| EVENING PRAYER.
" We heartilie thank the Heavinlie Father for all thi
goodnes this day past beseeking the to forgiving us our sinnes
for Christ Jesus thi sonnes saik and to blis us and give us
good rest this nicht. Continew the trew preaching of thi Word
among us and give us grace to esteme mair of it than hitherto
we have done and save us from merciles strangers. And tak
not thi peace from this land. Send sesonable wether and stay
this greit dearth. Lord blis the Kirk, our King, Quene, and
Prince for Jesus Christ thi sonnes saik. To quhome with the,
O Father and Haly Gaist, be all praise, gloire, and honour,
for ever and ever.—Amen."
Several other prayers, etc., of Davidson's composition may
be found in his Life and Works, first published in 1602. His
"Poetical Remains" were in 1829 collected and printed
by Mr James Maidment, Edinburgh. And in 1876 "A Memoir,"
together with many works of Davidson, were brought out by
the Grampian Club by Dr Charles Rogers.
During 1596, some time after his appointment to Prestonpans,
Davidson, along with five others, was appointed by the General
Assembly a visitor to Nithsdale, Annandale, Lauder-dale, Eskdale,
and Ewesdale. And shortly afterwards we find him in the Presbytery
of Haddington, not only lamenting the various corruptions
in the Church, but trying to find a remedy for them.
Referring to measures connected with the foregoing corruptions,
etc., " It originated," says Melville, " with
that pious and honest minister of the gospel, John Davidson.
His proposal was approved of by the Presbytery of Haddington.
It was thence transmitted as an overture to, and unanimously
approved of by, the General Assembly.
During the Autumn of 1595, Philip II. of Spain, it became
known, had begun to prepare a second Armada. His descent on
this occasion was to be on the Irish Coast. The English Government
prepared for resistance and the Scottish Privy Council promised
co-operation. This required the levying of a tax which could
only be carried out with the approval of the Church. On the
24th March 1596 the General Assembly was convened, and the
Moderator entreated the brethren to sanction the civil arrangement
for defending the kingdom. On this Davidson submitted an overture
from the Presbytery of Haddington contending that deep humiliation
on account of sin was the first and best preparation against
national disaster. A
resolution embodying this view was passed by acclamation,
and Mr Davidson was empowered to " give up the particular
catalogue of the chief offences and corruptions in the estates."
The enumeration of evils to be reformed came under the following
"Corruptions in the persons and lives of ministers of
" Offences in His Majesty's house."
"The common corruptions of all estates."
"And offences in the Courts of Justice."
The King, under the impression that the resolution had a special
reference to himself, next day entered the Assembly, and proceeding
to entreat the House to sanction the proposed tax, he was
firmly informed that " the purging of offences "
had, in the first place, been resolved upon; and with the
approval of the House Mr Davidson insisted that the estates
of the exiled Popish lords—Huntly, Errol, and Angus—still
held by their families, should be confiscated and the proceeds
applied to national use.
To this demand the King gave an evasive answer, but expressed
himself willing to undergo ecclesiastical discipline, if the
censure was privately administered and not in the church.
He was held at his word, and a few days afterwards was informed
by a deputation from the Assembly that he was "blotted
with banning and swearing; and that the Queen was guilty of
The purgation of the ministry was entrusted to Mr Davidson.
On Tuesday, 30th March 1596, the members of Assembly and other
brethren having met in the " Little High Church,"
Mr Davidson discoursed on the evils of an ungodly ministry,
and urged his hearers to repentance and self-abasement. For
fifteen minutes he sat down and remained silent, when many
of his hearers became deeply moved and sobbed audibly. After
another impassioned address, he called on each one to stand
up, and with extended hand to pledge himself to a more earnest
ministry. "There have," says Calderwood, "been
manie dayes of humiliation for present judgement in imminent
dangers, but the like for sinne and defectiqun was thus never
seen since the Reformation."
On the 17th January 1599 Mr Davidson was admitted by the King
to an interview at Holyrood. With his wonted vehemence he
urged the monarch to confer familiarly with the clergy, and
demanded that the right of publicly rebuking obnoxious persons
might be restored to them. The King,