A Sermon, Preached Before the Reverend, the Presbytery of Aberdeen, In the Church of New-Machar, 16 February 1737

Author(s): Bisset, Reverend John


i. riV, riA3

Preached before the Reverend, the
Presbytery of Aberdeen,
In the Church of NEW-MACHAR, upon the
16th Day of February, at the Moderation of a
Call to a Miniſter for that vacant Church.
Publiſhed at the Deſire of many.
By Mr. JOHN BISSET, Miniſter of
the Goſpel at Aberdeen.
Printed by JAMES CHALMERS, Printer to the Town
SUCH ſlanderous and unjusſt repreſentations
of the following ſermon have gone
ahroad both in Town and Countrey, that
ſelf-defence, beſides the deſires of many,
did oblige me to publiſh it. I make no
doubt but as were offended with it
when it was delivered from the pulpit, will love it no
better when printed, being much moved with the juſt
and neceſſary freedom uſed therein; the freedoms uſed
reſpect none but the guilty,the innocent are no way concerned.
There are ſome who tho' they have not honeſty
enough to acknowledge their fault, yet have not wit enough
to cover it and I ſhall leave it to the unprejudiced
to judge, if they who are fretted at the truth, do
not thereby proclaim their own conſciouſneſs of guilt.
I know there is a ſet of. men with whom this ſermon
doth not go down, ſuch as would inbance the privileges
of others, as if they were peculiar to themſelves;
if the following diſcourſe aims at a check to ſuch, it is
no diſſervice to ſociety in general, nor to chriſtians in
I know it is a time in which men cannot endure
ſound doctrine, nor plain-dealing: ſpeak ſmooth things,
propheſy deceits, ſhall be the character of the idol ſhepherd,
who wants the world's applauſe and cannot live,
but under the influence of the poiſonous breath of a peſtilent
generation : but whatever imaginary happineſs
ſuch may enjoy I'm ſure it will be bitterneſs in the end.
There are many now a-days like Amaziah the prieſt
of Bethel, who ſent to Jeroboam king of Iſrael ſaying,
Amos hath conſpired againſt thee in the midſt
of the houſe of Iſrael, the land is not able to bear
all his words, Amos vii. 10. It ſeems the prophet
was ſo unmannerly as to be too free with Jeroboam,
and the great folks of Iſrael, but the idolatrous Prieſt
was more court-bred; and therefore the unmannerly
Prophet behooved to be informed againſt: if the land cannot
bear my words, it ſeems to be no new thing. Amos
had his ſhare of ſlander and reproach; I think I may
venture to run ſhares with him.
The ſoul-affecting concern I have for the people of
New-Machar, among whom I laboured for the ſpace
of twelve years, and their unlucky ſituation for ſome
years past, may ſerve to account for ſome ſtrong expreſſions
made uſe of in the following diſcourſe. If all they
who have intereſt in that pariſh, have the ſame concern
for the ſouls of that people that I have, this ſermon
will meet with ſome acceptance; and the controverſy
in dependence with reſpect to the planting of this
Church will be brought to ſuch an iſſue, that without
further ado, they may be provided with one, as their
fixed paſtor, whom they find ſuited to them, and who
ſeems to be their free, hearty, and unconſtrained choice.
If they ſhall be diſappointed in this, I muſt leave it to
the day of the manifeſtation of all things, who hath
done the greateſt good or hurt to the ſouls of that people
in particular, or to the intereſt of religion in general.
Thist day will declare it.
A Sermon preached, &c.
ISAIAH viii. 12, 13, 14, 15.
Say ye not a confederacy to all them to whom this
people ſhall ſay confederacy, neither fear ye
their fear, nor be afraid.
Sanctify the Lord of hoſts himſelf, and let him be
your fear and let him be your dread.
And he ſhall be for a ſanctuary, but for a ſtone of
ſtumbling, and for a rock of offence to both the
houſes of Iſrael, for a gin, and for a ſnare to
the inhabitants of Jeruſalem.
And many among them ſhall ſtumble, and fall, and
be broken, and be ſnared, and be taken.
THE preſent occaſion will
not allow me, nor is there
any need for it, to stay in
giving you any large account
of the reaſon of
this particular Propheſy,
and of the words now addreſſed
to the people of
Judah and Jeruſalem; it
ſufficeth to know, that
they were at this time in a great fear becauſe of
the confederacy of the ten tribes with Rezin king
of Syria; and the faint-hearted and unbelieving among
them, buzzing daily in the ears of their brethren
the ſtrength of this confederacy, did much
to diſhearten them, and to divert them from their
hope and confidence in God, and to engage them
to betake themſelves to wrong means of help and
relief, againſt which the Prophet in theſe words
doth caution them, by propoſing to them the acting
a quite other part; inſtead of fearing their fear,
and being afraid, he exhorts them to ſanctify the
Lord of Hoſts, and to make him their fear and their
dread. He enforces his exhortation by ſhewing
them what advantage they ſhould have by ſanctifying
the Lord, and making him their fear and their
dread, he would be for a ſanctuary; but if they feared
man, and did not make God their truſt, he tells
them what miſeries ſhould befal them; inſtead of
being their ſanctuary, their protection and their defence,
he would be a ſtone of ſtumbling, and a rock
of offence, a gin and a ſnare, and they ſhould ſtumble
and fall, and be broken, and be ſnared and taken.
LET none of my hearers think it ſtrange that
I have pitched on this ſubject upon an occaſion of
this kind; I hope ſufficiently to juſtify the ſuitableneſs
of it to the occaſion It is but too well known
to us all, how common, plots and projects are in
promoting the Elections of Miniſters, and that very
often it comes to paſs, that the people who are
under the influence of their Landlords, either concern
not themſelves in ſuch an important affair, or
are ſwayed and determined to ſpeak otherwiſe
than they think or incline; ſo that it hath often
fallen out that Miniſters have been planted without
the affection or liking of thoſe who are their ordinary
hearers, and their Miniſtry hath had all the
prejudices ariſing from diſaffection, to matter and
IT needs not be wondred at, that I have a special
concern for you of this Congregation, which
doth oblige me at preſent once more to ſet the
trumpet to my mouth, to call on you loudly to
the duty of this day, conſidering how much you
have at the stake, and what judgment and wrath
may be entailed upon you, if you do not act an
honeſt and conſientious part at this time.
I MAINLY deſign my diſcourſe for you who are
the ordinary members of this Congregation, whoſe
intereſt in the choice of a Miniſter, both by the
light of nature and the word of God, is greater
than theirs, who either attend not Goſpel-Ordinances
in any ſtated regular way at all, or are not of
our communion, or have no reſidence in the vacant
pariſh, of whom we may ſay, that their concern
is but a looking man's Part, in reſpect of yours
who come up to worſhip God in this place, and to
have Word and Sacraments diſpenſed among you:
let not any fear or force, any confederacy or connexion
deter you from your duty.
IN ſpeaking from theſe words agreeable to the
work of this day, I ſhalll
I. SHEW you that the fear of man which bringeth
a ſnare keeps people back from many important
pieces of duty.
II. SHEW you how we are, or may be enabled
