all considerate observers 
that they had judged rightly .f 

* This is admirably put by Dr. Harper in the following most 
graphical sentence :" A weak man might have been excused 
if, in Mr. Erskine s circumstances, he had imagined himself 
vaulting into the saddle while the Synod held the stirrup, and 
with studied civilities attended him as he rode over rescinded 
acts, and recanted charges to the Hall of the Assembly, amid 
the abashed looks of humbled dignitaries, and the shoutings ot 
a triumphant people." Memoir of Ebenezer Erskine, p. 65. 

f Even Sir Henry Moncrieff (in his Appendix to his Life ot 
Dr. Erskine, pp. 448, 449, 452) admits, that if the Seceders had 
given way, and returned to the Church on this occasion, they 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 31 

The parishioners of Kinclaven adhered almost with 
out exception to their discarded minister. Instead of 
abandoning his ministrations they clung closer to him 
than ever. They had had " full proof of his ministry 
and manner of life," and were persuaded that he and 
his honoured associates had been " cast out by their 
brethren," for their fidelity to the honour of their Mas 
ter and to the privileges of his people; and that they 
were called on to bear testimony against the error and 
tyranny which was permitted to prevail in the Estab 
lished Church. It was not till August 1735, that the 
Associate Presbytery proceeded to exercise judicial 
functions, so careful were they " to do nothing rashly ;" 
and Kinclaven and Abernethy seem to have had the 
honour of being the first two congregations that, through 
their sessions, formally acceded to the Presbytery. 

The deed of accession, on the part of Kinclaven, well 
deserves a place here. *" Kinclaven Manse, October 
25th, 1736, Which day and place the session met, 
and after prayer by the minister, were present, &c., &c., 
<fec. The session taking into consideration the present 
lamentable state of the Established Church of Scotland ; 
that the General Assemblies thereof have restrained 
ministerial faithfulness in preaching and the liberty of 
protesting against their decisions, however unlawful, 
and have ejected four ministers from their communion 
for refusing to give up with these valuable rights of 
the office-bearers of Zion s King: that gross errors and 
blasphemies have been vented by some members of the 
Church, and yet no way duly censured or testified 
against, when the cause of truth came before the su- 

would have been disappointed. The prevailing party were not 
overpowered; they were merely allowing their opponents to 
do what they themselves could not do with a good grace, but 
with a resolution to hold the reins as tight as ever. 

* This interesting document has been already printed in Dr. 
M Kerrow s History, p. 173, 2d edition. 



32 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

preme judicatories, whereby that cause is left bleeding 
in our streets ; that as the heritage of God, for several 
years past, has been oppressed by intrusions into the 
ministry, the same continue still to be countenanced; 
arid likewise considering that the Established Church 
have refused to make a faithful acknowledgment, to 
the glory of God, of our own iniquities, and the iniqui 
ties of our fathers; and the session having heard read 
the causes of God s wrath against this church and 
land, both in former and present times, drawn up by 
the ministers associated together for the exercise of 
government and discipline in a presbyterial capacity, 
it was moved what should be the duty of this session 
in the present juncture; whereupon one was desired 
to pray, and after prayer and long reasoning upon the 
said motion, the question was put: Take up the tes 
timony contained in the above-mentioned causes of the 
Lord s wrath, and accede to the Presbytery of the 
ministers associated for the exercise of church govern 
ment and discipline, or not? It carried unanimously, 
4 Take up the testimony, contained in the above men 
tioned causes of the Lord s wrath, in all the branches 
of it; and they did, and hereby do, accede to the Pres 
bytery of the ministers associated for the exercise of 
government and discipline; and upon a leet being made, 
Thomas Watson was chosen to attend the meetings of 
Presbytery for the ensuing half year." 

It may be right to state here, though the fact, like 
so many others in this Memoir, have no exclusive refer 
ence to Mr. Fisher s personal history, that in the close 
of the year 1736, an able and most elaborate apologe- 
tical narrative or historical defence of the course taken 
by the Seceders, was published by the Associate Pres 
bytery, under the title of " An act, declaration, and 
testimony, for the doctrine, worship, discipline, and 
government of the Church of Scotland." This docu 
ment is commonly known by the name of The Second 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 33 

or the Judicial Testimony. This, like the first Tes 
timony, was, in a great degree, the joint work of 
Messrs. Wilson and Fisher.* 

In the course of this year we find that Mr. Fisher, with 
the Erskine brothers and Messrs. Moncrieff and Mair, 
assisted Mr. Bonar of Torphichen in administering 
the communion, and that, along with Mr. Wilson, he 
visited by request the west of Scotland, where a con 
siderable interest had been excited by the events con 
nected with the Secession. By their ministrations and 
conversations a very favourable impression was made 
in many quarters, and the foundation of a number 
of congregations laid; among the rest that of the 
large society in the city of Glasgow, of which Mr. 
Fisher was ere long to become the minister. 

Mr. Fisher s audience at Kinclaven, so far from 
being diminished by what had taken place, was con 
siderably increased. Many from the parishes of Little 
Dunkeld, Redgorton, Monedie, Caputh, Lethendy, 
Cluny, and Cargill, approving of the ground taken by 
the Associate Brethren, placed themselves under his 
ministry. On occasion of the administration of the 
Lord s supper, great crowds of devout worshippers, not 
only from the neighbourhood, but from the west of 
Scotland, and even from Ireland, collected at Kincla 
ven. Hospitably as the people were disposed to enter 
tain the host of strangers which poured in on them on 
such occasions, they were unable to accommodate them 
all in their houses, or even in their barns. Some of 
them were accustomed to spend the night in the parish 
church, and others encamped in a neighbouring wood 
called the Hill of Kinclaven. Tradition tells of Mr. 
Ralph Erskine, when on one occasion assisting his 
esteemed relative at the administration of the Lord s 
supper, having gone early into the wood on the morn- 

* MS. note of Mr. Gib. 



34 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

ing of the Communion Sabbath, and on his return 
saying to his brethren in the manse, " We are likely to 
have a good day I think, for the birds are singing very 
sweetly in the wood," referring to the sounds of prayer 
and praise which he had heard from all quarters.* 
The following notices from that good man s diary re 
specting Kinclaven communions are interesting: "/Sab 
bath, July 2d, 1738. I heard Mr. Fisher, in his action 
sermon on that word It is finished. His proofs that 
the work was finished and inferences therefrom were 
refreshing to me." " Satur day , July 28th, 1739. This 
evening I had a public exercise before the Sacrament 
at Kinclaven, and preached on Gal. ii. 20. On Sab 
bath I communicated at a table served by my brother, 
and was quickened there by hearing that Christ was 
alive, and that all the words on which he has caused 
us to hope are more on his heart than ours. This was 
a mean of quickening, and when I went alone, my 
heart was poured out, by the outpouring of the Spirit 
of Christ. I was strengthened in preaching at the 
text upon the love of Christ being a giving love, and 
strengthened in serving seven tables, especially the two 
last except one; at which two, the communicants and 
hearers seemed to be greatly moved, for there was some 
remarkable breathing." " Monday, July 30. This 
morning being obliged, I studied and preached; though 
unprepared I was helped in studying and preaching. 
I preached from a heart, as it were, full of Christ and 
of desire to win souls to him. The Lord was with me 
in the closet, and with me in the tent. . . . , I 
preached before my brother Ebenezer, and many went 
away with the conviction that God was in the place." t 
In the autumn of this year we find Mr. Fisher ac 
companying Ralph Erskine in visiting Dryburgh, 

* MacKerrow, p. 833. 2d ed. 

f Eraser s life and diary of the Kev. Kalph Erskine, p. 259, 260. 






THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 35 

Ebenezer s birth-place, and Shielfield, the possession of 
their ancestors Stichell and Sir Robert Pringle, the 
only titled adherent the Secession could boast of 
Maxton and its worthy minister Gabriel Wilson, and 
taking a part in the ordination at Gateschaw of Mr. 
Hunter, the eloquent first licentiate of the Associate 
Presbytery. * 

In August 1738, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Ralph Erskine 
went to the south-west of Scotland, to preach among 
Mr. Hepburn s people the Cameronians, as they were 
commonly called. Six or seven ministers heard them, 
with whom they conversed afterwards, and " Mr. 
Fisher," says Ralph Erskine in his diary, " sustained 
a debate with them to great advantage." f 

The General Assembly in 1738 perceiving that there 
was no prospect of the return of the Seceders to the 
church, except on the ground of a much more thorough 
change in administration than they probably thought 
either practicable or advisable, and hoping perhaps to 
deter persons from joining their fellowship, had proceed 
ed towards what, however consistent with ecclesiastical 
law and usage, must be considered as a most wanton 
desecration of a high censure, which ought never to be 
pronounced but on men clearly proved guilty of dan 
gerous error or plain immorality. The Commission 
which met in November, acting under their orders, put 
a libel into the hand of Mr. Fisher and the other mem 
bers of the Associate Presbytery. As a body they 
drew up a solemn declinature of the authority of the 
Assembly, which their Moderator read before the As 
sembly at its meeting in 1739. Instead of proceeding, 
as might have been expected, to the highest ecclesias 
tical clerical censure the Assembly, for reasons not 
difficult to divine, deferred it for a twelvemonth, and 

* Fraser s life and diary of the Rev. Ralph Erskiue, p. 261, 26 
t Ibid. p. 275, 276. 



36 NAREATIVE OF THE LIFE, &C. 

then, as no symptoms of penitence or returning alle 
giance manifested themselves on the part of the Seced 
ing Ministers, at their meeting, 1740, they formally 
deposed from the office of the ministry men who, for 
integrity, piety, and unspotted reputation had no supe 
riors in the land, and who, as to ministerial qualifica 
tion, stood on a level with the most respectable of their 
brethren. This ecclesiastical thunderbolt was hurled 
against the four brethren and the four associates who 
had united themselves with them since their formation 
of themselves into a Presbytery.* It was truly a 
" telum imbelle." It came too late. It did not reach 
its mark. It proved the importance of the Secession, 
but did nothing to stay its course. 

* The Rev. Messrs. Ralph Erskine of Dunfermline, Thomas 
Mair of Orwell, Thomas Nairn of Abbotshall, and James 
Thomson of Burntisland. 



(37) 






CHAPTER III. 

17401747. 

Ejected from the Church and Manse of Kinclaven, 1741 Call to 
Glasgow Admission to Glasgow Introductory Sermon Con 
troversy with the Rev. Mr. James Robe respecting the " Kilsyth and 
Cambuslang work " Publications on that subject Character of 
them Rebellion in 1745 Thanksgiving Sermon, 1746 Burgess 
Oath Controversy The Breach, 1747. 

WHEN the minister appointed to intimate the sentence 
of the Assembly came to Kinclaven, he found, on 
his arrival on the Lord s day morning, the church 
already crowded, and the pulpit filled by its usual 
occupant, and was obliged to perform the work as 
signed him, at the west end of the church, in the pre 
sence of two witnesses, specially summoned, to afford 
valid evidence of the appointment of the Assembly 
having been carried into execution. 

Mr. Fisher s Presbytery seem, upon the whole, to 
have acted with much kindly forbearance towards him. 
On receiving the letter from the Commission of August 
1733, recommending them to supply the pulpit of their 
suspended brother, they " found that it would not be 
for edification to supply that charge presently" though 
Mr. Adam Ferguson of Killin, father of the celebrated 
Professor of the same name, for a reason which soon 
became apparent, protested against this finding. They 
appointed a committee to deal with Mr. Fisher, and it 
was not till the 4th of December that they appointed 
Mr. Man to repair to Kinclaven and intimate the Com 
mission s sentence and though Mr. Man reported at 
next meeting that he had fulfilled the appointment, they 
still at successive meetings delayed appointing supplies. 



33 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

On the 18th June, 1734, a presentation to the vacant 
kirk and parish made its appearance, addressed to 
Mr. Adam Ferguson, but the Presbytery delayed the 
whole affair till they were forbidden to proceed by the 
Synod, which, in accordance with the appointment of 
the Assembly, had removed the suspension. Even 
after the deposition by the Assembly, while the Pres 
bytery appointed their officer to deliver a copy of the 
Assembly s Act to the Session Clerk, to be communicat 
ed to the elders, they still delayed sending supply. At 
last, when the heritors petitioned the Presbytery, on the 
14th of October, to appoint Mr. James Bishop to preach 
at Kinclaven, the Presbytery, but not till their next 
meeting, complied with the request. On going there, 
however, he could find no access. Mr. Bishop received 
a presentation from the heritors on the 7th April, 1741, 
and legal measures were ere long adopted to find him 
entrance into the church and manse.* 

Mr. Fisher continued to reside in the manse, and to 
preach in the church of Kinclaven, till August 13th, 
1741, when three officers of the law intimated a decree 
of execution formally passed, and gave Mr. Fisher a 
charge thereupon to remove from kirk and manse 
within forty-eight hours, under pain of forcible ejection 
and other penalties. His last sermon, on Sabbath Aug. 
9th, was from Rom. vii. 24, 25. On the 15th day of 
that month, the same officers having been refused the 
keys of the church, went in by the windows, put a 
new lock on one of the doors, and iron plates over the 
key holes. Thus deprived of the use of the church, 
Mr. Fisher preached in a tent at Kinclaven braeside 
during the short period he continued in that part of 
the country.f Towards the end of this year Mr. 
Fisher had an addition of twin children to his family, 

* Minutes of the Presbytery of Dunkeld. 
t Information contained in a note in one of Mr. Fisher s 
note books. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 30 

which we notice chiefly that we may chronicle here his 
tribute to the memory of a dear " brother and compa 
nion in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ," as 
recorded in his Family Register. " Our two children, 
Margaret and James, were born in Perth, Saturday, 
Oct. 31st, 1741, about three in the morning. They 
were baptized next day, being Sabbath November 1st, 
by Mr. William Wilson, minister at Perth, which was 
the last piece of public ministerial work performed by 
that eminent servant of Jesus Christ. He died Nov. 
14th, 1741."* 

Among the societies of Christians in various quar 
ters of the country, who applied to the Associate 
Presbytery to be placed in church order, and, by being 
taken under their care, to be secured of the enjoyment 
of ecclesiastical freedom, the dispensation of a pure gos 
pel, and the exercise of a wholesome discipline, none, with 
the exception perhaps of that in the metropolis, could 
compare for importance with the association in the, 
even then, wealthy and populous city of Glasgow. Its 
site afforded an excellent central point from which to 
operate on the west of Scotland, and its members were 
considerably numerous, and many of them distinguished 
for worldly as well as Christian respectability. This 
society, when formed into a congregation, soon fixed 
their eyes on Mr. Fisher, as from his comparative 
youth, as well as from his pulpit talents and remark 
able amenity of manners, peculiarly fitted to fill a 
sphere which was likely to become of much impor 
tance; and took constitutional measures to have their 
wishes gratified. In the summer of 1740, Mr. Ebene- 
zer Erskine presided in a moderation of a call in the 
congregation of Glasgow, and Mr. Fisher was unani 
mously elected. Seventeen voted for Mr. Ralph Erskine, 
but all these subscribed the call.f 

* MS. in possession of Mrs. Crum, Thornliebank. 
f Minutes of Associate Session of Glasgow. 



40 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

Translations were not in good odour with the better 
part of the Scotch clergy and people in the beginning 
of the eighteenth century, and considerable difficulties 
were to be got over with the Presbytery, as well as 
with Mr. Fisher and the people of Kinclaven. The 
call was presented to the Presbytery at Abernethy on 
the 17th June, and the conduct of the moderator ap 
proved of, but the question of sustaining the call was 
deferred till a meeting at Stirling in October. " After 
much reasoning" the call was sustained, the reasons of 
transportation sent to the " parish of Kinclaven," and 
parties summoned to attend for their interest. A 
conviction was lodged in Mr. Fisher s mind, that in 
the whole circumstances of the case he had the call 
of his Master to go to Glasgow. His affectionate 
people were not only willing but desirous to retain 
him, and employed every means in their power to 
secure their object. Some of his brethren were de 
cidedly for his continuance, and it was not till July 
22d, 1741, that the Presbytery agreed to his transla 
tion a decision that occasioned deep and lasting regret 
to his attached people. 

For three years alter Mr. Fisher left Kinclaven the 
bereaved congregation worshipped God either in barns 
or in the woods under the canopy of heaven. At last 
they obtained the lease of the ground on which their 
present church and manse stand, and it is said the 
congregation of Glasgow gave them a donation of 
twenty pounds, to assist them in the erection of these 
buildings. 

It is a striking fact, that after the lapse of nearly 
110 years since Mr. Fisher left them, the great body 
of the people in the neighbourhood still belong to the 
religious denomination of which he was one of the 
founders. The recollections of the district, as to the 
first Seceding minister, are highly favourable. They 
speak of his private amiableness and public usefulness, 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 41 

of his fervent love of truth and freedom, of his con 
scientious diligence in professional duties, of his being 
the welcome guest of the great, and the kind friend of 
the poor. His fine personal appearance is still talked 
of, and Mr. Wilson s remark about him is proverbial 
that "he had the face of an eagle."* 

It is one of the most painful trials in human life, 
when a Christian minister, happy and useful in the 
midst of a flock who have chosen him, and whom he 
has chosen in the morning of his days when the affections 
are warm, is called to leave them for an obviously 
wider sphere of professional usefulness. It is well 
that such trials are comparatively of rare occurrence. 
The pastoral tie is a very sacred one and on both 
sides it is best, when it is formed, that the feeling 
should be, that it is likely to last for life. Things are 
in a deplorable state in a religious body, when transla 
tion, and even repeated translation, is the rule, not the 
rare exception. At the same time there are cases where 
there can be no reasonable doubt that removal is the 
path of duty, however repugnant it may be to feeling; 
and he who, in these cases, makes the sacrifice from a 
regard to his Master and his cause, however the prin 
ciples on which he acts may be misunderstood by those 
whom he dearly loves though he feels compelled to leave 
them, and however painful may be the effects of such 
misunderstandings, may rejoice that there is One who 
knows the whole matter, and that it is to Him he has to 
give his account. He will not misconstrue his object nor 
undervalue his sacrifice. Mr. Fisher s case was a very 
clear one yet he did not escape unkind remark from 
those of whom better things might have been expected. 

Mr. Fisher s induction to the charge of the congre 
gation in Glasgow, afterwards known as the Congre 
gation of Shuttle-street, and more lately of Greyfriars 

* Information communicated by Mr. Young of Kinclaven. 



42 NARRATIVE OX THE LIFE OF 

a congregation second to none I believe I might 
have safely said " facile princeps" among the congrega 
tions of the Secession for liberal support to Christian 
Institutions, took place on October 8th, 1741, in the 
open air, at Crossbill, in the neighbourhood of Glas 
gow, about a mile to the south in the parish of Cath- 
cart, where they had been accustomed to worship, 
and continued to do so till their church was built. On 
that occasion the Rev. James Mair of West Linton, at 
whose ordination Mr. Fisher had preached the year 
preceding, commenced the services by a sermon on 1 
Thess. v. 25. The Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, who pre 
sided, preached the admission sermon from Psal. cii. 
17. and addressed the minister and congregation, and 
the Rev. Ralph Erskine closed the solemn work by a 
sermon on Acts vii. 34.* which is to be found among 
his published works. 

Mr. Fisher commenced his ministry in Glasgow by 
preaching on the Sabbath immediately succeeding his 
induction from 2 Cor. ii. 16. and 2 Cor. iii. 5. "Who 
is sufficient for these things?" " Our sufficiency is of 
God." We have before us pretty full notes of this 
sermon, taken by Mr. Henry Erskine, son of Ralph 
Erskine, afterwards minister of Falkirk, then a student 
of divinity. It appears to have been a plain, solid, 
useful, appropriate, discourse. We give the conclud 
ing paragraph: "1. Is it so that ministers are utterly 
insufficient of themselves, and that their sufficiency is 
of God? Then ministers of all men in the world have 
reason to be the most humble. Why should a man be 
proud of that which he has received? Indeed if any 
minister or Christian be proud, it is an evidence that 
* he knows nothing at all as he ought to know it. 2. 
People should beware of overvaluing the instruments, 
putting their ministers in Christ s room. Who is 

* Minutes of the Associate Presbytery. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 43 

Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers/ or servants, 
by whom ye believed? Overvaluing instruments pro 
vokes the Lord to withdraw his countenance, to blast 
their labours, to give a miscarrying womb and dry 
breasts. 3. See the duty of people with respect to 
their minister. They should pray for him that he may 
be furnished out of the all- sufficiency of God. Read 
Rom. xv. 30 32; Eph. vi. 18, 19. 4. Ministers ought 
to be trading much with God, in prayer and medita 
tion, believing the promises and searching the Scrip 
tures. Oh how dry, how melancholy, how wearisome 
a work it is when ministers have no recourse to God, 
but take all their help from men and the works of men ! 
o. Be persuaded that there is enough for us all in our 
God, enough for ministers and enough for people. 
This fountain is still overflowing; the waters of the 
sanctuary are still as deep as ever. The river proceed 
ing out of the throne of God is a river that may be 
swimmed in still. Be verily persuaded that all the 
fulness of God is for you. Believe that all the fulness 
which is in Christ as Mediator is offered to you. Look 
unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth. 
The table spread for you in this gospel is furnished 
with nothing less than the all-sufficiency of God, and 
therefore fall on, honour God by believing that Christ 
is of God made to you wisdom, and righteousness, and 
sanctification, and redemption, that he is your Sa 
viour as God gives him unto you in his word. And 
if you were minting at this, you might the more expect 
your minister to be furnished with the words of grace 
suitable for nourishing you up to everlasting life/ "* 
For more than a year Mr. Fisher preached and ad 
ministered ordinances in the open air, either at Crosshill 
or in a yard off the Rotenrow, the property of which 
the congregation had acquired, but which they after- 

* MS. collections of the late Dr. Fraser. 



44 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

wards disposed of on procuring the more advantageous 
site in Shuttle-street, on which they erected a large 
and commodious place of worship. The foundation of 
this structure was laid March 1742, and, though not 
finished, it was opened for worship on the first Sabbath 
of November that year. 

The solid, instructive character of Mr. Fisher s pulpit 
instructions, clothed as they were in familiar perspicu 
ous language, and delivered in a lively and dignified 
yet simple and natural manner, combined with his 
diligent and affectionate private ministrations, soon 
brought around him a very large congregation, which 
continued, with one exception to be noticed in the 
course of the narrative, unbroken for more than thirty 
years. The size of the congregation may be judged of 
from the fact, that at the administration of the Lord s 
Supper there were usually 17 or 18 table services, and 
that, though Mr. Fisher was brief in his public ser 
vices,* and not very tolerant of those who were other 
wise, the communion service, which commenced at 9 
or 10 in the morning, did not close sometimes till be 
tween 9 and 10 in the evening, f 

* Mr. James Erskine notices that on one occasion at Falkirk 
he preached only a quartet* of an hour, and the ordinary length 
of his discourses does not seem to have exceeded 40 minutes or 
three-quarters of an hour. The first Seceders were generally, 
if not universally, short preachers: so was Mr. Boston. 

t The congregation embraced not only the city of Glasgow 
and parishes of Barony and Gorbals, but the parishes of Old 
Monkland, Calder, Kirkintilloch, Rutherglen, Camhuslang, Car- 
munnock, Cathcart, and Eastwood. Mearns, in which parish 
the Seceders seem to have been numerous and influential, very 
soon became the seat of a separate congregation. The follow 
ing abstract of the services at a Shuttle-street communion, tran 
scribed from one of Mr. Fisher s note-books, is not without its 
interest. "Fast-day, Thursday June 18, 1761. Forenoon, Mr. 
Archd. Hall, Psal. Ixviii. 18 ; Mr. Belfrage, Rom. viii. 1. After 
noon, Mr. Thomson from Ireland, Deut. xxxii. 6. Friday night, 
Mr. Hall, Hos. xiv. 4. Saturday Within, Mr. Belfrage, Gal. 
T. 17; Mr. Smith, Song i. 4. Without, Mr. Thomson, Deut. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 45 

In the first year of his ministry in Glasgow, com 
menced under very favourable omens, Mr. Fisher s at 
tention was unhappily distracted in, if not from, his 
pastoral duties, by the very remarkable movements of 
a religious nature which occurred at Cambuslang, Kil- 
syth, and some other places, under the occasional minis 
trations of that simple-minded, warm-hearted, devoted 
servant of Christ, the Rev. George Whitefield, then on 
a visit to Scotland. At first sight it may seem strange 
that Mr. Fisher and the other seceding ministers should 
take so active, and especially so hostile, a part, in re 
ference to those measures with which, it may be thought, 
they had very little to do. But whatever judgment 
we may form of the wisdom or propriety of their in 
terference, it is not at all difficult to account for its 
occurrence. It was not wanton fondness for strife that 
led the Seceders into the fray. 

The violent external commotions, amounting in many 
cases to strong convulsions, which accompanied pro 
fessed conviction of sin, and sense of forgiveness, among 
Mr. Whitefield s hearers, so different from the calm 
though deep religious feeling that shrinks from all ex 
pression except to its immediate Object, and avoids 
everything that can attract attention, which had long 
constituted the leading feature of Scottish spiritual ex 
perience; and the supposed encouragement given to men 
to seek within themselves, in their own imaginary ideas 
and excited feelings, that ground of hope and that rule 
of duty which the Scriptures lead a man to seek entirely 

xxxii. 6 ; Mr. M Cara, Lara. i. 16. Evening exercise, Mr. Cook, 
Psal. cxxx. 5. Sabbath, at the tent, Mr. Thomson, Mr. Smith. 
Mr. Hall, Mr. Horn, Mr. M Cara, Mr. Belfrage, Mr. Cock, Mr. 
Hall, Mr. Thomson. There were 18 tables. The service began 
at half-past 9, A.M., and ended half-past 9, P.M. Monday 
Within, Mr. M Cara, 2 Sam. vii. 19; Mr. Horn, 2 Cor. vii. lG. 
Without, Mr. Hall, Mr. Cock." On another occasion, 1756, 
when there were 17 tables, it is stated that there were 1,286 com 
municants. 



46 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

without himself, in the work of Christ and the charac 
ter and will of God, were fitted to excite suspicions in 
minds, which, though habitually and powerfully influ 
enced by divine truth, were but little disposed either to 
mysticism or to enthusiasm;* and these suspicions had 
certainly been strengthened by the invidious light, in 
which those revivals of religion or outpourings of the 
Holy Ghost were represented, by some very worthy 
but in this respect not very wise persons, as evident 
tokens of God s displeasure at the Seceders for aban 
doning a church, in connection with which he was 
performing such miracles of saving mercy, t 

* That Mr. Fisher and his friends were really persuaded that 
there was much delusion among the Cambuslang and Kilsyth con 
verts cannot be doubted and that they had evidence that there 
was some delusion among them can as little be doubted ; and 
though we must regret deeply their one-sided view of the whole 
matter, and their rash all but entire condemnation of what by 
its fruits proved that there was much in it from heaven as well 
as something from men, yet we believe the honest object of their 
contendings is that expressed in the words of Ralph Erskine : 
" May this generation be preserved from an imaginary faith, re 
ligion, and conversion, which will neither unite them to the true 
Christ, nor bring them to the true heaven, nor keep them out of 
the true hell; and from the truth as it is in men s fancy and 
imagination instead of the truth as it is in Jesus, and in his 
blessed word, the only rule to direct us how we may glorify 
and enjoy God ! " That is a good wish for all men in all time. 
It assuredly is not unseasonable in our own times. 

t "The cry is raised, God is now remarkably owning the 
ministers of the Established Church, notwithstanding all the 
evils complained of: He is crowning their ministrations with 
remarkable success : Nations are born in one day by their means: 
There is no such countenance given to the Assemblies of the 
Seceders : and therefore, the People ought to disown them, whom 
God is disowning: God is now testifying that there was no 
ground for seceding from the Established Church, when he is 
holding fellowship with her in such a visible and open manner. " 
Fisher s Revieio of Robe s Preface, p. 47. It was shrewdly an 
swered by George Findlay, a plain Kilsyth Seceder, to these 
statements " Although I were persuaded, from the word of God, 
that it is the saving work of the Spirit of the Lord, I would not 






THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 47 

Among these the Kev. Mr. James Robe of Kilsyth 
held a foremost place. In " a preface to a narrative of 
the extraordinary work at Kilsyth and its neighbour 
hood, and in an address to the Brethren of the Asso 
ciate Presbytery anent their act for a public fast," this 
good man had made statements which, to say the least, 
seemed to require to be noticed by the Seceders, and 
which Mr. Fisher, with his warm temper and public 
spirit, was not likely to think it right to allow to pass 
without animadversion. He accordingly published in 
1742, ; A Review of Mr. Robe s Preface and Address," 
which, though in no degree discreditable to the acute- 
ness of his mind, the orthodoxy of his principles, or the 
integrity of his character, does manifestly show how 
very imperfect and one-sided a view he had taken of 
the whole subject, and is far from having for its lead 
ing feature " the meekness of wisdom."* 

see my warrant in the word to bury a Testimony for truth, and 
return to the Establishment." Ibid., p. 61. Mr. Bisset complains 
of " some ministers and elders, because of the extremes of the 
Seceders, having given up with all their former contendings, and 
invited, employed, and caressed a subverter of our govern 
ment as it would seem, for this end to break the Seceders." 
Bissefs Letter to a Gentleman in Edinburgh, pp. 4, 5. Edin., 

* The following is a favourable specimen of Mr. Fisher s po 
lemic style. Mr. M Culloch had said that he believed that 
there were "Five hundred savingly brought home to God, not 
including counterfeits and those who had nothing but a dread 
of hell." On this statement Mr. Fisher remarks, " The reason 
why a sober [minded] man will scarce venture to attest the 
real conversion of multitudes, is obvious. There are many 
hypocrites in the visible church, by whom all the outward evi 
dences of grace may be so exactly counterfeited, that the most 
quicksighted Christian may mistake a hypocrite for a true be 
liever: for though believers may attain to an assurance of their 
own particular interest in Christ, yet all the evidence we have 
of the conversion of another being merely external, we may for 
the above reason be liable to manifold mistakes; yet the inter 
nal distinguishing evidences are so plainly laid down in the 
word, that none examining themselves thereby under the influ- 



48 NAREATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

We can look back on these scenes with minds un 
disturbed by prejudice and passion, and see in them 
a remarkable display of the sovereignty and power 
of divine grace rendering the clear impressive state 
ment of elementary gospel truth effectual to the con 
version of many sinners of very various descriptions, 
who showed the true character of the change produced 
by a long course of consistent Christian conduct; while 
we equally clearly perceive, that there were aceom- 

ence of the Spirit of truth, but will come to discern the real and 
wide difference between hypocrisy and saving grace. There is 
no doubt but all the true lovers of Jesus would earnestly wish 
that there were many thousands savingly converted, for every 
one that is here alleged; but people are never in a more dan 
gerous condition than when they persuade themselves and are 
strongly persuaded by others, that they are converted, if in the 
meanwhile they are in the gall of bitterness still : Yea, though 
in the judgment of charity we thought them in a converted state, 
yet the safest way would be to put them upon examining them 
selves whether they be in the faith. Besides, I find the minis 
ters of Christ who have been honoured of the Lord to be most 
instrumental in convincing and converting work have been most 
denied as to their own instrumentality, that he who builds the 
Temple of the Lord may bear all the glory. The Apostle Peter 
was most successful of any we read of at one time, Acts ii. 21. 
But does he send letters to all the countries around, to acquaint 
them that such a day he had been instrumental in converting 
three thousand? The Lord was pleased to send down a plenti 
ful rain of divine influences during the time of Mr. Livingstoun s 
sermon at the Kirk of Shotts, but doth he proclaim it through all 
the world that so many hundreds were converted at that time 
by his means ? Nay, he draws a modest vail over it in the his 
tory of his life." Fisher s Review of Robe s Preface, pp. 7, 8. It 
is however deplorable to find a man like Mr. Fisher sanction 
ing Mr. Bisset s (of Aberdeen) intemperate railing, calling Mr. 
Whitefield a man of truly apostolic character "a strolling 
impostor and cheat." Tradition tells that this was at least one 
point in which Mrs. Fisher did not harmonize in opinion and 
feeling with him whom she loved to call lord. Mr. Fisher him 
self was accustomed to say, that had he been aware of the dis 
tinguished worth of Jonathan Edwards, he would have treated 
him in his " Review " with much greater respect. Eraser s 
Diary of Ralph Erskine. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 49 

paniments of this manifestation, which owed their origin 
to human weakness and depravity, if not to a darker 
spiritual influence. But when was there ever a re 
ligious movement, though giving upon the whole satis 
factory evidence of a divine origin, unattended by such 
drawbacks? When did the great Sower of truth, the 
Son of Man, disperse his good seed, where the enemy 
did not accompany or speedily follow him with his 
tares ? 

I am certainly not disposed to become Mr. Fisher s 
advocate on this occasion ; but it is difficult for us, in 
circumstances so different, to make the due allowance 
for the disturbing influences to which the minds of both 
parties were exposed. The violence of the opposition, 
raised to, what was on the part of Mr. Fisher, the ex 
pression of conscientious however mistaken opinion, 
may be estimated in some measure by the following 
note, which I transcribe from the original MS., using a 
little freedom with the orthography. The Latin gram 
mar is left untouched. "Glasgow, 23d , 1743, 

Sir, If you had spoken of Mr. Whitefield last Sun 
day, you would have been pulled out of the tent; and 
if for the future you mention Whitefield or Cambus- 
lang, both your house and tent shall be burnt; and 
Sunday first if you speak one word against him, you 
shall be pulled out of the tent. So take care what you 
do. W. D. Memento meo dicto/ Rev. Mr. Fisher." 

It is to be hoped that Christians generally have now 
learned more sufferance of diversity of individual opinion 
and action on such subjects, and have come to the con 
clusion that when we see men casting out devils, though 
not quite in the way which we think best fitted to ac 
complish the purpose, the fact that we cannot conscien 
tiously take a part with them by no means infers the 
obligation, of our forbidding or endeavouring to pre 
vent them from attempting to do what we hold to be 
a very desirable thing in what they think, though we 



50 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

do not, the most desirable way. There are devils 
enough for us all to cast out, and it is a pity to waste 
the time that should be devoted to casting them out, 
to debates about the comparative minutise of our dif 
ferent ways of employing the divinely appointed means, 
the preaching of the truth, for effecting the exorcism 
which we all so much long for. 

In the autumn of 174-2, the Associate Presbytery 
gave forth their " act concerning the doctrine of grace," 
the joint production of Messrs. Ebenezer Erskine and 
Moncrieff, containing a clear exhibition and an able 
defence of all that is most characteristic in " the gospel 
of the grace of God." And no one of the brethren could 
more cordially concur in this much needed testimony 
in behalf of the sovereign grace of God as the sole 
source of man s salvation, the work of Christ the sole 
meritorious ground of this salvation, and the free offer, 
without exception, to mankind of this salvation, in all 
its freeness and fulness, than Mr. Fisher. In every 
one of his published sermons these doctrines are most 
prominently brought forward, and to exhibit and de 
fend them is the great object of that explication of the 
Shorter Catechism to the composition of which he after 
wards devoted so much time and attention. 

In the close of the year 1743, Mr. Fisher took part 
with his brethren of the Presbytery, on the 28th day 
of December, at Stirling, when, with uplifted hands, they 
renewed the National Covenant of Scotland, and the 
Solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms, 
in a manner agreeable to their present circumstances. 
In doing so, they only acted out the principles which 
in common with the great body of the pious members 
of the Church of Scotland they held: and though we 
more than doubt the propriety of the step they took, 
and the truth of some of the principles on which it was 
based, and see in much that followed a practical de 
monstration of the hazard of involving matters of hu- 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 51 

man history, and questions as to the propriety or im 
propriety of the conduct of individuals or bodies of 
men, in matters of Christian profession and worship, 
we cannot but cordially honour their conscientious con 
sistency. 

On March 13, 1744, Mr. Fisher presided at the 
ordination of Mr. Henry Erskine, eldest son of Mr. 
Ralph Erskine, to the charge of the Associate congre 
gation of Falkirk. The text of the ordination sermon 
was 1 Cor. iv. 1, 2. 

In the year 1745, when an insane and wicked at 
tempt was made to subvert the civil and religious 
liberties of this country, by the restoration of the 
Stuart dynasty to a throne most justly forfeited by the 
perfidious violation of all its most important duties on 
the part of its last occupants, Mr. Fisher in common 
with all his Associate brethren, took an active part in 
upholding the standard of liberty and law as raised in 
defence of the Brunswick family. Following in the 
steps of his venerable father-iri-law, Ebenezer Erskine, 
he exerted his influence over his numerous congrega 
tion to fill the ranks of those two battalions, of six 
hundred men each, raised by the city of Glasgow, and 
placed under the command of the Earl of Home; and 
it is said that when they marched to Falkirk, where 
through the mismanagement of the rash and shame 
lessly profane and profligate Hawley* so many of them 

* That those epithets, strong as they are, are not misapplied, 
will appear from the following anecdote, which, though not so 
far as we know recorded, we have reason to think substantially 
authentic. The Rev. Mr. Bisset of Aberdeen, a man holding 
the views of the Seceders, and whose people after his death 
joined the Secession, had publicly rebuked General Hawley for 
profane language at an entertainment given to the Duke of Cum 
berland and his officers as they went North. The reproof was 
resented, and the General said to the Commander-in-chief that 
" he would smoke the parson yet." On the return of the army 
from Culloden the Duke and his officers were again entertained 



52 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

met with death or capture, Mr. Fisher went to that 
town to encourage them to " play the men" in the 
cause of their country. 

In the autumn of 1746, we find Mr. Fisher along 
with his congregation engaged in solemn thanksgiving, 
by appointment of Synod, for deliverance from the 
rebels. The sermon of that day, in pretty full notes 
by Mr. James Erskine, son of Ralph Erskine, after 
wards one of the ministers of Stirling, and son-in-law 
to Mr. Fisher, lies now before me. The text of the 
whole day s services was Phil. iii. 3. " We rejoice in 
Christ Jesus." It is a judicious, affectionate gospel 
sermon, with singularly little reference to its occasion, 
or to public affairs generally. In this respect it re 
sembles Richard Baxter s Thanksgiving sermon for the 
Restoration. They both " show the higher joys which 
must animate joys for national deliverances, or they 
will be but dead corrupted things." We give the con 
cluding paragraph : " Oh beware of resting on the re 
ceipt of temporal mercies. Many may have an abun 
dance of temporal mercies, for a season, without a 
blessing. Beware of thinking, because God has been 
pleased to bring about deliverance for us, at this day 
and time, so as we now enjoy liberty, that this is an 
evidence that the Lord is pleased. No. The Lord s 
anger may be standing, for you will find that mercies 
have been bestowed on those, against whom the Lord s 
anger was kindled because of the abuse of mercies. How 
many mercies did Israel get in the wilderness, and yet 

by the magistrates of Aberdeen. Mr. Bisset was of course pre 
sent. Hawley, after dinner, proposed an indecent toast. Mr. 
Bisset s glass" stood untouched. " Don t you drink the toast, 
Sir?" said the General. "No, Sir," replied Mr. Bisset, "I do 
not drink the toast." " Pray then, Sir, what do you do with it?" 
"Do with it! I do with it as General Hawley did with the 
Highlanders atFalkirk I turn my back on it." "The laugh was 
against the General, and the Commander-in-chief said aloud to 
him, " Smoke the parson now, Hawley !" 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 53 

the Lord was so angry that he sware in his wrath 
that they should not enter into his rest? Beware of 
thinking because God has quelled the rebellion, he is 
well pleased with us. No. Remember that if you do 
not turn to the Lord s hand, that has been smiting you, 
and seek his face, his anger is not turned away : his 
hand is stretched out still. If you are not thankful 
for mercies, and do not evince your thankfulness, by 
turning to him, with all your heart, the Lord may 
come in his own time, and avenge his quarrel against 
such a perfidious nation. We own indeed that it is 
your duty to be thankful for temporal mercies ; but what 
we say is, that you must not rest on them, but rejoice 
in Christ. Now, in order to your rejoicing in him, 
we would exhort you to take hold of him as he is held 
out in the word as the Author of your salvation. Take 
hold of him as your righteousness and strength. It 
is in the way of thus taking hold of him as offered in 
the word that you will come to rejoice in him as your 
ALL IN ALL; and when you are brought to rejoice in 
Christ Jesus, then all the temporal mercies you meet 
with will be sanctified to you, you will have them with 
God s blessing upon them, and in the receipt of them, 
you will be made to go from strength to strength, till 
you appear before God in Zion. " 

The cause of the Secession continued to make steady 
progress. In 1745 the number of congregations was 
so increased that the division of the Associate Pres 
bytery into three separate Presbyteries and the con 
stitution of a Synod became advisable. Unhappily, 
at the very first meeting of that Synod was intro 
duced an apple of discord in the question, " Whether 
an oath required of burgesses in some of the boroughs 
in Scotland, embracing a religious clause, declaring 
the jurant s profession and allowance within his heart 
of the true religion as presently professed within this 
realm, and authorized by the laws thereof, could be 



54 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

taken in consistency with their testimony as Se- 
ceders ?" 

Mr. Fisher took a very decided part with those 
who held that the Oath was, to say the least of it, a 
safe one for Seceders, as, in their apprehension, it 
merely homologated the profession contained in their 
testimony to " the true religion, as contained in the 
standard books of the Church of Scotland, which true 
religion was, without question as a matter of fact, " pro 
fessed within the realm of Scotland, and authorized by 
its laws," without signifying an approbation of every 
thing in reference to the manner in which legal sanction 
had, at the Kevolution, or at other times, been given to 
the true religion, and still less of the existing form of the 
actual profession of that religion in the conduct of the 
church courts, from which they had found it necessary 
to secede. Mr. Fisher s own words are " Every body 
knows that I look upon the Burgess Oath as lawful, 
though I am not for imposing my opinion in this mat 
ter on any as a term of communion with them."* 
This was plainly a sentiment which a man might 
hold with a good conscience: and equally plain is it, 
that equally conscientious men might, and did, hold 
that the oath implied a declaration of approbation 
of the whole manner in which "the true religion" 
was settled at and since the Revolution, and of the 
particular laws by which that settlement was guaran 
teed," in which case, certainly, no enlightened Seceder 
could take it with a safe conscience, nor indeed with 
out directly contradicting some important points in his 
testimony. It seems strange to us that neither party 
had the slightest objection to the oath on the ground 
on which, now, it would be so generally condemned, 
the suspending civil privilege on religious profession. 

It is not for us to give a decision in this question. 

* Mr. Fisher s letter, p. 30. 



THE HEY. JAMES FISHER. 55 

The existence of such oaths is a striking manifesta 
tion of the mischievous influence which the connexion 
between church and state diffuses in all directions, 
identifying it with the system which requires its mark 
to be impressed on the forehead, or on the hand, to 
secure peaceable intercourse in the secular affairs of 
life; and while we should rejoice that this particular 
stumbling-block has been removed out of the way, 
that this cause of strife and obstacle to union no longer 
exists,* we should earnestly pray and strenuously la 
bour that the master evil, of which this was one of the 
most diminutive indications, may soon be destroyed by 
the force of truth, so as to put an end to wider, fiercer 
contentions, and prepare the way for much more ex 
tended and influential union. 

It is matter of history that " the contention was so 
sharp" between the equally honest parties who held 
the above opinions " that they departed asunder one 
from the other," after having, like Paul and Barnabas, 
for a number of years, with united hands arid hearts, 
prosecuted the work of their common Master with His 
obvious benediction, and " with one heart and mouth 
glorified God even the Father;" and though, like 
these good men, they did come, ere long, to speak 

* It would be improper to pass unnoticed the fact that a 
grandson of Mr. Fisher, JAMES EWING, Esq., of Strathleven, 
then occupying a high municipal situation in his native city, by 
his exertions in the Town Council of Glasgow, and in the Con 
vention of the Scottish boroughs, was honoured to be princi 
pally influential in obtaining the suppression of the religious 
clause in the burgess oaths in which it had a place, and thus 
removing an important obstacle in the way of the comfortable 
accomplishment of the union between the two great branches 
of the Secession, a union happily followed up by a more exten 
sive one that of the Relief and United Secession churches in 
the United Presbyterian church. We rejoice to think the tide 
of Christian sentiment and feeling flows stronger than ever 
towards a much more extensive union still. Soon may the 
prayer John xvii. 20 23 be completely answered! 



56 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE, &C. 

kindly and respectfully of each other, like them too 
they ceased to " labour together in the work of God," 
till they joined in his service where they never will be 
disunited, "before the throne of God," and "in the 
presence of the Lamb." This deplorable event took 
place on April 9th, 1747, and led to the division of the 
Synod, so lately formed, into two bodies, equally claim 
ing its name and rights.* 

* " It becomes us to adore the sovereignty of God, and to 
confess his righteousness in permitting a spirit of contention and 
division to enter so early, and to prevail so far in the Associate 
Synod, and to bewail the evils which that spirit produced. It 
diminished the legitimate influence of their excellent profes 
sion, ministrations "and character; diverted the attention of their 
people from the more important concerns of religion, and exhi 
bited an unholy example to the world. If such consequences 
proved less injurious to the interests of religion than might have 
been apprehended, or to a certain extent were counteracted by the 
operation of causes of an opposite nature ; or have been balanced, 
in a considerable degree, by beneficial results, somewhat remote, 
which could not have been anticipated, we ascribe the glory to 
God, who, in his infinite wisdom, brings good out of evil, and 
overrules, for useful purposes, the infirmities and mismanage 
ments of his servants." These are the "weighty words" of a 
wise and good man, DR. STARK, in the historical part of the 
Testimony of the United Secession Church, and embody the 
thoughts and feelings with which United Presbyterians should 
always regard this, not one of the brightest, yet certainly one of 
the most instructive, pages of their history. 



(57) 



CHAPTER IV. 

17471775. 

Mr. Fisher visits Ireland Is requested by the Synod to prepare for 
Theological tuition Synod Sermon, Isa. xxi. 11, 12 Publications on 
the Burgess Oath Controversy Character of them Explication of 
the Westminster Shorter CatechismAppointment to the Professor 
ship, 1749 Mode of conducting the Divinity Hall Resignation of the 
Professorship Obtains a Colleague in the Ministry Death of Mrs. 
Fisher Death of Mr. Fisher Character Family Writings Con 
clusion. 

IMMEDIATELY after the breach, Mr. Fisher went to 
Ireland for a short time, probably for the purpose of 
giving, what he and his party reckoned, a just account 
of the late transactions, so deeply involving the inte 
rests of the Associate body, that the churches in that 
country might be enabled to judge of the course 
which they ought to follow. From a letter addressed 
to a minister in Ireland, dated Glasgow, Jan. 18th, 
1748, it would appear that when in that country he 
had had communication with some ministers of the 
General Synod of Ulster, who were dissatisfied with 
the defections of that body, and had counselled them to 
adopt a course similar to that which the Seceders had 
followed in reference to the General Assembly of the 
Church of Scotland. A course less decided seems to 
have been determined on, which did not at all meet 
Mr. Fisher s approbation, and in this letter he vindi 
cates himself from some misrepresentations. The letter, 
equally creditable to Mr. Fisher s good sense, liberality, 
arid thorough integrity, will be found in the Appendix.* 

* Vide Appendix, No. IV. 3. 



58 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

At the first meeting of the Synod to which Mr. 
Fisher belonged, (ordinarily termed the Burgher Synod,) 
which took place at Stirling in June 1747, he was 
chosen Moderator. Another and still more distinct 
proof of the high estimation in which he was held by 
his brethren, was given him on that occasion. In the 
room of Mr. Moncrieff, who had seen it his duty to 
take a prominent part in the controversy against the 
religious clause in the Burgess oath, and at the division 
went with the brethren who held his views, it was re 
commended to Mr. Fisher, whose qualifications as a 
scholar and divine were well known, to prepare him 
self for the work of theological tuition, while in the 
meantime the students were committed to the care of 
Mr. Ebenezer Erskine. 

The Associate brethren had very soon seen the im 
portance of taking measures for training up qualified 
young men to become candidates for the ministry. So 
early as 1746, Mr. Wilson had been appointed Professor 
of Divinity, and on his death Mr. Moncrieff had been 
chosen to fill the Theological chair. For some time, 
from a fear, not without grounds, of the hazardous 
sentiments taught in some of the Scottish universities 
on moral subjects, they seem to have attempted to 
obtain for their students the means of instruction in 
Logic and Ethics, in Mental and Moral Philosophy, as 
well as in Theology. Mr. David Wilson, afterwards 
minister of the congregation in Bow-lane, London, (now 
assembling in Oxendon chapel, Richard Baxter s,) the 
laborious opponent of Sandeman, Mr. John Mason, 
afterwards Dr. Mason of New York, one of the found 
ers of the Associate Reformed Church, and the father 
of the distinguished Dr. John Mason of the same city, 
Mr. Alexander Pirie, afterwards a Congregational 
minister at Newburgh, author of one of the best de 
fences of infant baptism, arid of many other works 
more ingenious than judicious, and Mr. John Heugh, 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 59 

afterwards minister of Stirling, and father of the late 
lamented Dr. Heugh, were successively teachers of 
Philosophy at Abernethy. The Seceders, however, 
ultimately abandoned this project, and in this they 
appear to have acted wisely, as it does not seem desir 
able that a church should undertake more than the 
theological training of her candidates for the ministry, 
requiring them to bring to the Theological Seminary as 
thorough a literary and philosophical education as the 
universities of the country can afford, and furnishing 
them, there, with the means of counteracting any evil 
influences which that previous course of studies may 
have brought to bear on them. 

There is an obvious propriety in every church having 
the entire control of the theological education of its 
ministry. It cannot neglect this, nor intrust it to the 
hands of strangers, without a grievous dereliction of 
duty, as well as a shameful display of folly. But it is 
very desirable, on many accounts, that the general educa 
tion of a country should be national, not sectarian, and 
that all the youth, to whatever religious denomination 
they may belong, should receive their elementary, and 
literary, and scientific education at the same seminaries. 
To secure this, however, these seminaries must them 
selves cease to be, what to a considerable extent they 
now are, even in this country, sectarian in their con 
stitution and administration. 

At the opening of the meeting of the Synod at 
Dunfermline in Sept. 1747, Mr. Fisher, as ex-mode 
rator, delivered an ingenious, appropriate, and impres 
sive sermon on Isa. xxi. 11, 12. " Watchman, what of 
the night? Watchman, what of the night? The 
watchman said, The morning cometh as well as the 
night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye; return, come." 
As this sermon has never been published, and places in 
a favourable point of view both Mr. Fisher s good sense 
and good temper, we think it right to give a brief 



60 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

abstract of it. The preacher turns the attention of his 
audience, First, to the character of a minister as a 
watchman, Secondly, to the question put to the 
watchman, and Thirdly, to the watchman s answer. 
He shows, that the figurative representation of a 
minister as a watchman, intimates that he occupies an 
office of trust, that there is danger from the enemy, 
that the power of discernment is necessary in the 
minister, that it is also requisite that he be awake 
and attentive, that it is his duty to look to the safety 
of the whole at whatever hazard to himself, and 
finally, that he is bound to answer proper questions 
that may be put to him. The question, repeated, 
" What of the night?" implies that there is a present 
night of calamity, that there are several questions 
that may be stated by exercised persons respecting 
this night, and that there is more than ordinary con 
cern on the spirit concerning the resolution of the ques 
tion. As symptoms of the night, he notices, the ab 
sence of the sun in the withdrawment of God s favour, 
and wandering, as in the night, in delusion and 
error. As to questions which may be asked, he 
mentions the following: What is the cause of the 
night? What are the dangers of the night? What 
is the language of the night? What are the songs 
of the night? What is the duty of the night? What 
is the time of night? What is the guard of the 
night? What are the judgments of the night? The 
doubling of the question intimates perplexity and 
doubtfulness, surprise and deep interest. As to the 
answer, it is remarked, that after the darkest night of 
calamity, a morning of deliverance will ensue; that 
the more suddenly a night of spiritual calamity comes 
on, it is a sign the morning will break the sooner; that 
the darker the night has been, the more bright is likely 
to be the morning; that there is some proportion be 
tween the weeping in the night and the joy in the 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 61 

morning; that the season of the church s, or of indi 
vidual believer s, comfort, at any one time, in this 
world, is but of short continuance; that however plea- 
eantly any morning of deliverance may shine, we may 
lay our account that a night of tribulation is approach 
ing, and, in one word, that God s work of providence, 
with regard to his church in general, and with regard 
to believers in particular, is a chequered work, a suc 
cession of mornings and nights. 

The concluding remarks are very good, and, consi 
dering the excited state of men s minds, fully as tem 
perate as might have been expected. " Are ministers 
watchmen? Then let us who are ministers be diligent 
in our office, let us take heed to ourselves and to the 
flocks over which the Holy Ghost hath made us over 
seers: for we watch for their souls as those who must 
give account. As we are watchmen, our work is 
laborious; but HE sends none a warfare on their 
own charges. Therefore, in the confidence of his 
assured presence Lo I am with you always to the 
end of the world, let us be instant in season and out 
of season, 2 Tim. iv. 2. As we are watchmen, we 
are exposed to storms, bitter storms of calumny and 
reproach; but let us endure hardship like good 
soldiers of Jesus Christ; let us follow the example of 
the glorious head, who, when he was reviled, reviled 
not again. And finally, Let our moderation be 
known unto all men. The Lord is at hand? " 

Mr. Fisher published his views on the controversy 
which had divided the Associate body in " A Review 
of a pamphlet entitled a Serious Enquiry into the 
Burgess Oaths of Edinburgh, Perth, and Glasgow, 
wherein the most material arguments against the Bur 
gess Oath are impartially weighed and examined," 
1748; and in "A Letter to the Burgesses and others 
of his Congregation who had withdrawn from his Minis 
try, because he cannot condemn the Burgess Oath, as 



62 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

a ground of separation and excommunication, nor even 
admit the sinfulness thereof to be a term of Ministe 
rial or Christian Communion. 1749." Of these tracts 
it is enough to say, what, according to the aspect in 
which it is viewed, may be considered either as a com 
pliment or a censure, that as compositions, and mani 
festations of temper, they are among the least objec 
tionable of the numerous pamphlets of which that 
unhappy controversy was so prolific. The whole con 
troversy affords an affecting illustration of the judi 
cious remark with which Mr. Fisher commences his 
" Eeview." " Division among Christians, even such as 
profess the same way, seldom fails to breed alienation 
of affection among them, which frequently breaks forth 
in judging, reproaching, and reviling one another, 
whereby the success of the gospel is exceedingly mar 
red, the ends of a testimony for the declarative glory 
of God, in a great measure frustrated, and the interest 
of the kingdom of darkness mightily promoted, it being 
the sport of hell to see the Church, militant against 
herself, and the enemy becoming triumphant." 

There is something touching in the following expos 
tulation with some of the hearers who had deserted 
him. " As I am to give an account of the ministry 
which I have received of the Lord, so you are to ac 
count for despising and rejecting the same. Let us 
therefore reason the matter together calmly and in the 
spirit of meekness. I ask you then, What error in 
doctrine can you charge me with? What immorality 
in practice? What principle or opinion have I es 
poused, which is in any way contrary to the word of 
God, or our received standards? Since you cannot justly 
charge me with any of all these, I ask you seriously, 
How can you answer to God for dissolving the rela 
tion betwixt you and me, which was solemnly consti 
tuted by free and mutual consent, in the presence of 
God, angels, arid men, at Crossbill, near Glasgow, 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 63 

October 8th, 1741? Tell me, brethren, what was the 
reason why you deserted my ministry, without first 
speaking to myself anent such a momentous step? 
You know very well that there was not one of you, 
that ever came to me, to receive light or to be inform 
ed, before you had determined to withdraw, or had 
actually withdrawn, from my ministry. Do not ima 
gine that I am courting you to be my hearers to make 
a gain of you. The Lord hath hitherto helped me to 
act such a part, that I am above that calumny."* 

It is instructive and humbling to remark the striking 
difference between the character, literary and moral, of 
the publications called forth by the controversy be 
tween the original Seceders and the Established Church, 
and of those produced by this unhappy strife among 
themselves. We can scarcely believe them to be the work 
of the same minds the offspring of the same hearts. 
The feeling produced by reading the first is esteem, 
often rising to admiration, that produced by reading 
the second is deep regret, not unmixed with astonish 
ment and shame. It is not to be forgotten, however, 
that it was this controversy that so fixed the minds of 
the Seceders on the connexion between church and 
state, as to lead them to see, to some extent, the evils 
that were connected with it, whether necessarily or 
accidentally, and kept the subject before their minds, 
till, in the course of a century, the overwhelming ma 
jority of them have been led to embrace the doctrine, 
not merely of the entire distinctness of the church 
and state, but of the impossibility of the two forms of 
human society being allied or united without deep injury 
to both. A pure, active church will make the work of 
a civil government very easy, and a just civil govern 
ment will afford facilities for the church serving its own 
purposes; but to gain these ends, the two societies must 

* Letter from Mr. Fisher, pp. 46. 
4 R 



64 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

be entirely distinct, even though they should be com 
posed of the same individuals. 

