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to preach, as a probationer, the everlasting gospel, on the 8th of june, 1709. In which capacity he exerciled the talents which the Lord had gracioufly conferred on him, within the bounds of the faid Prefbytery, both in vacancies and fettled congregations, to the great fatisfaction of his hearers, both minters and people, as his certificate from that Prefbytery, dated April 4th, 1711. exprefly bears.-In this ftation of life he did not long remain: Providence foon opened a door for him; and he got an unanimous call, from the parishioners of Dunfermline, on the 1st of May 1711. to excrcite his minifterial talents and abilities amongit them; which call was approven of by the Prefbytery, on the day following, as regularly proceeded in. He went through the ufual pieces of trial, for ordination, preferibed by the Prefbytery, with approbation; and thereupon they fet him apart to the office of the holy miniftry, in the collegiate charge of Dunfern.line, on Auguit 7th, 1711.

For feveral years, prior to his appearing in a public character, he was a clofe student in the various branches of literature, and had made confiderable progrefs therein. Few were endowed with a greater ftretch of judgment, and a penetrating difponition of mind; this, joined with a lively invention, and a tenacious memory, enabled him to make great refearches after truth, and early to inveitigate what would have been very difficult to others, not poffeffed of fuch a depth of thought and clear way of reafoning. Thefe fhining qualities, which were the gifts of nature, were confpicuous in him; and being enabled, by divine grace, to improve them aright, he made a more confiderable figure, in practiling the various duties incumbent on the Minitter, and the Carintian, than many others of his cotemporaries.

Though his natural and acquired abilities juftly procured him the title of a learned man; yet he endeavoured to make all his learning fubfervient to his theological studies, which is more than many can boat of who are much extolled for their literature. For this purpofe he carefully and diligently icarched the fcriptures, had much pleature in them, retaineda vaft deal of them upon his mind, as is evident from his quoting thefe, with facility, to prove every point of doctrine hewas difcourting on: He likewife read over, with attention of mind, many bodies of divinity, compared thefe with the oracles of truth, on which the compilers of them founded them; and had ever at hand the beit commentators on the Bible, to fee who moit reached the mind of the Holy Spirit. This being the cafe, it is little wonder he made fuch proficiency in his refearches after truth, and that his PRACTICAL WRITINGS have been fo much efteemed and admired.

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Under the character of a minifter of the gofpel, having now a pastoral relation to a particular flock, in the church univerfal, he determined not to know any thing, fave Jefus Chrift and him crucified: He was inftant in feafon and out of feafon in all the parts of his minsterial labours, and gave himself wholly thereunto; exhorting the people under his truft, from houfe to houfe, in the way of family-vifitation: examining them more publicly upon the principles of our holy religion; vifiting the fick, when called: and preaching the everlating gofpel, in which he had a very pleasant and edifying gift. He preached, by turns, with his colleague, every Sabbath and Thursday, thro' the year; and afterwards, when he had none, for feveral years before his death, he officiated alone, very punctually, both on Sabbath and week-day.

He delivered few extemporary productions. His fermons were generally the fruit of diligent flady, and affiduous application. For the most part he wrote all; and kept very clofe by his notes in the delivery, except when the Lord was pleased to carry in upon his mind, in time of preaching, fome pat and appofite enlargements, whereof he had no previous tudy, and to which he neverthlefs chearfully gave way, as coming from HIM, who has the tongue of the learned; who knows how to fpeak a word in feaion to him that is weary, Ifa. 1. 4.; and who fays, "It fhall be given you the fame hour what ye shall fpeak; for it is not ye that fpeak, but the Spirit of your Father that fpeaketh in you," Matth. x. 19, 20.-He was bleffed with a rich and fertile invention, as appears in the agreeable and entertaining diverfity, wherewith his heads of doctrine are every where adorned, The poetical genius, with which he was happily endowed, contributed not a little to the embellishment of his difcourfes, with a variety of pertinent epithets and striking metaphors,

His gift of preaching was both inftructing and fearching. Few outfhone him in the nervous and convincing manner, whereby he confirmed the truth of the doctrines he infifted on; and fewer still in the warm and pathetic addrefs, in which he enforced the practice of them.

