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"The Lord has been very gracious in leading us to this place, and making it, in the best sense, a place of rest and refreshment to our souls. Much cause have I to wonder and adore the kind Providence that hath directed my steps since I left home, and kept me in all places where I have been, restoring my bodily and spiritual health, and causing all grace to abound towards me. O for a heart to praise the name of our God and Saviour, who has loved us with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness hath he drawn us, and comforted us on every side!"
In the end of January Lady Glenorchy and Miss Hill went first to Dorsetshire, then to Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight, where they remained till the month of April, when they crossed over to Southampton, and in the beginning of May went to London; at which place Lady Glenorchy intended to wait the decision of the General Assembly with respect to her chapel, and by which she proposed to direct her future movements and conduct.
January 27.—I left Plymouth, and came to Dartmouth; in which place Mr Jones, who came with us, preached in a meeting-house belonging to a pious lady, Mrs Newcomon. The people were rude, and behaved ill.
At Totness I met with a good man from Scotland, of the name of Little, who requested me to send a preacher to the town, and he would give him board, and find a place for him in which to preach.
February 1.-We came to Honiton. Mr preached the next day in the meeting-house there. That night we were burned out of the inn. We were greatly alarmed, but lost nothing, nor did we suffer in
our health from being exposed to the open air in the middle of the night in the streets, although the weather was cold and damp. Next night we came to Dorchester, where Mr preached in Mr Edward's meeting-house.
February 7.-We arrived at Southampton, and by a providential mistake we went to an inn at which we did not intend to stop, and were very ill accommodated, and not civilly treated by the people of it; but the Lord overruled this for good, by touching the heart of the waiter with what he heard, and there is reason to believe he was savingly impressed with the truth and importance of religion. He almost immediately left the house, and was taken into the employment of a respectable gentleman.
Mr Kingsbury gave Mr the use of his meeting-house, where he preached frequently; also at Romsay, Titchfield, and various other places in the neighbourhood, and there is reason to believe several were savingly brought to God at that time by his ministry.
February 19.-We sailed for the Isle of Wight. Upon our first arrival we met with discouragements, and I began to think we had nothing to do there; but remembering the Lord's promise, that when two or three shall agree to ask any thing he will do it, I mentioned it to, and we agreed to ask the Lord to open a door for his gospel in the island, so that all the islanders might have an opportunity to hear it. That very day a meeting-house was offered to, where he preached statedly. Opportunity was also given him to preach the gospel in every part of the island, which he embraced.
SETS APART a day for PRAYER.
Miss Hill and I then departed by Portsmouth to London.
When in London Lady Glenorchy set apart a day, according to her usual practice in matters of difficulty and importance, for solemn and extraordinary prayer to God, that he would overrule the deliberations of the General Assembly respecting the chapel, for his own glory. The preparation which she made for this exercise of devotion will be seen in the next extract from her Diary.
May 23d I set apart as a day of prayer for the following things:
That the Lord would be pleased to overrule the counsels of the Assembly respecting my chapel, that they may give such a decision as may promote his glory, and the good of the church. That he would leave me no doubt how to act, but make my path plain, that my mind may be delivered from its perplexities concerning it; and that he would shew me whom he has chosen to be the pastor, and not permit me to anticipate, but to wait the issue of his will in this matter.
That the Lord would prosper his work at Strathfillan, and encourage the hearts of the little flock there.
That he would grant success to Mr Wat Exmouth and elsewhere, and to other works of a like nature attempted in his name.
That I may be helped and assisted by the Spirit in family prayer, and not be left to a dry, formal, burdensome worship; but be enabled to do it to God's glory, and the comfort and edification of my own soul, and those of my servants.
That I may be directed concerning my future place of residence, and led to fix wherever I may be of most
use in the work of God; and be kept from all selfish motives whatever in my choice.
That the Lord would search me and try me, and bring forth to light any hidden idols, any secret corruptions, any concealed enemy to him or his ways, that may be lurking in my heart, and deliver me from them, and the love and power of every sin.
That I may henceforth follow him fully, and give up all I have to him without reserve, and be wholly devoted to him all the days of my life, and made meet to enjoy him in glory through the endless ages of eternity. Amen and Amen!
On the 27th day of May the cause of Lady Glenorchy's chapel, which had excited no small interest in the church and in the public mind, was heard at the bar of the General Assembly.
There appeared as appellants, Mr David Johnston, minister of North Leith; Mr John Macfarlan, one of the ministers of the Canongate; Mr Robert Walker, senior minister of the High Church; Dr Webster, of the Tolbooth Church; Dr Macqueen, of the Old Church; and Dr Erskine, of the Old Greyfriars' Church, ministers of Edinburgh. And as respondents, Mr Robertson, minister of Ratho; Mr Robertson, minister of Dalmeny; Mr Chiesly, minister of Corstorphine; Mr Grieve, minister of Dalkeith; Dr Carlyle, minister of Inveresk; Dr M'Cormick, minister of Prestonpans.
There being twelve persons at the bar, each of whom spoke, and some of them at great length, the whole first day, to a late hour, was consumed by the pleadings.
The argument of the appellants naturally divided itself into two parts. First, the informality of the com
plainers in bringing, and of the synod in taking up the complaint, when the ground of it was removed by Mr Balfour remaining at Lecropt. And, secondly, the synod's not only taking up the complaint, but extending their interference to things in no way brought before them; as censuring the Presbytery of Edinburgh for admitting the chapel into communion with the church, and pronouncing a sentence of separation against it.
The answer of the respondents was, that the complainers had a right to bring the complaint to the synod; and that the synod had a right to review the whole merits of the case, and decide accordingly.
On the next day the cause was again argued in the Court. The principal speakers on the side of the appellants were, Mr Hunter, one of the ministers of Dumfries; Mr Duff, minister of Tippermuir; Mr Taylor, one of the ministers of Paisley; Mr Campbell, minister of Renfrew; Mr Blenshall, minister of Dundee; Alexander Belshes, Esq. advocate; and the Lord Chief Baron Montgomery.
On the side of the respondents were, Professor George Hill of St Andrews, Professor John Hill of Edinburgh, Principal Campbell of Aberdeen, and Buchan Hepburn, Esq. advocate.
It was considered a remarkable circumstance at the time, that none of the noblemen, gentlemen, nor any of the law-officers of the Crown, who generally took a share in the debates of the Assembly in matters of importance, attended on this occasion, or if they were present, that they were silent, with the exception of the Lord Chief Baron.
In the course of the debate it became evident that there was a considerable majority in favour of the appellants: a division of the house, therefore, was not