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Amidst the absolute inundation of new Periodicals, some of useful, and others of doubtful tendency, we claim to occupy our wonted place, and to take the standing to which we believe we are fairly and honourably entitled. We might plead the charitable object to which the profits arising from our sale are invariably devoted; and surely Twelve Hundred and Fifty pounds per annum, granted to One Hundred and Fifty widows of our deceased brethren in the ministry, is no mean argument on behalf of the “Evangelical Magazine;" but we decline to appeal to the charitable feelings of the public, and call on the Pastors, Deacons, and Members of our Churches, to exert themselves in the circulation of a work which has done them good service in the past, and which will still be conscientiously devoted to their best interests in the future.
Do we ask too much, at the close of another year, if we respectfully entreat our brethren in the ministry to favour us with a pulpit reference on one or other of the first two Sabbaths in December ? Such a notice, from a thousand pulpits, would greatly increase the circulation of the Magazine, and enable the Trustees to extend the benefits arising from its sale. This is not surely imposing a hard condition upon our brethren, whom, for more than half a century, we have endeavoured to serve in the spirit of fraternal love.
FOR JANUARY, 1849.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LATE REV. JOHN HILL, HUNTLY.
BY THE REV. N. M'NEIL, OF ELGIN.
“ Epaphras, . . . who is for you a faithful minister of Christ.”—Paul. The lives of devoted men, who die “in has joined the “general assembly and the Lord," may be compared to a moral church of the first-born, whose names are mirror, in which are seen reflected for a written in heaven," and mingles among season the Christian graces which adorned “the spirits of the just made perfect." . their characters. Such men are the com- | The vacated pulpit, and the closed grave mon property of the Church. Their prin- still speak in tones loud as thunder to ciples, their conduct, their struggles are survivors, “ Prepare to meet thy God, replete with lessons of "instruction, cor O Israel!" rection, and reproof," to survivors. A Mr. John Hill was a native of the biograpbical sketch of departed excellence parish of Kirkliston, born at Niddry is like a family portrait; it preserves for Castle, in July, 1787, where still the a time a few of the lineaments of the ruins of an ancient fortification stand, living original; but "the tooth of time,” some ten miles west from Edinburgh, in the rapidity of change, and the ravages of the interest of the Earl of Hopeton. The death, sweep away the images of the most | farm is situated near the line of the railroad lovely forms to oblivion. “ All flesh is as between Edinburgh and Glasgow, in the grass.". "The fashion of the world passeth vicinity of the Winchburgh tunnel. Here away." Human life is as a vapour. It ap the deceased's parents reared a pretty pears only for a little, and then vanisheth numerous and highly respectable family, away.
Mr. Hill, if not the youngest, was amongst The priesthood of old were “not suf- | the younger branches of it. Though we fered to continue, by reason of death." cannot lay our hands at present upon “Your fathers, where are they? and the family dates and family documents, to prophets, do they live for ever?" But describe his earlier years; yet the writer “precious in the sight of the Lord is the of this sketch knew the subject of it early, death of his saints." Their ashes are set | knew him intimately, knew him long, under the seal and safeguard of the grave; | knew him since they were schoolfor, in soul, body, and spirit, they are fellows sitting on the same benches, and purchased property. The immortal spirit ! conning over the same lessons together
-knew him when they both became Dis- myself in great matters, or in things too senters, from principle and choice, to- high for me. Surely I have behaved and gether with her who subsequently became quieted myself as a child that is weaned his partner in life, and the mother of the of his mother.” These are some of the lovely family which they reared. It was best seeds of promise in our “rising minismuch about the same time, that we all be- try.” They are perfectly compatible with came members of the same small Con- active, indomitable habits of hard study, gregational church. Those were the days and high degrees of sound scholarship. of “the soul's espousals,”-days long to Mr. Hill was one of the first class of be remembered, -or rather, never to be students in the Glasgow Theological forgotten ; days when “the first love" | Academy, under the late Greville Ewing melted and cemented the hearts of the and Dr. Wardlaw. An interval of some little flock" together “unto all the riches three or four years elapsed from the time of the full assurance of understanding, to that the late Mr. Robert Haldane's classes, the acknowledgment of the mystery of for educating young men for the minisGod, and the Father, and of Christ.” The try, were entirely dissolved, before the reminiscences of those days, though now Glasgow Theological Academy was orremote, are fresh and fragrant as May ganized and opened. During part of that flowers. Often were those early associa- | interval, Mr. Hill had attended his clastions called up with renewed zest, and sical studies at St. Andrews in 1810. On made the subject of sweet social inter- joining the Glasgow Theological Acacourse for the last thirty-one years, both demy in 1811, he resumed his classical at Huntly and in Elgin. During that and philosophical curriculum at the Collong period of Christian and pastoral lege of Glasgow for three sessions, where intercourse, I have had opportunities all the students of the Academy attended of knowing my lately deceased friend in their courses. He had an early and thoroughly to the heart's core ;-and with- warmly cherished passion for the work of out partiality or exaggeration, though not the ministry, and possessed a high sense a perfect man, I cannot help thinking, of the requisite qualifications and deep that he was, “A man who feared God | responsibilities of such a work. His atabove many."
tainments as a student were accurate and While Mr. Hill was a member of the solid, rather than brilliant and attractive. small Congregational church in Kirk- | He was more a man of facts and fixed liston, under the pastoral care of the principles, than of poetic feeling and late Rev. William Richie, he was a most lively imagination. He was an ardent, pious, prudent, devoted, young man. Like patient, persevering student, and was Obadiah, he feared the Lord from his well versed in the structure and idiom youth. From a child he had known the of the three languages inscribed upon the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make Saviour's cross. The Greek New Testawise to salvation, through faith that ment, and especially the Hebrew Scripis in Christ Jesus. As a young man, tures, engaged much of his attention. he was modest and unassuming in a very | In both, particularly the latter, he was a high degree. Associated as it was in this daily student to the last hours of his life; case with vital, correct, consistent piety, it and his attainments in these, were highly is one of the most lovely features of cha- respectable. He sensitively shrunk from racter, that can appear among the young the parade of learning, or public criticism. men who are born of God and nursed in His object was to grasp the meaning and our churches. It might truly be said of catch the spirit of the inspired records, him, as the son of Jesse said of himself that he might be able distinctly to convey when he appealed to the God of Israel, “to the people the sense," and leave the " Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor appropriate impressions upon the minds mine eyes losty, neither do I exercise of his auditors.