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THE LORD'S PRAYER.
With earthly, and with heav'nly, bread.
Thine is the kingdom to controul,
ON THE PROSPECT OF DYING.
Ar thy command I meekly yield
Jesus! I trust in thee alone,
Ah! Lord, methinks 'tis strange
They pierc'd (with cruel hate)
Thy hands, and feet, and side: And so have I, and could, with them, Thy dying groans deride! Then wond'rous Jesus! why Did I thy mercy know? For this sole reason,
Decreed it thould be so.
Fix thou the time (the time is fix'd
Call when the time is fully come,
And I will answer thee.
My flesh and soul to thee I've giv'n
And is it more to trust thee, Lord,
I claim thy promise here below,
To faithful Abr'am's side.
Those morning stars thro' all my way
And will they not, when loos'd from clay
O glorious faith! that bears the soul
Above desponding fear;
Lab'ring to reach the heav'nly goal,
Printed by G. AULD, Greville Street, London.
If honourable birth and personal endowments,-if amiable manners and extensive benevolence, if early and exemplary piety and unremitted zeal, during a long and laborious life; -if any, or all these qualities combined, can give weight and interest to character, Dr. John Erskine must be ranked among the most eminent persons of the age in which he lived.
This excellent man was descended from two of the most ancient houses in the peerage of Scotland; and his nearest relations belong to some of the most distinguished and respectable families of that country. His father, Mr Erskine of Carnock, who will always be mentioned as a man of superior worth and eminent talents, was an advocate at the Scotch bar; and, for some time, Professor of Scotch Law in the University of Edinburgh. His "Institutes of the Law of Scotland," in five folio volumes, as a book of authority and of profound information, is well known to have placed his name among lawyers of the first rank.
Dr. Erskine was the eldest son of this respectable man; and wil be allowed to have added, in no small degree, to the honour of his family. His noble soul animated a feeble and slender body; and yet, through the goodness of Providence to the church, and to the world, he was enabled to sustain many severe shocks of adversity; and was preserved, with his faculties unimpaired, till he had outlived almost all his contemporaries. His original talents were far beyond the ordinary standard. He was distinguished by the unusual extent and comprehension of his understanding; by the acuteness, the accuracy, and the perspicuity of his reasonings, and by the general clearness and solidity of his judgment.
Dr. Erskine feared God from his earliest youth. Even when at school, though he excelled as a scholar, he had a settled
delight in the duties of devotion, and in reading and studying the word of God; and as it points out the tendency of his mind, it is not unimportant to mention, that, in these favourite exercises he was frequently employed, while his class-fellows were engaged in their youthful amusements.
In choosing the ministry of the gospel as the profession in which he was ambitious to employ the talents which God had given him, it was manifest that his motives were of the purest kind; and that he sought not the advantages of this world, but "the profit of many, that they might be saved." This choice did not at first meet the views of some of his respectable relttions. They recommended to him the study and profession of law, as more suitable to his rank in life, and as opening to him a surer prospect of acquiring the distinctions to which it entitled him. To enlarge his stock of knowledge, as well as to gratify their wishes, he submitted to receive an education for the Bar; and, there is no doubt, that, from this circumstance, he derived considerable advantages, of which he availed himself through life.
But theology was all along his favourite study. He adhered firmly to his purpose, unshaken by the view of any worldly dis advantage he could sustain by means of it; and when he ob tained a licence to preach the gospel, which was in 1742, one of the first texts from which he preached, was this, "I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness." He was full of this sentiment, and never departed from it; persuaded, not merely that true reli gion is the only source of substantial and permanent enjoyment, but that the meanest office of usefulness in the church of God, is in itself highly honourable; and that, in respect of dignity, of utility, and of personal satisfaction, the ministerial function, rightly discharged, is to be placed above the most splendid secular employments.
He was ordained a minister of the gospel, and became minister of the parish of Kirkintilloch in 1744. In 1753, he was translated to the borough of Culross; and was brought from thence to Edinburgh in 1758, where he was appointed minister of the New Greyfriars church, and afterward of the Old Greyfriars, in conjunction with the celebrated Dr. Robertson, who had been his fellow-student.
At these different places he enjoyed the esteem and affec tions of his people. They were proud of having a man of his rauk, piety, and learning for their minister; and deeply lamented his removal from them. They were delighted and im proved by his instructions in public and in private; and the poor and distressed, of every condition, who had been relieved by his charity, or consoled by his sympathy and advice, loved him sincerely; and long after spoke of him with gratitude and respect. His attention to the dutics of the pastoral office was