to ſurmount that fear of man, which keeps us back
from the performance of important pieces of duty.
III. I SHALL glance a little at the arguments in
the text, ſhewing the ſafety and advantage of thoſe
who ſanctify the Lord of Hoſts, and who make him
their fear and their dread, with the miſery of thoſe
who are diverted from their duty through the fear
of man, applying every head as I go along.
THE firſt general head is to ſhew that the fear
of man which bringeth a ſnare, keeps people back
from the performance of many important pieces ofduty.
THERE are two things that people fear as to
men, their power, and their wrath; and according
as they are affected with fears of the one or of the
other, ſo they manage, and ſo they conduct.
I. THE power of man is feared, and important
duties to which people in providence arc called
are neglected becauſe of this fear, for, ſay they,
what need we to trouble our heads with this or
the other thing that we have a right to appear in,
there are others engaged who will act a part different
from us, and they are more powerful than
we; they have moyen and conſideration with the
world, and little regard will be ſhown us, we will
be unſucceſsful in any attempt at the pertormance
of our duty, or the maintaining our right. It is
a ſpring of many errors and miſtakes the conduct
of life, to judge of what is duty by the ſucceſs
of it, yet this is too common; and therefore
becauſe that men may be great in power, court is
made to them. If people were fixed in the faith
of a God who ſuperintends the actions of men,
and diſpoſeth of the lot, when caſt into the lap, they
would not take their meaſures of duty from events,
but from what God calls us to; they would not
be diverted from any point of duty, becauſe of
powerful and mighty oppoſition; for if people be
found in the road of their duty, they have God on
their ſide, a power worthy to be depended upon,
and what may make them who lean to it, and truſt
in it,ſay with our Prophet, to all them whoſe power
they may fear, as v. 10. of this chapter, Take counſel
together, and it ſhall lcome to nought, ſpeak the word,
and it ſhall not ſtand, for God is with us.
2. IMPORTANT duties to which people in providence
are called, are neglected through the fear
of the wrath of men, forgetfulneſs of our dependence
on God, and the putting men in God's
ſtead, as to our dependence and fear, makes people
meaſure their duty by the will and pleaſure of
men, more than by the will and pleaſure of God.
Peoples ſituation in this world doth very often lay
them under ſuch dependencies on others, as to be
much at their diſcretion as to ſeveral circumſtances
of life, which are often threatned with diſadvantageous
changes, if in ſome of their moſt important
concerns, they be not intirely at the beck of them
who can do them a temporal favour or diskindneſs;
thus is verified what we read, Prov. xxix. 25. The
fear of man bringeth a ſnare. Through the tear of
the wrath of man, what compliances will not people
often make? they will ſacrifice conſcience and
common honeſty, rather than run the hazard of incurring
their wrath, who, as they ſhew no concern
for their ſouls, ſo give but the ſlighteſt grounds of
believing they have any regard to their temporal
intereſts, further than this regard is conducive to
promote their own advantage, which ſelf-ſeeking
man will unalterably keep in his eye, and inviolably
will purſue the ends of; after they have diveſted
their enſlaved dependents of every thing that makes
them look like men or chriſtians; provoked man is
ſo violent in his reſentments, and ſo implacable in
his hatred, that very often he ſticks at nothing, if
ſo be he may but have his will of them, who
have but as much honeſty and courage, as to expreſs
their differing from them. One would think
if people were making a wife reflexion, that they
had little favour or benefit to expect from them
who would enſlave their reaſon and judgment, and
bind them under the penalty of wrath, to an implicit
ſurrender of reaſon and conſcience, to their
arbitrary commands.
Now that I may illuſtrate this matter a little further,
and ſhew you how people come to be influenced
to fear the power or wrath of man, ſhall
glance a little at the emphaſis or this expreſſion in
the text, Say ye not a confederacy to all them to whom
this people ſhall ſay a confederacy; which imports,
1. THAT the people of Judah and Jeruſalem became
faint-hearted, and were diſcouraged by their
poring ſtill upon the ſtrength and power of thoſe
who were confederated againſt them, and this the
Prophet forbids in ſtrong terms; ſay ye not a confederacy,
meditate more upon God your ſtrength than
upon the power and might of your oppoſers: people
are often diſcouraged from their duty, they become
faint-hearted and unbelieving, and ſo they either
do not what they are called to, or do it in a
heſitating manner, when they allow themſelves to
dwell too much upon the thoughts of their influence
and power, who in what very nearly concerns
them, are carryign on very differentt meaſures.
2. IT imports that they in Judah and Jeruſsalem
who were for truſting in God againſt the confederacy
of the ten Tribes with Rezin King of Syria,
were much diſcouraged with the continued clamor
of the faint-hearted and unbelievinging among them,
who were ſtill crying, A confederacy, a confederacy!
Even so it comes to paſs that people who would
whith honeſty and boldly to ſet about their duty,
not withſtanding of difficultiesin their way, they
are diſcouraged by a faint-hearted and unbelieving
set among themſelves, who as they do nothing to
help them, ſo by the erxpreſſions of their own fears,
they divert, others from their duty; and tho' you
of this Congregation ſhall have tentations of this
kind, to divert you from acting an honeſt part this
day, ſay ye not a confederacy to them to whom ſome
of your neighbouts may be ſaying a confederacy; becauſe
your. neighbours are cowardly and faint hearted,
quit you like men, be ſtrong for the honour of
your God, and the intereſt of your ſouls, and let
God do what ſeemeth meet unto him.
3. IT would ſeem that there were ſome among
the Jews, who being influenced by the fear of this
confederacy, were for compliances and ſubmiſſions,
tho' upon terms both diſhonourable to God, and
hurtful to their country, ſuch as, perhaps, the giving
up a city and diſtrict to the ten Tribes, which
was at the ſame time a ſelling their ſouls to iniquity;
for when once they were incorporated with
the ten tribes, they would be obliged to worſhip
before the calves which Jeroboam had fet up. In
like manner, the fears of the power and the wrath
of men often determines people to yieldings and
compliances, carrying the matter of hurt and wrong
higher than any temporal conſideration; as for example,
the election of Miniſters in the corrupt
me in which we live, being become more a matterr
of compliment than conſcience, and carried on
before by the at ſtrength of a party, than with a real
cw to the good of ſouls, what reflects endeavours
uſed to ſtrengthen the party againſt the day of.
action come? and to diſcourage and put them in
ar, who have the moſt immediate concern and intreſt
in this matter? who apprehending a ſtrong
party againſt them, make unconſcientious compliances,
not remembering that the ſnares of death are