It is delightful to find that amid the turbulence of 
controversy, the important purposes of the solid edi 
fication of the churches committed to their care were by 
no means neglected by the Associate ministers in their 
svnodical capacity. At the very first meeting of the 
Associate (Burgher) Synod, Mr. Fisher, along with 
Messrs. Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine, was appointed to 
carry forward a wise and important plan, which had 
been under the consideration of the Associate body in 
its undivided state, the preparation and publication 
of an Exposition of that very remarkable composition, 
the Westminster Assembly s Shorter Catechism, a 
work which probably contains, within the shortest 
compass, the fullest and the clearest exposition of 
Christian doctrine and law, that is to be found in any 
language. It was intended that the materials for this 
" magnum opus" should be furnished by the various 
Presbyteries. The chief labour, however, in collecting 
as well as arranging materials, fell on the honoured 
Erskine Brothers, and their relative, Mr. Fisher. 

At the next meeting of Synod, Mr. Ebenezer Erskine 
reported that he had proceeded in preparing an expo 
sition, as far as the 25th Question, 4 On the priesthood 
of Christ; but stated, at the same time, that the weight 
of pastoral engagements, and his increasing infirmities, 
would put it out of his power to prosecute the work. 
The Synod requested him to complete his illustration 
of "the offices of our Lord;" and the remaining part 
of the Catechism was apportioned into three divisions, 
for the illustration of one of which each of the Pres 
byteries of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dunfermline was 
appointed to furnish materials. It does not appear 
that much was ever done by them in this; nor if there 
had, is there any reason to think that the value of the 
work ultimately produced, would have been increased. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 65 

The first part, including Quest, i. to Quest, xxxviii., 
after receiving the sanction of the Synod, was pub 
lished at Glasgow in a handsome octavo volume, from 
the press of Urie, celebrated for its beauty and accu 
racy, in the year 1753. It is preceded by a Preface, to 
which are attached the initials E. E., J. F., Ebenezer 
Erskine, James Fisher. In this preface it is stated, 
that " the materials of the following Catechism, espe 
cially of what was designed for the second part, are 
[had been] collected by several ministers; and it was 
[had been] recommended to three of their number to 
revise what should be done by so many hands, that 
there might be uniformity of style and method, and 
that repetitions might be prevented as much as possi 
ble. It has pleased the Lord to take home to himself 
one of the three,* who assisted in composing and re 
vising of this first part; but though he be dead he yet 
speaketh, and will be spoken of, for his excellent works 
which have already or may hereafter see the light, by 
all who shall have any relish or taste for sound doctrine 
and experimental godliness. Whatever loss the second 
part of the Catechism may sustain by the removal of 
such an able and skilful hand, the other two make not 
the least doubt, but that the Lord would [will] carry on 
this work, with as great or greater advantage, though 
they were [should be] laid in the grave likewise." 

The second part of the Catechism appeared in a 
similar handsome volume, from the same press in 1760. 
In the preface, dated May 12, 1760, and subscribed by 
Mr. Fisher, it is remarked " Both these eminent 
lights, the Rev. Messrs. Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine, 
who assisted in composing and revising the first part 
of this Catechism, are [were] some years ago removed 
to the upper sanctuary, by death; the first soon after,t 

* Mr. Ralph Erskine, who died Nov. 9, 1752. 
t Mr. Ebenezer Erskine died June 2d, 1754. 



G6 NAEEATIYE OF THE LIFE OF 

and the second a little before the publishing of it; so 
that the charge of the second part was [has been], by 
a renewed recommendation of my brethren, laid upon 
me. They indeed promised to afford me materials, 
which some of them did, and I made all the use of 
them I could, as I did also of the amendments and 
enlargements proposed by others; but as this perform 
ance, such as it is, was never judicially read and ap 
proved by any of our judicatories, (though several of 
my brethren had opportunities to peruse the most part 
of it, before the whole was cast off,) so any imperfec 
tions and weaknesses, that may be found therein, are 
not to be imputed to the body of ministers, with whom 
I am, in providence, connected, but to myself only. 
As to mistakes in divinity, I dare not say there are 
none, but I may be confident to affirm there were none 
designed."* It was afterwards repeatedly carefully re 
vised by him, and the edition which may be considered 
as that to which he put the finishing touch was pub 
lished at Edinburgh by Gray and Alston in 1772. 

This work at once took a high place, and ever since 
has been reckoned among the first, if not the first, of the 
Explications of the Shorter Catechism, a book, the 
diminutive size and distinguished worth of which were 
strikingly expressed in the title by which it was long 
known in Scotland " The Baw-bee Bible." It is 
justly remarked by Dr. Mackerrow that " the Associate 
Synod, in originating such a work, rendered essential 
service not only to their own church, but to the reli 
gious world," and he does not bestow upon it exagge- 

* The precise part which the two Erskines had in the prepa 
ration of this elaborate work, is thus stated by Dr. Fraser 
"The writer happens to possess the original materials for the 
Catechism prepared in shorthand characters by both brothers. 
Those written by Ebenezer extend from the viii. to the xxviii. 
question ; those by Ralph, from the Ixxvi. to the xcv." Life, 
and Diary of Ebenezer Erskine, p. 494, note. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. G7 

rated praise when he adds, " I know not if there be, 
in the English language, a more useful publication, 
for conveying to the minds both of young and old, 
clear and Scriptural views of the whole system of re 
vealed truth." The work sometimes goes under the 
name of the Synod s Catechism, and sometimes under 
that of Fisher s Catechism. It was long generally 
used by the ministers of at least one of the divi 
sions of the Secession, as a manual for guiding their 
congregational catechetical exercises, and also exten 
sively employed by the members of that body for 
domestic instruction. It has undergone many im 
pressions in this country, in Ireland, and in Ame 
rica, and is still a book in request. We trust that 
the beautiful edition soon to be put forth as a part of 
this series of publications, will greatly extend its cir 
culation, and increase its salutary influence throughout 
the United Presbyterian Church. It has been highly 
valued in other religious bodies. We have understood 
that it was a favourite with the late Dr. Colquhoun 
and Robert Haldane, Esq. 

In giving these details in reference to this standard 
work, we have in some measure infringed on the strict 
chronological order of the memoir, but it was thought 
best to present at once whatever information couldbo 
furnished, respecting what forms the most permanent 
foundation of Mr. Fisher s reputation and usefulness 
as a theological writer. We return to the thread of 
our narrative. 

After having occupied the Theological chair for two 
years, Mr. Ebenezer Erskine found it necessary to re 
tire in consequence of increasing infirmities; and on 
the 7th of September, 1749, Mr. Fisher received from 
his brethren in Synod the highest mark of the esti 
mation in which his talents, acquirements, and char 
acter were held by them which they could bestow, by 
being unanimously appointed successor to the vener- 



68 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OP 

able Father of the Secession body. For fifteen years 
Mr. Fisher occupied that most responsible situation, 
with great credit to himself and advantage to the 
religious denomination to which he belonged. We 
have no means of giving a particular account of the 
manner in which he conducted the Divinity Hall. 
He seems to have read lectures on the great heads of 
theological study, and to have prescribed and criti 
cised the course of exercises which with very little 
variation has been accustomed to be, and we believe 
still are, performed by students in the various theologi 
cal seminaries, connected with the different bodies of 
Presbyterians in Scotland. The annual session lasted 
for two months, and took place in the earlier part of 
the year, varying from February to April. We have 
been fortunate enough to obtain Mr. Fisher s catalogue 
of his students, with the list of their exercises and the 
time when they were delivered, to which, with a few 
notes on the more remarkable names occurring in the 
catalogue, we have given a place in the Appendix.* 

It appears that about the time of his grand climac 
teric Mr. Fisher had, as is so common, been visited by 
an apparent breaking up of the constitution, but after 
a considerable period of infirm health, he was again re 
stored to such a measure of strength as enabled him to 
discharge for a number of years the duties of his two 
fold office, t 



* Vide Appendix, No. III. 

t "God hath in his holy and kind providence visited you, 
dear Sir, with signal trials; but has there not been a double 
mercy attending every single cross? Your kind and merciful 
Father first gave, before he took away, and so his goodness pre 
vented his rod: and I trust your soiil knoweth right well, that 
your afflictions, personal and relative, now work for you a far 
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory in another world, 
and a great improvement of faith, love, and patience, those pre 
cious fruits of the Spirit, while you are at present in the body. 
Our happiness consists in believing, obeying, and submitting to 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 69 

In May 17G4, Mr. Fisher resigned the Professorship 
and was succeeded by the Reverend John Swanston of 
Kinross, who, during the short period of the three 
years which he occupied the chair, so discharged its 
duties as to secure the entire approbation of his breth 
ren and the warm affection of his pupils, and to draw 
forth deep regret at his being " cut off in the midst of 
his years."* In the course of a few years (in July 
17GG) Mr. Fisher, though relieved from the labours of 
the Theological class, found the performance of the mul 
tifarious and onerous duties of one of the largest con 
gregations in the denomination in a way satisfactory 
to himselft a task too severe for his advancing years 
and decaying energies, and intimated to the Session 
his conviction of the desirableness, that now that he 
was in his 70th year he should have a colleague to 
assist him. Arrangements were made by the congre 
gation and Presbytery for gaining this object, and after 
some disappointment and delay by unsuccessful calls 

the will of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in all 
things." Letter from Rev. Archd. Hall to the Rev. Mr. Fisher. 
Christian Monitor, vol. v. p. 88. 

* An octavo volume of elaborate and judicious Sermons, edited 
by Mr. Smith of Dunferrnline, is the memorial of Mr. Swanston 
as a Minister and Professor. He was the father of Mr. Andrew 
Swanston, who, from conscientious conviction, left the church of 
his fathers, joining in succession the Independents and the Bap 
tists. His two posthumous volumes of "Lectures and Sermons" are 
characterized by excellencies of no common kind. His Theological 
tutor, Mr. Brown of Haddington. with whom he was a favourite 
as he was with all who knew him, on hearing of his death, said 
to a friend, "Well, Andrew has got a church now which will 
please him." The Rev. Dr. Peddie, whose talents for exposition 
were so admirable, used to say that "it was Andrew Swanston 
who first gave him an idea of what an exposition should be." 
Dr. Lawson of Selkirk, who was his most intimate friend, once 
said. "I do not believe there ever was so amiable a human being 
as Andrew Swanston, except Jonathan the son of Saul." 

t The number of communicants in April 1769 was 1,200. 
Min. Sess. Shuttle-street Congregation. 



t NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

to Mr. Clunie of Dundee and Mr. Fletcher of Bridge- 
of-Teith, these, much to Mr. Fisher s satisfaction, led 
to the ordination of Mr. George Henderson, a young 
man of excellent talents, amiable dispositions, and po 
lished manners, on August 22d, 1771. 

Some time before this (in 1768) his daughter Mar 
garet had been married to Mr. Walter Evving, after 
wards better known as Walter Ewing Maclae of Cath- 
kin; and the domestic comfort of the venerable pair 
in the manse was greatly increased by Mr. and Mrs. 
Ewing taking up their abode with them. The satis 
faction of having got his congregation agreeably settled 
with a young minister who showed him the most duti 
ful and affectionate respect, and was quite disposed to 
" serve with him as a son in the gospel of Christ," was 
sadly overcast by the sudden removal of his excellent 
and valued wife, who had now been the companion of 
his joys and griefs for more than forty-four years. On 
Saturday, 30th of November, 1771, Mrs. Fisher, after 
taking dinner in her ordinary health with the family, 
was seized with cramp in the stomach, and died early 
in the morning of the succeeding day the day of the 
Lord, Dec. 1st. It is easy to conceive, it is impossible 
to describe, the effect which this event must have had 
on the mind and heart of a man of such tender and 
ardent affections. But he had the faith and the hope 
of the gospel to cast himself on; and lie knew, the sepa 
ration was to be short and the reunion eternal. What 
ever the kindness of relatives could do to alleviate his 
sorrows he abundantly received; for, a singularly affec 
tionate man himself, he had the great happiness of 
being connected in the closest bonds with persons of 
similar temperament and character. Mr. Henderson 
was all that a kind colleague could be, and, though 
his youngest daughter, Anne, who was very fond of, 
and very dear to, her aged father, was, in 1773, re 
moved from him by her marriage to Mr. William 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 71 

Wardlaw, then of Dalkeith, Mr. and Mrs. Ewing, both 
from their unfeigned piety and great amiableness of 
character, were well fitted to " rock the cradle of de - 
dining age," 

" With lenient art extend a father s breath, 
Make languor smile and smooth the bed of death, 
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye, 
And keep awhile one parent from the sky."* 

Nor were their dutiful cares unrewarded. Mr. Fisher 
seems to have in a good degree recovered his spirits 
and activity, and to have enjoyed a green old age. So 
late as December 1774, we find the Rev. Mr. Smith of 
Dunfermline, in writing to Mr. Ewing, using the fol 
lowing terms: " My heart rejoices to hear of the sur 
prising stoutness of the honest old man our father. But 
I hope God is not to put him off with length of days, 
but that he is looking out for some better portion." f 

The days, however, were now near at hand when 
the last of " the Four Brethren" must "go the way of 
all the earth," and rejoin his associates. From any 
information we can glean, his death was the effect 
rather of the gradual decay of nature, than of any 
distinctly marked disease. We have no information 
of his last hours, and we regret a loss which cannot 
now be supplied. We should have liked to have seen 
him go down into " the river over which there is no 
bridge" like the other brethren, " strong in faith giv 
ing glory to God." We should have liked to have had 
some "last words" from a man of so firm a mind, so warm 
a heart. But as John Newton used to say, " You need 

* Pope. 

t "Our father preached last Sabbath, and I believe there 
were not many in the meeting who did not hear him. I have 
not known him better these several years, though his legs tail 
him greatly and daily grow weaker." Letter from Mr. Ewing to 
Mr. Wardlaw, "30th June, 1774. 



72 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

not tell me how the man died; tell me how he lived, 
and I can tell you how he died." Such a life as we 
have so imperfectly sketched could scarcely have any 
end but one "PEACE." On the 28th of September, 
1775, in the 78th year of his age, and in the 50th year 
of his ministry, full of years and of honours, JAMES 
FISHER, the youngest and the last surviving of the 
Four Associates, who so nobly went to their Master 
" without the camp bearing his reproach," and whom 
he enabled to make so consistent, steady, and successful 
a stand for Christian truth and liberty, was gathered to 
his fathers.* 

" He came to the grave in a full age, like as a shock 
of corn cometh in in his season." His death excited 
general regret, not only in his own congregation and 
throughout the religious body in the formation and 
management of which he had taken so active a part, and 
of which, since Ebeuezer Erskine s death, he had been 
looked up to as the Father, but throughout the city of 
which he had been so long one of the most honoured 
citizens and ministers. An aged man of more than 
fourscore years was but yesterday telling of the testi 
mony given of respect to his memory by a general 
cessation of business throughout the city during his 
funeral, and of the crowds that followed his honoured 
remains to their resting-place, in the New North bury- 
ing-ground, where he was laid by the side of his faith 
ful spouse, the first occupant of that now populous 
city of the dead. 

From Mr. Fisher not having kept a diary, or from 
its being lost, it is to be regretted that we have not the 

* "My dear Brother, Your favour I received with the afflict 
ing news of our worthy and dear father s death. He was amiable 
in his life and amiable in his death. Dear in God s sight is 
the death of his saints. His memory is dear to many." Ex 
tract of a letter from Mr. John Gray to Mr. Waller Ewing. Edin., 
Sept. 29th, 1775. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER- 73 

same means of becoming acquainted with his inner life 
as we have with that of his associates. But no care 
ful observer of the leading facts of his history can have 
any doubts as to the leading features of his character. 
Clearness was the characteristic quality of his under 
standing, strict integrity of his conscience, and warm 
affection of his heart. From unvarying tradition, as 
well as from written memorials, Mr. Fisher appears to 
have been, in no common degree, in all the relations of 
life, estimable, amiable, and accomplished; a good scho 
lar, a well-bred man,* a sincere and devout Christian, 
a well-read and accurate divine, an instructive impres 
sive preacher, a diligent and affectionate pastor, an able 
and successful Theological tutor, a public-spirited citi 
zen, a steady and warm-hearted friend; in the general 
intercourse of society remarkable for the amenity of his 
manners, a great favourite of the young, and in the 
bosom of his family an object of the most endeared 
affection of all its members, f A few letters are in 
serted in the Appendix which will place some of these 
traits in a more striking light than any description 
could. His temper was warm, but under the control 
of a sound judgment and Christian principle. It is a 
characteristic trait given by Ralph Erskine in his Diary : 
" Mr. Fisher had a communing in my room with my 
colleague Mr. Wardlaw," (who was greatly dissatisfied 
at the brethren leaving the Church,) " and put him to 
silence, yet in a very calm way of reasoning." $ 

He was distinguished for " opening his hand wide" 
to the poor and needy. His income was never large, 

* Tradition has preserved the following anecdote. On some 
one complaining to a minister that Mr. Fisher had treated him 
in an ungentlemanly manner, he replied, "Don t repeat that, 
Sir, for your own sake; nobody will believe you; Mr. Fisher 
cannot do an ungentlemanly thing." 

t Appendix, No. IV. 

J Eraser. 



74 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

his stipend amounting only to 100, and no salary be 
ing attached to the Professor s chair; and he had a 
numerous family; yet he was liberal to the poor. 
Tradition tells of its being necessary on the part of his 
excellent wife to take care that there should not be 
too much in his pockets when he went out on his visits 
of mercy, as he was sure to return with them empty. 

Of his personal appearance and habits comparatively 
little information, in an authentic form, has outlived 
the three-fourths of a century which have passed over 
his grave. He was somewhat under the middle size, 
well proportioned, with a lively, affectionate, cheer 
ful countenance, like David, "ruddy, and withal comely 
to look on," easy and alert in all his movements, 
neat in his dress, and orderly and punctual in all 
his affairs. He was an early riser, and an earlier 
riser in winter than in summer. He was seldom in 
bed after four during the winter months, and had his 
fire prepared over night to be ready to light in the 
morning an office he always performed for himself. 
His study, in which he spent much of his time, looked 
into his little garden which was immediately behind 
and a little to the south of the present Greyfriars 
Church, and beyond that, on a range of fields and 
orchards unbroken by buildings, the beautiful prospect 
terminating in the then verdant heights now covered 
with palaces. That he was a diligent student, and 
very conscientious in his preparations for the pulpit, is 
evident from the shorthand MSS. which he has left 
behind him. His published sermons seem just a fair 
specimen of his ordinary preaching. He had a turn 
for the management of business, and took a leading 
part in the proceedings of church courts; and while a 
very decided friend to the rights and liberties of the 
Christian people, was a zealous upholder of the canon 
which requires all things in the church to be done 
" decently and in order." 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 75 

He appears to have lived on agreeable terras with 
the pious ministers of the Establishment, at least in 
his later years. We have seen a note to him from the 
venerable Dr. Gillies, the friend and biographer of 
Whitefield, couched in terms not only of respect but 
of cordial brotherly kindness. It is dated 13th Dec., 
1771, long after the heats of the Cambuslang contro 
versy had cooled. 

His venerable coadjutor in the labours by which the 
foundations of his denomination were laid, Mr. WILSON, 
when playfully comparing his three fellow-workmen 
and himself with the component parts of the strange 
" living creature" spoken of by the prophet Ezekiel, 
likened Mr. Fisher to the eagle, alluding probably to 
his clear glancing eye and graceful bearing, as well as 
to the perspicacity of his discernment and the force of 
his character. " Our brother Mr. Erskine," he said, 
" has the face of a man; our friend Mr. Moncrieff has 
the face of a lion; our neighbour Mr. Fisher has the 
face of an eagle: and as for myself, I think you will 
all allow that I may claim to be the ox, for the labo 
rious part of the business falls to my share."* 

Mr. ANDREW SWANSTON, after hearing him when far 
advanced in life, remarked, that " As to sentiment, 
composition, and delivery, he had not heard a supe 
rior preacher." The late venerable ALEXANDER SHANKS 
of Jedburgh, who has been said to have been formed on 
the model of the prophets Elijah and Isaiah, used to 
speak warmly of his high qualifications, and especially 
of the combined accuracy and fluency with which he 
expressed himself, not only from the pulpit and chair 
and in the church court, but on ordinary occasions. 

The following hearty testimony of one of his stu 
dents, more than thirty years after he was laid in his 
grave, is equally honourable to both parties : " The 

* Fender s Life of Wilson, p. 357. 



76 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

Rev. James Fisher was in learning a scholar indeed; 
he had the politeness of a gentleman and the gravitv 
and conduct of a divine. His discourses were full of 
sound divinity, delivered in nervous short sentences. 
He would not weaken his ideas by expanding them, 
or give you over and over again the same sentiment in 
other words in the same discourse. He could be con 
cise without obscurity. His discourses might with 
great propriety have been printed as he preached them. 
They were equally remote from pedantic bombast on 
the one hand, and grovelling chitchat on the other. 
He lived respected, and died in a good old age lamented. 
Taking him all in all when shall I see his equal?"* 

Mr. Fisher had fifteen children, most of whom, how 
ever, died in early childhood. How affecting is it to 
hear the good old man of threescore years and ten say 
ing, " Of fifteen children we have now remaining only 
four! It is however the Lord s doing, and therefore it 
becomes us, like Aaron, to hold our peace, or with the 
Psalmist, to put our hands on our mouths and be 
silent !" 

Of two sons who reached manhood, Ebenezer died in 
the prime of life in a mercantile situation in 1767, at 
New Bern, North Carolina; and Ralph, an accom 
plished and amiable man, who had been successful in 
business, died at Belfast on his way home from Jamaica, 
in 1792. 

The daughters of the family who came of age in 
herited their parents virtues. Jean married her rela 
tive, the Rev. James Erskine of Stirling a most pro 
mising young minister in 1754, whom, after a brief 
season of happy union, she lost in 1761 only to find 
again after a still briefer season of sorrowful separa- 

* Eogers Speech before the Associate Synod of Ireland, at 
Cookstown, July 8th, 1808, pp. 30, 1. The author of this 
Speech was the first Professor of Divinity to the Associate 
Burgher Synod of Ireland. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 77 

tiori, by following him to the grave and to heaven, in 
1762.* 

Alison was the first wife of the Eev. Robert Camp 
bell of Stirling, one of the greatest pulpit orators ever 
produced by the Secession, and the object of most cor 
dial affection to Mr. Fisher and his family; but she 
died soon after her marriage. 

Mary was united to Mr. John Gray, printer in 
Edinburgh a man of much Christian worth; but died 
soon after the birth of her only child, Erskine, who 
became the wife of the Rev. Ebenezer Brown of Inver- 
keithing.f 

* Mr. Erskine s note on the death of his son James, Mr. 
Fisher s namesake, in his domestic register, is affecting: "Yes 
terday, betwixt twelve and one, P.M., being Saturday, Nov. 15, 
1760, my dear dear sweet child Jamie was cut off by the small 
pox. It he had lived till the 1st of March he would have been 
three years of age. My heart and affection were much glued to 
this child. There could not he a more pleasant one. The Lord 
has dried up this sweet stream. Oh that he may now lead my 
dear wife and me up to himself the inexhaustible fountain! Oh 
for right views of God in Christ! Alas, 1 have not yet won to 
part with Jamie in my heart and affection." Fraser. 

t A short time before her decease she requested that her in 
fant daughter, who had been sent to the country to be nursed, 
should be brought to her. On the arrival of the child, she sat 
up upon the bed, and having received the infant on her arms 
from the hands of her husband, she as it were presented her as 
an offering to God, and with solemn devotion and cordial affec 
tion pronounced on her the Old Testament benediction, "The 
Lord bless thee and keep thee: the Lord make his face to shine 
on thee: the Lord lift up his countenance on thee and give thee 
peace." The offering, as after events proved, was an acceptable 
one, and the blessing so solemnly invoked was richly communi 
cated. In this way Mrs. Gray parted with her infant babe. 
She saw her no more. Soon after she died at the early age of 
twenty-four, leaving behind her " a good report through faith." 
" She died in faith," expressing her firm confidence in those 
" exceeding great and precious promises," "being persuaded ot 
them and embracing them," " J am the Lord tliy God ;" " When 
thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through 
the rivers they shall not overflow thee." Christian Monitor, vol. 



78 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

Margaret was the accompli shed and excellent wife of 
Walter Ewing Maclae, Esq. of Cathkin, around whose 
hospitable board " the excellent ones of the earth" of 
all denominations, the Balfours and Lawsons, and Greigs 
and Peddies, and Dicks and Fullers, and M Leans and 
E wings, gone to the general assembly of the first-born, 
with a few who still linger behind, were privileged to 
congregate. 

Anne, the youngest of the family, was the second 
wife of William Wardlaw, Esq., of Glasgow, and the 
mother of one of the most accomplished theologians, 
elegant and impressive preachers, enlightened and active 
philanthropists, and variedly and extensively useful 
writers of our times, the Rev. Ralph Wardlaw. 

The following is a complete list, so far as our in 
formation goes, of Mr. Fisher s publications. 

1. The Inestimable Value of Divine Truth, considered in a 
Sermon from Prov. xxiii. 23. "Buy the truth and sell it not." 
Preached at Finwick, March 3d, 1738. 12mo., pp. 56. Edin. 
1739. 

2. Christ Jesus the Lord, considered as the inexhaustible 
Matter of Gospel Preaching, in a Sermon at the Ordination of 
the Rev. James Mair to be Minister of the Associate Congre 
gation at Linton, Tweedale, May 29th, 1746. 12mo., pp. 40. 
Edin. 1741. 

3. A Review of the Preface to a Narrative of the Extraordi 
nary Work at Kilsyth and other Congregations in the Neigh 
bourhood, written by the Eev. Mr. James Robe, Minister of 
Kilsyth; wherein the nature of that extraordinary work, and 



iii., for 1822, pp. 241, 242. The letters in the Appendix, in re 
ference to Mrs. Gray s last illness, exhibit one of the most beau 
tiful pictures of Christian parental solicitude we have ever con 
templated, and illustrate the exquisite propriety and beauty of 
the Psalmist s comparison, "As a father pitieth his children." 
The little motherless girl soon to lose her father too, so often 
referred to in these letters, became, under the fostering care of 
her two excellent aunts, Mrs. Ewing and Wardlaw, a most ac 
complished and amiable Christian woman. A memorial of 
her worth is to be found in the Christian Monitor as above re 
ferred to. 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 79 

the principles of the promoters of it, are discovered from the 
said Preface and other papers lately published ; and likewise the 
Address to the Brethren of the Associate Presbytery anent their 
late Act for a Public Fast, is considered. 1 2mo., pp. 68. Glas 
gow, 1742. 

4. A Review of a Pamphlet entitled A Serious Enquiry 
into the Burgess Oaths of Edinburgh, Perth, and Glasgow; 
wherein the most material arguments against the Burgess Oath 
are impartially weighed and examined. 12mo., pp. 120. Glas 
gow, 1747. 

5. A Letter from Mr. Fisher to the Burgesses and others of 
his Congregation, who have withdrawn from his Ministry, be 
cause he cannot Condemn the Burgess Oath as a ground of 
Separation and Excommunication; nor even admit the sinful- 
ness thereof to be a term of Ministerial and Christian Commu 
nion. 12mo., pp. 32. Glasgow, 1749. 

6. A Vindication of Mr. Fisher s Private Missive, published 
with an answer thereunto, by Mr. How; wherein the errors of 
Mr. How s Discourse on Prayer are plainly detected, together 
with an answer to his defence of Clandestine Marriages and 
Private Baptisms. 8vo., pp. 24. Glasgow, 1751. 

7. The Character of a Faithful Minister of Christ, being a 
Sermon preached immediately after the ordination of Mr. James 
Erskine as one of the Associate Ministers of the Gospel at 
Stirling, Jan. 22, 1752. 12mo., pp. 18. Edin., 1752. 

8. The Assembly s Shorter Catechism, explained by way of 
Question and Answer ; wherein it is essayed to bring forth the 
truths of God contained in that excellent composure, more fully 
than has been attempted in any one of the explicatory Cate 
chisms hitherto published ; and, at the same time, as compen 
diously as the subject would allow; in two parts. I. Of what 
man is to believe concerning God. II. Of the duty which God 
requires of man. By some Ministers of the Gospel. Part I. 
8vo., pp. 304. Glasgow, 1753. 

9. Christ the Sole and Wonderful Doer in the Work of Man s 
Redemption; an action Sermon preached immediately before 
dispensing the Sacrament of the Lord s Supper in the Associate 
Congregation, Glasgow, June 23d, 1745: to which is subjoined 
The Doors of the Heart summoned to open to the King of 
Glory; an action Sermon preached Aug. 30, 1755. 12mo., pp. 
36 and 32. Glasgow, 1755. 

10. The Assembly s Shorter Catechism explained by way of 
Question and Answer. Part II. 8vo., pp. 366. Glasgow, 1760. 

Mr. Fisher also wrote a Preface to " Sermons and 
Discourses upon the most important and interesting 



80 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF 

subjects, by tlie late Kev. Mr. Ebenezer Erskine," in 
four volumes, 8vo. Eclin., 17G1; and a Preface giving 
a short account of the author to " The Sermons and 
other Practical Works of the late Kev. Mr. Ralph 
Erskine," in two vols., folio. Glasgow, 1764: and 
also a short recommendatory Preface to " Two Cate 
chisms mutually connected, by John Brown, minister 
of the gospel at Haddington." Edin., 1764. 

It may be fairly doubted whether any of the found 
ers of the Church of the Secession has exerted a more 
extended and abiding influence over that community, 
than the subject of the preceding memoir. His Sermons, 
though probably freer of faults than the numerous and 
powerful discourses of his honoured relatives, the Erskine 
brothers, were by no means, either in their matter or 
manner, so impressive when delivered, and the few of 
them which have been published have produced no such 
effect as these have done; and as the Apologist and De 
fender of the Secession, though he stood next to, yet he 
stood far behind Wilson, who was the sole author of the 
admirable " Defence," and the principal workman in 
fashioning both the Testimonies. But from the pecu 
liarities of his character, and from the position, both 
local and official, which he occupied, his influence was 
probably equal to that of any of them. The congre 
gation which he collected, and to which he gave a 
character, has, not only under the care of a Henderson, 
a Pirie, a Dick, and a King, been a powerful agency 
for good in many ways, but has been the parent, imme 
diately or remotely, of probably not less than thirty 
congregations, some of them scarcely less numerous 
and influential than itself. His filling the Divinity 
chair during fourteen years, put the moulding of the 
ministry of one branch of the Secession, in a great 
measure, into his hands, at a most important period of 
its history, as in the other branch of the Secession a 
similar plastic influence was exerted by Mr. Moncrieff; 



THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 81 

arid we trace the results of his example and instructions 
in the ministerial character and labours of a M Ewen, 
and a Brown, and a Patison, and a Kidston, and a 
Coventry, and a Dick, and a Belfrage, and an Arnot, 
and a Moir, and a Hall, and a Shanks, and a Campbell, 
and a Johnstone, and a Henderson, all men of superior 
talent, and within their various spheres, of powerful 
and most beneficial influence, "men," as the son of 
Sirach says, " honourable in their generations." It is, 
however, probably chiefly through the medium of " The 
Westminster Shorter Catechism Explained" that Mr. 
Fisher has decidedly contributed to fix the character of 
the theology of the church to which he belonged, a 
character which, in its substance, it is to be hoped that 
church will long retain, uniting, as it does, in so high a 
degree, the assertion of the sovereignty of God and the 
responsibility of man, laying a deep foundation for the 
unhampered preaching of a complete gospel, the clear 
exhibition of a full and a free salvation for the guil 
tiest of the guilty, and the vilest of the vile, of the 
race of man, and proclaiming, at the same time, 
the high claims and unrelaxing obligations of that law 
of God, which is holy, just, and good, and exceeding 
broad. 

The name of FISHER lives but in his works and in 
the grateful remembrance of the church, his only 
surviving son having died unmarried; but he has a 
numerous and honoured posterity who, it is to be 
hoped, will feel and discharge the obligations, as they 
enjoy the advantages, and sustain the responsibilities, of 
such an ancestry. There is an exceeding great and pre 
cious promise made to the descendants of distinguished 
servants of God, if they walk in their steps, and " know 
the God of their fathers, and serve him with a perfect 
hand and a willing mind;" but there is a threatening 
of corresponding weight denounced on them, if they 
follow an opposite course, " if they seek Him, he will 



82 NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE, &C. 

l>e found of them; if they forsake Him, he will cast 
them off for ever." 

All flesh is grass, and all the loveliness thereof as 
the flower of the grass; the grass withereth, and the 
flower thereof falleth, but the word of the Lord en- 
dureth for ever." " As for man," the best, the greatest, 
the most amiable, the most useful of men, "As for 
man, his days are as grass, as a flower of the field so 
he flourisheth; for the wind passeth over it and it is 
gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more. 
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to ever 
lasting upon those that fear him, and his righteousness 
to children s children, to such as keep his covenant, 
and to those that remember his commandments to do 
them." 

" Remember them that have had the rule over you, 
who have spoken to you the word of God: whose 
faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 
JESUS CHRIST is THE SAME YESTERDAY, TO-DAY, AND FOR 
EVER." 



(83) 



APPENDIX. 

No. I. 
MARROW DOCTRINES. 

THE so-called "Marrow doctrines," reduced to their ele 
ments, seem to be these: * That the gospel is a revelation 
of the grace of God to man the sinner : That it exhibits, in 
a divine testimony, the truth respecting Jesus Christ, the divine, 
divinely appointed, all - accomplished Saviour, and the com 
plete salvation he has procured for, and is ready to bestow on, 
sinners of mankind: That it is the immediate duty of every 
sinner to whom the gospel comes, to believe this testimony: 
That in the belief of this testimony he cordially embraces this 
Saviour as his own Saviour, and enjoys the blessings of this sal 
vation as his own : That the finished work of Christ is the sole 
ground of the sinner s hope of pardon and salvation, and that 
the truth respecting that finished work, contained in exceeding 
great and precious promises, cannot be believed without, in the 
measure in which it is believed, giving peace to the conscience, 
confidence towards God, and the hope of eternal life: That this 
faith of the gospel is productive of holiness as well as of hope, 
and that there is no true holiness, no acceptable obedience any 
more than solid hope, and genuine comfort, but what springs 
from the gospel believed. 

These doctrines are equally removed from Neonomianism and 
Antinomianism, from legalism and licentiousness. I am no ad 
vocate for what is peculiar in " the Marrow divines " mode of 
stating these truths. I think they may all be fully, clearly 
stated, without a word about the " deed of gift and grant ;"" 
" God being the covenant God, Christ being the Saviour, of the 
unbelieving sinner" "in the offer;" "the direct and the reflex 
act of faith ;" " the assurance of faith " and " the assurance of 
sense," as indicative of two kinds of, or two sorts of evidence 
for, the assured hope of personal salvation; "appropriation 
being of the essence of faith," &c. Much important truth is 



84 APPENDIX. 

couched under these terms; but it may be doubted how far 
they are fitted clearly to unfold it. I object on higher grounds 
than those of mere taste to much of the phraseology of " Thd 
Marrow of Modern Divinity," though what is most offensive in 
it is borrowed from the Reformers, especially from Luther. I 
could not express anything like an entire satisfaction with the 
view that work gives of the rationale of the divine economy of 
salvation, nor with its ti ipartite division of the law of works, 
the law of faith, and the law of Christ. 

But I not only hold that the principles above stated are the 
essential elements of a pure and a full gospel, that the Marrow- 
men did good service to the cause of truth and holiness, and 
that a clear exhibition of those principles is the most valuable 
characteristic of what may be termed Secession theology, but 
that such books as "The Marrow of Modern Divinity," and 
" Marshall s Gospel Mystery of Sanctification," while unduly ar 
tificial in their form, exhibit the great principles stated above, 
in a way well fitted to stir the mind of the reflecting student, 
and if they but throw him back on the Bible, to which they 
are constantly making their appeal, are likely, in a higher de 
gree than many works of higher pretensions, to lead into those 
comprehensive, consistent views of the plan of salvation as em 
bracing the conjoint attainment of an entire change of state and 
thorough transformation of character, by the same means, both 
procuring and instrumental, and of the gospel as when believed 
being equally the ministration of righteousness and the Spirit, of 
justification and hope, and of sanctification and comfort, which 
are of so much importance both to the right regulation of indivi 
dual Christian inward exercise, and to the clear and satisfactory 
exhibition of " the truth as it is Jesus," in all its fulness and 
self-consistency, to others. 

Those who wish to understand the whole subject would do 
well to read The Marrow of Modern Divinity, with Boston s 
Notes, Boston s Memoirs, Brown s Gospel Truth, M Crie s Ac 
count of the Controversy respecting the Marrow of Modern 
Divinity Christian Instructor, vol. xxx., p. G93, &c., M Ker- 
row s History of the Secession, Eraser s Lives of the Erskines, 
Thomson s Historical Sketch, Dr. Harper s Life of Ebenezer 
Erskine. He who carefully examines the subject will not think 
Mr. Fisher has exaggerated the importance of this controversy 
when, in his biographical preface to Ralph Erskine s works, he 
pronounces it "the most useful and beneficial to this church of 
any other that has been broached since the beginning of this 
century." Vol. i. p. xi. 



BRIEF NOTES RESPECTING MRS. FISHER. 85 

No. II. 
BRIEF NOTES RESPECTING MRS. FISHER. 

Mrs. FISHER was the eldest daughter of Mr. EbenezerErskine 
and Mrs. Alison Turpie, and was born about the year 1706. 
There are two or three rather interesting notices of her in her 
venerable father s diary. In August 1714, she. a girl of eight 
years of age, when on a visit at Kirkcaldy, was seized with 
fever. Her father, but lately himself recovered from fever, 
thus records his feelings : " I got word yesterday that my 
daughter Jean is lying in a fever in Kirkcaldy. The Lord 
be gracious when I desire to give her to the Lord, and, ac 
cording to his command, to bring her to him who, I hope, is 
my God, and who will also, according to his promise, be the 
God of my seed. Christ s condescension towards the noble 
man of Capernaum, who entreated him on behalf of his child 
that was dying, furnished me with an argument on behalf of 
my little daughter. He has a regard to the poor as well as the 
rich and noble; and therefore I may go to him for my child 
as well as this man did, for he is as "willing and ready to help 
now as he was then. This gave me encouragement to pray 
that the Lord Jesus would heal her soul; that he would lay his 
hand on her and bless her; that he would break in upon her 
heart and sanctify this affliction ; that if it were his will he would 
spare her; and that if she died he would take her to himself. 
Blessed be his name, who allows me to plead on her behalf, and 
helps in some measure to believe that he will hear." The affec 
tionate parent s prayers were graciously heard, and in a few 
weeks she was able to return to Portmoak. On Sept. 22, when 
she was returning with her parents from Kirkcaldy, as she rode 
near them before a servant on a small pony, the pony stum 
bled and fell, on the road between Kirkness and Portmoak, " so 
that both the lad and the child tumbled over the ears of the 
beast," and yet neither of them received the least hurt. " I 
ascribe this," says the pious and affectionate father, "to my 
great, glorious, and good God, who gives his angels charge over 
me and mine, to keep us in all our ways. On coming home I 
set up my Ebenezer." 

After the death of his wife, in 1720, when Jean was a girl of 
14, we find Mr. E. thus touchingly speaking both of mother and 
daughter: "Most sweet and comfortable were her advices to 
her dear children, particularly to Jeanie, who waited well and 
dutifully on her during her long trouble and distress, which binds 
my heart exceedingly to that child, especially because her mother 



8G APPENDIX. 

had a strong affection for her." Eraser s Life and Diary of tie 
Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, pp. 280, 281, 156. 157, 290. 

Jeanie seems to have been a general favourite. She was the 
ohject of peculiar affection on the part of her kind-hearted uncle 
Ralph. The following letter was written some time before her 
marriage : 

" Dwifermline, 3d Nov., 1726. 
" ENDEARED NIECE, 

" This comes to let you know that I am very desirous 
to understand your welfare, and know how your affairs are going, 
or what length that important business is come which was the 
subject of our communing here, and of my last line to you, and 
wherein I am still of the same sentiments which I then expressed. 
Hoping that your falling in with the call of Providence therein 
in a cordial manner, may be a yielding to the will of the Lord 
manifested in his providence and suitable to his word, and that 
it may tend to his glory and your comfort and advantage every 
way, which, if my heart deceives me not, I incline earnestly to 
desire of the Lord in your behalf. . . . Wishing also, that you 
may be under a gracious divine conduct, ordering your lot in 
this world most advantageously, and making way for your happy 
state in the other world, I rest . . ." 

Her uncle gave still farther proof of his interest in her by 
officiating at the marriage, and by the following excellent letter 
sent to his niece some time afterwards: 

" Portmoak, 4th January, 1728. 
" MY DEAR NIECE JEANIE, 

"I am sorry we have so seldom any communication 
with you now that you are situated in your married lot at 
a little farther distance from us than formerly. Though at 
the same time, notwithstanding that I hear seldom from you, 
1 am satisfied to think that in Providence you are privileged 
with good company, and in comfortable circumstances outwardly, 
in many respects even your external prosperity being what I 
would ardently wish and desire, so far as is consistent with God s 
glory and your good; for an absolute exemption from all crosses 
and trials in this world could not be contributive to either of 
these ends, according to the ordinary stated method of Heaven, 
especially towards the children of grace, and consequently is 
not to be wished for. And therefore, though the Lord hath 
mercifully provided and ordered matters, (I hope,) very commo- 
diously for you in a suitableness to your station, and blessed you 
with a kind husband, as well as a gospel minister, in one and 
the same person, a competent living, a convenient dwelling- 



BRIEF NOTES RESPECTING MRS. FISHER. 87 

place, and many comfortable accommodations, which ought to 
excite gratitude and thankfulness; yet, as I hope you will never 
look upon any outward temporal enjoyments as your best and 
chief treasure, nor consequently give them the room which glo 
rious Christ alone should have, so I shall wish you may be helped 
of grace to such a joyful and yet spiritual regular use of all out 
ward mercies and comforts as may be consistent with a readiness 
to be divorced from them, whenever the Lord shall show that 
the time he gave them in loan to you is expired ; for when Pro 
vidence says in effect of any worldly comforts we may enjoy, as 
was said of the ass and her colt, Matt. xxi. 2, 3. The Lord 
hath need of them, then he expects that straightway we will 
send them. While they are tied, and he sees them needful for 
us, we are allowed thankfully and comfortably to use them ; but 
when he seeks them to be loosed, and sees them needful for the 
ends of his glory and our good to be surrendered to him, then 
we ought, with humble submission and contentment, to part with 
them at his call. I desire to hope that the divine blessing upon 
the good example and excellent education that you was privi 
leged with in your father s family all along, to which J charitably 
presume that saving and effectual divine teaching and instruc 
tion have been mercifully superadded, will make that deport 
ment which I have hinted at to be natural, easy, and pleasant 
to you, or at least excite you to such an endeavour after it as 
will be agreeable to those that are about you, and adorning to 
the Christian profession and gospel character, to which the moi e 
conformed you are, the more will you show yourself a kind and 
loving wife to your husband, a wise arid virtuous housewife to 
your family, and a pattern of discretion and civility to all your 
neighbours, as well as a serious seeker of, and a faithful servant 
to, the Lord your God, not only as he is your father s God, and 
your mother s God, which you have ground to say, but especially 
as he is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glo 
rious object of our faith and love. If any good advices are de- 
ducible from what is above said, I hope my former familiarity 
with you as a friend and relative shall not make my present 
liberty and freedom with you as a Christian adviser the less ac 
ceptable, but rather the more, since the former hath given me 
the better opportunity for the latter. But, as I do not in the 
least suspect your kindly accepting of the freedom I use this 
way, even though there were no such inducement thereto, so it 
will be always desirable and refreshful unto me to hear and 
understand that, under the influence of heavenly instruction and 
conduct, you are helped to outdo the advice of your best friends 
upon earth. I shall also be glad to hear that you enjoy the 
fruits of God s common providence with his special blessing, 
which alone maketh truly rich, and addeth no sorrow in the 



88 



APPENDIX. 



issue. After what I have here seriously delivered, I shall allow 
the enclosed diversion from my daughter. My wife gives her 
kind service to you and Mr. Fisher. I am, 

Your very affectionate Uncle, 

And humble Servant, 

RALPH ERSKINE." 

Our readers will not he displeased to have an opportunity of 
perusing the " enclosed diversion," which certainly shows that 
the first Seceders Avere not the morose generation they are often 
supposed to have been. 

" A letter written by Margaret Erskine,* daughter to the late Rev. 
Ralph Erskine of Dunfermline, to her cousin, Mrs. Fisher of 
Kinclaven. 

" DEAR COUSIN, this may let you know 
That I am well and wish you so. 
Glad should I be, could I hear tell 
By word or writ, that you are well: 
For now you re gone so far away, 
A-fishing up the river Tay, 
I know not if it be the Highlands. 
Or north among the Pearl Islands; 
Be where it will, by land or sea, 
You re in a manner dead to me. 
For many long months in the year 
No single word from you I hear, 
By common post, nor common chance, 
No more than if you were in France. 
Nay. we have here, who dwell at Forth, 
So little converse with the North, 
Perhaps it would not be in vain 
For me to wish you were in Spain, 
That I might hear when climates alter, 
As oft from you as from Gibraltar. 

But now, when we re so far asunder, 
I think it needs be no great wonder, 
Though I in writing at this time, 
Would fain cheer up myself with rhyme; 
While grieved to think*! am bereft " 
Of you, dear Coz, e er since you left 
The good old loch and water Leven, 
For these wild moors about Kinclaven. 
I also thought some merry chat 
When you re in such a place as that, 

* Afterwards wife of Mr. John Newlands, Merchant, Glasgow. 



BRIEF NOTES RESPECTING MRS. FISHER. 89 

To speak of it without aspersion. 

Would meet your need of some diversion. 

Pray, do not think that I am rude, 
I would not be misunderstood ; 
I speak in case of your dejection, 
And don t intend to cast reflection ; 
The thing at present in my view, 
Is to divert myself and you ; 
To which I am the more inclined, 
While thinking you are now confined 
Unto a spot that wants the vogue 
Of old Dunfermline or Portmoak. 
If herein I mistake, I beg 
Excuse your little cousin Meg. 
And I ll take care, the next I send you, 
If I hear tell that this offend you. 

I do not think your soil is such 
That I need pity you too much, 
For as I hear by common clatter 
You want for neither wood nor water; 
You have, they sav, a goodly manse, 
And that upon a pleasant stance; 
You have a river at your hand, 
A FISHER also at command; 
You want not peats, as I am told, 
To warm your feet in winter cold. 
Only I hear you re scarce of coals, 
And burn your peats among your soles. 

Well, since you would needs be a wife, 
So far without the bounds of Fife, 
And trace the Fisher s hook when harling 
Your feet so far from warm Dunfermliue, 
Tis well bestowed upon you now, 
That you want coals and chimneys too, 
And burn your toes with Norland commons, 
Because you left the lofty Lomonds. 

But yet I hear you are riot scant 
Of other things that here we want. 
Although you have not gentle lairds. 
Nor good stone-dyke about your yards, 
Nor deep coal pits, nor good" stone quarries, 
Nor other Southland necessaries; 
Yet you have many things, I hear, 
Instead of our South country gear; 
Instead of stone dykes, you have fail; 
Instead of coffee, you have kail ; 



90 APPENDIX. 

Instead of spring-wells, yon have floods; 
Instead of orchards, you have woods; 
Instead of pastry, you have plants; 
Instead of music, Highland rants ; 
Instead of pinners, you have plaids ; 
Instead of coaches, you have sleds ; 
Instead of gentles, you have jockeys; 
Instead of ladies, you have luckies ; 
Instead of meadows, you have moors; 
Instead of chimneys, you have floors ; 
Instead of houses, you have huts ; 
Instead of apples, you have nuts; 
Which brings your promise to my mind, 
And makes me think you are not kind ; 
You said, (but now I find you re slack,) 
That you would send me nuts to crack ; 
Mind then, or else I ll say in anger, 
That out of sight and out of languor 
Twas your neglect, for which I m sorry, 
Made this digression to my story. 

But to return, without more fash 
I ll tell you what they farther clash ; 
I am informed by country chat, 
Instead of this thing, you have that; 
Old ruined walls instead of castles ; 
And huts instead of Dinnibirsels,* 
Brown heather cowes instead of clavers ; 
And bonnets blue instead of beavers; 
Well toasted snuff instead of musk; 
Plain dress instead of gentle busk ; 
In many things you thus excel 
The people in the South that dwell. 
The busk among your country lasses, 
By far our gaudy garb surpasses. 
Perhaps in practice I may err, 
Yet in my judgment I prefer 
Your goo*d blue laces, hoods and loops, 
To filthy flaring girds and hoops. 

But over and above all this, 
You have rare things that here we miss. 
Your water doth atibrd you pearls 
Such as are worn by Dukes and Earls; 
And having store of pearl-fish, 
You do not want the richest dish. 

* Donnabirstle the seat of the Earl of Moray in Fifeshire. 



BRIEF NOTES RESPECTING MRS. FISHER. 91 

Yet without jesting, to be grave, 
You want for nothing that you have. 

But while I mention all the rest, 
I had almost forgot the best ; 
For you have also something else 
That s rarer yet, as rumour tells 
Hard by your kirks your woods have bells, 
To conjure fairies down like spells; 
For if I trust what people say, 
The Pope of Rome did once a- day 
Such bells with holy water sprinkle, 
To banish bogles with a tinkle ; 
As good as beads and Ave-Maries, 
To fright and drive away the fairies. 
I hear the bell by you possess d 
Was consecrated with the rest. 
You therefore, having such a thing, 
What have you more ado but ring, 
Then off scours every hurtful elf, 
That you may safe enjoy yourself. 

Dear Cousin, it may well content you, 
If all the word be true I ve sent you. 
But lest my lines your patience weary, 
Which hope to find or make you cheery, 
I send my love to Mr. FISHER, 
And rest your hearty welfare wisher, 

MARGARET ERSKINE. 

Mrs. Fisher appears to have been a woman of superior mind, 
affectionate heart, and pleasing manners, distinguished for her 
prudence and activity, and every way fitted to be a help-meet 
for her husband as a Christian minister. Like her husband 
she seems to have been formed for society, and evidence yet 
exists of the familiar terms on which, when at Kinclaven, she 
associated with the first families in the neighbourhood. 

Mrs. Fisher had the melancholy satisfaction of watching the 
last hours of her venerable father. " During the night," says 
Dr. Fraser, " on which he finished his earthly career, Mrs. Fisher 
having come from Glasgow to visit her dying father, was sitting 
in the apartment where he lay and engaged in reading: awaken 
ing from a slumber he said, What book is that, my dear, that 
you are reading? It is your sermon, father, she replied, on 
that text, 1 am the Lord thy God. O woman, said he then, 
that is the best sermon ever I preached. The discourse had 
proved very refreshing to himself as well as to many of his hear 
ers. A few minutes after that expression had fallen from his 



92 



APPENDIX. 



lips, he requested his daughter to bring the table and candle near 
his bed; and having shut his eyes, laid his hand under his cheek, 
he quietly breathed out his soul into the hands of the Lord his 
God, who had redeemed him." 

The following letters exhibit her character in a very amiable 
light: 

TO MRS. SCOTT, GATESCHAW. 

" VERY DEAR SISTER, 

" This day I received yours. Your niece, Mrs. Erskine,* 
is in all appearance dying of what is called a galloping con 
sumption. She is much in the same way her husband was. It 
is but five weeks since we thought her in any danger, although 
she has been very much sunk in spirit since Mr. Erskine s death. 
She has had two doctors waiting upon her all along; but now I 
iind they have no hopes of her recovery, so that in all appear 
ance the next accounts you will have will be her death, for she 
is now very low. We have need of your sympathy. The Lord 
sees meet to break us with breach upon breach ; but who can 
quarrel him for doing what he will with his own? Oh to have 
that perfect love that casteth out fear, and putteth a good 
construction upon all his dealings towards us, and to say, Al 
though he slay us, yet we will trust in him. But, alas! faith, 
love, hope, and patience, are all weak; so that I cannot say to 
this or the other mountain, Be ye removed. It would be verv 
comfortable to all of us to see you in this place, for I am not 
now able to come to see you. Our son Ralph is doing very 
well in the merchant way. * We had a letter from Eben about 
ten days ago. He is very well. Mr. Fisher and the rest of the 
family are well. Also our grandchild Ralph; so that we have 
reason to sing of mercy even in judgment. I am in haste, with 
compliments to Mr. Scot and my nephews. 

Your very affectionate Sister, 

JEAN ERSKINE. 

" Glasgow, April the SQth, 1762." 



TO MRS. GRAY, NEAR THE FOOT OF FOSTER S WYND, 
EDINBURGH. 

" Glasgoio, 21st Nov., 1764. 

" MY VERY DEAR MARY, 

" It is comfortable to your Papa and me to hear that 
you now have your health better. I entreat you to take care of 

* Mrs. Fisher s eldest daughter. 



BRIEF NOTES RESPECTING MRS. FISHER. 93 

yourself now, and do nothing that may cause you to lose it 
again. Health is very precious, and we would give a great deal 
sometimes for it when we cannot obtain it. Mr. Campbell will 
acquaint you that Mr. Pagan died Friday last, and was buried 
yesterday, to the great grief of that family. He was an honest- 
hearted fine youth. Lady William-wood died Sabbath last, and 
is interred this day. She wanted several months of David Pa 
gan s age. To be sure, the language of these dispensations of 
Providence is, Be ye also ready. Oh! Mary, this is a vain 
world; much of the vanity of it have I seen; I have met with 
disappointments from every quarter where I wanted to turn iny 
eyes for rest. They have, indeed, proved an Egyptian reed that 
has pierced me when leaning on them. I would, therefore, now 
fain be at saying, Return to thy rest, my soul, even to God as 
in Christ, as thy only portion. And what a mercy is it, that 
there is room in his covenant, even for backsliding children, and 
for those that have played the harlot with many lovers ! 

" My kind love to Mr. Gray and Peggie, iu which we all join. 
My dear Mary, 

Your affectionate Mamma, 

JEAN ERSKINE." 

TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, 12th March, 1765. 

" MY VERY DEAR MARY, 

"I received yours, and rejoice to hear you are still 
continuing better. My dear Ralph is now gone, and after all 
that passed, it is now a great trial to me, as I scarcely expect 
ever to see him again, and what adds to our grief, we have not 
had a scrape of a pen from Eben for nigh these two years, so 
that, after all my toil and labour, I am now bereaved of my two 
j-:ons. But I have reason to be dumb with silence, saying, It 
is my own iniquities that correct me, and not to complain too 
much, so long as your Papa is spared with us. But I know not 
what farther trials and bitter ingredients may yet be in my lot. 
The swimming in your Papa s head returned to him last Satur 
day; he is in bed with it when I am writing you, but I would 
fain hope it will not continue. 

"We all join in our endeared love to you, Mr. Gray, and 
Peggie. 

My dear, 
Your very affectionate Mamma, 

JEAN ERSKINE." 



94 APPENDIX. 



TO THE SAME. 
" MY DEAR DEAR MARY, 

"I am glad to hear you are no worse than when I 
came from Edinburgh. I had a very sore heart to part with 
you; but I thought circumstances both in your family and my 
own did not answer for my staying longer, especially as I thought 
you somewhat better ; but if I could divide my body as well as 
iny affections, there would still be a part of me with you: but 
it is our mercy that the Lord is a God far off as well as at hand. 
May a gracious God be your support in the furnace of affliction, 
and bring you out of it in due time ! I have sent a bit of cloth 
for a frock to dear Erskine. 

" Farewell, my dear Mary. Lord grant good accounts of your 
recovery. My kind love to you, Mr. Gray, and Miss Beugo, 
to whom all of us stand greatly indebted. 
My dear, 
Your very affectionate sympathizing Mamma, 

JEAN ERSKINE. 
Glasgow, Sept. 13th, 17G6." 

TO MRS. SCOTT, GATESHAW. 

