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dant of this holy man, a “ Brief Historical Relation of the Life of Mr. John Livington, Minister of the Gospel; first at Killinchie in Ireland, next at Stranrawer, and thereafter at Ancrum in Scotland, and at last at Rotterdam in Holland. Containing several observations of the Divine goodness manifested to him in the several occurrences thereof. Written by himself, during his banishment for the cause of Christ's From this autobiography we propose to abstract some account of the man whom the Lord was pleased so signally to honour, in the humble hope that it may

the eyes of some who find it to their interest to charge upon the theology of the old Scottish School, a total inefficiency as it regards the awakening of ministerial zeal, and the conversion of sinners. It ought by no means to avail such persons in argument to say, as is common, of every minister who preaches with success, that he is ipso facto a man of the new stamp. So pitiable an assumption of the point in question, so disingenuous a sleight in changing the meaning of terms in the debate, and so palpable a dereliction of the real ground of their defence, might be expected of a Loyolist; scarcely of a descendant of Presbyterians. And indeed those who take this unkind advantage, and claim every thing good as theirs, because it is good, are not the descendants of Presbyterians. Their lineaments betray no family likeness to the Melvils, Bruces, Welshs, Hamiltons, and Gillespies of our fathers' land: our fathers' land, for we are not slow to avow that we allege a theological descent from a race of reformers who bear comparison with the martyrs and confessors of any day: that the doctrines for which they contended, and the church order for which they bled, are those which we maintain ; and this, not because they contended and bled for them, still less because they are expedient, or adapted to produce such and such effects—to reach the conscience—to precipitate the decision of the will—to multiply professors; but because we find them in that Bible which was the vade mecum of every genuine Presbyterian, at home and by the way,-in the cavern, upon the hill-side, and at the stake. Of such truth, of such men, God forbid that we should be ashamed!

John Livingston was born in Mony broch, (or Kilsyth) in Stirlingshire, on the 21st of June, 1603. His father William Livingston was settled as pastor, first at Kilsyth, where he was installed in 1600, and secondly at Lanerk, whither he was translated in 1614, and where he died, aged sixty-five years, in 1641. The great-grandfather of John Livingston was slain at Pinkiefield

in 1547. William Livingston was a zealous labourer and patient sufferer for reformation, and for his non-conformity was deprived of his ministry at both the places just named.

After some domestic training, John Livingston was entered in the university of Glasgow in 1617, and was graduated as master in 1621. While at this institution he had his ambition much fired with the hope of eminence as a classic and logician; but providence thwarted his designs, partly by means of the favouritism then prevaling, and partly by the chastisement of disease. We find him sitting down to the study of Hebrew immediately upon his enlargement from college rules. Agreeably to the almost universal custom of the reformed churches, he approached the Lord's Supper at a very early age; and it would seem from his brief hints, that his first confirmed hopes were called forth on the occasion of his first communion. His desire, nevertheless, was to be a physician, and he entreated his father to send him to France, to study medicine. As he found himself repelled from his chosen path by a concurrence of circumstances, he fell upon a method of resolving his doubts which may safely be recommended to all young men in similar circumstances: he 'sought the Lord.' “ I resolved," says he, “that I would spend a day alone before God, and knowing of a sccret cave, on the south side of Mousewater, a little above the house of Jerviswood, over against Cleghornwood, I went thither, and after many a to and fro, and much confusion, and fear about the state of my soul, I thought it was made out to 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." We need not wonder that after such a day, so spent, and with such results, his subsequent ministry was marked by striking tokens of divine favour.

In 1625 Mr. Livingston began to preach, and for more than eighteen months continued principally at his father's house in Lanerk. At this period of his ministry, he pursued the laborious method of writing his sermons in full, and committing them to memory, a slavish toil, which he was induced to abandon by a circumstance that shall be related with all the naïveté of the author: “One day (says he) being to preach after the communion of Quodquan, and having in readiness only a sermon which I had preached before in another kirk, and perceiving several to be at Quodquan, who had been at the other kirk, I resolved to choose a new text, and having but little time, wrote only some notes of the heads I was to deliver, yet I found at that time more assistance in the enlarging of these points, and more motion in my own heart, than ever I had found before; and after that I never wrote all at length, but only notes."

In the year 1626, he was invited into Galloway, where he preached for some time, and received a joint call from the Presbytery of Linlithgow, and the parish of Torpichen to become pastor at the latter place. Here he would have been ordained, had it not been for Bishop Spottswood, who interposed his veto, on account of Mr. Livingston's non-conformity. Accordingly, in autumn of 1627, he departed, having found, says he, « the two or three last Sabbaths I preached there, the sweetest Sabbaths, although sorrowful, that I had seen in that place.” From this time until his visit to Ireland in 1630, he spent his time between his father's house, and the house of the Earl of Wigtoun: preaching, as occasion offered, at Lanerk, Irvine, “the Shots" and other places.

