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very amiable and respectable in the more private walks of life, so they threw a lustre round his public, ministerial character; in which were combined, the judicious and sound divine ; the evangelical, solid, affectionate, edifying, acceptable preacher; the prudent, compassionate and faithful pastor ; the wise and good casuist; the zealous, steady friend, defender and promoter of pure and undefiled religion, in opposition to growing error, delusion and wickedness. In his sermons, he handled the great doctrines of the gospel, not in a merely speculative, or metaphysical mode ; but in a manner studiously plain and practical ; ever representing Christianity as a vital, holy system, designed not to amuse or puzzle the head, but to sanctify the heart and life, and in this way, through the mediation of Christ, to save the soul from death. He was very particular and faithful in suiting his public addresses to the various characters and circumstances of his flock ; courageously reproving, and endeavouring to alarm stupid and bold transgressors, as well as applying the consolations of God to the contrite, dejected saint. He appeared to enter deeply into the afflictions of his people, and was very careful and happy in adapting his friendly counsels and prayers to their various distresses. He was very remarkable for a religious observation and improvement of divine providence, not only in its uncommon dispensations, but even in its ordinary events ; pointing his hearers for spiritual instruction, to the various returning seasons, with their several iufluences and
world of nature, to join that of grace, in assisting and animating you and himself to adore and serve the God of both. I shall only add, he greatly excelled in the gift of prayer; in a ready command of penitent thoughts and expressions on every occasion ; and could with remarkable ease good propriety adapt himself to the most peculiar and sudden emergencies. He appeared to have a high sense of the duty, importance and advantages of devotion ; and was very exemplary, both in practising it himself, and promoting it in others. It is natural to conclude, that a character so estimable must have been very generally and highly respected. This conclusion was signally verified. He was reverenced and loved by the large circle of his acquaintance ; and the fragrancy of his good name reached to multitudes who never saw his face or heard his voice. The preceding view of his life also leads us to expect a peaceful and honourable exit. The past fully realised this expectation. His last hours were evidently cheered and brightened by those comforting reflections and prospects which such uniform goodness, in connexion with the faith of the gospel, so naturally inspires. He declared the tranquillity he felt in the near views of his dissolution, and his hope of shortly seeing his dear
DR. John G1 LLIEs was son of the Rev. Mr. John Gillies, minister of Carriston, in the presbytery of Brechin, and of Mrs. Mary Watson, who was descended from a respectable family in Galloway. From his character when a student of divinity, for worthy dispositions, learning, taste, and acquaintance with the best ancient and modern writers, he was successively employed as a tutor in the families of Brisbane of Brisbane, Macdowal of Castlesemple, and Lord Glasgow. Few have been more eminent for simplicity and godly sincerity ; for lively impressions of divine things, accompanied with habitual cheerfulness; for delight
in the scriptures, and in speak- .
ing or hearing of Him who is their great subject; for the ornaments of a meek, humble, and quiet spirit; for patience and
* The text was from Joshua i. 2. Moses my servant is dead.
viewed with candour the conduct of others. His care in avoiding sinful conformity to the world, and in abstaining from every appearance of evil, was adorned by gentle, courteous and endearing manners. His kind and affectionate heart wished to embrace all of every denomination, who love our Lord Jesus in sincerity. No wonder, then, that even the party spirited, who with rancour shunned one another, met in one point, loving and reverencing Dr. Gillies. His zeal against error and
vice, and yet his moderation in the manner of contending against them, were known to all men. During the meeting of the general assembly, 1778, a bill was about to pass for repealing some of king William's laws against popery ; and though that bill only respected England, it was apprehended, that next session of parliament, a similar bill would be introduced for Scotland. Alarmed, lest such a repeal might greatly hazard the interests of Protestantism, the doctor moved, that the general assembly should instruct their commission to give it the earliest and most effectual opposition in their power. Dr. Gillies was feebly supported ; his fears were ridiculed by many, who, when the act of parliament was published, were convinced that their ridicule was ill founded ; and his motion was rejected by a considerable majority. In a few months, when the contents of the law, and the intention of extending it to Scotland, were fully known, the alarm became general. Presbyterians, both of the established church and secession, united in dutiful petitions to government, for warding off the danger. Many pamphlets were published, representing the treacherous and cruel spirit of popery : among which, one by a respectable clergyman, now a bishop of the Scots Episcopal church, was none of the least useful. But a set of weak and ignorant, or profligate and ill designing men, took advantage of these alarms, to disturb the public tranquillity. A mob assembled at Glasgow, instigated by strong drink, and a wanton petulent spirit, not by religion, and, as if rage and cruelty to Papists would do honour to Protestantism, burnt to the ground the house, the works and offices of Mr. Bagnell, a Roman Catholic onanufacturer of some eminence ; and vowed vengeance against him, his wife and family, and whoever would harbour them. At this crisis, many who pitied or wished to relieve them were afraid to receive them into their houses. Happily Dr. Gillies being applied to, with open arms received the poor woman and her children. Not afraid of man, ** he feared God, and had no oth
He prayed with and exhorted Mrs. Bagnell ; and, forgetful of their religious disferences, led her troubled thoughts to him who is a refuge in distress. Soon after, lodgings were taken for the family, money was given them, and for many weeks all their wants were supplied by a few ministers and private Christians, who deprecated the consequences of passing the obnoxious bill into an act of parliament, but had been taught in the school of Christ, that the distressed Papist, as well as Protestant, was their neighbour.