it, and that by their yieldings they are caſting a
leſs account about their own ſouls, and are making
merchandiſe of the ſouls of others, which Elin
a chriſtian Congregation do, who vote in
an election of a Miniſter contrary to their own intuition,
and the general inclination of thoſe who
come under their inſpection; which heads of families
who come up to the choice of a Miniſter, not
have an agreeable paſtor to them and their favour,
so much as to procure a little temporal favour
the price of their own and their families ſouls.
Even through the fear of man they make corrupt
compliances in publick, they leave a mournful family
at home; when they think to eſtabliſh
themſelves in temporal friendſhips by a falſe vote,
a vote, I mean, contrary to conſcience and inclination,
they lay themſelves open to all that wrath,
which, if mercy prevent not, will come on the heads
of thoſe who ſhew no more concern for ſouls that
are ready to periſh.
I DOUBT not but by this time ſome of my hearers
will be ſaying, what is the uſe and deſign of
all that is ſaid, if it be not to alledge that you of
this Congregation are put to hardſhips bv the follicitations
of your Landlords, and that they are ſetting
up to have a Miniſter planted among you whom
you do not incline, and are uſing all their influence
to keep you back from making a free choice; but
if ye be at liberty to vote freely in the election of
a Miniſter, all that is ſaid might have been ſpared.
I WILL anſwer this queſtion without ceremony
or bluſhing, and before I do it, I would have you,
my dear people of New-machar, to think ſeriouſly
on what I ſay, and to remember that it is not the
first time I have expoſed my ſelf to reproach and
ill-will for the ſake of your ſouls, whoſe concerns,
God knows it, and there is a day coming which
will declare it, have lien heavy on my heart theſe
eight years bygone; and tho' I ſhould have no
better ſucceſs now, then my ſo much accuſtomed
reproach and ill-will, the concern I have tor your
ſouls, and what ye have at ſtake this day, conſtrains
me to ſpeak, and not to hold my peace; and if
you ſhall act a ſilent, indifferent, diſſembled and
unconſcientious part this day, this fair warning and
free instruction I give you, will add to the many
ſuch you have had from this place, and will be
brought in remembrance againſt the faint-hearted
and unbelieving, in that day when I am confident
in reproach will be wiped away.
Now to the queſtion. 1. I own I do not know
whoſe power or wrath you have to fear in acting
an honeſt and conſcientious part this day, unleſs it
be that of your Maſters or Landlords; yet I would
not be ſo underſtood, as if I were preſently accusing
any of the Gentlemen who have Heritages in
this Pariſh, as employing their power or wrath to
divert you from acting an honeſt and free part in
the choice of a Miniſter; there is time for that afterwards.
2. Such courſes being ſo common, and
the will of the matter being ſo forcibly inculcated
upon the ſpirits of tennants, we have ſſeen people
come up and vote in the election of a Miniſter, ſo
blindly at the will of their maſter, as to have forgotten
the name of the man they were to vote for,
and had therefore nothing to ſay, but, "I am for
"the man the Laird is for, or whom his Honour is
"for" as did an Elder of a neighbouring Congregation,
not ſeven years ago, at the election of a
Miniſter. Such caſes as this, falling out in the very
face of judicatories, I have need to caution you
againſt the fear of power or wrath of your matters;
for caſes that have been may be again, eſpecially
3. That I can appeal the conſciences of many
in this Congregation, if their laſt unhappy choice
of a Miniſter was not more influenced by the will
of their Landlords, than by their own proper inclinations;
and that it was not the good of your
ſouls, but worldly reaſons, that made ſome employ
their moyen for promoting that election: I appeal
to ſome very publick pleadings in a civil law proceſs,
which may at leaſt allow me to ſuppoſe, that
influence and power may yet be employed in the
face of your inclinations, if it be conſidered, 4.
That the free choice of a Miniſter in many congregations
is too commonly embarraſſed by influence
and projects of heritors who have a friend to ſerve,
or ſome connexion or another to ſupport, or ſome
promiſe or another to fulfil, which makes the poor
tennants that they cannot peaceably brook their
own houſes, if they do not promiſe to vote as their
Maſter votes, or at leaſt to ly by, that if they do
nothing to promote the project, they may do nothing
to hinder it. I have not as yet ſaid, that
your Landlords are now employing their power and
moyen to cruſh your inclinations; but ye yourſelves
know if they have beem ſo employed, and the Gentlemen
themſelves know what part they have acted;
and I wiſh they be clear and innocent in
this matter: if they be, you are much obliged to
them; it they be not, yet be not you at their
beck, if ye value the favour of God above the favour
of man, if ye prize your ſouls above your
temporal intereſt.
But now I proceed to the ſecond general head,
which is to ſhew how we are, or may be enabled
to ſurmount and overcome that fear of man, which
keeps us back from the performance of important
pieces of duty; namely,
To ſanctify the Lord, and to make him our fear and
our dread; which is to carry our ſelves to him and
before him as a God of glory and power, to fear
him above all; to love him, and to truſt in him a
bove all, to do that which requireth of us, depending
upon his word and promiſe, aſcribing to
him the glory of his truth, goodneſs and power,
counting him worthy to be feared and trusted,
whatever tentations there are to the contrary.
IN this duty thus generally deſcribed by which
the fearer of God overcomes the fear of man, and
ſo is enabled to act honeſtly and conſcientiouſly in
whatever God in his providence calls him out unto,
is compriſed,
1. A DESIGNING the glory of God, which ſhould
be in our eye, whether we eat or we drink, or whatever
we do, 1 Cor. x. 31. If there be an action in
your lives wherein ye ſhould be ſingly and ſincerely
eying the glory of God, it is what ye are called
to this day; the glory of God, the honour of the
Redeemer Jeſus Chriſt, and the ſucceſs of his Gopel
among you, hath a concern in the part ye act
at this time: if Gentlemen be only come here to
ſerve a friend, to compliment a neighbour, or to
purſue ſuch poor views as theſe; if you the inhabitants
of this place be come here this day, only to
ſpeak as ye may have gotten your leſſon; ye will
not ſancify the Lord, ye are not making him your
fear and your dread: ſure I am, if men were ſeparating
their own carnal and corrupt ends from ſome
actions that nearly concern the glory of God, the
honour of Chriſt, and the intereſt of theGoſpel, as
ſuch work as this ye are this day called unto,
they might be ſoon convinced of their ſin and
guilt, that they are not ſancifying the Lord, that
they have other ends that inflluence them, more
than a ſingle eye to the glory of God, the honour
of Chriſt, the ſucceſs of the Goſpel, and the good
of ſouls.
2. To ſanctify the Lord, is to ask counſel of God,
acknowledge him as your guide and inſtructor in
that ye do; to have a diffidence of your own wiſdom
and skill, and therefore to be pleading with
