Puritan Andrew Gray Sermon – Arguments and Directions for Hearing the Voice of God’s Threatening Rod
Micah 6:9 The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.
Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
Andrew Gray’s brief life has many peculiarities. He was the youngest minister in the Church, his period of labour was limited to two years and a half, the impression he left has been deep and lasting, the notes of his sermons published after his death, have been handed down from father to son in the households of the godly, as a rare treasure.
Andrew Gray, by the calculation of his age, and the date of his entry into the ministry, seems to have born about the year 1634; and being early sent to school, he learned so fast, that in a short time he was ripe for the university; where, by the vivacity of his parts and ready genius, he made such proficiency, both in scholastic learning and divinity, that before he was twenty years of age he was found accomplished for entering into the holy office of the ministry.
From his very infancy he had studied to be aquainted with the scriptures, and like another young Samson, the Spirit of God began very early to move him; there being such a delightful gravity in his conversation, that what Gregory Nazianzen once said of the great Basil might be applied to him: “He held forth learning beyond his age, and fixedness of manners beyond his learning.” The earthly vessel, being thus filled with heavenly treasure, he was quickly 1icensed to preach, and got a call to be minister of the outer kirk of the High Church of Glasgow, though he was scarcely twenty years of age, and therefore below the age appointed by the constitution of the Church, unless in extraordinary cases.
No sooner was this young servant of Christ entered into his Master’s vineyard, than the people from all quarters flocked to attend his sermons, it being their constant emulation who should be most under the refreshing drops of his ministry. As he and his learned colleague Mr Durham were one time walking together, Durham, observing the multitude thronging into that church where Andrew Gray was to preach, and only a very few going into the church in which he was to preach, said to him, “Brother, I perceive you are to have a throng church to-day.” To which he answered, “Truly, brother, they are fools to leave you and come to me.” Durham replied, “Not so, dear brother, for none can receive such honour and success in his ministry, except it be given him from heaven. I rejoice that Christ is preached, and that His kingdom and interest is getting ground, for I am content to be anything, or nothing, that Christ may be all in all.
It hath been often been said that Mr.Gray many times longed for the twenty second year of his age whenin he expected to rest from his labours, and by a perpetual jubilee to enjoy his blessed Lord and Master. It is certain that in his sermons we often find him longing for his majority, that he might enter into the possession of his heavenly Father’s inheritance, prepared for him before the foundations of the world were laid. He escaped death very narrowly when going to Dundee, in company with Robert Fleming, (sometime minister at Cambuslang), which remarkable sea deliverance was a matter of thankfulness to God all his life after.
But the time now approached that the Lord was about to accomplish the desire of His servant. He fell sick, and was in a high fever for several days, being much tossed with sore trouble, without any intermission; but all the time continuing in a most sedate frame of mind. It is a loss that his last dying words were neither written nor remembered; only we may guess what his spiritual exercises were from the short but excellent letter sent by him, a little before his death, to Lord Warriston, bearing date February 7, 1656. In this he shows that he not only had a most clear discovery of the toleration then granted by Cromwell, and the evils that would come upon the land for all these things, but also was most sensible of his own case and condition.
Thus, in a short time, according to his desire, it was granted to him by death to pass unto the Author of life, his soul taking flight into the arms of his blessed Saviour, whom he had served failthfully in his day and generation, though only about 22 years old. He shone too conspicuously to last long, and burned so intensly that he behoved soon to be extinguished; but he now shines in the kingdom of his father, in a more conspicuous refulgent manner; even as the brightness of the firmament and the stars for ever and ever.
He died at Glasgow in Feb. 1656 “of a purple fever, of a few days roving” says Robert Baillie in a letter.
Gray had been a short time married. His widow became the wife of Mr. George Hutcheson, minister at Irvine.