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bation of the Presbytery; nay their Declaration and Teftimony of his Fitness to be one of the Ministers of the City, upon the firft Vacancy : And I am afured, that at the very fame Time the Masters of the Univerfity bad it in their View to bring bim back again to their Society, when ever tbe Profeffon of Divinity should become vacant,
He was, considering bis Age, a Prodigy of Learning, for before he had arrived at the 26tb Tear of bis Life, he had such a large Stock of Haftful Knowledge, toto bo philologus, philofophus #theologus-exi, Konins, and might well have been an Ornament in the most famous and
flowishing University in Europe. This was the more aftonishing, if we confider bis Weakness and informity of Body, not being able to read much at one Time, or to undergo the Fatigue of asiduous Study. But this was sell supplied, partly by a Memory that retained every Thing be beard o read, and partly by a solid penetrating Judgment, whereby be digelted it well, and made it his own; so that with a singular Dexterity, be could bring it furth seasonably, and communicate it to the Use and
tontage of others, drain'd from the Dregs be found about it, or in. termixed with it ; infomuch that bis Knowledge seemed rather to be born with bim, tban to bave been acquired by burtond laborious Study.
From bis Childhood be knew the Scriptures, and from a Boy bad been ander much deep and spiritual Exercise, until the Fimea for a little before it) of bis Entry upon the Office of the Ministry, wben be came to a great Calm and lafting Tranquility of Mind, being mercifully re ieved of all tbofe Doubtings, which bad for a long Time greatly exercised bim; and tbo’ be was of a tender and weakly, Constitution, jet Love to Chrift, and a Concern for the Good of precious Souls committed to bim, constrained bime to such Diligence in feeding the Flock, as to spend bimself in the work of the Ministry. It was observed of him, Thut be w.ts not mucb averfe at any Time from imbracing an Invitation to pr.
ach before the most experienced Chriftians teen the towned Profeffors of the Driverfity, and the Roverend Minifters of the city: And when one of his molt intimate Friends poticed berein a Difference from tbat Modeply and Selj-denial, which appeared in the whole of bis Way and Condu&, ke took the Freedom to ask him, bow be came to be so eafily prevailed with to preach before Persons of so great Experience and Judgment, whof
tminen Gifts und Grace be bigbly putusan hoftcomes? He made this thellout. Reply, That when be bad a clear Call to mention bis blejfed
We here and excellent Perfux Mrs. Barbara Simpson, Daughter to Mr. James
Master's Name in any Place, he had no more to say, but Here am I,send
Tho' he was bookisb, ad mucb intent upon the fulfilling of his Mini.
However be studied in bis public Discourses to condescend to the Ca. pacity of the meaner Sort of Hearers, yet it must be owned, that his preaching Gift was not so much accommodated and suited to a Country Corgregation, as it was to the judicious and learned. The Subje&s of Sermons are jo numerous and various, and the Order of Men's disposing of their Thoughts spox tbefe Subjects
fo different, that a suit of Cloathes may be as foor made
to answer every Man's Bachang of a fixed and invariable Method may be prescribed ibat fall agree to every Subje&t, and every Man's Tafe. Afr.. Bipning's Method was fingular and peculiar to bimfelf, niuch after the bar ranguing Way. He was no Stranger to the Rules of Art, and knew well bow to make bis Method Jubfervient to be subjects be handled; and bo' he tells not bis Discourse bas so many Parts, yet it wanted not Metbod, it being maximum artis celate artem. His Lidion axd Langilage is easy and fluent, neat and fine, void of all Affectation and Bombal; bis Stile was free from farch Lufdiousness and Intricacy; every Period bas a Kind of undefigned negligent Elegance, which arrests obe Reader's Are tention, and makes what be fay's as Apples of Gold fet in Pictures of sil. ver: So that, confidering the Time when he lived, it might be said, that be bad carried the Orator's Polize from bis Cotemporaries in Scotland,
and was not at that time inferits to the belt Pulpit Orators in England, the English Language having sdt its greatest Embellishments and Refinings but of late fraze In bis Sermons bis Matter gives Life to his Words, and bis Words add a Luftre to bis Matter. That great Divine Mr James Durham, som fxcellent Fudgs of Men, gave tbis Verdiet of bin, That bere is no speaking after Mr. Bisning; and truly be bad ihe Tongue of the Learned, and knew how to speak a Word in Season. The Subje&- matter of bis Sermons is mostly practical, and yet rational and ar.' gumentative, fit to inform the Understanding of bis Hearers, and move their Affe&tions : And when Controver fes came in his Way, be thewed great Accuteness and Judgment in difcufong and determining them, and no less Skill in applying them to Fradice His Discourses were Solid and substantial, so beavenly and sublime, that they not only feed but feast the Reader, as with Marrow and Fatness. In the most of them, we meet with much of the Sublime, expressed in a most lofty, pathetick and moving Monner.. Mr. M'Ward says in His Letter, "İbat as to tbe whole of " Mr. Binning's Writings, I knopy pro Man's Pen on the Heads be bath “ bandled more adapted for Edification, of which with a pleasant Violence, will sooner find or force a Pasage into the Heart of a judicious experienced Reader, and cast Flye, even e'er be is aware (o bappy Surprize!) into bis Affections, and let them into a Flame. And in morber Part of the same Letter, bel says, " The Subje&ts he discourses
upon are handled with such a pleafant and profitable Variety of Thought
and Exprefron, that the Hearer of Reader is taken with it, as if be " bad never met with it before.” He was such a skillful Scribe, as
knew how to bringrour of his Score, Things new and old; the old with such Sweetness and Savour as it seemed Bill new, and the new 'retained its first Sweetness. Jo as wever to grow old.
