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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


280 EIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Owing to the crowded state of the church in Rose Street, and from the impossibility of enlarging it, ground was feued for the erection of a new place of worship. This caused a considerable difference of opinion in the congregation, and about four hundred resolved on remaining where they were. On the 29th of May 1821 Dr. Hall opened the new church in Broughton Place, which was the third that had been built for him since the commencement of his ministry, and in all of which he attracted large congregations.’ He was allowed to possess, in an eminent measure, the peculiar requisites of a Christian orator. His appearance, especially while young, was uncommonly interesting. His voice, though not sonorous, was clear, extensive, and mellifluent-modulated with natural taste and impressive variety. Dr. Hall was extremely attentive to the private duties of his office while he continued able to perform them. In visiting the sick, his presence, his prayers, and his converse, were peculiarly acceptable and consolatory, not only to his own people, but to many of different religious opinions. About ten years prior to his death he was afflicted with an inflammation of. his liver, by which his life was thought to be in imminent danger ; and though he gradually regained a considerable share of health, he was ever afterwards subject to internal complaints, that rendered him unable to endure any great degree of fatigue. As a member of the ecclesiastical courts, his judgment was more than usually respected. He assumed no dictatorial airs, no superiority of discernment, no disposition to become the leader of a party; but his thorough acquaintance with the forms of business-the deep interest he took in the concerns of the church-his impartiality in the weighing of evidence-and his unbiassed attachment to equity, justice, and the general interest of religion-gave a peculiar weight to his sentiments, and his opinions were uniformly respected. Though somewhat warm in temper, he was open, generous, and affectionate. Induced by plausible propositions, and desirous to be serviceable to his friends, he unhappily entered into a mercantile speculation, which proving ruinous, he was for a time subject to very disagreeable consequences, and had the mortification of incurring the censure of many who were ignorant of the motives that had prompted him to engage in secular matters, His open, manly statement, and ingenuous exposition of the causes which led to his embarrassments, coupled with his willingness to make every sacrifice calculated to repair any injury which his failure had occasioned, proved perfectly satisfactory to all concerned. He continued to discharge his public duties pretty regularly, and with great acceptability, till about a year and three quarters before his death, when he was again seized by his former complaint, which confined him nearly three months ; after which he appeared only occasionally in the pulpit. His person was tall, handsome, and dignified. His action was animated, graceful, and appropriate. He was succeeded in his former place of worship by the Rev. John (afterwards Dr. Brown of Broughton Place) ; and, notwithstanding the split that had taken place among the members, the utmost friendship subsisted betwixt Dr. Hall and Mr. Brnwn, the latter experiencing from him the kindness and solicitude of a father.
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 281 In 1824 Dr. Hall assisted at the dispensation of the Lord‘s Supper in his old place of worship in Cumnock. As this was his first and only visit, from the time of his removal to Edinburgh in 1786-a period of thirty-eight yearsthe occasion was one of no ordinary interest. For the following particulars we are indebted to the communication of a friend :- “ I met him at the Coach-office, on his arrival from Edinburgh, and walked with him tb my house. On reaching the bridge over the far-famed Lugar, he stood entranced, as it were, and would not move, till, in thoughtful silence, he enjoyed for a time the scene on which, as he said, his eye in youth had so often rested with delight He abode with me a week, nearly the whole of which, excepting the time devoted to religious services, we spent in visiting scenes with which he had been formerly familiar. In our walks he seemed keenly to recall former associations. On one occasion, as we walked along the banks of the Lugar, in a very lovely dell, he exclaimed-‘ Oh, I remember that stone ! (alluding to a large stone in the bed of the river). Time has produced no change on it ; but (turning round, he added) these trees have grown beyond my knowledge.’ We called on such of the old people as had been members of his congregation, and on the descendants of others. He seemed to feel, and, in tones which were peculiar to his manner, expressed a deep interest in them. The daughter of a valued friend, who had long ago descended into the grave, we found lying on a bed of sickness. He prayed ; and, on takiug leave, affectionately kissed her, as he said, for her father’s sake. In-the course of our conversations, he told me that during his residence here he had made himself master of the theology of the Cromwellian age; from which, as it seems to me, his style of preaching, in all probability, derived much of that raciness for which he was so much distinguished. Nor was the exercise of this esteem confined to the beople who enjoyed the benefit of his ministry. Among others who sought and cultivated his friendship, may be mentioned the late Lord and Lady Dumfries, who often entertained him at their table, and in return visited him-a circumstance not common between dissenting ministers and persons of their rank A few of these are very picturesque. “ Dr. Hall was a highly popular and much esteemed miniiter while he laboured here. Dr. Hall died on the morning of November 28, 1826, in the seventy-first year of his age, and fiftieth of his ministry. He suffered much during the continuance of his trouble; but he bore his affliction with exemplary fortitude aod resignation. The interest it excited was obvious at his funeral, and especially at the appropriate sermon preached in his church on the subsequent Sabbath, by the Rev. John Brown (who had succeeded him in Rose Street), when at least two-thirds of the vast multitude that appeared solicitous to hear it were unable to gain admission. Among other affairs of moment affecting the prosperity of the church that deeply engaged the attention of the Doctor, was the long-wished-for union of the two great dissenting bodies in Scotland ; and no one rejoiced more than he did at its accomplishment. At his death he was father of his Presbytery, and had the satisfaction of being Convener of the Committee of the United Synod for preparing the “Testimony,” which has since been issued by that body. In Broughton Place Church a handsome tablet is erected to his memory. His death was deeply regretted. VOL. IL 2 0
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