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Several ministers, who at the first were members, did some time after, when the debates concerning ecclesiastical power and christian liberty became very warm, withdraw themselves from the society: The following (afterwards distinguished by the name of non-subscribers) continued to pursue the design of it with much diligence; namely, Dr. James Kirkpatrick, and Mr. Samuel Holiday, both of Belfast; Mr. Michael Bruce of Hollywood, Mr. Thomas Nevin of Downpatrick, Mr. John Mears, then of Newtown, Mr. Harper, then of Moyza, Mr. John Henderson of Dunane, Mr. Thomas Shaw of Æghill, Mr. William Taylor of Carncastle, Mr. Josias Clugston of Larne, Mr. Thomas Wilson of Ballyclare: Of these, Messieurs Kirkpatrick, Holiday\Bruce, Shaw, Taylor and Harper, are since removed by death. As they were Mr. Abernethy\ intimate friends, and constant members of the Belfast-society, it will not probably be unacceptable to the reader, to give him a short account of their characters..
Dr. KIRKPATRICK was a person of a very great compass of knowledge: He
had had been in his youth industrious in his studies; and, with a very quick apprehcin-i* fion, he had a memory so strong and faithful, that he lost very little of what he had read. He was skilful in the languages and classical learning, which he so retained, that to the last, when upwards of sixty, hef! could speak in the latin tongue with ease and fluency, though his business in life did' not call him to any particular care to pre-4 serve it. He understood the philosophy,1 which was taught in the universities at the time he attended his studies in them; and had made great progress in divinity, espe-* daily in the polemic part, in which he * was thought to excel. When he appeared ^ in the world as a preacher, he was highly esteemed; and his thorough knowledge os' i the preflbyterian constitution, and all the. rules of that discipline, in which he was very exact, made him very useful to the synod. He all along retained ah active temper, and industrious in study: He made himself well acquainted with the late improvements in natural philosophy, and had a genius capable of most considerable ad- * vances in any branch of learning; so that \ in the decline of life, having applied himself • tm
to the study of physic, and taken the degree of doctor (which degree he took likewise in divinity) he practised as a physician, several years before his death. He was a most zealous advocate for the just liberties of christians, greatly useful to the Belfastsociety, and was the author of several papers which they published in their controversies with the general synod. He was of a mind constant and resolvedj not to be moved by clamor and importunity, or unjust reproach. He had a very great knowledge of the world, and a good judgment in affairs. He had the interests of religion very much at heart, and upon all proper occasions discovered a most zealous spirits He was a laborious and constant preacher j but frankly acknowledged to his friends, that he did ndt bestow much thought or time upon exactness of stile or composition, thinking it enough if the sentiments were just and plainly expressedj calculated to answer the great ends of preaching, in solemn addresses to the consciences of men. He was a person, through the whole of life, of strict sobriety and temperance. He spoke and argued with much strength and judgment; and was, withal, a Vol. L 4. maa -i*£PU§;M$. ally; and, upon proper occasions* -igoujld entertain and divert his friends with * fWHfe true hwnpur. - •. ^ £;£tf „vr1ih -mi ai!; or .:. "•/: r'~:r;i,?5sioo <>lood'
csd WK.,-&"4&&&4T'mm a gentleman, rMSSfho bad the advantage* of a very liberal .-JjdiiGation, and of spending some years in tra£ jelling through Europe. He was an excellent •scholar, and ©f a polke taste. He had frequent opportunities of advancing himself another way, but,. from mere principle, choseso be a dissenting minister. He wag, n^ost jealous for the cause of liberty, and, a gjp-t 'enemy to all unjust encroachments upqn^it, - under whatsoever pretence. He had divinity with diligence,. bat especially, popish controversies} and, as he thorough.ly understood the principles upon which? the reformation was founded, so -he was s ^very jealous of all appearances of biggO$ry, A- and an imposing spirit, as utterly inconsistent with them. His settlement in- Belfast, which was a little after the debates-i» the north began, met with considerable opposition from some, who were zealous . for . what they accounted the just authority of die church, and for- the method which had v.:; been ^lieefa for some years before pursued, of re*2«(uiring subscription to the Westminster conaj^&* of faith from intrants into the ministry. This gate occasion to his writing » book, containing his reasons Against the im^•position- of such subscriptions, which has ^•been thought by many, one of the best ~*lfodks Upon that argument. Mr. Holiday ^:lnVed' in Very great esteem j for, as he had "^ncfit of the gentleman in his behaviour, ^ffolits life and manners were worthy of his- iieftaracter as a minister.' He Was a personwarm affections, aftd a very fincere friend, most correct preacher, but all his dif"''efoui'ses were easy and plain: The great ^3J>rmciples of practical religion were his main: "topics, and to serve the true ends of ehristiaifity, hk constant aim.
'ifiiL. t&rtice was a man of uncommon '•worth, and as uncommon modesty. H«r had a clear understanding and found judg* ment. No man could argue with greater force, or set things in a stronger, or more convincing light j so that his reasoning was often found quite irresistible, even when hi? hearers had been strongly and long prejudiced against the truth.' He was a principal d 2 manages