He and some young Minister's in the same Presbytery, who had been. Students of Divinity, when he was Profeffor nf Philosophy, did keep private Meetings for Christian Fellowhip, and their mutual Improvement : But finding that he was in Dang4r. of being puft up with the high Opinion they bad of him; he broke up these Meetings, tho” he still keept up a Brotherly Correspondence with them, for the vigorous Profecution of their ministerial Work. He studied to be cloathed with Humility, and to hide his Attainments under that Vail; tho’he wanted not Matter and Words wherewith to please and profit all his Hearers, ret at every Thought of his appearing in publick to speak f God and Christ to Men, his Soul wa's filled with a holy Tremor, which he vented by saying, "Ah Lord! I am a Child and cannot speak; tesch me what I fall say of thee, who.cannot order my Speech by Realon of Darkness. In his first Sermon on the fourth Question of our softer Catechism; he expresses himself in a most elegant and rapturous Manner; "We are now, says he, about this * Question What God is? But qoho can an/wer it? or if answered, who
can understand it? It should affonish us in the very Entry to think we are " about to speak and to hear of his Majesty, whom Eye hath not leen, " por Ear heard, nor hath ic entered into the Hear of any Creature " to consider what he is.' Think ye, blind Men could understand a per" tinent Discourse of Light and Colours? Would they form any suitable « Notion of that they had never seen, and cannot be known but by seeing ? "What an ignorant Speech would a deaf Man make of Sound, which a “Man cannot so much as know what it is, but by hearing of it? How then
can we speak of God, who dwells in such inaccessible Light; that tho? we " bad our Eyes opened, yet they dre far less proportioned to that resplendent
Brightness, than a blind Eye es to the Sun's Light?"
He was a great Student in the Books of Creation and Providence, and took much Pleasure in meditating upon what is written in these Volumes ; the Wonders he discovered in both bed him up to the infinitely wife and powerful Maker and Preserver of all Things. Once when he came to visit a Gentlem in of good Learning, and his intimate Acquaintance; the Gentle man took him to his Garden, and in their Walk he discoursed with him to his great Surpriz? of the objectives Declarations, which every Tbing makes of its almighty Crenter ; and talked of the Wisdom and Goodness
of God, particularly in cloaching the Earth with a green Garb, rather than with a Garment of any other Colour ; and having plucked a Flower from it, be made a mon savoury spiritual Discourse; he lo dil Eted and anatomized the fame, as to fee" forth the glorious Perfections of its Maker, in a most taking and entertaining Manner..
But the main Object of his pious and devout Contemplations was God in Christ reconciling the World to himlelt: For God who commanded the Light to shine out of Darkness, bad lined into his Heart to give him the Light of the Knowledge of God, in the Face of selus Chrilt; so that he not only understood the Mysteries of the Kingo dom of God himself, but it was given to him to make others know them :: His Preaching was in the Demonstration of the Spirit, and ot Power, His Sermons are the very Transacnpt of wbat had past betwixt Christ and his own Soul; he spoke and wrote his experimental Knowledge, and did both speak and write, because he believed. He did earnestly contend for the Articles of Faith and Truths of Religion, and could never think of parting with one Hoof, or the least Frain of Truth; being perswaded, that: Christian Concord must have Truth for Ås Foundation, and Holiness for its Attendant, without which it will decline into a Defe&tion, and degenerate into a Conspiracy against ReligpontAs to the Duties of Christianity, he inforced the Performance of these, with all the Arguments of Per(wafion; so that through the Blessing of God, bis Pulpit Discourses became the Power of God to the Ilumination of the Understandings of his Hearers, the Renovation of their Natures; the Reformation of their Lives, and the Salvation of their Souls.
The difficult Part of a Reprover, he aEted in the most prudent and gaining Manner, when he did lick with his Tongue the More out of his Brothei's Eye, he did it with all Tenderness, and with the Tear in his
ewa.His Words wanted neither Point nor Edge for drawing of Blood, when the Case of the Offender made it an indispenfible Duty; and when he was neceffitated to use Sharpness with any, they were convinced, that he honeyhtyeenda fincerely intended their fpiritual Good. His Compassion on the ignorant, and them that were out of the Way, made it evis dent, how much he confidered himselt as encompassed with lafirmity, and so within the Hazard of being tempted.
He was a Person of exemplary Moderation and Sobriety of Spirit, had bealing Methods much at Heart, and Audied to promote Love and Peace among bis Brethren in the Ministry : He vigorously contributed to the Reo