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ACCOUNT of the life and Character of the Author, p. v.
GENERAL PREFACE, p. 1.
PRELIMINARY ESSAYS, p. 16.
ROMANS, p. 49.
PREFACE.-Sect. 1. Of the time when the Christian re-
1 CORINTHIANS, p. 138.
PREFACE. Sect. 1. Of the time of St. Paul's arrival at
2 CORINTHIANS, p. 210.
PREFACE. Sect. 1. Of St. Paul's design in writing this
Epistle.-2. Of the matters contained in the Epistles
to the Corinthians, and of their usefulness to the church
in every age.-3. Of the time and place of writing the
Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
GALATIANS, p. 250.
ESSAY V. On the Covenant with Abraham, in which
it was promised, Sect. 1. That God would greatly bless
him.-2. That he would make him the father of many
nations.-3. That he would give to him and to his
seed the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.
ESSAY VI. On Justification.-Sect. 1. Of Justification,
as explained by Paul.-2. Of Justification, as explain-
ed by James.-3. Of the Justification of the Heathen.
4. Showing, that faith is with propriety made the
condition of Justification.-5. Of the time when be-
lievers are justified.
PREFACE.-Sect. 1. Of the time when, and of the person
sion of writing it.-4. Showing, that the decree of the
Council of Jerusalem respected the converted prose-
EPHESIANS, p. 308.
PREFACE.-Sect. 1. Of the introduction of the Christian
PHILIPPIANS, p. 346.
ESSAY VII. On the Mediation of Christ.-Sect. 1. Of
PREFACE.-Sect. 1. Of the founding of the Christian
COLOSSIANS, p. 373.
PREFACE.-In which the character and manners of the
Colossians are described.-Sect. 1. Showing that Paul
preached in Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis.-2. Of
the occasion of writing this Epistle.-3. Of the time
when it was written, and of the persons by whom it
1 THESSALONIANS, p. 397.
PREFACE.-Sect. 1. Of the introduction of the Gospel
into Thessalonica.-2. Of the occasion of writing this
Epistle.-3. Of the matters treated of in it.
2 THESSALONIANS, p. 421.
of all other churches; and that its claim to infallibility
2 TIMOTHY, p. 466.
PREFACE.-Sect. 1. Of the time of writing this Epistle.
4. That the truth of the gospel is strongly confirmed
TITUS, p. 484.
and place of writing this Epistle.-5. Of the purpose
PHILEMON, p. 495.
of writing it.
HEBREWS, p. 500.
PREFACE. Sect. 1. That Paul is the author of this
1 PETER, p. 603.
PREFACE.-Sect. 1. The authencity of this Epistle esta-
PREFACE. Sect. 1. The history of John.-2. The au-
PREFACE.-Sect. 1. Of the authencity of this Epistle.-
PREFACE. Sect. 1. Of the authenticity of this Epistle.-
PREFACE.-Sect. 1. The history of Jude.-2. This Epistle
or in a vision.--4. Of conveying instruction by signi-
JAMES MACKNIGHT, D.D.
DR. JAMES MACKNIGHT was born on the 17th of September, 1721. His father Mr. WILLIAM MACKNIGHT, minister at Irvine, was a native of Ireland, where his ancestors, descended from the family of M'NAUGHTANE in the Highlands of Scotland, had resided for more than a century, and where some of his relations still remain. Mr. WILLIAM MACKNIGHT early displayed very popular talents as a preacher; and having, it is said, accidentally officiated in the church of Irvine, some time after the death of the former incumbent, he gave so much satisfaction to the hearers that he was soon appointed to supply the vacant charge. In this situation he continued during life, universally esteemed for genuine piety, purity of morals, and integrity of character. He married ELIZABETH GEMMIL, daughter of Mr. GEMMIL of Dalraith-a small property in the neighbourhood of Kilmarnock, which had been in possession of the same family for several centuries, and which Dr. MACKNIGHT afterwards inherited in right of his mother.
By this marriage Mr. WILLIAM MACKNIGHT had two daughters and four sons; of whom the youngest, and only one now alive, is THOMAS MACKNIGHT, Esq. of Ratho, a gentleman who in early life signalized himself, during the American war, by the most eminent services as a loyalist, and who, since his return to his native country, has long been distinguished by his unusual activity in the prosecution of agricultural improvements on the most liberal and extensive scale.
Mr. JAMES MACKNIGHT, the subject of this narrative, received the rudiments of education at the school of Irvine, and about the age of fourteen was sent to the University of Glasgow, where he studied with great approbation from his teachers, on account of his diligence and proficiency. The notes he then took from the Lectures on Logic and Moral Philosophy, before he was sixteen, still remain among his papers, and afford remarkable indications of the same acuteness and soundness of judgment which afterwards characterized his theological writings.
