| to. But what with his preaching against the king, denouncing
the nobles as oppressors of their tenantry, and condemning
the Commons for imitating their vices, Edinburgh soon again
got too hot to hold him, and he was counselled to accept a
rural charge. He remained in the above charge, however, till
called to Prestonpans.
In the spring of 1595 he was named for the second charge of
Haddington, but proceedings for his settlement were suddenly
broken off. On the 5th November 1595, the Presbytery of Haddington
took initiatory measures for his being called to the ministry
" at South Preston and ye Panns, east and west, and ye
haill bounds yairabout, belonging alswill to my Lord Newbattle
as to ye Laird of Prestoun. "
Mr Davidson demanded "a lawful call, " and in order
thereto preached at Salt Preston on the 19th November 1595,
and again on the 17th December.
He was cordially invited by the people to become their pastor,
and Lord Newbattle having expressed concurrence, his induction
was proceeded with. That event took place on the 5th January
1596, when Mr Davidson made a long address to his flock, and
proposed to them certain religious stipulations. On the 9th
December he had preached a valedictory discourse at Edinburgh.
In that discourse he used these words: —
" I came not hither by haphazard, but sent of God more
than sevin yeers since. So long as I had place to teache,
I dealt faithfullie according to the meane measure of knowledge
bestowed on me, after a rude and familiar way, of verie purpose
for edificatioun's sake; whereas I could have done otherwise
if my conscience would have suffered me. It was compted rude
and rough by manie; but I thanke God I wist what I spake;
so that I have uttered nothing against prince, preacher, or
people which I have not my warrant for, and bye the helpe
of God will stand to the defence of it in face of man or angell.
So that my first preaching and last are one, without differing,
to witt, that the princes of the land, the king, the chiefe
prince, with the rest of the rebellious nobilitie, the profane
ministrie are negligent for the most part to winne soules,
and the rebellious multitude sail be severlie punished except
" I have sought to be away, but could not till that it
has pleased the Lord to ryppin my departure. It was nather
a drinke of the Muse Well nor anie other benefite in Edinburgh
that drew me to it like an adamant stone, as some speeke,
or that keeped me here; but the mightie hand of God sent me
hither, for causes known to Him, and so having cleered my
ministrie hitherto I take my leave of you in Christ. "
The Presbytery Records, loth March 1595-6, contain the following
"The haill gentlemen being required to reform their houses
and use prayers at morn and evening, with reading of the Scriptures
after dinner and supper, promised to obey; and for execution
thereof every minister was ordered to visit their houses and
see whether it was so or not; and for behoof of the unlearned
Mr John Davidson was ordained to pen short morning and evening
prayers, with graces before and after meat, to be communicated
to each minister for behoof of his flock. "
The Presbytery met on the 17th March, when the forms of prayer
prepared by Mr Davidson were approved. These were as follows:
GRACE BEFOIR MEIT.
" Blis us gude Lord and ther thi creatures quhilk the
pre-parest for our nurishment through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GRACE EFTER MEIT.
" Blissit be you, O Lord, for this nourishment of our
bodies at this tyme and mekle mair for the continuall nurishment
of our saullis by Christ crucefyit. To quham with the Father
and the Haly Gaist be praise and gloire for ever. God save
the Kirk and countrey, King, Quene, and Prince. —Amen. "
" We hairtlie thank the" Hevinlie Father for all
thi goodnes this nycht past beseiking the to forgive us our
sinnes for Christ Jesus thi sonnes saik, and blis our labouris
and guid us this day in thi trew feire. 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
strangeris, and tak not thi peace from this land. Send us
sesonabull wether and stay this greit dearth. Lord blis the
Kirk, and King, Quene, and Prince, for Christ Jesus thi sonnes
saik. To quhome with the, O Father and Haly Gaist, be all
praise gloire and honour, for ever and ever. —Amen. "