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Dr. Gillies was
and most effectual opposition in their power. feebly supported; his fears were ridiculed by many, who, when the act of parliament was published, were convinced that their ridicule was ill founded; and his motion was rejected by a considerable majority. In a few months, when the contents of the law, and the intention of extending it to Scotland, were fully known, the alarm became general. Presbyterians, both of the established church and secession, united in dutiful petitions to government, for warding off the danger. Many pamphlets were published, representing the treacherous and cruel spirit of popery among which, one by a respectable clergyman, now a bishop of the Scots Episcopal church, was none of the least useful. But a set of weak and ignorant, or profligate and ill designing men, took advantage of these alarms, to disturb the public tranquillity. A mob as sembled at Glasgow, instigated by strong drink, and a wanton petulent spirit, not by religion, and, as if rage and cruelty to Papists would do honour to Protestantism, burnt to the ground the house, the works and offices of Mr. Bagnell, a Roman Catholic manufacturer of some eminence; and vowed vengeance against him, his wife and family, and whoever would harbour them. At this crisis, many who pitied or wished to relieve them were afraid to receive them into their houses. Happily Dr. Gillies being applied to, with open arms received the poor woman and her children. Not afraid of man, *he feared God, and had no oth
er fear." He prayed with and exhorted Mrs. Bagnell; and, forgetful of their religious dif ferences, led her troubled thoughts to him who is a refuge in distress. Soon after, lodgings were taken for the family, money was given them, and for many weeks all their wants were supplied by a few ministers and private Christians, who deprecated the consequences of passing the obnoxious bill into an act of parliament, but had been taught in the school of Christ, that the distressed Papist, as well as Protestant, was their neighbour. He was ordained one of the ministers of Glasgow, 29th July, 1742. His fondness for literary amusements still continued, and indeed remained through the whole of his life; yet, not so as to encroach on his duties as a Christian, a head of a family, or a minister of the gospel. Milton's Paradise Lost was one of bis most favourite books, and the greatest part of it he could perfectly repeat. Often he im proved or enlivened conversation, by introducing passages from that poem, or from Horace or Virgil, sometimes with wonder, ful appositeness and propriety, sometimes with pleasantry and humour. But, though these things afforded him entertainment in a weary hour, they were only relaxations from labours and studies more important. To grow in the experimental knowledge of Christ, and to con, duct others to that knowledge. was the business of his life, and the chiefest joy of his heart. Love to God, to the Redeemer, to all men, though especially to the household of faith, animated
him to unwearied efforts in promoting the cause of truth and holiness. His pulpit services were conducted in a style, plain, simple, and unadorned, yet with force and energy. Besides generally delivering three discourses every Sabbath, several years of his life were distinguished, by his instituting public lectures and serious exhortations, twice and often thrice every week. While health and strength permitted him, he was equally faithful in visiting and examining the people of his charge, in visiting the sick and afflicted, and in every other private parochial duty. For some time he published a weekly paper, addressed to the consciences and hearts of his people. His warm, affectionate expostulations from the pulpit and from the press drew the attention and awakened the religious concern of many. A pious student of divinity informed me a few days ago, that his first serious thoughts arose from one of the doctor's weekly papers occasionally falling in his way. Thus was the doctor instant in season and out of season, and studied to keep back from his people nothing profitable, but to declare to them the whole counsel of God. Indeed, they had daily lessons in the consistency and uniformity of his conduct, and in his upright, circumspect, and exemplary walk. He approved himself a minister of God, in tumults, in labours; in watchings, in fastings, by pureness, by kindness, by love unfeigned; and to his dear hearers his mouth was open, and his heart enlarged. He was gentle among them, even as a nurse
cherisheth her children; and being affectionately desirous of them, he was willing to have imparted to them, not the gospel of God only, but his own soul also, because they were dear to him. Having been fifty four years their pastor, he had baptised and married the larger part of his congregation. To him they looked up as a father and a friend; and many tender tokens of his affection will long live in their grateful remembrance. When, in the last years of his life, he was only able to appear in church at sacramental occasions, and to exhort one table, the most indifferent spectator could not but observe the sympathy and love which shone in the faces of his hearers, and the tears which they could not restrain, when he solemnly blessed them in the name of the Lord, and spoke of his dissolution as being at hand, with looks of hu mility, serenity, and joy.
