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346 A Letter, &c. with a Biographical Notice by Dr. Toulmit. logues on Education," a treatise
The Letter. on “ Moral Philosophy,” first
Oct. 3. 1751. given to the public in Dodsley's
DEAR Doctor, "Preceptor," and which has
I presume that by this time it passed ihrough several editions; will be no surprise to you to hear, • Theodorus, a Dialogue concern. that we have now the certain acing the Art of Preaching,” and count of the worthy Professor's an essay entitled, “ The Temple death.
“ The Temple death. A death to us mournfulof Virtue, a Dream,” published to him glurious. There is a letter by bis brother 1757, remain as come to town by this day's post monuments of bis genius, abiliwith the same account; which I ties and literary attainments, and write to you with a mixture of witnesses of his manly and fervent grief and exultation.–After hav. piety.
ing been tossed about for three Dr. James Fordyce, after he days in the ship bound from Rothad pursued a course of studies terdam to Leith, the Captain find. necessary for a
minister of the ing her just ready to stave upon a gospel, was appoinied second bank near the coast of Holland, minister in the collegiate church called the crew
and passengers of Brechin, in the county of into the cabin to consult what Angus; and after some years they should do. Our dear friend, spent there, accepted a call to having been a quarter of an hour Alloa, near Stirling. In 1760, by himself, joined the rest; prayor 1761, he was invited, on a ed with them ; cummended him. visit at London, lo he co-pastor self and them to heaven; took a with Dr. Lawrence, 10 a respecto solemn farewell of all; told them able congregation of Dissenlers in he was perfectly resigned to his Alonkwell Street. In 1782 he fate, and that be resolved to meet discontinued his public services: it with the greatest composure ; the remainder of his life was spent, then went to bed : soon after the first in the vicinity of the Earl of cabin bursted. Oh! my friend, Bute, in Hampshire; and then at what greatness! what dignity was Bath, where he died, October 1, here! He died, as he lived, with 1796, in the 76th year of his age. a noble, with a superior mind! 66 Sermons to Young Women,” What an eternal lustre must such and " Addresses to Young Men," an exit throw upon his memory ! besides smaller productions of his How must it silence detraction pen, perpeluate the celebrity of for ever, and convince all that his name ; shew the powers of his nothing but the truest virtuc and genius, imagination, taste and sincerest piety can produce such a eloquence; and attest the ardent decency and magnanimity in cir. piety and the zeal for the in- cumstances naturally the most terests of virtue, with which his tremendous and shocking to hu. heart glowed, and which diffused manity. It was about two o'clock force and animation through his in the morning ; quite dark; they discourses and writings.* I am, Sir,
* Dr. Rees' New Cyclopædia, vol. Yours respectfully, xv. Part I. Dr. Watkin's Biographical
JOSHUA TOULMIN. Dictionary, under the name Fordyco.
knew not where they were : no brother, and had him so long, doubt our brother thought it was rather than repine that we had absolutely in vain to swim, or at- bim no more.
He is gone indeed, tempt to conflict with the winds but not lost; gone before us a and waves,
and chose rather little while; the separation will quietly to wait his destiny than not be long, and we shall meet violently to struggle against it to again in a happier region never to no purpose. Only one more, a part again for ever. brother of Lord Cromartie, whu
Mamma received the fatal news was sick, stayed behind in the at Brechin.
She has felt, she cabin; nine others, among whom still feels all that such a mother was Sir Alexander Forbes' son, a must feel for the loss of such a son stripling, swam; but they all pe. in such circumstances ; you will rished except a carpenter. The conceive her grief better than I master and two or three of the can describe; yet her composure men hung on the stern till morn. and decency are great, and do her ing, and were saved : some of the and religion honour ; and time, I dead bodies were soon taken up hope, joined with God's grace and buried.
and her own principles, will gra. The manner of David's death, dually heal the deep wound in her so worthy a Christian and philo. heart. May God in the mean sopher, so truly gallant and he. time support the good woman's mic, swells my soul with sensa- afflicted soul.
