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was ordained pastor of that church on the 27th of Sept. by the Rev. Messrs. Ord, of Cockermouth; Allat, of Forton; and Pratman, of Catherstone. In this place his labours were very adundant: he expounded many parts of the holy Scriptures, and freqdently visited his people from house to house. Here he taaght numbers of young people the Larger Catechism, which they repeated publicly on the Lord's Day. During his ministry there, many were added to the church ; and he had reason to hope that many were turned from darkness to light by the blessing of God on his labours. While he was settled here, in 1776, he received information that his father was ill, and longed to see him. He flew on the wings of affection to visit his dying bed,- found him extremely weak, but full of the hopes of a blessed immortality. He stayed with himn a fortnight, conversed with him fully on many important subjects, and took his last farewell without any hopes of seeing him again. His mother, who was then in perfect bealth, accompanied him a short distance, parted from him with great emotion, and, on his part, without any doubt of meeting her again in this vale of tears; but the thoughts of God are not as our thoughts: -- in about a month, he received the mournful news that his mother died on the Sabbath, - his father on the Tucsday following, - and that both were buried in one grave. This solemn providence affected him greatly; and he used to speak of it, many years after, with peculiar sensibility.
On the 6th of June, 1777, he married Isabella, daughter of Mr. Wm. Sproat, a respectable farmer in the parish of Channelkirk : an amiable woman, who bore him 4 children. She died on Oct. 28, 1791; and, in a very little time before and after her deceae 3 of their children were taken away by the stroke of death :: an only daughter now survives both her parents. On the 19th of May, 1796, he was married again to Margaret Plen. den, a most excellent woman. She proved a helpmeet indeed; and is now his disconsolate widow.
In 1784, he received a call from the dissenting congregation of Branton, in Northumberland, to be their pastor. He was not hasty in accepting it, being greatly attached to his people at Ravenstonedale, and they to him; but, by much intreaty, and after due consideration, he at length consented; and, on the 21st of March he preached his farewell-serinon to the church at Ravepstonedale, from Acts xx. 32. It was a mournful day to him, and to many who esteemed him highly for bis work's sake, and to whom he had been bolli acceptable and of much use dur. ing his ministry of nearly 10 years amongst them.
Mr. S. entered on his charge at Branton, March 28, 1781. Here was the chief scene of bis usefulness. Though Branton is only a small village, and the neighbourkood by no means popu. lous, he seldom preached, when the weather was fine, to less than 600 people ; some of whom came 8 or 10 miles. Here a
him fire sensibili' June, 1777zbe farmers in the childrefore and after
large round of duties became incumbent on him, for which he was singularly qualified, and to which he devoted the whole of bis time and talents. He was eminently fitted for a minister of the gospel, by education and much experience. Possessed of great natural abilities, having a retentive memory, sound judg. ment, quick discernment, clear understanding, vast invention, and deep penetration : he was a man of raro and unaffected piety,
had an extensive knowledge of the human heart, and, above all, an unbounded desire to promote the glory of God and the salvation of sinners. He was a plain, bold, animated preacher ; had a 'most solemn and venerable appearance in the pulpit; a strong, clear voice, and could have been beard with ease a considerable distance. He constantly aimed at great plainness of speech, not fearing the face of man, - prossed the truths he de. livered bome to the conscience, and shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God. . His sentiments were strictly Calvinistic; but he loved all of every denomination who boře the image of Christ. He clearly understood the doctrines of grace, their dependence on each other, and the inseparable union of privilege and duty in the plan of salvation; and he laboured zealously to make his congre. gation understand them also. Justification, through the imputed righteousness of Christ, was his favourite topic; but, though he insisted particularly upon it, shewing that it is by grace alone a sinner can be saved, he as zealously enforced the necessity of sanctification, which he styled The Christian's Education for Heaven. His preaching tended wholly to exalt the Saviour and debase the sinner. He set forth the law in all its terrors, and shewed the impossibility of salvation by the works thereof; but he was not fond of that method which some affect, to terrify people into religion! He thought the glad tidings of salvation better calculated for that purpose; and endeavoured to draw singers into the paths of boliness by kind and endearing per. suasions. · He was peculiarly excellent in expounding the holy Scriptares. His thorough knowledge of the original languages, the great extent of his reading, and the peculiar delight with which he studied Universal History, gave him a remarkable insight into their true meaning ; aad enabled him to set the most difficult passages in so clear a light, that the most illiterate of his audience were forcibly struck with their great importance *.
