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frame, he enjoyed a general state of good health ; and, through habitual cheerfulness, temperance, and care, survived the usual term of human life. For some years he had felt himself unequal to the fatigue of instructing his very large congregation from the pulpit; and, under the impression which this feeling produced, he has been heard at times to say, with a sigh, “ that he was left almost the “ last of his contemporaries." Yet he continued to the end in the regular discharge of all his other official duties, and particularly in giving advice to the afflicted, who, from different quarters of the kingdom, solicited his correspondence. His last summer was devoted to the preparation of this volume of Sermons; and, in the course of it, he exhibited a vigour of understanding and capacity of exertion equal to that of his best days. He began the winter, pleåsed with himself on account of the completion of this work; and his friends were flattered with the hope that he might live to enjoy the accession of emolument and fame which he expected it would bring. But the seeds of a mortal disease were lurking unperceived within him, On the 24th of December 1800, he complained of a pain in his bowels, which, during that and the following day, gave him but little uneasiness; and he received as usual the visits of his friends. On the afternoon of the 26th, the symptoms became violent and alarming ;-he felt that he was approaching the end of his appointed course; and retaining to the last moment the full possession of his mental faculties, he expired on the morning
of the 27th, with the composure and hope which become a Christian pastor.
The lamentation for his death was universal and deep through the city which he had so long instructed and adorned. Its Magistrates, partici. pating in the general grief, appointed his church to be put in mourning; and his colleague in it, the writer of this Narrative, who had often experienced the inestimable value of his counsel and friendship, delivered, on the Sabbath after his funeral, a discourse to his congregation, with an extract from which this account shall be closed. It is inserted here at the particular request of that very respectable body of men who composed his Kirk Session, and who, by their public approbation of this tribute to his memory, are desirous of transmitting, with his Sermons, to posterity, a memorial of the veneration and esteem with which his conduct had inspired them.--After exhorting to contemplate and follow the example of the patriarchs and saints of former ages, who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises, the Preacher thus proceeded :
“ In this competition for virtuous attainment, it
may be often useful to bring down your eye, from “ contemplating the departed worthies of distant “ times and countries, towards patterns of imita" tion that are endeared to you by more tender ties. “ If, in the relations of life, you have had a con“ nection,-if, in the circle of your own family,
you have had a father, a husband, or a brother, " who discharged with exemplary fidelity the duties “ of his station, whom every tongue blessed as the
“ friend of God and man, and who died as he lived, “ full of faith and hope ; place him before you as " the model of your conduct,-conceive him bend“ing from his seat in the skies, pleased with your “ attachment, deeply interested in your success, “and cheering you in your labours of love. His “ image will be as a guardian angel, to admonish "you when dangers approach, to rouse within you " every principle of virtuous exertion, and to in. « spire you with strength to overcome.
“ Our hearts, Christians, have been deeply pier“ced with the loss of a most valuable connection, “ of a venerable pastor, who watched long for our “ souls, and, with the most unwearied fidelity, “ pointed out to us the path of happiness. To you, “and to the general interests of pure religion, he “ was attached by many powerful obligations. A “ native of this city, and descended from a family “ which, in former times, had given several bright “ ornaments to the Church of Scotland, he felt the “ warmest tendencies of nature co-operating with “ the principles of duty, to call forth all his powers " in the sacred service to which he was devoted. “ And by the blessing of God on his industry, he “ rose to an eminence in professional merit, which “ has reflected distinguished honour on the city, “on the church, and on the country which pro• duced him.
" It was the fortune of Dr Blair to appear at a “ period when the literature of his country was just “ beginning to receive polish and an useful direc“ tion; and when it was emulously cultivated by
a bright constellation of young men, who were « destined to carry it to high perfection. In con“ cert with them, he applied himself with diligence « and assiduity to all those branches of study which “ could contribute to form him for the eloquence " of the pulpit. This was the department in which “ he chose to excel; to which all the force of his “ genius was directed ; and in which he soon felt " that his efforts were to be successful. For from (the very commencement of his theological studies, " he gave presages of his future attainments; and “ in the societies of his youthful companions, laid “ the foundations of that splendid reputation,
which, through a long life of meritorious service, " continued to increase ; and which has procured “ for him, as a religious instructor, access to the < understandings and the hearts of all the most cul. « tivated inhabitants of the Christian world.
“ To you, my brethren, who have long enjoyed “ the inestimable blessing of his immediate instruc« tion, it will not be necessary to describe the “ qualities of that luminous, fascinating eloquence, • with which he was accustomed to warm, and ra“ vish, and amend your hearts. You may have “ heard others who equalled, or even excelled him “ in some of the requisites of pulpit oratory, in oc“ casional profoundness of thought, in vivid flashes “ of imagination, or in pathetic addresses to the “ heart. But there never was a public teacher in “ whom all these requisites were combined in juster “ proportions, placed under the direction of a more
exquisite sense of propriety, and employed with
“ more uniform success to convey useful and prac“ tical instruction. Standing on the foundation of " the Apostles and Prophets, he exhibited the doc« trines of Christ in their genuine purity, separat“ed from the dross of superstition, and traced with “ inimitable elegance, through all their beneficial “ influence on the consolation, on the order, and
on the virtue both of public and private life. “ Hence his discourses, uniting in the most perfect “ form the attractions of utility and beauty, gave “ a new and better tone to the style of instruction “ from the pulpit : and contributed in a remarkable “ degree to correct and refine the religious, the “ moral, and the literary taste of the times in which 66 he lived.
“ The universal admiration which attended his “ ministerial labours, was some recompence to him “ for the exertions they had cost. But his chief
recompence arose from the consciousness of hav. “ing contributed so eminently to edify the Church “ of Christ, and from the improving influence " which his labours had shed on his own heart. For “ he was, at home and in himself, the perfect image “ of that simplicity, meekness, gentleness, andcon. “ tentment, which his writings recommend. He " was long happy in his domestic relations; and,
thongh doomed at last to feel, through their loss, “ in succession, the heaviest strokes of affliction ;
yet his mind, fortified by religious habits, and
buoyed up by his native tendency to contentment, u sustained itself on God, and enabled him to per** severe to the end in the active and cheerful dis