| things which came accordingly to passe, and that, when
he was praying or blessing the Lord for refreshments of meat
and drink. " Rowe quotes several examples of his prophetic
Wodrow also gives an illustration of his prophetic powers
as follows: —A difference having occurred between him and
Lord Newbattle respecting the erection of the church at Prestonpans,
Davidson made the following prediction: " That his Lordship
would be stripped of his lands in Prestonpans parish, and
that he would die by an unknown hand. His lands were alienated
soon afterwards (1609), and, " adds Wodrow, "the
way of his death is a secret, and was the ground of a debate
in Parliament. "
Among the many traditional tales in the village relating to
his prophetic powers we give one sample only. The day on which
the builders began the construction of his church, an old
woman living adjacent thereto complained that they were encroaching
on her ground (the ground was bestowed by Hamilton of Preston).
At night she went out and pulled down what had been built
on her supposed corner. The same thing happened a second night,
when the builders complained to the minister, and pressed
him to take action against her. " Poor woman ! "
was his reply, " leave her alone. She seems unconscious
of her wrong-doing; but she will not trouble you again. "
That evening, on going out to pull down again, she tripped
among the stones lying about, broke one of her legs, and troubled
them no more. The minister, it is said, afterwards found she
was in real earnest thinking she had been wronged, and gave
her more than value for her supposed loss by the church building.
Though many things turned out according to Davidson's predictions,
it is not on record that he ever gave any one cause to suppose
he laid claim to foreknowledge.
The following is a copy of Davidson's Discourse to his parishioners,
published along with his Catechism in 1602: —
" To his loving flock of Salt-Prestoun who, by the preaching
of the gospel, beleeve and turne to the Lord.
"John Davidson wisheth increase of faith and repentance,
with constancie therein to the end, and in the end. —Amen.
" What hath beene the drifte of my doctrine sen God placed
mee among you, well beloved in Christe Jesus, yee cannot bee
ignorant, seing without excellencie of wordes and all curiositie,
in moste plaine sorte after my familiar maner, I shew you
the testimonie of God, esteeming ' not to know anything amang
you, ' as the Apostle sayeth, 'save Jesus Christ, and Him
crucified. ' For the whilk purpose this day sevin yeare, to
wit, the 16 day of Nov. 1595, the first time I spake among
you, I made chois of this place of scripture following, to
bee as a ground of that doctrine whilk thereafter I minded
to build therupon during our continuance together at God's
" The place was this, ye remember. ' The people that
sat in darkness saw great light' (Matthew iv. 16). First,
I opened the true meaning of the place, observing some pertinent
notes therupon. Therafter I made some use thereof by applycation
to you for that present as a people by the sea coaste, long
sitting in no less darknesse than did they of Galilie, that
dwelt by the lake of Genazareth, whilk was to them as a sea;
shewing therewithall the great mercie of God towarde you,
in offering to you that day the light of the Gospell after
sik a rare maner, so that rightly it might be saide overagaine
of new, ' A people that sat in darkness hath seen great light.
" Last after all this, I gathered some general grounds
of Christian religion out of that place, as first: —
"The miserable blinde estate of man by nature without
"Secondly. —The moste comfortable light of salvation
"Thirdly. —That men receave Christ his light by faith
wraught by the Holy Spirite in the preaching of the gospell.
" Fourthly. —The end; that walking in that light of Christ
we may glorifie Him that has translated us out of darknesse
into His wonderful light.
"Therunto in the afternoone of the same daye, I added
these words of Christ: —' Behold I stand at the dore and knock,
if any man heare My voice and open the dore, I will come in
to him, and suppe with him and he with Mee; ' Rev. iii. 20.
To serve as a spurre to exhort you to the cheerful embraceing
of so comfortable a ghuest, whilk moved the haill parish present,
so at that time, and long thereafter, that as the Apostle
speaketh of the Galatians, ' I beare you record that if it
had been possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and
have given them to me. ' Though nowe and then to some I became
an enemie for speaking of the trueth, God grant them amendement
that offend of simplicitie and not of malice. But we must
not bee offended, though one parte onlie of the foure parts
of ground that the seede of God's worde lights on (and seeme
for the most part to receave it) bee fruitful, for Sathan
is a. busie bishop; and persecution and cares of the
world with fleshly pleasures are not soon overcome.