The heart of Dr. Gillies was the seat of all the finer affections. As a dutiful son, a tender husband, and a kind and indulgent parent, few could equal him. He was blessed with two of the best of wives; and he often remarked, that throughout the course of his long life, his heavenly Father had favoured him with so many and so valuable family comforts, that sometimes he feared he was not one of those sons whom the Lord loved. His first wife, to whom he was married soon after his ordination, was Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rev. Mr. John M'Lauren of Glasgow, so eminent as a humble and heavenly minded Christian, and as a deep, solid, and ju
She died soon after the birth of her eighth child, 6th August, 1754, about a month before the death of her worthy father, whom she much resembled in a peculiar sweetness and vivacity, and in serious piety. They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their deaths they were not divided.* January, 1756, he married Joanna, youngest daughter of John Stewart, Esq. (who died before his father, Sir Archibald Stewart, of Blackhall) and twinsister to the present Sir chael Stewart of Blackhall. only child was Rebecca, married some years ago to the Hon. Colonel David Leslie, second son to the Right Honorable the Earl of Leven. Mrs. Gillies' prudence, piety and benevolence, made her a help meet for the doctor, and she was spared for a comfort to him, till 3d December, 1782.
Steadiness in friendship was a leading feature in his character. Often he perceived not the failings or faults of a friend, when too well perceived by others; and when he saw or suspected them, such was the favourable light in which he viewed them, that though they might diminish his esteem, they did not alienate his affection.
The comfortable views he entertained of his own approaching death, may be gathered from the following extract of a letter, writMi-ten the harvest before it, to an Her old friend: "You ask me how old age sets upon me. I am now in my eighty fourth year, and, thank God, enjoy tolerable health and spirits, though it has pleased our heavenly Father to lay me almost wholly aside from my work for many months past. I comfort myself with my favourite Milton's words:
To his worth as a parent, the tears and regret of his family bear ample testimony. Yet they are sensible that their sorrow is wholly selfish, assured that he whom they lament, is now with his Saviour, whom he loved, who is love itself, and in whose presence love and harmony forever reign. His good sense and extensive information, joined to his humility, moderation, and amiable and engaging manners, rendered him a pleasant, entertaining, and instructing companion. If any thing tended to ruffle his temper, the moment he felt the beginning of such an emotion, he quenched it, by hasting away from the scene of temptation.
See Dr. Gillies' account of Mr. M'Lauren, prefixed to his sermons and essays, Glasgow, 1755.
"They also serve, who only stand and wait."
I am waiting, I hope with patience, God's time, which is the best for my dismission hence. Christ's lying in the grave has sweetened the thoughts of it to all believers; and through his merits we can have hope in death."
His last illness, like his whole life, was a dignified celestial serenity and peace, He was seized 21st March, 1786, with a stroke of the palsy, which deprived him of the power of one side. Yet his memory and recollection remained, and he gave many pious and affecting exhortations to his family and friends.
doctor's distresses on his death bed were much soothed and sweetened by the dutiful and tender attention of his son, the Rev.
Mr. Colin Gillies, one of the ministers of Paisley, and of his daughter the Honorable Mrs. Leslie. When mentioning Mrs. Leslie, I hope they who know a parent's heart will forgive me, if I gratefully record the intimate endeared friendship betwixt her and my affectionate daughter, and for many years my agreeable companion, and, when my knowledge of her well cultivated understanding and delicate taste led me to request it, my wise and faithful, though modest and reluctant counsellor, Margaret Erskine. Esteemed by strangers as the dear deceased was, for her good sense, extensive information, and affability and attention; and beloved as she was by her near relations, perhaps none so fully knew her worth, felt so much on her own account, and so thoroughly sympathised with the bereaved parents and family, in her sudden death, as Mrs. Les lie. May the Friend, who can never die, recompense her kindness to the living and to the dead, be her guide through all the snares and dangers of life, her support under those sorrows to which the happiest state on earth is exposed, and her abiding and everlasting portion! And while we lament that parents, children or friends, are not suffered to continue with us by reason of death, let us be thankful for ground of hope, that, while we mourn, they rejoice; and that, notwithstanding alarming dangers to which they have been exposed, some of our most valuable comforts are still preserved.
