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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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I am assurit had ilk preitchour
Unto the matter bene als frak,
As ye haue bene heir sine ye spak.
It had not cum to sic ane held
As this day we se it proceid;
But I can se few men amang thame,
Thocht all the warld suld dene ouirgang thame.
That hes ane face to speik agane,
Sic as the kirk of Christ prophane;
Had guid John Knox not yit bene deid,
It had not cum unto this heid,
Had thay myntit tell sic ane steir,
He had maid hevin and eirth to heir. "
A Memoir of Davidson, by Dr Rogers, was published for the Grampian Club in 1876, with a complete edition of his poems, etc., but it is not very complete. On turning over the Weekly Christian Teacher for 1838, we find the following metrical version of the 23rd Psalm, which, from the signature at the foot, had evidently emanated from Prestonpans. The first edition of his poetical works was published in 1602, but this may have been done after the others went to press.
God who doth all nature hold,
In his fold,
Is my shepherd kind and heedful,
Is my shepherd, and doth keep
Me, his sheep,
Still supplied with all things needful.
He feeds me in fields which been
Fresh and green,
Mottled with springs, flowery, painting,
Through which creep with murmuring crooks
Chrystal brooks,
To refresh my spirit fainting.
When my soul from heaven's way
Went astray,
With earth's vanities seduced,
For his name's sake, kindly he,
Wandering me,
To his Holy fold reduced.
—DAVIDSON, A. D. 1602.
On the 16th November 1602, the following brief address was delivered by Davidson to his congregation at Salt-Prestoun: —
"To his loving flock of Salt-Prestoun, who, by the preaching of the Gospel, believe and turne to the Lord.
"John Davidson wisheth increase of faith and repentance with constancie therein, to the end, and in the end. —Amen. "
Among other works, this stern reformer, great preacher, and indefatigable writer, compiled a Catechism, which was published in 1602, exactly forty-six years previous to the issuing of the Shorter and Larger Catechisms, by that body of Divines which met at Westminster 1648, and for which some may think they were obliged in some degree to the minister of Prestonpans. We give the following quotation, which speaks for itself: —
"At Edinburgh the 7th November 1599.
"The Provincial Assembly of Lothiane and Tweeddale having red and considered the forme of Examination, and Catechisme, written by our brother Maister John Davidson, approves the same, and agrees that it sail bee imprented. Extract furth of the books of the proviciall assemblie of Lothiane and Tweeddale, by mee Richarde Thomesone, Clerk thereto.
" The firste parte of the Catechisme, touching the sinful and damnable estate of man by nature.
Teacher—What does thou chieflye heare and learne at the hearing of God's word?
Disciple—That my salvation is in Jesus Christ the Sonne of God only, and nane uther.
Teacher—How art thou under condemnation that thou hast need of salvation by Christ?
Disciple—By sinne, whilk is the breaking of God's law, or ten commandements.
Teacher—Rehearse the ten commandements as they are set doune in the first and second table?
Disciple—Hearken, and take heed Israel, I am the Lord thy God, and sa forth.
Teacher—What is summarly contained in these ten commandements?
Disciple— That I suld love God intirely with all my heart, with all my saul, and with my haill minde, and my neighbour as myself.
Teacher— Can thou not doe sa by nature, but contrariwise hate both God and thy neighbour?
Disciple— All the imaginations of the thoughts of my heart are onely evil continually, and so are bent to all actual sinne.
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