" MY DEAR SISTER, 

" I intended to have wrote you before this time, but I 
have such a feebleness both of body and mind that every thing 
is a burden to me. I received yours when at Stirling the 25th 
of last month, that very day my dear Alie* was interred. She 

died on the 22d . The death of my dear child cannot but 

open my wound afresh in a very sensible manner, f I think my 
name is like to be Marah. I came out to the world with a large 
family, and I am afraid I shall return empty even before I go 
to the grave. But what a mercy has it been to us who are the 
parents, that although we survive the most of our children, we 
have had great comfort in them both in life and at death. I 
see you have heard what happened to our grandchild. J Poor 
man! he was a great trial to his grandfather and me: but no 
body knows what sovereign grace may have done even in his 
last moments. For all the children we have lost, I never saw Mr. 



* Her daughter, Mrs. Campbell 
t Referring to the death of her daughter, Mrs. Erskine. 
t He was lost at sea. This was Mr. James Erskine s only surviving son. 
Fraser s Life of Ralph Erskine, p. 527. 



BRIEF NOTES RESPECTING MRS. FISHER. 95 

Fisher in the manner, as on receiving the news of Ralph s death ; 
he burst out into tears, which was very affecting. Oh to hear 
the language of these many rods, and that the Lord would show 
me why he contendeth with me; for I cannot win yet to "re 
joice in tribulation ! " May God himself bring me to that frame 
of mind! Mr. Fisher is turned very frail. Last year, for some 
months about this time, he was so bad with a violent cough and 
defluxion that no life was expected. He has been somewhat 
better this season, but still he has a bad cough. The Lord is 
pleased still to keep the rod over our head. Peggie is very hap 
pily married to a sober well-disposed young man in this place. 
His name is Walter Ewing. This is somewhat comfortable to 
us who are the parents, now in old age, amidst so many afflict 
ing providences. Dear Sister, it seems you think I have little 
of the Christian that would cherish anger at any person, espe 
cially at a sister, for such a long time. I was indeed somewhat 
fretted at your last letter to me, but I thought that answering 
in the same way was but widening the difference, therefore I 
forbore. I have got some other things to mind than petty quar 
rels. We are so many years nearer the eternal world, therefore 
"let us walk in love" towards one another, as an evidence that 
we are beloved of God. Farewell, my dear Sister. Make my 
own and Mr. Fisher s compliments to Mr. Scott and your two 
sons. 

I am, my dear Sister, 

Your affectionate and afflicted Sister, 
JEAN ERSKINE. 
" Glasgow, February 97i, (apparently, ) 1770." 

Mrs. Fisher died December 1st, 1771. 

On the taking down the Parish Church of Kinclaven, in order 
to its being rebuilt, in the summer of 1848, a somewhat remark 
able discovery was made. The stair to the pulpit consisted of 
a flight of stone steps. On removing the uppermost of these 
steps, there was found engraved on its under-side, the following 
singular inscription : 

MR. JAMES FISHER, 
MINISTER AT KINCLAVEN, 

1740. 

BY HIS SPOUSE, JEAN ERSKINE. * 
" THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST." 



Information furnished by Rev. Mr. Young of Kinclaven. 
T 



96 



APPENDIX. 



It is difficult to say what induced Mrs. Fisher to place so singu 
lar a monument in such a situation. It probably refers to, 
what she must have considered as, the ecclesiastical putting to 
death of her husband as a witness for Christ his deposition by 
the General Assembly, and expresses her faith that such a 
death would be followed by an early resurrection. It is a curi 
ous coincidence, that after being concealed for more than a 
hundred years, this memorial of Mrs. Fisher s affection for her 
husband, and faith in his Master, should come to light just 
when an attempt to do tardy justice to Mr. Fisher s memory was 
about to be made in this Memoir, and his literary remains about 
to undergo a resurrection. 



No. III. 
MR. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL, 

17501763, 
WITH NOTES. 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, FEBRUARY 1750. 



James Robertson, 



David Forrest,* 



James Erskine,f 



Time of Deliver, 

Exeg. An Redemptio Secundum Impe- 
trationem ejusdem sit Latitudinis cum 
Applicatione? 

Horn. 1 Cor. i. 30. " Who of God is 
made unto us sanctification." 

Exeg. An Alicui nisi Deo et Conscientiae 
Rationem Opinionum Nostrarum circa 
Religionem, reddere teneamur, dum- 
modo quiet6 in Civili Societate nosmet 
gesserimus? 

Horn. Isa. xxxiii. 6. " And wisdom and 
knowledge shall be the stability of thy 
times," 

Exeg. An Sacrificia Lumini Naturali 
Originem suam debeant? . . . 

Horn. Mark ix. 24. "Lord, I believe; 
help thou mine unbelief," .... 

Lecture on Isa. 12th chap., .... 



March 1. 
March 8. 



March 



March 15. 
March 8. 



March 1. 
(Thursd. 
\Aprill9. 



* Afterwards minister at Inverkeithing. He was a violent opponent of Mr. 
Campbell s settlement at Stirling, and left the denomination before his death. 
An account of his life was published. 

t Son of the Rev. Ralph Erskine, afterwards colleague to lus uncle Ebenezer 
in Stirling, and son-in-law to Mr. Fisher. Ft* Fraser s Life and Diary of 
Ralph Erskine, pp. 524 5 27. 



MR. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. 97 



John Brown,* 

Daniel Cock, f 

WiffiamM Ewen.f 

John Thomson, 
John Patison, || 



Time of Delivery. 
An istiusmodi Adminicula data 



Exeg. 

skit Ethnicis, qua? ex se ad aliquem 
Gradum Notitias salutaris ducant, 
quamvis Verbo Scripto destituantur ? 

Horn. Gen. iii. 22. " And the Lord God 
said, Behold the man is become like 
one of us, to know good and evil," . 

Exeg. An Theologia Naturalis et Super- 
naturalis, Gradu tantummodo, aut 
etiam Specie, differant? .... 

Horn. John xv. 3. "Now are ye clean 
through the word which I have spoken 
unto you," 

Ex. Num Doctrinse Trinitatis et Deitatis 
Christi sint Veritates Fundamentals? 

Horn. Jer. xvii. 12. "A glorious high 
throne from the beginning is the place 
of our sanctuary," 

Exeg. An Jus Dominii divini in Creaturas 
rationales fundetur in Creatione ? . 

Horn. Matt. iii. 8. " Bring forth there 
fore fruits meet for repentance," 

Exeg. An Intentio promovendi aliorum 
Ftelicitatem, sit Tessera Actionis Mo- 
raliter bonse? 

Horn. Rev. xix. 13. " His name is called 
The Word of God," 



March 17. 
March 22. 
March 10. 

March 29. 
March 15. 

March 29. 
March 22. 
March 31. 

March 24. 
March 31. 



* Afterwards minister of Haddington, and successor to Mr. Swanston as 
Professor of Divinity, author of the Self- Interpreting Bible, the Dictionary of 
the Bible, and many other works. It is intended that a new edition of his 
Select Remains, which have been very popular and long out of print, shall form 
a part of this series of publications. Mr. Brown commenced his theological 
studies under the superintendence of Ebenezer Erskine. 

t Afterwards minister of Crawfordsdyke, Greenock, and Synod Clerk. He 
went to America. 

J Afterwards minister of Dundee a man of fine genius and elegant taste. 
He died young. His Sermon "On the Matter and End of Gospel Preaching," 
at the ordination of Mr. Dick, the father of the late Dr. Dick of Aberdeen, which 
passed through several editions, is a first-rate discourse : and his work on the 
Types, and his Essays, though posthumous, have great merit. Mr. M Ewan 
was also one of Ebenezer Erskine s students. The venerable Dr. Erskine speaks 
of Mr. M Ewen in the following terms : " Hervcy of the Church of England, 
and M Ewen of the Secession, are agreeable writers; but to attempt their man 
ner is dangerous, without an uncommonly lively imagination, solid judgment, 
and correct taste. Luxuriances of style, generally overlooked in original geni 
uses, appear ridiculous in their servile imitators." Discourses, vol. i. p. 58. 

He settled for some time in Ireland, and then returning to Scotland was 
for some time minister of Kirkintilloch. In consequence of losing his voice he 
retired from the ministry, but took an active part against the Synod in the Old 
Light controversy in 1797-8, &c. 

II First Burgher minister in Edinburgh a man highly esteemed among his 
brethren. The author of an able historical defence of the Secession in a pre 
face to the first edition of M Ewen s Essays, addressed to JohnEaii of Glasgow 
the Right Honourable Lord Commissioner. 



98 

James Wylie,* 



John Brakenridge, 



APPENDIX. 

Time of Delivery. 
Exeg. An ex Vocatione Discipulorum 

rudium et illiteratorum, Sequatur tales 

hodle ad Prasdicationem Evangelii ad- 

mittendos? 

Horn. Hosea vii. 8. " Ephraim is a cake 

not turned," 



DISPUTATIONES MENSE MARTIO, AN. 1750. 



RESPONDENTES. 

Jacob. Robertson, 
David Forrest, 
Jacobus Erskine, 
Daniel Cock, 
Gul. M Ewen, 



OPPONENTES. 



f Daniel Cock, Gulielmus M Ewen, 
| Joannes Thomson, Joannes Patison, 
[David Forrest, Gulielmus M Ewen, 
I Jacobus Robertson, Jacobus Erskine, 



Joannes Brown, } Jacobus W > lie Joannes Thomson > 
Joann. Thomson, (David Forrest, Joannes Patison, 
Joannes Patison, (Jacobus Robertson, Jacobus Erskine, j" 
Jacobus Wylie, . Daniel Cock, Gulielmus M Ewen. 



Martii 3tio. 
Martii lOmo. 
Martii 17mo. 
Martii 24to. 



DISPUTATIONES, ANNO 1751. 



KESPONDENTES. OPPONENTES. Tempus Dispui. 

Gulielmus Gib, . David Forrest, Jacobus Wylie, . . Martii 8vo. 

Joann. Anderson, . Gulielmus M Ewen, Robertus Leny, . Martii 9no. 

Guliel. Kidston,f . Gulielmus Gib, Joannes Anderson, . Martii 15to. 

Robertus Leny, . Gulielmus Kidston, Gulielmus Knox, . Martii 16to. 

Gulielmus Knox, . Joannes Thomson, Gul. M Ewen, . Martii 22do. 

DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, 1751. 



John Thomson, 
John Patison, 


Timt 
Exercise and addition on 1 John v. 6. ) 
" This is he that came by water and > 
blood, even Jesus Christ," &c. . .) 
Lecture on Isa. Ixiii. from the beginning 
to the 6th verse 


of Delivery. 

Febv. 26. 
March 5. 

Feby. 15. 

Feby. 15. 
Feby. 19. 

March 5. 


Exercise and addition on 1 John v. 7."| 
" For there are three that bear re- /- 


Lecture on Rom. v. from the 17th verse 
to the close of the chapter, . . . 



* Afterwards minister of Scone. He was understood to be a good Hebrew 
scholar. 

t Afterwards minister of Stow, Tweedale a man of a strong mind, and an 
able, diligent, faithful minister. He stood high in the esteem of Mr. Brown of 
Haddington and Dr. Lawson of Selkirk. He was the father of the venerable 
William Kidston, D. D., Glasgow, now the Father of the United Presbyterian 
Church. 



MR. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. 99 



William M Ewen, 
William Gib, 
John Anderson, 

William Knox, 
David Forrest, 

James Wylie, 

William Kidston, 
Robert Leny, 



Exercise and addition on 1 John 

" And there are three that bear wit- V 
ness in earth," ) 

Lecture on Phil. ii. from the 6th to the 
12th verse, 

Exeg. An Fides sit Conditio Foederis 
Gratis? 

Popular Sermon on Isa. xlix. 3. " Thou 
art my servant, Israel, in whom I 
will be glorified," 

Exeg. An praeter Scientiam Naturalem 
et liberam detur in Deo Scientia quae- 
dam Media? 

Homily on 1 John v. 12. " He that hath 
the Son hath life," 

Exeg. An Dens sit omniprsesens Secun- 
dum Essentiam? 

Exercise and addition on 1 John v. 10. 
" He that believeth on the Son of 
God hath the witness in himself: He 
that believeth not God huth made 
him," &c. 

Lecture on Col. iii. 1, 2, 3 and 4 verses. 

Exercise and addition on I John v. 14. 
" And this is the confidence that we 
have in him, that if we ask any thing 
according to his will he heareth us." 

Lecture on Titus ii. 11,12, 13 and 14 verses. 

Exeg. An Justitia Vindicatrix sit Deo 
N aturalis ? 

Exeg. An Summum Bonum alicubi, nisi 
in ipso Deo reconciliato, positum sit ? 



Time of Delivery. 
. 8.) 



Feby. 
Feby. 

Feby. 



March 8. 



March 29. 



March 8. 
March 29. 
March 22. 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, 
TO BE DELIVERED FEBRUARY 1752. 



John Patison, 
William Gib, 

John Anderson, 



Pop. Serm. John iii. 34. " For God giveth 
not the Spirit by measure unto him," 

Exer. and add. John xv. 9. " As the Fa 
ther hath loved me so have I loved you ; 
continue ye in my love," .... 

Lect. John xvi. 12, 13, 14, 15. " I have 
yet many things to say unto you," &c. 

Exer. and add. John xvi. 7. " Neverthe 
less I tell you the truth, it is expedient 
for you that I go away," &c. . . . 

Lect. Acts iii. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. "Repent 
ye, therefore, and be converted, that 
your sins," &c., 



Feby. 21. 

March 3. 
Feby. 18. 

Feby. 18. 
Feby. 27. 



100 

Wm. Knox, IreL, 



William Kidston, 

Robert Leny, 

Geo. Coventry,* 
Jno.M Alaw,Irel, 

David Smith,! 

Wm. Ronaldson, 



APPENDIX. 

Time of Delivery. 

Horn. Mat. v. 20. " For I say unto you, 
that except your righteousness shall 
exceed the righteousness of the scribes 
and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter 
into the kingdom of heaven," . . Feby. 7. 

Exer. and add. 2 Pet. i. 19. " We have 
also a more sure word of prophecy, 
whereunto ye do well that ye take 
heed,"&c., Feby. 27. 

Horn. 1 Cor. iii. 17. " If any man defile 
the temple of God, him shall God de 
stroy; for the temple of God is holy," 
& c ., . . Feby. 14. 

Lect. 2 Cor. vi. 8, last clause, 9, 10. "As 
deceivers, and yet true; as unknown," 
&c, ...:.. Feby. 21. 

Horn. Mat. ix. 12. "When Jesus heard 
that, he said unto them, they that be 
whole," &c., Feby. 21. 

Lect. Mat. vi. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. " After 
this manner, therefore, pray ye: Our 
Father," &c., . . ....... . Marcn 6 - 

Exeg. An jus Regiminis civilis, in Populi 
Majorum Electione, aut Successione 
hereditaria, positum sit? .... Feby. 7. 

Horn. Acts xvi. 31. "Believe on the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," March 

Exeg. An Voluntas primi Adami ante 
Lapsum, ad Malum seque ac Bonum 
libera fuerit ? 



Horn. Luke xiii. 5. " Except ye repent, 
ye shall all likewise perish," . . ._ 

Exeg. An Anima Humana sit immateri 
al? 

Horn. Rom. v. 1. "Being justified by- 
faith, we have peace with God through 
our Lord Jesus Christ," .... 



Feby. 14. 
March 6. 
March 3. 



March 9. 



DISPUTATIONES ANNO 1752. 



Thesis Ima. Jus Regiminis Civilis in Populi Majorum Elec 
tione positum est. Geo. Coventry, Respondens; Robertus 
Leny et Joannes M Alaw, Opponentes, 

Thesis 2da. Voluntas primi Adami ante Lapsum ad Bonum 
tantummodo libera fuit, quamvis fallibilis erat Adamus. 



Febr. 14. 



* Afterwards minister of Stichell, a man of singular amiableness. Notices 
of him are to be found in Dr. Hay and Belfrage s Memoirs of Dr. Waugh. He 
was the father of the late Dr. Coventry, Professor of Agriculture in the Univer 
sity of Edinburgh, and one of his daughters was the wife of the late Dr. Dick 
of Grevfriars Church, Glasgow. 

t Afterwards minister at St. Andrews, and then went to Nova Scotia. 



MR. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. 101 



Joannes M Alaw, Respondent 
Coventry, Opponentes 



Time of Delivery. 
Gul. Knox et Georgius 

Febr. 18. 



VJUVdlULJj VjJpUJ.iCJ.iLt/u ? . ..... 

Thesis 3tia. Anima humana est immaterialis. David Smith, 
Respondens; Joannes Pati son et Gul. Kidston, Opponentes, 

Thesis 4ta. Philautia, seu Amor sui ipsius non est Princi- 
pium Obedientise Moralis. Respondens, Joannes Patison ; 
Gul. Gib et David Smith, Opponentes, 

Thesis 5ta. Nulla dantur Decreta Conditionata. Gul. Gib, 
Respondens; Joannes Patison et Joannes Anderson, Op 
ponentes, 

Thesis 6ta. Prsedestinatio, a Conditione aliqua in Homine, 
ante Dei Decretum prgevisa, est absolute independens. 
Respondens, Gul. Knox; Gul. Ronaldson, Opponens, . 



Martii 3. 



Febr. 27. 



Martii 6. 



Martii 9. 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, 
AND DELIVERED ANNO 1753. 



John Anderson, 
William Knox, 
William Kidston, 
Robert Leny, 
Geo. Coventry, 
John M Cala, 
Wm. Ronaldson, 

David Smith, 



Lecture on Mat. v. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 verses, 

Exercise and addition on Rom. vi. 5, . 

Lecture Isa. Iv. 1, 2, 3, 4, .... 

Pop. Sermon Isa. xlv. 22, .... 

Lecture on Luke ii. 8 15, .... 

Exercise and addition on Mark ix. 24, 

Exegesis. AnPoense infernales sint eternse? 

Exercise and addition on 1 Pet. v. 6, . 

Lecture on Mat. v. 7 11, .... 

Exercise and addition on 2 Pet. i. 21, . 

Lecture on Psal. ex. 1, 2, 3, 4, . . . 

Exercise and addition on James i. 6, . 

Exegesis. An Jesus Christus, Filius Dei 
appellatur, Secundum Naturam, aut 
Secundum Officium ejus Mediatorium? 

Lecture on Mat. xiii. 37 43, . . . 

Exercise and addition on James iv. 8, 

Exegesis. An Scripture Sacras vere sint 
divinse et divinitus inspiratas ? . . 

Homily on Mat. vi. 21, 



Feby. 19. 
March 1. 
Feby. 5. 
March 5. 
March 12. 
March 1. 
Feby. 23. 
March 6. 
Jany. 25. 
Feby. 5. 
Jan. 19. 
Feby. 23. 



March 9. 
Feby. 26. 
Jan. 25. 

Jan. 19. 
Feby. 23. 



DISPUTATIONES ANNO 1753. 



Thesis 1. Scripturae Sacrse vere sunt divinae et divinitus in- 
spiratae. Dav. Smith, Respondens; Joan. M Cala et 
Rob. Leny, Opponentes, Jan. 25. 

Thesis 2. Poenas Infernales sunt eternae. Rob. Leny, Re 
spondens; Gul. Ronaldson, Opponens, Febr. 23. 

Thesis 3. Jesus Christus est Deus necessario existens et in 
dependens. Gul. Knox, Respondens ; Gul. Kidston et 
Joan. Patison, Opponentes, Febr. 26. 

Thesis 4. Jesus Christus, Filius Dei appellatur, Secundum 
Naturam, non Secundum Officium ejus Mediatorium. 
Gul. Ronaldson, Respondens; Joan. Anderson, Opponens, March 9. 



102 APPENDIX. 

Time, of Delivery. 

Thesis 5. Gratia physice praedeterminans, ad veram Conver- 
sionem requiritur. Joa. M Ala, Respondens; Gul. Knox 



et Dav. Smith, Opponentes, 
Thesis 6. Justitia Christ! Mediatoria e4 sola Foederis Gratia) 

Conditio. Gul. Kidston, Respondens ; Rob. Leny, Op- 

ponens, 

Thesis 7. Adamus primus, in ipsa Creatione, Justitia Origi- 

nah ornatus fuit. Rob. Leny, Respondens ; Joan. M Cala, 

Opponens, 

Thesis 8. Anima Humana non est ex Traduce. David 

Smith, Respondens; Gul. Kidston, Opponens, . . . 
Thesis 9. Nulla datur Distinctio inter Episcopum et Presby- 

terum Sermone et Doctrina laborantem. David Smith, 

Respondens; Gul. Knox, Opponens, 

Thesis 10. Primum Adami Peccatum, omnibus ejus Posteris, 

naturaliter ab ipso oriundis, justissime imputatur. Gul. 

Ronaldson, Respondens; Joan. Anderson, Opponens, . 



Febr. 26 



March 



March 9. 
March 5. 



March 6. 



March 8. 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, 
AND DELIVERED ANNO 1754. 



John Anderson, 
William Kidston, 
Wm. Ronaldson, 
Geo. Coventiy, 
David Smith, 
John Beveridge,* 

William Amot, f 



Pop. Sermon on John xvii. 17. "Sanctify 
them through thy truth ; thy word is 
truth," 

Pop. Sermon on Psal. Ixxii. 17, first 
clause, " His name shall endure for 
ever," 

Pop. Sermon on Psal. Ixxxix. 28, last 
clause, " My covenant shall stand fast 
with him," 

Pop. Sermon on Rom. iv. 20. " He stag 
gered not at the promise of God through 
unbelief," &c., 

Exercise and add. on 1 Tim. iv. 10. "Who 
is the Saviour of all men, specially of 
those that believe," 

Exegesis. An Mors et Satisfactio Christi, 
ex Dei consilio, et Christi Voluntate, 
omnium et singulorum Loco, facta sit : 
An vero Electorum tantum ? . . 

Homily on 1 John v. 20. " This is the 
true God, and eternal life," . . . 

Exegesis. An Existentia Dei sit natu 
raliter, et per se Nota? 



Febr. 23. 

Mar. 13. 

Mar. 25. 

Mar. 5. 

Mar. 11. 

Febr. 23. 

Mar. 18. 

Mar. 5. 



* Afterwards minister at Falkirk. The father of the Rev. Henry Belfrage, 
D.D., who was his colleague and successor. A most judicious divine and ex 
cellent man. The name is spelled Belfrage, in a subsequent page, which was 
the orthography adopted by the family. 

t Afterwards* minister at Kcnnoway. Author of an elaborate volume of 
Sermons, entitled " The Harmony of the Law and the Gospel" 



MR. FISHERS REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. 103 

Time of Delivery. 
Horn. 2 Tim. iii. 16, first clause, " All 



William Archer, 



scripture is given by inspiration of 

God," 

Exeg. An Revelatio necessaria sit ad 

Salutem? 

Exeg. An circa futura contingentia et 

libera, Deo competat Praescientia con- 

jecturalis tantum? 



March 18. 
Mar. 11. 



DISPUTATIONES ANNO 1754. 



Time of Delivery. 

Thesis Ima. Mors et Satisfactio Christi, ex Dei Consilio et 
Christi Voluntate, non omnium et singulorum Loco, facta 
est, sed Electorum tantum. Joan. Beveridge, Respondens; 
Gul. Coventry et Dav. Smith, Opponentes, .... 

Thesis 2da. Existentia Dei est Naturaliter et per se Nota. 
Gul. Arnot, Resp. ; Joan. Beveridge, Opponens, . . 

Thesis 3tia. Revelatio necessaria est ad Salutem. Gul. 
Archer, Resp. ; Gul. Arnot, Opponens, 

Thesis 4ta. Quicquid factu et creditu necessarium est, per- 
fecte, et (quantum sufficit ad Salutem) perspicue, in Sacris 
Scrip, continetur. Joan. Anderson, Resp. ; Gul. Kidston, 
Opponens, 

Thesis 5ta. Tres sunt in Divina Essentia Persona?, Pater, 
Films, et Spiritus Sanctus, Proprietatibus incommunica- 
bilibus inter se distinctse. Gul. Kidston, Resp. ; Joan. 
Anderson, Opponens, 

Thesis 6ta. Objectum Praedestinationis sunt omnes Homines, 
quatenus in Adamo creati et lapsi, atque sic Morte eterna 
digni. Geo. Coventry, Resp.; Dav. Smith, Opponens, 

Thesis 7ma. Mundus non est eternus, sed conditus fait in 
Principio Mosaico. Dav. Smith, Resp.; Geo. Coventry, 
Opponens, 

Thesis 8va. Imago Dei ad quam Homo ab Initio conditus 
fuit, non in solo Dominio consistebat, sed justitia Originalis 



fuit potior et praecipua ejus Pars. Joan. Beveridge, Resp. ; 

Gul. Arnot, Opponens, 

Thesis 9na. Si Adamus primus in Integritate originali per- 

mansisset, nunquam moriturus fuisset. Gul. Kidston, 

Resp. ; Gul. Archer, Opponens, 

Thesis lOma. Omne Peccatum est per se et Natura sua Mor- 

tale, nullum vero veniale. Gul. Ronaldson, Resp. ; Joan. 

Beveridge, Opponens, 

Thesis lima. Agnoscendum est in Homine, praeter Actuales 

Transgressiones, Peccatum quod a Theologis dicitur Origi- 

nale. Gul. Arnot, Resp. ; Gul. Ronaldson, Opponens, 
Thesis 12ma. Peccatum potest esse Poena Peccati. 



Feb. 23. 
Mar. 5. 
Mar. 11. 



Mar. 



Mar. 15. 



Mar. 8, 



Mar. 12. 



Mar. 19. 



Mar. 21. 



Mar. 25. 



Mar. 22. 



104 



APPENDIX. 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, 
AND DELIVERED ANNO 1755. 



William Kidston, 

David Smith, 
John Beveridge, 

William Arnot, 

William Archer, 
James Mitchel, 



Exeg. 



Time of Delivery 
An Foedus Sinaiticum sit Foe- 



dus operum aut Gratise ? .... 
Pop. Serm. Hebr. xii. 29. " For our God 

is a consuming fire," 

Lecture, Mat. xxii. 34 41. 

Pop. Serm. Phil. iii. 12. " But I follow 

after, if that I may apprehend," &c., 
Exeg. An Polygamia et Concubinatus 

Patriarcharum Vitio caruerit? . . 
Exer. and add. 1 Tim. ii. 6. " Who gave 

himself a ransom for all, to he," &c., 
Exeg. An Lex Dei Naturalis, ut Deca- 

logo exprimitur, et Scripturis exponi- 

tur, sit immutabilis et eterna? 
Exer. and add. 2 Pet. ii. 1. 
Exeg. An bona opera praacedant aut 

sequantur justification ? 
Horn. Kev. i. 7. 
Exeg. An quih bet in sua Religione ser- 

vari possit? 
Horn. Kev. xxii. 14. 



March 11. 
March 12. 



March 11. 



DISPUTATIONES, ANNO 1755. 

Prceter Theses Exegetkas, superioribus Qucestionibus comprehensas, 
sequentes Disputationi subjiciebantur. 



Thesis Ima. Dominium temporale non fundatur in Gratia. 
Gul. Kidston, Defendens; Dav. Smith, Opponens. 

Thesis 2 da. Omne Peccatum est sua Natura mortiferum. 
Dav. Smith, Defendens; Gul. Kidston, Opponens. 

Thesis 3tia. Remissa Culpa, remittitur Poena. Joan. Bev 
eridge, Defendens; Gul. Archer, Opponens. 

Thesis 4ta. Christi Victima sola fuit expiatoria. Gul. Archer, 
Defendens; Joan. Beveridge, Opponens. 

Thesis 5ta. Pronitas ad Malum non fluit ex Principiis Naturae 
integrae. Gul. Arnot, Defendens ; Jac. Mitchel, Opponens. 

Thesis 6ta. Ignorantia non excusat Peccatum. Jac. 
Mitchel, Defendens; Gul. Arnot, Opponens. 



MR. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. 105 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, AND 
DELIVERED MARCH AND APRIL, 1756. 



David Smith 
John Beveridge, 

William Arnot, 
William Archer,* 
James Mitchel, 
John Bennet, 

Archd. HaU,f 
Andrew Moir, J 


Tin 

Lect. on Luke ix. 28, 29, 30, 31, . . 
Pop. Sermon on Luke ix. 31. " Who ap 
peared in glory, and spake," &c., 
Lect. on Luke ix. 32, 33, 34, 35, and 36, 
Pop. Sermon on Luke ix. 35, . . . 
Lect. on Psal. xxiii, 


e of Delivery 
March 25. 

March 30. 
March 24. 
March 29. 
March 18. 
March 30. 
March 18. 
March 29. 

April 8. 
April 21. 

April 8. 
April 21. 


Exer. and add. on 1 Pet. iii. 18, . . 
Exer. and add. on 2 Pet. ii. 5, , . . 
Lect. on Psal. xliii., 


Exeg. An Deum credere unum essentia, 
tnnum Personis, Polytheismum, vel 
Contradictionem implicet ? . . . 
Horn, on Rom. i. 20, 


Exeg. An Religiones Hysteria debeant 
exigi ad Lumen Rationis nostrse cor- 
ruptas, et ex illo suspend!? . . . 
Horn. (Excused from it.) 
Pop. Sermon on Rom. vii. 9. "I was 
alive without the law," &c., . . . 



DISPUTATIONES ANNO 1757. 



Time of Delivery. 
Thesis Ima. Robertus Nicol, Defendens; Alexander Shanks, 



Opponens. Mundus non est vel potuit esse ab aeterno, 
Thesis 2da. Virtutis et Vitii Discrimen non ex Sensu 

Morali sed ex jure naturali petendum est. Jacobus Oli- 

phant, Respondens; Alexr. Dick et Gul. Arnot, Oppo- 

nentes, 

Thesis 3tia. Mendacium non est sub ullo Prastextu licitum. 

Robertus Campbel, Respondens; Jac. Mitchel et Joan. 

Belfrage, Opponentes, 

Thesis 4ta. Omnis Notitia ex Sensibus non hauritur. Joan. 

Craig, Respondens; Jac. Bennet et Rob. Mcol, Opponentes, 



Martii 25. 



Martii 28. 



Martii 28. 
April 7. 



* Died May 11, 1756. 

t Afterwards minister first at Torphichen, and then at Wells Street, Oxford 
Road, London. A man before his age, distinguished for piety, and judicious 
ness. He was perhaps the first among the Burghers, who apprehended dis 
tinctly the true relation of Church and State. His writings are numerous and 
valuable; especially his " Gospel Worship," " Church Fellowship," "Humble 
Attempt," a Defence of Presbytery, and his posthumous Treatise on Faith. 

J Afterwards minister of Selkirk. One of the most popular preachers of his 
time. He published a number of sermons, all of them highly creditable to him 
as a scholar, a divine, and an orator. Father-in-law to Dr. Lawson, his suc 
cessor. 



106 



APPENDIX. 



Time of Delivery. 

1 hesis 5ta, Hysteria Fidei ita sunt supra Rationem, ut tamen 
non sunt contra illam. Robertus Harper, Responderis; 
Joan. Bennet et Tho. Litster, Opponentes, .... April 21. 

Thesis 6ta. Nulla absurda Moses narrat, vel indigna Fide. 
Alexr. Shanks, Respondens; Joan. Johnston et Joan. 
Low, Opponentes, April 4. 

Thesis 7ma. Resurrectio Mortuorum et possibilis est, et 
futura. Joan Johnston, Respondens ; Arch. Hall et 
Robertus Harper, Opponentes, April 4. 

Thesis 8va. Applicatio Redemptions adasquatur ejus Im- 
petratione, ut nee latior sit, nee angustior. Alexr. Dick, 
Respondens; Joan. Belfrage et Dav. Erskine, Opponentes, 

Thesis 9na. Animae non transeunt de Corpore in Corpus; 
sed unicuique Homini sua Anima est peculiaris. Joan. 
Low, Respondens; Jac. Oliphant et Rob. Campbel, Op 
ponentes, April 21 

Thesis lOma. Deum esse Spiritum incorporeum, et Scrip- 
tura et Ratio luculenter docet. Jac. Bennet, Respon- 
^ dens ; Joan. Craig et Tho. Litster, Opponentes, . . . April 19. 

Thesis lima. Dantur Tartara et Poenae infernales, in quibus 
irapii sunt aeternum cruciandi. Tho. Litster, Respon 
dens; Gul. Arnot et Joan. Bennet, Opponentes, . . . April 19. 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, ANNO 1757. 



Alexr. Dick,* 



Dav. Smith, 
James Mitchel, 

John Belfrage, 

William Arnot, 
John Bennet, 



Archd. Hall, 



Pop. Serm. James i. 17. "Every good 
gift and every perfect gift is from 
above, and cometh down from the 
Father of lights, with whom there is 
no variableness, neither shadow of 
turning," 

Pop. Serm. Acts xix. 5, 

Pop. Serm. Rom. iii. 27. " Where is 
boasting then ?" 

Pop. Serm. Mark i. 15. " Repent ye, 
and believe the gospel," .... 

Pop. Serm. Luke xi. 21, 22, ... 

Exer. and add. Heb. x. 38. "Now the 
just shall live by faith; but if any 
man draw back," &c., 

Horn. Psal. xiv. 1. " The fool hath said 
in his heart. There is no God," . . 

Exer. and add. James i. 22. " But be 
ye doers of the word, and not hearers 
only, deceiving your ownselves," 



Time of Delivery. 



April 8. 
April 22. 

March 21. 

March 16. 

March 25. 



April 18. 
March 16. 

March 29. 



* Afterwards minister of Aberdeen. The father of the Rev. John Dick, D.D. 
A man of excellent talents and primitive worth. 



MB. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. 107 



James Oliphant,* 

Robert Campbel, f 
John Craig, Irel. 

Robt. Harper, Irel. 

Robert Nicol, J 
Alexr. Shanks, 

John Johnstoun, || 



Time of Delivery 
Exeg. An turpis et honesti, Virtutis et 

Yitii Discrimen, ex Sensu Morali, seu 

mero Hominum arbitrio; an vero ex 

Jure Natural!, omnium conscientiis in- 

sculpto, petendum sit? .... March 28. 
Horn. Psal. cxlvii. 5. " Of great power," April 11. 
Exeg. An Mendacium, sub ullo Pra> 

textu, licitum sit? March 28. 

Horn. Psal. cxlvii. 5, third clause, " His 

understanding is infinite," . . . April 11. 
Exeg. An omnis Notitia ex sensibus 

hauriatur? April 7. 

Horn. Gen. ii. 7. "And the Lord God 

formed man out of the dust of the 

ground," April 1. 

Exeg. An Hysteria Fidei, ita sint supra 

Rationem, ut tamen non sint contra 

illam? April 21. 

Horn. Heb. xi. 6, second clause, " He 

that cometh unto God must believe that 

he is," April 7. 

Exeg. An Mundus sit, vel potuerit esse 

ab seterno? March 25. 

Horn. Psal. xc. 2, March 21. 

Exeg. An ulla absurda Moses narret, 

vel indigna Fide? April 4. 

Horn. John v. 39, first clause, " Search 

the scriptures," March 29. 

Exeg. An Resurrectio Mortuorum sit 

possibilis et futura? April 4. 

Horn. 1 Cor. xv. 33. " Be not deceived, 

evil communications corrupt good 

manners," 



April 1. 

* Afterwards minister of the Established Church, Dumbarton. Author of 
" Catechisms" which were considerably popular in their day. It is said Mr. 
Fisher gave the profits of two Action Sermons, which he published in 1755, to 
assist in Mr. Oliphant s education. 

t Afterwards minister of Stirling. Perhaps the most accomplished orator, 
ever produced in the Secession. Mr. Fisher s son-in-law. Author of two ex 
cellent Sermons. A notice of him is to be found in the Memoir of his son-in- 
law, John Smart, D.D., his colleague and successor, by his grandson, John 
Smart, D.D.. Leith prefixed to a volume of posthumous Sermons. 

J Afterwards minister of Kelso. 

Afterwards minister of Jedburgh, distinguished for personal piety and 
masculine eloquence. He published two volumes of Sermons in his lifetime, 
one in 12mo. and another in 8vo. He also published a number of occasional 
tracts. Two of them, connected with the political disturbances at the com 
mencement of the French Revolution, awakened a good deal of interest. A 
posthumous volume of Sermons, with a short Memoir, was published by his 
amiable colleague and successor, the Rev. Peter Young. He declined a pen 
sion when offered by Government, and recommended the minister of the parish 
to the notice of the Crown. 

|| Afterwards minister of Ecclefechan, then called the Congregation of An- 
uandale. A most venerable, judicious, useful minister. 



108 APPENDIX. 

Time of Delivery. 

John Low,* Exeg. An Animse transeant de Corpore 

in Corpus ; an vero unicuique Hornini 
sua Anima sit peculiaris? . . . April 21. 
Horn. Actsxvii. 28, first clause, "For in 
him we live, move, and have our being," April 8. 

James Bennet, Exeg. An Deum esse Spiritum incorpo- 
reum, et Scriptura, et Ratio luculenter 
doceat? April 19- 

Thos. Litster,f Exeg. An dentur Tartara et Poenje in- 
fernales, in quibus impii sint aeternum 
cruciandi? April 19. 

Dav. Erskine, J Pop. Serm. Eph. v. 7. " Be not ye 

therefore partakers with them," . April 18. 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, ANNO 1758. 



Arch. Hall, 

James Oliphant, 
Robert Campbel, 
Alexr. Shanks, 
John Johnston, 
Robert Nicol, 



Lect. Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26, 27. 

will I sprinkle clean water upon you," 
&c., 

Pop. Sermon 1 John iii. 2. " Beloved, 
now are we the sons of God, and it 
doth not yet appear," &c., . . . 

Exer. and add. 2 Pet. iii. 7. " But the 
heavens and the earth which are now, 
by the same word are kept," &c., . 

Exer. and add. 2 Pet. iii. 8. " But, be 
loved, be not ignorant of this one thing, 
that one day is with the Lord," &c., 

Exer. and add. 2 Pet. iii. 10. " But the 
day of the Lord will come as a thief 
in the night," &c., 

Exer. and add. 2 Pet. iii. 11. " Seeing 
then that all these things shall be dis 
solved, what manner," &c., . . . 

Exer. and add. 2 Pet. iii. 9. " The Lord 
is not slack concerning his promise, 
(as some men count slackness,) but," 



Time of Delivery. 
Then 



Feby. 21. 



Feby. 25. 



March 



March 3. 



Feby. 21. 



March 8. 



March 8. 



* Afterwards minister of Biggar a popular preacher and diligent minister. 

t Afterwards minister of Dundee successor of Mr. M Ewen. He died young. 
The Rev. Mr. Shirra of Kirkcaldy gives an account of his last days in his 
" Deathbed Dialogue." 

J Son of Ebenezer Erskine. He was a young man of most promising abili 
ties, and had distinguished himself at the University. But owing either to 
over-application to the study of abstract science, or to the agitations produced 
in a very sensitive mind by " the Cambuslang work," his nervous system was 
permanently injured, and he was obliged to abandon his design to devote him 
self to the ministry. He edited a posthumous volume of liis father s sermons. 



MB. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. 109 



John Low, 
Tho. Litster, 
Rich. Rammadge, 

James Fletcher,* 
Peter Watson, 
John Chalmers, 

John Bety, 



Time of Delivery. 
Exer. and add. 2 Pet. iii. 12. "Looking 

for, and hasting unto the coming of 

the day of God," &c., 

Horn. 1 John iii. 4. " Whosoever com- 

mitteth sin transgresseth also the law, 

for sin is a transgression," &c., . . 
Exeg. An sola Honestas Moralis sufficiat 

ad Salutem? 

Horn. 1 John iii. 5. " And ye know that 

he was manifested to take away our 

sins, and in him," &c., .... 
Exeg. An Summum Bonum in Animi 

Dotibus, Mundanis Deliciis, an vero 

aliunde quaerendum sit? . . . . 
Horn. 1 John iii. 8. " For this purpose 



the Son of God was manifested," &c., 

Exeg. An Voluntas Dei sit prima Jus- 
titia3 Regula? (Did not deliver it.) 

Horn. 1 John iii. 23. " And this is his 
commandment, that we should believe 
on the name of his Son," &c., . . 

Exeg. An Jesus Nazarenus, quern Ju- 
dsei per Pilatum crucifixerunt, sit verus 
illeMessias? 

Horn. 1 John iii. 8, first clause, " He 
that committeth sin is of the devil, 
for the devil sinneth from the begin 
ning." (Did not deliver it.) 

Exeg. An Miracula quas patravit Moses, 
non magica, sed vere divina fuerint? 
(Did not deliver it.) 

Horn. 1 John iii. 8, second clause, u For 
this purpose the Son of God was mani 
fested, that he might destroy," &c., 



March 25. 



March 23. 
March 18. 



Feby. 



March 18. 



March 25. 



April 



March 25. 



March 31. 



DISPUTATIONES ANNO 1758. 



Time of Delivery. 

Thesis Ima. Ad Thesin, Richardi Rammadge; Joan. Chal 
mers, Opponens, Mar. 18. 

Thesis 2da. Ad Thesin, Joannis Chalmers; Rich. Ram 
madge, Opponens, 



Thesis 3tia. Ad Thesin, Jacobi Fletcher; Petrus Watson, 
Opponens, 

Thesis 4ta. Ad Thesin, Petri Watson; Jac. Fletcher, Op 
ponens. (Non disputarunt.) 



Mar. 25. 
Mar. 18. 



* Afterwards minister at Copshawholm, Liddesdale, Roxburghshire; a man 

of singularly primitive manners. He imbibed Dr. Ridgley s views respecting 
the Sonship of Christ, and spent the evening of his days in private life. 



110 



APPENDIX. 



lime of Delivery. 

Thesis 5ta. Prasdestinatio est absoluta, vel plane indepen- 
dens a Conditione aliqua, ante Dei Decretum pracvisa. 
Arch. Hall, Respondens; Jac. Oliphant, Opponens, . Mar. 22. 

Thesis 6ta. Prasdestinatio est immutabilis, ita ut Electi 
nulli deficere, nee Reprobi ulli servari queant. Jacobus 
Oliphant, Respondens; Arch. Hall, Opponens, . . . Mar. 22. 

Thesis 7ma. Singuli Homines ad suum Firiem particulariter 
prasdestinantur. Rob. Campbel, Resp.; Alexr. Shanks, 
Opponens, ... Mar. 24. 

Thesis 8va. Aliqui tantum, non omnes sunt electi. 

Alexr. Shanks, Resp. ; Rob. Campbel, Opponens, . . Mar. 24. 

Thesis 9na. Fideles, de sua Electione ad Gloriam, infallibili- 
ter in hac Vita certiorari possunt. Joan. Johnston, 
Respondens; Rob. Nicol, Opponens, Mar. 24. 

Tliesis lOma. Ethnici, Divina Revelatione destituti, Salvari 

nequeunt. Rob. Nicol, Resp. ; Joan. Johnston, Opponens, Mar. 24. 

Thesis lima. Potentia creandi nulli Creaturas communica- 
bilis est. Joan. Low, Respondens; Tho. Litster, Oppo 
nens. (Non d sputarunt.) 

Thesis 12ma. Mundus in Principio Mosaico creatus fuit. 
Tho. Litster, Respondens; Joan. Low, Opponens. (Non 
disputarunt.) 

Thesis 13tia. Astrologia judiciaria, ex Usu Luminarium, 
extrui nequit. Joan. Bety, Respondens; Joan. Carlisle, 
Opponens. (Non disputarunt.) 

Thesis 14ta. Omnia, sine ulla Exceptione, Divinae Providen- 
tiae subsunt. Joan. Carlisle, Respondens; Joan. Bety, 
Opponens. (Non disputarunt.) 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, 
AND DELIVERED ANNO 1759. 



James Oliphant, 
Robert Campbel, 



John Johnston, 
John Low, 

Tho. Litster, 
Alexr. Shanks, 



Time of Delivery. 

In a family at Campbeltoun this year. 

Lecture on John i. 2934, .... March 16. 

Pop. Sermon on John i. 34. " I saw and 
bare record that this is the Son of 
God." (Did not deliver it.) 

Lecture on Heb. xi. 7. to 10, . . . March 17. 

Pop. Serm. Heb. xi. 10. "He looked 
for a city that hath foundations," &c., 

Lecture on Heb. xi. 1 6, .... March 16. 

Pop. Serm. on Heb. xi., first clause of 
ver. 6. u But without faith it is im 
possible to please God," .... March 31. 

Exer. and addition on 2 Pet. iii. 14. 
" Wherefore, beloved, seeing ye look 
for such things," &c., April 3. 

Lecture on Phitem. 1 22, .... March 8. 

Pop. Serm. Rorn. i. 17, March 12. 



MR. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. Ill 



Robert Nicol, 
Peter Watson, 



James Fletcher, 
Thos. Edmund, 



Sarn. Kinloch,* 
John Craig, Irel. 



Lecture on Prov. viii. 13 19. 

Pop. Serm. 1 Pet. ii. 24, . . . . 

Exer. and addition on 2 Pet. iii. 17, . 

Last year s Exegesis. An Voluntas Dei 
sit prima Justitia? Regula? . . . 

Exer. and addition on 2 Pet. iii. 18, . 

Exeg. An Mpralitas Actionum fundetur 
in Sympathia, aut in Benevolentia Uni 
versal!? 

Horn, on Rom. ii. 14, 

Exeg. An Ethnici, Divina Revelatione 
destituti, Salvari queant ? 

Pop. Serm. Rom. viii. 4, .... 

Exer. and addition on 2 Pet. iii. 13, . 



Time of Delivery. 
March 8. 
March 12. 
April 3. 



March 21. 
March 21. 



March 19. 
March 17. 



March 31. 
March 19. 



DISPUTATIONES ANNO 1759. 



Ad Thesin, Thomas Edmund; Sam. Kinloch et Petrus Wat 
son, Opponentes, March 19. 

Ad Thesin, Petri Watson ; Jacobus Fletcher, Opponens, . March 22. 

Ad Thesin, Samuelis Kinloch; Alexr. Shanks, Opponens. 
(Non disputarunt.) 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, 
AND DELIVERED ANNO 1760. 



James Oliphant, 


Time of Delivery. 
Lecture on Mat. xxv. 16, . . . March 10. 




Pop. Serm. on Mat. xxv. 6. " And at 






midnight there was a ciy made, Be 




Robert Campbel, 


hold the bridegroom," &c., . . . 
Last year, Pop. Senn. on John i. 34. 


March 12. 


John Low, 


Lecture on Isa. 12th chap., .... 


March 11. 




Pop. Serm. on Isa. xii. 3. "Therefore 




Thos. Litster, 


with joy shall ye draw water," &c., 
Lecture on Mat. xxv. 7, 8, 9, 10, . . 


March 20. 
March 27. 


James Fletcher, 


Pop. Serm. on Matt. xxv. 10, last clause, 
Lecture on Mat. xxv. 31, 32, 33, 34, . 
Pop. Serm. on Mat. xxv. 34, ... 


April 3. 
April 26. 
April 1. 



* Afterwards went to America; returned to this country and was lone- 
minister of Paisley. His portly form and fondness for systematic divinitv oh 
tained for him among his associates the appellation Doctor. On its beinsr asked 
at an acquaintance how he had got his title, it was replied, "By universal con 
sent wliich is as good as the consent of a university." 



112 

Tho. Edmund, 
John Beaty, Irel. 



Joseph Ker, Irel. 
Jas. M Alaw, Irel. 

John Bennet, 



APPENDIX. 



Exer. and addition on 2 Pet. iii. 14, 



Time of Delivery. 
March 11. 



Exeg. An Miracula quse patravit Moses, 
non magica, sed vere divina fuerint? 

Exer. and addition on Rev. i. 18. " I am 
he that liveth and was dead, and be 
hold I am alive," &c., 

Exeg. An Theologia Naturalis sufficiens 
sit ad Salutem? 

Horn, on John iv. 24. " God is a Spirit," 

Exeg. An Ratio Humana sit principium 
et fundamentum Theologite r . . 

Horn, on John iv. 24, second clause, 
" And they that worship," &c., . . 

Lecture on Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24, 25, 26, 

Pop. Serm. on 1 John iii. 1, ... 



March 10. 



March 26. 

March 19. 

April 4. 

March 19. 



April 
April 



2. 



DISPUTATIONES. 



Ad Thesin, Joannis Beaty ; Thos. Edmund, Opponens, 
Ad Thesin, JosephiKer; Jacobus M Alaw, Opponens. (Non 

disputarunt. 
Ad Thesin, Jacobi M Alaw; Joannes Beaty, Opponens. 

(Non disputarunt.) 



Time of Deliver}/. 



March 20. 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED AND DELIVERED, ANNO 1761. 



Robert Campbel, 
Thos. Edmund, 

James Fletcher, 
Joseph Ker, 
James Moir,* 


Tim 
Pop. Serm. on John i. 29. " Behold the 
Lamb of God, that taketh away," &c. 
Lecture on Dan. ix. 20 25, . . . 
Pop. Serm. on Dan. ix. 24. " And bring 
in everlasting righteousness," . . 
Pop. Serm. on Heb. v. 9. " And being 
made perfect, he became the author," 
&c 


z of Delivery. 

April 3. 
March 23. 

March 23. 

March 27. 
March 27. 

March 23. 
March 6. 
April 3. 


Lecture on Psal. xxiii., 
Pop. Serm. on Psal. xxiii. 5, first clause, 
" Thou preparest a table for me," &c., 
Exeg. An Ethnici, Divina Revelatione 
destituti, Salvari queant? . . . 
Horn. Gen. i. 1. " In the beginning God 
created the heaven and the earth," 



* Afterwards minister, first at Cumbernauld and then at Tarbolton. Author 
of a number of publications on the controversy excited by Dr. M GilTs Practical 
Essay on the Death of Christ, distinguished for their ability. 



MR. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. 113 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED IN FEBRUARY, 1762. 



Thos. Edmund, 

Jas. M Alaw, Irel 

James Moir, 
John Marshal, * 



Sam. Kennedy, 
Ireland, 



Jas. Waugh, from 
Jedburgh, f 



Geo. Wilson, 
William Hall, 



Time of Delivery. 
Did not come 



At Monyqueel in Arran. __ 

Zthis year, because his time with 
5 family ends with May; and if h< 
came over in the months of February, 
March, and April, he would have thai 
time to make up in Summer. 
Exercise and addition on Jude ver. 21. 
" Keep yourselves in the love of God," 
Lecture on John iii. 16, 17. " God so 

loved the world," &c., 

Exer. and addition on Jude ver. 24, 25. 
" Now unto him that is able to keep 
you from falling," &c., .... 
Exeg. Andetur Theologia Naturalis ? 
Horn. John iii. 3. "Jesus answered and 
said, Except a man be born again," 

&c., 

Exegesis. An Dei Existentia sit Natu- 

raiiter et per se Nota? 

Horn. John i. 1, last clause, u And the 

Word was God," 

Exegesis. An Ethnici, Divina Revela- 

tione destituti, Salvari queant? . . 
Horn. Acts viii. 37, last clause, " I be 
lieve that Jesus Christ is the Son of 

God," 

Exegesis._ An quilibet in sua Religioiie 

Servari possit ? 

Horn. Luke xix. 13. "Occupy till I 

come," 

ixegesis. An Scripturas Same vere sint 
Divinae, et Divinitus inspirataj? 
Horn. John vi. 48. " I am the bread of 
life," 



March 10. 
March 31. 



Feby. 24. 
March 9. 



March 25. 
Feby. 24. 
March 10. 
March 9. 

March 25. 
March 15. 
April 2. 
March 15. 
April 5. 



DISPUTATIONES ANNO 1762. 



Ad Thesin, Joannis Marshal; Jacobus Moir, Opponens, . 
Ad Thesin, Samuelis Kennedy ; Joannes Marshal, Opponens, 
Ad Thesin, Jacobi Waugh; Samuel Kennedy, Opponens, . 
Ad Thesin, Georgii Wilson ; Jacobus Waugh, Opponens, 

* Afterwards minister of Alnwick a most saintly man 

t Afterwards minister of Sundcrland, Durham. 

J Afterwards minister of Bathgate. He died young 



Time of Delivery. 
March 9. 
March 9. 
Eod. Die. 
Martii 13. 



114 



APPENDIX. 



Ad Thesin, Gulielmi Hall; Georgius Wilson, Opponens, 
Poense infernales sunt seternae. Jacobus Moir, Defendens; 

Jacobus M Alaw, Opponens, . . . . 
Mundus non est eternus, sed in pnncipio Mosaico conditus 
fuit. Jacobus M Alaw, Defendens; Gulielmus Hall, 
Opponens, 



Time, of Delivery. 



Martii IB. 
Eod. Die. 



Eod. Die. 



March 22c7, 1762. Five weeks after I was begun to teach came up 
Mr John Bennet, detained (as he said) by his aunt s indisposition 
from coming up sooner. And Mr. George Thomson, Precentor to 
Mr. Thomas Mair, who had been three years attending Mr. Alex 
ander Moncrief as one of his Students, before the Antiburgher 
party proceeded against Mr. Thomas Mair; but ever since their 
sentence of deposition against Mr. Mair, the said Mr. Thomson had 
left them and cleaved to Mr. Thomas Mair s ministry, and teaches 
a school at Milnathort. This Mr. Thomson was recommended to 
me by Mr. Swanston. I prescribed to them the following Dis 
courses : 



John Bennet, 



George Thomson,- 



Time of Delivery. 

His Lecture on Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24, 25, 
26, prescribed in the year 1758, and 
not yet delivered. He delivered it this 
year, 

Pop. Sermon on Ezek. xxxvi. 27, first 



clause, " I will put my Spirit within 



you, 



April 



April 2. 



DISCOURSES PRESCRIBED TO THE STUDENTS, AND 
TO BE DELIVERED ANNO 1763. 



James Moir, 

James Waugh, 
John Marshal, 
Geo. Wilson, 



Time of Delivery. 
Lecture on Psal. ex. 
Pop. Serm. on Psal. ex. 4. " The Lord 

hath sworn and will not repent, Thou," 

&c. 
Exer. and addition on Jude ver. 1. 

" Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, 

and brother of James," &c. 
Exer. and addition on Jude ver. 3. 

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence 

to write unto you," &c. 
Exer. and addition on Jude ver. 4. 

" For there are certain men crept in 

unawares," &c. 



* Afterwards minister of Kilmany or Rathillet. He embraced Mn Thomas 
Mair s views as to the atonement, left the denomination, joined the Old Light-, 
and published some Sermons and Tracts oil prophetical and other topics. 



MR. FISHER S REGISTER OF THE DIVINITY HALL. 115 

Time of Delivery. 

William Hall, Exer. and addition on Jude ver. 5. 

" I will therefore put you in remem 
brance though you once," &c. 
John Riddoch, * Exegesis. An Dei Existentia ex Solo 

Lumine Natural! cognosci possit? 
Horn. Heh. xiii. 8. "Jesus Christ, the 
same to-day, yesterday, and for ever." 
Thomas Dickson, Exegesis. An Ratio Hominis Contro- 
Ireland, versiarum iudex sit? 

Horn. John i. 1, last clause, " And the 

Word was God." 
John Rogers, Irel.f Exegesis. An Revelatio necessaria sit 

ad Salutem? 
Horn. Heb. xi. 6. " But without faith it 

is impossible to please him." 
Jos. Little, Irel. Exegesis. An Anima Humana sit im- 

materialis? 

John Henderson, J Exegisis. An Hysteria Fidei, ita sint 
supra Rationem, ut tamen non sint 
contra illam? 
Horn. 1 Tim. iii. 16, second clause, 

" God was manifest in flesh." 

Thomas Watters, Exegesis. An Jesus Nazarenus, quern 
Judge!, per Pilatum crucifixerunt, sit 
verus ille et promissus Messias? 
Horn, on John iii. 27. " Jesus answered 
and said, a man can receive nothing," 
&c. 

Geo. Thomson, Lecture on Heb. x. 19 23. " Having 
therefore, brethren, boldness to enter 
into the holiest," &c. 



March 2. 



DISPUTATIONES. 



Ad Thesin, Joannis Riddoch; Thomas Dickson, Opponens. 
Ad Thesin, Thomse Dickson ; Joannes Riddoch, Opponens. 
Ad Thesin, Joannis Rogers ; Josephus Little, Opponens. 
Ad Thesin, Josephi Little ; Joannes Rogers, Opponens. 
Ad Thesin, Joannis Henderson ; Thomas Watters, Opponens. 
Ad Thesin, Thomas Watters; Joannes Henderson, Opponens. 



