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Appendix of Letters................................................................... 32
........ ....... 34
ERRATUM.-In page 11, for 1775, read 1778.
DR. MACGILL'S EARLY LIFE AND MINISTRY AT
STEVENSON MACGILL, D. D. Professor of Theology in the University of Glasgow, was born at Port-Glasgow on the 19th of January 1765. His father was Thomas Macgill, an extensive shipbuilder in that place. His mother, Frances Welsh, was daughter of Mr. Welsh of Lochharet in East Lothian.* Mr. Macgill was a man of intelligence and genuine piety. He reared an altar to God in his family; and was regular and exemplary in all the duties of domestic life. In religious pro
* I have not been able to trace any direct connexion betwixt the Welshes of East Lothian and the family of the great Welsh, the son-in-law of Knox. The traditional impressions, however, in the circle of the families and friends interested, have long been in fa. vour of such a connexion. The mother of Mrs. Macgill was Elizabeth Maxwell, who was heiress of her uncle George Napier, Esq. of Kilmahew Castle, parish of Cardross, Dumbartonshire; the oldest branch of the celebrated family of the Napiers. Her father was John Maxwell, brother of this George Napier ; and her uncle was Patrick Maxwell of Newark Castle, Port-Glasgow; the heir of Kilmahew taking the name of Napier, in consequence of that estate having come by their mother Margaret Napier, heiress of that property.
fession he was a Wesleyan Methodist; and the history of his connexion with this body is interesting. At Dunbar, which was his native place, he had been apprenticed to a ship-builder: and when about seventeen years of age he happened to go along with a comrade, one week-day evening, to a Methodist prayer-meeting, which was kept by a party of pious soldiers who had just returned from Germany, and were encamped at Dunbar. A religious impression was made on his mind, and along with his comrade he joined the society. That comrade was a Mr. James Rankin, who afterwards became a distinguished preacher in the body, and died many years ago. Mr. Macgill,
Mr. Macgill, in the latter part of his life, removed to Glasgow, where his declining years were soothed by the kind attentions of his affectionate son. He kept up till his death, in 1804, his connexion with the Methodists; and at the early hour of five or six in the morning was not unfrequently found with other members in the chapel, engaged in devotional exercises. The mildness of his manners, and the unassuming piety of his deportment, endeared him to an extensive circle of acquaintances and friends.
Mr. Welsh, the father of Mrs. Macgill, seems to have been a pious man. Some specimens of his meditations and prayers are preserved in MS. among the family papers. His daughter, Mrs. Macgill, was brought at an early period of life under the influence of true religion. I have been favoured with copies of two religious letters addres
sed by her in 1759 to a friend in the neighbourhood of Paisley. In the first of these she fixes the period of her conversion to God as three years before, and describes the state of distress and uncertainty in which for fifteen months she had remained, before the light of truth and peace had dawned on her mind. She expresses also her heartfelt anxiety for the spiritual welfare of the friend whom she was addressing; and in the second letter, which is without date, she communicates in affectionate terms the delight which had been given her, by learning that her friend had embraced the Gospel in its purity and its power.
Mrs. Macgill long survived her husband, and under the roof of her affectionate son, amply enjoyed all the comforts which filial piety could provide. Her sweetness of temper; her sound judgment; her affectionate warmth of benevolent feeling; and above all, her experienced and cheerful piety, could not fail to obtain for her the esteem and love of all who knew her. She died in August 1829; and the following extract of a letter from Dr. Macgill to an intimate friend,* announcing the event, will be perused with interest.
“ The death of our beloved parent, though an event which must have been long expected, very much afflicted us all; and though in thinking and speaking of her I feel nothing of the pain of grief, so great was her worth, so tender and disinterested
* Miss Malcolm, sister of Sir Pulteney and Sir John Malcolm.