Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Coleman Interposition 5

Supplies sent in time of need
Mr Henry Erskine, who had been minister at Cornill, in Northumberland, suffered much after his ejectment, and had several remarkable interpositions on his behalf. He resided for a time at Dryburgh, where he and his family were often in great straits. Once in particular, when the "cruse of oil and the barrel of meal" were entirely spent, so that when they had supped at night, there remained neither bread, meal, flesh, nor money in the house. In the morning, the young children cried for their breakfast, and their father endeavoured to divert them, and at the same time did what he could to encourage himself and his wife to depend upon that Providence which "feeds the young ravens when they cry." While he was thus engaged, a countryman knocked hard at the door, and called for someone to help him off with his load. Being asked from whence he came, and what he would have, he told them he came from the Lady Reburn, with some provisions for Mr Erskine. They told him he must be mistaken, and that it was most likely to be for Mr Erskine, of Shirfield, in the same town. He replied "No, he knew what he said, he was sent to Mr Henry Erskine," and cried, "Come, help me off with my load, or else I will throw it down at the door." Whereupon they took the sack from him, and upon opening it, found it well filled with flesh and meal, which gave him no small encouragement to depend upon his bountiful benefactor, in future straits of a similar nature.
At another time, being at Edinburgh, he was so reduced, that he had but three half-pence in his pocket, when, as he was walking about the streets not knowing what course to steer, one came to him in a countryman's habit, and asked him if he was not Mr Henry Erskine. He told him he was, and inquired his business with him. The man replied, "I have a letter for you," which he accordingly delivered; and in it were enclosed seven Scotch ducatoons, with these words written, "Sir, receive this from a sympathizing friend. Farewell." But there was no name.
Mr Erskine being desirous to know his benefactor, invited the man to go into a house with him, hard by, and to have some refreshment with him. Having got him alone, he inquired of him with some earnestness, who it was that sent him. The honest man told him that secrecy was enjoined upon him, and, therefore, he desired to be excused from telling, for he could not betray his trust. Mr Erskine, however, continued to ask him some questions, as to what part of the country he came from, and that he might better be able to guess from what hand this seasonable relief came. Whereupon the man desired him to sit awhile while he went out of doors; but being got out, he returned no more, nor could Mr Erskine ever learn who his benefactor was.

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