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THE REV. GEORGE MUIR;
The subject of this Memoir was a native of Spot, in the neighbourhood of Dunbar. In his youth he served his clerkship to a writer in Edinburgh. Happening, however, from motives of curiosity, to go to Cambuslang in the year 1742, when an uncommon influence of the Holy Spirit attended the labours of Mr. M'Culloch, the minister there, and also of Mess.Whitefield, Willison, and others, who assisted him in the administration of the Lord's Supper, he was savingly converted to the faith of Christ. From this period he determined to devote himself to the ministry of the gospel. While pursuing his studies with this view in Edinburgh, he was eminently useful in the erection and encouragement of Praying Societies. For several years he was teacher of the parish school of Carnock, in Fife. Here he enjoyed the ministry and advice of the excellent Mr. T. Gillespie, minister of that place, and occasionally the sermons of Mr. R. Erskine, of Dunfermline. About 1756 he was settled as minister of the parish of Old Cumnook, in the Presbytery of Ayr; where he exercised his ministry with diligence and faithfulness during the period of his continuance there, which was considerable. On sacramental occasions he corresponded with Mr. Noble, the minister at Libberton, near Biggon; and also with the ministers of the Tolbooth Church of Edinburgh, where his ministrations were peculiarly acceptable to the saints. He was translated to the high church of Paisley in 1766, where a large sphere of usefulness was presented to him; no less than 3000 usually attending his ministry. These caine not only from the town, but from several parishes around. Mr. Muir understood the gospel well; and preached it with great exactness. The following short extracts from his writings will afford sufficient evidence of this :
. God's giving or making over Jesus Christ in the word of grace, is the warrant and rule of receiving tim; hence the record is believed, because divine apthority is interposed; and Jesus Christ and his whole salvation are accepted of, because they are offered by the Father, in the quality of a free and unconditional gift. To whatever, therefore, God hath spoken in his holiness, they set their Amen; in whatever terms the record of grace is expressed, their souls agree to them, and, by believing obedience, comply with them; in setting 10 their seal that God is true, they appropriate all the spiritual riches, righteousness, and redemption, for the giving whereof to perishing sinners, his faithfulness is plighted in the record."God is true,' says this grace in the soul, when he gives Jesus Christ to sinners in a word of record : and, therefore, as a sinner to whom that record is presented, Jesus Christ is mine for all the purposes of my salvation.'Speaking of trusting in the Lord, he says, ' Upon gospel principles,' the object of the sinner's trust must be a God in Christ; a God revealing himself to me in the Person of Christ; a God well pleased with sinners through Jesus Christ, - pleased with their persons as represented by him, pleased with their performances as flowing from vital union with him, and influences derived from him; a God glorified in the salvation of sinners through the mediation of Christ. The righteousness of Jesus, called in Scripture' the Righteousness of God,' is particularly comprehended in this object of trust; our Lord's righteousness being the price of redemption, the condition of salvation, is to be depended on by all who need such blessings, and have no personal righteousness by which to procure then. In fine, the word of promise einitted by the Father, Yea and Amen in Christ, recorded in the gospel, and exhibited for the obedience of faith, is in a peculiar inanner the object of this trust. Whatever God has promised to his anointed respecting sinners, every such word of grace. and promise is a ground of trust to be improved, looked to, leaned on, and acquiesced in by them. The exercise of this trust carries in it the believing the truth of these discoveries respecting Christ, and respecting the promise, which is called by the Lord ' a setting-to the seal that God is true,' John ix. 2. It carries in it their approbation of the things discovered as excellent in themselves, suitable to șinners, and glorious in their effects. It carries in it their acceptance of these blessings, their receiving, applying, and, in a way, of huinble endeavour, thro' grace, inaking all their own, by believing, as Jehovah our Redeemer does by revelation and exhi. bition. « Be it (or it shall be) unto me according to thy word,' Luke i. 38, is the language of that divine exercise; it carries in it their dependence on the Lord as the object of their trust for his bestowing the exceeding great and precious blessings, which are the matter of it; their being so persuaded of the Lord's security being good and valid, that they look on the blessings as theirs, and actually enter on duties and trials in faith that the promise shall be accomplished, and the blessing • To you,
be bestowed ; at least in proportion to the measure and degree, of such as trust this will be the case.
This exercise, as it is seated in the soul, influences the con. duct, and leads to the performance of new and holy obedience in all its parts, as to heart and life, principle and practice, word and action. In an exhortation to sinners, he
says, Christless and unholy creatures, to you, as such, we are warranted to preach the gospel of the kingdom, your state may be yet made gracious, your help is in Jesus Christ, your right to look to him for salvation will bear no dispute; improve Jesus as the resurrection and the life, believe in him as the only ordinance of heaven for your salvation, and employ him as the foundation upon which true holiness may be built, that being thus in a state of life you may be capable of such fruitfulness, as is the privilege and attainment of gracious persons. This, my brethren, you are the rather called to, because all your endeavours to bear fruit, without a vital union to Christ, will be in vain; and all your forced fruitfulness separate from him, will be unacceptable to God. Inculcating universál obedience to God's law, is the duty of all gospel ministers; but to make that obedience meritorious, in whole or in part, is misplacing and Inisapplying the most wholesome doctrine. For the only room it can hold upon gospel principles is, in the second place, as a fruit; by no means in the first, as the cause of justification: and then uniting such obedience with the obedience of Christ, so far from correcting the error, makes it much worse; for such a daring coalition does manifest prejudice to our Lord's most honourable righteousness, as it insinuates an incompetency of merit which needs to be made perfect by the righteousness of guilty creatures : and such a coalition is the more dangerous and ensnaring to unwary souls, as the bare mention of Christ's opedience gilds the pill and baits the hook to the unquestionable ruin of those who are unskilful in the word of righteousness, and babes only in scriptural knowledge. If ministers of the gospel begin their dealings with unconverted souls, by representing the duties of holy obedience, without recommending Christ as the foundation, and directing them to the improvement of him, they do no better than a builder who should raise a superstructure before he had laid the foundation: whereas by beginning with endeavours to point out the personal excellence and mediatorial glory of Christ, and to bring sinners to believe in him for pardon and acceptance, the ends of heart-holiness and external obedience are scripturally and absolutely secured.'
