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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 333 No. cxxxv. REV. ROWLAND HILL, A.M., DELIVERING ONE OF HIS SERMONS ON THE CALTON HILL, THIS popular preacher visited Scotland for the first time in 1'798. He came at the solicitation of a few zealous individuals, who having engaged the Circus for a place of worship, similar in principle to the Tabernacle of London, were desirous that he should open it for them. Mr. Hill arrived in Edinburgh on the 28th July, and was received with the utmost attention by Mr. James Haldane, at his house in George Street. Next morning being Sabbath, he delivered a discourse in the Circus to an audience of several hundred people ; and at night the house was filled to overflowing. During the two weeks he remained in Edinburgh, he preached every other day in some of the churches ; but the crowds became so immense that he was at last induced to hold forth from a platform erected on the Calton Hill, where his audience was reckoned at not less than ten thousand. The interest excited by his presence is said to have been beyond precedent-" Even the vera sodgers," observed an old woman, on seeing a party of military among the crowd, " are gaun to hear the preachin'." On the 1 Sth of August, Mr. Hill proceeded to Glasgow, and arrived there in the evening in time to deliver a sermon in the churchyard of the High Church, to an assemblage of nearly five thousand. Next morning he again preached in the same place-and from thence went to Paisley, where he was highly gratified with his reception. In speaking of the people of Paisley, he says in his journal, " there I believe Christians love each other." Returning from the west, he again preached several times on the Calton Hill to increased audiences. On the last of these occasions, when a collection was made for the Charity Workhouse, it was supposed that more than twenty thousand people were present. During his stay he was made a welcome guest at Melville House.' The great excitement occasioned by Mr. Hill's visit, and the subsequent The facetious manner and great convenational powers possessed by the Rev. Rowland 3ill were much relished by those who had the pleasure of meeting him in private circles during his stay in Edinburgh. A geutleman, who had then formed a alight acquaintance with Mr. Hill, happened to breakfast with him at Leicester a great many years afterwards. The subject of converaatiin naturally tumed upon his visits to Scotland, and the multitudes to whom he had preached on the Calton Hill. "Well do I remember the spot," said the Reverend gentleman, with his usual pleasantry, " but I understand it has since been converted into a dei4 of thieved/" [The jail is built on the ground where the Rev. Rowland Hill preached.]
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334 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. increase of itinerant preachers, attracted the notice of the General Assembly, and, in the ‘‘ Pastoral Admonition” of next year, occasion was taken to warn the people against such irregularities. This awakened a spirit of retaliation on the part of Mr. Hill, who, in the month of *June 1799, made a second journey to Scotland, apparently for no other purpose than to preach down the Assembly.’ On his arrival in Edinburgh he commenced “A Series of Letters” on the subject, addressed to the Society for Propagating the Gospel at Home, which he continued to issue during his tour through the principal towns of the north -Dundee, Montrose, Aberdeen, Huntly, etc.’ He also visited Glasgow at this time, where he assisted the Rev. Greville Ewing in opening the Tabernacle in Jamaica Street. The crowd was very great, and during the afternoon service an alarm was given that part of the building was giving way. The people immediately rushed towards the doors and windows to get out, in consequence of which several persons had their arms and legs broken. Fortunately no lives were lost, and when the alarm subsided Mr. Ewing finished the service. After a lapse of twenty-five years, Mr. Rowland Hill paid a third and last visit to Scotland in 1824, being then in his 80th year. He was induced to undertake this long journey in aid of the London missions. He came to Edinburgh by sea, and was kindly received at the house of the Rev. John Aikman, in whose chapel he preached the following Sabbath, as well as in the meeting-house of the Rev. Dr. Peddie. In the course of his stay, which scarcely extended to a week, he also preached in the Tabernacle of his old friend Mr. Haldane, and in the Recession Church, Broughton Place. From Edinburgh he went to Glasgow, in which city he was received with enthusiasm. From thence he proceeded to Paisley, and next to Greenock, where he continued several days making short excursions on the mater. He then sailed by one of the steam vessels for Liverpool ; and after preaching there, and at Manchester, he arrived at his summer residence of Wotton, greatly delighted with his Scottish tour, as well as pleased with his success, having made collections to the amount of sixteen hundred pounds. Such is a brief sketch of the Reverend gentleman’s visits to Scotland. To all our readers his name is at least familiar ; and many anecdotes respecting him are current throughout the country, His life, by the Rev. Edwin Sidney, London, 1835, must also be pretty extensively known. This work, although not strictly impartial, and displaying too much twisting and straining on the question of Church Establishments, is nevertheless got up in an amusing style, 1 After his return to London, he waa asked one day why he called one of his carriage horses Order and the other Decorum. “Because,” Raid the facetious preacher, “in Scotland they accuse me of riding on the back of all order and decorum.” Mr. Hill’s letters were afterwards printed in the form of a pamphlet, and entitled, “A Series of Letters, occasioned by the late Pastoral Admonition of the Church of Scotland, as also their attempts to suppresa the establishment of Sabbath Schools, addressed to the Society for Propagating the Gospel at Home. By Rowland Hill, A.M.” Edinburgh, printed by J. Ritchie, 1799.
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