* Afterwards minister at Coklstream. 

t Afterwards Professor of Divinity to the Associate Burgher Synod of Ire- 

J Afterwards minister at Dunbar. A most venerable and amiable man. 
Author of three excellent Discourses " on the Legal Temper." 

Afterwards minister of Alloa, 

ff-ir The most of the names to which no note is appended are those of Irish 
students, who returned and settled in their native country. 



116 



APPENDIX. 



January llth, 1764. As the Irish Students, who came over here, 
had not access to attend their own Presbytery in Ireland ; accord 
ing to recommendation of last Synod, in case I was not to teach, 
as I am not resolved to do this year, I prescribed to them the fol 
lowing Discourses. To 



Samuel Kennedy, 

John Rogers, 
Joseph Little, 



Exercise and addition on Jude ver. 20. 
Lecture on Rev. i. verses 4, 5, and 6. 
Exercise and addition on Jude ver. 21. 
Exercise and addition on Jude ver. 17. 



No. IV. 
LETTERS OF MR. FISHER, CHIEFLY TO RELATIVES. 

The following letters, written at intervals during the space of 
nearly half-a-century, with one exception relate entirely to do 
mestic events, and some of them singly may be thought but of 
trivial importance and little interest. They have been inserted 
as affording the most authentic and effectual means of delineat 
ing some of the most characteristic and pleasing features of the 
distinguished subject of the preceding narrative; and as fitted 
not merely to remove somewhat extensively prevalent mistakes 
as to the sourly ascetic character of the first Seceders, but to 
correct the wider and more important error, that that zeal for 
religious truth, and strictness in religious duty by which they 
were characterized, are seldom connected with the gentler charf- 
ties of nature, or do not well comport with the courtesies of 
polished society. 

No. 1. TO MISTRESS JEAN ERSKINE* (Afterwards Mrs. Fisher). 

" MY DEAREST, 

" I have made you so many and so ingenuous assurances 
of my most sincere affection and love to you, that it is almost 
impossible for me to do it now in stronger terms, especially when 
I have not the least suspicion that you think me a dissembler in 
this matter. The flattering and deceiving part of mankind de 
light in flourishing speeches, embellished with all the art of 
rhetoric; but where love is sincere, it is not words that are so 
much to be noticed as the way and manner of expressing the 

* Unmarried ladies in Scotland seem at this time to have been uniformly 
addressed Mistress. In England Miss was coming into use. 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 

affection ; and it is always observable, that where love is strong 
est, there is the greatest difficulty of expressing it in words, be 
cause in that case it is almost impossible to find language to 
express the inward fondness of the mind. Thus I am sure it is 
with myself. I am conscious that my love to you is most sin 
cere, and disinterested. I am conscious likewise that it is as 
great as one creature can have to another, and yet I still find it 
upon the increasing hand, and I cannot find words to express to 
you the strength of my affection. And were I sure that I pos 
sess the same room in your affections that you do in mine, I 
would think myself among the happiest men in the world as to 
earthly comfort. But what encourages me in the meantime is, 
that I would fain natter myself with the thought that you have 
no aversion to me, and that by this time you esteem me at least 
above other men. But, my dearest, although I dare not ven 
ture to say further, yet this is not all that I would have even in 
the meantime ; for whether I shall have the satisfaction to know 
it beforehand or not, yet it would be no doubt my desire above 
all earthly things that your affection to me were as great as 
mine is to you. I had certainly satisfied my fondness in seeing 
you at Dunfermline had not your peremptory, and I had almost 
said cruel, command discharged me from doing so. Had I 
thought that it was only from a principle of modesty that you 
laid me under this restraint, I had ventured upon disobedience ; 
but I took you to be so peremptory, that rather than disoblige 
you I must deny myself the satisfaction of seeing you till you 
come to Portmoak, where I hope you will allow me an agreeable 
interview. I need not, my dearest, tell you what I am sure you 
doubt not, that when I wish spiritual and temporal happiness to 
myself, I wish it to you, and that all purchased blessings may 
be" conferred upon you in the same degree as I would desire for 
myself. 

Yours in the strictest bonds of affection and love while 

JAMES FISHER. 
"Aug. 25, 1726." 



No. 2. TO THE REV, RALPH ERSKTNE, DUNFERMLINE 

?, 24* March, 1743. 



" KEY. AND VERT DEAR UNCLE, 

" It pleased the Lord that my wife was safely delivered 
of a son upon the 12th inst. So soon as he was born I named 
him "Ralph, and intimated that name when I presented him for 
baptism. My wife is now tolerably well recovered, which is 
matter of thankfulness to the Lord, and the child is very well, 



113 APPENDIX. 

at the nursing about half-a-mile from the town. Your brother 
came here on Tuesday the loth, preached and baptized the child 
on the Thursday thereafter, which is our ordinary week-day 
sermon. He preached likewise on the Sabbath after, and is to 
preach this day and Sabbath next, if the Lord will. . . . My 
child that came lately to the world, though outwardly beautiful 
and healthy, yet bears the image of the first Adam; but the 
same grace that has defaced that image in the name-father is 
sufficient for the name-son; there is still so much to the fore, 
nothing yet diminished." 



No. 3. EXTRACT OF A LETTER TO THE REV. MR. KING, DROMORE, 
DATED GLASGOW, 18xH JAN., 1748. 

" MR. A and you made me believe that you Avere to lay 

a representation of grievances before the General Synod, and 
among other things it was to be craved that a warning should 
be emitted against Mr. Taylor s book," [Dr. John Taylor of Nor 
wich on Original Sin,] " and that notice should be taken of those 
ministers who subscribed for the same, or at least of those who 
cannot but be reputed to have propagated such an erroneous 

book as Mr. H J , who subscribed for 32 copies. If 

redress in these matters were refused, you were to make a stand 
for truth. I wrote a long letter to Mr. A to be communi 
cated to you, wherein I moved that you might draw up a faith 
ful representation of grievances, such as that several sitting 
members of Synod have not subscribed the Confession of Faith, 
that there are many gross errors presently abounding, such as 
the denying the imputation of Adam s first sin to his posterity, 
the original corruption and depravation of our nature, the im 
putation of Christ s righteousness, &c., that Tayloi* s book 
against original sin. sapping the foundation of the whole doc 
trine of Christianity, is propagated in this kingdom, and that 
some members of Synod have encouraged the reprinting and 
propagating of the same; and craving that the Synod would 
condemn the above errors, and assert the opposite truths, and 
emit a warning against Taylor s book, and censure such as 
have propagated the same: and likewise craving, that, in or 
der to the preservation of the purity of doctrine contained in 
the Westminster Confession of Faith, the formula of subscrib 
ing the same be amended, and that therein it be expressly 
declared that I do not subscribe the said Confession merely 
as a bond of peace, but as the confession of my faith or 
any other words to the above purpose answering the end of 
preventing a mock subscription of the Confession : and if this 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 119 

representation and petition was either refused or delayed, I ad 
vised that you should have a protestation in readiness, wherein, 
after an ad herenee to the above representation, you should de 
clare your secession from the said General Synod as no lawful 
or rightly constituted court of Christ, in regard that they refuse 
to assert the truths of Christ, and preserve and maintain the 
purity of doctrine in opposition to the errors raging at this day; 
and that it shall be lawful and warrantable for you to constitute 
yourselves into a Presbytery, without any subordination to the 
same Synod, in order to prosecute the ends of testimony for the 
purity of the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government main 
tained in the Church of Scotland, and solemnly engaged to by 
the three kingdoms. . . . Instead, however, of falling in with 
what I advised, which at that time I hoped you would have 
done, you have huddled all up in what you call A Serious 
Warning from the General Synod of Ulster, which is indeed a 
strange piece, and deserves to be exposed as a grave-stone upon 
truth. It is not so much as supposed [in it] that there is an 
erroneous member in your whole Synod. The painful task of 
libelling is put upon the people, although you cannot but know 
how that will issue. The keenest edge of your warning is 
against the Seceders, at whom you seem to be more offended by 
far than with those of the New Light way ; with whom you seem 
plainly to have put it up by adopting the principle, That our 
sincere obedience to the moral law qualifies us for communion 
with God here, and eternal life hereafter. I appeal to yourself 
if this is not the same upon the matter with what Mr. Colville 
asserts in that scandalous sermon I can call it no better which 
he preached on occasion of the death of Mr. Niven, p. 21. The 
above assertion overturns the doctrine of original sin, the satis 
faction of Christ and his imputed righteousness, which you men 
tion in your Warning. In my view, nothing can qualify for com 
munion with God here and eternal life hereafter but vital union 
with the Lord Jesus by faith; and it is plain from Scripture, 
and from our Confession, that that obedience which is not of 
faith can never be acceptable to God, and consequently can 
never qualify for communion with him here nor eternal life 
hereafter, Heb. xi. 6; Conf. vi. 2, 3, 7. Though I had not, 
therefore, freedom when I was in Ireland to preach in your 
congregation, nor in Mr. H s, because I then thought in 
genuously that you were coming forward to give a testimony for 
truth at the ensuing Synod, yet now that I see that you have 
upon the matter consented that all testimony for the truth be 
buried, and that you are most keenly enraged against those 
who desire to display a banner for the truth, were I in Ireland 
again I would have all freedom to preach in your congregations, 
if the people invited me. I am sorry that I have this to say, 



120 APPENDIX. 

that those whom I looked upon to be the defenders of truth have 
been the betrayers of it. Dear Sir, your Serious Warning is 
but a mere sham and blind, and, I believe, will impose on but 
few of the intelligent. I could earnestly wish that you and Mr. 

A would yet bethink yourselves, and heartily espouse the 

Lord s cause, for the vindication and defence of buried truth, 
which I am sure you can never do in conjunction with the 
General Synod, as matters are presently constituted. I offer 

my kind service to Mr. A and his family, where I was so 

kindly entertained. 

I am, Sir, yours, &c., 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 4. TO MRS ALISON SCOTT AT GATESHALL. 

" Glasgow, 21st Sept., 1756. 
" DEAR SISTER, 

" About two or three weeks ago, a letter came to hand 
from Mr. Smith of Jedburgh, with the melancholy news of your 
son Eben s death. I missed the opportunity of the carriers once 
and again, by being out of town, which is the reason of not writing 
you sooner. Your sister and I were very sensibly affected with 
this sharp and afflicting dispensation of adorable Providence to 
wards you, which tended to revive in our memories trials of the 
like nature we have often met with, particularly Jessy s death, 
who was come a considerable length, as your dear child also 
was. And thus we endeavoured to place ourselves in your cir 
cumstances, and to sympathize with you, as we could, as having 
had frequent experience of the loss of such engaging and endear 
ing comforts. It gives me great pleasure to find by Mr. Smith s 
line, that the Lord has been pleased remarkably to support you 
under such a trying dispensation, and that divine cordials have 
not been quite withheld. You know very well that he gives in 
finitely more than he takes away from us. "I will be thy God" 
is infinitely more than all created comforts in one. While him 
self is to the fore, we cannot be said to be destitute or stript of 
our all. If you are helped to a kindly submission to God s will 
of Providence in this matter, and to justify him therein, as hav 
ing a sovereign and absolute disposure of you and yours, it may 
be a token for good that the Lord will preserve your only sur 
viving child unto you, and likewise give you the comfort o*f both 
in one. Although your trial be smart, it might still be smarter. 
There is mercy mixed with the rod that you have some earthly 
comforts still behind, and his mercies ought to be noted as well 
as his judgments. " Whoso is wise, and will observe these 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 121 

things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the 
Lord." I earnestly wish the Lord may comfort you against 
grief on every side. The more you think upon the great and 
precious promises, and what is contained in them, and the less 
you pore and reflect upon your departed child, the more will be 
your inward peace and composure. 

" My wife and I and daughters here have our kind respects 
to you and Mr. Scott. . . Let us hear from you with the car 
riers from Jedburgh, and you shall not be long in getting a 
return. I am, 

Dear Sister, 

Your very affectionate and sympathizing Brother and Servant, 

JAS. FISHEB." 

No. 5. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, April 14, 1758. 
" DEAR SISTER, 

" It is so long since I heard from you that I am per 
suaded I wrote you last, and though at present I think so, yet I 
have not scrupled to write you again. Your sister and I long 
much to hear of your and your family s welfare. I was much 
indisposed this last season with a swimming in my head; but 
the Lord was pleased to order it in his adorable providence, that 
though the trouble seized so violently on most of the week-days 
that I was obliged to go to bed, yet I was never laid aside from 
preaching by it on the Sabbaths save one afternoon. And now 
the Lord has been pleased to remove it quite from me for a month 
bygone, which hath not been the case near these two years past. 
I desire to bless the Lord that I have never felt any bad effect 
of the sentences passed by our brethren upon us : and I have 
often heard our dear friends your father, uncle, and cousin 
Henry Erskine, who I hope are now in glory, say the same. 

" My wife and I and our daughters all of us join in our kindly 
respects to Mr. Scott, to you, to William, and our sister Mary 
Erskine, who we hear is with you. I am, 

My dear Sister, 
Your very affectionate Brother and Servant, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 6. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, Sept. 22, 1762. 
" MY DEAR SISTER, 

"Yours of the 21st of the last to my wife was 
very acceptable. She wrote you by the carrier immediately 



122 APPENDIX. 

after the death of our dear daughter Mrs. Erskine, and we were 
sorry afterwards to find that the letter miscarried, and never 
came to your hand. There is no sympathy like that which 
flows from experience. You now know the heart of a parent in 
the loss of one hopeful child we of several ; and therefore ought 
the more readily to bear one another s burdens. But not only 
our children, but other valuable and useful friends are now re 
moved from us. Your father, your uncle, and his three sons, 
all ministers, are gone off the stage of time never to appear on 
it any more, and I will not readily be long behind them; for 
though I be in tolerable health just now, yet by the course of 
nature I cannot be far from my latter end, being entered on the 
sixty-fifth year of my age since February last. 

" Your niece, Alie, whom we thought once in a bad way, is 
now quite recovered. She was much the better of being some 
time with Mrs. Henderson at Airthry.* 

" All this family have their endeared love to you, and to Mr. 
Scott. I am glad to hear that your son William at Dalkeith is 
well spoke of by every body, and that Eben is a thriving child. 
I hope the Lord will add to their numbers. 

Dear Sister, 
Your very affectionate Brother, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 7. TO MISS MARY ERSKINE. 

" Glasgow, Nov. 10, 1762. 
" DEAR MALLY, 

" Yesterday I received a letter from Mr. Shirra, with 
the enclosed to you, which is sent you unopened; none here 
would be so ungenerous as to open a letter of that kind: how 
ever he acquaints your mamma and me, that therein he makes 
a proposal of marriage unto you, and earnestly wants our con 
currence. Both of us are well pleased with the proposal, if it is 
agreeable to your mind, and think it every way more feasible 
than the last motion that was lately made and rejected; so that 
you have the concurrence of your parents in giving a modest 
reception to this proposal, in case you see him before we see 
you. Meanwhile we will lay no constraint upon you to do any 
thing in the momentous step of marriage. All your sisters, and 
your brothers likewise, concur in the motion. You may com 
municate this to your aunt, and see what she thinks of it. She 
will readily write us her mind; but it needs not be talked of to 

* The salubrious nature of the springs there seems to have been known so 
early as 1762. 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 123 

any but amongst ourselves. All of us here have our kind re 
spects to your aunt and our love to you. I am, 

My dear Mally, 
Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 8. TO MISS ALISON FISHER AND TO MRS. GRAY.* 

" Glasgow, Aug. 15th, 1763. 
" MY DEAR ALIE, 

"Your mamma and I have been pretty lonelisome this 
summer, none of our daughters with us but Peggie. If you 
incline to stay two or three weeks longer, and to return by Stir 
ling, your mamma and I will not be against anything that will 
tend to recreate you and confirm your health ; though we are 
longing to see you. With our endeared love to you all three, 
I am, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

TO MRS. GRAY. 

" MY DEAR MALLY, 

"Both your parents wish you and your husband all 
the comfort and happiness of a married lot. We hope you are 
married in the Lord, and in that case " A little that a righteous 
man," or woman, "hath is better than the riches of many wicked." 
It is the blessing of the Lord only that maketh rich. Study to 
be obliging to your husband, as I am persuaded he is to you. 
You are married for life, and the more constant and equal your 
mutual love and affection to each other is, the more happy will 
you be in one another s society. Your mamma and I have our 
kindest love to Mr. Gray and you. I am, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

TO BOTH MY DAUGHTERS. 

I TRUST you do not neglect to fear the Lord, by praying to 
him in secret at least morning and evening every day. I have 
endeavoured to devote you to the Lord, and yourselves have 

* Mary Fisher had been lately married to Mr. John Gray, Printer, Edin 
burgh ; and her sister, Alison, was on a visit to her. 



124 APPENDIX. 

engaged once and again to be his at his table. Study, there 
fore, to have a conversation becoming the gospel in all wisdom 
and prudence : and the God of all grace be with you both." 



No. 9. TO MR. JOHN GRAY. 

" Glasgow, Dec. 26, 1764. 
" VERY DEAR SON, 

"It gave us all here very great concern when we heard 
by yours of Mary s illness. I hope the Lord will give his bless 
ing to the means using for her recovery. Tell Peggie that I 
did not at all take ill what she wrote. Her mamma and I were 
much diverted with the smartness of her reflections, only we 
think that the proposal from such a deserving young man might 
at least require some consideration. I am very glad you are 
throng in business, and that Mr. Brown s small Catechism sells 
well. None of them are yet come to this place, though very 
much wanted. The swelling of my feet is abating, and I hope 
to be quite well in a few days. I preached the half of the day 
last Sabbath, and hope to preach the whole Sabbath next. By 
my confinement to the house for two weeks past, I have come 
better speed on the Catechism. I am just now on the question 
" What is effectual calling? " I am, 

Your affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 10. TO MRS. GRAY. 

" Glasgow, Jan. 10, 1766. 

" MY VERY DEAR MALLY, 

"Your mamma-would gladly come to see you, but she 
was so sick in the chaise the last time she came from Stirling 
that she says that she doubts if ever she will venture abroad 
again. She tells me she wrote you about taking care of your 
self; an advice which I second and back with all the warmth 
and earnestness that can warm the heart of a parent. Do not 
give entertainment to slavish fears. I trust that the same divine 
hand that has carried multitudes through will preserve you also, 
and compass you about with songs of deliverance. I shall desire 
not to forget you in secret. What our Lord said to Jairus I say 
to you, " Be not afraid, only believe." Entrust yourself into his 
kindly hand, and there will be no fear of you. Your mamma 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 125 

and sisters join me in our endeared love to Mr. Gray and you 
I am, 

My dear Child, 
Your most atFectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER. 

"P.S. Tell my dear Son, Mr. Gray, that I have sent the 
two manuscripts of Mr. Brown s with Mr. Mowbray, according 
to his desire." 

No. 11. TO MR JOHN GRAY, PRINTER, IN JACKSON S 
CLOSE, EDINBURGH. 

(Without date, but must have been towards the end of May 1766. ) 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" It was very comfortable news to us all. and what we 
much longed to hear by yours of the 26th, that Mary was safely 
delivered of a daughter, and that she was in a hopeful wav 
having got good rest, and being refreshed therewith. My wife 
and I desire to join you in thankfulness to the Lord, for his 
sparing and recovering mercy on this occasion. We ouo-ht not 
to forget his benefits; and, whoever is so wise as to observe the 
conduct of his Providence, especially as it is subservient to the 
promise, even they shall see the love and kindness of the 
Lord. 

"I see by yours that the child s name is Erskine, which is no 
doubt agreeable to us here who are the grand-parents We 
were somewhat diverted with your description of the child 
that she is a fine lively child, of such growth that the midwife 
said she might have made her appearance a month sooner and 
that she is very engaging. By ourselves, we easily saw how 
much she had already attracted your affections. But we should 
always remember that these (like all other time s-things) are 
very uncertain pleasures. We have our endeared love to one 
and all of you, and Mr. Campbell. Tell him that I expect from 
him a particular account how you all are, and how Mary con 
tmues to recover; if there is no remnant of trouble hanging 
about Ahe and likewise concerning the affairs of the Assembly, 
of which 1 have as yet got no distinct account. I am, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



126 APPENDIX. 



No. 12. TO MRS. GRAY. 

" Glasgow, June 17, 1766. 
" MY DEAR MALLY, 

" As your mamma and I had you much on our minds 
before your delivery, (and I hope at a "throne of grace,) so we 
have essayed to be thankful to God since your delivery, that 
your recovery has been so comfortable and without any back- 
setts that we heard of, and that our dear young grandchild 
Erskina is in such a thriving way. These mercies are matters 
of much thankfulness to the Lord. And the more thankful we 
are, the more humble we will be, considering that we are less 
than the least of his favours. We hear you have the nurse in 
the house, which, though it may perhaps be somewhat more 
expensive, yet it will be by far a greater pleasure to have the 
dear child continually under your own eye. I have written to 
Alie about her coming home. Your mother and I join in our 
endeared love to you and Mr. Gray, whom we expect to see 
next week. I am, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 13. TO MR. JOHN GRAY. 

" Glasgow, July 28, 1766. 
" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" Nothing could give greater pleasure to my wife, two 
daughters, and me, than the agreeable accounts by yours of 
Thursday evening last of our dear Mary s being considerably 
better. *We are glad that little dear Erskine is so happily pro- 
v id e( l _I hope you and we will concur in ascribing the glory of 
your spouse s begun recovery to the Lord, and wait on him for 
the perfecting of it. Let us hear by to-morrow s evening post 
how matters continue with her. The post hour is now come. 
Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 14. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, July 31, 1766. 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" In consistency with a desire at submission to adorable 
Providence so far as we can attain it, we cannot help being con 
cerned and uneasy about the long continuance of dear Mary s 






LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 127 

feverish ailment. What gives us encouragement is the favour 
able opinion of her physicians, (if it be candid,) and the good 
hopes you entertain of her recovery. It gives us great pleasure 
to hear that Miss Babby Beugo waits on our daughter, she being 
such a sagacious girl. When Mary is somewhat better I will 
write her. Our endeared love to you all. I am, 
Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 15. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, August 6, 1766. 

" MY VERT DEAR SON, 

"I desire to join with you in blessing the Lord for the 
favourable turn he has mercifully pleased to give unto dear 
Mary s ailment; that the fever is mostly gone, and that she 
had some better rest on the night of Monday last than she has 
had since the trouble seized her. And our getting no letters 
this day I take as a token for good that her recovery is continu 
ing. I hope we shall all of us be enabled to ascribe the glory 
of this and all our other mercies to the glorious Author of them. 
Although we flatter ourselves in the meantime about Mary s 
recovery, we will be glad to be confirmed in a particular ac 
count of it by course of post. Our endeared love to you both. 
I am, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 16. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, Sept. 3, 1766. 

" VERY DEAR SON, 

" Acquaint my wife that, by the mercy of God, all of 
us here are in good health, and are glad to hear by yours 
yesterday that she is so likewise, which tended to compose my 
mind, which was formerly doubtful about that material circum 
stance. 

" Our receiving no accounts by this day s post was interpreted 
by all that knew it, that dear Mary was rather in a more favour 
able way than on Monday evening. I doubt not that her phy 
sicians do all in their power for her relief; but, in the use of 
lawful means, there must be a looking above them to the great 
and sovereign Physician, who has the power of life and death 
in his hand. She is in the Lord s hand, and none knows but 
he may yet bring her back from the gates of death, and spare 

4 X 



128 APPENDIX. 

her for a comfort to us all. It gives me great pleasure to find 
her so agreeably exercised about her soul s state; and yet even 
that makes me more averse to quit grips. 

" You may be sure I would strongly incline to see her, but it 
is not possible for me to come and return in three or four days, 
as I behoved to do, or let my people be vacant on a Sabbath, 
which would not be for edification, as they have been in that 
situation once and again this season already. It gives me much 
satisfaction that my dear wife is with her, who can be of more 
use to her every way than ten of me could be. Sure I am that 
my sympathy at the throne of grace, such as it is, is not awant- 
ing. 

" I conclude with my endeared love to you all. I am anxious 
lest my dear wife, out of love to our daughter, put herself to too 
much fatigue. I am, 

Very dear and afflicted Son, 
Your very much affected and sympathizing Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 17. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgoio, 20th Sept., 1760. 

" MY VERT DEAR SON, 

" To my great surprise my wife arrived here this even 
ing, betwixt 7 and 8, in good health, but much fatigued. I am 
glad of the accounts she gives of dear Mary, that, though she 
be still in great distress, there is, at least, a probability of her 
recovery, that she has some appetite, and her pulse regular, 
though quick. She is in the Lord s hands. I trust her soul is 
bound up in the bundle of life with the living Head, and that 
he will spare her to glorify him a while yet upon earth. 

"It being Saturday night, and my studies on hand, I have 
not time to insist. Only, by the first return of post, send us 
word how our dear daughter is. She is much upon our heart. 
Our endeared love to you and her, and Miss Babby Beugo, who 
takes such a tender care of her. I am, 
My dear Son, 
Your very affectionate and sympathizing Father, 

JAMES FISHER. 

" P. S. I was so confused with one thing or other when writ 
ing the above, that I forgot to mention my dear Annie ; but she 
is seldom out of mind for all that. All of us here are in health. 
"We are all of us anxious to know if any favourable symptom 
continue, and how far Mary s pulse is below 130, which was the 
last number you mentioned." 



LETTERS OF MR. FISUER. 129 

No. 18. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, Sept. 26, 1766 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" Yours of the 24th I received in course. I am glad to 
find thereby that upon the whole dear Mary is no worse than 
when her mamma left her: that abstracting from her folly of 
sitting up too long and fatiguing herself by walking too much 
in the little room, whereby it seems she has not been quite so 
well since, symptoms seem to continue as formerly. I hope 
her pulse by this time is come below 120. Do not forget to in 
form me in your next of this and of other circumstances that 
may have occurred either upon the favourable or disagreeable 
side, because I desire to regulate myself at a throne of grace 
according to your information about her. My wife is not quite 
so well as she was before;* but I hope the effects of her fatigue, 
and the anxiety she was in about her tedious journey, will soon 
wear off. She bids you tell your spouse, that though the situa 
tion both of your family and ours required her return, and that 
though absent as to bodily presence, yet a large portion of her 
heart remained with her dear daughter in distress, whom she 
cannot relieve, till the Lord himself condescend to do it in his 
own time. 

My dear Son, 
Your very affectionate and sympathizing Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 19. MR. JOHN GRAY TO THE REV. JAMES FISHER. 

" Edinburgh, Oct. 3, 1766. 

" REV. AND VERY DEAR FATHER, 

" The doctors have, I am afraid, but little hopes of her 
[Mrs. Gray s] recovery. As she does not seem to be mending 
she cannot but be weaker. However it is wonderful to see her 
in the way she is, considering the severity of her trouble and 
the length thereof. She has need of patience, poor woman. 
The Lord has laid a heavy rod on her. But we hope she will 
not be left comfortless under it. She was inquiring when the 
Synod is ; she expects to see you then. Two or three times she 
has been talking of it. She said you would come to see her as 
much as the Synod. Erskine is thriving very well. Our en 
deared love to Mrs. Fisher and you and all the family. I am, 
Rev. and dear Father, 

Your afflicted Son, 

JOHN GRAY." 
* Vide Letter 17. 



130 APPENDIX. 



No. 20. TO MR. JOHN GRAY. 

" Glasgow, Oct. 6, 1766. 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" The hopes I had conceived of the probability of my 
dear daughter s recovery made me lay aside all thoughts of com 
ing to the ensuing Synod: travelling in any shape not being so 
agreeable to me now as it was some years ago. But upon the 
receipt of your last, wherein you tell me that two or three times 
she had been talking of her expecting to see me at the Synod, 
and particularly that she said that I would come to see her as 
much as to attend the Synod, you may now acquaint her that 
her mother, who was very loth to leave her, is fond I should 
come in, (since it is her desire,) and that I should stay about 
eight days with her if we are both spared. And you may assure 
her, that if it were not to wait on her for a little time under 
such long continued distress, the Synod would not see me at 
this time. I resolve, if the Lord will, to set off in one of our 
Glasgow flys on the morning of Tuesday the 14th, because, after 
preaching all day on Sabbath, I would be unfit for taking jour 
ney on Monday morning. Meanwhile let us hear this week how 
she is. Our endeared love to you all. I am, 

My dear Son, 
Your very affectionate and sympathizing Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

, No. 21. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, Oct. 24, 1766. 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" I was yesterday in the Fly all day alone, and, except 
ing a little jolting to my body, I had otherwise as pleasant a 
passage as ever I had in my lifetime for as much time. I ar 
rived at five o clock in perfect health, and am noway fatigued 
this day. I found all this family well, and gave them as true 
and candid an account of dear Mary as I could. Let me know 
if Mr. Moubray has heightened the vents, and how she continues 
to be, if Dr. Rutherford has called, or any material circumstance 
about her. Tell her I will write her next week. She will not 
readily doubt our sympathy. Our sincere love to you, Miss 
Babby, and Annie.* I am, 

Your very affectionate and sympathizing I ather, 

JAMES FISHER." 

* Miss Ann Fisher, who was waiting on her sister. 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 131 

No. 22. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, Nov. 18, 1766. 

" MY VERT DEAR SON, 

" Since the last accounts you give of my dear daughter, 
I have given up all hopes of life in this world, though I make 
no doubt of her title to eternal life in the world to come, secured 
in virtue of her union with Christ, and the imputation of his 
righteousness. In regard no letters came this day, (your last 
being on the night of Saturday the 15th,) my wife and I were 
fond to conclude that possibly there might be a change to the 
better ; but she having taken so many turns, we are afraid of 
worse accounts. We are deeply concerned for her, and tenderly 
sympathize with her, and were both of us this day regretting 
that by reason of the distance, and other circumstances, we can 
not be with her in the time of her extremity ; but we desire to 
devolve her on his hand who is the everlasting Father and un 
changeable Friend, and who only can be a suitable help to her 
in time of her need. Into his hands we desire to commit her 
both soul and body, trusting that they are both his own. and 
shall appear among His in the day he makes up his jewels. 
My wife and I are uneasy about the breaking of the skin. It 
will certainly be very painful and distracting to a dying person. 
I could wish you to desire Dr. Macfarlane or Mr. Adie to ask 
at Dr. Black, who is now Professor of Chymistry in your Col 
lege, the name of the powder and ointment which he prescribed 
for Mr. David Pagan. All of us sympathize with you, and have 
you all fondly in remembrance. I am, 

Your very affectionate and sympathizing Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 23. TO THE SAME. 
" Glasgow, Nov. 22, 1766, near to Three in the morning. 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" The bearer came about two o clock this morning with 
the afflicting account of dear Mary s death yesterday morning. 
It is absolutely impossible, in a rational way, that I can come 
in to her burial on Monday, after the fatigue of the Sabbath, 
having none to preach for me. And though it were delayed till 
Tuesday morning it would be the same thing as to the journey 
on Monday: besides, I am to preach at Mr. Campbell s ordina*- 
tion at Stirling next week, and to go off in a chaise for that 



132 APPENDIX. 

place on Tuesday morning. Not being able to sit up long for 
fear of incapacitating me for my studies through the day, I shall 
write you in the beginning of the week at more length. I think 
the burial should be on Monday at any hour that is customary 
in the place. May the Lord himself comfort you and us against 
grief on every side ! I am, 

My dear Son, 
Your very affectionate and afflicted Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 24. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, Nov. 24, 1766. 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" I doubt not but you are fully satisfied that my not 
coming to Edinburgh this day to attend my dear daughter s 
funeral flowed entirely from my inability at this period of life 
to set off so early on a journey of such a distance after the 
fatigue of preaching all day yesterday, though I had not had 
Mr. Campbell s ordination to attend this week at Stirling on 
Thursday, where I am appointed to conclude the work of the 
day. 

" You have lost a well-disposed and affectionate wife, and her 
parents a fond and dutiful child. Under such a trying dispen 
sation to you and us, the discoveries she gave of an interest in 
the Lord Jesus, and acquaintance with the vitals of religion, 
may afford no small comfort both to you and us. The tender 
care you have had of her, and the expense you have been at in 
the use of all lawful means for preserving her life, will preserve 
the same regard in this family towards you as if she were to the 
fore. And no doubt but the remembrance of her will enhance 
both your affection and ours to dear little Erskine, the only re 
mains of her she has left behind. Oh, what a pleasure is it 
that our Lord Jesus liveth for evermore, and is the same to-day, 
yesterday, and for ever his righteousness and fulness invariably 
the same ! It is but a short while till each of us go home our 
selves. I doubt not but in heaven the redeemed will know one 
another. The disciples knowing Moses and Elias on the Mount 
is some foundation for it. Let us mutually sympathize with 
one another at a throne of grace, which is the best sympathy. 

" There is a chaise come this evening from Stirling to take 
Mr. Campbell and me there to-morrow, because the Presbytery 
meets upon the Wednesday before the ordination. I design to 
return on Tuesday next week. Meantime you may write my 
wife by the return of the post how you, Annie, and Miss Beugo 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 133 

are, after this melancholy event, and how dear Erskine is thriv 
ing. Poor child ! she will never know, but by dull report, that 
ever she had a mamma, who was so excessively fond of her. 
We have our endeared love to you all. I am, 

My dear Son, 
Your much afflicted and affected Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 25. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, Dec. 8, 1766. 

" MY VERT DEAR SON, 

" I stayed in Stirling with Mr. Campbell the Sabbath 
after his ordination and preached in the afternoon. He came 
off with me for Glasgow on Tuesday last week, and preached to 
a very throng auditory upon Thursday the 4th current, the day 
appointed by our Synod for a Thanksgiving, and returned to 
Stirling next day. We are all in perfect health at present. It 
will no doubt be a melancholy time with you. And indeed a 
moderate vent to natural affection, upon the loss of the nearest 
friend a man can have on earth, is not only warrantable but 
laudable; providing always there be a due submission to the 
sovereign will of adorable Providence. One thing may give 
some comfort to you and to us, and that is, that I hope we have 
no ground to sorrow as those who have no hope. The Lord 
hath been pleased to take from us a valuable temporal blessing ; 
but to balance this, there are two things he will never take 
away. First, his love for wherever he pitches it, he will rest 
in it; and then his special gifts of grace, particularly the un 
speakable gift of his Son Christ Jesus, and all the spiritual 
blessings that go along with him. All these are absolutely 
irrevocable. Since then there is infinitely more to the fore than 
what is taken away, let us encourage ourselves in the Lord, who 
has said, I am thy God, the word that was so sweet to our 
now deceased Friend. 

" Dear Son, you may be assured that the same regard and 
affection in this family will be maintained towards you as when 
your dear spouse was alive. The care and concern you exer 
cised about the dead will not be easily forgotten by the living. 
If your business were not throng at present, we think it might 
contribute to your health, after the late event of providence, to 
take a ride to this place for a few days. Meantime let us hear 
from you in course how you all are. Send word how dear little 
Erskine is. All of us join in our endeared love to every one of 
you. I am, My dear Son, 

Your very affectionate and sympathizing Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



134 APPENDIX. 

No. 26. TO MISS ANNIE FISHER, EDINBURGH. 

" Glasgow, Dec. 16, 1766. 

" MY DEAR ANNIE, 

" Your sister s death, to which you were a witness, is a 
loud call to prepare for the same event, by flying in to the Lord 
Jesus, as the only hope set before you. Consider, my dear 
child, that God has in the promise made a gift of him to you in 
particular, as well as to others who hear the gospel, and nothing 
will be a suitable preparation for death but a receiving him by 
faith, or an appropriating him to yourself as the Lord your 
righteousness. You have as good a title to him as any of 
Adam s family ever had 

" No doubt we would be fond enough to have you home, but 
our sympathy with Mr. Gray is such, that, if you keep your 
health, we are satisfied you stay with him for some time, espe 
cially as, it seems, Miss Babby Beugo is gone. We were sorry 
to hear you had got a little of a cold ; we hope it will wear off; 
only be sure to take special care of yourself, by not going out in 
surly, tempestuous weather, without necessity, in the winter 
season. 

" I hope and am persuaded, my dear Annie, that you don t 
omit prayers to God morning and evening, and reading a part 
of the Scriptures, which contain the very food of your soul. 
And, on the Sabbath evenings, read the Explication of the As 
sembly s Catechism. The last edition of it is published by 
Messrs. Gray & Alston. It is far preferable to the former edi 
tions, and, after you have read it carefully, by examining your 
self upon the Index, you will know if you understand the most 
material questions. 

"Your mamma, Alie, Peggy, and I, and all of us, join in our 
endeared love to you and your disconsolate Brother-in-law, Mr. 
Gray, of whom we suppose that you take as good care as possible. 
I am, 

My dear Annie, 
Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 27. TO MR. JOHN GRAY. 

" Glasgow, 5th Feb., 1767. 
" VERY DEAR SON, 

" I desire to bless the Lord that my recovery continues. 
The pain of my ankles and feet, which was very smarting when 
you was here, is quite gone, only the swelling and feebleness 






LETTEKS OF MR. FISHER. 135 

remain, which I hope will be removed in the Lord s time if he 
has farther service for me. Alie went out yesterday in a chaise 
with me about three miles from the town, at the doctor s direc 
tions, for abating the swelling, and we returned without lighting. 
I think this day I am rather the better of it. Tell my dear 
Annie that she needs be in no uneasiness about me, for I hope 
in an ordinary way I will soon be as well as ever I was. I am, 
My very dear Son, 

Your most affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER. 

" P. S. Please offer my dutiful respects to Mr. Patison and 
his family." 

No. 28. TO MISS ANN FISHER. 
" Glasgow, 19th Feb., 1767, Seven o clock at Night. 

" MY VERY DEAR ANNIE, 

" Just now I received from Mr. Lang your brother Mr. 
Gray s letter, wherein I find you are very anxious about me: 
but I assure you, you have no reason ; for I am recovering more 
and more strength every day. I know not if I will have time 
to answer all the questions my son-in-law puts to me, the post- 
hour being at eight. Only you may believe that I sleep well, 
have a good appetite, can walk through the whole house up and 
down stairs, and all without a staff and sometimes walk round 
my kirk. The swelling is a great deal less. I have this day 
thrown off the flannels and put on my stockings. The pain is 
quite gone two weeks ago. In a word, I am very well in my 
health, and resolve to wait on our Presbytery, which meets next 
Aveek. So that I hope this account will fully satisfy you. We 
are glad to hear that dear Erskine has got two more teeth, and 
that some others are coming forwards, and that Mr. Gray has 
got a house in the Lawnmercat, well-aired and lighted, to the 
South. The hour is now come, at least is near. Our endeared 
love to you and Mr. Gray. I am, 

My dear Annie, 
Your very affectionate loving Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 29. TO MR. JOHN GRAY. 

" Glasgow, 5th March, 1767. 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" I continue still in the mending way. My limbs are 
not yet come to the small measure of strength and agility they 



136 APPENDIX. 

had before I fell bad; but by the Lord s sparing goodness they 
are advancing gradually towards it. My people thought that 
my preaching for some time yet to come would mar the com 
pleting of my recovery, and therefore they addressed the Pres 
bytery, who cheerfully granted me supply till their next meet 
ing, which is on the 7th of April, against which time I would 
fain hope the Lord will enable me to the discharge of my min 
isterial office among my people, at least now and then. By 
yours to Peggie, received yesterday, we were somewhat alarmed 
about dear little Erskine. As we are very anxious about the 
dear babe, be sure as soon as possible to send us word how she 
is. My wife, Alie, and Peggie join me in our best wishes to 
you and Annie and dear Erskine, of whom we will be very im 
patient to hear. I am, 

My dear Son, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 30. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, 8th April, 1767. 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" I preached that week-day you heard of, and was no 
worse for it. I dare not but acknowledge the Lord s goodness 
that I am daily recovering more strength, though by slow de 
grees. Mr. Donaldson s death was a vast loss not to this family 
only, but to the whole congregation, for he was a most useful 
man. I am, 

Your very loving and affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 31. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, 13th Oct., 1767. 

" MY VERY DEAR SON, 

" It is now about two weeks since we heard from you. 
We are anxious to know (Annie in particular) if you are in a 
confirmed state of health, and if your bodily ailments are quite 
removed. As to our soul maladies, you know whom to apply 
to for a cure of them; and, oh! what matter of thankfulness 
that he is a Physician always at hand, and heals infallibly and 
at the same time. freely! We want to know if dear Erskine 
continues in entire health. That dear infant has too much 
room in my heart. May the Lord preserve her to glorify him 
cu the earth. . . Our winter Sacrament here is to be, if the 



LETTERS OP MR. FISHER. 137 

Lord will, upon the second Sabbath of November ensuing. If 
yours is not on the same day, we would be glad to see you on 
that occasion. 

" Having the opportunity of Mr. Crombie, I have enclosed a 
letter from Ealph, which I received about eight or ten days ago. 
. . Mr. Campbell came on Wednesday, and went away with 
Peggie after he had preached on Thursday. . . ." 



No. 3iJ. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, 15th Dec., 1767. 

" MY VERT DEAR SON, 

" With a grieved heart, I acquaint you of the death of 
my eldest son, Ebenezer, at New-Bern, in the province of North 
Carolina, about the middle of August last. Of fifteen children 
we have now remaining but four. It is, however, the Lord s 
doing, and therefore it becomes us, like Aaron, to hold our 
peace, or, with the Psalmist, to put our hands on our mouths, 
and be silent. It was only yesterday I received the above 
melancholy news from a gentleman in Maryland, in whose em 
ploy my son died. This, added to the many sore hearts of an 
other kind which my wife and I have had, cannot but be a great 
affliction to us in our old age. . . Meantime, to balance the 
above dark providences, I have got very comfortable accounts 
by a merchant of this place arrived last week from Kingston in 
Jamaica, that Kalph is both well and doing extremely well, and 
is much beloved in the place. Thus the Lord mixes mercy 
with judgment in his dispensations, and gives us occasion to 
sing of both. We all cordially join in our endeared love to you 
and dear little Erskine, and will be glad to know at your con- 
veniency how you both are. I am, 

Dear Son, 
Your very aifectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 33. TO THE SAME. 

" Glasgow, 13th March, 1768. 
" VERY DEAR SON, 

"I have wrote to Peggie to come home to Glasgow 
upon the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday after your 
Sacrament. You will see the reasons at large in her letter. 
Annie s indisposition and Mrs. Fisher s tenderness are the sum 
of them; which I hope you will sustain as relevant. I am in 
formed your people have chosen several elders, but that neither 



138 APPENDIX. 

Mr. Alexander Moubray nor you are among the number, and 
that your partner, Mr. Alston, declines accepting. I think he is 
wrong in so doing. He knows not what services he might do to 
the Lord Jesus, in that office, more ways than one, not only 
in visiting the sick, but when chosen to represent the Session in 
the judicatories. I am at present in tolerable health, but I find 
the infirmities of age daily increasing on me, which are certainly 
a loud call to prepare for death, or rather to be instant at a 
throne of grace, that the Lord himself, whose work it is, would 
make me meet for the eternal, uninterrupted enjoyment of him 
self. I think there is nothing NOW I so much desire. I am 
glad to find that Mr. Patison is so well recovered. He has no 
less than three ministers from this Presbytery at his Sacrament, 
viz. Messrs. Belfrage, Moir, and Campbell. I wish earnestly 
that the Lord himself may be remarkably present, both with 
ministers and people. We rejoice to hear that dear little Erskine 
is such a thriving child. May the Lord form her early for him 
self, that she may be honoured to glorify him on earth as well 
as eternally above. We all join in our endeared love to you. 
I am, 

My dear Son, 
Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 34. TO MRS. CAMPBELL. 

" Glasgow, May 27, 1768. 

" MY VERT DEAR ALIE, 

" We are extremely glad to hear that you are in such 
a healthy state. Be not afraid of what is before your hand ; for 
a gracious and promising God has said, Call upon me in the 
day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. 
Fear not, for I am with thee ; be not dismayed, for I am thy 
God : I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee ; yea, I will 
uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 

"Your mamma and Annie join me in our most tender regard 
to you, 

My dear Alie, 
Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 

No. 35. TO MISS ANNIE FISHER, AT THE REV. MR. CAMPBELL S, 

STIRLING. 
" MY DEAR ANNIE, 

" Your mamma, knowing your anxiety about your 
parents, was much vexed I did not write you last week ; but my 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 139 

mind being so much taken up about my studies for the Sabbath, 
it was involuntarily omitted: however, I have the pleasure of 
acquainting you now, that both of us, by the Lord s goodness, 
are very well considering the growing infirmities of our advanced 
years. I preached yesterday forenoon and afternoon, and can 
not say I was much fatigued, only your mamma would have me 
go to bed an hour sooner than ordinary, and I was very well 
refreshed when I rose this morning. 

" My dear child, as you have the opportunity of the Sacra 
ment of the Lord s Supper next Lord s day, let not the want of 
present sensible comfort, or of such a lively frame as you would 
desire to be in, I say, let not your apprehension of the want of 
these, or such a measure of them as you would wish, be any 
impediment in the way of obeying the express command of our 
blessed Lord, Do this in remembrance of me. The words of 
our Lord to Martha, John xi. 40, come presently into my mind, 
Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe thou should- 
est see the glory of God? O seek to be content to be an eter 
nal recipient or receiver out of the inexhaustible fulness that is 
in Christ. Be much in secret prayer, meditation, and self- 
searching, and the God of all grace be with you. 

" Your mother and I join in our most endeared love to you 
and your Brother-in-law. I am, 

My dear Annie, 
Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER. 

" Glasgow, Monday, llth June, 1770." 



No. 36. TO MR. JOHN GRAY. 

" Glasgow, 1st Oct., 1771. 

" MY VERT DEAR SON, 

" The question you proposed to me in your last for 
correction is in Part II., p. 223, Quest. 13. From the judicious 
hint you gave, I think the whole will run smoother, and be 
more plain in the following manner: 

" Quest. 13. What may we learn from the necessity of Christ s 
blessing, and of the Spirit s working, in order to the efficacy of 
the Sacraments? 

" Ans. It teacheth us, that our whole dependence for the 
blessing whether upon ourselves when we partake of the Sacra 
ment of the Supper, or upon our children when we are sponsors 
for them in baptism should be only on Christ alone, and the 
saving influences and operations of his Spirit to accompany his 
own institutions ; and therefore, our partaking of these solemn 



140 



APPENDIX. 



ordinances, dispensed by some ministers to the slighting of them 
as dispensed by others equally sound and faithful, though per 
haps, in our esteem, somewhat inferior in outward gifts, says, 
upon the matter, that the efficacy of the Sacraments depends 
somehow upon the administrator, and not upon the blessing of 
Christ alone, quite contrary to mind of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 
iii. 7. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he 
that watereth : but God that giveth the increase. 

" We were glad to hear you got both safely home on the 
evening of the day you left us. With our joint best wishes to 
you both, I am, 

My dear Son, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



No. 37. TO MISS ANN FISHER. 

" Glasgow, Satv/rday, 1st August, 1772. 



" MY VERT DEAR 

" Knowing your affectionate anxiety about your papa 
and the rest of the family when absent from them, I thought it 
my duty to write you a few lines by the Monday s runner from 
this place to Edinburgh, which will reach you on Tuesday morn 
ing, (for I have no freedom to send a letter to the post-office on 
Sabbath night,) to confirm your sister s account of our continued 
welfare. Being to preach to-morrow, I have no time to insist ; 
only I hope to hear that you have attended the solemnity at Dal- 
keith, and joined there according to your resolution before you 
left this place. You have been much upon my heart every day 
since I saw you. I can freely say, I never forget you in my 
prayers ; particularly that the ordinances you designed to attend 
might be like full breasts to your soul from whence you might 
drink in the sincere milk of the word freely and plentifully. I 
told Mr. Campbell when here, that if Mr. Gray would come 
along with you to Stirling on his way to Glasgow, you would 
gladly wait on him and his spouse. My compliments to Miss 
Pagan, the Miss Huttons, particularly Miss Sibby, my acquaint 
ance, &c. I will firmly expect you home on Thursday or Friday 
next week at the farthest. The Lord be with you. I am, 
My very dear Child, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER." 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 141 



No. 38. TO MRS. WARDLAW, DALKEITH. 



" MY VERY DEAR ANNIE, 

"I acknowledge the receipt of your kind letter, about 
ten or twelve days after your arrival at Dalkeith, and at the same 
time must confess I have been far too tardy in giving a return. 
But I hope that my loving and affectionate daughter will not 
impute this to the smallest abatement of my former regard and 
esteem for her ; but (which is the truth of the matter) to one of 
the common infirmities of old age, namely, that it cannot with 
pleasure move out of its ordinary circle, or deviate from the 
course to which it has for some time been habituated. If my 
fond daughter does not sustain the above as a relevant apology, 
then I shall endeavour to make amends for the future by writing 
as frequently as circumstances will allow. To this I look upon 
myself as the more strictly bound, when I reflect upon the ten 
der and solicitous care you took of me, night and day, from the 
death of your valuable mother to the day of your happy mar 
riage with such an agreeable husband ; concerning whom it 
gives me great pleasure to observe, that you remark the kind 
ness of Providence in giving you one just to your mind; and I 
believe I may venture to say for him that he thinks he has got 
a wife of the same stamp, just to his mind likewise. If these 
are the steady sentiments of both, you are a happy pair indeed ; 
and I trust that this kind of happiness I speak of, namely mutual 
love and esteem, shall continue while the present relation be 
tween you shall subsist. But O remember that death will dis 
solve it, as it does all earthly relations whatsoever; and there 
fore we should each of us ardently desire above all things to be 
united to our glorious Redeemer, by having his finished right 
eousness imputed to us for our justification, and his Spirit of 
holiness implanted in us for our sanctification, and then nothing 
shall ever separate us from his love. I suppose you have heard 
of Jenny Donaldson s death. She was buried last Friday after 
noon. She was a very kind and sympathizing girl. I went to 
the house in a chair, but could not "accompany the funeral. Mr. 
Richardson was yesterday ordained at Crawfordsdyke. Mr. 
Henderson began, Mr. Giltillan preached the ordination sermon, 
and Mr. Thomson concluded. Their house at Carsedyke not 
having galleries did not near contain the people ; therefore, possi 
bly by Mr. Buchanan s means, they obtained the privilege of the 
Kirk in Greenock, where the ordination was performed. All of 



142 APPENDIX. 

us here join in our best wishes and cordial regard to each in 
your family and all their connections. I am, 
My very dear Annie, 
Your very affectionate and loving Father, 

JAMES FISHER. 
" Glasgow, llth March, 1773. 

"Your letter to me had no date, which was not of a piece 
with your usual exactness." 



No. 39. TO MR. AND MRS. WARDLAW, DALKEITH. 
" MY VERT DEAR SON AND DAUGHTER, 

" Would my Annie be at the pains to acquire my short 
hand, whereof I have furnished her with a complete index, the 
correspondence betwixt us would be vastly more frequent than 
it is like to be, at least on my part there being nothing more 
irksome to me, at this period of life, than to be obliged to write 
my sentiments in long-hand, after I have been for the most part 
of my lifetime accustomed to the short. Ever since the com 
mencement of my present connection with Dalkeith, I have con 
sidered the situation of my dear Annie as every way most com 
fortable. Besides a competency of the good things of this life, 
a most fond and affectionate husband, a most careful and indus 
trious aunt, a most loving and obliging sister, and a diligent and 
active brother, all under the same roof, and cordially conspiring 
for promoting the interest and good of the whole, are circum 
stances wherein the temporal happiness of any family cannot 
but in a great measure consist: and if to this is added a parti 
cipation of the special and saving blessings contained in the pro 
mises of the new covenant, I know nothing more can be desired 
either with reference to this life or that which is to come. My 
dear children, you are privileged with a pure gospel ministry. 
Your worthy pastor does not shun to declare unto you the whole 
counsel of God, according to the measure of the gift of Christ 
conferred on him ; therefore I pray you receive his message as 
coming from the Master himself, as our Lord said concerning 
his disciples, Matt. x. 40. He that receiveth you receiveth me ; 
do all in your power to strengthen his hands and encourage his 
heart in the Lord s work amongst you; and know, for your en 
couragement, that every office of kindness you thus do unto 
him, our Lord Jesus will one day reward as done to himself. 
You have his own word for it, Matt. xxv. 40. Verily I say unto 
you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these 
my brethren, ye have done it to me. I know that my dear son- 
in-law has already been very useful in the Associate Congregation 



LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 143 

of Dalkeith as to the management of their secular affairs ; but I 
would fondly wish before I die to see him still more serviceable, 
both to them and to the church of Christ, by moving in a more 
extensive sphere thaii ever hitherto he has done ; I mean, by 
his not obstinately refusing to accept the office of the Eldership 
when called thereunto. If the Lord has been pleased to bestow 
upon him any measure of gifts and parts, whether natural or 
acquired, (however small they may be in his own estimation.) I 
would earnestly entreat that he don t venture to keep them laid 
up in a napkin, but lay them out for his Master s use as Provi 
dence may give him an opportunity. With very best wishes for 
every one in the family and all their connections, I am, 
My dear Son and Daughter, 

Your fond affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER. 
" Glasgow, Sept. 2, 1773. 

" Remember me kindly to Mr. Hutton, his spouse, and daugh 
ters." 

No. 40. TO MRS. WARDLAW. 
" Mr VERY DEAR ANNIE, 

" Next unto the comfortable emanations of the divine 
love to my own soul, there is nothing in this life can give me 
more sensible pleasure than to hear of your and your dear hus 
band s welfare ; that both of you enjoy such a continued measure 
of bodily health, as I also trust your souls are in a prosperous 
way: for however valuable temporal mercies are in themselves, 
spiritual ones are infinitely more so. We are but cumberers of 
the ground, an insupportable burden to the earth that bears us, 
if we are not living a life of faith on the Son of God, and re 
ceiving out of his fulness and grace for grace. I suppose mv 
ingenuity and candour will not be suspected when I say that, 
from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely wish all manner of 
happiness, both spiritual and temporal, to the whole of your 
family, and all the relatives and connections of it; though no 
doubt the ties of nature and blood cannot miss to warm my 
affections to my very dear Annie, and to the fruit of her womb, 
in a very peculiar manner, not so much because he bears my 
name as because he is her son. But I hope he shall not long 
continue to be your only son. I trust that both sisters and. 
brothers shall be added to him, all of whom the Lord shall form 
for himself, to show forth his praise for a while here, and eter 
nally hereafter. This is my ardent request in your behalf, that 
you may be the joyful mother of many children; and though 
the Lord should take some of them from you in infancy or non- 



144 APPENDIX. 

age, or even in the prime of life, as was the case in each of these 
respects with your mother and me ; yet what a comfort is it to 
think of being the instruments of bringing one or more of the 
Redeemer s children into the world, and nursing them up for 
him ? I make no doubt but it will be a part of the happiness of 
the redeemed in heaven to see their near friends and relatives 
possessed for ever of the same inconceivable glory with them 
selves. With our most endeared love to one and all of you, 
as if particularly named, I am, 

My dear Annie, 
Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER. 
" Glasgow, 20th May, 1774." 

No. 41. TO MR. WILLIAM WARDLAW, MERCHANT IN DALKEITH. 
" MY VERT DEAR SON, 

" I am sorry to acquaint you that all my four grand 
children are at present bad of the chincough a distemper just 
now raging among the young ones in this place. Our doctors 
in this city are unanimously of opinion that a change of the air 
is a very sovereign remedy against that violent ailment. 

"It has happened in providence that old Mrs. Ewing, the 
grandmother, out of her excessive care about her grandchild, 
Humphry, (the same name with her deceased husband,) had taken 
a country-house, for the summer season, upon Clyde side, about 
a measured mile and a half below this town. After proper 
remedies were administered to Jeanie and Peggie, (the first who 
took it,) we sent them down with a maid to their grandmother, 
of whose anxious care about them, both by night and day, we 
were quite well assured. In about the space of two weeks the 
trouble abated on these two ; but then it began with great vio 
lence upon my dear little Annie, who was at home on her 
mother s breast. The trouble increasing, your sister, Ewing, 
took her along with her to the grandmother s, who thinks her 
self happy to have them all about her. Wattie sleeps always 
here, for he puts off and on my clothes very punctually, and 
makes a short start in the evening of every day to see how his 
wife and children do. Mary Erskine takes care of the house 
and sleeps in the tent-bed beside me. It is a singular mercy, 
that, though our children are in distress, there is no dangerous 
symptom as yet appearing. The post-hour approaches. I must 
break off by commending you all to God, and to the word of 
his grace. I am, 

My very dear Son, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER. 

" Glasgow, June 10, 1774." 