Having completed the usual course of academical discipline at Glasgow, Mr. MACKNIGHT went to Leyden, in order to prosecute the study of theology, to which he had shown an early attachment. While he staid in Holland, he had an opportunity of procuring many valuable books written by foreign divines, which afterwards assisted his own labours in explaining Scripture. After his return to Scotland, having received from the Presbytery of Irvine a license to preach the gospel, he was chosen to officiate at the Gorbals, near Glasgow; a situation which at that time could be held by a licentiate of the Church, before being ordained to the pastoral function. On this occasion, one of the candidates was Mr. ROBERT HENRY, afterwards the well known historian of Great Britain. It is somewhat remarkable, that the same gentlemen who thus happened to be placed in competition with each other at the commencement of life, were at last, after an interval of many years, associated as colleagues in the charge of the Old Parish Church of Edinburgh, a connexion which subsisted till the death of Dr. HENRY, in the most cordial habits of friendship and intimacy.
From the Gorbals Mr. MACKNIGHT went to Kilwinning, in consequence of an invitation from Mr. FERGUSSON, then minister of that place, and acted for some time as his assistant in the charge of the parish. Here he conducted himself with such propriety, that his character began to be established; and, on the death of Mr. FISHER at Maybole, he obtained the vacant living there, with the concurring wish of the heritors and people. Of this charge, accordingly, he was ordained as minister on the 10th of May, 1753. At Maybole Mr. MACKNIGHT continued sixteen years, and discharged the duties of the pastoral office with such assiduity and kindness, that when he left it, he carried with him the affections and regret of all his flock.
It was at May bole that, amidst his professional occupations in a populous charge, Dr. MACKNIGHT composed the first and second of his Works. Of the former, indeed, on the Harmony of the Gospels, it appears from his papers, that the plan had been conceived by him so early as the third or fourth year of his attendance at the university, and from that time he began to collect materials for the publication. The first edition of this book was published in 1756. Although the plan of it differed considerably from that of former Harmonies, in supposing that the Evangelists have not neglected the order of time in the narration of events, the reception it met with from the most competent judges was so favourable, that the author was encouraged to undertake a second edition, with considerable improvements and additions. This edition appeared in 1763. In the same year was also published by Dr. MACKNIGHT another performance of great merit, entitled, The Truth of the Gospel History, which had been the fruit of the author's studies during the interval between the first and second editions of his Harmony. Its object is, to illustrate and confirm, both by argument and by appeal to the testimony of ancient authors, what are commonly arranged under the three great titles of the Internal, the Collateral, and the Direct Evidences of the Gospel History.
By these publications Dr. MACKNIGHT Soon obtained a high reputation for theological learning. The University of Edinburgh conferred on him (among the first who obtained that distinction in Scotland) the degree of Doctor of Divinity; and he was chosen Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1769. During the course of the same year he was translated to the parochial charge of Jedburgh, in which he remained about three years, and where he received from his people the most flattering tokens of respect and kindness. In 1772 he was elected one of the ministers of Edinburgh. His first charge was the Parish of Lady Yesters, from which he was translated in 1778 to the Old Church, where he continued during the remainder of his life.
THE lives of the learned commonly offer little else to our curiosity, than the simple record of their studies and writings. This observation, often made, is peculiarly applicable in the present instance. After he took up his residence in Edinburgh, there were few occurrences in the life of Dr. MACKNIGHT which can be made the
subject of narration. Besides performing the ordinary duties of the pastoral function, a minister of Edinburgh, in virtue of his office, is much occupied with public meetings on business of various kinds, especially the management of the different charitable foundations which have long been the boast of the capital of Scotland. Among other objects of such official care is the Fund established by Act of Parliament for a Provision to the Widows and Children of Ministers in the Church of Scotland. As one of the Trustees appointed by the Act, he had long taken a leading part in conducting the business of this charity; and when the growing prosperity of the Fund had paved the way for an increase of its capital, Dr. MACKNIGHT was nominated by the Trustees, along with the celebrated Dr. WEBSTER, (to whose benevolent exertions this valuable institution was much indebted for its establishment), as a Commissioner, to solicit a renewal of the Act of Parliament. This accordingly was obtained in 1779; fixing the capital at £100,000, and making other alterations for the benefit of the Fund. After the death of Dr. WEBSTER, Dr. MACKNIGHT was appointed joint Collector with Sir H. MONCRIEFF WELLWOOD, Bart.; a colleague whose great ability and talents for business peculiarly qualified him, as experience has since shown, for the important office which he still holds, with the highest credit to himself and advantage to the Fund.