* While at Branton, he expounded St. John's Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles, and tne Revelation. He spent two summers in expounding the Book of Daniel ; and part of two winters in expounding the 19th Psalm. At a future period he began at the 120th Psalm, and went through the book to the end; he then expounded Genisis, and the Arst 20 chapters in Exodus; after that, he begao St. Matthew's Gospel : the last chapter he explained was the 25ch of that book. His lectures on Daniel and the Revelation were exceedingly interesting: he was often carnestly soliciied to publish the latter, but would never corsent to it.
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MEMOIR OF THE REV. J. SOMERVILLE.
40 · He was most laborious in preparing his sermons : he wrote the plan of them in small books, -- digested his subjects well, and never attempted to preach what he had not studied with great care. He never accustomed himself to use notes; and was, therefore, at liberty to say whatever forcibly struck his mind in the pulpit. It was his practice to preach several Sabbaths from the same text. He was singular for using apt and familiar similiesto illustrate his subject, and careful to prove his doctrines from the word of God. He was a strict observer both of Nature and Providence; and daily improved any particular occurrence in his church or neighbourhood. These talents preserved his ser. mons free from sameness, and caused them to be long remembered with great delight. His administration of Infant Baptism generally com prized a masterly defence of the practice, a solemn charge to the parents, a comprehensive view of their duty, impressive instances from Scripture of care or negligence, and their consequences, and a most affectionate concern for the present and eternal welfare of the children whom he dedicated to the Lord. He was remarkably energetic when dispensing the Lord's Supper. At these times his discourses were well suited to the solemnity, and founded on texts calculated to make a lasting impression on the mind : his manner was particularly lively and animated, and will long be remembered.
He had no stated times of visiting his people ; but often spent three days a week in this exercise, instructing them from house to house : his congregation extending over a large tract of coun. try, made this exercise very fatiguing. In these visits his conversation was familiar, and very acceptable : he could talk on any subject with the greatest ease, - made himself a companion of the old and the young, the learned and the unlearned ; equally happy with the poor as with the rich, - ever ready to commu. nicate or hear instruction, and never happy in any company without imparting or receiving something profitable. Few men could administer the balm of consolation better than he: his company was much longed for by the afflicted; many of whom received more edification from his private visits than even from his public ministrations. . Once a year he catechized the whole of his congregation, .con. sisting of nearly 1000 persons; by this means he diffused much useful knowledge, and established his people in the doctrines he preached. He wished these examinations to be duly attended, not only that he might learn what knowledge each person had at. tained, but that they might gain more. To this end he carefully adapted -himself to the capacities of his hearers ; and rejoiced greatly at the satisfactory manner in which many of them answered his queries ; and he would sometimes jocularly say, "I am afraid some of the Cheviot shepherds will set me fast.'
Little time as these important duties left for study, it is evident they required much; and in this exercise he was indefatigable, Having accustomed himself at college to late hours, be continued the practice through life, seldom going to bed before two or three o'clock in the morning; and on Saturday nights, frequently not at all. He was often importuned to shorten bis nocturnal studies, which are generally found detrimental to health ; but he always replied, that to him they were not in the least injurious : that night is the best time for improvement, when all is still and quiet, and there is nothing to attract the eye or divert the attention. In fact, his health was remarkably good, his constitution naturally very strong, his exercise regular, and his habits temperate. Until he was seized with his last illness, he was never "prevented from preaching one Sabbath in his whole life by sick. ness.