LETTERS OF MR. FISHER. 1 45 



No. 42. TO MR. AND MRS. WARDLAW. 
" MY VERY DEAR SON AND DAUGHTER, 

" No sooner than this very day before noon, we re 
ceived both your melancholy letters at one and the same time. 
The first, addressed to Mr. Ewing, acquainting us that you had 
sent dear little Jamie with his maid to a careful hand in the 
country within a little space of your town, that his father, 
mother, and Aunt Wardlaw saw him there on the Tuesday 
which I suppose was the 28th of the last in pretty good health 
and spirits; but taking a sudden feverish turn on the Wednesday 
the 29th, you took him home again, and in your letter directed 
to me, received at the same time as the above, you write that 
the fever increased intermixed with frequent and severe nervous 
tits of the convulsive kind, which soon reduced his delicate and 
beautiful body to the dust of death, about half-an-hour past two 
in the afternoon of Saturday. I never had the pleasure of see 
ing this dear infant in this life; but I hope to see him, and to 
know him too, at the resurrection of the just, when the whole 
ransomed multitude which no man can number shall surround 
the throne of the Lamb, to each of whom, young and old, he 
will say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom 
prepared for you before the foundation of the world. . . My 
very dear Annie, I know you have very strong natural affec 
tions, and they cannot but be very sensibly touched on this 
mournful event. But remember that you have a very fond and 
affectionate husband, who errs in his love to you, still to the 
fore, and another son upon your breasts. If therefore you 
would have these preserved to you, if you would not impair the 
health and comfort of your dear husband, and endanger the 
health of your surviving child, if you would avoid these evils, 
which I know you deprecate, moderate, I pray you, again I 
say, moderate your excessive grief, and submit to the sovereign 
will of adorable Providence, who does all things well. I trust 
God will abundantly bless you both, and more than make up 
the present loss by redoubled manifestations of himself to your 
souls, as your own God and everlasting inheritance. Only be 
ware of repining at what he has done. Has not the Potter 
power over the clay? All of us join in our sympathy and best 
wishes towards one and all of your family. And I can freely 
say that, such as they are, you are not forgotten in our daily 
prayers. I am, 

My very dear Son and Daughter, 

Your very affectionate Father, 

JAMES FISHER. 
" Glasgow, Monday, April 3, 1775." 



ADDENDA. 



THE following extracts from " the Register of the Kirk-Ses 
sion of Kinclaven," will not be without their interest to some 
readers : 

" Att the Kirk of Kinclaven, Dec. 23d, 1725. The which day 
Mr. James Fisher was ordained minister of this parish of Kin 
claven ; and the Revd. Mr. Robert Bowis, minister of the gospel 
att Rattray, presided in that action, who preached upon the 
fi[f]th verse of the fourth chapter of the Second Epistle to 
Timothy." " Collected two pounds Scots, 02 : 00 : 00." 

" Kinclaven Kirk, 26th [Dec.], 1725. Sermon here this day, 
being the first Sabbath after our minister s ordination amongst 
us, who preached on Romans v. chap. 30 and 32 verses. Col 
lected for the poor eleven pence, 00 : 1 1 : 00." 

" Kinclaven Kirk, Jan. 17, 1726. Collected for the poor five 
pence. This day the minister intimated his design of beginning 
a course of visitation of families." 

"Kirktown of Kinclaven, July 24th, 1726."* Unto 

all this the Session agreed except William Kea, who for this 
reason plainly told the Session he would never henceforth sitt 
with them, and thereupon withdrew in a very indecent manner." 
" Given a student recommended by our Synod twelve pence, 
00:12:00." 

" Kinclaven, June 12th, 1727. Sermon this day by Mr. Dow, 
a probationer. The minister having gone to Kinco" (Kincock) 
this day in ye time of lecture by Mr. Dow, to see how the Sab 
bath was observed in that place, and finding severals upon the 
town loan in companies, and reporting it to the Session, the 
Session judge yt it will be sufficient at ye time for ye minister to 
admonish them privately, over and above as he spoke to them 

this day ; but finding , one of the elders, upon the town 

loan discoursing with another man; the Session are of opinion 
that his carriage, being an elder, may harden others in that sin, 
resolve to take up that affair to consideration the first time he is 
present." 

The Rev. James Innes of Merton, whose name is appended to 
" the Representation and Petition to the General Assembly 
1732," was father of the Rev. James Innes the patriarchal min 
ister of Gifford, and grandfather of my esteemed and beloved 
friend, William Innes, D.D., who " hath good report of all men, 
and of the truth itself." Psal. cii. 28. 

* The preceding part of the Minute refers to the agreement as to the gallery, 
the erection of which was made necessary by Mr. Fisher s popularity, that the 
sittings in it should be let at the yearly rent of 2s. 6d, Scots (2d. sterling). 



MEMORIALS 



REV. JAMES FISHER 



from fits trittugg. 



SERMON I.* 

THE INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 
PROV. xxiii. 23. " Buy the truth, and sell it not." 

THIS book of Proverbs contains a vast variety of short and 
comprehensive precepts, of which this in our text is one, 
" Buy the truth, and sell it not." In which words you 
have, (1.) A notable bargain, and that is "truth." (2.) 
The purchase of this bargain enjoined, " Buy the truth." 
(3.) The persons who are called to make this purchase, 
implied; and they are certainly all those who are privi 
leged with a revelation of God s mind and will in this 
everlasting gospel. (4.) The high value we are to put 
upon the bargain when bought, in these words, " Sell it 
not ;" by no means quit with it again. As truth can never 
be bought at too dear a rate, so it can never be sold at the 
true value. God himself is the great and sole proprietor 
of this rich treasure ; it is of him we are commanded to 
buy it, and to put such an high value upon the purchase, 
as to refuse the greatest price that can be offered for the 
disposure of it. According to this view of the words, I 
deduce from them the following 



* Preached on a day of solemn fasting appointed by the Associate 
Presbytery, at Finwick, March 23, 1738. 



148 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WHITINGS. 

DOCTRINE, That it is the duty of all the hearers of 
this gospel to purchase the truth at any rate, and by no 
means, or for no price whatsoever, to part with it. Prov. 
viii. 11." Wisdom is better than rubies ; and all the things 
that may be desired are not to be compared to it." Chap, 
iv. 7. " Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wis 
dom : and with all thy getting get understanding." 

In speaking upon this subject, I shall essay (as the Lord 
shall give countenance) to observe the following order. 
Inquire, (1.) What we are to understand by " the truth ;" 
(2.) What it is to "buy" the truth; (3.) Who they are 
that " sell " the truth ; and then, Deduce some inferences 
for application of the doctrine. 

I. I am to inquire what we are to understand by " the 
truth." Truth is sometimes in Scripture put for Christ 
himself; and sometimes for the whole revelation of his 
will, whether with respect to the doctrine, worship, dis 
cipline or government of his house : in both which respects 
we are to buy the truth, and not to sell it. 

1st. I say, Truth is put for the Lord Christ himself, 
John xiv. 6. " I am the truth." Here it may be inquired, 
In what respect Christ is called the truth 1 I answer, He 
is the truth of all the types and shadows under the Old 
Testament, John i. 17. "The law was given by Moses, but 
grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." They all pointed 
at him, and received their full accomplishment in him, 
who is the end of the law for righteousness. He is the 
truth of all the Scripture-prophecies concerning the Mes 
siah ; for they were all literally fulfilled in him, Acts x. 43. 
" To him gave all the prophets witness." He is the truth 
of all the promises; for he is the sum and substance of 
them, and they are all in him " yea and amen." He is 
the truth of all the names that are given him in Scripture. 
He is called JESUS, and accordingly has saved an innu 
merable company from their sins, Rev. vii. 9. He is called 
CHRIST, the Messiah, or the Anointed ; for the " Spirit is 
not given by measure unto him," John iii. 34. He is 
called IMMANUEL, " God with us," Mat. i. 23; for he is not 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 149 

only God on our side, Psal. xlvi. 7, but also, as the founda 
tion thereof, he is God in our nature, John i. 14. " The 
Word was made flesh." He is called the WONDERFUL, Isa. 
ix. 6; for he is the wonder of angels and men. He is 
called the COUNSELLOR, and accordingly there are " hid in 
him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." He is 
called the MIGHTY GOD, and accordingly many are the 
mighty works that he has done : he has " travelled in the 
greatness of his strength, mighty to save." The legions of 
the prince of darkness have been vanquished by his vic 
torious arm ; the unbelief, enmity, and other spiritual 
wickednesses that are in the heart, have been made to 
give way, upon his entrance into the soul in the day of 
his power : he has ransomed from the power of the grave, 
and has made death a plain passage for the redeemed from 
among men to " go up to Zion, with songs of everlasting 
joy upon their heads." Again, he is called the EVERLAST 
ING FATHER ; for many children has he begotten, nourished 
up, and brought into glory, Heb. ii. 13. " Behold I and the 
children which God hath given me." He is called the 
PRINCE OF PEACE ; and accordingly he has " made peace 
by the blood of his cross," Col. i. 20. And, to add no more 
upon this head, he is called THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, 
Jer. xxiii. 6 ; and accordingly he has " brought in an ever 
lasting righteousness," in virtue whereof we are " made 
the righteousness of God in him." So that Christ is the 
truth of all the names that are given him in Scripture. 
But, moreover, he is the great recipient of all divine truth, 
as Mediator, in order to his being the great means of con 
veying of it to the children of men, John i. 18. " No man 
hath seen God at any time ; the only begotten Son, which 
is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." 
The words of mercy and salvation had never sounded in 
the ears of lost sinners, had not God spoken them to us 
through the channel of the blood of Immanuel ; for it is 
in this way that " God hath spoken to us by his Son," 
Heb. i. 2. Finally, Christ is the truth, in regard he " bears 
witness to the truth ;" John xviii. 37. " To this end was I 



150 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I 
should bear witness unto the truth." And there are these 
three great truths, among others, that he bears witness 
unto : (1.) That all mankind have sinned and come short 
of the glory of God ; and that they were utterly incapable 
to help and relieve themselves. This he has witnessed, by 
coining in our nature to " seek and to save that which was 
lost." (2.) That the justice of God is satisfied, and an 
honourable passage for mercy unto sinners opened in the 
channel of his blood. To this he has witnessed by his re 
surrection from the dead, and sitting down at the right 
hand of the Majesty on high. (3.) That as he is the gift 
of God to sinners of all sorts, so " him that cometh unto 
him he will in nowise cast out." This he witnesseth daily 
in the dispensation of tlie gospel. These are a few reasons 
why Christ is called THE TRUTH; and indeed he is the 
great truth, which we are called to " buy," as we shall 
afterwards essay to make appear. 

2<%, By " the truth," we are to understand the whole 
of the revelation of God s mind and will, contained in the 
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament ; so the word 
"truth" is frequently taken: 2 Cor. xiii. 8. "We can do 
nothing against the truth, but for the truth ;" Gal. v. 7, 
" Who did hinder you, that you should not obey the truth ?" 
Titus i. 1. " And the acknowledging of the truth which is 
after godliness." And we find the Scriptures frequently 
called " the word of truth :" 2 Tim. ii. 15. " Study to show 
thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not 
to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth ;" James 
i. 18. " Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth." 
So that the truth which we are to buy, and not to sell, is 
the whole of that truth revealed in the Holy Scriptures, 
which we are to believe concerning God, and which relates 
to the duties that God requires of man; which may be 
comprised under the four general heads following. 

1st, The truth concerning doctrine : or, all those truths 
relating to the nature, perfections, and works of God, 
the creation of man in a state of innocency, his fall into 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 151 

a state of sin and misery, the way and manner of his 
recovery and redemption through Jesus Christ, Immanuel, 
God with us, and his endless happiness or misery in the 
life to come : Or all those truths concerning the breach 
of the covenant of works by the first Adam, as a federal 
head, the fulfilment of it by Christ the second Adam, as 
the representative of his elect seed, both as to the precept 
and penalty of it ; in consequence whereof grace and glory, 
and every good thing, is offered to mankind lost, in the 
way of a covenant of grace, which covenant is full, well- 
ordered in all things and sure, and, with respect unto us, 
absolutely free. In a word, all those truths concerning 
the contrivance, purchase, application, and consummation 
of the work of redemption, to the glory of God and the 
salvation of the sinner; a summary account of which 
truths, agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, you have in our 
excellent Confession of Faith, and Catechisms, Larger and 
Shorter, which we earnestly recommend unto your serious 
and deliberate perusal, that so you may be "perfectly 
joined together in the same mind, and in the same judg 
ment," 1 Cor. i. 10. 

Now, since I have mentioned our Confession of Faith, I 
cannot but take this opportunity of warning you against 
those who set themselves in opposition to all Confessions, 
whether more openly or more slyly. Some, out of a pre 
tended regard to the Holy Scriptures, reject all public 
standards, as if they were exalted to equal authority with 
the Scriptures themselves ; others pour contempt upon 
them, because they are designed to support supernatural 
truth, in opposition to the various shapes in which error 
and heresy has appeared in the world. But the plain rea 
son of all this outcry against Confessions is just this, that 
Free-thinkers of all sorts cannot endure to have their wild 
and extravagant notions circumscribed, and hemmed in, 
by the pure doctrines of the word, brought together and 
compared in a methodical chain of divine truth, which is 
the very nature and design of Confessions. The Scriptures 
are unquestionably the only perfect rule of faith and man- 



152 SELECTIONS FROM MS. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

ners, containing not only a plain revelation of all those 
truths necessary to be believed and practised in order to 
salvation, but also a clear refutation of all the errors that 
ever have been or shall be broached in the world ; but then 
these are so scattered through the volume of this holy 
book, that the collecting and digesting of them, under 
proper heads, is necessary for the edifying of the church of 
Christ and convincing gainsayers ; and therefore Confes 
sions, which are nothing else but a collection of divine 
truths, by comparing of one scripture with another, can 
not but be the eye-sore of men of corrupt minds, who 
cannot endure to " come to the light" of God s word, " lest 
their deeds " and principles " should be made manifest." 

2c$y, There is the truth concerning the worship of God, 
that a God in Christ is the only object of a sinner s wor 
ship, Matt. iv. 10. " Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, 
and him only shalt thou serve." That he is to be wor 
shipped, in the use of those ordinances which he has pre 
scribed in his word, as the only means of worship, such 
as prayer, Phil. iv. 6; reading and searching the Scrip 
tures, John v. 39 ; preaching and hearing of the word, 
Rom. x. 14, 15, 17; singing of psalms, Eph. v. 18, 19; 
administering and receiving the sacraments, Matt, xxviii. 
19 ; 1 Cor. xi. 23 27 ; fasting, Luke v. 35 ; spiritual con 
ference and discourse, Mai. iii. 16 ; meditation, Psal. Ixxvii. 
12 ; vowing and paying to the Lord, Psal. Ixxvi. 11. Lastly, 
That the true worship of God, under the gospel, doth not 
consist in outward rites and ceremonies, but is spiritual, 
not only as to the matter but also as to the manner of it, 
flowing from grace in the heart, or an inward reverential 
esteem of, and trust in, that God whom we worship, John 
iv. 23, 24, and consequently, that the bringing in of the 
inventions of men into the worship of God, will be ac 
counted by him will-worship and superstition, Matt. xv. 9. 
" In vain they do worship me, teaching the command 
ments of men." 

3<%, There is the truth concerning the government and 
discipline of the house of Christ, a short account whereof, 



SEE. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 153 

from the Holy Scriptures, we shall lay before you ; it hav 
ing been that branch of truth which the Church of Scot 
land, ever since her reformation from popery, has mostly 
suffered for. 

I do not pretend to advance anything new upon this 
subject, but only, in this reeling and shaking time, to 
endeavour the confirmation of your faith in these Scrip 
ture-truths concerning the government and discipline of 
the house of Christ, which have been largely handled by 
others before me ; and this I shall essay in the following 
chain of propositions, without enlarging much upon 
them. 

(1.) The Lord Jesus Christ, as Mediator, has all author 
ity and power in heaven and in earth, for the government 
of his church, committed unto him from God the Father. 
Psal. ii. 6. says Jehovah, " Yet have I set my King upon 
my holy hill of Zion ;" John iii. 35. " The Father loveth 
the Son, and hath given all things into his hand ;" " He 
hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be 
head over all things to the church," Eph. i. 22. And, in 
consequence of this eternal grant and donation of the 
mediatory kingdom from the Father, Christ the faithful 
witness testifies of himself, Matt, xxviii. 18. " All power in 
heaven and in earth is given unto me." So that the Lord 
Christ, as Mediator, is the only first receptacle of all power 
from the Father : John v. 22. " The Father hath com 
mitted all judgment unto the Son ;" and, consequently, he 
is the sole root and fountain of all ecclesiastical power and 
authority to his church : John xx. 21, 23. "As my Father 
hath sent me, even so send I you ;" "Whose soever sins ye 
remit, they are remitted ; and whose soever sins ye retain, 
they are retained." 

(2.) The Lord Jesus Christ, in virtue of the supreme 
power with which he is invested as the alone Head of the 
church, has committed the government of his church unto 
church-officers of his own institution, as the immediate 
receptacle of that ministerial power and authority by 
which he would have his church governed in this world. 



154 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER, s WRITINGS. 

This proposition contains in it the following particular 
truths. 

That the Lord Christ has instituted and appointed officers 
in his church, for the edification of his spiritual kingdom, 
1 Cor. xii. 28. compared with Eph. iv. 11. 

These officers were either extraordinary, whose office 
was to cease with themselves; or ordinary, standing and 
perpetual. 

The extraordinary officers were apostles, prophets, and 
evangelists, Eph. iv. 11. And that their office expired 
with themselves, is evident from the extraordinary quali 
fications with which they were endowed, which, in the 
nature of the thing, could not be transmitted by them to 
others ; such as, immediate mission, universal commission, 
infallible inspiration, power of working miracles, and the like. 

The ordinary standing officers appointed by the Lord 
Christ in the church, unto the end of the world, are pas 
tors or teachers, Eph. iv. 11 ; ruling elders, 1 Tim. v. 17 ; 
and deacons, Acts vi. 3, 5. 6. The divine institution of 
these officers might be easily evinced from the texts just 
now mentioned, and several other texts of Scripture. Rom. 
xii. 6, 7, 8 ; 1 Cor. xii. 28. Hence it follows, 

That the office of a diocesan bishop, or any superiority 
in office whatsoever above a pastor or teaching presbyter, 
is contrary to the word of God, Matt. xx. 25 29. " Jesus 
said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise 
dominion over them, and they that are great exercise 
authority upon them ; but it shall not be so among you. 
But whosoever will be great among you, let him be your 
minister ; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him 
be your servant ; even as the Son of man came not to be 
ministered unto, but to minister :" 1 Pet. v. 3. " Neither 
as being lords over God s heritage." 

The preaching of the word and the administration of the 
sacraments is peculiar to the office of the pastor, Matt. 
xxviii. 19, 20; Rom. x. 15. And this branch of the minis 
terial office every minister may exercise by himself, wher 
ever he has a lawful call. But, 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 155 

The power of governing the church, is derived from the 
Lord Jesus to the officers of his house (ministers and rul 
ing elders) met in his name, as the only receptacle thereof 
under him : 2 Cor. x. 8. says the Apostle, " Though I should 
boast somewhat more of our authority which the Lord hath 
given us, for edification, and not for destruction, I should 
not be ashamed." Here you may see that the Apostle 
asserts an authority given unto him and other church- 
officers from the Lord, which he calls " our authority given 
unto us" including himself with other church-guides, which 
are plainly distinguished from the body of the church, whose 
edification was to be consulted in the exercise of that au 
thority, and not their destruction ; for, says he, " our autho 
rity is given for edification, and not for your destruction." 

Besides, the "keys of the kingdom of heaven," or the 
exercise of ecclesiastical power, was given by our Lord to 
the apostles and their successors in ordinary office to the 
end of the world, Matt. xvi. 19. " I give unto thee the 
keys of the kingdom of heaven." What is here mentioned 
as given unto Peter, is also given to the rest of the apos 
tles, Matt, xviii. 18. " Whatsoever you shall bind on earth 
shall be bound in heaven." Opening and shutting are the 
proper acts of keys ; and as the keys are the ordinances 
which Christ has instituted to be dispensed in the church, 
namely, the preaching of the word, and the administration 
of seals and censures ; so, by the right use of these keys, 
the gates of the church here, and of heaven hereafter, are 
opened or shut to believers or unbelievers. And as the 
Lord has committed the exercise of these keys to church- 
officers only, (as is plain from the above texts,) it follows 
that church-officers are the only receptacle of ecclesiastical 
power under him. 

From what I have said, concerning church-officers being 
the only receptacle of church-power from the glorious 
Head, two consequences unavoidably follow : 

The first is, That the Lord Jesus has not committed 
any spiritual power, formally ecclesiastical, or any exercise 
thereof for the government of the church, to the civil 



156 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

magistrate, heathen or Christian, as the receptacle thereof 
by virtue of his magisterial office ; and therefore, however 
desirable the countenance of the civil magistrate may be, 
or his presence in the judicatories of a constitute church, 
yet it is evident from the word, that neither the presence 
of the supreme magistrate, or any commissioned by him, 
is essentially necessary to the validity of ecclesiastical 
decisions and determinations, which depends allenarly 
upon their being past in the name of Christ, agreeably to 
his laws published in his word, and declarative thereof, 
Matt, xxviii. 20 ; 1 Cor. v. 4. 

Further, since the sole power of inflicting ecclesiastical 
censures is lodged in the office-bearers of the church by 
the glorious Head, it plainly follows that it is incompe 
tent to the civil magistrate, and quite beyond the limits 
of his office, either to execute the censures of the church 
or to prescribe any rule how it should be done ; and there 
fore we cannot but regret it, as a sinful and unwarrantable 
invasion upon the headship and sovereignty of Christ, that 
the civil powers, in the late Act of Parliament, have taken 
upon them, by their own authority allenarly, to declare 
such ministers incapable of sitting and voting in ecclesi 
astical judicatories, who should not read the said Act, 
according to the manner therein prescribed. And like 
wise, since a great many of the ministry have so sinfully 
complied with, and some way or other yielded obedience 
to, the authority of that Act, (as a crowning step of de 
fection,) we would be unfaithful to our trust if we did not 
signify unto you that they ought to be testified against, 
as having recognised the civil magistrate for their head, 
and quit their holding of the Son of God, our Immanuel, 
on whose shoulders the government of the church is laid. 

The other consequence is, that as the civil magistrate is 
not the first subject of spiritual power, so neither is this 
spiritual power, for the government of the church, dele 
gated by the glorious Head to the multitude of believers, 
or the community of the faithful. They are nowhere in 
Scripture called church-rulers ; and therefore they cannot 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 157 

be the first subject of church-government : upon the con 
trary, they are called the flock, and church-officers the 
overseers set over them by the Holy Ghost, Acts xx. 28. 
Yea, the community of the faithful are so far from being 
the subject of church-government themselves, that they 
are expressly charged by the word of God to know, hon 
our, obey, and submit to other governors set over them, 
and distinct from themselves, 1 Thess. v. 12. " We beseech 
you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, 
and are over you in the Lord;" 1 Tim. v. 17. "Let the 
elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, 
especially they that labour in the word and doctrine ;" 
Heb. xiii. 17. "Obey them that have the rule over you, 
and submit yourselves, for they watch for your souls." 
So that it is church-officers only, and neither the civil 
magistrate, nor the community of the faithful, that are 
the first subject or receptacle of church-government from 
the Lord Jesus Christ. 

(3.) The key of discipline, or the power and authority 
derived from the Lord Jesus for the government of his 
church, is to be exercised, at his appointment, by church- 
officers, two or more met together in his name, in a judi- 
cative capacity, Matt, xviii. 20. " Where two or three are 
gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of 
them." 

The judicatories appointed by the Lord Christ, under 
the New Testament, are parochial sessions, presbyteries, 
and synods provincial or national. 

The divine right of these judicatories, in general, may 
be evinced from Matt, xviii. 15 21 ; where our Lord 
makes a gradation, from the lowest number of church- 
officers warranted to assemble in his name, to the most 
numerous synod or council. Whence it is plain, that 
though one single person cannot, yet two or three, or any 
larger number of officers, may assemble for acts of govern 
ment and discipline that may tend for the interest of that 
spiritual society whereof they are members. It follows 
also, that as two or three in one congregation may meet 



158 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

together, so the officers of several congregations may as 
semble in a presbytery, for the interest of that larger body ; 
and they have Christ s warrant in the above text, and the 
promise of his presence in so doing. Besides, there is in 
the word a pattern of presbyterial government over divers 
single congregations ; as may be seen from the account we 
have in the New Testament of the churches of Jerusalem, 
Antioch, Ephesus, and Corinth ; in every one of which 
large cities there were more congregations of Christians 
than one, having their own proper officers, and all under 
the government of one presbytery, for a rule to the church 
in after-ages ; as has been cleared from Scripture, by many 
eminent hands, particularly the famous Assembly of Divines 
at Westminster, in their answers to the objections of some 
Independent brethren against some of the propositions 
concerning church-government agreed upon by that As 
sembly, and approven by this church, as a part of the in 
tended uniformity sworn to in the Solemn League and 
Covenant. 

Moreover, since the edification of the whole visible 
church is the great end of church-government, the more 
generally and extensively Christ s ordinance of government 
is managed, the more complete provision is made for the 
edification of the whole body of Christ : and therefore the 
Lord Jesus, upon whose shoulders the government is laid, 
has left unto his officers a warrant to meet in a synodical 
or national assembly, in the pattern of that synodical meet 
ing at Jerusalem, recorded Acts chap, xv., where you will 
see it evident that the constituent members of that synod, 
together with the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, were 
delegates from other churches, particularly the church of 
Antioch, from which Paul and Barnabas, and certain others 
with them, were sent, by the public authority of that 
church, Acts xv. 2. And granting that commissioners from 
the churches of Syria and Cilicia were not at Jerusalem, 
(which yet I am apt to think they were, from the indorse 
ment of the decree to them as well as Antioch, ver. 23 ;) 
yet, if but two presbyterial churches are warranted by 



SEE. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 159 

apostolical example to join in one synod, then by the same 
warrant the representatives of as many more presbyteries 
may assemble in one sy nodical meeting as are necessary 
for determining matters of a common concern to them 
all. 

Further, that the members of this synod were only 
church-officers, will appear from this one consideration 
that the question in debate in the church of Antioch was 
referred only to the decision of apostles and elders, Acts xv. 
2, who were unquestionably church-officers : so it was the 
apostles and elders only that " came together for to con 
sider of this matter," ver. 6. And whereas brethren are 
mentioned with the apostles and elders, ver. 23 ; yet 
these brethren cannot be the community of the faithful, in 
regard they could never be judges in this question, to 
whom it was not referred ; for the question was referred to 
church-officers only, as I have already said : and therefore 
these brethren must be delegates or commissioners from 
the several churches, who were concerned to have the 
errors suppressed which were broached among them at 
that time, concerning the necessity of circumcision and the 
observance of the law of Moses in order to salvation. 

I shall only add upon this head, that the decree passed 
by this synod was formally binding upon the churches of 
Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia ; as is plain from the tenor of 
the decree itself, Acts xv. 28. " It seemed good to the Holy 
Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than 
these necessary things." Whence it follows that the pres- 
byterial churches of Antioch, kSyria, and Cilicia were sub 
ordinate to the synod at Jerusalem ; and, consequently, 
here is a pattern of the subordination of judicatories. Thus 
I have endeavoured to evince the divine right of the judi 
catories of the house of Christ. And, for your further 
confirmation in what I have here only very briefly hinted, 
I refer you to the Propositions concerning Church-govern 
ment which you have bound along with your Confession 
of Faith, which I entreat you may read and consider, that 
you may be guarded, in this shaking time, against the 
4 z 



160 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

danger of Prelacy upon the one hand, and of Independency 
upon the other. But then, 

(4.) The power and authority of ecclesiastical judica- 
tories is not an absolute and magisterial, but only a 
stewardly and ministerial power, expressly limited to the 
observation of those things which the Lord Christ has 
commanded in his word, Matt, xxviii. 20. " Teaching them 
to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." 
Hence it follows, that when any ecclesiastical judicatory 
enacts any statute which is contrary to the word, or passes 
any decision which is not founded thereupon, that such 
statutes and decisions ought to be reputed by all the sub 
jects of Zion s King as null and void in themselves, as 
wanting the stamp of his authority who is Zion s statute- 
maker ; according to the marginal reading, Isa. xxxiii. 22. 

Lastly, As the great end of church-government, next to 
the glory of God, is the edification of the church ; so, when 
the discipline of the church is not faithfully and impar 
tially exercised, but on the contrary the erroneous toler 
ated, intruders countenanced, and such as have in their 
practice given up with the headship and sovereignty of 
Christ, excused and vindicated ; I say, when the discipline 
of the church is not exercised upon such offenders, (as is 
the case at present,) it is a just provocation to the Lord 
to leave the church. Thus we find the Lord passing a 
very severe censure upon the churches of Pergamos and 
Thyatira, Rev. ii., for having the scandalous and erroneous 
among them ; and their neglecting to purge them out, was 
no doubt one of the reasons why the Lord has removed his 
candlestick from among them to this day. These are a 
few of the Scripture -truths concerning the government 
and discipline of the house of Christ. 

kthly, There is the truth concerning Christian practice, 
which includes the following particulars among a great 
many others: (1.) The inviolable obligation of the holy 
and righteous law of God, upon the regenerate as well as 
the unregenerate ; but, in order to the yielding acceptable 
obedience to the law of God, it is absolutely necessary that 



SEE. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 161 

there be a vital union with the Lord Jesus Christ, John 
xv. 4, 5. Hence it follows that Gospel obedience ought to 
flow from a principle of faith, connecting the precept with 
the promise, " I will cause you to walk in my statutes, 
and to keep my judgments and do them." And from a 
principle of love to God, " If ye love me, keep my com 
mandments." (2.) That the law of God, or the revelation 
of his will, is the only standard by which our actions are 
to be tried, Isa. viii. 20. Hence it follows that the good 
ness of our actions is not to be judged by our extensive 
benevolence upon the one hand, nor by any selfish con 
sideration upon the other. (3.) That our main purpose or 
ultimate end, in all our actions, ought not to be the ad 
vancement of our own self-interest, but the glorifying of 
God, or the manifesting of his glory : Bom. xiv. 7. " None 
of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself;" 

1 Pet. ii. 9. " Ye are a chosen generation that ye should 

show forth the praises of him who hath, called you ." 

(4.) That the glorious excellencies and perfections of the 
divine nature are the main ground of our love and obe 
dience, and not chiefly his benefits ; as is plain from the 
first commandment, " Thou shalt have no other gods before 
me." Hence it follows, that it is not our delighting in 
any virtuous or religious action that is the chief reason 
and motive thereof; but because God, the great Lawgiver, 
enjoins it, as tending to the manifestation of his own glo 
rious excellencies and perfections. These are a few truths 
concerning Christian practice ; and it is matter of regret 
that the supreme judicatory of this church have testified 
so little zeal for these precious truths, which so nearly 
concern the very life of sanctification, when they have as- 
soilzied the impugner of them without the least censure. 
Thus I have endeavoured to give you some view of the 
"truth" which we are to "buy," and not to "sell." I 
proceed now to the 

II. Head of the method, and that was, To inquire what 
it is to "buy" the truth, or, what is imported in the buy 
ing of it. 



162 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

1. To "buy" the truth, is to have some knowledge and 
understanding of the truth. Men do not use to purchase 
that which they know nothing about, some knowledge of 
a bargain is always necessary to the purchase of it : so 
here, " to buy the truth" supposes some knowledge of it, 
that unto you it has been given in some measure " to 
know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven ;" that the 
Spirit has been taking the things of Christ and showing 
them unto you. In a word, that as you have been search 
ing the Scriptures which testify of .Christ, so he has been 
expounding to you from all the Scriptures "the things 
concerning himself ;" Psal. cxix. 104. " Through thy pre 
cepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false 
way." Ignorance of the truth is the great reason why so 
few are in quest of it at this day ; " Man knoweth not the 
price thereof," Job xxviii. 13. 

2. To "buy the truth" imports an high value and es 
teem for the truth. Men do not purchase that which they 
undervalue and despise ; some value for, and esteem of, a 
bargain is always supposed in the purchase of it: so to 
" buy the truth" imports a value for the truth, Psal. cxix. 
72. " The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands 
of silver and gold." what an high value doth a believ 
ing soul put upon the truth ! such an high value, as to 
make no account of all things in a world in comparison of 
it, Phil. iii. 8. " Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but 
loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus 
iny Lord." Well, sirs, try by this if you are purchasers of 
the truth what value are you putting upon Christ, who 
is " the truth ?" Can you say as it is Psal. Ixxvi. 4. " Thou 
art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of 
prey?" What value do you put upon the borne-down 
truths of Christ at this day ? Can you say that the price 
of truth rises with you the more it is undervalued by a 
wicked world ? Thus it was with the Psalmist, Psal. cxix. 
126 128. " They make void thy law. Therefore I love 
thy commandments above gold : therefore I esteem thy 
precepts concerning all things to be right." The mean- 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OP TRUTH. 163 

ing is, the more contempt the wicked put upon truth, 
the higher value he had for it : the wicked were endea 
vouring to make the "law concerning all things to be 
void;" therefore, for this very reason, he esteemed the 
" law concerning all things to be right." For it must cer 
tainly be the truth which meets with opposition from the 
world. 

3. To "buy the truth" is to appropriate the truth, or 
to make use of it as our own. Property necessarily follows 
upon a purchase : so here, to buy the truth is to have pro 
priety in the truth ; and so it is the same thing with be 
lieving the truth, for it is of the nature of faith to appro 
priate its own object, John vi. 4. " He that believeth hath 
everlasting life." Therefore we find that " being of the 
truth," or belonging to the truth, is inseparably joined 
with believing, or hearing of Christ s voice, John xviii. 37. 
" Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." 
sirs, how wonderful is it that such a valuable thing as 
truth should be the property of sinners ! Christ himself, 
and consequently all the good things contained in the pro 
mise of a God that cannot lie, is that truth which is the pro 
perty of every one that believeth, 1 Cor. iii. at the close, 
" All things are yours, and ye are Christ s." Try by this 
if you have made a purchase of the truth Are you mak 
ing use of Christ as your own, for " wisdom, righteousness, 
sanctification, and redemption 1 " for so is he made over of 
God, unto you, in the Gospel, 1 Cor. i. 30. Do you know 
what it is to claim a right unto all the good things con 
tained in the promise and word of truth, upon the right 
that Christ has to them, and as being "joint-heirs with 
Christ," who is the " heir of all things ?" 

4. To "buy the truth * imports a meditating or thinking 
much upon the truth. Men s thoughts commonly run 
upon their bargain or purchase that they have made : now, 
as there is not another bargain so valuable as divine truth, 
so nothing ought to engross our thoughts so much as it, 
Psal. cxix. 97. " how love I thy law ! it is my meditation 
all the day." Sirs, if you have made a purchase of the 



164 SELECTIONS FROM MB. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

truth, your meditation upon it will afford many sweet 
thoughts unto you : Psal. civ. 34. in metre 

" Of him my meditation shall 
Sweet thoughts to me afford." 

You will have sweet thoughts of God, when you think 
upon the glorious excellencies and perfections of his nature, 
as they are all eminently displayed, and harmoniously agree 
in the person of Christ, anent the salvation of the sinner. 
Particularly, you will have sweet thoughts of the love and 
mercy of God, when you think upon the costly channel of 
blood in which it runs unto you; you will have sweet 
thoughts of the justice of God, when you think upon the 
complete satisfaction that it has got by the obedience and 
sufferings of the Son of God in your room ; sweet thoughts 
of the truth and veracity of God, when you think upon 
the execution of the threatening on the person of the 
Surety. Again, you will have sweet thoughts of Christ, 
when you think upon his person, offices, relations to us, 
and the appearances he has made on our behalf; when you 
think upon what he has done, is doing, and will do ; how 
that he became man, and a man of sorrows ; that he hath 
magnified the law, and brought in an everlasting righteous 
ness ; that he hath spoiled principalities and powers, con 
firmed the New Testament by his death, and ever liveth 
to see all the blessings or legacies thereof conferred upon 
the heirs of glory. So that, if you have made a purchase 
of the truth, your thoughts will run much upon that valu 
able bargain. 

5. To " buy the truth" imports a rejoicing in the truth. 
Men use to rejoice in a good bargain, and to boast of it : 
so here, to "buy the truth" imports a rejoicing and a glory 
ing in it, Psal. cxix. 111. " Thy testimonies have I taken as 
an heritage for ever ; for they are the rejoicing of my 
heart." Sirs, if you have bought the truth, you will re 
joice in the word of truth as your charter for eternal life ; 
you will rejoice in the truth of a promising God, as your 
security for the accomplishment of the promise. What- 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OP TRUTH. 165 

ever ground of sorrowing you may find within yourselves, 
or abroad in the world, yet you will find ground of re 
joicing in Christ Jesus, as the all of your life, strength, 
righteousness, and salvation. And, if you are rejoicing 
and glorying only in his holy name, you will rejoice also 
" if you are partakers of his sufferings, that, when his 
glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceed 
ing joy," 1 Pet. iv. 13. 

6. To "buy the truth" imports a maintaining of and 
contending for it. Mn are very diligent and careful in 
maintaining and defending their properties : so here, to 
"buy the truth" imports a contending for the truth, 
Jude ver. 3. "Contend earnestly for the faith once de 
livered unto the saints." 

This earnest contending includes in it the following par 
ticulars : 

First, A weighty and important cause for which we are 
to contend, even the whole of that " faith once delivered 
to the saints," or the word of truth which is to be believed 
to salvation. And, that this word of truth is worth the con 
tending for will appear, if you consider that the Author of 
it is the " faithful and true witness," Rev. iii. 14 ; the in 
struments, or penmen of it, infallibly guided by the Holy 
Ghost, 2 Pet. i. 21. " The holy men of God spoke as they 
were moved by the Holy Ghost ;" the matter of it is ever 
lasting truth, which shall stand firm when heaven and 
earth shall pass away ; the form of it is in conformity to 
God himself the power, purity, and truth of the word, is 
in conformity to the power, holiness, and faithfulness of 
God himself; the price of it is the blood of Christ ; the 
benefits that redound to us by it are all those blessings we 
have forfeited by sin, and are now purchased and regained 
by the glorious Surety. So that it is a weighty cause we 
are to contend for. 

Again, contending for the truth supposes that there are 
numerous and powerful adversaries to contend with, even 
all the swarms of soul-ruining seducers, animated and set 
on work by the god of this world ; for " we wrestle not 



166 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

with flesh and blood" only, "but with" flesh and blood 
assisted by " principalities and powers, and the rulers of 
the darkness of this world," Eph. vi. 12. And these erro 
neous seducers cannot want cunning, to colour over their 
damnable heresies with smooth words and doubtful expres 
sions, when they have the old serpent for their teacher ; 
nor can they want malice, diligence, and activity, when 
they are instigated and driven on by the destroyer, who 
goes about seeking whom he may devour. 

Further, this contending, in the purchasers of truth, 
supposes that they have strength whereby to resist these 
powerful adversaries. But now, their strength is not in 
themselves, but in their glorious Head, who, in virtue of 
their union with him, gives them continual supplies of 
grace for resisting temptations, and going through the 
difficulties and dangers that may be in their way, while 
among the lions dens and mountains of the leopards ; and, 
in a word, for enabling them to "do all things through 
Christ strengthening them," Phil. iv. 13. 

Moreover, they that have bought the truth ought, in 
their contending for it, to put forth this borrowed strength 
against the enemy, in their several spheres and stations 
wherein they are placed in the world. Magistrates, by 
restraining heretics and seducers, as Hezekiah and Josiah 
did ; ministers, by preaching the word of truth, by sound 
doctrine convincing gainsayers, and censuring the scan 
dalous and erroneous, Titus i. 9, 11 ; Christians, of what 
ever station, by praying for the success of the word of 
truth, "that it may have free course and be glorified," 
2 Thess. iii. 1 ; and by confessing the truth, and suffering 
for it when called thereto. 

The way and manner in which the purchasers of the 
truth ought to essay to put forth their borrowed strength 
in contending for the faith is, (1.) Resolutely and coura 
geously, with purpose of heart cleaving to the Lord, Acts 
xi. 23. (2.) Unanimously, " with one consent, and with 
one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel," 
Phil. i. 27. (3.) Impartially and universally, for every 



SEB. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 167 

truth, and against every error. (4.) Constantly and stead 
fastly, holding " fast the profession of our faith without 
wavering," Heb. x. 23. (5.) Humbly and meekly, under 
a sense of our own inability to contend, and guarding 
against our own spirits, eyeing singly the glory of God, 
and depending upon his grace to be made sufficient for us, 
and his strength to be made perfect in our weakness. So 
much for the second thing proposed, What it is to " buy " 
the truth. I proceed now to the 

III. Head of the method ; and that was, To inquire who 
they are that " sell" the truth. 

You may take their character in the following particu 
lars ; and, wherein it is applicable to any, may the Spirit 
of the Lord fasten saving conviction upon the soul. 

1. They "sell" the truth who are "destitute of the 
truth," as the expression is 1 Tim. vi. 6. Such as are void 
of spiritual understanding, and never had their hearts 
moulded and fashioned according to the truth ; whatever 
natural or acquired parts they may have, yet they never 
had the saving and solid knowledge of the truth ; and 
therefore they cannot but part with it at a very cheap 
rate. Such are all those who have " not received the love 
of the truth, that they might be saved," 2 Thess. ii. 10. 
Though they be the hearers of the word, yet they are not 
the doers of it; and therefore, when tribulation attends 
the profession of the truth, " by and by they are offended." 

2. They "sell" the truth who turn from the truth. 
The Apostle (to Titus, chap. i. 14.) discharges to " give 
heed to the commandments of men who turn from the 
truth." There are many who appear on the side of truth 
when there is no hazard in professing of it, who yet change 
sides when truth is universally run down. And, sirs, you 
will always observe that they who turn from the truth 
which they once professed, are the most bloody adversaries 
that ever truth or the defenders of it had. The bishops 
and their underlings, in the late persecuting times, at least 
for some years after the Restoration, what were they but 
apostate and perjured Presbyterians? and you all know 



168 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHEfi s WRITINGS. 

with what rage and cruelty they defiled the whole land 
with the blood of the Lord s witnesses, from which it is 
not yet purged. And there are many living amongst us 
at this day, who made some zealous appearances a few 
years ago, both in the pulpit and judicatories, for the 
covenanted principles of this church, against the current 
of defection at that time, who now discover a great deal of 
more warmth against those who are witnessing for the 
same cause which they themselves once seemed to espouse, 
and are turning the edge of their resentment with more 
keenness against them, than they who never made such a 
profession. 

3. Erroneous persons "sell" the truth with a witness. 
There are many, of whom it may be said at this day as it 
was of Hymeneus and Philetus, 2 Tim. ii. 18., that "con 
cerning the truth they have erred." The flood of error 
never swelled to such an height, in any period of this 
church since her reformation from Popery, as at this day ; 
and never was there so little zeal shown for truth, when 
lying bleeding everywhere in our streets ; the sad and dis 
mal effects whereof are to be seen in every corner of the 
land : many calling in question the great truths of God, 
and rejecting all the peculiar doctrines of the gospel, be 
cause they are not adapted, as they imagine, to their 
rational taste ; many disputing themselves and others out 
of the truth ; others mocking at truth and the professors 
of it ; and the most part quite unconcerned to have the 
truth conveyed and brought home with power upon their 
own souls. 

4. They "sell" the truth who resist the truth, like 
those mentioned 2 Tim. iii. 8. Truth has an evidencing 
light going along with it, yet many repel the evidence. 
Although their consciences be convinced with silencing 
arguments on the side of truth, yet such is their enmity 
and prejudice at the truth that they give a deaf ear to all 
that is said in defence of it, or endeavour to shift the force 
of argument by mere evasion. Yea, some are so blindly 
wedded to a side, or give such implicit faith to their lead- 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OP TKTJTH. 169 

ers, that, though a Testimony be published for truth and 
against a current of defection, a sight of the title-page 
thereof sufficeth them. And I am apt to believe, that the 
open appearances of many against the truth of Reforma 
tion-principles at this day, is just in opposition to a few 
ministers and professors through the land, whom the Lord, 
in his adorable providence, has raised up to witness for 
the truth, and against the defections both of former and 
present times. But let not this surprise you, as if it were 
some strange thing ; for you will always find that witness- 
bearing for the truth is " tormenting to them that dwell 
upon the earth," Rev. xi. 10. If there had been always a 
compliance with the world, there could never have been any 
persecution from it ; for the " world will love its own :" 
but the ground of all opposition and hatred from the 
world, is a non-compliance with, and testifying against, 
the principles, practices, and customs of it. Hence says 
our Lord of himself, in opposition to the time-servers of 
his day, John vii. 7. " The world cannot hate you, but me 
it hateth, because I testify of it that the works thereof 
are evil." 

5. They "sell" the truth who part with it for worldly 
gain ; like Demas, of whom the Apostle says, 2 Tim. iv. 
10. " He hath forsaken me, having loved this present 
world." There are many who will comply with the times 
rather than disoblige their superiors, or risk their worldly 
advantages ; and how lamentable is it, that herein they 
should have the example of so many of the present minis 
try, who, by their late sinful compliance, have so shame 
fully sold the truth concerning the Headship of Christ, 
(which he witnessed for before Pontius Pilate,) for their 
worldly incomes! It is an heavy word which our Lord 
has concerning such, Matt. x. 37. " He that loveth father 
or mother, son or daughter," that is, the most valuable 
thing in a present world, " more than me, is not worthy of 
me." But, sirs, if there are any of you made willing by 
grace to lay down your worldly all at Christ s feet, in de 
fence of his truth, there is an encouraging word to you, 



170 SELECTIONS FROM MR. PISHEfi s WRITINGS. 

Matt. xix. 29. " Every one who has forsaken houses, or 
brethren, or sister, or father, or mother, or wife, or chil 
dren, or lands for my name s sake, shall receive an hun 
dred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life." 

6. As they " sell" the truth who part with it for worldly 
gain, so they " sell" the truth who make a profession of 
embracing it for worldly advantage, like those who fol 
lowed Christ for the loaves. It has been observed by 
severals, that, at the Reformation from Popery, there were 
many zealous against the abbacies more out of love to 
their lands than hatred to their idolatry. But they who 
do not embrace the truth merely for itself, and because of 
its conformity to a God of truth, will easily part with it 
when the profits and preferments of the world are not 
upon its side. 

7. They " sell " the truth who endeavour to conceal and 
smother the truth ; like those who " deal deceitfully with 
the word," as it is in the marginal reading, 2 Cor. ii. 17. 
Now, they conceal the truth who cover former and present 
sins, and refuse to acknowledge them to the glory of God ; 
as is the practice of ministers and judicatories at this day. 
They conceal the truth who do not give faithful warning 
of the hazard that truth may be in from the enemies and 
opposers of it. They conceal the truth who do all they 
can to keep the people in ignorance about the evils of the 
time ; like treacherous watchmen, who see the enemy ap 
proaching, yet allow the city of God to be surprised with 
out once giving notice of it. Again, they conceal the truth 
who palliate their own sinful practices by a partial acknow 
ledgment of some part of truth ; like many of late, who in 
words professed they owned the headship of Christ over 
his church, and yet in their practice renounced the same. 
But, sirs, they who are really upon truth s side, " have re 
nounced these hidden things of dishonesty, and are not 
walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God de 
ceitfully, but, by manifestation of the truth, commending 
themselves to every man s conscience in the sight of God," 
2 Cor. iv. 2. 



SER, I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 171 

8. They "sell" the truth who distinguish away the 
truth. There are two distinctions which I would have 
you to be aware of; there are some who distinguish be 
tween greater and smaller truths. I will not say that 
every truth is of equal importance to salvation ; but sure 
I am that there is not a truth of God within the whole 
Bible that is of such small consequence to a believer, but 
that he would rather choose to give up with his life than 
part with it. Again, some distinguish between contro 
verted and uncontroverted truths ; alleging that we ought 
not to be tenacious about those things that have been 
controverted among learned men. But, were we to cast 
off all controverted truth, we should reject the whole 
Bible ; for I know not that truth in it but has been con 
troverted by some of the learned. And, if you would have 
it, the great reason why many use these distinctions, is 
just that they may throw the doctrine concerning the 
house of Christ among those lesser and controverted truths 
about which men may safely differ. But it has been ob 
served, that they who have been easy about matters of 
government have been as indifferent about matters of doc 
trine when they have come into their cast ; as is evident 
from the little zeal that has been shown for the great 
truths of God that have been controverted in our own day. 
Hence it follows, 

9. They "sell" the truth who are not valiant for the 
truth ; like those mentioned Jer. ix. 3. of whom it is said, 
that " they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth." 
There are many who are mere cowards in the cause of 
truth at this day : the enemy is bold and forward in op 
posing and bearing down the truth, and they shamefully 
and pitifully give it up without the least stroke of sword. 
The most part of those who were once thought well-affected 
to the cause of truth are now standing by as neutral and 
unconcerned spectators of the desolations of our Zion, or 
at least sighing and going backward. Where is there a 
standing testimony for truth among all the present judi- 
catories at this day ? Yea, there are standing sentences 



172 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

and decisions against a plain and faithful testimony, whe 
ther doctrinal or judicial. 

This partiality in the judicatories, in turning the edge 
of their sentences against those who are essaying to wit 
ness for the truth, and, upon the other hand, their omit 
ting and refusing to give any suitable testimony them 
selves, even when opportunities were put in their hands 
for being valiant for the truth, has produced two fatal 
consequences which will not be so easily remedied. 

First, This neutrality in the judicatories, about the 
truth both of the doctrine and government of the house of 
Christ, has given latitude to that uncontrolled freedom 
which is used with the great mysteries of godliness, by a 
numerous set of preachers in this church, by whose ser 
mons one would scarce know that they are Christians ; for 
you will seldom or never hear from them one word about 
the original corruption and depravation of man s nature, 
by his fall in the first Adam, of his incapacity to recover 
himself, nor of the necessity of a vital union with Christ, 
as the foundation of our j ustification and of all acceptable 
obedience : these, and the like doctrines, so necessary to 
the salvation of sinners, are quite dropped by many of 
them ; whereby they that hear them are left to " perish 
for lack of knowledge." 

Another bad consequence that has followed upon the 
sinful neglect of a timeous testifying for the truth ; and 
that is, that Deism, or a disregard to the Holy Scriptures, 
is now almost become universal, whether it be from a 
principle of malice, or from mere ignorance, or a fond de 
sire to imitate one another. But so it is, that there are 
few of those who imagine themselves to be raised above 
the ordinary rank of men but who use intolerable freedom 
with the Holy Scriptures, some by denying them in bulk, 
others by wresting them to their own destruction, and 
others by passing profane jests upon them ; whereby they 
verify what the Apostle Peter says, second Epistle iii. 3. 
that " there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking 
after their own lusts." Yea, to such an height of impiety 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 173 

are we arrived at this day, that few or none are reckoned 
men of sense but such as can with freedom expose religion 
and the professors of it, however void they be of true and 
solid learning. I shall only say of them as the Apostle 
Jude has it, " They speak evil of the things which they 
know not." These are some of the sad consequences of 
omitting to be valiant for the truth ; but let us all con 
sider, that " whosoever shall be ashamed of Christ, and of 
his words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him 
also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in 
the glory of his Father with the holy angels," Mark viii. 38. 

I shall now essay to make improvement of what has 
been said in the following Inferences. 

Inference 1. Are all commanded to "buy" the truth? 
then it follows that all are by nature destitute and void of 
it ; a man needs not buy what is his own already, or what 
he has a right to by birth. Our buying of any thing says 
plainly that we have no previous property in it. We have 
lost and forfeited our possession of the truth in the first 
Adam, who " changed the truth of God into a lie," and left 
all his posterity to " inherit folly." All we have now by 
inheritance, or can call our own, is wretchedness, misery, 
poverty, blindness, and nakedness, Rev. iii. 17; and, till 
we are convinced of this, it is impossible that we can have 
the least thought of "buying" the blessings which are 
suitable to us in these deplorable circumstances, though 
they be presented to us in this everlasting gospel. 

Inf. 2. Are all commanded to " buy" the truth ] then it 
follows that truth is now exposed to sale, and that all have 
free access to make the purchase. And herein shines the 
infinite love of God to mankind sinners, although we have 
justly forfeited all good, and deserve to have been miser 
able for ever, as well as the angels that fell, yet he hath 
" so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son" to 
purchase and regain, with vast advantage, what we had 
irrecoverably lost in the first Adam. And the Son of God 
having actually made the purchase at the price of his 
blood, and in consequence thereof having full power and 



174 SELECTIONS FROM MB. FISHEfi s WRITINGS. 

authority to dispense and give out all purchased good 
among the children of men, hence doth he issue forth the 
proclamation to sinners of all sorts, to come and " buy of 
him gold tried in the fire that they may be rich, white 
raiment that they may be clothed, and eye-salve that they 
may see," Rev. iii. 18. Only you would notice, that, when 
we are called to come and buy these inestimable blessings 
at the hands of this great Proprietor, we have not any 
thing like an equivalent price to offer, as in the case of 
contracts among men, where there is a just proportion 
between the price and the purchase ; and therefore they 
are offered freely, and we invited to buy " without money 
and without price ;" Isa. Iv. 1. " Ho, every one that thirst- 
eth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money ; 
come ye, buy and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk with 
out money and without price." 

Inf. 3. Are we commanded at any rate to make a pur 
chase of the truth ? then it follows that it must be of in 
estimable value. Christ himself, and all the blessings of 
his purchase, grace and glory, and every good thing, is 
that truth which we are commanded to " buy ;" and con 
sequently the price of it is above "rubies, and all the" 
worldly " things that can be desired are not to be com 
pared to it," Prov. viii. 11. Yea, it is of such a value that 
our very life depends upon the purchase of it, Prov. iv. 13. 
" Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go ; keep her, 
for she is thy life." If you lose what is contained in the 
word of truth, you lose infinitely more than your life is 
worth ; for, " what will it profit a man, though he gain 
the whole world, if he lose his own soul 1 " If you get pos 
session of this valuable treasure, it will bear your charges 
through all the hardships and difficulties of a present 
world ; it will keep you alive and support you in the very 
jaws of death, and last with you through eternity. If you 
lose it, you are dead while you live ; and, though you had 
the whole world in possession, you enjoy nothing but 
vanity, an empty shadow, while you have no interest in 
this " inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OP TRUTH. 175 

which fadeth not away." Besides, the word of truth is of 
such value, that there is no travelling heavenwards with 
out it. It is that pillar of fire which is necessary to guide 
us through the dark night of a present world into the land 
of everlasting light and life. We have within us hearts 
that are "deceitful above all things and desperately 
wicked," without us, innumerable snares and dangers ; 
we have missed our way to eternal life in the first Adam, 
and, though we be in the high road to eternal ruin, yet 
such is our pride and ignorance that we cannot be per 
suaded of it ; and therefore, if the word of truth is not a 
" lamp to our feet and a light to our path," we can never 
arrive at the rest that remains for the people of God. 

Inf. 4. Is it the duty of all, at the command of God, to 
"buy" the truth, and for no price to part with it 1 then 
see the folly of the world, in putting such a low rate upon 
this inestimable treasure ; like those who were invited to 
the marriage of the King s son, yet " made light of it, and 
went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his mer 
chandise," Matt. xxii. 5. preferring the things of a pre 
sent world to the greatest offer that could possibly be 
made to them. There are some that put such a low value 
upon the truth, and are so far from buying it themselves, 
that they do what they can to hinder others from making 
the purchase ; like those of whom our Lord speaks, Luke 
xi. 52. " Ye have taken away the key of knowledge ; ye 
entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in 
ye hindered." They could not endure to see multitudes 
following Christ, and they used all methods to prevent it, 
although the poor people were starved then (as they are 
in many places amongst us at this day) with the dry and 
insipid doctrines of these times ; and therefore no wonder 
that they travelled abroad, to buy food to their souls, when 
there was nothing but mere famine at home. There are 
others who undervalue truth to such a degree that they will 
not so much as frequent the market-place where it is to be 
sold I mean, the ordinances of the gospel ; the least out 
ward inconvenience will keep them from attendance. But, 
4 2A 



176 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

did they know the worth of what they are despising, 
they would dig for it as for hid treasures, and reckon 
nothing too dear for the necessary food of their perishing 
souls. 

