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had wifhed him to withdraw from public labour. was not, indeed, without much intreaty, that he at last consented to accept the fervices of an Affistant.
At this period of his life, it was peculiarly fortunate for him, that in Dr. GREIVE, who became his Colleague after the death of Dr. HENRY, he found a companion of the most amiable manners, and a friend of distin guifhed worth and refpectability, from whom he expe rienced every office of attention and kindnefs. When he was at length no longer able to prosecute his favourite ftudies, the judicious opinions, and extenfive information of his very accomplished and learned Colleague, frequently afforded him in conversation a fource of interesting entertainment.-Thefe proofs of refpect and attachment have laid his family under perpetual obligation; and gratitude forbids, that any account of him fhould be given to the world, without an acknowledginent of the friendly affiduities which cheered and supported his de cling years.
The disease which terminated his life, was the Peri pneumonia Notha; occafioned by an incautious exposure to the feverity of the weather, about the end of December 1799. This distemper, in its progrefs and iffue, refifted the ableft and most affiduous efforts of medical skill.—During his illness, his mind was compofed, tranquil, and refigned; he never complained; and on the morning of the 13th of January 1800, he expired without a struggle. As in the course of the preceding night he flept but little, the time was employed in hearing paffages from the Pfalms and Evangelifts, which by his own defire were read to him by one of his family. Thus, having spent his life in illustrating Scripture, and exerted the laft efforts of his attention in liftening with VOL. I.
delight to its precious words of peace to the righteous, may be truly faid to have flept in Jefus.
THE CHARACTER of a man whofe life was devoted to a fingle object of inceffant ftudy, can hardly be expected to afford fcope for much variety of delineation." Perhaps, the circumstances which have been related, fufficiently indicate its prominent features; and we might leave the confideration of it, with obferving that it was ftrongly marked by vigour, firmness, good fenfe, and unbending integrity.-Yet we fhall find, on a nearer infpection, that it is not unworthy of being contemplated more minutely; because it exhibits fome traits of profeffional virtue, on which the mind may, for a little, dwell with pleasure and advantage. Such examples in real life illuftrate the excellence of pure religion; and it is with peculiar intereft that we read descriptions which make us familiarly acquainted with thofe who have contributed by their labours, to the inftruction or the confolation of mankind.
As a Clergyman, the fentiments and conduct of Dr. MACKNIGHT were equally characterized by confiftence and propriety. In the discharge of every public and private duty of religion, with a conftant reliance on divine aid, he was regular and steady. He knew and felt what became the facred office which he held; and never departed on any occafion from the dignity or decorum of his profeffional character. Having given himself wholly to the meditation of divine things, he continued in them: In the work of his Mafter he was stedfast and faithful to the end. His piety was at once fincere, rational, and with
out oftentation. To be useful in the cause of truth and virtue, was his highest ambition: And with all the means of attaining this end, which the refources of a well-informed and liberal mind could fupply, he united a zeal for the interests of Chriftianity, that terminated only with his life.
In that branch of the paftoral office which is called Lecturing, his learning and ability were much admired, and never failed to please, as well as to instruct and edify, in a degree which has feldom been equalled. As a preacher, also, without pretenfions to the graces of elocution, he had a certain earnestness of manner, evidently proceeding from the heart, and from a fincere anxiety to be useful, which always commanded the attention, and excited the interest of the hearers. In doctrine he fhewed uncorruptness, gravity, fincerity; his fentiments were just, energetic, and impreffive. And his conftant object was to press on the minds of his people the truths neceffary for the correction of vice, and the advancement of piety, knowledge, and goodness.-With this view he may be. faid to have affected a greater than ufual plainness of diction. It is true, that to be perfpicuous and intelligible to the most illiterate of his audience, ought to be always the chief object of a preacher. But this may be accom plished with a strict adherence to purity of language; and it must be confeffed, that the difficulty is great of frequently employing familiar expreffions, without descending from that propriety which is indispensable to the dignity of the pulpit. It may be added, that his inexhaustible variety of thought and expreffion in Prayer, bespoke a mind richly ftored with religious ideas; and at once furprised and delighted those who regularly attended his ministry.
When engaged, either in private controverfy or in the public debates of the Church Courts, he was always remarkable for speaking ftrictly to the point at iffue. He was likewise distinguished by coolness, difcretion, and command of temper; he liftened with patience to the arguments of his opponents; and in delivering his opinions, he fhewed himfelf uniformly open, candid, and explicit. At the fame time, his talent was rather that of business than of addrefs; he appeared to be better fitted for deciding on the merits of a queftion in debate, than for foothing the paffions, or managing the humours of mankind—a qualification rarely poffeffed but by minds of a fuperior order.-In the management of the Public Charities officially intrusted to the Minifters of Edinburgh, his rigid integrity, and impartial firmness in refifting the effects of all personal interest or folicitation, which he regarded as interfering with the real advantage of these Institutions, are ftill in the recollection of many with whom he then acted. On every occafion, indeed, he thought and acted with the energy of a self-deciding, upright mind. And hence it is, that all his writings evince the fentiments of a mafculine independent fpirit, uninfluenced by authority, and unfettered by prejudice.
Nor was his praise merely that of profeffional excellence. On various fubjects his range of knowledge was ample and profound. Thus, his tafte for claffical literature was early formed. He perused the writers of antiquity with critical skill; and of his acquaintance with the Greek language, efpecially the original of the New Testament, his obfervations on the force of the particles, in his Commentary, are a fufficient proof. In the fpeculations, alfo, of metaphyfical, moral, and mathematical fcience, he was a confiderable proficient. The fact is,
his powers were fuch as might have been turned with advantage to any department of knowledge or learning.
It may further be noticed, that in conducting the ordinary affairs of life, he difplayed uncommon prudence and fagacity. He was one of thofe who are generally attentive to small concerns, but on proper occafions fhew themselves liberal to a high degree. Of this, different inftances occurred in the course of his tranfactions with his friends; and he was enabled to act on fuch a principle of generofity, by his ufual habits of economy and prudence. Dr. MACKNIGHT's external appearance was fufficiently expreffive of his Character. His countenance was manly and commanding, and his gait remarkably erect and firm.
AGREEABLY to the plan of this fketch, any critical account of Dr. MACKNIGHT's Works cannot with propriety be given here. It may only be obferved in general, that his reputation for found criticism, extenfive knowledge, and clear elucidation of the facred writings, is rapidly increafing amongst Christians of every denomination; and he must be acknowledged to have been one of the most intelligent, judicious, and candid Expofitors of the Scriptures, that ever appeared. Even during his own life-time, his diligence was rewarded by an ample portion of refpectable fame.-The Harmony of the Gospels' has long been efteemed a work of standard excellence for the students of evangelical knowledge. His Truth of the Gofpel History' has hitherto attracted the notice of the Public less than any of his other productions. But it well deferves to be more ge