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were I silent in giving my opinion about my successor to be set over i:, I could scarcely be free of the stain of negligence. It would be of little use, in my judgment, to go abroad and bring in a stranger to preside in that society, who would know little of the doctrine and discipline of this college. You have at home a person richly fitted with gifts and qualifications for this station-Mr. Henry Charterswho, while a scholar of mine, made vast advances in learning, and hath now for ten years filled the place of a professor of philosophy, with the greatest reputation. Place him in the principal's place, set him at the helm of the college, and you will see God favouring him, and blessing his labours. By your office, you are patrons and cherishers of the college ; permit me to wish you may be sincerely careful of it."
When he bad ended what he had said to the magistrates and masters, he spoke as follows, with reference to his spiritual state : « I thank my God that my memory, sight, hearing, and the rest of my senses, are as perfect as ever ; but my heart is loosed from this world. Lord Jesus, when wilt thou come and take full possession of my heart? Thou bast the sole claim upon it. It was my main study through my life to dedicate and consecrate it to thee. O, come and take it, that I may for ever be thine !" When he had said this, he fell into a soft rest for a little ; but on awakening, be thus resumed : « Come, Lord Jesus," said he,“ break the thread of this miserable life! Haste, Lord, and make no tarrying; thou hast redeemed me not to enjoy this frail life, but life eternal. Come, Lord Jesus, grant that life to which thou hast redeemed me."
When some about him regretted their loss in his removal, he said, “ I have gone through all the stages of life. I am come to the last step of my race-why do you binder me? Lord Jesus, with thy help, I will comfortably step this last step. Take me to that glory which I have seen only as through a glass. O, to be for ever with thee!” And when it was told him that the day following was the Sabbath, he exclaimed, “ Lord, may my everlasting Sabbath have its happy beginning from thy Sabbath ?”
From this time, he got tolerable rest, till the middle of the night, when bis trouble baving increased, he began to expect liis last struggle. Having desired Mr. Balcanquall to be sent for, he addressed him thus : “ Sir, because you are the oldest minister in Edinburgh, and my friendship with you is not of late, I have sent for you, that I may show the reverence with which, from my youth, I have venerated Christ's ministers. I have, according to the measure God hath bestowed on me, been pouring out my prayer before the Lord-pray you now for me, and with me: I'll join with you in heart and affection, only let me beg you'll not ask the lengthening out of my life" When all present bad kneeled, Mr. Balcanquall prayed; and having among other things, entreated that the Lord would yet allow the enjoyment of such a valuable person, whom the church and commonwealth so much needed, Mr. Rollock said, “ I am fully weary of this life, and only desire the heavenly life which is hid in Christ with God"
When prayer was ended, he broke out in raptures, commending the preached Gospel. “ The preached word,” said be,“ is life—without it none can be saved. Believe me, it is not a light matter to preach the word. It is quite another matter than to explain the text of Plato or Aristotle, or to make an oration with the paint and softness of words. The preaching of the word takes in sanctity, humility, and the demonstration of the Spirit.” And turning again unto prayer, he said, “ Come, Lord Jesus, break the nerves of my eyes-grant me new eyes ! I long to be dissolved, and to be with thee. Hasten to come, Lord Jesus, do not delay-Poor life, remove that the better, infinitely better life of God may enter in. Lay hands, Lord Jesus, on this body, arrest it, and take to thyself this soul !”