Inf. 5. Are we commanded to " buy " the truth 1 then 
the question is, Have you, upon the warrant and command 
of God, made a purchase of the truth ? and are you so well 
satisfied with the bargain that you are resolved, through 
grace, never to part with it again? Now, in order to 
assist you in this inquiry, we shall put the following ques 
tions to your consciences, which we require you to con 
sider, and to try yourselves by, as in the sight of God to 
whom we must make an account. Have you felt the power 
of the truth upon your own hearts, subduing sin in you, 
and making you loathe and abhor yourselves upon the ac 
count of it, as offensive to God, and framing your hearts 
and lives into a conformity to the image of God, and 
sweetly constraining you to all the duties of new obe 
dience 1 Do you consult with the word of truth in all the 
pinching straits and difficulties that occur to you while in 
this valley of tears ? When the world, or your own carnal 
reason, suggest this or the other danger attending the 
practice of duty, whether do you listen to their motions, 
or are you determined by the word as your only counsellor, 
with the psalmist, Psal. cxix. 24. " Thy testimonies are my 
delight and my counsellors ? " Have you been convinced 
that the word of truth is of such absolute necessity to you 
that there is no living without it 1 Psal. xxvii. 13. " I had 
fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the 
Lord in the land of the living ;" Psal. cxix. 92. " Unless 
thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished 
in my affliction." Although the times wherein we live be 
among the dear years of truth, when they that will buy it 
and keep it must be at greater expense than ordinary ; 
yet, are you convinced that it must be had cost what it 
will 1 Are you satisfied that your credit and reputation sink 
in the defence of truth, that you be reviled and reproached 
for Christ s name s sake, that everything that is valuable 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 177 

to you in the world be at the Lord s sovereign disposure, 
and that you would rather part with your worldly all than 
with one hoof of divine truth? Are you walking in the 
truth? Second Epistle of John ver. 4. "I rejoiced greatly 
that I found thy children walking in truth." Are you 
walking in the light of truth, essaying to perform every 
duty, from such principles, in such a manner, with such a 
frame of heart, and aiming at such an end, as is required 
in the word of truth? Are you subject to the power and 
authority of the truth, content to be servants unto it, and 
to be wholly ruled and guided by it ? Any of you that are 
engaged in the cause of truth, I ask you, upon what grounds 
and from what motives have you done it ? Was it because 
you saw evidently a stamp of divine authority upon the 
truth, and felt the inward operation of the Spirit, bearing 
witness by and with the word in your hearts, and there 
fore could not endure to see the truth trampled upon as 
mire in the streets without appearing as witnesses for it ? 
Have you engaged in the cause of truth out of love to the 
person of Christ, who is " the truth ? " and is this love to 
Christ the spring of all your appearances for him ? Lastly, 
Are you abounding in the knowledge of the truth ? If you 
are possessed of the truth, your desires will be more and 
more enlarged towards it, you will never think that you 
have enough of it, you will " follow on to know the Lord," 
llos. vi. 3. Every new discovery of his glory will make 
you cry more ardently, with Moses, for a fresh discovery 
of it, " I beseech thee show me thy glory ;" and at the 
same time you will be sensible of your own ignorance, and 
ready to say with Agur, Prov. xxx. 2. " Surely I am more 
brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of 
a man." And in the same glass that you see the glory of 
the Lord will you see your own vileness, Isa. vi. 5. Now, 
by putting these or the like questions to your own con 
sciences, you may come to know whether you have bought 
the truth or not. 

The last use that I shall make of the doctrine shall be 
of Exhortation, in two branches, answerable to the words 



178 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

of the text. (1.) Buy the truth. (2.) Beware of selling 
it, or parting with it again. 

1st Branch of the Exhortation, answerable to the com 
mand of God, is, " Buy the truth." Sirs, this everlasting 
gospel is like a market, where all the necessaries and orna 
ments of life are exposed to sale ; Christ, and all the bless 
ings of his purchase, are set before you in the word, that 
you may buy them, and make use of them as your own. 
Only, for your better understanding of this, you must 
know that "buying" here is " believing." Faith is vari 
ously expressed in Scripture, according to the several views 
in which Christ the object of it is presented, and brought 
near, in the word of grace. When Christ is held out as a 
person of matchless comeliness and beauty, and as having 
that comeliness in him for the adorning of us who have 
" lien among the pots ;" then faith is a " looking" to him, 
Isa. xlv. 22. " Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends 
of the earth." When Christ is exhibited as the " unspeak 
able gift" of God to mankind lost, then faith is a " receiv 
ing" of him, John i. 12. "As many as received him, to 
them gave he power to become the sons of God." And 
here, when Christ is presented as the " best bargain " for 
poor, miserable, wretched, blind, and naked creatures, faith 
is a "buying" of him; only you must conceive of this 
buying in a suitableness to the bargain. The bargain is 
inestimable, infinitely above all value ; and therefore this 
buying, on our part, must exclude all price ; and so it 
agrees with the nature of faith, which is a taking and re 
ceiving grace. So then, the meaning of the exhortation, 
" Buy the truth," amounts just to this Since the best 
bargain that ever was is oifered and presented unto you 
for nought, take it, and make use of it as your own, giving 
credit to all the testimony of God concerning it, without 
wavering or doubting. 

Now, to engage you to this, consider that God has made 
a free and gratuitous donation of his eternal Son, and all 
salvation with him, in the dispensation of the gospel, and 
requires sinners of all sorts to accept of the offer, without 



SEB. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 179 

doubting either of his ability or willingness to bestow all 
the good contained in the promise. This is clear from 
Rom. viii. 32. " He that spared not his own Son, but de 
livered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also 
freely give us all things ? " Where you see the person that 
makes the grant is JEHOVAH, who was justly offended by 
our sin, but now well-pleased for Christ s righteousness 
sake. The grant itself is Christ and all things with him. 
The persons to whom the grant is made, are sinners of all 
sorts to whom the gospel comes. It is not unto men as 
they are elect, but unto men as such, that is, unto men as 
they are sinners, Prov. viii. 4. " Unto you, men, I call, 
and my voice is unto the sons of men." then, be per 
suaded to take home this valuable treasure in the arms of 
your faith ; it will be life to the dead, light to the blind, 
liberty to the captive, bread to the hungry, righteousness 
to the guilty, strength to the weak, and all things to the 
empty sinner. Sirs, you are just now in the market-place, 
and there is here all imaginable variety of the most useful 
and costly wares, all of them absolutely necessary for you ; 
and we can assure you, in the name of the God of truth, 
that you are heartily welcome to them all : " The Spirit 
saith, Come ; and the Bride saith, Come ; and whosoever 
will, let him come, and buy wine and milk without money 
and without price." Oh, sirs, will you go empty away, when 
the fulness of the Godhead is set before you ? The pro 
mise is endorsed to you, and therefore you have a right to 
intermeddle with all the good that is contained in it ; Oh, 
then, " be not faithless, but believing." The market-day 
will draw to a close ere it be long ; it may be the last hour 
of it with many of us who have hitherto been standing in 
the market-place idle. You have now no time to lose, 
shortly may those things be hid from your eyes, and we 
have no warrant to allow you one moment to deliberate 
upon this matter. Here is the command of God to every 
one of you in particular, " Buy the truth ;" therefore, in 
stantly give obedience at your highest peril, especially 
when there is no room for deliberation in this case. Should 



180 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHEIl s WKITIN3S. 

a starving man deliberate if he will take meat when it is 
set before him? Should a prisoner deliberate if he will 
go out of the prison-house when the doors are opened for 
him 1 Oh, then, without further delay, " buy the truth ;" 
reach forth the hand of faith and take it, and the bargain 
is made. Our Lord Christ is not standing upon terms 
with you, he knows you have nothing ; and therefore he is 
just now offering himself to you, and all that he is, and 
has, for nought, in this market of free grace. The way to 
be possessed of the rich commodities that are in it, is just 
to take them all, and then you have them. Let not the 
pride of your hearts deprive you of that which will make 
you up through eternity. Let not unbelief fill you with 
jealousies, as if these valuable goods were not ordained for 
such guilty creatures as you ; for we can assure you from 
the word, that Christ "came to seek and to save" only 
" that which is lost ; he came not to call the righteous but 
sinners unto repentance." Who is it that needs life but 
the dead 1 who need a righteousness but the guilty ? who 
need eye-sight but the blind ? and who stands in need of 
an indemnity but the condemned criminal? Therefore, 
since Christ is a Saviour ordained for men in these miser 
able circumstances, come to him as you are, and " buy" 
of him, or, which is the same thing, "take" from him 
" wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption ;" 
for there is enough in him to satisfy the need of every 
thing that liveth. And, if you are thus determined to be 
lieve on the Son of God, you will see such a beauty and 
excellency in him, and in the whole of the truth concern 
ing him, that you will account all things but loss in com 
parison of him, and the least point of divine truth worth 
a thousand worlds. And this leads me to the 

2d Branch of the Exhortation, namely, that you beware 
of " selling" the truth, or parting with it. 

This is a day wherein the truths of God go at a very low- 
rate ; many, who once professed to be Christ s disciples, 
are going back and walking no more with him. The cares 
of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the loving the 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OP TRUTH. 181 

praise of men more than the praise of God, together with 
the outward dangers and disadvantages that attend a strict 
profession of the truth, are among the sad and dismal 
causes why so many part with it in this sinning and try 
ing time. But we would have you all to consider, that, 
however low the price of truth may be at this day, yet 
there is a time coming when the worth of it shall be fully 
known. What would the greatest enemies and contemners 
of truth give to be possessed of that which they now so much 
despise, in the day " when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed 
from heaven with his mighty angels, in naming fire, to 
take vengeance on them that knew not God, and obeyed 
not the gospel 1 " What will this world and all the plea 
sures of it avail, when " the heavens shall pass away with 
a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent 
heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall 
be burnt up 1 " The beauty and glory of truth shall then 
shine forth in perfection ; and they who have bought it at 
the highest rate will then find, to their sweet experience, 
that they are the greatest gainers. then, beware of 
parting with such a valuable treasure. And, in order to 
guard you against it, I shall lay before you the following 

DIRECTIONS. 1. Endeavour to get the knowledge of 
" the truth as it is in Jesus." And, for this end, be much 
employed in searching the Scriptures, and examining what 
you read or hear with that unerring standard, as the Be- 
reans did. Look to the great " Apostle and high-priest of 
our profession, Christ Jesus," that he may teach you to 
profit ; for he has " compassion on the ignorant, and on 
them that are out of the way," and is commissioned of the 
Father " to open the eyes of the blind," and is fully quali 
fied for this work, for all " the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge are hid in him." Essay to fasten upon the pro 
mise of God for the saving knowledge of the truth, Jer. 
xxxi. 34. " They shall all know me, from the least of them 
to the greatest of them." 

2. Seek to be established in the truth, and particularly 
in the "present truth," as the expression is 2 Pet. i. 12; 



182 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

that is, in the truths that are presently opposed and con 
troverted ; and you have the more need to seek to be estab 
lished in the truth, in regard of the cunning and subtilty 
of seducers, who " with feigned words make merchandise 
of souls," 2 Pet. ii. 3; or as it is Rom. xvi. 18. "By good 
words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple," 
that is, such as mean well but want wisdom to discern 
the cunning of those who mean ill, and therefore are easily 
imposed upon by the " fair speeches of those who lie in 
wait to deceive." Now, in order to your being established 
in the present truth, see that you be well grounded in the 
principles which you profess, that you may not be beguiled 
as unstable souls, or be at the mercy of every wind of doc 
trine. Again, it will be very establishing in the truth to 
get a view of it as having a stamp of divine authority upon 
it, to see it with a "Thus saith the Lord" upon the front 
of it. Further, endeavour to keep your eye upon him who 
is "the truth." You will deviate and turn aside that 
moment you lose sight of him; therefore be much in 
prayer, seeking to be stablished, strengthened, and settled 
by the Lord himself. Lastly, Rest not till you feel the 
efficacy of every truth you profess upon your own hearts. 

3. See that you maintain a steadfast profession of the 
truth, Heb. x. 23. " Hold fast the profession of your faith 
without wavering." This is a wavering and shaking time 
wherein we live, and they who once begin to stagger are 
at the next door to apostasy. But to engage you to make 
a steadfast profession of your faith, consider that truth is 
that great trust which God has committed unto us, with a 
strict and solemn charge to keep it against all that would 
undermine or oppose it ; for which reason it is called the 
" faith once delivered unto the saints." Since, therefore, 
this is such a valuable trust which is committed unto us, 
we ought to be faithful to our trust, in maintaining a 
steadfast profession of the truth in this reeling time. And 
in order to this, " receive the love of the truth." Love to 
the truth will make you bear witness to it at all hazards, 
though it should be at the expense of your name, reputa- 



SER. I. INESTIMABLE VALUE OF TRUTH. 183 

tion, worldly interest, or even of your life itself. Labour 
also to get your hearts inflamed with love to God himself, 
who is the God of truth. David s love to Jonathan made 
him inquire for some of his race, to whom he might show 
kindness for Jonathan s sake ; so love to God will make 
the soul inquisitive to know what is near and dear to God, 
that, by showing kindness to it, he may express his love 
to him : and nothing is dearer to him than his truth, for 
it is one of the greatest mercies that can be bestowed upon 
a people, Psal. cxlvii. 19, 20. " He showeth his word unto 
Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel ; he hath 
not dealt so with any nation." And dreadful are the pun 
ishments he inflicts upon the enemies of his truth, even all 
the plagues that are written in the word of truth, Rev. 
xxii. 18. 

I shall conclude with a few properties of the truth, which 
may be considered as motives to engage you to a steadfast 
profession it. (1.) Truth is "pure," Psal. xix. 7; not 
only pure in itself, but also maketh the soul pure and holy 
that embraceth it. (2.) Truth is a sure and lasting pos 
session; it "endureth for ever," Psal. xix. 7: it has a 
firm bottom, able to bear your weight. Sirs, cleave to the 
truth, and it will abide with you, and go with you to pri 
son, banishment, yea, to death itself, and bear your charges 
wherever you go upon its errand. (3.) Truth is " free," 
John viii. 32. " You shall know the truth, and the truth 
shall make you free." When once Christ and the soul are 
brought together by the word of truth, then the day of 
your redemption is come, a deliverance from your spiritual 
bondage is accomplished. (4.) Truth is "victorious," 
the counsel of the Lord shall stand. The age of truth runs 
parallel with God s eternity, it shall live to see their heads 
laid in the dust who were so busy in seeking to bury it, yea, 
it shall reign in peace with the sufferers for it, when the 
unrelenting oppressors thereof shall gnash their teeth with 
never-ending pain for their opposition unto it. Witnesses 
for truth may sometimes be few, but there shall always be 
some ; and therefore, though persecutors may sometimes 



184 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

be permitted to get the present set of witnesses off the 
stage, yet instantly will others start up in their room, 
whom they did not think of before ; for " his name shall 
endure for ever," and consequently there shall be a " seed 
to serve him," who will make his " name to be remembered 
in all generations." 



SERMON II.* 

THE MATTER OF GOSPEL PREACHING- 
CHRIST JESUS THE LORD. 

2 COR. iv. 5. " For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the LorJ, 
and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake." 

IN this epistle the Apostle vindicates himself from the 
calumnies and aspersions of the false teachers of those 
times, not only in asserting the validity of his mission to 
the holy ministry, which some of them seemed to question, 
but also in affirming that he discharged his pastoral office 
from a sincere regard to the real edification of lost sinners, 
and not from any selfish view or carnal bias whatever, as 
you may see in the words of our reading : " For we preach 
not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord," <fcc. 

In which words you may notice, 1st, The duty of gospel 
ministers, it is to " preach" (" We preach"). The word 
signifies, to proclaim or publish a thing with a loud and 
audible voice, that all may hear, in allusion to criers or 
heralds who publish the edicts of magistrates. Ministers 
indeed are, by their office, criers or "heralds, not to proclaim 
the edicts and commands of earthly princes, but to " lift 
up their voice like a trumpet," in declaring "the whole 
counsel of God." 2<%. You have the subject, or the mat 
ter of gospel-preaching, expressed negatively, it is " not 
ourselves, but" it is, or ought to be, "Christ Jesus the 
Lord." Under these names, here given to the glorious 
Redeemer, is comprehended the whole matter of gospel- 

* Preached at the ordination of the Rev. James Man- at West Liuton, 
May 29, 1740. 



186 SELECTIONS FROM ME. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

preaching. Christ signifies " Anointed," and under this 
name are included all the doctrines relating to his eternal 
designation and appointment to the office of Mediator, and 
the unmeasurable communication of the Spirit to him, for 
the discharge of his mediatory offices. Jesus signifies a 
" Saviour," and under this name are contained all the doc 
trines relating to his wonderful incarnation, his exemplary 
life, and meritorious death ; or all the truths that are com 
prehended under the impetration or purchase of our re 
demption, the honour of all the divine attributes manifested 
thereby, together with the circumstances of the persons 
whom he came to save. Again, the same glorious person 
is to be preached as he is " the Lord," which takes in all 
the doctrines pertaining to his exaltation, his supreme 
headship over his church, and the powerful application of 
the redemption purchased by him; so that if we knew 
what it were to preach " Christ Jesus the Lord," we would 
find that under these three comprehensive words are con 
tained all the truths that we are commanded in Scripture 
to believe concerning God, and all the duties which God 
requires of man. Sdly. You have the laborious office of 
the ministry described, in these words, " Ourselves your 
servants for Jesus sake." Ministers are " servants," which 
imports faithfulness and diligent labour, they are employed 
in serving sinners of Adam s family ; says the Apostle here, 
we are " your servants," to serve you with all the bless 
ings of the new covenant, to spend and be spent in your 
service. The names in Scripture given to ministers, such 
as pastors, stewards, watchmen, labourers, all import a 
service, excluding anything like domination, or " lording 
it over God s heritage," but including humility, industry, 
fidelity, love, and helpfulness. Christ only hath domina 
tion and pre-eminence, all his office-bearers are but ser 
vants or ministers ; like the priests and Levites, they are 
to "serve the Lord and his people" Israel, 2 Chron. xxxv. 3. 
But then, they are servants for "Jesus sake," which 
imports the great love that Christ has to lost sinners, and 
that this love is shed abroad in the hearts of his faithful 



SEE. II. THE MATTER OP GOSPEL-PREACHING. 187 

servants, who, upon that account, beseech sinners, in 
" Christ s stead, to be reconciled unto God." 

Having thus explained the words, I shall essay, as the 
Lord shall assist, to discourse upon them suitably to the 
occasion of our meeting, in the following order. I shall 
speak, 1st. Of the Matter of gospel-preaching, as it is here 
expressed in our text, both negatively and positively. 2dly. 
Of the Manner in which Christ Jesus the Lord is to be 
preached. 3dly. Of the Office of Gospel-ministers, as they 
are servants, first of Christ, and then of sinners, for Jesus 
sake. And then, Deduce some Inferences for the Applica 
tion. 

I. I am to essay to offer some thoughts upon the Matter 
of gospel-preaching, as it is here expressed in our text, 
both negatively and positively ; it is not to be " ourselves," 
but "Christ Jesus the Lord." And upon this Head I shall, 

First, Speak of what is not to be the matter of our 
preaching, " We are not to preach ourselves" 

Self is the great rival that the Lord Jesus has in the 
hearts of the children of men ; it not only prefers sinful 
pleasures, and the lawful comforts of life, unto him, but 
wants to share with him in our most solemn duties and 
religious exercises. There is no need for crying up this 
idol of self, and exalting it above the authority of God in 
his word, as is done at this day ; for I make no doubt to 
affirm, that self-love is the leading principle of action to 
all men in a natural state. It was self-love that made 
Pharaoh oppress Israel, lest they should become too many 
and strong for him ; it was self-interest that made Jero 
boam set up the calves at Dan and Bethel, lest unity of 
worship should reduce the ten tribes to the house of David 
again ; it was nothing but self-love that made Demetrius 
and the craftsmen cry up Diana, and cry down the gospel 
of Christ, Acts xix. 24, 27 : so that self is the chief end 
of every natural man; therefore, that which constitutes 
the difference between a natural and a renewed man is 
this self is the end of the one, Christ is the end of the 
other. The natural man studies nothing more than to 



188 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISIIER s WRITINGS. 

gratify his self-love, that is, love to himself is that which 
moves him on to all the actions of life, whether natural or 
moral ; his happiness is only in himself, and therefore he 
must live to himself, and can have no higher end than to 
gratify self one way or other. But the desire of the new 
creature is to be denied to self, to be denied to sinful self 
absolutely, without any reserve or exception ; to have the 
ocean of corruption, and all the streams that flow from it, 
quite dried up in the soul, crying with the Apostle, Rom. 
vii. 24. " Who shall deliver me from the body of this 
death ? " The believer desires also to be denied to natural 
self conditionally, or upon supposition of a call in adorable 
Providence ; that is, he desires, through grace, to part 
with outward ease, reputation, houses, lands, wife, chil 
dren, yea, life itself, or whatever is dear to him in this 
world, when it stands in opposition to, or in competition 
with, the glory of the Redeemer and the interest of his 
kingdom. Thus" the Apostle Paul, Acts xxi. 13. "I am 
ready, not to be bound only, but to die" at Jerusalem u for 
the name of the Lord Jesus." And then, as to religious 
self, the believer desires to be denied to all his duties and 
graces, in point of righteousness or justification before 
God, and to rely upon the righteousness of the Lord Christ 
alone, as the sole ground of his pardon and acceptance in 
the sight of God. In a word, as the believer s happiness 
lies without himself, so he desires to aim at the glory of 
God and of the Redeemer as his greatest and chief end ; 
agreeable to this is the exhortation of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 
x. 31. " Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever 
ye do, do all to the glory of God ;" and, in order to this, 
we find that it was one great end of the death of Christ to 
take sinners off from self, to rest only on a God in Christ 
as the all of their happiness and salvation, 2 Cor. v. 15. 
" He died for all, that they which live should not hence 
forth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for 
them and rose again." As Adam s sin hath set up self in 
opposition to the authority of God, so the death of Christ 
hath put down self, and advanced God in the soul to his 



SER. II. THE MATTER OF GOSPEL-PREACHING. 189 

right of being our chief end. Since, then, self is such a 
beloved idol that men naturally want to exalt it above all 
that is called God, to the ruin of their own souls, we ought 
all of us carefully to beware of it, especially we that are 
ministers, in delivering God s message to lost sinners, anent 
their eternal salvation. The Apostle here disclaims it in 
his own practice " We preach not ourselves," says he ; 
and so ought every minister of the gospel, through grace, 
to endeavour to guard against self in the discharge of his 
pastoral office. 

In speaking therefore to what the Apostle here disclaims, 
as the matter of his preaching, when he says, " We preach 
not ourselves," it will be native to inquire, When ministers 
may be said to preach themselves ? 

1. When they run unsent, and obtrude themselves upon 
the Lord s heritage, not only without their consent, but 
when they are actually testifying and reclaiming against 
it ; and in this case, when people are willing to call a gos 
pel-minister to feed their souls, they who intrude upon 
them can be said to act from no better principle than self- 
interest ; the fleece, and not the flock, must certainly be 
in their eye; and therefore they practically declare that 
their preaching is not for the edification of souls, but only 
a mean in law to obtain a livelihood ; of all such the Lord 
says, Jer. xxiii. 21, 32. " I have not sent these prophets, 
yet they ran ; I have not spoken unto them, yet they pro 
phesied : therefore they shall not profit this people at all." 
But then, although intruders, who previous to, or without 
regard to any call, accept of a presentation to a benefice, 
do openly proclaim to the whole world that they make a 
trade of preaching only for a livelihood ; yet it is possible 
that others, who have a fair enough outward call to the 
ministry, may have gain also chiefly in their view, there 
fore they will be looked upon, in the sight of God, to 
" preach themselves," (whatever their call or character, in 
the sight of the world, may otherwise be,) who preach for 
filthy lucre s sake, or for their own private interest, like 
the scribes and Pharisees, who, " for a pretence, made long 



190 SELECTIONS FROM ME. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

prayers, that they might devour widows houses," making 
gain of an outward show of godliness. Of all such it may 
be said, as of the priests and prophets of Jerusalem, Micah 
iii. 11. "The priests thereof teach for hire, the prophets 
thereof divine for money; yet will they lean upon the 
Lord, and say, Is not the Lord among us 1 No evil shall 
come upon us." Now, as one self-seeker had very nigh 
brought ruin upon the whole camp of Israel; so, when 
there are a multitude of self-seekers in a church, you may 
see what desolation they bring upon it, ver. 12. " Therefore 
shall Zion, for your sake, be plowed as a field, and Jerusa 
lem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as 
the high places of the forest." 

2. Ministers " preach themselves," when they study the 
applause of the people more than their souls edification; 
such are all those, who, either in composing or delivering 
their sermons, have no higher aim than how to please 
their audience, so as to get a name to themselves that they 
preach well. This was far from the practice of the apos 
tles of our Lord, recorded in Scripture for the imitation of 
their successors in ordinary office, 1 Thess. ii. 4. " But as 
we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, 
even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God which 
trieth our hearts." 

3. They preach "themselves" who vent the "deceits of 
their own heart," as the expression is Jer. xxiii. 26 ; that 
is, who industriously endeavour to deceive people into a 
liking of, and compliance with, the inventions of their own 
heart, however inconsistent with the pure word of God ; 
whereby the hearts of the righteous are made sad, and the 
hands of the wicked strengthened. Such are all those who 
support absolute Church authority, by vindicating from 
the pulpit or otherwise the several Acts and Decisions 
which have been of late years passed by the present judi- 
catories, like the statutes of Omri, so manifestly in oppo 
sition to the laws and commandments of Zion s King, pub 
lished in his word. Such are those also who defend the 
ceremonies of human invention introduced into the wor- 



SEE. II. THE MATTER OF GOSPEL-PREACHING. 191 

ship of God ; and those likewise who cry up union with a 
church as an essential branch of the Christian character, 
although they cannot pretend to enforce that union from 
the Scripture marks of the church of the living God, par 
ticularly that it is " the pillar and ground of truth," 1 Tim. 
iii. 15. Of all such it may be said, " In vain do you wor 
ship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." 
Under this head may be included, as preaching " them 
selves," or the " deceits of their own heart," who, in their 
sermons, inveigh severely against the injuries they look 
upon as done to themselves, but can pass with little or no 
notice the public injuries done to the cause and interest 
of Christ. Such are all those who reflect upon the people 
for leaving their ministry, (notwithstanding of the just 
grounds they may have for so doing.) as one of the great 
est grievances of the times, although it is plain that 
withdrawing is the only open testimony that the people 
can give against backsliders who refuse to be reclaimed ; 
and you will observe that there are many of them, at this 
day, of the same spirit with Pashur the false prophet, who 
smote Jeremiah, and " put him in the stocks," chap. xx. 2. 
because he declared the whole counsel of God, and could 
not fall in with, but testified against, the measures of the 
false prophets of those times. 

4. They preach "themselves" who study fine language 
and oratory in their sermons more than substantial matter, 
whose chief concern is about the propriety of the style, 
without being solicitous whether they are understood by 
the bulk of their hearers or not, providing only they please 
a few whom they look upon to be men of taste ; and it is 
to be lamented, that, for ordinary, in such sermons, the 
peculiar doctrines of Christianity, upon which the faith of 
poor sinners is terminated only for salvation, are industri 
ously kept out. This is preaching with the " enticing 
words of man s wisdom," quite contrary to the practice of 
the apostles of our Lord, set down for the imitation of all 
gospel-ministers, who did not " speak the wisdom of this 
world, nor of the princes of this world that come to nought ; 
4 2s 



192 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER* S WRITINGS. 

but the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wis 
dom which God ordained before the world unto our glory," 
1 Cor. ii. 6, 7. 

5. Ministers preach " themselves" when they handle the 
word of God deceitfully, and give an uncertain sound, 
when they do not give faithful warning against the sins, 
and for the duties of the times ; but study to please men 
with flattering words, and make their sermons tools for 
advancing their own political ends, either in pleasing the 
people or the leading party, as it makes most for their 
worldly interest. 

In a word, they "preach themselves" who, either in 
studying or delivering their sermons, have not the glory 
of God and the salvation of sinners at heart, and who do 
not endeavour in a way of looking to the Lord, and, as in 
his sight, to search out that matter from the Holy Scrip 
tures, which they judge will be most suitable for the con 
version of sinners, and the edification of saints. Thus I 
have showed, in some particulars, what is not to be the 
matter of our preaching ; we are not to preach ourselves in 
any of the above or like instances. 

I proceed now to speak of the positive matter of gospel- 
preaching, what it is that we are to preach, or what ought 
to be the sum and substance of all our sermons ; the text 
says, it is " Christ Jesus the Lord." This is a comprehen 
sive subject indeed, a subject that will furnish abundance 
of matter for all our sermons while the world stands, and 
for all the praises of the redeemed company from among 
men through the ages of eternity. It is therefore but a 
very few hints that we can give of this inexhaustible mat 
ter of gospel-preaching, " Christ Jesus the Lord." 

In general, "Christ Jesus the Lord" is the sum and 
substance of the whole Bible, John v. 39. " Search the 
Scriptures," says he, u for they are they which testify of 
me." He is the object of our faith and the foundation of 
all Christian practice ; by him do we believe in God, and 
without him we can do nothing. So that, to preach " Christ 
Jesus the Lord," is to preach him as the sum of all the 



SEE. II. THE MATTER OF GOSPEL-PREACHING. 193 

promises, the fulfilment of all the types, and the accom 
plishment of all the prophecies in the Bible concerning the 
Messiah. It is to make him the matter and substance of 
our preaching. " I determined," says the Apostle, " not 
to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him 
crucified," 1 Cor. ii. 2. All the materials of gospel-preach 
ing have a manifest relation to Christ. Are we to preach 
the duties of religion, or the doctrines relating to Christian 
practice ? then we ought, at the same time, to show that 
all the duties which God requires of man are to be done in 
the strength of Christ " I can do all things through Christ 
which strengtheneth me," Phil. iv. 13. We should teach 
that it is the love of Christ shed abroad in our hearts that 
constraineth us unto all acceptable obedience " He that 
hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that 
loveth me," John xiv. 21. When the duties of religion are 
enforced and urged, it ought to be done in a connection 
with the promise. There cannot be a more forcible motive 
to obedience than to know and believe that a gracious 
God has required nothing of us in point of duty but what 
he has promised furniture and strength for the perform 
ance ; or, in other words, that the same duties required of 
us in one place of the Bible, are to be found promised as 
blessings in another, for it is " God that worketh in us 
both to will and to do ;" hence he says, " I will cause 
you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judg 
ments and do them," Ezek. xxxvi. 27. Are we to preach 
the mysteries of the gospel 1 then we cannot do this but 
with a relation to Christ, for all the mysteries to be believed 
have Christ wrapped up in them " These things are writ 
ten, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son 
of God," John xx. 31. The peculiar doctrines of the gos 
pel, or the doctrines which are purely supernatural, and 
distinguish the gospel from the law of nature, cannot be 
preached but with a respect unto Christ, as is evident from 
the comprehensive summary of them recorded 1 Tim. iii. 
16. " Without controversy, great is the mystery of godli 
ness : God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, 



194 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in 
the world, received up into glory." Are we to preach the 
promises of the gospel 1 then we ought, at the same time, 
to show that all of them have their foundation and stability 
in Christ ; " for all the promises of God in him are Yea, 
and in him Amen," 2 Cor. i. 20. Are we to publish the 
threatenings of the law, or " the wrath of God, which is 
revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and unright 
eousness of men?" then we ought, at the same time, to 
lead sinners to Christ, who is the only sanctuary and refuge 
from sin and wrath ; so that all the doctrines of faith are 
to be preached with a relation to Christ. Again, are we 
to encourage sinners to frequent a throne of grace, and to 
tell them what they are to seek from a gracious God, who 
" giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not ? " then 
we are, at the same time, to assure them, that whatever 
promised blessing they shall ask in Christ s name, it shall 
be given unto them, John xvi. 23. " Whatsoever you shall 
ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." Are we 
to preach the nature, ends, and uses of the sacraments of 
the New Testament 1 then we cannot do this without show 
ing that Baptism and the Lord s Supper are instituted 
memorials of him who was sacrificed for us. So that, " to 
preach Christ" is to make him the argument, matter, or 
subject of our preaching ; or to declare the whole counsel 
of God, concerning the salvation of lost sinners, through 
Jesus Christ our Lord. But, more particularly, 

We are to preach, that there was love in the heart of 
God from eternity, towards a company of Adam s family, 
when he foresaw, that, with the rest of mankind, they 
would plunge themselves into a state of sin and misery, 
and that they would be irrecoverably lost, for anything 
they could do for their own relief, Jer. xxxi. 3. " I have 
loved thee with an everlasting love ;" 1 John iv. 10. 
" Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved 
us." 

That this amazing love, which is essential to God, might 
be vented to mankind-sinners, in a consistency with the 



SER. II. THE MATTER OF GOSPEL-PREACHINO. 195 

honour of the other glorious attributes of the divine na 
ture, the Lord Christ, the second person of the adorable 
Trinity, God every way equal with the Father and Holy 
Ghost, engaged from eternity to be Mediator, to assume 
our nature into personal union with himself, to obey the 
law and suffer in our room, and to do and be everything 
that was necessary for bringing " many sons and daughters 
unto glory," Psal. xl. 7. " Then said I, Lo, I come." 

We are to preach, that, in consequence of this transac 
tion, no sooner had man sinned than presently the eternal 
purpose and scheme of salvation was discovered and re 
vealed, in the promise of the seed of the woman to bruise 
the head of the serpent, Gen. iii. 15. The mercy and love 
which was eternally in the bosom of God, did flow out in 
a plenteous stream, upon miserable Adam and his pos 
terity, in the first promise ; for, while Justice is pronounc 
ing an irreversible sentence of damnation upon the fallen 
angels, Mercy breaks immediately forth in the promise of 
an incarnate Deity for the redemption of fallen man, and 
that before one word of threatening was denounced against 
him, as is evident from Gen. iii. ; that so the sinner might 
not be discouraged from closing with the promises in a 
way of believing, whatever otherwise was the demerit of 
sin, upon the breach of the first covenant. 

Again, to " preach Christ" is to declare the spring and 
origin of our sin and misery, which is the fall of our first 
parents from that state of happiness and glory in which 
they were created, whereby all mankind "have sinned 
and come short of the glory of God," in regard the cove 
nant of works was made with and broken by the first 
Adam, as the federal head and representative of all his 
posterity, Rom, v. 12. " As by one man sin entered into 
the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, 
for that all have sinned." 

Further, we are to teach from the word, that God has 
not left all mankind to perish in a state of sin and misery, 
into which they voluntarily plunged themselves, but, out 
of his mere good pleasure, has chosen some to everlasting 



198 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

life, whom he brings into a state of salvation by a covenant 
of grace. We are to show that this covenant was made 
with Christ, as the second Adam, and in him with all the 
elect as his seed : Psal. Ixxxix. 3. " I have made a covenant 
with my chosen." That all the good things necessary to 
eternal life, or necessary to the being of a believer, are 
freely and absolutely promised ; such as the new heart, 
pardon of sin, perseverance, and the like : " A new heart 
will I give unto you ; I will forgive their iniquities ; I will 
cause them to walk in my statutes; and" which compre 
hends all" I will be their God, they shall be my people." 
And consequently we are to show that faith, which is the 
gift of God, is only the instrumental means of receiving 
and appropriating Christ and the benefits of his purchase, 
but is no part of our justifying righteousness. It is only 
the hand that receives that righteousness whereby we are 
justified, even the doing and dying of the Lord Jesus, 
which is graciously imputed to us, and received by faith 
alone, as our Catechism expresses it according to the 
Scripture. So that we are to show that the help of per 
ishing sinners is laid on Christ, as the only ordinance of 
God for their salvation; for "there is no other name under 
heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved," 
Acts iv. 12; and that the Old as well as New Testament 
saints were saved by faith in his blood. 

Again, to " preach Christ Jesus the Lord," is to set him 
forth as " God" made "manifest in the flesh ;" that he ac 
tually assumed our nature into personal union with him 
self, in virtue whereof the human nature subsists in the 
second person of the Trinity, without the least composition 
or confusion, both natures making but one person, in re 
gard the human nature never had any personal subsistence 
of its own, but, from the first moment of its miraculous 
formation by the Holy Ghost, it subsisted in union with 
the second person of the Godhead ; and therefore, though 
each nature retain its own essential properties, yet what 
ever Christ did and suffered, or continueth to do as Medi 
ator, is not to be considered as the act of this or that 



SEE. II. THE MATTER OP GOSPEL-PREACHING. 197 

nature only, but as the act and work of the whole person 
of him who is both God and man; or, which is the same 
thing, whatever he doth, as prophet, priest, and king of 
his church, he performs it on account of the union of both 
natures in him as Mediator. 

Moreover, we are to preach that the Lord Jesus assumed 
the human nature into personal union with the divine, 
that he might be capable of performing the whole office of 
a Mediator between God and man. That since God gra 
ciously purposed to show mercy to mankind-sinners, a com 
plete satisfaction in our nature and in our room, was abso 
lutely necessary for the vindication of the truth and vera 
city of God, interposed in the threatening of the law, and 
for the satisfaction of vindictive justice, which is essential 
to God, who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and can 
not but punish sin wherever he finds it, either in the per 
son of the sinner or in the cautioner ; and, consequently, 
though the law was relaxed as to the person suffering, in 
asmuch as God graciously accepted of a surety, yet neither 
the law nor justice of God could dispense with the penalty 
which was denounced against the transgressor, and there 
fore Christ suffered the same thing that was threatened to 
transgressors. It was not something else, which God ac 
cepted in lieu of the penalty of the law, that Christ suf 
fered, but the very penalty itself that was threatened 
therein, as appears from the translation of punishment 
from the sinner to the surety, so often spoken of in Scrip 
ture. Rom. viii. 3. " God condemned sin in the flesh," that 
is, in the human nature of Christ as assumed into the 
divine ; and ver. 32. " He spared not his own Son, but de 
livered him up for us all." 2 Cor. v. 21. " He hath made 
him to be sin for us ;" that is, our sins were imputed to 
him, on account of which he was made an offering or a 
sacrifice ; so that the whole punishment contained in the 
curse or sanction of the law was undergone by Christ, who 
was " made a curse for us." And if it is said that Christ 
did not undergo eternal death, which is contained in the 
threatening, it must be remembered that it is not essential 



198 SELECTIONS FKOM ME. FISIIEK, S WRITINGS. 

to the punishment of the law that it be eternal, the eter 
nity of punishment arises only from the infirmity of the 
creature, who is not able at once to bear the whole punish 
ment of sin ; but Christ, who is God-Man, was able to bear 
the whole load of divine wrath at once, and therefore the 
extremity of the sufferings of such a glorious person was 
in full compensation of that eternal death which we should 
have undergone. I have insisted the more largely on this 
head, because of the damnable error vented by many in 
our day, as well as by the Socinians of old, namely, that 
Christ is only an exemplary Saviour, and that his main 
errand into the world was only to give us an example of 
holiness and virtue, as they call it ; whereas there is no 
thing more plainly revealed in Scripture, than that the 
Lord Jesus was made accountable and liable to justice for 
the iniquities of an elect world, as if they had been his 
own ; that, in their room or stead, he actually obeyed the 
law which they brake in Adam, and suffered the whole 
punishment which was due to their transgression. 

We " preach Christ Jesus the Lord" when we show, for 
the comfort of Adam s family, that " he has finished the 
work which his Father gave him to do :" John xix. 30. 
" He said, It is finished :" and that his obedience unto 
the death, because of the dignity of his person, being of 
infinite value, must be a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour 
unto God, and fully satisfactory to offended justice, as is 
evident from his resurrection from the dead, his sitting 
down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, the down- 
pouring of his Spirit, and the efficacy of his word on the 
hearers of the gospel. 

Again, to " preach Christ," is to declare that, in conse 
quence of his finishing the great work of redemption, he is 
" now made manifest, and, according to the commandment 
of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the 
obedience of faith," Rom. xvi. 26. So that there is nothing 
now, either in law or justice, to hinder the greatest sinner 
from receiving the " unspeakable gift" of God ; yea, on the 
contrary, all that hear this gospel are called, commanded, 



SEB. II. THE MATTER OF GOSPEL-PREACHING. 199 

and beseeched to be reconciled unto God. "This is my 
beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased ; hear ye him :" 
" Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth :" 
"The Spirit saith, Come." But, at the same time, we 
must show that the heart must be powerfully opened to 
receive Christ as he is offered in the gospel : John vi. 44. 
"No man can come unto me, except the Father, which 
hath sent me, draw him." We should tell sinners that 
they must be God s " workmanship, created in Christ Jesus 
unto good works," convinced of sin, righteousness, and 
judgment, by the Spirit, "who taketh of the things of 
Christ and showeth them unto us;" and that, when he 
comes into the heart, he brings all grace along with him, 
and carries on the work of sanctitication there, till at 
death there be not left in the soul any spot or wrinkle, or 
any such thing. 

To " preach Christ Jesus the Lord," is to set him forth 
in all his offices unto which he is anointed and consecrated 
from eternity. That he is the great Prophet or " Teacher 
come from God," an " Interpreter, one among a thou 
sand," who has the tongue of the learned, and speaketh as 
never man spake. That he is the " high priest of our pro 
fession," who has offered up that wonderful and acceptable 
sacrifice of " himself," whereby we have remission of sin, 
access to the presence of God, and all the blessings of the 
new covenant ; and in virtue whereof it is that he maketh 
continual intercession for us. That he is invested with 
the office of a King, both for subduing, ruling, and defend 
ing his own people, and also for restraining and conquer 
ing all his and their enemies : Rev. xix. 16. " He hath on 
his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF 
KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." He is given to be Head over 
all things to his church, to whom he is the only King, 
Judge, and Lawgiver ; and therefore, when Christ is preached 
as a King, his headship and sovereignty in and over his 
church, as his free and independent kingdom, ought to be 
plainly asserted, in opposition to all the invasions that 
have been or are made upon it by civil or ecclesiastical 



200 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

powers. The government of his house ought to be vindi 
cated, and ministers should not give an uncertain sound, 
but teli people, that, according to the Scriptures, the gov 
ernment of the church, in a due subordination of judica- 
tories, such as kirk-sessions, presbyteries, and synods pro 
vincial and national, consisting of officers duly called to 
their office, is the only government in the New Testament 
whereby the Lord Christ would have his church governed 
to the end of the world. 

Again, to "preach Christ" is to proclaim all the rela 
tions wherein he stands to mankind-sinners ; that he is a 
suitable Saviour, who saves not only from the curse of 
the law, from the tyranny of Satan, and from wrath, but 
also from sin as the greatest of all evils ; his name is Jesus, 
" for he shall save his people from their sins." We are to 
preach him as a most sympathizing, familiar, and constant 
friend, as a skilful and successful physician, as an affec 
tionate and everlasting husband, "I will betrothe thee 
unto me for ever," and as a wise, powerful, and unerring 
guide, who leadeth his people in the way wherein they 
should go. 

Further, to "preach Christ" is to set him forth in all 
the appearances that he has made on our behalf; in his 
wonderful birth, his exemplary life, his meritorious death, 
his triumphant resurrection and ascension, and his awful 
and majestic appearance at the last day ; for " every eye 
shall see him, when he cometh in flaming fire against his 
enemies, but to be glorified in his saints, and admired in 
all them that believe," 2 Thess. i. 8, 10. 

In a word, to "preach Christ Jesus the Lord," is to 
preach him as " made of God unto us wisdom, righteous 
ness, sanctification, and redemption." To preach him as 
our all, the all of our life, righteousness, and strength, 
the all of our furniture for work or warfare, the all of 
our stock: for "the Father loveth the Son, and hath 
given all things into his hands ;" " In him dwelleth all the 
fulness of the Godhead bodily," and we are " complete in 
him." 



SER, II. THE MATTER OP GOSPEL-PREACHING. 201 

I may add, that to " preach Christ " is to " testify " against 
all the errors, tenets, or opinions that are vented against 
the doctrine, worship, discipline and government instituted 
by him in his word ; and to this we are bound under a 
very awful certification : Luke ix. 26. " Whosoever shall 
be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son 
of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, 
and in his Father s, and of the holy angels." Thus I have 
hinted at some few things only that are contained in this 
inexhaustible matter of gospel-preaching, " Christ Jesus 
the Lord." I proceed to the 

II. Head of the Method, which was to speak of the 
Manner in which Christ Jesus the Lord, or the doctrines 
relating to faith and practice, are to be preached. 

1. We are to "preach Christ" plainly, so as to be under 
stood by our hearers, though they should be unlearned and 
of weak capacities. We ought not, when dealing with 
sinners in Christ s stead, to use the " enticing words of 
men s wisdom," or make an ostentation of wit and human 
eloquence, which may gratify the ears of some, and be 
quite unintelligible to others ; but we should essay to 
preach Christ "in demonstration of the Spirit and of 
power," 1 Cor. ii. 4 ; that is, we are to demonstrate, from 
the word, man s lost state by nature, the way of his re 
covery and redemption by Jesus Christ, and the indis 
putable right and title that he has to the whole of this sal 
vation, brought near in the promise to mankind-sinners as 
such ; and this kind of demonstration will be powerful, 
through God, to persuade sinners to embrace Christ, as he 
is offered in the gospel. It is not by rational arguments, 
but by a "manifestation of the truth," as it lies in the 
word of God, that we will " commend ourselves to every 
man s conscience in the sight of God," 2 Cor. iv. 2. It is 
by a plain gospel-sermon that the secrets of men s hearts 
are made manifest, and that they are so convinced as to 
acknowledge that God is in such a preaching of a truth, 
1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. 

2. We should "preach Christ Jesus the Lord" with spi- 



202 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

ritual wisdom, seasonably distributing milk to babes, and 
stronger meat to those who are of a more advanced age, 
or who are privileged with a larger measure of grace. 
Herein lies the wisdom of the steward of God s household, 
when he gives them their portion of meat in due season, 
applying the Scriptures to the various circumstances of 
the hearers. 

3. We are to "preach Christ" faithfully, not "daubing 
with untempered mortar," nor dissembling or corrupting 
the word of truth, but delivering the whole counsel of God, 
and speaking his words, whether men will hear or forbear, 
Ezek. ii. 7. 

4. With spiritual authority, as "ambassadors for Christ," 
delivering his message in his name, charging sinners to 
believe in Jesus, to turn from sin to God, and to hearken 
to his voice, as they are to be answerable to him who will 
call for an account of every word that they hear. 

5. We are to " preach Christ" with the spirit of meekness, 
as being taught of him who is " meek and lowly in heart ;" 
considering, in the first place, our own insufficiency for 
these things, and the need that we have to take ourselves 
the same instructions that we give from the word unto 
others, and this will engage us to be " gentle among our 
flock, even as a nurse cherisheth her children," 1 Thess. 
ii. 7 ; " For the servant of the Lord must not strive, but 
be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness 
instructing those that oppose themselves," 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. 

6. We are to "preach Christ" boldly and courageously, 
declaring unto the house of Israel their transgression, and 
to the house of Jacob their sin, not fearing the counte 
nances of any, whether great or small, lest we be con 
founded before them: Jer. i. 17. "Thou therefore speak 
unto them all that I command thee : be not dismayed at 
their faces, lest I confound thee," (or, as it is upon the 
margin, "break to pieces,") "before them." Yet this 
boldness should be without bitterness and indiscretion, 
that, when we show our zeal against men s sins, we may, 
at the same time, manifest our love to their persons, so as 



SER. II. THE MATTER OP GOSPEL-PREACHING. 203 

that their consciences may be convinced, that it is from 
an ardent desire of salvation to their souls that we testify 
freely against their sins. 

Lastly, We should preach by our lives as well as by our 
doctrine ; and thus show, by our holy and circumspect 
walk and conversation, that we speak because we believe. 
Ministers, who build up in their own practice any piece of 
wickedness which, by their doctrine, they would seem to 
destroy, make themselves notorious transgressors, Gal. ii. 
18; and thereby give a strong handle to the enemies of 
the Lord to blaspheme. 

III. Head of the Method was to speak of the office of 
gospel-ministers as they are " servants," first of Christ, and 
then of sinners for Jesus sake. 

1. Gospel-ministers are " servants of Christ," and it is 
certainly their greatest honour to be employed as " ambas 
sadors of the Prince of the kings of the earth/ Ministers 
derive their power and commission to exercise their office 
from the Lord Jesus, who is Lord and Master of the whole 
church, hence called "ministers of Christ;" 1 Cor. iv. 1. 
" Let a man so account of us as ministers of Christ, and 
stewards of the mysteries of God." Now, as " no man 
taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of 
God;" so it is every minister s duty to be some way clear 
anent his call to that sacred office, and by what means he 
was engaged to be a servant of Christ in that station. 
The mediate or ordinary call to the ministry is twofold, 
inward and outward. 

The inward call consists in a concurrence of those things 
that may tend to encourage and give clearness to a man 
to embrace the outward call when it shall offer in provi 
dence ; namely, an evidence of fit qualifications for such a 
weighty work, such as experimental godliness, soundness 
of doctrine, and aptness to teach. But now you must ob 
serve, that it is not the mere having of these gifts that 
will be sufficient to clear a man s call to himself, but the 
trial of them notified to him by those to whom the trial 
of gifts is committed by the Lord Jesus, and an orderly 



204 SELECTIONS FKOM MK. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

authoritative mission following thereupon : hence you will 
find the exercise of the gift, and the laying on of the hands 
of the presbytery joined together, 1 Tim. iv. 14. So that 
a man s own thoughts of himself are not the rule by which 
he is to judge of his fitness or unfitness for the work of 
the ministry, but the judgment of the presbytery, to whom 
the trial of gifts is committed by the Lord Jesus. Again, 
to the inward call there concurs a singleness of aim. It 
may be very clearing to a man to undertake this office, if 
he has the testimony of his conscience that it is the glory 
of God, the edification of souls, and the gathering of them 
to Christ, that he has in his eye, especially if there goes 
along with this an inward impulse, or motion of the Spirit 
of God upon the heart, swaying and inclining the person 
to undertake the office of the ministry, if the Lord, in his 
providence, shall open a door. Only, to prevent mistakes 
on this head, the persons I am speaking of ought carefully 
to examine, whether this impulse, which sways them to 
the office of the ministry beyond any other business of life, 
flow from the Spirit of the Lord or their own spirits. To 
know this, if the impulse is spiritual, or flows from the 
Spirit of the Lord, it will have these three necessary pro 
perties, it will be sanctifying, regular, and qualifying. I 
say, if it is a spiritual impulse, it will be sanctifying and 
humbling, attended with an inward desire of further con 
formity to God in holiness, both in heart and life, and low, 
abasing thoughts of ourselves, as no way "sufficient for 
these things." Again, it will be a regular impulse, inclin 
ing a person to enter into the office of the ministry, only 
according to the rules laid down in the word, and not to 
run unsent. And, lastly, if this impulse is from the Spirit 
of the Lord, it will be a fitting and a qualifying impulse, 
determining to the use of the means which lead to such 
an end, such as reading, studying, praying, and the like ; 
for the Spirit never divides the means from the end : hence, 
when Paul exhorts Timothy to fulfil his ministry, he ex 
horts him, at the same time, to give himself to reading. 
The outward call consists in the election or choice of the 



SEE. II. THE MATTER OF GOSPEL-PREACHING. 205 

people, the trial of a man s qualifications by the presbytery, 
their approbation of them, and authoritative mission, by 
fasting, prayer, and imposition of hands; and where all 
these concur, (especially if the person has the inward call 
as above described,) it is the call of God ; as is clear from 
the instance of the elders of Ephesus, who had no other 
call, and yet are owned to be set over the flock by the 
Holy Ghost, Acts xx. 28. But then, 

2. As ministers are " servants of Christ," so they are the 
servants of Adam s family for Jesus sake, in being " in 
stant in season and out of season," beseeching and obtest 
ing them in Christ s stead to be reconciled unto God. And 
that ministers may serve their Master faithfully, in serving 
the necessities of the souls of sinners, we ought to conform 
and apply our doctrine to the various cases of our hearers, 
so as to awaken the secure, strengthen the weak, comfort 
those that mourn, and convince gainsayers. Again, in 
serving of sinners for Jesus sake, we should " prepare the 
way of the Lord," by removing all stumbling-blocks out of 
the way, or rather, by declaring, from the word, that they 
are already removed, the law is magnified, justice is satis 
fied, God is reconciled, "all things are ready, therefore 
come to the marriage." This is the great service in which 
we ought to be employed about poor sinners, and every 
faithful minister will rejoice when the bridegroom has ob 
tained the heart and hand of the bride. I proceed now, 
from what has been said, to deduce the following 

Inferences 1. Hence see the necessity of preaching the 
gospel ; says the Apostle here, " We preach Christ Jesus 
the Lord," and elsewhere, " Wo is unto me if I preach not 
the gospel." It is necessary, by the express command of 
the Lord Jesus, the alone King and lawgiver in his church, 
Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. " All power is given unto me, in hea 
ven and in earth ; go ye, therefore, and teach all nations." 
And, in order to the perpetual discharge of this duty, the 
Lord Christ not only " gave apostles, prophets, and evan 
gelists," as extraordinary and temporary officers, whose 
office was to expire with themselves, but he also " gave 



206 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

pastors," or teachers, to be standing officers in his church 
unto the end of the world, " for the perfecting of the saints, 
for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the 
body of Christ," Eph. iv. 11, 12. And for the faithful dis 
charge of this trust, as well as for the succession of a gos 
pel-ministry, there is a special order given to commit this 
service unto "faithful men, who shall be able to teach 
others also," 2 Tim. ii. 2. Again, the preaching of the 
gospel is necessary, as an instituted means for the con 
version and salvation of sinners ; for " where there is no 
vision the people perish." Although the preaching of the 
gospel has not an intrinsic virtue in itself to effectuate 
the salvation of sinners, " for many are called, but few 
are chosen," yet, by the appointment of God, it is con 
stituted the great means of our reconciliation and salva 
tion hence called " the word of this salvation ;" and, by 
the power of God going along with it, it is " mighty to the 
pulling down of strongholds, turning from darkness to 
light, and from the power of Satan to God." But then it 
must be remembered, that it is the preaching of the gospel 
by those who are orderly invested with an ecclesiastical 
office that is the ordinary instituted means for the conver 
sion of sinners or the edification of saints ; for, although 
private Christians may sometimes, in providence, be in 
strumental in the conversion or edification of their fellow- 
creatures, as in the instance of the Samaritans, who be 
lieved on Christ " for the saying of the woman, which 
testified he told me all that ever I did," John iv. 39 ; yet 
the ordinary means appointed of God, for gathering sinners 
to Christ, is the preaching of the word by those who are 
clothed with the pastoral office. The reason is, because 
" faith cometh by hearing. But how shall they hear with 
out a preacher ? and how shall they preach except they be 
sent ?" Rom. x. 14, 15 ; that is, unless they have an autho 
ritative mission, whereby the ministry is conferred, and men 
authorized, as ambassadors of Christ, to preach the word 
of reconciliation. Hence it follows, 

2. That, in the church assembled, or in the meeting of 



SER. II. THE MATTER OP GOSPEL-PREACHING. 207 

the Lord s people for public worship, none may warrant- 
ably preach the word of God, in the name of Christ, but 
such as have a divine calling unto that work. For, though 
it is the duty of Christians to exhort and comfort one an 
other in a private capacity, for their mutual edification ; 
yet none can with authority preach the word but such as 
have the ordinary calling to the office of the ministry, as 
is plain from many places of Scripture, particularly Heb. 
v. 4. " No man taketh this honour to himself, but he that 
is called of God;" and the forecited Rom. x. 15. "How 
shall they preach except they be sent?" Besides, there 
are peculiar duties required of ministers which are not re 
quired of other Christians, whatever gifts of the Spirit they 
may be endowed with, such as "feeding and taking the over 
sight of the flock, as they that must give account of souls," 
Acts xx. 28 ; Heb. xiii. 17 ; as ambassadors for Christ, they 
are to "pray sinners, in Christ s stead, to be reconciled unto 
God," 2 Cor. v. 20 ; as faithful and wise stewards, whom the 
Lord hath made rulers over his household, they are to " give 
them their portion of meat in due season," Luke xii. 42. 
Therefore, you are to be aware of the dangerous opinion 
of the sectarians and enthusiasts, who affirm that private 
Christians, endowed with gifts, may preach in the name of 
Christ although they bear no church-office. 

