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SOME

ACCOUNT

OF THE LIFE AND CHARACTER

OF THE AUTHOR.

MR. JOHN M.LAURIN was born in October, 1693, at Glenderule, in Argyleshire, where his father was minister. He was the eldest of three brothers, of whom the second, Daniel, died young, after giving proofs of an extraordinary genius ; and Colin, who was the youngest, is well known to have proved one of the most celebrated Mathematicians of the age. Their father dying in 1698, and their mother in 1707, their uncle, Mr. Daniel M.Laurin, minister at Kilfinnan, took them under his care, and bestowed great pains. on them ; to which he was, no doubt, encouraged by the

promising appearances of their uncommon capacity and application. While they studied philosophy in the University of Glasgow, they were taken notice of, not only for their diligence, but for their piety, in which the two younger had the advantage of an excellent example from their eldest brother. Agreeably to this eminent part of his character, he made an early choice of divinity for his own study, and observing his brother Colin's taste for the sciences, he advised him to apply to the mathematics, for which he had an excellent genius himself, had he indulged it; but he had consecrated all his talents to the more immediate service of Christ in the gospel. This plan he followed ever after with such steadiness and uniformity, that it serves for a short description of his whole life.

Havingattended the Divinity College at Glasgow, and studied some short time at Leyden under Professor Marki,

Wesselius, etc. He was, in 1717, licensed to preach the gospel by the presbytery of Dumbarton ; and in 1719 was ordained minister at Luss, a country parish situated upon the banks of Lochlomond, about twenty miles north-west from Glasgow.

In this retirement he had an opportunity of pursuing his studies, which he did not fail to improve. Having no relish for rural employments or diversions, his time was wholly taken up,

either with the duties of his office, or with his book. And he well knew how to make all his reading subservient to religion.

But he was not suffered to continue long in so private a station. His uncommon talents were soon taken notice of in the neighbourhood of Luss, and by all every where who had access to know him. His unaffected Christian piety made him acceptable to many, his learning and ingenious thoughts to others, and his modest and cheerful temper to all ; so that, having occasion sometimes to preach at Glasgow, which he did with universal approbation, he was translated thither on an invitation from the city, after the death of the reverend Mr. Anderson, * and admitted minister in the North-West parish in 1723, to the great satisfaction of all concerned.

He was now in a sphere that did not allow so much time for his studies as he formerly enjoyed, but was very proper for one who had laid so good a foundation, and had devoted all his time and talents to the work of the ministry.

The pastoral office in Glasgow, by reason of the largeness of the parishes, and the multiplicity of necessary or very im. portant duties, is a business of no small labour at any rate: but Mr. M.Laurin's activity and zeal carried him through a great deal more work than ordinary. His calls to visit the sick were uncommonly frequent. He was often consulted by persons

that were thoughtful about their eternal interests. He preached once a month to the Highlanders living in Glasgow, in their own language. He assisted in concerting measures for the regular maintenance of the poor ; and

particularly when the Glasgow hospital at its first erection met with considerable obstacles, he promoted it with great diligence, and had a chief hand in composing the printed ac

* Known to the public by his writings.

count of that excellent foundation. In all the schemes for suppressing vice and impiety he was a principal mover, and was no less active in carrying them into execution. In his sermons, before the societies for reformation in Glasgow, he made it his business to inculcate upon the conscientious inhabitants the necessity of doing their part to bear down wickedness, by giving information against offenders, without which the best laws and most zealous magistrates could avail nothing. He laboured to take off the unjust odium affixed by some to the name of informers, and to shew that they who declined giving themselves the trouble cf preventing sin in their neighbours were like Cain, who said, Am I my brother's keeper? The account of the societies for reformation which arose in England and Ireland about the end of the last century, was a book he read with great pleasure, especially as it narrates the surprising success with which Providence blest their vigorous endeavours at their first setting out. He was much for encouraging a like spirit, and using like prudent methods in Glasgow : and although the success of these methods might not be so great as were to be wished, he was not for laying them aside. He heartily agreed with those who think it is the duty of Christians to improve all the countenance given by human laws for restraining wickedness, because, otherwise, bad as we are, we should still be

For which reason he greatly approved of the design. of the friendly society lately erected in Glasgow, who are endeavoaring to raise a fund to prosecute such wicked persons as might otherwise escape the law.

But if his zeal and activity was great for the reformation of manners, it was still greater in what regards inward reli

years ago, when numbers of people in different. parts of the world became uncommonly concerned about their salvation, such an appearance engaged all his attention. He was at the greatest pains to be rightly informed about the facts; and having from these fully satisfied himself that it was the work of God. he defended and promoted it to the utmost of his power. Nothing gave him so much joy as the advancement of vital religion. This part of the Saviour's. temper was exceedingly remarkable in him.

Luke x. 21. With what earnestness used he to apply these words of the evangelical prophet, For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I wil not rest until the

worse.

gion. Some

righteousness thereof goforth as brightness, and the saldation thereof as a lamp that burneth. Being invited by the ministers in whose congregations the religious concern chiefly appeared, he cheerfully went and assisted them. He did not consult his own ease, nor his reputation among many who would

pass for wise and prudent men, but sacrificed all to what he was fully convinced was the work of God. He was at great pains to procure and communicate well-attested accounts of it both at home and abroad. His correspondence with the reverend Messrs. Cooper and Prince, and other ministers in Boston, and the reverend Mr. Edwards, (then at Northampton, now at Stockbridge) was always much valued by him, especially at this time.

When he received their accounts, he spread them amongst his acquaintances, and wrote largely to his American correspondents what in telligence he could procure, of the state of religion in Scotland. He met once a week with some Christian friends, to receive and communicate religious intelligence, and to converse on religious subjects, which he did with inimitable spirit and cheerfulness.

When those who made a profession of piety were guilty of any thing that tended to hurt the cause of religion, it vexed him to the heart, and bore so heavy on his spirits as to make him restless whole nights.

He encouraged the societies for prayer which multiplied in Glasgow about this time. With his approbation there was a general meeting appointed once a month (which still subsists), consisting of a member from each society, with a minister for their Preses, to inquire into the state of the societies, and to send more experienced persons to assist the younger sort.

And several years afterwards, he was the chief contriver and promoter of the concert for prayer,

which hath been complied with by numbers both in Great Britain. and Americat. And it

may

be
proper

to take notice here,

• He had several other correspondents in Boston, and in other parts of New-England, whom he greatly esteemed and loved, particularly Abiel Walley, Esq.

† Mr. Edwards wrote a whole book to recommend it, entitled, Án humble attempt to promote explicit agreement and visible union of God's people in extraordinary prayer,” &c. Some account of which may be seen in “Historical Collections relating to the success of the gospel.” Vol. ii. p. 401:

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