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CHAPTER I

cares about my salvation, when I was but yet very young: I had the advantage of the acquaintance and example of many gracious Christians, who used to resort to my father's house, especially at communion occasions. I do not remember the time or means particularly, whereby the Lord at first wrought upon my heart. When I was but very young, I would sometimes pray with some feeling, and read the word with delight; but thereafter did often intermit any such exercise; I would have some challenges and begin, and again intermit. I remember the first time that ever I communicated at the Lord's table was in Stirling, when I was at school, where sitting at the table, and Mr. Patrick Simpson exhorting before the distribution, there came such a trembling upon me that all my body shook, yet thereafter the fear and trembling departed, and I got some comfort and assurance. I had no inclination to the ministry, till a year or more after I had passed my course in the college; and that, upon this occasion, I had a bent desire to give myself to the knowledge and practice of medicine, and was very earnest to go to France, for that purpose, and propounded it to my father, that I might obtain his consent, but he refused the same. Also, about the same time, my father having before purchased some land in the parish of Monyabroch, the rights whereof were taken

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CHAPTER I

in my name, and that land by ill neighbours being in a manner laid waste, and Sir William Livingston of Kilsyth, one of the lords of session, being very desirous to buy that land, that he might build a burgh of barony upon it at Burnside, my father propounded that I should go and dwell on that land and marry: but finding that that course would divert me from all study of learning, I refused that offer, and rather agreed to the selling of it, although I was not yet major to ratify the sale. Now, being in these straits, I resolved that I would spend a day alone before God, and knowing of a secret cave on the south side of Mouse water, a little above the house of Jervis wood, over against Cleghorn wood, I went thither, and after many to's and fro's, and much confusion, and fear about the state of my soul, I thought it was made out unto me, that I behooved to preach Christ Jesus, which if I did not, I should have no assurance of salvation. Upon this, I laid aside all thoughts of France, and medicine, and land, and betook me to the study of Divinity [Gillies's Hist. Col. page 277. 278]."

He preached his first sermon January 2, 1625, when about the age of twenty-two. The succeeding five years were spent partly in the diligent






        
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