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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


Volume 9 Page 370
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 279 juvenile years, amply testified how unremitting were the instructions and care of maternal solicitude. Naturally of a sprightly intellect, he made rapid progress in his education ; and, at the Grammar School of Glasgow, he distinguished himself by carrying away the second prize the first year, and thejrst prize the three following years of his attendance. At the University, where he studied for five years, his success was such, that a gentleman of great influence, to whom his merit was well known, and who admired his character and talents, gave him assurance of an excellent living, if he would pursue his theological studies in connection with the Established Church ; but, immovably attached to the principles he had imbibed from his parents, and adopted from mature jnd,pent, he politely and unhesitatingly declined the offer, and entered on a course of theological studies, under the Rev. *John Brown, of Haddington, then Professor of Divinity to the Associate Synod. After attending the prelections of that eminent divine, and honourably undergoing the usual course of preliminary trials, he was licensed to preach early in the year 1776, when he had just completed the twentieth year of his age, Before he had been many months a probationer, he received a unanimous call to become the minister of a new congregation at Cumnock, in Ayrshire, and was ordained there in the following April, being then only twenty-one years of age. In the spring of 1780 he married Miss Maxwell, of Bogtown, with whom he had been intimate from his childhood, and in whom he enjoyed an affectionate and valuable partner till the end of his life. They had several children, all of whom died before reaching the years of maturity, except one daughter. About the same time, he was called to be the pastor of Well Street congregation, in London ; but the Associate Synod, agreeably to his desire, continued him in Cumnock. After labouring there with fidelity and success for the space of nine years, he was translated to Rose Street Church, Edinburgh, in the month of June 1786.' He received a call some years after to become the minister of a congregation in Manchester ; but the Associate Synod, to which he was subject, considering that his sphere of usefulness was equally extensive in Edinburgh, would not consent to his removal from it. As an evidence of his unaspiring disposition, notwithstanding his popularity, it may be mentioned, to his honour, that though the venerable Professor Beattie, in the College of Aberdeen, voluntarily undertook to procure for him the degree of Doctor in Divinity from that University, he modestly declined its acceptance, because none of his brethren in the Secession Church had, at that period, been dignified with the same honorary title. The degree was conferred upon him by the University of Pennsylvania in 181 4 ; and previous to that time, a similar honour had been awarded to some of his brethren by different Universities. . Previous to this he stood candidate, in opposition to Dr. Peddie, for the church in Bristo Street. The latter was successful ; but, so large and influential were the minority, that a division was the conseqnence; upon which the church in Rose Street was built for his reception. In Cumnock he was succeeded liy the Rev. David Wilson; on whose death the Rev. Pabert Brown was ordained to the charge.
Volume 9 Page 371
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