He peculiarly excelled in the ample and free offers of Chrift he made to his hearers; and the captivating and alluring methods he used, for gaining their compliance, or their receiving and refting on Chriit alone for their falvation, as thus freely and fully exhibited unto them in the gospel. On all which accounts he was justly esteemed, and much followed, as one of the most popular and edifying preachers of his day. During his time, facramental folemnities, at Dunfermline, were much crouded; numbers of people, from feveral parts of the kingdom, reforting unto them; and the Lord was pleafed to countenance fome of thefe communions, with fignal evidences of

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his gracious prefence and influence, to the fweet and comfortable experience of many.

It appears from what our Author has published, that he was an able, clofe, and clear reafoner; and could, when he fet himfelf to it, exhauft a fubject. His file was of a medium, between the lofty and combaft, being natural, unaffected, manly and fcriptural; and free from meannefs and lownefs; though indeed he ftudied much to adapt himself to the capacity of the auditory. There centered in him gravity, without dulnefs;and fmartnefs, without forthinefs; never choofing, in his public appearances, to come to his hearers, with the intifing words of men's wifdom; but to preach the truths of the everlasting gofpel in their genuine purity, and naked fimplicity. He was poffeft of excellent talents for the pulpit; he had a pleasant voice, free of any difagreeable tone and falfe pathos; and every unprejudifed perfon will readily grant, who have any relifh for fubftantial matter, and that doctrine which is according to godliness, delivered in an unaffected manner, that he was an agreeable, as well as a faithful, judicious, evangelical preacher.

As to his ministrations in general, it will be readily acknowledged, that he was an able minifter of the New Teftament. He made choice of the moft interefting fubjects to preach upon; and it was his peculiar delight to preach Chrift crucified, and to exalt the doctrine of free grace, through his imputed righteousness. He could rightly divide the word of truth; and fkilfully parcel out to every one their portion in due season. He was none of thofe flat, dull, lazy, infipid preachers; but delivered his fermons, with pathetic zeal, fervour, and affection. He was a fon of thunder, when he made known the terrors of the Lord to hypocrites, falfe and carnal profeffors: and had the tongue of the learned to fpeak a word of confolation to those who were weary and heavy laden; inviting them to truft in the name of the Lord Jefus Chrift, and to flay themfelves on him as the God of their falvation.

His miniftry was very trying and fearching; he had a recu liar way of addrefling himfelf to the confcience; could eafly delineate the foul, and represent the finner in his native colours. He was a clofe and hard ftudent to his old-age, took a great deal of pains in the compofition of his fermons, and digefted them well. When he preached occafionally in other places, abroad from his fixed charge, his miniftrations were very acceptable, and often left a deep impreffion on the minds of the hearers. He was a wife, prudent, learned, and accomplished minifter; well understood, conftantly inculcated, and trenuously defended the truth as it is în Jetus. In short, he had the tettimony of all who had a true relish for the glorious and fublime doctrines of the bleffed Redeemer.

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It will eafily appear to the judicious and experienced reader in perufing his writings, that he had as dexterous a faculty in rantacking the plagues of the heart, and defcribing the diverfifed circumstances of forious and exerciled fouls, as if they had fully communicated their feveral doubts and cafes unto him; while, in the mean time, he was only unfolding the inward experience of his own foul, what he himself felt of the workings of unbelief, and of the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit, in oppofition thereunto; which could not but quadrate or agree with the operations of the felf-fame Spirit of God in others; for, "As in water, face anfwereth to face, fo doth the heart "of man to man *."-No trial or temptation can befal any of the faints, but fomething fimilar thereunto has happened to others before them, as the apoftle afferts, when he says, There hath no temptation taken you, but fuch as is common ❝to mant."