Much has been said of a noted sermon of Mr. Livingston at the “ Kirk of Shots.” In noticing it, we have no desire to represent the instrumentality then used, as having any such efficiency (even by congruity) as would lead to the supposition that if we could preach just as Mr. Livingston then preached, we should witness the same results. We are not among the number of those who make apparent success a criterion of doctrine, nor do we limit the Holy One of Israel to any specific methods of operation: yet as we find ourselves charged with enmity to revivals of religion, and to the simultaneous conversion of multitudes, and as this our alleged enmity to every good word and work is furthermore charged as coming by lineal descent from our paternal creed, and unavoidably connected with our peculiarities of faith, we take our position of defence behind a line of facts. We deny the validity of the argument from supposed conversions to the truth of a system, we have ever denied it; it is not we who have fled to any such methods of ratiocination; but ex confesso the argument is good when retorted upon its originators, and we claim the right of so using it as to silence the battery of our “otherwise minded” brethren, while we rest the defence of the truth

upon a more sure word of prophecy."


The parish of Shots (we quote Mr. Livingston's words) bor

derdered on the parish of Torpichen, ..... and I was sometimes invited by Mr. John Hance, minister of Shots, to preach there. In that place I used to find more liberty in preaching than elsewhere; yea, the only day in all my life wherein I found most of the presence of God in preaching, was on a Monday, after the communion, preaching in the Church-yard of Shots, June 21, 1630. The night before, I had been with some Christians, who spent the night in prayer and conference. When I was alone in the fields, about eight or nine o'clock in the morning, before we were to go to sermon, there came such a misgiving spirit upon me, considering my unworthiness and weakness, and the expectation of the people, that I was consulting with myself to have stolen away somewhere, and declined that day's preaching, but that I thought I durst not so far distrust God, and so went to sermon, and got good assistance about an hour and a half, upon the points which I had meditated on. Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26. “ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” And in the end, offering to close with some words of exhortation, I was led on about an hour's time, in a strain of exhortation and warning, with much liberty and melting of heart, as I never had the like in public all my life-time.”

Now from any thing which is said in Mr. Livingston's autobiography, no man would be led to suspect that even a single soul had been awakened by this sermon. Yet we learn from the best authority, that no less than five hundred persons were, as was believed, converted upon that occasion!* Is this the manner of the present day? Is this silence respecting personal success a besetting sin of our leading preachers? We trow not.

We observe upon this narrative, that Mr. Livingston himself treats it as a rare instance of enlargement and divine assistance; not as part and parcel of a regular and unfailing

Speaking of these times of persecution, John Brown, of Haddington, says in his “ Compendious History of the Church of Scotland.” p. 98—“ Meanwhile, faithful ministers were remarkably countenanced of God at their sacramental and other occasions. Multitudes crowded to their communions; and being eager to hear as much of the Gospel as they could, when they had an opportunity of it, they began to hear one serinon upon Saturday before, and another on the Monday after. Mr. John Livingston, a probationer, after having run so far off, that morning, preached a sermon at the kirk of Shots, on Monday, June 21, at which 500 were converted to Christ."

scheme of measures; that the appeal to that God, without whom even Paul would plant in vain, is mainly relied on; and that the modesty of the preacher so far from permitting him to blazon his own name as a successful preacher, even in these memorials written in exile, forbids his even mentioning that any considerable numbers were awakened.

We know two very convenient methods of evading this,methods, by the bye, turned from the anvil to suit the emergency of a sturdy argument; and we doubt not that new ground can be taken upon every new asssault of truth. The two which we intend are these: it is, first, alleged that all who have ever converted men to God have preached just as those who now claim to be the sole labourers in this glorious harvest: a position which we give over to the candid reader for examination. Or, secondly, it is maintained that divine truth, once deemed immutable, has its moonlike phases, conforming itself to various cycles of the Church, and that what was good and true in Scotland, in 1630, is deleterious and seductive in America, in 1832. We are serious in this statement, whatever some of our happily untaught readers may imagine: this is the gist of an argument which has been heard from pulpits and professor's chairs: Once it was right to preach dependence; now it is right to preach accountability; and the great art of the preacher is evinced in striking the balance between antagonizing principles, and hitting the invisible demarcation between two clashing schemes. O how unlike to this calculating, manoeuvring, cold, and we must say worldly policy, is the high and holy disregard of consequences evinced by our forefathers! Hear again the reminiscences of the aged Livingston, recorded in his Patmos: " I found that much studying did not so help me in preaching, as the getting of my heart brought to a spiritual disposition: yea, sometimes I thought the hunger of the hearers helped me more than my own preparation. Many a time I found that which was suggested to me in the delivery was more refreshful to myself, and edifying to the hearers, than what I had premeditated. I was often much deserted and cast down in preaching, and sometimes tolerably assisted. I never preached a sermon that I would be earnest to see again in writ but two. The one was at a communion on a Monday at the Kirk of Shots, and the other on a Monday after a communion in Holywood. And both these times I had spent the whole night before with Christians [in prayer and conference, as appears from the quotation next preceding]

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