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"useful direction; and when it was emulously "cultivated by a bright constellation of young "men who are destined to carry it to high perfection. In concert with them he applied "himself with diligence and assiduity to all "those branches of study which could con"tribute to form him for the eloquence of the "pulpit. This was the department in which he "chose to excel; to which all the force of his genius was directed; and in which he soon "felt that his efforts were to be successful. For "from the very commencement of his theolo“ gical studies, he gave presages of his future. "attainments; and, in the societies of his youth"ful companions, laid the foundations of that "splendid reputation, which, through a long "life of meritorious service, continued to increase; "and which has procured for him, as a religious "instructor, access to the understandings and the "hearts of all the most cultivated inhabitants of "the Christian world.
"To you, my brethren, who have long enjoyed the inestimable blessing of his immediate "instruction, it will not be necessary to describe "the qualities of that luminous, fascinating eloquence with which he was accustomed to warm, and ravish, and amend your hearts. "You may have heard others have heard others who equal"led, or even excelled him in some of the requisites of pulpit oratory, in occasional pro
"foundness of thought, in vivid flashes of ima"gination, or in pathetic addresses to the heart. "But there never was a publick teacher in "whom all these requisites were combined "in juster proportions, placed under the di"rection of a more exquisite sense of propriety, " and employed with more uniform success to convey useful and practical instruction. Standing on the foundation of the Apostles and "Prophets, he exhibited the doctrines of Christ in their genuine purity, separated from the "dross of superstition, and traced with inimitable elegance, through all their beneficial influence 66 on the consolation, on the order, and on the "virtue of both public and private life. Hence "his discourses, uniting in the most perfect form "the attractions of utility and beauty, gave a new "and better tone to the style of instruction from "the pulpit; and contributed in a remarkable degree to correct and refine the religious, the "moral, and the literary taste of the times in which " he lived.
"The universal admiration which attended "his ministerial labours, was some recompence to him for the exertions they had cost. But "his chief recompence arose from the con"sciousness of having contributed so eminently to edify the Church of Christ, and from the "improving influence which his labours had shed
" on his own heart.
For he was at home and
"in himself, the perfect image of that meekness, simplicity, gentleness, and contentment, which "his writings recommend. He was long happy "in his domestick relations; and though doomed at last to feel, through their loss in succession, "the heaviest strokes of affliction; yet his mind, "fortified by religious habits, and buoyed up "by his native tendency to contentment, sus"tained itself on God, and enabled him to 66 persevere to the end in the active and cheer"ful discharge of the duties of his station; pre"paring for the world the blessings of elegant "instruction; tendering to the mourner the "lessons of divine consolation; guiding the young "by his counsels; aiding the meritorious with his "influence, and supporting by his voice and by "his conduct, the civil and ecclesiastical institutions "of his country.
"With such dispositions and habits it was "natural that he should enjoy a distinguished
portion of felicity. And perhaps there never "was a man who experienced more completely "that the ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, "and that all her paths are peace. His Country "was proud of his merits, and at different times "conferred on him, through the hands of the
"Sovereign, the most honourable and substan"tial proofs of her approbation foreign lands "learned from him the way of salvation: he saw marks of deference and respect wherever
"he appeared: and he felt within himself the "gratulations of a good conscience, and the hope "of immortality. It was peculiarly delightful to
see him in the latest period of his life, at the " venerable age of eighty-two, looking back on "almost threescore years spent in the publick ser"vice of his God, pleased with the recollections "which it gave, possessing a mind still vigorous "and clear, the delight of his friends, sensible to "the attentions which they paid to him, burning "with zeal for the good of the Church, and with "all the ardour of youthful ambition, preparing "the materials of a new claim to the gratitude and "admiration of posterity. In this active state of "preparation, with the lamp of life still clear and "bright, he was found by the Great Lord of All "when he came to say, it is enough;' and, after a single night of pain, to call him gently to "his rest.
"He has gone to give an account of his steward"ship. The church mourns in him the loss of "her brightest ornament. Let us submit to the "stroke with resignation and reverence; and as "the most acceptable proof of respect to his memory, let us learn to practise the lessons which " he taught."
EDINBURGH, March 13th, 1801.
Strahan and Preston, Printers-Street, London.