After this, he lay silent till about daybreak, on Sabbath morning, when be broke out in these words : “ Come, Lord, and do not tarry : I am weary with my trouble, day and night. Come, Lord Jesus, that I may come to thee. O how sweet would the end of this life be to me! My sweet Lord, come, divorce my soul from this body, that I may enjoy thee, my husband. Separate this soul of mine from all things, that it may fly to thee, its head and centre !” Here one of the bystanders said, “ Do not weary, your Lord will come :" to whom he replied, “ Most welcome to me is that news. I wish that tomorrow may be my funeral day." Then another having observed, “ Happy is the soul which is so near to God as yours is;" he said, “ In myself there is nothing which I do not regard as dung, that I may wio Cbrist. Christ is my only source of comfort: all my own righteousness is as filthy rags." Being asked whether he desired the presence of any minister, he replied, that he wished not to trouble them whilst preparing for public service. “ Allow me,” said be, “ like a parrot, to keep speaking with my Lord !” Being informed that the public service had commenced, he said, “ Give me, O Lord, to see and feel the things which others are at this moment bearing." About mid-day, a certain person thus spoke to him: “ Throughout your whole life, with unwearied diligence and constant labour you have promoted the glory of God :" to which be replied, “ My sole ground of glorying is the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ: all other things I regard as loss.” After this he fell into a soft sleep, which lasted till the evening ; upon awaking from which, he was visited by she lord provost of Edinburgh, and thus addressed him: “ I have already seriously commended to the care of the magistrates, of which you, my lord, are the chief, the interests of the college: do you also take it under your protection ; let it experience in you a parent and a benefactor. Seeing by the high station in which you preside over the city, and the august office with which God has invested you, you are able to give support to the church, do not, I beseech you, withdraw such support: on the contrary, do you exert your power and influence towards its protection ; apply yourself to it with the utmost vigour, that so you may attain salvation through Jesus Christ. All worldly things are perishable, and will soon perish; but God will enrich you, your wife, and your family, out of the treasure of his goodness." During the same night he let fall such expressions as these : « In a diseased body I have a tranquil mind: I am not troubled with the fear of death, of sin, or of Satan, for over me these have no power: but yet I am so horne down with a weight of sickness, that I am preserved to this bour, far beyond hope. The Lord is as it were breaking me in bis mortar, with the pestle of affliction, that he may make me anew for his own kingdom.”
On the Monday following, he thus spoke: “ It is wonderful,” said he, “ that afflicted as I am with such acute pain, my life should be so long protracted; but yet I shall wait in patience the good pleabure of the Lord : I shall bear with it, I shall bear with it—let bim do with me as seems good to bim ; I shall not contend with him. What is man, that he should contend with God? Nay, even should he thrust him into hell, he ought to be obeyed, and not opposed ! Be gracious to me, O Lord, for the sake of Jesus Christ. I blush not to confess, that never as during this affliction, have I arrived at such a height of divine knowledge t o how dreadful to fall into the hands of Jehovah ! but, for me there is mercy laid up in Christ. Why then art thou disquieted, my soul? Why art thou cast down within me ? In a very little thou shalt have the light of his countenance, and a sweet meeting !"
Again, on the morning of the following day: “ Now," said he, reciting some of its words, “ now do I experience the truth of the 6th Psalm—Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am oppressed with pain. Save me, O Lord, for my bones are sore vexed.'” Then, after a short pause, “ Christ shall bear my yoke, and I, upheld by bis grace, shall follow in his footsteps." When the bystanders, perceiving him convulsed with the violence of the pain, began to weep and mourn, he thus chided them: “ Weep not on my account, but weep for your sins : since no one is free from sin, no one is without good cause for tears. With regard to myself, I shall ere long behold the end and conclusion of all these things." Towards evening, one of his relatives having come to him, excited his displeasure by this impious request : that, when received into heaven, he would mediate in behalf of him and his other friends. Immediately on hearing it, as if boiling with indignation, he suddenly raised up his emaciated and almost lifeless body, and said, “ I disclaim that office: Christ is the alone Me. diator.” Not long after this, he was visited by his elder brother, whom he thus addressed : “ Do you," said be, “carry a reproof to our kinsman :admonish him to adopt a different line of conduct, otherwise there can be to him no safety for him; but on the contrary, inevitable destruction." From this time forward he refused all sustenance, saying, “ I shall no more eat or drink, until I am translated to the kingdom of heaven." He intrusted the care of his funeral to two intimate and long tried friends. “ Why,” said he, “ should I not have a concern for my body, since it is yet to be glorified and made like unto Christ's own glorious body?" and looking to his hands, “ These very hands," he exclaimed, « shall then shine with effulgent glory !" After this his speech became gradually more constrained and difficult. His short sentences, yet impressive and powerful breathing and savouring of heavenly joy-by degrees gave place to a gentle sluniber, in which, having continued for a while, he placidly and quietly commended his spirit to bis Creator and Redeemer. His death took place on the 8th of February, 1598.*