Dr. Gillies fell asleep in Jesus, Tuesday, 29th March, in the
84th year of his age, and the 54th of his ministry. Few deaths, notwithstanding his advanced age, have been more generally and
more sincerely regretted. Crowds attended his funeral with tears, pronouncing blessings on his memory. The Rev. Dr. Taylor preached his funeral sermon; and each of the ministers of Glasgow, who supplied in their turns the vacant church, made that honourable mention of him, which his distinguished worth well merited. He never coveted the applause of men ; yet the applause of the good ever followed him. Even on earth, his single eye to the glory of God was not without a reward: "The memory of the just shall flourish."
His principal works were,
Exhortations to the inhabitants of the South Parish of Glasgow, 2 vols. 12mo. They began to be published in numbers, at the low price of a halfpenny each, 26th September, 1750, and were finished 9th November, 1751.
Historical Collections relating to the success of the Gospel, 2 vols. large 8vo. Glasgow, 1754.
Appendix to the Historical Collections, 32 numbers, collected in one volume 12mo, Glasgow, 1761.
Life of the Rev. George Whitfield, 8vo.
Sermon at the opening of the Synod of Glasgow.
Hebrew Manual for the use of students of that language.
Devotional Exercises on the New Testament, 2 vols. 12mo.
Psalms of David, with notes devotional and practical, extracted from Dr. Horne's Commentary, Glasgow, 1786, 12mo.
Milton's Paradise Lost, illustrated by texts of scripture, London, 1788, 12mo.
The Doctor's works, like his Sermons, were beautiful and striking, though undesigned pictures of his benevolent heart. They did not aspire after, and were not calculated to procure, literary fame, or to excite admiration of his ingenuity, acuteness and eloquence. In his addresses from the pulpit and from the press, he desired to know nothing, and to make nothing known, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. Those who wish to learn a new Christianity, to ridicule old fashioned truths, or to torture the sacred oracles to a sense opposite to their true spirit, will find no gratification in his writings. Losing sight of himself, his ambition in them was to publish to thoughtless and secure sinners, their guilt, their danger, and the only method of relief; to build up saints in faith, holiness and comfort; to learn Christians to love one another with pure hearts fervently; to display the powerful and benign in Aluence of the gospel, when preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; and to promote esteem of the holy scriptures, and a perusing them not only with the understanding, but with suitable, devout, and be nevolent emotions.
In 1794, he communicated to several ministers in different parts, his design of preparing a supplement to his Historical Collections and Appendix, and reVol. III. No. 7.
quested their advice as to the manner of conducting it. His intention was, to record or hint various particulars relating to the history of religion : e. g. 1. Exertions by different Christian societies, for promoting purity of doctrine, vital piety, the conversion of infidels, united prayer for national prosperity, and for the outpouring of the Spirit. 2 Men of learning and genius not ashamed of the gospel, such as, in latter times, Boerhaave, Haller, Littleton, West, President Forbes, Lord Hailes, &c.
3. Wealthy Chris
tians distinguished by devising liberal things, for promoting the temporal or spiritual good of mankind. 4. God's hidden ones in the midst of the mystical Babylon. 5. Eminent holiness in men low in their station, and mean in their natural talents.
But, spring 1795, though the doctor's zeal was not abated, his strength and vigour visibly decayed, and he was cautioned not to impair his health, and shorten his days, by prosecuting his important plan in its full extent, and employing about it too much thought and labour. Interesting materials were however sent him for filling up the third of these articles; and he rather chose that a defective supplement should appear, than that the accounts of Lady Glenorchy, Lady Harriot Hope, and Lady Huntington, furnished by two delicate and masterly pens, should be bu ried in cblivion.