nd, that he would ſend forth his light and his truth,
that they may lead you and guide you, Pſal. xliii. 3. It
is no wonder to ſee people go wrong, and in this
the choice of a Miniſter particularly, when they
ſult not God, nor ask counſel at his mouth:
happy is that people, who get a Miniſter ſent them
an anſwerr to their prayers. This way of ſanctifying
the Lord, muſt cure the fear of man; for where
people are hearty in ſeeking God's direction, they
are reſolved to follow it, come of them what will.
My dear friends, have your hearts been to God on
this occaſſion, that he would order a right lot for
you, and let you ſee whom he hath choſen? Hath
your prayer been, that he would ſend you a paſtor
according to his own heart? this is to ſanctify the
Lord this day. And ſince Gentlemen, who have
heritages in pariſhes claim ſuch a ſway in the Election
of Miniſters, let me ask you of that rank in
this Pariſh, have ye been ſanctifying the Lord in
this ſolemn action? If Gentlemen who either reſide
not in this Pariſh, or reſiding in it, do not attend
Goſpel-Ordinances, do not think it impertinent
to meddle in the choice of a Miniſter to this
poor people; it cannot be impertinent in me to
put the quettion to their conſciences, "Have ye
"been upon your knees with this affair? have ye
"ſpread out the caſe of the many hundreds of ſouls
"in this pariſh before the Lord? Hath it been
"the deſire of your ſouls, that God would keep
"you back from doing any thing to grieve the
"hearts of this poor people, or to marr a free
"and agreeable choice of a Miniſter?" This
would be to ſanctify the Lord. I leave theſe queſtions
at your conſciences, anſwer them as you may,
and account for the anſwer as you beſt can, in the
day that great and ſmall, rich and poor, will be on
a level, ſtanding before the tribunal of the great
3. To ſanctify the Lord, and to make him our fear
and our dread, will make us proceed in what God
calls us unto, or to be engaged in, as in God's ſight
and preſence; ever mindful that we have to do
with a God who knows the way that we take, in
whoſe preſence we are, and to whom the moſt
profound reverence is due: awful thoughts of God's
preſence will make us forget men, and make no account
either of their power or wrath: if we had
deeper impreſſions of God's preſence and all-ſeeing
eye, on our hearts, than alas! for ordinary we have,
our conuct in all the actions of our life, both ordinary
and extraordinary, would be directed in another
manner than it is. If you of this Congregation
ſhall this day appear before the Presbytery,
and give forth your votes for one to be your Miniſter
whom ye do not incline, or ſhall ſmother your inclinations
for him you do incline, you are not proceeding
as in the ſight and preſence of God, as under
the fear and aw of God; and what hath not
the fear of God in it, how can the bleſſing of God
come upon it? If your Maſters and Landlords ſhall
act an oppoſite part to you this day, it may look a
little frightful to you to have them againſt you;
but if the awe of God be upon your hearts, ye will
be under no fear of them. What is one man diſtiguiſhed
from another by a little outward world--
circumſtance, in reſpect of the great God, who
hath power to ſave and to deſtroy? Tho' it be
ſo much the way of the world, for men profeſſing
the faith of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt to have reſpect
of perſons in the matters of God; the Apoſtle
James ii. I, 2, 3. ſhews, that the poor Chriſtian, in
the raiment, in reſpect of chriſtian privileges may
claim the ſame regard that is paid to him who
wears the gay cloathing, the gold ring, and the goodly
apparel; and it is reaſonable it fhould be ſo: for
the many rights people have in electing Miniſters, are
intended on their chriſtian profeſſion; and if mens
better circumſlances in the world doth make them
better chriſtians, I ſhall allow them diſtinguiſhing
rights in the choice of a Miniſter; but if God hath
choſen the poor in the world, rich in faith, and heirs
of this kingdom, James ii. 8. let none conclude as if
they were to have no ſpecial concern in the outward
adminiſtration of his kingdom on earth; but
let every one proceed as in the ſight and preſence
of God, who knows how to diſtinguiſh between
the precious and the vile, between them that fear
God, and them that fear him not; and who is narrowly
obſerving who hath the fear of God before
his eyes, in the action and work of this day.
4. To ſanctify the Lord, and to make him our fear
and our dread, will make us overcome all other fears,
because it compriſeth in it a depending upon God,
and ſetting him anent all temptations. The believing
fear of God, is a ſpecial preſervative againſt
the diſquienting fear of man: if we ſanctify the Lord,
and make him our fear and our dread, we will look
upon him as the Lord of Hosts, who hath all power
in his hands, and all creatures at his beck. They
who ſanctify the Lord, they ſet God who is all in
all againſt the creature who is nothing. The creature
beareth a great bulk in the eye of ſenſe; but
to a man who looketh to God, the amiableneſs or
frightfulneſs of the creature vaniſheth into nothing.
When we ſee great power againſt us, our hearts fail
us; but a ſenſe of God's being, a dependence on
his power, a fear of his wrath, will make us look
on all the power and wrath of man as nothing.
They who ſanctify the Lord, they ſet the terror of
the Lord againſt the terror of man, the favour of
God againſt the favour of man, and ballancing theſe
together, ſee, that ſince God is to be depended upon,
and to be believed in, againſt all the power
of devils and men; they reſolve upon an honeſt
and conſcientious performance of their duty, come
of it what may, perſuaded, that all things ſhall work
together for good to them that love God, Rom. viii. 28.
and that nothing ſhall be able to do them any notable
wrong, as long as they keep on God's ſide
and however ſore men may puſh at them, it ſhall
be well with them that fear the Lord; which
brings me to
THE third general head, To glance a little at
the arguments in the text, ſhewing the ſafety and
advantage of thoſe who ſanctify the Lord of Hosts,
and who make him their fear and their dread, with
the miſery of thoſe who are diverted from this duty,
through the tear of man.
THE firſt argument for overcoming the fear of
man by ſanctifying the Lord, and for the performance
of our duty, not under the awe and terror of man,
but in the fear of God, is taken trout the conſideration
of the ſafety and advantage of them who
ſanctify the Lord of Hoſts, and who make him their
fear and their dread, which is, that the Lord will be
to them for a ſanctuary; importing,
I. THAT if in the work of this day, ye lay aſide
the fear of man, and ſanctify the Lord of Hoſts, and
make him your fear and your dread, the Lord will
own you and bleſs you, he will be to you a ſanctuary,
he will place his ſanctuary among you, ye ſhall be
more than rewarded any riſque or hazard which
ye may run for acting a faithful and honeſt part
this day; the Lord will ſanctify you, and make
you a holy people. You all know, that your unhappy
ſituation ſince the laſt choice of a Miniſter,
hath made you a ſcorn to all your neighbouts, a
taunt and a by-word: God hath been declaring
his anger againſt you; but he who is merciful and
ready to forgive, is proclaiming to you this day, that
