... for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?—Canticles 1.7.
MR. ANDREW GRAY,
WHEN HE WAS UPON HIS DEATH-BED
MY LORD WARRISTOUN.
IT may seem strange, that after so long interruption of intercourse with your Lordship by letters, I should write to you at this juncture of time, wherein there seems to be a toleration of tongues, and lusts, and religion, where many do by their practice speak, "our tongues are our own." I am afraid that sad word be spoken to Scotland yet seven times more, That whereas he hath chastised with whips, he will do it by scorpions, and his little finger shall be heavier than his loins in former times. If our judgments that seem to approach, were known, and those terrible things in righteousness, by which he, whose furnace is in Jerusalem, is like to speak to us, were seen and printed on a board, it might make us cry out, "Who shall live when God doth these things, and who can dwell with everlasting burnings?"
He hath broken his staff of bands, and is threatening to break his staff of beauty, that his covenant which he hath made with all the people, might be broken. Is it not to be feared, that the sword of the justice of God is bathed in heaven, and will come down to make a sacrifice, not in the land of Idumea, or Bozrah, but on those that were once his people, who have broken his everlasting covenant, and changed his ordinances? What shall Scotland be called? Loruhamah and Lo-ammi, which was termed Beula and Hephziba, A people delighted in, and married to the Lord. I think, that curse in Zeph. 1.17, is much accomplished in our days, They walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord. Does not our carriage under all these speaking and afflicting dispensations, fighting against God in the furnace, and our dross not departing from us, speak this with our hearts, That for three transgressions, and for four, he will not turn away the punishment of the covenanted lands? And this shall be our blot in all generations: "this is that Scotland that in its afflictions sins more and more." It is no wonder, then, that we be put to our, How long, how long, wilt thou hide thy face? How long wilt thou forget, O Lord? O Lord, how shall thy jealousy burn like a fire, and we hear the confused noise of war, and of rumours of war?
Since God has put it, How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? Jer. 31.22, are we not gadding about to change, turning his glory into shame, and loving lying vanities? And there are four How longs, that God is put to lament over Scotland, and which are most in Luke 9.41, How long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Is not Christ necessitated to depart, and to make us a land sown with salt and grass in our most frequented congregations? Ay, believe it, ere it be long, these two words shall be our lot--there is that in Jer. 2.31, O generation, see ye the word of the Lord; when those that would not hear him in his word, shall see him in his dispensations; when all our threatenings shall be preached to our eyes. And that word in Hosea 7.12, I will chastise them as their congregation hath heard. O shall poor Scotland serve herself heir to the sins of the Gadarenes, to desire Christ to flit out of her coasts, and to subscribe the bill of divorcement (in a manner) before Christ subscribe it? It is like, those three sad evidences of affliction that are in Isa. 47.11, shall come upon us in their perfection. I shall add no more on a sad subject.
My Lord, not being able to write to you with my own hand, I have thought fit to present these few thoughts unto you by the hand of a friend.
I know not, (I will not limit him) but I may soon stand within that judgment-hall, where that glorious and spotless High Priest doth sit, with that train that doth fill the temple: and, O to be among the last of those that are bidden come in, and partake of that everlasting peace! O what a poor report will the messengers of the covenant and gospel make to him whom men crucify in their hearts, to whom I may apply these words, by allusion, "The morning of conversion is to them as the terrors of death, and as the terrors of the breaking in of the day to the destroying them?" What a poor account will some of us make, as to the answer of our conscience, and the answer of his pains taken upon us, and the answer of his promises, and the answer of his threatening, and the answer of his commands, and the answer of our light? Now, not to trouble your Lordship, whom I highly reverence, and unto whom my soul was knit in the Lord, I only ask that you would bespeak my case to the great Master of requests, and spread my broken case before him, who has pleaded the desperate case of many, according to the sweet word in Lamentation 3.58. This is all, at this time, from one in a very weak condition, in a great fever, who, for much of seven nights, has sleeped but little at all, but has been kept in a right sad and grievous torment from his hand, with many sad particulars and circumstances.
I shall say no more, but I am yours in some single respects, I hope, I may say, dying in Christ.
Let these represent my respects to your Lady and children.