He was ordained one of the ministers of Glasgow, 29th July, 1742. His fondness for literary amusements still continued, and indeed remained through the whole of his life; yet, not so as to encroach on his duties as a Christian, a head of a family, or a minister of the gospel. Milton's Paradise Lost was one of his most favourite books, and the greatest part of it he could perfectly repeat. Often he improved or enlivened conversation, by introducing passages from that poem, or from Horace or Virgil, sometimes with wonderful appositeness and propriety, sometimes with pleasantry and humour. But, though these things afforded him entertainment in a weary hour, they were only relaxations from labours and studies more important. To grow in the experimental knowledge of \'hrist, and to conduct others to that knowledge, was the business of his life, and the chiefest joy of his heart. Love to God, to the Redeemer, to all men, though especially to the household of faith, animated him to unwearied efforts in promoting the cause of truth and holiness. His pulpit services were conducted in a style, plain, simple, and unadorned, yet with force and energy. Besides generally delivering three discourses every Sabbath, several years of his life were distinguished, by his instituting public lectures and serious exhortations, twice and often thrice every week. While health and strength permitted him, he was equally faithful in visiting and examining the people of his charge, in visiting the sick and afflicted, and in every other private parochial duty. For some time he published a weekly paper, addressed to the consciences and hearts of his people. His warm, affectionate expostulations from the pulpit and from the press drew the attention and awakened the religious concern of many. A pious student of divinity informed me a few days ago, that his first serious thoughts arose from one of the doctor’s weekly papers occasionally falling in his way. Thus was the doctor instant in season and out of season, and studied to keep back from his people nothing profitable, but to declare to them the whole counsel of God. Indeed, they had daily lessons in the consistency and uniformity of his conduct, and in his upright, circumspect, and exemplary walk. He approved himself a minister of God, in tumults, in labours; in watchings, in fastings, by pureness, by kindness, by love unfeigned ; and to his dear hearers his mouth was open, and his heart enlarged. He was gentle among them, even as a nurse
cherisheth her children ; and being affectionately desirous of them, he was willing to have imparted to them, not the gospel of God only, but his own soul also, because they were dear to him. Having been fifty four years their pastor, he had baptised and married the larger part of his congregation. To him they looked up as a father and a friend ; and many tender tokens of his affection will long live in their grateful remembrance. When, in the last years of his life, he was only able to appear in church at sacramental occasions, and to exhort one table, the most indifferent spectator could not but observe the sympathy and love which shone in the faces of his hearers, and the tears which they could not restrain, when he solemnly blessed them in the name of the Lord, and spoke of his dissolution as being at hand, with looks of humility, serenity, and joy. The heart of Dr. Gillies was the seat of all the finer affections. As a dutiful son, a tender husband, and a kind and indulgent parent, few could equal him. He was blessed with two of the best of wives; and he often remarked, that throughout the course of his long life, his heavenly Father had favoured him with so many and so valuable family comforts, that sometimes he feared he was not one of those sons whom the Lord loved. His first wife, to whom he was married soon after his ordination, was Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rev. Mr. John M'Lauren of Glasgow, so eminent as a humble and heavenly minded Christian, and as a deep, solid, and ju
dicious divine. She died soon after the birth of her eighth child, 6th August, 1754, about a month before the death of her worthy father, whom she much resembled in a peculiar sweetness and vivacity, and in serious piety. They were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their deaths they were not divided.” January, 1756, he married Joanna, youngest daughter of John Stewart, Esq. (who died before his father, Sir Archibald Stewart, of Blackhall) and twinsister to the present Sir Michael Stewart of Blackhall. Her only child was Rebecca, married some years ago to the Hon. Colonel David Leslie, second son to the Right Honorable the Earl of Leven. Mrs. Gillies' prudence, piety and benevolence, made her a help meet for the doctor, and she was spared for a comfort to him, till 3d December, 1782. To his worth as a parent, the tears and regret of his family bear ample testimony. Yet they are sensible that their sorrow is wholly selfish, assured that he whom they lament, is now with his Saviour, whom he loved, who is love itself, and in whose presence love and harmony forever reign. His good sense and extensive information, joined to his humility, moderation, and amiable and engaging manners, rendered him a pleasant, entertaining, and instructing companion. If any thing tended to rufile his temper, the moment he felt the beginning of such an emotion, he quenched it, by hasting away from the scene of temptation.
* See Dr. Gillies’ account of Mr. M’Lauren, prefixed to his sermons and essays, Glasgow, 1755.
Steadiness in friendship was a leading feature in his character. Often he perceived not the failings or faults of a friend, when too well perceived by others; and when he saw or suspected them, such was the favourable light in which he viewed them, that though they might diminish his esteem, they did not alienate his affection.
The comfortable views he entertained of his own approaching death, may be gathered from the following extract of a letter, written the harvest before it, to an old friend : “You ask me how old age sets upon me. I am now in my eighty fourth year, and, thank God, enjoy tolerable health and spirits, though it has pleased our heavenly Father to lay me almost wholly aside from my work for many months past. I comfort myself with my favourite Milton’s words :
“They also serve, who only stand and wait.” I am waiting, I hope with patience, God’s time, which is the best for my dismission hence. Christ's lying in the grave has sweetened the thoughts of it to all believers; and through his merits we can have hope in death.” His last illness, like his whole life, was a dignified celestial serenity and peace. He was seized 2 list March, 1786, with a stroke of the palsy, which deprived him of the power of one side. Yet his memory and recollection remained, and he gave many pious and affecting exhortations to. his family and friends. The doctor’s distresses on his death bed were much soothed and sweetened by the dutiful and tender attention of his son, the Rev.