he is willing to dwell among you, to make you
beautiful as Tirzah, comely as Jeruſalem, terrible as
an army with banners, if ſo be that ye will but honour
God in the part ye act this day; let this anſwer
all the fears and doubts and waverings of them
who may be diſcouraging both themſelves and others,
by ſaying, Let us hold our peace and look
on, for what better will we be to make any bold
appearance; if ye were holding hand to the work
of this day, without fear or reſpect, except it be
that of God, God would own you, God would
ſtand by you, and be on your ſide, and on the ſide
of your helpers.
2. THAT if in the work of this day ye lay aſide
the fear of man, and ſanctify the Lord of Hoſts, and
make him your fear and your dread, then the Lord
would make men to ſtand in awe of you. Sanctuaries
were holy places, to which every one had not
acceſs, to which every one dared not to approach;
the fear of you, and the dread of you would be
made to fall on them of whom ye may be afraid.
Do we not ſee that men ſtand in awe of the holy,
the believing, the conſcientious? If men whom ye
may fear, fear not God, the ſure way to overcome
them, is to be fearers of God your ſelves; if men
whom ye may fear, proceed not in the fear of God
in the work of this day, there is not any thing will
make you more terrible to them, than to ſee you
acting like men that are under the awe of God. Sanctify
therefore the Lord, and let him be your fear and
your dread, and he will be ſuch a ſanctuary to you, that
men of might will not like to meddle with you, and
in this way ye may ſay to them, as Pſal.cxviii. 6.
The Lord is on my ſide, I will not fear what man can
do unto me.
3. THAT if in the work of this day ye lay aſlide
the fear of man, and ſanctify the Lord of Hoſts, and
make him your fear and your dread, then the Lord
will protect and defend you. Sanctuaries have
been places where people have taken refuge when
in danger at the hands of their enemies. God may
bring honeſt people under trials, after they have
been acting an honeſt and conſcientious part; but
he will not leave them comfortleſs, he will be their
ſtrong tower, to which they may fly, and be ſafe; he
will be to them as a convert from the tempeſt, when the
blaſt of the terrible ones is as a ſtorm againſt the wall,
Iſa. xxv. 4. This ſhews what we have to anſwer to
the cowardly, to the faint-hearted and unbelieving
among you, who are raiſing objections againſt their
acting a faithful and vigorous part this day. Some
may be ſaying,"I would fain ſpeak forth my in"clinations
whom I would have for my Miniſter,
"but I am apprehenſive my Maſter or Landlord
"inclines another man, or he hath told me ſo much,
"and if I act a different part from him, I know he
"will be diſobliged with me, for I am in arrears
"to him, and if he be hard upon me, it will break
"me, I will not be able to ſow the new crop."
Anſw 1. I BELIEVE there are few of you who
have this tentation. But 2. Tho' you were in arrears
to your Maſters, do not ſuppoſe that they
will perſecute you for acting a conſcientious part.
Or, 3. If they ſhould, I own tentations of this
kind ſtaggers higher-headed folk than either you
or I, and therefore it is, that bribery and corruption
doth ſo much prevail among all ranks; ye have
God's protection to fly to, who will defend you,
and be a ſanctuary to you, if ye act an honeſt and
conſcientious part. 4. ſuppoſe ye expect not a
diſcharge of your arrears for wreſting conſcience.
But 5. If ye ſhould, which ye need not fooliſhly
dream, I would have you ballance the debt ye owe
to man with the debt ye owe to God, what ye expect
from man, and what ye expcect from God with
reſpect to the debt ye owe to the one, and the
debt ye owe to the other; if ye act a diſhoneſt part
this day, or ly by, and do not act an honeſt part,
man may forbear you a little, but he will not forgive
you; and tho' he ſhould forgive you, what is it to
the debt ye owe to God, if ye do not contribute to
have a goſpel Miniſter ſettled in this place? one
whom ye find ſuited to you, ye are but enlarging
the account which ye have to make to the great
Gott: now chooſe you this day the favour of God,
or the favour of man; man's diſcharging you a
ſmall earthly debt, or rather bearing with you till
ye be in better caſe to pay it, and God's freely forgiving
you all your ſins: chooſe you this day, if
for the pleaſure of man you will incur the diſpleaſure
of God. O that God would help you to ballance
theſe things!
4. THAT if in the work of this day ye lay aſide
the fear of man, and ſanctify the Lord of Hoſts, and
make him your fear and your dread, then the Lord
will carry you to the heavenly ſanctuary, where the
weary be at reſt, where the wicked ſhall not trouble, and
where the voice of the oppreſſor ſhall not be heard. They
who ſanctify the Lord, and who make him their fear
and their dread, may meet with troubles in this life,
becauſe of their honeſty, Iſa. lxix. When truth
faileth, he who departeth from evil, maketh himself a
prey, but the rich recompence of reward will repay all.
And this ſhews us what to anſwer to ſuch among
you, who may he ſaying, "My Maſter or Land"lord
is for another man to be Miniſter, than I
"incline; and if I do not vote this day as he
"votes, I ſhall be ſure to be turned out of my
"tack, and I do not know where to get another
"or one ſo good and convenient as that which
"preſently poſſeſs, and therefore I muſt even yield,
"for if I act another part, I ſhall but bring my
"ſelf to trouble." I would not have you ſuppoſe
that any of your Landlords will caſt you out of
your tacks, if you do not vote as they vote, tho'
ſuch things, I am afraid, are too common in the
country; therefore when a Kirk falls vacant, applications
are made from far and near to the Heritors
of a Pariſh, and according to the join that
happens to be among them, it is concluded, ſo
will the election of the Miniſter go: but let none
of theſe things affect you; tho' it were come the
length of threatening you out of your tack, God
hath promiſed to be a ſanctuary to thoſe who ſanctify
him, and make him their fear and their dread;
he hath the hearts of men in his hand, and can turn
them at his will, or if he give them power againſt
you, keep this in your eye, that if you be faithful
to God, in heaven there are many manſions, whither
Chriſt is gone to prepare a place for you, that where
he is, there ye may be alſo, where ye ſhall enjoy a
kingdom that cannot be moved; and that tho' ye may
think to ſecure an earthly habitation by acting an
unconſcientious part this day, God may ſoon blaſt
your ſubſtance, and make you unable to hold it,
or he may ſay to you, as to the rich man in the
Goſpel Thou fool, this night thy ſoul ſhall be required
of thee; or if ye get a leaſe of years without any
providential rebuke, yet what will ye ſay in the
hour of death, when ye ſhall not know where to
take up your eternal abode, but ſhall be in fear
and terror of everlaſting wrath, and your conſcience
ſhall cry out, when your life is on your lip,"Alas!
"I have not made God my hope nor my truſt, I
"ſold my part of an agreeable goſpel-miniſtry for
"a little wordly convenience, and now death is
"to take me out of my houſe and habitation, the
"ſouls of many have ſuffered by my means; what
"ſhall I anſwer the Almighty, now that I am to