VIII. ANDREW DUNCAN.
[Of Mr. Duncan's birth and parentage we have no account. In 1581,
he occupied the place of a regent in St. Leonard's college, St. Andrews. He was afterwards settled as minister of Crail, in Fife, and became signally distinguished by the sufferings he endured, in favour of the presbyterian polity. He was ultimately banished to France; but after several years' exile, was allowed to return, upon making some acknowledgments. The following copy of his latter will may be regarded as his testimony to the truths of
the Gospel. It bears date 14th April, 1626.] “ I, Andrew Duncan, a sinful wight, Christ's unworthy minister in his glorious Gospel, being sickly and weak, worn out with years, and heaviness of heart in this pilgrimage; and being now weary of this loathsome prison, this body of death, because of sin; and having received sundry advertisements and summonses from my Master to fit out of this uncouth country, the region of death, home to my native land; and now sitting upon the prison-door threshold, ready to obey, waiting till the sad messenger be sent to convey me home to that glorious palace, even the heavenly Jerusalem, that I may enter into possession of my heritage, even that glorious kingdom in eternity, which Christ came down from heaven to conquer for me; and then went up to prepare and possess it in my name, as my attorney, until it pleased his Majesty to take me thither, that I may in my own person possess it, I proceed to set down the declaration of my latter will, concerning those things which God hath lent me in this world ; in manner following: First, as touching myself, body and soul ; my soul I leave to Christ Jesus, who gave it, and when it was lost, redeemed it, that he may send his holy angels to transport it to the bosom of Abraham, there to enjoy all happiness and contentment; and as for this frail body, I commend it to the grave, there to sleep and rest, as in a sweet bed, until the day of refreshment, when it shall be reunited to the soul, and sball be set down at the table with the holy patriarchs, prophets, and apostles ; yea, shall be placed on the throne with Christ, and get the crown of glory on my head. As for the children whom God hath given me, (for which I thank Him,) I leave them to his providence, to be governed and cared for by him, beseeching Him to be the tutor, curator, and agent, in all their adoes, yea, and a father; and that he would lead them by bis gracious Spirit, through this evil world: that they may be profitable instruments, both in kirk and commonwealth, to set out his glory; beseeching them on
• Lives of Rollock, in Latin, by Robertson and Charters.
the other part, (as they would have God's blessing, and mine in all their affairs,) to set him before their eyes, and to walk in his ways, living peaceably in his fear, in all humility and meekness, with all those they have ado with ; holding their course to heaven, and comforting themselves with the glorious and fair to-look-at heritage, which Christ hath conquered for them, and for all that love him. Under God, I leave John Duncan, my eldest son, to be tutor to my youngest daughter, Bessie Duncan, his youngest sister, to take a care of her, and to see that all turns go right, touching her person and gear. For executors, I leave my three sons, John, William, and David, to do my turns after me, and to put in practice my directions ; requesting them to be good and comfortable to their sisters, but chiefly to the two that are at home, as they would have God's blessing and mine. Concerning my temporal goods, the baggage and blathrie of the earth, as I have gotten them in the world from God's liberal hand, so I leave them behind me in the world; giving most humble and hearty thanks unto my heavenly Father for so long and comfortable loan of the same.*
Sic. Sub.—ANDREW DUNCAN.”
IX. JOHN WELCH.
[Mr. Welch was born about the year 1570. His first settlement
as a minister was at Selkirk. From thence he was translated to Kirkcudbright and afterwards to Ayr. In all of these places, but especially the last of them, his labours were signally blessed. It is chiefly, however, for the persecutions he endured on behalf of religion and presbyterian church-goverument that he is justly regarded as a most eminent Scots Worthy. With other five of his brethren he was banished to France, and remained there till within a short time of his death. He was then allowed to come to England, but not to enter Scotland. He died at London in the year 1622, after a violent exertion in preaching. No detail of his last words has been preserved, but the following extracts from a letter written to a noble lady, shortly before his banishment, in 1606, may serve to indicate the state of his mind, in reference to eter
nity.] “ My desire to remain here is not great, knowing that so long as I am in this house of clay, I am absent from the Lord : and if it were dissolved, I look for a building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. In this I groan, desiring to be clothed upon with my new house which is in heaven : if so be, that being clothed, I shall not be found naked. For I that am within this tabernacle, do ofttimes groan and sigh within myself, being ofttimes burdened ; not that I would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be
• Scots Worthies-Life of Duncan.