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be attained, will find his account happily in such lives as that of Mr. Abernethy: //
may be very serviceable to all who attentively peruse it, particularly to those, who have chosen the holy ministry for the business of their lives: *They will Jee thi&station adorned with every thing necefary to render it reputable and useful; one of the soundest minds joined with one of the best of hearts; and a life under the power of the worthiest principles.
E was the son of Mr. John Abernethy, dissenting minister in Colraine. HTs mother was a daughter of Walkinjbaw of Walkingstiaw, in Renfrewjhire in Scotland. He was born Oclober 19, 1680, and continued nine years under the care of his parents. In 1689, he was separated from them, his father being sent by the dissenting ministers to London, to sollicite some public affairs; his mother, in the tumult occasioned by the insurrection of the Irijh, withdrew from her own dwelling to Derry. He at this time was with a relation in Ballymenagh, who, in that general confusion, determined to remove to Scotland; and, having no opportunity of conveying this child to his
mother, carried him nlong with him. This was the means of his escaping the hard* (hips of the siege of Derry, in which Mrs.. Abernethy lost all her other children^ When he had been three years in Scotland^ which he spent at the grammar-school, he returned to his father's family, then fixed in Colraine. Here he continued at school, till he was thirteen, and then was sent to G/*z/g-ow-college: This he often regretted as an error in the management of his education; seeing however parents might flatter the genius of a child in their own imaginations, it could not be reasonably thought, that he had sufficient knowledge of classical authors, to fit him for academical studies^ or that his mind was enough ripened for that reflection, which is necessary to make them successful.
It may not perhaps be disagreeable to the reader, to mention a very remarkable interposition of providence in preserving his life, when on his way to Scotland. At Belfast, he was diverting himself with a servant who attended him, upon the great bridge, by which that town is joined to the county of Down; they stood upon the bridge a:j"considerable time; but Mr. Abernctfy happening to cast his eye upon something lt d distance which calched his fancy, they ran oft" on a sudden t and, the moment they removed, the arch, upon which they had been standing, fell down; so they very narrowly escaped being erustied to pieces.
He continued at colledge> till he took the degree of Master of Arts: Then his ewn inclination led him to the study of physic; but he was diverted from this by the advice of his friends, and applied himself to that of divinity j in pursuance of which he went to Edinburgh, and was some time tinder the care of the celebrated profeflbr Campbel. Upon his return home, he proceeded in his studies with great success, arid was soon taken notice of by the presbytery of Route , (of which his father was a member) and, under their direction, went through the usual trials, as a candidate for the ministry. He was licensed to preach, before he was one and twenty. In Jutte j jo i, he had an invitation to preach in the dissenting congregation at Antrim, which was then vacant; and the people, upon hearing him, expressed an inclination to call him
to to the pastoral charge j but he resolved, before he settled any where, to spend some time in Dublin. He preached in several congregations in the city, particularly that of Woodflreet, from which he received an invitation to stay with them some time: This they desired, with an intention of choosing him to the pastoral office, in conjunction with the late Reverend Mr. Boysc-t but his father's advice, not disagreeable to his own inclinations, determined him to re
. turn to the north. He quickly received an unanimous call from the congregation of
. Antrim; but before he was ordained there, his father died* of whom all who knew him, had .an high esteem; And a judicious friend, who was intimately acquainted with liim, writes thus concerning him: "He "was an eminent christian, a learned dt"vine, a vigilant, laborious pastor, a man "of deep penetration, and solidity of judg"rnent, of a strength of memory almost "unparalled, of an extensive public spirit, ** a delicate taste for correct speaking and
.. ** writing, and a man of polite behaviour "and address."
a 3 COLRAINE .: •' .i.r-.v .„ , , . .
COLRAINE being vacant by the death of the father, presented a call to the son; so there being a competition between that congregation and Antrim, the matter was referred to the general * synod, who gave their decision in favour of Antrim, where Mr, Abernetby was ordained, August 8, 1703.' A little after this he married Mrs. Susannah yor dan, whose father was dead, and her mother married to Dominic Hey land,1 Esq; of Cqstkroe. Mrs. Heyland was a woman of a very uncommon character, much admired, especially for the generosity her spirit and tender affections, and for most exemplary piety. Her daughter Abemethy had, with 'great success, imitated' the fair oattern Ihe had every day before her; and Mr. Abernetby found himself every way happy in the conjugal relation.
H1 s congregation at Antrim was a large one, and he applied himself to the pastoral
* That is, the yearly meeting of the whole dissent- .
ing ministers associated in the North, with a ruling elder for each minister. This, according to their constitution, is the highest church judieatory, to which appeals lie from lesser associations, usually called Sub-synods: As to these last, appeals lie from the several Prtfiytries v.thin their bounds.