"appear before him?
Some may be ready to ſay that the tendency
of what I have ſpoken is to ſtir up people to oppoſe
the Gentlemen of the Pariſh whoſe intereſt
and influence and conſideration in the election of
a Miniſter is chiefly to be regarded, and that it is
more fittng that the people ſhould yield it to the
Gentlemen, than that they ſhould be determined
by the people, whom to chooſe to be Miniſter of
the Pariſh.
Anſw. 1. I ASSERT it to be my duty to ſtir up
people to maintain the rights and privileges which
they have as men and chiſtians, tho' in this courſe
they ſhould differ from Gentlemen, unleſs Gentlemen
pretend to be intituled to the rights that men
have as members of ſociety, and to the priviledges
of Chriſtians, excluſive of all others. 2. I likewiſe
aſſert, that the election of a Miniſter is a chriſtian
right, and the beſt chriſtian, be he Gentleman, be
he common-man, hath the beſt title to exerciſe
this right. 3. I aſſert that they who are to ſubmit
to a man's Miniſtry, and are to attend Goſpel--
Ordinances diſpenſed by him, are the people who
have a right to elect a Miniſter, in oppoſition to
them who tho' they have ſecular intereſts in the
Pariſh, attend not ordinances there, not will ſubmit
to the Miniſtry of the elected. 4 Tho' ſome
few who may have lands and rents in a Pariſh, may
be ſo diſpoſed, that if they were living in that Pariſh
they would attend Goſpel-Ordinances, yet
when their buſineſs in the world obliges them to
live elſewhere, it appears to me the moſt reaſonable
thing that can be, that they have chief regard
in the election of a Miniſter, to whom the Miniſter
choſen is to diſpenſe Goſpel-Ordinances. 5 I
would ask the objectors, if there be any thing in
reaſon or religion obliging many hundreds who are
to ſubmit to Goſpel-Ordinances in this place, to
give up with their own inclination for a man whoſe
gift is ſuited to them, and to receive one whoſe
gift either is not ſuited to them, or so much ſuited
to them as the gift of another unexceptionable perſon
becauſe a few who have heritages in the place
ſome of whom attend not ordinances here at all,
others live not in the Pariſh, do incline him? If
they ſhall claim ſuch regards, or regards prejudicial
to your rights, which are the people who want the
Miniſter, I ſeruple not to ſay it, that no regard is
due to them in this unreaſonable claim; and if they
exert their claims, their power, their moyen, their
influence for your hurt, and to the prejudice of
your inclination, or if ye or any of you be byaſſed
and turned out of the road, inſtead of God's being
a ſanctuary to you or them, you ſee what will come
of it in the
SECOND argument made uſe of in the text, to
ſtir us up to ſanctify the Lord, and to make him our
fear and our dread, and to proceed in the work of
this day in the awe and fear of God, which is, The
Lord will be a ſtone of fumbling and a rock of offence
to both the houſes of Iſrael, for a gin and for a ſnare
to the inhabitants of Jeruſalem; and many among
them ſhall ſtumble, and fall, and be broken, and be ſnared,
and be taken, which doth import in it the following
1. THAT the diſcoveries made of Chriſt in the
Goſpell ſhould not profit them: there were great
promiſes of the Meſſiah made by God in Iſaiah's
time, which was a great encouragement to the oppreſſed
people of God; but here he lets us ſee that
they among them who feared not God, but men,
ſhould reap no comfort nor benefit by thoſe promiſes.
I may, not ſtay to enlarge upon this as it
might admit, but only to apply it to you, if without
the fear of God, and from the fear of man, ye
ſhall act an unconſcientious part this day in the
choice of a Miniſter, Goſpel-Ordinances ſhall not
profit you, ſuch means as ye ſhall get in an unfair
way, God will blaſt them to you; and I doubt nothing
of it, but that among the many weighty cauſes
of the unſucceſsfulneſs of the Goſpel, this may
be juſtly reckoned as one, Miniſters being ſettled
in Pariſhes without the affection and liking of the
people. God knows, and we may all know, what
natural prejudices a Goſpel Miniſtry hath to overcome,
tho' it have not the prejudice of a forced
ſettlement to ſurmount. This may ſhew us what
to anſwer to thoſe who are ſtill buzzing in your
ears that there cannot be a wrong choice, for none
are to be choſen but ſuch as Presbyteries licenſe,
and who will preach ſound doctrine; Presbyteries
never meant that their licenciates ſhould be ſettled
in Pariſhes, without allowing the people a
judgment of the ſuitableneſs of their gifts to them;
a man may have gifts ſuited to one people, who
hath not gifts ſuited to another, therefore it hath
a foundation in common equity, that members of
a congregation declare who of all the Licenciates
hath the gift moſt ſuited to them, and in this they
ought to be gratified, and to controul them in this
is an act of the greateſt tyranny and oppreſſion,
becauſe it is an oppreſſion of them in a ſpiritual
concern. This likewiſe ſhews what to anſwer to
Heritors who are in a confederacy to have a Miniſter
ſettled in a Pariſh, whether he pleaſe the
hearers or not. "O ſay they, the people will
"come in, ſettle him once, and there is no fear
"but they will ſubmit." This doth not always
obtain, and becauſe of forced ſettlements, many
congregations at this day in Scotland, are as ſheep
without a ſhepherd; and tho' an oppreſſed people
may endeavour to make the beſt of an ill bargain
they can, the diſappointment of a better choice,
and a Miniſter's being forced in among them leaves
rooted prejudices in their minds againſt his Miniſtry,
and they who may be promoting the election
of a Miniſter in this place to day, from no better
principles, and with no better hopes, allow me to
tell them, that they are doing evil, for think they
poſſibly good will come. Furthermore, how can
God's bleſſing be expected upon the labours of an
intruded Paſtor? can he expect the prayers of his
people at a throne of grace that God would proſper
his Miniſtry, who if they have any ſenſe of religion
on their ſpirits, and of the wrong done to
the heritage of the Lord, will be found praying for
conviction and pardon to that Shepherd, who only
cometh as an hireling, and whoſe voice hath no
pleaſant ſound in the ears of the ſheep.
2. THIS threatning imports, that the warnings
God had given the Tribes of Iſrael, ſhould be
brought forth in judgment againſt them, againſt
both the houſes of Iſrael, the confederates, and
them that were afraid of the confederacy. It needs
be no ſurpriſe to Miniſters now, that the word of
their teſtimony hath ſo little effect; in Paul's time
the word took no more effect than a beating the
air, and he was no better than ſounding braſs and
a tinkling cymbal to many; yet he ceaſed not to
ſet life and death before them, tho' many took
offence at his doctrine and miniſtry, and went on
the rather in their evil way; when he was the ſaviour
of life to ſome, he was the ſaviour of death to others.
This admits of a cloſe application to you
in this congregation, tho' the faithful and affectionate
inſtruction and warning which I give you this
day, ſhould have no effect on you, but I be ſpeaking
as one beating the air, do not think that theſe
words will he loſt; they will be brought in remembrance
againſt them who will not believe nor do.