. In personal religion he was truly exemplary, well knowing that the form of godliness avails nothing without the power. He studied daily to live near to God, and attain a well-grounded hope of an interest in Christ. Self-examination was his daily practice : he abounded much in secret meditation and prayer; frequently observed days of fasting and devotion, and spoke much cfthe delightfulness of these exercises. He constantly read a few verses in the Bible, or a few sentences in some pious book, before he went to bed ; on which he meditated, if he could not sleep. He was a man of true humility ; and detested pride wherever he saw it: was truly happy in his situation; and used often to say, Let us be happy, and think well of our mercies while we enjoy them.' He was singularly cheerful in his manner, and did not like that gloomy appearance which some assume ; said he was confident it was not religion, but the want of it, which made men gloomy; for, of all men living, he thought the Christian only had a right to be cheerful; but he caretully guarded against levity ; and earnestly recommended consistency of character. • He was very punctual in attending to religion in his family. Morning and evening he worshipped God in his house; and on the Lord's Day thrice. He began this exercise by singing one ofDr. Watts's Hymns or Psalms; read a chapter, on which be frequently made some practical remarks, and concluded with prayer. He also conversed daily with his family on divine things ; recommending them to their constant attention, both by precept and example. • He was the honoured instrument of much good during his ministry at Branton. Old professors were built up in their most holy faith; many were brought to the knowledge of the truth; and several have borne testimony, with their dying breath, to the great benefit they have derived from his ministry. A great majority of the members were added to the church in his time; of whom he had baptized many, who are now bright and shining orna. ments of their profession. Several young men of ability were raised up among them, who, through his instrumentality, are
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now ministers of the gospel ; and one of them tutor of an aca• demy *. He took great delight in assisting young men of talents, particularly those destined for the ministry ; recommending proper books to them, teaching them himself the languages, &c. earnestly warning them not to aspire to pride and popularity, rocks on which many have been dashed to pieces.
Several prayer-meetings were established in different parts of the congregation; and in 1796, a General Monthly Meeting was established at Branton, for Christian fellowship and prayer; at which Mr. S. presided. In 1803, he established a Library in the chapel, composed solely of religious books, intended to promote the knowledge of truth and advance the interest of practical religion. It has stirred up a spirit of emulation in reading, and happily answers the intention of its founder. He copiously reaped the fruit of his labour in the attachment of his people to his person and ministry: it was reciprocal to his own. He had the happiness to see many walking in the narrow way in singleness of heart, worshipping God with their whole house daily. To this duty he strenuously exhorted, saying, ' A house, in which the worship of God is not duly observed, is like one without a roof, exposed to every storm and danger.' Brotherly Love reigned at Branton; and Peace was seldom interrupted during his abode there.
In July 1807, he was attacked by his last illness, as he was returning from assisting the Rev. Mr. Ord, of Longformacus, at his Sacrament. His complaint at first was bilious. Hopes of his recovery were long entertained ; and many fervent prayers were offered on his behalf; but at length it proved a confirmed jaundice, and entirely baffled all the powers of medicine. Long after this, he was as lively and weighty in preaching as ever, if not more so. Io a letter to a friend, dated March 21, 1808, he wrote thus :'I am still able to preach the glorious gospel; and, I hope, with greater fervency and pleasure than ever. The people appear very attentive; and numbers seem much impressed. 1 am truly amazed at the great attention and kindness they all manifest towards me. I desire to be grateful to God, and also to the people amongst whom I have laboured now about 24 years. I am still indisposed ; - the symptoms at times appear more violcnt; at other times more gentle. I feel no other complaint. Moderate exercise in the open air is highly proper and necessary; but from this I have been much prevented of late, through the severity of the weather. My times are in the hand of that God, whose wisdom cannot err, whose power cannot be baffled, whose goodness and covenant-love are immutable and inexhaustible !
On the 24th of April he administered the Lord's Supper for the last time; it was to him perhaps the most solemn time he ever
* The Rev. W, Vint, of Idle, Yorkshire.