This eminent fervant of Jefus Chrift, being exercised to. godlinefs from his youth, became by the grace of God, a fcribe intrusted unto the kingdom of heayen, whom our Lord compares to an houfholder, who bringeth forth out of his treafure, things new and old t. Old invariable truths, but new illuftrations of them; old experiences, the fame with other faints before, but new obfervations and improvements upon them: fo that, with abundance of propriety, it may be faid, that there are few perplexing doubts, or intricate cafes, which the faints have, at any time, been exercised with, that are not in fome one or other of his fermons, very judicioufy folved, and diindly clucidated, or cleared up.

His converfation was holy and blamelefs, favoury and re-, frething, warm and affectionate, fpiritual and edifying. In all things he acted as one that had experienced the grace of Cod bringing falvation, Mery yet alive are witnefies of his picus, convertation, and fhining deportment. Every one, who had opportunity to mark his actions, can atteft, that he lived up. to the truths he preached. He defired and affected to be of the party of fuch as fpoke well of, and were for advancing and defending the declarative glory of his exalted Lord; pleading for the fufficiency and freedom of divine grace; for debasing the creature, and exalting holinefs.

He was favoured, by his bleffed Mafter, with uncommon degrees of the manifeftations of the love of God, and enjoyed the highest meafures of affurance. He was much honoured by the Moit High, in his public miniftrations, in anfwering the doubts, and folving the perplexing cafes of the truly exercised foul; inftances whereof his works abound with, He converfed much with thofe exercifed to godlinefs; and by this means;

came

Prov. xxvii. 19. t1 Cor. x. 13.

Matth. xiii. 52.

came to be well acquainted with the various exercifes of the Lord's people: and he had a particular regard for all such, and took great pleafure in being ferviceable to them, however mean their circumftances in the world were, The rich in faith were to him the excellent ones in the earth, in whom he had peculiar pleafure and delight. This, together with the feeling fenfe he had of thefe things upon his own foul, july procured him the character, and induced many to term him, the experimental preacher.

He ever had a mighty zeal for the declarative glory of God; a great concern for the Redeemer's intereft; and a becoming eileem for the peculiar doctrines of Chritianity: he was deeply affected with what injured the firit; fenfibly touched with any thing that endangered the next; and foon alarmed with whatever encroachments were made on the laft. This natively led him, at different periods of his life-time, to be engaged in feveral controverfies, both theological and political: In ail which, he conducted the matter with that folidity of judgment peculiar to himself, and with a ftrength of argument becoming his great mind, and acquit himfelf in fuch a masterly manner, as not only to filence his opponents, but procure himself the character of a strong reafoner, an able difputant, and a valiant and heroic champion for the truth,"

We find our Author accordingly making feveral public appearances of this nature. In the year 1720. when the General Affembly injured many gofpel truths, by their filth act condemning a book, intitled, THE MARROW OF MODERN DIVINITY, he appeared undauntedly on the fide of those who made a feafonable and commendable hand for thefe precicus truths which were condemned and buried by the Aflembly's act. And he not only turned the edge of feveral of his fermons, preached about that time, againt this act, but conpofed a particular difcourfe on that fubjed, wherein he afferted and defended the peculiar doctrines condemned thereby, and clearly red up marches between the law and the gofpel*. Our Author did not fatisfy himself with this, but also joined himself with feveral other brethren, who gave in to the General Affembly 1721, a Reprefentation, fetting forth the pernicious nature of faid act, condefcending on the particular doctrines wounded by it; which, indeed, had no other effect upon the Affembly, but to induce them to corroborate their act 1720, by another in the year 1722.

When

*Several of these paffages may be feen by confulting Vol. I. p. 244. Vol. II p. 304, 305, 395.-The difcourfe compofed on this fubject, may be feen Vol. II p. 245. intitled, Law-DEATH, GOSPEL-LIFE.

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