3. Although ministers are the church s " servants for 
Jesus sake," yet they do not derive their ecclesiastical 
power from the people, or from the community of the faith 
ful ; nor are they servants and deputies, who govern the 
house of God by an authority derived from the multitude, 
as the first and immediate subject of ecclesiastical power. 
It is true, ministers are called the church s servants in our 
text ; but then, it is not because they derive their power 
from the people, for in that case they would be the ser 
vants of men and not of God, but because they are to 
exercise their office as servants of Christ, for the good 
and benefit of his church. There is nothing indeed more 
plain in Scripture than that the power of choosing pastors 
and other officers to a particular church belongs to all the 

4 2 C 



208 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

members of it, Acts i. 23 ; vi. 5 ; xiv. 23. But then, by 
this election (which is no act of jurisdiction) church-mem 
bers do not confer the power of the keys on the pastors or 
other officers chosen, but only nominate or design him or 
them on whom the power of that office is to be conferred 
by ecclesiastical ordination, as is clear from Acts vi. 6 ; 
where you will find, that, after the whole multitude had 
chosen such and such persons, they set them before the 
apostles, who "laid their hands on them," or ordained 
them to their office by prayer ; and herein the apostles 
acted, not according to their extraordinary character, for, 
in that case, there would have been no need to desire the 
people to look out for fit persons from among themselves, 
the apostles could have done it by infallible inspiration, 
had they acted as apostles ; but it is plain that they acted 
as ordinary ministers of Christ in the whole of this matter. 
It follows then, that as all church-officers are instituted by 
the Lord Jesus, so the power belonging to them is imme 
diately derived from him; but the way and manner of 
being installed into, or put in possession of any office of 
the church, particularly the office of the ministry, or the 
ordinary way of deriving the power and authority belong 
ing to the ministerial office from the Lord Jesus, is by the 
authoritative mission, or ordination of the presbytery, unto 
which the election or choice of the people is previously 
necessary. The disjoining of these two, namely, the autho 
ritative mission and the choice of the people, which the 
Spirit of God has so strictly united in Scripture, is at the 
bottom of the dangerous mistake, which those of the In 
dependent way run into upon the one hand, namely, in 
placing the whole of the ecclesiastical vocation in the peo 
ple without the presbytery, and those in the Established 
church, on the other hand, who place the whole of the 
ecclesiastical vocation in the judicatories of the church 
without the people. 

4. Is Christ Jesus the Lord the great subject of gospel- 
preaching ? then let us, who are ministers, " determine not 
to know any thing" among our hearers " save Jesus Christ 



SEE. II. THE MATTER OP GOSPEL-PREACHING. 209 

and him crucified," 1 Cor. ii. 2. Let us endeavour, as 
stewards of the mysteries of God, to open the door of the 
house of mercy as wide as to let in the greatest sinner, to 
whom we shall have access to preach these glad tidings ; 
let us endeavour to lead them to Christ, as the only refuge 
to shelter them from sin and wrath, as the only physician 
who can heal them of all their diseases, and as the only 
magazine and storehouse from whence they are to be sup 
plied with grace, and glory, and every good thing. Let us 
endeavour to point out Christ unto sinners, as made of 
God unto them " wisdom " to instruct and teach them, 
"righteousness" to justify them, " sanctification " to renew 
and cleanse them, and " redemption" to save them; in a 
word, as the inexhaustible fountain of all grace here, and 
eternal glory hereafter. Let us essay to preach " Christ 
Jesus the Lord" both in our sermons and in our ministe 
rial and Christian walk. Let us beware of preaching " our 
selves," and setting up our own reason in the room of 
divine revelation, and of preaching out of a vain ostenta 
tion of our own parts and abilities, whether natural or 
acquired, and of studying to please men ; but let a tender 
concern for the glory of God and the salvation of immortal 
souls, animate us in the whole of our ministerial work. 
Let us, out of love to Christ himself, put an high value 
upon the souls of sinners, and spare no pains in preaching, 
catechising, visiting, and conversing with them for their 
instruction and edification. Let us remember that awful 
charge which is given us, " before God and the Lord Jesus 
Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his ap 
pearing," namely, that we " preach the word ; be instant 
in season and out of season ; reprove, rebuke, exhort with 
all long-suffering and doctrine," 2 Tim. iv. 1, 2 ; " and in 
so doing, we shall both save ourselves and them that hear 
us." Let us be "valiant for the truth" in this day of 
darkness and treading down in our valley of vision, the 
more that the wicked are endeavouring to " make void " 
the laws and ordinances of Christ. Let us love them the 
more, and contend the more earnestly for them, as " good 



210 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHERS WRITHES. 

soldiers of Christ." Let us set our faces like a flint against 
the current of defection and apostasy of our day, and let 
us not be afraid of all that men can do, for " the truth 
shall make us free." Let us then go on in our preaching 
and witnessing work in the strength of the Lord, leaning 
upon his faithfulness in that promise, " My presence shall 
go with you, and I will give you rest." 

Lastly, Are ministers to "preach Christ Jesus the Lord ?" 
then it is the indispensable duty of the hearers to believe 
in him, and receive him as he is offered in the gospel. We 
have been essaying to tell you what it is to "preach Christ," 
and to lay before you some of those precious truths that 
are contained and wrapped up under that glorious and 
unfathomable name, " Christ Jesus the Lord ;" and now 
we are come to require your cordial assent unto the gos 
pel-report concerning Christ, as the only ordinance of God 
for your salvation, there remains " no other sacrifice for 
sin," " neither is there salvation in any other." Jehovah, 
a gracious God, who gives being unto his words of promise, 
is just now making a grant of his Son unto every one of 
you in this company, as the all of our salvation, saying, 
" This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased ; hear 
ye him." Sirs, will you refuse the matchless and " unspeak 
able gift " of God ? " God so loved the world that he gave 
his only begotten Son." Will you stand it out against the 
command of God, binding upon every one of you here pre 
sent 1 " This is his commandment, that we should believe 
on the name of his Son Jesus Christ," 1 John iv. 23. Will 
ye " reject the counsel of God against yourselves f will you 
"wrong your own souls" so far? sirs, think you no 
thing of it, that God condescends to be "your God?" that 
the Lord Jesus Christ, Immanuel, makes over himself, his 
person, offices, and all the fruits of his mediation to be 
yours ] that he condescends to be your Husband, to be- 
trothe you to himself for ever, your Shepherd to feed you, 
your Leader and Commander to guide and protect you, 
and your Saviour to redeem you both by price and power. 
Thus saith the Lord Jesus unto every one of you, " Look 



SEE. II. THE MATTER OP GOSPEL-PREACHING. 211 

unto me, and be ye saved." Behold, we set him before 
you, and beseech you, in his stead, that ye be reconciled 
unto God : " The Spirit and the Bride say, Come ; and 
whosoever will, let him take the waters of life freely ;" 
*snd, " if you will not do so, behold you have sinned against 
the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out." Your 
sm, in neglecting this " great salvation," will find you out 
in the day when " every eye shall see him, and they also 
which pierced him, and shall wail because of him." 

I conclude with a word to you who are the members of 
this Associate Congregation of Lintoun. Sirs, you have 
called a minister in a witnessing way, as a company of 
Seceders from the present judicatories, because of their 
manifest apostasy from the covenanted reformation of this 
church ; and we are now going about the solemn work of 
ordaining a minister among you by prayer and imposition 
of hands, as a presbytery constituted in the name of the 
Lord Jesus, and associated together for the exercise of the 
government and discipline of his house, according to his 
word, and the Reformation-principles of this church founded 
thereon, in opposition to the strong current of defection 
and backsliding from the same at this day, and for the 
help and relief of the Lord s oppressed heritage through the 
land. As we are, on this day of fasting and humiliation, in 
the name of the Lord Jesus, to ordain him to dispense the 
bread of life amongst you, as a minister of Jesus Christ, 
whom you have unanimously chosen and called, so see that 
ye "receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is 
able to save your souls," James i. 21, Receive the gospel 
from the mouth of your minister, as if God were speaking 
to you by him, for he is an ambassador to you in Christ s 
stead; therefore, with reverence and godly fear, entertain 
the message which he brings you in his Master s name. 
Pray much for your minister, if you would desire his labours 
to be successful among you, Rom. xv. 30. Pray that he 
may be abundantly furnished for his work, from him who 
has " received gifts for men." Pray that the word, which 
he delivers unto you, may come " in the demonstration of 



212 SELECTIONS FROM ME. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

the Spirit and of power," and that he may be directed to 
speak a word in season to your particular cases. Beware 
of listening to the reproaches of a wicked world, who will 
endeavour, though most groundlessly, to calumniate and 
defame your minister, for no other reason, at the bottom, 
whatever way they may colour it, but because he is espous 
ing and defending the borne-down interest of Christ at 
this day. Thus you know they treated the Lord s messen 
gers and witnesses of old, " Report, say they, and we will 
report ;" therefore, see that you highly esteem your minis 
ter, and " love him for his work s sake," 1 Thess. v. 13. 
Submit to the discipline which shall be exercised, accord 
ing to the word of Grod, by him, in conjunction with the 
elders of this congregation ; Heb. xiii. 17. "Obey them that 
have the rule over you, and submit yourselves." And as 
your minister is to communicate to you in spirituals, so I 
make no doubt but you see it to be your duty to communi 
cate to him in temporals ; Gal. vi. 6. " Let him that is taught 
in the word communicate to him that teacheth in all good 
things ;" for " so hath the Lord ordained, that they who 
preach the gospel should live of the gospel," 1 Cor. ix. 14. 
And since your great design in calling your minister, and 
ours in ordaining him, is, that he may "preach Christ 
Jesus the Lord," so see that ye account the Lord Jesus 
Christ worthy of all acceptation ; and, in so doing, when 
your minister comes to give an account of his stewardship, 
he will be able to do it " with joy, and not with grief." 

Finally, Since you are a witnessing congregation, as I 
said, therefore see that you be rooted and grounded in the 
faith, and " established in the present truth," that you 
" be not carried about with every wind of doctrine, and 
the cunning artifices of them who lie in wait to deceive." 
Sirs, this is a day wherein many, like Ephraim, are "faintly 
turning back ;" and if you, or any of you, should fall away, 
or turn cold and indilFerent about the cause of Christ, 
which you are now espousing, after such a solemn profes 
sion which you are this day making before many witnesses, 
what handle will you give to the enemy to blaspheme? 



SER. II. THE MATTER OP GOSPEL-PREACHING. 213 

and what unspeakable wrong will you bring upon your 
own souls ? for, " if any man draw back," saith the Lord, 
" my soul shall have no pleasure in him." Oh, then, seek 
to be found in the clifts of the Rock of ages, interested in 
Christ by a vital union with him, and then there shall be 
no fear of you, though the floods of tribulation should lift 
up their voice and make a mighty noise ; he that " sits 
upon the floods" will "strengthen, stablish, and settle 
you;" "the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne 
shall feed you, and lead you unto living fountains of waters, 
and God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes." 



SERMON III* 

CHRIST THE SOLE AND WONDERFUL DOER IN THE 
WORK OF MAN S REDEMPTION. 

JUDGES xiii. 19. "The angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his 
wife looked on." 

THESE words give a compendious account of the wonderful 
transaction of our redemption, together with our privilege 
and duty thereanent : " The angel did wondrously ; and 
Manoah and his wife looked on." The Angel did all, 
and all that he did was wondrously done ; Manoah and his 
wife were only spectators, they looked on, and beheld 
him doing the whole of the work. In the words you may 
notice, 

1. The great DOER : he is named in the text by way of 
supplement, " The angel." Who this angel was may be 
gathered from the word JEHOVAH, immediately before, in 
the same verse : " Manoah took a kid, with a meat-offer 
ing, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD ;" and the 
words of our text, which follow, may be read, " And HE," 
viz. the LORD or JEHOVAH, "did wondrously;" intimating 
that the doer here is the living and true God. And like 
wise, who this angel was may be gathered from the verse 
immediately preceding the text : " The angel of the Lord 
said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, see 
ing it is secret?" or "wonderful?" as on the margin. 
Whereby it evidently appears that the angel, who did won 
drously, is the same angel whose name is "the Wonderful," 
Isa. ix. 6. " Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given : 

* An Action Sermon, preached at Glasgow, June 23, 1745. 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 215 

his name shall be called Wonderful." So that the angel 
here is certainly the Lord Jesus Christ, who is frequently, 
in the scriptures of the Old Testament, called by this name. 
Gen. xlviii. 16. says Jacob there to Joseph, concerning his 
sons, " The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless 
the lads." The Angel who is the redeemer from all evil, 
can be no other but Christ himself, whose name is Jesus, 
" because he saves his people from their sins," which are 
the greatest of all evils. You may see also Exod. xxiii. 20 ; 
says the Lord there to Moses, " Behold, I send an Angel 
before thee ; beware of him, and obey his voice, for my 
name is in him :" which can be understood of no other but 
Christ, in whom the name of God is essentially, and in 
whom it is most eminently displayed. Again, he is called 
" the angel of the Lord," Psal. xxxiv. 7. " The angel of the 
Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and de- 
livereth them :" and the angel, or " messenger of the cove 
nant," Mai. iii. 1. That by " the angel of the Lord," in 
this chapter, we are to understand Christ, will appear, if 
you consider the angel s command to Manoah, ver. 16. " If 
thou wilt offer a burnt-offering, thou must offer it unto the 
Lord ;" thereby giving Manoah to understand that the 
angel who spake to him was truly and properly God : and 
accordingly you see, in obedience to this command, Ma 
noah offers his burnt-offering unto the LORD, or JEHOVAH, 
in the verse where our text is. And after what was done 
so wondrously, ver. 20. it is said that Manoah knew that 
the Angel of the Lord was indeed the living and true God ; 
as may be gathered by comparing ver. 21. " Then Manoah 
knew that he was an ANGEL of the Lord," with ver. 22. 
" And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, be 
cause we have seen GOD." Now, the reason why Christ is 
called the Angel of the Lord is, because, that though he be 
the Father s equal, yet, as Mediator, he condescended will 
ingly to be his Father s messenger, to be sent on the great 
errand of glorifying God, in the salvation of an innumer 
able company of mankind lost. 
2. In the words you have the manner of his doing he 



216 SELECTIONS FROM ME. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

" did wondrously ;" or, as the words are rendered by some, 
" He wrought wondrously in his doing." What he did is 
matter of everlasting wonder. You have an account of 
this wonderful work done by the Angel of the covenant in 
the verse following the text : " For it came to pass, when 
the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, that the 
angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar." For 
understanding hereof, you would know that the sacrifice 
that was offered, on this occasion, was a " burnt-oifering," 
ver. 16. " If thou wilt offer a burnt-offering, thou must 
offer it unto the Lord." This was one of the chief kind of 
offerings instituted among the Jews ; for, when this sort 
of offering is mentioned, it is always said to be a " sweet 
savour unto the Lord," Lev. i. 17. and many other places. 
The beasts thus offered were to be slain, cut to pieces, and 
wholly burnt upon the altar, intimating, that though we 
deserved to be consumed by the wrath of God, yet Christ, 
as our Surety, was, "through the eternal Spirit, to offer 
himself without spot to God;" and, in the meritorious 
sacrifice of himself, to make atonement for sin, and endure 
the whole of that wrath which would utterly have con 
sumed us. Again, the fire that was preserved on the altar, 
both in the tabernacle and temple, whereby the burnt- 
offering was consumed, came " first from heaven," inti 
mating, that it was the love of God that was the spring of 
our redemption ; for, " It pleased the Lord to bruise him ;" 
" God spared not his own Son." And it is more than pro 
bable, that the fire which consumed this burnt-offering, 
which Manoah offered, was kindled by the Angel of the 
Lord himself, even as he miraculously caused fire to rise 
up out of the rock before; whereof you read, chap. vi. 21. 
" The angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that 
was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened 
cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and con 
sumed" them : intimating, that it was out of his own free 
love that he undertook this great work of our redemption ; 
for, " his delights were with the sons of men." And, lastly, 
it is observed, in the verse following the text, whereupon 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 217 

we are now speaking, that "the angel ascended in the 
flame of the altar :" denoting the success of his expiatory 
sacrifice ; "when he had by himself purged our sins, he sat 
down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." The 
flame of the altar consumed the sacrifice that was upon it, 
and yet his ascending in that flame plainly signified the 
merit of his oblation, that it was a sacrifice of a sweet- 
smelling savour unto God; for he suffered these things, 
and then entered into his glory. 

3. In the words you have the part that Manoah and his 
wife acted with respect unto this wonderful work, it is 
said only, "that they looked on-" "The angel did won- 
drously, and Manoah and his wife looked on." The Angel 
did all in this wondrous work, he was the only doer ; 
Manoah and his wife had no share in point of doing, they 
only looked on and saw him do all himself. But though 
Manoah and his wife only "looked on," yet they were not 
mere idle spectators ; for they were filled with wonder and 
reverence at this great sight, the true " bush burning and 
not consumed ;" ver. 20. " Manoah and his wife looked on 
it, and fell on their faces to the ground." And though 
there was some mixture of unbelief in Manoah, arising 
from a common opinion which then prevailed, that they 
should die because they ha4 seen God, ver. 22; yet his 
faith was strengthened by his wife s telling him that the 
wondrous doing of the Angel, which they had been wit 
nesses to, was no evidence at all of a killing but of a saving 
God ; ver. 23. " His wife said unto him, If the Lord were 
pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt- 
offering and a meat-offering at our hands ; neither would 
he have showed us all these things :" namely, all those 
things that are imported in the Angel s doing wondrously ; 
which certainly must imply faith, on their part, in the pro 
mised Messiah, thus exhibiting himself. 

From the words thus explained, in connection with the 
context, I deduce the following doctrine : 

DOCTRINE That as the Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel 
of the covenant, is the wonderful and only doer in the 



2] 8 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

great work of our redemption ; so it is the privilege and 
duty of mankind sinners to look on. " The angel did won 
drously ; and Manoah and his wife looked on." 

In speaking upon this subject, I shall essay, through 
divine assistance, 

I. To show that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only doer 
in the great work of our redemption. 

II. Inquire in what respects he did " wondrously." 

III. Speak of the privilege and duty of " looking on," 
and beholding the Angel of the Lord doing wondrously. 

IV. Deduce some Inferences for the improvement. 

I. I am to show " That the Lord Jesus Christ is the 
only doer in the great work of our redemption." This will 
appear, 

1. From the particular choice that the Father hath 
made of him, as the only fit person for this great under 
taking ; Psal. Ixxxix. 19, 20. " I have laid help upon one 
that is mighty ; I have exalted one chosen out of the peo 
ple. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil 
have I anointed him." Isa. xlii. 1. " Behold my servant, 
whom I uphold ; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth." 

2. The solemn attestation from heaven, that is given 
once and again unto his commission, to this great work, is 
a proof that he is the only doer therein, 2 Pet. i. 1 7. " He 
received from God the Father honour and glory, when there 
came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is 
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ;" " For him 
hath God the Father sealed," John vi. 27. 

3. His own testimony, who is the faithful Witness, is a 
sufficient evidence thereof; Isa. Ixiii. 5. " I looked, and 
there was none to help ; and I wondered that there was 
none to uphold : therefore mine own arm brought salva 
tion unto me." 

4. That he is the only doer in the great work of re 
demption, may appear from the circumstances of sinners 
of mankind, whom he had to redeem. They are described 
to be in such circumstances, as to be out of all capacity to 
do anything for themselves. They are said to be "without 



SEE. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 219 

strength," Rom. v. 6 ; to be as helpless as a child new-borri, 
Ezek. xvi. 6; yea, to be actually "dead," both in a spiritual 
and legal sense, Eph. ii. 5. " You hath he quickened, who 
were dead in trespasses and sins." 

5. That Christ is the only doer in this great work, will 
appear from the tenor of the covenant of grace, which was 
made with him ; wherein he, as the Head and Surety, was 
bound to pay the whole debt, owing by an elect world, in 
virtue of a broken covenant of works ; for, " The Lord laid 
on him the iniquities of us all." Accordingly he says him 
self, Matt. iii. 15. " It becometh us to fulfil all righteous 
ness." This he had engaged unto in the bond of service 
which he gave unto his Father, and which was cheerfully 
accepted of by him, Isa. xlix. 3. " Thou art my servant, 
Israel, in whom I will be glorified." Agreeably to which, 
he says, Psal. xl. 6. " Mine ears hast thou bored." Thus 
you see that Christ is the only doer in the great work of 
our redemption. 

II. The second Head of the Method was to " Inquire in 
what respects the Angel of the Lord did wondrously in 
this great work." 

1. He "did wondrously" in engaging, from eternity, to 
answer all demands of law and justice in our room and 
stead. When the plan of this work, in all that he had to 
do and suffer, was laid before him, he cheerfully undertook 
it ; then said he, " Lo, I come." Whereupon the love of 
God, which gave rise to the whole, is expressed in terms 
of the greatest delight and complacency, Jer. xxx. 21. 
" Who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me ? 
saith the Lord." 

2. He "did wondrously" in appointing, as Head of the 
Church, that there should be a typical representation of 
his substitution many ages before he was actually sacrificed 
for us. Being the Head of the Old as well as the New 
Testament church, he appointed in the Old Testament dis 
pensation that beasts should be slain in sacrifice, as a 
standing pledge of his taking away sin, " in the fulness of 
time," by the sacrifice of himself ; and upon account of the 



220 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

early institution of sacrifices, as typical of his meritorious 
oblation, it is that he is said to be " the Lamb slain from 
the foundation of the world," Rev. xiii. 8. 

3. " The Angel of the Lord did wondrously" in the as 
sumption of our nature. God, in the person of the Son, 
assumed the human nature into union with himself; or, 
which is the same thing, the Son of God, being from eter 
nity a Divine person, the same self-existent and indepen 
dent God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, did, "in the 
fulness of time," actually assume the human nature a 
true body and a reasonable soul into union with his own 
divine person, without permitting it to exist one moment 
by itself. This assumption of our nature into his own 
divine person, was the peculiar act of the Son personally 
considered, Heb. ii. 14, 16. " Forasmuch as the children are 
partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took 
part of the same. For verily he took not on him the nature 
of angels ; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." And 
hereupon the union of the two natures, of God and man, 
is fixed in his glorious person, unalterably, for ever, Matt, 
i. 23. He who was conceived and born of a virgin, is 
" Immanuel, God with us ;" " God made manifest in the 
flesh :" which could be no other way than by the union 
of the two natures in the same person ; and yet this union 
is such a one, that each nature retains its own essential 
properties without the least composition or confusion. 
The divine nature, in the person of the Son, is omniscient, 
omnipotent, omnipresent, and possessed of all divine per 
fections ; and continues to be so unchangeably for ever. 
The human nature, in the same person, was born, yielded 
obedience, died, and rose again ; yet it is the same person 
that acts all these things : and therefore it follows, that 
whatever Christ did, or continues to do as Mediator, is to 
be considered as the act or work of the person of him who 
is God-man. Herein indeed it is that the " Angel of the 
Lord did wondrously," even in assuming our nature to his 
own divine person. This is the foundation upon which 
the whole plan of our redemption is executed, and is the 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 221 

greatest wonder in heaven and earth, and the highest de 
monstration of infinite love; that He, who "humbles 
himself to behold things in heaven," should condescend 
not only to behold things in this lower world, but to be 
born in it, and not only to be born, but to become a 
" man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," to be " de 
spised and rejected of men," yea, to become a " curse, 
that he might redeem us from the curse of the law." May 
we not, then, join with the Apostle in saying, " Without 
controversy great is the mystery of godliness ? " And that 
"the Angel of the Lord did wondrously" in this matter, 
will further appear, if you consider that the human nature, 
as it stands in his glorious person, is the channel in which 
the " fulness of the Godhead" is conveyed and communi 
cated unto us ; " for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the 
Godhead bodily ;" that " out of his fulness all we might 
receive, and grace for grace." 

4. " The Angel of the Lord did wondrously " in his obe 
dience to the law, which was violated and broken by all his 
spiritual seed, in the first Adam, their head and represen 
tative in the covenant of works : according to the tenor 
of which covenant all things in the law were to be obeyed, 
and that with the highest degree of perfection, and this 
perfect obedience to be continued unto the end. In this 
respect " the Angel of the Lord did wondrously ;" for, hav 
ing assumed a holy human nature into his divine person, 
as you were hearing, he, as second Adam, and representa 
tive of all his spiritual seed, did yield obedience to the law 
in all points, and that in the highest degree of perfection, 
to the very end of the race that was set before him : for, 
he " became obedient unto the death," yea, " he magnified 
the law, and made it honourable" by his obedience, and 
thus he recovered a title to eternal life, upon the footing 
of perfect obedience, performed by himself as a public per 
son, for all his spiritual seed, who had " sinned and come 
short of the glory of God." 

5. He "did wondrously" in his sacrifice, for he offered 
" himself," Tit. ii. 14. " He gave himself for us. 1 The 



222 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

whole human nature, soul and body, was the sacrifice, 
the altar that sanctified the offering, and bore it up under 
its sufferings, was his own divine nature, Heb. ix. 14. 
" Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself without 
spot unto God." This oblation, or offering, was the act of 
the whole person, as the divine nature bore up the human 
in its sufferings, and offered it, so this offering was the 
voluntary acting of all the faculties of his rational soul. 

herein " did the Angel of the Lord most wondrously." 
Although the matter of the sacrifice was the human nature, 
yet the Priest who offered it was the person of Him who 
is God-man, and this was that which gave dignity and 
efficacy to this wonderful oblation. He "did so won 
drously" that he fully satisfied the highest demands of 
justice, Eph. v. 2. " He hath given himself for us, an offer 
ing and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling savour." 

6. He "did wondrously" in the way and manner of 
his finishing the purchase of our redemption ; for he did 
it in the way of " bowing his head and giving up the ghost." 
And this he did most cheerfully : " The cup," says he, 
" which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it 1 

1 have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I 
straitened till it be accomplished ! " He did it most faith 
fully : he left no part of the work undone, for before he 
gave the finishing stroke in his death it is said, that he 
knew " that all things were accomplished," John xix. 28. 
He did it most submissively, in obedience to the com 
mandment which he received of his Father, John x. 18 ; 
for " he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a 
sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his 
mouth." 

7. "The Angel of the Lord did wondrously" in his 
making an " end of sin," Dan. ix. 24. The human nature, 
as it stands in every individual of Adam s family, had sin 
charged upon it, and was defiled and deformed thereby, 
and the whole race would have gone on in sinning, and 
bearing implacable enmity against God for ever, as well as 
the angels that fell are now doing : but the Angel of the 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 223 

Lord hath done wondrously, in putting an end to sinning, 
in the human nature, as assumed by himself to his own 
divine person ; whereby he not only presented the human 
nature unto God " without sin, holy, harmless, and unde- 
filed," but therein likewise made atonement for our sins : 
and by virtue of this assumption of an holy human 
nature, and his atoning sacrifice therein, it is that an in 
fallible security is given that there shall be an eternal 
period put to sinning, in every one of his spiritual seed, 
so soon as they enter the threshold of glory at death ; for 
then " the former things shall pass away," he will then 
" present" all his members " to himself, a glorious church, 
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but" per 
fectly " holy, and without blemish," Eph. v. 27. 

8. He " did wondrously " in the conquest he obtained 
over all our spiritual enemies. He took the field alone, 
he set his face " like a flint," saying, " Who is mine adver 
sary ? Let him come near unto me." And accordingly, as 
" the day of vengeance was in his heart," so " he trode all 
his adversaries in his anger, and trampled them in his 
fury;" and, like briars and thorns, they were consumed 
before him. He " foiled kings of great armies," and did it 
in a way that was never heard tell of before even by his 
" death," Col. ii. 15. " Having spoiled principalities and 
powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over 
them in it," i. e., in his " cross ;" or, in " himself," as in the 
margin. He hath wrested the keys of hell and of death 
out of Satan s hand, and made a public show of them in 
his own, as an evident token of his complete victory, say 
ing, " I have the keys of hell and of death," Rev. i. 18. 

9. He "did wondrously" in his resurrection; for he 
rose again by his "own power," John ii. 19. " Destroy this 
temple, and in three days I will raise it up ;" meaning 
the temple of his body," ver. 21. which he himself would 
raise up within that time. Never any rose, or shall rise, 
by their own power but himself; and his doing so is ad 
duced as an argument that he is truly and properly God, 
Rom. i. 4. " Declared to be the Son of God with power, 

4 2D 



224 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

by the resurrection from the dead." He did wondrously 
also in his resurrection, inasmuch as he rose discharged of 
all the debt of an elect world ; for, " he was delivered for 
our offences, and was raised again for our justification," 
Rom. iv. 25. 

10. "The Arigel of the Lord did wondrously" in his 
ascension ; for he ascended " in the flame of the altar." 
This is the particular instance mentioned in the context, 
wherein the Angel did wondrously, as appears by compar 
ing the text with the words immediately following : " The 
angel did wondrously; For it came to pass, when the 
flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the 
angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar." His 
ascending in the "flame" presupposed all the other won 
drous acts which we have named in the preceding Heads ; 
such as, his engagement from eternity, and his actual 
incarnation and satisfaction in the " fulness of time :" so 
that this deed of the Angel, in ascending in the " flame of 
the altar," was designed to give a compendious view, suit 
able to that dispensation, of the whole work of redemption, 
which was in due time to be accomplished in and by the 
person of the Messiah. More particularly, as the " sacri 
fice" on the altar was typical of the death of Christ, so his 
"ascending in the flame of the altar" typified the merit 
and success of his death. For the "flame" of the altar 
was designed to represent the wrath of God, which might 
justly have consumed all the children of men, as the burrit- 
offerings were upon the altar; but his ascending in the 
flame of the altar plainly signified, that the wrath of God, 
which was to kindle upon him as the Surety, should Le 
endured wholly by him, and, in consequence thereof, he 
should ascend as the Forerunner for us within the vail, to 
carry in the merit and efficacy of his blood within the 
upper sanctuary, and thus to prepare a place for us. 

To what has been said, I shall only add, very briefly, 
that as the Angel of the Lord hath done wondrously in 
the purchase, so he doth wondrously in the application of 
redemption, by his word and Spirit. He raises the dead 



SEE. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 225 

into newness of life, he calls the things that are not as 
though they were, he gives eye-sight to them that are 
born blind, he looses the bands of prisoners, pulls down 
the strongholds that are in the heart, brings those that 
are afar off near, he cancels the hand-writing that was 
against us, and contrary to us, and makes those that have 
lien among the pots to become beautiful by his comeliness 
put upon them. He doth wondrously, in maintaining his 
own work of grace in the soul, in the midst of all the cor 
ruption that is there, till he " bring forth judgment unto 
victory." He doth wondrously in his intercession ; for it 
is his appearing, upon the merit of his sacrifice, in the pre 
sence of God for us, Heb. ix. 24. It is just "his will" that 
he himself, and all blessing, be ours, John xvii. 24. " Father, 
I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me 
where I am ; that they may behold my glory, which thou 
hast given me." The Angel of the Lord doth wondrously, 
in gathering and preserving a church to himself upon 
earth. He gathers his church by means contemptible in 
the eye of the world ; for, by " the foolishness of preaching 
he saves them that believe." A word spoken with power 
will make the stoutest heart to yield, when all the flatteries 
and threatenings of the world cannot accomplish such an 
end. As he gathers, so he preserves his church most won 
drously ; for, though they are but a " little flock," a " small 
remnant," yea, though they are, moreover, as the " lily 
among the thorns," and as " sheep in the midst of wolves," 
yet he restrains and bridles the fury of the adversary, 
so as the gates of hell cannot prevail either by power or 
policy ; for a seed has, and " shall do service to him. His 
name shall endure for ever." And, to add no more upon 
this Head, he will do wondrously when he " comes at the 
last day, in the clouds of heaven, with power and great 
glory ;" for then he will raise the dead, sist them . before 
his judgment- seat, make an eternal separation betwixt 
the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the tares, he will 
sentence the wicked into everlasting fire, and carry the 
whole innumerable company of the redeemed from among 



226 SELECTIONS FROM ME. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

men with him into heaven, and present them unto his 
Father, saying, "Behold I, and the children whom thou 
hast given me." And then he himself, who hath done so 
wondrously, will continue to be the object of their eternal 
praise and wonder, saying, " with a loud voice," as it is 
Rev. v. 12. " Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive 
power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, 
and glory, and blessing." I now proceed to the 

III. Head in the Method, which was to " Speak of the 
privilege and duty of looking on, or beholding the 
Angel of the Lord doing wondrously." Upon this point, I 
shall briefly inquire, 

First, What is imported in the privilege of " looking on." 
Secondly, What is the nature of this " on-looking," as it 
is a duty. 

First, What is imported in the privilege of " looking on." 
1. It imports, that mankind sinners have a near concern 
in all that was done so wondrously by the Angel of the 
Lord ; all that he did and suffered, in the executing of all 
his mediatorial offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King, was 
for us. His very errand into the world was " to seek and 
save that which was lost." All the gifts he hath received 
are for us, for he hath " received gifts for men." All that 
ever he did so wondrously, as Mediator, he did it in a pub 
lic character, as representing his spiritual seed among men. 
Thus, he assumed a holy human nature as the Head, and 
therefore all the members are, in law-reckoning, born holy 
in him, he became obedient unto death, as their Head, 
and therefore all their debt is paid in him, he rose as 
their Head, and therefore they are all discharged in him, 
for he was "raised again for our justification;" he hath 
ascended as their Head, and therefore they are set down 
in heavenly places in him. Sirs, you have such a near 
concern in all that the Angel of the Lord hath done so 
wondrously, that he directs his call unto you only, sinners 
of mankind, exclusive of the angels that fell, Prov. viii. 4. 
" Unto you, men, I call ; and my voice is unto the sons 
of men." 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 227 

2. Though you have such a near concern, as hath been 
j ust now said, yet your privilege of looking on and behold 
ing the Angel of the Lord doing wondrously, imports that 
you are utterly unable and incapable to have any share in 
this great work yourselves, either in point of doing or 
suffering. You want the principle of perfect obedience, a 
soul perfectly holy ; and, therefore, " who can bring a clean 
thing out of an unclean ? " Since your nature is corrupted 
your obedience cannot be perfect, either as to parts or de 
grees ; and therefore no obedience at all, in law-reckoning. 
And as for suffering for sin, it must either be infinite in 
value or endless in duration; there can be no infinite 
worth in the sufferings of finite creatures ; and if their 
sufferings are endless in duration, they must be miserable 
for ever. So that your being privileged to " look on, and 
behold the Angel of the Lord doing wondrously," says, that 
you can have no share in that great work yourselves ; 
" none of us can redeem our brother, or give unto God a 
ransom for him." Hence it follows, 

3. That the privilege of " looking on " imports, that the 
whole work was entered upon and finished by the Angel of 
the Lord himself. He is the only doer, as you were hear 
ing on the first Head, and he hath completely finished 
what he undertook to do, as is clear by his own testimony, 
John xvii. 4. " I have glorified thee on the earth : I have 
finished the work which thou gavest me to do." 

4. The privilege of "looking on" imports, that all that 
the Angel of the Lord undertook to do, and hath done so 
wondrously, for the redemption of mankind sinners, is " re 
vealed" and " manifested" to us in the word of the gospel. 
" Looking on" supposes an object present : what was in 
the text present unto the senses of Manoah and his wife, 
is to us more firmly and solidly present in the word of 
faith ; for the word of prophecy, or the faithful word of a 
God that cannot lie, is more sure and steadfast than any 
sensible representation whatsoever, 2 Pet. i. 18, 19. " This 
voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were 
with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure 



228 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER^ WRITINGS. 

word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take 
heed." So much for the privilege of "looking on." I 
shall, 

Secondly, Inquire what is the nature of this "on-looking," 
as it is a duty. The nature of faith is frequently expressed 
in Scripture under the notion of " looking" or "beholding," 
Isa. xlv. 22. " Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends 
of the earth;" chap. Ixv. 1. " I said, Behold me, behold me, 
unto a nation that was not called by my name." Now, 
the metaphor of "looking on" or "beholding" is very fit 
to express the nature of faith, on a twofold account ; both 
because it includes a receiving of the object, and likewise 
a firm persuasion about it. 

1. "Looking on" necessarily includes a receiving of the 
object. The eye of the body does nothing else with respect 
unto the objects that are presented unto it but receive 
them; and therefore "looking on" is very fit to express 
the nature of faith, which is a receiving of what is pre 
sented, or brought near in the word of promise, John i. 12, 
" As many as received him, to them gave he power," or 
privilege, " to become the sons of God." The receiving 
nature of faith plainly says that we have nothing of our 
own, and at the same time that the whole unsearchable 
riches of Christ are brought to our hand ; and therefore, 
as faith receives all, it cannot but ascribe all the glory to 
the Giver, and the freedom of his grace, Rom. iv. 16. " It 

is of faith, that it might be by grace." 

2. "Looking on" includes in it a firm persuasion about 
the object we behold. When we are looking upon a person 
doing or suffering, we are firmly persuaded of what we see ; 
so " looking on," or " beholding the Angel of the Lord do 
ing wondrously," as all that he hath done concerns us, and 
is revealed unto us, must include a firm persuasion cor 
responding to that revelation. Now, what is here pre 
sented unto the eye of faith, in the word, is, that " the 
Angel of the Lord hath done all" that you were hearing 
above, and infinitely more than can be told, and that he 
hath done all these things " for you," and therefore him- 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOEK, ETC. 29 

self, his righteousness, and salvation is yours, in the grant 
and offer thereof; and consequently "looking on," or "be 
lieving," in this case, must be a persuasion that it is so, 
upon the ground of God s faithfulness and veracity, speak 
ing in his own word : the ground of the persuasion of faith 
being infinitely more firm and solid than the ground of 
any persuasion we can have arising from our senses, be 
cause it is the infallible testimony of a God that cannot 
lie, whose word is as unchangeable as his being. There 
fore, when it is revealed to us that " God so loved the 
world, as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever 
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting 
life," the language of faith, corresponding hereunto, must 
be, as in Acts xv. 11. "We believe that, through the grace 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved." Hence it 
easily follows that this persuasion of faith must take in 
the particular application and use-making of its object, 
for all the intents and purposes for which he is exhibited 
unto us, for " wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and 
redemption." 

IV. I proceed now to deduce some Inferences for the 
Application. 

1. Hence see what is become of the covenant of works, 
which was broken by the first Adam, and all his posterity 
in him, it is fulfilled by the Angel of the Lord, the second 
Adam, in what he hath done so wondrously ; and the fulfil 
ment thereof by him, both as to the precept and penalty, 
was the very condition of the covenant of grace, that was 
made with him as the head of his spiritual seed. No work 
nor deed of ours, no not faith itself, can be the entitling 
condition of the covenant of grace. Our right and title 
to eternal life can be founded on nothing else but Christ s 
fulfilling all righteousness for us ; for he was " made sin 
for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the right- 
ousness of God in him." 

2. Is the Angel of the Lord the only doer in the great 
work of our redemption 1 then hence see that all you, who 
are convinced of your utter inability to do for yourselves, 



230 SELECTIONS FROM MB. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

have the best ground to lippen to him for relief, out of 
the several straits and difficulties wherewith you may at 
present be distressed. Why, the Angel of the Lord did 
wondrously in the purchase of your redemption, and he 
continues to do so likewise in the application thereof. 
Whatever, then, be your present exercise or trial, rely 
upon him as the only doer for you, and you shall have an 
outgate. Are you oppressed with a body of sin and death, 
and with such a sense of heart-wandering, hardness, and 
deadness that you know not what to do, and are afraid to 
venture unto the Lord s table in such a dismal case ? Well, 
depend upon the Angel of the Lord, as the only doer for you, 
upon the ground of his own word, wherein he hath said, 
" Sin shall not have dominion over you." He hath made 
an end of sin that sin might be finished in you at last. 
Look to him for quickening and reviving, because he hath 
said, " I am come that you might have life, and have it 
more abundantly." Look to him for heart-melting, and 
heart-loathing on the account of your sins, upon the ground 
of that word, Ezek. xxxvi. 31. "Then shall ye remember 
your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, 
and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your 
iniquities, and for your abominations." 

Again, are you convinced of the necessity of faith, with 
out which you cannot "look on and behold the Angel doing 
wondrously 1 " and are you complaining of your blindness, 
and acknowledging your utter impotency to open your 
own eyes ? Well, here is the only doer for you, who hath 
it in his commission to " open the eyes of the blind." 
Trust to him, as the " author and finisher of faith," upon 
the ground of this word, Zech. xii. 10. " They shall look 
upon me whom they have pierced." 

Further, is fellowship and communion with him, in his 
own ordinances, the " one thing" you desire and seek after 
on this great day of the feast 1 and yet, in the meantime, 
are ye complaining, as it is Job xxiii. 8, 9. " I go forward, 
but he is not there ; and backward, but I cannot perceive 
him : on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 231 

behold him : he hideth himself on the right hand, that I 
cannot see him?" Well, in this case, the only doer for 
you is giving you this kindly challenge, which you have 
Isa. xl. 27, 28. " Why sayest thou, Jacob, and speakest, 
Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment 
is passed over from my God ? Hast thou not known, hast 
thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the 
Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is 
weary?" Therefore, trust that he will come according 
to his promise, Exod. xx. 24. " In all places where I record 
my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee." 
" For a small moment have I forsaken thee ; but with 
great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid 
my face from thee for a moment ; but with everlasting 
kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy 
Redeemer," Isa. liv. 7, 8. 

Are you complaining of woful backslidings and decays, 
and afraid to come to the Lord s table lest he have no 
pleasure in you on these accounts ? Well, there is ground 
of hope in that word, Jer. iii. 22. " I will heal your back 
slidings." " Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers ; 
yet return again to me, saith the Lord," ver. 1. 

Upon the whole : since the Angel of the Lord does all, 
put all your work in his hand, your hearing, your pray 
ing, your praising, your communicating, and the whole of 
your warfare, put all in his hand that he may do it for 
you ; for " it is God which worketh in you, both to will 
and to do of his good pleasure." He is here present this 
day demanding employment from every one of you, to do 
all for you, and that freely, " without money and without 
price ;" saying, as it is Luke xviii. 41. " What wilt thou 
that I shall do unto thee 1 " Therefore, come to him with 
all your sins, that they may be pardoned, because he hath 
paid the ransom, with all your wants, that they may be 
supplied, because " it hath pleased the Father that in him 
should all fulness dwell," with all your petitions, that 
they may be answered, because he hath said, John xiv. 14. 
"Whatsoever you shall ask in my name, I will do it." 



232 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER^S WRITINGS. 

Come to him with all your doubts, that they may be solved, 
because he hath the " tongue of the learned," and can 
speak a " word in season to the weary." Come to him for 
all you need ; for " the Father loveth the Son, and hath 
given all things into his hand :" and he is " ascended far 
above all heavens, that he might fill all things." 

3. Hence see the ground of a sinner s justification before 
God. Surely it is not " by works of righteousness which 
we have done," for " ah 1 our righteousnesses are as filthy 
rags," but upon what the Angel hath done so wondrousiy, 
both in respect of his perfect obedience to the law, and 
also in respect of his enduring the wrath due to our sin. 
This his meritorious doing arid dying, or his perfect and 
satisfactory obedience unto death, being imputed to us, is 
the sole ground of our justification before God. It is not 
any grace wrought in us, nor anything done by us, no not 
the act of believing itself, or any act of obedience whatso 
ever, that is imputed to us for righteousness ; it is only 
what the Angel of the Lord did so wondrousiy, in doing 
and dying in our room, that is imputed to us for the whole 
of our righteousness in the sight of God: " Being justified 
freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in 
Jesus Christ," Rom. iii. 24. We are all by nature in a 
state of guilt and condemnation ; but, in the " day of 
power," being united to him who hath done wondrousiy, 
his whole righteousness becomes ours for our justification 
before God, his suffering being the ground of our pardon, 
and his obedience the ground of our being accepted as 
righteous in his sight. be persuaded to submit unto 
this righteousness, which is wrought out by the Angel of 
the Lord, in the holy human nature which he assumed to 
his own divine person ! This is the only righteousness 
that hath worth in it to counterbalance all accusations 
from law or justice. It is the only righteousness that hath 
been infinitely pleasing and acceptable to God ; for " the 
Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake," Isa. xlii. 
21. the only righteousness that is everlasting, being a 
robe that will never wax old, and never wear out, through 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 233 

eternity, and it is the only righteousness in which we 
may enter the lists with death, and stand in the presence 
of God accepted for ever ; for we are " accepted in the 
Beloved," Eph. i. 6. 

4. Hence see the reason why believers are not under the 
law, as a covenant, to be either justified or condemned 
thereby ; the reason is, the Angel of the Lord hath done 
wondrously, in magnifying the law in their room. Hence 
it is said of believers, Rom. vi. 14. that they "are not under 
the law." They are not under the precept of the law as a 
covenant, requiring perfect obedience as a condition of life ; 
because, in this respect, Christ, as a new-covenant Head, 
hath given obedience thereunto in their stead, and thereby 
fulfilled the condition they were bound to in the first 
Adam, Rom. v. 19. " As by one man s disobedience many 
were made sinners ; so by the obedience of one shall many 
be made righteous." They are not under the threaten 
ing of the law as a covenant, binding over to death on 
account of transgression, because Christ, as their Head, 
hath paid the whole penalty ; for he hath " redeemed us 
from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us :" and 
therefore there can be " no condemnation to them that are 
in Christ Jesus." So that the believer is " dead to the 
law," in respect of justification, that he might " live unto 
God," in respect of sanctification. Here is good news, the 
law is fulfilled by Christ as a covenant, that it might be 
put into our hands as a rule of duty ; and whatever is re 
quired of us by the law in point of duty, there is strength 
and furniture secured in the promise for the performance 
thereof, Ezek. xxxvi. 27. " I will cause you to walk in my 
statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." 
You are not now required to do in order to live, which 
was the tenor of the first covenant ; but life is promised, 
as the principle and foundation of all acceptable doing, Isa. 
xxxviii. 19. " The living, the living, he shall praise thee." 

5. Hence see the necessity of the satisfaction of Christ, 
to answer all demands of law and justice. Since the Angel 
of the Lord hath done so wondrously, there behoved to be 



234 SELECTIONS FROM MK. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

a necessity for his so doing. There was indeed no neces 
sity lying upon God to save fallen men more than the 
fallen angels ; but since, out of his own free love and good 
pleasure, he purposed the salvation of an innumerable com 
pany of mankind lost, it was necessary that this should be 
done, in a consistency with the honour of all his attributes 
and perfections, because his own glory is his highest end 
in all that he doth. In order, therefore, that mercy might 
have an honourable egress among sinners of mankind, it 
was necessary that, since the threatening of the law was 
founded in the very nature of God, his truth and veracity 
therein should be preserved, that his unspotted holiness 
should be vindicated, and that his impartial justice should 
be satisfied in its highest demands. All this is obvious, if 
you consider that these perfections are essential to the 
nature of God, and therefore their honour and glory can 
not be dispensed with, for God " cannot deny himself." 
Now, this being the case, the Angel of the Lord, according 
to his undertaking and engagement from eternity, hath 
done wondrously, in making " mercy and truth to meet 
together, righteousness and peace to kiss each other," in 
himself, as God-man, fulfilling all righteousness in our room, 
to the eternal glory of all the perfections of God, which 
would otherwise have stood as so many insuperable moun 
tains in the way of the sinner s salvation. Accordingly, 
you find that this necessity of a satisfaction, in order to 
the venting of mercy in a consistency with the honour of 
justice, is what our Lord himself asserts, Luke xxiv. 26. 
" Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to 
enter into his glory ? " 

6. Hence see that there is no natural or necessary con 
nexion between our best moral doings and the favour of 
God ; this would be a disparagement to what the Angel 
hath done so wondrously. He is the only doer in the great 
work of our salvation ; the connexion is stated betwixt his 
doing in our room, and obtaining eternal redemption for 
us. The promise of life is made unto the perfect obedience 
of the Surety ; and whenever this obedience is imputed to 



SER. III. CUBIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 235 

us, our title to eternal life is thereby secured; for "the 
gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord," 
Rom. vi. 23. 

7. Hence see that there is no access for a sinner into 
the presence of God but through a Mediator. Had not 
the Angel done wondrously, in opening a " new and living 
way" into the presence of God for us, by his obedience 
unto death, the justice and holiness of God, like the cheru 
bim with a flaming sword, would otherwise have made 
the way to pardon and life inaccessible. There is not the 
least encouragement for a guilty sinner to come into the 
presence of an absolute God, Isa. xxxiii. 14. " The sinners 
in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypo 
crites : who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire ? 
who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" 
And, therefore, to represent the Object of worship merely 
as a Creator and Preserver, without any relation to Christ, 
cannot but have a tendency to worm out the exercise of 
prayer, and to be an effectual bar in the way of all trust 
and confidence in God, which is grounded wholly on the 
revelation of his grace and good- will through Christ, as the 
only way of access unto him, John xiv. 6. " Jesus saith, 
I am the way, and the truth, and the life : no man cometh 
unto the Father but by me." So that it is the revelation 
of redemption through the blood of Christ, even the for 
giveness of sins according to the riches of God s grace, that 
is the strongest motive and encouragement for a guilty 
sinner to come into the presence of an offended God, Psal. 
cxxx. 4. " There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest 
be feared." 

8. Hence see that none of mankind were capable to rea 
son out to themselves the knowledge of the way of salva 
tion, which is necessary to their eternal happiness. If this 
could be done, there had been no occasion for a revelation 
of what the Angel of the Lord did so wondrously. For 
the peculiar doctrines of Christianity, such as, that " God 
was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of 
angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the 



236 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

world, received up into glory;" or, that the Son of God 
should be incarnate, make satisfaction for sin, and be ex 
hibited unto a lost world for salvation, are truths of such 
a transcendent nature that the mind of man could never 
have had the remotest conception of them if they had not 
been revealed : and now that they are brought to light 
by the gospel, there can be no salvation without the know 
ledge of them ; for " there is no other name under heaven, 
given among men, whereby we must be saved," but that 
of Jesus, nor is there another way of " putting away sin 
but by the sacrifice of himself," Heb. ix. 26. Hence it 
follows that the doctrine of the salvation of heathens, 
while destitute of divine revelation, must be the very foun 
dation of Deism ; for it amounts to nothing less than this, 
that mankind may be saved by the light of nature, without 
any supernatural revelation, quite contrary to Scripture, 
which asserts, in plainest terms, that " where there is no 
vision the people perish," Prov. xxix. 18 ; and contrary to 
the doctrine of our Confession, which affirms, that " al 
though the light of nature, and the works of creation and 
providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and 
power of God, as to leave men inexcusable ; yet they are 
not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his 
will, which is necessary unto salvation." And the scrip 
tures adduced to prove this, are 1 Cor. i. 21. " For after 
that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew 
not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to 
save them that believe :" 1 Cor. ii. 13. " Which things also 
we speak, not in the words which man s wisdom teacheth, 
but which the Holy Ghost teacheth ; comparing spiritual 
things with spiritual :" Ver. 14. " But the natural man 
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are 
foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because 
they are spiritually discerned." 

9. Hence see the nature of faith, it is a firm persuasion, 
founded upon a divine testimony, that the Angel of the 
Lor hath done all in the great work of redemption ; that 
he hath 



SER. III. CHRIST THS SOLE DOER, ETC. 237 

do ;" and that he is " of God made unto us wisdom, right 
eousness, sanctification, and redemption;" and therefore 
that it must be a receiving, and resting upon him alone 
for salvation, as he is thus offered unto us in the gospel. 

10. Hence see the true spring of gospel holiness, it 
flows from a "looking on" and "beholding" the Angel 
of the Lord doing wondrously. Faith s discovery of him, 
as doing and suffering all, cannot but beget in us self- 
loathing and abhorrence on account of sin as laid on him, 
Zech. xii. 10. " They shall look upon him whom they have 
pierced, and they shall rnourn for him :" and likewise a 
desire of conformity to the law, as a rule, because he hath 
fulfilled it as a covenant ; for " we all, with open face, be 
holding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed 
into the same image." Thus it is by faith our hearts are 
purified, Acts xv. 9 ; and this is so necessary, that " with 
out holiness no man shall see the Lord," Heb. xii. 14. 

11. Is Christ the wonderful and only doer in the great 
work of redemption ? and is it the privilege and duty of 
mankind-sinners to "look on?" then this doctrine may 
afford matter for several questions, which may be proposed 
by way of trial, whereby we may form some judgment of 
our spiritual state and condition ; and it is as necessary to 
inquire into the circumstances of our souls after, as before, 
a communion. 

(1.) Are you convinced that you have violated the law 
of God in the first Adam, and that you have justly incurred 
the wrath of God, which is denounced upon the breach of 
the first covenant ? Do you believe that you were repre 
sented in Adam when God made the covenant with him, 
and in consequence of this federal representation, that his 
first sin is justly imputed unto you for your condemnation, 
and therefore that you not only want original righteous 
ness, but that your natures are wholly corrupted 1 With 
out some uptaking of this deplorable state wherein you 
are by nature, it is impossible you can see the least need 
of the Angel s doing wondrously, in condescending to be 
the Head of the new covenant, to fulfil the condition there- 



238 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISIIEU s ^YRI TINGS. 

of in point of doing and suffering, that this his perfect 
righteousness might be imputed to you for your justifica 
tion and title to eternal life. No sooner are you made to 
see the wonders of redeeming love, in the substitution of 
Christ in your room, as the Head of the new creation, than 
presently you are convinced of your miserable condition, 
in standing related to the first Adam, and that God is 
righteous in imputing Adam s first sin unto you, and that 
he would also be righteous, though the threatening of the 
law were put in execution against you, saying, as it is 
Dan. ix. 7. " Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, 
but unto us confusion of faces." 

(2.) Have you got a discovery of the nature of sin, what 
it really is 1 If you are " looking on," and beholding the 
Angel doing wondrously, you have certainly got some dis 
covery of the evil nature or malignity of sin " For you 
know that he was manifested to take away our sins," 1 John 
iii. 5 ; and ver. 8. " For this purpose the Son of God was 
manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." 
Therefore, if you are looking upon the Angel doing won 
drously, you see that sin is that abominable thing which 
God hates, because it is the very opposite of his holy nature, 
and a transgression of his holy law. You see that it is so 
exceeding sinful that the whole flood of infinite wrath 
must be poured in upon the Son of God, as bearing it for 
us, before a free pardon and indemnity can be issued forth, 
in a consistency with the honour of justice; for "the Lord 
God merciful and gracious," in " forgiving iniquity, trans 
gression, and sin," will do it in such a way as "by no means 
to clear the guilty," without a full satisfaction to offended 
justice, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. Again, in looking upon the 
Angel of the Lord doing wondrously in being a propitiation 
for sin, you have got a discovery of the evil of it, as it is 
a practical blaspheming of all the divine attributes and 
excellencies ; that it is a calling in question the truth 
and veracity of God, who " cannot lie," an undervaluing 
his manifold wisdom, a slighting of his unspeakable good 
ness and infinite love, a contempt of his impartial justice, 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 239 

and a despising of his just authority and almighty power. 
You have seen that sin is " wholly evil," that there is 
not the least good in it, and therefore that any outward 
trouble ought to be the object of our choice rather than 
the least sin. 

(3.) Have you been brought to see your own vileness 
and deformity by reason of sin? If you are looking on 
the Angel doing wondrously in taking away your sins, this 
will be the effect of it, that you will loathe and abhor your 
selves in dust and ashes on account thereof, Job xlii. 5, 6. 
" Now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor myself, and 
repent in dust and ashes." Have you seen yourselves to 
be wholly an unclean thing ? that from the head to the 
foot there is no soundness in you 1 that there is nothing 
but darkness in your understanding, enmity and rebellion 
in your wills, disorder and carnality in your affections? 
And did you ever know what it is to get a discovery of this 
your vileness and deformity, not only in the glass of the 
law, but in the glass of the glory of Christ, manifesting 
himself to you in the word of the gospel 1 

(4.) Are you looking upon the Angel of the Lord doing 
wondrously ? then you are persuaded that you can do no 
thing for your own recovery out of that deplorable state 
wherein you are plunged by your sin and apostasy from 
God, that you cannot answer the least demand of the 
law with respect to that obedience which it requires, and 
though you could, yet that you cannot make atonement 
for what is past, nor give unto God a sufficient ransom. 
In looking on the Angel of the Lord "travelling in the 
greatness of his strength, mighty to save," you see your 
own utter weakness and inability to attempt any repara 
tion to God s law which you have violated, or to stand 
before his offended justice ; and therefore will be well 
pleased that the Lord hath laid your help " upon one that 
is mighty," that his hand hath been on the " man of his 
right hand," whom he hath made strong for himself. 

