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without tokens, most encouraging and comforting, of his sure interest in Christ. In 1843 he had to part with another son. In 1846 his eldest son was brought home from Australia, where he had received a sunstroke, in the hope of recovery from skilful treatment; but, alas! he has since been mentally unconscious. In December 1852 his son Alexander departed this life, and, while his corpse was yet unburied, intelligence was received of the death of Dr. Morison's eldest daughter, Mary, at HongKong
In 1850 Dr. Morison was elected President of the Congregational Union of England and Wales; but he was unable to discharge the duties of chairman at the autumnal meeting. In 1853 he met with a serious injury from the upsetting of a cab. His health, which had suffered so much for many years, and which had been tried by many bereavements, now gave way. He was able for occasional duty, but a tendency to be for hours in a state of fainting induced him to think of obtaining the services of a colleague. At length his mind succumbed to the diseases of the body, and from January to August 1856 he could neither read nor be read to. The asthma returned in September, and with it temporary relief; but he was never able to resume his work. During 1857 and 1858 he suffered much, and was not able to walk. “ The last six months of his life,” we are told, “were the happiest of the two-and-forty months which he spent in his sick-chamber. Though his body was feebler, his mind was less affected by his sufferings." Though he could say to a friend, “At this moment there is not an inch of my body which is not full of agony,” yet his soul was placid and patient. “I am not afraid to die,” he said to his doctor; “but I am afraid to live.” “He lay,” says the Rev. Dr. Miller of Birmingham, “a sinner needing Christ, but consciously safe in having found Christ.” "On his dying bed, as in his pulpit, there was a firm grasp of the gospel in all its simplicity as a salvation for lost sinners, and a true love, rising above all questions of conformity and nonconformity, for all the people of Christ. Truly did I love him. I owed him much.” At length, having, on the 12th June 1859, bade farewell to his grand-daughters, about to sail with their father to China, on the 13th, while their vessel was bearing them away, his soul anchored in the celestial land. Conflict with pain was over, and sorrow was for ever removed from his sunny spirit. Doubtless, many whom he had taught the way to paradise thronged to the gate of heaven to hail their shepherd home.
“ Servant of God, well done!
Rest from thy loved employ;
Enter thy Master's joy."
THE REV. DR. BURNS,
MINISTER OF KILSYTH.
LMOST all the great religious societies, which
have done so much to extend the knowledge
of Christ at home and abroad, were originated about the beginning of the nineteenth century. A minister of evangelical views and devout longings must have gazed upon the rising and spreading light of these Christian institutions as the traveller beholds the dawn of day, when the sun first gilds the mountains, and then spreads his glory far and wide. Dr. William Burns began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the year 1799, and he continued to do so until 1859 ; and throughout the long period of sixty years was, from the platform of an intelligent manhood, an interested observer of the signs of the times, and bore his part in the Christian enterprises which have grown to such magnitude and wrought such blessings. He moved in a quiet sphere, but it was such as the evangelists of the cross generally occupy. He pursued no brilliant course to which he attracted the attention of the busy world, but his path of usefulness, as well as of holy living, was “as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day." In his parochial ministry he did the work
of an evangelist, and realized the highest reward in the salvation of many souls, which has linked his parish and his name indissolubly with the history of the revival of religion. For these reasons his biography has been given to the public, and we rejoice to have an opportunity of embalming in these pages the memory of one whom we revered and honoured as a father in the Church of our own ancestry and affection.
WILLIAM H. Burns was born at Borrowstounness, a small port on the Forth, in Linlithgowshire, on the 15th February 1779. He was the fifth of a family of eight sons, seven of whom followed learned professions—three becoming lawyers, and four entering the ministry of the Church of Scotland. They had the inestimable privilege of a godly parentage, and were descended from a clerical ancestry. The eldest of these brothers seems to have been sanctified from the womb, and to have had an early love for preaching. A pulpit was a child's toy in the family, which each mounted successively, and, having purchased at home a good degree, went forth actually to occupy important places in the Church of God.
William Burns was thus trained to the ministry from the very nursery. It pleased God early to touch his heart, so that he dedicated himself to the sacred office in his tender years.
His education was promoted for that end, and in 1791, when only in his thirteenth year, he began his under-graduate career in the University of Edinburgh, where he was a fellow-student of the veteran Lords Campbell and Brougham. In the year 1795, he entered upon the study of theology, which he prosecuted for four years with much diligence. He cultivated the heart as well as the intellect, and by the society of the
godly, by his own decision of character, by the influence of a few evangelical ministers in the city of Edinburgh, and by the grace of the Holy Ghost, he was fitted for the work of the ministry.
The evangelical tide was then beginning to rise in the Church of Scotland, but the majority of students as well as of clergy were on the Laodicean side. Young Burns had to take up his cross in order to follow Christ; but he did so, and bore the reproach for the Master's sake. He was one of the small but earnest company then coming forward in the Church whose views were evangelical, and who burned with desire to save souls.
He began his pastoral life in the parish of Dun in Forfarshire. The descendent of the noble reformer, John Erskine of Dun, was the patron of the living, and was led to present Mr. Burns by a singular circumstance. One of the parish ministers of Brechin was the elder brother of the subject of our sketch. He naturally felt anxious for the settlement of his own kin, and, hearing that there was an assistant wanted for the parish of Dun, wrote to the patron. The laird was particularly fond of a good letter, and was so well pleased with the epistle of the applicant, that he took horse next morning to Brechin and called at the manse. “ You have sent me an excellent letter, Mr. Burns-a most excellent letter; and you
had better just send down the young man, and give us a trial of him, making no promises in the meantime.” Thus the way was opened, and after twelve months' acceptable labour in the parish, a presentation was issued in his favour, to be assistant and successor to the venerable clergyman, then laid aside.
In that sequestered spot, Mr. Burns laboured for