And if others of a ſuperior rank to you ſhall be
found indifferent what be ſaid to them, from the
word of the Lord, if their confederacy take effect,
if their concert obtain, let them not think that theſe
things will not be one day laid to the door of
their conſciences. I make no doubt of it but it
it will be found one day, that God hath given up
many a man to his own way, becauſe he hath employed
his power and moyen to oppreſs poor people
in their ſpiritual concerns.
3. THERE is another thing imported in this
threatening, that God would leave both the houſes
of Iſrael, the confederates, and them who are afraid
of the confederacy, to fall into ſin; many among
them ſhall ſtumble, and fall, and be ſnared The
ten Tribes, inſtead of repenting of their idolatries,
ſhould further and further off from the worſhip
of the true God, till they ſhould go into captivity
to Media, Halah and Habar, and thoſe in Judah,
forgetting the Lord their help, and making man
their truſt, ſhould be corrupted alſo, till for their
iniquities their land ſhould ſpue them out. It
is no wonder to ſee people falling into ſin and a
ſnare, who have nothing in their eye but their
own projects and deſigns in matters in which the
glory of God, and the intereſt of ſouls are concerned,
and to ſee them ſtumbling and falling, who are
making man and not God their fear and their dread.
Men who have meddled raſhly and prophanely
with the matters of God's houſe, have gone from
evil to worſe; what Jeroboam did wickedly in the
matters of God, became a ſin and a ſnare to him,
he altered the order of the Prieſthood, which became
a ſin to his houſe, 1. Kings xiii. 33, 34. Many
a Gentleman hath brought ſin and guilt upon
his houſe, by oppreſſing the heritage of the Lord
in the choice of a Miniſter. What? ſay you, hath
this made Gentlemen ſin, that they made good
their own choice; one would think, this were the
way to prevent their falling into ſin, and to reconcile
them to a Goſpel-Miniſtry. I own it, that if
Gentlemen were living in a Pariſh, and living in it,did
attend Goſpel-Ordinances, and ſubmitted to the
publick Miniſtry there, there is all the reaſon in
the world, that they chooſe one they incline, and
no man can be heartily inclined to a thing but he
will wiſh that thing to obtain, but their vote is not
to be a negative upon the body of a congregation
that are otherwiſe inclined: but if Gentlemen neither
live in a Pariſh, or living in it, do not attend
ordinances there, they will be found bringing down
ſin and guilt upon their own ſouls, who ſet up their
power and influence and moyen to oppreſs a willing
people in a free and unexceptionable choice;
and many times we find their conduct is ſuch as
ſhows that it is more a friend they have to ſerve,
or ſome other connexion to keep up, than to make
a right proviſion for the ſouls of the congregation,
therefore it is, that ſome run about to get letters
of procuratory from this or that Heritor to vote
for their man, the abſent or not reſiding Heritor
being very indifferent who be Miniſter, but being
intreated, he intreats, and this is all the religion he
hath in the matter. And for the reconciling Heretors
to the miniſtry of an intruded Paſtor, we ſee
this doing evil that good may come doth not make
proſelytes, and ſo the argument hath no weight; and
tho' this ſhould obtain, it will not follow, that for
the ſake of one or a few men, many hundreds are
to be oppreſſed, unleſs that the ſouls of Gentlemen
be of a different frame and value from the ſouls of
common men: tho' men behave as if they would
have it ſo, yet he not diſcouraged, ye the poor of the
people, God will reckon otherwiſe, even that God
who raiſeth the poor out of the duſt, and lifted up
the beggar from the dung-hill to ſet them among
princes, and to make them inherit the throne of
glory. He will keep the feet of his ſaints, and the
wicked ſhall be ſilent in darkneſs, for by ſrength ſhall
no man prevail, 1. Sam. 2. 8, 9. It Cannot miſs to
to bring on ſin and guilt on theſe Heritors who live
not in a Pariſh, or living in it do not attend ordinances
in it, to ſtraiten, oppoſe, oppreſs, or entice
people to a Miniſter they do not incline, but are
rather averſe to, their hearts being ſet upon another
paſt all exception, becauſe it argues an atheiſtical
indifference in the matters of God, and in the concern
for ſouls; and when once men are brought this
length, or will diſcourage people in concerns more
dear to them than all the earth, how can they expect
but God will give up with their ſouls, when
they make ſuch a ſlight account of the ſouls of many
Now as to you the People, if you do not act a
conſcientious part this day, God hath ſaid it, ye ſhall
ſtumble and fall and be ſnared. Ye who make it a
light matter whom ye chooſe, or who be choſen
for your Miniſter, God ſees you making a light account
of your ſouls, and will be provoked to give
you up to your own hearts luſts; he is ſaying to
you this day as, Pſal. lxxxi. 13, 14,15. 16. O that
my people had hearkned to me, and Iſrael had walked
in my ways. I ſhould ſoon have ſubdued their enemies,
and turned my hand againſt their adverſaries. The haters
of the Lord ſhould have ſubmitted themſelves unto
him, but their time ſhould have endured for ever. He
ſhould have fed them alſo with the fineſt of the wheat,
and with honey out of the rock ſhould I have ſatisfied
thee. v. 11, 12. But if ye will not hearken to his voice,
and will have none of his ways; he will give you up to
your own heart's luſts, and let you walk in your own
counſels. Which brings me to the
4. THING imported in the threatening, many among
them ſhould be broken and ſnared and taken, that
is, God will ſeverely puniſh for this their ſin,
he will take vengeance both againſt them who were
in a confederacy againſt the people of God, and upon
them who ſhould act a diſhoneſt part from a fear of
the confederacy: the confederates ſhall be broken, and
they who make corrupt compliances, becauſe of
the confederacy, ſhall be ſnared, and taken in their
own craftineſs, they ſhall not meet with protection
in the way, they ſeek ſecurity and favour to themſelves.
Now let me apply this to them of lands
and rents in this Pariſh, who have been buſied making
a ſtrong join to have one elected to this Pariſh,
whom you, the members of this congregation
poſſibly do not incline, and have been boaſting and
bragging at them to ſay as they ſay, whether it be
your inclination or not, you may now think that
your cup ſtands even, and your mountain ſtrong,
and ye ſhall never be moved; and what is a parcel
of inſignificant tennants to Gentlemen of education
and knowledge? tennants have not ſuch ſettled
intereſts as we, and therefore no notice is to be taken
of them. Allow me to anſwer this. If we
were to make trials of knowledge, and to put the
matter on that iſſue, it behooved to be, who hath
moſt knowledge and orthodoxy in the principles
the chriſtian faith, who hath the trueſt ſenſe of
religion, I pray God, that the matter turned on
this trial of skill, let it come out as it will. As to
ſettled intereſts in Pariſhes, 1 am ſorry that Gentlemen
ſhould ſhew ſo little ſenſe of the mutability
of human affairs, as to claim ſuch diſtinguiſhing
regards, as if their houſes were to ſtand for ever,
ſince many an honeſt poor man and their children
have holden their poor cottage with a ſober and
