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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 311 Gibson of St. Cuthbert’s, for whom, as well as for Sir Henry Moncreiff, he had frequently preached, he was brought forward as a candidate for the vacancy occasioned by the death of the former in 1785, but was subsequently withdrawn by h;s friends, in order to ensure the appointment for Mr. Paul, in preference to a third candidate, who, though there was every reason to apprehend that he would have been anything but acceptable to the congregation, might otherwise have obtained it. In 1792 he was urgently solicited to become colleague to Dr. Jones in Lady Glenorchy’s Chapel, a situation to which the Rev. Greville Ewing was soon after appointed ; but, on mature consideration, he felt it his duty to decline the invitation, though strongly urged by all concerned to accept of it. The Chapel of Ease in New Street, Canongate, having, however, been erected and opened in the summer of 1795-chiefly through the pious and beneficent exertions of the late Dr. Buchanan, then one of the ministers of that parish, and who had not only been an early and esteemed class-fellow of Mr. Dickson at Glasgow, but afterwards, while at Stirling, one of his most intimate and endeared friends as well as co-presbyters-on being unanimously elected by the managers and congregation, he accepted their call, and was admitted to the pastoral office, as the first minister of that place of worship, in the month of October the same year. Under his ministry there, which continued very nearly three years and a half, the chapel was completely filled, and even crowded ; and by the affectionate earnestness, uncompromising faithfulness, and winning attract,iveness, a bond of spiritual union was formed betwixt him and many of his flock of the tenderest and the most enduring kind. A vacancy having occurred in the College Church, Edinburgh, by the resignation of Mr. Lundie, he was, without the slightest solicitation, either on his own part, or that of any relative or friend, who might have had influence with the Town Council, then under the provostship of Sir William Fettes, unanimously presented to that charge, to which he was inducted in March 1799. And thither he was followed by a numerousIbody of his former congregation, many of whom indeed became so increasingly attached to him, that they again followed him to the New North or Little Church, to which he was translated in November 1801, as successor to Principal Baird, and colleague to Dr. Gloag. Dr. John Thomson, at that time in the New Greyfriars’, having succeeded Dr. Gloag in 1803, Mr. Dickson and he continued associated in the ministry as colleagues till October 1814, when, in consequence of Dr. Andrew Thomson having been translated to St. George’s, and the New North Church being uncollegiated, his father, Dr. J. Thomson, returned to his former charge in the New Greyfriars’, having a stated assistant provided for him at the expense of the Town Council j while Mr. Dickson, receiving at the same time the promise of a similar assistant, should he afterwards find himself unable to undertake the whole duties of the church and parish, remained sole minister of the New North Church during the subsequent years of his life. Of the mutual affection and Christian fellowship which subsisted between the Doctor and Mr. Dickson, during the period of their collegiate labours, both of them used to
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312 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. speak with a warmth of feeling which proved how closely their hearts were knit together, and which remained unabated till the last pulse of life beat within their breasts. On Mr. Dickson's ministerial and personal character it were easy to dilatk at no inconsiderable length. This, however, seems scarcely the place for doing so. Suffice it, therefore, to give a transient glance at the more prominent traits of both. Devotedly pious from early life, furnished with a competent store of useful learning, acquired by a diligent and persevering study, and deeply versant especially in biblical knowledge and theological lore, his very first pulpit discourses were distinguished by almost the same maturity of Christian experience, correctness of statement, lucidness of arrangement, copiousness of Scriptural illustration, dignified simplicity of style, and solemn impressiveness and unction, both of manner and matter, for which, during the more than forty years of his service in the work of the ministry they were so highly estimated by all, whether old or young, who enjoyed the privilege and benefit of statedly or even occasionally listening to them. Experiencing himself much of that peace and joy in believing which the world can neither give nor take away, he was to others most peculiarly a Barnabas, or son of consolation ; well knowing how to enter into the true state and feelings of those who needed to be comforted, whether under temporal or spiritual distress, and how to speak a word in season to them, suited to all the variety and exigence of their circumstances. Of this the general strain of many of his sermons, more particularly the addresses at their conclusion, of which the volume that he published in 1817 furnishes a number of interesting and valuable specimens, afforded the most unequivocal proofs. But perhaps his correspondence by letter with a multitude of private individuals in every rank of society-with youthful inquirers and. aged believers, with doubting, and afflicted, and sorrowful, as well as confirmed, and prosperous, and rejoicing Christians-attests the fact still more powerfully. Very few ministers indeed,' we believe, were ever more zealous and faithful than he : and to not many has the high honour and unspeakable satisfaction been given of being more successful in either the conversion of sinners or the edification of saints. Nor were his ministrations confined to those of the pulpit or Sabbath. In the various charges which he successively occupied, he regularly visited from year to year, till the decline of his health most reluctantly compelled him to discontinue such exertion, not merely the families and individuals connected with his several congregations, but all the parishioners placed under his pastoral care, whether belonging to the Established Church or not, unless they refused or declined, which scarcely any of them ever did, to receive him under their roof. The young were the objects of his most affectionate solicitude ; and wherever sickness and sorrow, personal or domestic, were to be found, thither he hastened, to administer to the afflicted sufferers those comforts which the precious truths of the Gospel alone can impart; renewing his visits with unwearied assiduity, and labouring, by his appropriate instructions, and his fervent and importunate
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