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Prestonpans and Vicinity

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" But with this sorte of people at this present I have not to doe, but onlie with you who obey from the hart unto that form of doctrine whereunto ye were delivered. Whilk ye know has ever bene according to the foresaid groundes: For the better keeping in memorie whereof, I have thought good to put them in writ in divers formes, and set them to printing for your use as ye see, that nothing bee wanting that maye further the sounde grounding of you according to your meane capacitie, in the true Christian religion, so farre as in me lyeth.
" Therefore it rests, that yee bee not slothful in exercising your selves, and your families, in reading and practising hereof. Fare-well in Christ.
l6th November 1602. "
Our admiration for this great good man would have caused us to go on quoting, quoting, quoting; for his works are not only many, but far superior in ability to many who have had "great stones" raised to hand their names down to ages yet to come, but the line had to be drawn somewhere. But will the name of John Davidson, of Prestonpans, ever be allowed to die out? We think not! Had he elected to remain at Holyrood instead of coming to this "sea-coaste village, " the name and fame of John Davidson as a reformer would have stood upon a very different pinnacle at the present day, and his would certainly have been one of the great monuments of the city.
The old Manse, as Davidson built it, stands in line with the church. Davidson, the minister, was of course the first to occupy it, but his residence there was of short duration. Mr John Ker, successor to Davidson, along with his mother, widow of John Knox, were the next to occupy the manse.
Within the manse or adjoining church, Knox's daughter Margaret was married to Mr Zachary Pont, minister of Bower. Rev. Robert Ker, son and successor to John Ker, Oswald, Moneypenny, Buchan, Ramsay, Moncrief, Andrews, Horsburgh, and Carlyle, father to the famous Dr Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk, all in succession occupied the old manse. It is said that Carlyle of Inveresk, when a youth, cut his initials in some of the woodwork within the house, and that it remains there to this day. That may be so, but the oldest inhabitant there never saw nor heard of it, and we have looked in vain for the initials of the famous "Jupiter. " Roy, Reid, M'Cormick, and Trotter also lived there, but during the latter's incumbency in 1783 the present or new manse was partially built, and he and his successors occupied it.
After the desertion of the old manse by the ministers, it being too large for one house, the lower or ground floor was made suitable for occupancy by workmen's families. For several years the upper flat was used as an infant school. At the present time three families occupy the whole building.
An exceedingly curious and interesting little volume, entitled "Memoirs or Spiritual Exercises of Elizabeth Wast, " recently fell into our hands. She resided in Edinburgh, was very religious, and accustomed to attend " Communion" all round the district. Twice she visited Prestonpans. On the first occasion the weather was bad, she was suffering severely, and her people tried to dissuade her from coming, but she "turned a deaf ear to them. " She set out on the Saturday morning. She says "the way was pleasant to me, though otherwise unpleasant, when I met the poor women with their burthens of coals and salt on their back, coming to the market at Edinburgh. Then I thought the badness of the weather does not hinder these from going to their earthly market: O, what fool would I been if anything should have hindered me from the heavenly market. When I came to the place, O, how sweet!" Mr John Moncrief preached that day (Saturday). " He told us of four ways that Christ was coming to keep trist with His people. First, He was coming as a merchant to see what his poor people wanted with all the wares of heaven: And now, O communicants, what will ye buy the day, " &c. " On the Sabbath morning about an hour before sermon began, Mr George Andrew, then minister, came to the kirk in his gown, and seeing but two persons at the first table, he uttered this lamentable expression. Will our Lord Jesus get but two brides to-day? Woes our heart, we have enough of weights on us tho' ye add not this to the rest. The words were scarcely out of his mouth when the table was full, and I was among the rest.
" Written and subscrived at Prestonpans, 9th October 1697,
"Buz. WAST. "
In 1698 she paid her second visit to "communion" at
Prestonpans. " On the Saturday Mr Mathew Selkirk preached,
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