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XVIII. To ALEXANDER GORDON OF EARLSTON

Alexander Gordon of Earlston, not far from Anwoth, was summoned before the High Commission by the bishop of Glasgow for preventing the intrusion of an unpopular nominee of the bishop into a vacant parish. This charge was not proceeded with, but on a later, similar charge he was heavily fined. He was a leading Churchman and a member of the Scottish Parliament.

MUHH HONORED SIR, — Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. I received your letter, which refreshed me. Except from your son, and my brother, I have seen few letters from my acquaintance in that country; which maketh me heavy. But I have the company of a Lord who can teach us all to be kind, and has the right gate of it. It pleaseth Him to come and dine with a sad prisoner, and a solitary stranger. But I verily think now, that Christ has led me up to a nick in Christianity that I was never at before. I think all before was but childhood and bairn’s play. I look back to what I was before, and I laugh to see the sand-houses I built when I was a child.

At first the remembrance of many fair feast-days with my Lord Jesus in public, which are now changed into silent Sabbaths, raised a great tempest, and (if I may speak so) made the devil ado in my soul. The devil came in, and would prompt me to lay the blame on Him as a hard master. But now these mists are blown away, and I am not only silenced as to all quarreling, but fully satisfied. Christ beareth me good company. He has eased me, when I saw it not, lifting the cross off my shoulders, so that I think it to be but a feather, because underneath are everlasting arms. Nothing breaketh my heart, but that I cannot get the daughters of Jerusalem to tell them of my Bridegroom’s glory. I charge you in the name of Christ that ye tell all that ye come to of it, and yet it is above telling and understanding. Oh, if all the kingdom were as I am, except my bonds! I write now what I have seen as well as heard. Now and then my silence burneth up my spirit; but Christ has said, ‘Thy stipend is running up with interest ill in heaven, as if thou wert preaching’; and this from a King’s mouth rejoiceth my heart. At other times I am sad, dwelling in Kedar’s tents

There are none (that I yet know of) but two persons in this town that I dare give my word for. And the Lord has removed my brethren and my acquaintance far from me; and it may be, that I shall be forgotten in the place where the Lord made me the instrument to do some good. But I see that this is vanity in me; let Him make of me what He pleaseth.

Sir, write to me, I beseech you. I pray you also be kind to my afflicted brother. Remember my love to your wife; and the prayer and blessing of the prisoner of Christ be on you. Frequent your meetings for prayer and communion with God, they would be sweet meetings to me.

Yours in the Lord Jesus.

ABERDEEN, Feb. 16, 1637

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