The above sentiments distinguished his sermons, and ran through his printed works. To judicious readers they will clearly appear to be the sentiments of the reformed churches, and also those of their most eminent sons, Boston, Trail, Booth, Hervey, &c.
· Mr. Muir possessing the grace of God, he also grew
in it and in his whole conduct manifested strict and serious godliness. He was fervent and constant in closet and familyreligion; an Israelite indeed! distinguished for sincerity and uprightness, benevolence and candour, and attendance to all the parts of ministerial duty. He was at great pains with such as applied to him for admission to the Lord's table, frequently meeting with them, and instructing them in the leading doctrines of the gospel. As a minister of the established church, he attached himself to that party who opposed the exercise of the law of patronage; and was a warm friend to the liberties of the Christian people.
In. the pulpit he was eloquent; his voice was full toned, and he managed it with good effect. His delivery, was dis tinct and graceful, and his matter truly evangelical; and more especially when warmed with his subject, peculiarly savoury. In administering instruction and consolation to the people of God, he exerted himself to the utmost; and in this part of his work he seemed to take great delight. His addresses to the ungodly were awfully impressive. His discourses in general, warmed with a sacred unaffected zeal, were, under the Divine blessing, happily successful. In the gift and grace of prayer he evidently excelled. In leading the devotions of his congregation he poured out his whole soul. A peculiar enlargement, with a fulness of rich and suitable expressions, in his Sabbath morning prayers, night be discerned. Mr. Muir, being of a catholic spirit, lived in habits of friendship with ministers and Christians of other denominations. He corresponded with the late Rev. Mr. Hervey*; and Messrs. Pattison of Edinburgh, and Belfrage of Falkirk, visited him.
For some years before his death a cancerous humour was collecting in his
foot, which was exceeding painful. He bore all with nuch Christian fortitude and patience. After some time, he submitted to an amputation, when considerable hopes were entertained of his recovery; but it was otherwise ordered by the great Head of the church, who was pleased to remove him to a happier state, July 1771. The immediate occasion of his death was the bursting of an artery in his leg while he was asleep. When he discovered it, he fainted away, and never recovered. This taking place on the Sabbathmorning, and being quite unexpected, produced a strong and sorrowful sensation among his people; and was deeply lainented by all ranks.
*I beg Mr. Muir's (of Cumpook) pardon for not paying due honour to his last letter. It is my affliction and misfortune that I cannot cultivate a correspondence with several valuable persons, at whose fire I might light my torch, and reap much benefit from their letters' - Brown's Memoirs of flervey.
He married a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Wardlaw, of Dunfermline; a prudent religious woman. He had several children, one of whom is a Presbyterian minister in Alexandria in Virginia
During his life he published an Essay on Christ's Cross and Crown; to which are annexed Six Sermons. He also published Discourses on the Parable of the Sower. Since his death some have also been printed from his Notes on the Parable of the Sower; and also some Table Services delivered in the Tolbooth Church of Edinburgh. An elegant neatness of style, but especially a sweet savour of Christ, recom, mends the writings, and will long endear the character and remembrance of this excellent man.
ON THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF
[Concluded from page 172.] What Matthew did, in the first instance, was equally likely to be done by other Apostles
. It was their office to testify to others what they had known of Christ: not to draw up a connected narrative of his history; some parts of which inost of them must have referred (as Matthew himself did) to the testimony of other apostleș. Even the Gospel of John, who appears to have been more constantly with our Lord than any other person was, is a collection of detached accounts, not a connected narrative of the state of Christ's life or ministry It is therefore most probable, that several of the apostles committed to writing, on various occasions, records of transactions which they had seen, and of discourses which they had heard from our Lord, as the Holy Spiriț brought them to their remembrance, – that these might be read by persons who could not hear them publicly related, or who were desirous (as they certainly must have been) of preserving them for their private and constant edification.
That such detached memorials should not have existed earlier than we have reason to apprehend that any of the gospels were composed, is, indeed, nearly incredible. It is generally agreed by the best commentators, that the Evangelist Luke does not allude, in his pretace, to any of the inspired gospels. If any one of the apostles had previously drawn up a narrative of the life of Christ, it would, besides, have been very unlikely that Luke should have undertaken such a work. Yet it does not appear that his gospel was written within less than thirty years after our Lord's crucifixion; and it is hardly to be credited that the apostles should suffer the church to be destitute, for so long a time, of written meinorials of Christ's