Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

SERMON IX.

ON RELIGIOUS RETIREMENT.

Page Psalm iv. 4.- Commune with your own heart, upon your bed, and be still,

187

[blocks in formation]

Titus, ii. 6.- Young men likewise exhort, to be soberminded,

243

SERMON XII.

ON THE DUTIES AND CONSOLATIONS OF THE AGED.

Proverbs, xvi, 31.–The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness,

272

SERMON XIII.

ON THE POWER OF CONSCIENCE.

Genesis, xlii. 21, 22.-And they said one to another, We

are verily guilty concerning our brother ; in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear : Therefore is this distress come upon

And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold also his blood is required,

298

us.

SERMON XIV.

ON THE MIXTURE OF JOY AND FEAR IN RELIGION.

Psalm ii, 11.-Rejoice with trembling,

Page 327

SERMON XV.

ON THE MOTIVES TO CONSTANCY IN VIRTUE.

Gal. vi. 9.–And let us not be weary in well doing : for

in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,

348

SHORT ACCOUNT

OF

THE LIFE AND CHARACTER

OF

DR HUGH BLAIR.

De Hugh BLAir was born in Edinburgh, on the 7th day of April 1718. His father, John Blair, a respectable merchant in that city, was a descendant of the ancient family of Blair, in Ayrshire, and grandson of the famous Mr Robert Blair, Minister of St Andrew's, Chaplain to Charles I. and one of the most zealous and distinguished clergymen of the period in which he lived. This worthy man, though firmly attached to the cause of freedom, and to the Presbyterian form of church government, and though actively engaged in all the measures adopted for their support; yet, by his steady, temperate conduct, commanded the respect even of his opponents. In preference to all the other ecclesiastical leaders of the covenanting party, he was selected by the King himself to fill an office which, from the circumstances of the time, gave frequent access to the Royal Person: “ because," said his Majesty,

that man is pious, prudent, learned, and of a week

“ and moderate calm temper."-His talents seem to have descended as an inheritance to his posterity. For, of the two sons who survived him, David, the eldest, was a clergyman of eminence in Edinburgh, father to Mr Robert Blair, Minister of Athelstoneford, the celebrated author of the Poem entitled The Grave ; and grandfather to his Majesty's Solicitor-General for Scotland, whose masculine eloquence and profound knowledge of law, have, in the public estimation, .placed him indisputably at the head of the Scottish bar. From his youngest son Hugh, who engaged in business as a merchant, and had the honour to fill a high station in the magistracy of Edinburgh, sprung the learned clergyman, who is the subject of this narrative.

The views of Dr Blair, from his earliest youth, were turned towards the Church, and his educa. tion received a suitable direction. After the usual grammatical course at school, he entered the Humanity Class in the University of Edinburgh, in October 1730, and spent eleven years at that celebrated seminary, assiduously employed in the literary and scientific studies prescribed by the Church of Scotland to all who are to become candidates for her license to preach the Gospel. During this important period, he was distinguished among his companions both for diligence and proficiency; and obtained from the Professors under whom he studied, repeated testimonies of approbation. One of them deserves to be mentioned particularly, because, in his own opinion, it determined the bent of his genius towards polite literature.

An essay, Περί

ti raný, or, On the Beautiful, written by him when a student of logic, in the usual course of academical exercises, had the good fortune to attract the notice of Professor Stevenson, and, with circuma stances honourable to the author, was appointed to be read in public at the conclusion of the session. This mark of distinction made a deep impression on his mind ; and the essay which merited it, he ever after recollected with partial affection, and

preserved to the day of his death as the first earnest of his fame.

At this time Dr Blair commenced a method of study which contributed much to the accuracy and extent of his knowledge, and which he continued to practise occasionally, even after his reputation was fully established. It consisted in making abstracts of the most important works which he read, and in digesting them according to the train of his own thoughts. History, in particular, he resolved to study in this manner; and, in concert with some of his youthful associates, he constructed a very comprehensive scheme of chronological tables, for receiving into its proper place every important fact that should occur. The scheme devised by this young student for his own private use was afterwards improved, filled up, and given to the public by his learned friend Dr John Blair, Prebendary of Westminster, in his valuable work, “ The Chronology " and History of the World.”

In the year 1739, Dr Blair took his degree of A. M. On that occasion he printed and defended a thesis, De Fundamentis et Obligatione Legis Naturæ,

« ForrigeFortsæt »