You need not tions I cannot express; but ought doubt of our contributing all we I not to join praise, joy, and gra- can to soothe and comfort her: we tulation? However, I may and came from Brechin along with must mourn, and deeply mourn her for that very purpose. May our loss; a loss which earth can- God preserve her precious health not compensate. Let us rejoice and valuable life; I hope he will. and triumph in his unspeakable She sleeps little and eats less; yet gain, who has so happily escaped is tolerably well: much beiter from this scene of vanity and sor. than could have been thought. row, quitted it with such ease and Our sisters, poor souls ! are deeply majesty, and is now a Aaming, afflicted, and no wonder; they enraptured and adoring spirit be. have lost their best brother; and fore the throne of the Eternal. I have my share of sorrow, I have And, O my dear friend, let us lost my most intimate friend, follow his footsteps, who through with whom I had of late years, en. faith and patience, and sublime tered into a peculiar degree of goodness, is now inheriting the confidence and friendship. But promises; while the thoughts of we loved him too well, and pro. his death extort from us the tears mised ourselves too much and too of nature and friendship, let us certain satisfaction from him at be inspired with the sacred am. his return; but God, it seems, bition of imitating him in the vire would not suffer a rival in our lues of his life, that we may at affections, and has shewed to each last resemble him in the peace and of us, in the school of affliction, honour of his latter end. Let us the instability and uncertainty of be thankful that we had such a human pleasures and human pros.
348 History of the Unitarian Church, Edinburgh. pects. What sort of scholars we Edinburgh, taken from the So. shall be in this way I do not ciety's minute book, and oral know; but I am sure the lesson testimony, be thought worthy of is loudly inculcated and strongly a place in your miscellany it is at enforced.
I sympathize with you and our I remain, yours, &c. London brother, well knowing
R. W. what such friendly hearts must A Short View of the Origin and suffer on this sad occasion; but Progress of the Unitarian religion and philosophy will apply Church at Edinburgh. their gentle and healing remedies. As introductory to the history
Every body seems to lament the of the church, now Unitarian, in Professor greatly; indeed, more the northern capital, it is stated than any man, young or old, in the minute book, that several that I remember. In all who societies in the Merse* had joined might have felt it envy has no the reformed Presbyteryt. Soon effect. Merit, standing no longer after this union it appears, a di. in the light of opposition, is vision took place in the Presbytery praised and acknowledged. respecting the extent of the death
Mamma expects to hear from of Christ, i.e. whether he died you by the first occasion. All for the whole or for only a part of the Professor's papers that were mankind. To that branch which with him bave perisbed. It is a maintained that Christ died for pity: they would have been a all, the said little societies adnoble fund of entertainment and hered. The date of these events knowledge. But God, taking the is not mentioned, though they greater, chose likewise to take the may be regarded as the commence. less, that the trial might be more ment of a series which has led on complete and thorough; a trial to important results already, and indeed, to lose him with all his may be expected to produce efnewly acquired ornaments, just fects of greater extent and magni. upun the point of enjoying both : tude. but not 'our will, o heavenly From the branch of the Pres. Father, but thine be done. bytery to which they adhered on I remain, &c. the question respecting the extent
of the death of Christ, they also History of the Unitarian Church, separated in the year 1755, on Edinburgh.
the ground of their not preaching SIR, Oct. 12, 1811. faithfully against the sins of the A correct view of the rise and age, and their allowing such progress of Christian Societies, things as were inconsistent with especially such as have attained their professed testimony. to rational views of Christianity, and are imbued with its liberal
* The Merse is a track of country spirit, must be interesting to the south of Edinburgh. friends of truth, and pleasing to
+ The reformed Presbytery, a party seaders in general. If the follow.
of Disscaters, which became such be
cause they thought the Scotch national ing account of the origin and pro- church did not strictly adhere to che gress of the Unitarian church at exclusive headship of Jesus Christ,
These societies then formed a equally suitable to be set apart for separate connection, met every .the study of languages, and that first day of the week for the wore they could enable but one to de. ship of God and mutual edifica- vote himself to this work, they tion, kept up a correspondence agreed to decide by lot which of with each other, and held occa- the three should be the person. sional general meetings, to con A general meeting was bolden, sult how they might best bear June 8, 1769, which commenced their testimony as the followers of with prayer, after which a presiChrist, so far as circumstances dent was chosen. The minutes of
would admit. It does not appear the last meeting were read, and - that as yet they had any minister cach of the three candidates de. among them.