The line of conduct which Dr. MACKNIGHT pursued with regard to the points of ecclesiastical policy that have long divided the members of the Church of Scotland, was different from what might have been presumed, in consequence of the first impressions on these topics which, it is probable, he had received from his father. But after mature deliberation, with that manliness and self-decision which marked his character, he adopted the principles that were to regulate his future conduct in the Church Courts; and, throughout life, he acted steadily on that system of ecclesiastical policy which, for many years past, has guided the decisions of the General Assembly. At the same time, he firmly resisted whatever appeared to him as any infringement on the constitutional law or practice of the Church; and accordingly, when some of his friends seemed to wish for the abolition of calls, as an unnecessary form in the settlement of ministers, he moved and carried a resolution of the Assembly, 1782 (relative to certain overtures on the subject, then under the discussion of the house), " Declaring, That the moderation of a call in settling ministers, is agreeable to the immemorial and constitutional practice of this Church; and that it ought to be continued:" a resolution which was afterwards converted into a Declaratory Act, and printed as such in the proceedings of the Assembly for that year.
Of Dr. MACKNIGHT it may in general on this head be recorded, that no member of the Church to which he belonged ever, perhaps, entertained more just or profound views respecting the great fundamental principles of her constitution and laws, or concerning the nature and distinctive powers of her several judicatories; and that in relation to the business which usually occupies the General Assembly, either in its judicative or in its legislative capacity, he always formed a clear, sound, and decisive judgment. On this account he was often consulted by the leading members of that Court; and, on several important occasions, his professional advice and assistance were of essential service to the magistrates of Edinburgh, with regard to the ecclesiastical arrangements of the city. But what chiefly engaged his mind, and occupied his time, after he became a minister of Edinburgh, was the execution of his last and greatest work, on the Apostolical Epistles; which was published in 1795, in four volumes quarto. Respecting this work it is perhaps
not unworthy of being told, that it was the result of the unremitting labour of almost thirty years; that notwithstanding his numerous professional avocations, the author, while composing it, was seldom less than eleven hours every day employed in study; and that before it came to the press, the whole manuscript had been written no less than five times with his own hand. At the time of publishing The New Translation of the Apostolical Epistles, with a Commentary and Notes,' Dr. MACKNIGHT was highly indebted to the patronage of the Duke of Grafton; and after the work made its appearance, he received the most honourable testimonies of approbation from many of the Bishops and respectable dignitaries of the Church of England, as well as from the ablest divines of all descriptions.
After the publication of this work, Dr. MACKNIGHT considered himself as having accomplished the greatest object of his life; and wishing to enjoy, at the end of his days, some relief from the labour of study, he resisted the repeated solicitations of his friends, who earnestly urged him to undertake the illustration of the book of the Acts, on the same plan which he had so successfully followed in the explaining the other parts of the New Testament. But soon after this period, from the want of their usual exercise, a sensible decline of his faculties, particularly a failure of his memory, was observed by his family. This fact is a striking instance of the analogy between the powers of the body and those of the mind, both of which suffer by inaction; and it furnishes a useful caution to those who have been long habituated to any regular exertion of mind, against the once desisting entirely from its usual efforts; since the effect, in the course of nature, is not only to create languor, but to hasten the progress of debility and failure.
As yet, however, Dr. MACKNIGHT's bodily vigour seemed to be but little impaired. In early life he was afflicted with frequent headachs; but after he had reached the age of thirty, they seldom returned; and he afforded a singular instance of a sedentary life long continued, with hardly any of those complaints which it usually induces. This uninterrupted enjoyment of health he owed, under Providence, to a naturally robust make, and a constitution of body uncommonly sound and vi gorous; along with regular habits of temperance, and of taking exercise, which he did by walking nearly three hours every day.
Having finished the task he had prescribed to himself as an author, he mingled frequently in the society of his friends, from which, at intervals, he had always received much enjoyment; and long retained the same cheerfulness of temper for which, at the hours of relaxation from severe study, he had been remarkable, when in the company of those whom he esteemed. Even after the symptoms of his decline were become visible, his natural sagacity and strength of judgment, as well as his extensive and familiar knowledge of the Scriptures, were still to be discerned in his conversation and public appearances; and so habitual was his anxiety to discharge his duty, that he insisted on officiating for a considerable time after his friends had wished him to withdraw from public labour. It was not, indeed, without much entreaty, that he at last consented to accept the services of an assistant.
At this period of his life it was peculiarly fortunate for him, that in Dr. GRIEVE, who became his colleague after the death of Dr. HENRY, he found a companion of the most amiable manners, and a friend of distinguished worth and respectability, from whom he experienced every office of attention and kindness. When he was at length no longer able to prosecute his favourite studies, the judicious opinions, and extensive information of his very accomplished and learned colleague, frequently afforded