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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 299 He was also connected with several literary and theological societies formed among his fellow-students; and was a member of the Newtonian Society, instituted in 1760, which for several years continued to meet weekly in one of the rooms of the College, and which may be said to have been the precursor of the present Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was at the time very young, and not sufficiently practised in the art of literary condensation. When it came to his turn to produce an essay for the evening, he had entered so sincerely and fully upon the subject that he appeared at the forum with an immense bundle of papers under his arm, and commenced by stating that his discourse consisted of twelve different parts ! This announcement alarmed the preses for the night so much, that he interrupted him by declaring that he had twelve distinct objections to the production of such a mass of manuscripts. The preses accordingly stated his twelve reasons, and was followed on the same side by six other members, who prefaced their observations by a similar declaration, During this opposition the temper of the young theologian remained unruffled ; and it was not till the last speaker had finished his oration that he took up his papers, and, without deigning to reply, walked out of the room. In 1770 Dr. Hunter was presented to the New Church of Dumfries, and soon afterwards became the purchaser of the estate of Barjarg in that county, which had previously belonged to James Erskine of Barjarg and Alva-one of the Senators of the College of Justice. He remained at Dumfries for nine years, and was much esteemed by all classes of the community. In 1779 he was presented to the New Greyfriars’ Church, Edinburgh; and whilst there was appointed the colleague of Dr. Hamilton (father to the late eminent physician), in the Divinity Professorship of the University ; and, until the death of that gentleman, continued to teach his class without any remuneration. In 1786 he was translated by the Magistrates to the Tron Church, where he became associated with Dr. Drysdalel-a clergyman much esteemed for his Dr. Drysdale, whose presentation to Lady Yester’s Church made much noise in Edinburgh, was a native of Kirkcaldy. He received his early education at the village school taught by Mr. David Miller, and was the intimate associate of Dr. Adam Smith, Janies Oswald of Dunnikier, and several other distinguished men, to whom Mr. Miller had the honour of imparting instruction. Dr. Drysdale waq presented to Lady Yester’s Church by the Town Council in 1763. For some time prior, the election of ministers for the city having been allowed to remain with the general sessions, the resumption of power by the Council in this instance gave rise to much cavil and commotion. A civil process w &t~he consequence, which was ultimately decided in favour of the corporation. Notwithstanding the unpleasant circumstances connected with his presentation, the great talents and natural eloquence of Dr. Drysdale, together with his known character as a man, soon rendered him a popular minister. In 1766, he was still farther honoured by the Town Council, in being translated to the Tron Church on the death of Dr. Jardine. Dr. Drysdale was much esteemed by his brethren ; and. in 1773, was chosen Moderator of the General Assembly. In the affairs of this court he took an adive interest ; and was the steady supporter of his friend Dr. Robertson, on the moderate side. In conjunction with his venerable colleague Dr. Wishart, he was appointed Clerk to the Court ic 1778 ; and, in 1784, had the peculiar honour of bcing a second time solicited to be put in nomina- An anecdote is told of Dr. Hunter in connection with this Society.
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300 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. talents and amiable character. Although differing on some points of church polity, the two incumbents lived on terms of the closest intimacy during the short period of their connection j and the kind attentions of Dr. Hunter contributed much to promote the comfort of his venerable friend in the declining years of his long and useful life. The lectures of Dr. Hunter, as Professor of Divinity, were distinguished by a plain, clear, and accurate statement of the evidences and doctrine of Christianity j and it was his uniform and earnest endeavour to promote practical piety and ministerial usefulness among his students. For this purpose he cultivated an acquaintance with them in private j and, to such as he found most worthy and most in want of assistance, he not only made presents of books but frequently aided them with sums of money, which he conveyed in such a way as to insure the gratitude without injuring the feelings of the receiver ; while, for those who were distinguished by piety and talents, he endeavoured to procure situations of usefulness and respectability. He also, from his own funds, gave a prize yearly for the best theological essay on a prescribed subject; and he was remarkable for the candour and impartiality which he observed in adjudging the reward. In the pulpit Dr. Hunter had an earnest and affectionate manner of delivery; and his discourses were sound in their doctrine and practical in their tendency. Several of his sermons, on particular occasions, have been published: one, in 1792, is entitled “The Duties of Subjects,” which seems to have been written with a view to counteract the republican mania which the French Revolution had introduced into the country. The discourse is characterised by a comprehensive view of the relative duties of those who govern and of the governed. The arguments are judicious and forcible, and the language moderate and conciliatory. We find another published sermon by Dr. Hunter, entitled “ Christ’s Drawing all Men unto Him,” preached before the Edinburgh Missionary Society, in Lady Glenorchy’s Chapel, on Thursday the 20th of July 1797 ;l and in the “ Scottish Preacher ”-a publication of very considerable excellence-two other discourses will be found. tion for the moderatorship ; when, in spite of every exertion by the opposing party, he was elected by a decided majority. Although frequently urged, Dr. Drysdale always dec1ined;giving his sermons to the world, At his death, however, several of them were collected and published in two volumes 8v0, with a Memoir of his Life by his son-in-law, Professor Andrew Dalziel-a Portrait of whom will be found in a subsequent part of this work. 1 The office-bearers of the Society at this time were- PRESJDENT-JameS Haldane, Esq. VICE-PRESIDENT-Rev. Dr. Johnston. SECRETARYR- ev. Greville Ewing. Rev. Dr. Hunter. Rev. Mr. Buchanan. Mr. John CampbelL Rev. Mr. Hall. Rev. Mr. Bennet Mr. William Ellis. Rev. Mr. Peddie. Rev. Mr. Culbertson. Mr. William M‘Lean. Rev. Mr. Black. Mr. John Pitcairn. Mr. Alexander Pitcairn. Rev. Mr. Colquhoun. Mr. William Pattison. Mr. George Gibson. Rev. Mr. Struthers. TRWWREE-M~. John Tawse, Writer. CLERK-Mr. William Dymock, Writer. DIRECTORS. Mr. James Scott. Mr. John Aihan.
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