livered a discourse; but the final In the year 1763, they sent a decision as 10 the person who person to Ireland, to consult with should be separated to the work some Dissenters there, who, il of the ministry and the study of appears agreed with them in their the original scriptures, being religious views; and a minute of thought a most weighiy concern, their mutual agreement and good was postponed till the last Thurswill was signed at Colraine. day in the following month, and
After this time several useful it was resolved that the said day members of these small societies should be observed as a day of were removed by death, and va- fasting and prayer, and that then rious other discouraging circum. the above important affair should stances took place among them, be decided. In the mean time all which diminished their numbers, the brethren were exhorted seriand, it appears, in the year 1766 vusly to consider and weigh these they were brought very low; still, matters, that they might be pre. however, they persevered, and de- pared for a day of such solemnity. termined on adopting, if possible, On the last Thursday in July such measures as might enablé 1769, the proposed solemn meetthem to have the ministry of the ing was holden. All the company word and the ordinances of the avouched the Lord to be their gospel regularly among them. God, as he is revealed in the Three of ihe brethren were ap- scriptures, and
declared their pointed to deliver discourses in purpose and resolution to main. the societies, as a trial of their tain his truth and ordinances as abilities. They further concluded, he shall direct. The three canafter due deliberation, that a didates were Thomas French, knowledge of the Greek and He. Alexander Brown, and James brew languages would be very use. Purves. The lot fell upon the ful, in enabling them to defend last; consequently he was the the doctrines they held, should person appointed to study the lanthey be opposed, by quotations guages, and to examine the scripfrom the original scriptures, and tures in their originals. It was in helping them to correct their also thought expedient that an own opinions, so far as they abstract of their principles and might be erroneous. Finding that designs should be published to the three of their number appeared world, before they appointed any
350 History of the Unitarian Church, Edinburgh. one to the pastoral office; and ac. them to be universal, in the fullest cordingly an abstract was publish. sense of the word. ed in the year 1771.
Mr. Purves continued the pasAfter this things continued tor of the society until his death, much in the same state till the which took place on the 1st of year 1776, when some members, February 1795. He had for seremoving from the Merse to Edin- veral years been afiicted with an burgh, formed a new society, and asthma, and for some months beinvited the before mentioned Mr. fore his death was incapable of James Purves to come to them. officiating in public.
He was Having continued some time in much esteemed even by those who society with them after he came, thought his opinions very errone. it was unanimously agreed that he ous, and greatly beloved by his should be called to the pastoral Aock, whose edification he stu. office among them. Thus ori. died and diligently promoted; he ginated the society at Edinburgh, taught them to think freely, to which is since become Unitarian, exercise mutual candour and for. The deed by which Mr. Purves bearance, and always to follow was constituted their pastor con. the dictates of their consciences. cludes thus. 6. Therefore, with He was a zealous advocate for the one consent, we have chosen, and universal restoration, and a high do hereby declare our choice of Arian. Though not favoured you, James Purves, to be our with a liberal education, he ac. pastor : and your accepting this quired a considerable knowledge our choice and invitation, shall of the Hebrew and Greek lanconstitute you into a pastoral re. guages, and paid much attention lation and charge over us; and to the original scriptures. He this our mutual deed shall imply was the author of several publi. an obligation to every relative cations; but not possessing popu. duty that belongs to that relation. lar talents as a preacher, his cun
Signed in the name and by gregation was always small. He the appointment of the society, bore his lingering affliction with
"By Alexander Fortune, much Christian fortitude, and 6 Accepted by James Purves.” died regretted by all his friends.
It was resolved, in the year In the year 1792, a plan was 1792, that the society should adopted for the instruction of the publish their religious opinions to children and youth in the congre. the world, and in doing this it gation, by the members of the was thought proper for them to society; but it does not appear take some name that would dis. that this plan was long continued. tinguish them from other Dissen. Its revival is certainly much to be ters. The designation then thought wished. most appropriate, and expressive In 1793, the reading of the of their peculiar sentiments, was scriptures, as a part of the public that of Universalist Dissenters; service on the Lord's day, was the love of God, the mediation of resolved on, a practice at that Christ, and his headship over all time very rarely adopted in Scot. persons and things, were held by land. It was also resolved that