(5.) What is your exercise about the legal bias of your 
hearts ? If you are looking upon the Angel of the Lord 
* 2 E 



240 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

doing wondrously, then this legal bias will be matter of 
your deepest concern. You that are believers cannot but 
be sensible of a strong inclination in your treacherous arid 
legal hearts to rest upon your duties, your graces, your 
frames, or attainments, as some ground of your acceptance 
before God ; but it will be matter of mourning unto you 
that you should seek to rob him of any part of the whole 
glory, or that anything in you should claim the least share 
of it, and therefore the language of your souls will be, 
" Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory." 
" Let him that builds the temple of the Lord bear all 
the glory." 

(6.) What estimate do you put upon your own do 
ings ? If you are looking upon the Angel doing won 
drously, you will think nothing of all that ever you did or 
can do, though you have perhaps got some enlargement, 
at a time, in praying, praising, hearing, or communicating, 
yet you have sometimes found it to be as the " morning 
cloud, and the early dew," which soon goeth away. You 
have found such a deal of unbelief, formality, and hypocrisy 
cleaving to your best duties, that you have been made to 
conclude you have nothing of your own whereof you can 
boast, that you have no good but what you have received, 
and therefore that, at best, you are but " unprofitable 
servants." 

(7.) What discoveries have been made to you by your 
looking upon the Angel doing wondrously ? Have you 
seen the infinite moral distance betwixt God and you re 
moved by his assuming your nature, and thereby a com 
munication established betwixt heaven and earth, in that 
"new and living way which he hath consecrated for us 
through the vail of his flesh 1 " Have you seen your own 
sin and guilt in his meritorious oblation, that the "just 
suffered for the unjust ?" Have you seen an " everlasting 
righteousness" wrought out for you in his obedience unto 
death? Have you got a view of the full and complete 
discharge of all your sins in his resurrection from the 
dead ? Have you got a faith s sight of a place prepared 



SEB. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 241 

for you by his ascension, since he hath said, " I go to pre 
pare a place for you ; and if I go and prepare a place for 
you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that 
where I am, there ye may be also?" If you are looking 
upon the Angel doing wondrously, you are discerning a 
matchless glory in his person, an unfathomable breadth, 
length, and depth in his love, and an infinite worth in 
all that he hath done, as " Immanuel. God with us." 

(8.) What is the principle and end of all that you do? If 
you are looking upon the Angel doing wondrously, the 
principle of all your actions will be faith in him and love 
to him. You will have faith in him, depending on his 
strength for assistance, and on his righteousness for ac 
ceptance in all that you do ; and you will have love to 
him, which will make his service sweet and pleasant unto 
you, 1 John v. 3. " This is the love of God, that we keep 
his commandments : and his commandments are not griev 
ous." His glory will be the great end you have in view : 
you will be ready to say, Let him increase though I 
should decrease, let him have in all things the pre-emi 
nence, let him be honoured, though I should be ever so 
much debased and despised. In a word, you will study to 
perform every duty, because he is thereby glorified ; and 
to hate every sin, because he is thereby dishonoured. 

(9.) How are you exercised when anything intervenes 
betwixt you and the Angel that has done wondrously? 
Surely, if you are " looking on," he will be so amiable and 
lovely in your eyes, that everything that keeps him out of 
your sight will be most troublesome unto you: though 
you are sensible of being easily diverted to other objects, 
yet the desire of your souls will be, that you may be in 
case to say with the Psalmist, " My heart is fixed, God, 
my heart is fixed ; I will sing and give praise." And you 
will long for the time when the day will break and the 
shadows flee away. 

12. Hath Christ, the Angel of the covenant, done won 
drously ? and is it your privilege to " look on ? " then let 
us all be exhorted to turn aside and see this great sight. 



242 SELECTIONS FROM ME. FISHEtt s WRITINGS. 

As Moses said concerning the "bush burning and not con 
sumed," Exod. iii. 3 ; so let every one of us say, " I will 
now turn aside, and see this great sight," namely, the 
Angel doing wondrously. This is the greatest sight ever 
the world saw or heard of, the wonder of angels and men, 
the wonder of time and eternity, that the eternal God, 
in our nature, should ascend in the flame of the sacrifice 
of himself; or that his death, in our room, should lay the 
foundation of his glorious and triumphant ascension as 
the Head of the whole mystical body. Well, then, what is 
here said of Manoah and his wife that they really did, we 
exhort you to do, and that is, to "look on" in a way of 
believing. 

And to encourage you to fall in with the exhortation, 
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ calls you to 
look upon his only begotten Son, as the Angel that hath 
done wondrously in your behalf, Isa. xlii. 1. " Behold my 
servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul 
delighteth." 

Christ invites you to look on himself, in a way of believ 
ing, as the only doer in the great work of your redemption, 
Isa. Ixv. 1. " I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation 
that was not called by my name." 

He is lifted up on the pole of the everlasting gospel, for 
this very end, that you may look on him as the performer 
of all things for you ; for, " As Moses lifted up the serpent 
in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted 
up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, 
but have eternal life," John iii. 14, 15. Although your 
right of access to salvation be founded allenarly in the free 
gift and grant thereof unto you in the word, yet your 
being actually interested therein, and possessed thereof, 
must be in a way of " looking on," or believing : " Look 
unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth," Isa. 
xlv. 22. 

Consider the present necessity of " looking on," or be 
lieving. It is now, in a present life, or before death, that 
Christ is to be believed on, or never : " For there is no 



SER. III. CHRIST THE SOLE DOER, ETC. 243 

work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, 
whither thou goest." " Behold, now is the accepted time ; 
behold, now is the day of salvation." At death the state 
is fixed irreversibly, and none knows how soon God may 
send that inexorable messenger to sist them before his 
awful tribunal; therefore, "To-day if you will hear his 
voice, harden not your hearts." The call to believe, or 
" look on," is to a present duty, there is the utmost dan 
ger in delaying a matter of such importance, whereupon 
the happiness of your souls depends through eternity. 
therefore, " Incline your ear ; hear, and your soul shall 
live." 

Christ, the Angel that did wondrously, is brought near 
to you in the word, you are welcome to " look on," and 
appropriate all that you see to yourselves : " For the pro 
mise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are 
afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." It 
is unto you, as you are sinners, that " the word of this sal 
vation is sent ;" and " This is the command of God, that 
you believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ." And 
remember that there is no "escaping, if you neglect so 
great salvation." 

Consider how earnest and importunate Christ is with 
you, that you " look on him," in a way of believing, to the 
saving of your souls. He sends forth his ambassadors to 
beseech you, in his stead, that you be reconciled to God. 
He complains of your aversion to him, John v. 40. " Ye 
will not come to me, that ye might have life." And he 
laments your refusal, Luke xix. 42. " If thou hadst known, 
even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong 
unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine eyes." 

Lastly, Consider that others have " looked on," and have 
found the benefit thereof to their comfortable experience, 
Psal. xxxiv. 5. " They looked to him and were lightened, 
and their faces were not ashamed." And as we exhort 
you to the present exercise of " looking on," or believing, 
so likewise to the constant and habitual exercise thereof 
for the future, during your abode in the house of your pil- 



244 SELECTIONS FROM ME. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

grimage. Study to " live by faith of the Son of God ;" for 
it is promised, " The just shall live by faith." This is one 
of the " good and perfect gifts which are from above, and 
come down from the Father of lights, with whom is no 
variableness, neither shadow of turning." Faith is one of 
those gifts which are conferred without repentance ; for 
he who is the author being also the finisher of faith, there 
can be no cause for his withdrawing of it which would not 
as well have hindered him from bestowing it at first ; nor 
can there happen any after-unworthiness, in those whom 
he hath once privileged with this grace, which he did not 
foresee when he first wrought it in their souls. 

In order to your living by faith on the Son of God, con 
sider that all the offices he executes, as Mediator, are purely 
relative, bearing a relation to us, he had never been 
clothed with any of them had it not been on our account. 
The offices of Christ are not like the attributes of God, 
the attributes of God are absolutely essential to the divine 
nature, God would have been infinite, eternal, unchange 
able, <fec., although no creature had ever existed ; but Christ 
could not have been Prophet, Priest, and King, if there 
had not been sinners of mankind with relation to whom 
these offices were to be executed ; so that they all bear a 
relation to us, in the miserable circumstances wherein sin 
hath plunged us, and if you get a well-grounded persua 
sion that Christ your " passover is sacrificed " for you as a 
Priest, it will be the more easy to believe that he will en 
lighten you as a Prophet, and sanctify you as a King. 

To conclude, we would exhort you to evidence that it 
is your habitual exercise to be "looking on" the Angel 
doing wondrously, by your looking down with contempt 
on time-things, when laid in the balance with those that 
are eternal, by being diligent in the practice of com 
manded duty, by aspiring after nearer conformity to God 
in holiness, and longing for the full enjoyment of him in 
heaven. And thus you will imitate the practice of Manoah 
and his wife, of whom it is said in our text, that when 
" the angel did wondrously, Manoah and his wife looked on." 



SERMON IV.* 

THE DOORS OF THE HEART SUMMONED TO OPEN TO 
THE KING OF GLORY. 

PSAL. xxiv. 7. " Lift up your heads, ye gates ; and be ye ( lift up, ye 
everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in." 

IT is evident, from the title, that David was the penman 
of the Spirit of God in this psalm ; and it is generally 
thought that it was composed upon the occasion of his 
bringing up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom 
unto the tabernacle which he had pitched for it in mount 
Zion, 2 Sam. vi. 17; which, by the prophet Nathan, he 
understood would be the place where Solomon s temple 
should afterwards be built. Therefore, not doubting but 
that this glorious work would be finished in due time, and 
that the ark of God would be brought to its place therein, 
he, beforehand, poetically addresses the gates and doors of 
the temple, and gives them a solemn charge to give patent 
access to this glorious symbol of the divine presence, and 
eminent type of Christ, the Saviour and Surety of lost sin 
ners of mankind : " Lift up your heads, ye gates," &c. 
In these words you may notice, 

1. The object addressed, it is literally the "gates" and 
" doors " of the temple, which David, by faith and the 
spirit of prophecy, beheld as already built ; but typically 
and spiritually it is the gates and doors of the heart, the 
temple typifying not only the human nature of Christ, but 
likewise his church. Hence the members of the church 
visible are called "the temple of God," 1 Cor. iii. 16. "Know 

* An Action Sermon, preached at Glasgow, August 31, 1755. 



246 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHEK s WRITINGS. 

ye not that ye are the temple of God 1 " And the 
doors of this temple are fitly called "everlasting," be 
cause the soul of man, being of an immortal nature, the 
faculties thereof, which are its doors, cannot but be ever 
lasting. 

2. You have the address itself, or the solemn charge he 
gives to these gates and doors, and that is, " to be lifted 
up :" " Lift up your heads, ye gates :" let your tops or 
lintels be raised up on high, that the entrance may be the 
more spacious and magnificent. Or, perhaps the lifting 
up of the heads or tops of the gates may be spoken in 
allusion to the iron-grates that are hung over the entry of 
fortified places, and let down for debarring all access ; and 
so may denote the strong bars wherewith the heart of man 
is naturally fortified against Christ, and the way of salvation 
through him: let all these be knocked off and give way. 
And whereas the summons is doubled, "Lift up your 
heads, ye gates ;" and " be ye lifted up, ye everlasting 
doors," it signifies both the importance of the duty and 
the peremptoriness of the charge. So that the amount of 
the solemn call seems to be this : Let the doors of every 
sinner s heart, to whom these presents shall come, be wide 
opened by believing ; and every bar and obstacle be there 
by presently made to give place, that so there may be a 
patent entrance for all the good that is wrapped up in the 
promise. 

3. You have the ground and reason of this repeated 
charge, or the motive enforcing such a solemn call, it is 
the promise that " the King of glory shall come in." This 
King of glory is no other than Christ, who is called the 
" Lord of glory," 1 Cor. ii. 8 ; where it is said, that " if the 
princes of this world had known him, they would not have 
crucified the Lord of glory." 

Upon the words thus opened, I found the following 
doctrine, namely, 

DOCTRINE, That as there is a solemn charge given to 
sinners of mankind, in the dispensation of the gospel, to 
open or lift up the doors of their hearts to Christ, the King 



SER. IV. THE DOORS OF THE HEART, ETC. 247 

of glory, in a way of believing ; so it is secured, by pro 
mise, that he shall come in. 

The Method I propose to follow, through divine assist 
ance, shall be, to speak 

I. Of the solemn charge here given to sinners of man 
kind, to " lift up" or " open" the everlasting doors of their 
hearts. 

II. Of the " King of glory," in whose favours access to 
the heart is demanded. 

III. Of the promise of his in-coming to the hearts of 
sinners. And, 

IV. To apply the subject. 

I. I return to the first of these, namely, to speak of 
the solemn charge here given unto sinners of mankind to 
"lift up" or "open" the "everlasting doors" of their 
hearts. Upon this head I shall essay, 

First, To show that the heart of man is by nature 
strongly fortified against Christ s entry into it. 

Secondly, Inquire what are these "doors" of the heart, 
which are summoned to open unto him. 

Thirdly, What is meant by the " lifting up " or " open 
ing" of these doors ; and how they open. 

First, We are to show, that the heart of man is by na 
ture strongly fortified against Christ s entry into it. This 
is implied in the solemn charge here given, " Lift up your 
heads, ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting 
doors :" which plainly says that they are naturally shut, 
and strongly bolted against the entry of the Son of God 
into them. I shall name a few of these bolts or bars 
wherewith the heart is naturally fortified against Christ. 

1. There is the bar of ignorance; for, till " the light of 
the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus, 
shine in our hearts," they will remain shut upon him, it 
being " the entrance only of his word that giveth light." 
But so soon as he is taken up in the light of his own word, 
presently the heart will open unto him in a way of believ 
ing ; Psal. ix. 10. " They that know thy name will put their 
trust in thee." 



248 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

2. The heart of the sinner is fortified against Christ by 
unbelief ; which is a rejecting the record and testimony of 
God concerning his eternal Son, a treading him under 
foot, and reckoning the blood of the covenant, wherewith 
he was sanctified, an unholy thing. Therefore, since there 
is salvation in no other, nor any " other name under hea 
ven, given among men, whereby we must be saved," it is 
impossible he can have any entrance, till we account it " a 
faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ 
Jesus came into the world to save sinners," of whom each 
of us have reason to reckon ourselves the " chief." 

3. Legality is another strong bar upon the heart; for, 
while we go about to establish our own righteousness, we 
will never submit ourselves unto the righteousness of God ; 
while we remain wedded to the law, as a covenant, we will 
never consent to be married to another, even to him who 
is raised again from the dead. 

4. The heart of the sinner is naturally bolted against 
Christ with self-sufficiency; saying, with Laodicea, " I am 
rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." 
And, indeed, while this is the case, we will never go 
a-begging at Wisdom s door, or open to him whom the 
Father hath loved, and " given all things into his hand," 
that out of his fulness we might receive, " and grace for 
grace." 

5. Spiritual lethargy, or security, is another bar upon the 
heart; for, while the sinner is fast asleep, under all the 
alarms of word and providence, he cannot arise and open 
to Christ, neither will he be awakened till the Spirit of 
God set home the law, in its spirituality and extent, upon 
the conscience ; for, " by the law is the knowledge of sin." 

6. Hopeless despair shuts the heart effectually against 
Christ ; for, when once a person apprehends that his sins 
are so many, and so heinously aggravated, that there is no 
mercy or forgiveness for him, he is ready to give loose 
reins to corruption, and to say upon the matter, " There 
is no hope ; I have loved strangers, and after them I will 
go." In which case, the longer the person, li ves, his heart 



SER. IV. THE DOORS OF THE HEART, ETC. 249 

will still be the more hardened, unless a day of power 
brings about a saving change. 

7. Presumptuous confidence bolts the heart against Christ ; 
for, while a person mistakes his convictions, the qualms of 
his conscience, or the transient motions that may be, at a 
time, upon his affections, for real grace, he will certainly 
take ease and shelter to himself under these lying refuges 
till the hail sweep them away ; and then he will see that 
a "deceived heart hath turned them aside." Thus you 
see that the heart of man is by nature strongly fortified 
against Christ s entry into it. I go on to 

The second particular upon this general Head, which was 
to inquire, What are those " doors " which are summoned 
to open to Christ Jesus the Lord. For understanding this, 
you would know that there is here an allusion to the entry 
of great houses ; as access to a great house is by outer and 
inner gates, so there are outer and inner doors of the heart 
by which it is accessible. The outer doors of the heart, 
while the soul is united to the body, are the ear and the 
eye. 

1. There is the outer door of the bodily ear; which is an 
organ framed for hearing the words of Christ, and the 
summons given, in his name, by his sent servants, to open 
the everlasting doors of the heart unto him, Isa. Iv. 3. 
" Incline your ear, come unto me ; hear, and your souls 
shall live." The ear is such an useful door to the heart 
that faith is said to come by hearing, Rom. x. 17. " Faith 
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." 

2. The other outer door of the heart is the eye of the 
body ; which is calculated for reading the Scriptures, which 
testify so amply of Christ. Hence are they pronounced 
blessed who read the word so as to feed on it by faith, 
Rev. i. 3 " Blessed is he that readeth t and they that hear 
the words of this prophecy, and keep the sayings which 
are written therein." So that the outer doors of the heart 
are the ear and the eye, the one is summoned to listen, 
and the other to read and search the record of God con 
cerning Christ. 



250 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

But, then, as the heart hath those outer doors which we 
have mentioned, it has inner ones also which are sum 
moned to " lift up" or "open" to the Son of God. These 
inner doors are the faculties of the soul, which are princi 
pally two, the understanding and the will. When these 
are lifted up, all the other powers of the soul fly open at 
once. 

1. There is the inner door of the understanding, which 
is the leading faculty of the soul. This is naturally such 
a dungeon of darkness, that it cannot receive the things of 
the Spirit of God till the vail and covering that is upon it 
be rent by the power of efficacious grace ; for, " the god of 
this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe 
not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is 
the image of God, should shine into them." But so soon 
as the "day-spring" from on high visits the sinner, or 
the "Sun of righteousness" arises upon him, then the 
" shadows fly away," and " an understanding is given to 
know him who is the true God and eternal life," 1 John 
v. 20. 

2. There is the inner door of the will, which, ever since 
the fall, is bolted with opposition unto, and enmity against, 
the will of God ; for " the carnal mind is enmity against 
God, and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed 
can be." Hence we find God s main complaint against 
sinners lodged at the door of their will, Matt, xxiii. 37. 
" Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered 
thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens 
under her wings, and ye would not!" John v. 40. " Ye will 
not come unto me, that ye might have life." Howbeit, in 
a day of divine power, this iron-gate is made to give way, 
Psalm ex. 3. " Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy 
power." And thus, when these two inner doors of the 
heart, the understanding and the will, are opened and 
lifted up, the one by enlightening, the other by renewing 
grace, all the other powers of the soul open of course. The 
affections, following the enlightened mind and renewed 
will, centre on him who is " altogether lovely." The con- 



SER. IV. THE BOOKS OF THE HEART, ETC. 251 

science finds fault with and challenges every thing that is 
offensive in his sight. And the memory loves to retain 
him and his truths as the subject-matter of habitual medi 
tation. Thus you see what are the " doors " of the heart 
which are summoned to open to Christ. 

The third particular, on this Head, was to inquire what 
is meant by the " lifting up" or " opening" of these doors, 
and how they open. To the 

1st. What is meant by the " lifting up " or " opening " 
these doors? I answer, that the charge here given unto 
the gates to "lift up" their heads, and to the everlasting 
doors to "be lifted up," is just the very same with the 
command to " believe." It is a solemn charge laid upon 
sinners of mankind to believe on the Son of God, as the 
only way to the Father. As there can be no patent entry 
to a house but by open doors, so there can be no other way 
of giving reception to Christ but by believing on him ; 
hence "receiving" and "believing" are all one in Scripture, 
John i. 12. " As many as received him, to them gave he 
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe 
on his name." Christ comes to every man and woman s 
door only in the word of divine revelation, and conse 
quently there can be no other way of receiving him but 
by believing that word as the record of God ; for, as unbe 
lief is a shutting him out of the heart, so faith is an opening 
thereof to take him in. And as nothing glorifies God so 
much as believing, therefore God claims it as his own pecu 
liar work, John vi. 29. " This is the work of God, that ye 
believe on him whom he hath sent." On the same account 
is faith called " precious," 2 Pet. i. 1 ; because it unites 
with precious Christ, and ties the marriage-knot which 
shall never be loosed. So it is the peculiar excellency of 
the grace of faith, to open the doors of the heart to receive 
in Christ Jesus the Lord. But then, 

Idly. How do these doors open in believing 1 

1. In believing, a beam of divine, supernatural light, 
from the word, shines in upon the understanding, and 
thereby this door presently opens to take in the knowledge 



252 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

of Christ, and of God in him, and of the whole of divine 
revelation. For, it is when the " eyes of the understanding 
are enlightened" that we "know what is the hope of his 
calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance 
in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his 
power to us-ward who believe," Eph. i. 18, 19. This saving 
illumination of the mind is the first work in the new crea 
tion, even as the making of light was the first particular 
work in the old : hence the "new man" is said to be 
" renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created 
him," Col. iii. 10. 

2. In believing, the Spirit having moulded the will, in 
conformity to the will of God, it hereby opens to give a 
cordial reception to Christ, as presented to the understand 
ing in the light of the word. The same Spirit, who power 
fully sways the understanding to assent to the record of 
God as true, as powerfully inclines the will, at the same 
time, to embrace it as good. The light of the gospel, dis 
covering Christ in the glory of his person, offices, and 
mediation, is darted in upon the understanding ; and the 
same light is, by a secret working of the Spirit, reflected 
upon the will, whereby it is sweetly influenced to open to 
him as altogether lovely. 

3. In believing, the affections get such a spiritual set, 
that they may be justly said to open to Christ when they 
can terminate nowhere solidly and permanently but on 
himself, and God in him, as the object of our highest love, 
desire, and esteem ; so as to be in case to say with the 
Psalmist, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there 
is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." Or with 
the church, Isa. xxvi. 8. " The desire of our soul is to thy 
name, and to the remembrance of thee." Sirs, if the door 
of your understanding hath been opened to know Christ, 
and the door of your will to embrace him, your affections 
cannot miss to be enamoured and captivated with him ; 
for spiritual light in the understanding will be always ac 
companied with some spiritual warmth upon the affections, 
Luke xxiv. 32. " Did not our hearts burn within us, while 



SER IV. THE DOORS OF THE HEART, ETC. 253 

he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us 
the scriptures ? " 

4. In believing, the conscience being purged from dead 
works by the blood of Christ, may be said to open to him 
when it can have no quiet or peace without some know 
ledge of a present interest in his love, as it was with the 
Spouse ; she was restless till he returned with the wonted 
evidences of his kindness, Song iii. at the beginning. 

5. In believing, the memory being made a receptacle of 
gospel truth, 1 Cor. xv. 2. may be said to open to Christ, 
when it is ready, not only to take in and lay up fresh store 
from the word, but likewise to bring forth and utter abun 
dantly what it remembers of his great goodness, according 
to the promise, Psal. cxlv. 7. " They shall abundantly utter 
the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy 
righteousness." Thus you see what is meant by " lifting 
up" the doors of the heart, and how they open to Christ in 
believing. And so much for the first thing, namely, the 
solemn charge here given to "open" or "lift up" the ever 
lasting doors of the heart. I now proceed to the 

II. General Head of the Method, which was to speak of 
the " King of glory," in whose favour access to the heart 
is demanded. Upon this head, I shall, 

First, Offer a few meditations concerning this glorious 
King. 

Secondly, Inquire why called the King of glory. 

First, A few propositions concerning this glorious 
King. 

1. Our Lord Jesus is the alone King and Head of his 
church, by his Father s ordination and appointment, from 
eternity. The supreme rule which he exerciseth over all 
the creatures as God, is natural and essential to him, as 
being one in essence with the Father and Holy Ghost ; but 
the sovereign power and authority, which he exerciseth in 
and over his church as Mediator, is "given" unto him as 
a reward of his purchase, Matt, xxviii. 18. " All power is 
given unto me," says he, " in heaven and in earth." Hence 
are so many royal titles assigned unto him ; such as " Prince 



254 SELECTIONS FROM ME. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

of peace," " Captain of salvation," " Lord of glory," and 
" King of kings." 

2. The assumption of the human nature was necessary 
to the execution of his office as a King ; for he could not 
have mounted the throne as a King, if he had not first 
offered up himself, in the human nature, as a Priest, Luke 
xxiv. 26. " Ought not Christ to suffer these things, and to 
enter into his glory ? " hence called " a Priest upon his 
throne," Zech. vi. 13 ; intimating that the cross was the 
way to the crown. 

3. Although he exercised his kingly power, as Mediator, 
ever after the first promise, yet the solemnity of his in 
stalment and investiture in the kingdom was not till his 
ascension to the right hand of the Majesty on high, where 
by he was made both Lord and Christ ; " for to this end 
Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be 
Lord both of the dead and living," Rom. xiv. 9, 

4. His kingdom is quite of another nature, and alto 
gether distinct, from the kingdoms of this world, for it is 
a spiritual kingdom : " My kingdom," says he to Pilate, 
"is not of this world." Everything in his kingdom is 
spiritual and heavenly, the manner of the administration 
thereof, is not by secular arms and outward force, but by 
spiritual weapons only : " The weapons of our warfare are 
not carnal, but mighty through God." His laws are spiri 
tual, reaching the inward as well as the outward man. 
And the blessings which he distributes are chiefly of a 
spiritual nature, such as, the pardon of sin, fellowship 
and communion with God, grace here, and glory hereafter. 

5. He is a King of most singular and unparalleled quali 
fications : for, (1.) He is a King of immeasurable wisdom 
and knowledge, the treasures of both being hid in him, 
Col. ii. 3. (2.) He is a King of irresistible power ; for, as 
" all power is given unto him in heaven and in earth," so the 
armies of both are at his command. (3.) He is a King of 
unspotted holiness, being " the Holy One of Israel in the 
midst of us." (4.) He is a King of unsearchable riches 
and unbounded liberality ; for ; as " riches and honour are 



SEE. IV. THE DOORS OF THE HEART, ETC. 255 

with him," so he invites every one to whom he sends gos 
pel-light to come and share of his fulness : Isa. Iv. 1. " Ho, 
every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he 
that hath no money : come ye, buy, and eat ; yea, come, 
buy wine and milk without money, and without price." 
(5.) He is a King of untainted veracity, for he is truth 
itself, and all " the promises are in him Yea and Amen." 
(6.) He is an eternal and immortal King. He was dead, 
indeed ; but because by his death he finished the purchase 
of our salvation, therefore " Behold he is alive for ever 
more," to see to the begun possession of it here, and the 
full fruition of it hereafter. 

The second branch of this general Head was to inquire, 
Why he is called the " King of glory 1 " The expression 
hath a peculiar singularity in it ; for, though kings, in 
some sense, may be said to be glorious, yet no other but 
Christ himself was ever styled " the King of glory." He 
is so called, 

1. Because there is in the human nature, now exalted, 
a bright manifestation of the glory of his divine person. 
The union between the two natures was the same, in a 
state of humiliation, that it is now in a state of exaltation ; 
but the glory of the divine nature, which was veiled for a 
while by the sinless infirmities and voluntary abasement 
to which he submitted before his resurrection, did appear 
again in all its former splendour, by the glorification of the 
human nature, in its ascension to the right hand of the 
throne of God, which is the meaning of Christ s words to 
his Father, John xvii. 5. " Glorify thou me with thine own 
self with the glory which I had with thee before the world 
was." 

2. He is called " the King of glory," because the glory, 
in which he was installed at his ascension, is unspeakably 
great. For, as the human nature, in virtue of its union 
with the Son of God, was capable of being filled with the 
Spirit above all measure ; so, for the same reason, it is 
capable of a glory inconceivably great, as seems plainly 
to be imported in the expression, Phil. ii. 9. " God also 

4 2r 



256 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

hath highly exalted him." The original word is, " super- 
exalted" him; that is, exalted hiin above all the concep 
tion of angels or men. 

3. He is called " the King of glory," because he is the 
receptacle and storehouse of all glory ; " For the Father 
loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." 
This will be acknowledged by all the inhabitants of the 
upper sanctuary for ever and ever: Rev. v. 12. "Worthy 
is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, 
and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and 
blessing." 

4. He is called " the King of glory," because he is the 
dispenser of all that glory which shall ever be let out 
among the saints through eternity ; for he received gifts, 
not for himself, but "for men," that he might bestow 
them variously at his pleasure among sinners of mankind. 
Accordingly, as he will give grace here, so he will give 
glory hereafter, that on him may " hang all the glory of 
his Father s house, from the vessels of cups even to all the 
vessels of flagons." 

5. " He is called " the King of glory," because there is 
a refulgency or brightness of glory always shining out from 
him. As the sun in the firmament diffuses and spreads 
abroad its light freely, liberally, and continually ; so there 
is a bountiful and perpetual emanation of glory from the 
Sun of righteousness, and that both in this life and in that 
which is to come. In this life, his glory shines mediately, 
through the glass of the word, 2 Cor. iii. 18. " We all, with 
open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord." 
And in the life to come, his glory shines immediately on 
all the ransomed company, which is the very soul of their 
glory for ever : hence says he, John xvii. 22. " The glory 
which thou gavest me I have given them ; that they may 
be one, even as we are one." 

6. He is called " the King of glory," because of the 
badges of glory and sovereignty that are ascribed unto 
him. He hath a throne of glory on which he sits, Matt, 
xxv. 31. " When the Son of man shall come, and all his 



SEB. IV. THE DOORS OF THE HEART, ETC. 257 

holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of 
his glory." He has a sceptre of glory which he sways, and 
this is no other than the glorious gospel, called the " rod 
of his strength," Psal. ex. 2. He has a glorious retinue ; 
for " thousand thousands minister unto him, and ten thou 
sand times ten thousand stand before him." He has a 
glorious robe, hence said to be " glorious in his apparel," 
Isa. Ixiii. 1. And he has a glorious tribute and revenue 
paid in to him ; for in him " shall all the seed of Israel be 
justified, and shall glory." Thus I have hinted, very im 
perfectly, at a few things only on this inexhaustible sub 
ject, concerning " the King of glory," in whose favours 
access to the heart is demanded. I now proceed to the 

III. Thing in the Method, namely, The promise of his 
in-coming to the hearts of sinners " The King of glory 
shall come in" Upon this Head I shall briefly essay these 
two things : 

First, Inquire into the import of the promise, " The 
King of glory shall come in." 

Secondly, Mention a few of the great things he brings 
alongst with him when he comes. 

First, What is imported in this promise, " The King of 
glory shall come in?" 

1. It imports, that this glorious person has himself re 
moved all legal bars and impediments that were in the 
way of his access unto the soul. Sin made an infinite 
moral distance betwixt God and us, and blocked up all 
communication with heaven ; but this he removed by his 
obedience unto the death in our room, whereby all the 
demands that law and justice had against us were fully 
answered, and nothing could any more be laid "to the 
charge of God s elect." 

2. " The King of glory shall come in," it imports, that, 
next to the union of the two natures in the person of the 
Son, there cannot be a greater wonder than that God in 
our nature should take up his lodging in such hearts as 
ours, considering that he is "the blessed and only Po 
tentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords," and we 



258 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER^S WRITINGS. 

"wretched, miserable, blind, and naked" sinners. To see 
an earthly prince come and dwell with a beggar, would be 
nothing at all in comparison of a God of unspotted holiness 
dwelling with guilty and polluted souls. Surely we may 
wonder that such a glorious person should ever condescend 
to come under such pitiful and contemptible roofs as ours 
are : each of us may well say with the centurion, Matt, 
viii. 8. " Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come 
under my roof." 

3. It imports, that he is waiting and knocking at every 
man and woman s door, just ready to enter upon the open 
ing ; Rev. iii. 20. " Behold, I stand at the door and knock : 
if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come 
in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." ! 
how near is he to us, when he is in the word of faith which 
we preach, and which you are just now hearing! 

4. It imports the certainty of the thing " Lift up your 
heads, ye gates, and the King of glory shall come in :"- 
there is no perad venture about it, he will surely "come in" 
to the soul that opens to him in a way of believing ; John 
xi. 40. " Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, 
thou shouldest see the glory of God ] " For, though there 
be no necessary connexion betwixt duties as performed by 
us, and any saving benefit or blessing whatsoever ; yet, in 
the order of the covenant, there is such a connexion 
among the blessings themselves that one comes along with 
another ; as here, Christ s in-coming to the soul is secured, 
by promise, to accompany believing : " Be ye lift up, ye 
everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in." 

5. It imports, that in opening the heart to Christ by 
believing, there commences the closest union between him 
and the soul, so as that they presently coalesce into one 
body, whereof he is the Head, and they the members that 
are nourished by it. And as they coalesce in one body, 
so likewise into one spirit ; for the same spirit that rests 
on the Head animates every one of the members: "He 
that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." 

6. It imports, that, as a fruit of this union, there is an 



SEB. IV. THE DOORS OF THE HEART, ETC. 259 

interest and propriety in his person, and all that he hath. 
An interest in his person, so as to have ground to say, 
" My beloved is mine, and I am his ;" and an interest in all 
that he hath, an interest in his righteousness, his fulness, 
and the whole of his salvation. 

7. It implies the delight and satisfaction that Christ 
will have in the soul that opens unto him. As his delights 
were, from eternity, with the sons of men, so when he 
comes into any of their souls in time, he says to them, as 
it is Song vii. 6. " How fair and how pleasant art thou, 
love, for delights ! " For we read, that " the Lord taketh 
pleasure in his people," Psal. cxlix. 4. 

8. " The King of glory shall come in," it implies that 
his abode shall be continual. He will not come in as a 
" stranger or way-faring man to tarry only for a night ;" 
but he will come in as a constant residenter, saying of the 
soul as he does of Zion, Psal. cxxxii. 14. " This is my rest 
for ever : here will I dwell ; for I have desired it." 

The second particular, upon this general Head, was to 
mention a few of the great things he brings along with him 
when he comes. And indeed they are so great that their 
greatness is unutterable. For, 

1. He brings God along with him ; and it cannot be 
otherwise, seeing " God is in Christ." " He that hath seen 
me," says Christ, " hath seen my Father also." This mu 
tual in-being of the Father, and the Son, and the believer 
in each other, will remain an impenetrable mystery till the 
last day declare it ; John xiv. 20. " At that day ye shall 
know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in 
you." 

2. He brings the Spirit along with him, to receive of his 
and " show it unto you." He brings the Spirit to " abide 
with you for ever ;" to " bring all things to your remem 
brance," and to " guide you into all truth." 

3. He brings all the glorious perfections of God along 
with him, to be employed in and about the soul that opens 
to him in a way of believing. The infinity of God, to be 
the inexhaustible fund of our supply, his eternity, to se- 



260 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

cure the perpetuity of our inheritance, his unchangeable- 
ness, to ascertain our perseverance notwithstanding of our 
daily failings and infirmities, his wisdom, to give us coun 
sel, his power, to defend us, his holiness, to conform us 
to himself, his justice, to acquit us, his goodness, to 
withhold nothing that is for our profit, and his truth, 
to " do as he hath said." 

4. He brings all the promises of the covenant along with 
him, and all the blessings that are contained in them. He 
brings " gold tried in the fire," to enrich the poor, "white 
raiment," for clothing the naked, and "eye-salve," for 
enlightening the eyes of the blind. He brings life to 
quicken the dead, liberty to the captive, and an ample 
indemnity to the guilty sinner of all his transgressions, be 
what they will. He brings strength to the weak, healing 
to the diseased, and comfort to the mourner in Zion. In 
a word, he brings "all things" along with him ; hence says 
the apostle, 1 Cor. iii. 22. " All things are yours, and ye are 
Christ s." So much for the doctrinal part. I now pro 
ceed to make some 

APPLICATION of what hath been said. And the First Use 
shall be of Information, in two Inferences. 

1. Hence see the excellency of the grace of faith. Other 
graces do virtuously, but faith excels them all ; for it lifts 
up and throws open the doors of the heart to Christ, it 
unites with him, takes hold of his righteousness for pardon 
and acceptance, and continually brings an empty hand to 
receive out of his fulness. It is by faith we have peace 
with God, it purifies the heart, and sometimes "joy 
unspeakable" is the fruit of it; hence says the Apostle 
Peter, " Believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable." Faith 
glories and triumphs only in Christ, it sucks honey out 
of every flower of the promise, and ventures boldly through 
all dangers and difficulties in the strength that is in Christ 
Jesus. In a word, it is the very thing that most glorifies 
God, and is most pleasing unto him; for, "without faith it 
is impossible to please God," Heb. xi. 6. 

2. Hence, on the other hand, see the malignant and soul- 



SEE,. IV. THE DOORS OP THE HEART, ETC. 261 

ruining nature of unbelief: for, as faith opens the door of 
the heart unto Christ, unbelief shuts and keeps them fast 
against him. It is the great mean whereby Satan keeps 
possession of the soul ; for, it puts no value on the precious 
promises, it despises the threatenings, and gives a flat re 
fusal to the command of God to believe on the name of his 
Son Jesus Christ. then, " take heed, lest there be in 
any of you an evil heart of unbelief," rejecting " the coun 
sel of God against yourselves," " neglecting so great salva 
tion," and consequently bringing upon yourselves " swift 
destruction." 

The Second Use shall be of Examination. This is a 
Communion-Sabbath with us in this congregation; and 
the express command of God is, " Let a man examine him 
self, and so let him eat of this bread, and drink of this 
cup." And as it is the duty of communicants, so likewise 
of all others who hear the gospel, to " examine themselves 
whether they be in the faith." Well, then, try whether, 
in a way of believing, your hearts have ever been opened 
unto " the King of glory ;" or, whether he hath actually 
come in to them. 

1. If your hearts have been opened to him by believing, 
then, upon his very first entry, his rivals have been dis 
banded, and you have been made to say, with Ephraim, 
" What have I to do any more with idols ? " You desire 
henceforth to give no more peaceable possession to sin as 
formerly, but constantly endeavour to resist it, and to 
wage a perpetual war with it ; and when you see you can 
not get rid of it, you will groan under the remains thereof, 
saying, with Paul, " Who shall deliver me from the body 
of this death ?" 

2. If your hearts have been opened to Christ, you have 
been made to fall a-wondering at the matchless glory and 
excellency of his person, that none less than the " great 
God is your Saviour," that He, who " thought it no rob 
bery to be equal with God," should take upon him " the 
form of a servant, and become obedient unto death, even the 
death of the cross," in your stead. When you see the two 



262 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

natures of God and man met together in a personal union, 
you will be ready to say, with amazement, " What hath 
God wrought ! " " Without controversy, great is the mys 
tery of godliness." 

3. If " the King of glory " hath come in to your hearts, 
the glory of his person has so darkened all created excel 
lency, that you account it "less than nothing and vanity" 
when compared with him, even as the stars quite dis 
appear when the sun arises in the firmament. If he hath 
come in, he will be absolutely matchless and incomparable 
in your eye ; so that you will be saying as it is Psal. Ixxiv. 
6. "Thou art more glorious and excellent than all the 
mountains of prey." 

4. If "the King of glory" hath come in, you have expe 
rienced somewhat of heart-melting grief and sorrow, aris 
ing from a discovery of the evil of sin, in what he suffered 
on account of it in your room and stead ; Zech. xii. 10. 
" They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and 
they shall mourn for him." When you get a view of God 
as pacified towards you, for all that you have done, you 
will be so " confounded as never to open your mouth any 
more, because of your shame," Ezek. xvi. 63. 

5. If your hearts have been opened to "the King of 
glory," in a way of believing, your affections of love, desire, 
and esteem, will be strongly moving out towards him ; or, 
at least, you will know sometimes what it is to be " sick 
of love ;" that is, to have a soul-sickness, because you can 
not get him loved according to his worth. 

6. If the everlasting doors of your hearts have been 
opened to " the King of glory," then you will desire far 
ther acquaintance and intimacy with him, nearer confor 
mity and likeness unto him, and more and more liberal 
communications from him, in whom " dwelleth all the ful 
ness of the Godhead bodily." It will be your desire to 
speak to his praise, to run his errands, and to " cause his 
name to be remembered in all generations." 

The Third Use shall be of Exhortation. And our exhor 
tation to all and every one of you, without exception, is, in 



SEB. IV. THE DOOBS OF THE HEABT, ETC. 263 

the words of our text, " Lift up your heads, ye gates ; 
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors :" let the faculties 
of your souls, which are the doors of your hearts, fly pre 
sently open, in a way of believing, to receive in " the King 
of glory," who is just now ready, in the dispensation of 
the word, to come in to each of your hearts. be per 
suaded to let him in to the innermost recesses or retire 
ments of your souls ! We call you in his name, and beseech 
you in his stead, that ye keep not shut doors upon him, on 
such a day as this, when he is come, both in the word and 
sacrament, demanding access in the most kindly manner, 
and by the most endearing compellations, saying, " Open 
to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled ; for my 
head is filled with the dew, and my locks with the drops 
of the night." 

Now, because the Lord Jesus draws with the " cords of 
a man," or deals with men and women as rational agents, 
I shall present you with some Scripture arguments, or 
motives, to engage you to lift up the everlasting doors of 
your hearts unto " the King of glory," that he may come 
in. Only, while we are essaying to persuade you from the 
word, look up to himself, that he may " put in his hand by 
the hole of the door," and make your bowels move for him, 
that he would make his own way, and, by the display 
of his glory and majesty, in the word, ride in prosperously 
into your souls. Well, then, 

1. Consider what you and I are; and what sort of a 
habitation our hearts have been, into which " the King of 
glory" hath either corne, or into which he is just now 
offering to enter. Why, we are naturally " a generation of 
vipers, rebellious children," loathsome creatures, separated 
from God by reason of the leprosy of sin ; we are under 
the curse, and " twice dead," dead in sin, and dead in 
law. As for our hearts, they have been an habitation of 
darkness, an habitation of lusts, and an "habitation of 
devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every 
unclean and hateful bird," as it is said of spiritual Baby 
lon, Rev. xviii. 2. then, be filled with wonder and 






264 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

amazement that ever such a glorious person should come, 
in the word of his grace, and say to such desperately 
wicked hearts as ours are "Lift up your heads, ye 
gates ; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors." 

2. Consider what a wonderful revolution he will make 
when he comes in. He will pull down " strongholds ; cast 
down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth it 
self against the knowledge of God; and bring into cap 
tivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." He will 
bind " the strong man," and overcome him, and take from 
him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divide his 
spoils. In a word, he will make " old things to pass away, 
and all things to become new." 

3. To engage you to open your hearts to him, consider 
what he hath promised to be unto you when he comes in. 
He hath promised that he " will be a Father to you," and 
that " you shall be his sons and daughters," 2 Cor. iii. 18. 
He hath promised that he will be a " husband," who will 
betrothe you to himself for ever, Hos. ii. 19. He hath 
promised that, as a Prophet, he will make you know the 
" mysteries of the kingdom ;" as a Priest, he will offer up 
your prayers and praises with acceptance, Isa. Ivi. 7. " Their 
burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on 
mine altar ;" and as a King, will protect you in all your 
liberties and privileges. He hath promised, that he will 
be a counsellor to advise you in all your straits, and a 
guide to lead you in the way you know not. 

4. Consider how sib he is unto you who is bidding you 
lift up and open the everlasting doors of your hearts 
unto him. He is your near kinsman ; " bone of your bone, 
and flesh of your flesh ;" for, because " the children were 
partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took 
part of the same." And he hath acted a kinsman s part 
to the full, he hath avenged your quarrel on Satan, who 
ruined you, and hath redeemed the forfeited inheritance, 
and is now demanding you in marriage, saying, " Thy Maker 
is thy husband." Should not this engage you to open unto 
him? 



8ER. IV. THE DOORS OF THE HEART, ETC. 265 

5. Consider what an expensive journey he hath made, 
in order to win to the doors of your hearts to demand 
entrance into them. He hath travelled not only through 
poverty and reproach, but through unspeakable sorrows 
and griefs, he hath travelled not only through the armies 
of hell, and the territories of death and the grave, but 
through desertion and tentation, through the deep seas 
of soul-trouble and anguish, and through the impassable 
mountains of fiery avenging wrath, yet, after all, to keep 
the door shut upon him, how wicked and ungrateful is 
it ! Could you find in your hearts to give the back of the 
door to any of your friends or acquaintances, who would 
come to visit you through much difficulty and danger? 
Yet, how infinitely worse is it to refuse access unto him, 
who " was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised 
for our iniquities ;" and who " was made sin for us, though 
he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness 
of God in him ! " 

6. be persuaded to lift up the doors of your hearts, in 
a way of believing, for "the King of glory" is fond to 
come in ; yea, he is so fond to come in to your hearts, ill 
as they are, that he stands, he knocks, he cries at your 
doors. He is grieved when your hearts are hardened 
against him, and most glad when they open unto him ; for, 
the day of his entrance, being the " day of his espousals," 
is therefore " the day of the gladness of his heart," Song 
iii. 11. 

7. Consider the dangerous consequences of keeping the 
doors of your hearts shut upon him by unbelief. He will 
be provoked to depart from you, and then woe will be unto 
you in that case ; for all manner of spiritual plagues will 
waste and consume you, a plague of blindness, that you 
shall not see what belongs to your peace, a plague of 
hardness, whereby neither word nor rod shall have any 
good effect upon you, a plague of barrenness, whereby no 
fruit will be found on you from henceforth, and a plague 
of security, whereby you shall slumber and sleep on, till in 
hell you lift up your eyes. 



266 SELECTIONS FROM ME. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

8. Consider, that if you continue to keep the doors of 
your hearts shut upon the " the King of glory," by your 
unbelief, then Satan will continue to reign and rule over 
you as his slaves and vassals, and sad will be the servi 
tude and drudgery he will set you to: he will set you 
a-feeding of your own swinish lusts, your drunkenness per 
haps, or your uncleanness, your pride, your covetousness, 
and the like : he will set you in a fool s paradise, where he 
will make you dream that you are eating and drinking, 
and stand in need of nothing ; but, behold ! when you 
awaken, you will find, to your sad experience, when it is 
past remedy, that your soul is empty. Meanwhile, he will 
take care to make your bands strong ; and, in these very 
bands, he will make you dance to his spring, till at length 
your mirth and jollity end in " weeping, and wailing, and 
gnashing of teeth." that you were wise, and considered 
these things in time ! 

9. Open the doors of your hearts by believing, and then 
the moment that your souls shall leave your bodies at 
death, they shall " immediately pass into the palace of the 
King of glory," where they shall abide in the greatest hap 
piness and glory, till they be united to their respective 
glorified bodies at the last day ; and then, soul and body, 
shall be for ever with the Lord, unweariedly employed in 
songs of everlasting joy, and sorrow and sighing shall fly 
away ; for God himself " shall wipe away all tears from 
their eyes." 

But, my dear friends, why need I insist on arguments 
with you, to persuade you to believe, or to open your hearts 
to Christ ? The call and exhortation in our text bears its 
own motive and argument along with it : " Lift up your 
heads, ye gates ; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, 
and the King of glory shall come in." This is enough, 
" The King of glory shall come in." This, I say, ought to 
have influence with you all to open in a way of believing, 
that " the King of glory shall come in." He " shall come 
in" to beautify you with his salvation, to justify you by 
his righteousness, to sanctify you by the inhabitation of 



SER. IV. THE DOORS OF THE HEART, ETC. 267 

his Spirit, to be your God for ever and ever, and your 
" guide even unto death," when you shall be beyond all 
hazard and danger, the former things having then for ever 
passed away. then, for the Lord s sake, and your own 
soul s sake, hearken to the call of God in the text, " Lift 
up your heads, ye gates ; and be ye lift up, ye everlast 
ing doors, and the King of glory shall come in:" then 
you who are communicants shall have a comfortable com 
munion, and you who are spectators shall have reason to 
say, with Jacob, " Surely God was in this place, and I 
knew it not." 



DISCOURSE ON THE EVESING OF THE SAME DAT, 

AFTER THE TABLES. 



IN prosecuting the Application of the subject I was upon in the morning 
a little further, I shall only, at this time, offer a few Observations on the 
Manner in which "the King of glory" demands access to the hearts of 
sinners of mankind; and then remove a few Objections against opening 
unto him in a way of believing. With reference to the Manner in which 
" the King of glory" demands access into the hearts of sinners, I may 
observe, 

1. That when he comes to the door of any man or woman s heart in 
the word, it is " without observation " to any other than the particular 
person with whom he is dealing at the time. Every one here present, 
who is awake, and whose mind is not wandering upon other objects, has 
access to hear the external sound of the gospel equally ; but none knows 
what the Spirit of God is doing with his word but the individual person 
with whom he is at work, either in a way of conviction, illumination, 
consolation, or the like special influence. 

2. I may observe, as was formerly hinted, that the Lord Jesus doubles 
or repeats his demand for access into the hearts of poor sinners, as you 
see the words of the text expressly bear " Lift up your heads, ye 
gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors." He stands at the door 
and knocks, as waiting to be gracious, and loath to take a denial ; and 
surely the oftener the call is repeated, the more inexcusable will we be 
if we refuse to hearken ; for, it will be more tolerable for those who never 
heard the gospel, than for us who " neglect so great salvation." 

3. Christ doth not demand access into the heart of every sinner after 
the same manner, so that his way with one cannot be the measure of 



268 SELECTIONS FROM MR. FISHER S WRITINGS. 

his dealing with another. He makes his demand for entrance into the 
hearts of some in a milder, and into the hearts of others in a more 
awful and terrible manner ; as you may see in his different way with the 
jailer and with Lydia. The " terrors of the Lord " were let loose upon the 
jailer, displaying the nature and desert of sin in such a clear and formi 
dable light, that the poor man was presently brought to his wit s end, 
and knew not what to do: "He sprang in, and came trembling, and fell 
down before Paul and Silas, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be 
saved?" Acts xvi. 29, 30. Whereas, upon the other hand, the heart of 
Lydia was opened in a much softer and milder way. It would seem she 
had not those previous legal convictions, at least in such a degree, as the 
jailer had; for it is said, ver. 14. of the same chapter, that, in hearing 
of the word, " the Lord opened her heart, that she attended unto the 
things that were spoken of Paul." 

4. It may be noticed on this head, that none can possibly be in a more 
desperate condition, in this life, that when the Son of God ceases to demand 
entrance into their hearts any more ; for, in this case, their ruin is in 
evitable, in regard they are judicially given up to their hearts lusts, as 
Israel was, Psal. Ixxxi. 11, 12. " My people would not hearken to my 
voice ; and Israel would have none of me. So I gave them up to their 
hearts lusts, and they walked in their own counsels." Or which is the 
same thing they are left entirely to themselves, which was the case 
with Ephraim, Hos. iv. 17. " Ephraim is joined to idols : let him alone." 
For, when he calls and we refuse, and when he stretches out his hands 
and no man regardeth, it is no wonder that he also "laugh at our 
calamity, and mock when our fear cometh." 

But now, because it is our duty, who are ministers, to " prepare the 
way of the people, to cast up the highway, and gather out the stones," 
I shall therefore endeavour to remove some Objections, which unbelief 
may be ready to make against opening the door of the heart unto Christ, 
when he is demanding access, saying, " Lift up your heads, ye gates; 
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors." 

1. Then, some may be ready to say, My conscience testifies I am 
such a guilty sinner, and that my guilt hath such peculiar aggravations 
attending it, that I cannot think that ever the King of glory will look 
near the like of me. 

I answer, Our Lord Jesus never yet refused to come in to a sinner, 
merely on account of the greatness of his sin ; nay, on the contrary, he 
invites and calls the guiltiest and greatest of sinners to open unto him, 
saying, " Come now, let us reason together, though your sins be as scar 
let, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, 
they shall be as wool." What were Manasseh, Mary Magdalen, Paul, 
and others, but the greatest of shiners? Yet they obtained mercy, that 
they might be a pattern to all after-sinners, not to despair of mercy on 
account of the greatness of their sin. Yea, you should be so far from 
this, that you should make the greatness of your sin an argument and 
motive for your opening to Chnst, by whose righteousness only it can 
be taken away; saying, with David, Psal. xxv. 11. " For thy name s 
sake, Lord, pardon mine iniquity ; for it is great." 

2. If another object, I am no way prepared for the reception of such 
a glorious person ; I have no good quality in me fit for entertaining him, 
and therefore he cannot be calling such as I am, to open the door of my 



SER. IT. THE DOORS OP THE HEART, ETC. 269 

heart to him, till I have other dispositions and qualifications than I have 
at present. 

Answer. This looks like the language of a proud legalist, who 
imagines he can prepare himself for the reception of "the King of glory," 
as easily as he can prepare for the entertainment of a person of distinc 
tion among men. But, sirs, there is a vast odds. We may make some 
preparation for the entertainment of a fellow-creature, we may cleanse 
our houses, and have things in tolerable order, but we can make no 
preparation at all for foe first reception of " the King of glory" into our 
hearts. The more we study to sweep ourselves clean before his first in 
coming, we will leave the more nastiness behind. The only way is, just 
to let him in to our hearts as they are, that he may fit them to be a 
habitation for himself; for it is he that must sanctify and cleanse us, 
it is he that must give us repentance and remission of sins ; and, in a 
word, it is he who must work all our works in us. 

3. If any of you say, I have experienced nothing of a law-work, and 
therefore I cannot think he is calling me at present to open to him, till 
the law once become my schoolmaster to lead me to Christ. 

Answer. So soon as you open to Christ by believing, the law obtains 
its end, the righteousness thereof is fulfilled in you, and therefore do 
not make the want of a law- work a bar in the way of your opening unto 
him; but let the absolute need you stand in of him determine you to 
give him entrance. For, remember, while you keep shut doors upon 
" the King of glory," you are living in disobedience to the first and great 
commandment of the law, which is to " love the Lord our God with all 
our heart, and with all our soul;" and this you can never do without 
believing, which is the root and spring of true love. 

4. Says another, I have refused access to Christ so often, that I am 
afraid he will never come in to me now. 

Answer. Though you have refused times without number, yet he still 
waits to be gracious; for says he, " I have spread out my hands all the 
day long to a rebellious people." He is as ready to come in now as 
ever; otherwise he would not make the call now sound in your ears, 
" Lift up your heads, ye gates," &c. ; for, " though you have played 
the harlot with many lovers, yet return again to me, saith the Lord." 

5. Says another, I am quite dead, like the dry bones scattered about 
the grave s mouth, and therefore he cannot be calling on me to open to 
him. 

Answer. He commands us to prophesy unto the dry hones, and to 
tell them, " Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will cause breath to enter 
into you, and ye shall live;" " Therefore awake, thou that sleepest, and 
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light;" For the hour 
cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of 
God; and they that hear shall live." 

6. Some perhaps may be saying, I am harassed with such dreadful 
and uncommon temptations, that I fear "the King of glory" is so far 
from seeking access to my heart, that I am quite given up to the power 
of the enemy. 

Answer. It is not those, who are given up to the enemy s power, 
whom he most harasses with his temptations; for when "the strong 
man armed keeps the house, the goods are at peace." However, the 
only way to get rid of your temptations, how horrid soever they may be, 



270 SELECTIONS PROM MR. FISHER g WRITINGS. 

is to open to "the King of glory" by believing. It is he only who can 
I succour them that are tempted;" for, "having himself been tempted 
in all. points like as we are, though without sin, he cannot but be touched 
with the feeling of our infirmities ; and therefore will either keep us from 
being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted." 
Be not afraid, then, only beheve, and " the God of peace will bruise Satan 
under your feet shortly." 

0, sirs ! whatever be your difficulties or objections against opening to 
Christ, in a way of believing, yet he is making none at all against his 
own incoming into your hearts. Though you be sinners, he declares he 
" came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Though 
you be graceless, yet is he "full of grace and truth." Have you made 
him I serve with your sins, and wearied him with your iniquities?" yet 
even in that case, he says, " I, even I, am he that blotteth out your 
transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember your sin." 
Have you gone on frowardly in the way of your own heart? yet he is 
saving of you, as he did of Israel in the like case, " I have seen his ways, 
and will heal him." Have you been making lies your refuge, and under 
falsehood hiding yourselves? even in this case he declares, that he is the 
"foundation laid in Zion for you ; and that the refuge of lies shall be swept 
away." Have you " gone after your lovers, and forgotten me, saith the 
Lord?" he answers himself, "Therefore, behold I will allure her, and 
bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her." 



P:DINBURGII : 
FUU.MtTON AND JIACXAB, PRINTEKS, LEITH WAJ.K. 



CAVEN LIBRARY 

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