honeſt character, when the poſſeſſors of lands and
rents have prophanely and riotouſly debauched
them away: let them who exalt themſelves above
others, becauſe they are rich, and would enhance
the privileges of the poor chriſtian, and lord it over
him in the exerciſe of his right, ſtand in awe of the
character of the wicked and fooliſh man,Prov. iii. 33,
34, 35 The curſe of the Lord is in the houſe of the wicked,
but he bleſſeth the habitation of the juſt. - Surely
he ſcorneth the ſcorners, but he giveth grace unto the
lowly - the wiſe ſhall inherit glory, but ſhame
ſhall be the promotion of fools. It is an evidence both
of a wicked man and a fool to glory in his riches,
and the ſtability of his habitation; and it is an evidence
he doth ſſo, when he would carry it triumphantly
and oppreſſively over his poor chriſtian
neighbour, in ſpiritual rights and privileges, which
ſhould be dearer to them than all the world; however
high he may build his neſt now, and raiſe his
creſt at the thoughts of his diſtinguiſhing circumſtances,
in the world, you may read the charter
which God has written out for ſuch, Job xxvii. 13.
- 23. This is the portion of a wicked man with
God, and the heritage of oppreſſors, which they ſhall
receive of the Almighty. - If his children be multiplied,
it is for the ſword: and his offspring ſhall not
be ſatisfied with bread. - Thoſe that remain of him
ſhall be buried in death, and his widows ſhall not weep.
- Tho' he heaps up ſilver as the duſt, and raiment as
the clay; - He may prepare it, but the juſt ſhall
put it on, and the innocent ſhall divide the ſilver. - He
buildeth his houſe as a moth, and as a booth that the
keeper maketh. - The rich man ſhall lie down, but
he ſhall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes and he is
not. - Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempeſt
ſtealeth him away in the night. - The eaſt
wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a
form hurleth him out of his place. - For God ſhall
caſt upon him, and not ſpare: he would fain flee out of
his hand. - Men ſhall clap their hands at him, and
ſall hiſs him out of his place. But the Lord will be
a Sanctuary to the honeſt poor man who hath not
in the account oft he world ſo well ſecured a habitation.
Pſal. cxl. 12. God hath promiſed to maintain
the right of the poor; judge ye then, who hath
the ſureſt Charter, he who hath God's word pledged
for his ſecurity, or they who make an oppreſſive uſe
of their diſtinguiſhing circumſtances in the world.
It is a poor and a worthleſs ſtory for any man to
ſay, that you the people are tennants at will, and
to improve this as if you were to have no will but
theirs in the work of this day: well may you reply,
that they are tennants at God's will, who can take
them away with his ſtroke when they are thinking
to have their wills of you. But if the people of
this Congregation will not truſt in God, but ſtoop
and yield, and act an unconſcientious part this day,
ye ſhall alſo be broken and ſnared and taken: God
will make your ſuppofed defence to depart from
you, he will multiply your plagues exceedingly, ſpiritual
judgments will come upon you; tho' ye ſhould
be allowed to ſit warm in your habitations, God
will ſend leanneſs into your ſouls, and ye ſhall be
ſingled out as men who have not made God your
Now, my dear friends, to bring this diſcourſe
to an iſſue, tho' I know that all the arguments I
can uſe with you will be of little effect, unleſs the
Lord's ſpirit work upon you; yet let me intreat of
you to think ſeriouſly on what hath been ſaid: I
know I have been more plain than pleaſant to ſome;
yet I have ſpoken truth, and I bleſs God for it,
that the terror of man makes me not afraid; I might
have been ſilent as to many things, fi a tender concern
for your ſouls did not conſtrain me, and now
I charge you by your compearance before the great
Judge, when all the warnings I have given you the
twelve years of my Miniſtry among you, and what
I have ſpoken to you this day muſt be accounted
for both by you and me, that ye conſider what ye
have at ſtake this day, and what ſhall be the melancholly
iſſue of your acting a deceitful or indifferent
part in the work of it. I have choſen rather to
draw a veil over than enlarge upon the diſmal
effects of your laſt unhappy choice, God hath relieved
you from that plague, but what ſhall become
of you next, when or whence your relief ſhall come,
if ye take a wrong ſtep this day, God only knows,
but I tell you one thing, that it looks very like a
people whom God careth not for, to have been
plagued of God in ſuch an important concern, and
yet not to improve a providential opportunity of
being well provided with a faithful ſerious goſpel--
preacher. O let it be ſeen this day, that the concerns
of your ſouls are lying more upon your hearts
than any thing elſe. When I have thought on the
countenance God was pleaſed to give to word and
ſacraments diſpenſed among you, I have been fond:
to think that God was ſowing a ſeed among you
that would ſpring up, and that he himſelf would
water; but conſidering what hath befallen you, in
conſequence of a bad choice, God only knows,
and I cannot expreſs it, how much your condition
hath afflicted my ſoul: the Lord God of Gods he
is witneſs that ye have been my day thoughts and
my night thoughts; my concern for you hath coſt
me many a mourning hour; and becauſe I would
have you eſpouſed to Jeſus Chriſt, and provided
with a Miniſter who may feelingly open up to
you the doctrine of Reconciliation, I have put
forth my ſelf to ſpeak what this day you have heard.
If ye would have God to ſet up his ſanctuary among
you, ſanctify the Lord of Hoſts this day, and
make him your fear and your dread, and he will be for
a ſanctuary, but to the deceitful, the cowardly, the
indifferent the faint-hearted and the unbelieving,
he will be for a ſtone of ſtumbling, and a rock of offence,
for a gin and a ſnare, and many among them ſhall ſtumble
and fall, and be broken, and be ſnared and be


Cite this Document

APA Style:

A Sermon, Preached Before the Reverend, the Presbytery of Aberdeen, In the Church of New-Machar, 16 February 1737. 2019. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved January 2019, from

MLA Style:

"A Sermon, Preached Before the Reverend, the Presbytery of Aberdeen, In the Church of New-Machar, 16 February 1737." The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2019. Web. January 2019.

Chicago Style

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, s.v., "A Sermon, Preached Before the Reverend, the Presbytery of Aberdeen, In the Church of New-Machar, 16 February 1737," accessed January 2019,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2019. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


A Sermon, Preached Before the Reverend, the Presbytery of Aberdeen, In the Church of New-Machar, 16 February 1737

Document Information

Document ID 101
Title A Sermon, Preached Before the Reverend, the Presbytery of Aberdeen, In the Church of New-Machar, 16 February 1737
Year group 1700-1750
Genre Religious prose
Year of publication 1737
Wordcount 10874

Author information: Bisset, Reverend John

Author ID 70
Title Reverend
Forenames John
Surname Bisset
Gender Male
Occupation Clergyman
Locations where resident Aberdeen