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XXII. To MR HUGH MACKAIL, minister of the Gospel at Irvine

REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER, — I bless you for your letter. He is come down as rain upon the mown grass; He has revived my withered root, and He is as the dew of herbs. I am most secure in this prison. Salvation is for walls in it, and what think ye of these walls? He maketh the dry plant to bud as the lily, and to blossom as Lebanon. The great Husbandman’s blessing cometh down upon the plants of righteousness: who may say this, my dear brother, if I, His poor exiled stranger and prisoner, may not say it? Though all the world should be silent, I cannot hold my peace. No preaching, no book, no learning, could give me that which it behaved me to come and get in this town. But what of all this, if I were not misted and confounded and astonished how to be thankful, and how to get Him praised for evermore!

Some have written to me that I am possibly too joyful at the cross; but my joy overleapeth the cross, it is bounded and terminated upon Christ. I know that the sun will overcloud and eclipse, and that I shall again be put to walk in the shadow: but Christ must be welcome to come and go, as He thinketh meet. I hope, when a change cometh, to cast anchor at midnight upon the Rock which He has taught me to know in this daylight; whither I may run, when I must say my lesson without book, and believe in the dark. I am sure it is sin to tarrow at Christ’s good meat, and not to eat when He saith, ‘Eat, O well-beloved, and drink abundantly.’ If He bear me on His back, or carry me in His arms over this water, I hope for grace to set down my feet on dry ground, when the way is better. But this is slippery ground: my Lord thought good I should go by a hold, and lean on my Well-beloved’s shoulder. It is good to be ever taking from Him. I desire that He may get the fruit of praises, for dawting and thus dandling me on His knee: and I may give my bond of thankfulness, so being I have Christ’s back-bond again for my relief, that I shall be strengthened by His powerful grace to pay my vows to Him. But, truly, I find that we have the advantage of the brae upon our enemies: we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us; and they know not wherein our strength lieth.

Pray for me. Grace be with you.

Your brother in Christ.

ABERDEEN

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